Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inspiration, not for vegetarians

A couple of things almost inspired me to post recently:

My sister called me the other night giggling and asking what I thought about Rod Blagojevich’s idea to name Oprah Winfrey to the replace Barack Obama in the Senate. She and I both thought it was hil-lair-ious!! We had a very funny conversation, laughing about the different ridiculous things we had heard him say in various interviews that day and I just thought it was so cool that I have a sister who calls me about that stuff and that we have a very similar twisted sense of humor about such things. What can I say? It warmed my cockles…

I was also thinking about blogging about getting chart burnout. Cosima is trucking along and looking gorgeous. But I miss knitting without looking so I did spend a couple of days just vegging out working on my stockinette toe up socks for a little while. The chart for Cosima isn't hard by any means but it gets tricky keeping one eye on the chart and one eye on American Idol…

But the most inspiring thing, the thing I heard about recently that I really felt I needed to blog about, because it’s so wonderful, it needs more coverage and should be shared with others, is that new culinary phenomenon known as the Bacon Explosion

Ahh, so pretty. Coming to us courtesy of the blog BBQ Addicts, this is the most unique and scary and mouth watering thing I've heard of in awhile. First Bacon is woven (see there are crafts involved!) in a square shape and then spread with sausage and then it's wrapped around-what else? More Bacon! All rolled together into one adorable tasty little heart attack.

The inventors suggest slicing it thinly and eating it on a biscuit-so see it's not as bad as you thought! Really, click the link, go read the recipe yourself, you'll see- it’s amazing!!! Now of course the question arises- will I ever make one? Unfortunately to the huge disappointment of my husband, probably no. But for now, just for today at least, I still want to acknowledge it's existence here on the blog and look at its picture a little longer and just think about it. Even just the photo of the Bacon Explosion is better than nothing. Just knowing it’s out there, I feel the world is a better place…

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I think I miss summer

This is a shocking statement for me. I've always been a big winter girl. My reasoning is a) on a normal day I run hot as a furnace by nature, when everyone is cold I'm usually still warm in a t-shirt (I worry what menopause is going to have in store for me someday) and b) I'm a knitter. I want it as cold as possible as long as possible all the time. I need winter to maximize the usage of those lovely knitted items. They aren't going to wear themselves you know. But I have to tell you, these days... this year... everything is different...

This year I miss my garden. I miss my garden very, very dearly. These are 3 gardening books I got for Christmas and my first seed catalog for 2009. This past Sunday I finally got some time to curl up with them on the couch to start reading and I swear my jaw was dropped open and drool may or may not have fallen on some of (most of) the pages. Then there was a day recently when I saw Ina Garten make an ordinary Tomato Sandwich on her show. As she put the knife to that huge juicy tomato, I felt an ache in my heart like a food show has never inspired in me before. And you know I can get pretty emotional about my food. And speaking of tomatoes I've noticed all of a sudden that all the tomatoes in my supermarket suck. Did they always suck this much? And also I spend way, way, way too much time gazing out my dining room window, looking at my compost bin covered with snow and thinking "Is it going down? Does it need turning? Does it need more green or more brown? Will I have compost to put in the garden when the time is right?" Sigh... So much for being the girl that used to want to marry winter...

So in this distressed state I've reverted to my safe place and I've regressed to consoling myself with fiber...

Meet Cosima. I know she's not much to look at now but trust me she's going to be a grand girl. What fun, really, really fun. And the color that I was kind of 'meh' about when I bought it? (This usually happens to me every time I'm forced to pick a color that is not black) All of a sudden I love it! It's perfect! And that yarn, the Cuzco, it's amazing. So lush and soft, such a pretty twist. Trust me if you're thinking of making anything with Cuzco make it. If you need something to line your shelves with, hang from a curtain rod, I wouldn't be surprised if Cuzco wouldn't be great at that too. Yes I love it that much. Yes I'm being silly. But it's going to be a windchill of like 8 degrees tomorrow, and I haven't had a decent tomato in years (3 months) so just bear with me for a bit. I'm sure spring is just around the corner...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Cutesy Good and the Ugly Bad

The cute cat photo of the day is Ella in a box she found on the dining room table. She sat there for at least half an hour just posing. It became obvious she was waiting for me to take her photo.

And then this would be the ugly knitting photo of the day...

