Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's up, big moments! [+ a prize]

So, I didn't really see this coming on, mostly because I'm just looking for the big orange button when I log into Blogger, but according to the ticker in my dashboard, this is my 500th post.

Whoa.

And, by some miracle combination of fate, inspiration, Philigry, Ravelry and holiday vacay- my 500th post is a knitting one. Much like the blog's name would imply.

WEIRD, RIGHT?

I had this outfit in my head before I even knitted the shirt.
Because I'm ridiculous.


Seeing as there was about a 300 post phase there where I shunned knitting altogether and I think we know who we can blame for that stupid sweater with the sleeves that are two different gauges asshole.

Whatever. I'm over it now.

Obviously, because I've done, like, 20 knitting posts since the asshole sweater and I just finished my Leaf Tshirt in record time (and without incurring the wrath of Horse Shit Knitting) and have already started on the Guinea Pig project for a friend of mine who wears wool.

You can barely see Rocket there, but she's giving me the stink eye.

So, I guess Finny Knits again.

And just in time, might I add. How sad would it be if I'd gotten to my 500th post and been like, oh, "Finny Knits"? Hmmm...how about "Finny Bitches About Her Neighbors With Ugly Christmas Lights" or "Finny Gives Her Garden the Finger When It Only Produces 1.5 Beets"?

Accurate and telling to be sure, but not the same. I think you agree.

Anyway, Finny Knits again and here we are at Post #500 to review what we've learned.
  1. Cable knitting is what will be waiting for me in hell
  2. Wool is not for my big wussy skin
  3. Sweaters don't have to be scary
  4. Addi Turbo Needles are not to be used interchangeably with bamboo ones because it creates two different gauges and that is not a flattering style for sweaters that you want to wear in public without looking like a retard
  5. Socks can be cute when you patchwork quilt together a bunch of different patterns to suit your own abilities rather than telling yourself that you CAN do it right the 14th time because you most certainly can NOT
  6. Ravelry has addictive qualities and should be approached with caution
  7. When you feel like you never want to knit again, go visit Philigry and snap out of it
  8. Knitting on the plane is a good excuse for carrying pointy objects that parents don't want their children sitting near. Especially when wielded in a haphazard manner. Accidentally, of course.
  9. Sometimes math does not suck because in the end you have a cashmere cowl
  10. There's nothing better for storing needles than this thing. Thank you, Caro, you've enriched my life here.
Wow. That's a lot of learning. Good job, people, you've really hung in there. Don't you feel all learned at what not? To the point where you deserve a prize?

I think so.

To reward you (well, one of you) for all your patient following along and not making me feel like a horse's ass when I fuck up things like simple math, I want to prize one of you with a basket (ok, or a box) of my favorite knitting type things. Just leave a comment of whatever variety (swearing is always encouraged) and I'll randomly choose one of you via the random name generator thingee to receive:

Finny's Box of Favorite Knitting Shit
2 skeins of Rowan Cashcotton 4 ply (your choice of color)
1 set of #2 Clover bamboo DPNs (or another size if you don't want to be knitting socks. Jerk.)
A Lantern Moon Sheep Measuring Tape
A copy of Vogue Knitting
A Gorillapod for your self-photographing pleasure

I'd include the knitting bag that Donk gave me and a needlecase like Caro gave me, but those were handmade and aren't for sale as I can find them. Too bad though, because they are two of my must-have knitting things, without which my knitting life would be incomplete. Just so you know.

Anyway, go comment and I'll announce the winner on 1/9/09 for no real reason other than it's a few weeks away and it'll give me time to get used to writing 2009 on things.

And since I said that this would be a knitting post - HEY! I finished knitting something:

I never put this chair away. I just left it by the garage. Because I'm crazy like that!
Leaf Tshirt by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in "Khaki"
Needles: #6 24" circulars, Tapestry needle
Raveled here

Monday, December 29, 2008

A variety of cheer.

Variety #1: Fireside Cocktail Time

Because you all weighed in on the Bourbon To End All Bourbon suggesting, I thought I'd let you know that, while I don't think we actually found the Bourbon to End All Bourbon, I did get a good one and Bubba was made happy on Christmas Eve by being able to have a proper Cocktail Time.

Yes, that also means that we opened our stockings on Christmas Eve, but who really cares because we totally bastardize this holiday anyway, so whatever with tradition and doing things the right way and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas like normal nice people.

Variety #2: Gin cocktails in my new glass that formerly held Adobo sauce. Whatever. I'm recycling.

I ended up with Bulleit Bourbon because I have seen it on the shelf next to Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve, so it *must* at least be decent. Was my thinking anyway. And, thankfully, Bubba found it to be better than decent, and that is a bonus because it took up the whole heel of his stocking and the rest of the stocking was filled with such glamorous and fancy gifts like Mach Whatever Number razor blades and soap, so beyond the bourbon, there wasn't a ton to get excited about.

