Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Zara Progress

I'm making good progress on the Zara Empire Shell - but the neck ruffle is going slow because it's about 400 stitches around, and I'm only about 2/3 done. Will it be finished for me to wear on Friday? Well, I think so. But just in case, I think I'll do the side seams now, and make the tie that goes through the top of the ruffle to gather it together. If I'm still not quite finished with the ruffle, I can thread the tie through the unfinished loops of knitting, rather than through the eyelet border it should have when it's done. Clever, huh? Well, in theory anyway.

This next photo is what I woke up to this morning. Sigh. I used to love having four "real" seasons, and the fact that our winters here were much milder and sunnier than in the East. But the older I get, the more cranky I get over the cold and the snow. No wonder people move South when they retire. Of course, if I can stay indoors and don't have to go out and drive around in it, it's not so bad.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Walk in the Park

It was such a lovely day today, that I even managed to talk my husband into a walk in the park. It was in the low 40's, but sunny enough to make it lovely walking weather. A few photos we took along the way inspired me to do a "Walk With Me" ala Margene.



I tried to talk Princess into taking the walk with us. But she just gave me that "you want me to do what?" stare. I couldn't even tempt her by telling her all about Moxie and his tree climbing adventure. OK, no tree climbing for her.
Great Honk! The lake was totally filled with ducks and geese. (A gold star for getting the movie reference.)
A few birdwatchers by the lake. Hmmmm... aren't you feeling a little cold? A slight draft perhaps? (Gee, I hope that's not anybody I know. Or at least, nobody who reads this blog.)
And, of course, a texture photograph. Leaves in the pond.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Empire's Back

As hoped, I did get the back of the Filatura Di Crosa Empire Shell done last night. And here it is, being modeled by Brown Betty. Unlike husbands, she doesn't mind trying on the same thing a zillion times, and never even complains when I stick her with pins. I'm hoping to have the whole thing done before the end of the month, so I can wear it to a Christmas party in early December.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pirates and Walkers

Knitting progress: Almost done with the back of the Empire Shell. I had hoped to get it finished this afternoon, but had too many errands to run to do any knitting - but I should be able to get it finished tonight, and maybe get started on the front.

But on the bright side, I got to go down to Draper for a stop at Pirate O's. What a great store - too bad I don't get down there very often. I came back with all kinds of goodies - some anchovy-stuffed olives (which I love, even though I normally don't like anchovies), some Valrhona dark chocolate, Sanders fudge sauce (from Michigan - brings back many memories for DH), Lavosh crackers, and a great find: Walkers mincemeat tarts, made with Glenfiddich. And boy are they good! (You can also get them without the Glenfiddich). And Jackie, not to tempt you or anything, but they have a whole shelving unit full of Walkers products. On the way home, we stopped at Nevole's for some New York style pizza. It was very good, and we'd go there again, but we still think the best in the state is Tommy Angelo's (but it's not easy for us to get to since it's on the air force base now). Rusted Sun is probably still going to be our "usual".

For your drooling pleasure (these remind me of the raisin cookies I used to get at the bakery):

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

53

That was the temperature at 7:15 a.m. when I took this sunrise photo from downtown Salt Lake City. Amazing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lightly Stretched

This is the top I'm working on now, from the Zara & Zara Plus 2005 book. The gauge says 24 st = 4" in 2x2 rib "lightly stretched". Hmmmph. Now that seems a bit open to interpretation, doesn't it? I'm using Filatura Di Crosa Zara, which is very elastic. I'm knitting the size "small" (34" bust finished measurement), but I cast on 4 stitches less, as I wanted it to be a bit closer to 32/33". I'm knitting it flat, so I was expecting to get somewhere close to or just over 16" in width. I've got about half of the back done, and unstretched it's barely 10" wide. If I stretch it almost fully, it's close to 20". In order to get it to 16", I have to pull it out about 3/4 of the way between compacted and fully stretched. That seems to be a bit more stretching than "lightly stretched". What to do, what to do... continue on and hope for the best? That's one of the reasons I decided not to attempt to convert the pattern to knitting in the round. It leaves open a lot more options if I need to adjust the size. Maybe for the front I'll cast on the original number of stitches. I guess I'll finish the back and see what I think, then decide. I must say, though, I'm really loving the Zara yarn. It's so soft and squishy. I shall call him squishy. And he shall be mine. And he shall be my squishy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Camoflaged

