Schmawl Complete! Now where will I ever wear it?

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Hot damn.

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Lace in the sunlight just kills me.

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Presenting the finished Swallowtail Schmawl! An exercise in determination…and loveliness.

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Look at all those nupps!  Have I gone back on my previous position on nupps and declared myself a nupp-believer?

Nope! But I have to admit that they do look quite elegant in execution.

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I broke out my new blocking wires and blocking mats from KnitPicks for the occasion (courtesy of a Christmas gift certificate from my brother!), and I have never had a better time pinning something out. Meaning mostly that I’ve never spent less time pinning something out and having it stretch out perfectly. Which equals better. Of course.

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Now somebody invite me to a wedding or an Easter brunch or something so I can take this thing out on the town!  Possibly with a coordinating hat.  Get to it!

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365 Project – Week 8

There was a whole lot of out-and-about this week, so sorry for the whole boatload of iPhone pictures.

365 2012-02-18

This is how every great dinner with friends should start. Toasting sake with our visiting friend Erin during his first-ever Mardi Gras.

365 2012-02-19

My new bean sprout looks like a dragon! Growing vegetables is cooler than I thought it would be.

365 2012-02-20

A girl in a platinum blonde bobbed wig wearing fuzzy underpants, silver high-tops, and furry antenna riding an alligator bike. I love New Orleans.

365 2012-02-21

Mardi Gras day! Listening to the FDNY Bagpipe Band at the beginning of Rex made me almost tear up a little. However, it does feel a bit ridiculous to stand next to these very large, very dashing men while you’re wearing bunny ears.

365 2012-02-22

Bowie decided that I wasn’t busy enough while reading in my armchair, and that I needed to add petting to the activity.

365 2012-02-23

One of my favorite catches from Mardi Gras. Imagine…all of the thrill of bowling without rolling a ball. I can’t wait. This paragraph has no exclamation points because I am being sarcastic.

365 2012-02-24

Just a tiny part of our giant haul from Mardi Gras. Even after packaging up a whole bunch to send to friends back in Colorado, there’s still a ridiculous amount of plastic trinkets in my attic.

Now that Mardi Gras is over, life will probably calm down a little bit. Now I’ve got my nursing school interview to look forward to next month, plus some fun finished projects to show off soon!

365 Project – Week 7

Another week — more homemade food, gardening projects, and Valentine’s Day silliness!

365 2012-02-11

I know, we’re right back on food again! I couldn’t help it. Dan came up with these little smoked salmon, spinach, and balsamic vinegar on delicious Triscuits canape-things, and they were faaaantastic.

365 2012-02-12

A lazy Sunday morning spent drinking coffee and playing Hangman on the backs of envelopes.

365 2012-02-13

Bowie helped me eat my breakfast one morning by keeping an eye on the birds outside. They might get a shot at my Cheerios before he did, apparently.

365 2012-02-14

Ingredients for a great Valentine’s Day at home? Tacos, When Harry Met Sally, homemade cards, and chocolate lava cakes.

365 2012-02-15

A belated Valentine’s day gift from my love! Pink roses and white carnations making our kitchen table all pretty.

365 2012-02-16

Burgers with red peppers and spinach with fabulous lemony, garlicy green beans and peppers on the side (courtesy of everybody likes sandwiches‘s great recipe), and watching The Wrestler. A great way to end an afternoon of gardening. The green beans were from my dad’s own vegetable garden! I can’t wait until we get some of our own.

365 2012-02-17

A row of onion bulbs, now planted, watered, and hopefully soon sprouting in our vegetable garden.

So far, the garden’s got beets, cabbage, onions, radishes, basil, a rosemary bush, and a rose tree/bush-thing. Happy, happy, happy Jinger! Hopefully they all properly grow now. Fingers crossed.

365 Project – Week 6

Documenting the tiny things in your life that make you happy can get a bit tedious. And also make you realize just how much food makes you happy. Because you take an awful lot of pictures of food that you then ate. As in, a lot more than other things. And then that makes you get a little bit worried about yourself.

This week features three pictures of food, and then one picture of food that is not yet food but will be food after it grows for a little while. There may be a problem here.

Onward.

365 2012-02-04

I have a guilty pleasure confession to make. I really love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, even though I myself do not actually wear makeup. Except maybe for some Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker on occasion. Lauren Luke is totally my favorite. She’s adorable.

365 2012-02-05

Tamales are not photogenic, but they are freaking delicious. Part of my family’s old Super Bowl party tradition involves a mass assembly line situation to make these delicious Manuel’s-esque tamales. We brought it back this year for the first time in a really long time, and they came out great!

365 2012-02-06

Swallowtail Schmawl is totally shaping up. Onto the border charts! And, yes, I’m making it through those nupps without wanting to murder someone. Hopefully.

