Stitchy McYarnpants

Confessions of a husband-neglecting, cat-shooing, yarn-hoarding knitaholic. But in a good way.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Last Minute Olympic Decision

OK, I’ve finally decided what I’m making for the Olympics. Did you really expect me to decide before today? Seriously, I live for the last minute. And the 10-15 minutes after the last minute are pretty important to me, too. It’s the exact thing I knew I’d be making all along, but I didn’t want to settle on it right away. I wanted to explore my options, see what’s out there. You know, stretch the old needles beyond my boundaries a little.

See, I was toying with a few different ideas. A whole slew of mittens, a mountain of socks, a gorgeous lace shawl. But then I decided that I wanted to make something for my darling husband. I’ve been working really long hours over the past month or so (well, really for the past three years or so, since my current company was started.) and if you add knitting to that, well, poor Jon has been neglected for a while now. I feel terribly about it, so I thought if he was going to be neglected for at least another 16 days due to the Knitting Olympics, I should really make something for him. Jon is a really basic kind if guy. His color palette runs from green to grey. Maybe an occasional splash of dark red or blue here and there. The first sweater I ever made for him was Manly from Stitch ‘n’ Bitch. (He won the Hot Model portion of Drew’s ManAlong a while ago with that sweater.) The only change I made was that he didn’t want a stripe. Plain. He wanted it plain.

And so I looked hither and yon for a suitable sweater to make him. I pulled out a bunch of vintage mens’ pattern books, bookmarked the few mens’ patterns from my modern pattern books, and trolled the internet for something he’d like. Each one was a little bit not quite right. Turns out he’s not into cables, he’s picky about necks, doesn’t like weird texture, and just forget about a cardigan. Every time I showed him a sweater, he looked at his Manly (which he wears all the time) and said it just wasn’t as good. He loves that sweater even though it’s kind of small, the seams are a little wonky at the arm holes, and it doesn’t fit quite right because I knit it in the round rather than in pieces like it should have been. He calls it his sci-fi sweater because he wants to wear it in to the point of looking ratty and grimly futuristic. Then it will be perfect.

And so, because he has such love for this sweater, because no other can compare in his eyes, because I love him to bits, I will be making another Manly. Manly Redux! This time, I’m going to make it larger, make it better, make it stronger. This sweater is going to be bionic. And it’s going to be brown. Conveniently, I have two cones of the same yarn the original green one was made with, only in a nice tweedy brown. No stripe again, please.

I feel like it’s sort of a cheat because I’ve already made it and it’s pretty simple. But given the amount of time I’ve had lately, just getting this done in 16 days is going to be pushing it. I’m so looking forward to meeting up with Team Boston at Doyle’s tonight for the Opening Ceremonies. And I hope everyone else has fun plans tonight to kick this thing off. And I’d also like to thank Stephanie for starting this whole crazy thing in the first place. It’s just what we all need during the winter. Even if it is an unusually spring-like winter.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I have been assimilated.

We are sock knitter. Our singular goal is the consumption of sock yarn. We seek to amass all the sock yarn in the universe into our collective for the purpose of sock knitting. Adaptation to various methods of sock knitting is inevitable. We will use our hive mind to knit socks until there are no more socks to knit. Our socks will be of all colors, patterns, and size. We will not be stopped, we will not be swayed, we will not be conquered, we will only knit socks. In this version of sock knitting, we used KnitPicks dye-our-own sock yarn. We dyed it at Julia of Nine's yarn dying party some time ago.

We encountered a small technical glitch with this little side piece which we believe is identified as the gusset, but we’re not entirely affirmative. It’s the sector in which we reunite the heel with the sock. It appears that we need to adapt our skills to avoid future iterations of this irregularity.

We will now focus our laser eyesight on the background of the initial visual representation of the socks. They are cat. More accurately, they are large cat in a small box. They are silly and cute. Soon they, too, will be sock knitter.

Resistance is futile.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Drive-By Posting

beep beep

Just had to pop in to say that I’ve been trying to post, but every time I get a second, something comes up. So I’m just going to do a lickety-split update for now.

1. Circles Salon in JP is offering a 10% discount to all Team Boston members for supplies used in their Olympic project. How cool is that?! And it’s 15% on the day of the Opening Ceremonies. And since we’re all going to meet at Doyles that night for our own opening ceremony, and it is right around the corner, well, we all know what has to happen. Last minute preparations are the best!

2. Mittens are finished and they’re faboo! Can’t wait to make more. They're made with Rowan’s Cashsoft Aran. I used a little over one ball of the color "Burst" and about half to three-quarters of a ball of "Oat". So now I have leftover yarn, which means if I buy a little more, I can make another pair. And if I have any of that left over, I'll just get a wee bit more and I'll just keep knitting aaand knitting aaand knitting aaand knitting aaand knitting.

3. Loooooook! With the kind and patient help of the adorably curvaceous Ms. Melanie, I am now fully qualified to operate dpns! Do you see any ladders? No, you don’t. She has taught me well and now I’m totally hooked on this sock thing! I know, it seems I’m always late to the party. Chloe here looks like she could use some socks, doesn’t she?

4. It would seem that Owen and Mzee have started the ball rolling and other creatures are joining in! Is this just a publicity stunt by the Union of the Snakes* to make themselves appear more likeable? Time will tell. Meanwhile, little “Meal” the hamster should probably sleep with one eye open, just in case.

5. Mike has requseted that I make him the cashmere pullover from Weekend Knitting. I tried to explain that it was a ladies sweater, but he would have none of it. He also would like me to make it from his own luxurious fur.

I’ve done my best to make this fur harvest as painless as possible.

6. I also want to chime in that I had a fantastic time at Claudia’s a week and a half ago, but I was remiss in posting my joy. It was a blast and Claudia is a super hostess. The food was amazing and my fellow guests were as delightful as ever. As promised, here is the recipe I used to make my mom’s brownies. They’re more like a dense chocolate cake. I feel like I have to say that, because they aren't what you'd expect when you say "brownies", but they're way more than you'd exect if you simply said "cake".

Stella’s Killer Chocolate Brownies

Mix in bowl:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

Bring to boil in saucepan:
1¼ bars butter**
4 tbsp. cocoa (I used the Dutch Processes dark cocoa, and I used about five)
1 cup water

Add hot ingredients to flour mixture slowly, mixing constantly

Once they’re combined, add:
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla (but really, who can stop at one?)

Bank in 9x13 pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Frosting: (this also helps when you’re having a massive craving for fudge. You can whip up a little bit in minutes. Trust me.)

¼ cup butter
4 tbsp. cocoa (again, just four, mom?)
7 tbsp (approx) milk
¾ box powdered sugar (add it slowly, mixing it in completely before adding more. Stop before it gets too dry. It should be shiny and goopy.)

Frost immediately while everything is still hot. That way, all you have to do is kind of pour the frosting on and smear it around a little. It will melt pretty smoothly over the hot brownies. Cut into small squares so it doesn't seem like you're eating that many.

**edited for our foreign, potentially metric-using friends. A bar/stick of butter = 1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons = 4 ounces = 113.3980925 grams. Here, check this out, a whole page just for butter conversion!! I'm going to marry the internet someday, I love it so.

*Yes, I was a big fan of Duran Duran, why do you ask?