Monday, April 25, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gifties from Across The Pond!

Isn't that a pretty picture?  The other day I was surprised to find a package on my doorstep - my bestie Kate had put together a care package for me of some of my favorite things that I can't get in the USA!  We may have the right to bear arms, but we don't have Jaffa Cakes!  D:

Not pictured - Branston Pickle, which seems to be pretty close to pickle relish but it completely pureed and NOT green.  It's actually pretty tasty on a cheese sandwich!

I also love my Union Jack socks (on the right edge of the photo), and this disclaimer on the back of them.  I suppose it saved me the email I would have sent her, asking "so, I can put these in a fire, right?  With NO ill effects?"

Which reminds me, I need to send her Peeps, with the instruction that she absolutely MUST put them in the microwave!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Acknowledging Progress

It's been so long since I've actually posted about knitting, you're going to think I don't even use my yarn anymore!  I've been focusing on a couple projects right now, and they're both coming along quite well!

A while ago I posted about a cowl that I had just begun, but it was just a bunch of cast on stitches at that point and not worth going in to.  Well, now it's much more impressive, and has passed the halfway point, so let's look at how pretty this pattern is!

This will be/is the Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh, and I love how simple but beautiful the pattern is!  Within 2 rows I had the pattern memorized, and it's nice to see how quickly it grows, even though it's more than 200 stitches around!  Also, since I'm holding some fingering weight doubled, it will get over 900 yards of yarn out of my stash by the time it's done!  I know it's just a number, but knitting that up makes me feel accomplished!

I also recently talked about a yarn swap in which we made sure unloved skeins didn't go unloved for much longer, and I'm proud to report that I've passed the heel on these toe-up socks!  This is another pattern where it's so simple but so pretty, and the DK weight is making these go quickly (I'm almost half done with these!).  Something that I REALLY like about the Kalajoki socks (Ravelry link) is that the "river" runs all the way to the very end of the toe.  It's such a simple thing but all socks EVER have a plain stockinette toe it seems, and it never occurred to me how pretty it could be otherwise!  These were actually written to be knit from the cuff down, but I modified them so I could use all my yarn and get my knee highs.  This altered the original toe (which looks AMAZING in the regular pattern), but I had to alter something.  Toe up is easier to modify for me.

Sadly, I do not have a swatch for the sweater I want to do yet (yes I DO swatch!), but that will come as I start to get more things completed and I feel like I've gotten stuff done.  That will be yet another adventure!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The LEAST Comfortable Way to Sleep?

Or the MOST?

For the record, we do have other, more comfortable things to sleep on.  I don't get it, either.

Monday, April 18, 2011

There's Beer in my Sourdough!

All this talk of San Francisco and we haven't done sourdough bread in a while!  We need to fix this!

There are so many recipes for sourdough that are not best suited for the bread machine, due to the fact that the dough really needs to rest for a while to spread that delightfully sour flavor throughout the loaf, and also because when you're using your sourdough as your yeast it REALLY needs more time to rise properly and become a proper loaf of bread.

But this knowledge had no bearing on the fact that I can be lazy, and I wanted sourdough bread in less than 4 hours.  So I searched, and pieced together a recipe that would use my starter, some beer (which is pretty much liquid starter, if you think about it), and a little more yeast to get it to rise in time in the machine.  I was so pleased with how it came out, that I actually ate it all before I could take a photo of it.  Oops.

In my machine, I added:

1 and 1/4 cups sourdough starter 
1/4 cup water 
1/2 cup beer
(I used Blue Moon, as it was the least "flavored" beer I had on hand)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp yeast

Keep some water nearby when it's first mixing to make sure it all mixes together properly, I actually added a bit too much and had wet dough (but it all baked well in the end).  I know that 3 cups of bread flour usually means it's a 1.5 pound loaf, but I'm still unsure whether sourdough counts as more flour so I called it a 2 pound to be safe.  I'm glad I did, that wet loaf really benefited from the extra few minutes of baking time.  The regular white bread cycle is all you need for this one, and in 4 hours you'll have delicious BREAD!

