Friday, March 27, 2009


I’ve been knitting since I was six year old… or so.
In my family among many knitters the two woman closest to me (my mom and my paternal grandma) were very good, in fact great knitters…
Also I’ve done my fair share of knitting. Simple stuff, and also more complicated things.
There are techniques I find very interesting, top down raglans or magic loops are some of those.
I’ve seen very impressive knits, Celtic cables, Fair Isle I am awed by.
I’ve seen many patterns I find pretty, intriguing, gorgeous…
But only a handful of times in thousands of patterns I think with my mouth fallen open: this is truly genius. When I keep thinking, “how the hell did she think of that?”

Lately I came across with two patterns like that. One of them is the felted clogs, and the other is the tangled yoke…

I am not getting into the felted clogs now, deeper than to mention that Bev who though out all those short rows and their placement must be a true genius.

TYC doesn’t look like much at the first glance, though the beige colored tweed and the deep ribbing looks verrrry nice… But those “horizontal” Celtic looking cables… those are genius. They are not difficult (especially if one can count up to ten, and know the different between her right and left), but the original idea… Simply genius.

The whole thing started with the thrift store found yarn, Rowan Fox Tweed. The thing literally screamed that it wants to become the famous TYC. Regardless of the fact that it is a totally different gauge...

I had 9 skeins, 450 grams... I knew it will be a close call, but I am ever hopeful...

But it was not to be. Thankfully my earlier trips to the store resulted in some odds and bits of tweed, or tweedy looking yarns and there was a skein that was very close. I used it on the inside neckband, and the button band (it was just about enough for the buttonhole band), and call it a design element.

One of my favourite part is the wood buttons, and the mother of pearl buttons I used for backing of them. I know this technique well from my dressmaking years, but wouldn't have thought of it, if Lene of Dances With Wool wouldn't remind me... I love MOP buttons, and tickles me to know that even inside where no one will see it there is bit of luxury (they are not, but I think of them as such :-))

The yarn was a totally different weight (DK instead of sport), so getting gauge was out of question. I did swatched, washed and blocked it (which also showed that it will soften considerably), counted and measured, and started off with the stitch numbers for a smaller size.

The garter rib gave an interesting structure to the cuff. Though as a many I also found the number of stitches originally in the pattern giving huge sleeves, so I recalculated them

By the time I got the end of the cables I saw I won't have enough to do the whole back. Besides I wanted a lower, more open neck-line, so I skipped the short row. Recalculated the decreases.

This project was a major frog-fest, I frogged parts of it more time than I care to count, but all of was because of my stupidity. I frogged the ribbing on the waist, because I messed up the side decreases, the sleeves, because of the sizing, the cable parts, because of my inability to count and differentiate between left (leaning) and right (leaning cables), the the neckband... well that was because I was impatient worried and annoyed about running out of yarn. First I used a different one, for the inside part, but I didn't liked it, and found the other ball, that was much-much closer colorwise.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's up?

In order to avoid complaining about work, school, and other events here is a new whatsup post

What's on TV? The Gilmore Girls. I liked the occasional episode I managed to catch when it originally aired here (maybe a bit later than back in the US), but it was in a pretty idiotic time... I mean who is watching TV in Sunday afternoon??? Anyway it is on cable now, ans I am loving it. Love the houses, the actors, the fast talk, the relationships...

What's reading? This is still connected with my Life Laundry thing... There is a book that is titled something like "Magical decluttering"... I like it, though it is just a bit too esoteric for me... But it did gave me some ideas how to say goodbye to things I liked/loved (I have no trouble throwing out things I hate, LOL).

