Monday, July 30, 2007

Fun for Cats

A little over a week ago I placed an order with the eBay store for the Rocky Mountain Siamese Rescue... it finally showed up today!

Is this not the cutest cat bed you've ever seen??

view from above...I love the tail!

Tindomerel and Lomion aren't quite sure what to make of this thing...

Finally - "Hey, this looks kinda comfy!"

I am LOVING the Jaywalkers. I want to knit them nonstop until I finish...unfortunately I don't have that kind of time but they are fun and so easy!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I have a BAD case of Startitis.

I cast on for Jaywalkers this afternoon (would post photo but it doesn't look like anything yet, will get one up as soon as it's worth looking at).
I am also dying to get going on:
- Baby Surprise Jacket (for new niece)
- Airy Scarf (to practice working with laceweight)
- Flower Basket Shawl (I have been wanting to make this for about a year)

And of course there are the lovely Bayerische socks that are going to kill me, along with the rug I work on maybe once a month because it is BORING as all get out.

I can tell the Jaywalkers are going to be great though. They are in STR, Ruby Slippers colorway. My only complaint so far (and it's about the yarn) is that the skein was so tangled it took me an hour and a half to wind into a ball last night. This is something that I should have been able to do in 5 minutes using the swift and winder, but it was really really bad. Anyway, will post a photo either later this evening or tomorrow. The yarn is knitting up very nicely (no surprise there).

OK, here is the photo:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bayerische update

I spent a bit of time on this today...still slow going but not as bad as before. I am about halfway through the gusset decreases. The stockinette sole is a much welcome relief.

I still am really NOT enjoying knitting them.


Here are the finished Monkeys!

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
Needles: Size 2 Knitpicks DPN's
Yarn: Socks that Rock mediumweight - Fire On the Mountain

I love these - they fit beautifully and the colors are so fun. Now I need to find another easy-ish sock pattern (can't be KIP'ing with Bayerische, at least not happily).

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Am I a bad knitter because I don't feel like taking the time to photograph my stash one yarn at a time, upload it to Flickr (bah, Flickr) and post and organize it on Ravelry?

That just seems like no fun at all.

I finished the last Harry Potter book around 5 pm today. I would have preferred to be more leisurely about it, but I was afraid I would accidentally hear something that would spoil it. I did get a lot of Monkey sock #2 done. Got all the leg done, turned the heel, and am about 1/3 of the way done with the foot. I could have this finished by the end of the week if I ignore Bayerische for a bit.

(photos later, because as I said I'm lazy)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Adventures in fiber

Today I went to the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair with Kelly, Erica, and Melissa. It was a really great day for it, mid 70's and sunny. Melissa made Bluefaced Leicester sheep cookies for the occasion!

Here is one of the vendor tents:

And that is all the photos I actually took while at the fair. It ended up feeling pretty warm out in the sun, and even under the tents after awhile. We did meet up with Jess (who was taking classes) for lunch, which was the basic fair food, but they did serve alcohol there which we all thought was an idea that should really catch on at these types of events.

I do, however, have photos of my haul:

Sportweight pure alpaca for $2.95 per skein. These are destined to be gloves.

This is to hold my sock needles in use, to keep them from poking things and to keep the stitches from sliding off (like they did yesterday). I have been wanting one of these for AGES. I got this from The Fold's booth. I have not been to their store yet but do have plans to go sometime. Anyway, she was very low on STR so none of us ended up getting any.

Some gorgeous sale sock yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, I could not pass up these colors.

Also from Spirit Trail, this yarn's colors were actually what drew me into their booth. This is 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool (a little ironic, eh?). It is sooooo soft. They had this knit up into a pair of sample socks that make me want to get started with it NOW!

And this gorgeous bowl from Jennie the Potter. We had a great time looking at her work, and most of us bought something from her.

Speaking of potters, C has been reading the new Harry Potter book all day and I am just waiting for it to be my turn. He is almost done. It will probably take me somewhere in the neighborhood of a week to finish, I imagine.

