Saturday, July 29, 2006

Five Questions About Knitting

Five things about me and knitting...y'all should answer these questions too. And post in the comments with a link to your answers.

1) When did you start knitting?

July 3rd, 2004. Well apparently Mom taught me when I was a kid (I don't remember, sorry Mom) and I'd tried several times before that and failed miserably (though I did become a brilliant cast-on-er) but that was the first semi-success. It was the night before the Chicago trip, and I'd boarded the dog (for the first time ever); I missed her tremendously and I was very bored. So I learned to knit. And currently, Bu is at my parents' -- I miss her tremendously and I am very bored. So I will knit. And blog.

2) What was your first finished project?

A baby blanket in two shades of blue...I'm a little embarrassed about it now because it definitely looked like a first project: uneven stitches, little holes from unintentional yarnovers, horrible seaming. (I know, I know, who seams a blanket? But what I basically did is knit two scarves and sew them together so that it would be wide enough.) I was very proud of it at the time.

3) What is your favorite yarn?

Inner yarn snob be damned, I love Lion Brand Homespun. It was one of the two shades of blue in the baby blanket, and I have since made several scarves, several pairs of fingerless mitts, and one infamous abominable sweater. (Someone check this link, post a comment and tell me if it works, OK?) I will devote an entire post to that sweater's, um, interesting :) But yeah, Homespun's super-comfy, relatively cheap, and insanely easy to care for. And I love working with it, though I know that not everyone does. Other yarns-I-love include anything with alpaca. And stuff on sale. And any nicely wound ball of yarn that hops off of the shelf and aims itself at Beast (with a little help from me of course).

4) What is your favorite pair of needles?

Steel blue colored aluminum number 9s. First needles I bought, and I love them. I'm still learning to appreciate dpns and circs...Tubey's helping a lot with that. (Fear not, Kabs, you will get your needles back! I'm done with one sleeve and just below the elbow on the other...but I've got a good 8 hours of sit-and-wait in airports coming up this week...)

5) What is the most complicated project you've ever completed?

The DNA Scarf, no question. I wussed out on the mini-cables (and miscrossed a few cables in the pattern) but otherwise worked it exactly as written. I gifted it...and Beast, if you ever lose it, don't tell me. Or I'll cry. And never knit you anything. Ever. Again.

I've attempted a few other complicated things but never finished any. Working on it...but it's hard when you don't have a lot of time to devote to uninterrupted not-while-multitasking knitting. Someday.

So that's me in the fiber to knit!

Friday, July 28, 2006


I was afraid that Blogger was going to kill my last post, so I published it and now I will start a new one. I've been knitting and here is Tubey, cuddling up to a bottle of rum. It's the weekend, she's allowed to be a little crazy :)

It's been a good week

Really, it has. I don't say that often -- usually there's something that ruins my mood -- but this time it's the truth. I finished my first draft (even though it's about 25% over the word limit...) and I got to shadow one of my favorite doctors yesterday and I got to hang out with kids today and I made some of the most fabulous pasta ever. (Pesto, beware, I have a new obsession.) Oh yeah, and my knitting is going well too.

So first, the food. I bought a 3-pound bag of garlic par usual...brought it home, and the first head of garlic that I got out had started to go bad. As I am too lazy and cowardly to drive back to the store and argue for the return of my $5, I immediately hop online to find the quickest way to save a lot of garlic. And surprisingly, you can freeze it. All that you have to do is puree 1 part peeled garlic with 2 parts olive oil. Which I did. But not without first realizing that it makes the most amazing oil ever. Ever ever. Oh, and for your pleasure, this is what 5 heads' worth of garlic cloves looks like. (And that, I would guess, is less than a pound of garlic.)
The inspiration:

At this point, I am hungry. And having the I-have-no-food conversation with myself. I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays, so by this point in the week, I really don't have much fresh fruit or vegetables around. Open up the freezer, wander around on the internet a little more, remember about the fabulous C&Z pasta and decide to make it. (Modified to hell and back of course.) Just to warn you, if you're going to visit C&Z, make sure that you'll be able to eat within an hour. The recipes sound amazing and her food photography is unbelievably beautiful.
The final product:
My food photography is not as good, but I am so in love with the pasta. (This is probably the 5th time that I've made a version of the recipe...)
The recipe:
Take 2 tablespoons of pureed garlic in olive oil (as described above...alternatively, you can just add 3 or 4 cloves of sliced or minced garlic to the oil in the next step) and heat in a lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil and saute for about 30 seconds. Add 4 oz uncooked pasta (rigatoni or ziti or shells, nothing tiny or thin) and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup hot water or stock and cover the pan. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, check to make sure that there's still some water in the pan (if not, add 1/2 cup of water), and add 1/2 can chickpeas (or well-rinsed and well-drained white beans) and about 1 cup of artichoke hearts (I get mine frozen from Trader Joe's...fresh thinly-sliced carrots, zucchini, or broccoli are also amazing). Cover the pan again and cook for 6-8 minutes more, until the pasta and vegetables are tender. If there's still water left in the pan, uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high to cook off the excess water. Season with salt and pepper and let people think that you are a culinary genius.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Nineteen Double-Spaced Pages of Glory

Nothing too exciting for anyone besides me...but for me....WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I finished the first draft of my manuscript so hopefully I'll be able to submit it to a couple of journals before the end of the summer. Again...WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Life is good.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pesto Obsessed-o.

