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?

FO Friday: Rainbow Broken Seed Stitch Socks

They’re finished! And they are just so bright and cheerful. I managed to finish my rainbow broken seed stitch socks Wednesday night. I was treating myself to some well-earned knitting time after a marathon grading session earlier in the day (10 lab reports in 8 hours, phew!). 

I am quite pleased with how the have turned out, so of course I wore a skirt to work on Thursday to show them off. (What good are hand knit socks if you can’t show them off ever once in awhile?) On a rather gloomy day, they were just the shot of color I needed.

I think my next pair of socks to cast on will be part of the Ravelry Sock Knitter’s Anonymous 
monthly challenges. For April it is stranded knitting or another culturally traditional knitting technique (such as Celtic cables). I’ve had the Circle socks by Fnugg on my queue for awhile, so this is a great excuse to finally give them a go. 
New, socky adventures await. Happy Friday!
Linking up with Tami’s Amis and KCCO

WIP Wednesday: Spring colorslide

Remember when I got a lovely delivery of yarn for Knit Picks and said I wouldn’t start on the projects until I finished off one of my other WIPs? Yeaah… about that. I gave in. I succumbed. I couldn’t resist the lure of the new yarn. It. was. too. powerful.

And so here we are – knitting a new sweater. The pattern is Colorslide by Nichole Nehrig, and it’s actually written more like a formula for the sweater. You basically do your swatch to figure out your gauge and then use that to figure out the number of stitches and rows you need to complete the sweater to your very own personal measurements. It’s great for someone who has a basic idea of what goes into knitting a sweater, but wanted to have a bit more freedom in the sweater measurements. I love it because it is really teaching me a lot about how to customize a sweater as you go. 

And although this is worked on relatively small needles (2.75mm), it is actually working up really quickly. The stockinette body makes for great tv knitting, but the charted color change keeps my interest and gives me something to look forward to. 
With its light weight and spring colors, I think this will be a perfect pull-over for cool spring mornings and evenings. 
Are you working on a fun project this week? Join the fun and share it with everyone over at Tami’s Amis

Rainbows and sunshine

Spring has to be coming soon, right? Right?! Since the skies over Toronto are still a bit on the grey side, I’ve tried to bring some colors to my knitting. 
My rainbow broken seed stitch socks are coming along. The heel is now finished and I’m decreasing for the gusset. With any luck, they will be finished by the end of the week. 

I also picked up some new yarn this past week. I couldn’t pass up this Malabrigo worsted in this lovely yellow-orange (colorway Sunset). I have never worked with Malabrigo worsted before as it’s a little out of my usual price range for any decent sized project, but I found it on discount at my local yarn store (which is sadly being forced out of its lease), so I decided it was the time to give it a go. It is just so soft and fluffy. I can’t wait to work with it and I have just the pattern in mind – Abalone will make a perfect cardigan for spring and fall.

Here’s to sunnier days ahead and some fun knitting.

Weekly catch-up

Reading: I’m about halfway through Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It’s a futuristic take on the Cinderella story, and, so far, I think it’s decently entertaining. The writing isn’t the best out there, but the story and characters are interesting. Although you know the general gist of the story, the author has worked in enough of her own unique story that it doesn’t become too predictable.

Watching: A and I went and saw the new Muppets movie this weekend, Muppets: Most Wanted. Who doesn’t love the Muppets, no matter your age? As always, the movie was goofy and pretty adorable. And it has some pretty funny parts. Sometimes what you need in a movie is just an escape where no higher thinking is required – this movie definitely satisfies that itch.

Also, Walter had some of the most adorable tiny knitted sweaters. I told A that I wanted to make him one of each. He was thrilled, obviously. Who wouldn’t want a Muppet’s wardrobe?

Knitting: This week I found myself working on the start of a new sweater (come back Wednesday for a peek), as well as my broken seed stitch socks. More updates on both projects later this week.

Misc: And I can’t help bragging a little, because what is a blog for if you can’t brag on yourself? On a work related note, I found out on Friday that my latest scientific manuscript (the first for my Ph.D. work) has been accepted into the American Journal of Physiology. It’s still really exciting for me to have my work published and I can’t wait to see the article in press. A year of work summed up in just a few pages…

Brandy’s Everyday Socks

Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks
Yarn: Merino and Nylon Sock by Toil and Trouble (Charybdis in Sea Green and Brown)
Ravelry Project Page

I meant to get this project posted on Friday, but as you can see that didn’t happen. The latter half of last week was a little busy, to say the least. Better late than never, right?

