Monday, March 30, 2015

Lancaster Farm Fresh-Winter Week 10

This week in my vegetable box from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op  (week 10 of 13) was:
  • Rainbow Chard
  • A head of butterleaf lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Lots of carrots
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Popcorn kernels

I also got an add-on egg share, a country loaf with my bread share and a loaf of wheat and another of rye bread with my pantry share.

I'm looking forward to more soups and a fresh salad.

2015-Week 12

In week 12 of 2015 I finish a pair of socks and start my Solar Flare Shawl while pretending that its Spring even if the weather doesn't want to let it start yet.

Packing my Bags

FYI-in case you missed it through the snow, this week saw the first days of spring. It wasn't the best start but it warmed up a bit on the weekend, enough to get out for a brisk walk and to trigger a bout of spring cleaning so I haven't been up to much knitting.

First Steps

The start of spring also signaled the start of Eco Chic's Solar Flare MKAL so earlier in the week I wound up my set of 6 gradient shades into balls and did a quick swatch of a few rows of each ball to see how the colors would blend. I am truly loving this colorway and the way it carries the tones and shades across the different balls.  I also got to cast it on but didn't get much mileage done as the weekend was too nice to do too much indoors.

Along the Path 

Still working on my Guinivere shawl and I'm planing to make time to rip out my Goddess Knits Shawl and start over, this time with stitch markers to keep the extra stitch on the end of the right side row from moving on me and messing up my pattern.

Final Destination

I finished FO#17 my basic white socks and entered them as my entry to the Solid Socks monthly challenge. These started out as socks for my BF but once I got to the instep I realized that knitting an average mens pattern as is would still be WAY too small for his foot. I decided to reclaim the sock instead of rip out and re-knit almost the entire sock.

2015-Week 11

In week 11 of 2015 I power through a big project, work on Sock Madness and start a bunch of shawls.

First Steps

This week I cast on two shawls and am actively planning for the start of a third. First I cast on the Goddess Knits Anniversary 2015 Mystery Shawl by Renee Leverington. This MKAL is for a lace weight shawl and I think I already made a mistake that I think I'll have to rip back before I start clue 2.

I also finally wound and then cast on for this month's Mega-KAL project, the Guinevere Shawl by Anne Podlesak. This is a nice pi shawl. It called for using the disappearing (invisible) loop cast on so I followed this video and found that, while it is a bit fiddly until you get a few rows knit, its no more difficult that any other method and I quite like it compared to other things I've seen.

Finally, I'm counting down the days to the start of EcoChic's Solar Flare Shawl MKAL which I'll be doing in a beautiful Unique Sheep Cotton and Bamboo Gradient yarn in a beta version of the Sunset Road colorway. I'm getting really excited to start this.

Along the Path

I didn't make it onto a team for Sock Madness 9. I let myself get so distracted by all the shiny objects I finished last week and in finally finishing up the wrap that even with a solid stretch of knitting at the end, I was only able to finish one sock. Luckily, that's all I need to get the rest of the patterns and knit along with the group if I want too. Otherwise I'll save these for later in the year when I don't have 20 other projects competing for my time. The Alohomora did turn out nice and I have every intention of finishing the second and adding them to my sock drawer someday soon.

Final Destination

I've had this big honking thing on my needles for a long time and this week I finally decided that no matter what I wanted to finish the edging and consider it done.  I actually got into the rhythm and started to see the pattern emerge but it was slow going and at the end it was barely able to keep my eyes open through the bind off.  I'm not sure how I feel about it now and after looking at the other edge being raw, I might decide to go back at some point and add the second edging on but for now I'm calling this FO #16 and walking away

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lancaster Farm Fresh-Winter Week 9

As I mentioned, I joined up to the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op Community Suppoted Agriculture (CSA) pro-rated winter shares at week 9 of 13. In this weeks vegetable share, there were:
4 sweet potatoes
3 rutabagas
2 large shallots
A large bag of green beans
A bunch of kale 
a bunch of collard greens
A bunch of Swiss chard
2 large portabello mushroom caps

I also got egg, bread, and pantry add-on shares so this week included a dozen eggs, dried fruit bread and some tea. 