There's just something about the word pesto that causes people to make bad puns: besto pesto, pesto presto, pesto pronto, pesto perfecto...I could go on, but I will spare you. Anyways, for me for a while it's been pesto depressed-o. Things just haven't been working out right...and once again, it wasn't perfect. But, I fold, I give up, I'll just post the closest that I've come.

Dump the following into a blender or food processor: 1 cup packed fresh basil. If this is coming from a homegrown basil plant, this is about a billion and one leaves. Don't worry, they'll grow back. 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted. (Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add the pine nuts; shake them occasionally until they begin to happens really quickly, within about 2 minutes, so watch carefully.) Slightly less than 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (mmmm yeastie beasties...NOT the same as baker's yeast). 2 or 3 cloves of garlic. Do not increase the garlic -- and yes, that is straight from the mouth of the garlic queen. 1/8 teaspoon dark red miso. (Optionalish...if you don't use it, increase the salt by a small amount.) 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste. And of course, freshly ground black pepper. Blend for about 20 seconds on and off until the mixture is blended but not smooth. Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil and blend for about 10 seconds more. Then, ideally, let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to mellow...or if you're me, eat it immediately with whatever food is within reach. My current favorite:

Much love to Beast for the inspiration...she ate a tomato-and-basil from my front yard, so I ate a tomato-and-basil from my front yard. And then I had no more tomatoes and lots of basil, so I made pesto and bought some tomatoes. Summer is yummer :) and I love bad rhymes.

And now, for the latest entry in the my produce can out-moon your produce contest...the multiple apricot bootyfruits!

Top that, suckaz :)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Lessons from Lana

So I've started Lana...and restarted Lana...and restarted Lana. Here (so far) are my mistakes...and how to prevent them. Note: knitters more experienced and/or organized than me may find the following ideas stupid. To which I say: bite me. (Well, I really say that hints never hurt, and since this project is rated for the "average knitter" there may be people working on it that would benefit from my brilliance. Or at least my trial and error in this particular instance.)

Problem (1) You're working with 2 balls of identical yarn...and if you mix them up, the project is ruined. Now, I know that's a little woe-is-me-ish...but at the end, you drop some stitches to create the fringe, and if you've crossed balls of yarn at any point, your skirt will unravel in the wrong direction.

Solution (1) Make the balls of yarn non-identical. I kept the yarn that you use throughout the skirt in ball form and wound the ball that forms the fringe around a big crochet hook (it was nearby...) You could also use a cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, or...uh...put it in a plastic bag. Just make sure that you know which is which.

Problem (2) The sometimes-single-yarn, sometimes-double-yarn thing is a little (read incredibly) confusing.

Solution (2) Count stitches obsessively... and know that sometimes there are 5 double-yarn stitches and sometimes there are 6 double-yarn stitches. (There are six in the picture below -- it's easier to see when you've got the WIP in your hands.) The number of stitches on the needles should never change...but because of the single-yarn, double-yarn thing, the number of loops will.

Problem (3) You only think that you know how to knit short rows. (I know that I thought that I knew what I was doing...)

Solution (3) If you are not absolutely certain that you know how to knit short rows, check. Here is the site that I used. The pictures are for the first set of instructions (beginning a short row from the knit side) & you actually need to follow the second set of instructions (beginning a short row from the purl side). If the site isn't clear enough, politely (that's for you, Kabilu...haha I rhymed) ask your LYS employee or friend-who-knits to show you how. It seems to be vital to the finished outcome. I also stick a safety pin through each wrap so that I remember to work the wrap and the stitch together when I come to them.

Other than that, so far, so good.

I'll keep y'all updated with future mistakes when I make them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why We Need Winter Birthdays...

Kabs and I have a tradition of giving each other knitted gifts. Why? Because we are knitters, and that is what knitters do. We also give each other gifts very late. Why? Because we are procrastinators (at least I am), and that is what procrastinators do. This year, we exchanged scarves. Why? Because scarves are cool.

Here's the one that I was given: (It needed a matching hat because I was having a bad hair day.)

