April 2012

Spring Haiku Socks

Heated spring air
In tiny waves of an inch or two -
Above wintery grass.

I started new socks, and the first one is almost done. The heel is turned and now it’s just finishing the foot. It’s the Haiku Pattern from Knitted Socks East and West. I’m doing it in a very spring-like colorway of Jojoland Melody sock yarn. I totally love this pattern. It’s got a lovely 3-stitch lift technique that makes the gathered looking bits and really pretty openwork. It makes me think of blossoms budding on a branch for spring.

I also love how this yarn knits up colorwise. Variegated yarns sometimes frustrate me, because they look really pretty in the skein, but when they knit up, they look like…well, clown vomit. Just a jumble of colors that are suddenly painful to look at. Color can be tricky like that. But I don’t feel like this yarn gives me that problem. My Blackrose Socks were also knitted with Jojoland Melody, so I guess I like the way they do their colors.

JOJOLAND: Y U NO JOIN YARN IN MATCHING COLOR?I’m having other issues with the yarn–it’s a little splitty sometimes for one thing. But the worst is that I had a break in the yarn. When they are making the yarn at the factory, if they run out in the middle of a skein, they just knot a new piece onto the existing, and then as you’re knitting along, you come upon a knot. Which happens, and usually it’s okay–you just cute the knot out and rejoin the yarn. But with this yarn, the joined piece did not match color. So I had to go through almost the whole skein to find the matching colorway to rejoin the yarn. So annoying!

But other than that, I do enjoy the yarn. After blocking and washing, it’s nice and soft and warm and it makes such pretty colorways. So I’m pretty happy with the way these are turning out. I hope to finish the one today, and then start its mate.


Millenium FalconThis weekend was really busy, but I managed to make time to go see the Star Wars Exhibit at the Discovery Science Center. I’m so glad I went, since it was the last weekend of the exhibit. They had a lot of amazing props and costumes and models from the movies. Being the huge nerd that I am, I loved seeing the detail that went into the models and the costuming. I’ve always appreciated the detail that goes into a good miniature. Computer animation is really cool and very beautiful (I loves me some Pixar), but I kind of miss movies that use a lot of stop motion and puppetry and models and miniatures (which is why I was so happy when Coraline so much when it came out a few years ago). There isn’t a lot to say about it, but here are some of the pictures my roommate took.

Naked C3PO

Naked C3PO

Interrogation Droid

Interrogation Droid

Luke's Speeder

Luke's Speeder

Sand People

Sand People

I’ve recently become obsessed with baking little cakes in Mason Jars. I think it is the cutest thing ever. So when we had a bake sale at work to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I decided that one of the things I was going to make was something in a jar. I had rehearsal for Titanic though, so I knew I wouldn’t have time to do much that was time consuming. So I settled on no-bake Oreo cheesecakes. That’s more full of processed stuff than things I normally make, but time was not on my side. They turned out super cute, and delicious, so I was happy with them. The recipe was really easy too. Just mix together some cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar, and chopped up Oreos, put into jars, top with more crushed/chopped Oreos and chill. Completely delicious and totally cute individual servings of no-bake Oreo cheesecake.

Behold my adorable sweetness

Lemon Blueberry CookiesI also wanted to make something smaller and cheaper, so we could sell more of them, because the cheesecakes were a little more expensive. So I decided on cookies. It’s only April, but the weather has been mostly warm and summery (except for a little bit of rain on Tuesday night), so I was already feeling like berries were the way to go. Plus I prefer baking with berry and citrus flavors over anything else. After getting a really good batch of blueberries at the market, I decided to make lemon blueberry cookies. They turned out really well. They were really light and cakey, and not too sweet, with a delicious hint of citrus that really offset the blueberry well. They also had almond extract in them (instead of the usual vanilla extract), which added another level of flavor to them.

I haven’t baked in so long, it was so great to do it again. Someone give me an excuse to bake again, but not until after Titanic is over, so I have time to do it justice and don’t have to be up at 1 am doing it after rehearsal (like I had to with the cookies). Although, for me, baking > sleep any day.

I blocked the pink clouds shawl and now I consider it all done. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I mean, I’m not 100% happy with it, because I’m a huge damn perfectionist. I wish it was longer, but that’s mostly an issue of I did not have enough yarn. I think I should have bought three balls of yarn. But it’s really nice and soft and I just love the pattern. I would definitely knit it again. Blocking really opens up the stitches beautifully. Since it was knit on such big needles and it’s such fine yarn that the stitches seemed really loose and floppy before blocking. Blocking is kind of magic that way; it adds a really lovely structure to knit pieces, evens out the stitches, and makes the lace look so much better.

Blocking a shawl

Who has two thumbs and needs more blocking mats? Me!

I spent a good couple of hours on Sunday night hand-washing, gently squeezing out as much of the water as I could, and then I pinned that shawl to within an inch of its life. I use nickle-plated, rust-free (very important!) pins, and blocking mats from Knitpicks. Unfortunately, I only have one set of mats, and the project was a little to big for that, so I had to improvise with some foam I had in the garage. I never thought I would miss wall to wall carpet, but I used to block on a thin blanket on the carpet and pin through the carpet. This doesn’t really work on hardwood floors. Then I let it dry completely. This can take up to a few days with heavier stuff. This one was really dry in about a day, but I didn’t have time to unpin it until last night, because I’ve been super busy.

And like magic, it made me much happier with how the lace looks. You can see it below (click on the pictures to enlarge):

Unblocked Shawl

Unblocked Shawl

Blocked Shawl

After Blocking

So it’s done! Since the weather is really pretty today, I took it outside for a photo shoot.

Pink Clouds Shawl

Pink Clouds Shawl

I am really honored to be performing in a staged reading of the musical Titanic at the Rose Center Theatre next Sunday night. Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Our performance is a tribute to that tragedy. The music in the show is beautiful and I’m really proud to be a part of it. I will be playing Charlotte Cardoza, a first class passenger based on real-life passenger Charlotte Drake Cardeza. I will also be the soloist on “Autumn,” which I’m very excited about, because it is a truly beautiful song.

The show will be performed only one night, Sunday April 15th at 7:00pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. If you’re unfamiliar with the music in the show, I’ve included a link of the original Broadway cast performance at the 1997 Tony awards, so you can hear a sample of the how the music sounds.

Please come see this show if you can; it’s really beautiful and sure to be a meaningful night.

Finished Knitted Shawl--UnblockedI bound off my Pink Fluffy Clouds Shawl tonight. I just made it with the yarn; I was thisclose to running out. But I bound off and it’s all done, except for the blocking.

Blocking lace shawls makes a huge difference. It looks like limp spaghetti now, but once I block it (probably this weekend), it will look like proper lace. But I’m still excited and it’s still so pretty that I just wanted to share. Next I’m going to start some socks, and I’m going to knit them continental style.

I learned how to knit English (yarn held in the right hand), but I’ve always wanted to learn Continental. I’ve heard it’s faster, and one can never know too many ways of knitting.

Once I block, I’ll post the finished product and you’ll be able to see the difference.