Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adios, 2011. Hola 2012!

Projects in Review: it was year of the sweater for babies and toddlers.






I'm not sure how 2012 will shake out, but one thing I've learned about my life - it's hardly ever boring.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FO #25: Final FO of 2011

The kimono-style sweater is done!


* * * *
The down and dirty details:

Yarn(s): Plymouth Encore Worsted

Pattern: Oriental Lily

Purchased: Jimmy Beans Wool

Needles: size 6 US

Time: for me - 10 hours; for most knitters, 6 hours

* * * *

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Excitement

Tank is so excitable around the holiday activities, it's a good thing I keep the muzzle and heavy chain link leash on hand...


Any minute, she'll spring up and create havoc:


Any minute, probably after her several-hour nap:


Meanwhile, I really blew my self-created deadline of being done with the kimono sweater by 12/25. But only by a sleeve:


The collar that I had messed up earlier, looks better now:


I love the seed stitch I decided to use for the cuff, too:


I'm off to do some post-Christmas knitting and catch up on some podcasts. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll finish the sweater by tomorrow evening (with it being washed and blocked) to show off at SnB on Wednesday.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning Activities

1. Bake savory andouille sausage and apple breading pudding* (recipe cleverly disguised as bread stuffing/dressing) to take to the daughter's for Christmas lunch (me).


2. Doze in sunshine (Tank).



3. Watch documentary on Monty Python and work a bit more on the kimono-style sweater for Miss Mallory, while stuffing/dressing/pudding bakes, before going off to workout (me).


4. Realize the obvious: Miss M's sweater will *not* be completed by Christmas evening. The best hope is for December 30th completion date thereby making it the last completed project for 2011.

5. Go workout so that one may eat 1/3 of one's body weight in delicious bread pudding at dinner.

*The recipe was from Epicurious with the trial-run at Thanksgiving. The recipe below is my adaption, and quite frankly, it's even more delicious. (I also had to remove the milk component due to my body's dislike of anything dairy from cows; there's not enough butter per serving in this recipe to hurt me, luckily, so it's still included.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound pork bulk sausage
1 pound andouille sausage
2 cup diced celery
1 large white onion diced
8 apples (various kinds) diced peeled cored
2 bay leaves

2 lbs total of French bread loaves, 1-inch cubes with crusts
2-3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten to blend

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add sausage; sauté until cooked through and brown, breaking into pieces with spoon, about 8 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large sheet lined with paper towels.

Add celery and next 6 ingredients to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Drain mixture of any leftover drippings in a sieve. Place on another large sheet with lined with paper towels.

Combine apple mixture with sausage in large bowl.

(This portion may be made a day ahead. Cover; chill. Just be sure to reheat to lightly warm before continuing with the other directions.)

(I changed the cooking temp and time below from the original, too. I cooked it longer and slower.)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Add bread to sausage mixture.

Whisk 2 cups of the broth, and melted butter in bowl to blend. Mix into stuffing; season stuffing with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs; transfer to prepared dish.

Bake uncovered until cooked through and brown, about 45-55 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.

Try not to make obscene noises while enjoying it. (Okay, this is also added by me.)

**If you like stuffing with less moisture, add only 1 cup of broth. Adjust as you deem necessary.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Wish

Myself, Sumo Sheep, and friends...


We wish that whatever you may celebrate or however you may be celebrating (or perhaps you're just hiding out until the holidays pass), we hope that the celebrations bring you light, warmth, laughter, and happiness in safety and peace.


And the Tank hopes y'all get the treats you're hoping for...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nothing Says "Holidays!" Like Festive Plant Death

By the way, this has nothing to do with knitting...


When I got back to work on Monday (I was out on Friday from last week's bad trip that wasn't the result of a hoochfest, but a massive sinus infection gone nasty), there was a very large poinsettia plant in our office.

At the best of times, I'm able to limp plants along until someone rescues it by taking it far away from me. At the worst of times, I'm the Archangel of Plant Death. So it was strange that someone would willingly (willfully?) bring a beautiful plant into my office area.

I took a look at it and saw that quite a few of the leaves were curled up and dead. So, I went to water it and the plant promptly shed half of itself. Seriously. *HALF* of it was on the floor by the time I got it watered.

