Saturday, August 28, 2010


It  seems I only just got back in Chicago before I've headed back out on the open road. I'm already up in Minnesota visiting my family and going to the famed Minnesota State Fair.

With only five days back in Chicago I managed to squeeze in a visit from our touring Seattle friends, Unnatural Helpers. (that's their van up there) Some great eats and a few minuets of knitting stuck in between.

Lauren of New York fame was able to fly out and join us for the show so before she jetted off back to New York we swung by Xoco, beautiful brain child of Chicago (the world) phenomena Rick Bayless.

This is easily one of my favorite restaurants to date. the food was delicious and fresh and the service was impeccable and friendly. 

Besides a complete menu of sandwhichs and soups there was delectable Aqua Frescas avalibible.
I had the Watermelon Lime while Lauren partook in the Hibiscus and Lemongrass. Both delightful, crisp, refreshing and delightfully concocted.

Sealing the deal for me? The option of complimentary self serve sparkling water. It was the small details and thoughtfulness (accompanying dish of limes) that really made this such a great experience  over all. As someone who is seriously considering purchasing a personal seltzer machine this was like finding my mecca.

Lauren of New York fame.

Overall it was a delicious meal during a quick jaunt home. Minneapolis has been embracing me in its familial bossom and I hate to leave it so soon but I'll be back in Chicago and settling into school soon enough. Also, we're driving our new car back so I'll have a whole 4-6 hours of knitting time to hammer some projects out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Everything that I've been getting my hands on recently has been a cotton or a cotton blend. I don't know what it is but I'm just hooked on the soft cuddly feel. I know that as it starts to get colder( it is Chicago after all, it doesn't take to long around here) I'll be moving into warmer fabrics but right now all i want to do is knit light and airy items.

I've been plugging away on my Traverse City Tube Top for the past couple days. Hopefully I can finish it in time to wear it in some of our last summer weather. I'm hoping to finish it by the end of August to count as my August sweater for Knit a Sweater a Month Challenge. Making my Dollar and Half Cardigan was such a blast that I decided to try and knit a sweater each month until the end of the year (and beyond...? probably) So far I'm doing alright and I've got tons of projects lined up.

I'm loving the color of this project and the yarn is so soft and cuddly. I totally messed up the first two rows of the charted pattern and instead of pulling them back out or knitting back (LAZY) I just started over. I've also made some mistakes and doubled rows, jumping back in the pattern. It looks a little funky but I'm not too worried about it. I just gotta keep knitting forward. I have learned from this experience that I have problems following charted patterns with my usual knitting habits- on the bus, watching TV, talking etc. I have to stay very very focused, but hopefully once I get a little more practice it will get better.

I've also been working on some Christmas presents as well and making some cowls. Always simple but classic I have a feeling the cowl and I will be having a great relationship this season. It works up so simply and can be used by men or women plus it keeps you warm!

This yarn was actually purchased with a special someone in mind and although the lace pattern I've put into it has faced some challenges (mostly my inability to count) it's turning out really nicely and I think will be great to wear through the winter and the spring. This was knit using the Knit Picks Cotton Shine which is blend of cotton and natural beach wood fiber. I love the drape and sheen of it, it is such a comfortable but luxurious feeling fiber.

I just got in a double order of yarn so I've got lots and lots of projects to get started on. I'm off to make a list of what needs to come first so I can free up the right sets of needles. Or maybe I should just buy some new needles- it's so hard for me to wait sometimes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New York

Even though I dragged my computer all the way to New York with me I didn't get around to updating at all. I was just too busy having fun EATING

Alhtough I did spend very little time knitting I did spend a lot of time doing my second favorite activity. EATING.

First stop on the New York eats tour: Milk Bar. Home to my favorite cookie of all time: Corn Flake, Chocolate Chip, Marshmallow.  If you're only going to eat one thing in New York, let it be this.

Milk Bar is the bakery attachment of the famed Momfuku restaurant. Where my bff, Kat and I had lunch. We order the prix fixed menu, more than enough food for two people. The entire meal was delicious but the star of the show was the dessert.

An ice cream pie consisting of sweat corn ice cream, a pretzel crust and fresh berries. Yum. 

Next up on the New York list: Pie's and Thigh's in Willimsburg, Brooklyn

A celebration of pies and fried chicken (thighs!) As a vegitarian I keep coming back for the delicious sides. Their honey butter on their biscuts doesn't hurt either. Kat opted for the big salad, a beautiful mix of black eyed peas, shreaded carrots, cabbage, avacado and hard boiled egg. Ahhh-mazing. srsly.

