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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Flowers

Bluebonnets were not the only evidence of spring that I saw when I walked our neighborhood this weekend.  Yesterday, with my Nano counting my steps, I did my 10,000 at a leisurely pace, spending about an hour and a half walking up and down the hills of our secluded corner of the Metroplex.  The flowers were everywhere and I was enjoying taking shots here and there. 

One more thing ... my LYS had a St. Patrick's Day 15% off yarn sale on any green yarn.  Well ... a photo does not do justice to the colors.  Trust me -- they are beautiful shades of green and blue. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bluebonnets and Blue Sox


The best thing besides delightful weather in the Texas springtime is bluebonnets.  Thanks to Lady Bird, the major highways are seeded along their sides with bluebonnets and other wild flowers by the state of Texas.  Bluebonnets have become a rite of passage -- every child is photographed while sitting in a patch of vivid blue blooms.  At this time of year, parents dress up the kids and can be seen along the major roads, cameras in hand.  My kids have long since grown up, but you are welcome to be a pseudo-Texan for a few moments . . . along the interstate, up close, and almost intimately. 

If someone could only make a yarn in this sinfully delicious shade of blue, I would happily buy it.

The bluebonnets will begin to fade away after 4-6 weeks, just as the Mexican Hats and Indian Paintbrush start to peep through the grass.  Then the highways change from vivid blue to bright yellow and red.

Well, I can't have bluebonnet blue for my Wollmeise socks by Monica Jines, but they are a pretty blue to be sure.  They are finally finished and ready to show off.  Yarn is courtesy of Wullenstudio.

And a closeup of the pattern detail. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I just removed a Lemon Olive Oil Cake from the oven and the house smells terrific.  This is my second try with this cake.  Last weekend, I made it for a dinner party at a friend's house.  One of the other guests is a fantastic gourmet cook, and she asked for the recipe.  I sent her the link on Epicurious.  It was a pretty terrific sponge cake.  A word of caution:  only bake 35 minutes.

Since I am getting together for my monthly lunch with my girlfriends tomorrow, I volunteered to bring the dessert.  As you can see, it is a bare naked cake at this point in time, but after cooling, it will be topped with a lemon glaze.  This is one of those desserts that you want to have more and more.

I have been knitting, too.  I have gotten past the stumbles of my latest socks, and have something to show for it.  The first sock is complete and looks great, and the second sock is at the halfway point.  I will post as soon as they are a completed pair.

We dogsat for the traveling children this past week, and I must brag on the little darlings.  The two dogs have very different walking styles.  One likes to stroll and the other wants to go as fast as possible.  As a result, I took them out separately on alternate evenings.  Jemma (left) is so smart that she figured this out, and when it was "her" night, she was begging me to take her out at the walking hour.  How can I refuse? 

Kingston (right) waited his turn for the following evening. 

So that is how I have spent the last week -- baking, dogsitting/walking, and knitting. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fourth time is charm?

I was down through the heel and tried on my latest effort at socks, and they were too small.  Frog it again.  I have fussed and struggled over the pattern for these socks, even changing to a simpler pattern (Wollmeise) designed by Monica Jines, but still find myself doing something wrong.  Hopefully, this time will be a good fit with a pretty pattern.  The color of this hand-died yarn is scrumptious which is, I suppose, a reason that I am being so picky about the output.   It is colorway Kokomo, from Wullenstudio, superwash merino. 

I have treated myself to a new pair of Kollage Square dpns.  I am so sold on them that I have another pair on order in a different size.  Currently, I am working with the size #1 pair while I await the arrival of the size #2.  The LYS is having a hard time keeping them on hand!  These are advertized as easy on the hands, but that is not why I bought them.  They last because they are steel, and the yarn moves so nicely across them, but without danger of the needles falling out.  In addition, they are very light weight.  Goodbye, bamboo.

Another new thing -- I have changed the title on my blog to YARN SCRAPS.   I think it is a more appropriate description:  scraps of my mind and life tied together with scraps of yarn. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beginner's Lace Socks

I have been dedicating myself lately to building my skills with socks.  I have now completed (and worn and washed a couple of times!) my third pair.  The first pair were a disaster which resulted in a 2 year hiatus from socks.  Recently, I completed a 2nd pair that were plain, but well fitting and I was hooked. 

Now I am happy to say that my 3rd pair are self-designed to ease me into lace socks.  This is a simple lace pattern that any novice (me!) can master.  I am not ashamed to show these off. 

They are made in Berroco Comfort Sock using sizes 1 and 2 dpn. 

This so super charged me that I plunged right into another pair with a pattern that I found on the internet.  I quickly discovered that I had become too ambitious for my fledgling lace skills.  I started that pair 3 times, the last time with a less complicated pattern.  They are on the needles, and yes -- I see ways to improve my skills. 

However, I am proud of my beginner's lace socks and will repeat them to test the language of the pattern for others who may want to try it. 

There is one significant disadvantage to knitting socks in North Texas.  We don't get enough time with cold weather to enjoy handknitted socks very much.  Although we have had a very mild winter this year, it is getting milder:  yesterday was 73 degrees and today is expected to be in the low 80's.