December 29, 2008

Froggy Friday

Posted in Fiber tagged , , at 9:02 am by bookwoman

There are two days a year when I let myself sit on my tookus all day long, do absolutely nothing constructive, and feel zero guilt about it.  The first day is Black Friday.  For the past several years, Geek Boy and I have hosted my family for Thanksgiving dinner.  This event can range from 9 to 25 people (and once included a non-functioning oven).  So, the week before involves lots of cleaning and shopping and prepping and cooking.  It’s always a lovely day.  And then Friday comes and I plop my butt on the couch and don’t move the rest of the day.  A lot of knitting gets done on that day, and usually a fair amount of on-line Christmas shopping.

The second day is Boxing Day, a true holiday in our home, for largely the same reasons as Black Friday.  Before we became Uncle Geek Boy and Aunt Bookwoman, we used to host Geek Boy’s family for Christmas dinner.  A much smaller affair, but just as much work.  We don’t host any longer, because it’s easier to go to where the kids are than to drag the kids away from their new presents, but now we have a bit of a hike, at least an hour each way, and lots of prep work in the morning for whatever dishes I’m bringing to the dinner (this year, pineapple stuffing and roasted root vegetables with pear glaze a la Mollie Katzen).

However, I did do a few productive things last Friday  There was some general straightening up in the living room to make space for the new Wii.  And I spent some time playing in the kitchen with my newest toy, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, a Christmas gift to both of us from my folks.  I broke it out and made some bread.  In a role reversal, Geek Boy made the soup today.  Turkey soup from yesterday’s carcass…neither my mother-in-law nor my sister-in-law wanted it, so I claimed it.

I also got a fair bit of work done on my Amelia cardigan.  Although most of it got undone.

froggyfriday

There is a possibility that this yarn is cursed.  This is the fourth sweater I’ve started with this yarn.  The yarn is Cascade 220.  Purchased during the early days of Technicolor Sheep’s going out of business sale to make this (Rav link).  I think I got this for about $3 a hank.  And it is obviously meant to be used with the buttons I had purchased there long before.

The Devil made me buy them.

The requirements were pretty simple at first.  A cardigan that only needed three buttons.  Perfect pattern…the Tilted Duster from IK Fall 07.  I had most of it done, when I remembered that I hate seaming.  And this sweater was going to require a lot of seaming.  To the frog pond.

So, new requirement, something in the round.  I toyed with the idea of Cobblestone Pullover with a three button placket.  Someone had posted theirs on Ravelry and I figured I could figure it out.  But then, the February Lady Sweater hit the scene.  I had just finished my first February Baby sweater and loved the pattern, so great!  But for some reason, it just wasn’t looking right.  To the frog pond again.

Then, I decided to try the Cable Yoke Coat from Knit Picks.  I like cables, it looked like it was all done in the round.  Perfect, right? Wrong.  Once I got the pattern downloaded, there was lots of fiddly stuff with hems and hemmed buttonbands that were picked up, way more fiddliness than I wanted.  Frog pond for the third time.

So, now I’m trying Amelia.  And it seems to be going well.  The early issue is one I suffer from often.  I went through the pattern and circled all of my counts and measurements.  This is a practice I learned when making my Picolvolis, where I made the same mistake each time I made the top.  What I forgot to do, was highlight the point where you switch needles.  Once upon a time, I may have just shrugged and said, it’s only and inch and a half, I’ll just switch now.  But, I’m not that knitter anymore.  So, tink, tink, tink went all of Friday’s work on the Amelia.  I made up all of it and then some on Saturday, so the sweater is coming along nicely.  However, since the yarn is close to that reddish that is so hard to photograph, more pictures will have to wait until I have some more progress.

I do have to say…Cascade 220 is a workhorse of a yarn.  This yarn has been knit and frogged several times, wound and rewound, and it still looks fabulous.

December 22, 2008

A Good Day for Soup

Posted in Food tagged , at 11:05 pm by bookwoman

So, the weather is turing to actual winter weather in our little part of PA these days.  Yesterday, I was curled up on the couch under a blanket for most of the day.  Part way through the afternoon, Geek Boy came to me and asked if I would make soup today.  If I made a shopping list, he would make a trip to the produce store. 

Soup has been a regular thing at Chez Bookwoman and Geek Boy for about  a year.  I try to make a batch every weekend.  It’s then packed up in single serving containers and we have lunch for the week.  Since the school year started, I’ve been particularly ambitious, often making two soups each week for variety.  This is partly of necessity.  The school where I work does not have a cafeteria, so I have to bring my lunch each day.  There is an option to order from a local pizza shop, but I’m trying to be healthful and frugal.  So, homemade lunch it is.  (With a few Trader Joe’s noodle soup packets stored in my desk for those days when I forget.)

The receptionist at school is also a soup maker and eater.  And she is one of the sweetest people you would ever want to meet.  One day I mentioned I was eating canned soup (but it was Amy’s, so it was good).  The next morning she gave me a container of her homemade soup because she didn’t want me eating canned.  And as a Christmas gift, she gave me The Complete Book of 400 Soups.

So, with Geek Boy’s offer to go out in search of produce, I spent the day perusing the options.  We finally decided on Corn and Sweet Potato Soup.  Geek Boy is my sous chef, taking care of doing all of the chopping and dicing…his knife skills are far superior to mine.   This particular soup has two things going for it.  First, it has corn.  There’s something about corn in soup that is just extra warming to me.  (I made a corn chowder a few weeks back that is one of my top ten favorites.)  Second, it’s one of those soups where you puree half and then stir the pureed portion back into the pot.  So, you get a slightly thick, slightly chunky soup.

soup-blender

I have found that I really prefer my blender over the food processor for this job…especially since Geek Boy found the beehive blender at a yard sale this summer.  It’s just so cool to use. 

So, we’ve got a nice warm soup to get us through the week.  Bring on the winter weather!

 

 

 

December 21, 2008

Fresh Start

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:21 pm by bookwoman

So, a lot has changed since my last post over at bookwomansbyob, and I thought I’d try this again, but wanted a fresh start.  I’m doing some book blogging for work, so I dropped the books from the personal one.

The biggest fresh start I’ve had is work-related.  After almost 6 years as the director of a public library, I’ve gone back to being a school librarian.  The public library I was at was a small one, but there were enough administrative duties for me to realize I am not cut out to be an administrator.  I’m not good at managing people or playing the local politics that a position like that needs.  Now I’m thrilled to be back in a school setting.  I’m doing much more hands-on librarian work and that makes me very happy.

I’m still knitting like crazy, making soups almost every Sunday, and frequenting beer fests with my Geek Boy.  A few weeks back, we attended at fabulous beer fest at Cliveden with some friends.  We upgraded to VIP tickets for early entrance and an hour of imported European Christmas beers.  Most important thing learned: The French should stick to making wine because their beer is just terrible.

I’ve got two weeks off now…one of the other perks of moving to a school position.  One of my goals for this break is to actually get a new cardingan made.  I just printed out the Amelia pattern.  More on that tomorrow.  Tonight, it’s off to the World Cafe to see Jacqui Naylor.