Beer bread goes well with cheese.  Or more beer.  I've noticed that the bread seems to taste more sour on subsequent days.  Is that how sourdough is supposed to work? 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Escape from Alcatraz: Part 2

(The first half of my Alcatraz experience is here.  The post was getting as long as a prison sentence hence the 2 part post.)

After discovering the Battle of Alcatraz, it was time to move away from the darkness and violence from within the cellblock, and we started to head towards the administrative offices and the outside of the building.  I chuckled as a former inmate explained that he had never seen the Warden's office while he was incarcerated there - it was only when he returned as a tourist later that he got to see it.  Because I have an entirely bizarre sense of humor, I wondered if he had to stand in line and buy tickets.

We got outside in to the very strong wind (thank goodness I had bought that hairbrush!), and while prisoners would not have been at this particular part of the island, the view was similar to what we had seen elsewhere.  There was freedom, only about 1.5 miles away.  It looks so close!  Really, in desperation, I probably would have tried to swim for it too, though logically I knew that with the wind as cold as it was, the water was an invitation to frostbite.

It was up here where the Warden's mansion once stood, which was sadly destroyed by a fire during the Native American occupation of the island a few years after the prison closed.  What was left had been taken over by birds (I love the seagull on the fireplace), which was fitting for in island named for its sea birds.  I'm always sad to see something of historic value destroyed, which is why I was glad to see the parks employees and volunteers working so hard to preserve the other aspects of the island, and present them as we might have seen them 60 years ago.  There were even gardeners working to restore parts of the islands that you might not pay attention to - to make them accurate to their former glory.  Amazing.

We enjoyed the freedom outside for some time, earning me a spiffy sunburn, before the tour brought us back in the the walls of the prison.  There was a moment of emotional reaction - "go back IN to the prison?  But...we're out here!"  Many thought the same thing, except didn't have the possibility of hopping on a boat back to Pier 33.  Some got to the point of desperation, of not having any hope for the future, of not wanting to spend one more day in those walls.

Some made their own plans.

There are no confirmed escapes from Alcatraz.  There were 2 instances where people got off Alcatraz and were never found (neither dead nor alive), and while Alcatraz's official stance is that they're all presumed dead, that is quite a biased stance!  They had reason to keep reporting that Alcatraz was inescapable, both for their current and future inmates.  You can't have people thinking they can just leave, right?

However (there I go with the howevers), the famous escape ("attempt") in 1962 is believed by many to have been successful.  Even the Mythbusters found it to be plausible!  As we were led back in to the prison, the story turned to the 1962 escape of Frank Morris, Clarence Anglin, and John Anglin.  This is the escape that was immortalized in a Clint Eastwood movie years later, and even now is fascinating to us!  On that night in 1962, the 3 men escaped from their cells through the air vents on the back - these air vents had been dug out and enlarged with spoons over a loooong period of time!  Behind the vents is a utility corridor, and the men made it through there, up to the roof undetected (where they had a raft made of raincoats waiting for them) and off the island they went.  To this day they have not been found, though a paddle and parts of the raft were found on Angel Island.  Who knows!  Maybe they got off the island and changed their identities and lived a crime-free life, perhaps fleeing the country to further avoid detection.  Maybe not.  It can be fun to cheer for the underdog, though.

With this, it was time for us to plan our escape, and as we headed back down the hill (stopping to see little corners that we missed on the way up), we saw that our boat was there and was getting ready to head out.  We ran for it and hopped on, and made a dumb joke about how "it sure is easy to get off this island!"  But really, the experience has stayed with me.  It's not really something you can...escape.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The BirdPeej of Alcatraz: Part 1

If you disobey the rules of society, they send you to prison; if you disobey the rules of the prison, they send you to Alcatraz.

