Monday, December 31, 2007

Well, Christmas has come and gone and here we are, staring a new year in the face. K and S think there is nothing better to ask for than the weather report we have - a storm warning for 12 inches of snow to arrive the night before and morning of the first day back at school. I have mixed feelings about a foot of snow all at once, whenever it arrives.
Christmas was a nice time. Everyone pretty much got things that made them happy. I even managed to pick an article of clothing for the other three members of the house which I have actually seen them wearing (this is a major accomplishment, especially for Miss Teenager, for whom I have not been allowed to shop alone since she turned 11) (obviously I snuck out on my own this time, but I did save the receipt, which won't be needed).
We had just enough snow to have a white Christmas, followed by just enough warmth to give us good driving weather. We're having a white New Year's Eve, to be followed by a severe storm. Hmmm.
I took the Rogue with me on the driving and I've got the body up to the underarm done. Sleeves are ensuing (simultaneously) and I've got a couple of inches done. I have green silk on the wheel and green wool on the spindle. I'm getting antsy to start something new, so I'm holding firm; if I start something new, I'll drop all the old stuff - not what I want to do right now.
I have no new year's resolutions; I gave up on those several years ago. I discovered a long time ago that I don't do well in knitalongs or swaps or... anything else that requires me to move in lockstep with other people. If I'm in the middle of something, and try to start something else, one of two things happens. A) Thing 1 gets dropped, never to be returned to (annoying if it was something I really wanted) or B) Thing 2 gets a halfassed job because I really wanted to work on Thing 1. This applies to Resolutions. Usually they wind up in B) state. It's much better if I make changes (the smaller the better) as I go through the year, rather than trying to make Change happen just because the date does.
Gotta go nap. K and S intend to make sure I'm awake at midnight, but there's nothing that says I can't get some shuteye between now and then.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You've seen this before, just in different form. I took the skeins of charcoal laceweight, ran them through the yardage counter onto the ball winder and got a length on them. (Next step is weigh them and actually calculate ypp, but that requires that I: a. take the yarn downstairs, not letting the cat follow me to potentially knock over J's rocket parts and b. find where J has hidden the scale since the last time [not a trivial undertaking since he has remodeled his work area since then and built a new workbench] - sounds easy but obviously I haven't gotten a roundtuit). These two skeins are 1000+ yards.

I am trying to wind off the third skein but keep getting interrupted. It should be about another 500+ yards. I'm contemplating the idea of spinning just the silk for a skein, and then just the charcoal merino/silk for a skein.

Am I insane for visualizing a cardigan out of laceweight?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My last year's amaryllis declined to come back for me, so I decided I needed a new one. This poor thing had gotten a trifle crunched in packing, but it is perking up nicely and even the bent leaves are greening (and red-ing) up nicely. Given the red shades in the leaves, I think I'll believe the claim of having a deep dark red for the flowers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

One sleeve for Oberstdorf - making progress at last. I'm almost through with the increases and about an inch away from starting the upper sleeve patterning. I like the short circular, but it does make it more difficult to try on than dpns.

I had one person looking at me in a puzzled way and say: That's a funny looking sock.

Umm... yes. It would be.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Recent books:
Talk Talk Talk by Jay Ingram
A very interesting discussion of what was known about the biology and history of speech at the point in time that it was written (1994). How do we talk, how do we learn to talk, how have languages converged and diverged over time...

Journey to the Ants by Bert Holldobler and E.O. Wilson
I picked this up when I was at my PILs for Thanksgiving (my FIL is taking a class on the social insects). I thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly when he explained the display we saw of the fungus farming ants in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest 4 years ago.

The Barmaid's Brain by Jay Ingram
Another book of essays about odd points of everyday science. I particularly like his side comments on social issues.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A solution, of sorts...

Unless one is sending cards to good friends and family, many people have been stumped on how to send Holiday cards without the effect of offending the very people they are trying to get to think kindly of them. Most have simply shifted to the generic "Happy Holidays".

J got a card from his university's alumni office that solves the whole problem: Happy Thanksgiving and a Joyful New Year.

Skips right over that pesky problem altogether.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Random things again:
It's snowing. It's been snowing for three days and the weather service promises the possibility of snow for the foreseeable future.

I've started filling the bird feeder again.

I went and complained about the (lack of) service we're getting on road plowing. We live on a spur off of a loop. Obviously it is much quicker (if you are a road plow) to swing around the loop and ignore the spur. Equally obviously (if you are not a road plow but a fairly low sprung car) the pile-o-slush-and-ice left by this maneuver is rather difficult to climb over, even when the actual amount of snow on the road is not a serious problem. The Sup't saw my point without any quibble and promised to speak to the drivers. It was squeaky clean last evening and not too bad this morning. We'll see how long it lasts.

I've gotten up to the elbow (for the third time) on J's Oberstdorf sweater sleeve. He was mentioning that it would be nice to have it for this weekend (Hah!). I'm just hoping that this weather isn't a flash in the pan. Last winter we didn't get weather like this until the end of January. If we get this now and then nothing left after I get Oberstdorf done, I'll never hear the end of it.

I measured the two skeins of charcoal grey that are finished - I have about 1000 yards so far. I think three skeins will be all I need at this weight...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Well, I have demonstrated to myself that I can, for at least a month, post every day. I wasn't sure I could - I go through chatty times and not chatty times. When I'm not chatty, it's very easy for a week or more to go by between posts.
I can do it - but it comes with two costs: 1. I didn't have any more to say about knitting or spinning than I ever do - so there was a lot more offtopic stuff than I usually post and 2. Other writing took a hit - I conversed privately with fewer people because what writing time I had was sucked into the blog.
I don't know what I think, except that I enjoyed doing it for a while and I don't know whether I'll continue or not.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random thoughts:
For a week off of school, this week has been pretty hectic. School starts Monday - I dunno if I'm ready.
I'm tired of taking knitting out - I'm ready to just work forward for a while.
I can't remember exactly when I finished something last. This is not a good sign.
Today was our third day in a row of cloudy skies. Clear cold nights, while nice, are not the same as a sunny day.
Further cloudy days are all that is in the forecast. Well, that is, alternating with rain, sleet and snow. This is not an improvement.
J says that one year, when he was a student here, there were 43 days in a row with no sunshine. This is not something I really want to know.
Christmas is less than 4 weeks away. I am not ready.
My sourdough starter that Sylvia gave me is still good. I made another loaf this evening. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I read a very interesting book some years ago - Raising Your Spirited Child. "Spirited" is another word for what some people might label "Difficult". It was extremely interesting to me, not so much for the major topic, but for a relatively minor aside which explained my son and my brother.

