Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Spunky Eclectic Fiber Of The Month Club, September - Aspen.

The camera did not pick up what a wonderful sheen this stuff has. OK, the camera probably has that capability, it is the photographer who is lacking skills. The yarn is a Merino/Tencel blend. Soft and shiny, lovely to look at and hold. There are only 2 ounces so I am not sure what to do with it. I wonder if there is enough to make some lacey wrist warmers? Maybe a pretty headband? Only I do not wear headbands, so that means I would have to give it away. I do not think I want to give it away.

December Spunky Club should arrive this week. Last STR club also. Yahoo!

Remember that whole What Was I Thinking When I Agreed To Make A Pair Of Leg Warmer's For Youngest Daughter's Giraffe Legs? She has used the yarn to make her very first sock. I am pretty pleased. If she sits right down and makes the match I will know she is on her way to becoming a fellow Sock Knitter. How great would that be?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

this week's dinners

Youngest Son's birthday. He does not want a cake, or a pie, or doughnuts, or pudding or anything else that you can think of. Instead he asked for pretzels. Big, soft pretzels. For both dinner and dessert. He is so cool.

Matzo Ball Soup

I do not have a written down soup recipe, I always make it up as I go. The Matzo Balls come from the back of the Streits Matzo Meal box. I beat everything longer than I think it needs and use bubble water instead of plain water.

Sloppy Joes aka Snobby Joes

Vegetarian Cassoulet
noodles or rice

This is the only empty calendar day this week. I will play this one by ear. Because there is nothing on the schedule for this day, I have time to make an elaborate meal. Because there is nothing on the calendar for this day, I may prefer to knit all day and bring home a pizza. There is no way to know until the days arrives.

Husband will not be home for dinner

Pasta w/Marinara Sauce and fake meatballs
Braised Greens

2 new recipes, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the last birthday of the year

It is Youngest Son's birthday. He is beyond excited. Husband is at work and most of the present opening will need to wait until he arrives home. But to keep things from getting too ugly he is able to open the present from our neighbors. These are the neighbors from Denmark, whose own kids and grand kids are very far away. They spoil our kids something fierce and we love them. This is now in the house. Talk about cool!

I have finished spinning 4oz of Spook. It is possible I will not have enough for the Invisibility Shawl. (the little boy has the shawl on his head) If not, I have another 4 oz braid I can spin. I will wait and see. It would be nice to use the other braid for something else.

I am very happy with the results.

The Leaf & Sand Dollar Shawl is getting bigger and bigger. It has moved to the Loopy bag and my next task today will be to order longer cables. Yeah, yeah, I should have ordered the longer cables last week. I am so good at denial.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

its all good

Here it is 10:14 on a Saturday night and I am actually bored. Boy does it feel great. I can not remember the last time I had enough time to feel bored.

Presents are wrapped. The shawl has grown by 20 more rows and is resting from such hard work. The current spinning is done and hanging over the heating vent to dry. I have just caught up with my favorite knitting blogs and ogled my future spinning wheel. Now what? I even did some Girl Scouts work, that is all done until January.

Picture me, whistling, twiddling my fingers, looking out at the lights on the island...

I think I will go start a new spinning project. That would be better than sitting here trying not to order a spinning wheel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

holy crap

I just spent $95 mailing packages and I still have one left to send out. Perhaps it is time to have a conversation about continuing this whole Christmas present exchange thing. It may make more sense for people to purchase another present for their household then to spend extra money on shipping. Maybe we could send pictures of what we would have purchased for them and they can decide if they would indeed like that to be at their house? They could use the money they would have spent shipping a gift to us and visa versa. I think this idea has some merit.

Wednesday’s dance class gave me 9 more rows of lace. I am really loving this shawl. The yarn is so soft and is knitting up beautifully. The pattern is just enough to keep me interested. I am using considerably less yarn that I had calculated. I am almost done with the leaf repeats and am also almost done with the first skein of yarn. So I have altered the plan. I will knit leaf repeats until I have used 2 skeins. Switch to the sand dollar repeats with the third skein and begin the edging when it is time for skein 4. Yes, this will be a big shawl. It will be glorious!

I do not want to take the knitting off the needles and pin it out to get a good picture. You will have to take my word for it that all is well. It is currently on 32""cables and I hope it does not need to go up another size. I suppose that is me practicing denial and I should pull on my boot straps and order longer cables. The project no longer fits comfortably in a little project bag. The only other knitting bag I own is a big Loopy Groupie bag, which feels too big.

No more knitting will be done today. Boys begin arriving at 4 for Youngest Son’s birthday party.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

what's cookin'

When I was first married I could not cook a can of tomato soup. Really! I burned it every time. Some of you may be asking how this happened. Well, home cooked food never really happened at my house as a child. My mom was single, she was dating in the evening. She would pick me up from Hebrew School, we would hit the closest fast food, she would get me settled in at home and then head out for the evening. Seems strange now, but not so strange then. BTW, we did not keep Kosher.

As a young adult/college student I did not cook. I ate out all the time. Crappy food, but what did I know? See above fast food upbringing.

As young married people we also ate out all of the time. Better food, but still...

As a bride, Husband and I talked at length about raising children. We knew that we wanted one of us to stay home with the the baby(s). His job was WAY more conducive to raising a family, so it became me who stayed home. When making this decision it did not occur to me that I would be cooking.

The whole learning how to cook thing was not good, (this was WAY before Food Network). I checked out books from the library that told me to do things I did not know how to do. It was really hard. But I pressed on. After many years I felt I could hold my own in the kitchen, We began entertaining and before you could say, "come on over " our house became the go to spot for any celebration,

~Picture me here, doing the touch down dance, spiking the ball.~

Now, MANY years later I find that I am bored with cooking. I have been putting dinner on the table for 18 years and I am just plain tired. But there are still hungry people in the house to deal with, so I soldier on. We have a new dietary issue in the house, that makes for a new challenge, which I enjoy.

Background...2 vegetarians, 1 lactose intolerant, 1 MSG allergy, 3 who blissfully eat anything they want but are vocal about like and dislikes. GGGRRRR.