Now, I pride myself on efficiency, but not even I can work that fast on a plant unless its accidental cremation.

I cleaned it up as best I could but honestly, at that point all that would help it would have been a medical power of attorney and a personal directive for no heroic measures.

Later that morning, the person that had brought the plant in just about fell over in shock when she saw its condition. I explained that she might have forgotten to water it before leaving for the weekend.

We're now on Day 4 of Poinsettia Death Watch 2011.

Tomorrow I will have to get Kevorkian with it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

To Those Who Observe and Celebrate It

A Peaceful Hanukkah To You, Friends:


Under Pressure

Sort of...not really. Kind my own design.

I'm at the 65% completion point on the kimono sweater for Miss M.


Which is pretty damn cool if you remember the unholy mess it was a mere 48 hours ago.

However, I want this sweater done by the Christmas holiday, so I can get started on the Guy's socks (I said throttle back your jets, people - he's just a dear friend):


My deadline is to have those bad boys cranked out by December 31st. I'm not sure I'll be able to make it.

Then again, I have my annual two-week holiday break from my master's courses starting this Wednesday evening...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let's Play A Game!

Guess what this is:


If you said anything close to the phrase I used which was: "a fucking mess is what that pile is..." I'll give you a point, but no cigar.

It's *supposed* to be the shoulders and chest of this kimono sweater/dress I'm knitting:


Somehow I twisted the join when I knit the kimono over-lap section and ended up with a Möbius kimono sweater collar. It sounds way more intriguing that it actually looked like when I figured out what I had done.

And things had started out so nicely too:


Damn it.

Off to take a few hours away from it before I try to set fire to it, which will only frustrate me further as wool tends to just smolder and doesn't burn with the fiery heat of a one sun let alone 1,000 suns that I would want in order to feel better (and teach it a lesson for its bad attitude).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We Interrupt All Knitting For An Appearance By Tank

Your lap was meant to be occupied thus. I'm 100% all yours:


You may not post this on Facebook, blog about it, or tweet. Rub the belly:


I am licking all your keys:


Obey the Basset. Rub the belly:


Rub...hey, is that the sound of treat bag being opened?


Is it the chicken meatballs I love so much?!


You faked me out. I'm going back to licking your keyboard until you rub the belly:


Sunday, December 11, 2011

I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer!

The daughter's scarf is done, now it's on to Miss Mallory's sweater:


The Guy's winter socks he requested (settle down, he's just a very good friend):


And Tank has shown me the Zen approach to my Sunday afternoon:


Saturday, December 10, 2011

FO #24: Keeping My Baby Warm

I don't care if the daughter is a mere 4 weeks away from turning 24 years old, she's still the baby.

And I knit yet another project for her in that damn pink she adores. What started out as this:



Has become this:


* * * *
The down and dirty details:

Yarn(s): Lorna's Laces DK

Pattern: knit/K1, Slip 1

Purchased: Jimmy Beans Wool

Needles: size 9 US

Time: for me - 12 hours; for most knitters, 4-6 hours

* * * *

Doesn't she look wonderful?


Sunday, December 04, 2011

Happy Holidays


I no longer give holiday gifts. People that I know are fine with the items they have, and usually buy what they want or need throughout the year.

Instead, I give to organizations that help others in the United States and around the world.

This year, the organizations I'm donating to in honor of friends, families, and colleagues:

Heifer International
To End Hunger & Poverty
Heifer's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope. With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as "living loans" because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need. It's called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.

We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Project Night Night
To provide Night Night Packages, free of charge, to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need our childhood essentials to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn, and significant. Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children's book, and a stuffed animal - all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. Project Night Night establishes a foundation for lasting change through the hands-on volunteer opportunities that we provide to tens of thousands of individuals each year.

ProLiteracy Worldwide
ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies. ProLiteracy envisions a world in which everyone can read, write, compute, and use technology to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.

Room to Read
We work in collaboration with communities and local governments in developing countries to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Roly Poly Fish Heads...

Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!
They don't wear sweaters...*

I love this hat.

Dead Fish Hat

I don't want one for myself. So I put it to my friends list in FB for volunteers for me to knit a hat for them. I didn't expect even one person to volunteer.

I have three now :)

*In case you heathens have not heard the music or haven't seen the video: