08 January 2008

Packing up and moving

Over to Wordpress!

Come visit me at http://cygknit.wordpress.com/

Sit down and stay a while, you hear?

01 January 2008

Under the wire

My last FO of the year slid in under the wire at 10:50ish last night.

Baby Bib O' Love for Terry's baby girl. It was made to distract her from the fact that I have not yet finished the blanket I've promised her. I'm not sure if it worked. I am making a larger version of the lovey I knit for Em, close to a full blanket size. It has been an easy and comforting knit--except that I ran out of yarn. After calling a variety of stores locally AND in South Carolina, I finally stumbled upon one that actually offered to order some for me. It's a new yarn store for me, Yarn Garden. It's only about 20 minutes from me, and may possibly become a replacement LYS for the local one that went out of business. The 20% student discount is a powerful motivator.

In an effort to dodge the end-of-year wrap up that so many bloggers do, I'm entertaining myself with a contest from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I chose to enter option 1:

Post a picture of your recipe box (binder, drawer, whatever) on your blog if you have one. Also post one recipe from the box. Then, post a comment to this post containing a link to your blog entry, so that I can find you and link to your recipe box. (Let's review: post on your blog, comment on our blog with a link.) TIDYING UP YOUR BOX IS CHEATING.

Here's my box:
I didn't tidy a thing up, including the shelf it sits on. Or dust, for that matter.

I bought my box in the mid '90's as a (too) young matron. I was living in Texas and working at a craft mall at the time with stalls of handmade items at my fingertips. The woman who painted this box was highly in demand. Her items, no matter how large or small, sold out within a few days of restocking. I admit to having more than a few of her pieces, though my style has changed considerably from those country-loving days.

The recipes in the box are a time-capsule of my life during that period. I was experimenting with cooking and with my role as wife. There are recipes clipped from magazines, recipes quickly scribbled as co-workers recited them, recipes won in Tupperware party games. The marriage didn't last, but the recipe box did.

My favorite is this one, given to me by a friend's mom years ago:

There are as many recipes for Coca-Cola Cake as there are big-haired women in Texas, and I've never found the perfect match to this one to fill in the pieces. I made it a number of times before it was lost, with varying degrees of success. It's a bear to make, but so rich and so filling that it's totally worth the work. I miss it some days.

I'll share this one, then, in honor of the New Year. It is a Southern tradition to make black-eyed peas for luck. There is little else in this world that goes with them then a fine cornbread:

Click for big, if interested

The only instructions? 8x8 pan, 395* for 28 mins.

Happy New Year from all of us at the CygKnit household

22 December 2007

Coming to You Live From South Carolina

As we speak, the boy is downstairs, in the loving arms of Grandma. This is a beautiful thing for mama, who relished her first shower completely alone in weeks. Grandma is no doubt feeding said infant cheese sandwiches on wheat bread* but I assure you at this glorious towel-wrapped moment I do not care.

I have a few things that have been poking in the back of my head, demanding to be blogged. I present you with:

-- A FO! This is a wee lovey made for Em from Plymouth Heaven gifted to me at my Florida baby shower. I think I blogged about it ages ago, possibly before Em was born (way to finish project, huh?)

And another view:

You may notice something amiss is the middle? Um, yeah. I tried to knit on a bear head, a la this, and it did not work. Compared to the Heaven, any other yarn seems as scratchy and nasty as the cheapest acrylic. Knit in Heaven, a bear head has all the definition of a lump of snow. So, rather than just rip it back (which is a trick with the Heaven) I had the grand idea of just snipping it off. You see where this is going--I snipped the blanket instead of the head and was faced with a big old hole. Some blind sewing later (this yarn is nothing if not camouflaging) and the whole is closed, if ugly. The boy loves it, though.

For the record, it was knit on size 13 (9 mm) needles. I cast on 35 stitches, I think, and alternated four rows of the variegated and two of white in garter stitch. (There is no such thing as stitch definition with this yarn, so don't even bother with the knits and purls.) I finished it off with a double crochet edging in the white, with the biggest hook I had around. It's about 12" by 18" (30 x 45 cm), perfect for a little lovey.

-- Next up: Yarn!

I won a contest of over at Imbrium's a few months back and received this lovely skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot as my prize. Yum-o. Sadly, it arrived while I was in the end-of-semester crunch and aside from photographing it for Ravelry, I totally forgot to mention it. Regardless of that glaring blogger error, I am still really happy to have won my first contest and get such a coveted (by me) prize.