What's cooking? This weekend I cooked my special mushroom soup. It is a combination of a few recipe, and -as with many things I cook- has lots of variables.
4 cups of cleaned, sliced mushrooms (the best of you mix the champion, the portobello and chicken and hen, but it is ok if you only have one type)
2 cups of chicken breast (optional) (in 1/2 inch cubes)
2 cups of peeled and diced potato (in 1/2 inch cubes) The last time I made it without potatoes because Chris wanted it so... it was fine
2 cups of sliced leek (or green onions--- or even normal red onions.
1 cup of rice (brown and wilde rice mixture is the best, but you can also use simple white rice-it is faster)
parsley and dill, finely diced.
Bouillon cubes (optional)

Saute onions, brown chicken in the pot. Put mushrooms, and potato and rice. Put in water and bouillon cubes (or salt, to taste). Cook until rice is done. Pour in herbs.
I eat it with a dollop of sour-cream.

Christopher and I baked waffles afterwards using this recipe. I never thought Chris will ever ask me to bake something (he doesn't have very strong sweet tooth thank god), but he did...

What's knitting? Finished the knucks for my boy (see below post). The bordeaux sweater is still on the needle and so is the Tangled Yoke Cardi, of which I frogged the cable part so many times I lost count....But that is only my supreme disability to count from one to ten, and figure out the difference between my right and left side. I think I passed the danger-zone now, but there is still about 6-8 rows of the pattern before I can get into the major decreasing...
The sock is still a single sock, because when I wanted to cast on for the second, I just couldn't find he DPNs... I have no idea where they disappeared from the bag I kept the whole thing in. The worst part I have no idea what size they were except small... but what does that mean? 2 mm? 2.25mm? 2.5mm?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Knucks for Chris

Ever since I made them for myself (and then for my sister) my boy was after me to make a pair for him... So I did. (Especially because I knew it would annoy the heck out of P. ;-))) He was never to value the fun aspect of dressing up).
I had them in my bag for about a week, for a mindless small project, but I didn't worked on them that long. Once the fingers were done, they went really fast. He likes them... I guess :-)

The yarn came from the Burda shop, called Ispe Filati Duetto, 50% wool, 50% special acryl (or so the label says. What can be special about acryl?), pretty soft.

2,5 mm bamboo dpns.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Clapotis-take two

Since my disastrous first meeting with clapotis I was looking forward to have one for myself.
I loved knitting it, and I loved wearing it the first time around, but I just couldn't make friends with the yarn... Soft as it was, it was much more pink and magenta thank in the picture of the yarn where they showed the rust and brown side of the skein, and it was bleeding like crazy. It found a good home, it ended up being a Christmas present for my friend who loves handcrafts and the colors were just perfect for her.
Ever since i was looking for "the perfect yarn" to knit a clapotis... This was one of my better tries. I was looking for something to go with my recent green-blue craze, especially the knucks (they are on the seat BTW). I came across this sock yarn, which seemed OK. It is still not "the perfect", but I like it and I like wearing it.
Patons, Kroy, sock-yarn, crazy stripes. Almost four skein. 4.5 straight bamboo needles.

There was a slight dye-lot issue, two skeins had a slightly darker green and a bit less yellow (which I didn't mind at all), but it is not very visible, and the change happens at half and i usually wear it folded in two and put into a loop, like this (pic is shot by Chris):

Wrapped around my shoulders:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friday the 13th.

The day is not even here, but I am already close to crying.
I need to go to have my hair cut really badly. The only time I can go is Friday afternoon, when Chris is with his father. I made an appointment for tomorrow. The hairdresser is working at home in a place that is difficult to reach by public transportation, I always went there by bike, but I haven' used mine since...since P. left, but not because of him, because of the weather.
Anyway I decided to take up biking again, and this seemed like an ideal occasion. The tire as are 8naturally) flat, OK, I thought I am a big girl, I will pump them.I did that before.
But not with this bike. P. always did it. And I just cannot because it has a different valve than the usual and I just can't fit it into the pump...
Then I am trying to pay my Internet bill with this bon I get from the bank. When I ordered the service I asked about ten times to make sure I can use the bon. They said, yes, for 5500 Ft (from the 8000 Ft invoice) I can use it. Now I am trying to do it, and it says I can only pay 4490 Ft's with the bon, and overpaying is not possible. So it keeps denying my payment. I do not care for that darned 10 forints I just want to pay the bill.
Tried calling customer service. After minutes on an unbelievably long menu, there is music for a minute or so, and then the line breaks off ...
Having experience working in a call center I am extra sensitive when it comes to service. Partly I do understand that people are working at the other end, on the other hand I cannot stand when they don't do their job well.
Now why is it when I push the buttons for getting a new contract, there is some answer???