Unless being clean and hairless excites you, in which case, this stocking would be your dream come true. Much like it was his, but that's a story for another time.

So, I thank you all for your suggestions and for giving me a list from which to choose next year's (and the next and the next...) Bourbon To End All Bourbon so that Bubba never has to endure a sad holiday with Old Crow.

After celebrating with a proper Cocktail Time (in which I enjoyed Sapphire from my stocking stuffings, thankyouverymuch), we had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, gravy and chard.

Variety #3: The Christmas Fried Beast

So, the chard part is totally not part of the tradition, but you know we had some in the house and also we needed a broom for all the garbage we've been eating, so chard it was. Actually, Bubba perked up when I told him I was making chard with our Supah Traditional Christmas Feast and I think it had something to do with its magical brooming powers.

We've had a lot of holiday type treats, people, and it was starting to effect our ability to move comfortably. And we had to go skiing on Christmas Day! Like the nice normal people! So we had to broom!

It was a very important side dish is what I'm trying to tell you. I just don't want you thinking that my loathing for the chard has started to wane because that would be misleading. I don't trust that vegetable and want to make sure everyone knows that.

And now you also know that we don't celebrate Christmas like normal people, which I'm sure comes as no surprise, but we really like our weird little holiday traditions that are only traditional to us and it's also the only time of year I make fried chicken and gravy but it's so worth it.

Because then you get to have Bs and Gs with chicken G and that is the best.

Variety #4: Chicken Gravy. Good morning, sunshine.

In fact, it's downright cheerful.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What the F I do with a lot of cabbage [RECIPE]

I recently posed the question to you guys; "What the F do you do with a lot of cabbage?" and bless your hearts you totally came through for me.

Even though it was only a parenthetical question buried in a post about a crockpot dinner that looked like a greasy dog log. How you were able to extract a question from that post and provide a meaningful response is beyond me.

Really. I can't do that. I am very easily distracted by photos that look like dog doo, I guess.

ANYWAY - to be specific here - JJ (Lady Di) put up a recipe for Cabbage Beef Soup from her The Book of Regional American Cooking: Heartland and I made it.

With a few amendments. You know, because I'm *that way*.

The good news is that the recipe was TASTY, easy, used a lot of cabbage and was also very patient with me as I mopped up the sea of wash water that had mysteriously drained onto my laundry room floor while I was off working rather than supervising my household appliances.

I know. I'm such an asshole.

Anyway, let's not talk about how that washing machine is out in my garage thinking about what it did while the new washing machine is sitting atop a freshly cleaned floor waiting for a load of towels.

Instead - let's talk about this recipe and how I changed it because I can't leave well enough alone and have to fuck with everything.

Yeah. It's not much to look at, but it's good.
Finny's Cabbage Beef Soup
Adapted from Cabbage Beef Soup, The Book of Regional American Cooking: Heartland
My changes in BOLD

Ingredients
1/2 large cabbage head, shredded
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cups tomato juice (I like Trader Joe's Garden Patch tomato juice)
1 cup water
14 oz beef broth
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Small handful black peppercorns
1 pound extra lean ground beef, browned and drained
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine cabbage, onion, tomato juice, water and beef broth. Bring to a boil.

Add molasses, Worcestershire sauce, salt, bay leaf, peppers and pepper. Crumble in ground beef, dill and garlic powder. Simmer 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot with biscuits fresh from the oven because then Bubba can put me to shame with his soup eating prowess.

Bubba: "It's not nice to eat soup and not give me any."

Dinner is always such an amusing time at our house.

Monday, December 22, 2008

No more socks

Lace Rib Knee Socks V2 by Jennifer Fay
Yarn: Rowan 4 Ply Cotton
Needles: #2 DPNS, Tapestry needle
Raveled

I think I've quenched my bizarre desire for sock knitting now.

As I was finishing these I became very aware of how very tired I was of wrestling skinny orange yarn around 3 DPNs. I mean, it looked good and and all, but yeah, three pairs of socks in a row is a bit much.

Plus, Target IS right there and all...


I tried these on as soon as I kitchner stitched the toe (which is always a joy) and marveled at how they fit my chicken-y legs. All tight at the ankles like I like and everything. And then, because it was time for my night nap (9pm), I fell asleep with my new socks warming my cold toes and when I woke up at 11pm (long night nap! woo!) my socks were all floppy stretched out.

Boo. Stupid cotton, I knew you'd do that.

So, I threw them in the wash that was going (yay for machine wash yarn) and then - DON'T SCREAM - put them in the dryer to see if they'd shrink up a bit.