The rutabagas went into some vegetable gratin, the chard and kale will be included in some broth soups and the green beans, if not eaten otherwise are destined for my favorite roasted treatment. We had the eggs this morning roasted inside of the mushrooms for a delightful protein breakfast that we'll be sure to try again. 

I'm loving having CSA veggies back in my fridge and in my diet

Monday, March 9, 2015


In week 10 of 2015 I get inspired by snow, get the finishing bug to knock out a few hats and re-purpose some unloved legwarmers into gloves.

Packing my Bags

I stopped off at Michael's this week to pick up some much needed 19" cables to fill a few size gaps in my collection that have made knitting hat's harder than it needed to be and while I was there I stocked up on some more of the acrylic yarn BF likes for his warm thick socks in a few more colors. I also got some cotton in fun colors for washcloths. All in all, I spent too much but now I don't have to figure out where my dpns are and swap them between projects when I want to knit hats.

First Steps

With predictions of over 8 inches of snow on the forecast I planned ahead and grabbed a variety of projects to have on hand in case work got canceled by the snow in.  As luck had it I had two days plus a stay-at-home type of weekend to make a lot of progress on projects. Even though I finished or got close to finishing a bunch of stuff I did manage to start a few things too.  It seems that snow was definitely on my mind as the two projects I started were both in white, The first, another simple top-down socks for my BF, this one was the Lion Brand, Men's Grey Socks pattern. Hopefully I can make the adjustments as I go to get this one to fit better than the last one,  The second cast on was for my hat #3 of Meagheen Ryan 12 Hats in 12 Weeks, an ear flap beanie with some basic fair isle colorwork that I'll do in grey.

Along the Path

I'm making slow progress on my first sock for Sock Madness, the Alohomora pattern in my Unplanned Peacock Purple Hydrangea sock madness special colorway. I also resumed progress on the edging for my ALS Keep Warm wrap.

Final Destination

I pulled out hat #3 of the 12 Hats in 12 Weeks MKAL form Meagheen Ryan.It was a cabled tam style that I had started in an soft grey acrylic yarn. I only had the ribbing done and I didn't have the right circular needles so I made some adjustments and just did the best I could. I made a mistake in the cable crosses on one round but since it comes at the bend in the tam its almost unnoticeable. I finished it up the next morning and now its FO #13. 

FO #14 started out as about 6 inches of a pair of legwarmers that I started for my DD in 2010. They've been sitting in a bag for the past 5 years during which time I lost interest and she stopped wearing legwarmers. In my fit of finish-itis I decided that they needed to be done one way or another. I though about re-using them for my nephew but they were sized too wide for baby legs. In fact, as I was testing them out they fit easily over my forearms. This gave me the idea to modify them into some longish ribbed cuffs for a pair of gloves. I used Ravelry pattern search to look for inspiration and decided on a Tin Can Knits Simple Collection pattern called Maize. I did a few decreases to make the stitch counts match where the cuff ended and the hand began and adjusted the patterning detail along the outside of the hand to match the existing cuff rib pattern and just followed the pattern from there. I was following the largest pattern in stitch count and overall diameter but I decided I wanted less fabric at the palm so I shortened the distance past the thumb gussets to the measurements for a smaller size. For something I really wasn't loving, these turned out better than I could have hoped for.
FO #15 is the February Mini Hat from Meagheen Ryan's 12 Months of Mini Hats. These are challenging to work in smaller needles but also fun and relatively quick. 

