Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Muffins & Falling Leaves

Despite the fact that we've had record heat in LA this week, I am ready for fall!

I've been meaning to try a particular "Autumn Loaf" recipe for about 2 weeks now but finally gathered all the ingredients and motivation to do so this morning. Boy, am I glad I did! The recipe was incredibly easy to make and the results are fantastic! I had one for breakfast with a glass of milk and am excited to snack on these for the next few days. I've never really been a muffin girl, but that all changed when the boy's sister made her delicious banana-chocolate chip muffins earlier in the summer and I realized how easy it was to make muffins at home. I duplicated her banana muffins last week (substituting walnuts in place of chocolate chips) and they were phenomenal. Afraid that I would tire of banana nut muffins, I've been gathering different muffin recipes for the past few weeks. Today's Autumn Loaf muffins will definitely be repeated. I'll probably try making a different kind next week.

I casted on and started knitting a "Falling Leaf" scarf  for the boy's mom as her Christmas present. I have some beautiful burnt orange yarn in Debbie Bliss Fez that would be fantastic with this pattern, but I'm afraid it wouldn't get much use during wintertime. Instead, I opted for a nice Berroco Comfort yarn in a white-ish/cream color. The leaves sorta look like snowflakes, right? I've been looking for falling leaf hat patterns, too. I'd really like to give her a nice, matching scarf and hat set.

I've also been making slow and steady progress on my December Little Shawl. I figure it'll be done in a week so I haven't been rushing to finish it. Just knitting a few rows here and there, in between other projects.

I really should continue working on my crocheted blanket, now that I'm here in LA. I predict many nights of movie-watching on the couch so I really should finish it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moving In

I finally moved into my parents' apartment in LA. The place is a total mess since I've got boxes and belongings scattered everywhere. I've slowly been putting together the kitchen and my knitting materials. I still have to get my closet and bookshelves sorted. I need to complete everything before my parents show up on Friday afternoon for the weekend. 
That is a picture of my yarn stash, which does not include 7 balls of yarn I'm using for my crocheted blanket, a scarf I've already got on needles, a beautiful green wrap I started in NJ, and my December shawl. I... need to stay away from any yarn stores for a while... or at least until I finish my holiday knitting and all the projects I currently have in the works.

In other news, I joined a gym yesterday! I had a training session this morning (followed by 20 minutes of cardio) and a rather intense yoga session this afternoon. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'll head over there for a 20 minute or so light cardio session. I really really want to get in shape and start having more energy. I often start exercising and then quit because I lack motivation and have too many distractions. This gym is literally 2 blocks away and with no bar studying (yet), I really have no excuse to avoid exercising. So, here's to a new start, I guess.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The past few days have been rather busy. I went to a farmer's market. I made banana nut muffins for the first time. I made lasagna for my brother and sister-in-law. I knit up most of my December shawl before realizing I had done it completely incorrectly and so ripped it all out and started it over again. I'm glad I did because I think it's coming along beautifully now.
The reason that I spent my first week in Apple Valley, rather than in LA, is because my father was sponsoring a table at the 19th Annual St. Mary's Gala, essentially a "Who's Who" of the High Dessert Medical scene. Although I wasn't sure what to expect, I ended up having a really fun time, mostly because it was more time I got to spend with my wonderful nephew and the rest of my family.
Also, I'll jump at any excuse to get super dressed up, eat less than amazing food, and dance super silly to a half-way decent band while surrounded by strangers. Well, maybe not any excuse.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity here in Apple Valley.

On Monday, my mother taught me how to make my favorite Iranian dish, Ashe Reshteh. We spent pretty much the entire day in the kitchen making a big pot-full since it takes forever for each ingredient to simmer in the soup before we add the next ingredient. The final result is well worth the time investment!
That afternoon, I baked an apple pie, using Ali's incredible recipe. It was so easy to make and such a big hit with my entire family. I can't wait to make it again and again and again... I'm also really excited to use Ali's recipe to make banana nut muffins for everyone, too!
I miss NJ terribly, but it has been super nice getting to hang out with my brother's family the past couple of days. My niece is incredibly adorable, though still a bit shy. My nephew is finally old enough to joke around with and play a little rough. I'm excited to go watch his Karate class later today.
My mom and I checked out the LYS yesterday morning. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and made me feel quite at home. There was a huge selection of yarns and completed projects on walls and on counters that I lovingly gazed at and touched. Despite being determined not to purchase any yarn, I couldn't stop myself from buying this beautiful Malabringo sock weight yarn. The purples in this yarn are much darker and richer in real life than in the picture to the right. The combination of purples and greens reminds me of something an evil step-mother would wear. I can't wait to knit it up into a nice fall shawlette. I just haven't been able to find the perfect pattern yet.