Here is what is cooking the week. If I take recipe word for word out of a book, I will list the reference, but not the recipe. Check it out from the library. If I have made the dish up, or sufficiently altered a recipe, I will post it. Hope this works for everyone. If not, let me know.

I have been making this recipe for years. I have to admit that I no longer use the
actual recipe and now make a doublish amount. Very rarely are there leftovers.

4 cups grated, russet potatoes
1 onion, grated
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper

Mix it all up and fry in olive oil. Using your hands pull 2-3 tablespoons of the potato mixture out of the bowl. Plunk it into the hot oil and spread it out a bit. Not so thin that you will burn your fingers, but not so thick that it will not cook through.
About half way through the batch you will notice a lot of moisture collecting at the bottom of the bowl holding the potato mixture. At this point I put what is left into a colander to drain. I know some people actually wrap their potato in paper towels to remove moisture. I feel that also removes quite a bit of starch and the starch is what gives the middles a creamy texture. Just drain it, its fine.

Don't buy it, this is so easy. If you have teenagers at home get them to peel the apples.

5 apples - any type will work, the more variety the better
1/3 cup unfiltered apple juice
2 tablespoons honey (I never use it)
a sprinkle of cinnamon (if you are so inclined, I never am)

Peel and quarter the apples and put them and the apple juice into a glass dish with a cover. Vent the cover slightly and microwave on high 10 minutes. An immersion blender works great here, but a food prosessor will also do the trick. Blend it to the texture you would like, chunky, smooth, whatever you like.

Sour Cream
Non-dairy will work if that is an issue at your house. Because of the MSG allergy we can
not use the off the shelf fake sour cream. The Uncheese Cookbook has a good recipe.
For me, latkes are special and I am willing to use the real stuff. Lactose Intolerant boy will not eat either variety, so we are good.

leftover roast chicken

I am not comfortable cooking or touching meat. I buy Lloyd's pre-sauced and bake them
in the oven. The carnivores approve and I do not get my hands dirty,

1 pound wide noodles, cooked
1 small onion, diced fine
1/4 cup butter, non dairy is fine, Earth's Best Vegan Non-Hydrogenated is my favorite
6 eggs, beaten
salt & pepper

While the noodles are cooking saute the onion in a couple tablespoons of butter. Let them get nice and golden. Once the noodles are done toss them with the remaining butter, add the onions and eggs and salt and pepper. Stir at all around and pour into a baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so. Uncover for the last 15 minutes to just barely brown the tips of the pasta.

I like it lightly sauced. If you prefer more, go right ahead.

1 small head of cabbage, sliced thin
1-2 carrots, shredded
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 jalapeno - seeds and stems removed, diced very fine
1/4 cup mayo - fresh, fake, whatever you like
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
salt and pepper
Mix the vegetables. Whisk up the sauce. Toss.
Not so good the next day, so just make as much as you think you will need.

Wednesday's are hard because we walk in the door from dance class at 7:15ish. I need to make most of the meal in the afternoon. I made the hummus early in the day and put pita in the oven to warm and salmon burgers on the stove as soon as I walked in the door. We were eating 15 minutes later.
2 cans garbanzo beans
1/3 cup olive oil, as tasty as you can afford
3 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
lots of salt
water to thin if needed

Pulse the beans in a food processor then add the olive oil. Get the mixture fairly smooth then add in the other stuff. Keep scrapping down the sides and processing until the Hummus is very smooth and creamy.

Salmon Burgers
I purchased the Salmon Burgers from You could make your own.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas
This recipe is in the new Veganomicon by Isa Moskowitz. She is a genius!
I make them in the pressure cooker, adding salt and 2-3 whole jalapenos at the halfwayish point.

I am using Angel Hair
Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce
Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. Its own flavor is quite bland. That means it can easily be mixed in with other flavorful things to make healthy, tasty meals. I have made this recipe before, it is quite good. I am thinking that this time I made add a bit of pureed chipotle to the croquettes.

I do not plan Saturday and Sunday meals. This leaves some flexibility in my schedule. Maybe we decide to have friends over. Maybe it is a nice day and we feel like BBQing. Maybe we take off for the day. Maybe the fridge is stuffed and we need to eat some leftovers. Maybe one of the days I planned I was too damn tired and/or stressed out to cook and we have ingredients for that meal still sitting around....We eat for 7 days on a 5 day plan all of the time.

So what are you cooking for dinner? I can use some inspiration.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I am up late when I should be sleeping. I guess I am feeling a bit of the Holiday Stress.

The extended family is all done and wrapped. I need to get things into boxes and then stand in line at the Post Office. That will be done Wednesday or Thursday. Mostly it is the kids I am working on right now. In the past we have stuffed stockings and given one gift to each child. This year I am afraid it will be 2 gifts per child. Only because I did some shopping before making my list and speaking with Husband. I am having a hard time with Youngest Daughter. She is the hardest one to shop for. She is so practical and at the same time the things she wants are quite expensive. Now that I think about it, that means she takes after me. Bummer.

Oldest Daughter's big gift is/are tickets to Mark O'Connor's string extravaganza. I bought 2 tickets, center orchestra row L. She will love it.

Oldest Son's big gift is a sporran to wear with his kilt. I thought I would buy him a Utilikilt instead, but their base model is $140! He can wear his new sporran with his old kilt.

Youngest Daughter? She has asked for a PDA. Tonight I learned that Riverdance tickets go on sale Friday. I will probably buy the tickets, but then what will her small gift be?

Youngest Son is so easy. He chose a Playmobil Pirate Set the last time we were at the toy store. I am also planning to purchase a leather jacket for him, a la Indiana Jones. He will be in heaven.

I am not a shopper. Would rather poke needles in my eyes than go to a mall. Most of our shopping is done with local artists or online. One of our favorite places to buy gifts for grown-ups is Bedrock. Boy did we drop some money there this year. So some of the stress is coming from the actual shopping. I am not a good consumer. Spending money makes me cranky. Then there is the whole time factor. My days are jam packed. Now I have to add shopping into those days. There is not time for all of this.

