In the end, the Leaf Lace Pullover won out as my next project, because Loop-D-Loop came back in at the library and I decided to knit the project before I have to return the book. I’m making the largest size in a smaller gauge (3.25 sts/inch), in chocolate brown Cascade Bollicine Victor (a nice, soft cabled merino/acrylic blend that was exceptionally cheap during the big WEBS sale), and I’m already done with the body and halfway up the sleeves (knitting both at once, flat). I love quick knits!

I added waist shaping and knit the whole body in one piece from the top down rather than grafting (messed up the leaf chart a bit by turning it upside down, though) and used a proper tubular bind-off at the bottom edge and tubular cast-on for the sleeves. I am knitting both sleeves the same, i.e. with leaves at the wrists and no lace ladder going up the side. From a store-bought lacy cardigan, I have come to the conclusion that when I’m wearing a sweater, I really don’t like having cold air blowing onto my upper arms.

The speed of this knit might also inspire me to finish my long-suffering Hourglass Pullover. I’m dying to have the finished sweater, really, I just don’t want to knit it, for some reason.

As Leigh pointed out in the comments, I didn’t mention Kalani’s Half Circle Cardigan in the list last time, because when I wrote it up I had neither the yarn nor the pattern in hand. Now I have both! A bag of delicious Shibui sock yarn in Mulberry–so beautiful!–and a genius customizable pattern that looks to be a lot of fun to knit. It may be next to be cast on.

I was honored to receive this “You Make My Day” award from Green Apples:

you make my day

“Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

It’s horribly hard to decide on 10 people to pass this on to–I read a ton of blogs through my Ravelry friends list, and every one of them is interesting and inspiring in its own way. So, in no particular order, a few of the knitting blogs that make my day on a regular basis:

1. the chemgrrl chronicles
2. All Buttoned Up
3. Elliphantom Knits
4. Knitting Kninja
5. Quelle Erqsome
6. Needle Exchange
7. Desi Knitter
8. A Mingled Yarn
9. Team Knit
10. Domesticat

Thanks for the good reads!

In other news, it’s snowy and cold but sunny around here. There are some trees in front of my apartment covered in little brown berries, and in the last few days, a big flock of dozens of fat, energetic blackbirds has decided to gorge themselves on these. I spent a lot of yesterday looking out the front window at blackbirds bickering and swooping back and forth from our roof to the trees, eating berries and crapping brown, seedy berry poop all over our front walk and the cars in the parking lot.

Even though it’s all cold and wintry out, I bought Rahul a Black and Decker soft serve machine at the thrift store as a surprise because he loves soft serve, and it was only $5, so even if it didn’t work, no big loss. It actually worked, but it turned out, rather predictably, to be large, sticky, complicated, and totally unnecessary. We made a small bowl of fancy mocha java soft serve (no mix-ins) and then spent about 15 minutes trying to scrape and lick ice cream off the disassembled parts of the soft serve machine, because about half of what we put into the top ended up sticking to the plunger and evil serrated screw mechanism instead of coming out of the dispenser. I think it would be a nice thing to have at a kid’s birthday party where you have tons of people eating ice cream, but it’s kind of ridiculous and wasteful if you just want a couple of scoops, and you get roughly the same effect by stirring the ice cream with a spoon for a minute or two.

I also helped him with a product survey for some marketing class he’s taking. I was supposed to write down all the words/phrases I associated with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and then draw lines to each one, with the number of lines representing how strongly I associated each phrase with the product.

“You only associate macaroni and cheese weakly with ‘CHEESY’?” Rahul said incredulously, looking at my finished diagram.

“Well, I drew three lines to ‘ORANGE,'” I explained. “It’s very orange. And goopy. But that’s not really the same thing as being cheesy.”

Anyway, I came away from it with a plan to make some real mac and cheese this week, with a real bechamel-based sauce, and the principal cheese flavor coming from a block of morel-and-leek Jack cheese. And I will add some of the veggie broth I made over the weekend from a big bag of saved-up vegetable peelings. I’ve been cooking a lot–made pretzels from scratch the other day, and a pot of onion soup with onions properly caramelized, slow-cooked for more than an hour in my prized Le Creuset Dutch oven. Yum.

While I’m on the subject of food, I saw Sweeney Todd recently and didn’t see what all the fuss was about. There was too much blood in that movie, the makeup was overdone, and the whole thing just seemed like one long, flat, depressing, gory note played over and over again. The exception, for me, was the seaside scene–wish there had been more tongue-in-cheek humor in that vein. And there should have been more close-ups of juicy, savory meat pies. (Perhaps the next thing I’ll make, after mac and cheese.)