The top one's me, and the bottom one is Loki. We both look kinda confused. (The scarf shall henceforth be known as The Scarf of Confusion...but really, we were both like that before.) This is a closeup of the stitch. I like it.

This is the one that I gifted. "Pattern" later. I promise.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Second Verse, Same as the First...

Tomorrow's lunch will be the same as today's, with the exception of a chickpeas-for-tofu substitution. (I ate the rest of the tofu...I looooooooooove tofu!) Not much else going on -- I got to volunteer at the clinic tonight, which was great. Probably one of the best free-clinic experiences that I have ever had because I got to shadow an amazing physician. (And I got to hear my first heart murmur and do my first prostate exam, followed very rapidly by my second prostate exam.) Someday, I will be a doctor. Someday. And I have learned that no matter how many times you introduce yourself as a medical. (pause) student. (pause) there will still be patients...and other volunteers...and physicians...that refer to you as doctor. And I have learned that the gracious thing to do is to smile and accept it. And to make sure that things don't get too out of hand -- you still can't sign any prescriptions :) You can, however, answer questions to the best of your ability, and plead ignorance when your ability doesn't measure up. Because you are, in fact, just a medical. (pause) student. (pause). And maybe -- just maybe -- by the time that people figure it out, you'll be a doctor. Rock.

Oh. And this isn't me. But it damn well could be. Especially if I remain sleep-deprived. Night!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sundays are for cooking...

I always eat well on Mondays because I have time on Sundays to cook. Tomorrow's food: fruit and yogurt, peanut butter on a bagel, and pasta with carrots, tofu, green onions, and pesto. I still haven't worked out the pesto recipe perfectly yet, but I'll get there.

I'm still working on photo quality...I love super-close-up shots but I haven't figured out how to make them not-blurry yet. And it is still ridiculously hot here. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Things I've Read

So I think that along with the list of projects for which I will buy yarn in approximately 361 days, I should start a list of things that I've read...because I hate when all that I can come up with (while trying to recommend something to someone else) is "that one know". I've lost track of books before -- two of them, to be precise -- and I miss them...I liked the stories but I just can't remember enough to find them. And I have a very strong feeling that it will happen with two books that I read yesterday, if I don't write them down. (I typoed a slash where the comma is -- and yes, ironically, I intended to type typoed; it's a verb now -- and liked the way that it looked. Very bad poetry. Oh noetry. TfD is the best.) Apex Hides the Hurt was a little heavy-handed but I liked it anyways; for me there's a very very very fine line between too heavy-handed and so subtle that I don't get it. And then I read The Brief History of the Dead, which was exceptional. I think that I'd read an excerpt of it a long time ago...and it was one of those things that would pop up in my head at random times. The cover picture is really cool...and the story is oddly compelling. I can't really describe it -- mainly because I'm a ridiculously poor descriptionist -- the closest that I can come is like, trying to describe how pretty the moon is...everyone knows what it looks like, but it's just impossible to come up with why it was so amazing on one given night. Kinda like, you had to be there...but even if you were there, it wouldn't necessarily be the same for you anyways. But I liked it. (And this post shows why I am not a literary critic.)


Yep, it rained today...and except for the few minutes in which I walked umbrellaless to my car, that's a good thing. It waters the plants for me and means that it's cool enough to cook and to knit. Tonight's dinner:

Instant soup, bekstyle. One can of veggie broth, 2 cans of water (no, they don't make canned water...or do they? anyhow, it's just a measurement...), 8ish cloves of garlic, 1 medium onion. Cook that on medium for about 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup of quick-cooking barley, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of frozen veggies (mine were carrots, baby peas, and corn) and 1 can of rinsed and drained white beans. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop 1 Tfresh basil and -- the secret guess...think fast...all together now -- 1 cup romaine lettuce for each serving. Put the lettuce and basil into individual serving bowls, pour the hot soup into the bowls, and season to taste. Yes, I needed to use up the lettuce (I am so sick of salad!) but it's actually pretty good in reminds me a little of water chestnuts in that it actually stays crunchy. I doubt that it would store well though, so that's why I don't actually put it into the soup until serving time.

And then I made these a few days ago and forgot about them until now.

It's the Oasis Naan from Baking With Julia. I'm not going to bother with the recipe because it was kind of a pain, but if I know you and you want to borrow the book, I'd be happy to lend it out. If I make these again, I'll probably sub in lemon juice for the cumin...and freeze them quickly, as they turn rock-hard after about 24 hours.


If you squint just's a slice-of-garlic butt. (I didn't cut the notch into cheating on the booty-fruity game.)

And now while I have my own undivided attention, I will ask myself random questions...and refuse to answer them. And then argue with myself. So long!

