Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Contest

I want to wish everyone another great New Year. 2009 has been a significant year for me, I got married, my hubby graduated with a Biomedical Engineering degree (which means that we aren't separated through states anymore, like we were for a year), he found himself a great job with even more potential, we are living happily in my first apartment, we celebrated our first Christmas, I'm applying at my job to try to move upward...but It did have its downs: my grandfather's illness and eventual death, Joe's two grandfathers getting cancer (one terminal), my aunt's constant illnesses, etc.

I've always known how sad my newly windowed grandmother is lately (my grandfather died the week before my wedding), but after spending Christmas Eve with her and my family, I've been more motivated to set important resolutions for 2010:

1. To pick up my grandma once a week to go grocery shopping (she doesn't drive! And now she's all alone!...and she has to order her food) so that she feels loved and can also get out of the house. This also takes care of the fact that I've been really bad about not visiting...

2. To spend more time on charity work (no matter how small it seems).

3. To get back in shape (My muscles are not liking how out of shape I am)

4. To try to move up in the library-world, or if I can't, to spend more time educating myself on various subjects because my brain feels like a blob not doing anything stimulating (besides knitting).

5. To continue to work on a good marriage, to not let anything change our relationship during the first year of our marriage (even though it's still a struggle to work out that whole "toilet seat" thing. ha ha.).

6. To work on my hibernating projects. I have some good projects that have been treated unjustly. You can't even imagine how many are in that pile...


What to win: a knitter's goodie bag (including a skein of KUAS yarn and a pattern)!

How to play: Tell me your most important resolution, and why it will effect your life in a good way. You must supply me with an email address (you can send me it via email if you don't want it seen: knittingupastormATgmailDOTcom). After the contest closes, I will randomly pick a name out of the hat.

How to bump up your odds: tell your friends about this contest, or write about this contest on your blog (give me the link) and have them refer you (your name must be stated). Feel free to copy & paste the rules. For every reference and/or posting to your blog, you get another name in the hat.

CONTEST CLOSES 1/2/10 at MIDNIGHT!!! Check out my blog soon after to see the winner announced! See ya'll next year! In the meantime, check out my last post...I'm kind of stepping on it right now.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas '09 knits

Hey gang. Now that the whathaveyou's have died down, I'm back in blogland to post a couple of pics of what I knit for a couple of people for Christmas. I still have Joe's birthday hat to knit up (that's about a week or so away). I choose to not make it for Christmas because I might try to do something fancier than just plain 'ol ribbing. Obviously, I plan WAY in advance for people's presents. Golly...maybe that should be a resolution.

braided scarf

The first scarf is for a volunteer who comes in on Wednesdays at the library to help me out with "feature films" (dvds). She is a very nice lady who is quite knowledgeable with nutrition; she teaches me little tid-bits on those days about vitamins and such, and how "knowledge is power." I've gotten talks about how I should use probiotics more, get more vitamin C (washing my hands every 30 mins isn't enough), the power of tumeric, etc. So, I knit her up something for all of her hard work and for being such a nice person to me all the time.

braided scarf

I came across this "braided scarf" idea while shelving (my mind needs something stimulating to cut the boringness of alphabetizing all of the time). It's not really that original, but I thought that stashbusting with boucle yarn would not only be a better way to show off the braids because it hides the (blah) garter stitch, but it's also really warm and fuzzy. The scarf has a button on it, but I had to snap these pictures really fast before work because they were literally "fresh off the press."

Project: "the Braided Scarf" (KUAS original)
Yarn: stashbusting boucle yarn (I lost the brand labels long ago), 2 skeins in different colors
Needles: size US15 staights
CO: 12/20/09 FO: 12/23/09
Skill Level: easy-schmeasy, only garter stitch.

My brother has been asking me for a "red & black" scarf for several years. I finally decided to oblige (bulky yarn in mind, of course) the day before Christmas Eve. LOL.

Woven scarf

It's a woven stitch pattern, to make the two contrasting colors pop. The back is actually cool because it makes the scarf reversible with a weird almost-woven type of garter stitch look.

woven scarf

The most ironic thing was that when my brother opened it up, he wrapped it around him and said "it needs to be longer" and "I'd rather the next one be simpler. Just a solid black and then red stripe."
Blast that boy. He's going to turn my head to mush faster than Hulu.

Project: "Woven Scarf" (KUAS original)
Yarn: 2 skeins of bulky yarn (Lion Brand's "Hometown USA")
Needles: size US17 circular needles
CO: 12/23/09 FO: 12/23/09
Skill Level: easy

christmas 2009-joe and anna

Joe and I had fun celebrating our first Christmas together. Wonders beyond wonders...before we opened our presents Christmas morning, I was going to light a candle on our kitchen table in the dinning room, and I felt a cold drip of water on my back. I looked up and saw that the beam on the ceiling was leaking! We had several leaks going that morning. Poor maintenance guy, he had to come and scrape our roof to put a stop to the leak. Of all days! I gave him some baked cookies for his trouble. Other than that, we split the day hitting two of our family's houses.

