Tuesday

[knitting] Opus Spicatum

Still trying to be all matchy-matchy, I made a hat to go with my mittens:

Opus Spicatum


Pattern: Opus Spicatum (named after Opus Spicatum masonry

Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair

Needles: US 8 (5 mm) for ribbing, US 9 (5.5 mm) for colorwork

I like this hat. It still needs to be blocked to give it more of a tam shape (it fits like a beanie now). From two skeins of natural and two skeins of evergreen Mountain Mohair, I've made a pair of mittens and a hat. And I've still got enough leftover for some type of cowl, but I don't really want to wear this yarn around my neck. It's okay for my hands and head but the mohair content of the yarn would be itchy around my neck. Maybe a lined cowl?

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface


Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I finished up a shawl that I've been test knitting while watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on Hulu. I'm not done with it yet but oh my god. He came from England to Huntington, W. Virginia (the unhealthiest place in America) to try to change school lunches, educate people about food, etc.

The saddest part was him walking into an elementary classroom and holding up vegetables. None of the kids could identify anything. He held up tomatoes and one kid said "potato". He held up a potato and none of them knew what it was. He held up an eggplant (okay, maybe not commonly cooked with in that region) and tried to help them along by saying, "Egg...?" One kid shouted "Egg salad!" None of the kids had any idea what broccoli, cauliflower or celery looked like.

Then he showed them a chicken nugget. They all shouted "Chicken nugget!" They all correctly identified pizza, hamburger, and (of course) french fries. He held up the potato again and explained that french fries are made from potatoes. "Did you know that?" he asked. No one knew that.

It was really sad. I know it's not like that all over the country and maybe this explains why that particular location is the unhealthiest but... It's so sad that the kids are being set up for a lifetime of bad eating. Even what they're being fed in school, while meeting USDA guidelines, isn't good.

Anyway, I'm a Jamie Oliver fan now. Inspired, I made a nice chicken and noodle stir fry last night with onions, peppers, scallions, mushrooms and garlic.

Friday

[knitting] Matchy-matchy

Lotus Hat


Pattern: Lotus

Yarn: Classic Elite Renaissance Heathered

Needles: US 8 (5 mm)

Lotus Hat


Pattern: Lotus

Yarn: Classic Elite Lush

Needles: US 8 (5 mm)

I loved this pattern. I want to make it 12 more times. It uses less that 50 grams of worsted weight yarn (perfect for those random single skeins I have). The pattern grows out from the ribbing (love that) and even the decreases at top are pretty. I'm going to keep the purple one as a beanie and eventually block the angora one around a large dinner plate, to see how it looks as a tam.

These hats go with the cabled cowls I recently made. The purple is an exact match (used the same yarn) but the light blue one is not... but it's close enough.

Wednesday

[gaming] Agricola

I finally pulled out my copy of Agricola to play a two-player game with Dollar. I've seen this game played a couple times (at Carnage and Unity) and I've played once at my gaming group but there's a lot going on. I re-read the rules and set up the simplified "Family Game" version. It went well.

Visually, it helps that I splurged and pimped out my game with the animeeples, vegimeeples and people-meeples. These little wooden pieces (purchased separately) replace the abstract pieces that originally come with the game.

Here's an example of what a finished farm might look like with all the new pieces (except for gold bricks- I'm not sure yet what those would be used for):

Agricola


The people pieces in the core game are disks. Like, over-sized Necco wafers. I like having a Ma, a Pa and three kids:

Agricola


These pieces can make the game funnier when you send Pa out to go fishing for a round- while Ma has to plow a new field and the boy is bringing home a huge load of stones. So unfair. But character-building, I'm sure.

The animals are sheep, boar and cattle. These pieces are replacing white, black and brown cubes. CUBES!! A white cube is a sheep? No. I need my sheep to look like clouds with stubby legs:

Agricola


And the resources (which were originally small disks of the same color)... Wood and clay:

Agricola


Stone and reed:

Agricola


Carrots and wheat:

Agricola


Also, in the top right of the picture is food. These... foodeeples (?) were not represented in the core game. When you went fishing or converted your animal(s) into food or baked bread, you simply got a generic +1 food token. Now you can stock the pond with real fish, get meaty legs, bake real bread.

Now all I have to do is find a deep tray with at least 12 sections... Might go look at fishing tackle boxes.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

I'm pretty sure most people are aware by now that Murderface is a Manx and does not have a tail. Here's a good pic of his teddy bun-bun butt:

Murderface


Yes, that's what I call it. It's like a cross between a teddy bear and a bunny.

Friday

[knitting] Infinity feels like forever

In March, I knit an infinity scarf:

Twisted Rib infinity scarf


Pattern: Twisted Rib Neckwarmer (rav)

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky, color 429 cape cod gray, 2 skeins (every single inch of two skeins)

Needles: US 7

This is a nice, soft loop that you can wrap around your neck twice. I ran out of yarn at the end (trying to make just one more twisted repeat) and had to use scraps from my long tail cast-on. Even then, I had to kind of fudge the bind off. Oh well, it's not noticeable when I'm wearing it.

The single-ply yarn is just right for this pattern:

Twisted Rib infinity scarf


The only problem is that this project got tedious real fast. Oh em gee. For real. I thought it was called an infinity scarf because you twist it into a figure eight to wear but really, it's because the rows feel like they take forever.