No knitting or spinning took place from Thursday through today. Today is a 2 dance class day. That equaled 20 rows of lace. 20! Oh yeah, it feels good.

Tomorrow I will post my menu plan for the week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

holiday music

Before I get to the music...

A favorite dyer is offering a fiber of the month club. She only opened it to 6 people, as of this typing it is down to 4. I have spun her stuff a couple of times and LOVE it. If you are inclined to join a club, this has the potential to be a great one. Dragon Fibers.

Just now, I began my holiday music list and hit what I thought was the TAB key, but in reality must have been CAPS LOCK or CAPS LOCK and something else. It made the computer go dark and lock up. My computer NEVER locks up. Be careful out there people.

Favorite Holiday Music:
Christmas - old
Christmas with the Rat Pack
looking up the link for this disc gives me LOTS more to investigate
Charlie Brown Christmas
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Little Christmas

Christmas - new
Brian Setzer - both
Los Straitjackets-Tis the Season For
Raul Malo - Marshmallow World

The Leevees-Hanukkah Rocks
Kenny Ellis-Hanukkah Swings

Bare Naked Ladies-Bare Naked for the Holidays
The sweetest new Hanukkah song and the Elf's Lament ("I make toys but I
have aspirations..."). LOVE this disc.

What are your favorites?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

a funny thing happened

Oldest Daughter is 18 and has 1 1/2 years of college under her belt. She is a fine and wonderful person. I am excited for her to go out into the world, sow her oats, find her niche, make her mark... this is going to happen at the end of the summer. She will probably not go to university close to home. She will probably go to university abroad. I have been totally OK with this, until this afternoon.

This afternoon Oldest Daughter was late to return home. I was not concerned until I realized that she did not have a phone. Dad had the black phone and the silver phone was on my desk. I had not seen her since 7AM when she walked out the door with a grunt. Did she need me? Would she ask a stranger to use their phone? Did she have money? Had she eaten? Was she stranded? Did she need me and I was not there? This is a bad feeling for a parent to have. REALLY bad.

It was time to leave with Youngest Daughter for a dance class, but I could not leave without knowing that Oldest Daughter was safe and sound. I told the kids I was going to see if she was stuck at the transfer station. I took a phone in case she showed up. The drive to her transfer spot was not good. My imagination ran wild and I was full of the fear that she needed help and I was not there to help her.

Yes, she was there. She had missed 4, count 'em 4, buses that afternoon and was doing her best to limp her way home. She was fine. Hungry, tired, pissed off, but fine.

Me? Not so good. If this is the reaction I have to her being "on her own" while 5 miles from home, how am I going to cope with her being an 18 hour plane ride away?

I am going to need a Passport. And lots of wine.

Happy Hanukkah/Birthday

I love the first night of Hanukkah. Opening the new boxes of candles. Setting out bags of gelt for the kids. Latkes. MMM latkes.
A few months ago Youngest Daughter switched dance studios. The studio is fairly new. They have lots of kids in the beginner program, but only 4 in the advanced program. We are slowly getting to know people. Turns out that one of the other families is Jewish, so we had three girls with bellies full of latkes at dance last night. This may not seem unusual to people living in New York, or LA, but here in Jewish free Edmonds it is pretty remarkable. If Edmonds had a golf course it would probably be restricted!

Things have changed a bit in my knitting world. How? No socks. I am officially in a sock free period. For quite a while I have been winding balls, casting on, hating it and frogging. Over and over. Clang! OK, I get it, I need to stop socks for a while.

All last week I worked only on the Russian Stole and spinning. I got up early this morning to finish up page 2 of the pattern.
I am at the halfway point!

It is so exciting to move from the wrinkled marked up page
to a clean shiny copy.

And spinning? I am spinning so that I can start The Invisibility Shawl as soon as the Russian is done. There is a good weeks worth of spinning left. I will take pics when it is finished.

This no sock thing left me with a dilemma. What am i going to carry around to dance classes and doc appointments if socks are on hiatus? Another shawl? What else am I going to do with all this socks yarn?

This one is my own design pulled from Evelyn Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles. A good travel project in its earlier stages. This yarn is so nice. REALLY! The colors are knitting up beautifully and it is super soft. Oceanwind Knits, fingering, Vancouver Island. I purchased the first 2 skeins from Loopy Ewe and ordered the next 2 skeins directly from the dyer. Lovely.

Today is Oldest Son's birthday! I have a pie to make. He requests pies, not cake for his birthday. Beef Stroganoff is his dinner of choice, he has a thing about mushrooms. Last time I made this dish I did the sauce part the same as always but instead of the normal sliced steak I threw in some veggie meatballs. He never knew the difference and it turned into a meal the whole family would eat. I get a little thrill when that happens.

There are also cookies to be made today and delivered tonight to our neighbors. That means a full day in the kitchen. Better put on the tea kettle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

mm mm good

The lasagna turned out great. Right up until the moment I took my first bite I was unsure of the whole thing. It was creamy and yummy and will definitely make its way into our dinner rotation. I used Basil Tofu Ricotta from Vegan With A Vengeance. The cheesy sauce part of the lasagna recipe from The Uncheese Cookbook. A jar of Newman's Marinara and Rozoni oven lasagna noodles. If you are thinking about making it, do not worry that the cheesy sauce starts out very thin and does not taste so great before being cooked. It comes out of the oven thick and yummy. I have been using the Rozoni oven lasagna noodles for years. They are the perfect size for a Pyrex bread pan.

The Goblin Eyes fingerless mitts are done.

I am quite happy with the results. The fiber is Romney and this is my first time spinning this variety. It has a very long staple length and comes out of the soak much softer and fluffier.

Another sheep I have not yet spun is Faukland, the variety in this month's Spunky Club.

Pie For Everyone. I am going to let it sit on my dresser for a while so that it has a chance to tell what it wants to be.

