Wednesday, May 25, 2005


My sister is going to Shanghai, China for a month this summer. She'll be teaching elementary age children English by day, sightseeing and exploring by night. She's thrilled at the opportunity, but a bit nervous about being so far away from home for such a long time.

Here's where the crafty bits come in. She asked me to knit up the backgammon board and checkers board with carrying bags from Weekend Knitting for the trip. Well, I'll admit to amazing time-bending powers, but it just isn't going to happen. Far too much to do between now and July 11th, and for once I'm going to take the sane route and demur. However, that doesn't mean I still can't make up both boards some other way. I'm thinking applique, mainly out of my fabric stash if possible. A two-sided board with backgammon on one side and a checkers board on the other with a matching bag for the board, beads/buttons/markers of some sort, cards, and any other game type things she wants to take wouldn't be hard at all.

On to details. Thought I'd start looking for dimensions and what each board should look like so I can start sketching and planning. Googled and voila, backgammon board! Also found rules to play with in PrintShop, pretty up, and tuck inside. The checkers board is simple: 64 equal sized squares. I think she knows how to play ;-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

And now for something completely different

Or not.

Couldn't help myself. This Kiri is for *me*me*me*...all for me, thank you ;-) I'm using Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Peacock, and the colors are jewel-like and perfect. They are much more intense than the picture would suggest. It's going much faster than my first attempt (hmmm.....could that be because the yarn is oh, three times larger?), and I'm loving it.

Also trying to finish these for poor Dan, who never seems to get any knitted love:

These are from wool I got cheap on eBay. I'm knitting it up using the Fluted Bannister pattern from the Six Socks Knitalong with my own heels and toe. The heel is in garter stitch so it will hopefully wear longer, and the first one fits Dan perfectly. He's awaiting the other less than patiently, so I'd better get on it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Kiri is blocking!

Finished the beading late this morning. After some false starts I decided to revert to crochet to attach the beads (started typing "attack" right there - interesting slip, eh?). After all was said and done, I realized a rather blatant problem: my cast off edge was too tight. I blithely skipped the written instructions for casting off (what am I saying - I never actually saw them at all) and forged on without guidance late last night. There isn't time to go back and re-work, since this is due to be a present tomorrow and I still have 96 samosas to make today.

Here is where I found the wonders of blocking. While it won't fix the tight edge problem, I am in awe at how much stretching you can do with damp wool. The intended scallop edge is impossible with so much tension from the cast off so it end
ed up rather straight. All in all, I think it works. Naturally, all I can see is the mistakes I made, but I'm learning to let go and move on, especially when everyone else (read: my husband, also an extreme perfectionist) says it looks great.

Here is my beaded version of Kiri, soaking up some sun:

(better picture once it's fully dry)

I made it a bit smaller, as this is intended to be a waist wrap instead of a shoulder wrap. My yoga teacher often wears something lacy around her waist, and the ideal here would be to have something longer in width than in length so it's easy to tie around without adding too much bulk.

Kiri, finished!

I am completely blown away. The shawl is so light and airy, so soft, so intricate. I couldn't have possibly made this! The straight edge works surprisingly well, and the beads add a bit of sparkle and interest to make up for the missing scallops.

Here she is, in all her glory:

Close up of the beaded edging. I used some cut crystal beads that sparkle nicely, though you can't tell from this far away.

Last view, just because. Lace knitting truly is magic.

All right, I lied. One more, a close up of the beads:

Now, on to samosa making! (update: filling is cooked and cooling down.)

All systems go

Samosas, check. Tamarind-ginger chutney, check. Cilantro-mint chutney, check. Scones, check. Kiri, check. Laundry, check. Might even have time for a bath before bed. Love it when I alter time and space ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sometimes a bandaid is all you need

Arden is four and a half (under the age of ten or so, that half is *very* important). He is firmly convinced that a bandaid will fix anything that ails you. Cold? "You need a bandaid!" Headache? "You need a bandaid!" Microscopic scrape on the chin, so tiny that it's hard to tell if there was an injury in the first place?


There are days I wish all of my problems could be fixed so easily. At the same time, I am tickled to be able to make things better so easily, so I buy up bandaids in all shapes, sizes and colors in case of emergency. And I'll admit to getting a kick out of wearing the occasional Fairly Oddparents bandage myself ;-)

Who needs sleep, anyway?

It's crunch time. I have to finish the following by Saturday morning (reminder to self - it's late Thursday now):

Finish edging on Kiri shawl
Work out beading for Kiri, then apply to shawl
Block Kiri shawl
Make 36 scones for Dan's company picnic Saturday morning
Make 96 samosas for going away party
Make coriander-mint chutney to go with samosas
Make tamarind-ginger chutney to go with samosas
Make dinner tonight and tomorrow night (easy menus: congee with Shangai bok choi tonight, scrambled eggs, toast and orange slices tomorrow)
Do laundry for boys, as they have run out of underwear
(check on underwear situation for self, too)


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kiri progress

I've been working on Kiri for a few weeks now. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth as I figure out this blasted pattern in such a teeny tiny laceweight yarn. Did I mention I have never, ever knitted lace before, much less on freaking dental floss? (though very nice merino dental floss) Think I've finally gotten it down - naturally, just as I'm almost finished.

This is a gift for my yoga teacher. It was supposed to be a happy-five-years-of-teaching present, but she is suddenly moving to Sausalito (Northern California) at the end of the month, so now it's a going away present. Her bon voyage party will be this Saturday, so I need to finish it FAST.

I just finished the last lace repeat and have started the edging - see?

I bought some sparkly clear crystal beads that will go on the tops of the scallops, I think. Might knit them in, or I might add a crochet edging to attach them. Haven't ever done beading either way, so this will be a learning experience. Should make the shawl a little sparkly and give it a tiny bit of counter weight, at least that's what I'm hoping for.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Soup is good food

Wanted something simple and light tonight, since I have yoga class later. I try to have something vegetarian or at least full of good earthy things on Tuesday nights. Don't always succeed, but I try. This is very, very good - the lemon juice does something wonderful to the mix of greens and lentils. Worth a try, even if you swear you don't like those odd, flat, green things in a bag.

Lebanese Lentil Soup

serves 6

1 cup dried green lentils
6 cups water
one bunch Swiss Chard
one large potato, peeled and diced
one large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
one bunch cilantro, chopped
2 Tb. olive oil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup lemon juice

Cut the chard stems from the leaves. Chop both, keeping separate.

Put water and lentils into a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add in chard stems, cover, and continue simmering.

After 20 minutes, add in potatoes and stir.

After another 20 minutes, add in the chard leaves and give another stir.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan and cook onion and garlic until tender and lightly golden. Add in cilantro, then take off the heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Once the soup has cooked another 20 minutes (an hour total), add the onion/lemon juice mixture to the lentils and stir. Check for seasoning, then serve.