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 thinking....it 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