Desserts, Books & Yarn…

February 26, 2016

Too bad the dessert was imaginary and Midnight Knitter already took: Yarn, Books and Roses, but this makes a reasonable title for a post….As I did make brownies, and now I will be dreaming of an imaginary dessert tonight as a result of a reading I attended for class. By way of an intro, there was knitting as well. There’s usually knitting. Now I have to find the poetry…Though the Chinese Lantern sounds like a great poem to turn this into a dessert.

Doesn’t it sound scrumptious? Doesn’t it sound like it should be airy and light, but decadent and sinful at the same time? I’m playing with ideas to create these, and I’m thinking rich custard for the sinfully gooey insides that light you up and make you fall in love again, even if it’s just with dessert. Then I’m thinking perhaps pumpkin flesh, shaved, to encase the custard…Then deep fry it, glaze or perhaps a caramel sauce poured over it with some Chinese characters or elements piped on the finished dessert. Wouldn’t it be great if we could fashion these to make a sinfully wonderful dessert like this? If you know of one, please put me out of my misery and help me locate it so I may try it, even if they make it differently than I’ve dreamed up. The author told me she simply made it up. She made it up well, now I want Chinese lanterns for dessert.

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The book is The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons by Heather A. Slomsky. It is a collection of short stories I didn’t expect to like. I like them, I bought it. I got the book signed! She was such a sweetie, too. I’m so glad I went. I wish I would have drug some friends and family along. I’m wondering if I should have gotten a copy for my Dad’s birthday gift this week. I still might, depending on how much time I have this weekend. I’m hoping it will make for an entertaining read between my favorite books. It has proven surprising, and now it has to make its way to my signed book shelf…I’m gonna have to get my brother started on making this with me…(Sorry to digress, I didn’t realize this was in my list of projects, but why not?). I haven’t found what I’ve wanted in the stores.

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Alas, we’ve talked about books and desserts–two items that probably should kind of go together more, just not all the way together, (no book looks good wearing dessert or coffee). I’m currently working my through Brotherhood In Death, which is also a copy for the signed book Book Shelf I’m commissioning as a birthday gift from my brother.

As I’m thinking of the In Death series, I’m reminded of a friend and recently former co-worker’s passing last Friday morning, that I learned about as I got ready for work last Saturday. It’s sad, but she will have many to remember her youthful beauty. She is today’s rose…blooming for a short time, sharing her beauty, only to learn her season is too short. I’m saddened for the family and friends through work. I still went on, but there were points a girl needs to let herself have a good cry.

Then she gets herself together (after doing her homework and writing Erin’s Lament as part of it) and she goes yarn shopping. Okay, okay, I’d already gone yarn shopping, I mentioned that last week. Then I was surprised by the return of excess taxes I had paid in. While most of them will pay for college in the summer, I decided I was getting some yarn I wanted this week. I went to String Theory Colorworks, recommended by My Tangled Yarn, and found myself some “leftover” or heel bases hanks. I obtained the sock tones I wanted to make a pair of socks I want to match a favorite shirt. Though I’m thinking I might give in and try to find that colorway for those Mandrake Vanilla Socks she’s working on. They look so pretty!

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But this week, remembering my friend and having tax money just burned a hole right into my pocket. My local yarn shop is probably a little bit thankful for this. Before my appointment and cancelled class on Wednesday, I stopped at the yarn shop and ended up with a skein of Dream Smooshy with cashmere–merino/cashmere/nylon in the Charged Cherry Colorway.

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It is Dream yarn…I thought I recognized that name. My Tangled Yarn is right, this is so soft. I sucked it up and paid for it. I think I will be glad I did. While I was shopping, I also mentioned that I was thinking of learning to make socks toe up, especially since I barely received 100 grams of the gray and aubergine yarn. My yarn shop promptly sold me one of her favorite two at a time, toe-up circular needles. Part of me can’t wait to try it. Part of me knows I need to knit the second sock of the pair on my needles right now. I was so excited about my yarn and knitting purchases, that when I was asked to write a skill poem for my Creative Writing class, I made it about knitting. I will save that poem for when I get some tweaking done with it, but I will be introducing my class to knitting in words, as well as sock monkeys;-).

Speaking of sock monkeys, we are getting there. The arms were completed when the college historically closed for a snow day(that I’m not entirely certain we needed, maybe a half-day). The tail was worked to about five inches during the fiction reading tonight. The tail needs to be finished and the ears and muzzle need to be worked. That will complete the monkey. Then I will need to decide on the hat and scarf. So far, its a go, but it depends on what my actual due date turns out to be.

