Friday, December 29, 2006

Commissioned Work

We just returned from a few days in Dallas visiting Scott's family, specifically his mom, sister and brother-in-law and our nephew. One of my favorite things about traveling is the opportunity to visit different yarn stores. My wonderful Mother-in-law, knowing my interest in (or perhaps obsession with?) all things fiber, had scouted out an excellent yarn store, The Woolie Ewe. Huge selection of all sorts of stuff! Here is my stash enhancement...

Our trip to the YS was spurred by a request from our nephew for fingerless gloves in the colors of the Atlanta Falcons. Pretty cool request from a six year old! Here he is modeling a semi-finished glove...

These are made using Cascade 220 on a size 7 needle (5 sts/in), using the pattern from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. Our nephew consulted on the design, and implored me to finish my dinner quickly so I could come knit some more. He is really excited to get the finished pair in the mail next week! Such enthusiasm!
Oh, and my MIL also gave me a super cool book for Hannukah - Alterknits. I can't wait to try some of these cool patterns...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Swift Breeze

I was just winding some yarn, and my husband asked me to slow down because the swift was creating too much of a breeze!
So, I'm starting to make some progress on the gift scarf, and ready to get started on my hat and mitten combo. Here is the scarf so far...

It may need a little something else, so I'm thinking about adding this mohair as a fringe on one or both long sides of the scarf. They seem to work nicely together.

With a plane ride ahead of us this week, lots of knitting opportunities, I hope to finish the scarf and make some good progress on my mittens and hat. Even though they are technically hannukah presents, they are for my dad and step mom who we won't see until close to New Years...
Last night we ate at Mesa Grill for Scott's dinner. We hadn't been to a Bobby Flay restaurant before, and it was quite good. Our appetizers included a Duck Pancake (braised duck wrapped in a blue corn tortilla) and tuna tartare nachos. For entrees, I had scallops with green chile, black trumpet mushroom grits, and Scott had lamb in an ancho chile sauce. Everything was great, but I wasn't really a fan of the spicy chocolate parfait. Anyway, it was a really great ambiance, the service was great, and all in a all a very good meal. Did I mention the margaritas? They were yummy...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Caution - Deep Frying ahead

About 10 years ago, I decided to host a Hannukah dinner for several friends who were also nowhere near home for the holiday. Admittedly, Hannukah is a really minor holiday, but not having a nice home-made latke dinner really stinks. Although my intentions were good, the evening ended before it really began with a grease fire, and a visit from the heroic members of the Houston Fire Department. There was some damage, and the apartment complex kindly replaced some cabinets and repainted. It was an ordeal, and ever since, I've been a bit gun-shy about the ole potato pancakes.
So tomorrow night, I'm going to undertake this adventure yet again. Even though I've made tried this a few times since the great fire of '96, it could be ugly. Happy Hannukah, and stop drop and roll to all!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

HD House

Over the past week, the total number of inches of screens in our house has increased dramatically. Based on my calculations, we now have a total of 143 inches of screens in our house, between TVs, computers and laptops. I was already floored by the 40" flat screen tv that my dad gave us for Hannukah, but two day's ago, Scott's new computer arrived, bringing an additional 24" of screen space. It makes our old computer, which used to seem nicely sized, appear totally puny. All that said and I'm working on the little ole lap-top...
This past weekend, we did a lot of our holiday shopping. I've decided to (quickly!) knit some gifts - recipients to be revealed once projects are completed. Anyway, here is a photo of my holiday gift stash, soon be a scarf, mittens & hat. The multicolored yarn is an Artyarns Ultramerino colorways, and the brown and green are Frog Tree Alpaca. You may notice that the different colors of Frog Tree are two different weights in this picture - that would be because I already had the brown, and didn't realize that I picked up the green in a different weight. Also, turns out that one is made in Bolivia and the other in Peru...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

do i really need another hobby?

Something that has been on hold for the past few years (since I had knee surgery in '04) is horseback riding. Today Scott and I visited a barn that happens to be practically around the corner from the house, and I scheduled a lesson for Tuesday! I've tried on my britches (a little tight) and my paddock boots (just fine). Haven't gotten around to my boots, but they are bound to be a bit snug around the calves. I can't really say that I need another hobby, but this will have the added benefit of a little exercise too. Tuesday will be interesting - I bet I'm totally rusty, and I'm planning to be sore on Wednesday...
I realized today that my silk sweater, which is almost finished, has been sitting around for awhile waiting to be sewn up. It is taking FOREVER to seam. I spent about an hour sewing up one side, and I'm going to do the other tonight if it kills me, while watching our new TV which should be delivered any minute now!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Baby Presents

Some of the recently finished projects are off in the mail. Our friends in Portland recently had a new baby girl and I also knit some goodies for her big brother.