I wanted to make this neck gaiter to wear with my heavy winter coat. The colorway of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb I really wanted was "Gold Hill", but I also planned on buying some other yarn along with it (the total of both would give me free shipping), but for months either one or the other was out of stock. Finally I gave up and bought the colorway "Camoflage". I was a bit turned off by the name, but it was difficult to find colors that would go with my coat. When I bought the coat, I was walking to work every day, and wanted something that was both very warm and very visible. And I got it - I look like a walking construction cone in it. But at least I was a little less likely to get run over in the street. After I got the yarn, though, I wasn't quite so excited about it. There was a lot of dark steel blue in it, and I wasn't sure I was going to like it. And, in truth, it's a little dull just to look at by itself. But as it turns out, the coat has a dark gray lining, and the colors actually work - and perhaps even better than the color I was originally looking at. But the irony of it. Wearing my bright orange construction cone costume coat for visibility, with a camoflage neck wrap. Go figure.

And the other yarn I bought with it? Filatura Di Crosa Zara for this shell. I've got to get working on it if I hope to wear it this Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Afternoon Musings

I cast on for Icarus last night. It will probably be a slow project since I have so many other things to get to before Christmas, but at least I've made a start! Fortunately, the main body of the shawl should go pretty quickly. I just wish I wasn't trying to knit dark red laceweight yarn with dark red needles. I'm forced to look geeky at SnB with my REI headlamp. But I think I'm going to start a new trend, and everyone will be wearing them soon. I'm such a fashion-setter.

I just got back from lunch at my favorite little pastry shop, Les Madeleines. Sigh. It's both a blessing and a curse to live only a couple of blocks away from this little piece of heaven. It is virtually impossible for me to ever go there without getting the most incredible pastry I've ever had, their Kouing Aman. (Unless of couse, they're sold out.) Fortunately that was not the case today. On Katherine's advice, I also came home with a tropical parfait, something I haven't tried there before (it's really hard to get past the Kouing Aman. Or the chocolate croissants. Or the fruit tarts. Or... well, you get the picture). I'll be having the parfait tonight for dessert. Oh, and I know this will make Gwen happy - they do make their iced coffee with coffee ice cubes. Of course.

After that delightful lunch, I came home and checked my mail and Google News. It's bad enough to be inundated with all the latest crap about Britney Spears and Tom Cruise, but my God, did I have to see this? I'm speechless. On so many levels.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Seduced



Yes, it's another non-knitting-related post. (Well, actually, I will slip in something about knitting, I promise.)

I admit it. I love good food. Sunday I made my usual morning trek to Costco. And there, in all their glory, were huge King Crab legs. Whispering my name as I slowly wandered by the seafood case. "Halibut Oscar!" I thought. I was seduced. Totally seduced. So I had them wrap up one of those bad boys for me. One leg, one pound. Next, over to the fish section for a nice piece of Alaskan halibut. Would they have asparagus? Yes! And wait, what's that I see? Butternut squash, all nicely peeled and cubed and ready to cook. Perfect! So for dinner, I tossed the cubed squash with a little olive oil and some fresh thyme from the garden, then popped it in the oven to roast. While that was roasting, I de-shelled the crab, steamed the asparagus, and sauteed the fish. Then I made my never-fail Hollandaise sauce: egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and melted butter (plus a bit of fresh tarragon, just because I had it), all whirred up in the blender. Simple and delicious. Halibut topped with crab, asparagus, and hollandaise, with the roasted squash on the side. DH was in orbit. Well, at least until he had to wash the dishes. I cook, he cleans up. Fair is fair.

