Interweave Summer Preview

It’s up! I can’t wait to get the magazine! I’m in love with the tank on the cover.

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Stirring the creative pot

I don’t consider myself much of a cook. I’m really good at following recipes, but I can’t create out of thin air. My knitting is much the same. I can read a pattern, but the thought of even coming up with my own colors terrifies me. I’d much rather look at the picture and make THAT instead of having to invent color combinations and do the math to make adjustments.

Sometimes you have to make changes to make yourself happy, though. I found that with the cardigan I made. Instead of letting it be entirely shapeless, I put a bit of a waist in. I added three button holes because I knew I didn’t want it constantly draping off of me. Not rocket science, but it scared me a tad, being my first knit garment.

That being said, look at Cristi’s Ivy League Vest. I can’t even imagine inventing my own color scheme since the original is so beautiful. Maybe I’m giving this so much thought simply because I’ve wanted to knit this since I first saw it. The vest is also steeked, egads! Steeking, for those who haven’t heard the terrifying word, is a technique common in Nordic sweaters where you knit a complicated Fair Isle tube and then cut into it to make armholes (typically). I haven’t looked at the pattern, but I think the V-neck in the vest is all that’s steeked. Can you imagine? Cristi had help from the famous Stephanie Pearl-McPhee! If only we were all so lucky!

So, on the theme of cooking, here’s an improvised week of meals my husband and I enjoyed:

Day 1: Roasted Veggie Pitas

Day 2: Use pizza sauce, mozzarella and leftover veggies to make mini-pizzas on top of the leftover pita.

Day 3: Heather’s Fabulous Alfredo Pasta
This requires even more leftover veggies (that first recipe makes a LOT), farfalle noodles, pan-fried chicken and an alfredo sauce recipe. I just cooked the chicken with some home-grown herbs and lightly coated it with some bread crumbs. I tossed the veggies into the sauce about 5 minutes before serving. Yum! We’re still eating the leftovers from this!

FO: Night Night II

Two and a half years ago, my niece was born. Somewhere during my sister’s pregnancy, I decided that I needed to knit a baby blanket. I think I started in January, or early in the year, months before her October due date. Somehow it took me an entire year to finish that blanket. The blanket is REALLY soft (I used Pitter Patter from Hobby Lobby’s Baby Bee Yarn Bee line), and my little niece loves it. As a baby, she would stick her fingers and toes through the holes in the knitting and squeeze it. My sister saw her do that again just the other day.

At bed time, my sister and her husband would say, “Let’s go night-night,” and my niece would grab her blanket to take to bed. So of course the words and the item became intertwined in her little head. Since she’s been talking, the blanket’s name has been “Night Night.”

My niece became so attached that she dragged the blanket everywhere until my sister began worrying that the blanket would fall apart. So a new routine was established. In the morning, Night Night had to be put on a shelf from which it could be retreived at bedtime. It can make special apperances, I believe, but I think it’s wise to avoid a Linus-like attachment to the fuzzy friend.

When my sister announced she’s pregnant with her second child, the counter for a new blanket began. I started later than I intended, but I beat the clock. My sis is due in early May, and the blanket was finished yesterday. As I bound off this new blanket, I remembered making the first Night Night, and how I didn’t purl correctly then. You can see the pattern on the older one, but it’s less defined. It’s such a great example of how imperfections don’t always mar the finished object.

It will be interesting to me to see what my nephew’s relationship to his blanket will be. I wonder if it will become his favorite as it did for his sister, or if it will be just one of his many other blankets. It won’t hurt my feelings either way (especially since I already hit one out of the ballpark), but it’s curious to think about as I hold this soft pile of knits and purls.

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Non-knitting craft: Bamboo photo display


Here is my first attempt at sharing a craft idea. I really did make this up myself, but I have to admit I was inspired by an old “Trading Spaces.” One of the designers used placemats as photo frames. My then-boyfriend (now husband) had just returned from Japan, and I happened to be staring at some clearance items at Pier One that seemed to make sense.

