Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I've been planning on making fingerless gloves for awhile. Long ago, before I could knit in the round, I worked in an office in Seattle. They moved my team to the top floor, which had gone uninhabited for several years. We moved in the winter and the heat never really got going, but the air conditioner worked well enough in the spring and summer that I used a fleece blanket year-round at my desk. When I wasn't typing, I stuck my non-mouse-using hand inside the blanket. I refused to buy fingerless gloves for typing because I could, in theory, make them if I took the time to teach myself knitting in the round. But alas, I was lazy.

Last year I saw this pattern on Knitty. I'd started to knit my first project in the round (which I should make a post about another went horribly, horribly wrong) and I had some pretty alpaca yarn from Churchmouse (an awesome yarn and tea store on Bainbridge Island, in Washington) that I'd bought purely because it was pretty and soft, but I got distracted. Then it was too warm out to think of needing fingerless gloves.

I've only really attempted cables once before, a few years ago when I thought about knitting a cabled scarf for my sister. I decided I hated the yarn I was using though (it wasn't soft enough and it made a weird noise on my needles) and bound off after a few inches, making a weird cuff thing which I then used to torment my cat.

Poor Gracie.

So this is my first real attempt at cables and my first real attempt at gloves. As strange as this may sound, I don't usually knit things for myself. I have a big orange purse, a pink scarf, and a purple hat, but that's about it. But my hands have been cold at work lately and I'm going to Boston this weekend, so I figured I'd use my pretty blue alpaca yarn and finally attempt the Fetching pattern from Knitty.

Here's what I have so far.

I'm about halfway done with the left one. My pictures suck, as usual, but I seem to only do well with natural light and it's almost 11, so whatever. You can sort of see the cables. They look pretty nice in person, all twisty and even and such. I think the yarn is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, but I'm too lazy to go into the other room and read the label on the other skein. It's quite soft and nice to knit with. I'm excited about wearing them.

If you've never heard of an alpaca, here is a picture.

They're like super hairy llamas.

blog friend!

My friend Grant just started a new blog. I think Grant is hilarious and, dear readers, I would not want to deprive you of hilarity. Grant's blog features lists of things he ate, a crockpot score card, and funny stories. New features are probably being added AS I TYPE THIS.

Bac-Log, The most important blog in the history of time, a tribute to food (also known as "one of the requirements of survival") by someone who will eat almost anything. WARNING: May be heavy on bacon-related posts.

Grant will eat almost anything. Last year at Spring Training he ate nachos off the ground.

Monday, January 28, 2008

cherry limeade cupcakes

I made these on Thursday/Friday. I love them. It took all of my willpower to not eat all of the leftovers on Saturday.

As you may have noticed, I like cupcakes. I like them so much that I read a blog every day that is dedicated to nothing but pictures of cupcakes and interviews with owners of cupcake cafes and things of that sort (Cupcakes Take the Cake). A few days ago they put a picture up from Ooh, You Tasty Little Things. It was of cherry limeade cupcakes. I've been drinking a lot of limeade lately, so I knew I had to have them.

We had people over for dinner on Friday, so I figured it was a good excuse to make them - I couldn't eat them all myself.

I like swirly frosting, and Lorne used our lime for gin & tonics, so I omitted the lime wedge from the decorations. You can also see our pretty gold countertop here. =)

I put some green sprinkles on the top. Green = lime, right? I'm also pretty proud of these pictures. As you know, I'm a terrible photographer, and these are pretty decent.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a smaller tote

Well, not smaller than the Big Ben tote or the cupcake tote, but smaller than the larger totes I've been making in this style (like Heidi's bag and Tia's bag). Megan emailed me and asked if I could make her a vinyl-bottomed tote, but she didn't really need it to be as gigantic as the ones I've been making. Sometimes it doesn't occur to me that people might not want to put everything they own in their bag and carry it around with them all day. So here's what I came up with:

I played with sizing a little bit until I found the fabric-to-vinyl ratio I liked on the larger totes.

This one still holds a fair amount of stuff - you could easily fit a paperback book on top of your wallet, keys, phone, etc. Megan emailed me a few days ago to make sure I'd put a pocket in for her train pass and her cell phone. I also have cell phone stuck in the bottom of the bag issues, so of course I complied.

My sewing machine decided it didn't want to sew the straps for this one. I'm not quite sure why - I didn't do anything differently for these straps than I did for the straps on Big Ben. I ended up having to throw one strap out and start over again, after I broke three needles on it and snapped the thread three or four times. I also bled on it a little bit after stabbing my finger. I figured Megan wouldn't appreciate that so much. It all worked out in the end though.

