Firstscarf update

a wonky piece of knitting

I have gotten this far in my scarf.

Which means the introduction of this little fella:

ball of Bazinga! yarn

The second skein! Gasp! But wait, do not fear! I have a book! It is a pretty good book, lots of pictures.

So this happened:

knot tied at side of knitting

And I was all worried and fretful. No, no worries – knot was tied, new skein introduced, more knitting occurred.

Whoohoo!

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Bread is okay with you, dude

sliced loaf of potato bread on wooden cutting board

There is something I want to explain about bread: bread likes you. It wants to sit down and chat, maybe share a nice, hot beverage. It is a dietary staple that wants to hang out.

I have not found this to be true of certain sauces and that one cooked icing I made back when I was about 14 and I still shudder in remembrance of. I am put off by most cookbooks, finding them fussy and elitist, (the elite being people who cook a lot more than I do) the pretentious hipsters of cooking.

I was, at first, daunted by the idea of making bread. I’ve been around others who were making bread, one who never needed a recipe and the other who wept with frustration over the yeast. So, complicated and obscure and it made you desperate. Who needs it?

Yeah, that would be me. I had some time and the desire for a good baguette. I am originally from Louisiana and I can sure eat the hell out of some good Cajun food. I dream of these two restaurants near the Atchafalaya Basin, Robin’s and Pat’s,  and a bakery in Lafayette called Pouparts. Really, if you are ever near Henderson, La. go to Robin’s, it’ll make you happy.

Thus began my two years of making bread. My first loaves were as bricks.  The dough would rise, then fall. I couldn’t get the slash right (still can’t) and my loaf would always deflate in the oven.

This is where you know that bread genuinely likes you. You could still eat what I had made. It wasn’t great but it was edible. Some made excellent toast. (Some still makes excellent toast, because while I do have some successes, every other loaf is still flat as a board. At least now there is a good chance I can figure out why.)

So let the sauce break and the cream curdle since you forgot to temper it in, go stir up some dough, push-pull-turn, let it rise and enjoy.

rich white bread, nicely risen, top view

rich white bread, nicely risen, side view

(Just be very careful of how much salt you put in or you will get this, beautiful but deadly.)

a lovely little loaf of way-too-salty-to-eat bread

She mailed the sewing machine to me

I sent my good friend J* an email recently that began “Hi! Guess what I’ve been doing with your sewing machine.” Because I have her sewing machine, in my possession, in my house, due to her mailing the thing to me. She is a deeply cool person.

old Kenmore sewing machine with potholder being sewn

Mater Dolorosa

I was, and still am, very excited about getting to use the thing.

“It needs a name.” I said.

“Mater Dolorosa” says my mother without a moment of hesitation.

She looked like there might be some lingering past sewing issues but I did not ask right then. My mother is a wily opponent and must be snuck up upon to get any information out of her. I will ply her with tea and little biscuits, later, and hopefully learn why mother of sorrows was so damn appropriate for the sewing machine.

So, there you are – it has a name that only time can show how fitting it is. I bought a case for it at the sewing machine repair place (it needed to be oiled and may have been dropped during shipping). The case is large and white, quite plain. I’m going to paint a tattoo version of the mother of sorrows on it. It’s a very cool sewing machine, you see.

That is a potholder I made as homework for bias tape attachment. What do you call putting on bias tape? Binding up? Dunno. I am not very good at it, so I am making little things to practice. I found a good set of instructions, with very clear photos on the web. Oh internet, I love you so.

These are the various things I have made on the Mater Dolorosa:

potholder in a 60's floral print with pink edging

a quilted potholder

dia de los muertos print oven mitt with yellow edging

a quilted oven mitt

action shot of quilting on the oven mitt

inside lining and quilting being done

unfinished knitting needle roll in 60's floral print

unfinished knitting needle roll

This knitting needle roll is the reason for the potholders. I messed up the bias tape on this and it really bugs me. I have a brand new packet of Extra Wide Double Fold and I plan to use it.

