“Socks on a Sofa” FO

I’ve finished my version of “Socks on a Plane” which I call “Socks on a Sofa.” My version is different because, instead of the standard plane, I used a sofa; there’s a wedge heel without a flap; I started with more toe stitches; and I ended with more cuff stitches.

I think these were a pretty fast knit. They were also fun to make, which helps speed up the process, for sure.

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For WIP Wednesday, another sock

I’ve started a Kalajoki.

Photo Mar 28, 11 25 29

I’ve followed this pattern before and I enjoy knitting it a lot.

I’ve continued to work round and round my Tunisian crochet afghan here and there, so I suppose eventually it will be finished!

SAL: Pandora’s Box

I’ve joined a Stitch-A-Long which is all about needlework and sharing progress on a project once a month. I’ve chosen to do a counted embroidery sampler called “Pandora’s Box,” a freebie offered by Elizabeth Almond on her web site Blackwork Journey. This is my progress so far, along with close-ups of the little squares:

I must admit, I’m a sampler fiend, no matter what craft we’re talking about. I love crocheting stitch samplers into afghans or knitting bands and bands of motifs. It’s just pure joy to get working on a stitch pattern for a while and then move on to try something new, and another new thing, and another, and another…

“Pandora’s Box” allows for a lot of freedom with color choices, which makes me think I might make more than one, because I could swap in different patterns or chart my own. Yes, the designer indicates which shades to use, but these are just suggestions.

Above all, I just love the Assisi patterns on the sampler. Some are abstract, others are of flowers or animals. In case you were wondering, an Assisi pattern forms a design from the squares on the fabric that don’t have stitches. This means that you have to cross stitch a lot, but when you back stitch around the blank squares it’s just a beautiful thing that reminds me of mosaic tiles.

The pattern has different directions for even weave and Aida cloth. This is mainly because on even weave the “four-sided stitch” borders are actually drawn thread stitches.  On Aida cloth, these same stitches create squares instead of holes. I chose to use Aida cloth and decided not to follow the directions for the border. Instead, I went for a blackwork style which looks very similar to what the pattern calls for, with little squares bordering each motif.

One of the surprising things, for me, is how strikingly beautiful DMC 53 stitches up. DMC 53 is a multi-shade color, which varies from a coal-black to a light gray. The color stripes on the thread are quite long and, in the Assisi pattern (2nd square, row 2), it’s so cool to see the picture jump out of a multi-shaded background.

I’ve started off pretty strong on this project, but I’ll slow down, for sure. I was hoping maybe I could do one little block a week or something. So far, I’ve done six in four days. I didn’t want to focus all my attention on this, but it’s like opening a pack of Oreos or a box of Cheez-its, just less fattening, I suppose.

If you enjoyed checking this out, why not have a look at what other bloggers are doing for the SAL?  Links to their blogs are here:

 

WIP Wednesday, more of the same

I’ve got more of the same things on this WIP Wednesday, but the things are more finished.

First of all, I’ve been very slowly doing the backstitching and bead work on my “Dragon of the Mountains.” It’s very slow because it’s a lot of backstitching. You can see that the little details make all the difference, though. I don’t mind backstitching so I’m enjoying it. I also don’t mind putting on the beads because THEY’RE BEADS. How could I dislike that?

I’ve got the foot on my second sock almost done, which means it’s almost time to turn the heel.

sock

Grilled cheese and tomato soup

It’s Monday and so it’s “off topic” day. What better thing to discuss but one of my favorite lunch (and dinner) items: tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side.

Everyone has a favorite brand of tomato soup or a favorite recipe to make it from scratch. I don’t think anyone is indifferent about the type of cheese or bread that they use to make the hot, melty sandwich, either. This is no doubt why I know people who make their grilled cheese and tomato soup exactly the same way every single time they have it and that’s the way they’ve been doing it their entire lives. I think a lot people get into a routine with this type of lunch because it’s comforting on a cold day. Part of feeling cozy is having something familiar.

I’m not one of these individuals. I like all different kinds of grilled cheeses and tomato soups. I like to mix up my cheese in my sandwich, using more than one type. I like whole wheat bread, rye, sourdough, all the bread! As far as the soup goes, I like the canned type, homemade from fresh tomatoes, homemade from canned tomatoes, or even a vegetable soup with a tomato broth. In the spirit of variety, I thought I’d share some links to really good tomato soup recipes. I don’t think I need to look up grilled cheese recipes for you, though, that’s kind of easy to figure out on your own. By the way, I’ve tried these and I enjoyed them equally. In my soup making routine, though, I don’t follow any of them anymore.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2075/tomato-soup

http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/classic-tomato-soup

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/creamy-tomato-soup-cheese-toasties

You’ll notice that they’re only slightly different from each other. The recipe from BBC Good Food calls for fresh tomatoes while the second two call for canned tomatoes. There are also different types of seasonings and vegetables in each recipe. I think nowadays I make a tomato soup that combines some aspects of all three. I prefer mine without chicken or beef stock. Although the creamy soup recipes call for a heavy cream, you can use half and half or even whole milk successfully.