Monday, November 26, 2007

first knitting, then food

I'm baa-aack. What a long, busy week this turned out to be. I began the week with high hopes of knitting. After all, the week held 3 dance classes, 3 doctor appointments and 2 meetings. In the end I knit while waiting through one long doctor appointment and that was it.

I did manage to finish Husband's socks on Saturday. No evidence, they are downstairs in the laundry room, and I am too lazy to drag them back up for a photo shoot. Trekking bamboo is not on my list of yarns to knit with again. I know lots of people like it just fine, but it is not for me.

My happy knitting began on Sunday with my handspun being turned into a pair of fingerless mitts.

This is the first time I have spun a fiber with a project in mind. While the Goblin Eyes colors washed away (see previous post), I still like the finished product and plan to wear these all winter. It is so cold at my desk and my fingers will thank me.

I feel a bit of a handspun to fingerless mitt jag coming on. Anyone care to join me?

Now for food talk. I have probably mentioned that I have an MSG intolerance. It is not something I like to talk about, if only because it is such a pain in the ass to deal with. There are a couple of things that I REALLY miss not being able to eat. One of them is flavored potato chips or plain chips and ranch dip. OMG I miss Ranch. Today I stumbled upon a pretty damn good substitute.

Behold Vogue Cuisine Vegetable Base. Because of the MSG thing I have given up stocks of any sort. They all contain Natural Flavors or Carageenan or Soy Protein. All of these things often have MSG as a component. While at the local healthy grocery I spied the Vogue. It is a brand I had not seem before, so I plucked it off the shelf, turned it over, and began to scan the ingredients for evil substances. The scan came up empty so I slowed down and read each ingredient more carefully. Could it be? A quick veggie broth that I can actually eat? I wonder what it tastes like? Into the cart it went.

What does it taste like? It tastes like chicken broth sans chicken. Lots of onion an garlic, no overpowering kale or cabbage. I am so happy. A person should not have to be so happy about finding something without MSG that tastes good. So it got me is a good broth, what else?

On Wednesday I had made a batch of Sour Dressing for the veggie stroganoff and the leftovers were in the fridge. I grabbed the container and added a tablespoon or so of the Vogue, a little more garlic powder and some fresh pepper. A potato chip was poised above the dip as I said an "oh please, oh please." Pretty darn good. Just like the real stuff? No. But a fine substitute and a great starting point for even more yummy delights. Thank you Vogue Cuisine.

Also on the food front is Vegan With A Vengeance. I checked this book out from the library and plan to purchase a copy to have and to hold and to splatter on. Tonight we had Black-Eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce. I swapped out the black eyed peas for black beans, I do not like black eyes peas, and served the whole thing over angel hair pasta. OMG! It was so good! The mushroom sauce was the best I have ever had, vegan or otherwise.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz has more cookbooks and a cool website. Remember back in 1981 when Mollie Katzen wrote The Moosewood cookbook and the nation went crazy? OK, maybe it was just California that filled with vegetarians. Isa may be the new Mollie.

Tonight I am planning to try lasagna. I will be blending a recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance and the Uncheese Cookbook. I am not going to make a big pan, just a loaf pan. I am not sure how we will all like it. I also plan to serve a big salad and garlic bread, just in case the lasagna sucks. Tune in tomorrow to see how it all goes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

sad goblin eyes

Goblin Eyes is finished.
In the end I am not so happy with it. As I prepared to give it a soak in the sink I had to keep draining and refilling the water. There was so much color coming off of the yarn. I rinsed and rinsed and finally walked away. It sat for 1/2 hour or so. When I pulled the yarn out of the sink there were streaks of indigo stains on the sink bowl. When I brought the skein outside to dry, it was obvious that all of the purple was gone. What had been dark purple is now grey and all of the colors are a bit duller. I still plan to knit it up into a pair of fingerless mitts, but it is not the same.

Once the spindle was empty I was able to return to plying. Spindle plying is slow but I managed to finish the last skein Saturday morning.

I love that each skein is a bit different, color wise. It is going to make for a very fun shawl.

So that is 2 more projects in the done column.

Socks are slogging along. I will be sitting through 3 dance classes and 3 doc appointments this week, fine knitting time.

Let's do a quick inventory of what is left to finish.

1-Socks for Husband


3-blocking the dragon scarf

Is that it? Really? Oh the leg warmers. Yes, well...we were in the dance shop last week picking up new tap shoes for Youngest Son, when Youngest Daughter spied a pair of bright green fuzzy leg warmers. How could I say no? Not only is she thrilled with them, but that means I can yank the needles right out of the hand knit leg warmers and turn that yarn into something more sensible, like a hat!

What projects re you working to finish?

Friday, November 16, 2007

look at me go

Here are the shelves. All done and ready for action.

Man, that is a lot of shelves. Don't you love that Husband let's me paint the walls orange?

This is how I mark the end of one letter and the beginning of the next. Much stash display potential here. Actually I do not have enough stash to fill all of the holes. I will add handspun as fast as I am able.

Jayne hat? Done.
forgot to take a picture - next time
Goblin Eyes? Nearing the finish line.

This is all that is left to spin.

Socks for Husband? Starting the hell (ha, I meant to type heel, but it is appropriate) on the second sock.

New projects begun? Nope.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

check back soon

Because I do not have enough on my to do list, my computer decided to stop handling email or internet requests. I am currently at Husband's computer, (ICK), but plan to deal with my issues in the morning. Also in the morning will be pics of the of FINISHED shelves and other stuff. Join me!

Monday, November 12, 2007

boot straps

Tan is right, I have let myself go. It is time to grab the ol boot staps and get busy.

OK, I need a list. First things first.

Finish the shelves. This is THE most important thing on my plate. Must, must, must be done. I need to have the shelves painted and then set for a week before I can load them. I would like to load them before Thanksgiving.

Finish spinning Goblin Eyes. I do not plan to purchase another niddy noddy, so this project has to be done before I can spin anything else.

Finish plying the Zen.

Put Lenore away. Take the Diagonal Rib socks to dance classes and doc appointments until they are done. I am a couple of inches into the second sock. I should be able to finish this up next weekend.

