It Was Bound to Happen

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I’ve been knitting socks for a while now.  I learned in 2008, right after I purchased the yarn shop.  I didn’t like it at first.  I thought it was fiddly, especially the picking up of stitches for the gusset and doing the gusset and it took a loooooong time to knit one.  Never mind two, which you need in order to wear them.

But then, I really started to like it.  I got used to the fiddly bits.  I learned to make both socks at the same time so I wouldn’t get Second Sock Syndrome: Finishing the first sock and then not wanting to do the second sock because it feels like you have already finished since you bound off for the first sock; plus you have to knit something that is exactly the same as the first one you knit and how boring is that?  I learned they are very portable so they are great to take in the car or to places like waiting rooms.  So now, I knit socks all the time. I usually have at least one pair always on the needles and pick it up in between other projects or, as mentioned before, when I need something portable.  And I’ve developed quite a collection of socks.  Here are some of them:

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My favorite to look at are the watermelon socks, but my favorite to wear are the two pairs on the bottom.  The yarn is the softest and they are the most comfortable because they are the most basic (no lace or beads).

So, having all these wool socks and wearing them for all these years, this was bound to happen:

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There, in the middle of the sock, is a HUGE gaping hole on the bottom of the heel.  Wore right through.  This is the first time in these 7 years that I’ve worn a hole in a sock.  What does one do with a hole in the heel of their sock?  Darn it!  There is a whole method to darning socks, and there is even a tool (a darning egg) to use to help you with it.  I’ve even used the method to repair the worn out heel of Paul’s felted slippers:

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However.  It is tedious.  And I have a lot of socks.  And I knit a lot of socks.  And now I have several pairs that I’ve had for several years and this will not be the last sock that gets a hole in it.  And I have a lot of other knitting to do, so taking time to darn the holes in said socks is a pain.

And so, I subscribe to the Yarn Harlot‘s method of darning socks:

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Hold them over the garbage can, proclaim loudly, “Darn it!” and release.

I’m sure there are some gasps out there.  How could I just throw them away?  What about the other one?  Those are handmade!! I look at it this way: I have so much sock yarn in my stash (SO. MUCH.) that I will never run out of yarn to knit socks with.  And I will keep knitting socks and there is only so much room in my dresser to hold said socks, and I’ve clearly loved a hole right into these socks, so IT’S OKAY. Really. It is.

A Few Things

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Only a few little things to tell you today…

1) The Doughnut Muffins were a big hit at the yarn shop the other day.

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Really, you MUST make them.

2) We got ice cream.  Again.

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This time it was at Kurver Kreme, which has been around for a loooooooong time.  And they just opened, so we HAD to go.  I started a tally over there on the right side of the blog page in case you were interested in knowing exactly how many times we get ice cream in a season.  Because seriously, don’t you want to know?

2.5) I also put a little doo-hickey that shows my Pinterest activity in case you’d like to follow me there.  Usually I put recipes I try and crafts I do with the doodlebugs, and of course my Lizy Tish Knits Designs!

3) Out and about this weekend, we got this:

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A nice spring-y flag for putting out front.  But, we can’t put it out because it is so darn windy again.  And it’s only 21 degrees today. Come ON spring!

4) Doodlebug question of the week, asked while washing hands: “Auntie Liz, is this waterproof soap?”

A List for the First Day of Spring

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1) Today, at 6:45pm, it will be Spring.

2) Today it will also snow.

3) It’s ok.  Spring is in my mind and I’m pretending things are all Spring, all the time. I’m picturing these crocuses:

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and these daffodils:

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in full bloom (I’m not going to worry they will die because they thought they were supposed to bloom but then it was 10 degrees last night), with sunshine and blue sky and a nice warm breeze.

4) I’m working on my Spring tee, with cotton yarn:

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Second Story Tee, from the new Spring Interweave KNITS magazine, using Cascade Cotton Rich DK (which has been discontinued).  I’ve got about 1/2 the back done.  The front is the same but the diagonal is reversed.  I want to finish it so I can wear it as soon as the weather is nice.  However.  It’s getting a little dull knitting the same pattern over and over and over, with no shaping.  Maybe I should break out another unfinished thing to work on in between….

5) I’m also in the mood to bake something Spring-y (light and refreshing) like these lemon bars. But first it will be two more batches of the Doughnut Muffins I made last week, to bring to my classes at The Spinning Room tomorrow.

6) I also Sprung into action (see what I did there? “sprung”!) and actually put buttons on my Tea Leaves Cardigan:

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I just love this sweater. I  love the color.  I love how it fits.  I love that it’s cozy on the first day of Spring (when the weather is not exactly Spring-y).

Restitution Complete

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After felting and drying….