The major topic says that in 9 categories of personality, on a scale of 1-5 (1 is easy going in that category, 5 is not), those persons who score above 30 are "spirited". Approximately 15% of the population fall in the above 30 category. K scored 34, S scored 35. I figured that was ok - I scored a 36. (What - difficult? ME?) (A friend of mine's daughter scored 42. We used to regularly compare notes on what worked.)

The coping strategies weren't newly useful to me - they were all strategies I learned at my mother's knee, watching her deal with my brother (a 38) who was 8 years younger than I; that is, I was sufficiently older to pay attention to how she did it, rather than simply experience it first hand.

Ok, the point I'm eventually rambling around to is that one of the categories is "negativity". Is the first, knee-jerk reaction to anything new, No. In my case, this is one of my high scoring areas. I tell my kids what my mother told me - if you insist on an answer right now, it will be No. Give me time to think about it.

Ok - I've thought about it. And of course, by this time everyone's probably already signed up. However:

The rules: I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this blog post requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

If there's anyone left who isn't already signed up, I would be happy to send something to the first 3 people. If there isn't, I promise to do the same for someone who isn't on the blog circuit. I don't mind shipping outside the US, it may just be something light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I played with my green fuzz a bit more today - a good antidote to the lowering grey skies and off-and-on rain. The rain has stopped (and is freezing the doors of the car and the house shut) as the temperature is dropping and the wind is howling. The night sky is clear and I'd love to look at the stars, but it's just too windy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I started spindle spinning this before we left and when rogue went south on me, I switched to spinning rather than knitting for the car drives (down to MD to pick up the urchins and then back from PA). This is BFL from the same source I used last time (only then it was reds and oranges). It isn't quite as nice- she seems to have felted it just a tad. I love the greens though.

This was something I picked up at spinning guild the week before. I went, firmly intending to buy Nothing More, but you see how well that lasted. I'm always a color junky, but at this time of year, particularly when the sky is grey for days on end, I latch onto the saturated colors. I have nothing that I need this for; there are no queued projects that it is suitable for. I just need it for the color.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.

We're mostly unpacked (that "mostly" will have us tripping over things for a week, you know). The cats are mostly over their mad at us. We've mostly had dinner, and we're mostly ready to go to bed.

Have you ever noticed how weird the word mostly is when you type it over and over?

Sorry, I'm a little giddy tonight. Time for a nightcap and some quality time with the spinning wheel.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Two days ago when we got here, it was in the high 70s F. This morning when I took the dog for a walk it was 18 F. Can you say Cold Front? I was sure that you could.

I got a new #7 needle for the Rogue and diligently worked away. I have come to two conclusions:
1. I like the twisted stitch stockinette hem better for the hem facing.
2. I need a #8 needle. I thought hard about going and buying another, but I know I have one at home that is not only the right size but the right length. I was willing to soldier through with a 40 inch needle for a 36 inch circumference if it was going to do me some good, but it isn't. I don't see the point in buying another 40 inch needle (the only length the shop has in that size) when I can use the right length needle when I get home.

So I spent today's time in the car spindle spinning instead.
Camera and connection aren't working here so pictures will have to wait a bit longer.

Friday, November 23, 2007

After Turkey Soup

1.5 c turkey drippings from the roasting pan, strained
4 c chicken stock

handful celery leaves
1/2 onion, chopped
1 oz butter

4 oz shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 oz butter

3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 broccoli crown, minus stems and roughly chopped

1/2 c peas
1/2 c corn kernels

2 c chopped turkey meat
3/4 pound fresh fettucini

2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, dill seed, cardamom seed)

Heat broth and drippings. Saute celery leaves and onion in 1 oz butter. Add to broth. Saute mushrooms in other oz butter, with spices. Add to broth. Add celery, carrots and broccoli to broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas and corn. Simmer while preparing boiling water for fettucini to cook. Cook fettucini in boiling water for half the cooking time. Add turkey and fettucini to broth. Simmer for another few minutes and serve.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm thankful for the time and space I live in - I do enjoy being where I am and who I am.

I'm thankful for the family that I have, even when my kids drive me wild, and even more when they're being the wonderful people they can be.

I'm thankful for the good friends I have, on and off line.

I'm particularly thankful for the wonderful job that Marcy did, searching the Web of the Weird so we didn't have to. Thanks Marcy. My eyes may never be the same.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes I wonder why I bother with swatching. I do, faithfully, unless I'm doing a shawl where I don't care.

If swatches never worked, I wouldn't bother and neither would anyone else. They do work, but only just enough of the time to give one hope.

Rogue is in balls again this evening.

I did a swatch. I checked my gauge again after I started knitting. It still lied. About 2 inches into knitting, something changed (probably me, duh!) and umpteen inches of knitting later, (having remeasured again), I'm now at 5 stitches/inch instead of the 4.5 I should be (I think... 4? Whatever. It's Wrong, that's all I know at this time of night.)

That would explain why it was a bit short and tight when she tried the body on.

And of course, I didn't pack needles I didn't need and tomorrow's a holiday so the knitting store won't be open...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Packing for a 4 day weekend away:
Food items

Got to get to the important things:
Knitting project 1: Rogue (including all extra yarn, pattern, extra needles, darning needle [deemed unnecessary at present], scissors [ditto])
Knitting project 2: Oberstdorf [ditto - only gone 4 days])
Embroidery project: Catch the Wind [almost done, might as well take and finish] (including pattern, fabric, floss, extra needles and scissors)
Spinning project: New green wool to go with the new green silk from FFF. Do I want to spindle this or use the wheel? Spend time sampling.

'spose I'll get much finished? Pictures to follow. (Take the camera and the USB cable).

Note to self: If my FIL's computer isn't fixed, nablopomo is screwed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Random power outages play heck with trying to blog. Still don't know why it's yoyoing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I got to spinning guild yesterday, for the first time since... ? I honestly don't remember. I think I got to the last meeting before the Fiber Festival (which was in September), so that would have been August? Except that I think we were in Canada at the August meeting, so maybe it was July.

Obviously, it's been a while.

It was just a small meeting - I only counted 53 people. I was only one of the spindlers this time. Most people bring their wheels or one of their wheels and the room gets pretty crowded after a while. I did manage to pick up some ground lamb (yum) and breakfast sausage. The shepherd with the lamb for sale had brought a casserole with the breakfast sausage and it was some of the best I'd ever tasted. Some came home with me and I ordered more for next month, since my purchases were limited by the cash I had on hand, not having brought the checkbook.

One of the women brought a cast iron table-clamp quill wheel, which had a squirrel cage swift rising above it. That was fun to see, and will be even better when she gets it cleaned up and completely working. I don't know which stores she haunts but she always has the most interesting antiques.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


1/2 c milk, scalded
1/2 c butter, melted in the scalded milk
1/2 c sugar added to butter and milk - the butter and sugar will cool the milk after scalding.

