Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Bandwagon

My friend and I decided to jump on this homemade deodorant bandwagon after reading Amy's original post on the subject. And, since then, I've been additionally inspired by several others and their enthusiastic reviews. It was super-easy and a lot of fun! Even if I did make my usual mess when doing any type of powder-based measuring or oil-based cleaning. Thanks a million to Nana for ordering the supplies and allowing me to mess up her house (and my jar, as you can see). Day 1 so far, is going very well, odor-wise. I can't even smell the deodorant itself and I like that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm here

I'm sorry to have been away from here for so long. The truth is that I got caught up in the book I was reading (Cold Mountain) and just couldn't seem to put it down. Not even for a few minutes to write a post. But I've finished it now (sadly — I never wanted to finish it!) and am reading a new book (Barchester Towers) which, although still fun to read, is not quite the same distraction. At least I got one of my points on the Read for Fun Challenge out of it (Read in Bed — I didn't even fall asleep!)

The other two points, in case you're wondering, are Wander through a Bookstore (McNally Jackson (formerly known as McNally Robinson) is the mostly lovely store) and Try a New Recipe (I made brownies from the Vermont Beekeepers' Association cookbook last Tuesday and they were VERY tasty — and without sugar! AND I used a cookbook that I bought over a year ago and had yet to use.) This challenge is a lot of fun so far, even if I didn't start it until about 2 months into the summer.

Since I've been away, the deadline for the Art of the Notecard: Gocco Swap has come and gone. I did get all of my cards out on time but never posted anything about them here. So here they are! I lined the envelopes with Snow and Graham paper and did the drawing of a row of brownstones in Brooklyn Heights that caught my attention.

I received a few of my cards in the mail yesterday and am so excited about every one of them. Thank you Sarah for hosting and thanks to Diana and Shannon for the beautiful notecards! I feel inspired to send notes to everyone I know just to pass on the excitement of getting something in the mail. But wasn't that the point?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Big Mitten Give

I think that this is a GREAT idea so I would like to pass it along. The pattern for the Alternating Current mittens from Robin Melanson's new book, Knitting New Mittens & Gloves (which is edited by Melanie Falick whose books I enthusiastically recommend to anyone who will listen) is available for free download. The "catch" is that, should you download the pattern, you are to knit a pair of mittens for charity! What a wonderful bribe. I originally read about this on purlbee but I love the photo on Melanie's blog so much that I'm linking it as well.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

(Koigu) Cashmere Cowl No. 2

I finished another project! This is quite a breakthrough for me — actually finishing projects! This one is the Cashmere Cowl No. 2 - Lace Rib from Purl Bee. I had wanted to make one for some time and spent quite a lot of time staring at the wonderful wall of cashmere at Purl until I made the employees visibly uncomfortable (in case you don't know, the cashmere is right over the head of whoever is occupying the register) but I never quite found the right time to do it or the right color. But then I got this wonderful yellow koigu. I am obsessed with yellow right now. As, so it seems, is half of the rest of the world (but that works out well for me because it's easy to find things in lots of particular shades of yellow). So, rather than continue to build my humongous stash, I decided to just make the cowl from it.

If you decide to try this at home, you should probably cast on 138 rather than the 180 that the pattern calls for as my cowl is larger than ideal. But I'm still happy with it! And it matches my new scarf so when it gets really cold (and I know it will, no matter how deceptively warm it stays into December — I will NOT be fooled as I was last year!) I'll be prepared. Also, be sure not to be deterred by the huge amount of explanation in the instructions. The pattern includes VERY thorough explanations of some of the less common ideas like passing slipped stitches over but really it is just a tube of a 4-row lace pattern.

Friday, August 1, 2008

To Market, To Market

This isn't the best picture but it's taken me so long to get this post up that it will just have to do for now. This bag has already been to Oklahoma's farmer's market and the Brooklyn Borough Hall's farmer's market on multiple occasions. At least my procrastination allows me to report that it works really well. It holds a lot more weight than I thought it would. The only problem is that the cotton soaks up fruit juice but it is really easy to wash. I used Sugar and Cream kitchen cotton. It takes about 1.5 skeins (and, as they usually cost somewhere around $2/skein, this is quite an economical bag, especially compared to the ones being sold at grocery stores for around $6-$8!)

The pattern was originally from Jodie Danenberg of Strings & Yarn (here is the pdf) but I used Liesl's modifications on disdressed and then I modified the handles again myself. I used 8 stitches rather than 6 and did a k1 slip1 to give the handle a little less stretch than a garter stitch would (in other words, I k1 slip1 repeat across one side and then knit the slips and slip the knits when going back on the other side -- this makes a double-sided knit that is fairly strong). The whole thing only takes a couple of hours and it's really a simple project. Just don't get too caught up about the EXACT placement of the picked up stitches in Liesl's modifications and you'll be good to go!