Exotic Tastes

Question: What do tomatoes, ginger, peanut butter, and chickpeas all have in common?

Answer: They are all in my stomach… at the same time–on purpose!–as part of this crazy soup I just made.


Oh yeah, and don’t forget about the curry powder, cayenne pepper, scallions, onions, or cilantro… Talk about sinus-clearing! This is the African Peanut Soup from the Weight Watcher’s New Complete Cookbook and it is quite tasty. The recipe made a lot but I fear the Fiasco won’t like it. He’s not much into Indian/Thai/curry-flavored foods and that’s almost exactly what this is. Woops. I like it, but I’m not sure I eat-for-dinner-for-the-rest-of-the-week-like it. But you can’t hate a recipe that pretty much goes “open some cans, chop some things, put them in a food processor, cook for 5 minutes in a pot”. Love ’em like that. The cookbook is actually fantastic. The recipes are tasty and varied (obviously) and it really helps to have all of the nutritional information broken down. Between tracking everything I ate and getting 1-2 hours plus of exercise every day, I lost four pounds this week! I’ve been very on-again-off-again with keeping track of food for the past several months but this last week’s results has convinced me to give “on” the old college try… again. Sigh.

In other news, look what arrived in the mail today?

All hail the giant knitting tome!

It’s a good thing I like textbooks because damn this thing is huge! (Yarn cake with my next sock design shown for scale.) There has been a lot of hype about this book, apparently it was hugely popular and out of print for a long time. Now the auther, June Hemmons Hiatt, has revamped the entire thing and I honestly can’t wait to read it. I’m fine with winging things if it’s for my own knitting, but now that I’m writing patterns for other people to follow I want to make sure that I’m Doing Things Correctly. I know, I know, “there are no knitting police”, but there are efficient and clever ways to do things and I want to take advantage of any resource that I can to make sure I’m familiar with them. I’m unfortunately not lucky enough to have a sweet old grandma who’s been knitting for decades and has all sorts of tips and tricks filed away. I must research to learn such things and this book seems like the ultimate primary source. A more in-depth review will follow just as soon as I can get beyond its pretty cover and giant size.

Oh yeah, I’ve also added my patterns to Craftsy! For those of you who are unfamiliar, Craftsy is an online community for all sorts of crafters: from sewing to knit/crocheting, jewelry-making to baking, home decor to paper cutting. Not only is there a pattern store but there are also a bunch of online classes you can take. I haven’t dug too deeply into it just yet but it looks really, really cool (although I do feel a little bit like I’m cheating on Ravelry!). Has anybody else used Craftsy? What do you like best about it?

And two more things in blogland I’d like to tell you about:
1) Julie Matthews over at Knitting At Large blogged about a huge “hurt book” sale going on at the Interweave website starting tomorrow. Sounds like a good opportunity to enhance the book stash!
2) and there is HANDSPUN BEAR FIBER over at Fleegle’s blog. C’mon, you can’t not click.



twit·ter·pat·ed   [twit-er-pey-tid]  


excited or overcome by romantic feelings; smitten.

Fun fact: the word “twitterpated” originated in 1942 from the movie Bambi. Who knew?
I’ve joined Twitter to promote my patterns and stay in the loop on the whole yarn and knitting front. I never ever thought I would, but as a vehicle for making quick connections and getting the word out about things, it makes sense. I’m still a bit confused by the whole hashtag thing but I’m sure I’ll get used to it with time. I am, however, completely lost as to who to follow and how to find people so if you have a Twitter account or know of some interesting people to follow, please let me know! You can click on the button to the right to follow me, if you’d like. 
I’ve also created a Facebook page for Shoelaceswitcher Designs which you can go ‘like’, if you’d like. 🙂  This blog is still going to be my main point-of-contact as far as social media goes since, let’s face it, I generally have more to say than can fit in a 140 character Tweet or a random Facebook status update. However, I am happy to reach people through whatever methods they prefer, so if Facebook or Twitter are you’re thing, I’m there!

