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Weekends done right

When your week starts out with you breaking an expensive piece of lab equipment essential to your research, you know it’s going to be a rough one. But all your troubles can be forgotten (or at least momentarily pushed aside) with a good recipe for the weekend. And I’ve figured out how to do it right. Follow this fool-proof recipe, and you are sure to chase away your weekday blues.
1. Spend a few hours ogling, petting, and drooling over some gorgeous yarn at the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic. 

 
If the Knitter’s Frolic isn’t available, your local yarn store will suffice. Bringing along a similarly minded, knitting/yarn obsessed friend/significant other/pen pal is highly recommended to achieve optimal results.

2. Momentarily, in a time of bliss, forget that you are on a student’s stipend, and let down your inhibitions (e.g. drop some cash on some majorly lovely yarns).

For best results, take advantage of rare and/or locally produced yarns you can’t find in above mentioned yarn store. You can substitute any beautiful, hand dyed yarn to achieve similar feelings of euphoria.

3. Finish with a generous helping of some homemade citrus sangria.

Most alcoholic beverages will be more than sufficient to meet this step.

Happy weekend! I hope you all have a great one.

A little extra chocolate

I haven’t baked in a loooong time. That’s three extra ‘o’s, so you know it’s been a while. But this morning I was inspired by the idea of afternoon tea and cake (blame all the British period pieces I’m always watching). There was just something about a sunny Sunday afternoon…

After a long, lonely winter on top of the fridge, my poor stand mixer could really use some action (and it also need a bit of degreasing on the top… ew). I decided on the double chocolate loaf cake from BBC Good Food. You can never go wrong with something that has ‘double chocolate’ in the title. Plus, a recipe from the BBC means it has to be an authentic cake to have with tea, right?

Who bothers measuring out chocolate chips? This is one part of baking that is not a science – just follow your chocolatey heart. Your intuition on the measurement of chocolate chips can not lead you astray. Plus, a few extra chocolate chips never hurt anyone.

I may have licked the mixing paddle. Just a little bit. I had really missed that ‘baking’ smell in our house. It just makes you feel cozy and happy inside. I kept peeking into the oven waiting for the cake to finish because there’s just nothing quite like the first bite of warm chocolate cake fresh from the oven. 

After some very messy artistic splooshing (that’s the technical term) of melted chocolate across the top, I had myself a lovely chocolate loaf cake. Would you like some tea with that?


WIP Wednesday: Rainbow Broken Seed Stitch Socks

These socks could be subtitled “The mildly controlled chaos of two-at-a-time socks.” I am, in no way, putting down two-at-a-time (TAAT) socks because this method is my sock savior. I was a long sufferer of the dreaded SSS (second sock syndrome, of course) before I bought some lovely Addi Turbo needles and taught myself the TAAT magic loop method. These are my second pair of socks made using TAAT magic loop, but my first using two different yarns. Wow… can you say tangled mess? I basically have four different balls of yarn all intertwining together. It’s chaos. And mildly controlled is putting it nicely. One thing I can say for sure from this experience – I will never do socks with any stranded knitting TAAT.

But just look at these socks! Isn’t this pattern just so fun? Totally worth unravelling yarn many, many a few times. The rainbow shifts of the yarn are working out perfectly with this pattern. I just couldn’t resist taking home a skein of this Misti Alpaca fingering yarn when I spotted it at my local yarn store (colorway is Reaggeton). I am a sucker for color. Plus, it is just so amazingly soft. Alpaca melts even the strongest among us, doesn’t it?

The cream breaks up the sock nicely, so it doesn’t look like a manic unicorn came by and barfed up a neon rainbow. I also love the texture of the broken seed stitch, along with the illusion that each color stitch sits within a little hexagon. Every time I look at how these socks are turning out, it gives me the strength to power through the tangles. I can’t wait to get these on my feet!

Flashin’ the stash

Any day there is a box of yarn waiting at the door when you get home is a good day.

Inside was a lovely assortment of yarn from KnitPicks for a few projects I have in mind. The teal, mustard, and heather gray is going to become a short-sleeved caramel cardigan inspired by this version by bluedogwoolies.

 

I immediately fell in love with the idea of the colorslide sweater when I first saw it, but I think I want to make it a cardigan rather than a pullover. I selected some spring-inspired colors to work out this pattern for myself.

 

And I want to make one for my sister, too. Hopefully she’ll like the color combination. If not, I can always keep it for myself.

I’m looking forward to casting on soon (new yarn always gives me the itch to start a new project), but I need to finish up at least one of the products I currently have going before I take on something else. All these lovely colors give me more inspiration to finish up my current sweater so I can start on one of these.

WIP Wednesday: Pink Striped Cardigan

Seemingly never-ending snowfall with drifts to my mid calf: days like today are ones that entice you with just filling the day with crappy movies, snuggles with the puppy, and knitting. If only life were that simple.

I did have work that needed to be finished up today, but fortunately I could escape the snow-pocalypse brewing outside and work from home in my pajamas. I also was able to “sneak” in some lunch time knitting on my current work-in-progress: a wool pink striped cardigan.

I had purchased the wool about a month ago with a completely different project in mind, but once it arrived, I knew it was all wrong for what I had planned. I also had just ordered some new yarn (My name is Brandy, and I’m a yarnaholic), so I was feeling a little guilty about this yarn sitting around, waiting to get buried in the stash.

With the idea of a spring/autumn cardigan in mind, I set out to find a pattern that would provide me with the basic construction ideas. With just some minor modifications, Isabell Kraemer’s driftwood was perfect (and it’s free!).

This project is also the first I’ve made with the continuous style of sleeves, rather than raglan sleeves. I have to say, I think I am in love! I wish I had discovered this sleeve style before, as I really like the polished look they produce, almost as if the sleeves were sewn in, rather than done continuously with the yolk of the sweater.

I’m looking forward to seeing this project finished, and with the way the weather is looking, I know I’ll get some good use out of it before summer (finally) arrives.

Endpaper Fingerless Mittens

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Crystal Palace Mini Mochi (colorway 106) & Paton’s Kroy Socks (white)
Ravelry Project Page

A cold winter gives one a lot of motivation hot cups of tea, Netflix marathons, and cozy knits. Like many parts of the world, the winter here in Toronto has been brutal this year. After endless days of gray skies and white snow, I was eager for some colorful winter accessories.

These fingerless mittens immediately drew my attention. I had never made a pair of mittens before, but this free pattern, with its simplistic, but eye catching pattern, had been on my “to-do” list for a while now. No better time to give mittens a go than when they would come in handy (pun intended). I was especially inspired by the gorgeous transitioning colors of starshaped’s Rainbow Mitts and katiebunny’s Autumn Rainbows. When I found an old skein of pink and green gradient Mini Mochi hidden in my yarn stash, I knew it would be perfect for this project.

I had purchased the yarn years ago as a splurge when I had first moved to North Carolina on a student’s budget. Every time I started a project with it, I just wasn’t satisfied, so it sat around, moving with me and always begging me to finally put it to use it every time I cleaned up my stash. I’m so delighted I’ve finally found the perfect project for it with this mitts, complimenting the lovely color shifts without being overwhelmed by the vibrancy. Plus, it’s soft and wonderfully warm. I wear these mittens almost every day and love how they easily provide access to my phone/knitting projects/etc. while I commute to and from school.

This pair of mitts only used up about half of the total Mini Mochi, so I have fantastical dreams of a matching cowl drifting around my mind. With spring on the horizon (I hope), perhaps it will be a nice project for next winter.