January 28, 2009

Snowy Day

Posted in Fiber tagged , at 5:16 pm by bookwoman

We have ucky snow today.  It’s not enough to look nice…the grass is poking out from under the snow.  The temperature went up, and precipitation continued as rain, which means lots of slush now.  It’s just a mess.  But, it was enough for a snow day!  This is one of the high points of the new job.  I don’t have to make the call about whether or not to open (and I totally would have opened the library today).  The other high point is that I very often had to shovel the library property myself.  Now, I just wait for someone to call me and tell me to go back to bed.  This is when I love a 5AM phone call.

So, I got to stay home. Unfortunately, Geek Boy was teaching today, so he couldn’t work from home.  So, I treated today as a Sunday.  Laundry, soup and knitting.  (And getting sucked into a Top Chef marathon…I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

I finished the blanket for The Nameless One (who does now have a name, although it apparently took two tries…my sister-in-law sent out a message welcoming Baby A, and ten minutes later sent another e-mail saying it didn’t stick, so welcome Baby B).  We didn’t get out to see them this past weekend, so I got some extra time.  Which means I did do the last two blocks, although some of the last few blocks were a little smaller than they were supposed to be.  Today I did the border and wove in the ends.  It still needs to be washed and lightly blocked, but I’m happy with the results.

finalblocks

Details:

Pattern: Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason-Dixon Knitting.  This is the first entry in the “try and knit from my books” non-resolution.

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, because I love wool, but would never give a new mom something that can’t be maching washed.  Purchased at Slip Knot with the help of a lovely quilter.

Needles: Size 7 Chia Goo…I <heart> Chia Goo needles.  I started getting them over the summer when I needed some sock needles.  Cathy, at Finely a Knitting Party, carries them.  I can see myself slowly converting all of my needles to Chia Goos.

Modifications: None, really.  I made some of the blocks smaller than called for just because of the boredom factor.  This why I generally don’t make blankets at all anymore.

I’m hoping to deliver the blanket (with some books, of course) soon. 

Now, it’s back to the Amelia.

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January 22, 2009

Bad Aunt Bookwoman

Posted in Fiber tagged , at 10:12 pm by bookwoman

Things have been a little crazy.  Just busy crazy.  And all good.

Big news is that I’m an aunt again.  We don’t know her name yet.  So, she shall henceforth be The Nameless One.  (My sister-in-law left Geek Boy a message earlier today, but between her fatigue and Geek Boy’s bad hearing, he couldn’t make out the name.)  Her blanket is almost done.  But, to be honest, I’m tired.  It’s been a lot of garter stitch.

Here’s where the blanket is now

bad-aunt

It measures 26″x29″ right now.  There are two more blocks to do, plus the edging. 

So here’s my dilemma.  The nieces and nephew live a ways away, and we don’t see them very often.  If we get a chance to go up this weekend, it may be a while before we see them again.  So, I’d like to get this done “toot sweet.”  Which, to my garter stitch addled brain, means skipping the last two blocks and getting on with the border.

Does this make me a bad aunt?

January 11, 2009

Sunday Soup

Posted in Food tagged , , at 7:51 pm by bookwoman

Back in September, Geek Boy and I took a trip to Hershey, PA, to see Bob Newhart perform live.  It was an absolutely wonderful show, and we were some of the youngest people in the audience, and we’re not that young.

On the drive out, we stopped for lunch at Bube’s Brewery.  We had been there years ago before they were brewing.  Another time we stopped on our way home from another trip, only to find that they were closed that day.  So, after double checking the website to make sure they’d be open, we made a little side trip on our way to Hershey.  It was miserable and rainy that day, the last pieces of a tropical storm was passing  through town.  Bube’s had a baked tomato soup on the menu.  And it was wonderful.

So, I’ve been in the mood for a good tomoato soup lately and really wanted something like that.  Lucky for me, the New England Soup Facotry has a wonderful roasted tomato and rice soup.  The tomatoes roast in the oven for about an hour, with just  a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  I made brown rice to stir in, thinking it would be a little heartier, which is good, since soups are my lunch each day.  Unfortunately, I cooked the rice in a pot that was too small for the amount I cooked, so it stayed kinda sticky.  But a few minutes in the microwave and it was good to go.  The recipe also calls for cheddar cheese to melt over top, but Geek Boy went for some parmesan grated over, and I think that worked really well.  (Raya, I’ll get a container to you tomorrow.)

