Sunday, December 14, 2008

Very few potatoes were harmed

When I heard on NPR that some wrapping paper is not recyclable and little of it actually gets recycled, we decided to make our own wrapping paper with a "Recycle me!" statement.

We got Eliza's Big Brothers Big Sisters buddy involved, and potato-printed up several sheets of the stuff.

All it took was butcher paper, poster paints, some sharp objects, and a few big potatoes. We are very pleased with the results! It kept us busy for the afternoon, no one got bored, and the mess wasn't even all that bad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rugby gear

I arranged a barter with a Mount Holyoke Rugby player - She acquired me a dining hall tray, and I promised to knit her something rugby related. I didn't think a rugby ball would work, and a rugby shirt seemed a bit excessive in exchange for a tray. Rugby doesn't require much in the way of gear, since there are no pads or anything, but all players must wear mouthguards, so I put together a mouthguard cozy. I crocheted the edge with chains for buttonholes, and I found some buttons from the Value Village days in Maryland. It looks very cute, and will hopefully do its part in preventing concussions!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

bag bag (bag bag?)

I finally got sick of the plastic bags flooding onto the kitchen floor and trying to eat the cats. So I made a bag bag. It was wicked easy! I should have done it earlier. I took a rectangle of fabric, sewed it into a big old tube, put some elastic bands in each end, added a door handle hanger, and voila! It looks like something my mom bought in France years ago, and it makes me feel very European and tidy.

But the best part is that they're so easy that I'm thinking of making them for the aunts and uncles for the holidays. Since I have 4 aunt-uncle sets, I'll probably have to throw them in a plastic bag or something so the cats don't scatter them all over my apartment. Then I'll have bag bags in a bag bag bag. Even better, to get them to LA where my family is Christmasing, they'll go in my suitcase, which will magically be transformed into - you guessed it - a bag bag bag bag!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Green Tomato Gazpacho

My CSA farm just opened for U-Pick! Because of the heavy rains this spring, they only really have flowers right now, but I walked around to check out where all of the veggies are this year. There were a few green tomatoes lying on the ground in the tomato rows, and it seemed sad to leave them to rot. I thought about making fried green tomatoes, but I don't think I've ever been successful at that, and I wasn't that excited about frying in warm weather. As I was thinking about green tomatoes, I recalled a green tomato gazpacho from my time at The Food Project. I couldn't remember exactly what went into the gazpacho we made (I think it was 9 years ago - probably nearly to the day, since it had to be green tomato season), but I do remember loving it, and I figured I'd give it a try. I'm pretty happy with the way mine came out - it has a cool fresh acidic taste that was perfect for a warm and humid summer night. Most of the ingredients are local: the tomatoes from the Hampshire CSA, the garlic from the garden I watch, the peppers and scallions from the Northampton farmers' market. The flowers in the photo came from the CSA, too!

Green Gazpacho (serves two)
2 green tomatoes
1 green Cuban/cubanelle pepper
2 scallions
2 cloves garlic
large handful green grapes (about 20 grapes?)
1/2 green apple
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
diced hot pepper, salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar (optional/to taste)

Chop up all of the ingredients. You could probably use a food processor. I just put a cutting board down in front of the Red Sox game and diced away. Combine everything. My grapes weren't very sweet, so I added a tiny bit of sugar. Stir. Chill for at least an hour. I served it with an attempted recreation of an Indian bread that I saw a friend from India make, but any hunk of bread would probably work.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fruity Baby

I've knit fruity baby hats a thousand times. It's kind of exciting not to have to carry around a pattern and have it look good anyway, though! This is for the son my group's departing intern. He's due on Halloween - could you guess? She promises baby-in-hat pictures. I don't have a baby to try it on right now, so it's currently being modeled by my furniture.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Look what I made!

The turtle, not the baby. I made it months ago and just found this picture! Mmmm, turtle.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New in Blue

Some friends were moving and needed to get rid of this chair. It's very comfy and rocks, but the slipcover was stained and the off-white color wasn't great for my room and showed cat hair easily. A jar of blue dye seems to have solved the problem! I thought that dying would be much more complicated than it was, but you can do it in a bucket with cold water if you are dying plant-based fabrics (there was no tag on the slipcover, my guess was cotton or cotton blend).

You do need a lot of salt to help the dye get into the fabric and soda ash to fix it. Places that sell the dye should also sell the soda ash. In the end, the project cost about $15 (and the chair was free!) My dye job isn't perfect. There are a lot of color variations, but I kind of like it that way. I'm not sure if the problem is - maybe my fabric wasn't actually cotton or had a lot of something else blended in? Maybe I didn't stir enough. Maybe I didn't fix it for long enough. In any event, I'm much happier with my chair!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

the perfect project for the homespun!

