AJ Knits






March 2012
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Episode: 39

  1. Production scheduling

    1. Production

      1. Knitting Mojo exhausted

    2. What’s in My Teapot

    3. Materials Sourcing

    4. After 5

  1. Production

    1. Gnome Socks By Spilly Jane

      1. Another week of little progress. Last time we talked I wasn’t liking my tension which was skewing my gauge. The big debate was to Frog, perfect and frog, or Plunge on. I’m taking the path of least resistance and plunging forward with an eye to perfect and frog. I also manage to botch the pattern this week. Which has made me lay these down in disgust. (With myself… and my lack of skills…) So Despite having a few more rows done I’m pretty much in the same conundrum … “To frog, or not to frog, that is the question:
        Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
        The Slings and Arrows of outrageous color work,
        Or to take up needles against a Sea of troubles…”

      2. Back onto the project pile they go.

    1. Ruffled and Ruched Scarf by Pam Powers

      1. Ruffed and Ruched Redux

      2. The party is next weekend! ARGH! Where have I frittered my time away to?!

      3. I finished the 1st half. Unraveled the provisional cast on and will be starting the final ribbing on the scarf. With any luck my knitting mojo will hold up and I’ll be able to finish this before I have to wrap it on the 31st.

      4. As mentioned last week this is a gift for someone who I’m not totally convinced will not A) turn it into a cat bed or B) toss it in the wash so I’m using and acrylic / alpaca blend. I believe this is a Hobby Lobby house brand. I like the color, the feel is nice and soft… about as far away from crunch as acrylic get but I’m _really_ not happy about the knots. I had one knot that was a complete break and 2 that one ply had a break and was knotted and plied to a non – broken single. REALLY?!

    1. Knitted Knockers of a Good Yarn Shop

      1. Knitted Knockers is part of Debbie Macomber’s Knit 1 Bless 2 initiative for 2012. I found out about them through a suggestion on my knit groups face book page. I try to be fairly open to trying any thing once so why not try to knit a prosthetic breast. The pattern is free and can be linked to through Debbie Macomber’s web site or through www.agoodyarnshop.com

      2. The pattern calls for cotton or any soft and washable yarn. I picked up some Rowan Hand Knitting Cotton at the yarn shop this week for mine in a mauve that Joe calls “Bright Red”. All in all the pattern is easy. The hardest part was starting out with the i-cord and then increasing in each stitch to work in the round. Doesn’t sound hard but the needles were a bit “fiddly” in my opinion with only 2 stitches a piece. Nothing insurmountable and since the back side is decreased in the same way at the front increases knitting the back before the front doesn’t help. I knit a B cup the pattern can be sized to a DD. I went with the smallish size so as to maybe be able to complete a pair from my tiny ball of yarn. I finished it in one night so this is a quick and easy piece of charity knitting that can be done socially. Note for the squeamish… it looks like a baby hat. No one need know what it truly is… unless of course you’re like me and my knit group co hort who though maybe a piercing would jazz it up…

    1. Hexipuff Count for the week.

      1. ½ I took it along to knit group and I ran out of yarn ½ ways into my puff. <Knitting Fail>

  1. What’s In My Tea Pot

    1. Oriental Treasure Green Tea (The Boston Tea Company)

    2. I was bumming around Tuesday Morning looking for yarn and I found tea! Almost as good.

    3. Back of tin:

    4. Even though the canister says Connoisseur’s Favorite. I beg to differ. For a Green this tea goes bitter quick. This may be a case of “I bought tea at Tuesday Morning….” But BLECH. Even the packaging is clunky the top of the canister has come off several times and dumped the canister into my desk drawer. (Why I have some sort of crushed herb in my desk drawer is not something I want to discuss with HR! “It’s tea! Honest!”) I also don’t believe that what’s in this canister could be considered “Loose Leaf” It’s crushed beyond belief and could at best be considered Fannings.

    5. Lesson learned… if it’s marked down from 6.99 to 2.99, probably not worth drinking.

  1. Materials Sourcing

    1. Whatever it was that sapped my knitting Mojo didn’t extend to my spinning,

    2. Finished!

      1. The Jacob Fleece from the Anne Arbor Fiber expo.

        1. A lot of burrs and that wonkiness with the staple length.

        2. But with all that kvetching and complaining what I think was 4 oz of fiber turned into gorgeous and squishy DK worsted – ish (some heavier some lighter…) yarn. When I first started swatching for plying. I thought I’d want a nice rustic, chunky, three ply. But when I knit up the two ply the gray and black made gorgeous stripes that faded into each other. While the heavier three ply just muddled the colors. In the end I could part with the stripes. SO another thinner yarn into the stash.

        3. Squeezing this yarn makes me happy this week. So I have it hanging in the dining room so I can squish it every time I walk by.