I also made a cocktail from a recipe I found on the Internet, called "Worried Monk". I found it when searching for drinks using Orgeat syrup. I'm not sure what's stranger - the fact that someone actually created a cocktail using this combination of ingredients, or the fact that I happened to have all of them on hand: white rum, coconut rum, triple sec, yellow Chartreuse, lime juice, and Orgeat syrup. After all, how many people do you know in the U.S. who have yellow Chartreuse. Or green. (I have both.) Anyway, I'm glad I found the recipe. It's quite tasty.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled knitting posting. (See, I promised.) Yesterday I had made up a few samples of various ideas for our arrowhead lace swap, and was holding them up to me and looking at them in the mirror. It was only then that I realized that the sweater I was wearing had stripes of - you guessed it - little arrowhead lace. Then this morning at work, I noticed that one of my staff members was was wearing a sweater with arrowhead lace. The word was out.

Tonight's SnB was great... I got to see the start of Erin's beautiful Venezia pullover. Blogless Karen was wearing a stunning sweater that looked totally fab on her, and the angora in it made it as soft as a whisper. I covet it. Miriam shared some yummy dark chocolate (my fav). And yippee! Laurie brought soap! I bought three bars. "Gentle" for me, "Smolder" for DH, and "Zinger" just for fun.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Language Fun

Last week our SnB group was discussing irritating language usage. I mentioned that one of my own pet peeves is the written use of the possessive instead of the plural. One of my examples was the sign on 300 West near Costco, which said "In-line, Midbox and Pad's Available". Every time I saw that sign I couldn't help thinking "Pad's what are available?" Today I noticed that someone has finally painted out the apostrophe. Thank you.

Last night we had a decent but inexpensive French wine, and I decided to look it up on the Internet. Not surprisingly, some of the search results were in French, so I clicked on the link to do a machine translation of the page into English. This was my result:
Granacha 2003 is a pure wine Grenache, trés dense and rich in alcohol, it is a solid wine to be heated the winter.

Vine growers of Estezargues:
Festive wines - a co-operative cellar except standard! Under the brilliant crook of Jean-François Nicq (now party to fly of its own wings in its field of the Red Scarves) all the bad habits were given up, finished the selected yeasts, the excess treatments. After grape harvest with full maturity, the wine making is done without suffers and at low temperature in order to preserve to the maximum the fruit. The result is there: wines greedy, full, fleshy, with drinking in their youth, when they are still full with the sun and the heat of the rolled rollers, emblem as of the these Rhone-native soils of the accesses of Lirac.
LMAO!! It made me wonder just how mangled a paragraph would be if you repeatedly translated it from one language to another. So I took my previous posting on Green Gableness and translated it from English to French, from French to German, and then from German to English. Here's the final result:
Here the proof - my second green gear wheel finally made. (And this mark is even green it). I made just these a little smaller than first. I like the adjustment better these, but I think the fact that I like filé red that I used myself the first time, that better than this green (both of them is brown wading animals from sheep cotton). But I will certainly carry both of them. It is ungerad, as I had completely different cord experience with the same model. First went without any jerkiness and fast. This was a dog, and I am lucky, in order to let it terminate. Now I can travel above to some from my other intended projects! I must begin to find me outside what I will make for the exchange of point arrow tying lacing of SnB.
I'm so easily amused. I could entertain myself for days this way. I challenge all of you to take one of your postings and do the same.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Green Gableness


Here's the proof - my second Green Gable, finally done. (And this time, it's even green). I made this one just a bit smaller than the first. I like the fit of this one a little better, but I think I like the red yarn I used the first time better than this green (both are Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece). But I'll certainly wear both. It's odd how I had such a completely different knitting experience with the same pattern. The first one went smoothly and quickly. This one was a bitch, and I'm glad to have it finished. Now I can move on to some of my other planned projects! I need to start figuring out what I'm going to do for the SnB arrowhead lace swap...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Done and Blocking

Green Gable is done, washed, and drying. Finally! And I think the fit will be okay. I was so tired of working on it that when I got to the ribbing on the second sleeve, and knew I only had a three rows left, I promised myself that I was not going to stop for any reason until I was done. Not even though I had just had a big glass of iced tea and already felt like I had to pee. (You can see where this is going, I'm sure.) Just as I was finishing up the last row of ribbing, I came across a knot in the yarn. DAMN! Wouldn't you know it - this was the only skein of yarn I didn't rewind on my ball winder. And all I had left was a few stitches and the bind-off. I knew that the right thing to do was to rip out the 150-or-so stitches I'd done, and reknit them with a fresh piece of yarn after the break, especially since I had plenty of yarn. But, the bathroom was calling and I wasn't going to go back on my promise to myself. And besides, I just wanted to get the silly thing done and out of the way. So, I just went ahead and finished it. So there. Finito.

