December 30, 2006

Knitting Fantasies

What is the one thing almost every knitter responds with when asked in a meme "what would you rather be doing" or "if you could be anywhere, where would you be?" That's right. "Snuggled up in a comfy chair in front of a fire (in a fireplace) knitting." Would you invite a friend over if you could?

I totally got my wish yesterday!

My buddy Chris came over to hang and knit. Matty built and tended to a nice fire for us most of the day. And we sat and knit and chatted and knit and laughed and had a bite of pumpkin pie, ta' boot. For even better ambiance, it was terribly rainy and thundering outside. Sweet, eh?

Don't be jealous. Because I wish this for all of y'all. May your bestest knitting fantasies come true!

Posted by Nanc at 03:05 PM | Comments (8)

December 29, 2006

Jeans with a twist

Hmm, this almost sounds like it could be a drink. But it's not. Nope. It's a finished object (FO), specifically a pair of socks!

These socks are knitted from the Dye-o-Rama sock yarn that I received from my swap partner. I first showed it here when I got it in the mail.

The yarn (unknown fiber content, but wool) is thick and skooshy, and knit up for a nice, solid fabric on US#2s (Addi's 2.5mm). I've been working on these socks for a while now (started in summer), but they've been a back-burner project the entire time.


  • Yarn: unknown wool in denim-y blues and hot pink variegated
  • Pattern: variation on the Gentleman's Shooting Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks
  • Needles: 32" Addi Turbo 2.5mm circs
  • Recipient: me!
  • Notes: knit toe-up (Knitting Fiend), short-row heel (Queen Kahuna), with 2" of 3x1 ribbing and finished with EZ's sewn cast off

I'll tell you what, that EZ sewn bind-off is brilliant! When I need a stretchy bind-off from now on, that's what I'm going for. My first try was to simply "stay loose", but that didn't go so well; not stretchy enough. And I had tried the trick of adding a yarn over in the row before bind-off, but that looks frilly and kind of silly. But this sewn version? Just right. (Wow, I'm like the Goldilocks of bind-offs.)

These pictures were taken in my work cubicle during my last day at this job. (No, don't cry or fuss -- I'm a contractor. I go through jobs like [insert appropriate analogy here].) It feels good to cleanly complete a project and have no loose ends to tie up.

Thank you, and goodnight!

Posted by Nanc at 10:05 AM | Comments (6)

December 28, 2006

Christmas Wrapup

This Christmas was maybe a little bit more like Halloween. Some tricks, some treats.

Christmas officially starts when the house smells like cookies. At least in my book. Nanc made a bunch of cookies, and I assisted where I could with quality assurance testing ... (burp).

The rest of the story is in the gallery on the left.

Posted by Matty at 05:21 PM | Comments (6)

December 18, 2006

put the 'petal' to the metal

That's what it was like knitting this quickie project last week. I put the knitting metal (needles) together to get this petal (flower bib) in no time flat. (That kind of makes sense, right?)

Last Monday when I took my timesheet* in to be signed by my boss, she asks me if I want to go to a colleague's baby shower... like, now! Eep.

I attend, eat some cake and fresh strawberries (yum!), and - because I am a technical writer (how this makes sense, I don't know) - am asked to take down the list of gifts received and the giver. (Um... I don't know any of these people, so it is really quite ridiculous to have me do this. Ah, but I do it 'cause I'm a pushover.)

Anyhoo, I wanted to make something for this baby. It matters not that I won't see these people after the new year. Doesn't every baby deserve something hand knit? So I looked through my stash and books for a simple project that I can get done quickly: a baby bib.


For lack of better scenery, I posed the bib on my drying rack. The drying rack that is currently drying (holding, actually, since they were dry last night) some souvenir plates which we picked up at a thrift store on Saturday. There was a large tote of these, but we held back and only picked up nine of them. The brighter, more interesting plates, or the plates that we found amusing.

These will be hung around the kitchen on the soffits along with a Michigan plate we picked up a few years ago. (It's a bit phallic looking, but the bonus is actually the misspelling of one of the cities.)

And I'll end the photos of a slightly blurry Marie PussPuss under the Christmas tree. (The photo is blurry, not the cat. The cat is normally clear and well-defined.)

* I am currently a contract, hourly employee. Returning to timesheets after eight + years of salary life took a bit of getting used to. Some times it works in my favor, and some times it does not.

Posted by Nanc at 02:30 PM | Comments (8)

December 15, 2006

minestrone soup

The weather outside is... well, mild and pleasant. Thick banks of fog this morning, but highs in the 70s and 80s. Very nice. And even for Dallas, this is a little crazy. But last week was totally different.

Which would explain why I made a huge batch of soup. Delicious, hearty minestrone soup from scratch (well, except for the canned food bits). Minestrone soup which was supposed to warm our bellies and chase off the chills. But there are no chills.

Good thing our souls need a little comfort.

I found this recipe on, and tweaked it a bit. I like my minestrone to be soupy so that I can sop it up with a good crusty bread. Make it too thick, and there's not enough broth for the soup and the sop.