The Holiday knits poll is closed, and here are the results:

winter poll

It seemed that knitting hats was the winner, followed closely by scarves and then mittens. That doesn't seem too odd, although I might have believed that scarves would be the winner. I wonder what types of toys were being knit up. Who voted for that? Let me know what you guys knit up. :)

Woven scarf

My husband modeling the scarf before I never get to see it again. He's got my heart.

Stay tuned for a "2010 Resolutions contest," to kick off the new year with some fun! Start thinking of some resolutions...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quick Holiday Knit: Doubled Looped Scarf Pattern

Well, I planned on posting two patterns, but I hope this is sufficient for those of you who still need a 1-2 day knit for a last-minute chic gift. Have a very Merry Christmas and holidays, everyone! Enjoy this super-duper easy and fast pattern! I'm off to brew some hot cocoa and do the annual snowy drive-around in the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights with my hubby!

Doubled Looped Scarf Pdf (links to Ravelry) 
Skill: EASY
TYPES: Seed Stitch & Garter Scarves

Needles: 1 skein (240yds) bulky yarn in Main Color. 10-20 yds in contrast color for the border.
Needles: size US15 circular needle (29'') & darning needle.
Hook: size K or N

GUAGE: approx. 5 sts=2''

MEASUREMENTS: 47'' circumference

K=knit P=purl ST(S)=stitch(es) RD=round

Sunday, December 20, 2009

leftovers never looked so gourmet...


Just checking in. I just got back from work from the library (yup, on a Sunday), and I was planning on making this gourmet leftover dinner ever since I made the grilled steak and chicken dinner last night.

Above is a soup-salad-sandwich combo that's mostly Asian inspired. Because the steak and chicken was grilled with a sesame, ginger and garlic marinade, I used the sauce again for the salad that has sesame seeds, almonds and carrots and the leftover medium-well cooked steak. I also used the marinaded chicken to make an Asian chicken salad sandwich on a fresh croissant. The soup is cheesy cauliflower soup that is semi-homemade and topped with crustini bread that is seasoned with oil, salt and garlic and is crusty enough to taste like flat croutons. Goodness gratious... it was Delish!

Check in with me in a day or so. I plan on uploading a couple of free scarf patterns (the double-looped scarf & also a new unique scarf one) in the next post so you have another fast and east knit pattern that you can knit up really quickly for the holidays. Off to watch more Meerkat Manor (so cute and addicting!!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter waltzes

Sorry, gang, for being rather quiet and boring the past couple of weeks. I've been as busy as one of Santa's elves with a lot of the holiday bustling. I've been taking photos along the way, but they just haven't made it into the computer until just now.

gingerbread men

Above is a photo of one of the many batches of gingerbread men I've been making. They are scrumptious! I plan on hanging with a friend or two tonight to make gingerbread houses!

I'll just jump into the knitting right away, since these are just WIPs, and not really worth the suspense. These two knits are both KUAS originals that I've started and worked on here and there. The purple knit is a baby cardi that is a little similar to EZ's "February Lady," but has a different, and more wavy lace pattern. The blue heathered project (not really visible in the photo) is a hat pattern that has a different construction than the hat patterns that I'm sick of used to. I knit the cabled band first, and then picked up the stitches around the rim before continuing with another cable pattern.

winter 09 knit and tree

A little ironic: once I did all the cable work, and picked up stitches (twice, since I ripped it out the first time to do things differently), I realized that the cable pattern could probably have been done vertically, and still look the same. To stop laughing myself silly, I told myself that I wouldn't have known how many stitches to cast-on to fit my head perfectly (who's swatches really work out in the end?), and this way was better because I'll just end up doing another cable pattern that can't be done vertically for some other hat...and this is my guinea pig project. Fair enough.

frozen river hat

On another note, I was excited when the first snowfall happened. There is something magical about that first fall...an electric spark of awe and hope for that white Christmas that you remembered as a kid. Or it might just be me...one who is a little into the sensory around this time of year. Cold crunchy snow. A warm fireplace cracking and popping. Aromatic pine needles burning. Cookies of all sorts baking. The soft yet brilliant glow of the lights on the Christmas tree. Holiday-inspired coffees of peppermint, eggnog and gingerbread...

first snow fall

Speaking of winterly things. Joe and I rode the train to Chicago and enjoyed a Saturday in the city, shopping and eating at a pub. We enjoyed all of the lights littering the city trees, and checked out Macy's displays. Let me tell you, that store is a little intimidating, what with its 8 or 9 floors...

