FO - Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole

Lavanda Lace Ribbon StoleProject specs - see it on Ravelry!
This was a super impulsive cast on, and after I started I really wondered to myself why I would knit another lace ribbon project. I was happy to finish it up before the Ravelympics, though - even though I'm only posting it now.

I was trying to decide if I wanted to block it or not, I think it's got great texture unblocked - and I really like it this way.
I love in that first photo, that you can see the art. It's a piece by Christian Lassen of a purple Hawaiian sunset, and it's one of my favorite pieces.

Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole

I don't know why I've been so interested in knitting scarves and wraps lately, maybe because gauge doesn't matter quite as much. Maybe because if I don't like it for myself, I can always hang onto it and gift it to someone later (who'd do that with a sweater, hehehe?!?!?!)

Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole

See what I mean about the texture? It's kind of nice this way, I'm leaning towards not blocking it. Any thoughts?


Contest prizes!!!

There's only a dozen comments on my 200th post giveaway, so I thought I'd sweeten the deal a bit!
Crafty Ginger Tsumami Kanzashi
You won't be getting ALL tsumami kanzashi, but I didn't have a better box photo! Haha!

First prize will be a flat rate priority mail box with goodies either sewing or knitting related (I canTsumami Kanzashi Flower Snap Set do other themes too, like bath & body, if you prefer!) Trust me, this will be worth the comment-spam-annoying-thing! Just a comment could get you a whole box of fun crafty supplies and finished items! (Oh, and there will be cake pops, too!)

Second prize will be a cashmere button bracelet with tsumami kanzashi flower snap (or permanently attached, your choice.) Alternatively, a pair of Tree Branch Earrings - custom made for you.Tree Branch Earrings - Robin's Egg Blue (These are my favorites, with vintage robin's egg blue faceted beads.)

Third prize will be a mystery stash giveaway. Basically, I'll send either fabric or yarn from my stash, in colors you like. Depending on my stash, of course - it's small, but it's fierce! Hehehe.

I hope to get more comments for my contest, if there's only a dozen I could make a batch of cake pops and send about 3 to all of you! Hahaha!

To enter, you'll need to use the link at the top of the post to comment on the original 200th post. Comment here all you like, but I'll just consider it flattery!


Peanut Butter Gelato

Peanut Butter GelatoWhen I was in Spain on my honeymoon a few years ago, I had this amazing mint chocolate chip gelato on the pier in Puerto Banus. Amazing almost doesn't describe it properly, it was velvety and sweet, but not super sweet. The chocolate bits were actually shaved chunks, and they blended perfectly with the mint. Plus, it was green! I can't stand it when mint chocolate is white, don't ask me why!

So began my quest for an ice cream maker to replicate gelato at home, since you can't find it anywhere around where I live. For those asking "what's the difference between gelato and ice cream?" Ice cream contains quite a bit of air, churned in to increase the volume - sometimes 100% overrun, which means it has as much air by volume as ingredients. Gelato on the other hand, contains much less air, and is significantly denser. There's quite a debate as to whether some gelato recipes are authentic or not, some call for egg yokes and some don't… but I won't go into that here. Eat what you love, and make it however you want - that's my philosophy!

It took me a while to settle on which machine I wanted, and which recipe book to go along with it; but I ended up getting a Cuisinart ICE-30BC and Bruce Weinstein's, The Ultimate Frozen Dessert Book. It contains a ton of gelato recipes, which is exactly what I was looking for. It also has sections for sherbet, semifreddo and other frozen delights; my concern was mostly for the gelato flavors, and there's no shortage of them here! Plus there's add-ins to every recipe, suggestions to make it more interesting like chocolate chips, fresh fruit or ribbons of caramel sauce.

Here's where it got interesting… I was flipping through pages, trying to decide which flavor gelato to make next (I had tried strawberry first, it was ok.) I was specifically looking for one that called for ingredients I had on hand, so I didn't have to run to the store. I landed on peanut butter gelato, and said it out loud. My husband's head perked up, so I figured it was worth a shot. Grin. If only you knew what smooth, creamy goodness this stuff is! Actually better than real peanut butter if you ask me, I keep wondering if I should make a dessert pb&j with gelato and french-bread toast. I know, I know… it sounds weird, but if you had a taste of this stuff you'd want to put it on everything, too!