And what's coming tomorrow???

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bad dream

I've had a bad dream.
P. came back.
I was just getting ahead with all the de-cluttering business, in fact Christopher's room was already in order. Then P came back and within an hour stuff (especially boxes) started to pile up... I was just devastated... and so glad to wake up and realize it was only a dream.
Once I was terrified him leaving me. Now I am afraid he would come back.
What a big change.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's up?

I decided I will do this from time to time... mostly when I can't think of anything else to blog about...

What's on TV?
The life laundry. Such a great program, especially for us pack-rats/hoarders/collectors. I am a sucker for lifestyle shows and makeover shows. This one hits really close these days... I wish P. could see an episode or two. But then, he would say that his stuff is necessary, and mine is what clogs up the space... we'll see. If I clean up my place once will I be able to keep it that way.

What's reading?
I've just finished a Marian Keyes book, "Anybody is out there". Nice one.

What's cooking?
This is for Angela. This will not be a regular feature, because I do not cook that much, but she says the weird Hungarian cooking might be interesting. So here is a fast sweet thing... when I have a hankering after some strudel, and/or warm vanilla taste, I make this recipe. For a while it was very popular, my grandma made it regularly. We have this bread that resembles dinner rolls, though slightly bigger. now I make four, (for the two of us). cut the top, and take the inside out.
For the filling we need half pound of fresh, unsalted farmer's cheese. half cup of sour cream. One egg, sugar and vanilla to taste. Raisins also to taste. Grated lemon rind, if you have it. Mix these and fill the rolls. Put the tops back. Put them into a baking pan, maybe a bit of butter underneath. for the tops, sometimes I put sugared sour cream, last time only a dollop of butter and vanilla sugar. Bake let it cool. Eat. With a strong soup it can be a whole lunch and/or dinner. In itself a snack, a light dinner/breakfast. Dessert.
Should look like these.

What's knitting?
I have a few things on the go at the moment. Some twenty rows missing on a spring colored clapotis. I was desperately trying to finish it last night, but at the point the needles just fell out of my hand. Half pair of socks, the Tangled yoke cardigan, and the dark purplish bordoeaux sweater. I finally managed to buy the 2006 fall issue of IK on e-bay. Yes, that is the one that has the tilted duster, the tangled yoke among other good stuff. I have Jenny's issue now (for the TYC pattern) but I kept seeing her paling whenever I mentioned she will have a hard time prying it out of my hands. Now she can rest easy. It will go back to her.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Can you see a difference?

This is how the "small" room looked one week ago:

And this is now:

Oh I haven't finished, not even near, I am just curious if there is any visible result here...

Can you note that there is an empty shelf? No jackets hanging in the middle of the room? That in fact you can see there IS a carpet here (however ugly and dirty it is)?

Now my muscles sore and my back hurts. I think I can have a bit of rest. Gone knitting now :-)))

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Letting go

My current biggest project is not knitting. It is the de-cluttering, rearranging, reorganizing the flat.

The big part of this is letting stuff go. But not only "stuff". But also memories, hopes, feelings, plans.
You already know how we packed up a carload of stuff and took them to P.

