Monday, May 29, 2006

Washington D.C.

Day 1: Holocaust Museum and all of the monuments.

A great but very, very full day finished with dinner at Zaytinya, which is a wonderful Greek tapas-style restaurant where you order a bunch of little dishes to make up your meal. Hummus, lamb chops, braised rabbit, lots of pillowy soft pita bread and a wonderful desert of medjool dates with olive oil ice cream (which sounds weird but was just so, so good).

Day 2: The National Zoo and Arlington Cemetary

The truth is the new baby panda was our main reason to inspire us to go to D.C. in the first place. And even though I had been there as a kid and seen a lot of this stuff before, it was still so great to go back. While I am not always the most approving person of the current state of politics in our country (ok major understatement) when you go to Washington you just can't help but feel proud and remember that so much of the culture of D.C. is the fabric of what really makes our country what it is. It's not an old city like Rome or Paris, but it is very, very pretty and has a lot to say about our people and what we've been through and where we are going.

Did I ever mention that the husband and I are major Foodies? Yep, and we were in all our glory Saturday night at Kinkead's. Fresh oysters and crabcake for appetizers. And then maybe the best entree I've had ever- flaky, buttery cod topped with crab imperial, with spinach, sweet potato puree and the cutest little tower of corn and country ham spoonbread all around the side. Desert? I may have consumed an embarrassing amount of creme brulee, however this cannot be confirmed as I'm pretty sure what happens in D.C. stays in D.C.

Day 3: Museum of American History and then the National Gallery of Art

The Museum of American History had great exhibits on the American Presidency, they also had a neat showing of dresses of several first ladies and a very moving installment on Americans at War. I however am chosing to show you a picture of Julia Child's kitchen and the Swedish Chef. Sigh... I know, but honestly that's just the stuff that really had me freaking out and jumping around like a six year old. That and there was also a little exhibit on Ella Fitzgerald, and the husband was nerdy enough to actually wear his Ray Charles T-shirt that day so I could take his picture in front of the Ray Charles Exhibit. (See I'm not the only nerd in the house) After that National Gallery of Art was amazing. While I'm really not that good an art person, I would probably sound really dumb to someone who actually knew what they were talking about, I do really, really love art and art museums. This one was particularly fun because there were just so many classic pieces in it I have grown up seeing all my life, and much like the actual Swedish Chef muppet Jim Henson used to stick his hand up in, there's just something cool about being in the same room with it and seeing it in person.

That night's dinner was at Cafe Atlantico where the Chef Jose Andres serves "contemporary signature cuisine and is inspired by the "Nuevo Latino" style." (See-foodie) It was good, we had guacamole made tableside which will probably never be topped, and I really liked what I had to drink (lush) but I ordered the wrong thing as an entree (its something I didn't like that much before so why would I like it now? who knows?) but the tres leches cake for desert made up for it...

Last thing, today was the day we got out of town but first- we had to partake in a classy, classy breakfast of what else? Chili dogs!!!!

Now while I honestly don't think I have ever had a chili dog in my life, I had to have one today because of course as you can see Ben's Chili Bowl is a Washington landmark! And when it's food made on a griddle, hailed by James Beard and Zagat, well you know I'm just going to be all over that. Of course this was not your ordinary chili dog- they call it a chili half-smoke. It's really a sausage that kind of reminds me of kielbasa, smothered with their dark brown chili (which is all meat, no beans which I think is how they make it west of the Mississippi usually and which I think I like better than the stuff we have here) with onions and mustard. MMM MMM! Breakfast of champions! Anyway, I will just say it was so good, let's just say I had more than one and if I could have it for dinner tonight too I would. Yes, it was that good.

Alas, we are back in Jersey tonight though, getting around for work tomorrow. Ugh. Little to no knitting progress to report. I know, I'm sorry, but tonight I'm back on the needles like a fiend. All that food and walking and fun, I think I went through a little knitting withdrawal...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dishcloth is done!

And already in use! If it's not totally apparent already I really like making and using these cloths a lot. I like big ones like this to use as tea towels, but the smaller ones also make great washcloths, and I've even heard of people who really like using them to clean and dust. (Dusting? What is this dusting they speak of?) And at what $1.79 a ball for the Sugar and Cream yarn? It's just such a nice little knitting pleasure.

So tomorrow the husband & I are leaving for Washington, D.C. for the long weekend. Of course this means travel knitting right? What am I taking? Well, I'm taking the Ronald McDonald socks

These are my travel knitting so they have been taking awhile because they are not my main project. I like them, but I'm ready to start going onto new stuff so it's time to finish the one up and knit it's partner.