1 package dry yeast or equivalent
1/4 c water and a little flour to proof (if needed)
3 eggs, beaten
4-5 c flour

When the milk is cool and the yeast is proofed (if needed), stir milk mixture into yeast mixture and then the eggs. Add flour gradually, then knead. Result will be a soft springy dough. Let rise in a warm spot, in an oiled bowl, covered. Once doubled, punch down and divide in thirds.

Each third should, in turn, be rolled out to about a 12 inch diameter circle. Brush with melted butter. Cut in pie wedges, first in quarters and then each quarter into thirds. Starting at the outer edge, roll to the middle, and place on a buttered cookie sheet, with the point tucked underneath. Brush with butter. Let rise for 15-20 minutes. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes (till lightly golden). Brush with butter, let cool.

Ok, so we only eat these twice a year (Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner). I didn't promise anything lo-cal here - you did note the name?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Believe it or not, I actually have been getting some knitting done, even while railing about my class. The body is done almost up to the underarm - I've about three or four rows left to the top of the cables up the sides. Tomorrow I play to take the body off the needle and onto a cord so I can have her try it on before I go any farther. Then... I read the instructions and see what happens next.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One of the best things about finishing up my class is I got to play in my garden today. I just puttered around, weeded a bit, mulched a bit, removed dead annuals and added some bulbs. I started out to just do a five minute job and ended up there for an hour, only stopping when I realized it was time to pick up K from school. There is something so soothing about that whole process.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've been a complete vegetable today. I sat down to figure out what the order of the last of my classes should be and, sadly, the one I didn't want to take next is the one I need to take in order not to have a gap before I'm done. I shouldn't have a gap if I take this one next (although I can't see next fall and winter for sure yet), but still. I didn't wanna just now.


My parents have gone home after the weekend's festivities with K's play and next week is Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Some of my fellow students seem to think that if you can't post promptly on topic, a shotgun will have some effect. I made the mistake of looking one more time and was caught by the shotgun.

Shotgun: I don't understand why you said this and such. That doesn't make any sense.
Me: I was trying to say this and that, not this and such. Explanation. I'll try to clarify my original statement.

Me: Hey - I did say this and that, not this and such. Grrr.

I give up. I'm going to bed. Anybody who insists on posting 29 critiques in an hour and half doesn't deserve to be rebutted.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Let me just say this about that:
Instructors who don't post all of the assignment requirements until a random amount of time after the original assignment was given out may be annoying, but fellow students who wait until the last minute to burst into the room throwing random stuff around that doesn't come close to meeting any of the assignment requirements are even more so.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We had a hard frost last night - it was almost kind of funny. K's school play (Seussical, she was a Who) was finishing up yesterday evening, so of course we all went. J unlocked the car doors and got into the car. The rest of us stood around the outside of the car. Muffled by the fact that he was in and we were out, he kept saying "I unlocked the doors" and we kept saying "the doors are frozen shut". A comedy of errors.
I took rogue along for knitting before the show - something only moderately successful as I knit 6 rows but will have to rip 2 back. A net gain in knitting, but not in time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We have two skeins now. This one looks a great deal more copper than the other, but it's just the way that the strands fell when it was skeined up.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What more appropriate time for turkeys to wander through the yard than November? Still 13 turkeys (down from 14 in July) but no further depredations of the flock to date. The adults are indistinguishable from the juveniles (except perhaps by coloration by the expert, but not to us). They came from the south this time into my neighbor's yard (no not that neighbor, the other one who kept his trees and has a jumbo leaf vacuum which he dumps into the compost pile which can be seen in the background). The dog was watching intently but didn't bark this time, so they wandered leisurely through.
I wonder when hunting season for turkeys opens.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I've gotten rogue up to where the pocket joins on again. It looks like a pocket, and not just a flap!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I don't remember paying attention to how mums grew when I was younger - I don't remember my mother growing mums particularly, or if she did, I didn't watch them grow. Mums are big in the fall here in New York; they are offered for sale everywhere. I have bought a few and plunked them in the ground with mixed success. Sometimes they grow again in the spring, sometimes they freeze overwinter and don't come back..
Since mums are offered in bloom, starting in August or September, I'm always a little surprised at how long it takes the ones in the ground to get around to blooming. I hang over them, urging them to hurry up, they won't get around to blooming before they're frozen. They ignore me. They go on at their own deliberate pace, doing their own thing at their own time. They laugh at frost warnings and ignore colder weather that is killing off my summer annuals.
This beauty attracted my eye originally because the petals are little tubes, where the petals never separate to unfold completely. It's in my back garden and it had a hard life this year.
It sent up stems that reached about 8 to 12 inches high before being set upon by Japanese beetles who gnawed the leaves down to skeletons before I managed to get the beetles under control. Apparently unable to replace the leaves, it made a hasty additional new growth of another 8-12 inches complete with new leaves. Being now topheavy, the first rainstorm knocked it all over, flat on the ground. Trying to tie it up was not succesful, so I left it to its fate. Nothing detered, it made a right angle for each stem and sent up another 6 to8 inches of stem before setting buds. This week, in the middle of rain and slush and snow, the buds are opening up - the only, last, bright spot in the garden.
So... if mums want cold weather for blooming, do the hot houses have to refrigerate them to get them to bloom in August?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Considering that just two weeks ago today it was 80 degrees F, it's a bit of a shock to my system to see that it's snowing outside.
All I can say is, thank heavens for handknit wool socks and handknit alpaca caps. The chance of precipitation for Monday afternoon went from 40% on Saturday to 50% on Sunday to 90% on Monday at noon. There I was, standing in the middle of the parking lot for three hours, supervising the counting of cases of Girl Scout cookies, and dodging rain drops. My papers were soaked, but thanks to the miracle of alpaca and wool, my head and my feet were completely warm. And a special thanks to Sylvia, who actually knit the socks that were on my feet.