      2. Black Cherry Mystery Wool Roving

        1. Finally this ball of roving is done.

        2. In my world just about everything has its place. I do tend to get grumpy though when I buy something expecting it to behave a certain way and find out that I’ve been sold a bill of goods. When I bought this fiber the section I “tested” was too small and I was too inexperienced to see what I was getting. The small piece I drafted out looked smooth and lovely. What I got was a textured roving that was never meant to be the smooth yarn I had in my head. It’s spun now in to a pretty cool “arty” yarn full of lumps and bumps. Not the softest thing in the world but will make an awesome hat or Pair of mittens. 4 oz came in at 297 yds.

    3. On the wheel

      1. I took a look through my stash and I wanted something with bright colors and something easy. I need a break from the veg matter and issues the Jacob and to a lesser extent my homemade camel batt had. So I pulled out a 4 oz ball of Merino from Copperpot Woolies in Cotton Candy. This was the ball I had to go “Hockey Mom” (A well place elbow / hip combo…. Just Kidding. But I did grab it and ran away when she turned her head to talk to her friend…) the colors in this are lime green, Aqua Blue, and an Electric purple. I’ve about half a bobbin so far and it’s spinning like “buttah”. The colors make me smile. I can’t wait to see how this plies up.

  2. After 5

    1. What a Week.

      1. Joe had a Brush with unemployment.

      2. The stress is what probably killed my knitting Mojo.

      3. St Patty’s Day Truffles

        1. So Rich…. Sooo Good…. Soooo Simple.

1 Package of Cool Mint Oreos 22 with Filling 8-10 Without

1 Brick of Cream Cheese

Smash the Oreos and combine with cream cheese.  Roll mixture into balls for centers and cool in fridge or Freezer on Wax paper to firm up.

Melt Chocolate for Coating.  I got mine at party city green was on sale.  Zap in Microwave for 30 second intervals until smooth.  Coat centers.  (use a fork to coat and then tap off the excess chocolate.)   Melt white chocolate in a Ziploc.  Snip off corner and drizzle whit over green or Pipe on shamrocks.  (Use a tooth pick to smooth out the shamrock)

It’s that easy.

      1. B’s Birthday party at the Science Center

        1. Dry Ice + Bubble Solution = Awsome!

        2. People who RSVP and don’t show… GRRRRR

      2. The Vacation that wasn’t

        1. We had planned to see the Shed Aquarium and the Field Museum in Chicago this week. Long story short… there were some “Elder Health” issues and my Ollie sitter had to cancel so we stayed home. Oh well…. There’s always next year.


Direct download: Eposode_39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:08am EST

Episode 38:

  1. Production scheduling

    1. Production

    2. What’s in My Teapot

    3. Materials Sourcing

    4. After 5

  1. Production

    1. Gnome Socks By Spilly Jane

      1. I had a little progress on these this week. I’m in to the three color rows which include the tip of the gnomes beard, his shirt, and the main color.

      2. I have a feeling that my gauge is too loose. There aren’t any blatant holes but… I think in my quest to make sure my floats aren’t too tight I’ve over compensated and the stitches are too loose.

      3. For a bit of inspiration I took a look at Mary Scott Huff’s video for the Rockin’ Sock Club Where she discusses stranded color work.

        1. Can I just say that I love Mary? Her Sense of humor kills me! Do check out her blog on the exploding over head lighting. This is sooo something that would happen to me and I would be blogging / hiding under the dining room table as well. Don’t even get me started on the Laundry – cano.

      4. Right now my gnome socks are resting in my project pile. I have to decide whether or not the gauge issue is an issue and they should be frogged or to press on and get a better handle on the technique and then possible frog and do it right or press on boldly and cross my ankles to show only sock #2. (which will surely turn out better… right?)

    1. Ruffled and Ruched Scarf by Pam Powers

      1. I have a friend whose mom is Turning 65 at the end of the month. I gave her a choice of what she’d like hoping she’d take an FO and she requested a rosette. Which I was baffled by. I offered socks, hats, shawls, mitts, and she asked for a rosette.

      2. So I sent her daughter the picture of the Ruffled and Ruched scarf and that’s what we’re doing.

      3. I’m knitting this from _______________ which is an Acrylic Alpaca blend with Grey, Teal, Bronze, Purple, and Magenta in it mixed with Alpaca. Which may be a bit sacrilegious to mix lama and acrylic but the fabric looks nice and the yarn feels not so crunchy.

        1. Acrylic has 2 redeeming qualities in my book. How well it takes color / colors available and ease of care.

      4. Of course Hobby Lobby didn’t have more than 3 skeins of the same dye lot so I’m switching skeins every row to avoid the patchy dye lot problem.