Blech. This is the GC Cowl (raveled here) which is still a pattern I like but not in this yarn. The yarn is Katia Nepal which is still a yarn I like but not in this pattern. Jess at Fig and Plum just made one of these and it's beautiful. But mine came out way too long and floppy and curly and it just doesn't really work. I wanted a cowl that is a little closer to my chin and higher, this one hangs down kind of like a scarf. Oh well, it's my first time making a cowl so go figure. I'm going to frog it and probably try another cowl pattern. I think one that's knit side to side rather than up. I think I'd like the stripes better running the other way and it will help the length/droopiness issue. I'm not going to re-knit it again right away, but I will eventually. I still really like the colors and the yarn is squishy and soft, it doesn't deserve to live in the stash unused.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Socks and some verse

Pattern: Sailors Rib Socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Knitpicks Essential
Needles: Clover Bamboo DPN's size 2
Result: I'm pretty happy with the socks in the end, not so much with the Essential yarn. It fuzzes up like crazy! When I started I knit a gauge swatch, frogged it and then started the first sock. That beginning was so fuzzy and pilly I cut it off and started all over with yarn that hadn't been used for the swatch. I realize it's great that Knitpicks can offer wool sock yarn at such a bargain, but this might be a bargain I'll just pass up next time. I'd rather pay more and have yarn that doesn't pill. Especially for socks and especially for socks that are meant to be a birthday gift for someone I love, like these.

This week I was listening to an old episode of the Knitpicks Podcast on Knitting in Literature. Kelley Petkun opened by reading An Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda. I remembered I had first read this poem in high school and I don't think I have read or heard it since then. Now, when I went to high school I went to a school outside my district so I could attend a really good magnet program for Performing Arts. My focus, believe it or not, was creative writing. I've always known that during those four years, taking extra hours of my school day to just focus on writing that well, honestly, I know I wrote a lot of bad poetry during that time. I was a teenager, into college rock and goth music, let's face it, adolescence is just ripe to be a breeding ground for bad poetry. But listening to Kelley read that poem I realized that you know, during those years I also read a lot of very, very good poetry too. And I should be respectful of that. Like this poem. And it all came back to me and I just keep reading this poem over and over and wondering why am I not reading poetry every day because it really can be so, so wonderful. The truth is that reading this poem over now that I'm a knitter, and a sock knitter it has very special reverberations for me. How amazing is it that one of the greatest poets that ever lived chose to write a poem about of all things, his hand knit socks. You have to admit, I does speak a great deal for hand knit socks. They really are just this wonderful.

Ode to a pair of socks

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
that she knit with her
shepherd's hands.
Two socks as soft
as rabbit fur.
I thrust my feet
inside them
as if they were
little boxes
from threads
of sunset
and sheepskin.

My feet were
two woolen
in those outrageous socks,
two gangly,
navy-blue sharks
on a golden thread,
two giant blackbirds,
two cannons:
were my feet
They were
so beautiful
I found my feet
for the very first time,
like two crusty old
firemen, firemen
of that embroidered
those incandescent

I fought
the sharp temptation
to put them away
the way schoolboys
fireflies in a bottle,
the way scholars
holy writ.
I fought
the mad urge
to lock them
in a golden
and feed them birdseed
and morsels of pink melon
every day.
Like jungle
who deliver a young deer
of the rarest species
to the roasting spit
then wolf it down
in shame,
I stretched
my feet forward
and pulled on
and over them
my shoes.

So this is
the moral of my ode:
beauty is beauty
twice over
and good things are doubly
when you're talking about a pair of wool
in the dead of winter.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

We had a great night last night. Despite the frigid weather blustering outside this week we rang in the new year warmly with good friends and fine food and drink. It was very fun and heartwarming. And now today, New Years Day things have gotten off to a good start. I hit the gym early for a yoga class this morning. I put the Christmas tree away did some knitting, more on that later, let me just say I love finishing things! And then tonight I decided to whip up some toasty soup to fill our bellies. My Christmas gift to myself this year was a little ice cream scoop. One of those that that helps you measure cookie dough just right every time so the cookies all come out the same size. You know what else that little scoop is just right for? Mini meatballs for soup!

I picked this tip up from a woman I used to work with who was a busy mom of 3. Rather than browning meatballs in batches in oil in a skillet, she just threw them on a cookie sheet and in a hot oven until they were brown and cooked through. When you're talking about mini meatballs you can make a whole big bunch and it saves you oodles of time. When I started this recipe out I really just wanted to use up some ground beef and parsley I had sitting around in the fridge. They went in the meatballs with the other usual suspects- breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, parmesan, egg. I had pasta and beans in the cabinet. All I had to pick up was some chicken broth and kale. I like kale in my soup, it has a little bit more texture than spinach and I think it holds up better. In the south people eat leafy greens like kale on New Years day to bring about prosperity in the new year since kale is the same color as money. I had forgotten that little fact until I was making this. And I made it on New Years Day. That was kind of a cool coincidence.

Hopefully everybody has a great year in 2009. Like all years there are going to be ups and downs, new stuff to enjoy and new things to endure. But if you can at least try to start it off good. Make the first day count and maybe it will increase your chances of make the ones that follow good too. A bowl of hot soup is a pretty positive direction to head in if you ask me.