Worth Every Minute

Asparagus takes three years to mature in the garden.

Year one: plant crowns 18″ under the soil. Mulch heavily. Water and wait. Watch the little sprouts grow and use every ounce of self control to resist the urge to pick and eat. In the autumn, prune to the ground.

Year two: Water and wait. Watch the little sprouts grow and use every ounce of self control to resist the urge to pick and eat (you can harvest very lightly, but never much and not enough to cook anything good with.). In the autumn, prune to the ground.

Year three: Harvest time, Baby!

Is it worth the wait?

WORTH

EVERY

MINUTE

Yum.

You all know how I am with recipes, but I’ll give it a shot:

What you see here is a bunch of asparagus (purple, of course), sauteed in 1 stick butter. Add leftover chicken and heat through. Salt to taste and serve over that skinny spaghetti (what is it called?). That is a meal I can be proud of…

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The Good News and The Bad News

Pink. Sweater number 1 in the Year of the Sweater Project is now complete. I don’t mean “just needs ends weaved in” finished. Nor do I mean “just needs buttons” finished. I mean, this baby is ready to wear. I found the most wonderful buttons. Perfect buttons. Not too flashy, not too plain, not too big, not too small buttons. Goldilocks buttons. Yeah, baby. These are just right.

They look pretty good on the sweater, too.

That is the good news.

The bad news? I finished it just in time for Spring. Behold, a beautiful sunny California day.

Yes, I am hot. I mean tempurature-wise, of course. (disclaimer: I know this isn’t the most flattering of sweaters. It isn’t meant to be. This will be my cozy coat. My winter comfort. It is huge. I planned it that way.)

So there you have it. I call her Pink. She is the Vine Lace Top Down Cardigan from Sweater Babe in Malabrigo Chunky “Pink Frost” with only small modifications (longer sleeves, no pockets and larger collar). I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I might turn on a fan in here just so that I can wear it…

I am 1/7th finished with my huge, crazy project. Think I can make it?

Stash on the Runway, Episode II

Well, we’re back and things are getting interesting here at the Annual Jackson Stash Show. Yesterday we saw some amazing yarn in gorgeous colorways. But the question on everyones mind is, “Are all the hanks in the stash as pricey as these?” This question will be answered today when Mrs. Jackson walks her bargain yarn down the runway. Will it be as fantastic a show as yesterday? It is entirely possible, seeing as these are all (with one exception) from the wonderful “Wal-mart for knitters”, Knit Picks . Looks like the show is starting, and wow what a start!

First down the runway today is Knit Picks Shimmer in the Spice colorway. What a way to start the show. This laceweight is a bombshell! Destined to become the Tissue Cardigan in the Year of the Sweater Project, this yarn is a show stopper, there is no doubt!

Up next we have… wait, is that cheating? Next we have yarn that has left the stash and is in the process of becoming a Shawl Collared Cardigan. Just newly cast on and barely knit at all, Jackson Stash is showcasing a yarn in use. This is unbelievable! Well, I suppose this is a fine example of a wonderful yarn at a great price! A whole sweater for less than $35?!?! Amazing. And check out that color! This is Wool of the Andes in Currant.

Knit Picks continues to wow us with its Wool of the Andes Bulky line, though we must object to calling this hand-dyed colorway “beetle”. How about “june bug” or “Little boy blue”? (Have you ever thought  to yourself, “I want to knit something in…. Beetle”?). Regardless of the name, this single skein of wool is destined for some greatness unknown. Just look at those colors!

Last to come down the runway is an unexpected entry. The mystery yarn. Why did she buy it? What will she make with it? We now present Knit Picks Gloss sockweight in Bordeaux. Whatever it ends up as is sure to be fabulous, don’t you think?

Well, that concludes our program. We all know that this small sampling of wooly goodness is representative of heaps of potential. As a parting thought, we have one last thought. Yarn Love. How appropriate.

(Yarn Love Elizabeth Bennet Celestial Rose)

Stash on the Runway

[Imagine cheesy announcer voice here. It’ll work better.]