Because I can not bear floppy stretched out socks (or jeans or Tshirts or really anything for that matter) and am willing to risk the integrity of a recently finished project for the sake of a good tight fit. Also, after a night nap, my reasoning and logic skills aren't at their sharpest and I make knee-jerk decisions that sometimes result in disaster.

But not this time!

After a wash and dry (sorry Rowan people, I know you said not to tumble dry) they fit like a dream. Tight at the top, fitted around the calf, snug at the ankle, tight around my skinny alien feet. Plus, they're orange, which I think you know makes anything great and perfect in my world.

I will have to try them out for another night nap and see how they fare, but I think I'll now consider these machine wash/dry. Don't tell Rowan though. I hear they bite.

Hello, lacy ankles.

And because I'm riding a dorky knitting roller coaster that makes me want to be knitting something all the time, I've started a new project. Already. Because I'm afraid of the cookies in the kitchen and The Fatness. So I must knit. A new thing.

A new thing that is not socks. (Phew.)

A new thing that can not be found for $5 at Target.

A T-shirt!

No, really.

You can't buy a Tshirt like this at Target for $5. I'm pretty sure.
Leaf Tshirt by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in "Khaki"
Needles: #6 24" circulars, Tapestry needle
Raveled

I don't know what exactly appealed to me about this pattern as I was cruising Ravelry, but it might have been this picture because this actually looks like something I'd wear. Even though the girl that made and modeled this shirt says this is something she probably wouldn't wear.

Which is something I find amusing because I can't see wading through an almost sweater pattern if I didn't think I'd wear it. No, I prefer to wade through a painful sweater pattern to have it blow up in my face like so much fiber horse shit. Woo.

ANYWAY.

I really like how this is coming out so far. The yarn is my favorite - a cotton/cashmere/angora blend - and it knits up on 6s perfectly and actually makes me feel like I might know what I'm doing.

And the lace leaf pattern up the center? Um, so easy. And there isn't any cabling involved which is good because cabling makes me want to cut myself.

I have a good feeling about this shirt.

So good, in fact, that I already have the rest of the outfit ready and waiting for this shirt to be done. Because I'm a little crazy and I like to jinx all my projects by over-preparing for their arrival.

Doesn't it look like someone else besides me knit this? That's the goal.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's out of my hands now.


It's really a relief to have so many gifts off to their proper new homes because now I can't special them up against my will.

I mean, sure, it's nice that they're off warming the bellies of my beloved friends, but mostly it's just nice because now I can't go wrapping special fabric around the jam or tying bows onto the bags or whathaveyou because they're mostly gone.

And, because I'm an anal retentive freak that requires order and consistency in all my projects and endeavors, I won't special up the gifts that have yet to be distributed because they would then be different from the ones already Out in the Field and I can't have different looking gifts all traipsing about the Bay Area as though they're part of a grand master scheme when they're not. They'd be impostors, which is something else of which I'm not a fan.

Yay! I'm a psycho!

Also, here's the ridiculous holiday wrapping color/etc scheme I put together:

Yeah, so it's not 4th of July, but I failed to recognize that when I chose blue bags and red and white string. Whatever. Happy 4th!

And so there's my handwriting in ballpoint pen and you can still see the Ball logo under my store-bought label? What?

It still kinda looks special even though this is just basically a paper bag with a sticker and could be any 2nd grader's lunch. Right?

The important thing is that the contents are edible and the recipients made an acceptable amount of cooing and yummy noises when they saw what was inside. It's also good that they all know to expect handmade gifts from me and go as far as saying (well, one person did) that they look forward to seeing what I come up with for holiday gifts.

Whether they mean that in the rude way or the nice way is of little importance to me. I choose to believe they like my unexpected handmade weirdnesses and so I'm choosing to think that they're not making fun of me right to my face.

Because that kind of thing should be kept behind my back on a blog somewhere where strangers can read about it and judge me and I can go on thinking that I'm awesome and make good jam that people like.

Remember! Crazy lady!

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanks, house. [RECIPE]

The crockpot totally makes me nervous now.

Like, even though it's supposed to be all SO easy just put meat in there in the morning and it will be ready when you get home, I still expect to come home to a house that smells like house rather than like dinner. Because of last time when my house smelled nothing like pot roast and a lot like plain old house and I became sad.

I want my house to smell like dinner when I get home. Is that too much to ask? To have my house cook my dinner?

Well, perhaps that IS too much to ask, but in my whimsical little imagination that's what's happened when I come home and the house smells like dinner. I might even think to myself, "Thanks for making dinner, house. You are the best! Let's have drinks!"

I said that I *might* think that. MIGHT.

Anyway.

Last night I came home and the house smelled like dinner! WOO! Thanks house!

I mean, nothing...

Admittedly, it didn't smell super good but it did smell like dinner. Which is what I've been asking for after all. Strangely though, while it did smell like dinner, it more specifically smelled like a dinner that had gone awry.

