Wednesday

[knitting] Round Dishcloths

Finished a couple dishcloths:

dishcloth


dishcloth


The yarn for both is Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton, which I like because you can machine wash and dry it.

This pattern is easy and I like how the colors change when knit in short-row wedges (no color-pooling here), but to close the cloth up, you need to garter graft live stitches from the needle to your cast-on edge. It's difficult and if done incorrectly or too tight, there's a very definite hard line in an otherwise sqwooshy cloth.

I made this mistake with the green one (my first attempt at this pattern) and had to undo the bind off and try again. It's better now.

I still have to wash/dry these. I hope that after drying the bind off row will pull in and hide.

I've been trying to think of another way to close these up. Maybe a provisional cast-on of some sort, but that might not work because you have to wrap one of your very first stitches... Hmm...

Tuesday

[knitting] Dice Pouch

I knit a medium dice pouch this weekend (loosely following this pattern).

dice pouch


No dice inside. Instead, it's Halloween candy!

dice pouch


Here's the thing about this yarn. In a skein it's not so pretty:

Atacama


But wound into a ball, it gets more interesting:

alpaca


The yarn is Atacama by Araucania. It's 100% alpaca and so soft with a pretty halo. It's also a little splitty and wouldn't cooperate with my little i-cord machine. I had to knit the i-cord by hand. I made the pouch on Sunday and spent Sunday evening admiring and petting the bag.

I'm making another one with Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort. While the Cotton Comfort (20% cotton, 80% wool) has a pretty tweed look, it feels SO DRY in my hands. I might soak the finished object in conditioner-laden water once I'm done.

Wednesday

[knitting] Clogs: pre-felted

Here are my clogs (view from the top, then view looking at the double-thick bottoms):

Women's clogs top


Women's clogs bottom



Here are Dollar's clogs:

Men's clogs top


Men's clogs bottom


I only just started weaving in ends last night (those are lots of ends to weave in!). I'm heading down to Webs this Saturday with girls from my knitting group and I plan on getting a couple pairs of suede slipper bottoms.

Tuesday

[knitting] Round Dishcloth

Petal dishcloth


This project has been stalled for a while. I made another one and the seam where you close the end to the beginning is all kinds of wonky. I need to rip it out and re-do it so that it feels uniformly squishy/stretchy. Then I'll finish this one.

But I do love how the stripes and colors work out when you knit these wedges using short rows.

Monday

[knitting] More socks

Sock knitting is something I constantly have on my #6 and #7 double-pointed needles. I work on them while waiting for coffee to brew or watching Buffy (onto Season 7!). Here's a pair of Lion Brand Wool Ease:

Lion Brand Wool Ease


The color is burgundy with a little golden wheat mixed it. Very pretty. The very first pair of worsted weight socks I knit for Dollar were also Wool Ease. The ribbing around the leg was a little loose and the heel flap was too short. Oops. But the socks have washed and worn great so far.

Next, Plymouth Encore Colorspun:

Encore colorspun socks


I don't know if I'll use this yarn again. See how thick-and-thin the leg of the completed sock is? That's because the yarn (depending on the color) ranged from worsted weight to bulky weight. What's up with that? And the colors on the other sock are slightly different- see how much darker the brown is in the unfinished one? And the yellow band? I checked and the two balls of yarn I used are the same color and the same dye lot. So again- What's up with that?

Next up will be a pair of light brown Cascade 220 superwash. I'm thinking I'd like to do something other than boring 1 x 1 ribbing for the leg. One good thing about the Plymouth Colorspun is that the color changes kept the knitting interesting.

Sunday

[amy] Warm weekend foliage

Dollar and I accompanied my mother up to the farm in South Royalton today. After many dreary days it was nice to be out.

Farm Foliage 6


This is my grandparent's old farm. The plan is to renovate and then move in next year (we hope).

Farm Foliage 4


The sky was so blue with not one cloud in sight. It was also so warm the we walked around in t-shirts. The foliage wasn't terribly vibrant this year because of the warm weather.

Farm Foliage 5

Thursday

[knitting] The Gift of Friendship Scarf

I gifted this to my sister last night for her birthday, so I can show it here now:

Gift of Friendship Scarf


Pattern: The Gift of Friendship
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud
Color: Tidepool
Needles: US #4 single points
Mods: None

Gift of Friendship Scarf


I started it way back in June. This project has traveled with me to San Diego and New York City. I'm not sure I would have been able to make it were it not for all the waiting, flying, hotel hours.

