Monday, November 26, 2007

The home stretch...

I finished Saigon just in time for my daughter to wear her to a party. They both looked lovely. Here is the final chart for "the original" version, but I will post one last chart at the end of this week, for those knitters who crave symmetry. I will also post my wrap-up, including final yarn-yardage use and project comments. I want to remind everyone that this is part of a series of posts, and you must review all the posts with the "Saigon" label to follow the process. Knit on!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thanksgiving Medley...

We have much to be thankful for, here at BadCat's home. Good food, good knitting, wonderful family and friends...what more could I ask for?

We are a frenzy of cooking, so I thought we would share more recipes. First we have sprouts, which will be roasted before serving. I modified this recipe and left out the bacon, to please my vegetarians:

Next we have the chestnut stuffing, which is almost this recipe: Some is in the turkey and some is in a pan and will be baked away from the bird, also to please my vegetarians!
Here is the red wine my brother sent over. The white is equally as good and in the fridge chilling. You can start drooling any time now...
Here is Hello Kitty, dissecting the turkey ventricle. I would like to point out that she is one of my vegetarians. She won't eat it, but in the name of science, she will make the most of it.
Here is the fourth chart for The Saigon Scarf, in case you have nothing to knit between dinner courses! There is one chart left to go after today, which I will post early next week, along with the alternate ending for those who selected symmetry. The final picture below the chart shows you the entire scarf, blocking, with an indication of where each chart begins. Please remember that this is one in a series of posts, and you need to review all the posts with the Saigon label to follow along! Meow...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm still cooking...

The timer is counting down, and the house is actually clean. We have enough chairs. We don't have enough plates. I found the table clothes. We are almost ready for that quality family time... Today I made cranberry relish with orange zest garnish. Pretty, eh? I cook like I knit. I might plan to follow a recipe, but almost always get side-tracked. In the case of my cranberry relish, I came close to following this:
The man made his pies, and they look delicious. The whole house smelled edible. He uses soft wheat and grinds just the amount of flour he needs for the crusts. Here we have another Kitchen Aide attachment we love. If we ground flour all the time, this might not be the right tool, but for the occasional fresh-ground flour, this is perfect. It doesn't take long and the taste is worth the extra effort. Because it is soft wheat, and the flour is fluffy from being freshly ground, you can get away with 100% whole wheat and still have a tender and flaky crust.
Here they are, tomorrow's dessert, cooling tonight. We will warm them up and serve them with fresh whipped cream. Tomorrow I will make stuffing, roast the turkey and an assortment of root vegetables, make gravy and prepare brussel sprouts. How does that sound? I'll try to post the next Saigon chart tomorrow before my guests arrive (along with the details of cooking escapades...)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Saigon Scarf Transition

This is the fifth in a series of posts. If you are new to the party, please take a few minutes to review all posts with the "Saigon" label.
The chart I am posting today is a transition chart from the current pattern to the next pattern. This chart is knit once, after you have completed as many repeats of chart two as you wanted. The pattern we are moving into is really interesting and fun to work. Everyone who has seen me knitting it likes it. That said, if you feel conservative you are welcome to continue knitting chart two until the scarf is a good length and wait for me to post a final chart for you. That will be when I am done and make a chart that reverses chart one. If you are more adventurous, follow me... This picture illustrates the section you will be knitting with today's chart. What you won't appreciate until blocking is the movement in the pattern. This is a good exploration of lace patterning, where the increases and decreases begin near each other and move away from each other, creating undulations in the fabric. The border of this scarf achieves scallops the same way. Enjoy! The next chart will be posted after Thanksgiving. More glamorous food photos to come!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The right tool for the job!