It's made with an egg custard base, which sounds intimidating; but once you get it right, the gelato just melts on your tongue, velvet-ey and perfect. You can't taste the eggs in the final product, just peanut-ey buttery sweetness (not too sweet though, I sort of hate that.) I've also picked up a few tips for making it even better, too! Working with ingredients at room temperature produces a much smoother balance of flavors, but you'll need to refridgerate the base custard overnight before you churn it in your machine. I know, it seems counter productive, but if you try and make gelato out of just-cooked egg custard, it probably won't turn out well. And while you're at it, transfer the custard base from the fridge to the freezer just before churning, and let sit for no more than 10 minutes. This blast of chill helps prevent air from churning in, and ice crystals from forming. (Ice crystals in gelato are not cool. They really interrupt the flavor on the tongue. And they give me brain freeze somethin' fierce!) The end result is creamy smooth, and oh-so tasty!


Ravelympics Wrap-Up

Well, it's all over now. I completed 4 out of my 5 goal projects, and I feel pretty good about it. I won a few medals, lost a few more; but overall I had a great time. I can't believe I knit a sweater in 9 days! (Even if I did make a few mistakes in it! Hehehe!)

Elinor's Dress was a WIP Wrestling project, the Dolphin Shorty Shrug qualified for the Sweater Sprint, Glacier Diamonds Scarf was another WIP Wrestle, and my Lilac Bamboo Handtowel got me two medals, for Homestuff Hammerthrow and Designer's Discus.

Maui Waters Stole - Swatch

The one loser was the Maui Waters stole, which I'm designing myself, so I can't feel too bad - especially with the shrug taking more than half the number of days I had. I'm still working on it, as you can see - it's just a big swatch now!


FO - Elinor's Dress

...or tunic, I'm not really quite sure yet! Haha!

Elinor's Dress

I only had a bit of finishing left on this for the Ravelympics, but it was kicking my butt! Thankfully it's all finished now, I just hope my new niece and her mom like it!

I used single crochet around just the opening, and for the button loops, but didn't carry it all the way around the edging. I just didn't think it needed it,
(plus, it's easier to weave the ends in on the long tail cast on for me, at least!)

If you'd like more details you can see my previous post about it, or just ask! Yeay! I got my medal for it! Woo-hoo!

Elinor's Dress - Buttons


FO - Dolphin Shorty Shrug

Dolphin Shorty Shrug

I love this pattern, even though I didn't get "it" exactly, the first time through! Hehehe, anyway it's pretty easy, and went fairly quickly for the Ravelympics - yeay!

Dolphin Shorty Shrug - Shoulder detailSpecs. - see it on Ravelry!

Adonis Bobicus DionysisI picked up the stitches and knit them from the wrong side around the collar, but I did it correctly for the armholes. It doesn't seem to make too much of a difference, such a cute finished object!

Yeay! I finally got my medal for this! Hooray!


My 200th post, with prizes!

Cake Pops - Baby ShowerIt's hard to believe I've been blogging for more than two years now. It's even harder to believe that this is my 200th post! I didn't start off really thinking too much about the writing, just sharing my crafts and ideas.

Now I realize just how much hard work goes into a great blog. It's so much more than what you see on the surface!!! Great writing is part of it, as well as photography, but even more important is to be yourself, and develop your own style. Your blog is the universe the way you see it, and your chance to express that. I feel so lucky to be a part of it, and to have found such great friends along the way!

So, enough with the chatter, what's up for grabs - you ask? It'll have to stay a mystery until after the 25th - because I've caught Ravelympic fever! Trust me though, the goods will be good. Seriously good. There will definitely be cupcake pops!

To win, leave a comment on this post (by Sep. 6th 2008,) and I'll use a random number generator (don't we love/hate those suckers?!?!?) to pick a handful of winners. The more comments I get, the more prizes will be shared, so feel free to share the linky-love with your friends. You can only enter once, though. Please play nice!

Stay tuned for prize updates - after the 25th! Also, I'm going to try and make sure all the winners get something that makes them happy, but I can't promise everyone will get the exact gifty they have their greedy green eyes on! Drool on!


Ravelympics - Dolphin Shorty Shrug

Dolphin Shorty Shrug

Another Ravelympic entry here, what can I say? (This was supposed to be WIP-Wed post, but oh, well...) I caught the fever! I know now, how Star feels when the Tour de Fleece rolls around. Maybe I'll even be spinning by next summer?!?!

Anyhoo, The Shetland Shorty is a cute little shrug/bolero. And, I'm shrug obsessed lately, so there you go. Plus, I love grey for my wardrobe as well, so really how could I resist?

After a false start on the medium size, I rethought and frogged back. Annoying, but hopefully it'll mean a finished object that isn't baggy or bunchy. Re-knitting the 264st ties was really annoying. And then, I screwed up the short row working! Ugh. So yeah, it's not Wednesday anymore... hehe.


