Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I am surrounded by the blind leading the deaf, holding the idiot's hand.

Let me cut to the freakin' chase, here:  Elizabeth = Isabella.  That's what it is.  Even tho my husband wants to scream it, and my DD doesn't want to hear it.   I have a namesake.  And my heart is breaking because of our family feuds.

Friday, June 26, 2009


This is the right yarn for this pattern.  Don't you agree?  I love love love Sonata, but the color changes were too strong.  This softer, toned down version of the color palette works much more effectively.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who DOES this? And why?

In order to give my fingerprints a little mercy, I shuffled thru other projects.  I frogged the crochet experiment,  and putzed around the yarn cave to see what else I could do.  I found this:

and it surprised me, just a little bit.  Who knits entrelac lace in a solid color, and why?  Hmmm.  I tried it first in Cotton Joy Jr, and then in Sailor (I was going to put in yarn links, but neither is in Yarndex.  Interesting).  I wasn't thrilled with the matte cotton appearance of the yarns-they weren't a good stand-in.  

Also at the ready were a few bags of Elann's Sonata Print, which they recently put on clearance.  I grabbed a bag of Ensign Blue, and started in again.  The Sonata IS the right yarn sub for the Classic Elite original-it's nice.  I am not 1000% sure about the color.  Is there too much contrast to show this pattern effectively?  (It photographed a little lighter than actual tone.)

That being said, I am so sorry to see the prints go.  The website states that this color has a wide range of blue:
9769 Ensign Blues with 2608 Cape Cod Blue, 2137 Angel Blue, 2355 Tapestry Blue, 2612 French Navy, 2499 Capri Blue 

I see a navy, and indigo, a country blue, a royal, and a denim blue.  I am woefully sorry that I only bought one bag.  

I'd like your opinion (and plan to work a few more segments to get a really good idea).  Is this the right color to show this pattern off?  It would be tragic to marry this top with the wrong yarn; it's a lot of work.  I love this color and don't want to waste it.

PSS-I know I am going to have to tweak the proportions.  The cropped top and long 'short' sleeve is not a pretty look for me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's 98 in the shade!

And a lot hotter in direct sunlight!


I'm a knit and tapper.  Sharp needles + elastic yarn=ouch!  This will slow me down!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I skipped a couple of steps

The instructions call for binding off after the yoke, then picking up ALL the stitches just bound off, then putting the sleeves on a holder.  I am far too lazy, and just purled a row, then put the sleeves on a holder.  I put in a few short rows for DD's boobage (two sets, will probably do one more).  

Just.  Keep.  Knitting.

*****  Two sets of short rows.  For Chris' benefit!  LoL

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gnocchi and cleaning out the fridge.

Les sent me a link for Ricotta Gnocchi this morning, saying "Hey, you might like this."  Last week, Bri sent me a link for Gnocchi with sauteed vegetables.  I looked at the pictures.

I've never had gnocchi.  

The author of the Ricotta Gnocchi swore they were a velvety delight.  I've seen plastic wrapped pasta in the grocery case, but they just looked like little pasta bullets.  Surely, homemade had to be better.  

I didn't have any ricotta, but I made it last week, so I KNOW what it's comprised of.  I had plain yogurt, so I set up a colander and coffee filter, and drained it.  

I followed the instructions pretty closely, making something that resembled choux paste.  You can't use too much flour or they'll be doughy, and you can't overmix, or you'll develop the gluten in the flour.  Stir it in and go.  It was pretty messy.  Would it be quicker to just plop them in like dumplings?  Or spaetzle?  Maybe so.  

I chopped up broccolini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and garlic, then sauteed them in a little olive oil.  They needed some salt, so I threw in a little boullion paste and water.  Perfect.

I slid half the gnocchi into boiling salted water.  They floated in just a few minutes, so I pulled them out quickly.  I think next time I make these, I'll just keep a colander on a plate, because I had a little challenge serving DRY gnocchi.  I patted them quickly with paper towels, topped them with a little browned butter and parmesean.    
They were pretty good, maybe a little tangy because of the yogurt, but not bad.  My crisper is empty, the yogurt put to good use, and all ripe tomatoes were chopped into supper.  I feel thrifty!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Banana Pancakes for Father's Day

This is a nice, cozy song.  I'd like my banana pancakes like this:

A little butter, melted into a non-stick pan.

Bananas cut into coins, and sizzled on medium low heat until they brown.  Flip them over and toast up the other side.

It smells like banana bread and tastes like heaven.  Put THAT on your pancakes.  No syrup or additional butter required.  (Shown here on ice cream.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I started it.

In Paton's Katrina.  It doesn't really give a TON of texture in the lace, let's give it a chance.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


And I was well behaved and did the sewing and edges!  Just have ends and a bath left.  I know I cried like a baby about this, but when I tried it on, my first thought was "Hey, I want another one!!!"  I LUV it!  