Back Porch

I'm missing having a garden and all the planning, gathering, and sprouting that happens at this time of year. I've also been reading back through my blog posts and remembering all the good, healthy food I used to bring into my house and the creativity that developed by participating in the local food culture and challenges like the Dark Days and One Local Summer. Now that I'm cooking again and trying to re-develop my preserving skills I've naturally started to yearn for the days past when I sourced my meals first from my CSA share and then to the farmers market stands before picking up a very few convenience items at the neighborhood grocery store. I started researching CSA options a few weeks ago and while its a good time to join up and there are more options than ever I wasn't finding something that had all the factors I was looking for. Over the years I've followed several regional bloggers who, like I did, posted about their CSA shares, experiences and the resulting meals. I started reading back through their archives and I came across a few options I hadn't already considered, one of which I've decided to try.
Lancaster Farm Fresh is offering a pro-rated option to join in on their 13 week winter share season on week 9, giving you 5 weeks of vegetables as well as the option to add-on any of the egg, meat, yogurt, bread, pantry, tofu, or cheese shares individually  or join the omnivore or vegan value shares. They are also taking signups for the summer season but I don't have the funds to join up yet so I decided to essentially sample the last 5 weeks of winter and see if the co-op, pickup location, communication, quantity and quality add up to a reasonable value for me or if I should keep looking and rely heavily on the farmers market and occasional u-pick farms for this year.  
I'll start posting more CSA stuff when I start getting my share toward the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015-Week 9

In week 9 of 2015 I...

Packing my Bags

I received my Yarn Fairy Ragnarok MKAL yarn and accessories this week. I ordered a beautiful blue-grey colorway she named Gunmetal and the kit I ordered came with all these fun things like stitch markers, dragon necklace and earrings, shawl clasps, and purse fobs. The MKAL doesn't start until later in March and I may make it an April project just in case as i have a ton of other things planned in March that will be keeping me busy..

I also finally got around to ordering the tonal purple Sock Madness skein from Unplanned Peacock that complements my set of other sock madness skeins. I also found my perfect yarn in their Silk and Merino Laceweight skein for my Guinevere non-pi circular shawl KAL for March's Mega-KAL. I might have also gotten sucked into their Gemstone Yarn Club but I'll report on that some other week.

Morning Stroll

Sock Madness 9 has officially begun. The pattern for round 1--Alohomora--was posted by the time I woke up well before dawn on March 1st so I cast it on with my official Sock Madness yarn from Unplanned Peacock in the variegated purplely-blue Hydrangea colorway. I have two weeks to finish at least one sock, made to a 9" foot length and exactly as the pattern specifies, in order to qualify to receive additional patterns for the rest of the rounds. If I want to compete on a team for future rounds, I have to finish the full pair in that time. I'm not sure if I will push that hard to get and stay on a team but I would like to knit more socks for me and others for #operationsockdrawer so this seems like a good excuse to power through at least a few of them.

I am also test knitting the Whimsy Cowl for Nimble Knits so I cast that on and am working out the best gauge for my yarn selection. I decided to use another colorway of the same yummy alpaca sport weight yarn that I used for my Armonika cowl.  Its been so useful this winter that I thought it couldn't hurt to have another color/style option in that yarn.

Along the Path

One of the benefits of just jumping in and going along for the ride in Sock Madness is the need to try and learn new skills. This round the sock pattern requires using the German twisted or stretchy cast on (same technique, several names). It's done in the same style of a long tail cast on but catches and pulls through the yarn in a different, twisted way. The first dozen stitches were done really slowly but then I got the hang of it and I found it only slightly slower than a long tail cast on. If it results in a better cuff, I could see myself adopting it for many different applications. I'm happy to say that's 1 new skill learned.

Final Destination

I finished the His Golden Lair Shawl and at the very last few minutes of February I completed and uploaded pictures of my No Purl Monkeys socks for the Solid Sock Fire Challenge. I'm really happy with both, though the socks are slightly loose right now, and I can tell you they are going to get a lot of wear.

Back Porch

Not much non-knitting activity going on this week. Work has been really crazy and I've come home every night exhausted, mentally if not also physically. I've been knitting a lot to finish up these projects and also as my stress relief so I get home, do some knitting and then crash.  The only other thing I've been working on is cook more on the weekends. I'm trying to do more from scratch, planning and creating balanced healthy flavorful meals and wake up my culinary skills. They've been snoozing for a while and I'm a little rusty. But it feels really good to feed and nourish my family, a feeling I'd forgotten, so I'm trying to make it a priority.