Sunday, May 31, 2009

Take a number please-

My cousin has been a widow for 10 days.  She is exactly my age.  Her husband's last minutes were on a couch at their lake house in Michigan; he went up to open it for the season, and his heart stopped.

It's weird when your contemporaries are widowed.  I suppose I have reached that certain age, and am not sure I like it.  I feel like I am standing in line at an anonymous deli counter, or the layaway desk at Christmas time.  The line is so long it snakes out the door and doubles back on itself, but it is impossible to tell where I am in the line.  Am I at the back of the line, in the middle?  Am I the next widow?

And so begins the innumberable, unending counting, the numbers, the health measures we will take as if they are voodoo amulets AND the Ten Commandments all rolled into one.  If I make my husband eat enough flax seed, do I get a 3 year bonus?  

No one knows.

I got caught flat-footed on sympathy knitting.  Both Jean and her daughter Kelly (her father's wake scooched a day so it wouldn't fall on her Sweet Sixteen) need something, and I need to settle on patterns ASAP.

Mystery project revealed

This is what I worked on this Feb-March.  It's from last year's summer VK, knit in Elann's Coto-canapone.  I liked this pattern!I had a serious, heart stopping disaster with the cable crossings.

  You can see in this photo that I missed a crossing.  EEEP!  Right up front!  Happily, I was able to 'sew in' a cable crossing.  I was so relieved!

Here's a new photo.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My cosmic message

Create Your Own

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Switching directions

After my intarsia debaucle this weekend, I got out my Sea Silk and cast this on.  I kind of like it, and goodness knows I need to knit up some stash.  It doesn't QUITE have the texture that the plain crunchy texture cotton has in the shells/bear claws.  

I was surfing thru sites yesterday, and saw this cute cute CUTE top.  Kawaii, neh?  I realized I had yarn in the stash,  but not a lot of pink, unfortunately-if I stripe them 1:1, would it work?  I need to pull this look off for DGD, don't I?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

OMG-can I be a BIGGER dork?

I am pretty sure my pathological need to see my name emblazoned on things is deepseated, caused by NEVER seeing my name in the personalized license plate rack in souvenir shops, and an older brother who would take my stuff to torment me.  
It is what it is.  I have wanted NikeID shoes for at least five years.  This year, I finally bought them for myself for Mother's Day.  I had a gift card, so I could almost justify the extra cost.  Of course, styles changed and colors changed every time I looked at the custom shoe feature, but finally, I made something I thought I liked.

I got SOOOOO excited when UPS delivered my shoes to me yesterday.  I couldn't stand it!  They came all the way from Thailand:
Pan Asia Footwear Public Company
Pan Tech R & D Co, LTD
177/2 Moo 5 Baypass Rd.
Nongkham Sriracha
Chonburi, Thailand 
on Dragon Air and Cathay Pacific.  

And they look like THIS!

Yeah, I know, a little plain.  Kind of funny that I would make them look like bowling shoes.  Over the years, I have designed plenty that looked like clown shoes.  

But these are for real.  And since they say "Go Bets" on them, I have to get on the treadmill.  I guess I think I have to earn the right to wear them....and that's ok.

On a very happy note, one of my knitting friends was just taken off the lung transplant list because she was deemed too healthy for her transplant; now she goes in to be 'tortured' (physical therapy) frequently.  Thinking "Bets, get your ass on the treadmill" has been amended to "Bets, go join Denise for her walk."  

I love that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

There's got to be a better way

I just don't know what it is yet.  I tried to set up for a lot of intarsia this weekend, and had poor poor results.  

The project involved 9 intarsia stripes running vertically up a garment.  I wanted to use a cotton yarn for summer 
fun.  What a disaster that was.  I thought the balls would collapse (the slickness called for rubber bands) and I knew I didn't want short ends (all that cotton!) or bobs.

I first thought I could make little isolation chambers in old sour cream containers.  I heated a screwdriver, and punched holes in the tops of the containers, and each little ball of  yarn had its own little garage.

Still I made spaghetti.   The garages idea isn't BAD, just not great for 9 balls of yarn.  

 I tried to knit separate strips-and I really didn't like the results.  Yarndex swears it's 100% cotton, but I would swear there's some rayon in there somewhere.
I searched the internet and Rav, but I didn't find any good innovations to stop the tangles.  Lions and tigers and bears, "Oh, just cut lengths,"  "I use bobbins,"  and nothing I hadn't thought of before.  Ptttbbbttt!

So after all that, I got out the sea silk.  I'm moving in another direction now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cherry Picking down Memory Lane

Caution:  The newest pattern in today's post is ten years old.

