Monthly Archives: September 2007

Touch of Pink

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I started the first sleeve of the Ribby this weekend, and if I can apply myself it’ll be done in the next day or so. (Re: button band yardage in the red – I think I’ll be OK. Am confident enough to go back to it post-sleeves.) This is where the element of risk comes in through the colour selection (self-inflicted since the pattern itself couldn’t be easier to follow). How will the pink work with the red? Is the pink pale enough? Is the red strong enough as a base colour? Is it all fun and bright in an antidote-to-winter sort of way, or brassy and kitschy in a Valentine’s-accessory-gone wrong sort of way?

This was my colour plan from the get-go, and you can be darned sure that I’ll be following through on it, although time will tell the bright vs. kitch factor I suppose ;) Either way, I’ll have no shortage of pink in hand for the sleeves. Of 6 balls, I’ve only just started the 2nd one and am almost finished the increases for on this sleeve. Can’t wait to get to the seaming stage, it’s getting closer and closer.

I managed to get the cupcake baking done in the early afternoon today, preparing for this Wednesday when I’ll finally get back to Lettuce Knit, and on the happy occasion of Emily‘s wee gal Clara’s first birthday (I guess this means she’s getting less wee). Mama requested something vanilla-based, but I did a batch of chocolate as well for me all me for other chocoholics in the crowd. If I can just work out the transport issues, we’ll be all good to go.

Beatrice has had a long hard day of waking me before dawn, stalking the backyard, and napping in her favourite chair, but declined to comment for the paparazzi. She’s lucky she’s cute. ;)

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Just the links, ma’am.

No new knitting pics today, although the nail-biting action continues as I work through the 2nd front piece of the Ribby. Fingers still crossed for button-band-worthy leftovers.

This morning while jogging I listened to the most recent Stash and Burn podcast (some days having that new podcast is what gets me out the door), and in this one they had the pleasure of interviewing Jess and Casey of Ravelry. It was great to listen to, and I think would be a great listen for knitters who are either still waiting or are already in Ravelry. They talk a lot about the process of getting the site going and what a tremendous impact it has had on their lives – I already had a great deal of respect for these two for getting the site going, but now I have even more! I definitely recommend checking it out. I also really appreciated Jess’s comments in the podcast about Ravelry and knit-blogging – that they still want these two things to be complementary, not competitive. I’m still reading blogs as much as I ever did, but Ravelry has certainly enhanced a lot of the FO-viewing and pattern-searching that tends to happen through blogs and Googling.

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A propos of podcasting, I must say that the Stash and Burn podcast may be the first and only podcast I’ve listened to so far that I haven’t given up on! I’ve listened to all of the episodes, some twice, and it hasn’t fallen by the wayside yet. I know podcast choices are highly subjective, but I think I’ve realized that I enjoy listening to them talk about their knitting because they seem like the kind of people I would enjoy sitting with if they were at a knit night. Thanks Jenny and Nicole, I hope you have a fruitful hiatus before getting back in action.

But most important of all on this fine Tuesday: Tonight, this blessed night, my top guilty pleasure and favourite tv show (as if that wasn’t obvious already) returns to television screens down here North-America-way, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Oh, new television, how I’ve missed you so.

On the subject of the cupcakes in my previous post – Oh. My. I take back everything I said about mint-chocolate not being my favourite flavour. They are veritably swoonable. I shared them with my friend E yesterday (she who requested the flavour in the first place), and this morning she emailed me to say she loved them so much she wrote a poem about them:

> Oh mint chocolate yum yum.
> How I love your sparkly sweet bite
> Your softness and creaminess makes me SWOON!
> I will dream about you tonight. I hope you dream of me too.

I wish all of you pleasant dreams and daydreams, be they knitted, baked, or otherwise ;)

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Filed under fandom, podcasts, ravelry

Productivity (sort of.)

There is baking in this post, (it’s been far too long!) but since this does still remain a knitting blog, I’ll start off with the Ribby Cardi. I’m onto the 2nd front piece, fuelled by a sort of escape-velocity speed of knitting wherein I hope that if I knit fast enough I’ll still have enough red left for both the fronts and the buttonband. I think it’ll be okay. I think. But if I have to place a Knit Picks order and try to only order 1 ball of yarn? Shee-yeah, right, that’s likely to happen.

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Before I get to the baking, lemme tells ya about the food. The veggies this week have once again been met with my full force. The swiss chard subbed in for escarole in this skillet recipe, the butternut squash became this fantastically awesome pasta recipe which I’d forgotten about, the tomatoes got sliced up with some basil and vinaigrette, and some potatoes and carrots became this yummy soup. If I can stagger back to the kitchen this evening, more of the tomatoes will be turned into some pizza with olives. YUM. It’s a lot of cooking particularly on the weekend, these last few weeks, but it’s worth it to have leftovers for the rest of the week. There are sadly no pics of any of this – I don’t seem to have as much patience to stop and take pictures before devouring my dinner – but I’ll personally vouch for all of those recipes. MMM.

