Dinner Experiment

I’m going to conduct a bit of a dinner experiment today. My folks are joining us for dinner and I’m going to attempt to make some Japanese food. The menu will include miso soup, eggplant dengaku, vinegared cucumber and chicken donburi. Not sure about dessert yet. Perhaps just some vanilla yogurt with fruit, or a simple cake.

I’m using a book from the library. Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji. The book is very detailed! There is a lot of information about dining in proper Japanese style, such as the order the dishes should be served in and the types of dishes to use. Loads of information about the ingredients and possible western substitutes. So far, I’d highly recommend the book for anyone interested in learning about Japanese cuisine. But perhaps I should reserve judgment until after the dinner!

I’ll likely post again tomorrow with some pictures of the food. Wish me luck!

Published in: on January 12, 2008 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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FO: Warm and Cozy Top Down Cardigan

completed w&c cardi2

Originally uploaded by my spare time

I finally managed to get a picture of the completed cardigan. As I mentioned earlier, it didn’t turn out the way I’d originally planned. But it’s wearable.

Published in: on January 6, 2008 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hand Made Christmas Gifts

stuffed bird 2

Originally uploaded by my spare time

I forgot to post this earlier. I made several bird ornaments from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts to give to a few co-workers as Christmas gifts. Lots of fun to make. I used some fat quarters that I had lying around.

I’m really not much of a sewer. I tend to start a sewing project and then just put it to the side when I get frustrated, which inevitably happens. These birds were pretty simple to make, although it did take some practice before I got the curved seams looking reasonable.

I also made the quilted coasters from this book, but I neglected to take pictures before I wrapped them up for gift giving.

Overall I was pretty pleased with the projects. In fact, I may just make a few other projects from this book. I’d love to make the puzzle ball and the someone to watch over you quilt. Or perhaps I should stick with smaller projects that I’m actually likely to finish.

Published in: on January 6, 2008 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blair’s sweater: the second attempt

I decided to rip Blair’s sweater back to the point where the yoke and arms join. No tears were shed. In fact, I’m actually excited to tackle this again with a new plan of attack! I think I’ve learned a lot since I originally started this sweater two years ago, so the end result should be much nicer this time. I hope the motivation lasts long enough to get it done before I get distracted by something else.

I plan on making the sweater a bit longer before I add the arms again. I also plan on using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s hybrid shoulder shaping with a crew neck rather than attempting the raglan and v-neck again. I’ve seen a few sweaters using this shaping combination in blog land and I think it’s quite flattering. Hopefully I’ll have better luck the second time round on this sweater.

I just couldn’t bear to take a picture of the ripped sweater. But I will be sure to post a picture of the FO. Maybe I’ll even be able to convince Blair to model it!

Published in: on December 31, 2007 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Vintage Buttons!


Originally uploaded by my spare time

While doing some last minute Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago I wandered into a lovely vintage shop in Osborne Village. The woman who owns the shop was quite charming and rather talkative. Blair was with me and she seemed quite taken with him when she saw his engineering ring. Funny, this isn’t the first time that someone has spotted the ring and treated Blair like a super star.

I could have spent hours exploring the shop, but I was on a shopping mission so I kept my visit short. However I did manage to find a lovely jar of vintage buttons. It’s silly how incredibly excited I am over this jar of buttons! Thrilled, really. I’ve already used one of the buttons on a cardigan I recently finished. Oh the possibilities!

Published in: on December 29, 2007 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review: Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam

I’m thrilled to have finished the first of my From the Stacks Challenge books! However, I can’t say I’m as thrilled to have read Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. I didn’t find the characters very likable or engaging. I found Ming particularly unlikable. The only character I found remotely interesting was Sri.

I do believe that if I don’t have something nice to say it’s best to say nothing. So as a result this review is brief.

Published in: on December 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Warm and Cozy TDC is almost done!