-- Finally, a WIP. Kinda. Young Master Em is rapidly outrgowing his hats (I have sworn since the day he was born that boy had a big head). I told Mr. C that I would be more than happy to (finally) knit a hat, if he would pick it out. He picked a Viking helmet. Of course. (I only have a Ravelry link to it). Here is the "metal" band with rivets:

And here is the "leather" helmet portion:

Sadly, it is stalled because the pattern was on her blog but exists no longer. Being the Queen of Prepared that I am, I failed to print it out. For once, I was prepared to make that leap to FO and have been thwarted. I'm hoping she'll repost that page soon.

-- Finally (for real this time), here's a picture of my six month old boy. (I am THAT woman who bores everyone with pictures of how cute her kid is.) He's airing out a bit from a teething rash, here, after mama learned that he needs to air out WITH a diaper (cloth, of course) rather than without. Hence the bumper in the wash.

I don't know how much time I'll have again until after Christmas, when I'm back from SC, so Merry Merry to those that celebrate it. For those that don't, I'll see you at the Chinese restaurant.

*This has become a joke between my sister and I, as my mother attempted to feed a three month-old Em some cheese, and just yesterday tried to give his six month-old self wheat bread. Considering my personal list of allergies is longer than my list of non-allergic foods, my heart stops when I see my child fed things known to cause life-long intolerances. Fun times with the Fam.

11 December 2007

It's not about freaking out the muggles. That's just a bonus.

I took a much needed break on Saturday from paper writing to meet Jessalu at a Starbucks halfway between the two of us. I've spent months trying to learn chain plying, but without actual three dimensional instructions I was lost.

Friday evening Mr. C. was at a work networking-thingie (a Neil Young concert, go figure), so once Em was down I pulled my wheel into the living room, geared up the Tivo and finished up the Ravelry BFL I started a few weeks ago. The last few dozen yards were colored by anxiety over extra lateness and snow-covered roads. Nervousness causes some wicked over-spinning.

Taken at not quite a full bobbin, but with better light than 2 am produces

At 11 the next morning I met Jess at Starbucks. That location was PACKED, with a line out to the door more than once. We snagged a sunny (and hot) squishy couch and looked a lot like this:
Neither of us were feeling particularly photogenic Saturday, but our wheels were.

It amazed me the number of people who came up to talk about the spinning. Many were led by small children unafraid of staring. Other's stopped their walk by the windows to watch from outside, much like we were inside an exhibit.

I've spun in public only at the Hancock Shaker village. There, it wasn't a curiosity, it was a demonstration. At Starbucks we were a bit of a sideshow (someone even asked if Starbucks hired us to bring in business). I had a lot of time to reflect how humbling it is to learn a new technique with an audience looking on.

When I got home I tossed aside hopes of finishing my paper in favor of plying the rest of the bobbin. I live on the edge, I know.

The picture above shows two different qualities. The foreground has my early attempts, with no continuity in the spinning as I stopped too often to clear tangles. The back of the niddy noddy shows the end of the plying, which has evened out some. It was still badly overplied, though.

Sunday morning I was stepping out of the shower when I decided to give the yarn a bath. I wasn't worried too much about felting as I thought some light roughing up wasn't much of a bad thing. A quick soak in the shower and then it was off to the sink with Eucalan. My sheepy smelling bathroom was a nice companion to my furious paper-writing on Sunday.

Here's the finished skein today. It's just under 200 yards and I haven't a clue what to knit with it. And I DO want to knit something right away. I don't have other details yet, like wpi and such, though I hope to soon.

This little skein holds so much inside it. Spinning it was freeing, as I threw "shoulds" out and did with it as I pleased. This is my first time spinning not for product, but for process. Instead of being embarrassed about and apologetic for mistakes, I love them. I see a new thought process in many of them.

My holiday request of Mr. C was a spinning lesson. Without knowing this, Jess offered to give up her Saturday and enter the retail hell the town we met in is. I won't be so cliche as to call it a Christmas miracle...but I may think it.

08 December 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I am about three days out from being done with this semester. I cannot express the joy I feel right now, coming off of a day with visits to two libraries in different parts of the state, in the snow, with a very grabby nearly-six month old. I have to finish this paper, make a few comments and I am done. Donedonedone. At least until January when I get to start this all over again.

Since I have about 3 posts in the queue waiting for me to simply caption some pictures, I am going to vote for brevity over content this time.