Monday, November 05, 2007

On the drive to and from the theater yesterday, and during the lecture that preceeded the play (pure serendipity that we arrived early enough to be directed into the lecture hall), I started knitting with my new needle (12 inch #3 addi turbo) and then, having gotten about 8 rows done, I ripped out to just above the colorwork and started again. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to rip back down to the top of the cuff and start Again. That will depend on whether, when I find my tape measure, the gauge in the colorwork section is sufficiently off that I'm going to have to rip that too.
Another possibility may be that I may have to get a 12 inch #4 addi turbo. I don't want to think about it - I am using addi turbos for the body so it should be ok but you never know.
Switching from bamboo #3 DPNs to the addi turbo circular gave me a huge visual difference in the gauge. Remind me not to do that again.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One of the best things about living in a college town is the access to reasonably priced activities available through the universities. It's one of the things we like about a college town. Today's reasonably priced activity was going to Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music and watching the Eastman Opera Theatre put on A Little Night Music.
I saw this first many years ago on Broadway, when I was in high school, on my senior trip to New York. (Other people take their senior trip to Washington DC. Living near DC we had been taken there every year, sometimes multiple times in a year. Our trip was to NYC, finishing up the day at the theater.) It strikes me as a little odd that my daughter's first trip to "grown up theater" is to see A Little Night Music. I think some of the jokes were over her head, but I'm sure she got some of them. Well, some of them were over my head back then too.
She's a vocalist and a budding theater artist, so she paid as much or more attention to the staging of the production as she did the story line - which was, after all, why we took her. A good afternoon all around.
And the intimacy of Kilbourn Hall was a distinct improvement from the 2 inch figures I remember seeing from the nosebleed section at whatever theater it was way back then.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Having finally finished off the second charcoal single, I've finally gotten to the ply-them-together stage. J's birthday was today and I gave him the complete set of Monty Python's Flying Circus. We sat down to show K and S the fish slapping dance (which completely befuddled them) and wound up watching the whole volume, which led to getting some spinning done for the first time in a long while. Maybe I can finish the skein while we watch the college football.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The weather report for today and the next three days:

Friday - sunny and cool
Saturday - sunny and cool
Sunday - sunny and cool
Monday - showers and cold

Any guesses as to which day I'm scheduled to stand outside for 3 hours, supervising cookie delivery?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am not a student of the kimono, although I have had some chances to see some beautiful ones. One such occasion was a number of years ago a collection of kimono from the Kyoto museum was on display in San Francisco and I spent some happy hours wandering around admiring them. Occasionally I take out my copy of the exhibition catalog and wander through it, remembering.
I hadn't run across mentions of Itchiku Kubota before, a modern kimono artist. Having had him brought to my attention recently, I started poking about for references and pictures.
I need to see these in person at some point. San Diego CA and Canton OH in early 2009, eh?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My paper's done. Done and turned in. Hurrah.

Today I get to go to the store and buy the needle I need to continue with the Obsertdorf sweater. I also get to work in my garden, getting it ready for winter.

One more assignment for this class, yet to be assigned...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rogue is that perfect blend of mindless knitting and stuff-to-do, at least at this stage. The cables at the side are just enough to wake me up, while the mindless stockinette in large expanses is just about where my mental state is right now.
Paper due today. Must. Finish.

Monday, October 29, 2007

There are some dishes that are summer foods (BLTs spring to mind, or barbecued spare ribs), and there are some dishes that are meant for autumn.
Apple Crisp
4 to 6 apples, of a tart variety such as Stayman Winesap or Northern Spy, even better if they come off your own tree, although my tree gave me just enough for one time of making it, so if I want more crisp I need to go buy some
1 stick butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c rolled oats, preferrably the Old Fashioned kind rather than minute oats which will make the crumble soggy
Wash, core, (don't peel) and slice the apples into a 9 x 9 pan, or something of the approximate size (a deep dish pie pan works).
Melt the butter and stir in the sugar and oats. Optionally you can add 1/2 c raisins and/or 1/2 c chopped walnuts. Sometimes I do, just to annoy my children.
Spread the crumble across the sliced apples. Bake at 350 F for approximately 45 minutes or until a fork slides into the apples easily. Don't wait until the crumble is blackening around the edges (which is not something I did this year, but have been known to do at least once in the past). Let cool. What "cool" is is up to you, but I recommend not burning your mouth on it as this detracts fom the overall effect. Serve as is or with vanilla ice cream. Mostly we go for "as is".

Saturday, October 27, 2007

There was color in the sunset again yesterday, although we couldn't really see it looking west. Instead, this was the view looking east and it lasted for well over half an hour. Not that we timed it or anything.

I'm making progress on the Rogue - I've finished the pouch pocket outside, ready to go back and work on the body some more. Oberstdorf, not so much - I still need a new needle for the sleeves. Maybe I'll get to the yarn store this week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This is the view from the back door - facing west, cloudy sky; facing east is a bright sunrise and blue for a while, giving the trees a glow. The leaves looked almost fluorescent, though the camera doesn't really pick that up well.
This is why I shake my head over my neighbor's lack of enthusiasm about leaves on his grass. We have 100 yards of woods running the length of the neighborhood, west of the houses. The wind in the fall tends to blow from the west-southwest. It's just a hopeless cause, y'know?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is the same tree I posted a few weeks ago. At this point, it looks about as good as its going to get - soon the topmost leaves will start to fall and then it will start looking a bit ragged.
This is the same kind of tree my neighbor had in his yard - all dozen of them which he cut down last year. A sad loss to the view in my opinion, but this way the leaves don't shade his new swimming pool, interfere with the production of a lawn for his kids to dig ruts in with their miniATV, or litter his yard in the fall. He has his good points, but that isn't one of them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Go watch this:

Last speech

or at least read the transcript.

I've ordered the DVD and plan to make my kids watch it, and anyone else whose hands I can shove it into.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm still spinning grey, but not very quickly. Knitting has kind of pushed it out of the way. Having finally noticed this, I'm trying to fit it back into the puzzle. Life will be easier when this class is over.
Why, just think of it. Since I'm taking an online class, I probably won't have a final. So I'll get finals week off. And then there's always a week between classes... I'll get two whole weeks to myself before the next class starts.
Do I sound a little crabby? Sorry.

Cassie started a topic and Abby kept it going - probably other people I've not yet noticed have had a say. Should everyone learn how to spin? Yes. Will everyone learn to spin? Probably not until something forces them to. I'm not foolish enough to believe that we can go on forever the way we are - when the Apocalypse comes, we're going to be up a creek and not only with no paddle, but without any way to make a paddle and perhaps without the concept that a paddle is possible.

Someone (one of the SOAR posters, but I forget whom - sorry) quoted the saying "when an elder dies, a library burns down", or something to that effect. It's not that the data is lost forever - what humans devised once, they can do again. The question is, how long will it take to get back to that point? If textiles have been being made for 20,000 years or thereabouts, we've had a ton of humans working directly on the problems of how to do it and what works best. How many people are working on handmade textile problems right now? Far fewer than the sum total of 20,000 years worth. If ALL of us were working on these problems, no problem. At the moment, we don't have enough people working on the problems to maintain the knowledge already gained, much less make widespead innovations.

There are people who make innovations now, don't get me wrong. And they go to places like fiber fests and SOAR and private classes, and guild sponsored classes, and they teach. Hopefully they teach people who go back to their homes and teach others, preserving the knowledge gained. But how much of this innovation is recreation of knowledge previously known and previously lost?