It was interesting working with lace weight yarn. I think this was the first time I ever have. It only took one ball of Alpaca Cloud. What other hand knit scarf can you make for $4.99? There are even some clearance colors right now for $3.99! This yarn would make a nice, light lace cowl.

Gift of Friendship Scarf


Gift of Friendship Scarf

Wednesday

[cooking] Shepherd's Pie

INGREDIENTS!

2 lbs ground lamb
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons flour
3-4 generous dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt & pepper

1 bag frozen corn

3-4 large potatoes
butter & milk


INSTRUCTIONS!

1. Preheat over to 375F.

2. Peel, quarter, boil potatoes.

3. Break up lamb in pan over medium-high heat and cook until JUST brown. Drain meat and set aside. Return pan to stove and reduce heat to medium. Saute the onions in a little fat for 5-7 minutes, add garlic and cook for another couple minutes.

4. Return meat to pan. Add thyme and sprinkle flour over meat. Stir and cook for a couple minutes to ensure that the flour has been absorbed evenly. Add Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, tomato paste, salt and pepper. The meat should be saucy-looking. Add a little water or more chicken stock if it's still too dry-looking.

5. Rice or mash the cooked potatoes to smooth consistancy with butter and milk.

6. In a large casserole dish, layer meat, then corn (frozen), then potatoes. Smooth the top of the potatoes (like frosting a cake) and use a fork to drag designs into the blank canvas. I try to replicate Van Gogh's Starry Night in less than 1 minute. Drop a few thin pats of butter in top- The idea is that when the butter melts in the oven, it will spread along the little troughs you've made with the fork.

7. Bake 30 minutes uncovered.


ADDENDUM!

- I've made this recipe in the past, as is, without the addition of flour, chicken stock and tomato paste. The meat always turned out DRY and crumbly when plating up. I wanted to make it a little saucy and cohesive this time. I liked it much better this way.

- For the love of kittens this was a burp-tastic dinner. I went out drinking with friends after and I KNOW they knew it was me who was burping. Ugh, I'm sorry. Maybe it wasn't the dinner so much as the beer that was making me burp but either way, one wasn't helping the other. You've been warned.

- What's with all the Shepherd's Pie recipes online that say meat-with-peas-and-carrots and mashed potatoes on top? For me, it's always been ground beef, corn, potatoes (which is technically "Cottage Pie"). I told Dollar about the beef with peas and carrots. He said, "Ew! No, it's supposed to be beef, corn and mashed potatoes!" I know! Is it just a New England thing?

Monday

[amy] Zombie Raccoon

Things were busy last week so Dollar and I had a quiet weekend. Friday night we went out to eat at Gusanoz. I was all excited about going out with my guy so I put on make-up to look pretty. We ordered the verde specials which were very good. Back at home, I went up to the bathroom and caught a look at myself in the mirror. I grabbed Dollar and said "Look at this!" while pointing to the dark, smokey, sexy eye make-up that had crawled down my face over the course of the evening. "You know it's not supposed to look like this, right?" He shrugged. Maybe he really didn't know. I tried to explain it to him: "If we're out and you see me looking like a zombie raccoon, PLEASE tell me to check it out in a bathroom mirror or something! I feel so embarrassed! THIS is why the wait staff was looking at me so funny! God! I'm sorry! I'm so hormonal... [crying] I look like a junkie. This isn't funny."

Then we watched Apocolypto. It was a very beautiful movie. Interesting story, scary, sad and violent.

Saturday I watched more Buffy (onto Season 6!) and worked on knitting more clogs to felt. So far I've made (but not felted):

- Woman's Large, knit with Lion Brand 100% Wool
- Men's Large, knit with Patons Classic Merino Wool

Next up:

- Woman's Medium, knit with Plymouth Galway

At the end of the month I'll probably make a trip to Webs. There, I plan on picking up to following yarn for more clogs:

- Ella Rae Classic Wool (this is a closeout and while I'm loving the price, I'm not loving the remaining color selection)
- Valley Yarn, Northampton

I want to get a bunch of these made all at once, so they can be left by the front door for guests to use. I also want to see how the different wool yarns felt.

But the pile o' unfinished projects continues to grow. Tonight I have to weave in ends, block, take pictures, etc. I have to I have to I have to!

Sunday was chores: laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, dishes, supper, etc etc etc etc blah etc. We had a very nice dinner of pan-seared boneless pork ribs, oven roasted potatoes, stuffing and peas.

Friday

[cooking] Teri-gogi chicken wings

Tuesday night I had a couple people over for supper and made the yummiest, prettiest chicken wings ever. I loosely followed this recipe for Teriyaki wings but used Korean bulgogi marinade for sauce instead.