Warm and Cozy TDC Detail

Originally uploaded by my spare time

Last night I finished the last cuff and blocked my warm and cozy top down cardigan! Yay! It’s still a bit damp from being wet blocked. I’m trying to be patient. But, while still a wee bit damp, I tried it on. It is a bit smaller than I’d planned. I was thinking a bit oversized. Instead it just fits. Just. With a bit of negative ease. And I’m okay with that.

I think that sweaters develop a personality of their own. And this one didn’t want to be a cozy oversized cardi. Nope. It wanted to be a slightly fitted cardi that will be good for layering with a fitted, longish t-shirt. And there’s no arguing with the sweater. The sweater will be what the sweater will be.

Or perhaps I just need a lesson in gauge. Or I should be a bit less lazy and try on the sweater before I start binding off.

Finished photos to come. I’m going to make a looped I cord button hole and decide on a button. Weave in loose bits of yarn. And then the photos.

Hmmm, I guess this means I can start another knitting project? One off the needles means a new one on…right?

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sweater Sadness

blair’s sweater

Originally uploaded by my spare time

Yesterday I was determined to get things done! I was optimistic that I would finish at least one project. So I picked up Blair’s sweater and picked up the stitches for the neckband. I worked about an inch of knit 1 purl 1 ribbing on size 5 needles. I bound off. I got Blair to try it on. And it was crooked! So sad.

This is the first time I’ve knit a V neck sweater, so I guess it was a bit too optimistic to think all would go well. I just hope the crookedness is because of the number of stitches I picked up, rather than wonkiness with the neckline or raglan shaping. I really don’t want to rip the entire yoke.

Did I mention I started this sweater about two years ago? I think if I was to rip it and start over again, I would approach this sweater in an entirely different manner. I think I’d knit it from the top down so that Blair could try it on every few inches or so (which I’m sure he’d love). And I’d probably knit it with a crew neck. With maybe some patterning on the yoke. Maybe garter stitch. Hmmm, maybe ripping it and starting over isn’t such a bad idea.

Published in: on December 10, 2007 at 1:21 pm  Comments (2)  

Inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann

knitpicks swish and books

Originally uploaded by my spare time

I’ve recently become somewhat obsessed with the idea of knitting one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless sweaters. I’m thinking the seamless hybrid sweater from Knitting Without Tears in Knitpicks Swish. The wonderful thing about knitting a sweater this way is that I don’t have to decide which of the seamless sweaters I’d like until I hit the yoke!

I’ve already swatched the Swish and it knits up nicely and is easy to handle. I think this will be a wonderful project for over the Christmas holidays.

I also have some bits and pieces of yarn that I think would make lovely baby surprise jacket. Perhaps I’ll start one of these over the break as well.

Before I cast on for this I do have to get to finishing some of the projects that have been waiting patiently. I think by the end of this week I should have the Top Down Cardi completed. And I hope to finish Blair’s sweater as well. I didn’t think it would get cold enough for him to wear the sweater until February, but we’re having quite the cold snap right now.

Published in: on December 9, 2007 at 12:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Warm and Cozy Top Down Cardigan

Warm and Cozy TDC1

Originally uploaded by my spare time

Winter has arrived in full force. It seems a bit early to be this cold. Fortunately I’m well on my way to completing a warm and cozy sweater for myself. I’m knitting Cosmicpluto‘s Top Down Raglan Cardi. I’ve knit a version of this sweater before, joining it after the yoke to make a pullover. It’s a nicely written pattern that’s easy to adapt to suit your needs. I love knitting sweaters from the top down. It’s so much fun to try the sweater on as you go, checking to see if it’ll fit.

This time I’ve used seed stitch on the collar, cuffs and waist band.

I was a bit impatient so I finished the body sooner than I’d originally planned. I’d imagined a longer sweater with very long sleeves that I could tuck my constantly cold hands into. I’m hoping that blocking will add another inch in length to the body.

I’m planning on putting some sort of a closure on it, but not entirely sure what. Perhaps Elizabeth Zimmermann’s looped I-cord button closure. I have a large brown shell button that I think would be ideal.

Published in: on December 8, 2007 at 1:38 pm  Comments (3)  
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