Monday, December 3, 2007

Knit Kat is now Dragon Thimble

I am moving my knitting blog to Dragon Thimble to accomodate my other interests - sewing and embroidery. Please visit me at:http://dragonthimble.blogspot.com

Zaahir's Uniform Sweater Update

I am 40% done with Zaahir's sweater. Almost done with the body, then I have to do the sleeves and the finishing.

I LOVE THIS PATTERN!!! It is the perfect first sweater pattern as it involves No seaming. YAY! I got to work on it for two hours last night. I'll post a picture tomorrow.
I still have to buy him a sweater because the poor kid is freezing in his class waiting for me to finish, and I don't want him to get a yellow slip for wearing a non-uniform jacket. Needless to say, I haven't worked on any other projects! But I did buy some quilting supplies to make a treat for my coffee swap pal. Hope to complete that and get a package off this weekend before the crazy x-mas shipping starts. Got some cool goodies to pack in there already!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Weekly Coffee Talk

What is the ideal setting for enjoying the perfect cup of coffee? Who would be there - or would you be alone? Inside or out? Morning or night? With food or just the steaming cup of joe?

Sitting on a beach in the morning, with my husband, watching our kids play. We would be drinking black coffee and eating croissants. Yum!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Alhumdulillah (Thanks to God)

Where do I start?
I am thankful that I am Muslim because Islam changed my life.
I am thankful for my husband for his patience and understanding, generosity and honesty.
I am thankful for my amazing children because they remind me of what is really important.
I am thankful for my mother because she loves me even though I put her through the ringer many times over the years.
I am thankful for my best friend, Melissa because she always understands and has good advice.
I am thankful for my community - I never feel like I have to face difficult situations alone.
I am thankful for nature and beauty.
Aaaaaand.......I am thankful for yarn.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What a week!!!

This week we had Reading Day at my school, and I am in charge of the committee for the first time. The day includes fun activities like a comprehension question relay for the younger kids, and a scavenger hunt for the older kids. Plus everyone makes books and brings a secret clue to represent their favorite character.

It was a great success! Though of course I have a long list of what to do and what not to do next year. My team was great and the parent volunteers were amazing! Needless to say, I didn't do much knitting this week, but last night I made good progress on Zaahir's sweater. It's a funny pattern at first because I coudn't visualize how it was going to work. But I just followed the directions and it is starting to take shape. I hope to post some pics on Monday.

In other news, my students voted unanimously to knit preemie caps for their next project. I am so excited! I think that many of them will be able to make two or three and we can take a nice bundle to the Kaiser NICU in December. The pattern I have chosen is a two-needle ribbed hat with a pompom. For the bag they learned knit stitch, I-cord, 3-needle bind off, and how to make eyelets. For the beenie they will add purl stitch, pompoms, and seaming. Here is the pattern: http://cache.lionbrand.com/patterns/kja-preemie.html?noImages=

Happy Hippy Yippy Friday!
(Okay, a bit Ned Flanders, but I can't wait till it's the weekend!)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Student Projects, Plus another (GASP!) FO!!!

As I mentioned yesterday, my students are all making the drawstring bag from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and here are the first three!!! They each interpreted the pattern differ- ently. The first one turned into a teddy bear skirt; The second, (still in progress) is done with bulky yarn and the third became a hat, complete with round crocheted inset and pompoms. Pretty good for first time 12-year-old knitters!
And here is my most recent FO - a table runner/dresser scarf that I made two years ago but never finished. I found it last week in a box, and last night it took me all of 15 minutes to close the edges and press the seams!
I love the way these fabrics work together.







The blue and white fabric is the backing.

In other news, I finally received my Ravelry invite!!!!
Happy Friday!!!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

FO!!!


It's true!!! I present, a darling FO, the drawstring bag from Last Minute Knitted Gifts: I used Fibranatura in Garden Topiary and I casted on 60 stitches rather than the 90 called for in the pattern. The pattern is very simple, fast, and elegant, which is why my students are knitting it as their second project. I figured I had better finish mine before they did so I could teach them how to finish!!! Tomorrow - The drawstring bag as interpreted by my students - in various forms and stages.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Coffee and Cass contests

Hurray! I love contests and I love my coffee! After you are done reading this, check out Cass's 333rd post contest at http://shutupimcounting.blogspot.com/

The history of a caffeine addict.
I started drinking coffee in high school, probably around 16 years old when I couldn't stay awake for Geometry! It was about the caffeine at the time because I poured sugar and milk in.