Yesterday I...hmmm (Christopher and I) WE gave away the bed he used as a baby, and well into his childhood. My mom got it through some of her charity friends. When my boy finally got his grown up bed I wanted to give it away, but P. wouldn't let me. He wanted to put it on the net and sell it. For me that just didn't feel right. What could we get for it? A couple of thousands of Forints? (Ten, twenty dollars?) Does that worth the fuss? The time spend on taking pictures upload tehm, set up on some e-bay like page? Besides we got it as a present it just felt wrong to me to ask money for it.
At the end P. never got around to put it on the net and/or sell it, even though he had MONTHS to do it.
Thinking it through I called the charity called LEA. They help unwed mothers and they have a home for them. Through them I found a woman who didn't had to go into the home because she has a place to live, but she when she had a two year old boy and was seven months pregnant the father left them. So aside from a place to live she needs almost everything. She was so glad to have the bed.
Christopher first cried, because it was difficult to say goodbye to the bed he used for so many years, but we talked about how we don't have the space to store it, how this lady and her baby needs it, and most of all how he has to learn let things go. We took pictures of the stickers he put on through the years, and said goodbye, literally. When the woman came and Christopher assured himself that she is indeed very nice he was happily helping to take the pieces down. It was interesting and lovely to see the change in my boy. God, he is growing up. For me it was difficult because I thought what I did when I gave away most of the baby clothes . I will only go for an other child if I live in circumstances that will allow me to afford new stuff. But I am running out of time, and I will just have to accept the fact that Christopher will be my only child.
Then today I started to work more on the "small room", and that was when I had to face letting go. Through some insignificant stuff as throwing out ten year old canned stuff I was remembering the time in Miami, when I first started get interested in canning and gardening. The Ft. Lauderdale flea market and the Hard Value store in the beach where I got the boxes of Ball jars. Of course I kind of know that if I didn't used a jar of pickles until now it wouldn't be very likely I will. Most of the bottles I can't even open, the tops are rusted. Throwing them out, meant letting go of my memories of Miami, the house in the country. My plans for the L shaped hacienda type house with a veranda, I always dreamed having there. The plans to have lots of guests (who would eat all those goods). The love for P. With each item I took into my hand, like the small packages of meatball-seasonings I had to go through that feelings. I know they are years and years old, even if I opened they wouldn't be much good.
And there were the questions in my head. Will I ever see Miami again? Will I ever have a house again? Will I have a garden again? Will I have love again?

But then I thought I just have to let it go. If I will live in a way that needs canning stuff again, I will find the source. I kept a few jars I could open and trow what was in it out, and wash them up, the rest just got thrown out with bottles and all.
What is so terribly broken between me and P will never be whole again. To quote a famous Hungarian humorist this rotten banana will not yellow back.
If there is an other trip to the US for me in the future it will find me. If there is a new love for me it will find me. If I really want to garden, my father's summerhouse is waiting for me.

I just have to learn to let things go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hey Teach cardi

This was a UFO for months...took me ages to actually sew it up. Slight modification, longer stockinette and lace on the bodice, the rest, i can't really remember.
Sachenmayer Catania yarn. About six skeins (now I have to figure out what to do with the leftover four.

I don't remember the needle size either, most probably 3 mms.

Unlike the Yarn harlot I did buttonholes all the way. Recently I've done things that buttons only partially, but this time I would like to be able to control just how many buttons I am closing.

BTW simple, but thicker than usual mother of pearl buttons.

Great pattern. I am already thinking doing it from a different color... maybe with long sleeves?

These days...

I am having totally "unP." days... all things he hated and complained against...
Staying in bed late.
Having breakfast in McDonalds.
Going shopping on a Sunday.
Going to Ikea.
Shopping in Ikea.
Let Chris go to the playhouse there.
Buying an expensive duvet.
Throwing out unnecessary things.
Having fragrant flower in the living room.
Having guest over.
Actually getting to talk to my guest.
Knitting for hours.
Watching TV in the wee hours.

Probably I could go on and on...
Yesterday a huge step happened in clearing up the ruins. With the help of a friend we packed up a station wagon full of P.'s junk and took it over to his place. It was such a huge step.
He was overly courteous, thanked my friend about six time for her help, but I could feel he hated the whole thing (i.e I dumped a carload of junk on him). But hard it might be, it is HIS junk and HE has to deal with it. He can't just expect me to keep his stuff here...
The truth is you can hardly see in the small room that anything missing, still I feel it was a huge step. Eszter, thank you ever so much for the help (BTW I offered money for her, at least for the fuel, but she wouldn't take it. Double thanks).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oh. My. Love.