Wait a minute, it's not for me!  I guess I HAVE to do another!

Yardage:  617

Elann Peruvian Highland Sport
2 skeins = 326.0 yards (298.1m)
Needful Yarns Arte
3 skeins = 291.0 yards (266.1m)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ohh, big deal package from FRANCE!!!

Wowwwww!  I placed an order with Bergere de France on the 7th, and guess what showed up today!  Oh, HAPPY DANCE!  

 and set me off in search of Bergere.  Yeah, I know I am
too old for that top.  I don't care.  I have a granddaughter.  I know people.  I'll find a body to put in it.

I don't speak French.  I don't care.  Once you've knit for a few years, you pretty much understand the arrangement of most knitting patterns, and I understand how they are laid out.  I can do this.  

The sparkling stars of my package?  Bergere sent their catalog.  Oh, if our yarn companies did THIS, I would adore them forever.  Who am I kidding, I would pour over the catalogs like Gollum, hoarding ideas, my fingers admiring every swatch.  Drooling.

This package made me wish I was a younger knitter.  Now that I have the skills to knit some of these garments, I would need serious plastic surgery to wear something like this smoking hot little red number!  

If you are a knitter under 35, I think you should RUN to find a French English translation chart.  Then you should do your best to beg, borrow, or steal an issue to look at.  These are GREAT looking, polished designs.  And if you are over 35?  You need to look!  There are patterns (like my milkmaidy dream) that don't suit me AS written, but that doesn't mean I can't adjust, adapt, and modify.  I do that anyhow!  

Why do the Europeans have it smack on?  I've thought for years that the German magazines had it right, and this stack of French leaflets is certainly drool-worthy.  Things look crisp, beautifully blocked, and PROFESSIONAL.  Wow, wow, wow!!  I want my own personal knitter!

Gotta Ricotta?

In comparison to mozzerella, making ricotta cheese is a snap!  

Step one-boil all the whey left from making the mozzerella.  The only thing hard about this is getting it to 220 degrees.  That takes a while.


Figure out what to make with it.  

I teased DH about gourmet living at his house.  Saturday night's supper was smoked salmon, fresh rolls, with capered mayonnaise.  Sounds a lot fancier than it was-it was just cold cuts, at the end of the day.  

Our big strides in food exploration this weekend came in the form of fruits-namely cooked fruits.  But that's another post.

The shrug moves on.  I am almost done brioching.  Yay!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mozzerella at last

It actually worked.  Dunking the cheese balls in salt water and refrigerating them overnight smooths out the texture, like laying out your damp wool sweater and patting it flat.  The texture is rubbery-a little like chewing mozzerella erasers, but it's not too far from where it is supposed to be!  

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Smile and say CHEESE!!!

I bought a box of Junket rennet tablets a few weeks ago.   I remembered making junket when I was little.  I was also tantalized by the 'make cheese' blurb on the box.  I've always wanted to try that!
I went to Junket's website and looked at the recipes carefully.  They have quite a list of recipes.  They also had an involved page that explained how to check the box codes to make sure that the box on your shelf was suitable to use.  Mine wasn't.  It was made in 2002!  So I pitched it.  I bought a new box today.  
I decided I wanted to make mozzerella.  I didn't know this, but after making mozzerella, you let the whey sit overnight, and then make ricotta (which literally means recooked in Italian) with it the next day.  OK!

First I heated up the milk, then add citric acid (the quick method relies on citric acid, not bacteria) to set up.  I added half a rennet tablet, and let it sit for two hours.  

After that the instructions said "Test for a clean break.  Probe a finger into the rennet.  If it has gelled enough to break cleanly as the finger is lifted, go to the next step.  If the milk is liquid or semi-gelatinous,   and softly flows across your finger, let sit until a clean break is achieved."  I think that means dents when you poke it.  More on that later.  After
 that, you dice the curds up, and heat them to 108 for 35  minutes.   So I did.

Then everything into a strainer, separating the curds from whey, little Miss Muffett.  My cheese resembles soft cottage cheese.    Kinda tasted like it too.  I set a strainer over a pot, and lined it with a towel.  Here goes nothing!  I dripped and drained.

The whey looks almost exactly like Mountain Dew-an almost neon yellow green.  I've covered it and left it for morning, to see if I can work some magic and turn it to ricotta.

Some salt,a whirl thru the microwave, and some kneading, and I have something that tastes like mozzerella.  But I don't have the texture right.  I nuke it again to soften it, then form little balls.  But it's not quite right.  