ARG! I forgot the legwarmers. Keep the leg warmers for future mindless knitting and go buy Youngest Daughter a store bought pair so I stop fretting about them.

This might work. As long as I do not think about projects to come and all the things I would like to do. I am feeling weak. Cross your fingers.

Progress will be posted. Keep me on track.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

how did this happen?

I am not a UFO kind of girl. I tend to have 2 projects going at any given time. Socks and something else. Sometimes 2 pairs of socks, one challenging, one mindless. All of the sudden
I am up to my eyeballs in "things to do". The pile is so big that I can not even begin to think about other projects. Let's just open up the cabinet and air all of the dirty laundry for the whole world to see....

The Faux Russian Stole: I have not even so much as looked at this thing in months. I love it, I want to finish it, but will I? OK, will I before the end of the decade?

Stole N Bases: Needs to be frogged. This is the 3rd thing I have tried to knit with this yarn. I think the yarn may be possessed, or at the very least have some bad karma. I need to pass it along.

Diagonal Rib Socks: These are for Husband. They are like his 5th pair is just a few short months. I am tired of making socks for him. Mostly boring colors, teeny tiny needles, MANY, MANY inches to knit.

Lenore: I should never have cast on. While I am enjoying the knitting, they do not have a recipient. That means I do not know how long to make the feet. Until I can figure that out they will remain unfinished.

Zen Roving: The spinning and half of the plying are finished. Today I began to get ready to finish plying only to realize that the niddy noddy was full...

Goblin Eyes: After I spun the last laceweight single of the Zen I could not resist playing with Goblin Eyes. This is the October Spunky club fiber. It is Romney and my vision is to spin big soft singles to turn into fingerless gloves. I unloaded the spindle right onto the niddy noddy. Great idea at the time, but now there is no place to put the Zen plying.

Learning Socks: I have not cast on, but I so want to cast on and dive in. The yarn is wound and sitting on the dresser, all dressed up and ready to go.

More Socks for Husband: You may recall this pair of socks. Husband likes them very much. They are the perfect color match to one of his favorite pair of work pants. A couple of weeks ago he brought them to me and confessed that he had mistakenly sent them through the wash. He is very sorry, he really likes them, but now they are tight. I told him it was OK and that I could probably find more yarn and make him another pair. Don't look at me like that, you would have done the same.

Please, oh please do not bring up the shelves that I should have finished painting weeks ago.

So here we are. I thought I would do some dying this weekend, but no. If I dye, then I will love the color and then need to spin it and that will lead to knitting......if you give a mouse a cookie.

Please tell me I am not alone with my UFO's.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

dairy? no

I did not plan to blog about this topic. But, as it has consumed so much of my energy this week, I need to type. First, a little family food background. Youngest Daughter is a vegetarian. I am 95% vegetarian. I will eat fish to be polite. Youngest Son is probably lactose intolerant, he and the rest of the family are carnivores. Our daily food routine is a bit of a dance. I am pretty good at it. Then came Nutritionist.

Nutritionist was a speaker at Husband's work. One of his big topics was milk and how we should not be drinking it. He had all these facts and studies and common sense arguments. Husband brought home the information and Nutritionist's card. I listened and wondered how he got sucked into this conspiracy theory. The researcher in me could not just leave it at that. I talked to people who know, I read reports and studies. I researched my little heart out. In the end? We decided to give up milk. All dairy actually.

The most immediate and biggest plus has been for Youngest Son. In the past he would not drink milk, or eat cheese, or yogurt. A couple bites of ice cream or pudding and then he was done. I have spent a fair amount of time fretting about his diet. Since the switch to soy? He will eat a whole cup of pudding. "Ice cream" sandwiches are being gobbled down. It is truly amazing to watch his body tell him it is now OK to eat these things.

Going to the grocery store has become an outing. Not only do I have to find the new items on my list. I have to read the labels of every single brand to find the ones that do not contain MSG or one of its 100 code names. A 20 minute trip is now closer to an hour. I know that will change as I become more familiar with things. Right now it is a bit overwhelming.

Making the switch cooking wise has been pretty easy. We made some totally rocking cupcakes last night. Soy products stand in for dairy products with grace. The one thing I am having a hard time with? Cheese. I LOVE cheese. When I was diagnosing the MSG allergy I thought, as long as it was not popcorn, wine or cheese, I was good. I could do without the other things. Well, the daily bowl of popcorn is gone because the girls and their braces can not eat it and, I feel guilty if I am eating it. I have not yet found a good soy cheese. Even the one all the vegan blogs talk about, that is imported all the way from Scotland. Ick. That leaves me with wine. Eventually I will get over my cheese dependence. Until then...please keep my glass filled.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


A dance class and an orthodontist appointment were spent on socks for Husband.

I really like the patterning on the leg.

I kept the rib, but dropped the twists on the foot. It looks nice, but it oh so boring. Making 2 of these might cause some brain cells to explode. Teeny tiny needles and size 13 feet are not a good match for me right now. (see leg warmer post)

Because I could not bear to knit anymore on that other sock, and I had 2 more dance classes to sit through. I cast on Lenore.

There is no good way to photograph black, at least not for me.

This is a quick, happy, jaunty little knit. I do not have to decide who I will give them to until it gets close to the toe. I have also not decided if I will drop the patterning on the foot.

Lately, I have been giving this foot patterning thing a lot of thought. Often, patterns are hard and time consuming. Then to have that work hidden by a shoe seems a waste. At the same time, plain stockinette is often not enough for a good fit. Dropping the pattern, but keeping the base ribbed used for a pattern, works well sometimes, but not always.

Today I would like to finish spinning singles so that I can ply tomorrow. I think there is enough time in the day.

Guess what I will do with this?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

no festival for me

I read the blogs with all their good times and pictures from the Fiber Festivals. So far away. Then I learned of the Madrona Fiber Festival. This festival is close enough to me that I would not need a hotel, just a fair amount of caffeine. I could take a day or two of classes without disrupting the whole family. Woo Hoo! Sign me up!