I have on my mind the yearly December Showdown between Christian and Jewish cultures, or American and American Jew practices (I think that is closer to the truth). Last year I posted a bit about my tree-or-no-tree struggle as I tried to figure out what we would do once the child I was carrying was born.

It appears that I am not the only one with this dilemma. Terry sent me this New York times article from the other day on compromise. I'll let it speak for me this time.

As for our little household, I can answer that this year we didn't even bother to argue over a tree or not, but both tiredly agreed to a small table-top model. We have the perfect spot for it in the living room, pretty, but not in the way or near the grabby clutches of the boy (did I mention he's in a grabby stage?). I'm sure it would be lovely, if I could only clear all that yarn off it.

Happy Hanukkah.

22 November 2007


The end of the semester is here, and I am scrambling to get assignments in. At this point, turning them in on time is a major accomplishment, and it sadly is one I'm not always achieving. (Julie was right in a big way about that organization thing.) The knitting isn't getting done so much, except random rows here and there. I have a hat for my sister's newborn that's giving me grief in the decreases (somehow I thought I could go without a pattern for a plain hat. Seems I was mistaken on that), I have a wee knitted animal that just needs stuffing, and I have my standard parade of UFOs that are requesting attention. Oh, and the nearly a dozen emails I'm behind on answering. Can't forget those.

I am here for another reason, though. I'm overdue in blogging about this:

This is the Wing of the Swan shawl knit for me by the matchless Knitter Bunny.

Isn't it gorgeous? Last Saturday night Mr. Cygknit and I attended a play co-starring Terry's husband. To be appropriately attired, I chose this ensemble:

Wing of the Swan Shawl

Fabulous, no? She has more pictures here (blog) and here (Ravelry). I won't be able to do justice to her description of the design of this amazing shawl. I can tell you that the lace elements reflect swan feathers (me) dragon scales (for my not-enough co-blogging here), water, and more. Kelli, please explain more in the comments? Mr. C is rushing me out the door for Thanksgiving at the in-laws and I don't have the words to describe this well enough. All I can say is thank you for adding such beauty to my day.

31 October 2007


Em and I just got back from a week in Texas. My intent had been to post on one of my down days there, but there was a problem. My "remember me" cookie for my password expired...and I couldn't remember what the password was! I spent several days trying every possible combination with no luck. Then, we get home well after 1 am yesterday and I tried again, half asleep. It worked. D'oh!

Since I didn't get to post my Rhinebeck wrap-up in a timely fashion, I think I'll just post some pictures:
Both males looking equally thrilled:

Spunky Eclectic BFL I won at the Ravelry party, in the Ravelry colorway:

And what it looks like partially spun. When Lisa was here she had me try something I never was brave enough to do before: random spinning. She pulled off bits where she felt like it, adding more pink here and more green or white there. I just did what she told me, and spun as fast as I could. Despite my inability to photograph the colors right, I think it has turned out pretty great:

We couldn't resist the crocheted frog hat. I don't think I have a single non-blurry shot of him in it, despite much effort:

Bamboo to spin:

Roving purchased by Mr. C, who is actually going to spin! It is hard to see in the picture, but it is grey with teal and purple. That's about all I know of it, as I didn't purchase it and I'm nursing at the moment :)

Circular sock machine socks from Jess! I totally snagged these in a way that would embarrass my mother (I was raised better than that), as I basically helped myself to them. The karmic payment for that? Now that I've (very gently) washed them, they don't fit. I've tried, and I just can't get away with it, even though they look great here:

Finally, a not-Rhinebeck picture. Em says, "This is what happens when Daddy dresses me!"

At least Daddy picked a handknit and wool pants.

Some last random things regarding Rhinebeck"

- Am I the only one who didn't see a lot of the people she set out to see? I was looking for a variety of people that I never once ran into. There were others I only got to see for a second, then never saw again. Frustrating.

- I got to meet NeedleTart!! She gave us a super yummy challah loaf that I hoarded all for myself, and a shiny bank filled with 2007 pennies to Em:

- I barely had a chance to catch up with Sarah. We did get in a good bit of time to chat, though it wasn't nearly enough. She gifted me with some hearty hugs and these cuties :

That's it, that's all I have right now. It's taken me two days to type all these, while rearranging my house, celebrating Halloween, and re-entering my life. I have so much more to write about, though! In the near future I hope to post about some other spinning I've been doing, and the amazing Wings of the Swan Shawl that Kelli has sent me. By the time you read this, it will be her birthday. Pop on over and show her some love, will ya?