Thursday, March 31, 2011


Close friends and family know that I have battled with an excess of too much sock yarn.  Last year I resolved to not only finish all my sock stash, but to also resist from buying more.  I am only 1.5 skeins away from achieving my goal, but last night I had a disturbing dream.

In my dream, I was cleaning the hair out of the drain of my bathtub (I know mom, the cleaning part is very peculiar, but remember this is only a dream)  Of course this dreamy drain was very large, much larger than a normal drain, and I had to reach my hand way down into the pipe.  When I pulled up, an unfinished sock on needles and a skein of yarn came up.  I didn't think that was weird at all so I reached in again and fished up another unfinished sock.   Then I woke up; anxious.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Fun

Last week I crashed my bike on my way to work.  Actually, I just fell; but Sharon assured me that crashing sounds more hard core.  So I crashed.  It happened on the corner of Lyndale and 15th St right by Loring Park and next to the Walker Art Center.  Snow had been melting rapidly and an overnight freeze coated the streets with ice.  After I wiped out a friendly bystander braved the street in an attempt to recover my lunch box, which had flown out of my crate.  Embarrassed I scrambled up and told her I was Ok and to not come into the street as it was slippery...obviously.  Just as she stepped onto the street, she too slipped and "crashed"  Then I just felt worse.  

Since that moment, I have been anxious for winter to just go ahead and get on with it.  I was determined to coup myself up inside until the temps were at least in the 40's.  So when Adam asked me to bike to St. Louis Park on Saturday to help him pick out a new bike, I was weary.  It was supposed to be in the 30's and that was against my new rule.  But...Saturday rolled around and it was a sunny gorgeous day.  A lovely day for a ride.

Not only did Adam get his new awesome road bike, we also made a pitstop at one of the most amazing stores in Minnesota, The Four Firkins.  If you like good beer, this is the place for you.  The brews you find here, you can't get at just any ordinary liquor shop.  And the best part is, you can bike there!!  Yep, The Four Firkins can be accessed almost entirely by Minneapolis Park Trails.  Thank you Four Firkins for helping make my Saturday night even better.

Danielle's Boston Terrier, Bubba came over for an extended weekend visit, while his mama was out of town.  Our morning walk to the coffee shop made me forgive winter.... just a little.

After Bubbsie left this afternoon, Muffin was happy to re-establish himself in the living room.  I too was also happy to enjoy the Apricot Wheat Growlers brought back from Fitger's .

Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting ready to warp!

For weaving the upfront process of planning is much more involved, due to the fact that most of the yarns need to be mail ordered.  I spend hours designing and calculating my warp.  I then, carefully select my colors based off of the teeny little thread samples taped onto the color cards.  Weaving is much more expensive and it is a lot harder to utilize weaving "stash", therefore it is important to be accurate.  This 5/2 pearl cotton will become a project that is half a gift and half for me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Slippers

I like to knit in bulk; I couldn't stop at just one pair.  This is the rest of my wool stash, and as I discussed, justified and agreed with the ladies this past weekend, stash knitting is free knitting. :-) Seeing as we just had a winter comeback this week, these extra slippers will come in handy.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Even though I have been a Minneapolitan for almost 4 years, I've never been to Duluth.  This past weekend, a group of my 9 closest friends and I traveled to the shores of Lake Superior as a farewell party to our sweet friend Kara who has taken a summer internship on a farm in Wisconsin.  

As with most of our activities, there was a lot of knitting and a lot of drinking.  Lucky for us there wasn't a shortage of either.  

 From left: Eliz, Ashley, Danielle, Morgen, and our sweet friend Kara in front of the museum we never made it to, due to an impromptu stop for a drink which turned into several rounds of drinks and knitting.

The Thirsty Pagan in Superior, WI

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Salted caramels

For Christmas this past year, my close friend Danielle gave me a gift certificate for a cooking class at Cooks of Crocus Hill called "Mastering Sauces"  The idea sprung from our recent trip to Chile last year.  We noticed that Chileans are sauce fiends and decided that sauces really do make a meal, but neither of us knew how they seemed to make them so tasty.  