I received an email with registration dates (it opens on the 12th) and a class list. I quickly searched through the classes to plan my 2 days of spinning education. Ready to soak up all the wisdom of those around me. No. All of the classes require a wheel. I am so disappointed. Chances are that I will have a wheel by then, I think the family wants to make it a holiday present, but there is no guarantee. Classes fill fast. Bummer.

Selbuvotter has leaped into the frog pond. The pink and red combination was not making me happy. Once I began knitting I thought, "These are going to be sweet, I will give them to Grandma." As I knit along the mittens were fitting me just great. That meant way too big for Grandma. Add that to the pink/red issues and I had no choice but to yank it out.

The yarn has been reskeined (reskun?) and will turn into something else. Maybe. I will try to mittens again. Different colors.

The past 2 days have have/will include 3 dance classes and a long Orthodontist appt. That means much sock progress to report tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the good and the bad

The good thing about being a Loopy Groupie is that Sheri sends you an email when a Sneak Up happens. The bad thing about being a Loopy Groupie? Sheri sends you an email when a Sneak Up happens.

Monday, November 5, 2007

needles and progress

I promised progress and needles, so I will start with that.

I have been spinning everyday. Yes, every day. My singles are consistent, the joins no longer scary, and it should only be another week before I finish spinning the current pile of fiber. Then it is right onto the needles for a lace shawl. I am planning on giving Evelyn Clark's lace triangle design book a workout.

There has also been knitting progress. First, the knitting I do not like.

This is the first in a set of LONG leg warmers for Youngest Daughter. No, it is not a return to the 80's. Youngest Daughter is a dancer, so these are to be functional. She chose the yarn. She has legs like a giraffe. I am going to be doing K2, P2 ribbing until my brain explodes! What was I thinking? I think we Knitter's are so happy when someone asks us to knit them something we say yes before our brain can work out the implications of what has been requested.

Next up, something I am enjoying.

Socks for Husband. The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura. Yeah, it is a little splitty, but I am dealing with it just fine. I can usually get a couple of pattern repeats done while waiting at a dance class or doc appointment. No hurry on these. Of the past dozen socks that have recently been knit, they have been mostly for him. When he asks for a specific color I can not say no. The pattern is the Diagonal Rib from Favorite Socks.

I received a set of Harmony DP needles this week. First impression? They are a bit tacky. The colors are not as bold as I expected. You do not get the obvious layers of color on the little needles that you see on the big Options tips. I switched out the needles on the current socks project for the Harmony and gave them a spin. After a few rows the tackiness was gone and they were glossy. The next set out of the package I gave a good rub down before casting on. MMM, nice. Smooth, slick even, lightweight, pointy. Its all good! I usually prefer Crystal Palace Bamboo. The Harmony's are a keeper. I am concerned about how the, oh so pointy, tips will hold up. Time will tell. Did I mention they are pointy? The pointyness is wonderful.

Then there is Selbuvotter. This was not even on my radar screen 72 hours ago. A Ravelyer put a call out. She signed up for the class at the LYS and 2 more people needed to sign up or it would be cancelled. Now I am not a taking a class sort of gal, but this was a call for help and the topic? Quite intriguing. So I psyched myself up to take the class. In the end the class was cancelled, and here I was all dress up with no place to go. So I ran out and bought the book and some yarn. I read, read, read, then cast on and knit, knit knit. Then there was the giggling and the ripping and the casting on again. Joy is happening here. Why?

As part of this exercise I decided that I would knit the mittens holding one color in my right hand, knitting American, and holding the other color in my left hand, knitting Continental. A bold and daring move to be sure. What I learned? I LOVE knitting Continental. I will probably switch. This old dog is learning new tricks and is completely tickled about the whole thing.

Next time...Madronna Fiber Festival disappointment and Selbuvotter photos

Friday, November 2, 2007

fiber weekend follow up

I can not believe it has taken me all week to gets these pictures taken and loaded. Here are the photos of all the great stuff that came into the house last weekend.

First up, the Loopy Ewe order.

On the left is Shibui, on the right is Oceanwinds.

The Shibui is the exact color I have been looking for. Husband has a pair of socks using Shibui. They were very nice to knit, we will see how they hold up.

The Oceanwinds is super soft. I am a little nervous about making socks with it. I may turn it into a baby sweater.

Here are a couple of braids from Dragon Fibers.
The blue is actually a dark purple, so lovely. Color Spook. Content BFL There are 8 ounces, so this may become a shawl for next Halloween. I really love spinning her stuff.

More fiber, this time from Spunky Eclectic.

This is the October Fiber Of The Month club. It is Romney which I have never spun. It feels quite rough and has long fibers. Just a few twists between the fingers makes a strong length. I will probably wait a bit to spin this. Not only do I not have a project in mind, a little research is in order so that I do not screw it up.

Lastly, STR October instalment.

Color, Lenore. The yarn is VERY dark and hard to photograph. It is mostly black with shades of dark purple through out. This is the first release from the upcoming Ravens line. The pattern is by Stephanie. Beautiful and simple. For me to knit the black yarn I will need to wait until the days are a bit longer and brighter.

That is that. What a great weekend!
Next up...knitting and spinning progress and needles

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

he's back

Husband is back. I did not realize how easy is was to sleep without the snoring until about 2AM.

Husband said that his Mom was shipping him stuff that would not fit in his suitcase. He had to have room for the tortillas! You can not get him within an hour of Quatro Milpas without eating. Las Quatro Milpas is the oldest, best kept San Diego eating secret. I imagine the neighborhood scares off most tourists, it is in Bario Logan. If you want the real deal, this is the place.

So there are stacks of tortillas on the counter. I think this will be a Black Bean Soup night. I have made many pots of black bean soup, but this one is my absolute favorite. It came out of the Seattle Times and never fails.

