Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Goes Around, etc.

Last week I got a message on Ravelry from a very nice woman in Massachusetts who wanted to buy some of the purple Optimum DK that I have in my stash. You see, she's working on a project and has run out of yarn (damn).

Here's the problem--I already have plans for mine and I am so in love with that yarn that I couldn't stand the idea of parting with any of it.

But guess what? Last week I was in Flying Fingers for Warehouse Wednesday. Now technically, I was supposed to be there to just pick up some yarn that they had set aside for me to make some baby gifts for my Mom (to give--no she's not having any more kids) but I couldn't resist digging around a little bit. And they had a big box of the Optimum with a bunch of the purple.

So as quick as you can say "it's really freaking hot in Yonkers today", I shot an email off to Elise and Dillon. And don't you know, my beloved Dillon found the two balls that I needed.

Here's where it gets fun! I was up early and planning to be at FF by 9 am but then I decided to give myself a nice hour of quiet knitting time (Summer Swatch Me--I'm in love). Then at 10 am, the first episode of the new season of Top Chef was on and I had missed it the week before so I decided to watch that and then head up (love that show--hot bald guys are on the list of "my type").

Okay, now it was time to go. A quick shower and then into the car with my iPod and off to Tarrytown. (I love that podcast--really good books in 15 minute blocks. Check it out.)

So I walk into the shop and it is as lively as ever. Elise is back from Ohio. Tina's teaching a class in the back. Diana pops in wearing a gorgeous blue sundress. There's a really nice lady with an adorable baby digging in the sale boxes.

And there are two women just getting ready to pay. One of them turns around, looks at me and says "I know you". Which happens to me a lot. I have one of those faces. But she does look a little familiar.

So I say, "Well, I'm from Yonkers." And she says, "Yeah, I know that".

And I say, "My name is Karen." And she says, "Yeah, I know that too".

And then she says, "Oh my God, we were in knitting group in the Veuve Cliquot champagne lounge on the Queen Mary II together last summer."

And I say, "Oh my God, Rosanne, how on earth are you?"

And we hug. And everyone's looking at us. And Elise is grinning and shaking her head because stuff like this happens all the time at Flying Fingers.

And Rosanne and I catch up on the year which has been crazy for both of us.

And then, she gives me just the piece of advice that I have been waiting for but just couldn't seem to find.

So because I decided to be nice to a total stranger from Cambridge, and then be kind to myself and give myself a quiet morning, and because Dillon and Elise are so nice to me I ended up standing in just the spot to find just the person who would tell me just what I needed to hear (which was good--nothing to worry about).

Honestly, I really need to pay more attention to just how wonderful the world I live in is and stop worrying about things I have no control over. Yes, there is misery in the world but I don't need to contribute to it. I would much rather keep having mornings like yesterday's and both see the kindness in the world and contribute to it.

I like to think that with enough of that, the misery might just give up and leave.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice

I always loved the part in The Great Gatsby when Daisy remarks that the longest day of the year is coming up and that she always plans to do something special but then it gets past her.

Well, this year, I'm no Daisy. I've got something really special to do--Bad Cat's Summer Swatch Me started today. We got to cast on yesterday and I started the first lace pattern of the sampler this morning.

Please note my nice shiny green needles. I love them long time. This is two repeats of six and I've made myself stop so that I can enjoy it for a few days.

The yarn is fingering weight alpaca from Snowshoe Farm in VT. I bought it at Rhinebeck two years ago and have been saving it for something really special. It's like knitting with a cloud. Keep checking back at their website. The store isn't up yet but I spoke to Terry the other day (random phone call looking for more of the pink yarn I got from her) and the she's working on getting the store up. You can also see them at VT Sheep and Wool and Rhinebeck if you're in the Northeast. P.S. Terry is lovely!

I've also cast on for my first side project--the Peacock Mitts. But I'm keeping those a secret until tomorrow.

So there you have it--a short post on the longest day.

I'm taking my knitting bag to the pool.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summertime--and the knitting is easy

Well maybe not necessarily easy but it's going to be a lot fun.

