Friday, September 30, 2005

I feel a good ripping coming on

I love this stitch pattern. I ended up ditching the trinity stitch because it ended up rather three dimensional, at least in this particular yarn. Purling three together was also difficult because the three stitches were made up of a knit, purl, knit combination and didn't lie together well on the needle while waiting to be picked up together. So instead I went with a clove stitch pattern which looks practically the same. Lots easier on my hands and the resulting fabric lies much flatter. The colors are pooling a tiny bit here and there, but it ends up being a subtle mosiac pattern that looks very nice to my eyes.
So why on earth rip everything out?
Look at the sides of this shawl. Notice anything? I had decided that a 3 stitch garter edging would frame things nicely. It does. However, what I didn't know was just how much clove stitch stretches in all directions, especially in comparison to the edging. See how the sides and bottom pull inward? This pattern will look really nice blocked out as far as it can reach and that garter edge just isn't going to work.I do love the way the edging looks but can't think of any way to get enough stretch. So off to rip this whole thing out and start from a basic "k, yo, k" in one cast on stitch and go from there.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Good things on the horizon

Something we've been wanting for a long time may well be happening soon! I hope to be writing details in the next week or so. Any and all positive thoughts welcomed.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Clouds for breakfast

This morning I made sweet, airy clouds also known as beignets. These little squares made from an enriched yeast dough puff up tremendously when fried. Look at how light they are inside! I wish the camera had captured the whiff of steam as my husband pulled this apart. Immediately after this photo he popped the beignet into his mouth with a very satisfied grin.
Yesterday I made the dough, which calls for a rest overnight to develop flavors and allow the yeast to work. This morning I rolled out the enriched dough so it was thin enough to expand well. Then out came the pizza wheel to cut them into two inch squares, and finally a dip into hot oil. The boys watched in amazement as each flat square ballooned and became golden. Their eyes were riveted as I lifted the almost round puffs onto the draining rack and finally gave all a dusting of powdered sugar.

Breakfast fit for a king and two very hungry princes. Hot, crisp, light puffs with a thick dusting of powdered sugar, a ginger and cardamom scented honey for dipping, and whipped Ibarra hot chocolate for sipping and dunking. My youngest decided we were all eating clouds, and I can't really argue with him. What a wonder, eating clouds for breakfast.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What's cooking?

Hmmm....been busy in the kitchen, humming around and grabbing things here and there. Little bit of work from the KitchenAid, some rummaging through my spice drawer, and made this fine mess to the left. Tomorrow morning I'll finish it up and enjoy with Dan and the boys. Any guesses on what I'm making?

Also cooking this up with the Schaeffer Anne that was leftover from the lovely socks I just got in the mail. I weighed the yarn, compared ounces to yards on the label, then estimated that I have around 320 yards to play with. Should be enough for a very small shawl as long as the pattern is very open. Something easy to memorize that doesn't need edging would be perfect. I tried this pattern first, but wasn't sure how long the scarf would end up. Then I tried the Trinity Stitch which was perfect. Essentially one row of patterning with purl rows in between, open, and a pattern that doesn't fight the varigated colorway. I'm looking forward to seeing how this blocks out.

Stayed tuned for tomorrow, when all is revealed.

Yet another way to help

Project 800 is a group that will be manning phones and getting information out to the evacuees displaced by hurricane Katrina. Help can be as simple as volunteering to answer phones for a few hours a week, something that many people could easily do. Sign up to volunteer or help directly and pass this link along so others can find it!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Socks, coming and going

At last, I'm finished with my sockapal2za socks! There were several crises along the way: the toe came out oddly the first time I worked it up, the heel increases didn't lie well at all, and the second attempt at working the toe out was worse. All problems on my end, sadly. This pattern (Sideways Sox Supreme) is one where it pays to read the directions and not think you can go galavanting off and do your own thing. Regardless of hiccups, knitting a sock from side to side was really interesting. What's on the needles doesn't look like a sock at all for the longest time and then, suddenly, a heel appears. After that the sock is almost done, which threw me for a loop timing wise.

Here's one sock before seaming...