Teri-gogi Chicken Wings

* 2 dozen chicken wingette/drummette pieces (for party wings)
* 1 cup Bulgogi Marinade
* Salt/Pepper
* Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

- Heat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat. Arrange wings on an aluminum-foil lined rimmed baking sheet; season both sides with salt and pepper. Broil, turning once, until lightly browned and tender, 10 minutes each side.

- Place wings in large bowl, tip pan to drain juices/fat in another bowl (to discard later), toss wings with bulgogi marinade, put wings back onto baking sheet and broil again, 5 minutes each side.

- Pour wings back into bowl, toss to evenly coat, pour into serving dish, garnish with a few pinches of toasted sesame seeds.

These wings came out awesome. One of my dinner guests actually exclaimed, "Holy s**T those look good!" I like the bulgogi marinade because it's thicker than regular teriyaki sauce so it coats the wings well. They were a rich mahogany color.

I can't wait to go back down to the Korean food store in Northampton, MA to stock up on more jars of the bulgogi marinade!

Tuesday

[amy] Loooooooong weekend

Whew, what a nice long weekend. It was my birthday and I took a 4-day mini vacation. I spent the weekend knitting up a pair of wool clogs to felt. It was a fast, easy knit. I've got the bottoms to sew up and ends to weave in.

I got to open my birthday presents from Dollar at midnight on Friday and he get me the most perfect gifts ever. It's nice to know that he listens to what I say and remembers. Awwww. My sister and her boyfriend got me cooking stuff, which will be put to good use.

We went to the Great Vermont Corn Maze on Saturday. It was a little rainy but the maze was still fun. For Dollar. Since he was the only one that made it out on his own. I got hints/cheats from a guy who worked there. Barbara and her boyfriend ended up taking an emergency exit out.

Saturday night we had the most awful dining experience at a local restaurant. We're never going back there. They made us feel like they REALLY didn't give a shit about seating us EVER. It was my birthday dinner, so my mom was trying to keep it positive ("Don't let the stupid hostess ruin your birthday, sweetie.") but none us had a good time. I can make just as good Italian food at home and I'm not going to treat my dinner guests like they're pieces of shit.

The rest of the weekend was doing a little of this and a little of that around the house. Dollar did a moving project and made his old room the new bedroom and the old bedroom the gaming/lounge room. Which I suppose is better because now there's no more of me angrily huffing and rolling around in bed (trying to sleep) while he click-clack-clackclackclack's away on Guitar Hero.

Wednesday

[amy] Getting back to normal

I went to see a dermatologist yesterday about my hands. She wasn't really any help and seemed more interested in typing on her laptop. Is this the way doctors in hospitals are now? They don't look at you or your affliction, they just ask about it and type it? Whatever.

My hands are at a point now where I can knit again. After almost a week (!!!!) of no knitting, I caught up on some socks, finished my mother's bamboo tam, finished the secret lace thing, and worked more on a round petal dishcloth.

I was planning to do even more knitting but saw Dollar watching Knocked Up. I have much love for Freaks & Geeks, so after seeing what Martin Starr looked like in the film and exclaiming, "Holy S**t! That's Haverchuck!", I had to watch too. It's hilarious- if you like sexist, potty humor. Which I do, so it worked out pretty well.

Monday

[amy] October!

Well, I got my hands on something I'm allergic to. I've got one bad hand and one "Oh my god, get that thing away from me, you Monster!" hand. Clearly I can still type (my fingers are okay from the 2nd knuckle up) which means I still get to come to work. Yea. Anyway, I saw a doctor about this last week. I'm hoping for a miraculously rapid recovery because I currently can't cook or knit. So I've been spending my time (a) applying cream, (b) watching Buffy, and (c) whimpering to Dollar in the hopes that he'll coddle me. No such luck.

But what about the Megadeth concert this past Saturday? Did we go? Yes. I wasn't too into it because of my hands but we motivated and drove down to Hampton Beach, NH. I tried clapping with just my fingertips but gave that up and just starting throwing up the devil horns instead. The show was good.

So it's October and what are the plans for this month? This weekend is my birthday and I'm taking a long weekend. I'm thinking a hike up Gile Mt., a day trip to the Great Vermont Corn Maze, maybe a trip to Northampton, MA (for Webs and Korean food store). Later on this month is my sister's birthday. Halloween is at the end of the month. I'm sure between now and then I'll do some apple picking and pumpkin carving.