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(No temperature air on the rack in the dryer, and a little time in front of the wood stove)…. Paul finally has his new slippers.

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Cozy and warm.  If I’m really smart, I’ll get something to put on the bottoms so they won’t wear out too fast.  If I’m really smart.  Which sometimes I’m not.  See previous post. It felt good to get them finished for him, because he really does deserve them!

Something else exciting happened this past weekend….

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Hooray!  A sign of spring.  We were wearing our winter coats and had to eat it in the car because it was cold and windy but who cares????  Hooray!

And, a little side note, we went to Five Guys for lunch and saw this:

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When I inquired what a “hand-spun” milkshake was (of course, conjuring up visions of spinning wheels and also, for some reason, cotton candy), they couldn’t really say.   It seems they have a soft ice cream machine and a milkshake whizzer-thing, and then you can add various things to make them tastier like salted caramel and bacon, peanut butter and banana, or strawberries. We taste-tested the strawberry and it was very yummy.  Just like fresh strawberries.  I saw a man at another table with a milkshake and he just kept tasting it and shaking his head, tasting it and shaking his head.  At first I thought he didn’t like it, or maybe couldn’t get it through the straw.  But, then his friends arrived at the table and he just kept shaking his head and saying how good it was.

Lastly, in you-might-want-to-get-one-of-these news, I got a new knitting tool holder at Home Depot:

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I was outgrowing my other one.  It’s supposed to be for screws and nuts or something and it was only $2! If you are looking closely, you will see that there is one yarn needle holder and the rest are stitch markers.  Like, eighty thousand of them.  Stitch markers are kind of like yarn. You can never have too many, and if they are new and different, I have to have them.  And this isn’t all of them.  You really need to have extras if you have several knitting projects going.  And for when they fall in the couch cushions and you don’t want to look for them because you want to keep knitting they get lost.

Pi Day Activities

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Saturday was “Pi” day.  The date, 3/14/15, is the beginning of the pi number and at 9:26 and 53 seconds in the morning it would continue the pi number.  So, I actually set the alarm so I could get a picture of that:

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I know.  I’m a weirdo.  But then I forgot to get a picture of the date on a computer screen to put next to it.  So, really, the effect is lost.

Anyway.

A lot of people were making pie on pi day.  I made Doughnut Muffins.

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I just happened to have everything I needed so it was fate.  But, I forgot the nutmeg until I was almost ready to put the batter in the pans:

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Close one.  Then, into the oven:

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And out of the oven 15 minutes later (so fast!):

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Then dip the tops in butter and roll them in cinnamon-sugar:

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Oh. My. Gosh. So. Delicious! Tastes just like a doughnut.  They were moist and nutmeg-y and a little crunchy from the sugar and just wonderful.  They are so, so, so, so easy and you MUST try them.

When I first saw this recipe, I immediately thought of the Dirt Bombs that are sold at the Cottage St. Bakery in Orleans, Mass (Cape Cod).  However, they dip the whole muffin in the butter and pack on the cinnamon-sugar.  Definitely more rich and indulgent.  The ones I made were excellent and I don’t think I would dip the whole muffin.

And yes, one of them is not dipped.  My dad was coming to visit and he’s not big on sweets, so in anticipation that he might actually want one (he didn’t), I left off the cinnamon-sugar.  But, Paul actually preferred them without the cinnamon-sugar (what????? but it’s sooooooo good with the cinnamon-sugar), so he had that one.

Other Pi Day activities included a trip to The Spinning Room to participate in the knit-a-long for the Age of Brass and Steam Kercheif.  I started it on Saturday and finished it this morning!

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Paul and I also babysat the doodlebugs on Saturday night so their parents could have a date night.  After they went to bed I finished the buttonbands on my Tea Leaves Cardigan!  Hooray!  Cause for celebration, right?  Not so fast….

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Those buttonbands are drooping off the bottom edge.  Not good.  And you know what???  This totally could have been avoided if  A) I had read the instructions thoroughly before starting and B) when I actually saw the correct instruction after 4 rows of the first buttonband, I had not ignored them, thinking it would still be fine.

I was supposed to switch to a smaller needle for the buttonbands.  When I realized that I had not done that (after 4 of the 8 rows for the buttonband), I rationalized the whole thing away, thinking using the larger needle, a mere .5 mm larger, would not make a big difference at all.  So, I kept going.  And then, after finishing the first buttonband, I didn’t even check to see how it looked.  (What the heck????) So convinced was I that this simply would not matter at all, I just moved right on to the second buttonband, bound off, and tried it on.  It looked terrible.  I showed it to Paul and told him I just didn’t think the .5mm difference in needle size would have mattered.  He asked how many stitches I had to knit and I told him 126 and he did some quick math (something having to do with the diameter being .5mm difference but the actually stitch would make a .25mm difference, multiplied by 126 stitches) and he said it could have made a difference of about an inch, which is about how much those bands were drooping.