I took a lace knitting class with Margaret Stove some years ago (wonderful teacher!). Towards the end of the two day class, when we were in more chatty than teaching mode, she made a comment to the effect that "everyone always wanted her to keep teaching the same class, over and over" - she was ready to move on to something else. I think it's a symptom of the fact that we don't have enough teachers, enough people who truly understand how the techniques are done. People who don't have access to teachers have to learn the basics through experimentation. Wasting, so to speak, their creative and innovative talents on techniques that are, or were, already known to the whole of humankind, but which are lost at the local level.

One thing that the internet has proven, is that there are spinners almost everywhere. Many of them in isolation, many the only person they know in person who knows how to spin, or who cares to. The internet has been a boon in allowing them to connect, feel part of a group. I am fortunate enough to live in an area where we have a "huge" spinning guild - 120 people (out of 1.5 million in the greater suburban area). If you say that not everyone who spins belongs to the guild and assume only a quarter of them do, why we're up to almost 500 people! But come the apocalypse that lurks, how many of those presumed 500 will be around to help whoever's left?

Demographically, we fall into an age group that will be hit hard if civilization as we know it collapses. I certainly won't be around - better living through modern chemistry is the only thing that keeps me alive. In most places in the world and almost all parts of past time, I would be long since dead. (I was accused once of being morbid when I pointed this out, but I don't think so - simply grateful that I live in the time and place I do. At almost 50, I've long since passed the life expectancy of many times and places, aside from the illnesses that would almost certainly have put me on the wrong side of the 50% mortality rate for children under 2.)

So, yes, 'everyone' should be taught to spin. My post is certainly from a 'first world centric' position, but the fact of the matter is, cultures that have maintained their traditional arts of all kinds through lack of access to 'modern techniques' are abandoning them with the same glee that our ancestors did when new techniques removed the necessity for assuming that everyone would spin. Each person who knows how to spin or knit or weave is one more tiny candle lit against the dark.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall this year appear to be yoyoing temperatures - cool and crisp for a few days, then warm and rainy. This was sunset, looking east, on a warm-and-rainy.
We need the rain, but I could do without the 80 degree temps in the middle of October.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I am making progress on Oberstdorf - having worked up to the bottom of the yoke on the body, I've stopped to make sleeves. Progress is happening, although I'm going to need a #3 circ or else more dps - another 18 stitches of increase and I'm going to have stitches falling off the needles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It must be fall. The crockpot is full of bean soup and I have cornbread on my mind.
This is the second of two sweaters I've been promising people in this household. I finally got started with it - Rogue for K. She picked her color (goes with everything) and her style (yes I want the pocket in front) and off I go. The hem was mindless knitting, the cable up the side is just enough to keep me paying attention to what I'm doing, and it's a nice break from the extremely tight knit that is Oberstdorf.
For this I had to go down to a #6 to get gauge (vs. the recommended '8' on the ball band), but Oberstdorf is being done on a #3 so this feels huge when I switch back and forth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yes. I have a new toy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Trees turning color like this is one of my favorite things about fall on the East Coast. This view is from my back window, but actually is directly back from my neighbor's house. The trees more directly behind me haven't started turning yet.
I was taught (perhaps as late as high school?) that color developed in leaves as the chlorophyll died back, allowing other colors to be seen.
I just finished "The Velocity of Honey", an interesting book of essays on science by Jay Ingram. Jay apparently likes to investigate questions that appeal to him and then write about them. How nice that so many of his questions appeal to me as well.
One essay in this book deals with the subject of fall color - particularly reds. Apparently research done in the '90s (long after my time) has determined that reds are not simply present in the leaves and only visible when the green is gone. instead, the reds (anthocyanins) are actively built by the leaves as the chorophyll is being dismantled and stored away in the roots. The reds are sunblock! The purpose of building these anthocyanins appears to be as protection against sunlight ruining the chlorophyll while it is being taken apart and very sensitive to excess light. Consequently, the reds appear first in leaves that are exposed to more light than others, such as on ends of branches protruding from the bulk of the tree on southerly exposures. That describes this tree's turned leaves exactly.
It also explains why there is little color in years when fall is wet (a phenomenon referred to in my family as "raining the leaves off the trees"). If it's cloudy over, no sun block is needed, just as my kids keep complaining to me when I run after them with sun block on grey days in the summer.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A while back, J asked me for a new ski sweater. (ok, so "a while" = "two years ago"). His old sweater predates our marriage (our last anniversary was "17"). It might be time for a new one. I showed him pictures of ski sweaters, and he picked this one, and picked his colorway (celery green for the body, and shades of green and tan for the colorwork).
I got started knitting (determined I need the smaller needle recommended, as yes I am still a loose knitter).
I had measured his old sweater and compared it to the measurements provided in the pattern and the overall measurements were pretty much identical. I didn't notice that the distance from the bottom of the hem to the underarm was different until I got enough knitting done on the body (in the round, bottom up, raglan style) to start looking for where I needed to start the colorwork. It was at this point that that I realized that the pattern called for the armscye to be set 1.5 inches higher than on his favorite old sweater.
Somehow I didn't think this would be acceptable, and on inquiry I found that this was the case.
I set the knitting aside to decide where I needed to recalculate, but at this point it was now March. Setting it aside meant that I didn't get back to it until May. Do you think I'm going to knit with Heilo yarn in a sweater done in the round (i.e. all in one piece) in May? No, I didn't think so either.
It sat. Last winter, winter came late. We had 60 degree temps until the end of January. There never was any good skiing - he didn't go once. And I still needed to do some calculations. I didn't get around to it until May. Yeah, right.
So. It's been sitting for a while. The other day I sat down and did the calculations I needed to do - it won't be hard, I just change the rate of the decreases from every second row to every third row and I should wind up with the exact rate of decrease his old sweater has.
I have to figure out where I'm putting the zipper on the raglan, since he wants to have the zipper from the drop shoulder sweater, but I have to do sleeves now before I finish the colorwork, and the zipper comes after that.
For such a color junky as I am, I really haven't done much colorwork. This is turning out pretty well for a first project. The picture looks odd because, following advice from several people, I turned the sweater inside out when I got to the colorwork. So far it doesn't seem to be drawing up too much.
I'm just hoping that the fact that I feel impelled to finish this project is merely a byproduct of the guilt I feel over letting it languish, and not an indicator (such as a wooley worm would be) that we are in for a hard cold winter.