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There is so much more I could tell you this week, but I’ll save some of it for next week, as I’ve just started planting seeds of ideas that a girl can only hope to come to fruition! In the meantime, I need to make some socks, sock monkeys and homework happen;-). Ready for the muzzle next…

 

 

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I did it! I got the first sock done tonight. Do Not Ask Me How Far Behind I Got On Homework…but I got it done. Actually, I’m not that far behind and I have till Tuesday to catch up. I’m not signing up for any extra days this week, no matter how short they promise to be. I may not sign up for any extra days for quite some time. That’s why I sub-teach some days. Plus, kids like knitting stories more than gamblers, usually.

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Progress on the sock monkey. I promise not to leave that needle there…

Since I do nothing the easy way, I have stories. Last week, my camera was on the fritz and behaving badly, but I could still get photos with it. Then Dear James tried to help, and broke the battery cover. Since I’d decided to tease him about a surprise Valentine’s Day Gift-I knew about the books I was receiving–he got an idea. I knew nothing of this, so let’s proceed as if you don’t either…though I sorta guessed at it. Then I set it aside.

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Poor battery cover on my old camera…

Move forward to the weekend, where I was going to finish the toe of this sock. The shift supervisor caught me at a semi-weak moment on the table, mid-hand. I expected he was going to tell me I was staying late Saturday night. Instead I ended up working an extra shift that turned into nine hours. I ended up staying far later than expected on Monday as well. Valentine’s Day was moved to Tuesday in this house.

Knitting did not get done as a result of the extra shift on Sunday; nor Monday. I had homework to finish and needed to study for an exam. I didn’t even take the sock monkey to classes on Tuesday. I forgot him. However, dear James and I finally got to have dinner together, then I stopped to buy a battery for my old camera. A piece of tape would take care of the battery cover. I met Dear James as he finished shopping for what was on the list, though the list hadn’t been completed and he told me to keep my battery receipt.

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New Camera…terrible photo with the old camera…but I’m not playing with mirrors here…

When we got home, he handed me my surprise gift. Holy Whoa! I returned the battery yesterday. This is the camera I originally wanted(perhaps slightly better), but didn’t want to ask for the more expensive model. I refused to discuss price. I didn’t need to know. I bought him a shirt with photos of his own puppies on it, that says “Happiness is owning a pit bull.” Briannag is on the front, like this:

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Briannag in her happy pose 😉

So, today, I took the exam and got out of another class early and set up a date with my aunt. Then I sat down to watch Project Runway: All Stars and knit. I got to the sock monkey’s neck and stuffed and knit a little of the head. Then I decided to finish the sock tonight.

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Good thing I re-read the pattern…these would have looked quite funny…

The toes weren’t the exact star toe decrease I was expecting, however, it was pretty close and similar to what I was used to. It wasn’t too hard to work, though I almost became confused at one point.

I almost missed four rows of decreasing, due to tiredness, likely. But I caught myself before I tried to turn thirteen stitches into three. It is much easier to turn five stitches into three. Take my word for it…

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Now, enjoy my finished sock…and feel my pain next week as I cast on the second half of this pair;-). 021

Finished sock…it doesn’t look too funny, in fact, it looks quite nice;-)

Almost Halfway There…

February 12, 2016

I tried on my socks this week. I thought I would need to do one more chart repeat, but I’m ready for the toes! I enjoy knitting the toes. They’re a bit easier–so it’s a break from the chart for me. There will be much less flicking. I will not be surprised if I move to Vanilla Latte socks after this pattern, even if it will be in black yarn.

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Maeve, inspecting the needles as I check the work.

The toes are not just simpler, they are a symbol of accomplishment. The toes are a sign that I’m going to make it, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In addition, this pattern calls for the star-toe. I like doing this toe. I’m not sure why, perhaps it simply makes sense to me.

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The fit is good. I’m pleased with this sock and can’t wait to show you the rest. Maeve, must be enjoying the taste of the needles in the background.

However, I still have another sock to go. But once I finish the toes and run the yarn through them twice, I will be able to cast on the second sock and officially be more than halfway done. I love this sense of accomplishment.

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See, my baby toe has disappeared….and I think I have four rows of stockinette to stitch before I knit the toe.

Now, about this sock monkey. I’ve made good progress for him as well. I think it’s a boy, it won’t tell me until I’m nearly finished, or it may be up to the recipient, whom I shall not name at this time. While it’s not super-secret, it is hush-hush. He is almost halfway done as well.