Our bounty/The last super

Unfortunately I didn't snap a picture of our pies before we gobbled them up but after much research the Banana cream reigns supreme. Followed closely by the rhubarb pie.

Another Perk of New York City, Make your own frozen yogurt! Lauren took me for this delightful treat after my disappointing experience (grainy) with Eskimix.

Although this seems like the tour of sweets no trip to New York would be complete with out a visit to my beloved and delicious (!!) Shake Shack

The best cheader cheese fries of your life followed closely by a 'shroom burger. Cheese stuffed, battered, deep fried portabello mushroom sandwiched in a delicious bun topped with lettuce and tomato.

Although I was unhappy to leave New York I think that my arteries will be thanking me. I'll be back with some knitting updates soon. I've been working on some fun stuff and have a knitting list about a mile long.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ruffles for days

I'm jotting this down right before I leave to jet off to New York for a week. I'd like to think I'm going for lots of fun, glamorous reasons but alas I'm just there for work trainings. I do get a chance to see Allyson of Sweatshop Of Love fame and some of my best friends in the world (looking your way Henning). I really couldn't be more excitted.

Of course the day I leave the heat in Chicago has broken and it's absolutely beautiful outside, it doesn't help that my hubby has a vacation this week so my brain is full of picnics and relaxing, but it will just have to wait I suppose. I'm hoping that the weather will be great when I get back because after that two more weeks and I'm back to the grind of school.

Luckily I managed to snap some pictures of my newest project before I packed my camera away.

Twin Cities Anklet Socks!!

Even after washing and drying them in an effort to shrink them they are still too large for my feet (that's what I get for not paying attention while knitting) So they are definitely going to have to be a gift for someone- probably this winter/Christmas. I however already have more yarn coming from Knit Picks for a second pair, that this time will fit- here's hoping. 

I love the double moss stitch on them and the ankle ruffle is just to die for. If you look close there's even an eyelet row right before the ruffles start. Cutest details. This was my first experience with toe up socks and I am totally a convert, they just felt less fussy than cuff down. I'm sure this is the beginning of some very beautiful sock knitting.

I'm bringing.  my computer with me to NYC so I'll try and get some trip updates in, of course I've bought a billion (four) knitting projects with me so hopefully I will have some fun goodies to show by the end of the week.

The lighting in this photo is so dim but I love the atmospheric effect from it. Off to the blue line my friends. Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Minneapolis Headband

Although this headband is officially called The Twin Cities Head Band (a sister product to The Twin Cities Anklet Socks)
I can't help but show my home town love and title mine the Minneapolis Head Band.

I used some left over sport weight beautiful eggplant colored yarn from this adorable baby hat I made a few months ago. This pattern is great, its all knit as one piece starting at the straight end and ending with the ruffle decreases and increases. I love the great shape it gives without overwhelming your head.

Super close up

I love the cute little yellow flowered button detail, originally a contender for my dollar and half cardigan buttons this one didn't make the cut for the sweater but it looked great against the dark purple of the head band.

A quick, breezy knit I know that these will be next to a few names on my gift list this year for sure!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

That Girl!

Cap Sleves! Buttons! Oh My!

Here's the finished product of my That Girl Knit Along. This pattern comes together really quickly and is a breeze to make. It was my first experience with top down sweater construction- which I loved because you can actually try it on as you go and gauge where you are and if you should make changes. It makes sizing a snap because you stop your increases when ever you've reached the length you desire. In addition Nikol Lohr made this so it's very easy to customize and modify to your preferences.

I choose the planetarium color in CotLin (again), a lovely light weight cotton linen blend- perfect for a summer or spring knit. The original version has a collar that I decide to nix and originally hangs open with one button up top. I instead put buttons all the way down so I can close it easily and instead of doing a three quarter large puffy sleeve I went with a condensed puff sleeve version. Very cute and light for summer.

I got this great blue fabric in a quilting square pack and decided to use it for fabric covered buttons. I love the way the white and lighter blue pop out against the dark blue of the yarn. I already have plans to make another That Girl, probably with a wool based yarn for a warmer winter wear. Although I like the breath ability of the CotLin it does knit up a little looser than I prefer, I really do like a little more structure to my knits so I'm hoping that a wool will give me a little more body. I also plan on decreasing under the arms for the cap sleeves and switching to a smaller needle size for the seed stitch band on the bottom of the arms. They are a little loose for my taste.

