Holding my breath

Thank you all for the nice comments about my apron! Can't say that I have yet remembered to wear it when cooking, but just wearing it about the house makes me feel very domestic.

I have an Icarus update for you...

*WARNING* If massive injuries to helpless knitting upset you, than come back later. Just sayin....

Chart one was nearly finished. 1 1/2 rows to go, I kid you not, and what did I discover 2 repeats from the end - a very very large mistake. 10 rows back. Somehow the eyelet column kind of 'jumped' 3 stitches to the left, and continued without my noticing. Unbelievable that one could continue knitting row after row with that kind of error I know, but well I did.

The yellow shows the mistake (like you need a guide to see it!).

I wanted to scream, but what I actually did was put it down and walk away for awhile, just in case I was overcome with the urge to frog the darn'd thing then and there. Ripping it back and redoing it was not an option, it takes even longer to rip lace back than to knit it in the first place - and I'm just not that sort of patient. Remembering that the Harlot had discussed something similar last month on her blog, I looked in her archives and decided to attempt surgery.

The requirements for conducting the type of surgery on knitting as described by Yarn Harlot are these: pins, extra needles, good light and alchohol. So I poured myself a stiff drink and cut the shawl open.

Very very carefully. It really feels like at any moment the whole thing is just going to unravel into a big lump. Luckily it didn't, although I'm not in a hurry to do this again anytime soon. As soon as I hit the lace section, those thread lifelines are going in!

Surprisingly after a lot of sighing and wrestling with stitches, it worked.

Back on track, and ready to start the lace chart at last. I wish I knew of a way to even out those stitches, right now I'm just crossing my fingers that it will sort itself out when blocked. But if anybody knows a better way, please tell me!!


In Stitches

Its surprising that given the amount of kitchen gadgets I have accumulated, I have never owned an apron. That is, until yesterday. This is my new apron:

I'm rather proud of myself to tell you the truth, it turned out great. Aside from a few minor glitches - sewing the pocket on sideways, oops!- it came together pretty fast. Or would have had I known what I was doing, it took me the unexperienced most of the day.

Its made from a thrifted cotton sheet using a pattern from Amy Butler's wonderful new book.

It was this pattern to be precise,

well actually there wasn't really a pattern because it was just a bunch of rectangles - it was more like instructions. Following Anai's lead I bought this book a couple of weeks ago - kinokuniya had it even though its not supposed to be released until Sept 1st! Its really great - just what I needed: easy useful projects that don't look like they were styled in the 50's in Idaho.

Since Anai also bought a copy, I've got to return her sewing machine to her - she's more eager than I am to use this book! So, I'm going to *try* really really hard to finish all of the projects I've started on it in the next week before I give it back. Thanks for your patience Anai!!

Also recently purchased (this week), the new Issue of Donna Hay.

Cupcakes anyone?


Getting Faster

This is her favorite spot to climb. Underneath the dining table, it must be just the right height. She stands here ans does little dances back and forth.

Abunai - Don't Fall!

There hasn't been much sleep to be had around here. We seem to be entering yet another developmental stage, and Blu-chan feels the need to practice - usually at 3am. As you can see she is no longer just crawling, she climbs.

This new standing stage has me a little worried. Until now, we have been putting her down to sleep in our bed without any problems. When she started scooting around, I put big bolsters on the sides to pen her in if we weren't in there with her. But now that she is more upright, she climbs the pillows and I am worried that she will climb right over the edge before I ever know that she is awake. Add to that the midnight crawling practice, extra nursing to supplament all of the energy she's putting out and a new tooth or two and I feel like I haven't slept in weeks. Last night, I put her down to sleep on a mat in the Living Room where I didn't have to worry, and I was so tired that nearly left her there at the point that I went to bed. I sat in bed dozing nicely for a half an hour before my better sense prevailed and I went to get her, and of course as soon as I brought her in to bed I couldn't fall asleep for another hour at least. Sigh.

Blu has also gone on a food strike. Well that's what I call it anyways. She won't have anything to do with baby food these days. Doesn't matter what it is, or how I prepare it, if its pureed and/or on a spoon she doesn't want it. However, she will play contentedly with whole pieces of food for ages, this morning half of a peach kept her occupied all through my own breakfast. It doesn't really bother me I guess, its just a little aggravating. I was hoping to at least have her eating a little by the time she started daycare so I wouldn't have to provide as much milk. But I guess that will have to wait.

I'm reading all sorts of articles on Infant Nutrition and solid food, and talking to lots of people, and I have come to the conclusion that no one really knows for sure why babies do anything. I've been told that I should be feeding her this or that, it should be cooler or hotter or blander. Veggies. Fruit. Rice. That pureed is good. That pureed is bad. I don't know if she just didn't like what I was giving her, if it didn't agree with her, if it was too cold, too tart, too boring. We will just keep trying, we will play with our food. Sooner or later some of it will have to make it into her mouth, right?