Oh, and for those of you who might be feeling bad about the size of your stash, this ought to make you feel better about it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Team Bayerische

Here is the latest:

Notice the completed ones on Melissa's feet! Impressive.

As you can see, the heel on mine has been ripped back, and I am now all set as to where I need to start working on the heel (thanks to some much-appreciated help last night). Then maybe this will go faster since I'll only have to do the pattern on the instep.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Erica!

I hate my own birthday but love other people's. So in honor of Erica I am going to play the Wikipedia birthday game:

April 5th

1. 1614 - In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe. (Awww.)
2. 1932 - Alcohol prohibition in Finland ended. Alcohol sales started in Alko liquor stores. (Woo hoo!)
3. 1972 - Vietnam War: North Vietnamese forces invade Binh Long Province, launching a second front of the Nguyen Hue Offensive. (This was the actual day I was born!)

I'm choosing to ignore the fact that there are also several events involving or related to airline disasters on my birthday.

1. 1908 - Bette Davis, American actress (d. 1989)
2. 1949 - Judith Resnik, American astronaut (d. 1986)

Arbor Day in South Korea (plant a tree! then hug it!)

Want to play along?
Go to Wikipedia
Search for your birthday Month and Day
Pick 3 events, 2 births and 1 holiday

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blah, blah, blog.

No, it's not that I've been spending that much time on Ravelry, but I haven't had that much to say.

Ravelry is very cool but I have to admit that my attention span for it is somewhat limited, so it's going to take me awhile to get photos of everything up. Also, I hate Flickr, which is required for posting photos there.

Saturday I was cramming my weekend chores into one day, so that on Sunday I could be all busy. Had a massage in the morning (I am still just barely holding it together with all the injuries I seem to have, but am improving) and then we saw Harry Potter in IMAX 3-D, which was very fun. We finished off the day with a dinner at Wildfire - they removed my favorite sandwich from the menu, which was disappointing, but I had an excellent chicken caesar salad, and we split some apple pie for dessert.

In case you think I have not been knitting - I royally screwed up the Bayerische. I didn't really understand the directions in the heel flap setup, so I just pressed on (*slaps self on forehead*). After picking up the stitches along the heel flap, discovered the pattern REALLY didn't make sense, and when I asked one of my co-knitters about this, she informed me that I had knit the heel flap in the wrong place in the pattern. The way this sock works is there are 4 different cable patterns on each side of the sock. There is a particular cable that is supposed to go down the front of the foot and the back of the heel. Well, the way I did the heel flap, that cable is nowhere near in the right place. So I need to decide if I don't care and want to leave it as-is, or if I want to frog the heel flap (eek) or tink the heel flap (ugh). The thought of frogging scares me because I'm afraid I would drop a stitch too far and lose the patterning it is supposed to have. I've decided not to touch it until the next KTog meeting, where I will hopefully get opinions, advice, and maybe even help if I'm lucky.

So in the meantime, I got this done:

Have I mentioned I love this colorway? I will be casting on for #2 tonight. I have never had a problem with Second Sock Syndrome for some reason (though I could see some coming on with Bayerische).

There, are you happy now? :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back to Knitting

Here is the group progress on Bayerische:

It's a little hard to see the patterns...I blame it on bad lighting. I can't believe Melissa is almost done with the second sock, but then she does commute by train. I'm still envious that she is that close to finishing this EVIL pattern.

I am 2.5 rows left from starting the heel flap. I thought about going for 4 pattern repeats, but I'm terrified of running out of yarn, so I'm sticking with 3. I think it's a decent length anyway.

Oh, and I just got into Ravelry!!! I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend ;)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Extreme Dining Adventures

(Warning, LOTS of photos in this post..)

Last night was our long-awaited reservation at Alinea. I love going to the really crazy gourmet restaurants once in awhile, and this was my celebration for my promotion back in January (you have to get reservations pretty far ahead). It's all a set menu, but they do accommodate dietary restrictions - which was good because I can't tolerate black pepper and I have an extreme aversion to truffles (the mushroom kind).

