Archive for November, 2010

Casualties of mitten knitting

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

A dog ate my knitting needles. Well, 2.5 3.0mm dpns. Seriously.

No, it wasn’t Janie Sparkles. It was Dudley, the border collie mix that brings to my mother-in-law. I forget what an amazing girl we have, with no nervous chewing, no accidents, no major issues. Just occasionally barfy when she drinks too much, too fast. But couldn’t that describe many humans?

Not to worry, one of the consumed needles was already broken. All that remains are two whole ones and a stub of one. They were vintage (read: brittle) white plastic Susan Bates given to me from a friend’s mother-in-law’s stash (I’m seeing connections here.) So much for attaching the mitten caps onto the fingerless gloves I completed.

Alas, it was just the excuse I needed to indulge in an unbreakable replacement set from Signature. Besides, I like blue better.

(pictured is the pre-consumption breakage that occurred during the 9+ hour drive to Eugene on Wednesday – all my fault, not the dog’s)

Give thanks

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

In recent years, I’ve become quite the Thanksgiving Scrooge. It’s not my favorite holiday. It’s simply a meal whose traditional foods I do not enjoy (fowl, yams and pies).

Mind you, I have plenty of good memories of turkey and tofurkey of yore. And, I’m not one to shy away from the kitchen. I just don’t get into the anticipation and obsession of the ritual eats. I would love a social meal at any time during the year. I don’t need an national holiday to dictate one for me.

For the past few years, we’ve driven up to Eugene to C’s parents’ for the weekend. It’s always relaxing here and Janie loves her duty of protecting the yard from squirrels. I get a lot of knitting done and often have to make a dish. Good times all around.

Something clicked this year. Different. It was a great meal, even without a vegetarian turkey imposter. My gratin with mushrooms and celeriac sizzled. More importantly, I talked with everyone in my immediate family on the phone. I realize how much I really, really miss them. It would have been nice to share this meal with them. Even my brother that no one knows I have.

Not being a dessert guy, I gave one a whirl. I finally made the brown butter rice crispy treats from Smitten Kitchen. They weren’t as life-changing as their name would lead you to believe, but worth the attempt. I’d like to tweak them with more savory next time: sage perhaps?

I’m thankful for having a change of heart and looking forward to my next t-day. I’m thankful for my family, here and across the country.

But mostly, I’m thankful for butter.

On the road again

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Siskiyou pass from CA into OR to give thanks with the inlaws in Eugene. I miss my biological family – Seattle sister and western NY parents.

I miss snow, too.

Decisions, decisions: sock or sweater

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Carrie posted some lovely photos of her freshly washed socks drying. Having just washed 12 pair myself, and briefly visiting the tens, nay, twenties, (I don’t want to believe it’s over 100) of skeins of sock yarn lying in wait yesterday, I’m feeling the urge to produce more foot coverings. For my own feet, for my mind, for friends and loved ones.

But sock knitting takes time. So does the button band on the cardigan I’m knitting. As do the designs that have yet to be committed to paper. Not to mention the many sweaters I hope to wear that have yet to be wound. Then there are the gloves I promised MiHi when I first started knitting so many years ago. And the Knitspot jacket I’ve loved since Sock Summit and had the yarn since Rhinebeck 2009. Don’t forget the babies. And the woolly pounds more that take up space in this apartment.

There are at least six socks completed or near completed awaiting their mate. I think I’ll start with them first. Maybe I’ll even allow myself to start a simple mindless pair just so I can have a sock sack for all seasons. But first I should really tackle those gloves…

Shaken or stirred? Beer or wine? Ethiopian or pizza? Coffee or tea? Book or blog?

There are so many choices, none of which is the clear winner over the other.

Tea-ing up

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
Look what @yarnharlot made me do. Early tea time in San Francisco.

Stephanie has outed me as a teetotaler. Or at least as a tea drinker. (Beer and wine will remain my close friends.)

The tradition is new to me, adding a little structure to my work-at-home day, but I’m not stranger to the bags and leaves. Growing up as the son of a minister, I’ve survived hours upon hours of church coffee hours. With that comes experimenting with all forms of Styrofoam-cupped beverages. Not being a fan of sweet things, I wasn’t having any fruit juice or approximation thereof. Plus, it helped up my pretentious quotient to try to drink like a grown-up. Oh, the 70s and early 80s.

In recent years, tea was reserved for feeling under the weather. I’m a huge fan of Traditional Medicinals teas at the first sign of a sniffle. In lieu of tea, coffee and its barista-crafted forms have been my morning and special weekend go-to treats. I’ve often flirted with various forms of green tea, but never developed a habit. And like any good friend of lesbyterians and yogis, I can be trusted to have at least two herbals on hand at any given time.

Right now, I’m working through the many years of accumulated tea in the cupboard. It’s too unconsidered to call it a stash or a collection. What advice would you give a tea-newbie? Nothing fancy or fruity, just simple, traditional, tea-ish. I want to start with British, Scottish, Irish, Canadian, heck all of Europe. I’ll work my way more east in time… I’ve always wanted to experience a chanoyu ceremony, but that’s another blog post.

Let’s grab a cuppa. I steeping some Twinings Earl Grey as I type. It’s a place to start.