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February 16, 2009

Crochet and cupcakes

Crocheting is such a treat for me -- I can finish something cute in less than 20 minutes and use my bits of leftover yarn (I never throw away any yarn that's at least 24" long). I first saw these Tawashi flowers on Ravelry and then Stacey made her own version of them as well. I conquered the magic ring with the help of the instructions in Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker (the instructions in the book are much more intuitive for me than the directions here, but your mileage may vary) and made a few of these flowers last night while watching a movie.

Tawashi Flower

And yesterday morning, I made the crocheted cupcake I've been obsessed with since seeing a few of them around blogs and Ravelry:

Crocheted Cupcake
Cupcake from Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet and free cupcake pattern on the author's blog

It's lopsided and I didn't quite understand the instructions for the base at first, but I think I understand it now. I'll have to crochet another cupcake to be sure. I was in such a hurry to put it together that I didn't do a great job seaming it, but I still love it. I enjoyed working with the yarn I chose -- it's Cascade 220 Superwash. Now I totally understand the rave reviews about it. It's my yarn of choice for my future crocheted ripple blanket.

And the real thing -- a coconut cupcake from the Twisted Yarns 5th Anniversary celebration this past Saturday:

Coconut Cupcakes from Sweeties in The Woodlands

"Sweeties" will be opening soon in The Woodlands and I can't wait to have a place to go to get my favorite coconut cupcakes.

February 13, 2009

Just Enough Red for Valentine's Day

Just Enough Ruffles scarf - pattern by Laura Chau at CosmicPluto.com
Just Enough Ruffles in Malabrigo (worsted) "Garnet"

Last week, I got a little bit antsy for something red and also to find time to actually knit (my mom is still visiting). Red yarns make up the bulk of my impulse yarn purchases -- it's a color I'll frequently buy and stash before I have a plan or a pattern for the yarn. This Malabrigo in Garnet is an orangish shade of red with pops of light pink and brown. It was initially slated for a Wonderful Wallaby, but I couldn't get gauge with it and finally accepted it would need to be something else. So although I had planned to find a neutral color yarn for the Just Enough Ruffles scarf, I saw two skeins of Malabrigo in my closet, already wound in center-pull cakes, and I liberated them to knit a little something to wear on Valentine's Day tomorrow. However, I misread the well-written increase instructions and didn't end up with the required number of ruffle stitches. In spite of that, I chose to finish the scarf anyway and I love it. I love the yarn. I love the color. I love the pattern. My knitting mistakes didn't prove to be fatal and I'd already planned to knit another before even starting this one.

Several little things have found me feeling off-kilter this week, but finding this fortune was a highlight:

Fortune on Red Fiestaware Pedestal Bowl

It's so true . . . and it's something I've discovered over and over again in my lifetime.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and readers.

Hibiscus in The Woodlands, Texas

I'm inspired to incorporate more red into my life this year . . . and I absolutely love it with yellow.

February 04, 2009

Arm warmers

Toast Arm Warmers by Leslie Friend

While Erica was here over the holidays, I started and finished these useful Toast arm warmers. Because our late-December temperatures fluctuated wildly -- sunny and warm one day, chilly and gray the next -- I needed a little something to carry with me to keep me warm (and even accidentally wore them to bed one night). They were perfect.

Kim had generously gifted me with one skein each of the same Classic Elite Portland Tweed that Leslie used to knit her Toast and Toasty mitts. They're both lovely neutrals with spots of unexpected color. It was such a smooth and speedy knit -- there's a tiny bit of viscose in the fiber that gives it slightly more elasticity.

Classic Elite Portland Tweed from Kim - Chronic Ennui
Classic Elite Portland Tweed in Black Forest and Folkestone

In the last couple of weeks, I've received some long-awaited copies of my Japanese family "koseki." Koseki are family registries that show births, deaths, marriages and more. I received the koseki for both my grandmother's and grandfather's families. The translations gave me some valuable information along with official names and dates to enter on my family tree.

Japanese Family Registry - Koseki

I learned that my grandfather and his siblings were raised by their uncle (Toshiyuki) after their father (Motomichi) died. I learned that my grandmother's father was adopted and that his birth name was "Gohee Noda." This is enough information that I can now request koseki for my great-grandfathers and great-uncle. I'm grateful to Mr. Eric N for his translation help -- I learned from Lisa that older koseki are very difficult to translate, so I'm appreciative of Eric's help in translating the older ones.