I’m also on Pinterest, which is a pretty fun site if you haven’t checked it out yet. It’s basically a virtual pinboard, kind of like visual bookmarks, where you post photos that link to stuff you like and people can see and then repin and share as they like. I have a board for knitting, spinning, recipes, and wedding ideas. I’ve also added one specifically for my patterns, which when you click on the photos link back to Ravelry. Useful! Let me know if you’re on Pinterest, I’d love to follow you there.

In other news, I’m getting things set up to publish my next new pattern and I’m getting all jittery about it! I think because this is going to be my first paid pattern it’s making me a little nervous. The pattern testers loved it, which reassures me, but the perfectionist in me is still wringing her busy little hands. Stay tuned!

Oh, Fiasco

This evening my fiance well-and-truly confirmed the appropriateness of his nickname.

I’ll set the scene: I was having an awful day. I had a late start in the morning because I was stuck late at work the night before and I knew I wouldn’t be getting home until late tonight. I was stressing out about this weekend being Easter and how I had to disappoint my family because there was no way I could make it home to see them and still remain a reasonably sane person. I was thinking about the health insurance paperwork I have to fill out, the taxes I need to file, the publication I need to work on, the knitting designs I want to make, the permanent job I need to find, the overall lack of funds in our near future, the utility companies I need to call, and OH YEAH WE’RE MOVING IN TEN DAYS so there’s a ton of packing to be done which we haven’t even begun to think about. I had spent much of the 75 minute commute home in a nice, stress-relieving state of openly weeping (during which time I also got scolded  by a traffic cop who couldn’t understand how repeatedly waving her flashlight towards the road might make me think I was supposed to go there, instead of not go there) and I was really just looking forward to getting a nice big hug after what felt like an endless day.

I pulled up to find my dear Fiasco eagerly awaiting my arrival– shivering over the grill on our porch. He had accidentally locked himself out of our apartment while making dinner and was stuck outside for nearly an hour before I got home. The whole place smells like burning marshmallows because he had sweet potatoes roasting in the oven for so long they turned into blackened wedges of ick. I walked in, face still wet with tears, and then laughed my friggin’ ass off while he hopped around trying to get warm.

Too bad Calypso hasn’t learned to open sliding glass doors yet, right?

Then we went out for pizza and life felt just a little bit better. He may be crazy but he is also most certainly entertaining, and on days like this I am really grateful that he’s mine. 🙂

Thoroughly Amused

I swear on all that is good and woolly, I did not do this on purpose:

But my brand new sneakers completely and totally match my Bugga shawl in Blue Ringed Octopus and Box Jellyfish. I took the shoes out of the box when they arrived and went “Hmm, these look familiar….” and really, they are eerily similar. Apparently, I like what I like, and what I like is blue-green-aqua-teal of every shade and hue imaginable… on everything.

Now I really want to hurry up and finish that shawl before it gets too warm so I can wear both articles of clothing together and feel OH so stylish and put together… mwahahahaha!

Blue-green-aqua-teal is going to take over the world!

Getting All Knit-stalgic

There’s almost nothing I love more than converting unsuspecting innocents into diehard knitters. Nothing. For some, their attention is grabbed because they’re fascinated by the process. For others, they covet the results. For my dear friend Katy, it started with the yarn (Bugga!) and since I talked her into purchasing her first skein, she’s made lightning-fast leaps and bounds down the winding road to Diehard Knitterland. Here’s a bit of a map to how I see that road going:

The 12-Step Road to Addiction
Step 1A: Hmmm, this knitting thing sounds interesting. *internet research*
Step 1B: My, what pretty socks you have. I want! *covet*
Step 1C: Omg! Yarn is so pretty! I had no idea! *spends monies*
Step 2: I will try this. Yes. *scarf knitting commences*
Step 3: Ravelry is discovered. Countless hours are lost.
Step 4: What are these circular things? * hat knitting commences *
Step 5: This Yarn Harlot lady is hilarious!  *knitting blogland is discovered*
Step 6: Nobody told me size 1 DPNs were so small! *first sock knitting commences*
Step 7: What is The Knitters Book of Yarn? *learns everything about yarn and still wants to know more*
Step 8: Stitches East? Vogue Knitting Live? SOAR? Sock Camp? Rhinebeck? *wishful thinking about yarn-related events commences*
Step 9: Expresses love through creating knitted gifts.
Step 10: Expresses love through creating more knitters.
Step 11: So many things to say about knitting! *blogging commences*
Step 12: I could make something like that myself! *designing commences*

Katy is currently somewhere around Step 7. I couldn’t be more proud! In two years, she’ll be giving spinning a whorl (haha puns are fun) and eventually we’ll both be traveling  from festival to festival purchasing hand-dyed yarns, spindles, wheels, fiber, unwashed fleeces, and ultimately whole sheep. At least for myself, it’s only a matter of time.

