Friday, June 29, 2007

Sky photo, Company, and Blogcation

Sunset sky
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Here is your gift for ECF and Saturday Sky.

Wednesday, The Sweetie and I headed to Solvang to see Company in Concert at the Solvang Festival Theater. We only discovered this theater last summer, when my work had its summer picnic nearby. We got there the night before the picnic and saw a show, stayed overnight, and went to the picnic. We loved it so much, we went down for midweek shows twice more, each time staying over (bargain rates midweek) and heading to work the next morning (only an hour's drive).

Company is one of The Sweetie's favorite shows of all time. It's one of those shows where you kind of have to be of a certain age and (still) single, and/or married to understand. Before he met me, The Sweetie related a lot to Bobby.

During intermission, I went up to the tech booth and introduced myself to Kadiddly, who was the stage manager for the show. We chatted briefly (she was working, after all!) and I gave her a MOO card for my blog. It's so neat to meet people in person that you've met through the blogosphere!

Next morning, we had breakfast at the Solvang Restaurant. It's a great little diner and if you're there early, as we were, you see local families greeting the hostess. I couldn't help noticing next to the register there was a display of knitting needles for sale. Yes - Susan Bates Silvalume knitting needles! And it was also strange because they were in packs of one. Who sells knitting needles in a restaurant, in packs of one?

Solvang's favorite breakfast food is Aebleskiver, a spherical pancake stuffed with jam. They're made in special cast-iron pans with round hollows in them. You know it's made it big time when Williams-Sonoma sells them. But what the single knitting needle is for is to pop the pancakes out of the mold. (You can use a skewer instead.) Just to prove they sell single needles, you can mail order gift baskets which include them here.

Lastly, I'm going away for the week for The Sweetie's family's annual family vacation. We'll be heading up to his family's cabin in South Lake Tahoe. This year will be somewhat subdued, due to the Angora Fire. We've been glued to the web this week, worried about the displaced people, homes and damage, and firefighters. Birdsong has loved ones working there. Right now, the fire seems (mostly) under control (we'll see about this afternoon's winds) and the air quality is much improved, and so we're probably going up. Not to be disaster tourists, but because there doesn't seem to be immediate danger, and we can't all move our vacation to another week. (We usually don't travel much within the basin anyway - we stay mostly at the cabin by the lake.) If it worsens, I imagine we'll vacation in the Bay Area instead. Keeping our fingers crossed!

Have a happy 4th of July (to you all in the US)! And those outside the US, I hope your 4th of July is good too (but it's probably no different from the 3rd or the 5th).

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Last week's Car Talk show featured a knitting-related Puzzler. I was alerted to this by The Sweetie's family members, who listened to it on their way to meet us in Monterey.

I guess the clue is that the people are on a diet, and therefore their kitchen contains a scale. But of course, knitters know about weighing yarn! And we have a scale not because we are on a diet, but because we like to cook, sometimes with precision. (Sometimes without, but it's nice to be able to make that choice.) And sometimes I need to weigh my yarn.

The photo is of a tidepool. I was taking a picture of an iridescent crab. Do you see him? Yeah, neither do I. He was moving pretty fast.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Garterlac dishcloth - started

We went to Monterey last weekend to spend a day with The Sweetie's family, and on the way back we stopped at Michael's to use the bathroom. I might have picked that as a stop because they sell yarn and Carls Jr. doesn't. Ahem.

Actually, I decided to practice for Dishrag Tag since I've never knit with dishcloth cotton and never made a dishcloth. Since I was experimenting, I took the opportunity to also try out garterlac, what looks to be an easier version of entrelac, and do Dave's Garterlac Dishcloth pattern. Thanks, Dave, for such a great pattern - it's very clear and I love the Flickr photo tutorial, too.

I did the first 3 triangles, and I thought, "These are all twisted around. This can't be right." Lo and behold, in the instructions, it says:
They look a little twisted right now. Don't worry; they'll sort themselves out as you go along.
Amazing, Dave, you read my mind before I even thought it.

Since I finished the Odessa hat (thanks for the comments and reassurances, everybody!), this is my bedtime knitting.

I love the striping. Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

FO: Odessa hat

Odessa hat
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I heard that someone I know got cancer, and while I don't know if she needs hats, I cast on for one just in case. I've been wanting to do the Odessa hat for a long time, and I even found beads that exactly matched the Shine Sport I had left over from the Pea Pod sweaters.

