Monday, April 30, 2007

Digging in the dirt

There was not much string in my weekend, unless you count the level line that we used to dig a trench in the side yard. We have a sump pump in the basement that was dumping water out of the catch basin into a splash pad on the side of the house. Once it had a drain pipe but for some reason it had been cut off. The water mostly pooled right next to the house so we figured it was seeping back into the basement. Not good!

I decided to put my geological skills to work and we built a lovely drain for the pump! Actually I was tired of tripping over the piece of flex-pipe that we had stuck on the end of the pipe coming out of the house as a stop gap. We dug a 10 foot long trench about 12" deep with a 2' x 2' chamber at the end, laid in a 4" sewer pipe and then lined the chamber and the end of the trench with landscape cloth and filled it with gravel. Hopefully it will last a good long time.

Even the kiddo was helpful on the project. What 5 year old boy doesn't love to dig! He found all sorts of good things too... A cicada still in its chrysalis, lots of worms, big white grubs, and lots of rocks!

On Sunday we went to the local farmers market and found all sorts of goodies. There is a guy that sells pasta that is to die for! This time we got pumpkin ravioli and they tasted like little pillows of pumpkin pie. Most excellent with sage butter on top! We also decided to try the local meat purveyor and bought some pork sausages and ground buffalo. DH has an idea for pesto buffalo burgers... Sounds yummy to me! We tried some bread from a place called the Bread Ovens at Quail Creek Farm. This is the best bread I have tasted since we moved. (It is just as good as Red Fox Bakery in McMinnville, Oregon) We got one loaf of Olive bread and one of Potato and White Truffle. The potato is just about the best tasting thing on earth! There was not much in the way of veg, but we did get some asparagus and some strawberries. Yummy!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Last night I finished the first sleeve for the striped cardigan... I it looks really long compared to the body of the sweater. I think I will knit up the second sleeve and assess how much yarn remains, then decide if the body needs to be longer. I don't want to end up with a bolero jacket! I also don't want to run out of yarn before I finish the top! Ah, the delicate balancing act... I am pretty sure that I am going to have plenty of yarn because I almost always over estimate how much I will need by a significant margin!

After I finish this one, I think I am going to work on designing something to make with the absolutely wonderful homespun that my friend Cindy gave me last summer. It is beautiful natural brown wool from her sheep and it is fine and soft too! I want to make something really special out of it because this yarn deserves to be worn a lot! I think there will be lots of swatches in my future...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The bags are no longer winning!

I worked on the plastic bag bag a bit more last night, but then I ran out of material. Oh well... This morning I went to Target and the grocery so I have more to work with now! It is really nice to not have a huge bag of bags hanging around anymore. Now that I know that this works, I think I will use up the bags as they accumulate and make some new reusable grocery bags in the process! I do find myself eyeing the bags at the store wondering if I should double bag the groceries so I can finish the first bag... Must Resist...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More playing with plastic...

Well, the crocheted plastic bags were working pretty well, but I am really a knitter at heart so I switched to pointy sticks. I started with the basic Booga Bag, although slightly downsized for experimentation sake. I am not sure what I will do for handles on this one... Here is the progress so far:

I have switched methods of cutting up the bags and this way works much better. I fold the bags into quarters longwise and then slice the bags into strips. I take the resulting rings and link them together to form a 2-ply "yarn" to work with. The strips are only about 3/4 to 1 inch wide and the result knits up quite well on big needles. Of course, none of this helps keep my husband from looking at me like he thinks I am crazy!

I have also been working on my cardigan. It is a totally made up design in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. The colors in the photo are a bit off. They are really Lentil and Sea. The Lentil reminds me of my friend Karol who LOVES the icky greens! I have the bottom half of the bodice done and most of one sleeve so far. This is how it looks right now...

I like this one and am going to make raglan sleeves so the stripes can continue uninterupted for the top. I figured that drop or set in sleeves would look to perpedicular to me! Eventually it will have a button placket made of the blue yarn. I think it will be a perfect fall sweater!

I also realized that I haven't posted the DONE photo of the Alice Starmore sweater that I finished last month. It is very cozy and fits just beautifully. This one is made in Cleckheaton Country 8-ply, my favorite sweater yarn of all...

The kiddo took the picture, but he did a great job of getting the sweater in the frame!