Friday, October 05, 2007

And then we have the roving in the second box. You will notice that it completely fills the box. Beautiful stuff.
Ok, the box on top is the box the wool came in; the box on the bottom is the box the wool went into, in a somewhat less compressed fashion. (The cat is still the Tiger cat, still fascinated by the smells).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The same day that the babies came, this long awaited box arrived from Wooly Knob. This started as a Corriedale fleece bought from Whitefish Bay Farm, which was shipped by them to Wooly Knob for processing and then, finally, to me. Wooly Knob started with a 5.5 fleece (Corriedale and fine = lots of grease - not as bad as merino, but pretty bad - this package weighed about 3 pounds.)
I was almost afraid to open it - it might go bang and explode out.
It must have smelled good - the Tiger cat was all over it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My babies arrived from Cathy yesterday - I whisked them into the nursery pot to get them settled in from their trip. Depending on how suddenly winter descends upon us (any time from now through February), they may get moved into the nursery bed, or they may spend the winter in the nursery pot in a sheltered area. I'm so happy they're here!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I don't often plug other people's blogs - mostly I figure that anyone who reads my blog is already aware of the ones I know of. I follow a large number of blogs, but these are the ones that I think of as "focused" - not all over the landscape as I tend to do. In case you missed any of these gems:

Beadlizard - Sylvia posts marvelous pictures of birdlife on the San Francisco Bay, and also of wonderful knits. She has a facility for 3D visualization that I can only marvel at (being a 2D thinker myself - it's no accident that my favorite knit project is a shawl).

The Doily Underground - jp is a recent addition to my list, with knitted doilies that seem to float in mid air. I tend to look at jp's work as any journeyman might a master-of-the-craft's - someday I may get there, but I'm not there yet.

Habetrot - Marcy has an incredible collection of pictures and postcards of sheep, shepherds, spinners and knitters. She posts descriptions and background information with grace and humor.

String or Nothing - The blog of the knitter behind wiseNeedle (an excellent resource of yarn reviews), her posts give interesting commentary on her own knitting, as well as interesting insights into the history of knitting, as she posts about her own researches.

Twosheep - June alternates between speaking about cooking and speaking about yarn - dyeing, spinning and knitting with. I have picked up a number of wonderful tips in each field from her.

Woven Thoughts - Sara is another master-in-her-field of whom I can only stand in awe. If I ever really get into weaving, it will be because Sara has dangled one too many pictures of weaving with silk. I have no interest in weaving in general, just weaving with silk.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Catching up on odds and ends:

1. Snowball has been unstapled. She'll have a scar, but after the shaved bits grow back, no one will be able to tell.
2. Fall is coming. The turkeys are wandering through the yard, much to the dismay of the dog. There were 3 adults and 11 youngsters when the youngsters were half the size of the adults. There are 3 adults and 10 youngsters now that the youngsters are pretty indistinguishable to the casual glance. I wonder what happened to the 11th one? Coyotes are around; someone may have decided on an early turkey dinner; the flock crosses the road every morning; who knows.
3. I'm getting some spinning done every day on the charcoal grey, but it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere.
4. School is progressing. I'm into my class for the fall and it's coming along. My first paper got an A - always a nice way to start class. A friend asked me if going to school was worth it, and I wasn't sure how to answer the question. I'm at the stage that's always awkward, whether it's a knitting project, embroidery, spinning, school (?) where I'm more than halfway, but only just. The shiny new is worn off, but I'm not close enough to the end to feel that second wind, that big PUSH to be done. This is the most dangerous stage of any project, the time when I'm most likely to abandon it and wander off to something else shiny new. All I can do is remember how I felt when I started, the goal which did mean something at the beginning, and trust that I will get to that second wind and be glad when I'm done.
So, yes I think school is worth it, even though at the moment, I'm at the stage where the annoyances and difficulties are all I seem to be able to focus on.
(Although it doesn't help that I found that a school in Syracuse is NOW offering a degree I would prefer to have taken than the one I decided on, although it wasn't offered when I started. Pooh! Shiny new, anybody?)
5. Girl Scout cookies are once again taking over my life - why did I say I'd be the service unit manager again? I'm training my replacement though, hurrah!
6. Spinning and knitting are happening, although relegated to the corners of my life. Pictures to follow soon.
7. I'm starting to gather the seeds from the Tango lilies that I've promised Cathy. The bulbs aren't quite ready to dig, but soon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Do you suppose it might be time to do some plying?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ok, so I've been working on bobbins of this stuff sporadically for quite some time. I've got two pounds of it, ok?
Despite the possible suspicion that I just keep taking pictures of the same singles in different configurations, this really is a single I finished this weekend at Fingerlakes Fiber Fest and the one I started while waiting for my son's Scout Master to arrive.
Targhee, dyed in Wild Raspberry, from Sweet Grass Wool, spindle spun on a Bosworth mini.
It was funny - I was wandering around the fairgrounds at FFF and getting stopped by people who wanted a five minute potted lesson on how to spindle spin. I obliged, and sent people off to see Jonathan and Sheila. Some of them apparently arrived at the Bosworth booth.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Artisan's Vest
This is the Artisan's Vest. With ends not tucked in and unblocked, but I have finished the actual stitching. The actual knitting started in about February of 04, when I moved to a colder clime than I had lived in for some years.
Unfortunately, this was a victim of combined circumstances - the weather was warming up about the time I finished knitting, I had a slight error that I needed to correct, I needed to switch gears into crochet and all my hooks were in storage, and we moved from the rental house into the permanant dwelling with all the attendant confusion that implies.
By the time I was ready to think about fixing the error and moving into crochet, this poor thing was nowhere to be found. Consequently, I moved on to other things, and have only recently had this one start nagging me. It was covered with dust.
Sometimes I wonder why I get stuck on things like this - it took five minutes to fix the error and an hour to finish the crochet edgings around the front/neck edge and the armholes. I still do need to weave in ends and block it, but I'm on a roll and it may very well happen this weekend. Depends on how the homework goes. I'll keep you posted.
Artisan's Vest, Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book, Lamb's Pride yarn.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Poor Snowball

I really haven't decided what I'm going to do with the charcoal yarn. It's fingering/laceweight and I'll probably get about 4 skeins like this one out of the fiber I have. That would be about 2000 yards I think - enough for one of the larger shawl patterns I have waiting about, or maybe a vest? Lacy T-shirt pattern?

I know a lot of people spin for specific projects, but I never really have. I tend to fall in love with fiber of color (not so much the pure whites or ecrus), and sit down to spin it. I wind up with yarn I like, which is an end in itself.

In the meantime while I'm spinning, I'm busy knitting with yarn I bought or yarn I spun a year or two or five ago. Sometimes I never do figure out a project I want to use a yarn for. It's perfectly good yarn, I just don't have a reason to knit it. Those yarns eventually get passed on as gifts, given to the busy charity knitters, or sent to SquidKnits for her high school students.