Needles: Size 6 and 4, 16" circulars. I think the 6 is a Susan Bates Silvalume. The Size 4 is a nickel circular, although I don't think it's an Addi. ETA: Size 6 DPNs, Brittany Birch, 5".
Yarn: KnitPicks Shine Sport, color Apple.
Beads: size 6 beads, purchased at the local bead shop.
Pattern: Odessa, by Grumperina. Hey, I should submit to her gallery!

Notes: This is a great pattern. It's easy to memorize, and I got fascinated watching the stitches go off to the left. She cleverly replaces left-leaning decreases with left-leaning double decreases to close to the crown, so even though it's getting smaller, the dominant left-angled columns continue. Yay!

ETA: My only wish is that I'd been 100% successful avoiding laddering when I switched to DPNs. The Brittany DPNs are too short and I was not being vigilant.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lace stole in progress

Lace stole in progress
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Well, I've asked a wide variety of people - the blog readers, family members, and my knitting group, and I've decided on the pink champagne beads. I know this will disappoint some of you who liked the blue/green opalescent ones, but I love those too, and (if this MS3 experiment with beads goes well) I suspect that they will make an appearance in some other shawl someday.

Catching up with that Boston trip, I managed in 2 transcontinental flights to do 1 1/2 repeats in my lacy stole. To refresh your memories, this is the stole that was the 3rd project (I did 2 baby hats in the round with colorwork, then Eric's grey scarf) that I ever started, this lacy stole. I did the setup section and 2 repeats before I put it (and knitting) down for 4 years, and after getting back into knitting a little, then a lot, and beginning the blog, I have picked it back up. Since picking it back up, I've done 2 1/2 repeats. I am hoping for 1 repeat a month, although 10 rows (1/4 of a repeat) a month is more realistic. Here it is at 4 1/2 repeats, and after 1/2 a repeat it will be halfway done!

In other news, I'm on the email list for a not-quite-local LYS called the Knitting Hutch, and Jackie just announced a Lace Retreat in June 2008 in Big Sur, with - I can't bear it - Cookie A., Miriam Felton (Mimknits), Anne Hanson (Knitspot), and Susan Lawrence (I'm Knitting as Fast as I Can). (Can I say how much I love these designers? I admit, I haven't actually supported them by purchasing many designs, but it's only because I have a problem actually finishing projects - they're in my queue!) The retreat is at the Big Sur Lodge, which is really not all that far from where I live - far enough I'd have to stay there, though. And....and....and....well, I don't think it's in the cards that I'll be there, though it does make my heart heavy to think of such great designers and great knitting karma that will be collected so nearby. Maybe a local LYS can convince one of them to continue her trip down to see us!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Boston trip stash enhancement

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I did get to go to one yarn shop, Woolcott & Co., the shop where Ellen of the Knit Sisters works. Unfortunately, Ellen wasn't there that day, but I left a MOO card for her. Speaking of Ellen, I think she is supposed to be hitched by now...and on her multi-city wedding reception extravaganza. Go on over and wish her happiness...I'll wait.

Anyway, none of my LYSs carries Malabrigo, and I've read lots of sighing over how wonderful it was, so I allowed myself a single skein of it as a souvenir. Yesterday I was thinking, what was I thinking to only get one skein? If I want a decent-sized scarf, I need more than 200 yards! But alas, Woolcott was out. So, if you have a skein of worsted weight Geranio (color 44), in dye lot 1809.1, that you'd be willing to part with, let me know. I have looked on the Internet and I spoke to a very helpful person at Yarnzilla who told me that Malabrigo dye lots are only 10 skeins, so if the store has it, it has all of that dye lot. So I'm looking at you, Boston area knitters. But no worries; if none shows up, then I'll just blend it with my next skein of Malabrigo.

It is very, very soft - against the skin soft, which is great for 100% Merino wool! And it has a subtle thick-n-thin thing going on. Mmm....I'll just pet it for a while. Maybe a hat. Maybe Bejeweled.

Sorry you couldn't see the beads in the photos yesterday. I quickly took some this morning (read: not the greatest photos) which shows the beading. Click on the color name for a large photo.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mystery Stole 3 swatches

MS3 swatches
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Here are my 3 swatches, top to bottom:

  • Size 2 needles, no beads
  • Size 3 needles, blue/green beads
  • Size 4 needles, champagne beads

I'm thinking I like size 3 needles, with the champagne beads. The blue-green ones are intriguing, but the champagne beads, while the same color as the yarn so they seem invisible, are mirrored inside so they sparkle more. Click the photo for a bigger picture.