I sat down and looked at some old patterns last night.  I've knitted since the mid-eighties, and most of my magazines have followed me from pillar-to-post, from Dallas, to Germany, to Alaska, to San Antonio, to Germany get the idea.  The military sent me, the magazines were packed up and went with me.

My knitting skills have improved a lot since the day that I first picked up a needle.  Leafing thru the magazines, I found patterns that warranted a second look, and maybe a third.  I looked at patterns that I was not qualified to knit when they first came out, but now appear quite doable.  Like this beauty from VK SS 91; I know I blew by it the first time because I just didn't have the skills:

I found that by and large, much of the 1980s designs were simply REALLY large washclothes, tacked together at the seams.  If there was one thing that ruled the decade, it was the dropped sleeve sweater.  There were designers who bucked the trend, however.  I saw some truly fabulicious designs.  If anyone wants to make this for me, I will love you forever:

In the '90s, many of the designs were cropped, with sleeves that look too long today.  The patterns are good, some great, but most of them would be 'right now' with just a little change in proportion.  Some need a little modification to bring them forward; tweak the body length, adjust the sleeve, shape the waist.  

Some just need the right yarn.  This idea fascinates me, can you picture it in Noro?

Did I find something I want to make?  Why yes, I did.  You'll be so surprised to see it!  In its 1999 configuration, it's quite the mom sweater.  Now that I am older, and know how to knit it, what yarn to knit it in, and how to modify it to take it from meh to mahvelous....I can't wait.  (And now it's ok if I actually wear a mom sweater too.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Til it finds its voice"

I've had a big hank of Buffalo Gold #13 (Buffboo) for well over a year.   Yesterday, it told me what it wanted to be.  It can't be THIS specifically, because the gauge is off, but it wants to be something like this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I gotta stitch up the sides, but I am calling it quits on this one too.  Five x 110 yards Berroco Zen=550 yards.

Perfect barbecued anniversary chicken-

We want easy food.  

A few weeks ago, DH was tooling home from Mass and smelled barbecueing chicken.  He had to have some!    He went to the store and bought a mountain of chicken.  I'd been reading a few magazines and  tried this method.  It's easy and good.   We've done it weekly since then, and I think it will be a go-to food this summer.

Perfect barbecued chicken- 

In a small bowl, mix together about 1 T salt, and 1 T seasoning salt (or an herb, or a spice mix).  Rinse and dry 6-10 plain chicken thighs.  Pull up the skin on a thigh, and rub a medium pinch of the salt all over the flesh underneath.  (The color of the seasoning salt should show you if you miss a spot.)  Replace the skin.  Prep all the chicken in this manner, and let it sit in the fridge (I cover mine)  for one to two hours.  Don't let it sit too much longer or it will get mushy from the salt.  (I timed it, and if DH starts the coals an hour after I prep the chicken, it works out just right.  We end up eating two hours after the chicken goes in the fridge.)

Prep the grill, light the coals.  When the coals are ready, put the chicken on in a low/medium spot.  While the chicken cooks, mix up about 1/2 cup commercial barbecue sauce, and thin it out with 2 or 3 tablespoons of....I use a bottle of marinade I have open, but you could use lemon juice, a little vinegar, juice, beer, something.  When the chicken looks almost done, paint one side with the sauce mix, and let grill for 3-5 minutes (watch carefully, because the sugar in the barbecue sauce burns quickly), turn it over, paint and repeat.  Voila! 

Last weekend, I prepped the chicken, and handed DH the bowl.  "You mean there's only four pieces of chicken?  FOUR?  All this for only FOUR pieces of chicken?"  He went on and on and on.  And on.  To shush him, I said "You know what?  Today is your anniversary!"


He was a little shamefaced for throwing such a fit, but we have laughingly decided that the official anniversary gift for the 15th wedding anniversary is four pieces of chicken and a fork stuck in the head.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Getting close to the end on this....just a bit on the collar.  Let's hear it for quick down and dirty projects!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Unhappy bonuses and anniversary cake.

Lately, I've been able to go to Whole Foods and Central Market; I enjoy going to high end grocery stores.  It's fun to bring home interesting and exotic ingredients.  

Most of you know, we moved last year.  We are adjusting to 'the new house'.  I kept seeing little beetles, and I thought "Crap, where are they coming from?"

Friday was our anniversary, so I decided to make an extra-special, takeshourstomakeit carrot cake for DH today.  I pureed pineapple, grated carrots, got out the cornstarch my recipe called for and tossed it in the pineapple.  Hey, what is THAT?  And that?  And I peeked in the cornstarch box.  EWWWWWW!   There were black bugs scattered across the snowy cornstarch.  I pitched the cake makins in the sink.