As we sailed toward the island, I excitedly took out my camera and braced myself against the edge of the boat to keep from getting thrown around by the rough waters.  The wind was strong and despite the cloudless day it was not especially warm.  I was excited to explore such a historic landmark, a place with so much history and legend.  I commented that there was once a time when people wouldn't have been so excited to be on a boat bound for Alcatraz.  We thought about that quietly and prepared to disembark on the island.

The dock was the same one that prisoners would have first set foot on when they reached the island, and we were greeted by a lone watchtower that would have overlooked the unloading of inmates some 50 to 80 years ago.  The prison itself was over the hill and out of sight, but there was plenty to see on the way.  We started following one of the "experts" of the island, who explained buildings on the way and told us incredible stories of attempted breakouts.  I found the story of John K. Giles especially clever (despite the fact it didn't succeed).  Over several years, he had managed to pick out of the laundry a complete Sergeant's uniform - Alcatraz was contracted to wash the laundry for some nearby military bases, including Angel island right across the bay.  One day he decided the time was right, and wearing his new uniform, he walked on to the military boat that was dropping off the laundry and set sail.  However, this boat was not headed to San Francisco as was often the case - this one was going BACK to Angel Island.  He was recaptured shortly after walking on to Angel Island, and sadly for him, his defense that he had "never left federal custody" (being on a federal boat, then another federal island) did not get him very far with the judge.

We began our climb up the steep hills to the cellhouse, passing dilapidated offices and guard quarters on the way.  I'm not sure what they were thinking when they originally thought they would level the whole island, because there is a LOT of elevation change heading up to the prison!  Obviously they didn't succeed in leveling the island, and the cliffs around the island ironically provided both a natural defense against escapes, and an easy hiding place for inmates to stash the tools they would need to escape.  Even the "paths" down to the water did not look especially friendly or safe - many of them were blocked off to the crowds of today.

Finally, at the top of the hill were the walls that kept in some of the most dangerous criminals of years past, and we entered in a similar fashion that an inmate would have - first being paraded by the office where they would have had their possessions from "outside" kept for them, and issued their prison essentials.

We were also issued something in this room - the earphones for our audio tour.  Now, I tend to not be the biggest fan of audio tours.  I prefer to read and discover and learn at my own pace, so I took it and figured I could listen to see how terrible it was, and just turn it off and walk around on my own.  However, I turned it on and was not greeted by some guy that studied Alcatraz in school - the tour was narrated by former guards and inmates of The Rock.  People that had witnessed momentous events in the prison's history, that were able to convey emotion about the events because they HAVE real emotions about the things that had been a part of.  There were easily 1000 other people in the cellblock, and we all quietly hung on every word that they had to share with us.

The men that resided here directed us through the cellblocks, describing the day to day life and telling stories about things that weren't quite the norm in the prison.  One former prisoner talked of spending much of his spare time doing crochet, and that he taught other prisoners to do so as well.  The thought made me smile - a bunch of hardened, convicted felons having a crochet night!  As we moved along, another prisoner spoke of New Years Eve, and when the wind was *just* right you could hear the music, the laughter, the voices enjoying the parties carry across the bay from San Francisco.  I can't imagine what that must have felt like - what a stark contrast that must have struck for the prisoners.  And that the "voices" from San Francisco saw no such contrast.  They never knew that their parties affected those at Alcatraz.

After moving through the D-block ("isolation") where Al Capone once spent some time, we stopped in the library to rest our feet and process what we had seen so far.  It was now that we REALLY realized how quiet everything was, and I appreciated the audio tour even more.  Everyone was glued to their headphones and this kept the ambiance as it should have been.  After a 5 minute break we continued, and learned about the Battle of Alcatraz - a breakout attempt that resulted in a deadly standoff between inmates and guards, and that lasted for several days before the guards finally gained control again.  I won't attempt to tell the story here - my voice is no where near as strong as the voices that played on that recording, that lost friends or fought for their own lives or heard the bombing from their cells.  The story they told was so powerful, and I found myself fighting back tears.  I won't tell the story, but it was an incredible and violent time in the history of the prison.  I would recommend taking the time to read about it, but nothing can really compare to hearing it firsthand.