Thursday

[spinning] MerSea Me

I picked up two 4oz bundles of pencil roving from a shop around DC last year. I don't want to name the shop because I had a bad experience. They are "bag free" but anyone who has never been there before has no way of knowing that. I put the roving on the counter, paid and there was this awkward moment where they say they're "bag free". As in: They do not have bags for your stuff and will not provide you with a bag. I was like, "I'm visiting from Vermont... I didn't know that... Don't you have a spare grocery bag or something?" They didn't (or wouldn't). And I didn't want to carry my delicate fiber out in the open, to the bar to meet co-workers, then to dinner, then back to the metro and back to the hotel. WTF.

But then they tell me they sell their own re-usable bags- I can buy one for five dollars.

Ooooh, oh oh oh, I get it now. You don't offer to bag your customer's goods for free, like a normal shop, but would rather force your customers to by one that has your logo on it for five dollars. That is so, completely, f'ed up to me. Don't pretend like you're doing the world a favor when you simply (a) don't want to spend money on plastic/paper bags to provide to your customers, and (b) force unsuspecting customers to buy your over-priced fabric bags.

Lois, at my local yarn shop, has a stack of purple plastic bags for her customer's purchases but more often than not, she usually just re-uses the plastic bags that her yarn orders come in. And you know what? That's okay! I don't mind! I like having the yarn I buy put into something that will hold it so that I may carry it.

But I digress. I'm just still pissed (a year later) that I had to buy one of their bags. And do you know how many times I've re-used it since I bought it? Zero.

Onto the fiber:

MerSea


It is very earthy shades of olive and brown.

The fiber is merino and seacell- MerSea. The seacell adds a nice sheen, like silk or bamboo.

MerSea


This is 4oz, two-ply. I've still got the other bundle to do. I spun this first one listening to Hardcore History episodes about the Punic War and Hannibal going over the Alps from Spain to invade Italy. I think that's right. Maybe I should listen to it again...

Wednesday

[spinning] Forestry

I'm trying to spin up some of my fiber stash (so that I can get more at the upcoming NH Sheep and Wool Fest).

Forestry


100% Rambouillet. Very nice stuff to spin- easy to draft and no lumps. Lots of colors in this as well...

Forestry


Ended up being dk-ish weight. Very nice and round and bouncy two-ply.

Forestry


I have another 4 oz in this Forestry color way, but it's a bamboo/merino blend. I'm spinning it into singles and it's coming along very prettily.

Tuesday

[misc] H-Mart, jocular material observe

My sister and I took a trip down to H-Mart on Saturday (leaving again at, sigh, 7am). We got some shrooms, kimchis, meats, etc. We spent more time than usual in the housewares section. I had to take pictures of a couple funny things...

Like this pork noose:

Pork noose, for cooking


It's just kitchen twine but the way it's packaged is funny. Now that's what I call "hog tied". Har har.

Also saw a Sanitation Scoop:

Sanitation Scoop


I have no idea what a sanitation scoop is meant to be used for but this thing looks nearly exactly like the rice paddle that came with my rice cooker. Ewwww.

The scoop says "Emboss function addition":

Sanitary Scoop


Three seemingly unrelated words. I think it probably originally said something like "With useful texture" and someone just ran it through an automated translator.

Lastly, I had to get these snacks:

Red Ginseng Chocolate Crunky


Red Ginseng Chocolate Crunky. Yes, h'es do look like k's, so it's understandable. But unintentionally funny. And for those of you that haven't had ginseng before, it does kind of taste like dirt. It was a disappointing lesson for Dollar.

Wednesday

[misc] Murderface Wednesday

Murderface likes to lay on anything handknit. He will knead, purr, curl up, take a quick bath and pass out. And snore. It's very cute. I like it when he hangs out with me in the craft room while I spin or watch Dancing with the Stars.

Murderface bathing

Tuesday

[hiking] Holt's Ledge

Went up Holt's Ledge on Sunday. Most of my hikes have been either short or not too steep. While this one was still short (just over 2 miles), it's the steepest one I've done this year, gaining > 1000 feet. Not too impressive but it's a start. My goal is to do Franconia Notch by the end of the summer, which will be an elevation gain of > 3800 feet.

Anyway, Holt's Ledge was good. Not too muddy. You follow the Appalachian Trail up to fine views and, yes, a precipitous ledge.

Holt's Ledge


I loved these branches:

Holt's Ledge


The view was awesome:

Holt's Ledge


Holt's Ledge


Holt's Ledge


At the top is one of Dartmouth Skiway's lifts. And there was still snow at the top!

Holt's Ledge


The walk back down was easy (but muddy) down one of the Skiway's trails:

Holt's Ledge


After hiking two days in a row, I'm a little limpy. I'm actually glad it's supposed to be a rainy week. I can stay inside and knit.

Monday

[hiking] Many seasons of Gile

I was able to talk Dollar into hiking up Gile with me on Saturday. It was a really (I mean really) nice day- 84 flipping degrees out. The trail wasn't too muddy.

At the top, we had to wait our turn to go up the fire tower. I heard all kinds of squawking and wondered if there was a little pond with ducks or geese. We walked to a little patch of water and saw that the squawking was coming from frogs! In the 50 sq ft patch of standing water was probably more than 50 frogs. They were playing leapfrog and just generally going crazy. I was able to pick one up:

Gile Mt.


Awww.

The view at the top was great and it's interesting to see what the different seasons do for the view. The spring picture is from Saturday. The summer one is from 2008. And the fall one is from 2006.

In the spring:

Gile Mt.


In the summer:

Gile Mt. 052908


In the fall:

Gile 5