Easter Approacheth

Spring is in the air and Portland has sunny skies and semi-warm temperatures, so I can actually get a handle on the fact that it’s almost Easter.

Easter has always held a special place in my memories because it tends to fall close (and sometimes land on) my birthday, which is April 7th. Today I have two spring related things to share.

The first is a dessert and beer pairing that I tried on a hunch. I knew that there existed an imperial cream ale, called “Bad Bunny” by Alameda Brewhouse, which I wanted to try, so I picked up a bottle before they disappear for the season. Next, I recently had a craving for tiramisu. My boyfriend had challenged me the last time I was in the store with the phrase, “I’m surprised you haven’t tried to make that yourself.” Challenge accepted. So then I got it into my head, ‘Hey, I bet the cream ale and the tiramisu would go well together.’

Oh man, was I right.

Calories? I try not to think about it...

Calories? I try not to think about it…

You may have noticed I sort of screwed up the tiramisu. Practice makes perfect, right? I did not whip the cream for quite long enough and apparently I need to work on my custard skills a bit. This didn’t take away from the flavor in any way, though. The beer was sweet, but not overly so, and the fact that it is imperial gives it more depth in flavor than a regular cream ale. Paired with the custard and rum flavors, it was a great way to relax after writing 30 pages of grad school papers.

Next, I give you – the knitted Easter basket. I was not quite happy with the patterns for “baskets” that I found on Ravelry. Referencing the basket weave pattern from my handy book of stitches, I held together two strands of yarn and knit on a tight gauge in order to make the fabric stiff enough to stand on it’s own. In the round, I started with about 6 rows of stockinette stitch in order to let the top edge roll nicely. Then simply basket-weave it for the desired depth and decrease as flatly as possible on the bottom (I know, it’s a simple description – I wasn’t trying to write a pattern, exactly).

For the eggs and bunny, I used patterns from The Purl Bee and Blah, Blah, Blahhhg. Self Striping yarn, sock yarn scraps, or any multi-colored yarn works great for the eggs. The striped one was made with Deborah Norville Everyday Worsted.

Basket

Chocolate Bunny

Eggs

The Moment of Truth

The sweater is done, but not blocked. I worried at first that I did not get the measurements right for the armpits because, as you’ll see in the photos, the cabling goes down further under the arms in the new sweater than in the old one. This may be because I guessed at the wrong row for where the cabling started, or that I counted incorrectly for the shoulder of the sleeve. The sleeves are also a little longer than they should be, but that is easily fixed by turning the cuffs.

For the entire project, I measured the yarn gauge and tried to copy stitch counts. The only place it feels off is at the armpits, the trickiest spot of any shirt, but at least it’s not tight there. The good thing about my version, aesthetically speaking, is that the cabling meets nicely under the armpit.

The other thing I have to keep in mind is that the original has been loved over the years to a nice relaxed state and I haven’t even blocked the new one yet. Once that is done, the yarn will relax a little.

sweater front 1

sweater front 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sweater arm 1

sweater arm 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sweater back 1

sweater back 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sweater 2nd arm 1

sweater 2nd arm 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3-8-13 016

Cat tummy photo-bomb.

Inner arm seaming.

Inner arm seaming.

3-8-13 013

 

 

Almost to Sweater Completion

After a huge break due to school, Christmas, more school, etc, I am finally back on track with the sweater clone. During this break of non-posting, I also worked on a ton of projects for my niece, which will be a post for another day.

Jumping back and forth between projects is proving to be hazardous. On the sweater, when I came back to it, I found that I had lost my hand-written notes for the sleeves. I already had one sleeve done from these notes, so the trick was to get the second sleeve as close to the first as possible. This only really involved re-counting stitches and comparing the first to the second as I went along, but I could tell it came out a little different. I don’t believe it will be different enough to be noticeable after seaming.

My guess about the neck was that it had been picked up from the tops of each of the pieces and worked in the round. To make this easier, I left the tops of the chest pieces and sleeves on stitch holders so I could go back and thread them all onto a circular needle. The neck is also folded over and seamed to the inside to make for a stiff collar.

After joining all pieces in the round.

After joining all pieces in the round.

Showing the collar before seaming.

Showing the collar before seaming.

 

Next, I had to make the second part of the collar, which is a separate cabled band knit flat and seamed together.

The outer collar.

The outer collar.

Now that these two steps are done, I only need to seam the sides of the sweater body and sleeves and sew the collar! Then, of course, pray that it fits the same way the original does >.<

How the collar will look folded over.

How the collar will look folded over.

Showing the outer collar position.

Showing the outer collar position.

Comparing this sweater to the original, I have to remind myself that the original is very well-loved and stretched out. After blocking, the bamboo will relax and they should be the same size.

It looks so skinny!

It looks so skinny!

 

 

A Christmas Scarf

Busy with finals and trying to finish Christmas presents, it has been a while since my last update :-/

I have discovered that knitting in the round on very small needles makes my hands and wrists very unhappy. I’m thinking of trying out some “crafter’s gloves” or arthritis gloves. If anyone has any suggestions on which of those work best, I’d be very interested!

Last year my boyfriend’s sister expressed interest in a Gryffindor scarf from Harry Potter, so I figured that would be the easiest and quickest present to get done. Putting the sweater on hold, as well as a lace shawl I am trying to make (that’s a whole ‘nother post right there), I began feverishly knitting this scarf. I had no idea how much it was going to hurt my hands trying to work on it.

Either way, it’s finished now. Took me 5 days of working on it almost non-stop. Then I noticed, looking back at pictures from the movie, that I did not have the stripes exactly to scale as I would have hoped. I was following the pattern I had, but a larger needle size or a few more rows would have helped it to be more accurate and a little longer. They should be a little more square in shape. Ce la vi!

005

010

012

014

Desert Bus at 92/142 hours

If you haven’t tuned in yet, you should check it out! Even William Shatner was watching.

My Doctor Who scarf this year auctioned for $2,800. You can check out the listing here. Tomorrow at 6 am PST, the Scarf Purse will be on silent auction for 8 hours. I don’t expect it will go for much, but I’m hoping it will make some Doctor Who fan a nice Christmas present while benefiting charity :-)

You can search on Youtube for “Desert Bus for Hope 6″ or “DB6″ and there is plenty of footage of things you might have missed, plus there are still tons of nerdy give-aways and auctions. You might win something rad for a $5 contribution!

There was Gangnam Style when they reached the lifetime donation amount (6 year total) of 1 million dollars.

1 million dollars!

Fall Beer Review

I came across this beer at BrewMongers a few weeks ago and it looked too good to pass up. ‘Chocolate AND pumpkin,’ I said? Sign me up!

This beer did not deliver what I was hoping for. Though a good beer if you just call it a porter, it was lacking in the chocolate and pumpkin department. It has that nice, earthy flavor that I like from porters with a barely-there touch of chocolate.

Unfortunately, if you had given me a blindfolded taste test, you sure could have fooled me that there was supposed to be any pumpkin flavor to it.

I’ll give it a B-. Good porter. Not worth $7.

Sweater Progress

Here is an update with photos on the progress of the sweater clone.

It looks a little different because once it has been washed, the size will change as the fibers relax.

I think the hardest part so far was figuring out exactly how the original knitter increased at the armpit for the cables. The cables begin off of a line of knit stitches that gradually turns into eight total for a front cabling rope. I tried knit front-back for my increases, but I am thinking the original had lifted increases (which I am not very good at just yet).

A tale of two sweaters.

Having trouble with my lens being too close, so I didn’t quite get the whole length.