Monday, September 17, 2007

first charcoal skein
This skein is probably something less than 550 yards of the charcoal merino/silk and the tussah silk dyed by Just Our Yarn. I don't know the exact length because I measured it before washing and I don't know how much it shortened yet. It was 556 yards before washing. I do like the way that the bits of tussah silk glint among the charcoal.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Odds and ends:
1. No knitting and not much spinning is happening chez nous.
2. Cat 1 is currently sporting an E-collar and 4 shiny staples on her right flank. She is trying to slink through the house, but said slinking, being usually carried out right next to walls and under chairs, is being impeded by the E-collar scraping on everything.
3. Cat 2 is a nervous wreck. The scraping and bumping noises are driving him nuts. S scraped his bowl a tiny bit on the counter, and cat 2 jumped a foot.
4. My fall class is now 11 days old. I've turned in my first 2 page paper with research citations, etc and am halfway through reading the other 16 2 page papers with citations, etc. with an eye to making comments on as many as I can intelligently do and today I only need to finish that and read 8 sets of instructions from my instructor to decide which project to work on for the rest of the class. Hence #1, along with other impedimenta.
5. After a week, the soccer coach has finally given the potential team members a schedule for practices. It says he has practice or a game every weekday from now until midNovember, but at least we know this, rather than having him told each day "show up tomorrow" with no apparent end in sight with the possible exception of being cut on Wednesday or Thursday or maybe Friday depending on which parent one talks to.
6. The drama coach, having promised the parents on Tuesday that she will not keep the students late, then kept them five minutes late on Wednesday and 20 minutes late on Thursday. Hmmmm.
7. Fall is starting to happen. The maples are changing color, except for one small tree locally which has seemed stressed anyway and which has taken the first opportunity to dump its leaves and is standing there in all its naked glory. A couple more nights of chilly weather and I may have some fall pictures to take, not to mention needing to put the quilt back on the bed.
8. We're finally getting some rain. Just in time to turn the parking lot field at Fingerlakes Fiber Fest into a mudhole. O Goody.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I have a lot of grumps right now, and I dont' seem to be able to write a post without whining. I should have my camera back tomorrow and will be able to take pictures of things that actually are going well. Maybe I can write about those in a more pleasant frame of mind.

Friday, September 07, 2007

You know, mostly ignorance is bliss, but occasionally it gets downright puzzling. Our eldest offspring started high school this year. Among the avalanche of paperwork attendant to such an event, we received an invitation to join the local group of parents dedicated to keeping underage students and alcohol separate. Since this is a topic we tend to believe in, we started reading through their list of things-to-pledge: I won't serve alcohol to minors (check), I won't allow students to congregate at my house without keeping an eye on them (check), I won't allow anyone else to serve alcohol to minors at my house (check), I will notify other parents of alcohol misuse that I become aware of (well, ok, check), I will lock up all my alcohol (well, ok, all three bottles of it - we don't tend to drink much, not because we're dedicated teetotalers, but just because it doesn't happen very often, check, I'll figure out something), I will lock up all my cleaning products (huh?).

Ok, we're talking about teenagers, not toddlers. When I had toddlers, all the cleaning products were kept in my bathroom on upper shelves with the best childproof lock I could find. Presumably we're not talking about childproof locks (teenagers, remember?) we're talking about lock and key. What on earth are teenagers doing with cleaning products that the stuff has to be kept under lock and key? And if it's under lock and key, how am I supposed to carry out my parental duty of torturing my children by making them learn how to clean the house on a regular basis?

I could figure out how to lock up the liquor, although short of putting it in a combination safe I don't really see any way of ensuring that a key couldn't be found by a dedicated individual seriously bent on locating it - I'm not taping it to my person for the next six years. But locking up the cleaning products? Why?

Never mind, I don't really want to know.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We're back into school mode and that means I'm back to spindle spinning at various points in time when I wait for kids to get out of doctor's appointments, out of music lessons, out of after school activities. This is Wild Raspberry Targhee top from Sweet Grass Wool. On a mini Bosworth of course.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In the category of "I've been working on that. Slowly." we have Bombyx silk, dyed in peacock colors (the green and purple don't really show in the picture, but they're there). This is a three-ply yarn and this is the third skein. One of these days I need to measure the skeins and see how much yardage I have and how that compares to what the peacock feathers shawl wants. Memory says about 1500 yards of laceweight, but we all know how flakey my memory has been lately.

Sylvia, I think you're right about the mixed single needing more twist. It's an artifact of the mixing of fibers - the merino/silk paired against merino/silk is fine but the merino/silk paired against the pure silk isn't. The pure silk wants more twist than the merino/silk does and I'm putting the same amount into both. I'm not sure what the effect of adding more twist to one part of the single vs another part of the single would be - any insights?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Here's the merino/silk with silk stripes. I'm planning a 2-ply yarn, one single of merino silk; one single of merino silk alternated with the tussah silk. I'm hoping for a muted shading of color here and there in my yarn.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Marcy, don't hate me when I say I'm adding this to the charcoal grey. Tussah silk I picked up at Fingerlakes Fiber Fest last year. It looks like it would be slightly matted but I realized after I started spinning it that it's just the tussah vs. the bombyx I've been spinning most recently. In actuality, it's a lovely prep and spins very nicely. I need to find what I did with the label so I can tell you who it's from

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sylvia, I think you're absolutely right.
This is what the merino silk looks like on the bobbin.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It's been a long time since I've had spinning on Saturday Spin-in, but today, I have, for your delectation, 50/50 merino/silk in color charcoal. It's lovely stuff to work with.
Last year I worked on a dye experiment, taking a bump of white Rosemary wool (from Dunnose Head Farm in the Falklands), putting it successively in a navy blue dyepot and a crimson dyepot (rewrapping it from inside to outside between times) and then spinning the resultant dyed fiber into five skeins that ran the gamut from navy through various shades of mixing and pales to crimson.
I then spent about six months looking at the skeins trying to decide what to do with them.
Baby surprise jackets seems to be my answer. This one starts with the navy blue section (at the ends of the sleeves and across the top of the back and heads toward the pinker shades.
The next one will start at the crimson end and head for blue territory, and then I'll see if I have enough yarn left for a third in the center section.
Garter stitch, she do eat up the yarn.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bad news and good news.
You may (or may not) recall that I mentioned I forgot all my patterns at home when I went on vacation and that I was working from my memory of glancing at Sylvia's notes the day I left.
The bad news is that I didn't remember correctly. It's not 15 fans in the expansion, it's 15 repeats of chart B. That is, I don't need 540 stitches on the needles before I go into the fan section, I only need 443.
The good news is that when I stopped to count last night, I'm only up to 13.5 repeats of chart B; I only have 433 stitches on the needles.
And Hurrah! I'm almost ready to start the fans!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When I got back from vacation, I took a break from knitting and did a bunch of spinning. Having finally eased back off from that, I am slowly picking up my knitting again.
When I looked at this block again, I realized that I had three rows (all garter stitch) to go. Humph. Why didn't I finish this up before?
About a month ago (more or less), someone (June?) posted a link to a recipe at epicurious that sounded good, so I printed it out and last night, I actually got around to giving it a try. Let me start by saying that I'm a lazy slob of a cook, so I didn't actually follow all of the directions (big surprise there, eh?). However, even given my shortcomings along those lines, the dish was delicious and I highly recommend it if you like you a salty, savory dish.