Don't let the massive list of ingredients throw you off. Get all your veggies cut up prior and then it's just a matter of sautéing, boiling, and simmering (= time). To be honest, I started and stopped this soup three times before it was done. (I didn't heed my own advice about prepping, mis-estimated my clean up time, and then it was simply too late to eat soup.) Lesson? This soup can take abuse and still taste incredible!

Hearty Minestrone

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 c. chopped celery
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 3 c. water
  • 4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c. red wine (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz) can green beans
  • 2 c. baby spinach, rinsed
  • 3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
  • 1 Tb chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 Tb chopped fresh basil
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seashell pasta (or favorite small shape)
  • grated Parmesan cheese for topping
  • and don't forget the crusty bread!
  1. In a large stock pan, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, water, tomato sauce, and tomatoes; bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired, add red wine at this point (or more water). Reduce heat to low and add green beans, spinach, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. Add kidney beans during last 15 – 20 minutes of cooking.
  3. If freezing leftover soup, cook the pasta separately. If you’re not expecting any leftovers, you can cook the pasta directly in the soup.
  4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

So funny side note: This was the second time using my food processor that Matt got my last year for Christmas! Can you believe it? (The first use was making some awesome hummus one day prior to the soup.) And just in case nobody knows, you can totally liquify an onion if you're not careful!

Posted by Nanc at 12:41 PM | Comments (4)

December 14, 2006

a holiday thing

Good Girl Purl of the Purling Ps asked us (the proverbial, internets "us") to make a list of what makes us happy during the holidays. What can I do but to oblige such a sweet request.

In no particular order...

  • Mailing out holiday cards, despite the self-induced procrastination stress. (And we're not even making our cards this year!)
  • Receiving Christmas cards. Such happiness our mailbox has ever known!
  • Taking the time to really think of things that will make Matty "squee" with joy.
  • Cold, chilly days and nights. (Um, what happened to those?)
  • Snuggling up with Matty... in public. (This works best when it's cold, like last week.)
  • Christmas carols that get stuck in my head. (I don't go to the mall, so I hear a lot less of this than most folks.)
  • The neighborhood brightly lit at night --how cheerful and gay (first definition)!
  • The baking and cooking and nesting feelings that naturally come out in me this time of year.
  • Seeing women and men dressed to the nines for an evening out, even if it's just the company party.
  • Reflecting on the good times during the year past, and getting excited for the unexpected in the upcoming year.
  • Wearing my hand knits (see the weather comment) and recognizing - and complimenting - such items on strangers.
  • Ooh --and mint M&Ms! (Time to stockpile!)

What makes you happy during the holidays?

As bonus, check out this cute lil' animation for how to properly open a present here. Maybe you wouldn't get such a sour reaction in pane #2 if those were hand knit socks! (tee hee - thanks to Mim for the link.)

Posted by Nanc at 10:01 AM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2006


(fěch-ĭng) - adjective: very attractive, charming, captivating. a fetching new hairstyle

No new hairstyle, captivated or not. But a nice pair of wrist warmers!

I knit these Fetching wrist warmers a bit before Thanksgiving, but didn't get the ends sewn in and washed/blocked until afterwards. Here they are!

I used Debbie Bliss Merino Aran (substitute yarn) in a dark navy. I made a few mistakes, but since I incorporated them into the whole pattern on both fingerless mitts they're now considered a design element!

And I'm not the only one. (To knit up these mitts, not making mistakes, er.. features.) Check 'em out!

Posted by Nanc at 03:42 PM | Comments (8)

December 05, 2006

Ennui -- or is it Enn-wii?

We’ve had a bit of weather lately, and the sub-50 degree temperatures have weighed heavy on my soul. The gray days dropped me deep into a funk that started over two weeks ago. Hopefully, sharing my private pain will be cathartic.

Deep cleansing breath. Okay. The Nintendo Wii game console was recently released, and I want one. I might need it to sustain life, like a dialysis machine, but cuter. I have a Wii-shaped hole in my heart.

Last year, we (the ubiquitous, geek/technology-site surfing we) started to hear about a new game console from the fine folks that brought us Donkey Kong and Mario. The console, code-named Revolution, was going to make our lives better through a number of secret technologies that were recovered from the UFOs in Roswell.

I thought Revolution was a kick arse name and the “revolution”-ary new gizmo for this console was motion-sensing controllers. So, fer instance, if playing a game that required a sword, you could hold the game controller as a sword and the box would automagically translate your movements to the game. Golf? Ditto. Boxing? Punch toward the screen. You get the idea.

Viral videos started appearing of people looking like goonies waving their arms around in the air. It warmed the cockles of my heart. I was starting to get excited. Keep in mind, I am not a gamer. The game consoles that we have in the house include an Atari 2600 and a GameCube.

A few months before launch, the “official” name was released. Wii (pronounced we). Not nearly as cool as “Revolution”, but they already had hooked me. I needed a Wii.