And I did say there was baking. Oh yes. I’ve started taking cupcake requests. My friend E who works in the same office as me on campus, requested something in chocolate-mint. This isn’t my favourite flavour combo, but I am a big fan of Junior Mints candies, so essentially I tried to approach this by trying to make a cupcake version of a Junior Mint. I think it worked. I can’t say that I’ve tasted one yet (waiting until after dinner), although I have tasted all of the constituent parts and those tasted darned good to me. Also, my sister and our friend C stopped by post-baking and there was a lot of this going on:

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Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

I know this is horribly unseasonal – in the markets there are apples and pears and pumpkins for crying out loud! and I’m sitting here making chocolate mint cupcakes? – but hey, whatever. This prep will come in handy come the holiday season. For this adventure, I combined a sour cream chocolate cupcake recipe with a mint creme filling and a simple chocolate glaze. My sour cream chocolate cupcake recipe came from Cupcakes Year-Round, but this recipe is pretty close. I like the way it turned out, just smack dab between cake and brownie texture.

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For the mint creme filling, I started with 1 can sweetened condensed milk, added 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract (add more in very small increments to increase the flavour), and kept on mixing in more powdered sugar until it got to a nice spoonable consistency. You fill the cupcakes by cutting a little cone shape out of each cupcake, slicing off the pointy end of the cone, spooning (or piping) in the filling in the little hole, and then putting the top back on. Now, it’s ready for glaze.

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For the glaze, I warmed 1 cup of heavy cream to just-bubbling, and poured over 200g of chopped dark chocolate. (Dark chocolate for that nice Junior-Minty flavour, mmm…) Let it stand for a few minutes and then stir it up until it’s a good drizzly consistency, but not so thick that it needs spreading. Drizzle it over the cupcake tops until smooth, then let stand. (it will harden up.) Garnish with some crushed up peppermint candies for easy identification purposes. Mmm.

So that pretty much brings me up to speed on the weekend. Miss Beatrice the cat has had a long hard weekend of defending the backyard against her evil arch nemesis, Skinny Orange Cat (as opposed to Fluffy Orange Cat), so she’s been a bit restless. I on the other hand, have some resting up to do before dinner begins. Off I go to clutch the knitting and pretend tomorrow isn’t Monday… ;)

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Filed under baking, chocolate, cooking, ribbi cardi

Gggghhhhhlllrrrgggl

…is the sound of me wrestling with my willpower. I do not need more yarn. I do not need more yarn. I will soon be going to a place where there is no shortage of yarn. I’m fine, really. I should not use this as an opportunity to immediately start spending. I will resist. I will re…I will…um…RESIST. Yes, that is what I will do. ::cough::

I will also, however, make an attempt at heading out to my first non-Toronto knit night tonight, and go in search of Spun. Me and Burlington Transit, we’re gonna be like this. ::links fingers:: The transit time will also give me some knitting time, which will be just fine with me. I’m just about ready to cast off the back piece of the Ribby Cardi:

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So far so good. It feels like it will fit comfortably – not too loose, not too tight, so I’m hoping that is indeed what I will get. Yardage might be tight, though. I have 8 balls of the Fired Brick and used 3 and 3/4 on the back, so here’s hoping there will be enough for the 2 front pieces and the buttonband in the end. Um. How fast can I knit on that bus ride tonight?

Someone else, I can see, is planning to nap the day away. (The little twerp. After waking me at 6am on the day I was supposed to get to sleep in.)

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But I suppose I do need to get onto those errands, and this “work” that needs to “get done”, or whatever. Psh.

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If it’s Wednesday it must be random

The geographer and the knitter in me are both piqued by this new development: KnitMap.

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It’s in beta-testing at the moment, but the gist of it is that this is an online yarn-store-finder, to help you answer those questions about, “I’m going to be a tourist in [insert city here] and I want to visit a yarn shop near [insert location], does anybody know where I should go?” I have to go do more checking out myself, but generally? I think this is all of the awesome. Yes, let’s have a global knitter’s map, please. Go sign up! Start registering your favourite yarn shops! Find yarn shops you never knew existed!

A little while back I signed up for the 2nd wave Clapotis knit-a-long, which “officially” starts September 24th. I’ve never made a Clapotis, but I’m convinced now that it’s worth a shot for the versatility and beauty. Mine will be knit in Patons SWS…just as soon as I can cast something off and make room for it ;) Um, how fast can I finish that Log Cabin blanket?