And you know what?  I knew it, really.  I’ve made sweaters before.  I’ve read about why you need to switch needles.  I’ve seen why you need to switch needles.  But I was so close to being done with the sweater.  So anxious to have it finished so I could wear it and move on to the next thing.  And I ignored everything I knew about knitting and why you need to switch to smaller needles, and I just didn’t want to rip out those four rows!   But in the end, instead of ripping out a mere 4 rows, I ripped out two bind off rows, 16 knit rows and 252 picked up stitches….

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I re-knit them the next day with the smaller needle:

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So much better.  And now my Tea Leaves cardigan is done!

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….except for buttons. Ugh.

Friday the 13th

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It’s Friday the 13th and I’m not very superstitious about that.  However, I’m telling you a few things here that are Friday-the-13th-ish-sort-of and while they didn’t actually happen today, I’m telling you today and that makes it weird.

1) The weather has been so cold for so long that my Christmas cactus thinks it’s already Christmas again and has bloomed again:

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That has never happened.

2) I finished up my Trillium Mitts class last week and decided I should finally finish my second mitt.  So I did:

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Notice anything?  I haven’t blocked that one on the right so let’s hope it’s a blocking issue and not a it-took-me-so-long-to-do-the-second-mitt-I-may-have-used-the-wrong-needle-size issue.

3) The Spinning Room yarn shop where I work and teach is for sale.  We are sad that Deirdre is selling but are hopeful someone will purchase it so we can continue to have the great knitting community that has developed there! (Let me know if you are interested and I’ll get you in touch with Deirdre!)

On the making-the-best-of-the-weather front, there was lots of splishing and splashing going on this week:

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And a plug for LLBean — if you ever need a kid’s snowsuit, get them at LLBean.  These are the warmest suits and keep them dry.  We went out in the 15 degree weather a couple of weeks ago and they were not cold at all (just their noses).  This week, Mr. Doodlebug fell down (on purpose) and rolled in that big puddle and his clothes were not wet at all.  Awesome.

Have a good weekend!  I’m knitting (shocker) and maybe making this.

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake

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Prior to getting my Sift magazine in the mail, I had my eye on this Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake from King Arthur Flour.  Just something that looked yummy and I wanted to try it.  So, keeping in mind that I was teaching two knitting classes this weekend, and therefore could bring it to those classes and have most of it be consumed by others not in this household (because *spoiler alert* if it stayed here it would  have been eaten in one day flat), I tried it.

Batter:

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Cinnamon-brown-sugar-with-a-little-cocoa-for-color filling:

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More batter:

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Spreading that second layer of batter was tricky:

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Swirly, swirly, swirly, swirl:

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Crumb topping:

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Ready for the oven:

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Done!:

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Or, rather, a little over-done.  I had to cook it a little longer because the middle was still wet when I tested it with a toothpick, but then the bottom got a little too browned, and the edges got a little too hard/crispy. Note to self: check oven temperature accuracy.

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HOWEVER….

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It was still SO.  VERY. YUMMY!  Especially 20 minutes out of the oven, which was when Paul and I tried it (he made a special trip in from the garage where he was working on restoring a step stool and a scooter).

It got good marks from the yarn shop customers and my knitting classes too:

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(This was the Triangle Shawl class, to learn about increasing and changing colors and lace and applied edgings – we used the Duane Park Triangle pattern.)

This recipe is a keeper for sure.

AND, one of my class participants (who-took-both-of-my-classes-that-day-and-whose-first-class-had-three-women-in-it-and-they-were-all-named-Kathy-what-do-you-think-of-that?) brought in two knitted items to show me:

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Knit using my Bulky Twisted Rib Hat pattern and my Easy Cozy Cowl pattern!!!  She said she loves them and she thought the patterns were very well written.  Hooray!

And, if you thought I was too busy with all this baking and teaching to finish Paul’s slippers, you would be wrong!:

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Ready to be felted.  As soon as I finish the laundry.  Which would take me a whole lot less time if I would remember to put the cover of the washer down so the load of laundry would actually get washed.  And as an unrelated, but sort of related side note, I also prepared something for the crock pot and then forgot to turn on the crock pot, so now we are having something else for dinner.  It’s been one of those days.  I’m blaming it on the daylight savings time change.  Because of that, I am off to read my Sift.

Restitution in Progress

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OK, OK, OK!  I started the slippers for Paul.  Yes, I agree, he deserves them, has waited very patiently, and has been walking around in holey slippers for too long.  And I’ve been knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting lots of other things, but not these for him.  So here is most of the first one:

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Hoping to get them both knitted by the end of the weekend.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get them felted too.  Then it’s a couple of days drying and he can wear them.  Right when the weather is supposed to “warm up”. (To 45 degrees.)