Like kinda too tangy or sour or something.

Turns out though, that's just how Spicy Pulled Pork smells when it's been hanging out in the crockpot with a ton of tomato sauce and onions and adobo sauce all day. Too tangy. But, thankfully, the closer you get to the pot, the better it starts to smell. And when you're face is IN the pot, searching desperately for a palatable smell (and confirmation that you will not have to search the dregs of the fridge to make Back Up Dinner), that's when it smells the best.

In fact, it smells downright delicious and just how you might hope for spicy pulled pork to smell. Like YUM.

By the way, this is another one of those things I'm learning about the crockpot: sometimes it doesn't smell super good when meat cooks for 8 hours in your house. In theory it should, but sometimes it really doesn't. Like the pot roast. It smelled like SUPAH pot roasty, which - not 100% yum. I'm just saying that's how I felt.

Here's another thing I've learned about the crockpot: Things never look good in there either.

Howdy, doody.

I mean, just try and tell me this doesn't look like a giant greasy dog log. Go on, try. I won't believe you. It looks downright NAST. (And no, I did not forget the "y". I say that - "nast". Because I don't have time for your fancy extra letters that are only sometimes vowels. Jerks.)

ANYWAY, if the food doesn't look good or sometimes smell so good, it should have to taste really good. Right? Yes, this is what I think.

And, in the case of this pork, it did. Taste ruuully good, that is. Phew.

And because it proved to be edible so I didn't have to go making the Mystery Back-up Dinner Casserole or whatever, I made some coleslaw to go with it, from all the many cabbages in the farm share.

(Sidenote: I didn't realize we'd be getting so much cabbage. What the F do you do with a lot of cabbage? Ideas? HELP.)

And because I like to share so that you too can enjoy a house that smells like a sour pork sock, here's how I bastardized the original recipe. Plus, the coleslaw recipe which I loved but Bubba said, "needed something."

Um, k.

Southern-Style (or so I'm told) Pulled Pork
Adapted from Canela & Comino's Spicy Pulled Pork
My changes in bold

Ingredients
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 oz tomato paste
2 T adobo sauce
1 t ground oregano
2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
3 1/2 lb pork shoulder, tied
2 cups of water
2 T chipotle hot sauce

To make
In the crockpot pot, combine tomato paste and water until blended. Then add onion, adobo sauce, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Toss that big ol' piece of meat in there and turn to coat. Put the lid on and cook on 350 or "medium high" or whatever your crock associates with 350 degrees, for about 8 hours.

Transfer to a large bowl and, after removing ties, shred. Remove the fat between the sections as you go if that kind of stuff makes you want TO GAG as it does me. Then shred it up with a couple forks all SUPAH easy like Sunday morning. It's so easy, you'll laugh out loud. Set it aside while you continue laughing. It's good to laugh.

Seriously. I laughed as I conquered the pork. It was a big weird moment.

Grab a heat proof bowl and wire strainer and then pour the drippings through the strainer into the bowl. Discard the mess in your strainer and try not to barf the whole time it's pouring out. Gloop. Gloop. EW.

Pour your strained juicy bounty over your newly shredded pork and toss it up with the chipotle sauce.

Serve with warm tortillas (flour if you're Bubba or corn if you're me) and my Too Big Coleslaw (see recipe below).

Bubba said that if I served this to his mom (who is a Southern gal), she'd totally think it was Southern pulled pork rather than spicy Peruvian pulled pork, which is I believe, what this original recipe was going for.

This was my proper plate. With the corn tortillas and all.

Either way, very good.


Finny's Too Big Coleslaw
Adapted from Joy of Cooking's coleslaw

Ingredients
1/4 head of red cabbage, chopped wide
1/4 head of green cabbage, chopped wide
1 carrot, sliced wide
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 T celery seed
2 T mayo
1 T sugar
1/2 T fresh ground black pepper

I didn't set out to make this "Too Big" but, after Bubba spent some annoying minutes trying to spear the slaw to no avail, he became sad and felt that it was "too big" to get a proper forkful. I, however, found this helpful with the eating pace. Otherwise I would shove it in so fast I might not enjoy it.

And it was good.

Anyway, to make:

Mix this whole mess in a big bowl and let it sit for a while (10 mins?) while you get forks and drinks and things. Serve it up alongside your awesome pulled pork and feel free to jam some in the tortilla. It's best that way. And then you also don't mind the Too Bigness.

Immediately following this photograph, all that coleslaw went in with the pork, there.
Good times.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beginning to look a lot like HanuMas...


I am, like, almost totally done with this holiday shopping business.

I wrapped and shipped gifts to all our family and faraway friends this weekend and then did a good amount of online shopping for Bubba and Jada (she likes to support the Wild Animal Sanctuary, don't you know) and then I rested with a cocktail to bask in the glow of my holiday accomplishments.