They have 2 options, the Chef's Tasting (12 courses) and the Chef's Tour (24 courses). Guess which one we went for :) We also did the wine pairings, because I think with tasting menu-type meals, you're generally better off doing that than trying to pair a bottle to the whole assortment of things you are going to eat.

So, here goes the Tour....

Course 1: The thing on the left is a sort of savory ice cream sandwich, with frozen artichoke puree layered between red pepper puree and sandwiched with parmesan-black pepper crackers, with basil pressed into the sides. On the right is an herb-infused broth with seaweed in it. These were a very good start. The wine for the first 2 courses was a sparkling Austrian wine with Elderflower essence added to it.

Course 2: On the fork is a salad with octopus, papaya, and a few other things I can't remember. We were instructed to eat the salad, then drink the toasted soy milk in the bowl. I really enjoyed this, but then I love octopus.

Course 3: This is a fish course. Crispy fried sturgeon with curry, and a light monkfish mousse. Both of them are sitting on top of a savory banana pudding and topped off with a paper made of onion. This was definitely not something I would have ordered but I loved it. I always thought I didn't like curry. I will be experimenting more in the future, for sure. With this course was a French Chardonnay that went really nicely with the spiciness of the sturgeon.

Course 4: On the left is sardine with black olive, tomato, and arugula (there must have been black pepper in this since I didn't get one). On the right is a lobster cracker with fennel pollen on one side and butter on the other side (hence the rolled up towel behind it). I loved this thing. And it also went extremely well with the wine.

Course 5: This was one of my absolute favorites, though it doesn't look like much in the photo. It was brought to the table layered in a sort of glass tube, and then the server removed the tube before walking away, so it all oozed everywhere. But this is a porcini mushroom puree, with bits of sauteed porcinis, chopped almonds, chopped cherries, and powdered prosciutto. On the very top are almond and cherry ice creams. The temperature variations were very interesting, and the flavors were incredible. The wine that showed up with this course was a Sicilian Marsala, very dry, nutty, and strong. It went well with the food but was a bit much for me so I only drank half of it.

Course 6: This was a ball of horseradish with apple cider inside, and the whole thing was sitting in celery juice. You drop this into your mouth like a shot, and when the horseradish hits your tongue the cider shoots out (they warn you to make sure you close your mouth quickly; I almost didn't make it in time). Not my favorite, but definitely some interesting flavors.

Course 7: This one was really interesting. Underneath the plate is a linen pillow, filled with lavender-infused air so you would have the aromas while eating. This is chicken, prepared a few different ways, with mango and topped off with a yogurt sauce. Another white Austrian wine was presented with this.

Course 8: This was a small ravioli that they called an "explosion" because it is filled with thyme infused broth that breaks open when it gets in your mouth. C's ravioli actually had black truffle broth in it and a thin slice of truffle on top. Both of them had romaine lettuce and a small shaving of parmesan on top as well. If you haven't been noticing the really interesting tableware, look at this one. See the black under the spoon? That is not a sauce or anything, it is actually that there is no bottom to the dish and you can see the table underneath.

Course 9: This is a beef short rib sprinkled with peanuts, broccoli, and baby cilantro. The square thing laid over the top of the rib is made from Guinness (I'm not really sure how they do this, but you will see more of these things). We got an absolutely delightful Italian red with this, very light but also very intense with notes of vanilla and berries.

Course 10: Honeydew melon gelee with mint on top. That little metal plate lifts off the square thing, and you slide the gelee right into your mouth.

Course 11: This was based on rhubarb. I don't remember what all of this was. In the glass is rhubarb juice and another explosion-type thing inside it. Both sweet and tart. The next one over was raw rhubarb that tasted like it had been soaked in grapefruit juice (the thing in top is a pin that was used as a utensil). The next one was a sort of mousse that also had grapefruit in it, served on a leaf. Then a rhubarb gelee on top of a goat milk custard, and a sort of rhubarb ice cream sandwich. I don't remember what the last one was except it had fennel and some kind of foam along with the rhubarb, and you just slid it off the glass plate into your mouth. We got a German Spatlese with this course.

