Monday, February 26, 2007

Stitches West

Meredith and I just got back from Stitches West, a huge knitting convention held every year in Santa Clara. This is the floorplan for the marketplace this year. Can you imagine the size of this event? It's huge! We went for one day last year, just after Meredith and I began knitting. This time we stayed overnight. On Friday, we took a class in Norwegian Knitting by Beth Walker O'Brien. I learned how to hold the yarn in my right hand, so I could knit with two colors at once, and how to trap long strands. We learned about steeks, and I'm anxious to try this technique in a garment. We had time before class and again on Saturday to shop at the marketplace. There must have been 300 vendors there!
Meredith went over to the Dominknitrix booth while I was digging in the bargain bin for yarn. I had to wait in a long line, but I bought 60 skeins of wool for $1.66 each. I'm going to see about making the Arwen sweater with some of this wool, 20 skeins are in a pretty dark green.

Meredith got us both copies of the Dominknitrix book. Here I am with the author, Jennifer Stafford.

We went to the fashion show Friday night. Here we are, waiting for things to begin. I haven't mastered the technique of taking photos of myself, so here's the VERY flattering, up-the-nose shot.
This sweater is very appealing to me. I almost bought the pattern on Saturday, but decided I have too many projects to do first.

This fashion show featured a baby, who was a pretty good sport. There was a little unhappiness at the end, but all in all, this kid was a trooper.

Throughout the show, they were giving away materials and patterns for the items they were showing. At almost the end of the show, they called my number! I won! Here's a photo of the beautiful Victorian lace cape:

The pattern is in the book, Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. I also won a copy of the book!

And here I am with all my purchases and winnings. I'm holding the practice swatch that we did in the Norwegian Knitting class. I also got a space-age ironing board cover. It is made of fiberglass, and it reflects heat, so you can leave your iron at a lower temperature and get great results.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Amish Friendship Bread

We recently attended an Irish Music session potluck, and Christine (whistle and bodhran) brought packets of the Amish Friendship Bread starter. I took one home, and today, I made this recipe. It's a variation of the original recipe, because I didn't have the required amount of instant vanilla pudding.

The Recipe

Important Note: Don't use metal spoons or equipment. Do not refrigerate. Use only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls or containers.

Required Main Ingredient
1 cup live yeast starter (see above)

day 1:
Do nothing with the starter.
days 2-5:
Stir with a wooden spoon.
day 6:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.
days 7-9:
Stir with a wooden spoon.
Day 10:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe mashed bananas

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Knitting Update

Boot Socks

These are the boot socks, a free pattern from knitpicks. I am knitting them in Swish Superwash, which is suprisingly soft. I may use it for the Arwen sweater. The colors shown here are Dublin and Light Coral. The pattern teaches the two circular needle technique, but I mistakenly ordered the wrong size needles. So I am knitting them in the magic loop technique. I want to try the two circular needle technique on another pair, so it's good I have these instructions.

So, remember the shrug? I had it sitting in a bag all this time. I finally got an inspiration. I'm making a Waterfall Shawl. It starts by casting on with waste yarn. Then you knit in garter stitch for 70 inches (I'm not sure I'll make it that long, we'll see). And then you drop stitches, so it turns into a lacy shawl, see the page below from Ponchos & Wraps-a Knitter's dozen.

And finally, the Ming Scarf is done! My friend Karen and I went to ArtFibers store in San Francisco a few months ago, and I bought 2 balls of Ming, 50% silk, 50% extrafine merino wool. I couldn't invest in more than that, and I thought it would make a lovely scarf. I think it did! I used a basketweave stitch. Simple, but very elegant.

I started the scarf on the plane to Florida.

I had this much done on the trip home. I drew an arrow along the folds so you can see how long it is.