I've signed up for this. Do you know BadCat? If not, consider this a formal introduction. She's a pretty amazing lace knitter and designer and--get this--she's in my knitting group. That means I get to see her work up close and personal. It's outstanding.

I've swatched.

I've picked out yarn. But of course, I can't seem to get the photos to load so you'll have to wait to see the yummy deliciousness that I've chose.

I'm ready to rock and roll. Want to sign up and play with me this summer?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TA DA! The Susie Sock!

Giddy! I am just giddy about the Susie Socks! This link is fixed--anyone can access it now. No log in and I don't have to retype the thing. You can also download the PDF on Ravelry.

I finished them Saturday, ran them up to my sister's house and she just loves them.

I hope you love them too!

Any problems, leave me a note or drop me an email and I'll send you the pattern.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Knit in Public Day!

Actually, it's more like Knit in Public Week this year but we decided to kick it off on the first day. And it was the perfect day for it. The weather held (nice breeze, not too muggy). We had several new people show up who were lovely including one absolutely perfect husband who actually seemed to enjoy himself. Of course I had to go check everyone out on Ravelry as soon as I got home and got to see some really beautiful projects that the newbies had done. And I did find one really interesting blog. I'm not a vegan but I do believe in eating as ethically as possible. And I'm definitely going to have to learn more about vegan yarn.

We had some really good summer food today as well. Whenever I'm cooking for an unknown crowd, I try to do something that is not too obviously vegetarian. That way, people can eat without having to declare their food choices to a brand new crowd. I don't usually think in terms of vegan which was a mistake today that I won't make again. It's not at all hard to satisfy the whole room, regardless of their food choices, with some really good food.

So I made my Sort of Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Sort of Pasta Salad. And some people asked for the recipe so here it is. This travels really well and always tastes great.

The Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

I do it all in the measuring cup and then whisk them all together. You can also do in a jar and shake it up. It's a very simple, gentle dressing.

The Salad

2 cups Israeli cous cous (the big pearls)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth (store bought is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 box orzo
2 bunches asparagus trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 pints grape tomatoes
olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
1/2 a red onion sliced as thinly as you possibly can get it
1/2 pound feta cheese cubed (soy feta is available here I would get the lemon and oregano one to go with this salad).
1/2 cup raisins, preferably green grape
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the cous cous and stir to coat. Cook the cous cous in the oil stirring regularly until it gets a nice light golden toast on it (about 3 minutes). Add the vegetable broth and the water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the cous cous and simmer for about 15 minutes. Start checking it after 12 or 13 minutes. You want all of the broth to be absorbed but it will still seem a little loose.

While the cous cous is cooking, make the dressing.

Cook the orzo according to the package directions in plain water.

Mix the cooked cous cous and cooked orzo together in a large bowl and dress with about 1/3 cup of the dressing while the pastas are still warm. They'll absorb the flavors really well.

Put the grape tomatoes on one baking sheet and the asparagus on another. Drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper tossing it together with your hands. Pop it into a 350 degree oven. The asparagus will be perfect after about 17 minutes, the tomatoes will go about 25 minutes.

Add the roasted veggies with all their juices to the orzo and cous cous and mix it together with another 1/3 cup of the dressing. Let it all cool to room temperature then refrigerate. A few hours before you are going to serve it, take it out of the fridge and add the remaining ingredients. Mix it well and return to the fridge. Right before you serve it, toss it with the remaining dressing.

This has been my go-to salad for the past two summers. I came up with it for my mother's decoy birthday dinner (we had a surprise party for her a week later) and it was a big hit. It's a pretty gentle salad--the flavors are just nice and fresh and the sweetness of the raisins and the honey really balances the lemon and the red onion. And if you make it the day before, it's even better.

In knitting news, the second Susie sock was finished, the pair was delivered to its namesake and it seems I've created a monster. She wants more. A lot more.

I'll finish writing up the pattern and post it in the next few days.

Hope you all get out there and knit in public. It's good for the soul.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yeah--so I'm a copy cat. You got a problem with that?

I've been bouncing around the blogosphere today and it seems to be a very random day so I'm going with it. Here's a nice, disjointed, ADD, random blog post.