That is, when I’m not totally distracted by this:

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I pre-ordered this a while ago (only $19.95!) and it just arrived. Nine hundred-ish recipes.  Paul and I both love this show, and I love the Cook’s Illustrated magazine which is by the same folks.  I’ve made several of their recipes before and they are great.  What I love most is that they explain why the way they cooked something is the best way – and have tested 80 million different ways of cooking it to come up with that way.  I have been reading it page by page to see every single recipe and I can’t decide what to make first.  FYI — I wouldn’t recommend reading this in bed.  I tried.  It’s an 80 pound book.

And if that’s not enough, I am patiently waiting for this, which was supposed to come yesterday and didn’t:

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The premiere issue of King Arthur Flour’s Sift magazine.  Can’t wait!

In the mean time, I found this recipe which I’m planning to make and bring to the two knitting classes I’m teaching tomorrow.  After I give some to Paul, who probably deserves some for his patience in walking around with holey slippers.  Food always helps smooth over that sort of thing, don’t you think?

See you on the other side of the weekend!

The Human Tape Measure

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I was knitting along on my Tea Leaves Cardigan, at a point in the pattern where I had to knit back and forth in stockinette stitch for thirteen inches, when I stopped to consider how much I had knit.  I didn’t have my tape measure with me, so I asked Paul how much I had knit.  Paul has an uncanny ability to look at something and say what its measurement is.  He said, “It’s 10 inches.”

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Don’t ask me why I bothered to get the tape measure.  Just to prove it to you I guess.

Then I plugged right along, got the body done and a sleeve started:

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It looks very uneven and sloppy but that is because my dress form is a size negative 2 and I am not.  But you get the idea.  Just sleeves and button bands and I’ll be done.  And sewing on buttons. (ugh)  I can’t tell you how much I love the color.

In the mean time, I got obsessed with two patterns in the new Interweave KNITS magazine.  The Second Story Tee , which I started yesterday:

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I’m making it with Cascade Cotton Rich DK and hope that it will be a nice spring/summer top. See?  Looking forward to spring and summer….

And the cover pattern, the One Way Tee which I will make with this great dk weight yarn that I got at Fibre Space when we went to Virginia last year:

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But this one will have to wait until after I knit Paul’s slippers.  He’s walking around in these and I’m kind of starting to feel bad:

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(and it wasn’t until I sought them out to take that picture that I realized how big the holes are….!)  And seeing how winter is not going to end any time soon (more snow last night, more snow tomorrow, very windy and cold today), it might be nice for him to have a new pair.

Oh, and I just finished listening to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.  It was very good. Sad.  But good.

Tenth Verse, Same as the First

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More cold and more snow.  More cold and more snow.  More cold and more snow…..

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You can’t even tell we have a pond anymore….
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We recently watched a whole bunch of episodes of Alaska State Troopers.  It should have made me feel better about this weather we are having.  In some places in Alaska, they have much colder temperatures, more snow, and hardly any sunlight.  For a really long time.  So why am I complaining about a couple of months, one of which the average temperature has been 12 degrees when it is supposed to be 38?

The other day, when it was only 15 degrees, I took the doodlebugs outside to play.  It was sunny, so it felt warmer.  By the way, the threshold for how “warm” it has to be to go outside has gotten lower as the winter has gone on.  Early in winter, temps in the twenties seemed too cold.  Now, if the temp is in the teens but the “real feel” is in the twenties, we’re all good.  And I’m telling you, those snowsuits keep them so warm, they are sweating when they come inside.  Anyhow, back to the other day…..Miss Ladybug stopped playing to ask what I was doing – I was just standing in the sun, with my face tilted up and my eyes closed.  I told her I was trying to get some vitamin D.  The sun felt so good and I realized how little time I had spent in the sun these past couple of months.  She also asked me recently when summer was coming. I told her not soon enough, but I would settle for spring arriving pretty quickly.  On the plus side, it is not pitch black when we wake up, it’s still light out at 6pm, and in two weeks we’ll be changing the clocks.  So spring can’t be that far.

But meanwhile, and as usual, the knitting helps.  Having something warm and wooly to work on makes things nice and cozy.  I’m plugging away on my Tea Leaves Cardigan….

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It kind of looks like a jumbled mess right now.  When I separate for the sleeves, you’ll get a better idea of what it looks like. Also, can I just say that I love this color?  But then again, purple is my thing.

And I’ve started working on another pattern to publish. I’m breaking all the rules and giving you a teeny tiny sneak peek:

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Are you staying warm?