Welcome to the Annual Jackson Yarn Show where Shelly Jackson displays her stash. It’s been growing, Ladies and Gentlemen, so hold on to your hats. This year is going to be really exciting! Headlining todays event we have sweater quantity stash. That’s right, every hank seen here has a box full of buddies just waiting to become a sweater! Amazing you say? It certainly is. But, if I know Mrs. Jackson, I’d bet there is a lot more where these came from! Oh, it looks like it is starting.

First up is the Dream in Color Classy Group. We have a lot of representatives from them today. Dusky Aurora is slated to be knit into the Mondo Cable Cardi. And what a cardi that will be!

On a whim, Shelly also picked up two hanks of the Wisterious colorway and one of Midnight Derby. I wonder what she has planned for these beauties? Rumor has it she has a friend who is expecting a baby of unknown gender, so speculation is these are destined to be baby garments of some sort.

Malabrigo has been a big favorite at the Jackson Stash for some time now. We have seen Chunky knit up into a beautiful sweater aptly named Pink recently. And here we are, loving this next sweater-to-be. It is worsted merino in the velvet grapes colorway. We are loving this color! According to my sources, this pile of wooly love will some day be the Vine Yoke Cardigan by Ysolda. Shelly has admired this pattern for a long time.

Going out on a limb, Mrs. Jackson recently purchased a new yarn for her stash. Miss Priss from Schaefer Yarn happened to have a colorway that was irresistable and got added to the stash without a seconds thought as to what it might become. This pile of yarn is just potential in string form. Colorway – Mary Walker Phillips.

Last up this episode is a real peach. Purchased from Loops just a month ago, Louisa Harding Grace is sweeping this knitter off her feet! The colorway is far more beautiful than her name, “whale”, but we forgive the folks at LH the insult. This yarn is so deliciously soft! It will make an exquisite Labyrinth with it’s soft pink as trim and stripe.

Well, folks. That is all we have time for today. Tune in next time when Knit Picks yarns take to the runway in sweater-wanna be style!

No Two Exactly The Same

I bake bread all the time. At least twice a week, sometimes more. I use the same recipe, the same oven, the same tools, the same ingredients. Every time. Somehow, though. I never get the same results. Sometimes I get a huge hole right in the middle of the loaf. Sometimes I get an overflowing loaf that grows over the side of the pan and wraps itself around the oven rack as it is baking. And, occasionally, I get the wonder loaf. The perfect loaf. The loaf that gets eaten as if it was coated in chocolate.
Now, the reason for this is no mystery. I know exactly why this happens. It is all in my approach to following recipes. I read a recipe that looks like this:

4 c. flour
4 c. water
1 tbsp yeast

And I do this:
4 (or 5) scoops flour
fill up this jar with water
shovel out yeast with that spoon over there

See the difference? Yeah, I know. I followed it to the letter the first few times I baked bread. It worked so well, I kept doing it. Over time, I stopped messing with the pesky cook book and just started winging it. The bread is usually edible, so this is working okay for me. I get a little exasperated when I have a streak of holey loaves, and I act surprised when I get an awesome loaf.

What does this have to do with knitting, you ask. Everything. Chai is coming along beautifully. I bound off the bottom edge and picked up the stitches for the sleeves. That is when it hit me. I am not following the “recipe”. It says “k St. st for 4 inches and then….” But I am going to do 6″ at least. This would be fine if I only had to make one sleeve, but last time I checked, I have two arms. (This is why I am not a sock knitter, by the way.) Taking notes is an option (ahem, necessity), but I have a better idea.

Time to cast on Year of the Sweater Project no. 3. Absolutely.

Chai

The Year of the Sweater Project continues with “Chai”. Chia is my Tea Leaves Cardigan in  Madelinetosh, fig colorway. I love this color. I love this sweater. I love this yarn. I am feeling a little woozy with all this love… This is sweater no. 2 for the project, but it was the first to be cast on. Here’s where we are as of today:

I wish I could capture the color – it is fabulous. So, 6 more rows and then sleeves and buttonbands. This is such a wonderful yarn that I don’t mind all the stockinette so much. The feel of the wool as it slides through my fingers and the varigation making every stitch an adventure… I think I am in love!