I have this bizarre notion in my head that somehow on this four day trip with a pretty full itinerary I'm going to get all this knitting done. So just to make sure I absolutely don't run out of things to do I'm bringing another sock I started:

This one is my first toe-up sock ever. Isn't it awesome? The first time I tried this I ended up going on a trip to the frog pond. The darn thing just came out completely uneven somehow. But I stuck with it and the second time is a charm. And now it all just clicks and makes total sense and I'm empowered with the new skill of the toe-up sock. Having bigger feet than I like and liking a slightly longer sock I worry about running out of yarn a lot of times. With the toe-up sock though- no need to worry right? No need to make sure I save enough yarn for the toe, I just knit until I run out. It's genius I tell you, pure genius! Wahoo!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Some spring color knitting

This is the woven dishcloth pattern from the Dishcloth Boutique website. In sunny Sugar and Cream yarn that was a lovely gift from Erin. I'm using 2 balls of yarn for this cloth, I like to make the a larger tea-towel size to keep by the sink for drying dishes out of the dishwasher and stuff. I really like how this pattern is coming out. I've used the honeycomb pattern seen here a lot and that's usually a big success. When people see that pattern, they ask me for cloths just like it. I think this one is just as nice and even less counting, which is always a good thing.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Can I get a witness?

Does anyone relate to this? I was recently invited to a "Pocketbook Party" at my friends house. Now I know many people who just squeal with glee at the mere phrase "Pocketbook Party." I however knitfriends do not. I'm a pretty practical gal when it comes to my pocketbooks so I did figure upon hearing about this, "Well that's good, it's about time for me to swap out my main pocketbook anyway." Apparently some of my friends found that so cute. Like I just have one main pocketbook? I don't change my pocketbooks daily to match my outfit??? Well sorry to disappoint folks but, no.

I am just not that much of a girly girl.

If there were a museum somewhere of pocketbooks of my life most of them would consist more of objects turned into pocketbooks. I've carried lunchboxes covered in stickers. Cigar boxes rigged up with duct tape to function as a purse. Small camouflage map pouches rescued from the army navy store. And then there were all those college years of lugging around so many books in a backpack you couldn't get me to carry another bag so I somehow got by on just smushing the stuff in my backpack or (gasp!) carrying my wallet in my pocket.

But I did enter the adult world at some point so I do carry a pocketbook now. The one carryover from those lunchbox days though, like most of my wardrobe, for me the pocketbook is almost always black. Hey, it matches everything, doesn't show the dirt-it works for me. And I figured well, they'll have to have some black there right? I should be able to find something. Plus I was looking forward to the 'party' part of this. Some good friends I hadn't seen in awhile would be there and I knew it would be a good thing.

And it was. I had a very nice time. Except for one thing- I didn't buy my new black pocketbook. There was only one black style there really, and it was a Coach knock-off and kind of big and gaudy for me. Oh yeah, did I mention that part? Everything there was a knock-off. Which is ok for some people. Me? Well, whether it's authentic or not, let's just say I'm not about to carry that huge gold bag that says Prada or Coach or anything all over it. I could care less what brand it is. Does it hold my stuff? Does the zipper close? Can I carry it and still have both arms available to carry other more important things? These are the issues I look for in a purse. Whether Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie or Richie Sambora carry the same stupid thing. I really couldn't care less. (By the way there were a group of 10-12 year old girls there just drooling over the fake Burburry/Coach/whatever wristlets and sunglasses there because you know, that was the one Jessica Simpson or her lackey or her manicurist or whoever has too. Sigh... I pray for the youth of today. I really, really do.) Anyway had I found a bag that met my basic criteria (black, holds junk, not the size of Texas) there and I liked it, knock-off or not I would have bought it.

Anyway, all is not lost, while there was no pocketbook material there for me I did realize I did find one thing that I thought "Hey, I could fit my knitting needles in here." And it's pretty cute! Meet Kate:

Yep, that's my new Kate Spade knock-off knitting bag. Perfect for the smaller summer projects (socks, lace scarves, dishcloths, etc.) I have lined up. The fashionista crowd thought it was a little over the top, that is was a little fancy for a knitting bag. But I don't think so because I figure when it comes down to it, my cell phone, my palm pilot, sunglasses, make-up case I couldn't really give two craps what I'm carrying that stuff around in. But the knitting, my knitting. Now that is where my heart is. And that's the stuff that's going to get carried in the pretty bag.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Socks

Pattern: Diamond Rib lace pattern with an Eye of Partridge heel from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. Not as hard as it looks, I promise. It's an 8 stitch pattern that goes over 8 rows and the most complicated stitch is an ssk. (See and you can do that!) The heel to me is just magic, it's not much different than your normal ribbed heel but I guess somehow the pattern has the slipped and knit stitches staggered and that's how you get the diamond effect there.

