Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tomten Jacket

I had so much fun knitting this child's cardigan. I really wanted to knit ups something bright and colorful for a friend's toddler and starting digging through my stash for things I could put together. I started off with a four different types of yarn in slightly different gauges (the blue was a lot thicker than all the other yarns) but I just went up so a slightly bigger needle size and decided that as it was all garter stitch, the different gauges wouldn't make that much of a difference and they really didn't.

To help counter-act the different gauges I decided to stripe the yarn rather than do large color blocks. They may look random, and they are - almost. I am physically incapable of just changing colors by whim. I don't have it in me - too right-brained. So I used this fabulous random strip generator to come up with my stripe pattern. I simply input the colors I had and the widths I wanted and voila - instant stripe. Of course this means that I had a lot of ends to weave in, but don't you think the end result was worth it?

Eventually I ran out of Yellow, then Blue, then Red, then Green. When I ran out I just rooted through my stash some more until I found another ball that was close enough to take it's place. All in all I'm quite pleased.

I will be offering this as a class starting this Sunday, April 25 at knit-one-one studio in Berkeley, CA. If you are interesting in joining in on the fun and picking up on all the tips and tricks I learned while knitting this sweater, please sign up at the class site. If you have any questions feel free to ask me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Harvest time!

Here are the sprouts Tuesday night, which I deemed Harvest Night. I probably could have let them sprout for one more day but I had an early flight Wednesday morning to visit my sister for Thanksgiving. So here they are all greened up in the sprouter:

Here's the sprout clump straight out of the sprouter:
And here they are ready to eat:
It's a good thing that they have a refrigerated shelf life of 2 weeks as I'm going to be traveling for the next week. Hopefully they'll still be delicious when I return home.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sprout updates

So I may be delinquent in my blogging, but I have not been neglecting my cute little sprouts. I reviewed the leafy sprouts video by SproutPeople on YouTube and it looks like my sprouts are right on track. Here's the play by play:

Thursday night - after the soak and first rinse:

Friday morning after the 2nd rinse:

Friday evening, after the 3rd rinse:

Closeup of the sprouts Friday night. Look how cute the little sprouts are!

Saturday morning, after 4th rinse:
I may have missed the Saturday night rinse... too much fun at Bhangra dancing!

And Sunday morning, I may have still been recovering from said Bhangra dancing... They got the rinse, but no pic.

Sunday evening, they're starting to green!:

The fourth day is also prime de-hulling day. Apparently removing the hulls helps extend shelf-life and it makes them prettier. You can see how easily the brown hulls float to the surface with just a little stir with a fork.:

Post de-hulling. You can still see some hulls clinging around the sides of the container:

Tomorrow is harvest day! I hope they're yummy!!!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sprouting is here!

My brand new sprouting kit arrived from Sprout People today! I am so excited to start growing some of my own food.

I was inspired to start sprouting after attending the Fall and Winter Gardening Seminar by the Alameda County Master Gardeners. The seminar was great! I took three classes:

1) Drip Irrigation with the owner of Berkeley's Irrigation Equipment Company. This class was interesting, but not terribly applicable for me as my only place to garden is a balcony with no water hookup, so setting up any sort of drip system would probably be impossible.

2) Herb Gardening with Rose Loveall of Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville, CA. This class was great, and I'm super-excited to plant some herbs come spring. I'd like to put in some window boxes to plant my herbs in and then I'll defintely head up to Morningsun Farm to pick up my herbs along with all the advice I can get. I'm hoping I'll have better luck with locally produced herbs than I have with the herbs I've picked up at CVS. Either way, if I can keep them alive, it would be so nice to have access to fresh herbs - buying the packs at the grocery store drives me crazy! I can never finish a pack before the herbs go bad - so much waste!

3) Growing Food in Small Spaces with R.J. Ruppenthal, author of Growing Food in Small Spaces. This class was the most inspirational for me as I've been hankering to grow more edibles on my small balcony. This book seems to be a fantastic primer for food production of all sorts on a small scale. In addition to lots of great info on gardening in small spaces, it also covers sprouting, fermentation, cultivating mushrooms, beekeeping and raising chicken. It's not a thick book, so it doesn't cover all of these in great detail, but was definitely enough to whet my appetite in many of these different areas.