Course 12: a frozen chewy strawberry thing, also using a pin as a utensil. See that strip of light green on the top right? That's wasabi. I was worried I wouldn't like it since I'm not a fan of wasabi, but it added some good flavor and the heat wasn't too bad.

Course 13: Candied dried tuna, wrapped with grapefruit peel, lemongrass, and garlic. The lemongrass was very intense. This was good ole finger food.

Course 14: This is a stalk of white asparagus with several treatments sitting in an herb sauce. On the far right is a quail egg yolk, which was very interesting. We got a Portuguese sparkling wine with this.

Course 15: C got a pineapple thing filled with bacon powder and black pepper. I got a strip of bacon wrapped with butterscotch, apple, and thyme. The bottom of that photo is blurry because the contraption it is hanging from was rocking and I couldn't get it to stay completely still. Anyway, the bacon was really good, very nice combination of flavors.

Course 16: Along the back is a strip of pea puree, covering dollops of curry and yogurt. In the middle is a lamb consomme filled with peas, and the little round thing in the front is lamb with morels. We had a nice hearty Tuscan red wine to go with this. The only thing I really liked on this was the little round piece of lamb.

Course 17: They called this "Hot Potato, Cold Potato". Warm tiny potato with chives, butter, and parmesan on the skewer, in my bowl (left) cold potato leek soup; in C's bowl (right) potato truffle soup, and his potato has a truffle slice on top. You pull out the skewer and the hot items fall into the cold soup, and you dump it all in your mouth. I really enjoyed this one.

Course 18: Bison tenderloin, crusted with a savory granola, sitting in foam (can't remember what the foam was made of). In front is a celery puree with red wine reduction in it. I love bison, and this was particularly good. It was funny because they kept talking about how gamey this was, and it didn't taste gamey to me at all...but I just don't find bison gamey to begin with. We had another bold Italian red wine with this. Toward the end of this course I pretty much hit the wall with being comfortable eating any more.

Course 19: These were cinnamon meringues with foie gras and apple inside. In general I am anti-foie gras, but there was so little of it in here I didn't worry about it. This thing was actually quite good...but I would never specifically order foi gras.

Course 20: This was the first specific dessert course. In front is what they called a "guava sponge"...I can't remember what was on the spoon. The green and white thing is a dual semifreddo of avocado and brie. On the edge of the bowl is an "explosion" thingy of brown sugar and rum, with goat cheese and pine nuts. The liquid in the bottom of the bowl is guava juice, which they poured into the bowl at the table. The avocado/brie semifreddo was my favorite part of this. We had an Austrian dessert wine served with this. I don't really like dessert wine, and this was no exception, so I only had a couple tiny sips (plus, I knew I had an hour-long drive home coming up).

Course 21: A coconut strip with sweet cornmeal chips and kiwi slices. On the far right is a saffron ball filled with kiwi. This was interesting but I could have lived without it.

Course 22: I fully expected to hate this. It was a licorice cake with orange and anise, and licorice flavored spun Muscovado sugar. I really don't like licorice. So between that and the fact that I was stuffed to the gills, I had a hard time getting myself to put this in my mouth. The delivery method was really interesting though, you just pull it off the wire with your mouth, no hands or utensils needed. Once I got this in my mouth I actually enjoyed it, but again was so full I had trouble actually swallowing it. This was one of the nice surprises of the meal, though.

Course 23 - This was the chocolate course - chocolate ganache on the left, with passionfruit puree. The back right corner is rice pudding, the front right corner are soy sauce marshmallows, and the center is frozen soy sauce, soy sauce powder, and some other funky soy sauce thing. As a passionate chocolate lover, I was a bit disappointed in this one. We got an Italian red dessert wine with this, which I liked a bit more than the earlier one but kept it to small sips because of the upcoming drive.

