Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I feel like such a ninny. Mom warned me about putting my mitts on top of the woodstove to warm them. She said they might get hurt. This is old news to some of my Ravelry buddies, but I actually succeeded in burning a hole in my nice, warm Noro Evangelines. How? By putting them on top of the woodstove to warm before I put them on my hands. Naturally, I managed to put them on the hottest part of the stovetop.
This leaves me with a dilemma: the burnt mitt has unsightly brown scorch marks on it, so do I somehow frog what remains of it and knit the yarn into something else, or do I toss it and knit another mitt--assuming I can dig up another ball of yarn in the right colorway, or do I toss them both and knit a new pair with some wonderful new yarn?
The options for the latter will likely not include Malabrigo. I've found that it pills quite badly after less than two months of wear; mom's mitts are in bad shape and either need to be plucked or shaved to rid them of all the little bits of fuzz. Otherwise, the list will probably be something like this:
1. Frog Tree Merino Worsted. This is iffy since it's a softly spun single that might well pill as badly as the Malabrigo. The upshot is that it's soft and probably won't itch.
2. Noro Kureyon. Doesn't pill horrendously, even after two years of heavy winter wear. It does, however, itch a little.
3. Patons Classic Wool. Not too itchy, not too soft, and probably won't pill as badly since it's plied.
4. KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Worsted. Also plied and neither too soft nor too itchy. It does pill, at least in the form of sweaters, but might be well suited to something like mitts.
5. Bartlett Yarns Fisherman 3-ply. This might be too itchy for mitts...

Wow. I have less in the way of worsted yarn than I thought I did. Lots of sock yarn, lots of lace yarn, but where did all my worsted go? O.o

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not From A Box!

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but there have been a number of things sidetracking me and disrupting my kitchen activity lately. Now that things have calmed down, I can proceed with kitchen activities relatively unimpeded; since the weather is gray and yucky, I have an extra excuse to putter in the kitchen and do things like bake cookies. In the meantime, though, dinner:

3 chicken breasts cut into bite-size-ish pieces
1 tbsp peanut oil (or other, if you have allergies)
3 oz Pinot Grigio or other white whine (yes, I know it's misspelled)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp coarse dijon mustard
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp flour
1/2 tsp spice blend (see below)
salt and pepper to taste
1 8 oz bag of shredded carrots and broccoli, or other shredded vegetables

Sautee the chicken over medium-high heat until it's cooked almost completely; season with salt and pepper. Whisk the wine, lemon juice, and mustard in a small bowl and use the liquid to deglaze the pan. Add flour, butter, and spices, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and add the vegetables, tossing to coat with the sauce. Put the lid back on the pan for about five minutes to let the vegetables steam.

Spice blend: Equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, chimayo pepper, garlic powder, nutmeg, and pimenton dulce. Mix the spices together and store them in a jar. This goes pretty well with just about everything from fish to soup.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This has been a bad year for me as far as finishing things. I've started projects with the best of intentions, the most important of which was to challenge myself to learn and master some new technique or other. I tried entrelac, proceeded from a simple entrelac scarf to entrelac-with-lace-that-will-remain-nameless, then after getting to about the sixth row of blocks, set it aside in favor of something else.
Then came the Sockdown challenge. First, it was yellow, then it was men's socks (like I know enough men who deserve handknit socks *snort*), and now it's mosaic knitting. The yellow challenge wasn't really a challenge as much as it was an experiment to see if I could knit in a color that wasn't my usual blue/green. Coinciding with the yellow sock, there was the sock with little lace cat footprints marching up the leg; one sock is finished, the other hasn't even begun. I tried twice to do the October Sockdown and failed completely with Nancy Bush's Gentlemen's Socks With Lozenge Pattern.
I keep saying it isn't the pattern designer's fault, and it's really not. I crave challenges and colors to test my knitty mettle; most challenges aren't insurmountable, but when the pattern offers only one option as far as size goes, I start to get annoyed, especially when my meagre math skills end up going completely out the window. Funny.. I can do enough algebra to tell you how far it is from the corner of the house to the other end of the solar system, and to figure out the rate of speed of a ballbearing falling from Point A to Point B, but I can't for the life of me adjust a sock pattern from a men's 11.5 to a men's 6.5. It sounds simple to subtract stitches, but is it really that easy?
Okay. So October Sockdown was a complete failure. November is obviously in progress, and so far I'm doing fairly well with the mosaic knitting. My only problem, however, is that the yarn I chose--of all the glorious indie-dyer yarn languishing in my basket--the two shades of brown KnitPicks Palette are utterly and completely blah! In ball form, there's enough contrast to show that yes, they really are two different hues. Knit together, though? It's too subtle and neither color pops enough to do the pattern justice.
I'm knitting more slowly than my fellows, some of whom are knitting amazing socks that look like little pieces of knitterly Op Art without the headache inducing stripes, so it's pretty likely I won't finish my November socks during the month of November.
Holiday knitting? There isn't much this year. Last year's knitted gifts ended up crammed in the backs of people's sock drawers and were never used or enjoyed. That takes a big chunk out of my to-do list, really, and means there's more yarn for me to be selfish about. Not that I don't still have good-sized to-do list: Mitts for two different people, a pair of socks for someone else, and a scarf for someone else. This all hinges, however, on whether or not I can find patterns appropriate to the people in question, yarn appropriate to said patterns, time to knit the objects, and enough swallows to dispatch as couriers.
This, naturally, begs the question "What... is the velocity of an unladen swallow?"