I feel pretty confident about my two-year prediction, because here is my first sock, finished in January 2010:

Knitpicks Stroll

Ill-fitting, loosely knit, and awkwardly modeled, yet I can’t help but be proud of them and I even still wear them from time to time. Now, two years later, I’m around step 11 & 12 of my personal road to addiction and branching out into the brand new world of spinning. It’s so fun to learn a whole new jargon, new ins-and-outs, make new mistakes, and discover new tricks. I just wish, as always, that I had more time.

Whereabouts are you in your road to Diehard Knitterland?

This Is How I Roll

If you know me well, then you probably know at least these three things about me:

  1. I like thinking about knitting
  2. I am prone to fits of weirdly productive procrastination
  3. I’m a big giant dork

This is my way of warning you about what you are about to see. I cannot be held accountable, it was bound to happen, this is just how I roll. I give you (wait for it)…

(you curious yet?)…

KNITTING DATA!!! Complete with tables and graphs. Microsoft Excel, how I love thee. Also, you’re welcome, world. These needed to exist.

Table 1. This table displays Shoelaceswitcher’s knitting projects broken down by project type and status as follows:  projects finished in 2011 or 2010 (FOs), works in progress started sometime in 2011 (Current WIPs), or works in progress started earlier than 2011 (Ancient WIPs). The most knitted project type was hats (total=23) with shawls and socks tied for a close second (total each=22). The total number of projects analyzed both on and off the needles was 108.

Figure 1. This figure displays the same information as Table 1 in bar chart form. It is clear that hats and shawls were the most numerous projects completed in 2010 while hats alone were most numerous in 2011, with socks a close second. It is interesting to note that the same number of projects were completed in both 2010 and 2011 in the mitts and items for tiny humans categories. An increasing trend in sock knitting is anticipated as there is the same number of pairs of socks currently on the needles (Current WIPs) as there were finished in 2010.

There you have it, folks, a grad-student-style knitting recap. Please note that I did stop myself before trying to total the amounts of yarn used for each of those projects in each year and before attempting any sort of statistical analysis. I’m not totally off my rocker, sheesh!


After endless weeks of data analysis, re-reading the literature, writing everything down, and revising the discussion sections my master’s thesis is finally done! It’s very anticlimactic, considering my advisor’s response was “Good work. Now you need to…” followed by a whole list of other stuff I have to get going on, but for today — today I’m done.

I didn’t knit a single stitch yesterday, not one. That’s just wrong. I can’t even say that I’m making up for it now since I’m in such a zombie-like state that thinking about knitting anything but the very plain X-mas Rocks socks I’m making hurts my poor, abused brain. I have all these ideas for holiday gifts that I really need to get going on, and the yarn is already wound up, but just the idea of finding the needles and swatching to figure out sizes and either following directions or making it up as I go is too much. I’m a little bit broken. Hopefully, I’ll feel better tomorrow, because guess what I’m doing tomorrow? NOTHING. Well, that’s not entirely true. I will probably pull together my resume and do a little job searching and clean up the war zone that’s developed around my desk and and and and… but whatever, I’m not going to do anything related to horseshoe crabs, statistics, GIS, or writing and nobody can make me! All I’m going to do is zone out with my tea, my knitting, and some Netflix, and probably go for a walk at some point because my body needs to do something other than sit in a chair pretty soon.

