Saturday, February 26, 2011

Short attention span

Deadlines in February always have a sort of headlong quality to them. The month is only short by a couple days, but those extra hours add up when March 1 is within sight.

I've been participating in Nerd Wars all month, and I have a weaving project to finish. This was it last week. I have 18in left to do and not much time to do it in. We'll see if I get it in on time.

It's a backstrap loom warped with some matka and noil 2ply silk I have, and I've been weaving with some 2ply Gottland wool. I've started splicing in extra silk where the warp is thin, so we'll see how that changes the character of the fabric. I do like how it's turning out, but I will never really be a weaver. I much prefer my knitting needles.

I've also wanted to post the most ridiculously easy warm apple deliciousness ever, and since I had three overripe Golden Delicious apples and the desire, I made it this morning. I've got the method after the jump as it's not really a recipe so much as a thing to make when the ingredients match up with the inclination. There are two ingredients, apples and butter, and it can be eaten by itself or as a condiment.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I should learn to luge

First things first, I forgot to do this yesterday. The entries for February's giveaway really cracked me up and the winner of the giveaway stitchmarkers is Bretta! I'll contact via Ravelry.

Meanwhile, this winter is certainly full of enough ice and snow. We've been on ice since the sleet storm, with an impassible driveway. Rather, we could get down but getting back up again is always the kicker. This was the top of the driveway this afternoon. This is after a couple days of thaw, but it hasn't dented the inch thick layer of compacted snow and ice pellets.

Digging around in the shed revealed a bag of rock salt and a bucket of sand, so everything visible in the picture was given a going over. This allowed us to get out and, more importantly, back up again with staples like milk, eggs, and cat food. That last one is really important. We are perfectly capable of surviving until spring thaw with what's in the freezer and pantry, but the cats are more particular than we are. :P

Not only that, but there's been a stranger cat visiting late at night since the 3rd. It's a large black and white long hair, very skittish and it runs away whenever I turn on the light and go out to look for it. But it lingers around the house and cries and cries. I think it may be a housecat that got out and is now lost in the wilderness of ice and snow. I've been putting food and water out for it, so hopefully it will become less skittish over time and I can see about finding where it belongs.

Being iced in gives me a weird sense of limbo. I've been knitting up a storm and getting not much else of worth done. I'm separating some 6ply silk into a 2ply and a 4ply for a weaving project I want to do (which is a special sort of tedium since I don't have a wheel) and I've been making stitch markers, but there's no urgency to anything. Getting to the mailbox has been hard enough, let alone the post office. With the second half of the week expected to go back down to single digits overnight, our driveway is unlikely to improve very much. I feel like I'm hibernating.

Still, one thing I did do was post my free knit jiaozi pattern to Ravelry, and I made a little instructional video, too. Both links are in the sidebar, too.

Ravelry pattern page
Ravelry pdf download link
YouTube supplemental tutorial

These dumplings were a good idea, actually. The cats have been going stir crazy indoors, and so I've thrown a bunch of these around and it lets them blow off some excess energy. Not all of them have catnip in them and they still seem to work.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tigers and Rabbits and a giveaway

February! I'm a little scattered because February 3 is New Year's day according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which means that I've got to clean and clean and clean some more. But tonight I have a giveaway for you all! This month, I'm giving away half a set of stitch markers. But it's not just any half set.

You see, normally my stitch markers come in sets of 4. But the February Phatfiber box theme is gems and minerals, so I decided to make a very big set indeed. That set will be an assortment of 15 widgets in five sizes including the rarely seen extra large (12mm) marker. So, half a set will net you seven widgets, and I've thrown in a couple ring markers, too. That's 9 markers total. Here they are displayed on corner of my helical blanket, which will incidentally take up the other part of this post.

Some of the widgets are made with copper this time, which is softer and will develop a patina more quickly. I don't actually know what all the stones are.

For this month's giveaway I'd like a story, true or made up, involving Tigers (for the year we are leaving) and/or Rabbits (for the year we are entering). It can be as silly or as serious as you'd like, and coherence is overrated. I'll accept jokes, limericks, and haiku in lieu of a full narrative.

I'm leaving this one up through Saturday, February 5 and I'll randomly pick a recipient on Sunday. Once again, entering both the blog and the Ravelry group giveaway is fine.

For me, I'd like to mention Hotshot. She was an elderly little dwarf bunny who died of old age last week. I got her in July 2007 from my niece who was moving overseas, and she'd been a grand old lady ever since.

Last winter she became very sick with one of those mysterious rabbit malaises where she went all lopsided and couldn't balance. We moved her inside and made sure she was hydrated and could eat, and she got much better. She was never quite 100% again, but she'd run around on my floor and bother the cats quite comfortably.

Now her not-quite-buddy Squirrel (also a dwarf rabbit and also from my niece) has moved into Hotshot's indoor digs and is getting used to being actually warm. Poor guy usually overwinters outside, but it's just been ridiculously cold. So while I'll miss Hotshot, I'm glad Squirrel will have a more comfortable time of it.

Now it's your turn!

Meanwhile, this was December's Mystery Box, for those who were wondering. 

And below the cut I'm going to talk about my Helices blanket.