The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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April, 2009

The History of Love

I’m chilling out, recovering from 31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins (PT and I toured Logan Square, hitting up both within walking distance of my apartment), the tiger’s loss (though I will say they were down 7 runs and didn’t give up, and am as happy as I can be with an 8-6 loss), and finishing The History of Love this afternoon. As far as I’m concerned this book more than made up for our Playing With the Grown-Ups debacle of last month. More than anything I’m excited about what the Knitting Book Club has to say about it. Having read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for our first month’s book, and Nicole and Jonathan being married and all, there are some obvious correlations that I’m anxious to talk about with other people who have read both books.

Extremely Loud aside, I loved The History of Love. I love how it unfolded, how the mystery was laid out before I even realized I was looking for a mystery. I loved Leo. I loved everything about him, everything he did, everything he said. I cared, which wouldn’t be a big point to make had I not just been coming off a book where I would rather have killed everyone than read another page about any character in it. I cared so much that I cried through the last 20 pages, and for 10 minutes after finishing it. And I’m sorry its over, and I’m sorry it is back at the library.

But enough! I’ve got to save some of this material for Monday.

The History of Love, and Lentil Soup

The History of Love, and Lentil Soup

I cooked up some lentil soup when I got home from work this afternoon and ate it with a piece of homemade bread, while reading. Then I cleaned my bathroom and read more. Cleaned the kitchen and read more. Sipped tea and read more.

I did not work on my sock though! And I still haven’t finished my quilt.

Fresh Mango Oat Bowl

Fresh Mango Oat Bowl

PT and I found mangoes 3 for $1 at this Hispanic grocery store over the weekend, so we chopped one up and threw it in our oats this morning. Delicious! Fresh mango is so versatile! Throw it in fish tacos=winner. Throw it in oats=winner. Throw it in a burrito=winner. Throw it on ice cream=winner! You just can’t lose.

Sauteed Veggie Sandwich with Rosemerry Potatoes

Sauteed Veggie Sandwich with Rosemary Potatoes

Last night for dinner PT and I made seriously amazing rosemary potatoes. We sauteed up some onions, peppers, and carrots and threw it on some homemade bread with pepper jack cheese and, in my case, fake bacon.

But seriously I can’t look at this food right now. Despite the walking we had to do between Baskin Robins, I’m feeling a little rough right now. Apple Pie Ala Mode was the champion ice cream flavor, though, if you were wondering.

Side Note: I’m kind of obsessed with my blog stats so I check them all the time. It is fun for me to see what weirdos search in order for my blog to come up. Examples: ‘Sandra Bullock with Dildo’, ‘Using Light Sabor as Dildo’, and ‘Dildo Quilt’. I blame Brijeet.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday at this time I was sitting outside on the porch with a glass of iced tea, a burrito, and A History of Love.

Outdoor Burrito!

Outdoor Burrito!

Today I’m inside huddled around a mug of hot tea, eating hot oatmeal and toast for lunch, and happy about the warmth from my laptop on my legs. Shesh.

I’m not discouraged, though. I know this is only temporary. And I’ve got work to do! I’ve got to finish patching up that quilt I was working on last week, and the sewing machine is not going to make it to the porch. I’ve got to blog! Catch up on some emailing! So really, I should be happy about 52 rainy degrees.

Mother’s Day is next weekend, and I’ve gotten a couple emails from students asking about Mother’s Day presents. For the most part they have been simple problems; questions about toys, about knitted flower patterns. Of course Lori has to throw me a curve ball with this shawl pattern. It is cute, isn’t it? But damn, it is a hard pattern to read and explain over email. I was getting so frustrated with it I pulled out some needles and tried it myself.

First 10 Rows

First 10 Rows

See those weird Xs?

8-St Cross Pattern

8-St Cross Pattern

I can see once you get the hang of it this being easy and moving along, but I can’t lie. It took me three tries to work it out. As I was looking at the pattern and working on the shawl I was thinking I would give it to my mom for Mother’s Day or her birthday (on May 31st), but I don’t like how it is looking with this yarn, so I’m just going to pull it out. I’m glad I tried it, though! Hopefully these pictures and my trials and errors help Lori get this project done.

I, on the other hand, am still in the same place I was Sunday with my socks! I plan on taking in a couple baseball games this afternoon, though, so I’ll be able to turn that heel.

In the mean time, back to the sewing machine.

Oh! And the Anniversary Party is Saturday! Are you coming?

First Summer Weekend!