Here is a photo of the beads by themselves:

MS3 bead options

Any thoughts from out there?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yay, Kathy!

Kathy just got her first successful link on her blog - to my blog! Go over and congratulate her!

Pretty picture

Access to Town Cove
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I stayed up last night knitting my third swatch for Mystery Stole 3, this time on size 2 needles. So this morning I was rushed and tired and didn't get a chance for photos. Tonight I'll block it out and we'll take a look tomorrow, all together.

I mentioned that I took my family by Adventures in Knitting in Harwich Port. We took the ferry to Nantucket from Harwich Port, and I knew Adventures in Knitting was in the same town - and it's a small town, so we must be able to find it. As I suspected, it was closed by the time we got back but the camera pressed its nose against the glass to get this picture.

On the way back in the car, my dad asked, "How did you know about the yarn shop in Harwich Port?" and I replied, "Oh, Dad, I always find out where the yarn shops are whenever I travel!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Plumeria update

Plumeria - 3 weeks
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I have been knitting my Mystery Stole 3 swatches but too busy to take photos.

As you recall, I came back from Hawaii excited to try and grow plumeria. I ordered cuttings and planted them, along with a bonus "mystery" cutting, and 10 seeds that Maui Plumeria Gardens included gratis.

These photos were taken a week ago. Mystery is the clear winner, with a big fully open leaf. I hope she's pretty! Celedon is straggling, with little to no sign of progress. And Carmen is coming along slowly but surely. I treated them by dipping them in B-1, which the hardware store lady told me would be a good rooting hormone. Afterward, I read the directions, which said to mix it 1 T per gallon of water. Oops! I was afraid that the straight, undiluted B1 would burn the cuttings, so I rinsed off Celedon and Carmen. I don't remember if I rinsed off Mystery or decided to experiment - but I'm thinking I didn't rinse, and that's why it's taken off.

And the seeds? I planted them in peat pots, watered with SuperThrive, and covered them in plastic wrap. And here they are! I've never had this success with seeds before, ever! Now to find good homes, as I really don't need 13 plumeria!

Plumeria seedlings

Monday, June 18, 2007

KIP, and following Kay

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Inspired by the Subway Knitter, I really wanted to KIP on the T. But most of the time we were going to be walking around all day, and my knitting didn't really fit in the bag. So I made The Sweetie take this shot on the Silver line T (not a real subway - a bus that is sometimes underground and is sometimes attached to cable lines) on the way to the airport. Close enough!

In other news, I'm a joiner, apparently in the footsteps of Kay, so I know I'm in good company.

The first is Dishrag Tag, another economical and fun knitting swap by Emily, of Wee Tiny Sock Swap fame. This time it's a relay race among 21 teams. Thanks to Rhonda for telling me about it before signups closed. (Sorry, y'all. If you're not in it yet, you're a spectator.)

Dishrag Tag

The second thing I joined lately, also following in Kay's shoes, is Melanie's Mystery Stole 3. What is it? A progressively released (free) pattern for a lace stole. So far we know it will be good in black or white color families and beads are optional. I've decided to throw my yarn in the ring and give it a try. Given my speed knitting lace stoles (the one I'm still working on from 8 years ago?), I forsee falling behind, oh, right away. But I can finish some swatches before it begins June 29. This bandwagon you can still jump on - it closes July 6. And don't worry, she's worked space in to consider the release of the last Harry Potter book - she skips a week for the clue to give you time to read the book.

I'm my most recent prize - the merino laceweight from Nova. Photos to follow soon!

As I used to say in college during the first week of the term, I'm not behind yet! Yay!

Friday, June 15, 2007

ECF: New threads

Laceweight yarn prize
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I came home to two yarny packages in the mail!

Before we went to Boston, I happened to win a prize over at Archives on the Edge. She and her sweetie just celebrated their 7th anniversary, and to celebrate on her blog, she offered up a yummy skein of laceweight yarn in the 7th anniversary color: off-white. It's dreamy! She also included some chocolate (ooo, green & black's, and Nestle crunch!) and some candy from Bakersfield, CA. I'm greatly amused at the path this candy is taken. But, sorry, candy, this is the end of the road for you! And the yarn is so soft, I think I'll just pet it for a while and dream of a lace shawl. Maybe I'll get it done in time for my 7th anniversary....)