I've made decent progress on the crocheted blanket I started making in NJ right before I left. I've already run out of the first ball of beige yarn and might have to stop by the store and pick up another one, depending on how far this second ball will get me. I really like the teal blue I added and plan to continue using it on the blanket. I can't wait to finish this and start using it on cool nights while cuddled up on my couch, watching tv and knitting. I really wish I had my cat, Jack, out here with me, too, but I'm trying not to think about that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Music Is The Medicine Recap

On Saturday night, I attended Music Is The Medicine, a benefit show put together by my boyfriend's friends at the Beachcomber in Seaside Heights, NJ. The show was designed to raise awareness and funds for veterans struggling with PTSD. Six different bands played that night, including Threats to Chesney.

The boy is the one in the orange jumpsuit. Fitting for a wanna-be prosecutor, right?

I spent most of Saturday afternoon frantically packing my suitcases, preparing for my flight to California. We managed to get to the venue while it was still light outside though, so we snapped a few cutesy couple pictures before it was time to start manning the t-shirt table.

With every ticket purchase came your choice of mustache for the evening. I chose "the scoundrel" and enjoyed it very much. Most people were confused about why they were being given mustaches, until they heard the song, "Where's My Mustache" when it all became clear.

I was exhausted by 1am and decided to take a little nap in a booth in the corner of the bar. Apparently there are pictures of me napping with my mustache on. Great.

The boy and his friends performed at 1:45am. Needless to say, they rocked the house.

We got back to the house at about 3 in the morning and promptly fell asleep. We were up at 7am, preparing to leave for the airport. The boy's father was incredibly nice and drove us to the airport since we were both still pretty exhausted.

I was a bit of a mess at the airport, breaking down into tears several times while the boy stood around pretty helpless to do anything about it. I was ok once he walked away and I went through security, but I felt awful all day. I forced myself to sleep during the flight so I wouldn't have to think about it.

My dad was so happy to see me when he picked me up at the airport, as was my mom when we got to the apartment. She had prepared my favorite food as a welcome to California. I had about an hour at the apartment before I was whisked away to spend the week in Apple Valley, mostly to attend a Gala dinner for my dad's hospital.

Little knitting to report but lots of adventure in its place.

My mom's going to teach me how to make my second favorite dish, Ashe reshteh, today. I'm excited! Pictures and recipe are soon to follow.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baking Bread

I spent most of yesterday learning how to bake bread while talking to the boy's mom and copying down family recipes into my cookbook.

Over pizza last night, everyone went around the table and said nice things about me and my time here this summer. I got really choked up by all the kindness.

After dinner, the boy and I went to the movie theater to see Easy A and then over to the boardwalk for an evening stroll. It was sad to see so many of the store fronts and all the rides shut off and closed for the season. I don't want summer to be over yet.

There wasn't much knitting yesterday, just getting projects started for the boy's mom. I'm going to continue to find and send her patterns when I'm in California because I really hope she sticks with it!

Not the best post, but it's all I've got this morning.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Smith Lady

I had a fantastic day yesterday! After breakfast, the boy's mom, sister, nieces, nephew, and I went down to Smithville for some fun shopping. The village was incredibly cute and the prices were surprisingly reasonable. We walked through cooking stores, clothing stores, soap stores, and more. I purchased two really cute hats and an adorable greenish/brownish top. Before we left, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Fred and Ethel's.

Apparently, the village goes all out for Christmas, lighting up all the buildings and most of the trees for the holiday season. I would love to come back to see that!

Later that evening, the boy picked me up for a surprise dinner cruise on the River Lady. We were the youngest people on the cruise by at least 20 years and we were seated right at the front of the boat. Needless to say, while I restrained myself a bit, I was still incredibly affectionate towards him during the whole time. About 20 minutes after we finished our salads, the boat pulled into a dock to wait out a storm that was passing over the area. We ended up remaining docked for at least an hour and a half, eating dinner right where we were. I think other people were disappointed about not getting a tour of the river, but the boy and I had a great time just talking. It's going to be difficult being away from him, but I think we've been bracing ourselves enough so that we'll be ok until he's able to come out to California to visit and meet my family.