Chicago winter 09

Chicago winter 09

Chicago winter 09

Chicago winter 09

Chicago winter 09

Macy's had a magnificent Christmas display. I can't even imagine how much it cost, but things where hanging every which way from the ceiling.

Chicago winter 09

And the most current news: I celebrated my 24th birthday on the 12th. We had a great time going to see the Nutcracker and eating out at Jimmy's Charhouse and drinking up at Chilies. I'm enjoying my birthday gift, the new Wii Mario game (awesome!! I love mario, and I'm stoked that they remade the game while trying to keep the wonderful elements of the first couple of marios). Last night, I cooked a yummy dinner, a Shepherd's Pie that I tried to replicated from the pub in Chicago (Elephant & Castle...or was is Castle & Elephant? I forgot).

shephard's pie

Let me leave you with a wonderful photo from one of the winterly Sunsets from a week ago:

winter sunset 09

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks

For about a year and a half, I have been dreaming about me and Joe hosting our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. Of course, in these dreams, our living quarters were a tinsy-bit larger in the ways of the "dining room," but, nonetheless, the dream lives on no matter where you do end up (and I do love my first apartment). And should I mention...boy, the mind is a powerful thing when it comes to over-estimating accommodation space for 10 people. But you know what, cozy as it was, we all had a great time together...and the food couldn't have turned out better!
I was most thankful that day (when it comes to the food part) that I prepped the night before-chopping and putting it into little Ziploc baggies, making the jello, the homemade pumpkin pie, etc. I was in la-la-land that night, thinking that with all the hours of prep-work, I could just sit on the couch and read inbetween bastings on Thanksgiving day. HA HA HA. Yeah, right. So naive, I know. I don't know how I would have survived if I didn't do all of that work. I also baked homemade sugar cookies in the shape of fall leaves and acorns and cleaned the apartment from top to bottom the day before Thanksgiving, and I am soo glad I decided to get everything done then.

The turkey was pretty juicy. I brined the turkey with a bunch of spices before heading to bed, and that 17 pound bird ended up soaking for 14 hours in the fridge in the biggest stock-pot my parents own. Jee, it is most convenient living a block and a half away from them when I don't have, oh, a stock-pot, some pumpkin spices, twine, a roasting pan, and all sorts of things I either didn't want to buy or forgot until last second. I used Martha Stewart's recipe for the gravy (made with a bunch of root veggies), and used her cheesecloth and butter/white wine basting idea for the turkey. I stuffed that bad boy with as much stuffing as possible, and smothered it with a bunch of butter inside and out.

And yes, even after taking out all of the turkey neck and God-knows-what innards while keeping everyone's horror stories of "leaving the giblets inside the turkey while baking" in mind,...after we carved the rest of the turkey, "oopsie dasie!"...there was a special surprise at the back door! Hello turkey company people, put a warning on the turkey label for people who honestly don't know what giblets look like, that things are not just in the inside of the main turkey cavity...it's also stuffed in the butt! I just think that they should keep everything together, instead of playing hide-and-seek.
Any who, I am most proud of my lovely set-up that made its way to the tables the night before (another time-saver!). I used so many wedding gifts, it was unreal.
We had turkey, spiral ham, mashies with garlic and cream, greenbean casserole, corn, stuffing with saged sausage, butternut squash with butter and brown sugar, cranberries, rolls, homemade pumpkin pie and pumkin cheesecake, sugar cookies, homemade berry pie, and much liquor, of course!

An another note, I've been playing around with my new photoshop program that I bought a little while ago, and have been teaching myself new things along the way (I still need that photoshop book...you know, the one they didn't put in the box!). Along with learning how to cut out something from a photo and plop it onto another one, here are some other examples:

Leaving color in select regions:
And no, I wasn't beaten in this photo. I was very, very accident-prone as a child, and this example was me leaning on a screen door that wasn't closed all the way and falling down the stairs. Thank God that this was before the whole hard-core child service thing, because the hospital was starting to know me on a first-name basis. I have to laugh at this photo because my hair kind of resembles Einstein's...

"Cloning" a color, and adding it where it might have been (the pizza sauce on the face):
My brother and I making pizza. Probably the last time we happily cooperated together. Ha ha ha.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. Joe and I are thankful for so many things this year...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No biggie.

light blue double looped scarf
Just checking in. Nothing really too interesting to talk about except that the second "Double-looped" scarf has been completed. It's knit the same way as the first. The third may look a little different, I think, because I can only knit so many of the same style without getting antsy. Speaking of antsy, my hands have been itching to make a nice cabled hat and gloves...
light blue double looped scarf

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Kate Jacobs

Kate jacobs
Kate Jacobs came to my library Saturday, and I was thrilled to have her do a reading from her newest release, Knit the Season which is her third installement in the Friday Night Knitting Club series, and it is devoted to the winter holidays. She talked about how she didn't even realize that she skipped winter in the first two novels, and she really wanted to show knitting and holiday spirit in this newest novel.

