une tricoteuse nommée allison

a knitter named allison (who also does other stuff)

A blooming sense of peace April 13, 2010

Filed under: Creativity,Misc,Photos — A @ 3:53 pm

There’s a tree (I think an apple tree) next to an abandoned house near my office. I walk past it at least twice a day. Right now it has the loveliest pink and white blossoms I have ever seen.

Last Friday when I walked by I snapped off a piece of a branch with several blossoms, and set the branch on the dashboard of my car. As I drove home, I touched it, and the petals were so light that I could barely feel them. When I got home, I stuck it in some water, in a place where I could see it while sitting on the sofa. And for a while I just contemplated it.

I was filled with this overwhelming love for the world outside me, and amazement that something so mundane (how many billions of trees are there in the world?) could be made with such exquisite detail. The petals had the faintest pink tinge around the edges, with white centers. The leaves were a perfect yellowish green.

Faith in religion, in God, in a higher power – whatever you want to call the belief that some people have – has often been hard for me. But contemplating those blossoms, I felt reassured that there was some sort of power bigger than us humans.

Yes, I know there is a scientific reason for the blossoms (to attract bees, to continue pollination) and all the other features of the tree. But what sparked my faith was the very fact that I was capable of perceiving beauty – the fact that something called “beauty” exists, and that it can impact our souls. The fact that this world is so richly complicated reassures me.


Freshly-cut Flowers o’ Fabric April 6, 2010

Filed under: Creativity,Etsy,Misc,Sewing — A @ 2:05 pm
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Just finished some new hair accessories for young Miss Haleigh Ann. I worked with Haleigh’s mom, Hollye, when she was expecting Haleigh, so I feel like we go way back.

Since these are for a little girl, I attached more secure alligator clips instead of bobbie pins – to add a little more grip for fine baby hair.


Hair clippies for all! April 1, 2010

Filed under: Creativity,Etsy,Sewing — A @ 3:14 pm

I have long been enamored of my yo-yo maker. Recently I picked up a flower yo-yo maker as well. But instead of following the instructions precisely, I figured out a way to flip the little flowers around into what I think is a much cuter  rosette. Like so:

Now I’m going crazy affixing my fabric pinwheels and flowers to bobby pins and hair clips. A few examples:

I’m also working with fabulous local shop Street Scene (purveyor of vintage goodies and stylish fabulousness) as a consigning artist. You can visit my display there (last spotted near the cash register desk, although they do change up the decor in there from time to time so it could move about). I stopped by a week after my first consignment to find that the small flower hair pins had sold out, so I left a few more…but I think I’m going to need to make even more this weekend. I did leave them with a plentiful supply of the single-pinwheel hair pins, adorned with cute buttons.

This venture started as me just goofing around, making hair accessories for myself, and has turned into a great deal of fun. I’ve taken some custom orders from friends and colleagues, and am working with a friend who is interested in organizing a group order on behalf of some moms who want to deck out their wee girls for summer.

(Yes, little girls seem to enjoy wearing these, but I feel that they look equally lovely on 30 year olds.)

You can find my burgeoning hair clippie empire at www.southerngirlknits.etsy.com, or as mentioned you can visit Street Scene to check out an in-person display. I also love doing custom orders, so if you have ideas just let me know.

And now, my favorite pic – the multiple hair clippie extravaganza, as modeled by my awesome co-worker Jenny W.:


Pasta Carbonara Sans Ouefs (without eggs) February 16, 2009

Filed under: cooking,Creativity — A @ 10:03 am

Recipe time! (Apologies for mixing the French and Italian, but I had no idea what the Italian word for eggs is and couldn’t be arsed to look it up).

I used to love pasta carbonara, but over the past few years I’ve developed a problem with eggs. They make me violently ill. As a result, I quit eating my beloved carbonara because eggs are a key part of the sauce (raw eggs, to be precise). Even if you don’t have a problem with eggs in general, carbonara sauce can be tricky to make because the heat of the pasta and cream can rapidly cook the eggs on contact, turning the dish into something resembling spaghetti with scrambled eggs. This recipe is my adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s spaghetti carbonara from her book Feast. I’ve added peas (a favorite in my house) and omitted all eggs, faffing around a bit with the cream and cheese proportions to make up for it. It ends up much more like a carbonara than anything else I’ve tried, and is not at all as thick as an alfredo sauce. I made this for Valentine’s Day, and it was a big hit.