I also found myself drooling several times over the Yarn Harlot's new habit. I emailed. I PayPaled. And this arrived. I'm in heaven just looking at the grosgrain ribbon.

Tulip sweater kit

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Back in Boston...

Fenway seats
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Well, mostly in Cambridge. We did some alumni tours- we went to Fenway Park, which was really a great tour. Lots of Red Sox history and stories.

We also took a tour of MIT's nuclear reactor. It was a really cool lecture and tour. They do really neat-o stuff there. Students (including undergrads) staff it! We went into the tank that surrounds the whole thing - a containment tank, they explained. Its job was to contain everything so even if something went wrong, it would stay in the tank. We had to test ourselves upon leaving for any contamination. Not your usual tour.

We saw a Boston Pops concert - they really put on a great show. They take the seats out of the orchestra section of Symphony Hall and replace it with tables and chairs. We had sandwiches and champagne and chocolates served to us during the performance. It is a truly unique experience! The funniest part of the program was a short film set to Charlie and the MTA, where (in the film) the conductor was trying to get to Symphony Hall on the T, and the Pops played the soundtrack (live) throughout the film. And of course they played my favorite, the Stars and Stripes Forever. I could listen to that, well, forever.

I also had a 5-minute meetup with Rhonda, the MIT Stitching Nut (and Felting Artist). (I'm still too shy to show my face on this blog...but go see me posing with her sock!) I felt like we'd known each other a long time, but had so much to catch up on. Rhonda provided the impetus and encouragement for my starting this blog - she told me to just give it a try. Now I have all sorts of blogging friends, all thanks to Rhonda. Yay!

I was so happy to meet you in person, Rhonda! You and your husband are wonderful people! (And you're definitely on for next time, Mafia!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cape Cod

Cape house
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Isn't this the most typical picture of Cape Cod?

We went to Cape Cod and met up with my dad, who grew up there. We were planning to go to Nantucket on the first day, but when we got to the ferry, the trip had been cancelled for bad weather (the guy literally said: "I didn't think you'd like it.") With a talent for seasickness on The Sweetie's side of the family, we were glad. Instead, we drove all the way to to Provincetown, had lunch, and drove back to the house, and then took a long beach hike. The cape is "protected" near Chatham by a long sand bar, but winter storms keep sculpting it. We walked out along a beach until we got to a place where the sea had cut over the bar a few years ago, and then back along the inner side. It was a really nice (long) walk.

Next day, we went to Nantucket (calm seas this time) and spent almost all of our time at the Whaling Museum. New England is really good at museums! We all learned a lot about whaling and life in the 1700s and 1800s.

And they had several beautiful specimens of swifts made from whalebones. On the way back, since we were in Harwich Port, I requested we drive by Adventures In Knitting, which was, sadly, closed.

Adventures in Knitting

The next day, The Sweetie's parents dropped us off at the Braintree T station so we could head back to Boston. But on our way off the Cape, we stopped at the Sandwich Glass Museum. The Sweetie and I had been there before, but the glassblower was sick so we didn't see the demonstration. It was so good we stayed for another show! And because I volunteered during the demo, I got a free souvenir - a pressed-glass suncatcher. So if you go, volunteer! This was a really good museum of beautiful glass things.

We also (on the way down to the Cape) stopped in Plymouth for lunch and took in the Pilgrim Hall Museum. It's small, but it has artifacts that were or were thought to have been brought over on the Mayflower and/or used by early colonists. They have a knitted stocking (approx. 17 sts/inch) that dates back to the 1600s. No photos - photography was strictly prohibited and they themselves don't seem to have a photo. But go to their web site and check out the felted beaver hat!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Where I was

East entrance
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Can you guess where I went last week? I'll give you a hint: a famous architect spelled out its name in this gate. I don't think the trees were part of the plan, though.

I went back for my 10th college reunion. It was nice to meet people I used to know, see familiar faces, and catch up with what others have been up to. As one classmate put it, it was sort of a "union" not a re-union.

I prepended several days with my dad on Cape Cod along with The Sweetie's parents, who then proceeded on to drive around the northeast, somewhat aimlessly. Ah, to be retired. I think they're somewhere in Maine now.

The Sweetie's Parents arrived the day before we did, and took the trolley tour all around Boston and a harbor tour. The next day, we took them to the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, then went out to Harvard Square and walked back along Mass. Ave and down Comm. Ave. to the Park Plaza. It was a really nice long walk and it only occasionally sprinkled rain. We were grateful it was not sunny, as it would have been too hot.