On a totally non-knitting note, Sunday was our first trip to the local farmers market. It was a beautiful day and there were quite a few folks out. We bought some herb plants... Basil to replace the ones that were burnt by frost a couple of weeks ago, a lemon thyme, cilantro. The kiddo picked out some cucumber starts. He loves the cukes! I am going to wait until next week for tomatoes. This time I didn't see any good heirloom starts, mostly hybrids and not a single cherry tomato plant! The good news is that we found eggs, a guy who makes rightous tortellini, local honey, and a really delicious carrot loaf. Next week we will visit the meat guy who has organic meat, including buffalo and goat! Unfortunately there were no cheese vendors this time...

Friday, April 20, 2007


I am drowning in plastic grocery bags! I use cloth grocery bags but somehow I still end up with at least 2 or 3 plastic bags every time I shop. What is a girl to do? I diligently roll them up and take them to the recycling bin at the store, but obviously I need more reusable grocery bags.

This is where the strange thought process begins... I remember long ago my dear friend Jen telling me that she was knitting grocery bags out of grocery bags. That could be the answer!

Here is part one of the result... The test... Okay, I abandonned the needles in favor of a crochet hook, but it seems to work pretty well!

I think I will have to experiment a bit more. So far, I like the crispier grocery bags better than the softer Target bags, but I like the spots of color that the printing on the bag provide. I think the bag will be very strong when it is finished. More progress as progress is made...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A sweater takes shape...

I have been working on a new sweater for myself for the last week or so. So far I have about 9 inches of the body done. It is Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in blue, sort of a split pea soup color, and terracotta. I am doing big bands of the blue and pea soup with small purl ridges between the sets of stripes. So far I really like it. The blue and pea soup yarn were ebay finds, so I hope I won't run out... I am working the entire body at once on a large circular needle, back and forth since it will be a cardigan. I think I will do raglan sleeves since I really liked how they turned out in the kiddo's sweater (see first post for picture). The stripes are made of a garter stitch rib that looks really great in the cotton and adds a bit of depth to the project.

So far the only trauma that I have experienced is that I broke one of the wires for my Denise needles last night. Now I have to mail it in for a replacement! I do love the Denise needles though... I have used them for about 3 years now and they are so nice to work with. The tips are sharp, the plastic hard and smooth, and the convenience is unbeatable.

Tomorrow we will work on i-cord projects. The kiddo is definitely as string boy. Today he sewed on plastic canvas for at least an hour!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today we made i-cord

Does anyone out there know what to do with yards of i-cord? In a weak moment I bought a Bond Embellish Knit! on a recent trip to the craft mega-mart and the kiddo LOVES it. The problem is that I forsee having literally hundreds of yards of i-cord filling up my house. Can you weave with it? Do we really have to make flowers out of it? It does make pretty rightous jumpropes, but how many of those do you need?

I think that the i-cord machine will chug along until we are completely out of sport weight yarn in the stash. (I had better find a way to lock up the sock yarn stash... Lots of i-cord and no socks would be a BAD thing...)

I will post the results as we search for useful purposes for i-cord... Any suggestions are more than welcome as well!

So... This is a blog...

Well, it seems that all my friends have blogs, so I figure why not... A little about me...

I knit too much. Since the first of the year I have made 3 and a half sweaters and one and a half socks. One sweater is a baby sweater (for a nephew due in June), one is for me (think adult-sized complicated Aran sweater), and one is for my amazing kiddo (Mission Falls 1824 Cotton with bright colored stripes on a black background... He picked the colors!)

I just finished the TKGA Master Knitter program and am qualified to call myself a Master Knitter. I am not sure what that gets me other than the warm fuzzy feeling that I am done. The process to get the certification is rather long and it took me about 3 years to finish.

I love to cook and to eat. We recently moved from Oregon to Virginia and I am going through food withdrawal. Last summer we managed to eat locally (and I mean truly local) produced food for about 2/3 of our diet. It is really easy when you live 50 miles from the pacific ocean, and in the middle of the Willamette Valley. Half of our fruit came from our neighborhood! Our neighbors had apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees. We had blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries in the front yard as well as tomatoes and garlic. Now that we live in Northern Virginia and it is harder to find good local food, but we are beginning to figure it out. There is a good farmer's market that just started back up here, but I have not been able to find anywhere that sells local products in the suburban sprawl. I will keep trying! One good thing is that we have excellent meat available since there are half a dozen halal butchers in the area.

I am blessed with a kiddo that will eat anything. The only food that he down right hates is potatoes. He won't eat them in any form. Not fries, not mashed, not chips, not au gratin! Of all the things that he could refuse to eat, this is actually pretty easy to live with. I certainly don't miss the idea that McDonald's fries could be a staple. He loves olives, and good bread (you know the kind with hard crust and chewy center), and adores blue cheese and chevre. Not bad for a mere child of five!