At this point it was time to head outside and to think about escape - check back for Part 2...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The San Francisco Treat!

I love this city.  Look at all the different architecture in this shot!

So, my husband and I had the special treat of spending this last weekend in San Francisco.  We're not too far from the city, really, but somehow for several years we have always said "we should go play in the city" and then have never found the time.  I find that work drags me up there several times a year, but that's work, and I never get to enjoy the sights and just have fun.  Well, it was DH's birthday, and one of his favorite comedians was performing at Cobb's Comedy Club, so we finally had all the reasons we needed to party in San Francisco!

Brian Posehn rocked!
We arrived on Saturday and checked in to our hotel (which will hereby be referred to as the "hipster hotel" for reasons that are probably already self-explanatory), rested up from dealing with city traffic, and headed to the club to check out Brian Posehn, who is a big hilarious nerd.  If you're only hearing his name for the first time, be warned before checking the YouTubes - much of his stuff is NSFW.  Anyway, we got to the club and the usher walked us in, asking " guys want to sit right up front, right?" and plonked us at a table TOUCHING the stage!  DH thought this was the best thing ever, I thought "they're going to make fun of me!" and tried to behave.  Fortunately I'm not inherently a heckler, and we all had a great time we even got to meet him briefly after the show.  I always think that's so cool when a performer mingles with his fans!

Photos don't match written content as of this point.
After comedy, us and our 2-drink-minimum selves headed up Columbus Ave to the Comstock Saloon (which will hereby be referred to as the "hipster bar" for reasons that are probably already self-explanatory).  There weren't girls in corsets, nor was the bartender also the mayor, but the food was great and our bartender mixed a mean drink.  Satisfied that we were properly fed and hydrated for the night, we set off back to the hipster hotel, a half mile away (and you KNOW we walked, because parking is the worst game ever in SF).  We stopped at a Walgreen's (which will not be referred to as the hipster Walgreens.  I don't even know what that would consist of), bought a hairbrush (I always forget something) and pies (breakfast of champions), and headed on our way.  Also, yay for my phone for keeping me going the right direction and not straight in to the ocean or something!

Still doesn't match.  I just like this photo.  Why is it so tall?
The hipster hotel luckily had a checkout time of noon, so we slept hard, ate pies, and watched terrible sequels of the movie Friday starring Ice Cube while we slowly got our stuff together.  Our weekend was half gone, but the best was yet to come.  See, on Friday, I did something incredibly brave OR incredibly stupid.  Only 6 hours before our government was expected to shut down, taking "non-essential" services with it, I bought tickets to one of those things that was going to shut down - a national park.  I thought nothing of it at the time, but suddenly realized on Sunday that I had come so close to having worthless tickets to Alcatraz!  DH pointed out "I'm sure you would have gotten a refund if that were the case".  But I wouldn't have wanted that.  I had never before been to Alcatraz, and I was so excited to see up close a piece of our history!  Fortunately, disaster averted, and we spent the rest of Sunday afternoon at one of the most infamous prisons of all time.

SF dress code - sunglasses and a wool coat.
Most people wouldn't have been so smiley stepping off the boat to Alcatraz.  But that was so big, it gets a post of its own...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Photos from Alcatraz

I'm recovering from a weekend in San Francisco, and am still amazed by a visit to Alcatraz Island, a now-defunct prison that is legendary for housing some of the most dangerous criminals at the time, and for being "inescapable" (though to this day we don't know if that's true).  I'll have a big post coming up when I'll talk about the visit much more in detail (I could go on for DAYS, it was so cool), but for now as I try to get back to normal, I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures of the day.  They're a little out of context for now but won't be for long.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rosemary Bread

Before we head in to the weekend I wanted to squeeze in one more post, and I realized I haven't posted a recipe for bread in a while!  I baked this loaf up earlier in the week and am glad I did!  I've made this recipe once before but didn't get to taste it - I traded it to a friend in exchange for bourbon brownies.  Speaking of which - I ought to make her more bread...