I need to research this further.  The cheese behaves as it is supposed to, and tastes pretty decent too, but I don't quite have the formation right.  Picture, if you can, a mozzerella ball that feels like little bits of mozzerella all stuck together; cottage cheese sized bits all melded together.  I don't quite have the long strings I am looking for, or a smooth cheese.  Is it because I didn't understand the "poke it and make a dent" portion of the instructions?  Did I knead it correctly?  Does anyone know?

Cheese making is time consuming.  There are a lot of dirty pans.  Dang, I am really close to getting it right!

*** after writing this, I found cheese recipes that had the curds rest for as short as 5 minutes.  I think this is going to take a little bit of experimentation to get the recipe right!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Riddle me this-

I went to the dentists' this morning, and sat knitting nervously in the waiting room.  Suddenly, I had a thought, one of THOSE thoughts, one of those "Well, hell, THAT just wrecked it for me" thoughts.

What's the difference between Knit 1 Below (brioche stitch) and knit one color A, knit one color B?  

Oh.  Hmmm.  With every row of two color brioche, you are effectively undoing one of the previous rows...in other words, you have to work 4 rows to get two physical rows.     See?

Well, no of course you don't see, because the big difference between the two methods (aside from the time it takes) is the interlinking on the back.  The brioche has a nice, clean finish; two-handed fair isle is neat, but I would never use it if I thought people would see the other side.  You can see the difference pretty plainly right here:

Now we all know the answer to this question!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still going

I have knit an inordinate amount of this Needful Yarns Arte this year.  Holy smokes.  I may not give this to my cousin's daughter .... because I think it's a lot of work and mightnoteverdothisstitchagain.  Don't tell on me.

Monday, June 08, 2009


I went to the bookstore yesterday for my monthly ration of magazines.  Since I drive for an hour, I usually try to make it worth my while.  My wallet always gasps because I spend SO much money on magazines!!!!

Nowdays, I at least look to at magazine contents .... the Brit magazines in plastic make this difficult .... but I at least have to look to see if there's anything I could concievably want.  There was a lot of nice stuff in the latest group!  

In Knit.1, Angela Hahn's top caught my eye-I love it!  I am just about ready to put that stinking TAKES FOREVER brioche stitch shrug in time out for it.  It takes 19 stitches in 4", so I think Katrina might be good for.  I need to look closely at it.  I've got white, hot pink, soft pink, maybe some black ..... I might cast on the light pink for DD.  That way I can knit it and try it on before I lauch that black Katrina....  no!  I gotta finish the stinking shrug.  Sigh.....

Friday, June 05, 2009

Little sillies

It's not that Suggy isn't spoiled.  She is.  A few weeks ago, I went to Ikea, and bought her a new pillow.  (Throw pillows at my house get tossed because they aren't fit for people after a month's worth of Suggy naps.)  And she likes her new pillow just fine.  Today, however, I heard a bunch of rustling and crackling.  Today, Miss Dog was interested in the OTHER pillow I must have left out for her.  Of course it was the ziplock bag I had my extra ball of project yarn in.  (She REALLY loves this yarn.  Remember this picture when she wadded up a full sized cape?)

As far as my project is going,  I find brioche stitch a little time consuming.  I like it, but it takes twice as many rows to make anything happen!  

I've made it to the body portion of my shrug.  Yay!!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tzatziki!!! Or Cacik!

I made tzatziki!  I haven't had it for 20 years, and happened across a recipe for home made gyros (these were surprisingly like little meatloaf patties, but tasty all the same) and tzatziki.  

I don't know if Mark's ever had either gyros or doner kebaps, their close Turkish cousin, but he raved about schwarmas, which are similar.   Being my lazy self, I figured I'd use fresh tortillas (I just didn't feel like making or buying pitas today, and the tortillas here are always fresh.)  

Tzatziki Sauce

1 C. plain whole-milk yogurt

1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced

3/8 t. salt

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed

1 T. finely chopped fresh mint or dill

Line fine-mesh strainer set over deep container or bowl with 3 paper coffee filters or triple layer of paper towels. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cucumber, 1/8 t. salt, and lemon juice in colander set over bowl and let stand 30 minutes.

Discard drained liquid from yogurt. Combine thickened yogurt, drained cucumber, remaining 1/4 t. salt, garlic, and mint in clean bowl.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Learning K1B

I bought Knit One Below when it first came out....but I got a little sidetracked with other projects.  My LYS had an Alchemy Yarns trunk show a few weeks back, and I picked up this book, as well as Migrations to knit up the cover project.  I firmly stepped right over the grey yarn, called Sanctuary, because I didn't want to do something EXACTLY like the picture, and because it was 26.00 per skein of DK.  This project required four skeins of Sanctuary.  Oh, HELL no.

I hit upon this as a project suitable for my cousin's teen.  Cool enough to wear, snuggly enough to serve as a hug.  So far, I like the stitch pattern.