I’ve got two legs and a tush and am creating his belly and back right now. I still have ears and a muzzle and arms and a tail to knit, but most of those things are easy. In the meantime, I have to stuff him as I go. I’m glad for the progress on him as well.

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Small edit: there will be no more silliness than necessary on this monkey. The four rows of pink candy at the top have been replaced with grey.

I’ll post updated photos next week, if possible. My camera picked tonight to go on the fritz. I either need to get it a good cleaning, or replace it somehow.

Adjusting…

February 5, 2016

For me, this has been a week of adjustment. I did start knitting the sock monkey, and Dear James offered up the suggestion of giving the sock monkey shorts. This was not planned. It’s not the monkey I wanted to make. It might be right. I’ll have to check on Sunday, when I borrow Mariah. I think the recipient might like it. I have a feeling Mariah will go for it. I think I’m knitting some silly pink candy shorts.

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Sock Monkey foot…just the beginning…

If not, it’s only a half inch of knitting to re-do, about three or four rows with this yarn, at twenty-four stitches. It’s not going to be too painful to frog it and re-knit in gray. I don’t necessarily want to, but I won’t mind if it goes back to the original as planned.

As I knit this, I carved a little time between homework and figuring out a new sleep schedule-which includes multiple naps a week to knit the sock monkey and sock pattern. I never thought I’d be happy to take a nap during the day, now I have to figure out which days work to take a nap…or if I will need them once I adjust to my new schedule.

 

This schedule should be easier for me. It will get there. In the meantime, I have to remember that I have to adjust. Adjustments matter. I’ve already adjusted the sock pattern, hoping it works. I’ve adjusted my schedule. I’ve considered adjusting the sock-monkey pattern. I have adjusted the planned color scheme for this sock monkey.

 

I have also generated class interest in my knitting. In my English Literature class, I stop reading for class in the hallway and enter about ten to fifteen minutes before class. I knit during that time, knocking some out. I have a deadline for the sock monkey. It can barely take a full three weeks to create.

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Knitting help as I finish the first sock monkey foot…

Today, the Professor asked me about what I was knitting. I was nearly overjoyed to share it with her and quickly pulled out the finished leg to show her. She thought I was beginning a hat, at first. I was so happy to surprise her. She told me she’d knit and teach if she could. I suggested fifth grade for that…if they have nothing else to do, they get curious. High School works well, too, if they are well on their way to working on and completing their lessons. She told me she wouldn’t be bothered by me knitting in class, as I put it away before class. I was glad, but I’m a notetaker, and it may be distracting to others. Alas, I may digress, but only a little;-).

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Sock Monkey leg with set up for shorts…if approved…

Then I went to my Creative Writing class. I love and hate this class.  I enjoy the writing aspect. I almost hate the critiquing aspect, mostly because it is really tough for me to read the trite and undescribed. I often want more from “well-written.” I want feeling and connection in my writing, which is difficult for good writers to obtain. There may be even great writers I am missing because of this…let’s not digress overly much…but I am rarely without feeling, regardless if I embrace them or not. That’s for my therapist though, short time that I have him….Yes, adjustments require adjustments.

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As I said, I went to Creative Writing class, and started setting up ahead of time, knowing we were going to have to arrange the class. But once I set up, I began knitting.

Jaz(Jasmin) sidled up next to me and asked what I was knitting. I told her of the sock-monkey and the pattern. She asked questions! Squee! She took notes; oh, my…my heart did palpitations. Aaaaahhhhhh…she reminded me she’s going to crochet stuffed animals. I mentioned my book, and ravelry.com, and I showed her the red heart pattern I was using. http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/red-heart-sock-monkey

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This is the current sock progress…found in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd

Jas wrote it down and noted the yarn I was using. She had questions. I loved it. I’m using Deborah Norville Serenity Yarn in chunky in gray and pink candy.  She asked where I got the yarn, and I told her mostly Jo-ann’s for the acrylic stuff-which she wanted to feel–knitter’s heaven in my humble opinion. I go to Apple Tree Lane (and send Dear James there) in Clare for the sock yarn. It was nice to find someone interested in my knitting world who wanted to join me, even if she crochets…I thought about learning to crochet from her as I showed her simple knit-stitches today. I was in knitting heaven, adjustments or not…
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This is the sock yarn I buy(or get Dear James to buy) from Apple Tree Lane in Clare, MI.