Sunday, November 29, 2009

Orange walls

For the first time since finishing school, I was able to have a long weekend off for Thanksgiving! It's amazing how much can be accomplished with just one long weekend. First, we had some friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. There was very little to eat, so good thing the company was lovely.

Inside, from left to right:
-cranberry red-wine sauce/jam
-mashed potatoes with olive oil
-shittake mushroom gravy
-green beans with vinaigrette
-bread + mushroom stuffing
-pan-roasted brussels sprouts with pine nuts
-sweet potatoes with chipotle, and crumbly topping

Outside, clockwise from upper right:
-rolls (the only not-from-scratch item)
-roasted seitan with garlic and sesame oil
-quinoa, raisin, walnut, and "soyrizo" stuffing
-butternut squash lasagna (brought by guest)

Not shown:
-carrot + lentil soup
-roasted beet and goat cheese salad
-cheeses and crackers

Oh, also, desserts (left to right):

-pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from this Yumsugar recipe
-pear frangipane (hazelnut) tart
-butternut squash pie
-not in picture yet: cinnamon rolls by guest, ice cream

I am thankful that these foods taste even better as leftovers! Yay vegetarian thanksgiving. Yummy yum yum.

The post-party-cleaning led to one thing which led to another, and now we are in full re-decorating and organizing mode. The storage room in the basement, which has been a nagging, hideous thought in my mind for every day since moving in, is finally clean! There has been a lot of shuffling around of lamps, rugs, furniture, art, etc, and a lot of forhead-smacking--because how could we have lived for so long with these things in the wrong place? One of the bigger changes is this:

A couch in the dining room! Before we had the table the other way, with a fairly boring and formal setup (see pic above), with regular chairs and pics of different varieties of pear up on the walls. And it was well and good, but not somewhere I wanted to spend a lot of time. This couch was in the living room, and it was just not fitting in, and besides it was too crowded in there. The initial plan was to get rid of the couch, so we pushed it closer to the door, towards the dining room. Then, the light bulb went off above my head, and after a shuffling about, now there's a comfy couch to lounge and sip one's coffee (and knit! hee!) while looking out the window.

Up on the walls are a few cityscapes (or townscapes, which are my fave) from a prior Etsy binge. From left to right, they are by (links to Etsy item): beverlybrown, copperinc, artquirk, carambatack, janicej. Revamping this room, and the rest of the house in little ways, has made a huge difference. Now I wanna quit the job and stay at home all day. Well, for a couple more days anyway...

(Btw, the walls are orange, which most people feel compelled to point out when they visit. Yes, indeed, the walls are orange.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

FO: Greenbell hobo gloves modeled by my martian doppelganger. Today I skipped the workout and still it was dark by the time I got home after work, so the FO pics had to be taken under the harsh hallway lights.  Hence the greenish cast over all.

The (free! whee!) pattern is Bluebell, by Johanna Ziegler, which is super quick and easy. Quick and easy enough that I didn't mind frogging an entire glove and reknitting it when I ran out of yarn. Mods included decreasing the stockinette section on either end (not enough yarn, short fingers), and using an "afterthought" method for the thumbs rather than the cast-off-and-pick-up-stitches method. The thumb shaping in this pattern is really great and quite suitable to actually moving one's thumbs in anatomically normal fashion. The yarn is Queensland Collection Rustic Wool DK, leftover from another pair of green hobo gloves. (Not to be confused with these green hobo gloves, or these other green hobo gloves.)

I have now declared a moratorium on green hobo gloves.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Busy bee

Aaaaahhhh, internet! The modem died this past weekend. We did the usual thing and unplugged it for a while, unplugged everything, replugged everything back in, assuming all would be well. It's amazing how well this strategy works, because it was shocking when it did not. And not the second, third, or fourth time. Suddenly I kicked myself for throwing phone books out, because how is one supposed to find out anything without internet? Like the number to call when the internet is broken? Or where to go to buy a new one, or what their hours might be? The internet/phone company got bought by another one, and I'd gone paperless before then, so it was a long, long, round-a-bout extravaganza of automated voices before I got a Real Person. And this Real Person, who knows things, also had me unplug and replug things back in, but into a different outlet. Oof! So obvious! But ha--the little light was still angry red, not happy green. And the Real Person said "Don't try plugging it in anymore, because it's no longer working." Then she had me read the serial number from the bottom of the modem, put that into her system, and promptly told me that since it was activated on "approximately June 16, 2006," it was simply a very old modem. Thus its death did not deserve further investigation, and that either I could buy a new modem on my own, or wait for the sales people on the line. 3.5 years for a modem to be too old to live!? That makes me like 10 old/dead-modems old, and it is very depressing. The happy end result is that DH went out and got a new modem, and it is so shiny and fast! Whee!

So long story short, it's now too late to photograph the hobo gloves I finished. And suddenly it's super busy holiday time anyway. Yesterday, the knitting ladies and I got together to make holiday decorations for the cafe which has graciously allowed a bunch of knitters to, well, knit every week. We were all thrilled by not having to swatch, weave in ends, kitchener, worry about fit, worry about function, worry about cleaning, and generally not have to care about anything except how cute everything is in miniature knitting. Pics are coming soon, promise. Prepare to swoon and squeal!