So far for gifts I’ve finished an earwarmer, a hat, and a shawl. I have a cowl, a pair of mitts, another shawl, and a pair of socks currently in progress. After I finish those I will still have one cowl, four hats, three bracelets, and another pair of mitts to make. I’ve scaled back quite a bit from last year, not every single person is going to get a knitted gift. But that’s ok. Hats are my favorite because if you make them with bulky yarn they go super fast and are so, so warm. Here are the bracelets I would like to make, I think they’d be great for using up mini-skeins or leftovers and featuring any nifty buttons you might have. What are you all planning for knitted gifts?

Randomly, my Fiasco decide that he wanted to make my cat a scratching post / cat tree type thing, so check out what I came home to:

I’m amazed at what he did with just some carpet remnants, rope, plywood, glue, screws, cardboard carpet tubes, and that stick thing he used to use for karate. I think the whole project cost around $25, meanwhile if you were to go buy something like this it would be priced upwards of $90. I love when he makes things. Every once in a while he will get the urge to make a quilt and he goes into this quilting frenzy and produces a beautiful gigantic work of fabric art in a week. If only knitting went that fast… although knitting goes a heck-of-a-lot faster when you actually do some, which I’m going to go do know, because you know why?

BECAUSE I’M DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

It’s All About the Numbers

I am slowly learning both in master’s thesis life and in knitting life that it’s all about the numbers. Today I learned that whatever the statistical model says, goes, regardless of what my logic and general knowledge says is probably closer to the truth. Though it probably is closer to the truth, we still can’t say it, because it does not agree with the model, and the model is objective and quantitative and all we have to hang our proverbial hats on. Sigh. Science, you are a cruel master.

As for knitting life, I’m finding I reach a threshold level of “oh no, I have too much yarn” and then need to destash a little to feel better about myself. I’m not sure what the magical number is that makes me feel like it’s too much, and apparently that number has been on the rise since my stash has steadily grown, but today I bit the bullet and destashed some lovely skeins that I just knew weren’t going to be knit anytime soon. And a few of them involved red, too, so I’m being extra practical! I listened to my own advice from the last post and decided enough was enough with the red-that-matches-nothing-else-I-wear colorways. 

Speaking of numbers, I added a knitmeter to the blog. How fun! 7,761 yards in one year sounds like a lot, but I bet there are people with knitmeters that have much higher readings. If I ever completely lose my mind I might try to figure out the average number of stitches I knit per yard in my projects so I can calculate the total number of stitches I’ve knit in the year. That would probably be mind-blowing! Also, if I ever feel like going on a guilt trip I could calculate the total yardage of yarn I’ve stashed in a year and compare it to the amount I’ve knit… on second thought, I’m pretty sure that would be a horrible idea.

Take home message: screw the numbers and just keep knitting! 🙂

Resistance Was Futile

I gave in to the siren song of shiny, pretty yarn:

Dear slouchy Codex hat,

Thank you for being the only slice of happiness in these past few hellish days of thesis writing. Your soft, drapey silk and BFL wool yarn is soothing to the touch and beautiful to the eye. The deep wine red color reminds me that the holiday season is fast approaching, but in a warm&fuzzy good way because it means that at some point in the near future, I will not be writing this thesis and I will also have a pretty hat.
Thank you for that hope!

Much love,

Sneak Peek

Woohoo, guess what I finished last night (well, early EARLY this morning)?

The first half of my first real design! 🙂 That’s fun to say. I love it, all that tinking was worth it. It’s a tiny bit tight on my forearm because I have rather large arms, but I was NOT about to frog the whole thing back and start over… again. I’m going to just go with ‘my arms will shrink soon’ and really, nobody wants a loose armwarmer anyway.

But seriously, how pretty is that ribbon? When I saw the color of the yarn in person (Zaftig, Fierce Snake) it made me think of ribbons and lace and corsets and Victorian things. Thus, this gauntlet/wristwarmer/whatever was born. It would be pretty simple to de-ribbon it, too, if you didn’t want the extra prettiness. More pics when I write it up and publish it.

Also, from now on whenever I start to feel bad about this whole yarn obsession thing, I’m going to remember this:

That’s my Fiasco, with his new video game, huddled under blankets hiding from the light of day so he can see the TV screen better. Despite the vast amounts of yarn I buy and how much I talk about knitting, I don’t think I’ve ever looked quite this silly.