I had to investigate....a few in the flour canister, but none in the sugar.  Hmmmm, so cellulose, not sugar.  I peered into the spice cupboard, saw a few bugs (I thought they hated bay, why are they in there?).  I dragged the stepstool over.

I pulled all the spices off of the cornstarch shelf.  A few bugs, and a curious patch of greyish looked like pepper.  The pepper lives on the shelf below, what's going on here?  I wiped it up and it looked almost mauve.  (See the little bughostage on the tape?)  None in the tapioca, none in the baking soda.

When I got to the top shelf, it all became clear.  The bag of purple sticky rice I got from the gourmet grocery was a virtual bug disco.  And the purple rice dust....THAT's what I found on the shelves below.  

Weevils from the fancy grocery.  I'm staying out of the bulk bins from now on.

ETA:  Marta asked if I baked the cake afterwards.  Nah, I was out of pineapple and carrots.

Sunday worship

I woke up at 5:30, extra early because of a bad dream ... a little 'Damien' type character was being a pest.  Toddled out to the dining room, started checking my mail, and went to Facebook.   

I just started into a round of Bejeweled Blitz when one of my GI buddies popped up.  He was upset because he ran into someone he believes was responsible for his brother's death.  He was all wound up and I was not awake, so there was probably a lot missed in that chat, but now I am filled with sadness for a kid that I don't know, and one I do.  When we were done, I did a little bit of googling, and found his brother's obit, his military promotion notices, and his gaming scores.  His gaming scores.  

Oh God.

 This war veteran did not die of some jihad or a roadside ambush.  He died in Michigan, of unpunished blunt force trauma.   No alcohol in his system, thankyouverymuch.

I don't think it's right when people significantly younger than I am die.  It's like they are jumping line; it's just not natural.  Every so often, this reaches out and slaps me when I am being a whiney baby.  I must not be done with God's list of things to do yet; I have not completed all my functions.   I could use a little guidance.  

Perhaps I need to be less of a whiner, and more of a prayer.  God, can you help me with that?  I don't know how to help my friend.  I wish I did.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Well, I have no idea

I bought a crazy amount of Herrschner's Lighthouse Waves yarn.  It's soy and wool, so I figured it was something like SWS.  I wasn't sure how the Lavendar/Brown combo would be, so I ordered a lot more of the Jewel Box color.  There are only 64 yards in a ball.  They were 1.99 a ball when I got them.  This week, the Jewel Box was .99 per skein.  Whoo-hooo, RE-ORDER!

SWS has 110 yards to the ball/80 grams, so yeah, it's just a smaller put up.  I am taken with the 10 stitch blanket, and maybe that would be the right project.  Or not.  I gotta look.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Add color to taste

It's that time of year.   Today, I'm going to the grocery to stock up on the ingredients for suppers.  Last year, I learned that my husband WANTS to eat these things for dinner when it's hot outside.  I can't believe I struggled through 14 years of hot suppers in our Texas summers before he told me.

I am still developing my cold salad technique.  Right now, if I make a particularly good one, DH will say "Honey, that recipe is a keeper."  What he doesn't realize is that it's just a method, not a recipe.   Most of it comes from cans, but only because I am lazy.  If I wanted to, I could soak and soften dried beans, and used fresh corn, beans, peas, whatever.  But it's still a little early in the year for most of the fresh stuff, so for right now, canned it is.

The basic dressing I use is
3 T rice wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
1 t sugar (omit sugar if using seasoned rice wine vinegar)
1/4 t Thai red curry paste  (or more, to taste.  Remember, my DH is a sissy when it comes to spicy.)
Mix the vinegar and sugar together and warm (just a few seconds in the microwave and watch it carefully!) til the sugar dissolves.  Stir in red curry paste, then olive oil.  After you've made this once or twice, you won't need to measure.  You may switch up the acid component-lemon juice, white vinegar, sherry vinegar; depending on what you have on hand.  Instead of sugar, you could use honey, or maple syrup, or even jelly.  You could use mayo or bottled dressing if you want.

The basic salad is-
1 can of beans, rinsed and drained
1 other can of beans or corn, rinsed and drained
2 T minced red onion
1 rib celery, diced (or something crunchy, like jicama or water chestnuts)
1 T-1/2 c color
salt, pepper, herbs & spices as desired

The beans I use include black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans (shown), and canelli beans.  I have black eyed peas and purple hulled peas on the shelf to try, I just haven't yet.  The second can of beans/corn could very well be 1 c. green beans or some other leftover vegetable, depending on what I have on hand.