1. I'm totally rocking out chicken souvlaki for some friends. It's marinating in the fridge right now and, gotta tell you, the marinade smelled really good. There will be tsatziki if I can get my act together and buy a cucumber.

2. This is a really bad karaoke song.

3. This is a really good karaoke song. (With a good hot curling iron and a can of Aqua Net I can make my hair look like her headdress.)

4. I am pleased as punch with the first of the Susie Socks. Yeah--I've named them. When the second one is done, I'll post the pattern.

5. I'm being haunted by the ghost of Joe Strummer. Long story.

6. I'm a little bit too excited about having a new Brita.

7. I've noticed that everyone says they don't like Journey but everyone knows all the words to Open Arms. I'm telling you--it's true. Play it on the jukebox in any bar and everyone will sing. I think it's the universal song and that we should just play it really loud in all of the angry places in the world and we'll all get along.

8. At what point can we start calling them The Beastie Men. They're a little long in the tooth to keep calling them boys.

9. Happy birthday Joy.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Is No Place For James Blunt

Just got off the phone with New Boy. He's cleaning his house and really not having a good time. I helped him with it the other day. And, honestly, he has a lot less to do than he thinks he does, but still--it seems daunting.

Anyway, dude had an attitude. Clearly, cleaning the house is not his happy place.

Now if you know me in person, you will know that I can often be the peacemaker (I know that may come as a surprise to some of you but it is true). So I said "Don't worry honey--the house will be clean soon". Yeah right. That went over well.

So instead, I ripped him a copy of my Attitunes playlist. You know those songs that you play when you're really pissed off and you just want to rip the shit out of anyone who looks you in the eye.

And in the spirit of creating a more peaceful world through music, I am sharing the playlist with you.

1. World Shut Your Mouth--Julian Cope (All things begin and end with the Eighties--big hair, oh how I miss you)
2. Cowboy--Kid Rock (I love him long time)
3. Rock and Roll All Night--Kiss (You can sing it really loud)
4. All Revved Up With No Place to Go--Meatloaf (see the Kiss note--also the best concert I've ever been to)
5. Since You've Been Gone--Rainbow (nuff said--it's bad enough that I actually have this song on my iPod)
6. Blitzkrieg Bop--The Ramones (I used to cook breakfast for them)
7. Poison--Alice Cooper (I know a few people who should have had this as their wedding song)
8. Whipping Post--The Allman Brothers (The Brethren always make me want to drink moonshine and divorce Cher)
9. Lust for Life--Iggy Pop (I have a funny story about this song. Remind me tell it to you one day)
10. Hard to Handle--The Black Crowes (I have a thing for skinny white guys)
11. Precious--The Pretenders (Sing this at Karaoke, drop the mike and then walk out without paying your bill)
12. Clampdown--The Clash (Another long story involving Pink Floyd "The Wall", allergy shots, Kurtis Blow and Lou O'Neill Jr.)

P.S. The first person in the comments who can tell me who Lou O'Neill Jr. is gets my turkey gravy recipe.

P.P.S. And for anyone who cares, Robby Benson has not emailed me back yet. I may send him a copy of this CD.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Really? Orange?

So 45 years later I found out that my sister really likes orange. Who knew? I've always thought of her as a pastel kind of girl.

I started this for her.

That's part of a sock. I'm just finishing the heel which I have totally lifted from the leafling pattern. It's perfect for clogs so, as we are a clog wearing family, I thought it would be perfect.

I'm totally jumping off a cliff with this. I'm sort of making up the pattern as I go along. Do you recognize the lace.

Here, look closer.

Yup, it's the lace inset from Column of Leaves. If they work out, I'll right it up and post it to Ravelry.

As with any things for Sissy, there have been a few bumps along the way. I had to rip back the first three rows of lace because apparently my brain shut off for a few minutes. And then I don't know what the hell I did to the heel this afternoon but I had to go all the way back on that to get it fixed. Still didn't figure out what happened but that's okay because it is fine now. I blame that one on Leo. Note to self--don't watch The Aviator while winging it on a project for Sissy.

Oh yeah, and for those of you who noticed, at this point I am working this sock on six needles. I told you--I'm winging it.