...and the completed pair:


Pattern: Sideways Sox Supreme by Liz Clouthier of Pig Dog Farm, found in Socks, Socks, Socks
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock
Colorway: Old Rose
Modifications: I used stockingette on the back of the heel and bottom of the foot instead of continuing the seed stitch bands across so they would be more comfortable with shoes. Also used the Alternative Toe instead of cinching up the stitches at the toe - again, so they would be more comfortable and hopefully fit better.
Knit up on two size 2 Crystal Palace bamboo circular needles. I am now ready to get rid of these needles forever - the join drove me insane the whole time I was knitting these up. Otherwise they were a fun knit and really did justice to the colorway.

The color in the first picture is much too dark, but the second picture looks much more intense than this colorway. Old Rose is really difficult to photograph properly. It has a lot of deep rose tones with deep greens and the occasional bit of golden peeking through here and there and is just lovely to look at. Now off to mail these to my sock pal. I hope she likes them!

Look what showed up on my patio today! My very own socks, knit up by Julia Kalow, a sophomore at Columbia University. Once I saw yarn in the box I yelped and pulled them onto my feet immediately. So soft! I love the colors as well - beautiful purples, blues and some rose in there as well. Ah, hand painted yarn. My one big weakness. After admiring the socks for a while (and an awed "so soft, mommy!" from my youngest) I learned why they were so soft...these socks were made from Schaefer Anne, a yarn with 25% mohair. I see these getting a lot of use as I curl up, knitting something else and sip tea with a wee bit of milk. Pure luxury. Julia doesn't have a blog, so I'm adding another picture to show off just how lovely these socks are:

This shows the colors a bit better. Isn't it beautiful? The pattern is "Lacy Scallops" by Sockbug, one I think I'll have to make up on my own sometime soon.

Thank you, Julia! I love my socks :-)

Last, a picture of my sky for Sandy. It's a hot, slightly windy day in Diamond Bar, California. This picture was taken as I looked up from my patio at 3:00 this afternoon. You can't really tell, but the branches were waving around quite a bit. The boys ran around playing tag and picking flowers "for you!" while I tried to get a decent picture. Nice way to spend an afternoon!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

....and we have a po' boy!

Orgasmic. This is one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten, hands down. It may not be incredibly photogenic, but what it lacks in beauty it more than makes up with in sheer flavor intensity.

Oh. My. God. So good.

More commentary here. If you are drooling over your keyboard right now, vote for my sandwich here! Each vote is just $5, and all money goes to hurricane relief. Such a worthy cause, and such a deserving sandwich! So vote now, and vote often!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

But wait, there's more!

Ryan's teacher cornered me and sweet talked until I was holding a bag full of homework papers, blinking and confused as she walked away. Now, I'm not usually shy, retiring, or any other mild mannered word you can think of. I can hold my own in pretty much any situation. Unless, it seems, there is a soft spoken first grade teacher involved. Then, I am putty. So tonight I will grade twenty stacks of first grade homework and then colate and staple next week's batch. Because I have so much time on my hands.

All that and a surprise association board meeting tomorrow afternoon so we can discuss the irate homeowners who will be showing up the next morning. Joy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Insanity rules

At least in my household it does. The last week and a half has been a blur, and the next few weeks should follow suit as well.

Friday morning was spent dropping off the boys at school then spending the next 2 1/2 hours researching, gathering documents, and printing out letters. Then off to pick up the youngest and whiz back home in time to meet Dan as he returned from work. Quick check to make sure I had maps, camera, knitting (in case there was time to kill), aforementioned documents, water, and phone numbers and out the door I went. Traffic wasn't too bad, thankfully, but it still took about an hour to get to our advocates office. Then some knitting as I waited. The next two hours were filled with all that is bad about the Board of Education in California and more than I ever wanted to know about appealing a legal decision. Sad that we had to get that far in order to try and meet our son's needs, but there it is. So we're learning about Special Education law and advocacy along with the ever popular "what the heck is Autism, and how does that affect my family?" part. From there a fast (well, slow, as the freeway was barely moving) trip to my Dad's house in order to swap bags of stuff, hug, and high five before leaving to volunteer.

