Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's coming ...

... my latest collection, that is. We're in the production home stretch.

Now if only I had more time to finish up my Tunisian Meets Tartan bag. Need.More.Hours.

Monday, October 14, 2013

More Notes From the World of Pinterest

Pinterest is definitely a very intriguing place: you just never know what will strike people. I only follow a few boards, and have only a few followers, so these numbers came as a complete surprise to me:
1. Scandinavian Interior - originally pinned from Sea of Girasole blog

I love the circular metal fireplace thingy at the back of the room, as well as the clean lines and palette. I thought I was the only one, but apparently not - more than 150 people have repinned it from my board alone. Who knows how many others have pinned it from elsewhere. Scandinavian-inspired interiors are hugely popular.
2. Egg Poachers - originally pinned from this retail website

Now I love poached eggs, and it seems so do a few other people. These egg poachers have been repinned over 45 times from my Pinterest food board. I do note that a reviewer pretty much trashed it on the retailer's site, but I think they have potential. Here's why ...
3. My Food Pin Remake: Sausage Potato Mushroom Gratin
I made this recipe over the weekend (Sunday brunch), and I must say it was rather tasty. I made a few ingredient changes, which I'll cover at the end of the post, and then I added two poached eggs on top. I poach my eggs freeform and while I do a pretty decent job, I think those egg poachers and I are destined to become friends. Here's what the recipe looked like on the plate:

And here are the ingredients I used:
8 oz. bulk mild italian sausage
5 oz. organic cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 lbs organic red potatoes, washed, unpeeled, diced
1 large red onion
kosher salt to taste
generous sprinkling of cumin
1/2 c. chicken stock
about 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
3 heaping fistfuls of monterey jack + cheddar cheese (it was the cheese I had on hand, no swiss as the original recipe calls for)

I found I didn't need all the other spices the original recipe called for - the italian sausage was quite flavorful all on its own. The big addition was the maple syrup, and it's worth it. It adds just the right sweet note to make this dish good-morning-sweet-salty good.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tunisian Meets Tartan Bag Progress

Happy late Friday, everyone. We're on the eve of celebrating Columbus here in the U.S. (a very weird holiday indeed these days), so I hope people are about ready to have a long, restful three days off.

I'll have just a few ends to weave in
As for moi, you can see my progress on my Tunisian Meets Tartan Bag.

I am loving all of these colors together. The plum is far more subdued than I expected, and the natural is really stealing all the pop thunder. But that's the way it goes with color, it's all about context.

I thought it might be nice for people to see how the fabric is transformed once the tartan vertical "stripes" are added:

The fabric is just ho-hum with the horizontal stripes, but then the magic happens with the crochet hook and some slip stitching, using the vertical channels of the tunisian crochet fabric as a perfect ruler. I hold the yarn between my index and middle fingers of my left hand underneath the fabric, place the crochet hook in the space between each next successive horizontal row (with the vertical lines, it's actually just like a mini check-box), yarn over the hook and then pull up above the crochet fabric and through my loop on the hook. Because the yarn is taught between my fingers under the fabric, I usually can pull up the yarn without needing to look beneath the fabric's surface.

This has been my mindless crochet project at night, and I should definitely be done with this portion of the bag by early next week.

Have a great weekend everyone, but not before you head over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder and see what everyone else is cooking up this week - and if it's fall where you are, enjoy the colors of the season. I so love autumn!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

On Quicksand and Gifts for Guys

Just a man and his fiber
 I have been participating in the Knitchat Twitter conversations, which are now hosted by Angelia Robinson (@quaternityknits, as well as her website) every Saturday morning at 8:00 am pst/11:00 am est/ 4:00 pm UK time. (Btw, it's a great way to share tips and tricks, as well as bridge the gap between designers and those who stitch purely for fun, and the hour seems to fly by. If you log onto and search under #knitchat, you'll find all the conversations.)
This week's topic was knitting/crocheting for men. I arrived about 30 minutes into the conversation, and my initial tweet exchange went something like this:

@quaternityknitsAngelia Robinson @DeniseVoiedeVie, good morning! What have your made for your guys? #knitchat
@DeniseVoiedeVieDenise Voie de Vie @quaternityknits - not one little thing. EVEH. Too large a minefield for moi. :) #KNITCHAT
Initially, I must apologize to Angelia - didn't necessarily mean to shout the "eveh," and I'm certain it might have been strange to see me entering a conversation concerning a topic on which I seemingly have little to discuss.

However, I actually do have a thing or two to say about this (like, you couldn't tell). Angelia made an earlier vague reference to "the sweater curse," and those of us who are NPR devotees also know the flap about those "scratchy hand-knit sweaters." Knitting for guys is like stepping into quicksand - the more you try and escape unscathed, the deeper into the muck you sink.

I haven't knit anything for any guy because I'm not one for surface gestures and no guy has ever asked me for a handmade piece of clothing or accessory. (Of course we won't discuss all the historical baggage associated with crochet and knit designs for men ... but I digress.) I will also flat out tell you that if any man has ever seen me as that gal who'll patiently sit and knit him socks ... well ... he (and the rest of you) can just forget that. Banish that homespun-Little-House-On-The-Prairie scene from your minds. Especially since it involves ... socks.

However, if my guy was evolved and self-assured enough to point out a design he liked and asked if I would make it, I absolutely would do it. In.A.Heartbeat. I would also hope he'd be open to researching fiber colors with me (and online is fine, I wouldn't subject him to an actual LYS trip) so he could get the piece in colors that would make him happy. Because, you see, dressing and body adornment is a very personal thing. I admit I don't want anyone telling me what I can and cannot wear, so why would I subject someone I supposedly care about to the very thing to which I am so strongly opposed?

So, I will sidestep the fibery quicksand, and if my guy wants something handmade, all he need do is ask. Nicely, of course. And no socks.