I spun this yarn a while ago. I started it in Maryland and finished shortly after arriving in MA. But it sat around for a while before I decided what to do with it. Even then, I cast on, started and frogged about 5 scarf-like-things before feeling optimistic. But this is the right thing. I was partially inspired by Ice Queen from knitty (if you look carefully at the pictures you'll see some beads) and partially by the Not So Rugged Scarf from Knitting with Balls. But I'm quite pleased with how it looks. The beads aren't too noticeable, but the reflect light nicely. Now, if only I had managed to finish it when it was still cold out!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

What I did during my camera's vacation

I spent weeks frantically searching for my camera. Finally, the night before she was planning to leave for the summer, Eliza dumped out her messenger bag and found it hiding at the bottom. I was sad to miss photos of two adorable projects of my own invention that have already been given away as gifts: a pair of tiny Red Sox attached to a magnet for one co-worker's birthday and a cigarette box cozy for another. I might try to steal them back for a moment to get pictures.

I also just finished a scarf out of horrible red heart acrylic for some gay Presbyterians. I knit 'till I couldn't stand it anymore, then added a fringe to get as much length as possible.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bunny for Domestic Violence

My Knitting Liberally group is making stuffed animals to give to kids at NELCWIT, an organization helping survivors of domestic abuse in Greenfield, MA. This pattern is from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and I made it out of Valley Superwash donated by Webs yarn store. For the ears I used the leftovers from my monkey socks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monkeys take Dupont Circle

I had a brilliant idea for Christmas for my grandma. She lives in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC, so I wanted to buy her the Neighborhood Fiber Company sock yarn in the Georgetown colorway. Sadly, they don't make Georgetown. So I settled for Dupont Circle, which is nearby (indeed, it's the closest metro stop, so I went through Dupont every time I went to visit her). I took a quick look at the yarn online, and it looked like a cute purple semi-solid. I put in a call to A Tangled Skein, my favorite NFC supplier, and a few days later the yarn was in the mail. When I opened it, I discovered that there is no way to call this yarn purple. It is pink. Very pink. My grandmother isn't really a pink person. I cast on and knit halfheartedly. The socks looked really big. I frogged. I cast on again. I knit quarterheartedly. Finally, I threw up my hands in despair and made a donation to the Georgetown Public Library restoration fund (the library burned down last year). Thankfully the donation went over very well as a Christmas present. Tears (of happiness) were shed. I don't think my socks would have done that. But I finally got around to finishing them. They're quite comfortable, and look excellent on moi. The only problem: since I didn't buy the yarn in person, I got an extra skein, just in case. Now I probably have three socks worth of NFC Dupont Circle sitting around. I don't know how many pairs of pink socks my wardrobe can absorb!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Recycled sweater legwarmers

I started off with a ribbed Salvation Army sweater (I think it was originally old navy or something). I cut off the sleeves, picked up the stitches on the first intact row, and cast off. I'm really excited about the way they turned out. They kept me super cozy on the way to work this morning in sub-20s weather. The only problem is that the cast off edge is a bit tight. If I were to do this again, I'd try to find some yarn elsewhere in the sweater to salvage. Then I'd knit a few more rows in pattern, and cast off incredibly loosely.

Scrap Wrap update

I just joined the official Inauguration Scarf knitalong blog. Here's the most current picture of my wrap, taken for my knitalong blog debut! It's kind of ugly, but I think it will have a lot of character when it's finished.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another tea cozy with a flap

I got an e-mail from someone named Amanda who knit a tea cozy from the Winter in Washington tea cozy pattern I posted a few weeks ago. (She clued me in to the math problems. Thanks Amanda!). She e-mailed me a photo of her final product. She says her teapot is different. It doesn't have a real spout, instead what she described as a 'beak' at the top. But I think it still worked out! Here's her picture.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

inauguration day scrap wrap

A bunch of people in my Knitting Liberally group are making 'inauguration day' scarves. They're knitting two rows of a different color of yarn scraps they have sitting around each day as a countdown to the inauguration of a new president. Although I sadly disposed of many of my yarn scraps when I moved last year, I've generated a few more. One problem with the scarf idea from my perspective is that you either have to weave in 732 ends (ick) or you have a scarf with a fringe on one side (also, in my opinion, ick). So I'm going to make a triangular wrap instead. I cast on two stitches on the 20th (that's a lie. I did it all this morning and caught up to where I should be), and I'm going to increase one stitch every three days. The fringe will be on the angled side, the bottom of the wrap. Another advantage: I can get rid of some larger scraps - 20 yards or so from a project that used most of a ball. I might have to acquire some more scraps before the whole thing is finished, but the KL folks are planning to have a scrap swap sometime soon to deal with this problem.

In case you're interested in Knitting Liberally, it meets on Tuesday at 5 at the Yellow Sofa in downtown Northampton (sometimes it's hard to find this sort of information, and now, voila, it's googleable in case it wasn't before).

Monday, January 21, 2008


Arg. This pattern was a serious pain in the butt. It was poorly written and laid out, it required a lot of seaming (including right up the face!) and parts were unclear.

However, I think the resulting critter is adorable. It's much bigger than expected, but elephant and turtle will get popped in the mail tomorrow!