Van's Black Bean Soup

I cup olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound back beans, soaked in water overnight
~~I partially cook in the pressure cooker instead of soaking~~
2 meaty ham hocks
~~no ham hocks for me~~
32 ounces chicken broth
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 ounces tomato paste
juice of one small lemon
1/4 dry sherry
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

You can probably figure it out from here. Oil in the pot, onions then garlic, saute 10ish minutes. Beans then chicken broth then spices and herbs. Bring to a biol. simmer until tender, 1 -2 hours. Add brown sugar, tomato past lemon juice, simmer 15 minutes. Stir in sherry and Dijon. Ta da!

Friday, October 26, 2007

no camera

Husband took the digital camera to San Diego, so no pics of the new fiber entering the house this weekend.

Here is a pic I took yesterday

This is going to be plyed into sock yarn. I am loving the colors and how they are spinning up. I am not so sure about the fiber itself. I do not know what the actual content is and the dyer cut (!!!) the roving. It arrived in a big braid with the ends cut! That means I have to pull out the cut ends before I do anything else, which wastes fiber and makes me cranky. On top of it all I can see spots in the middle of the fiber where it was cut and stacked. I do not want to put anyone out of business, but I will not be purchasing from them again. Back to colors....white, dark grey, light blue and bright blue. LOVE the colors.

I received a new Loopy Ewe order. I ordered more Shibui. This color is everything I hoped it would be. I need to get more. My mother in law will need some in her Christmas package. And then there is Oceanwind Knits. It is SO soft. This side of cashmere soft. I have Vancouver Island and it is amazing. Be sure to pick some up as soon as it is restocked.

Now that the holiday knitting is all but done I have cast on for a lace wrap. Baltic Sea Stole to be exact. I have begun this pattern before but had the wrong gauge. Luckily I put a sticky note on the pattern and I was able to start right in with the right size needles and the stitch count all figured out. I have such a hard time doing lace in this busy house. But I have a long term goal, of being able to hand everyone who is out on the deck when the sun begins to set, a wrap to keep them warm. It is good goal. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

The next lace pattern I need to purchase is the Wild West Lace Shawl. Youngest Daughter is going to love this. If I give it to her for her 18th birthday I have a few years to get it done. I will need everyday day.

Are there enough links to make up for the lack of pictures?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

fiber filled weekend

This morning routine of mine really has become a routine. I get up around 6, turn on the tea kettle, grab the laptop, bring it and tea back to bed. I work on a no look project while I read the days news. It is glorious and wonderful.

I used to start my days by dealing with the email. All the stuff that people needed to me deal with. I was stressed out before my kettle even boiled. Now it is all good.


Shibui Knits with Koigu toes. Size 2 needles. One done with DP's one begun on DP's and finished with circs. Interweave Knits Father and Son socks.

The finishing of Husband's socks means that I am able to return to my Fleece Artist socks. SO pretty, I just love going around and around while admiring the colors.
Oh how I love spinning. This is on its way to becoming 2 ply sock yarn.

This week the new STR club will ship. I was not at all excited until I figured out that there will be something from the new Ravens line in there. Now I can not wait!

This week will also bring a Loopy Ewe order, a Dragon Fibers order, probably the new Spunky Fiber Club order and possibly a set of Harmony needles. The cherry on top? Husband heads out of town Thursday morning. That means a totally fiber filled weekend. I hope the kids have plans because I will be busy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We are originally from San Diego. We have family and friends still there and things do not look good. Some of them have already been evacuated, the ones who live outside the city. As of now the city proper is safe. But all of Michael's brothers and his mom live on a canyon. I am checking the web updates frequently. I let them know if they need to get out they should head this way. There is always room for more.

There were fires the last summer we lived in So Cal. Whenever you were outside there was ash drifting all around you. It was so sad to think that this is what is left of peoples homes.

The first time I remember that experience I was young, 10ish. The sky was grey and the ash covered the ground.

Cross your fingers. Those people need some luck right now.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

dragon fibers

For the spinners out there...Dragon Fibers has just restocked her site. Her stuff is a joy to spin. Keep your hands off the Spooky, it is all mine! OK, she'll make you more if you ask.

Tonight I was at the computer, working on schools for Youngest Daughter when I heard Youngest Son ask Husband where I was. Husband replied, "She is in her cube." This made me laugh. I never thought of my work space as a cube. I feel like I have it pretty good. My desk is large, in front of a glass wall, and has a view of the Puget Sound. Then it occurred to me that Husband also has a desk with a glass wall, on the 13th floor with a view. We are both pretty damn lucky.

The school search is winding down and doing well. The local high school (nickname Edmonds Weedway) is coming along. We have some on the street interviews to conduct, it all looks good at this point.

The saddest news of the day? I broke a needle. My long time friends, the set I have made more socks with than I can count. It is tragic. Not in the grand scheme of things, but it feels tragic for me. These needles have been with me for years. I love them. They have made an embarrassing large number of socks.

Last night I placed an order with Loopy Ewe. This afternoon I emailed Sheri asking her to throw a set of #2 needles into my box. SO sad.

There is knitting progress. Tomorrow there will be pictures.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

why is it so hard?

Homeschooling is WAY easier than dealing with the government school bureaucracy. OMG it is insane! Everything we have looked at and tried is painfully out of reach. Yeah they talk a good game, "school choice". HA! It is like that line in Cinderella when the stepmother says ,"I said IF." With the if being something that can not be obtained. Oh, and it turns out that an enrollment for the fall of 2008 should have been begun in January of 2007. Deer in the headlights.

OK, time to shake it off for the morning.

Husband's Log Cabin Socks are done. Yipee! I guess I did not save the picture. Rememebr the picture of the first finished sock? The second one looks just like it.

Husband also requested more brown socks.

This is truer to the actual color. Shibui feels very much like Koigu. It is easy to knit without looking and the colors are gorgeous. I will use it again.

This shows the nice color variations.

This shows the pattern and texture. Notice that one cable with an extra row? Yeah, me too. Husband will not notice so I knit on. The leg is worked as Father and Son socks from Interweave Knits (spring of 2005?), the foot is worked plain. I will finish the sock with a round toe. Husband has big feet and I have noticed that some yarns pull tight across is toes when I Kitchner them.

I bought Trekking bamboo for the light brown socks.