In other news, today I feel like complete crud, nicely timed on the day I kept as a stay-in-Hamilton-and-write day. Do I have your permission, oh blogosphere, to lie on the couch and clutch my knitting and sip juice? Because I think that’s what I’m going to do. Bleah.

Oh yeah – apparently it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day again. Heh. Where be my yarrrrrn?

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Filed under knitting tourism, random

Fuel for the fire

Having a weekly vegetable box to work with is, I am discovering, the opposite of how I am used to cooking. I generally come up with a few recipes to cook throughout the week, then buy the ingredients. This is the reverse – I am being given some key ingredients and then run off to figure out how to use them. I am also realizing that the best approach is to have a few staples on hand in the pantry and refrigerator and then plan for a shopping trip mid-week instead of on the weekend to get anything else that I need. This week, I had a lot of fun finding new recipes to work with.

For the mizuna, I used one bunch as a substitute for escarole in this recipe, which was YUM. Perfect on a chilly weekend like the one we’ve been having.

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The beets and beet greens were a different challenge, though. I see now that the default recipe for any green leaf vegetable besides lettuce is, “fry it up with bacon and garlic!” But since I knew I was doing that with one of the mizunas, I kept on lookin’. I found this recipe for beet green gratin from Alton Brown (I love you Alton! Call me!), which did not disappoint, particularly with the beets roasted up on the side.

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I also roasted up the acorn squash last night as part of dinner with friends, based on this recipe I found at Smitten Kitchen (that blog is fast becoming a must-read for me). It’s a really, really good way to eat a squash. The other head of mizuna found its way to this stir fry recipe which was also darned tasty. I’m eating as much as I can (woe, such a problem to have, right?), but I do think I’ll be getting into the habit of having people over for dinner more often or passing on a few of these to my sister who is close by.

But really, it’s just as well that I have this new deal of having a set of vegetables to work with every week, because my appetite has just skyrocketed the past couple of weeks. And then it occurred to me that, in the past month, I have:
a) switched my average rising time to 6-6:30am as opposed to the leisurely ::mumblemumble:: o’clock I was used to as a grad student living a short walk from campus
b) increased my running from 3 runs to 4 runs in a week
c) increased my long Sunday run to 50 minutes and now to 60 minutes
d) started using my bike as transportation for running errands.

Oh, right. THAT’s why I’m so hungry. Bring on the vegetables. (Um. And maybe some cupcakes too.)

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But lest ye think knitting content has forsaken this blog, I can report that I finally caved and cast on something new today. It’s the start of another Ribby Cardi, for me and with the faint hope of making it to the Rhinebeck wool festival in late October. Heh. It’s Swish Superwash from Knit Picks in the colourway ‘fired brick’, a brilliantly cheerful red which will be joined by sleeves knit in – wait for it – ballerina pink. I will surely not get lost in a crowd wearing this, right? All the more reason to bring it to Rhinebeck, so’s I don’t get lost from my partner in crime. And I’m all prepped to add length and various mods thanks to using this yarn the last time around.

In other news, Beatrice the cat has accepted me. And my lap. (She even lets me knit at the same time. I knew she had some intelligence about her.)

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Happy weekend!

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Filed under cats, cooking, ribbi cardi, sweaters

Flux

Not only am I a little perturbed that it is already Wednesday, but I am most distressed to discover that it almost the middle of September. I mean, I’m trying to make friends with September since, let’s face it, August was pretty sucktastic in case I haven’t mentioned it (stress of moving, anxiety over dissertation, rejection of several things, that sort of sums it up), but I somehow thought it would progress a bit more slowly than this. It’s fall, right? Fall is leisurely and soothing? Isn’t it? Quick! Start smelling the roses! Or, smelling the fall produce, as it were…The house-sitting house also comes with a weekly local vegetable box, and now I am in possession of not only several tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, and mushrooms, but two bunches of this:

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It’s mizuna, a Japanese green similar to mustard greens and which can be used relatively interchangeably with things like kale or swiss chard. Apparently this gets snuck into our salad mixes all the time, which means I must like it. This is the first time I’ve been presented with a bunch (or two) of it on its own. I am investigating stir-fry and stew recipes as we speak. Mizuna goodness shall be mine. (Then I will conquer the beet greens.)

My knitting this week is progressing slowly. I hope that one day soon I will be able to show you pictures of something besides this Moderne Log Cabin…but on the other hand, I am happy to report that the blanket does receive the seal of approval from Miss Beatrice the Cat:

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She rolled around on it as if to say, ‘this is for me, yes?’ She also reports that, despite all visual evidence to the contrary, it is very, very, very hard work being a cat all day.

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I’m a little jealous. (But I am comforted by the knitting and the leafy greens.)

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Filed under cats, cooking, mason-dixon