To quote the big Shakespeare, let me count the ways I love thee…
- I love your warmth.
- I love your softness.
- The way you wrap yourself around me.
- The way you caress me.
- Your lightness.
- Your crispness.
- That you are all natural.
- The way I had to wait for you.
- That I finally got you.
- Your size.
- Even your smell…
Last night I bathed and dressed specially, perfumed myself, and went to bed with my new love. My Duvet. Maybe I should give a name to it, because I am in love. Ever since I’ve known P. we always lived in cold places. (OK, Miami was an exception). Cold houses. I am a coldie by heart; I feel the cold much worst than the average. (P. on the other hand seems to immune to it, unless we talking about food. In that case what is just so-so warm for me he complains it is so hot it burns his mouth. Go figure.) . As you all know I hate winter, and I hate cold and I hate being cold. When I am cold I can’t think, I can’t feel, I can’t sleep… The flat I am living in is one of those eastern-German/Russian type of prefabricated building with bad insulation and a heating system that was never really god, and in the last twenty years it got even worst. Even if I turn up everything to a max, all I can achieve is about 19-20 degrees (in wintertime). As a result I always kept piling up quilts and blankets on my bed. They weren’t warm enough, but heavy. About two years ago I saw in IKEA that they have covers/duvets for different temperature, for different people. A thin one for warm weather, or those who are not cold, to a really warm toasty one for people like me. There was one I particularly liked, but it’s price passed by far what I could afford… Then in the fall of 2007 when I’ve been in Brussels my friend had one in her house… The house was rather cold, but the duvet… oh the duvet. It was so warm, so soft, so light. Yet I have not sweated under it. It wasn’t heavy on me. I knew then, that though I would liked one before, now I WANTED one. No I had to have one. A few times I almost got it. I started on a translation work, thinking that from the money I will get it…The work got cancelled when I got to page 9th. Then I planned to use my Xmas bonus, only to find out that though I am in a position that gets it, I spent a month less than required here. Then I saved up the money only to find some huge unpaid bills P. left here… then… My yearly evaluation went better than expected, thanks to two o f my bosses who, for some reason like me as a person and went to great length to get me an evaluation that goes with a bonus. It still not too much, only the 1/4th of the normal amount (I spent ¼ year here). When the evaluation discussion was over I was so relieved that not only I didn’t got the boot, but even got some raise and a bit of bonus. My friend told me to get some present for myself. First I was thinking of some special yarn, but however special that would be still yarn, something I already have a ton. The same went for clothing items. Even for shoes. Then… it hit me. I am getting the duvet. Sure enough Sunday I packed up Chris, we went to IKEA (hmm with a hindsight I do know now that Sundays and Ikea don’t go all that well together, but I will not let that bother me now), and BOUGHT the duvet.

It was packed up quite tightly, so it wouldn’t have to be a trouble to get it home on Public transportation (unless I buy the big plastic storage box for my yarns…, which I did.) Thankfully the duvet fitted in the box, still it wasn’t pleasant to get it home.) At home I opened it, shake it out, and fell in love even more than I already was. Changed the sheets, took out the gorgeous satin ribbon and embroidery decorated cover (which I had just for this occasion… abut for a year now.). I colored my hair, had a scented bath. Took out a pajama I never wore before (color-coordinated with the duvet-cover) perfumed myself, and went to sleep with my new love. The experience was everything I expected. And some more. It is warm, yet light. It is big. All natural.

The cover is crispy cotton; the filling is duck down and feather, but somehow the whole thing is soft. I even turned the heating down. If I keep this on, I will save the money I spent on the heating bill.

I can’t wait until the evening and get back to bed. I wish I could stay there until summer.

I've decided that my duvet is male. Now he only needs a name. Kim (knowing well my undying love for Timothy Dalton) suggested Timothy... I think that would be great. Any other idea?