24 March 2010

Them Darn Socks!

I darned socks! I really darned them! And it's about time. I have been putting this task off for almost a year (sorry, Jess!) for fear of failure or hardship. Now, I have finally conquered the beast! It is truly a satisfying thing to make your own socks; to transform them from a ball of yarn to warm woolly feet covers. But it is an entirely new level of satisfaction to mend those handmade objects when they start to wear out. These socks will rise again!!! 

I used a wonderful tutorial at HJS Studio. The concept was easy enough to grasp but it took some practice to master the row turns and to figure out how to create stitches that were no longer there*. The threaded guidelines really did help. I had neither a darning egg nor a light bulb to place behind the hole so I just used a rounded hairspray bottle. Whatever works!

I am very pleased with how they turned out. The darning isn't exactly invisible, but I think it adds character and is a testament to how well-used these socks are (or how sharp the owner's heals are!). It works so well I am tempted to duplicate stitch the entire bottom of the sock to save the trouble of patching the holes later. Can't stop me now! I'm a darning fool!

*Word of advice: If you see the beginning of a hole in your beloved knitwear- STOP!- take off the knitted object and darn that hole before things get out of hand! It is much easier to darn a thinning patch in a sweater or sock than to recreate stitches from a hole that is five stitches wide and four rows deep. Trust me!

16 March 2010

Watery Winter Weekend

What a weekend! We have had the craziest weather: winds and wetness and flooding! Since Lawrence has no trees to speak of, we did not fear any branches or downed wires, but rather rolling trash cans and flying roof materials. And of course we are surrounded by rivers, so lots of folks are suffering the rising waters. All this weather has been a good excuse to stay indoors and bake, knit, and watch movies. The baking began with a deluge of chocolate truffles from Cafe Verde. The Cafe Verde ladies were commissioned to make 500 truffles for a Chocolate and Champagne event at Lawrence General Hospital this Thursday. There were truffles everywhere! And 13 varieties!
And after a day of lusting after those unattainable, dairy-filled delights, I just had to make my own. I found the recipe at Bluebirdbaby's partner's blog Too Good To Be True. I omitted the cocoa nibs (because I didn't have any) and the heavy cream (to make it dairy-free), and I rolled them in unsweetened coconut after dipping them in the melted chocolate. They are amazing, and loved by the omnivores and allergy-inflicted alike. Next time, I would like to try them with peanut butter, a little less honey and a dash of sea salt.
The next culinary feat was neither gluten-free nor dairy-free, but filled to the brim with both wheat flour and butter. My roommate Thomas celebrated his birthday this Sunday and requested an orange cake. Out of a love for a good baking challenge and a desire to make a wonderful birthday cake for my roommate, I hit up Smitten Kitchen for her Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake. For this recipe, I omitted the "chocolate chunk" portion and went with the plain orange cake. I dusted the top with powdered sugar and made an orange-raspberry drizzle. The candied orange slices made for a lovely presentation. It's always a risk baking something you can't test yourself, but all reports were positive and Thomas loved his cake. Happy Birthday, roomie!

09 March 2010

Handmade Christmas

Every year for Christmas, my siblings do a gift exchange. There are five of us plus three in-laws, so in order to preserve our wallets and our sanity (and to make it a little fun), we choose a name out of a hat and get a gift for that person. In the past few years, we have changed the rules of the game to encouraged everyone to give handmade, "recycled" or local gifts. Not a hard-n-fast rule, but I think it helps us to be thoughtful consumers and siblings.

This year I got the twin, and I decided to take on the challenge of sewing a shirt. I got this amazing wool fabric from the Pendleton Mills Factory while I was journeying across the country, and it was calling to be made into a sweet button-up. The pattern came from BurdaStyle and I got a lot of internet help along the way. I decided to make a muslin prototype to insure a proper fit and to practice all the construction. I'll post the final pictures once I complete the shirt...

04 March 2010

Fun Polaroids

Through the looking-glass
Trip to Portland, ME
Christopher and Orange