These socks are the first pair I completed using the two-at-at-time (TAAT) magic loop method. As I said before, I really love this method because it ensures both socks come out exactly the same and at exactly the same time. This means instant sock gratification – you have a pair ready to wear without having to knit a whole other sock. Yippee!

I have had the pattern on my favorites list for awhile now, and I thought it was finally time to give it a go. It’s an interesting enough pattern worked in a variation (sort of) of the seed stitch. It was was interesting enough to keep my attention (boo for boring stockinette socks) and also worked up quickly. I think it’s a great pattern for someone just starting out with socks who wants something besides the regular, vanilla sock pattern. I think this may become one of my go-to patterns for any gift socks I make in the future.

I have to give a special note to the yarn as well, which was hand-dyed by Toil and Trouble. I just couldn’t stop ogling this yarn online. There was something about the gray-blue with just hints of purple that lured me in. This was my first time working with yarn purchased from Etsy, but I was really happy with the quality. The colors are very rich in real life, plus it’s soft, has lovely subtle variegation, and held up perfectly through a machine washing and drying. (I will fully admit that every time I wash a hand knit object, I get nervous, even though I know it’s meant to be machine washed/dried.)

I have another skein from Toil and Trouble (this colorway) that I am envisioning as a shawl for this summer. I can’t wait to work with her yarn again. (There’s already new listings on Etsy I’m drooling over…)

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!

Weekly catch-up

Inspired by these posts at Like Purls Off a String, I love the idea of having a weekly post dedicated to what’s going on in my life. A place where I can specifically chat about non-knitting related things. So here goes.

Reading: I just finished up Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I was underwhelmed by this book (see my GoodReads review). In a nutshell, I couldn’t forgive the flawed writing and the arrogant, unappealing protagonist. It seems like many of the fantasy books I’ve picked up lately feel like these type of leading men are enduring, but I find them completely off-putting and I just can’t connect to them emotionally. Superficially, however, the story was decent enough to lead me to finish the book. Don’t know if I’ll keep up with this series, though.

My next read is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I love all things that involve re-worked/re-imagined fairy tales, so I am looking forward to this book greatly.

Movies: This weekend we saw one movie I was looking forward and one A, my husband, was eager to see. For me, it was Veronica Mars, and boy was I glad to visit my old pals from Neptune High again. I thought the movie did a great job of getting right back into the world of Veronica Mars & Co. It definitely made me want to go back and watch all of the TV series again.

For A, the movie of choice was The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was fantastically Wes Anderson. I’m liking his movies more and more lately. Full of charm and hilarity, with just the right bit of the absurd. I truly wish my life looked like a Wes Anderson movie.

© Knitscene

TV: This week I couldn’t find anything on Netflix that held my interest, so I decided to just re-watch Luther now that the third season is available. Still as good as the first time around. I just love Idris Elba in this role. And the criminals… give me the creeps. Not a show to watch right before bed unless your want some funky dreams.

On the needle: I’m still working on my pink striped cardigan – about half way done with the body. Also on the needles are a pair of broken seed stitch socks… but more about those on Wednesday.

Inspiration: My knitting inspiration this week is entirely inspired by the thought of spring. This top is just begging me to make it. I’m just waiting for the temperature to warm just a bit more before starting up. Soon. Soon.

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.

Friday Favorites: Geek Chic

Happy Pi Day! In honor of this gloriously nerdy holiday, I’m dedicated my very first Friday Favorites to geeky knitting. Here are some of my favorite geek-chic knitting projects from Ravelry.

© elaysee

Elaysee’s Amber Mutation
Pattern: Denature

© wattsolak
© NoTailKit

Wattsolak’s Octopus Fingers
Pattern: Kraken Knuckles

NoTailKit’s Trilobite Cloche
Pattern: Trilobite

© wooling

    wooling’s Robot’s need love, too
    Pattern: Love Bytes

© snoedrago

    snoedragon’s 9 3/4 owls
    Pattern: Hogwart’s Express

If you’d like to join in on the Friday Favorites fun, let me know, and I will gladly share a link to your blog featuring some of your favorite crafty projects.