Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Two days ago a large parcel arrived in the mail. Rachael, I can't thank you enough. The wool is gorgeous, and I do like me some corriedale! I've only used it once before and, if memory serves, this should be a lot of fun to spin, too. The green reminds me of the inside of a kiwi fruit(Translation: I like it! I like it!); the blue is one of my favorite shades. You gave me an excuse to wind up the black Lincoln--which I did on Monday evening, so now I have three empty bobbins to play with. The little skein of blue yarn is so soft! And so EVEN!
So, now that I have yummy fiber to play with, I will be busy enjoying the warmth from the woodstove and somehow managing to spin with the cat on my lap. She's been entranced by the way the yarn moves while I'm winding it up, but so far has kept her little paws to herself--I wish I could say she does that when I'm knitting, but I have little kitty claw marks on my hands and leg where she's jabbed me through my jeans while in the throes of a yarn induced kitty fit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Of Tam Lin, Kitties, and Other Stories

It's been rather a long time since I've been up to Pocket Meadow Farm for knit-night, so since... certain events are now over with, mom and I took ourselves off to Berkeley Springs to bask in the warmth of kitties, lots of yarn, and good company (and cookies!).
Terri brought homemade gingersnaps, the recipe for which she says is somewhere on the King Arthur Flour website; I only had one, but boy, was it good. I'll have to track down this recipe and make some for the household. She said there's also a recipe for gingerbread with bits of candied ginger and dried apricots somewhere, which also sounds like something I might attempt closer to the holidays. It's great: not only do I get to spend two hours surrounded by gorgeous yarn, friendly cats, and nice people, but I also find myself being told things that will further my obsession with baking.
Ellen has a new kitty. Some rotten jerk threw this poor little ball of fur out a moving vehicle, which resulted in injuries severe enough to require amputation. Ellen--you're on your way to becoming a Bodhisattva, I'm sure--scooped her up, took her to the vet, and, after the kitty was seen to, decided to keep her. We met the little kitty tonight. She's tiny, absolutely adorable, extremely affectionate, and manages to get along pretty well with one hind leg missing. I almost cried when I saw her; I'm so glad Ellen's keeping her. She'll have a good home there and be spoiled rotten by her new family and everyone who visits the shop.
So, having met kitties and eaten cookies, and knitted a whole eight rows on my sweater--a new one, not the Evil Ambition, which is languishing in the box with my stash--I decided I needed some sock yarn. I won't say I've completely mastered toe-up socks, but my progress has been decent since I started the Azure socks, so I figured I needed a couple skeins of yarn for my next sock project. Okay, so I still need to actually finish the second sock in the pair and photograph them, but I'm still allowed to think ahead.. right? I've already got two possible patterns in mind for the next pair, and now I've got yarn to knit them with.
The yarn in question is Plymouth Happy Feet. I ended up getting two skeins each of two different colorways, one of which reminds me of a scarlet macaw; the other is a subtly variegated red and purple mix. Mom's asked for socks in the macaw colorway, so when I find a good pattern for her, I'll be making her a pair of socks. The other is mine, Mine, MINE. Which means I'll have an excuse to look for a new, nifty toe-up pattern.
The sweater in question is about half finished. Since I'm mostly writing the pattern myself, there's a little tweaking and fiddling with numbers involved. The basic shape is based on a pullover I saw on another website, but the rest is mine. Before I started knitting it, I wasn't really familiar with the story of Tam Lin, which is really the driving force behind it.
Ravelry's Folklore and Fairy Tale group has seasonal knit-alongs in the sense that there's a loose timetable, which means that everyone participating is encouraged to finish their chosen projects by the end of the season. Summer's knit-along had a mermaid theme, so several people knit Laminaria shawls--another thing I need to finish even though summer is obviously over--and other things with a connection to mermaids or the ocean. Autumn's fairy tale was, by popular vote, Tam Lin; the group mom suggested certain projects, but people were pretty much free to choose whatever they liked, as long as it could incorporate some element of the story.
I chose to knit a sweater with an enormous hood, even though that isn't precisely a mantle, and since I had all this gray yarn lying around, I thought it would work for the misty elements of the story--mist does play a part in the Fairy Queen's activities, according to the story--and use dark green yarn for the edges of all the pieces and the button band. It doesn't sound so appealing described that way, but it actually works fairly well. The sweater has cables running down the back and each piece of the front; they're not green, but in theory, you could liken the cables to the way a climbing rose twines around a trellis, or in Tam Lin's case, an old well. I haven't gotten to the sleeves yet, or the hood, partly because I'm concerned about running out of yarn. I have about seven balls left, so theoretically that should be enough to do the sleeves, hood, and seaming, especially if I use the green yarn to do the button band and the ribbing around the edge of the hood. I hope! KnitPicks discontinued the colorway, so if I run out, I'm up zee creek unless I can find a substitute. Buttons won't be a problem, though; I saw some pewter celtic knot buttons at Hellmart last time I was in the craft department and thought they'd be just right for this.
Vincenzo's light bulb went out today. No, he didn't die, the light in his tank seems to have died and is in need of replacing. He's doing quite well, but he can't seem to decide whether he should hibernate or not because the temperature has been fluctuating so wildly here--think about 60 in the daytime, dropping to 40 or so as the sun starts to go down, and finally falling to about 25 at night. He seems relatively happy, though the expression on his face is one of what seems to be chronic disapproval. I'd probably look that way, too, if I got myself wedged between a plastic bowl and the wall of my aquarium, which is what happens when he tries to climb out of the tank. Fortunately, it's too high for him to climb, and since he can't use his hind legs, he just slides down and gets stuck, and then he looks even more annoyed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Cooking Addictions

For years and years PBS aired "Baking With Julia", which is how I learned how to make bagels, biscotti, and French baguettes. Now--shame on you for giving me another cooking show to watch, PBS!-- Julia has been succeeded by a Martha Steward production akin to "Everyday Cooking". In this case, it's "Everyday Baking". Gah... like I need more stuff to bake.
Today's show was all about baking with chocolate, and among the recipes featured was one for mint chocolate brownies. Brownies can be great on their own, but when there's a layer of little peppermint patties between layers of brownie batter, it's got to be heaven. There was also a recipe for chocolate ganache tart in an almond shortbread crust; this one seems pretty simple, especially considering how few ingredients are involved: sugar, almonds, flour, and butter for the crust, and chocolate and heavy cream for the filling.
I wonder if this will be our Thanksgiving dessert instead of the usual pumpkin pie... hmm...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


One last political post, and then I'm depoliticizing this thing and fumigating it to get all the political mites to go away, which means it'll be back to knitting, cooking, reading, and being reclusive--i.e. my version of normalcy.
I finally got around to getting the pictures from Leesburg developed, and here they are; Apologies in advance for their fuzziness.

Furthermore, let us be magnanimous in victory and not treat the vanquished foe less than honorably, because to do so diminishes us and infuriates them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Precident Elect

Two thoughts:

1. To Senator McCain: You fought hard and you pulled dirty tricks, sir, but you did your best, and for that I commend you.

2. To President Elect Obama: My hat’s off to you, sir. May the wind at your back bring you nothing but good, sound advice and keep your feet on the path of wisdom, compassion, and justice.

We can. And we did.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Addendum

And this is how I spent my Halloween. Ate way too much candy, had way too much fun. It's all for a good cause, though. ;)