My new recipe for the week was pretty good.  I made eggplant roll-ups from one of Rachel Ray’s cookbooks.  They turned out pretty well.  Only, I substituted prosciutto for hot ham.  It made them a little more sweet, than peppery and spicy. 

This week, I think it’s going to be another Rachel Ray.  Yes, I admit it.  Rachel Ray is one of my guilty pleasures.  She’s totally overexposed and way too perky, but a lot of her recipes are good and are in regular rotation around here.  So, tomorrow, pretzel chicken with dijon sauce.

January 8, 2009

The Mailman Is My Friend

Posted in Fermented Beverages, Fiber tagged , , at 10:13 pm by bookwoman

It’s been rainy and cold in miserable outside Philly these days.  On days like these, there can be one really bright spot: seeing a package sitting waiting on the steps.

The first package was the one from my falling down on the credit card incident order at Webs.  Item number one:

Tangled Up in Blue

Tangled Up in Blue

4 hanks of Louet Riverstone.  This is for the Aspen Top Down Sweater (Rav link).  This pattern is the reason I bought the book.  I’m thinking it will be #2 in my NaKniSweMoDo.

The other goodies from Webs:

You Say You Want  a Revolution

You Say You Want a Revolution

9 balls of Bollicine Revolution.  First of all, I am astounded by the shininess of the yarn in the picture.  It honestly doesn’t look like that in person.  It’s just a fabulous vibrant red.  This will go to the Simple Pullover from Cables Untangled.  Like I said, it’s a really simple pattern, but I think it would be quick and cute.  And with a crazy goal of 12 tops for the year, there’s something to be said for quick and cute.

Best of all, both sweaters will get me started on my other goal of knitting from my books.  I’ve used some of the cable patterns from the back of  Cables Untangled, but haven’t knit any of the patterns yet.

And, what better way to end the first day back to work after a two week break than to come home and find a package waiting on the steps.  What was in that package, you ask?  This quarter’s selections from the Beer of the Month Club.  I haven’t photographed them, I’ll do that later (I’m nice and cozy under the blanket on the couch).  For the last two Christmases my aunt and her husband have given Geek Boy and me a subscription to the Beer of the Month Club.  We get a box quarterly with three bottles each of four different beers.  We had a great time with it last year, and I discovered one of my new favorite beers, Black 47 from Nutfield.  It’s a nice, easy stout.  Lots of coffee flavor and great with pepperoni pizza.  I don’tremember what the breweries are in the most recent package, but one of them is described as a blend of porter and scotch ale.  That’ll be the first one I try.

January 4, 2009

Friday Feast and Sunday Soup

Posted in Food, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 4:51 pm by bookwoman

Geek Boy and I do not go out for New Years Eve.  I’ve never liked going out then, and rarely had a good time.  So, a while back, I decided that it would be much better if I settled in with a hoagie, some beer and a few movies.  When Geek Boy and I started dating, I told him that he was free to go out with his friends, but he opted to hang with me.  And now it’s a tradition.  Friends of ours hosted a big party this year and other friends had asked if we were going to the party because they really wanted to spend New Years Eve with us.  We explained our anti-social policy but invited them to come to a New Years dinner instead.

I forgot how much I loved having little dinner parties.  There were only five of us, but I had a blast putting the menu together.  This also gave me a good start for my food goals for 2009.  Like with my knitting, I’ve decided I want to go to my books more often.  So, here’s the prep.

A strange assortment of ingredients

A strange assortment of ingredients

I did one old standard, the Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess.  Nigella’s one of my favorites.  So, I went to Feast and found a fabulous vodka marinade that I used for a couple of tri-tip steaks (it’s in the Kitchen Feasts chapter).  If you are a meat eater and have Feast, or can get it at a library, try this marinade.  It’s phenomenal.

Geek Boy keeps me supplied with Cooking Light magazine, and the December issue had some great stuff in it, including, colonial corn pudding, brussels sprouts with chestnuts, and egg nog ice cream.  All keepers, although I would probably cut back on the amount of burbon in the ice cream.  It wasn’t bad, but I’d still cut back.  We like sweet potatoes, and I remembered an old CL recipe for white and sweets mixed.  I couldn’t remember which issue it was in, so I just went looking for something on line and came up with this, which is definitely a keeper.