Except I could barely bask!

A crucial gift has not been purchased and its absence could disrupt the careful balance of our household.

Specifically, I went to the bar (the one in our house) for my gin for my cocktail for my basking - you remember - and LO - the bottle ran dry.

Seriously - I panicked a little bit. The 10 was now empty.

Thankfully I still had about a quarter bottle of Sapphire to tide me over. PHEW. But guess who did not have any booze over which to tide him? (I'm sure that didn't make sense. Not even grammatically.)

Bubba.

He has drunk himself straight outta bourbon. Woe his poor soul. No more Cocktail Time for Bubba until Christmas. er...Hanukkah...er...HanuMas.

Because, at our house, the holiday traditions are a little skewed and we swap out stocking standbys like oranges and coal for big glass bottles of our favorite moonshine and call it HanuMas. And you know that HanuMas is nearly here when - sonofabitch - the bar is empty.

For Bubba, it's bourbon or whiskey and for me it's gin. And I haven't yet bought the Bourbon to End All Bourbon to make my beloved's HanuMas memorable and joyous. FRIGHT!

And so, I look to you all for suggestions of fabulous Bourbon with which I might properly stuff this man's stocking. Please keep in mind that we don't really do the formal gift thing between the two of us, so these stockings are pretty important. And since the liquor takes up most of the stocking, the choosing of the best liquor is PARAMOUNT.

And since I don't drink bourbon or whiskey (Um, barf. Thank you, college.) I hope that you do. And I hope you have found something lovely that you'll suggest. Some previous hits have been, for your suggesting reference; Woodford Reserve, 1792 and Knob Creek. And, of course the obligatory Jameson.

And now you know when it's beginning to look a lot like HanuMas in our house, because that is when the bar runs dry and panic ensues.

We are so CUH-lassy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

As special as it's going to get.


I did the All Day Holiday baking thing last weekend so I'd have bread to go with all the jam I canned this summer.

Because I'm giving jam (and pickles, but not with bread you know) as gifts and you can't give jam without bread because they need one another to make sense. Is what I've heard anyway. We never have bread in our house and I've found that a spoon is as good a companion to jam as any bread BUT WHATEVER. The greater world puts jam on bread and so I baked bread for the jam. To make it right.

And this is where, I believe, the curse of "Specialing up" the holiday gifts began.

See, last time I did this Jam & Bread gift deal for the holidays, I went a little crazy custom designing and printing and cutting out and labeling my blackberry jam for all the world to see. And then I custom designed and printed and cut out and labeled the breads, too. And then I started to go slowly insane from all the extra special work I was creating for myself.

So this year I decided to give myself a break and buy some ready-made labels and just write the stupid "Blackberry Jam" thing on there with a regular pen and try to BE OK with it. Sure, the labels aren't all the same and, yes, people might have seen these labels on sale at Michael's so they know that I didn't special design them or anything, but that's just going to have to be OK because if I have to sit down at my kitchen table with a sheet of custom special designed labels to cut out with my shitty scissors then I'm probably going to stab myself in the eye to stop the pain.

I can get very dramatic.

So, I'm still trying really hard to BE OK with the store-bought labels with my ballpoint scribbles on them and I'm going to try to resist the urge to "special up" the jams any further by wrapping their tops in fabric and coordinating string.

I continually take this "specialing up" thing too far and it has to stop somewhere so I've decided HERE is where that will be. To keep me seeming sane - at least to those who don't come too close.

And I purposefully haven't gone into my fabric stash to see if I have any light blue fabric because if I were to find any in there, I'd have it cut and wrapped around those jars of jam pretty damn fast and then tied with my red and white string (thanks Lera - it's so cute!) and then the "specialing up" would have begun to slide down the special slippery slope and you know what happens then...

Did I mention that my holiday wrapping theme this year is light blue and red?

Because it is.

Because the specialing up of the holiday shit began without my conscious knowledge. That's the only way I can explain how I ended up with something as ridiculous as a holiday wrapping color scheme and a gift containing 2+ (Don't forget the recycled gift tags! Lunatic.) homemade things in a house where we openly loathe the holidays.

I might as well cover my house in net lights and start the snowman inflating on the front lawn at the rate I'm going.

I need supervision.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crazy Ass Socks cont'd...

Orange gams. I love this word, "gams".

Yes, I'm still talking about socks.

Even though Decca rightly pointed out that did I know I could buy socks at the store and then I went on my merry way ignoring that piece of advice because I like to torture myself by knitting overly complicated things that can be had for less than $5 at Target.

I've said before - it's not all fun and gin cocktails in this head of mine, so let's not act all surprised that I do these silly things. Feel free to comment and make fun - just don't be surprised.

Back to the important thing I wanted to tell you, though - Crazy Ass Socks #1 totally fit me mum's sexy gams!