What the heck do I mean by color?  That's the ingredient that makes the salad sparkle.  Last night, I halved about a dozen black olives and every ripe tomato on the vine, and threw them in the salad.  See how much yum that added?  The color component could be red pepper, avocado, bacon bits, olives, capers, green onions, artichokes, diced tomatoes, hot peppers, cheese, ham, toasted nuts .... whatever's laying around in the kitchen.  I search the store shelves for little bits of 'color' for my salad.  That little extra bit takes it from lunch line to lush!  Note:  If using avocado, apple, or any other component that browns easily, do not add until serving time.

I think a combination of a diced pickled jalapeno and a tablespoon of bacon bits sounds outstanding, but neither one of us actually likes jalapenos enough to eat them in a salad.  That's someone else's experiment.  

Anyhow, mix all the ingredients together with the dressing, and chill for an hour, then check your seasoning.  This salad should serve three as a main dish (with a roll on the side) or six as a side.  Serve on a bed of salad greens if desired.

Added bonus-this takes 15 minutes to throw together .... tops.  This gives you more time for knitting or sitting on the back porch with a beer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Murderers in the Rue Morgue....

or raiding the cryogenically suspended Easter candy in the freezer.  

Like naked Cheetos

I bought a bag of these the other day.  They aren't bad.  They aren't a home run with me, though.  They really DO remind me of puffy Cheetos without yellow dust ... just not quite right.

When DH makes a certain sighing exhale, it's an indication that things are not quite right around here.  He made that noise today, then showed me today's mail.  There's a problem all right, and I know what I think it is .... but it's only a guess.  What am I going to do about it?  Not much, unless I get a phone call, but it's unsettling.  

I passed my resume in for a job that 1) I know I can do with one hand behind my back and 2) pays well.  I would like a phone call from them also, if the phone call fairy is listening.  

I see a crisis on the horizon. All is not well.  I wonder if it will sail past, or come steaming up river to my door?  

Monday, May 11, 2009

I forgive

Kellykins wanted to know what pattern I was using-it's an Adrienne Vittadini booklet from 2006.  Last week, I searched all the AVs I could find, and made sure my library is complete.  It's a shame, really.  For at least a decade, Adrienne Vittadini had some really sharp designs.  The pity was, the patterns are not really knitter friendly ... they are murky, like some Vogue patterns.  But sharp looking classic clothing for grown up women?  Absolutely.

Once again, I am on the yarn quantity see-saw.  I understand why I do this.  When I first started knitting, I made a wildly successful top from a "Finn Time" leaflet.  (I loved these leaflets, where did they GO?)  It needed 500 yards of yarn.  And I was a poor airman, too; I looked hard for 500 yards in yarns I could afford.  So for me, 500 yards is the magic number, never mind that I haven't been that size since.....oh, when I got married, I guess.  So I am learning to buy more, but still struggle.  It's a good thing this color is still readily available.  The cowl might require another ball.  Aggravating, because the whole point was to USE some yarn, not use it and have to order more.  It's like inviting in yarn vampires!  

Susan Bates are just right for this yarn-not too pointy.  (BTW, if anyone can id that brand of circs, I would appreciate it.  I bought them at Wallyworld about 3 years ago, and I LOVE them.  They are like a Susan or a Boye, but the tips are exactly like freshly sharpened pencils.  Sharp, but not too sharp.  I really like THAT pair.  )   

I forgive this yarn as I knit it, because the fabric is just SO nice.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I have a game that I like to play with my little friend Bailey.  It's the opposite of covet; we think its fun to go to the Nike ID site and design the UGLIEST shoes we can imagine.  It's actually not as easy as you'd think, because decency and color sense are STRONG.  It's tough to override the aversion to ugly.  It's great for a giggle.

I've made some really sharp looking ones too.  Unfortunately, my favorite color combination isn't available; but this combo is pretty nice.  Suggy got them for me for Mother's Day.  I am so excited!  I've wanted some for years!  I didn't let myself order a pair til I earned a Nike giftcard that would pay for at least 1/3.  (Look-blue AND black AND silver!  and PINK!  wow!)

Mix and match

Trying to make a dent in things around here.  I THINK I have the appropriate weight and quantity to swap one for the other.  We'll see.  I don't like knitting with this yarn too much.  It's a zig-zag ribbon, which means any fast knitting results in "pokes thru the middle of the ribbon".  I have it in different colors.  A lot of it.  It's not going to be a pleasureable knit, but it will be brainless.  