The pattern for the roll came off the internet, just like the oven mitt. Nice clear instructions and the oven mitt one offered a printable pattern.

pattern and both halves of oven mitt

oven mitt pieces and pattern

I discovered several things making this mitt:

  1. I needed real sewing scissors; pinking shears weren’t much help due to the thickness of the project. There is a layer of utility fabric, Insul-Brite, between the fabric layers and cutting all this out with pinking shears really threw things off.
  2. You should really check which way the fabric is laying before sewing it up. I was quite surprised at the end when I took that photo and the skeletons were on their sides.
  3. Bias tape is evil, very bad no good stuff.
  4. I will poke myself a million billion times while pining things up. And yes, I really do need to pin, it will not be “okay” if I just “hold it right” as I am sewing.
  5. Basting is a very important step.
  6. Machine quilting is cool.
  7. I still don’t get why everyone who has ever used my kitchen hates my silicon potholders so very much but I do like my new oven mitt and potholder a lot.

I am going to make my mother a knitting needle roll. I got special fabric from one of the many online quilting stores.

fabrics and notion for G*'s knitting needle roll

Yeah baby, the Three Stooges in black with yellow back ground reprints and red type. My mother rocks and so will her knitting things.

My Dog

Before:

a small, very shaggy, wheaten colored dog

After:

a small, shorn dog

 

In a Sweater:

small dog wearing a teal sweater

Learning to Knit

Well, yes, I am learning to knit. So far I haven’t stabbed myself repeatedly with the needle (embroidery), burned myself on the pan, rack or eye-of-the-stove (general cookery) or made the engine grind and whine in disturbing ways (machine sewing).

So I like knitting, the yarn is lovely, the needles are blunt and you can so easily undo what you have done if you mess it up. Granted you will lose whatever progress you have made but there is no frightening whine of a borrowed sewing machine motor (no, no, your sewing machine is fine, no worries!) and, happily, no blood.

 

ball of yarn in a bowl

This is some lovely lovely Italian yarn called Bazinga Pomegrante.

 

pair of blue metal cable needles and some cast on yarn

The start of a beginner’s scarf

 

The cable connected needles came from the learn-to-knit class I am taking at the local library. The teacher brought a bunch of donated needles and yarn for us to use. I chose these because they are shiny and blue. Excellent.

This is a bulky yarn that goes thick then thin. It looks pretty cool knitted up. I am pretty pleased with my first effort but this is mainly due to the awesomenss of the yarn and the fact all I have done is repeat the first stitch I have learned. We will see what happens when I try to add more yarn in and get to that whole “binding off” thing.

 

 

hands knitting

Knitting in front of the TV.

 

scarf on needles being held up for picture

After the movie was over I had this much. The color is off, though.

 

better color picture of scarf beginnings

Here the color is more like the actual thing.

 

Since I don’t really know what I am doing I am just going to knit a lot and take what I have in to show the teacher next week. My practice work on donated yarn had some weirdness in the beginning with the stitches being really tight then way loose and all sorts of odd gaps and funny stretches. I’m still going to use it in a future scarf though.

My Mother and the Newspaper Fiasco

My brother sometimes brings me the Sunday paper, hanging it on my doorknob as I rarely answer the door and he never knocks. I enjoyed reading it, mostly I think because I once worked at a newspaper back in the 80’s.

So I decide to get a subscription to the paper and get it delivered to my house. Just the Sunday one, the big  issue, with color comics and coupons. I would be virtuous and do all my shopping with coupons – thereby becoming a Better Person.

The very first Sunday I am to get the paper, I get two. I call the paper on Monday, the lady who talks to me is vague about what has happened but assures me I will only be charged for the one subscription. And yes, it happened the next Sunday and they charged me for both papers.

I called to talk to someone about how to fix all this – and spent an hour on phone, dialing  and waiting and forging through voicemazes – and got to talk to no one. Not a single person. This is, in the grand scheme of things, a pathetically minor matter, but oh, did it matter to me! I used their online form to cancel and have spent the next few weeks arguing with them to get my refunds.

I am supposedly to get another five dollars at some point.

During all this I decide I need to lay siege to the newspaper offices. I envision trebuchets and screaming hordes of Norsemen, it soothes something inside me. I called my mother to tell her about my disaffection with the newspaper people and how I must now go and set fire to the company headquarters.

She says “Okay I’ll go get a knife from the kitchen, come get me!”

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