But my appreciation for the aroma began long before; my paternal grandparents and my parents always started the day with strong coffee brewed in an espresso pot or press pot.

In college, I worked in cafes and at Peet's Coffee in Oakland, CA. Trips to Europe sealed the deal - now I am hooked. The first thing I do when I bring home a bag of Peet's is open it and take a good whiff - it smells like home. I have tried to "go off" coffee many times, but the longest I have lasted is 32 days.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Found: Sweater Pattern

After much searching and much negotiating with my son, I have found the perfect pattern for Zaahir's uniform sweater. My LYS is so cool - I walked in with my silly boys, anticipating flying needles and tangled skeins, but I told them what I was looking for, and they found it, brought me appropriate needles, and I was outta there in 10 minutes! The store is Full Thread Ahead in Los Altos, CA www.fullthreadahead.com/ .
So here's the pattern, I casted on last night and was able to do one row before the baby started howling!

But after I did a few more dishcloth rows...






And a few rows of Ahmad's sweater:


I tried to lighten up the picture, but my skills are limited :(
Somewhere in the dishcloth I dropped two stitches, so it is coming out skewed, though still lovely. And it is after all for washing dishes! I was trying to finish it before my sponge wore out, but, no dice.

Last night Zaahir and I made pumpkin muffins - yummy! I think I'll make it an October 31st tradition.
Then we opened four beautiful, organic "Mystery Squashes" while we tried to predict how they would look inside. Later I baked them and sneeked some pureed squash into the macaroni and cheese for Zaahir's lunch. Think he'll notice?







Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Wednesday!

Here in Muslim Land, we don't celebrate Halloween, but Wednesday morning is a good thing to celebrate - the week is half over, and last night's earthquake was a reminder that nothing is certain. Another plus - even though I was running late, I made real (Peet's) coffee :)

Last night I got to do a few rows on the Ahmad sweater. I am working out how to enlarge the pattern for Zaahir - hope it works. I love the striping of tweeds in Ahmad's sweater - wish I could do the same for Zaahir, but it has to be for his uniform. Maybe I'll sneek in a subtle light blue stripe among the endless rows of navy blue. I'm due for some pictures - will try to do those tonight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ahmad turns one, and a contest (or two).

Go to Megan's Blog for a fun contest: http://tangledupinknots.blogspot.com/ Mention you saw it here and we both get another chance!

I heard about it from Cass at http://shutupimcounting.blogspot.com/ who also blogged about Robin's contest. Go sign up and oggle her beautiful shawl! http://knittincoop.blogspot.com/2007/10/day-in-history.html

Ahmad is one today. I can't believe it! It has been an exciting and difficult year, but it feels like we are over a hurdle. As of a couple of days ago, he started connecting more and showing his personality. He likes to make jokes! I put on the hat pictured at the top of my blog, and he pulled it off and started laughing like crazy. Then he handed it back to me so we could repeat the joke about 10 more times. Sure do love those boys of mine!

Knitting update:
Almost Argyle is growing steadily but slowly.
I casted on last night for an Ahmad sweater; Zaahir's sweater is on hold while he decides whether he wants a pullover (I hope) or a cardigan "like the other kids". So it wasn't a total disaster that I made the hoodie too small. I hope he makes up his mind before the cold weather sets in!
The sweater for Ahmad is a pullover raglan from a Debbie Bliss book:


but I am sick of light blue baby clothes. I started with a green tweed, and am making stripes with blue and red tweeds at the bottom of the sweater and the sleeves: 3 rows green, 3 blue, 3 green, 2 red, 2 blue, 2 red, 2 blue 2 red, then back to green. We'll see how it turns out.