Materials needed:
Bamboo mat (mine were trimmed in black ribbon already)
Coordinating ribbon(s)
Photos (mine are 5×7, but one 8×10 or several 4×6 would work)
Picture hangers
Rubber cement
Hot glue gun/glue

Directions: I carefully measured and did some quick math to make sure the photos were centered. I used the rubber cement to affix the photos to the photo mat. Then I lined the photos with some thin ribbon (it’s actually black ribbon with white accent), using the hot glue to tack down the ribbon.

Next I flipped the mat over and used the hot glue to affix my chubby ribbon to the corners. I improvised a simple-looking bow from two equal lengths of ribbon and glued it together in the center, then wrapped the center with a small piece of ribbon.

Finally, I put a flat picture hanger in each upper corner to support the weight of the whole thing. As you can see in the pictures, my husband just stuck a thumbtack through the bow to hold that up (sigh), but a little bit of tape or an extra hanger would work.

Final tip: Bamboo mats much like these are on sale in the Dollar Spot at Target right now! Hurry!
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Knitting update: Nothing motivates like realizing your nephew is due in a few short weeks! The baby blanket has become priority one! Also, my parents-in-law sent me a gift certificate for my birthday with the express note that I could use it toward yarn. Who am I to argue?!? I just so happened to have almost exactly the same amount in my Webs shopping cart. I need a bunch of Cascade 220 to make a Noni purse! (Specifically the Cherry Blossoms bag from Spring 2007.)

 ETA: Whie my bamboo mats have a very Japanese feel to them, you could decorate them however you choose. Use color pictures, add stickers or foam cut-outs, bright ribbon and make it a spring theme. Decorate with shells and turn it into a beach theme. Also, the ribbon “hanger” at top is completely unnecessary; it’s decoration only. You could leave it off all together, or design your own bow for another spot.

 I think I’m going to go buy a pack of those mats at Target and redo this craft with some honeymoon photos to show what I mean about how you can vary this project.

ETA II: Be sure NOT to use your original photos for this project, because they’ll be irrevocably wrecked! I printed those black and white pictures on inkjet photo paper. I recommend doing the same, or using a duplicate photo.

A break from regularly scheduled knitting content

The “60 Minutes” NASA segment that aired on Sunday was about the new Constellation program that will head back to the moon, then on to Mars: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/04/60minutes/main3994925.shtml

My husband is the guy at the laptop running the robot. You see him more in the second segment below, one of the “director’s cut” videos my sister found. Phil was on the real show for several seconds, and we found that very exciting. 🙂

Robonaut

Bob’s Turn

For those who are interested, here is Robonaut’s official site.

Bathroom project: Updated picture to come as we had a sudden surprise last night. Our sewer drain backed up into the same bathroom that we recently dried out! The nice man who helped with the previous problem had this to say when I let him into the house: “I know I said we’d like your business again, but I didn’t expect you to call so fast.” The problem seemed unrelated, and (small blessings) was well timed since we hadn’t built back any of the deconstruction yet. I wish I didn’t have to look for the silver lining in such a stinky cloud, though!

Hubby on national TV

My husband will be on “60 Minutes” Sunday evening (check local listings, it’s on CBS). We don’t know if he’ll be on for 2 seconds or 2 minutes, but if you’re watching, he’s the guy with the goatee operating Robonaut.

 Here’s the write-up from the “60 Minutes” Web site:

A BIGGER LEAP FOR MANKIND – With the Space Shuttle program ending soon, NASA is planning to return men to the moon in preparation for a manned flight to Mars. Bob Simon reports. Draggan Mihailovich is the producer.

No knitting news to report on this front, but there’s a HUGE sale at Webs. I have a free shipping coupon and am trying hard to resist the urge to BUY MORE YARN! Noro, Shibui, Cascade, oh my!