But for now, this one is mine!

For a 1.5 pound loaf, put in your machine:
1 and 1/4 cup milk
4 tsp olive oil
a dash (or more) of hot sauce
3 cups bread flour
3 tbsp cornmeal
1tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp snipped fresh rosemary (half as much if using dried)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp active dry yeast

This goes through the white bread cycle and a few hours later, you get this pretty loaf!

I thought the cornmeal in this bread made it really interesting.  Commonly you may see cornmeal on the bottom of a loaf that you bake on a baking sheet or oven stone - that helps keep the bread from sticking to whatever you're baking it on.  In this recipe, by mixing the cornmeal through out the bread, you get a nice toothy crunch in even the soft parts of the bread.  It gives it a sort of "rustic" texture that is so perfect for sopping up sauces or soups or a little bit of olive oil.

Hmm, I wonder how it would work as a sourdough...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day of Pigeonroof!

Pigeonroof Studios is one of my absolute favorite dyers right now.  She does amazing things with color, it's not too often that you can see a very multicolored skein and think that it's not overboard, but those are the skeins of hers that I drool over the most.

Remember how I said I still had one last sweater quantity coming?  Well, check THIS out!  1000 yards of Superwash DK in Saffron.  It's a gorgeous warm golden color and will make for a lovely cardigan.  I haven't made too many sweaters, but of the ones I have made I've decided that DK weight is my favorite.  DK is heavy enough that it knits up quickly (since so much of what I do is in fingering weight), but light enough that it's perfect even on a warmer day.  I can't wait to find the perfect pattern for this and wear this beautiful color, and this will be my last sweater quantity in a LONG while!  (I've shaken the bug out now, promise!)

Finally, I am so excited about THIS:
You might laugh, but I don't actually know how to spin yarn.  I once tried, and while I did ok, I got distracted by yarn that was already made and skipped off to knit.  But these colors are so bright, so vibrant, that I stalked her update for the sole purpose of acquiring this roving!  At the very least, there are shops on Etsy now that will spin your roving for you for a small fee (I know they do this at Plied Together, there may be others as well), so that's something I am considering looking in to.

Funny enough, I didn't even think I had managed to get this roving!  The checkout process that seemed to work at Paypal then failed at Etsy, and even now doesn't show as a purchase (though the Paypal did go through).  I about fell over when I took this out of the package today.  It's really beautiful and I can't even picture how amazing it will be first as yarn and then as a project!

I'm so happy with my Pigeonroof day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Insanity with Photoshop!

Amber photoshopped another one of my pictures.  It is entitled "Jaws Theme".

First I screamed with laughter, then I think I identified a running theme with her photoshop work.  XD

(and yes, I realize that by posting this, I am encouraging her further)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twitter State of Mind

I don't have a Twitter account.

I think Twitter is absurd.  Tell me what you're doing in 160 characters or less!  So people Tweet things like "I'm eating eggs for breakfast LOL", "Getting job review right now LOL, boss is all liek 'WTF'!", or "I like tomatoes".  These things are not relevant to my interests.  If we are having a conversation, I might engage, and say "oh, I also like tomatoes!  Do you you ever try to grow them?  I've tried but haven't had good luck."  But I don't see Twitter as a conversation.  I picture someone running in to the room after punching (YES PUNCHING) open the door, and yelling "ILIKETOMATOES" and then turning tail and running away a la Napoleon Dynamite.  Which, I admit, is a fun mental image.  Picture it.  Fun, yes?