We are all food, all day long, chez BadCat. When the food part is done I get to clean, so I'll stretch the food out as long as possible. I love chestnut stuffing, but several years ago I almost cut my finger off making crosses in the chestnuts before roasting them. ER, stitches, Tetanus shot...the works. That put a damper on my Thanksgiving spirit. I haven't made the chestnut stuffing since that time...but wait! Look what we found at Chef Central! A handy Chestnutter, gadget of the month! Do you see those lovely chestnuts, already roasted and shelled? The Chestnutter cut the cross into the top of each nut without any fuss. The right tool for the job, eh? For years my husband has been making his great grandmother's pumpkin pie recipe, which requires cutting the pumpkin, cleaning it, steaming it, cutting off the rind, and straining it by pressing it through a sieve with a wooden spoon. Do you have any idea how long that took? Too we got this lovely strainer attachment for our Kitchen Aide. The right tool for the job!
Here it is, all set to go, with the cover off so you can appreciate the workings. This was my husbands suggested shot. He is an engineer. We put the cover back on because I am the home safety officer.
So fast and simple, no big deal! This was like an early holiday gift for the man! We can't believe it took us this long to buy one.
So this big pile of steamed pumpkin turned into this large bowl of creamy pumpkin puree in a jiffy. Now we cook it down very slowly, so it gets really thick, use the secret family recipe, make the crusts and bake the pies! Later this week I will show you how the engineer grinds wheat for flour, to make his special pie crusts. That involves more good tools!
So you shouldn't think I have forsaken Saigon, I promise the next chart and progress shots tomorrow. I will need an excuse to take a break from the dreaded cleaning...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Saigon Post Four

Here is the next Saigon Scarf chart, and it should keep you knitting for quite a few days. I did 12 repeats for mine. The next two charts, to be posted in the next two weeks, will be for the more adventurous. If you're feeling more conservative I will post alternate direction, but for those of you who are willing to give in to something different, join me as I morph from this chart to the next when I post again.
The long road of scarf is coming together. I had a wonderful evening with my daughter, swapping tunes on YouTube. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it. My daughter showed me a little Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton and I showed her some Avril Lavigne doing Bob Dylan and Counting Crows doing Joni Mitchell, and we did a little Avril Levigne's version of Bob Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door" with my daughter singing and me playing guitar, having a long discussion about protest songs and war, today and in 1973 when I was the same age as my daughter..I had a good momma moment. So back to knitting... Here is where you can see Chart 2 knitted, details below. Please be sure you review all the previous posts with "Saigon" as the label before you start this project, because we are several posts in. I insist. The next post will be up early next week, and might include more food and less knitting because I am cooking for Thanksgiving and that is my most favorite holiday of all.

The kitty says "knit on!" Meow.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Extreme Knitting Needles

As a distraction, I took a look through my knitting needles. I did this when I should have been furiously knitting. I recently ordered some really small gauge needles and when they arrived I decided to dig around and compare. This is what was handy and didn't have any knitting on we have:Single Points
Heartstrings US 00 (1.75), 000 (1.5), 000 (1.25)
Clover Bamboo and other needles procured in SE Asia:
US 0 and larger
Grandma Rose's old metal needles assorted 0s - 2s
Double Points
Susan Bates "sock set" (a very good investment): 5 each of
US 1 (2.25), 0 (2.0), 00 (1.75), 000 (1.5)
HiyaHiya stainless sets of 5
00 (1.75), 000 (1.5), 0000 (1.2), 5-0 (1), 6-0 (0.7)
HiyaHiya in same sizes as the double points
Knitpicks US 0 (2.0)
Addi Lace US 1 (2.5)

So who would ever use 6-0 circs, you ask? I have no clue. I just wanted to see what they looked like! The join might catch, so I will put a tiny bit of clear nail polish at the join and try some thread the next time I feel the need for micro-knitting. The "larger" sizes all have reasonable joins. I regularly knit on US 0s, so it is only a matter of time before I use those 6-0s! If you would enjoy an assortment of really small gauge needles, take a look at under needles and then "small and pointy." Everyone needs them. Meow.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I am one step ahead of myself...

