July 24, 2009

beauty beuty

beauty beuty
Originally uploaded by O'Chica

I think I'm having a sort of whiplash (in Yarn Harlot's way of description).
I can't gather up enough mental energy (which is not so much) to knit a sock.

Instead, I'm eating tomatoes. Off the vines on my balcony, and even though I counted 119 so far from my crop, I'm buying bigger (means regular) ones at stores every week.

Since I learned that the cold of the fridge kills the sweetness of tomatoes (from Alton Brown, my master), I have been eating only the room temperature tomatoes happily. This summer, I eat my cherry tomatoes and "fresh from the farm" ones (which is not so hard to find in Kyoto) this way. But not always.
Did you know you can turn mediocre tomatoes to "fruits" kind? Try this;
1. Peel off the skin. Use hot water method or freezer method, whichever you like. I like hot water.
2. Cut them in quarters or leave them whole, and put in a container/bowl.
3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey per one tomato.
4. Put on the lid/plastic wrap and store it in the fridge, like, 3 hours or longer.
5. Voila! COLD and SWEET tomato.

And I found out tomatoes let me get enough energy to knit garter stitch baby projects.
baby booties
Pattern; Bootees by Elizabeth Zimmermann, in The Opinionated Knitter
Yarn; Ski Yarn Cocoty, colorway 3 for the body and 5 for the ties
Needles; KnitPicks Harmony 24 inch circulars, US 3

BSJ natural
Pattern; BSJ by Elizabeth Zimmerman, in The Opinionated Knitter
Yarn; Ski Yarn Cocoty, colorway 1, 3, 5
Needles; KnitPicks Harmony 24 inch circulars

The catch is, they have different recipients. I was not fast enough to make a set for each, so I kinda divided a set. Maybe I did it right, not to make them feel overwhelmed to receive a complete set of handknit garment from "just a mom of their child's classmate" - they both know how to knit, but not knitters, you know... They are not going to fully understand that they gave me a huge favor to let me knit something for their babies.

The cotton yarn I used is organic, and it was a joy to touch its mercerized (hey, I spelled this word correctly for the first time without dictionary!) smoothness. I love it. They come in small balls, which is very suitable for a baby project. I hope they keep this line in next summer, too.

I'll drop out of this month's SKA challenge. Although I don't feel too good to break this year's resolution, it's just getting too much right now. I'm just overwhelmed over 1000 unread posts. We are having a month's break in August anyway. I'll be back in September.

July 04, 2009

Summer is here.

Slows down blogging. Slows down knitting & crocheting. I just joined worldwide mom's band of "summer break, what the xxxx." My daughter's summer break is not here yet (Spring, or 1st term ends on July 16th), but I can feel IT already.

I have finished HÉLÈNE SOCKS;
Helene done
Yarn; Osaka TOA Prism light fingering (from a company long ago gone. one of the inheritance yarns)
Needles; US 1 (2.25 mm) Brittany 5 inches DPNs

The pattern is written for US 10 size, with sport weight yarn and US 3 needles.. To fit my feet, US 5 1/2, I decided to use fingering and finer needles. I thought 2.25 mm needles go better with this yarn, but in retrospect, I should have used 2.50 mm - finished socks are very, very tight on my feet (wearable, though).

Pattern includes beautiful, speaks-out-itself charts. After the first heel turn, I didn't need to reference the main chart. I could have start reading what I've made at much earlier point if I had tried to do so. I was too lazy, and ended up using more mental energy than I needed. Foolish me.

I used wooly nylon thread for reinforcing heels and toes for the first time. The hardest part was to find the right thread, which is not really "hard" once I figured out which thread I should get. Maybe the close second hardest was to find out the right color. Wooly nylon was sold at my trusty craft store (Yoshikawa @ Kyoto tower basement), in 50 zillion colors or so.
Brittany needles are not really famous for their sharpness - if I want sharp tips, I'd go Knitpicks Harmony or Options - but working on complicated traveling & cabled pattern or picking up the stitches on gussets with them were not so frustrating. I love their bare wood finish. I love their length. I always think of switching to 6 inch Knitpicks DPNs only when working on the first several rounds of gusset decrease, most of the time just think and keep on using Brittanys.

Now, I got...
BSJ organic cotton on the way
a BSJ with organic cotton yarn in my new knitting bag.

Friendship & love comes colorful
These are from my dear friend Janet in Texas. I can't believe we only saw each other in person just a few times - and I regret it. I was living so close to her home and her work. Again, I was lazy.
Our "visiting each other" happens now mostly on Flickr or on blogs, and e-mails. And, a little care package from time to time. It's sad we can't actually see each other often, but thinking of, finding goodies for, and sending packages to each other totally has another fun.
Her pictures on the blog and Flickr site always amazes me. I should learn more from her works; pay attention to lights and layouts when taking pictures, and consider well when choosing colors for projects.

When I saw her blog about getting new knitting bags, my heart pounded. She had told me she was waiting something for me to be delivered. Yeah, this beautiful green bag might be for me, oh, but... no, I shouldn't be greedy, oh, oh, ...
Big relief and joy it was, what I felt when I found the bag in her package.

Her love and care goes to my daughter, too.
Love comes in a blue box & a yellow box
When we opened her package, my daughter, delighted, used the new crayons from "Janet - uh, MISS Janet" to color her then-working drawing ("Mom and Dad and me going to the zoo") right there. My daughter loves drawing and painting. Now she has any color of crayons she wants, and has learned mixing colors when she paints. This shooting-star, rising-sun artist has got a power.

Her package gave me some firm strategy to wade on this summer. Macaroni cheese for lunch. Small knitting(socks?mittens?)/crocheting (how about granny squares?) while she paints, draws or plays at playgrounds. Glasses of tea and lemonade.

Happy Birthday, USA.