So, I went to my local game shoppe and pre-ordered in October. I like spending money with local mom-n-pop type stores. Generally, the service is better, and really, does WalMart really need more money? They already own Arkansas -- and cornered the lucrative corncob pipe industry by developing a tooth-optional model. But I digress.

So, like a slightly pathetic mid-30’s guy, I counted the days till the launch date in mid-November. Then, right before launch, I discovered a cold, hard fact in the game business. Mom-n-pop type stores fall on the low end of the distribution chain, barely above rabbit turds. The Circuit City, Game Stop, WalMart, and ToysRUs in my area each received between 25-100 Wii’s on launch day. My store?

Oh yeah, they got one. O-N-E. Uno. Now serving #1. Please take a number. My number? #3. So, it’s been three weeks since launch. My game store has not received any more.

So, I wait. It doesn’t matter that over 1,000,000 Wii consoles have been sold, and I paid for mine two months ago. I'm getting boned by my penchant for not supporting big box stores.

The Nintendo gods hate mii.

Posted by Matty at 08:43 PM | Comments (8)

I.O.U. pix

Although I haven't let this go for as long as I normally do, I did promise to show you pictures of what I picked up at Kid 'N Ewe.

Gratuitous pictures of yarn prØn follows:

Between finding the time and sunlight around my fierce procrastination and yog* schedule, I was finally able to get some nice shots to show y'all. My bonus is that I get to refresh my happy-happy joy-joy dance of giddiness for such sweet yarn.

(If you're not a knitter or new to knitting --you know who you are-- this may not make sense. Yet. For now, imagine the most sweet and decadent desert without the calories or fat. And it lasts near-on forever. Got it?)

Now that you all understand...

As soon as Chris and I arrived at the festival we went in search of the Brooks Farm booth. There I purchased three skeins of beautiful Duet in this great brown and turquoise color way (which really doesn't describe it's beauty) that is perfect and intended for a vest for Matty Bonez. This was a popular color way for many of the knitters there. (I know that Abbe, for one, got the same yarn.)

Also picked up at Brooks Farm was a skein of luscious, soft Primero in a light lavender mix. Simply beautiful. I looked at a lot more at their booth, but had to leave it before I went too crazy. (Besides, I should leave some for the other knitters.)

Chris and I wound (Ha!) our way around the rest of the vendors, booths, and demonstrations going on in the three buildings. I picked up four skeins of inexpensive sock yarn at the Jojoland booth, but none of their yummy cashmere. (My brain obviously overloaded at the display of "cheap" sock yarn and cashmere goodness, especially as other knitters started to show up and buy stuff. Eep)

I picked up two more pairs of sock yarn from two different booths. One of the yarns, from Marsh Mellow Meadows, was a natural, non-dyed yarn with the names of the contributing sheep. Doesn't that just rock?!

With the day winding down and being full in spirit of knitting, knitters, and their ilk, I don't know exactly what came over me. Somehow I found myself purchasing a drop spindle from Hokett Would Work and some roving from Heritage Arts. Not that I regret this, but... wha? I wasn't planning or expecting to do this. I tell ya', those fiber festivals are crazy, mind altering places --in a good way.

In addition to my Boerne bounty, I received a recent purchase in the mail from Simply Sock Yarn Co.. It is Fleece Artist merino sock yarn (of course) in a color called Burgundy, but I don't think that accurately captures the colors at all.

The final picture for you is of Walter being a cutie-puss. He's doing his Halloween-cat/arched back pose, which is cute enough for starters, but check out his tail! Tee hee - its all curled in on itself and making a circle.

* The term, yog, of yooper origins refers to being like or acting in the manner of Yogi Bear, namely eating pic-a-nic baskets and not doing much else.

Posted by Nanc at 10:57 AM | Comments (7)

December 01, 2006

Norovember, I barely knew thee

How quickly the month of NOROvember came and went. I had grand plans for this month to knit a whole sweater (baby sweater, but still). Alas and alack, I didn't even cast on for this until yesterday, the last of NOROvember.

Ah, but we had some good times this month, no? Moving, the Kid 'n Ewe festival, and Thanksgiving with those birds. Definitely good times.

And it wasn't a total loss, I did get some knitting done. Heck, a Noro project even! I finished a pair of Voodoo wrist warmers which were started nearly two years ago. Ha! They're knit with Noro Silk Garden (I forget the colorway/#).

I had to rip down to the thumb hole and reknit the first wrist warmer (bad buttonhole on my part and too small for my ginormous thumbs) and knit the entire second warmer. But this didn't take all that much time --two days/nights in MN. This is a great knit, and would be good for those learning dpns (imho).

In additon to that knit and thinking about the Noro Kueryon waiting for it's project, both Matty and I had the chance to sport our toques (#2) over the holiday. These were knit a few years ago with Noro Silk Garden, and recently I had to "control-felt" Matt's because it had lost much of it's shape.

And the project that just didn't have a chance this month? The Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket knit in Noro Kueryon #165. I got started, though, and plan to continue on.

December seems almost tranquil by comparison!

Posted by Nanc at 05:25 PM | Comments (9)