Maybe I will make Zaahir's from the same pattern just to make it easy on myself. But I'll add ribbing to the bottom like the one I had already started. I'll go surf around for an easy cardigan just in case. Happy knitting!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Knitting Withdrawl



Arghh!!! I didn't knit all weekend! Just cooking and cleaning for me...and 2 days later the house isn't even that clean, (is it ever?!). I clean the kitchen and my older son comes behind me and spills juice on the floor, spreads craft supplies all over the table, and dumps out his box of dominoes. I fold laundry, and leave the room for one minute only to return to a gleeful baby buried in clothes on the floor. Life is good - even when I don't have time to knit.

Somehow, I did have time to buy yarn! I stole away (ALONE) to get a blood test, and sneeked off to the yarn store on the way back. Two balls of lovely sock yarn will insha'Allah become fingerless gloves,




and one ball of olively greens for experimentation:


I also bought sets of wooden Brittany double-pointed needles - 0's and 5's. Nothing like addin' to tha stash to put me in a good mood!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If my head weren't attached....

I try, I really do. But sometimes, I think I am going to lose my mind - over little things like lost socks and because my son won't brush his teeth (No, really, it's been three days!). My dream is to throw away everything and start over. My husband knows this - he found me crying into the laundry basket this morning and comforted me by suggesting that we donate his books to a library. That's love in my house.

I think that if I had less stuff (except yarn of course), then I could concentrate better and have a more organized brain. I wish that I could apply my academic brain to housework - somehow it just doesn't transfer.

On a related note, the principal at our school gave upper graders a lecture yesterday about the importance of being on time and not wearing coats in class. I showed up late and don't want to take my coat off because the only blouse that didn't need ironing is slightly see through! I hate man-made fibers, but I might just have to give in and buy some polyester (Uhh, I can barely even say that word out loud!) for the days when I wake up 10 minutes before I am supposed to be at work.

Haiku of the day: Knitting, laundry, and getting it all done.

Crying over socks...
How do some women do it?
Try again today.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Almost Argyle is on its way. I love this green and blue yarn!


Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap! Pop on over to http://wintercoffeeswap.blogspot.com to sign up! Registration starts Wednesday, October 24th!

I sure love winter! One day, I would love to take a vacation to Norway or Alaska in the winter and be really cold! Or maybe, stay in that Ice Hotel in Canada. No time or money for a vacation this year, but a coffee swap is the next best thing!

What are your favorite kinds of coffee? Peet's French Roast and Italian Roast.


Do you prefer whole bean or ground coffee? Ground - no grinder.

This time of year, there are often Holiday Blends available, and many flavored coffees - do you drink flavored coffee? I make Arabic (Turkish) coffee flavored with cardomom every morning for my family. Do you enjoy special blends? Peet's Holiday blend is usually pretty good.

How do you take your coffee? Cream and Sugar? Straight up? Straight up and caffinated (otherwise, what's the point?!)

Do you prefer drinking from a nice thick mug, or a matched cup and saucer? Definitely a mug for American coffee. We drink Arabic coffee in tiny espresso cups.


What is your favorite part of Winter? The cold.

Do you celebrate a holiday in December, and if so, which holiday? I am Muslim, but it happens that one of our holidays falls in December this year.

Would you enjoy items related to the holiday, or would you prefer a Winter themed package? Winter themed would be great - I do love snowflakes.

Do you collect anything? Nature photographs - especially snowy ones.

Are there any holiday or winter-themed items (Snowmen, Angels, Snoflakes, Santas, etc) that you collect? I am not much for knick-knacks, but I love snowflakes and reindeer. (I guess it's the Norwegian ancestry)

Do you wear scarves? Mittens? Hats? Love mittens!

What is your favorite holiday or winter treat? In addition to coffee, I love anything chocolate!

Please share a favorite Winter or Holiday memory. One year my family had a reunion in Kansas City in my uncle's four-storey house. The week was filled with cookie baking, snowball fights, and talent shows - it was magical!

Do you Knit or Crochet? For how long? Knit - on and off for three years.

Do you like wooden, metal, or plastic needles\hooks? Wooden

Circular or straight? Circular or double-pointed.

What sort of projects do you enjoy making? Anything that isn't a scarf.

What are your favorite types of yarn to work with? Natural fibers.

Do you spin or dye? Not yet!

