Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Month: July, 2007

The Sewing Machine Ate My Knitting Mojo

Perhaps for lack of inspired knitting, perhaps because of the heat but whatever the reason, my sewing machine has lured me with its promise of quickly finished objects – near instant gratification compared to knitting. I say “finished” but the truth of the matter is that all of my sewn items need buttonholes or trim added so you won’t see actual FOs for a few more days. You know what I mean by “finished”…

Here are some previews:

I’ve also been working on a pair of Anastasias with the Claudia’s Handpainted (in Blue Sky colorway) that I won in Minty’s blog contest a few months ago.

I think once I clear my knitting plate of second socks and gift knitting, my knitting mojo will come back. Until then, I slog along!


Warrior Baby

I wonder if all that prenatal yoga paid off? Doesn’t this look like the warrior pose?

I can’t resist posting this one because I think it’s so funny to see this little baby head popping out of the cavernous hole that is our kitchen sink*.

What’s with all the baby pictures? You guessed it, there’s little knitting to report – only a super lame FO and a really cool garage sale find.

Yarn: Regia Cotton India, who knows what colorway
Pattern: 60-stitch, stockinette socks with about 4″ of ribbing.

In the photo, one looks longer than the other but they’re the same size in real life. These socks will go to my mom. Like I said earlier, I’m not so fond of the colorway but I did buy two skeins of Regia cotton to make socks for my mom so that’s all there is to say. I’m tempted to cast on for the second pair soon just to get them done.

Next up, my $0.25 garage sale baby quilt. It’s certainly a scrap quilt (and a tied one at that) but I couldn’t resist it. It’s light and soft and it’s the kind of blanket that I would want if I were a baby.

* Concrete countertops look cool in magazines but let’s not talk about what they’re like to live with…

FO: Debbie Bliss Classic Cardigan

I’m so glad so many of you liked the biscotti recipe! Oh yeah and from reading some of the comments from my last post, I think I ought to clarify that I’m up at 4:40 a.m. to shuffle along at a 10:00/mile pace, not to sprint at a 6:00/mile pace. I’m not a good runner, I’m just becoming an early one!

Pattern: Classic Cardigan from The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Berry
Needles: US 7
Modifications: Because Debbie Bliss’ baby patterns are notoriously boxy, I made the 12-18 mos size but used the 18-24 mos sizing for length. A few months back, many of you commented that you thought that a long, skinny baby would likely grow into a long, skinny toddler so I decided that it would be best to plan on that for next winter’s crop of Beatrix sweaters.

Beatrix clearly has some growing to do before this will fit! This project has been about two-thirds finished for months now and since I didn’t have much knitting time this week, I decided to take up finishing it here and there. A simple, shapeless stockinette baby sweater is hardly good blog fodder but at least it’s out of my WIP pile.

This sweater pattern is an old standby for me but it is painful to knit. Every time I make it, I remember halfway through that I should have used raglan shaping and knit it all at once to save myself the seaming. I don’t particularly care for how bulky DB’s sleeves/shoulders are but I’m too lazy to do much math for something as simple as a baby sweater so I’ll live with the bulk. The buttons on this sweater are a bit of a disappointment too. While I love these shell buttons up close, I think they tend to fluoresce a bit from a distance so if I could do this again, I would likely choose different buttons.

What do you do when your mom makes you wear a sweater that’s too big for you?

You eat it, of course…

Early Mornings and Almond Anise Biscotti

For about four weeks, I’ve been getting up just before 5 a.m. to run. Most days I run with a group but sometimes I’m on my own or with a friend. I’ve always struggled with the morning runs. On one hand, I love both being up before the sun and the sense of accomplishment that comes from running hard long before most people get up. On the other hand, until Beatrix came along, I also loved the snooze button. When you intend to get up and run in the morning and don’t, you bear two burdens: you start your day off with a failure and you have all day to look forward to dread your evening run. Since I’ve been up in the morning, my overall mental health has improved dramatically. I know how crazy that sounds. My alarm is set for 4:40 a.m. So I can get up and RUN. Some days it’s hard running too. I think I’m sleeping less. But I have more energy throughout the day. Where is the science, people???

If you had told me a few years ago that I would successfully run in the mornings for more than a week at a time, I would have died laughing. Now there seem to be so many more obstacles (e.g. a baby, a teething baby, a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night anymore) but I find it easier. I’m sure it’s because running time is so much more precious now than it was when I had my life to myself. The other part is that I prefer returning home to a smiley, awake baby rather than waking up to one. Mommy Duty no longer wakes me up, Running does. Somehow, that’s better in my book.

I started this post about getting up early so that I could share with you my daily post-run breakfast: single shot cappuccino and homemade biscotti.

I’ve been making a new batch of biscotti every Sunday night and they’ve been so tasty that I decided to share my experiments recipes with you. This week’s batch was almond anise. The best part is that if you only eat one, they’re not a lot of calories. You could take out the almonds to reduce the calories too.

Almond Anise Biscotti
2 c white flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp anise extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp anise seeds
1 c whole almonds
optional: sliced almonds

Pre-heat oven to 300 F. Combine flour and baking powder in one bowl. Set aside.

Combine sugar, eggs, anise extract and salt. Whip until thick. Stir in flour mixture.

Add anise seeds and almonds.

The dough will have the consistency of sticky cookie dough. Spread into a 4″ x 16″ log on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. Bake 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 275 F. Cool 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2″ wide slices. Place slices cut-side down on baking sheet. Toast biscotti 10 minutes on each side for a total of 20 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen.*
*Be sure to make a kind that the other members of your household will eat. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with 58934854309859304859034 calories of biscotti. Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing…

My Psychic Secret Swapper

Check out the crazy loot from Christine in the SP10 reveal package!! Wow! There is too much here to fit in one frame! And all of it so perfect! Aaron is quite tired of listening to me gush so now it’s your turn! And seriously, you should all follow that link over to her blog. She has some really interesting posts. The freakiest? This one. *shudder*
1. Vegan Cupcakes by these folks, a book I’ve coveted since reading the New York Times article
2. Lots of chocolate, both milk and dairy free
3. RSPCA dish towel
4. Cloth book/rattle for Beatrix
5. A fold-out postcard of her town in NSW
6. Super cute necklace by Karin Taylor
7. A skein of Merino Cashmere 4-ply in Geranium from The Knittery (!!!)
8. Rebecca Baby & Kids magazine
9. Some great laminated patterns (I don’t know what I did with those pictures…)
10. This really funny card (Christine, are you saying I’m That Mom? Kidding, of course I am…)
10. A Princess Beatrix t-shirt (where did she find that??)
Thanks so much, Christine!!! I hope you were as spoiled as I was this swap!!!

Actual knitted items will reappear later this week. Beatrix is cutting her top teeth and no one is sleeping well at all at my house. Knitting has been temporarily placed on the back burner while the three of us focus on survival.