And if you didn't understand that last sentence, please note the photo op below:

Those purple socks are from her private collection.

I made the poor woman strip her legs of her other crazy ass purple socks in the middle of Golden Gate Park so that she could reassure me that the Handknit by her Crazy Ass Daughter socks fit her legs all proper-like.

And they did! Without any of my infamous Forcing It (another story for another day)!

VERY EXCITING! To me.

At this point she can use them or put them in the drawer forever or give them to the feral cat she's domesticating as a toy to shred - I don't care! Because now my soul is complete.

Complete because I have knit a proper pair of kneesocks that fit a normal pair of legs and that is satisfying in a new and absurd way.

Absurd because it's not really a necessary skill seeing as the Target is right there and all. I know! I make no sense!

It also made me want to make more. Because now I know how. And now I have a knitting project memorized that can be done while traveling or while sitting my ass on the couch and that is a beautiful thing that keeps me from eating all the stuff I just baked for the holidays which I will show you later in great mind-numbing detail.

Basically, these socks could be the difference between me wearing my skinny 7's to my folks' for Hanukkah or wrapping that big trash bag under the sink around my body like so much Bed, Bath & Beyond muu muu.

And who wants to see that? Nobody, that's who.

Who knew chickens could wear kneesocks?

So, I started on the ribbed cuff for the second sock last night, so with any luck, this last sock will take me through the holidays so I don't have to apologize to my neighbors when all they get hanging from their doorknob is a butter-stained IOU.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Adopt a Crop: First frost

Of course, the first frost of the year showed up *just* as I was tuning out of the news (and subsequent weather forecasts) due to slowly creeping sadness caused by recounts of Wal-Mart tramplings and the cries of desperate holiday retailers.

So, when I got back from my run this morning and, upon noticing the red hue of my hand skin, walked out to the back .40 to check on my winter crops, I found the Secret Frost.

The nasturtium are not long for this world.

And then I noticed that the Supah Technical Anti-Frost Fabric (aka weedblock) was still rolled up neatly next to the beds where it would be ALL READY to protect the wee young plants from biting frost.

I guess the vegetables are too good to cover themselves. Ingrates.

Whoopsy!

Thankfully, it looks like the new sprouts will be OK because either the frost wasn't hard enough or they are Supah Technical Tough as Nails plants.

Either way though, I'm covering them tonight and beginning Frost Watch 08-09 so that I don't lose any precious arugula or fava beans.

What frost doesn't kill me, makes me stronger. - Fava Beans

We are small but mighty. - Rocket (arugula)

So, as far as the update goes - the chosen Arugula/Rocket has germinated nicely and I even thinned it last weekend when I needed a spicy addition to a regular old boring salad I was making. Which is a miracle in itself because I typically suck at thinning seedlings and get all, "Oh, but they all look so healthy and happy, how can I kill them?" except this time I needed salad, so I felt less sad and more hungry.

This is a good approach, I've found and keeps me from being a whiny mother hen when it comes to thinning time.

With the favas though, there wasn't any thinning. The seeds are big enough, and my faith in their germination is strong enough (thank you neighbors for always planting the most impressive and easy to grow fava beans as an example) that I only planted the exact number of seeds to give me the exact number of plants for which I had space so that I didn't have to do any thinning.

Plus, fava bean seedlings on salad? Prolly not really good.

To celebrate the First Frost, the dog and I played Frosty Fetch. It involves sliding across a frosty lawn to catch a frozen tennis ball. It is very technical and might have awakened the shitty neighbors.

Notice how I don't care.

Mom, this ball is hard as a rock. You may have it back now.

And now please throw it again.
I forgot how much I love the taste of frozen tennis ball in the morning.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Not like horse shit

Neckdown Long Hooded Cardigan
by Diane Soucy for Knitting Pure and Simple
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton in Graphite
Needles: Circular 9 (24"), 9 (16"), DPN 9 & 7, tapestry needle
Raveled here

Remember when I said I'd go to the grave knitting this sweater?

I can be so dramatic.

Well, to update you on my grave knitting status, I'm done. I've finished the sweater that ate a field of cotton. And no one (namely me) had to go to the grave to do it.

Score.

I did, however, have to buy *just one more* skein of yarn to finish it up though. Which I did, totally uncharacteristically, right after I finished this post where I said that I wasn't going to order more yarn because "What if I got to the end and DID end up having enough and then suddenly had EXTRA? What then?!"

I told you, I can be very dramatic which is another word for flaky which is another word for neurotic which is another word for Finny When She Knits Big Ass Sweaters.

It's big. It's cozy. It's not for formal occasions.

Anyway, to sum up my feelings about this sweater, Meh+.