Do you do other crafts such as scrapbooking or needlepoint or anything else? I love to sew/quilt and embroider when I have time.

When is your birthday? August 3rd.

Do you have any children? Two boys, ages five and one. Oh, and a hermit crab.

What are your favorite colors? Greens and Blues - ocean colors

Do you have any allergies? No.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Alhumdulillah for little boys

I would like to take a moment to appreciate my hilarious, sweet, adorable, destructive sons. Yesterday, on a visit to my old job, Zaahir (the 5-year-old) reached his attention span limit (after exploring each fragile objet d'art in a friend's office) and literally pulled me down the hall by yanking on the front of the stroller. Ahmad (the baby) was cracking up, and we must have looked so funny as I called goodbye to my friends over my shoulder.

Today we got home and Zaahir immediately opened a gift from his best friend - a lego fire truck with about a million pieces that had to be assembled. I told him I would help him with it after the baby went to sleep. The kid with the attention span of a humming bird sat in the SAME PLACE for TWO HOURS and finished it by himself. I am in awe of my children and so blessed to be a mom. I never pictured myself as a mother of boys, but now I can't imagine my life any other way.

Knitting update:
My first sock is too big and might become a puppet.
Zaahir's sweater is too small and I have to start over.
I haven't even LOOKED at the bag I am supposed to knit for knitting club.
My solution to UFO's? Buy more yarn of course! I just bought yarn to make wash/dish cloths. I am going to try the "Almost Argyle" dishcloth on shutupimcounting.blogspot.com.

Knitting haiku of the day:

What's up with dishcloths?
Cheap yarn, trying new patterns
Okay, I get it.

Big Fish


Today I threw the kids in the car and drove up to SF and the Steinhart Aquarium. It had been so long since I had been to an aquarium, I was as excited as the boys! Ahmad went crazy for the penguins and Zaahir got to touch seastars, snails and crabs. Then we went on the carousel across the street.



Sometimes I wish I had the patience to homeschool. The boys and I could have so many adventures!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Family Day

Yesterday we continued our Eid celebration with a day at home - my husband bought the big skateboard he had promised Zaahir, plus an over-the-top water-squirting big wheel-type vehicle. Zaahir went bananas! He was even more excited about the blue big wheel than he was about the book I gave him! He spent most of today riding around our apartment complex squirting plants.

Last night Mohamad's cousin came over for dinner:

Eid Menu #2
Yesterdays meatballs in pea pod stew (from peas we picked this summer)
Roasted chicken with potatoes and eggplant
Rice with garbanzo beans
tomato cucumber salad
berry soup parfaits (this time made with cranberries and 2 kinds of blueberries)
cookies
tea
Arabic coffee
We Do Eat Well











Berry Parfaits






Apricot and Strawberry Butter Cookies

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Happy Eid

Yesterday we went to the Eid Fair in San Jose. Zaahir met up with his best friend (Ahmed) and they went off with my husband to enjoy the rides while Ahmed's mom and my mother-in-law and I had tea. What a beautiful day! So sunny and so clear from the rain the day before. On our way home we stopped to pick black figs from our favorite tree. Then we made dinner:

Eid Menu #1

Okra stew
Meatballs
Rice
Fruit
Berry Soup with whipped cream

Simple and Yummy!

After tea we snacked on figs and chestnuts.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Long time no knit!

Eid mubarak to all the Muslims knitters! It's been awhile, but I am back! After not having reached even one of my summer knitting goals, I was a little down in the dumps. Then I started a knitting group at the school where I work, and that did the trick. Currently on the needles: The drawstring bag from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (which all the girls in the school group are making), a uniform sweater for Zaahir, and a sweater for Ahmad that will have to be for some other baby because he's growing so fast, and my first attempt at a sock, which is big enough to fit my husband - too bad it is hot pink! I'm hoping I can felt it (and it's future spouse) into slippers. I am also trying to finish that grey scarf shown in my first post, but I took out the pink so that I can give it to my husband for Eid. Yes, I am trying to finish it tonight!