And one more picture, because I'm happy with how the pictures turned out:

Friday, January 25, 2008


I got a KitchenAid Mixer for Christmas (from my fabulous mommy). As a result, I've been baking more than I used to. (I used to have my mom's old Mixmaster that she got from her first wedding...about 32 years ago - it shook and rattled, and if I used it too much, it smoked.) I decided that baking falls into the realm of this blog, so I will put pictures of things I bake in here, starting with some cupcakes I made last week. I'll put the cupcakes I made last night up a little later. (This was also in my myspace blog, but my myspace is I'm putting it here too.)

I made cupcakes to take to an MSTP party. The cupcakes were vanilla with cherry filling and a meringue frosting. I don't have any pictures of the rest of the cupcake making process because it wasn't very interesting, but we documented the frosting completion.

These are the cupcakes after frosting, before torching. The recipe said to "use your finger to make the frosting look interesting."

As you can see, I'm very excited. Also, you can see our lovely orangey-gold countertop. The retro-70s look is in, right?

Here I am, setting the first cupcake on fire. Also, I kind of look like a linebacker. I blame the baby.

Torching up close.

I feel that the torch will become useful on marshmallows in the future. I have a recipe for smores cupcakes that I've been dying to try, this would be awesome for the frosting.

Torches are a good way to involve your husband with baking. He enjoyed setting cupcakes on fire as much as I did.

Lorne torches a cupcake while some finished cupcakes look on.

I really enjoyed using the kitchen torch. Way more than I probably should have. The torch also came with some little creme brulee dishes, so perhaps I'll make that soon. And also the smores cupcakes. I'm going to get really fat....but at least I can use the baby as an excuse until June.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I see London, I see...

Well, just London. Lisa of Homesick Wanderlust is an anglophile and an avid traveler. When she's not traveling, she's planning her next trip. Several months ago she took a weekend trip. To London. I was so jealous. Lisa shares my love for all things British, especially London. She asked if I could make a Big Ben bag, so I did (four months after she asked...but I digress).

This picture came from Wikipedia. I tried to find a good picture of Big Ben from my trips to London, but mine are all crap. Surprise, surprise.

Just in case you haven't heard of Big Ben, it's a big clock tower attached to Parliament in London. Actually, it's not even the clock - the clock is just The Clock Tower (how clever). Fact: Big Ben is actually the bell housed within The Clock Tower. Fact: Big Ben can climb trees faster than it can run. (Okay, not really. That's bears, according to Dwight Schrute.)

Here we see the Big Ben bag on the lovely brownish carpet that covers our new apartment floor. Sadly, new apartment does not mean new and improved picture taking skills. Though, to be fair to me, I intended to take pictures this afternoon when maybe there would still be some natural light coming in to our living room. But my ultrasound lasted much longer than I expected, then we had to pick up the Subaru, and then it was dark and rainy.

Lisa was interested in a lining fabric that would exude Britishness. Something reminiscent of Burberry plaid. Burberry is a British "luxury fashion house," their tan/black/red plaid is widely copied everywhere. PLEASE NOTE: this fabric is NOT Burberry plaid (which isn't even called plaid, they call it "Burberry Check"), I am not trying to pass it off as Burberry anything, I have no association with Burberry. Please don't sue me Burberry. It's just a plaid fabric in similar colors.

Anyway, my original plan was to use red vinyl under the cut out of Big Ben, ahem, I mean The Clock Tower, but I liked the way the plaid (NOT Burberry plaid) fabric looked underneath, so I used that instead. Dr. Pants suggested I use a button for the face of the clock after he saw me struggling with the placement of a circle of black vinyl. I had a red button, it looked cute, so I used it. Hooray Dr. Pants!

Here's another attempt at a decent picture. George kept getting in the way though. I think he thinks he matched the (NOT Burberry) plaid.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

rubber ducky, you're the one

Daria likes pink, rubber ducks, and purses that aren't too big.

She also has a hunting knife she carries around with her most of the time, so I tried to make a pocket to accommodate that. Hopefully it will work - she sent me the measurements, and I stuck a sideways pocket in that should fit it. If it doesn't maybe she can stick pens in there or something. =)

There are two small metal snaps to close the bag, off center to make room for the diagonal pocket.

Again with the terrible photography. The hospital didn't cure me of that.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

coin purses, part 1

I mentioned back in this post that I was going to put my nose to the grindstone and try to churn out some stuff to build inventory for the PenguinBot website. Well, I made a few coin purses, but then I went to Berkeley and got stuck there for six weeks. Here are the first five coin purses from the gone awry coin purse week of October.

From the top, clockwise: birdy, Ohio, Washington (state), Washington (president), California.

Here they are all arranged pretty-like. The second five will be finished sometime this weekend (barring any unforeseen hospital visits).