The first thing I didn't do, was use boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. These are not available in my average grocery store - the best I could do would be to buy bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, but I hate removing the bones myself (falls under the category of "more trouble than it's worth"). (I notice that they don't include deboning in their time estimate. Humph.) I was worried that this might make the meat a bit too dry, but I seem to have worried needlessly.

The second thing I did was buy the already chopped olive mix from the olive bar at the grocery store rather than buying olives-in-brine and chopping them myself. What is lost in that the already chopped olives dry out a bit was gained in having several different flavors of olives available in the mix.

The last thing I didn't do was bother to "stuff" the chicken. Without chopping the olives finer than they were already, I didn't see that stuffing it was going to be a winning proposition. The directions in the recipe weren't clear (to me) on exactly where to make the incision, so I abandoned that part.

My version of the recipe came out like this:
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, salted and peppered
1/3 cup almonds, skin on
1 cup chopped olives from the olive bar (mix of several types of green olives)
2 T butter
3 T water
2 T parsley, chopped

Melt one T of butter in a skillet. Add almonds; cook over medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove almonds from pan, set aside to cool on cutting board.

Add chicken to skillet, pour in olives. Cook over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, till golden brown on bottom. Turn chicken breasts over, cover skillet and cook for another 5-7 minutes, till cooked through. While chicken is cooking, chop the almonds.

Remove chicken from skillet, add second T of butter and water. Stir till melted and blended. Add almonds and parsley, stir. Pour mixture of olives, almonds, etc. over chicken breasts. Serve with sourdough bread.

This was easy and well appreciated even by the pickiest eater I have.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vacation does something to the gardening mojo. I keep on top of the weeds for most of the summer - and then we go on vacation. Weeds instantly sense this and go into hyperactive mode.

I have an allergy to working in the heat and/or humidity, which means this delicate flower doesn't handle east coast summers very well. My only chance to stay on top of the weeds is to keep weeding every day, for about half an hour each morning or evening. When I leave for a week? It takes me another week to work up the moral fiber to get back to weeding. (Yes I know, that means it's been TWO weeks since I did any weeding - your point is?)

I started tackling it about three days ago and the worst of the worst is almost over. Knowing that this was about to happen, I did take steps before I left to minimize the problem, but there's always one corner of the garden that gets left becaues it isn't really that bad and because I've run out of time. Not that bad. Right.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This is the last of my oriental lilies to bloom, and my favorite. Tall, graceful, fragrant... This is actually a picture I took about 10 days ago. When leaving on vacation, I suddenly realized I didn't have a picture of this years blooms and went scooting down the drive to get one. I didn't have time to upload and post then, so here it is now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lac Brompton is a lake very like the Finger Lakes in New York. On a sunny day, it looks gorgeous from up on the hill top. There is a cabin on Outunwiti, dating to the 1940s, but sadly, nowadays a magnet for teenagers looking to make mischief. This year's damage was worse than the usual smashed beer bottles and trash, and we got little maintenance done except for clean up.
The lake is a lovely place to go visit and we always enjoy ourselves. If you click on the picture, you'll be taken to the flickr set and you can look through the rest of the pictures, taken on a day much more typical of our stay this year. It was cool and occasionally rainy, with some thunderstorms.
I got very little knitting done; what I did get knit was finishing up the Baby Surprise Jacket I had started before I left, and in working interminable rows on Hyrna Herborgar. I made the monumental mistake of carefully gathering up all my patterns into a notebook to take with me, and then misplacing the notebook before I got it packed. The BSJ pattern was with the knitting-in-progress, so I was ok there, but for Hyrna I had to go by memory and calculation (15 fans in the expansion x 36 stitches per fan [I hope I remembered Sylvia's notes correctly on those points] divided by 6 stitches per diamond repeat = more stitches than I have even yet on the needles). I haven't had the heart to go check to see if I remembered correctly or not.
I got nothing done on the afghan blocks, having no patterns to work from, and I didn't get started on MS3, ditto.

Friday, August 10, 2007

This is the last of the new (2006 planting) Orientals to bloom this year, and I think at this point I've seen what all of the new ones will look like. The others will be duplicates of ones I've already seen.
I've also posted all of the afghan blocks completed to date. I'm going to be disconnected from the computer for a few days and I hope to have more blocks finished by the time I reconnect!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Crossword puzzle clue: Weave (yarn)

Crossword puzzle answer: Knit

Me: Huh?
Rose Elegance is another of the 2006 planting and I'm quite happy to see the way that they are all turning out. A couple of the bulbs did not send up blooms this year, but by next year they all be in good form.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Some more of my new Oriental lilies have been blooming - this was the freebie tucked in with a mixed bag. It's not a color I would have bought separately, but I'm glad I have it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This is a very simple pattern, easily memorized, with short cable runs alternating with plain knitting. Again, a pattern I could see using for an all over pattern on a cardigan or pullover.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Cable Lace pattern was another of the ones that was very easy and quick. Obviously, it's also one of the ones that draws in a great deal vertically rather than horizontally. I think this is the most extreme of the vertical draw-in sort.

I could see having a cardigan with this pattern...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Changing of the campers: Last week I was running around getting K ready to go on a weeklong canoe trip. She's been away, getting back tonight. S leaves tomorrow morning for Boy Scout camp with his troop, so this week has been running around getting ready for him to push off. Busy times.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another potato chip block, the Rice Stitch Diamonds are a lot of fun. I liked doing the rice stitch, and of course cables are always good. The reverse stockinette background wants to curl badly of course, but this block and the previous one are the ones I will probably use as models for blocking size when the time comes. If you look back through the blocks shown so far, you may notice that some are extremely long and skinny, and a couple are squat, depending on which way the pattern stitch draws in.
My plan is to block all of them first to a fixed size, then add the edging. Someday. When I finish knitting blocks. I only have 7 to go (plus the last border on the one on the needles).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This is another block with those pesky knots. Aside from the knots, it was a fun knit, watching the traveling stitches wavering back and forth.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is one of the 2006 planting that survived, and only one of two that's going to put up scapes this year, it appears. I was anxious to see what it would look like, and then wound up missing the first bloom. Grrr. That's what comes of sending kids to camp - I get a lot done while they're gone, but I lose that time the week before they go, running around getting their oddments together.