    1. Hexipuffs!

      1. Still Hexipuffing away. Another 2 down 352 to go. :P

      2. I’m thinking I may get a quilt faster if I start making my puff out of worsted weight on Sz 8 or 9 needles…

    1. The Bangle yarn Experiment

      1. While I was n hobby lobby I checked the sale rack and found 2 Skein of white “Bangle Yarn”

      2. This stuff look like White fuzzy packing peanuts strung on a cord.

      3. At first I tried to Q hook crochet it. And found it was too hard to find the little cord in the packing peanuts.

      4. Then I did some research on You tube for how to knit wit this stuff and found a video on the red heart version. The video tutorial showed casting on 2 stitches between each peanut puff. The ht worked out pretty well but I was knitting in Garter stitch and the peanut puffs were stacking up so that 10 rows gave me three inches of fabric. I pilled it off the needles. When I’m feeling adventurous again I’ll see if stockinette distributes the peanut puffs any better. Until then just another oddity in my stash.

  1. What’s In my Tea Pot

    1. Blueberry Tea From Adagio Teas

    2. A delightful blend of bright Ceylon black tea, fresh blueberry flavor and playfully accented with dried blueberries. An aromatic cup, definitely more like the 'highbush' variety of blueberry (highly fragrant and delicately tart). Fresh flavor, slightly sweet and rounded texture - not too juicy. Great hot or iced and easy to blend with other teas, too. Try it with Vanilla Black or Cream for added creamy texture.

    3. The ceylon is nice and my first thought was mmmmm.... black tea. It reminds me of the Oh SO yumy black tea my favorite Vietnamese restaurant #1 pho uses in their bubble tea. The blueberry is really more of an after thought that's more of a scent in the back of the sinuses than a flavor. Very warm and comforting. I collapsed on the couch with this at the end of a rough day and it perked me up quite a bit.

    4. Speaking of perking up I found a few fact about tea and caffeine this week via Choice Organic teas http://www.choiceorganicteas.com/caffeineintea.phpb

      1. The more oxidized the tea the greater it's caffeine content.

      2. Beverage Caffeine Per 8 oz Cup

      3. White Tea 30-55 mg

      4. Green Tea 35-70 mg

      5. Oolong Tea 50-75 mg

      6. Black Tea 60-90 mg

      7. Coffee 150-200 mg

      8. Consider this:

If an 8 oz cup of brewed coffee contains 150 mg of caffeine, a 16 oz cup of coffee will have 300 mg.

Similarly, when you drink an 8 oz cup of tea served from a brewed pot of tea, doubling the serving size to 16 oz results in double the caffeine.

But steeping tea in a mug is different.

If you were to brew a mug of tea using 8 oz of water and one tea bag, the total caffeine could be around 40 mg. If you were to brew a larger mug of tea using 16 oz water and one tea bag, the total caffeine would not double. It would still be only around 40 mg

  1. Material Sourcing

    1. I had a bout of Start – itis for the wheel but when I looked around all my bobbins were full of half started things.

    2. So grudgingly I decided that I had better get on with something that was in progress.

    3. Back on the wheel is the Jacob fleece from the Anne Arbor Fiber expo

    4. This was giving me fits last week and I think I figured out why. The roving is half black and half grey and for some reason the staple length of the black is totally different in spots to that of the grey. So I’ll be spinning along moving from grey to black back and forth across the top of the fiber and hit a short spot in the black and get a break in the single. Now that I know what I’m looking out for things have been going along a bit better. I finished that 1st ball and I’m a bout a ¼ of the way into the second ball.

    5. I’m also running out of bobbin so I may need to Andean ply the 1st bobbin to free it up… Or perhaps just send out the search party for another Bobbin. I think there is one somewhere unaccounted for!

    6. Speaking of things unaccounted for. B found about and 18 inch long chunk of roving under the couch. He was rooting around under their looking for his Firey – Flynn the Fire truck and said “Here mommy, here’s some of your fluffy stuff.” It’s some of the Nantucket from Copper pot Woolies that I made my awesome dragon rider hat from. I have a bit of that yarn left over and now it looks like I’ll get a smidge more! But this doesn’t say much for the house keeping around here. Hey there’s knitting and spinning to be done!

  1. After 5

    1. Spaghetti Sauce

      1. Despite my polish last name my MIL is Italian.

      2. My genealogy geek did some digging much to my in-laws dismay and found that the Italian side is also Sicilian by way of Palermo.

        1. Palermo has PALM TREES and Mummies! It must have been _really_ bad for the family to leave that for SNOWY non Palm Treed CLEVELAND.

      3. My mil’s Spaghetti Sauce contains meat balls, sausage, ground meat, mushrooms, and hard boiled Eggs. It’s a meal unto itself.

      4. I’ve never understood the hard boiled eggs but my husband assures me they are absolutely necessary. Much like the Pupa Cu L’ova http://www.food.com/recipe/Italian-Easter-Egg-Basket-Pupa-Cu-Lova-218686 (Italian Easter basket cookies). Which also have hardboiled eggs in them and can not ever be absent at Easter.