Friday, May 08, 2009

Seemingly done-

I managed to get all the knitting done before I was smothered by boredom.  I am counting the yardage, and counting it as done.  I'm not going to seam it for a few days, because I have totally lost interest, and will sew it when I feel like it.
Yardage 10 x 77.5m= 847 yards

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Funny colored

I wandered into a merino sale last week.  It's hard to choose multicolored yarns online.  It's hard to see if the colors are true, and hard to visualize color distribution.  

I love love love the white/blue/plum/khaki mix.  This is a good for the office colorway!

The fuchsia/turquoise/rust/plum?  That colorway may go to a swap.  It would be such a hit on a woman with auburn hair.

The yellow/green/purple/blue/pink?  This looks like a trainwreck in a candy store.  I'll plan to use it for kid clothes.

And that yellow?  I bought yellow....which I don't usually do. I have a plan for it.  I realize he looks more like Linus than Charlie Brown,  but I can't wait to make this for him!  PS-look at my passport photo.  I think we look alike!

Not knitting

I'm still slugging away on my sleeves.  As it turns out, I might have enough yarn!  I don't think two raglans on a circ is all that interesting, SO ...... 

I'll talk about food today instead.  Here are leftovers from Tuesday night's dinner.  Suggy LOVES it when seaweed and rice are on the menu.  She always volunteers to clean the plates.

My sushi rolling skills are improving; now I understand why American sushi tends to have that chunk of cream cheese, avocado, or seafood salad down the middle.  It's the gluey fill-in-the-gap qualities that they provide!

Last night, I fixed something I never tasted before.  Chhole (cho-ley).  Make that Punjabi Chhole.  With na'an.  I found a ridiculously expensive spice packet at the pricey grocer's a while back.  I went for it because it used chickpeas, and I love them, I just don't know a lot of ways to use them.  Chhole has you chopping up onions and roma tomatoes, frying half of them up in a little olive oil with some sliced ginger, then adding garbanzos and frying them for a few minutes.  Add the spice mix, cook for another minute or two, add the rest of the onions and tomatoes.  Garnish with cilantro.  (DH hates cilantro, or I would mix it in.)  Ohhhh yum!  And it was totally vegetarian, which really surprised me, because I don't usually make it thru the WHOLE meal totally veg.

When I was in Thailand at Fat Camp, some smartass left an old copy of this magazine in the magazine rack.  I steered myself away from it for the first two days, then I looked at it.  I was initially doubtful, because Brits aren't known for their cooking.  I liked it so well I looked for and found a newer issue in Singapore.  About six weeks ago, I broke down and ordered a subscription.   It came in yesterday!  I was so excited!
 It's fun to see how other countries view foods.  This magazine touts a recipe for pork stuffed tortillas 'kids love 'em!'  but also has several recipes for CHICKPEAS!  Yay!  I sat down and looked at it yesterday.  I stumbled upon a term I had never heard ... spatchcocked.  

I know, I had to go look it up too.

You can bet I will use that word instead of swearing in front of the grandkids.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Free lunch!

KFC is running a free meal campaign.  I posted the link on Ravelry, and someone disagreed with me.  Amazing.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


I am dog mommy to a senior dog.  A few years ago, she looked like this.  Nowadays, she looks like this.

Last week the pup next door surprised her by sneaking up on her.  Twice.  She's a little old lady, and doesn't hear well.  She's practically toothless too.  He's just curious, but she turned around to find him sniffing her butt.  She was mad as hell.  
This week, I've heard a terrible sound from her.  I dash in to check on her (reminded of Fred Sanford yelling "Elizabeth, I'ma comin!" ) and find her on the couch, stirred from her sleep and giving me a "what in the hell?" look.  I calm myself, but I wonder.  Is she dreaming of tearing Charlie from limb to limb, or is it that other thing?
It terrifies me.  

Sunday, May 03, 2009

It's not going to look like the picture-

I cast on thinking I could make this sweater.  
It called for 10 skeins of Ole Ole, Fibre Content: 60% Cotton/ 40% Acrylic, Gauge: 15 st/4 inches 5.5 mm (US 9) Yardage: 73 m (80 yards)
I had 10 skeins of New York, Fibre Content 47%  Cotton, 28% Polyamid-Nylon, 25% Polyester, Gauge: 16 st/4 inches, 5.5 mm (US9) Yardage: 77m.

I have four skeins left, and I don't think I can get 3/4 length sleeves out of the remainder.
But it's pretty!