Here's a photo of our favorite landmark in Harvard Square. This is the window office of Dewey, Cheetham, & Howe, the fictional law firm of Car Talk.

Dewey, Cheetham & Howe

Monday, June 11, 2007

Drive-by blogging

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Well, I'm back, but I've only been home long enough to sleep and go back to work, so I haven't gotten any photos uploaded yet. It was a great trip overall, and as a highlight, I met a knitblogger in person! We had about 5 minutes between one thing and another, but we managed to intersect paths and have a hurry chat. Like a normal chat, but standing up, without coffee or tea, and with a much higher speed of talking. I'm sure if anyone recorded it, it would have sounded like the Chipmunks. Amazingly, our DHs also had a hurry chat, having never met before, online or otherwise!

That's all I have for now, so go read the new Knitty.

Friday, June 1, 2007

ECF: Korean feast

Korean dinner
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Last weekend, The Sweetie wanted to try a new recipe for bulgogi (Korean marinated BBQ beef). He wanted to make it really special so he made seasoned spinach, pickled cucumber and daikon radish, and we bought kimchee. It was so good, we made it again that weekend and invited friends over.

We ended up with 8 side salads (I'm not sure what the Korean term for these are) - these are usually cold but not always, served in a small dish but communal, and are meant to be eaten as little bites. The number of dishes, I've heard, speaks to the fanciness of the occasion. Some are kimchee (fermented spicy salads, often but not always involving cabbage). The most famous kimchee is won bok, which we can find in our local stores premade in jars, but the quality of it varies by the batch. There are other kinds, too.

Our table was big so I made two sets of the dishes. In the near group, clockwise from the left:

  • Water kimchee- white turnip and napa cabbage, in individual ramekins since you dip your spoon in
  • Sesame mung bean sprouts - these were from a can, but surprisingly good and crunchy. We seasoned them with sesame seeds, sesame oil, and green onion.
  • Cucumber salad - lightly seasoned with salt, sugar, and vinegar. This was better the first time we made it - I might not have added enough salt.
  • Seaweed salad - from the fishmonger. It was so good!
  • Daikon radish and carrot "noodles". This is a common dish in Korea, although our noodles didn't marinate long enough to get really soft.
  • Seasoned spinach
  • Daikon radish kimchee - we made this ourselves, approximating Korean hot pepper powder with 1/2 cayenne, 1/2 paprika. It was really good; next time we'll cut it into larger dice.
  • Won bok - from a jar. We've had better.

The two small dishes to the right next to the lettuce were sliced garlic and sam jang, a sauce made from miso paste, soybean paste, garlic, and sesame oil. It is so good! I didn't have soybean paste so I just used some extra miso and it was pretty close. These are garnish for making the bulgogi "sandwich" - you wrap it in lettuce, with or without rice, salad, or whatever, and eat it, kind of like a Thai lettuce wrap.

We set out rice bowls (we mixed dried seaweed into the rice when we made it- it was very pretty) at each place, and Korean steel chopsticks and spoons, water kimchee and a plate (this was a bit Western of us, I know).

We also had chapchae, or glass noodles with vegetables. It's super easy - you stir fry the veggies and garlic, and toss it with the noodles with sesame oil. And of course the BBQ beef - sorry I forgot to take a picture. We were too excited to eat!

The best part is we had some left over and got to have bibimbap for dinner a couple of days later:


Bibimbap is a rice bowl with all of the little bits of vegetable arranged on top (sometimes meat - I sliced up some of the bulgogi), and topped with a fried egg with a runny yolk. You then break up the egg and top it with hot sauce (we used Sriracha - it's a pretty good substitute for Korean chile paste) and stir it up.

[There is another kind they serve where they heat the bowl on the stove (over flame!) and crack a raw egg into it - then you stir it to cook the egg against the sides of the bowl. That is my favorite. But you need clay bowls to heat it like that, and holders for the bowls to not burn the table.]

Starting today, In Sheep's Clothing in Davis, CA, is liquidating. I'm sad, because it's the place I learned to knit, but Molly is moving on to another career and so the shop is closing. Please stop by to say 'bye and buy stuff.

Also, I'm heading to Boston next week and I plan to stop by the WWKIP day. Do you think I'll see Grumperina? Or be seen by the Subway Knitter?

If you are a knitblogger and want to meet up, email me (today...sorry about the late notice). I'll have my MOO cards on me!

This also means the blog is also taking a vacation. I'll see you on the other side!