      5. Joe spend all of Saturday crafting a pot of sauce and we’ve been eating it ever since. Of course when we have a ton of warm hearty food in the house the weather perks up a bit and I feel like grilling out…

    2. Pinterest

      1. I finally bit the bullet and joined Pinterest this week.


      3. I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming into new things. Like facebook… I waited forever to get a facebook acct and now I live on FB.

      4. Pinterest is like browsing Etsy with recipes! I found a couple of blogs with Jar cakes and even better Jar Pies! Mmmmmmmm! Can’t wait to try that.

      5. I’ve been adding a few FO’s up to pinterest as well. It’s really easy to get that little “Pin it” button on your blog page.

    3. Rifftrax

      1. Joe and I rewatched the Twilight movies with rifftrax this weekend. If you’re a fan of Mystery Science Theater you’ll love Riff Trax.

      2. Riff Trax is an MP3 that is downloaded from the Riff Trax website. When you start your DVD the mp3 gives you prompts to line up the riff Trax with the movie. What you get is a bunch of guys cracking jokes about the movie as you watch it.

      3. Yes, I know that can be the most annoying part of going to the theatre. But I own the DVD’s I’ve seen them a million times so the jokes enhance the experience plus they make my husband more inclined to watch chick flix.


Direct download: Episode_38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:46am EST

Episode 37:

  1. Production scheduling

    1. Production

    2. What’s in My Teapot

    3. Materials Sourcing

    4. After 5

  1. Production

    1. Gnome Socks by Spilly Jane

      1. Camp KIP Theme

      2. Using the recommended Brown Sheep Nature spun. Tried to use Knitpicks “palette” but couldn't find colors I liked.

      3. Tension is a bit wonky. I think it's mostly because I'm concerned about the floats getting to tight across the back.

      4. Through the hats and faces of the first row of gnomes. Getting ready to cast on the white for beards and then the next row is the start of the oh so scary three color rows! <EEEEEK>

    1. The Bee Keeper’s Quilt by Tiny Owl knits

      1. Hexipuffs!

      2. I tried to avoid it I even found the vlog post mildly annoying and yet I bought the pattern and am happily hexipuffing away.

      3. My puffs are a bit smaller than what the pattern is calling for as I'm knitting mine on two sz one circular needles. I found the method in the pattern of knitting them on DPNs a bit hard on my hands .

      4. I have 7 out of the 345 some odd puffs that I'll need. Woohoo! Gonna be a long ride!

    2. The Brea Bag

      1. My Brea Bag came back out of the prjectbag thid week. I tore out the previously made gussett anf reknit it stranding with a new hank of Alpaca Ultra. (I had previously rant out. I'. not happy with the tension at the very end of the gussett. The beginning is knit much more tightly than the end. I'll be tearing this back AGAIN this week and hopefull be able to put it together and have it finished and ready for use!

  1. What's In my Tea Pot

    1. Republic of Tea Hot Apple Cider Tea

    2. A naturally-caffeine free blend of apples, cinnamon cloves and ginger. Reminiscent of apple cider, with the luscious aroma of cinnamon and cloves, make this cup the perfect accompaniment to the colors of the harvest season.

      1. This is no replacement for the mulled cider recipe I shared in Episode 26 “Double Bubble or Mulling it over” but in a pinch if there is no way to get the real deal... it's better than nothing. Has a tendency to go bitter when over steeped. I think it's the ginger and clove that get a bit to aggressive if you forget the bag in the bottom of the mug.

  2. Materials Sourcing

    1. The Merino Camel is done! Plied and washed.

    2. I've never seen so much dirt come out of yarn! Humphrey must have been filthy. The dirt was coming off in clouds!

    3. The end result is really soft with a bit o a tweed look. All in all I'm happy with the finished product. I’m still looking for that elusive consistent single but that will come with time. I came up with abut 250 yds of yarn so I'll be looking for a small project to use it on

    4. Back on the wheel currently is the 4 oz of Jacob. I had one bobbin done previously and I'm still working through the 1st 2oz ball.

  1. After 5

    1. Happy Birthday B

    2. Cowmoons

      1. I have no Idea what these are.  They may be some strain relate to Highland Cattle at least that’s what they most resemble from an image search.

      2. B has always argued that what ever they are they are not cows. They have previously been Moose.

      3. He loves to tell me stories about them.  One is how the “cowmoons” eat apples.  I got a whole in depth story about ho the cowmoons use their “Antlers “ to knock down the apples.

      4. This morning on the way to school I asked him if he thought the Cowmoons would be 9ut and he said “No,  they won’t be out because there’s snow and they’ll get cold toes.”


    1. Monster meat

      1. Sasquatch Jerky.


Direct download: Episode37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:51am EST