On a sweet note - I baked (so far) three kinds of cookies for Eid - tiny chocolate chip (Zaahir's favorite), thumb print butter cookies with apricot jam, and butter cookies rolled in almonds and cinnamon and sugar. Krumkake is next in the wee hours of the night when the question will be, "To dip or not to dip in chocolate?!" I also made some kickin' fruit soup - all berries - which will be layered with cream parfait style tomorrow. I am making the traditional Palestinian rice and chicken for dinner tomorrow, so I had to represent the Norskies for dessert :)

Enjoying the rain as I knit...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Finally, I am living in the 21st century after years of avoiding it!
On this blog I hope to muse about knitting and sewing and find my creative muse.
As soon as I can get my hands on one of those new-fangled digital cameras, I'll include pics of creative work, past and present. Looking forward to being part of the online community of knitters whose blogs I have been admiring for months.

I am transfering all previous posts from another blog attempt because I couldn't figure out how to upload images using the other site!!! Here goes!

May 30th, 2007
The following is a list of my knitting goals for summer 2007, originally inspired by a recent contest posted on skeinsherway.com (http://www.skeinsherway.com/2007/05/pre-summer-contest.html):
  • One cotton sweater for my baby and
  • one for my stepson (who will only wear jackets that have zippers and hoods - even in the summer! )
  • One tunic - I am eying the Debbie Bliss "family tunic"
  • Finish my knitted flower necklace
  • I am also recently obsessed with unraveling sweaters from Goodwill (in order to save money and the planet), so I'll see what kinds of creative experiments surface there. The goal is to find and transform at least two sweaters.
  • I am sewing cool patches on a second hand cashmere sweater that has holes in the elbows. I'd like to finish that up too.
  • Finally, I am gathering cheap yarn to use for a knitting club that I will start in the fall at the middle school where I teach. If anyone wants to get rid of old yarn, send it my way - it will go for a good cause: teenagers will learn how to knit and will send their hats and scarves to Afghanistan.
  • One more thing - I want to find my copy of Poetry in Stitches - can't remember who I lent it to!!!
June 4th, 2007
Well today I am knitting a scarf that I work on when I need something easy and mindless to do. It is an all grey basketweave pattern.I added a small rectangle of pink just to mix it up a bit, and to try incorporating color.



I twisted the yarn, but still came up with small holes. So I am surfing in search of good intarsia instructions with pics.

I found a beautiful sweater at goodwill that is too small but the yarn is in good condition and is a wool/mohair mix. It is also a good neutral color, so if I want to dye it later, I can.


At first I thought it could be a sweater for baby Ahmad, but it is a little fuzzy and I don't want him to eat it! So maybe it will transform into a shawl. I am excited about the deconstruction process but want to take a picture of the sweater before I take it apart.

Tomorrow is my preschooler's graduation - he is going to big kid school next year! Maybe that's why I can't sleep:)



June 5th, 2007
Today my five year old graduated from preschool. I have always Pooh-pooed the idea of graduation ceremonies before high school, but today I was bawling my eyes out with the best of them. The highlight of the program was when the kids sang their welcome song. The boys competed to see who could shout the song loudest!
Of course we all had to bring something to eat, and the moms of this group are pretty amazing cooks: homemade baklava, real falafel, seven different kinds of samosas, you get the idea. My dish was simple but people liked it :)
All ingredients were from Trader Joe's. Someday I'll blog about the adventure of going to Trader Joe's with two screaming boys!

Fake Lasagna
2 packages organic penne
1 15oz container ricotta cheese
2 jars marinara sauce
2 cups tomato, roasted red pepper soup
2 cups shredded mozzarella (which I now buy in a bag because one can only do so much with a babe on the hip)
Boil pasta until almost al dente (the package said boil for 11 minutes, I cooked it for 8 because it cooks more in the oven)
Heat sauce and soup together in a pan; put some sauce in the bottom of a large casserole (13"x9").
Toss hot pasta with a little good olive oil and add half of it to the casserole dish.
Mix a little sauce into the ricotta to make it more spreadable (I also added some salt, pepper, and ground cumin). Spread ricotta over pasta. Cover with mozzarella. Then more pasta, sauce, mozzarella.
Then, into a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Yum! Since I was going to a potluck, I covered it with foil and a towel after I took it out of the oven. Four hours later it was still warm and yummy.