Two weeks ago, I cashed in my cooking coupon.  We learned how to make dressings, gravy, bechamel, hollandaise, herbed butter, pesto and salted caramel sauce.  The caramel sauce inspired me to make salted caramel candies.  The technique is identical with the sauce except the temperature needs to be raised slightly higher; to the soft ball stage, before removing from the heat.

I gathered all the ingredients and proceeded to fail miserably 3 times before deciding that my candy thermometer must be broken.  The second time, my candies were so hard it took 4 days of soaking my pyrex in water before all caramel remnants had dissolved. 

New thermometer in hand, I set out to try just one more time and finally.....success 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I think Box Spring was a little jealous of the time "new kitty" and I spent braiding together, because the next night he made sure to hop up onto my kitchen table; which he has never done before, for some attention and belly rubs.
Together we finished my braided rug.  
I am also happy to see that Box Spring still likes to lounge right in the center.
If you are a beginning rug braider, like me, here are a few tips that might make your project go more smoothly.

1. Try to braid with the same weight of wool.  If that isn't possible then cut thin wool into wider strips and thick wool into narrower strips.  It will be a lot easier to braid and you will be happier with the results.

2. Buy enough yardage to get the color effect you want.  the bigger your rug, the more yardage you need to complete a round.  The outer gray circle on my rug is about 2 yards of fabric.

3. Lace your rug on a flat surface, any bubbles or kinks in your rug will not steam out.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baby, it's cold in here

My condo lost heat on Friday and the boiler can't get fixed until Tuesday, due to rare parts.  My mom happened to be up for the weekend and we have been braving the dropping temperatures together.

Last night I went to bed with my winter hat and scarf on.  My mom came into the room and asked disapprovingly, "Are you really going to bed with your hat on"  I adamantly replied, "Yes", because it really is that cold.  And to my surprise she exclaimed, "I am going to wear my coat!" as she climbed under the covers.

This indoor cold spell prompted me to pull out yet another unfinished, yet totally appropriate given the situation, project.  Felted clogs.  I love the Fiber Trends felted clog pattern.  I have made these many times as gifts and they are always warm and cozy...exactly what I needed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Keep on Braiding.

Last year, at our third annual craft retreat, the ladies and I took a rug braiding class at one of the shops in down town St Croix Falls  called In the Wool.  It was an excellent 3 hour class and included 1 yard of wool, a wool clamp, a lacing needle, lacing thread and a book.  We all left the shop with enough yardage to create a small wool rug.  Back at our craft retreat cabin, we ignored our knitting projects and kept on trucking through our braided rugs.  It was fun to see how everyone used color in a different way.      I made good progress on my own rug, but once home it lay untouched on the floor of my craft room next to a giant pile of wool fabric for 10 months...until now.  Seeing my new kitty curled up in the center of my unfinished rug prompted me to finally finish it.  I cleared off my table, added the extra leaf and got to work.
My rug!
My sweet friend Kara's rug.
Ashley's rug.
Morgen's rug.
My rug in the foreground.  Going clockwise, Danielle's rug, Ashley's rug and Morgen's rug.

Of course, nothing stopped New Kitty from staking his spot on the rug.
Only 4 more yards of wool left!  This guy is starting to hang off the table!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When life gives you bananas, make banana bread

I almost never buy bananas.  And when I do, I never let them go bad.  Thus I have lived a fairly banana bread free life.

On Monday, I noticed a sad looking bunch of bananas on the team table at work,left over from the previous Friday.  A co-worker was about to toss the whole pile into the trash; but as I hate wasting food, I rescued them and brought them home with the intentions of making banana bread.

It just so happened that one of the blogs I follow, Renaissance Mamas,  recently found herself in a similar banana predicament and posted a recipe.  Wohoo!  It was a definite sign.  So.....this week life gave me bananas and a recipe.  I really had no excuses.  I dashed home and got baking.

As an added bonus, it gives me a reason to butter up my co-workers at my big meeting tomorrow and I also found a way to put one of my newly woven hand towels to work.  Yum!

P.S.  Recipe is excellent.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I spent a good chunk of my day watching Law and Order reruns while ironing, hemming and washing my new hand towels.

I was going to send a matching pair of towels off to my sister Jen as a birthday gift, but after hanging the finished product off my back beam I decided that I liked the way the way they worked together as "twins".  These two went home to Evanston!