It was a wonderful night.  Great food, better friends.  Just sitting around the table talking all night.  So, another new goal for 2009 is to do this more often.  Have friends over for a nice quiet dinner.  It’s cheaper than going out and you don’t have to feel guilty about taking a server’s table for too long.

In true weekend and back to work fashion, this morning was dedicated to making soup for the week.  A very yummy smelling mushroom barley soup from New England Soup Factory.  I made it this morning, but haven’t tried it yet.  It’ll probably be dinner. 

We’ve got the Eagles game recording on the DVR…we’ll wait a while before we start watching.  This way we can scan through the half-time crap.  So, in about half an hour we’ll get ourselves some dinner and settle in to watch the game.  I’m on block six of the blanket, and since it’s garter stitch, it’ll be a good game knittin’ project.

Go birds!

January 1, 2009

Resolved…

Posted in Fiber tagged , , , at 11:37 pm by bookwoman

I have never liked making new years resolutions.  Most of the time, I joke that the only resolution I ever kept was several years ago when I resolved not to make any more resolutions.  Plus, it always seemed to make more sense to make “new year” resolutions at my birthday, because that’s really my new year.  Either way, I don’t resolve on January 1st. 

However, I can be sucked into setting goals.  Somehow, I’ve been enticed by this one.

Apparently 2009 is the year I lose my mind.

Apparently 2009 is the year I lose my mind.

In fairness to myself, I did come up with my goals first, and then found NaKniSweMoDo (rav group).  My idea for 2009, knitting wise, was simple.  I have lots of knitting books, and continue to add to my library.  But, I sometimes get so distracted by neat designs I find on-line that I forget to check out my own pattern stash.  So, for 2009, I want to make a true effort to knit from the books I have.

To that end, I had a little credit card falling down incident.  (Does it count as falling on your credit card when it’s an on-line order?)  I got sucked into the Webs end of the year sale.  There are two sweaters I’ve been wanting to make:  Veronik Avery’s Aspen Top Down Sweater and the Women’s Simple Pullover from Melissa Leapman’s Cables Untangled.   I feel like the Simple Pullover is a cop-out, considering all of the gorgeous, complicated sweaters in that book.  But I just want something quick and cute.  So, thanks to the end of the year sale, I got a two sweaters worth of yarn for under $50.

Plus, I was already working on Amelia, which I love.  And even though it would have crossed the January 1st line, and completing projects counts for NaKniSweMoDo, I decided to put it aside and concentrate on something that has a deadline.

I learned to knit when I found out I was going to be an aunt, six years ago.  The first thing I ever made was a blanket for the Chickpea.  Then I made a lot of blankets.  Then I got tired of blankets.  After my first year of knitting, blankets were reserved for the siblings of those who had already received blankets.  Thus, our nephew, Geek Boy Jr., has one.  And since the Niece-to-Be-Named-in-January is due to make her debut any day now, I needed to get cracking on her blanket.  Originally she was expected in mid-January, but apparently the doctors were a bit off in their estimations, and my sister-in-law was having contractions on Christmas day.

I already had the yarn, bought before we heard if we were expecting a niece or nephew.  Cascade Superwash in blue, green, yellow and red.  A lovely quilter who happened to be at Slip Knot helped me choose the colors, since I have no sense of color design.  And I would say she did a great job, wouldn’t you?

What would color-impaired knitters do without kind quilters?

What would color-impaired knitters do without kind quilters?

I had another pattern in mind, but in keeping with my goal to knit from my books, I decided to try the Moderne Baby Blanket (rav link) from Mason-Dixon Knitting.  I wasn’t sure I’d like it, picking up sitches falling into the “too fiddly” category for me.  However, picking up stitches in garter stitch is so very simple.  This has been a great veg out project and has gone quite quickly.  I’ve been working on it for five days (and yesterday didn’t do any knitting on it at all) and I’m already on the sixth block.  Unfortunately, I just ran out of red.  So, there will be a return trip to Slip Knot this weekend.  Then I can finish this off, and get back to Amelia and all of my 2009 insanity.