As we're heading into winter and I have very little desire to keep bees or chickens, it seemed like the easiest and most logical place to start is with sprouting. It looks pretty easy and has started launching some great how-to videos on YouTube so I'm pretty confident that I can do it. Basically you soak the seeds and then rinse and drain every twelve hours until they're ready to eat (4-10 days depending on the type of sprout) and then you have a delicious supply of sprouts. That's the idea anyway, I just unpacked mine, so we'll see. Here's my "kit":

I decided to put together my own kit as they were having a great sale on several sample packs and it was going to allow me to try more things. Here's what I ordered:
  • Easy Sprout Sprouter - this is the Sprout People's favorite sprouting tool and it looked pretty much fool-proof, so here's hoping I do it right!
  • Leafy Sprout Sampler Pack
  • Bean Sprout Sampler Pack
  • Grain Mix Sampler Pack

I decided to start with the most basic leafy mix, red clover and alfafa. I wanted to start with a mild mix so that it's sort of a base for comparison with the more "exotic" leafy mixes that came in the sample-pack.

So here are my grains soaking - that's step one people! Only four more days until i have yummy sprouts!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My kind of mudflap

Outside of Fred Meyer in Corvallis, OR.
- Taken at 3:15 PM on May 21, 2009 - uploaded by ShoZu

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tecno Technique Blanket Class

So I've begun work on my newest endeavor: The Tech Square Afghan by Joanne Clark. So far I've made three of the sqaures and I am having a blast playing around with the different techniques! I especially found the travelling stitches tree square to be quite addictive. Here's a picture of the first square in the book:

I'm knitting it out a wild combination of colors from the wonderfully bright palette of Sheep Shop Yarn Co's Sheep One - this is going to be a bit more colorful than the example shown in the book.

I'll be teaching this book at a monthly "block party" class at knit-one-one in Berkeley and I'm really excited about it. I think this is just the kind of class that I, the type-A knitter, would have loved to take as each square teaches you a different technique. Plus, we'll get to nosh on Sile's shortbread so you can't go wrong there. If you live in the area, I'd love for you to join us! It should be a blast!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Brenda Dayne - the new homeopathic no-doze.

I have recently made an incredible discover - knitting podcasts! Oh, I know, I'm waaaay behind the times - most of you have probably been on board with Cast-On, Lime & Violet and Stash & Burn since the beginning, but I never really figured out how to make them a part of my life. For those of you in the know on my life, you're already aware of my recent expansion of time on the road, but I'll fill the rest of you in. I'm into my second season on the road as a Yarn Sales Rep. This is the best job ever, but I do have a hard time dealing with extreme waste of time that driving seems to be (and there's a lot of driving now that I go up to Oregon and Washington in addition to my home territory of Northern California). After all, there are many things that one can add knitting to that make them feel productive - tv watching, doctors office waiting room visits, family gatherings, etc - but unfortunately I have just not figured out a safe way to knit and drive.

Thanks goodness for Brenda Dayne - this genius of the podcast has held me captured to her tales of knitting and her antics with other podcasteres the world over. If you haven't gotten on board with Cast-On, I strongly advise you to give it a try. This is not your typical knitting podcast - it's downright professional. There are all kinds of knitting podcasts, and I'm sure that everyone has their favorite style, and it's quite possible that I may amend my *favorites* status for no apparant reason at any moment, but I am very Type-A and I really appreciate how planned and organized her podcasts are (I can just imagine her ticking off the boxes alongside her outlined show-notes and she goes through the cast.)

Here's my dilemma - Brenda has now entertained me for 29 episodes (which is nearly 29 hours of driving time) and I feel as though I owe more than a blog-post as gratitude. She has a donation button on her site, and I feel like it's time for me to contribute to her art. So what I'd love to hear from you is - how do you show your appreciation for such great free art? Do any of you have a "per-cast" formula for donations?

While I'm waiting, I'll see if I can't at least add a link to her podcast on my blog.