I'm now working on some socks for Scott, and I can't seem to get them the right size. I've taken the first one out about four times. I've abandoned the toe-up approach, and now just trying the conventional method from the Ann Budd book. They seem to be too big, but I'm not excited about ripping them out again. So they will just be a little large. As a sock amateur (the socks pictured above were my first pair), it may just take some more practice...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Finisher

Last week I think I earned the title of "the finisher". I finished three projects - Baby Hat for Beta, the Cashmere Scarf and my pink and green gloves. I'm quite pleased with all of them, however the Cashmere Scarf turns out to be a bit of an issue for its recipient. After one day of wear, my husband was covered in white and green fuzz. Covered. I didn't really think about this because it didn't really shed on me while it was being knit, but it seems to be really attrached to Scott's wool coat. I am now looking for potential solutions...
But the other projects are great, and the gloves will keep my hands warm once this global warming-induced indian summer cedes...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thanksgiving Menu

We've finalized our Thanksgiving menu. There will be six of us here - my and Scott, Scott's mom, my dad & step-mom and my brother. We'll probably have food for twice that many, but that's the point, isn't it?
So, we'll be feasting on the following:
Turkey from our local turkey farm
Oyster Stuffing
Gravy (made from turkey broth and a roux from the pan drippings)
Cranberry sauce - my brother is making this, so not sure of the specifics
Sweet Potato casserole with marshmellows
Wild Rice, Cranberry and Walnut salad
Green bean recipe from today's NYT
For dessert we'll be enjoying Pumpkin Pie Brulee and Nantucket Cranberry Pie (the Laurie Colwin recipe from Gourmet). Scott also will be making deviled eggs and my brother is supposed to bring cheese as a starter.
Still need to make the shopping list, but this should be fantastic! Gobble Gobble!!!
Tonight we are making Spaghetti and Meatballs - it's simmering right now...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Photo Albums!

I took a fantastic class this weekend at the Center for Book Arts. Fantastic seems to be the word of the moment - I'm using to describe everything lately. It used to be "outstanding" but that left my vocabulary after a lot of mocking a few years ago by a friend. Someone's going to get annoyed with "fantastic" and that'll be banished too... Where did my vast vocabulary go?

Anyway, the class was great. We made three different album constructions - pamplet style, side sewn and accordion. We learned a lot of techniques, and our teacher Barbara was really knowledgeable. She gave us handouts too, which is helpful because otherwise I'll get 3/4 of the way through trying to recreate one of these at home and be totally lost...
One of the outcomes of my class is a shopping list for a trip to Talas. More like a wish list, but a few must haves, like a leather punch, a spring divider (the thing I thought was a spring divider turns out to be a compass) and some cover weight paper.

In the meantime, I've finished the Baby Hat for Beta, but still need to sew in the ends. Here are pictures of the hat and the matching booties. It will remain on the WIP list until all the ends are sewn in though...

These are knit in Koigu KPPPM and KPM. They are super quick patterns that I got from my LYS Pins and Needles, that work great in Baby Cashmerino and Koigu. They make great presents, and a lot faster than sweaters and blankets!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Short Ribs and Scarves

Not much is better for a fall dinner than maple glazed, porter braised short ribs. We made these last night and they were fantastic. The recipe is from the book "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens. Tons of fantastic recipes, and each has a wine suggestion. Unfortunately, because I'm on antibiotics for the never ending ear infection, I couldn't have much of the Barolo that Scott opened. I bet I take this stuff way to literally and probably could have had a glass without any problems.
I've accomplished a lot on one of my current knitting projects, a cashmere scarf for my husband. This is the third scarf I've knit him in the 2 1/2 years that we've been together. The first was a bit of a disaster - alpaca in a wide rib - because it's a) too warm and b) gets all bunched up. The second is worn often (pictured below), and this one is what I'd call a "comissioned piece."

This is a pretty luxurious scarf - I'm using Karabella Boise and at my mother's suggestion knitting a K1 P1 rib on size 8 needles. Its knitting up pretty quickly, which is good because I've put this off for a long time and Scott's been really patient. Here is how far I've gotten so far...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

crafty launch

So here we go! I'm launching this blog, much to my husband's dismay, to document some of my crafty projects. I'll also be posting about fabulous food, both that we and I cook and that we eat elsewhere, and our life in the sleepy hamlet of Cranbury, NJ. The main attraction in this "town" is Cranbury Pizza. Yum.
Who is Crafty Caroline? I'm a 30-something, NY born and bred, Jew with WASP-y heritage, who has lived in Texas, North Carolina, Paris and Tokyo who likes to do crafty things like knitting and making handmade books. I enjoy practicing yoga, and in theory I enjoy going to the gym. My husband and I got married in June, after two years together. I am an HR manager for a large company and my husband is a photojournalist. While one might think that this would result in fabulous pictures for my blog, but I've been told that I'm responsible for my own photography ("training ground"). I'm the person who cuts off people's heads in photos, so this could be interesting... my husband apparently does the same thing, but on purpose.
We also have two cats - Max and Frances. Max is a bit needy, and likes to sit right next to me and Frances is pretty independent.
So that's me in a nutshell. Tomorrow I'll start posting some crafty stuff...