FO - Glacier Diamonds Scarf

Glacier Diamonds Scarf - DetailIt was fast (and probably not-so dirty,) but here's my Glacier Diamonds Scarf ready to block. (It needs a wet-blocking baaaad!!!) Proof that I've completed my second Ravelympic entry! Can you tell how happy & excited I am! Yeay! Anyhoo, now it's onto the Dophin Shorty Shrug, with lots of garter stitch and a few short rows (eek!) but I'm really looking forward to it.

And then there's the Maui Waters Stole... my final Ravelympic task. Which, of course I've left it to last... bad Kari! Lace-weight design.... and beads! Eeak!

Glacier Diamonds Scarf - LongProject Specs - see it on Ravelry!
  • Pattern: Bernadette Scarf by Jae Koscierzynski
  • Yarn: Handmaiden's Great Big Seasilk in Glacier, 273yds 100g
  • Needles: Knit Picks Nickel-plated dpn's size 7
Now, it just needs to sit in a bath and be blocked out nice and straight. In about 14 days... hehehe

I picked up another medal for this one, for WIP Wrestling. I was hoping to finish another project, and win another few medals for it, but oh well, you can only do so much in 17 days, right?


And..... GO!

Lilac Bamboo Handtowel

Handtowel - DetailWell, there 'ya go. I thought I was going to start with my Glacier Diamonds Scarf, and instead I went with a lilac hand-towel in 100% Bamboo. It's soooo soft! It only took about 3+ hours to knit, and a few more minutes to sew the ends in and photograph it (badly, but for proof!)

Specs - see it on Ravelry!
  • Pattern - my own, a simple stockinette body with seed stitch bands at the ends.
  • Yarn - Habu Bamboo XS-32 20/18, color 9 Lilac, 100% bamboo 85g 156yds
  • Needles - Knit Picks Interchangeable Circulars US size 6 & 32" cable
  • Finished - 1:11 CST (Have no clue what that is in Beijing time!)
I've entered this item in the Home Stuff Hammer Throw and Designer's Discus, and and I'm knitting for Teams Chicago, Cellular Peptide Cake (despite my lurkiness,) and Hopelessly Over-Committed. (I've signed up to design and knit a lace-weight stole!) One down, four more to go!

It's official - I'm a medal winner! Woo-hoo! I get another one for designing it myself, too! It's not that complex a design, but I'm glad I did something of my own! Especially since I have such a low chance of finishing my other design!!!


Ravelympics - here I come!

If you haven't heard, there's quite the movement* over at Ravelry coinciding with the Beijing Summer Olympics. Knitters are excited, ready to challenge themselves - myself included!!!

This is Adonis Dionysus Bobicus Maximus, mascot of the Games.
Illustrated by Guin.

(Image used with her permission. Thanks again!)

Basically the challenge is this - cast on for a project during the opening ceremony (or later, it's about 7AM CST by me.) The goal is to have the object finished before the closing ceremonies, a mere 17 days later. This is quite fast knitting, if you ask me; because I'm used to taking my time, and even reworking portions to get them just right.

So, what have I challenged myself with, for this awesome gathering of knitters? A lot. To start, I'll be sprinting on my Glacier Diamonds scarf - it was already started, so it's considered WIP Wrestling. Hopefully, I can have that finished very quickly, so I can move on to my main event, the Sweater Sprint. I've picked the Shetland Shorty from this Summer's Knitty, a cute lace bolero. I didn't even realize until I started swatching, that the lace stitch is called "Bird's Eye" which reminds me of the "Bird's Nest" aquatic center! Haha! I picked a nice grey yarn - Knit Picks Gloss (sock weight,) in Dolphin. It's merino/silk so it's nice on my hands and has great stitch definition!

The final challenge, (I know, I know - I probably won't even get this far, but who knows?) is a biggie! I'm designing a lace-weight stole, knit horizontally with (maybe) beaded fringe. I know, I'm nuts. But, if I can make it scarf-width by the 25th, I think I'll have to consider myself a winner anyway. I'm so excited about writing my own knit patterns, I hope I can do well with them, even if it's not financially. I've been blue-grey for a few months, and it's really wearing on my soul.

I'm using 2 skeins of variegated blue Malabrigo Laceweight for the stole, and I have some lovely beads. But, I may save them for just the ends. I don't have that many, and I always worry about glass beads feeling cold on my shoulders in a wrap.

Wish me luck in my events! I'm in Designer's Discuss, Lace Weight Long Jump, Shawl Relay, Sweater Sprint and WIP Wrestling, and I've got my work cut out for me! (myself, me - which is the right one here? hehehe.)

*Link will only work for Ravelry members! Sorry to tease if you're not in yet!


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