Summer came to Chicago this weekend and everyone was out celebrating!

Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

PT and I started the celebration Friday by making these veggie burgers! They were the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten, much less made myself. I get the Self Magazine Recipe of the Week emails, and this was the first recipe I’ve ever tried. If this is any indication, I’ll be trying many more from now on!

PT Was Hungry!

PT Was Hungry!

PT loves meat and, as you can see, loved these burgers. He ate two, along with some more brussel sprouts and carrot fries! He was hungry. It was so warm we enjoyed our burgers on the porch, where we were pretty much all weekend.

A couple weeks ago we went to Letizia’s, sat outside, and ate delicious muffins and cups of tea. It cost like $9. We decided that we could replicate that same experience ourselves for a fraction of the price, so I went to Target, bought a huge muffin tin, and we have been making muffins for the weekends ever since. We call it Muffin Club.

Raspberry Muffins at Muffin Club

Raspberry Muffins at Muffin Club

This week’s muffin? Raspberry, and it was delicious. We take our cups and our muffins and we walk around the neighborhood. It is glorious, especially on a weekend like this one.

Toe Up Sock Number 2

Toe Up Sock Number 2

The nice weather and all the partying didn’t allow for much knitting time, however, so I didn’t get too far on my second sock.

My Porch

My Porch

I didn’t need socks, though! Sitting on the porch this weekend, reading and listening to the tigers win was lovely. I’m sad it is over! Most of my life is a weekend these days, so this is the first Sunday night in a long time I’m sad to see this one go.

We sent it out with a bang, though:

Shrimp Stir Fry over Brown Rice

Shrimp Stir Fry Over Brown Rice

PT is thinking about buying a condo, so while out looking around the neighborhood this afternoon we stumbled on a grocery store that had shrimp on sale for $3.99 a pound! So we got some and threw together this amazing shrimp stir fry with broccoli, green onion, green pepper, and carrots with teriyaki stir fry sauce and ginger, served over brown rice. It was out of control.

If the storms hold off tomorrow we will be running down to US Cellular for half price tickets! I’ll be bringing the sock. I want to get a couple pairs done before Sweater Club starts up again on May 28th! Even though I don’t plan on wearing socks again for a long time.

Last Sweater Club Thursday!

I ran inside for a few minutes on this beautiful day to share with you some very exciting Sweatshop updates!

First of all, last night was the last Thursday night Sweater Club! I can’t believe two months went by that fast. And neither could my students!

Brijeet's Sweater

Brijeet's Sweater

Brijeet is  so close to being done with the body of her sweater! She is just finishing up the collar. It is looking amazing, as you can see. All she has to do is pick up a few stitches for the sleeves and she will have a great sweater to wear over her stripped long sleeve tshirt (we’ve been planning it for a while!)

Lori's HUGE Sweater

Lori's HUGE Sweater

Lori picked a huge sweater; to the floor, hooded, cabled. She is still working on the first piece, but the thing is enormous! She is going to be working on it for a while still, and will probably be seeing cranberry in her sleep for as long as she lives, but that sweater is going to be beautiful when she is done!

Laura's Sweater

Laura's Sweater

Laura is knitting a really cute short sleeve tunic sweater and is so close to being finished! Just a couple more tiny pieces and then putting it all together! I can’t wait to see this when it is done, either.

More sweater updates to come! Sunday’s class has a couple more weeks left.

Speaking of sweater updates, I wore my sweater dress to class last night! I had PT snap some pictures.

Fits Like A Glove!

Fits Like A Glove!

I love the cowl neck on this! It is perfect. And I’m glad I didn’t get too anxious and stop the skirt length early. It is just long enough so I can bike in it!

Top

Top

You can see in this one that the sleeves are a little big, but I’m not going to nit pick. I love the yoke design, too! The little holes along the seems. Sigh. Love.

Finished Sock!

Finished Sock!

I also finished my first toe up sock yesterday, but really, it pails in comparison to the sweater dress. I might have peeked as a knitter, now that I’m thinking about it. Will I even knit anything as great as that sweater? I’m glazing at it now, hung over the back of my chair, and I really think it is all downhill from here.

Yesterday I worked on patching up my mom’s quilt, though someone made that a little difficult.

Pudge Rodriguez, Terror Kitty

Pudge Rodriguez, Terror Kitty

She sat right there anytime I set the quilt to sew. It was cute right up until I wanted to kill her. And still, cute enough for me to take a picture of her being bad. She also likes to pull the pins out and play with them, so there are pins all over the floor. I keep yelling at her, ‘you are going to kill yourself!’, but she doesn’t seem to care. I started yelling, ‘I’m going to step on one of those and kill you myself!’, but she doesn’t care about that, either.