I took out the yarn I've accumulated and projects I've started while I've been staying in New Jersey this summer. It's... quite extensive, especially given that I already took a whole bunch of yarn and needles with me to California earlier this summer. I finally feel organized though and excited to start going through all this stuff.
No more yarn buying for me! At least, not until I finish all the projects I currently have started and plan to start for holiday knitting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Almost complete fetching gloves

I don't have much to report on the crocheted blanket I started a few days ago, except that I'm experimenting with a few rows of teal yarn. I like it thus far, but I need to see how it continues to play out with the other colors. I can't wait to use this blanket in my apartment in Los Angeles. I have a feeling I will spend many evenings curled up on the couch while watching movies and knitting.

I am almost done with my first pair of fetching gloves though! I knit them both up and weaved in the ends. I just need to make thumbs. I'll do that later tonight after I get back from a day trip to Smithsville(?) and then a date with the boy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crochet and a slightly fumbled Fetching Glove

My boyfriend's mother taught me how to crochet two nights ago and I must say that I am addicted. This is a very simple afghan throw, but I think it is coming together very nicely.
Thus far, I've only used the beige, chocolate, and barley (Vanna's Choice by Lionbrand), but I'm thinking about adding in some of that muted turquoise (Berroco Comfort) into the mix as well.  I'm not sure if that is a good idea since the yarns are made of different fabrics, so washing it may be a little difficult. I'll try it out though and see how I feel about it. The great thing about crochet (aside from the fact that it goes so quickly) is that even if you need to rip something out, it's very controlled. I hate having to unravel knitted things because I'm awful at picking up live stitches. I usually end up just frogging the whole project instead, usually giving up hours of work.

Case in point: a pair of fetching gloves I started as a holiday gift for my boyfriend's younger sister.
I started knitting these gloves last night while I was watching and listening to my boyfriend's band rehearse for a benefit show they are putting on this Saturday night.  The show is taking place from 7pm-2am on Saturday, September 18th at the Beach Comber in Seaside Heights. Proceeds from the show will go towards ending Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in our troops.

While the glove looks good from this view, I actually forgot to do the first cable row for the last three cable sections, resulting in a glove that looks like this on the other side:
I noticed this error right before I started the 4x1 ribbing section for the palm. I thought about frogging it and starting all over, but then I decided that I sorta like the way it looks and will keep the three poorly cabled sections in the palm of the hand and will adjust where the thumbs need to be to compensate.

I really love the color of these gloves, even though I was hesitant when picking it out at the yarn store. I also love the way this yarn is knitting up and will definitely go back to the yarn store later today to pick up some more.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Anniversary Knitting

In anticipation of our 6-month anniversary, I rushed to complete a hat and fingerless glove set for my boyfriend.

Why would I rush to complete a hat and gloves in early September, even though the weather doesn't begin to get cold here until late November? Because I move out to California early this Sunday morning.

 Law school is over. The July bar exam has been taken. I attended my college roommate's September 5th wedding and on Saturday night, I will watch my boyfriend sing and play music with some of his best friends at a benefit show they've spent the summer putting together. I'm out of excuses to hang around and my family is antsy for my return home.

Irish Hiking Hat (pictured left) made from approximately 140 yards of Lana Grossa Giro Yarn using size 8 needles. I modified the pattern by only knitting approximately 3/4 inch of K2, P2 ribbing at the beginning, since I wasn't sure whether I could finish the hat with the amount of yarn I had, but it worked out just fine.

Dashing gloves made from approximately 160 yards of Lana Grossa Giro Yarn using size 8 needles.

He loves both the hat and the gloves-- so much so that he wouldn't stop wearing them a few nights ago after I finished knitting them! 

First Post

I've been meaning to start a knitting journal for the past few months, but never seemed to be able to get myself to commit to one. Once I realized how much time I was spending reading other knitting blogs on a daily basis, it seemed only fair to start contributing my own work to the world.

I am by no means a great knitter. I haven't spent my entire life knitting. I will probably never move beyond making fun knitted (and crocheted?) things for my family and friends. But knitting is something I really enjoy doing and learning more about. I also hope to learn how to spin my own fiber to make yarn.

I feel inspired by all the lovely work I've seen out there on the internet, and especially in the blogosphere, and hope that maybe I can help along a fellow novice knitter gain some of her (or his) own confidence, too.