Like, it came out according to the photo and it fits like a big sweater and it's not itchy because I used (a lot of) cotton yarn and it didn't take me the 60-75 years I imagined it would back when I was at my most dramatic. Those are all the +s.

On the Meh side, it's sorta big on me even after I decided to roll the dice and run it through the dryer rather than letting it block on my kitchen counter for the foreseeable future. See, even though I knitted the smallest size AND checked my gauge throughout the knitting process (something else totally uncharacteristic for me), the thing is still just rather large.

When I ran it through the dryer I was hoping that that the dryer would:

A. Allow the soaked sweater to dry in under a decade

and

B. Shrink it so that the armpits didn't hang so low

Basically, I was hoping for a dryer-induced miracle. Which I did not receive.

However, the dryer did do wonders for drying it (imagine that) and so I was able to wear it the next day when I went back to the California Academy of Sciences for the third time since it opened this fall. Basically, I'm stalking the new Planetarium, and now you know something else weird about me.

Now, I will definitely wear this sweater because I do like the length, fabric and especially the hood (as you may have gathered from the photos, I am fond of the hoods on my sweaters), but it's not exactly the casually chic sweater coat I'd imagined it would be, mostly because the armpits hang low which I find annoying and which lends to a less flattering fit.

The good news is that the Ugly Librarian Sweater now has a darker hued and hooded cousin, so when it's in the wash (as it will be more often now that I've seen how dirty I let it get), I'll have another sweater to wear when we have a Spare the Air day and can't use the fireplace.

I'm sure Bubba will also be happy to know that, at no time in the winter cold months, will I be without a full-length fugly sweater hiding my lady shapes.

Now witness the fire power of this fully operational hooded sweater.

Bubba calls me the Emperor when I wear this sweater which I do not take as a compliment due to the Emperor's ugliness.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fugliness! Join in!

'Tis the season for gathering round the fire with friends and family to share in the unique joy and gratitude that comes with the holiday season. To rejoice. To hope. To celebrate.

NOT to break into the realm of yard decor if you are of the No Talent persuasion. Or if you're insane. Or if you're This Guy.

See, while this may appear to be the most random assortment and placement of lights and holiday finery one could imagine, it's actually set up EXACTLY the same way it was last year. I can root around and find the 07 photo if you like. It's so exact, in fact, that even the haphazard placement of the candy cane trail there has been reconstructed to mimic last year's design perfectly.

Planned Fugliness. I had not expected this.

We want that "our house just rolled out of bed" look.

This guy inspired me to start up the Fugly House Contest again this year when the radiation exposure I suffered from its glowing beams caused the paint to melt on my car. And while the sheer coverage is enough to get this guy in the running for Fugliest House 2008, the fearless and unending blinking sequence was what really put it over the top.

You can't tell from this still photo, but the house is signaling,
"We stopped eating in August in order to support our holiday bedecking." in Morse Code.


I don't have a photo of this house from last year, with which to do a year over year comparison for replica verification purposes, but I imagine this guy has a blueprint of his light scheme stretched out over the pile of milk crates he calls a dining room table. And I'll bet the planning for this fiasco began early in the year, perhaps even before he made a skin suit from the remains of squirrels found pressed to the pavement in front of his house.

Only a psychopath would decorate in such a fashion, is my theory.


"These decorations have SO paid for themselves over the years. If only Santa would get a job."

The arrangement here isn't all that remarkable, when compared to its nearest neighbors, until you consider the fact that it all went up the day after Halloween. And has been running/blinking/polluting the night sky and their neighbor's bedrooms with its neon glare ever since.

If I lived across the street from this guy, I'd have cut the power to his house months ago. The way I see it, his neighbors are just letting him slide.

And so, if you couldn't tell already, I've begun again my holiday tradition of pointing out the most heinously decorated houses I see (or am physically wounded by) and I encourage you to join in on the fun.

If, for whatever reason, this isn't something that you enjoy, feel free to come back at a time when I'm banging on about something more benign, like knitting or gardening or how one can go about putting down a 3 lb pot roast in a 2 person household without throwing any away. Yes, we're proud of our Leavin's Abilities over here.

And, it's probably best if you avoid leaving me comments about my grinchiness or "but I bet they were just doing it for their kids" or whatever because, while these may seem like valid points to you, I think displays like these are only valuable in the entertainment they provide for ME.

While I make fun of them and question the inhabitant's sanity.

If these people are "doing it for their kids" then they should be ashamed of themselves. Much like I imagine their kids are of them.

However, if you're like me, and find the increasingly aggressive holiday decorating pattern alarming, and you need to seek therapy by way of cooperative bitching - please feel free to shoot me photos of your Fugliest to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom and I'll happily oblige you by putting them up here so we can all point and laugh.