I was impressed with how down-to-earth Kate Jacobs was; she was honest, funny and never snoody. She made sure she had ample time for questions, because she related to us how when she was 23, and working as a journalist, she had all sorts of questions for authors...yet it was hard to get the chance to ask them. She always wanted to write books since the 8th grade, yet was pushed into the Redbook magazine business because of her mom's "you're gonna starve if you write books" comments as an 8th grader with a writer's ambition.

The audience also learned that she grew up in a small town, approx. 5,000 persons, and was a big reader who could easily have read the entire library's collection as a kid. She didn't win writing contests, but she kept writing until she made her way in the literary world. Now she has at least 4 books out, the 5th being a stand-alone book...and Hollywood is planning on making her first novel, The Friday Night Knitting Club in to a movie! With Julia Roberts starring as Georgia Walker! Neat!
friday night knitting  club
The basis of the Knitting Club books is about flawed friends who find their way in the Big City by this club that meets on Fridays in Georgia Walker's knitting shop. They bring their mistakes to the table, yet find solace in eachother and learn to make amends with their mistakes, and to move-on from inevitable things that you can't change. Unlikely friendships form in the process, and long-term relationships mend or break. The book is charming, although not fast-paced, and should make you want to join a knitting club if you haven't already.

Kate Jacobs also talked about a "Warming families" hat-drive that she is part of with Land's End, with a goal to have around 25,000 beanies knit for the homeless. But like she said, she can't knit it all up...and she needs our help! You can visit her website for more information on Vickie Howell's free beanie pattern that you can use to knit up the hats. If you're interested in the 2x2 ribbed hat pattern, you can find others knitting it on Ravelry. You can even send in a scarf if you're still a beginner knitter. If you can a spare skein of yarn and a spare day or so, please help her out. It's for a really good cause. :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

"Friday Night Knitting Club"

Just wondering if anyone else was going to Kate Jacob's reading at my library tomorrow, the 7th. If you are, you know where it is...and just holla, cause I'll be there. I'm excited!
Sorry, I'm off to try to read more of the book, since I stopped a while ago....eek!!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Double-looped Scarf

double looped scarf
I've been knitting a little bit on some thank you gifts for some people who really were too gracious in giving us wedding gifts the past couple of months. We appreciate their thoughtfulness, so I'd like to give them something warm and hand-knit. I'm knitting each of the three ladies my "double-looped scarf" that really is a fast and easy knit. I'll upload the pattern to it in the near future. It's a great pattern for holiday knits in a pinch!
Get the FREE pattern.

Double looped scarf
Seriously, you could knit this bad boy up in a day or two, tops.
double looped scarf
This pattern is versatile. You not only can loop in around to make a scarf, but you can wear it down with a peacoat and still look great. If you made it wider, you would even wear it on your head to cover your ears on a real frosty day. I'm a Chicagoan, so that's definitely an option!

double looped scarf
It was really important to me that the project was soft, chunky, and a quick-knit, and seemed to be something off of a runway, since a large looped scarf is "in." Apparently. I'm just glad that all sorts of knits are still really in, quite frankly.
double looped scarf
It's great even without a coat.
double looped scarf
I love the texture to it. Seed Stitch is such a wonderful pattern. You can make so many great things using it.
double looped scarf
Something else is brewing, but...guys and gals, I'm off to Olive Garden for Joe and my 1st month anniversary as a married couple! Can you believe that it's been a whole month?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hallow-rific 09

I hope you all had a great Halloween! I know I did! I threw a Halloween party that night!
flapper 2
I went as a "flapper" this year, not another corpse bride.
Halloween 09
My pal Britney Spears also appeared at my party! Fabulous. We partied out on the terrace for a while. You might recognize her from my bridal party.
ghost wall
Dudes, my apartment was so decked out! I had cobwebs, lit jack-o-lanterns, posters with creepy pictures (large windows with owls or bats breaking through, dungeons, bookcases [which I covered the bathroom door with-it's a secret door!]. I even put glowsticks under the fireplace, dungeon door and under the ghost's eyes and hung fake tealights in place of my owl's eyes...it was hilarious! It was so neat with the lights off. I even had a small graveyard and lots of cool lights for ambience. There was plenty of booze in my punch couldron and junkfood to eat (with worms and gummy eyeballs in it!). Don't forget the halloween music too. You guys need to hang with me next time. We knittas have the best parties!
Dr. Stange Love
My hubby, "Dr. Stange Love." I begged him to be my "gansta," but he refused. Zut Alors.
flapper 3