I am looking forward to knitting with this yarn. Have you tried it yet?

The Jayne hat is flying along. Easily finished over the next few mornings.

That leaves the Dragon Scarf for holiday knitting. Now that is good news!

Last evening I ordered a set of the Knit Pick Harmony DP's. A few weeks ago I tried to order a couple of pairs to try but they were not available. So instead of waiting for this and that size to come in I just picked up the whole set. They are backordered untill the 22nd. That is not at all unreasonable. If I hate them they will go right up on ebay.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

gifts and al gore

When I heard that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, Laurie is the first person I thought of! I smiled all the way through her post and then felt a little sad, because I wish I had a family like hers. Full of brothers and cousins and people in cowboy hats having a good time and enjoying being with each other.

My family is small. No brothers or sisters. No standing around posing for pictures. No sharing a bottle of wine. I really wish I had a strong connection to a family.

Luckily Husband has a big family, and we got right busy about making a big family of our own. No matter what, my kids will have each other. It is the best gift they will ever receive.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

time marches on

Here is some non-knitting content.

We are a homeschooling family. The older kids have been homeschooling since elementary school. The youngest was not yet born when we decided our kids would no longer go to school. While I understand that this is not an option for everyone, it has been great for our family.

Oldest Daughter homeschooled through 10th grade. In what would have been her Junior year of high school she began college. Oldest Son homeschooled through 9th grade and then discovered an online high school that fits him like a glove. They offer a rigorous course load that works well with his baseball schedule. Both of the kids test off the charts, and are way smarter than I can ever hope to be.

Now it is Youngest Daughter's turn. She is looking forward to high school in the fall of 2008. As much as she is looking forward to going to school, she does not want to attend the local high school, which has thousands of kids. All of the high schools in our district have thousands of kids. So I began a search. We live in a major metropolitan area, I am willing to provide transportation and would consider a private school. Youngest Daughter is looking for a small school with a naturalist/environmental program and prefers not to do parochial. This is a broad list when coupled with a city/area of our size. I have been searching for months. Can I find anything that works? No. So we changed our requirements. Small is the biggest thing for her. Using that we came up with a small school that operates out of THE central city location. It has an arts focus. Arts she can do. She is a dancer, painter and photographer. I will give them a call in the morning and arrange a visit. I do all of this with a heavy heart. I know it is the best thing for her. This is what I keep at the top of my mind. But my life will change. I will be on the road driving her to and from school everyday. I will be volunteering and committing to a school. There will be school lunches, and functions, and school spirit days, and all sorts of things I was so happy to close the door on all those years ago when we became homeschoolers. I am happy for her. She is smart and gorgeous and people flock to her. I am sad for me and my freedom. Yeah, I will get over it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

ravelry radar

I just found a cool thing on Ravelry. From the front page click on Forums, then click on Radar. It shows every post to the site as it happens. Completely random stuff. Surprisingly hypnotic.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

clutter is bad

I guess the first thing you need to know, is that I do not do clutter. All horizontal surfaces in my house are clear, the counter tops are empty,(yes, empty), the bed is always made. I own 1 knick-knack

I did not plan it, it happened. There are 3 plants in the house. I did not buy them, they were gifts with history attached, so they get to live. Art is totally different from knick-knacks. Art has a home here.

If I walk into a room and the kids shoes are scattered about, and the newspapers are spread all over, and there are dishes on the table...that is bad. That must be picked up before I can even think about flopping on the couch to knit. Although I seem to be OK with Lego's, go figure. It is inconceivable to me to relax now and pick up later. How can people relax when there are piles of stuff everywhere? I just do not understand. If I sit on the couch to knit and I look across a dining room table with a finished plate and a tossed aside book, how can I be expected to turn away and begin knitting? There is no way that would ever happen. I need a clear surface before my calm returns. Do I need a spotless kitchen floor and sparkling windows? No, it is the clutter I can not deal with.

There is a psychiatrist out there that knows exactly why I do these things. It is all a mystery to me.
OK, so now that you know this you will understand why I had to take the cutting shears to my Ravelry notebook. Groups, I belonged to a gajillion. I realized that there were only a few I checked regularly and I unjoined the rest. Friends too. I actually felt more than a little guilt about clicking the x under a friends pic, but really, if I am not reading their blogs or checking on on them at least once a week, then they need to go. Yes it is harsh, but I am what I am and I can not stand the clutter.

If you ever need someone to clean out your garage, rent a dumpster and I am on it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

level 2

I brought a cold back from camp. :-( So far it is not too bad, just annoying as hell.

While I was away an order from Messie arrived. I ordered 3 of her ultra fabulous socks bags. 2 are for gifts, one is all mine. I love it!

The skeletons have a touch of glitter and the toggle glows in the dark. Messie has another one on her site, but it does not have this cool inside.

I can not say enough good things about these bags. I now have 3 in action. Each project gets its own bag. It is so easy to grab a bag on my way out the door. This time of year much of my knitting is stealth knitting and having everything tucked away is nice.

Much progress was made on the Dragon Scarf this weekend. No picture, my "little" guy is up and about. The first Log Cabin Sock for Husband was finished during yesterday afternoon's dance class.

Yeah its big, its not for me.

The Log Cabin Socks for me? Frogged. The pattern was lost in the yarn and the yarn was a bit to small for the pattern. The yarn is so lovely on its own that it has become a pair of plain ribbed socks. I am at the gusset of the first sock.

Right before I left for camp we learned that a Level 2 Sex Offender is now living a stone's throw from the house. The website does not list his whole address, just 6XX and the street. Well that street is the major street through town and most houses have been turned into business or torn town for $500,000+ condos. On the block listed there are 5 rental houses. 3 on the far side of the street and 2 on this side. The two on this side back up to the houses across the street from us. I am hoping the mailman will tell me what house he is in. I also hope it is a house on the far side of the street. I am not planning to make a stink, people need places to live, but the more information we have the better. The kids have all seen his picture. I am trying to find out all that I can about his conviction. I will send an email out to my lawyer buddy this morning and see what she can dig up. OY!