Over all this was a very quick knit, a great sweater for beginning or seasoned knitters alike, this would make a great first (or in my case- second) sweater and I would definitely recommend it. I love all the ways you can make it your own and fit it to your tastes. I predicit that I will be wearing it quite a bit, it's the perfect thing to toss on before you leave the house no matter if you're dressed up or down. A great idea for summer evenings or any where you know its going to be air conditioned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My First Sweater!!

I finally managed to get some pictures of my FIRST sweater, the dollar and a half cardigan by Veronik Avery
A beautiful cardigan with lace sections alternated with reverse stockinette stitch (the purl/bumpy sides out) and a giant cable running the length of of the right side.

I love how cozy the CotLin yarn is. It's nice and light weight and will be great to wear in the fall and spring. It is shedding just a little bit but I think that when I wash it it should break in and soften really nicely. I love the way the fabric buttons look! They are a great and easy way to personalize your project. I got a ton on sale at Joanns a couple weeks ago so I'm sure they will be on lots of projects in the future.

So cute! The fabric I choose has little squirrels and foxes on it frolicking through autumn colored leaves. Perfect for fall!

When it starts to get cooler I know that this sweater will be seeing a lot of wear. It's such a creamy buttery yellow that looks great with gray- my favorite color. Overall I'm glad to be done with my first sweater and I can't wait to keep knitting more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sock Interlude

I've been waiting for a chance to take decent pictures: read, morning light, of my new sweaters- that's right, there's two of them!! but I haven't had a chance due to my work schedule so we're just going to have to keep those on the to do list. Hopefully I'll be able to check them off soon. We'll see if tomorrow morning cooperates with me.

Luckily I have had lots of things to keep me busy here on the knitting front.

These little beauties have been a joy to make! You may remember them as the Twin Cities Anklet Socks. They are a breeze as a sport weight, cotton fiber knit on size 4's. I started this first one about three days ago and I just finished up this evening. Not too shabby, by the end of the week I should have the second one. I think these are going to have a very special place on my Christmas knits list. Unfortunately I didn't try them on when I was making them and they are a little too large for my teeny tiny toes.

This is the first pair of toe up socks that I've knit. Where you start at the toe instead of the cuff, as done in traditional sock knitting. I have to say I think I'm going to be a convert. You can try them on really easily as you go (something I should of paid attention to) and it just felt so much less fussy than knitting them from top down. I'm excited to say that I see a lot of socks in my future.

I also picked up a new knitting book while I was browsing the book store yesterday

400 Knitting Stitches!

I've been experimenting with some lace stitching on some cowls recently and it hasn't been going too successfully. When I saw this I realized that someone had already figured out all of this so why was I trying to recreate a look when there was already a recipe for it! So far I've ear marked about 15 stitches I want to try out on various projects. I think this is a great resource to have and I know any time I get stuck I can just sneak on over here and I'm sure to find something that sparks my creativity.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

That Girl Update, odds and ends

I've been plugging away on my That Girl summer jacket. I've made a few modifications using this post. I decided to do the collarless version, with buttons all the way down the front and the cap sleeve variation.
The Cotton Linen blend yarn that I'm using is really nice and light. I think it will be a joy to wear for the rest of the summer. The stitches are on the loose side with the size 7 needles I'm using so I would probably use a 5 or 6 next time. I like my knits just a little more structured and tight. I found some great blue fabric for the buttons and can't wait to get this all put together and put on.

I also got a knit picks order in this week. Lots of exciting things for Christmas projects and a few things for myself. Ever since I've made that cowl from a few weeks ago I've been dreaming up cowl patterns to make for myself. I've got some beautiful sweet potato orange yarn that I can't wait to get my needles on.

Mostly I've just been working on all my knitting and watching the sunlight through my living room windows. Not such a bad view, I could do this for awhile.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Minnesota Love

You might know that you have the bestest best friend in the world when she goes home to visit and sends you this as a suprise care package...
1.The Best Casserole Cookbook...ever
2. A Minnesota shaped cookie cutter

Man does that lady know what I love. I can't wait to crack open the casserole cook book and get cracking on some goulash asap. We did just have a hot dish night last month

What up tater tot??...and there were rumblings about another. I'm sure I can find some sweet puppy to impress even the most discerning casserole critic.

In other news, knitting related, I have FINISHED (!!!) my first sweater ever, I've just got to sew on my buttons and it will be gracing these sweet pages soon enough. I'm also about half way though my That Girl sweater and as soon as I get off my casserole obsessed butt to take some photos I will be updating about it in here as well.