So I will try not to trip! I had the pleasure of watching MicroCosmos last night. It is an extremely cool and up-close look at insects (and some other small creatures.) There is an amazingly sensual snail sequence that I still can't get over, and that is all I have to say about it for yourselves. Saigon wasn't quite as impressed by the bugs...but I have made some reasonable progress on her anyway, and because I had some unexpected time to myself this evening, I decided to get the first chart up. The close-up below shows where the first chart will take you. I am working with lace-weight yarn on US #2 needles and 8 Japanese seed beads, and I think this project will look best in this fine a gauge. Choose for yourselves!
Don't forget that all the pages of this pattern are in landscape view, so print them as such. Please read every post in the series and print all the pattern pages before you begin to knit. This is pattern page 2. If you click on the Saigon label at the end of this post, you will get the entire series of posts, to date. Use this first chart as a "swatch," to see if you like your gauge. Fool around with different needle sizes until you get the look you like before moving ahead.
I decide to spend my free time posting and knitting (and not blocking,) so these are the pictures you are getting for right now! The second chart will be up within a week. Knit on!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Let the game begin

I would like to start by reminding my dear readers that this is the second in a series of posts which will include the full directions for a lace scarf I am currently working on. I respectfully request you take a moment to read the previous posts for the full experience. Each post will build on the previous posts, so at the end you will have a cohesive pattern. If you jump in in the middle, just go to the "Saigon" label at the bottom of any related post to catch up.

And so, here is the first section (and some of the second.) It is pinned out and not wet-blocked, so the picture is just a general idea of what the final piece will look like. Excuse my pinning, but the front edge will actually be rounded (without the scallops.) The side edges have scallops created by the placement of the yarn-overs in relation to the compensatory decreases. There are small "flowers" running up the center, highlighted with beads. I don't think this pictures is that worthwhile, but it was the best I could do tonight, and I wanted to get things going. I will try to wet-block my progress and photograph it for the next post.
The following is page one of the Saigon Scarf pattern. All the pages in this pattern will print best in landscape mode. As usual, if you notice any errors or have a question, feel free to leave me a comment. Anyone wishing to knit along is welcome to join my low chat Yahoo group. The link is along the left edge of the blog.
Look for the first chart and more pictures by next weekend. Meow...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Early Holiday Gift

Over the next month, I will be posting charts for a new design. It will be either a scarf or stole, dictated by the weight yarn you choose to use. The design is asymmetrical but classic and includes 1 or 2 sizes of beads, and lace. It will be a mystery only in that I will post my knitting progress as I post the charts. You can choose to knit with me, and see the design develop as we go, or wait until I finish and decide if you like it! If you knit with me it will be a holiday gift, in time to give to someone you like enough to knit for.

In the spirit of holiday gift-giving, I ask that everyone with the resources, who knits this pattern, considers making a small donation to an organization I work with. The organization is World Wide Orphans (WWO) and a link to their website is here:
This link also gives you information about the organization:
If you let me know how much you donated in an email to
I will keep a running total of our giving on the blog. If you don’t have the resources to donate money right now, join us anyway and give how and when you can.

I have been to Viet Nam several times with WWO, and the flavor of the country is amazing. This new design tries to share the mood of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon.) The city is traditional and modern at the same time. I suggest golds, oranges, reds and purples. The yardage required will vary by the size you want and the gauge you get, but about 800 yards should do it in any gauge. If you need a very specific yardage and bead tally, wait until the full pattern is posted at the end of the month.

I will be using these materials:
The finished width will be dictated by the weight of yarn you choose, so check your gauge with the yarn you like to estimate the width of your final piece. At the widest point the piece is 53 stitches across. The first chart I post (which will actually be the third post in the series) will be a gauge swatch and also the first section of the scarf/stole. The finished length is up to the knitter. The beads are optional, but add to the design.

Here’s to a joyous upcoming holiday season for all of us!