However...(OMG there's always a "however" with me, isn't there?!)

HOWEVER, I have come to realize, my brain works in Tweets.  It will spit out some random, crazy, sentence-length nonsense, and then go about its day.  I honestly don't know if it's normal to think "I should buy a drumset!" and then continue driving to work as though nothing has happened.  I honestly don't.

I don't have a Twitter account with which to share my random madness, but I have a BLOG.  So now, I present to you, random irrelevant thoughts I've had over the past few days and beyond.

"How did we EVER find ANYTHING without the internet and smartphones?!"

"Being a secret roller derby girl by night, HR person by day would be EPIC!  MUST LEARN TO ROLLER SKATE."  (YES I thought of this BEFORE the Ellen Page movie came out!)


"Being a rock star seems like it would be kind of fun, except for the partying-all-night part.  That would maybe be fun twice.  I like sleeping too much."

"It's a shame the occupation: 'Fly Girl' has become obsolete.  I think 2011 would benefit from such a profession."

"I once lived in a time before the internet existed, and I cannot believe there was ever a time before the internet existed."

"I'm actually surprised that Kanye West didn't declare one of his own videos "the best video of all time".  How selfless.  I think he's grown."

Monday, April 4, 2011

When Stash Expires

We've all had it happen.  We buy the perfect skein of yarn, saying we'll get to it when we deal with some other yarn, then we deal with that yarn and by then we have more, and before we know it, we've had some skeins for months (or even YEARS!) and decide we just don't love it like we used to, that it's time for it to find a new home where it can be appreciated and turned in to its own project.

That's how I got these beautiful skeins!  My friend Kate (who has podcasts now!) was working on decreasing her stash, and organized a mini-swap amongst several friends.  We put up yarn that we no longer had to have, and another person needed to only say they wanted the yarn, and what project they would use it for (to prevent it from just becoming another project-less stash entry).  I leapt on these 2 skeins from Colharbour Mill that are incredibly difficult to photograph (they're actually a heathered purple, blue, and red, which barely comes through in my picture) and declared that they would be socks - as close to knee highs as I could make them!  I've also realized I've acquired this yarn a couple months ago now, so I should really cast on in the spirit of our swap - no creating more stash!  Time to wind my yarn and narrow down my pattern choices!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sourdough! I Feel So Advanced!

OK, so it's not the prettiest loaf in the world (the slashes on the top were centered when I cut them, obviously in the oven there was some weird growth pattern that occurred), but it's cool because it's sourdough!  I had resisted sourdough for a while, because a) I usually wanted sourdough TODAY but the starter wouldn't be ready until at least a week from now, and then instead of starting the starter for the next time I wanted sourdough, I got lazy, and b) the thought of creating something that had to ferment and grow and be alive just seemed...intimidating!  But finally I took the plunge and I'm glad I did, sourdough has been a very welcome addition to my life!  :D

The starter was simple enough.  Flour, sugar, water, and yeast in a bowl, sitting on the counter for days.  I later read that adding yeast to the starter was actually quite blasphemous when dealing with sourdough pros, but I am no sourdough pro so I was willing to take that risk.  Even if it has started out as just a continued strain of my commercial , Red Star yeast, I'm sure that with time it will evolve and pick up other strains from the air and my kitchen (that's what I've read it's supposed to do, anyway).

Alive and Well
I followed the directions for caring for my young starter, and stirred it 2 or 3 times a day for 5 days.  It had usually separated out in to a hunk of wet dough submerged in a yellow liquid, but the stirring always brought it back together until the next time.  Until the 6th day, when I COMPLETELY forgot and didn't stir or even look at my starter for the entire day.  When I remembered on day 7, I was greeted not by my familiar submerged lump of dough, but what seemed like a wet pancake batter.  Is this right?  DID I BREAK IT?!  Do I have to start all over??  I scoured the net for resources on what the heck my sourdough starter should look like (since my book only told me "use when it's ready" - what does "ready" look like?) and found this very cool article which was so helpful, and that even talked about strains of starter that have been around since the 1840s!  Somehow it didn't even occur to me that you could just keep replenishing it for so long and keep it alive!  I've bookmarked it for future sourdough reference.