Yarn: Oh don't ask... More of that white Kroy stuff I'm cursed with that I will finish all of someday. This was from when I started knitting socks for my family and they would be like "Oh... You want to knit me a pair of socks... Well, most of the socks I wear are white..." And then that lasted 5 minutes because when they started to see all the other stuff I knit with, they abandoned the white very, very quickly.

Overall review: I like these socks, I will enjoy the finished project more than I enjoyed knitting them at times. I made the mistake of starting these as a transportable travel project, I realized however that even though the stitch pattern is not that complex, it does take attention. So these took me awhile because I would only work on them at certain times- Monday night I tried to finish them and was all ticked off at this stupid work related nonsense and I kept screwing up. All in all, I would knit lace socks again. Not this pattern necessarily because I'd rather try something new, but these were a fun adventure, it's really cool seeing how they came out and I can't wait to add them to my wardrobe.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mom's day all!

Hope everyone's having a great Mother's Day! I had hoped for a cute pic of me and my mom to post but honestly it just never got taken because we were just having such a nice day as it was. It was a quiet hang out kind of day. We watched some baseball, I introduced my mom to my other new addiction and I made a huge meal for me & hubby, my mom & the in-laws. We had lamb, spring asparagus, twice-baked potatoes with goat cheese and finished up with angel food cake and fresh berries with cream. All have gone home now and I'll complete my weekend with the Simpsons, the Sopranos and some knitting. Happy Mother's Day to the moms and Happy Sunday to the rest of ya.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Finished sweater!


Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple Summer Cardigan #221 This is a top-down raglan sleeve cardigan which means I started with the neck, knit down and then knit the sleeves in tubes and the body back and forth in one piece. Not rocket science, not complicated Fair-Isle that's going to get you oohs and aahs at the next Sheep and Wool Festival, but no seaming involved (which = bliss) and the result is a simple garment that fits and in this case does not make people reel at you and go "Oh did you knit that???" (My non-knitting co-workers said they had no idea it was something I made myself, but who knows they might just be good liars) This is the second Knitting Pure and Simple pattern I've done though and I have to say I would really strongly recommend them as ideal first-sweater pattern suggestions. Not that hard to figure out, and because you can try them on as you knit them, you're more likely to get something that fits you well.

Yarn: Knitpicks Main Line 75% Pima Cotton, 25% Merino Wool I liked this yarn, the only thing that I'm not crazy about is that the colors are very muted, this means the black is not that black, it looks kind of washed. For some reason at one point I worried I was not going to have enough (I chose to make my sweater longer than the pattern suggested) and ended up having like twice as much yarn that was needed. The leftovers? Going back to Knitpicks, to make room for-you guessed it- more yarn.

Model: Why do I look so goofy in this picture? Is this how I usually look at the end of the day? Yeesh! Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the sweater. It's a little heavier than I thought it would be, not sure I'm going to be able to use it as a 'something to throw over your shoulders option' in June and July as I had pictured. However, it was fine for yesterday since this week in Jersey has been cloudy and not that warm at all. Just in time for the pedicure I got last weekend. Of course...

P.S. Thanks so much to Tracy for being my photographer. In addition to taking my picture she also had a sticker like this for each of us last night:

She's such a peach! Thanks Tracer!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Yeah I was hoping to have a FO to share today, but as you can see, I'm losing light and I'm just now figuring out where the buttons go. But I'm almost there, I'm thinking there's a strong possibility this will be in my wardrobe this week!

Also, I haven't listened to Cast-On this week yet but I could not help but notice this little item on the web page from a Canadian women's magazine website:

Strategy guide for the Stanley Cup widow

I especially love this part:

Leanne of Hamilton, Ont., will be knittin' instead of bitchin'. "During the playoffs this year, I'm going to make my husband something special," says the part-time journalist and full-time mom. "I'm going to knit a cardigan. Since he'll be watching hockey every night for two months, I'll have plenty of time to finish it."

God bless you Leanne, you have attained a level of patience with sports-widowship I can only dream of. I on the other hand will be knitting my husband a very special handkerchief. As he is a New York Islander fan there are still tears to be absorbed as he watches all the other teams fight for the remainder of the season.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm still here....

Sleeves are done and the new addi turbo is here!

Tonight the bottom ribbing and neckband begin!