Meanwhile, today was a huge shopping day, the horror of which was mitigated only by the fact that I was shopping for food, not clothes (or modem!). After a concerted effort to "eat down" the pantry/freezer, we were down to mere scraps. (The poor knitting ladies yesterday had to eat a quiche made of frozen store-bought pie crust, frozen spinach, an onion, an old apple, and the last couple eggs. It turned out pretty tasty though, I must say!) So today was Thanksgiving plus restocking-the-pantry day, and I managed to get an obscene volume of food. Then, since it would not fit in the fridge, plus in preparation for vegetarian thanksgiving, I started some cooking, which then devolved into a several-hour-long food preparation festival. So far I have
-roasted beets, then sliced/flavored them in preparation for beet salad, b/c beets must be sliced/flavored while warm!
-cooked down beet greens
-shredded and cooked down a HUGE amount of kale into a much smaller amount, which is still bigger than the avg human head
-made 1/2 gallon of roasted veggie stock
-made another quiche to clear out the fridge altogether (caramelized onion, parsnip, apple, and smoked gouda--must write this down, it was so yummy!)
-made cranberry-red-wine sauce (really, a jam, who are we kidding?)
-turned broccoli into florets
-washed, spun, and wrapped 3 different greens/herbs 
-and many other things.

The only regret of the day is not getting salsify, which I've never had, but have hilarious skits in my head about, in all the ways it would be funny if someone thought it was falsify.

Actual knitting content and pictures next time, promise.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FO: Market cardigan

This one was a long time in coming. It took a big push to do the seaming and steam-blocking, but it's finally done! My Double graciously modeled it--it's hard to keep the shawl collar looking so pristine, whilst trying to use the self-timer and such.

The pattern is Farmer's Market Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio, from the Fall 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. This is the first "big" pattern I've made from IK, and at least I feel my subscription has been justified. I've never made a tunic-length garment before, and it'll be the last. As much as I love the pockets (!), and the ribbed edge along them that turns to become the shawl collar (!!), this length is terrible for people my height. Too bad the whole tunic look is so popular these days (see every other pattern in that issue).

The yarn called for in the pattern in Lorna's Laces worsted, but since that wasn't available at the LYS, I got Cascade 220 Tweed. In the end, it was the yarn that slowed me down, not the ribbing and seaming. IMHO I did a pretty bang-up job with the ribbing and seaming, for once. But the yarn, and the fabric it made...I heart tweed fabric and thus think all tweed yarns will turn out just as loveable. Not so! Some tweed yarns unfortunately knit up to what looks like regular yarn, with confetti clown barf sprayed on top. The same thing happened with my purple tweed socks. Next time, must remember, only one color of nubbly bits allowed!

The only changes I made to the pattern were making the sleeves in the round rather than flat, and 4 st wider at the top. I also sewed in a coat-sized hook-and-eye at the waist, because there's nothing in the pattern about any fasteners, and closure is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

WIP: Greenbell gloves

Knitting is a good barometer for life. When I'm productive, creative, energetic, and cheerful, I knit lots of fun stuff. When I get in a rut, my knitting runs into the ground. For no good single reason, but for many smaller, irritating reasons, we are in rut season. The only good piece of news is that I found my size 7 dpns, and finished the knitting on my Market Cardi. "Only" the seaming remains. Well, another piece of good news is that the weather is unseasonably warm. Otherwise, things are all work, no play, and then I go to sleep only to be interrupted by more work, wake up, and repeat the whole thing over again. And all I've managed to knit in the past week is a hobo glove that will have to be frogged.


These are Bluebell gloves, but since they are all green, they are greenbell gloves. The yarn is leftover from another pair of green hobo gloves. All was well until the last bit, when the yarn ran out and I had to truncate the whole thing (not so bad since my fingers are short), but still there isn't enough for the thumb. (Half the stitches for the thumb are on the stitch holder.) Unfortunately it's the wrist (cast-on) end that's too long, so the whole thing has to be frogged to re-knit it just a bit shorter, to create enough leftover yarn for the thumb. Oh bother!

Thank goodness for knit night on Tuesdays. I missed so many weeks in a row due to work, that now I just leave work with crapola all over my desk as soon as the last patient is seen, knit and gab, and then go back to work for a few hours to finish all the paperwork. I do this, for all the reasons CanaryKnits listed for knit night, and more. Even when one is in a rut, it's so vicariously satisfying to see someone make miles of progress on an intricate fair isle shirt, or finish a dizzyingly-perfect geometric blanket! Also, the other knit night peeps suggested that maybe hobo gloves don't really need thumb bits at all, just a hole for the thumb. They are officially wise and good people!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The market cardi is sooo, soooo close to being done.

Look at that ginorm ribbed/cabled shawl collar! I persevered through the sleeves, even when they had to be knitted separately when the circular broke halfway. I just need to finish the 1" hem on the sleeves, and block and seam the sucker. But alas, alas, my size 7 double points are nowhere to be seen. In fact, my size 7 circs, which were with them, are also missing. So this Market Cardi will have to wait a little longer to be finished.

And, oh tragedy, my little Feather Duster shawl/scarf is also gone. Today at the usual knit night spot, I asked the cafe people and they hadn't seen any leftover knitting stuff. Arg! I remember ever-so-carefully putting away the scarf and putting it...somewhere very safe.

So I cast on for a pair of fingerless mitts at knit group, and realized when I got home that the needles I used are like 4 sizes too big. It's one of those days.