As you can see from the starting picture, the starter worked!  My bread was (sorta) beautiful, and had that slightly sour taste that I love so much.  I've heard that you can get sourdough starter from other places to use, not least of all from San Francisco (very well known for their sourdough prowess), so that's something I will have to try and see how it compares to my starter.  Interestingly enough, starter from other places only maintains that place's character for a short period of time, before it takes on the yeast in the air from whatever new place it's in.  So sourdough starter from the same batch that now live on opposite ends of the country could be entirely different in a year or so.

Obviously I'm fascinated by this, since it makes me feel a bit like a mad scientist, so as I play with this bread more, expect future posts with sourdough recipes and general madness!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I've been getting new goodies in the mail this week!

It all started with an ill-advised cold-turkey yarn diet.  My friends and family have come to know that when I declare "I'm not buying any yarn right now!", I literally mean that right now, at this very moment, I am not in the middle of the purchasing process for buying yarn.  In my mind I mean that I'm not increasing my stash at all until I knit the whole thing, but history has shown us that this hasn't happened even once, and the stash acquisition continues, usually in spectacular form after a drought.

I was doing very well, having not purchased any yarn since my visit to Stitches West in February, but suddenly the beast needed to be fed, and here I am showing you


This is slightly out of the ordinary for me!  If you go back to my Stitches post, you see what is my normal - single skeins of sock yarn or lace, perhaps 2 for a larger project or colorwork.  In fact, looking at my bank account this week, that would have been cheaper.  XD  But I'm excited about doing something a little different!

It started with a post on another blog, written by my friend Darcy.  Funny enough, I had been pondering the exact same thing that day, and had considered writing a post about it here, but she had beaten me to it (without us discussing it or anything)!  While I've made sweaters in the past, lately I've been sticking to projects that don't necessarily need to "fit" - mitts, shawlettes, etc.  I'm not at a weight that I'm particularly happy with, and thought of all the excuses to not make a sweater - I would lose weight and all that work would go to waste, it would look so much cuter on someone smaller than me, what if it doesn't fit, on and on.  But reading Darcy's post helped open my eyes that we all have excuses not to make a sweater, even though we all deserve one (yes, DESERVE).  So after starting a KAL/CAL called "You deserve a..." in our awesome little group on Ravelry, I decided that I would finally take the plunge on the Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos.  My friend Kate gave me this pattern last year for my birthday, and as we go in to Spring I think it's finally time I jump in!  I purchased some DK weight 100% silk in the colorway "Copper Penny" from Argosy Luxury Yarns, which is a color I have coveted for years.  So this "I deserve" moment was particularly indulgent and for the first time in a while, I'm actually really excited about casting on for a new sweater!

My other yarn comes to me by way of my friend Amber, who sadly recently discovered that she is allergic to alpaca.  It was one of those "sudden onset" type of things, so the alpaca she had been stashing for quite some time was suddenly a problem!  After properly sympathizing - "What?  Allergic to ALPACA??!  Oh noooooo, that's hoooooooorrible!" I later came back with "soooooo, whatcha gonna do with all that alpaca?"  Fortunately she accepted my offer of assistance, and I scored a sweater quantity of Ultra Alpaca in 3 shades of blue!  I have my mind on a stripey raglan pullover, we'll see if I can get that to work with the 3 colors I snagged.  I've worked with this yarn once before, making a cabled scarf.  I can be very picky about what yarn goes near my neck (it needs to be SOFT), and Ultra Alpaca fits that bill!

I uh, I may have one other sweater quantity coming in the mail, too.  Future me, if you're reading this: remember what yarn diets do to you!