You can also make a lazy microwave-style tomato soup with some tomato juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. I’ve done this often. I fill a bowl three quarters of the way with tomato juice. Then, I add a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and black pepper. I stir in some whole milk until I get the color I think the soup should be. Then, I cover the bowl with plastic wrap with a hole in the center and microwave it on full power for 1 minute. I stir the soup then microwave for another minute. After one last stir, I eat my soup with my grilled cheese.

WIPs: Biscornu conveyor belt and socks

I’m stitching away at my biscornu conveyor belt this week. At the top we have the “Winter Biscornu” and at the bottom the “Spring Biscornu,” two Barbara Ana designs.

biscornuconveyor

You might recall that I’ve already made the “Autumn Biscornu” by the same designer. Actually, I’ve done it twice. I think I’ll just have to break down and buy her “Summer Biscornu” as well. My only beef with these biscornu patterns is that they cost about 5 dollars each and they are part of what the designer calls a series, meaning one for each season of the year, yet there are no package deals offered in the online shop. You have to buy each one individually and if you want all four well, you must pay up! Another thing that is kind of bizarre about these is that they are in a series but they are all different sizes. I think I like that, but it is rather odd. Usually a series is a little more uniform. They do all have something in common: They’re fun to stitch and they are whimsical. In the end, I’ll get my money’s worth out of them because I plan to make a lot of them to give away as gifts to people. I’m not just keeping them to myself! They really look good sitting on a coffee table, too, or I could imagine displaying them in a cabinet.

I’ve also been knitting my “Socks on a Sofa” which is my version of “Socks on a Plane.” I got one sock finished and have started the next one of the pair.

socks

My Tunisian crochet afghan is not being worked on at the moment, but I’ll no doubt add some rounds to it this weekend. I want it done. I just get bored with stitching long rounds on it.

Off topic: What I’m reading

So, Monday passed about 9 minutes ago. Oops. I really have no excuse to be late with this post. It has been pure procrastination. As a matter of fact, I’ve done nothing but procrastinate. You see, today I had the day off from work and all I did was drink coffee and cross stitch the day away! I did a little sock knitting, too, but mostly I cross stitched.

As some of you know, I am a former Spanish literature professor. It goes without saying that I think reading is a good, worthwhile hobby. So, why not be off topic on a Monday (in the wee hours of Tuesday) and talk about a book I’m reading? The book in question is this one:

viajosola

I’m obviously reading it in Spanish, but you can read it in English as I’m Travelling Alone. It was originally written in Norwegian, so if you don’t want to read a translation, learn some Norwegian first!

Anyway, over here in Europe it seems like countries are going through a period of excelling at different genres of literature. Spain has been going through a historical novel phase along with TV presenters and journalists writing all sorts of novels, including biographical fiction. Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and The Netherlands have become famous for their crime and mystery works. I’m Traveling Alone is an example of this literary phenomenon, and as you can see on the cover in my photo, this one has been a bestseller. I’ve purchased it when it isn’t the newest thing out, which made it a lot cheaper.

So far, it’s an intriguing story. I’ve got through the first 100 pages or so. I think what I’m enjoying most about it is that I feel like I know the protagonists personally. That, of course, is impossible because they aren’t real people, but the author has gone through a great deal of trouble to develop the psychology of his main characters. A lot of the beginning of the book isn’t much about the crime that has been committed but rather the two different points of view of the people who will be working together. Another positive aspect about the author is that he has an uncanny gift for capturing the essence of human emotion and people’s mental states. You might think it would be dull to read ten pages of a lonely woman’s thoughts as she pops pills and drinks large quantities of strong alcohol in her home on the sea. In this novel, you find yourself wanting to read more about that. It’s really that good!

I’ve got so into it, in fact, that I started exploring detective shows from Northern Europe on Netflix. I have no idea about the availability of any of them in other countries, but I found one that we spent the whole weekend at home binging on called Broen The Bridge. You can read about it here in this Wikipedia article if you’re interested. The concept for the series is pretty interesting as all of the action unfolds on the border between Denmark and Sweden.

And now it’s time to mentally prepare myself for the real world. Back to work tomorrow! Hi ho hi ho hi ho!