6-7 oz. (about half a box) angel hair pasta
1/2 cup frozen peas
6 oz. pancetta (substitute bacon if pancetta is not readily available)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
3/4 cup half and half or cream
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Drizzle olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Put salted pasta water on to boil. Once at a full boil, add pasta and peas. Cook according to pasta package directions, or until al dente.
Meanwhile…Slice pancetta in 1/4 inch cubes.

In a large saute pan (that will fit pasta once cooked), saute garlic and pancetta cubes with a drizzle of olive oil until pancetta is browned but not crunchy or dry.

Add white wine and simmer until it reduces to a light syrupy texture.
Reduce heat to low. Add cream and parmesan cheese. Mix well while constantly stirring to prevent scorching. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened and hot all the way through.

Drain pasta and peas and add to pan with sauce. Toss well to coat.
Add salt and pepper if desired.
Dust with additional parmesan cheese before serving.

EDIT – 1/5/10…A year later I have learned that this recipe will not really work if you try to use 2% milk instead of the cream or half & half. Be advised.


Actual Knitting Content – with Photos February 10, 2009

Filed under: Creativity,Knitting — A @ 9:33 am

So it has been a while since I added some actual knitting information. I am working on things, but had failed to take pictures of them and didn’t want to post the very exciting fact that I bound off the bottom of the Bluebell Boatneck sweater without photos. I still don’t have photos of that (will take some after the sleeves are done) but I do have a few pictures of recent knitting. These were all gifts.

Charade Socks – originally made for me, but they turned out a little tight. They were a perfect fit for my grandmother, however, who is enjoying them.

Manly Socks – Knit Picks Essential Tweed in black. Made for boyfriend, who really wanted dark, manly socks. I learned that knitting with black yarn on size 1 needles isn’t something you should attempt if you value your eyesight. But he likes them, so it worked out. I’ll try to get a better photo of them being modeled on feet, looking less deformed.

“Mind the Gap” scarf. Made for boyfriend for Christmas. He saw a scarf he liked at the mall, so I made a research trip to the Gap to study it. This is my interpretation. He must like it, as he wears it a lot. The yarn is Cascade 220 (navy) and Cascade 220 superwash (olive). I learned while doing this scarf that 220 superwash is slightly finer than regular 220. It made the scarf a bit wavy, but I was able to block it out.

1973 Afghan. I started this way back when I first learned to knit in 2006, so it’s just a simple 4×4 rib in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (Lemongrass colorway). The color reminded me very much of the 70s and early 80s, when my family lived in a house decorated in avocado green, harvest gold and shades of brown (with rust colored carpet – delightful!). 1973 is the year my parents got married, and they received many wedding gifts in this shade of green. Ever since I cast on for this afghan my mom had hinted that she would love to have it. So for Christmas I finished it up and gave it to her.


Amy Sedaris and her fabulous crafty gift January 22, 2009

Filed under: cooking,Creativity,Misc,Sewing — A @ 10:46 am

The inimitable Amy Sedaris appeared on the Chelsea Handler show, and brought with her a very special craft project. In other news, I love Amy’s dress and shoes.
Warning: This may not be safe for work if your work objects to the word “vagina” or cuddly felt crafts resembling vaginas.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Hulu – Chelsea Lately: Amy Sedaris“, posted with vodpod

Springtime Yarns Already? January 6, 2009

Filed under: Creativity,Knitting — A @ 3:07 pm

risataI just ordered a few things from KnitPicks, including some Risata cotton-blend sock yarn in Seedling, a nice spring green. I also picked up Imagination in Pixie Dust and Damsel. Now, I am aware that it is January 6, and that the weather oracles are predicting snow and sleet this evening. There is no earthly reason I should be thinking about knitting spring-green cotton anklets this time of year, especially not when I have two sweaters’ worth of frogged yarn to redo into more acceptable sweaters, four skeins of eggplant-colored Cascade 220 begging to be made into a cardigan, socks for my boyfriend on the needles, a mitten pattern in the works and half of a baby alpaca lace scarf done and plans to make the Rose Red beret for myself. We won’t even talk about my backlog of sock yarn and the skein of Malabrigo that needs to become the perfect winter hat with tassels and earflaps.  But my rationale is that it will take me so long to make all of those things (or some of them – who am I kidding? There is no way I will finish three sweaters before it gets warm, and there is also no way that I will continue knitting merino pullovers into summer), that by the time I’m done (or have given up) the Earth will be in full-on Springtime renewal. Then my cottony green anklets will be just perfect to wear with mary janes, possibly somewhere charming like the Farmer’s Market (I always envision scenarios for my knits). Until then, as you can tell, I have plenty to keep me busy.