Happy hunting.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

FaDSA: Oct/Nov Winner *and more* + voting

Dear Donk,

Don't you love it when you get something good *and more*? I do. Even though the *and more* is usually something sucky you don't really need like another plastic cosmetic bag full of reject color lipstick and metallic eyeshadow BUT WHATEVER.

This time the *and more* is good.

First though, for our Oct/Nov winner. I have to say that I was happy to see more smiling faces (I imagined them. Whatever.) in the pool this month since there's been, let's say, a waning enthusiasm for this book.

Hey guys - I get it - I'm with you.

BUT - this month, good stuff.

Specifically, Dawn's very creative (and, frankly SUPAH CRAFTY) sewn card that, I imagine, was perfect for Halloween sooooooooooooooooo long ago.

Geez, it's December. Wow. Moving along...

So, this 2x/month's winner is Dawn of dhbuscher.com for her downright craftastic sewn spider web card.


Really now. That is overachieving.

Straight AND curved lines. All combined into a clean and meaningful design. If this happened at my house, I'd buy a lottery ticket and quit my job because I'd feel like I could do anything. LOVE.

And so, Ms. Dawn, won't you shoot me your home address to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom so that I might send you a prize worthy of your craftiness? Sweet, thanks. Also, bask in the glory of your win. It's fun to do.

And now, for the unsucky *and more* part.

In case you hadn't noticed that it was somehow already December of 2008 (pretend you're as shocked as I am. It makes me feel better about myself.) and we've managed to come to the end of our 2008 sewing along, it's time to put this year's ~along to rest by choosing a Grand Prize Winner.

But we didn't think it made sense for US to choose a winner, since we've been picking all along and that would be hogging, so we want to put it out to you all - the greater FaD Sewing Adventurers to choose from the monthly 2008 winners.

So - FaDSAers - it's up to you. You vote for your favorite project from the monthly winners and then we will send them a FAHbulous prize that will NOT be a plastic cosmetic case full of face lotion you'd never use.

NO - it will be great. And this FAHbulous prize will also set off our 2009 ~along, which we'll announce on 1/1/08 (or closely thereafter due to hangovers that prevent us from looking directly at glowing computer screens) and which I predict you will love.

And, not only do I predict you will love the ~along them itself, but I do believe you will love participating in it and also its pricetag and its variety. I'm really excited about it but Donk made me swear not to give it away so I'm going to shutup now.

For the voting though, here's a quick sum of the projects upon which you may feast your greedy eyes before voting at the bottom of the post.

Fabulous Projects From Which You May Choose Just One:

January: Button Scarf
Winner: Lynn of Craftstew


March: Pintucked Table Runner
Winner: Melanie of Taylor Design



April: Modern Apron
Winner: Jomie of Mama Nose Best


May/June: Wrap Skirt
Winner: Julia of denverbrunette


July: Kid's Pattern
Winner: Julia of denverbrunette


Aug/Sept: Tri-Pocket Ticking Tote
Winner: Claudia of creativeclaudia


Oct/Nov: Sewn Cards
Winner: Dawn of dhbuscher


Simple Stitched Gift of 2008
Jan/Feb: Button Scarf, Lynn of Craftstew
March: Pintucked Table Runner, Melanie of Taylor Design
April: Modern Apron, Jomie of Mama Nose Best
May/June: Wrap Skirt, Julia of denverbrunette
July: Kid's Pattern, Julia of denverbrunette
Aug/Sept: Tri-Pocket Ticking Tote, Claudia of creativeclaudia
Oct/Nov: Sewn Cards, Dawn of dhbuscher
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Wow - I'm suddenly a little verklempt at y'alls fanciness. What a HOT group of fancy ass crafters we have here. *tear*

You have until 12/31/08 to vote. And you only get to vote once, so make it a good one. And if you vote for your own project, we'll never know, so feel free to be hoggy. I think you know how I'd vote if I'd won any of these projects. Because I'm self-involved like that.

ALSO - for those of you who read along but don't do the sew~along, you should vote, too. That's fun. And I know you have opinions. And buttholes, but that's another topic altogether.

So, go ahead - feast your eyes, vote for your favorite and come back on 1/1/09* for the Grand Prize winner announcement and the unveiling of 2009's ~along. New name and all.

xo,
Finny

*remember this is a tentative date dependent on the status of our hangovers. Just saying. Happy New Year and what not, too.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Be right back

So, I know today's the day to announce the winner of the Oct/Nov project, but I'm sitting at KCI knitting this sock while we wait for a flight to take us way out of our way to Dallas before we get home. Ah, the efficiency.

At least everyone's REAL friendly at the airport. Ahem.

So, when I'm home and in front of a proper machine with access to all things FaDSA, I'll post the winner and we can get on with things, yes?

Meanwhile, I'll be knitting my own Crazy Ass Knee Socks and waiting for the airport Jack Stack to open so that I can have BBQ for breakfast.

The midwest is so fine that way.