The LA Supports LA event was huge. HUGE. They were expecting 400-500 people: this is what the restaurants involved were told to expect when they made up the samples for everyone. Total count was over nine hundred people. At $100 and up per head plus the silent auction I believe they made far more than the original million dollar goal. The airport hanger was packed and people were still buying tickets two hours after the event started. The food ran out about halfway through since there were so many participants, but the wine continued flowing so everyone stayed happy. I ended up out in front for much of the evening collecting tickets from a seemingly endless line of people. All the volunteers were running around like crazy. Six hours after I got there things were finally wrapping up and I hobbled out to the car, exhausted. Caught up with my buddy Chris Cognac who helped organize things and we marveled at how well it all went. It still boggles the mind that all of this was put together in less than a week's time. What a great thing, and how heartening to see that people want to help and actually do something.

Got home at midnight and rolled into bed. Realized later that all I had eaten for the entire day was a Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Sandwich (yum!) and three bites of an asian chicken salad grabbed during my bathroom break while volunteering. Oops. The next morning was spent with a mob of angry home owners. Ah, the joys of living with a homeowner's association, especially when you're on the board. No, we don't spend meetings scheming on how to make life especially horrible for all of you - hello, we're homeowners, too! I love people who whine and complain and moan about how horrible everything is but somehow can't find the time to go to homeowner's meetings and actually air problems at a time when, oh, we could look at fixing them. Two hours later people seemed far more satisfied and we agreed to have another meeting next Saturday. I'm making scones of some sort for fifty.

The rest of Saturday was all about recuperating. Lots of cleaning up the house, list making and planning. Planning for what, you ask? Planning for this. I've been wracking my brain, trying to think of ways to help those affected most by Katrina when we don't have much in the way of money to donate. Volunteering? Sign me up! Goofy pictures with food? That I can do. I figured I'd donate the $10 required to enter, get the pictures together, and be done. Getting everything in on time was crazy (ever try to locate a saxaphone on a Sunday? Fake teeth are also oddly difficult to find, even right before Halloween) and incredibly fun and I knew my friends would have a good laugh.

I was one of the four finalists in the first round.

OK, then. Cooking I can also do. Pictures....I'm working on that part. Looks like the first assignment is Po' Boys. I've never eaten one, but they look delicious and I'm currently scouting recipes and mulling over ideas. Have to put it together by Sunday.

In the meantime, we've had Occupational Therapy for the oldest, the first two days of real, actual first grade homework (collective gasp here), volunteering at the library, work on my halfway finished Sockapal2za socks (due tomorrow), make Mexican goodies for my youngest's preschool class on Friday, more volunteering, test knitting....there's more that I'm forgetting here, I'm sure. Saturday night I'm going along with my friend Jennifer to her husband's cooking school final - four courses of asian dishes. Can't wait for that one :-). And of course, Sunday is the final day to complete the Po' Boys.

As usual, I am insane. But only in the very best of ways.

(I don't usually link to anything political here, but this was something I had to share. Figuring out who dropped the ball and how is going to take years to really figure out but this is what has bothered me most since the hurricane: where is the very human reaction to such an incredible tragedy? Genuine emotion, even a little, would have gone far right now.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Supporting those in LA

Another way to help those affected by Katrina: LA Supports LA. The list of wineries and restaurants involved is vast, there will be auctions (including an "Alton Brown Mystery Package"), there will be art, there will be all kinds of amazing things to eat and drink. With corporate support they hope to raise one million dollars tomorrow night. I can't even begin to afford the door charge - $100 is more than I spend in a week on groceries for my whole family - but I will be volunteering since elbow grease is free.

I've been working on my Sockapal2za socks and the first is almost, just about finished. Just a million stitches to Kitchener together. Photos to follow soon.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another way to help

Donations are needed *everywhere* in the area devistated by Katrina, but there are other ways to help if money is tight. You can provide a home for people left without a place to live. Or you can help rebuild. Wishing I lived closer so I could do something other than raise funds, but I'll at least do that. Wishing everyone left homeless a corner somewhere that feels safe and comforting.