Archive for March, 2008

Taking Stock

I had the camera out yesterday in order to take progress pics of the Jaywalkers … so when I found myself waiting around for an ounce of porcini mushrooms to reconstitute, I snapped a picture of my vegetable-stock-in-the-making:

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It’s not knitting … but it is (to my eyes) pretty as a picture.  The soaking mushrooms smelled nice too!  Actually, there’s something very similar in my cooking and knitting styles; I’m sure that’s true of many knitters.  I love reading a good cookbook but I don’t often follow the recipes as written.  Let me qualify that: when venturing into a new area I’m happy to let the expert be my guide but when rambling around in familiar places, I find recipes to be more inspiration than instruction.

And so it is with knitting.  I love the books that give the hows and whys and the encouragement to “make it your own”.  In knitting, it’s EZ and Barbara Walker and (newly) Cat Bordhi.  (With more to follow, I’m sure!)  In cooking, I learned most from “Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cookbook” and Nikki and David Goldbeck’s “American Wholefoods Cuisine” … with Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking” for the science and history (oh yeah!).  I didn’t link to the Rodale book because mine is even older than the vintage 1989 copies you can still find on the web, not sure if they’re really the same book.

One lesson I should know by now: for key reference books, save up and buy the hardcover version, if available, cuz the softcover one *will* fall apart from heavy use!  Hubby went out and bought me a hardcover version of the Goldbeck book as a birthday present one year because my original was in two pieces.   He refers to it as “the bible” because I do, ha ha!  (He only does obligatory cooking, not cooking for fun.)  And now it’s become apparent that my “A Treasury of  Knitting Stitches” (first one) is hurting after less than a year.  I don’t think there’s a hardcover, is there?

Here’s what went into the crockpot yesterday:

  •  a drizzle of olive oil on the bottom
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into 3-4 pieces each
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • 1 leek
  • the tops from a bunch of celery (I cut off the top 2″, leaves and all)
  • a handful of parsely leaves
  • bay leaf (1 lg. or two small)
  • the liquid strained after soaking 1 oz. porcini in 1 cup hot water for 15 minutes (the mushrooms went into dinner)
  • 3 tbsp. dry sherry (can use dry white wine or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp salt (omit if using soy sauce)
  • whole peppercorns (around 10)

All veggies cleaned as appropriate and coarsely chopped.  I put ’em in in the order listed, added 8 cups of water and set the crockpot to 8 hours on low.  At any time between 6-8 hours (whenever it’s convenient), strain the broth from the veggies.  Press with a wooden spoon to get as much as possible.  I store in 2-cup quantities in Mason jars (actually, saved jars from spaghetti sauce), which I cool in the fridge and then put in the freezer.  This was inspired by a stock recipe in the book “Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker” by Robin Robertson.

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Gusset Munch

When knitting all those gusset-decrease rounds on a pair of socks, it always feels like I’m slowly nibbling away at the extra stitches … now the Jaywalkers are past the noshing stage and ready for the home stretch down the foot!

But first a bit of attention to the Mosaic Baby Blanket … and thoughts of Spring, thanks to these nice Daffodil Days (American Cancer Society) flowers that hubby brought home the other day:

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In our previous house, he had an impressive daffodil display in the front yarn yard (typo of a true knitter) that had been built up with additions over the years.  I suspect these will be the beginning of a new one, ha ha!  We now have lots of trees so our yard isn’t the best for flowers in the summer … but we can enjoy the pretty stuff that comes out before the leaves do.  And we’ve learned that deer, rabbits and squirrels don’t eat narcissus (don’t ask about the experience years ago when hundreds of crocuses and tulips barely made it through the first year and were never seen again … it’s a touchy subject with hubby!).

Mosaic in Easter Colors

Here’s a picture of the Mosaic Baby Blanket, which is finally at the halfway point!

This is going to Botswana and the deadline for the next shipment is June 1, so I’m moving this project up to front and center for a while.  I now have no concern that the synthetic yarn will be warm, the blanket is big enough to drape over my legs now and it’s cozy.  I think the texturing of the slip-stitch pattern helps make it warmer?  This is prolly the largest “baby” blanket ever made, ha ha!  When I write it up, I’ll include instructions for a smaller size … which will knit up faster too!

It’s Settled

The Alpaca Cloud is now destined for Ice Queen, a beautiful smoke ring featured in a recent issue of Knitty.  I think I should go with a known pattern until I get a feel for the yarn.  I don’t have any more of this kind in my stash, but there’s a hank of Knit Picks Shimmer in the “Deep Woods” colorway that’s feeling neglected, lol!  Here’s a bit of attention, to help it feel wanted:

The Jaywalker “walk” went well … no frogging!  Time to get sock #2 caught up!

Walkin’ the ‘Walker

Well, I’m knitting the Jaywalkers top-down (as the original pattern calls for) because some people report having size issues … the less-flexible nature of the fabric means you need a more careful fit.  So, now that I have one leg finished I guess I oughtta put it onto waste yarn and try it on:

Thought I’d share the picture in case a rippety-rip has to happen … though I’m hoping that won’t be the case!  I’m enjoying the pattern so much: it and the yarn go together well and most of the time it’s straight knitting, but you get such fun effects.

I’m also working in the background on the Mosaic Baby Blanket and am about to hit the halfway point.  When I do, I’ll take a picture.  I will be spending more time on this project because I want to have it finished by June 1.

But … only 2 WIPs?  That can’t be!  So I’ve been playing with this:

It’s a ball of KnitPicks “Alpaca Cloud” (2-ply laceweight alpaca) which I had originally bought for last year’s Christmas project.  I was knitting lace scarves and this was going to be the one for my mom, but it proved to be too challenging for my abilities.  I sent away for some “Shadow” for mom, and that worked out well.  In the meantime … I have never made a lace scarf for myself!  Actually, the very first lace scarf project I ever did was the Drooping Elm Leaf pattern in a mohair blend. Since I had no idea how it would come out, I didn’t knit it with anyone in mind.  It came out spectacularly, if I do say so myself … so I gave it away, ha ha!  So: what pattern?  What size needles?  Puzzling, puzzling …

The Well-Dressed Foot

Before I could even mention it, hubby came down the stairs this morning with his new socks on and said, “Hey!  What do you think?”  And I ran to get my camera.  He didn’t have to do much work, just sit relatively still while reading the paper, so it worked out well.  It’s a blustery day, so I apologize for the flaky lighting … but here are the promised action photos:

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(With apologies to Crazy Aunt Purl, whose hilarious cat photos were inspiration …)

Edit March 17: I added the pattern to my Free Patterns page, enjoy!

Found it …

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The mystery of the missing sock has been solved!  I had just about given up when I finally spotted it in the “wine cellar” (read: in the utility room near the door to the garage).  It was camouflaged against the fauxriental rug (a wink at the quality of our wine “collection”). 
Mr. Kitty has been running off with soft knitted items since before I took up knitting.  He used to steal my sweaters out of the laundry basket and I finally had to give him a decoy, dedicating an old cheap sweater to the task.  (It’s acrylic but there’s a touch of mohair, enough to convince him it’s worthy of dragging around.)  It got kinda grody and I had tucked it away when we had visitors, but clearly it’s time to get the decoy back out!

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