365 2012-02-07

Radish sprout!

365 2012-02-08

Homemade banana bread plus a cup of coffee. A lovely night at home.

365 2012-02-09

A visit to Sucré for some pistachio gelato, super dark hot chocolate, and fancy chocolates that will take some willpower to make last the weekend.

365 2012-02-10

Dan’s first Mardi Gras parade ever! Saw Excaliber and caught a ridiculous amount of plastic things that now need places in our house. I can’t wait to get some more and then wonder why I need to keep it all and where it’s going to go. It was rainy and freezing cold, and we ended the night by watching a cop stop the parade by interrogating some float riders. There was a lot of yelling and pointing and more yelling, and we decided to head out before seeing that very last float roll angrily down the street.

I Hate Nupps

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There are those among you who may not know what nupps are. Dictionary.com doesn’t know either. Nupps are little bundles of stitches that are often found in Estonian or lace knitting that create texture and dimensionality.

They also make me extremely angry.

Popcorn stitches, bobbles, nupps…all of these things create great amounts of unnecessary rage inside of me. I am not a fan of such texture in most knitted garments. Anyone wearing a sweater with bobbles on it earns my repulsion and disrespect pretty much instantly, especially if you made it yourself.

I know that my perspective on this is not a popular one. It’s not really like most people love nupps or bobbles or anything. I just think they don’t care enough to hate them with my vitriol. However, certain projects come along where the texture is understated and classy, and I have to swallow my distrust and derision and just knit those goddamn nupps.

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Stupid-beautiful-lovely-and-otherwise-thoroughly-enjoyable Swallowtail Schmawl, I’m talking to you.

See all of those black dots? Those are the nupps. See the black boxes around them? That means that they repeat. Often.

See the little 5 with the carat over it? This is where I frequently lose my mind.

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Purling five stitches together. Even when you’ve finally got your stupid needle in there properly, the panic doesn’t end.

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Because then you’ve got to somehow slide that needle out with the yarn wrap firmly in place without ruining everything and yanking out any other perfectly innocent bystander stitches. It’s not until you’re somewhere around here…

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…that you remember the hard part is over and that you successfully executed the maneuver. (I totally just had to check that to make sure I spelled it properly. I love you, Google.)

But the relief is short-lived, because you then remember that you only have about 10 stitches to go before you have to do it again. And even when you finish that one, there’s still about eleventy-billion more of these freaking things in the border of this goddamn so-pretty-and-so-soft-that-I-promise-I-will-try-to-stop-freaking-out shawl.

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A singular nupp, looking so innocent. Boo. I’d be slightly angrier still if they weren’t lining up and looking so nice as the rows progressed.

And I know I’ll probably get people telling me to lighten up, not just on my tension on those loops to make the purling easier, but also on the poor, defenseless nupp that makes Estonian lace so unusual and coveted. I could perform this task hundreds of thousands of times and still feel as though it is mocking me with its little neat and tidy cluster, constantly reminding me that I might one day change my tone and create a bobbled sweater for my cat or something.

Nope. Never going to happen. Not as long as I can’t get through a row without a mistake or a moment where I forget I’m supposed to be breathing, too. I just have to keep telling myself that I like knitting. I really do. I swear.

Stupid nupps.

365 Project – Week 5

This was definitely a week of surprises. Ups and downs and wonderful gestures from some wonderful people. Let’s get started.

365 2012-01-28

I made my first mistake on my project and forgot to take a picture on the 28th. Boo. Fortunately, early the next morning, I reassembled the tableau of what pleased me the night before, Harry Potter and chamomile tea. The next day, I suffered taunts at the bookstore for being the only person who works there who hadn’t read Harry Potter yet.

365 2012-01-29

My current favorite wine. Yum.

365 2012-01-30

Nicely out-of-focus, yes? The first tiny seedling to raise its head out of my planter box. Lettuce. Since then, radishes, bunny tails, and some herbs have joined the fun.

365 2012-01-31

Cooking up some Eggplant and Tomato Pasta courtesy of the Pioneer Woman for work lunches. Delish.

365 2012-02-01

A wonderful surprise in my mail from my brother’s girlfriend! I lent a copy of this book to someone in my knitting group (and of course, now I can’t remember to whom), and it’s out of print. She dug up a copy as a thank you gift for staying with us over Christmas. It’s definitely a gift I don’t feel like I deserve, but am so pleased to have. More stockings for everyone!

365 2012-02-02

A surprise free show from Darrell Hammond at House of Blues? Fantastic!

365 2012-02-03

A crazy thing happened today. I received another gift that I don’t feel like I deserve. Holy schamoly! I know that I blushed uncontrollably and stammered “Thank you,” about 20 times, but I hope that everyone at work knows how much I appreciate it and how good the whole thing makes me feel. I really feel like part of a community now.