Evenstar, Complete

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This is the first KAL I’ve actually completed. Five months late, of course…

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Pattern: Evenstar Shawl
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silk Thread II, colorway “Winter Solstice
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm) DPN & US 2 (2.75 mm) circular
Modifications: none, save the graft

If I thought it was a never-ending edging, I swear the graft was worse. I’ve had to graft knitting before–sock toes, lace edges. No biggie. Except this time my perfectionist streak kicked in, and it had to be just right.

Initially, I followed the pattern grafting instructions, which were no different than a typical Kitchener stitch. This would be perfectly fine, unless you’re the sort which notes that there’s a bit of garter stitch to either side of the graft, there’s a yarn-over pattern that’s being interrupted by the graft, etc. Which I am. I ended up working a  modified version of the instructions provided here. I re-knit the last row of the edging with a contrast thread. As it was too late to start the provisional side with a contrasting thread, I had to do my best guess for that half of the grafting. And then I made several stabs at getting it just right. The best of the bunch had a reverse stockinette ridge down the middle. Opps. It finally occurred to me that instead of holding the live stitches on round needles, I would actually be able to tell what I was doing if I pinned them all flat to the back of a dark pillow. This proved successful, and I will definitely remember it for future troublesome grafts.

Now…what next?

Bad Blogger….

While on the one hand this summer seems to be flying (when did it get to be the middle of August already?), on the other, it feels as if it will.never.end. By which I mean of course, that it has been entirely too hot for my liking, by which I really mean, that it has been too hot to sleep at night. (Or in the day for that matter, but since daytime sleeping isn’t really an option anyway…)

There’ve even been times when it’s been on the hot side for knitting, even knitting with silk laceweight. Sigh. Given how stressful work’s been this summer (Deadlines! Deadlines! More deadlines!) it would be nice to be able to pick up some cashmere and let it work through my fingers…oh for fall weather…

Of course, the weather’s not been my only reason  for going nearly two weeks without knitting. Apparently it’s as easy to join a readalong as a knitalong, apparently I’m better at the former, and apparently Dante’s Purgatorio can really suck up a weekend if you put it off until the last minute. Oops.

This weekend went a little better, though. Despite the heat, I managed to find a cool enough spot to add some more edging to Evenstar. This is where I have to confess to my blogging sins. I had started the edging before my temporary abandonment of my knitting, and since the edging would be a perfect spot to share a new picture (aka you can actually see progress rather than just a blob), I really could have shared this two weeks ago. But I was a bad blogger and never got around to taking pictures.

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I’ve managed to make it almost 1/3 of the way around. It takes about 30 minutes to finish a repeat, and unfortunately there are still 36 left, so I’ve got a ways to go. I really like the edging pattern though, and it’s perfect for TV knitting, however, so I won’t begrudge it. I’m really glad I took an uncharacteristic knitting step though: I threaded a lifeline around the shawl before I started the edging. Considering the number of times the stitches have slid off the needle, this has been a lifesaver. (Note: I probably should have used a longer circular to fit all those stitches so they might actually have a chance of staying on the needles, but I usually just force the stitches closer together. When I’m not knitting with silk it’s not so much of a problem.)

Here’s hoping work improves, the weather cools, and I finish this before Christmas. I am starting to want a different knit to work on…

not much going on

I’ve been knitting, really I have, but it’s just not happening that quickly. Everything seems to be a bit in the “blob” stage. I do like the way the purple and silver complement each other in the knitting basket, however.

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One slightly more productive venture I’ve been on lately is bread baking. I’ve always enjoyed baking bread. A year or two ago I started baking bread for breakfast. It got less fun—the feeling of obligation, that I had to bake bread now if I wanted it for breakfast. That is, it was less fun until I received a copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I won’t say that it’s actually all that much faster in total to make the breads in this book (the recipe I was using before mixed up pretty fast, didn’t require kneading and made multiple loaves), but the ability to spread out the mixing from the baking over multiple days tricks my mind into thinking it’s less of a chore. Then of course, there’s the variety. Almost all (maybe all, I haven’t read every recipe) of the breads use whole wheat, but there’s so many variations: whole wheat loaf, rye bread, challah, strudel. And my personal favorite: cinnamon-raisin. Actually, I found that on the web site, here. It’s actually easier to make than I expected.

After the bread has been mixed up, allowed to rise and then chilled overnight (optional, but so much easier to work with), I roll out a piece to a nice rectangle and cover it with cinnamon, sugar, and raisins.

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Next, it gets all rolled up and set in a bread pan.

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After a second rising, it gets baked and comes out in a nice cinnamony-raisiny loaf.

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Here I have to confess my inability to quite perfectly follow baking directions: there’s supposed to be an egg wash on top before it bakes (to give a nice crust). I don’t bother. Regardless, it’s quite yummy toasted with a little bit of butter. It’s always nice to have a little homemade start to the day!