On a more positive note, I made a very yummy dinner tonight. I baked some spaghetti squash and also cooked a bit of whole-wheat capellini to go with it, since the squash was a small one. Then I chopped up a can of artichoke hearts and added them to the squash/pasta, added a bit of fresh chopped rosemary, and grated in some cheese (some kind of French hard cheese - I don't know the name of it). For a sauce, I grabbed a jar of Alfredo sauce out of the pantry and added a couple of tablespoons of homemade pesto (I make a lot of it and freeze it in ice-cube trays - then I can just grab a cube of it whenever I want). Mixed the whole thing together and served it with extra grated cheese on top, and a nice glass of French Chablis. Hubby was very pleased. And I have some leftover artichokes and Alfredo/pesto sauce - I think I'll make an omelette with it tomorrow. Another glass of that wine and I'm going to forget all about that stupid sweater. I think I'll go watch Dave. Seems appropriate for post-election entertainment.

Knitting Progress

I'm nearly finished with Green Gable, but I have to say that I'm not really motivated by it. The first one I made was a quick, easy knit, and I love wearing it. This one seems to just have the wrong karma. Hopefully I'll be finished with it soon, and it will be wearable. It seems just a bit snug, but I think it will grow a bit when washed. It'll be good to have that project over and done with. In the meantime, I've finished two wristwarmers from my cashmere... but they're not the same. After making the first one, I decided it was a little too tight, so I changed the pattern for the second one, and I like it much better. So now I'll go back and reknit the first one to match the second. Also good news is that it will only take half the skein of yarn for both wristwarmers, so I'll have enough to do another pair, or perhaps something else.

I also bought some yarn for the SLC SnB arrowhead lace swap, and have a general idea of what I want to make... but I'll have to do some sample swatches.

My trip to Tucson was great. The weather was fabulous (80's during the day, 50's at night), and we had a wonderful time. I can definitely see myself moving down there in a few years. We toured the city, went to the DeGrazia gallery, the Richard Avedon "In the American West" exhibit at the Center for Creative Photography (fabulous!), browsed art stores and antiques fairs, went to the Agua Caliente park, hit the 4th Avenue shopping district several times, went to the All Souls Parade, ate lots of good food, went to Trader Joe's three times, drove to Tubac for an afternoon, had a nice time with our friends, and even spent a little time in a casino before our flight home. All in all, a perfect vacation.

I'll leave you with a couple of images from the All Souls procession for your enjoyment:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Putrified Pink

I just got back from a lovely visit to Tucson (more on that later). While waiting in the SLC airport for my flight, I had the great misfortune of entering the women's restroom in the E concourse that's located in the food court (behind Starbuck's). It was so hideous I had to go back and get my camera (try explaining to a bunch of women in a restroom why you're taking photos...) The person who designed this restroom should be shot fired. Did someone just decide that it should be decorated in pink and gray, and just order "pink" countertops, stalls, and tile without bothering to see out what color they really were? Well, perhaps I'm stretching things a bit in calling the tile pink. It was more of a peachy-sand color. The countertops were not a bad color, but they were a warm pink that didn't coordinate AT ALL with either the color of the tile or the color of the stalls. Or the colors on the floor. The stalls were a ghastly pink with a slight purple undertone - sort of a vomitous orchid. I can't believe any company would even spew forth manufacture something in this color. Unfortunately, my camera could not capture the true essence of this color. I really do normally like pink, even though I don't wear it often. But even she-who-loves-pink would have cringed in horror at this sight.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween SnB

Being that it was Halloween, last night's SnB was only lightly attended. But it was nice, because everyone was in on the same conversation. Margene bemoaned the error in the Toasty Toes socks she knitted (like anyone would care, it just makes them extra-special, doesn't it?), while Miriam removed half of her clothing partway through the evening (I'm not telling which half). Meanwhile, Bruce showed off his legs in his Fred Flintstone costume. Woo-hoo! As usual, a good time was had by all... oh, and Happy Birthday Jacquie!