Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10.28 Why?

I'm feeling crabby. I want someone to tell me what the magic words are, since I don't seem to be able to figure them out myself.

I patronize a grocery store that has gone to selling reusable grocery bags. I have purchased a large stash of said bags. I even mostly remember to take the bags with me when I go shopping.

Will someone please explain why the same checkers who cannot seem to pack more than 2 items per plastic bag take great glee in packing everything into two bags (generally with the bananas on the bottom) and handing me back the "extra" three bags I gave them?

I have tried reminding them that there are more bags available, asking them to consider using the other bags, and telling them outright that I want all the bags used, not just some of them. Nothing seems to work; it doesn't matter which checker, the age of the checker or when in the process that I make my pleas.

I'm feeling crabby.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10.21 Dyeing results

It's been annoying, but now I am merely apathetic. I've tried varying the water temp, adding more vinegar, length of time for soaking... Nothing seems to make a difference except just continuing to rinse. Eventually, it rinses clean. Fortunately, I don't seem to be felting it.

I do like the way it's turning out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10.20 Dyeing

(Q. how on earth is it more than a week later?)

Having finally found my dye pot (I've been looking for more than six weeks), I got round to doing some dyeing that I've been planning for a year or so. I had dyed 7 skeins, but disliked the color so much, they've been sitting about looking ugly at me. I'd finally decided on Magenta as the color for overdyeing and am very happy with the way it turned out. The only thing I don't like is the rinsing and rinsing and rinsing that red dye requires. The skeins don't seem to change color, but the water is still red.

24 hours later:
Skein 1: 15 rinses to run clear. Hanging to dry.
Skein 2: 8 rinses: still red.
Skein 3: 5 rinses: still red.
Skeins 4-7: Waiting for their turn.

This is going to take forever. ::le sigh::

Monday, October 12, 2009

10.12 Time for soup

Anyone who knew me while I was growing up would be astounded to hear me say that Fall means Time for Soup. Growing up, I hated soup, just as growing up, my sister hated cheese. As each of us went out into the world of Being the Grown-up, we discovered we were wrong. Rather than disliking an entire category of food, we simply disliked that portion of the category we had been exposed to so far.

Each set of parents presents their children with those food they themselves like, rationally enough. One doesn't usually get up in the morning and say - I think today I'll buy some food I hate eating and make let the kids try it. For one thing, my experience with kids is that it takes between 3 and 7 exposures to a new food before they like it (fewer if it's similar enough to something they already like).* The wider that parents' tastes in food, the wider the children's exposure will be, but it still doesn't usually cover the entire possible gamut. My parents ate a lot of different things, but...

Anyway. Back to soup.

One of my favorites is my version of Mushroom Parmesan Soup, modified from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Soups and Stews (this is a book I've enjoyed very much in trying new soups out).

1.5 pounds mushrooms (This time I used a mix of Maitake (Hen of the Woods), Oyster, Crimini and a small package of dried Morels, reconstituted. - previously I've also used Shitake, Chanterelle and Enoki mushrooms in the mix - each different combination gives a slightly different end product. I haven't decided on the definitive combination yet, and may never!)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped.
2 cups scallions, chopped.
3 T butter
2 T flour
4 cups stock (beef or chicken. If beef, I use red wine; if chicken, white.)
1/2 c wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 egg yolks
2 T chopped fresh parsley
3/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Chop the stems off the mushrooms and roughly cut. Slice mushrooms thinly.
Heat oil in soup pot. Add mushroom stems, garlic and scallions. Steam, covered, for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Put this into a food processor and turn into a chunky paste (don't overdo the processing). Put the paste back into the soup pot, add the butter and flour, stir until melted and merged together.

Stir in the stock and the sliced mushroom caps. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the wine and stir.

Mix the egg yolks, parsley and parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. Stir into the soup mix. Serve immediately, usually with fresh bread. (Note: This was a taste 5 for K & S - everyone had some and I didn't have to listen to any whining!)

This leaves you with 4 egg whites (usually). After dinner, heat the oven to 350F. Beat the egg whites and 1/4 tsp salt on high to stiff peaks. Add 1 tsp almond extract. On a medium speed, gradually add (1 T at a time) 1 cup granulated sugar. When the sugar is all mixed in, measure out 1 T batter at a time onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. These won't expand, so you can put your batter dabs quite close together. Put cookie sheet in the oven and turn off the heat. Leave the oven closed until morning. Enjoy your Forgotten Cookies the next day.

*Our conversations go something like this:
Taste 1: Ew xyz is awful.
Taste 2: Yuk.
Taste 3: Why do you always make xyz?
Many months later, why don't you ever make xyz?
Taste 4: This is great!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

10.8 dye day

While I was running around trying not to dip my shawl in the indigo, I managed to come up with this:


being Jaggerspun Zephyr (wool/silk laceweight), dyed with (mordant)tin+goldenrod+indigo

and this: (the skein on the right)


These are both alpaca lacweight. The ball on the left was done at the last dye day with (mordant)alum + cochineal + indigo. This day's skein was (mordant)tin+cochineal+indigo.

The tin tends to strike on unevenly, and we had a full dye pot, so the yellow achieved with the goldenrod was quite variegated, from pale yellow to full on gold. This then went from blue to full on green and I really like it. The red from the cochineal wasn't quite so strikingly variegated, but you can see where the indigo left some bluer bits.

Both of these are destined to be shawls (what a surprise!). I'm thinking the tin/cochineal/indigo will form the stripe of one of the striped Icelandic shawls from the Triangle and Long Shawls book.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

10.7 Hyrna finished

Quite a while ago, I started Hyrna Herborgar. I ran out of yarn and ripped it all out. A while ago (two years and a bit?) I started Hyrna Herborgar again. I got to the part where the fans start, and got stalled because I had a mistake and no time to figure out where I'd goofed. I picked it up again and guess what?

It's done.


I actually wore it to Dye Day, and had many compliments, and worried like crazy that I'd get indigo dye splashed on it (didn't, but i worried). It looks all lacy and fragile, but it's alpaca laceweight and I was warm outside (57 degrees F) all day.