Friday, August 24, 2012

Fun Stuff

Our wedding is less than one month away and I can't believe how quickly time is flying!  Between working my shifts, I am slowly getting things squared away and prepared as well as managing to have some fun with Dave in the last couple weeks.

Dave took me fishing on the St. Croix river near Hudson, WI.  We actually fished under the I-94 bridge.  Normally I bring my knitting on the boat and even if I am not fishing, it is a relaxing and calm afternoon on a lake but I have to admit I was a little nervous here!  It was quite rough and choppy and we had to set and reset the anchors and I thought for sure we'd coast into the bridge pilings.  We didn't catch much at all this day but we did see plenty of sailboats and some hot air balloons.
We also went to the Vali-Hi drive through to see The Bourne Legacy, Batman The Dark Knight Arises, and Ted.  We'd already seen Ted and after the first movie your interest and attention span tends to wane.  We enjoyed $1 hotdogs and nachos with our soup thermos full of queso dip.  We had a nice break from the heat that night and enjoyed a cool and comfortable night at the movies.  I recommend this place to anyone!  It is $8 for adults and $1 for kids 6-12 for 3 movies.  You have to get there when the gate opens to get a spot and then wait til dusk for the show to begin so people tailgate and grill and play catch...or knit.  ;)
We took my knitting to the State Fair 2 weeks before it started.  More on that later.

My dear friend Brenda organized a bachelorette camping get together with a few of my girlfriends.  We had such a nice cool evening around the fire and around the grill!

Bridal Shrug

 I finished my Olympic knitting...a week after the games ended.  I still think I did pretty well considering I also pre-washed, assembled and finished 4 queen sized blankets during the games.  My wedding dress has straps but is sleeveless.  I will wear my Orenburg lace shawl down the aisle for the ceremony but if I am chilled or want coverage later, I am afraid of snagging or soiling it.  I knit this shrug for said purpose from yarn purchased in Iceland last year.
 I changed the pattern just a little to avoid unnecessary fussing.  Instead of casting on a regular edge and going back later to pick up the same amount of stitches, I used a provisional cast on.  Here I am removing the provisional cast on waste yarn and picking up the live stitches.  This yarn is kind of grippy like mohair so there was never any danger of out of control unraveling. 
I also used a pair of beautiful rosewood circular needles that I got on clearance at Joann's.  I never would have paid the full price for these needles but they were such a steal on clearance that I got them.  In the last leg of the knitting, the needle broke off the cable (!!!) and I had to pick them up with a needle master circular.  The only problem with that was the correct sized needle was almost the same color as the yarn!  I was just sure I'd go blind before finishing this thing!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Finally got my game on...

I wanted to actually participate in the Knitting Olympics this year but am off to a delayed start.  This will be a feather and fan lace shrug that I might wear at our wedding reception because it will match my flowers.  I'm using this pattern and have the exact yarn called for!  That is always exciting to me when I have the actual yarn in a pattern and not a weight substitute.  This is actually Einband yarn hand dyed by Gudrun from natural dye that my mother bought last year in Iceland.  She actually traded it with me for some Koigu-like sock yarn because she had second thoughts about the color.  It will go perfectly with my bouquet!  I didn't start until day 4 or 5 of the Olympics...
...Why you ask?  I had 5 days off last week in my run up to my weekend to work and spent the time working on a few things I meant to get around to like making a tomato au gratin that I've always wanted to try.  A few years ago in Scotland, I picked up a cookbook put out by The National Trust For Scotland.  Dave's parents provided me with some beautiful garden tomatoes and I set to work.  I have never canned anything before but I've read how it is done and I can't tell you how excited I was to blanch these tomatoes, quickly chill them and then peel them...and they did what they're supposed to do!
This dish is lightly seasoned with tarragon and was just delicious.  I never would have thought to au gratin tomatoes of all things.  Next time I won't use nearly as much cream as called for because it was quite soupy and almost a waste of cream--if there is such a thing!  As is often the case with au gratins, less is more.  Delish.

 I have also been going crazy sewing blankets!!!  Big beautiful bold batik blankets!  I had a stash of cotton queen size battings and I've been hoarding these gorgeous batiks.  I have seen some bee-YEW-tiful quilts made from batiks but I couldn't bear to cut these up because the fabric itself was just so pretty.  It is also worth pointing out that I don't have the patience to make quilts--these are simply blankets.  These 4 blankets represent 40 yards of fabric I have gotten out of this apartment.

These blankets turned out so well and I give all the credit to the batting.  Since it is cotton, I iron it before sandwiching it between the batik and the broadcloth base.  I pin it to death and then machine quilt seams lengthwise 6" apart.  Lastly you trim the batiks leaving a 2" broadcloth border, then turn under and stitch that border to seal your raw edges.  The batting is expensive though at $45 for a queen size.  They were 50% off at Joanns and I had an additional 25% off coupon so I got them at a steal!  I just can't decide which fabric I like the most!