If I ever feel the need to knit another elephant, I will find another pattern, or modify this one heavily to involve a lot more knitting in the round (and I will write it out clearly so I can actually figure out what's happening while knitting without going crazy!)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Leibniz and Newton for tea

Differentiate this:
This goes to IESL next time I'm in Amherst. They acquired a teapot last semester, and I promised to knit them the nerdiest tea cozy I could think up. I would have put Student's t distribution on it, but I didn't think I could make it fit. I used super cheap Bernat acrylic. It's a tiny bit short for my teapot, but I can't remember how big the IESL one is.

Someone asked for the pattern. The cozy itself wasn't that great, but here's an excel version of the chart (the real one is scribbled on graph paper, and I don't have access to a scanner!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just like everyone else

More Wristies. This time, the pattern is Fetching, which I'm pretty sure is the most popular pattern on the internet. I used Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora. Trendy or otherwise, I think they're pretty cute!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Teatime in Washington

When Veronica moved into her house in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, I promised to knit her a tea cozy out of the Neighborhood Fiber Company's Columbia Heights yarn. Sadly, they don't yet make Columbia Heights. Her house is right near Mount Pleasant, though, so I decided to go with that. I put a flap in the top so it's possible to add or remove tea bags without taking the whole thing off. It doesn't cover the bottom so it can be slipped on and off a teapot relatively easily. It is currently being modeled by my teapot which is an average sized and kind of round. Veronica's tea pots were all taller, so hopefully it will fit. It's pretty stretchy, so I think it's sort of one size fits all. Pattern and picture with flap open below.

One note: NFC yarn is a bit hard to come by. Since I'm no longer living in Washington, I get by calling A Tangled Skein, which is an incredibly friendly little yarn shop in Hyattsville, MD just a few miles away from the DC line and on DC public transportation. They can call Neighborhood Fiber Company and get whatever you want. Then they'll pop it in the mail for you. If the person who picks up the phone is confused, just ask to talk to Cheryl.

Teatime in Washington Tea Cozy with Flap
One skien Neighborhood Fiber Company studio worsted (shown in Mount Pleasant)
Size 6 DPNs
Small size 6 circular (optional - the whole thing can be knit on the dpns)
Stitch holder (or scrap yarn)
Button, needle and thread
Crochet hook
Yarn needle
Tea pot

Gauge: 22 sts/30 rows = 4 inches.

On Jan 29 I fixed a few things that I miscopied from my messy notes. They are in pink!

Cast on 88 stitches. Join to work in round. Place a marker or a bit of scrap yarn to remember where a round begins.
Rows 1-8: knit in 1x1 rib.
Row 9: knit all stitches.
Row 10: knit 44 stitches. Put next 44 stitches on holder. Turn work.
Work the next 15 rows back and fourth in stockinette stitch on these 44 stitches, slipping first stitch of each row. (16 rows total on these 44 stitches).
Break yarn.
Reattach yarn to the first stitch of the reserved stitches (on the non-marker side).
Work the next 16 rows back and forth in stockinette stitch, slipping first stitch of each row.
Knit the next row, continuing past the marker to rejoin the two sides. You've just closed the spout hole.
Knit 3 more rows back and forth on all 88 stitches. (4 rows total back and forth on all 88 stitches).

Next row: slip 1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before marker, ssk, k2, k2tog, k to 3 sts before end of row, ssk, k1.
Next row: s1, p to end.
Repeat the previous two rows two more times. (So you've knit a total of 6 rows, 76 sts remaining)

Next row: k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before marker, ssk, k2, k2tog, k to 3 sts before end of row, ssk, k1, place marker, and join to work in round again. This is the handle hole.
Next round: Knit all sts.

Next round: k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before marker, ssk, k2, k2tog k to 3 sts before end of round, ssk, k1.
Next round: Knit all sts.
Repeat previous two rounds 5 more times. (So you've knit a total of 12 rounds, 48 sts remaining). If you're using a circular needle, you'll have to switch to the double points in here when things get tight.

Next round: *k1 k2tog* to end. 32 sts remaining.

Work next two rounds in seed stitch.

Next round: k6, loosely bind off 20, k6.

You will now work back and forth on these 12 stitches to make the flap.

Start by knitting the remaining 6 stitches in the row. Then cast on 2 (I used the knitting on method)
Next row: K1, p to end, cast on 2 sts.
*Next row: k all sts
Next row: k1, p to last stitch, k1*
Repeat the rows between stars until flap measures 2.5 inches and covers hole, ending with a knit row.
Next row: k all sts.
Next row: Bind off all sts.

With a crochet hook, pick up the stitch in one corner of the bound-off edge of the flap. Do seven stitches of single crochet in this and the next 6 bound off stitches. Chain 4 (or however many stitches are necessary to allow the button to slip through - I used a small button). Single crochet in the next 7 bound off stitches, to end. Pull the end through the last stitch. Weave in ends, and sew button to tea cozy so that the flap fits nicely over the top of your tea pot.

Brew tea. Pour. Enjoy with pinky raised.
in an emergency, this tea cozy makes a reasonably good hat.