Monday, July 10, 2006


I'm tired. So this is going to be a fairly uninteresting post...but I have to put something out there, because if I don't I probably won't post again. Short attention span and all. I haven't been cooking or knitting much recently -- it's hot here and I'm lazy. Though when all of my yarn arrives (yay!) the knitfest will begin. And I think that somewhere I'm going to start a list of things to make once I allow myself to buy yarn again. (I may have to write myself a loophole...I'll have a nervous breakdown if I somehow run out of yarn entirely at some point in the next year. It'll work out...) First on the list is the Brioche Bodice. I really like it. It does just feel kind of silly to spend $50 on a tank top. Other than that, I'm not craving any projects that I haven't already made arrangements for. Sweet.

My extent of "cooking" recently has been dumping random things on the never-ending romaine. A few nights ago it was kidney beans, nutritional yeast, and balsamic vinegar -- no oil, because I didn't feel like getting a dish dirty to mix things in. Meanwhile, one of my roommates was eating a bologna-and-bacon-ranch-dressing-on-white-bread sandwich. (Apparently, bacon ranch dressing exists...because regular ranch is too healthy...? Dunno.) There are several ways to eat weird I guess. My other roommate was eating pizza -- she's normal.

And just a word of advice to people with kraki dogs...get a dogwalker. It is definitely one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

And just to share the funniest thing that I have ever heard...this happened like a week ago and I still think that it is fabulous. (My apologies to the people upon whom I spat rice...)

"Speaking of worshipping the devil..." You know that you're in a surreal conversation when that makes sense. And when it makes you laugh so hard that you spit rice...m'bad.

Peace. Until something interesting happens.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

And the binging has begun...

Bingeing? I dunno...but anyhows, I just bought 9 skeins of Linen Print Crush for's to hoping that the yarn requirements page didn't lie. And I could buy for the Brioche Bodice and still come in under budget...I'll sleep on it and buy tomorrow. Unless the auction is going to end soon...? Yikes! And upon recalculation...I have decided that Brioche Bodice is not worth least not right now. If I win the lottery between now and Saturday, I'll reconsider...

100% serious...but wavering...

So I'm still planning on a yarnless year...or at least a year with no new yarn acquisitions. The weasel in me wonders whether I can buy used yarn (off of eBay...yet another weakness) or pull an Ira-on-Shabbos-esque "I really wish that the TV was on...". Answer: no. Dammit. But, but, but....what if I really really really really want it? Answer: still no. Double dammit. Because there will always be things that I want. Like, uh, world peace? Yep. And yarn. Yaaaaaaaaaarn. I'm currently working on Tubey (pics at some point), and plan on acquiring yarn -- by Saturday -- for the following projects: Kyoto, the One Skein tank top, the razor cami, Lana (though honestly, why do knitted projects have to have dumb names? From now on, it shall be known as the skirt-i-love...though i have several skirts-i-love...hence, i guess, the dumb names...) and maybe-just-maybe, the Brioche Bodice (about two-thirds of the way down the page). And Kabs is going to give me yarn as a way-too-generous thanks for catwatching, so I will be making a lovely cabled cardi-hoodie. Someday. (And actually...I'd already planned on buying for Kyoto & One-Skein, and I think that the razor cami will be a stashbuster...that leaves only 2 projects unbudgeted for. Sweet...)

Monday, July 03, 2006

100% serious

So Beast is giving up chocolate for a year. Fo weal. I've decided to tangentially tag along on her adventure and give stuff up too. Not way, not me. Not Marmite (I'd freeze to death in the winter without Marmite soup...), nor Guinness (not even going there...I shudder to imagine a world without it), nor lemonade, blue cheese, pickles, Sudoku, or any of the various animals that inhabit my house and cover me in fur. Nope, I'm giving up (deep breath here) buying yarn. That's right, after my giant fiber binge (happening on Saturday and I can't wait) I will not purchase any yarn for an entire year. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'll be yarnless...

Far from it, as you can see. Plus -- once the fiber binge takes place -- yarn for 3 sweaters and a tank top or two. Definitely time to cut back. So wish me luck; I'm going to need it.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's a salad, so it must be healthy...?

It's ridiculously warm here. And I have no A/C. Which is not usually a huge deal, since it keeps energy bills down. (Yay!) But today I didn't want to cook, and I'm trying to lose weight, so I made a salad. But it turned into a freshman girl salad...light on the lettuce, heavy on everything else.

It's actually not too bad for you: romaine lettuce, black beans (canned -- rinse and drain), corn (frozen -- microwave and drain), roma tomatoes, green onions, and olives. I made a sorta-southwest dressing by mixing vegan sour cream (leftover from the pasta salad), lime juice (not from a plastic lime), and chili powder. It was good and saved me from heating up the kitchen at all. I'll probably be posting several salads over the next few days...I'm a sucker for bulk purchasing, and currently the proud owner of 6 heads of romaine lettuce. Ooops.