Tonight PT and I are making mushroom burgers, carrot fries, and brussel sprouts for the games. That is baseball food, right? We had a trial brussel sprout run the other day with our special tuna helper.

PT's Sprouts and My Tuna Special

PT's Sprouts and My Tuna Special

They were so good! Baked in the oven and crispy and salty! I’ve only ever had them soaked in butter, so this was a nice change. I’m anxious for PT to get over here so we can get started on dinner!

There are also a couple new additions to the Allyson household…

More Babies!

More Babies!

I finally got a chance to get another shelf for more plants! This one is in the bedroom so we will see how much light it gets in there. I planted some basil, dill, parsley, and cilantro. They all call for direct sunlight so who knows? But I surely like playing. And I put the shelf up all by myself!

Ok I’ve got to get back outside before it turns cold again!

Quilt 911

While my sweater dress is drying/blocking…

Sweater Dress in Perfect Sweater Dress Form

Sweater Dress in Perfect Sweater Dress Form

And while dispensing sound advice:

Me: did Sarah call you last night?

MS: nope. I’m not that surprised. I’ve decided to embrace rejection and the absurdity of dating.

Me: Awww

MS: but I think I’m just going to send her a text message for myself really. Something like

Me: don’t do it!

MS: it’s ok if you’re not interested, I thought there might be something there. I’m just a fan of old-fashioned clarification.

Me: don’t do it!

MS: why not?

Me: let it go.

MS: you don’t think she’d reply to a text like that?

Me: hell no dude! I wouldn’t. Dude. Seriously. Don’t do it.

While working on my socks…

Turned the Heel!

Turned the Heel!

And while dreaming of the french toast PT and I made Sunday for dinner:

Cinamone French Toast with Raspberries and Hash Browns

Cinnamon French Toast with Raspberries and Hash Browns

I got to thinking that I needed to repair my quilt.

Kitty Quilt in Shambles

Kitty Quilt in Shambles

My mom made me this quilt when I was in middle school, and I still use it. I love it! You can see at the top where it has been repaired before, and you can see where it needs repairing again.

Sad Kitty

Sad Kitty

That kitty is nearly completely ripped off! So I called my mom and got a quick quilt patching lesson. I have never quilted before, but my mom is amazing and has made every blanket in my house. I counted five in total, including this one that my mom made for an exboyfriend:

The Second Quilt My Mom Ever Made

The Second Quilt My Mom Ever Made

Luckily she snagged it after they broke up. My parents have been married for 26 years, so this quilt is pretty old. Ironically, I’m going to patch this one up and send it over to PT’s house! I hope it isn’t cursed.

Sad Quilt

Sad Quilt

You can see exactly which fabrics didn’t age well. Entire sections of this enormous quilt are disinigrated and in need of some serious help.

It is kind of funny that my mom made this quilt for her exboyfriend, then gave it to me and I’m patching it up and, well, not exactly giving it to PT but lending it to him. Worse case senario, PT and I break up and I’m giving this quilt to the daughter I have with the next boy I date, so this is a win win.

(Side Note: Mama PT is coming to town and demanding that PT get a new blanket for his bed before she stays there. I can’t blame her! That thing is gross, but I demanded he buy sheets, so I already exasted all demanding in the bed clothes area. Instead of him buying some stupid store bought blanket I’ll hate he can just take this one, making Mama PT AND me happy. Well, hopefully.)

Wish me luck! I don’t think it is possible for me to make them any worse, so I’m not too worried about it.

I am worried, however, about MS.

MS: she set up a date for Sunday and then didn’t answer. I feel like I’m entitled to an explanation.

Me: no you aren’t! she blew you off and that happened and she is flakey and move on. it sucks, but it happens and you shouldn’t do anything about it. If she can just ignore your call she can ignore your text and probably will, and then you are right where you are now anyway

MS: sure but if she doesn’t reply to a well thought out text, then I really won’t want anything to do with her.

Me: she didn’t CALL YOU BACK after you had set up a date. Red flag! You shouldn’t want anything to do with her now.

MS: I shouldn’t but does it really matter? can you tell me if you think the text message itself is dumb? It seems like its exactly what I want to say

Me: That’s not the point! The point is YOU SHOULDN’T SEND IT

MS: I get your point, I just don’t know if I’m going to not text her.