Sunday, August 29, 2010

Suzy Homemaker

Hmmm, maybe I don't want to look at squid eyes every time I open my blog. Ok, so here's the chicken I roasted tonight.

When we were in Chicago in June, Kristen took us to a wonderful authentic-ish Italian restaurant called Quartino's, and really, you'd think I'd never been out of the back hills or something, because everything made such an impression on me. So I've been trying to duplicate some of these wonders. I made mushroom risotto a while ago, and fonduta, and pesto gnocchi, and today I decided to try my hand at calamari.

I am comfortable with cleaning squid from Japanese cooking. So that was fine. I got the instructions from Marcella Hazan's cookbook, and she warned that a spatter shield would come in handy, but I don't have a spatter shield, so I used the lid of the wok as a shield. (Spatter shields cost $20! Fuggedaboutit!

And it turned out great! Papa was very pleased.

So for my next trick, I decided to work up a few patterns for lace knitted bookmarks. Quick and easy, but when I undid the blocking I realized that I screwed up the pattern on the next to last repeat. Oops, back to the drawing board.

And at long last I finished the socks that I cast on for my trip to Chicago in June. The ones on the right are the new pair. Their siblings are on the left, made during jury duty on spring break. I love this yarn! Patons Kroy FX. I have enough for one more pair, in a pink/gray mix that I will cast on for my next travel knitting.

And here's my Very Little Shells. It was actually called Little Shells, but the pattern called for dk weight yarn and I used laceweight, due to a brain misfire, so it turned out Very Little. But I like it. Disregard the scowl--the sun was very bright and right in my eyes!

I'm actually very happy with this, really!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Life Goes On

All right, I think everybody who might want to see Kristen's graduation has seen it by now, so I can move along here. Life has not actually come to a stand still since June. I taught my summer class and am now on sabbatical. So that means I am working on my book (to be called Pronunciation Party, or maybe Pronunciation Celebration). I am surprised and delighted with how engrossing it is to actually write each chapter of this book. I start in at 9 or 10 am and I don't even want to break for lunch. Unlike grading papers, say, when I am stopping every 30 minutes to check my mail or something.

But I am also hoping that this sabbatical gives me plenty of time for knitting. Here's what I've gotten done since last June:

Counting Crows Shawlette:

Close up of the stitch pattern. This is a small but very wearable little triangle made of quite fine alpaca that I bought at Liscat in Long Beach. The actual pattern name is Crow Prints.

Then I used some Cashsoft to design a small pillow using a stitch pattern called Big Bamboo from Vogue Stitch-a-Day calendar. This went to Kristen as a sort of house-warming gift.

And I made another small shawl that feels like wearing kittens around your neck. Actually it is angora, which I purchased from the lady who raises the rabbits. It is handspun and was not only fine but fuzzy and irregular. Yes, this was a challenge. But I love it!

before blocking


after blocking

And let's see, what else? Well I did finish the Lilac Leaves shawl, which also went to Kristen. A person in Chicago needs a cashmere neckwarmer more than a person in Los Angeles!

Currently on the needles is an interminable pair of socks that I cast on for the trip to Chicago in June. I only work on them when I can't concentrate on lacier stuff, and I guess I've been concentrating pretty well, because they are progressing awfully slowly. But I'm halfway down the foot of the second sock, so they should be over soon. Paton Kroy FX, which is lovely inexpensive stuff to knit with. But size 1.5 US needles is slow going!

And I am also working on another small shawl, maybe really small, since I'm using laceweight on size 4 or 5 needles and the pattern called for DK weight on size 8. Somehow I missed the Dk part, in my excitement to cast on. I did start with size 8 needles with the Alpaca Silk laceweight but that just looked like a bunch of holes. I'm hoping for the magic of blocking to make this wearable. It's called Little Shells.

Ah, there was one other thing also, which never got its picture taken. A longer version of this in a lovely coppery green, also for Kristen:

Blue Sky alpaca and silk, lovely stuff. Adapted from a pattern called Grandma Twombly's Back of the Neck Scarf. A pleasure to knit. Nice intro to easy lace.

I'm enjoying reading a classic Italian cookbook by Marcella Hazan. So hopefully this will be a late summer-early fall of Eat, Knit, Write, Love.