A word on buttons – I am stuck on poor Pink, which is blocking now. Pink is beautiful. Pink is cozy. Pink is the first sweater of the Year of the Sweater Project and the first sweater I have ever made for myself. But Pink is sad. She has no buttons. What makes a good button? Should it be noticable? Cute? Boring? Wood, plastic or metal? Pink needs seven LARGE buttons. Poor Pink. I am stuck. (Time to go shopping… we’ll stop at See’s on the way)

Eating Soup with a Slotted Spoon

“Emma, would you please put the spoons on the table? We are almost ready for lunch.” I said to my almost three year old. I listened to the silverware drawer clatter as she dug around in search of enough spoons as I ladled the soup into bowls. A minute or two later, we all sat down to eat. There was Emma, sitting across from me with the spoon she chose for herself. A slotted serving spoon. Eating soup.

“Emma,” I said, supressing my laugh, “Would you like me to get you a better spoon? That one has holes in it.”

“I like this one,” she replied with a grin. “It’s pretty.” And she held it up for me to see the decorative holes in flowery shapes. Then she resumed eating (trying to eat) her soup. The soup dripped and splashed, she grinned and moved faster. The child managed to eat every last drop and even ask for seconds. She ate soup with a slotted spoon.

I have three points I would like to make:

1. “Like eating soup with a slotted spoon” is an excellent metaphor for a hopeless or difficult task.

2. With enough determination and dedication, it is possible to eat soup with a slotted spoon.

3. I have the cutest kid ever.

Sweater One (I call her Pink) is done and waiting for buttons. I knit a sweater for myself in six days. I am pretty proud of myself right now. Post dedicated to such awesomeness is coming soon…

Year of the Sweater

I am a knitter. We have established that. So why is it that on cold winter mornings, I am reaching for an ugly fleece sweatshirt from Walmart? I am a knitter. There are skeins of yarn stashed all over my house, but my closet is sadly lacking in wooly wonders. This must change. After all, I am a knitter.

So begins my “Year of the Sweater”. This month I have narrowed down all the patterns in my Ravelry queue to those sweaters I want to wear next winter. Out with the old, baby! I have seven (is that aiming too high?) I want to have knitted before the end of next winter. If you are a knitter, you may know some of these. Gleaned from the internet, magazines and books, I have a killer to do list! So, installment number one of this insane endeavor:

“Vine Lace Top-Down Cardigan” from Sweaterbabe.com in Malabrigo Chunky “Pink Frost”. Here’s where we are as of today:

I started with a provisional cast on. I am starting to wonder if that was a mistake, but we shall see. I LOVE this yarn. Smooshy and buttery soft. I have been knitting like a crazy person trying to get it done because I CAN”T WAIT TO WEAR IT!!! Sorry to shout. I get really excited about yarn.

Truth be told, I have cast on a couple of others already. (Anybody know the cure for “startitis”? Besides casting on, I mean….) We will save those for later. For now, I want to revel in this pink confection. Lovely….

Hello world!

Here I am. Now I am a blogger. That title is officially added to all the others – wife, mother, knitter, among the many…. What do I hope to accomplish with this? Well, I am not sure. See where it goes, I guess. I so enjoy reading the greats – Stephanie Pearl-McFee for one – that I would like to join the ranks. As the title implies, this will be about two of my loves, wool and chocolate. Maybe I can inspire some knitting or some gluttony. Perhaps both. Could be fun.

When I am not knitting, I homeschool my five children, all of whom were  born at home. I pursue natural living by running this mini farm I live on. I am devoted to my husband. I am an unabashed follower of Christ. I am a conservative. I drink raw milk. I aspire to be a midwife someday when my kids are older. I nurse my babies. I guess you could say I am a bit of a fanatic. I think I am pretty cool. (wink)

But all those details aside, lets see some knitting. Tomorrow. Sorry, folks. It’s getting dark and I gotta get these kids eating dinner.