Without a title

Its too early in the morning to think of a title...
I'm running around keeping miss Blu out of things. Somehow once they can crawl, babies develop an unerring radar for the places that you would least like them to be. Blu always dashes towards the stereo (because its low to the ground) if I don't block it with a chair, and then second best is the potted plant next to it.

I have been busy, really I have. But not much of it is craft related so I don't have much to post. We have two weeks to buy a car, and find a new place to live before Blu and I start school so I've been focusing my 'online' time on those things. But here and there I've been able to do a few more fun things.

Like this:

I know it doesn't look like much. But I tell you it feels like a hell of an accomplishment. I am on the last repeat of chart 1 on the Icarus scarf. from 2 stitches to 343, a lot of repeats. I've been knitting on it every night while we watch movies, and its exciting to finally be at the end of a seemingly endless pattern.

I signed up for the Whose Lace Is It Anyways swap, and my partner is overseas. Its a secret swap so I can't tell you what I got her but I think that its kind of cool and hope that she likes it. I hope I get something neat too, then my next lace project will be picked out for me already.

Even though our fridge has been dangerously empty, we've managed to churn out some pretty ineresting things the last couple of days. I have come to the realization that I cook by inspiration. Not that genius type of inspiration where there are a bunch of random ingredients in front of me and I whip it up into something fabulous. I wish. No, my inspiration is usually in the form of a recipe I see or something that I eat that I feel inspired to try to recreate. Its easy to get inspired, the trick is the timing. I have to either write it down on the shopping list right away, or flip through cookbooks before going to the store; otherwise I will never remember what it was that I wanted to make when I'm actually in the store and we'll come home with a lot of macaroni and cheese and no vegetables. sigh. this happens alot.

Somehow, this week the timing worked in my favor. Donna Hay's Autumn issue (spring issue for me) of her magazine inspired me to make this:

Gorgonzola bread with Pears. This was my first go at making bread by myself, and using yeast. Turned out well considering the obsticles that I was working with. (read: my pathetic oven) So aside from having to bake it for twice the recommended time, and a slight doughiness at the bottom it was very tasty and really nice warm with butter.

From the same issue I also made Mussels with Chorizo sausage and basil garlic sauce.

Highly recommended. The chorizo added a spicy kick to the usual butter-white wine-garlic sauce thats paired with mussels, and made a fantastic dipping sauce for bread. We paired it with a simple salad and a nice Austrian Reisling, a great simple meal.

And third, from the same magazine - I really need to get a subscription don't I? - she had this fantastic looking pan fried whole trout that I was itching to try. But the market didn't have whole trout that day. No big deal, since they had some fantastic fresh sardines. I boned them, wrapped them in prociutto and pan fried them. On top the recipe had you make a wilted spinach pesto-ish sauce, with pinenuts and vinegar cooked in the juices from the fish. It was great - although next time it would be better to get more sardines, those little guys don't fill your stomach very far. No pictures of that one though, it went to fast!


Gee's Bend

The De Young Museum is hosting an exhibition of Quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama until November. We went to today to see the exhibit and I was amazed at how unexpected and interesting they were, especially considering how little the women who made them had to work with. Until recently I had never heard of these quilts, but I've seen people refer to them on various blogs and Whipup recently mentioned the exhibit in SF - so I went. For others like me who had never heard of them, the quilts of Gee's Bend are the work of extremely poor African-American women in the early 20th Centery from Alabama who used what ever they had to piece together patchwork quilts in order to keep their families warm. These people were so poor, they covered their walls with old newspapers to trap in heat and the randomness of these papers provided inspiration for many of the quilts.

The exhibit mentioned that while the basics of quilting were taught by the elders, most of the women were largely self taught. This is pretty obvious, the quilts themselves are not the polished type of cookie cutter product that we are used to today - there were no patterns, and pieces were added and sewn until the quilt was big enough and then they stopped.

Also the women were limited to the materials on hand, salvaging worn out clothes and curtains. Several of the quilts are made entirely of denim from workman's clothes, and one can still see where the jeans had been sewn together originally,

others were constructed entirely out of cordoroy.

It was a very interesting exhibit to see, strangely what these women were doing out of necessity seems to have become fashionable in crafting now - the vivid colors, unusual materials, the minimalist design. 'modern' quilting such as Denyse Schmidt's designs and those I've seen around on craft blogs have drawn alot from these quilts - deservedly so. I wish that the pictures I had did them justice but I was taking pictures of the postcards I bought. But you can see them here. If you've never seen them before (or even if you have), check them out!


She Crawls

Some of the first steps. Hurrah!