Course 24: This was a cinnamon custardy thing, deep fried and on a cinnamon stick. I really enjoyed this one, but unfortunately I was so full at this point it made me feel sick more than anything. C couldn't even bring himself to eat his.

So, I would totally go back (not in the very near future though) but would probably do the Tasting the next time. I think that the things I really liked were on the Tasting menu as well. This was really a lot of fun though. We were at the restaurant for 5 1/2 hours, and the whole experience was very entertaining. The cost was probably more than what I've spent on all the yarn I've ever bought in my life, and I knew that going in, but this is definitely not a place to go all the time. Maybe once every few years. But I'm really glad we went, it was amazing.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This was dessert last night..

Chocolate souffles are my FAVORITE dessert ever. Especially my own recipe, which I just discovered I have not yet shared with you all!

Chocolate Souffles
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus additional for dusting the dishes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 ounce high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 large egg yolk
2 large egg whites
confectioners' sugar for dusting the soufflés

Butter 2 1-cup ramekins and dust them with the additional granulated sugar, shaking out the excess. In a bowl blend together 2 tablespoons of the remaining granulated sugar, the flour, the cocoa powder, the butter, and a pinch of salt until the mixture resembles meal. In a saucepan bring the milk to a boil. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the milk with the chocolate, cook the mixture over moderate heat, whisking, for 1 minute, or until it is thickened, and let it cool. In a bowl beat the egg yolk slightly and beat in the chocolate mixture. In another bowl beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks, add the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, and beat the meringue until it holds stiff glossy peaks. Stir one fourth of the meringue into the chocolate pastry cream to lighten it and fold in the remaining meringue gently but thoroughly. Divide the mixture between the prepared dishes and bake the soufflés in a shallow baking pan in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 18 minutes (if you have convection, use it), or until they are puffed. Dust the soufflés decoratively with the confectioners' sugar and serve them immediately.
Serves 2.

You can prepare these, put them in the ramekins, and then wait to put them in the oven until you are eating supper - and then they will be ready to eat when you are ready to eat them.

Am recovering from a glass of wine right now, then will be out on my bicycle for a bit, and then I expect to tackle Bayerische for a few rounds. I need to keep up with the Joneses, although the Joneses have (ahem) not been blogging lately so I have no idea where I am in relation to them.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I don't want a pickle...

I just wanna ride my

I got this a few weeks ago but didn't manage to get out for a ride until today. Given that it was pretty much my first time riding a bike since high school, I did pretty well. My quadriceps are jello, though. It's always so weird when you do an activity outside the normal repertoire.

I wasn't going to post Bayerische progress, but I did a whole repeat today, so I'm going to.

It is getting there. If I manage to keep at it, maybe I will get to start working on the heel over the weekend.

And then this is what is keeping me sane with the Bayerische...

I absolutely love this. I can't wait until these are done and I can wear them. I love the pattern and I love the yarn.

Hope everyone is having a good 4th! We are getting ready to grill some steaks that have been marinating all day. I primarily use this marinade for what is labeled "stew meat" at the store but after sitting in this overnight it is perfect for kabobs.

3/4 cup salad oil
3/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup Worcestershire
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tbsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 crushed garlic clove
3/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/6 cup lemon juice (2T +2t)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in tightly covered jar in freezer indefinitely or in refrigerator for one week.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Inching along...

I've completed a third repeat of the Bayerische pattern (that would be the chart A-C pattern, not the chart D pattern, for those of you who are familar). I might only do 6 total, we'll see how I feel about the length when I get that far.

It looks nice in red, huh?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sock insanity...

My plan has been to do about 3-4 rounds of Bayerische per day, but I got a little behind waiting for the circs to arrive. So I did 6 rounds today.

This photo shows the stitch pattern MUCH better than the one I took last night. Not sure if it was because I took this during the day or what. I still loathe row 2 of the charts.

The Monkeys will be my resting socks. I haven't worked on them yet today, but here is how far I got on them yesterday:

I am going to love these. Fire on the Mountain is a fantastic colorway. These will be really fun, I think.