Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Remember how we've just moved Grandma into her new pad? I have a big envelope of photos, which I've begun to go through. And I'm realizing a few of the pics are begging to be shared here.

Proof my path was decided long ago.

So, Maya's J.Crew knockoff scarf above. And photos I found below.


I remember loving that poncho set. With it's multi pointed beret.

My sister got this lovely cardigan in red, with the blue scarf tied around her hood. We had a lot of reverse color coordinated sets like this.

There's lots and lots more in the ongoing series of knit pics, but I'll spare you.

Since I was also entirely amused to see the shots below.

My parents not only took them, and saved them, but apparently gave them to Grandma. There are a few more in this series as well, but again I edited to spare you.

(I totally remember these wine bottles with the straw on them -- My dad would melt the candles with all the different colored drips and save them. He also had a collection of the liquor containers shaped like things -- bullfighters, cars, windmills, etc. Anyone else remember those? We played with them sometimes till we broke the propeller off the Spirit of St Louis airplane. And the Metaxa bull lost a horn. Big trouble.)


Anyhoo, looks like both the knitting and the cocktails were encouraged early.
Am hoping my parents are so proud with my accomplishments to date.


And in the spirit of the new year, I'll start you off with both.

The J. Crew scarf is written up and will be posted for free as soon as I finish it. It's such a simple pattern, I'm not thinking much test knitting will be necessary.

As for the photo above, we're having a few friends over tomorrow night and this is the cocktail I'll be making early in the evening. It's called a Northern Light, and it's super tasty.

1 oz pear nectar
1 tsp creme de cassis (or cassis liqueur)
1/2 cup chilled champagne

Combine in shaker with ice. Stir till shaker is frosty on outside. Strain and serve.

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Wishing you all many lovely knits and tasty drinks in 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Usually we have a big Jewish Christmas celebration with my inlaws, who'd figured out a long time ago that Dec 23-35 were the only days in the calendar where they didn't need to fight with any other inlaws in order to have all their kids and grandchildren in one house for a few days. Every year, we've gone to their farmhouse for the whole thing - the tree, stockings, presents, eggnog, rum, dogs, and board games -- and yep, sometimes even a ham. (Which we all love as much as bacon)

However, this year, there's a snafu and we're only going for the day tomorrow, so this morning we've having what I imagine is a more traditional Jewish Christmas Eve.

With a remote control,


A few simple projects to work on,


And coffee.

You know what? It's kind of nice.

We're invited to a friends house nearby for an early dinner and we may catch a movie if we feel like it. Or maybe we'll come home and do Pay Per View. And have rum with eggnog.

(And a little cointreau in there - it's good)

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This new plan is also going to work out great since it will give me lots of time to work on this. My yarn from Knitting Past arrived today! It seems the project Can Go On.

(shall I say Jewish Christmas miracle?)


Once again I'm loving the power of the internet. This yarn is long gone from the commercial world. But here it is. It's not the same dyelot, and the stuff hasn't been manufactured since 1995 or something, but Kathleen, from my last post, has set me up, and has more skeins in the shop should I need 'em. I'm so glad, since I was loving the project and was dreading a froglike solution. Like those cables? They have hidden button holes in them.

So - people. support those LYSs!

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Wishing you all a great day -- with family or friends or peacefully knitting at home.
xo

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not with this little project here, but with the gamut of holiday obligations I was bitching about last week. Everyone has come and gone, the dinners have all been served, the homework all done, and the gifts have either been knit, wrapped or given. We've shoveled.

And, my traditional role as a Jew at Christmas is as a guest :-) So, I have only to ATTEND things from now on. And maybe to bring some wine with me.

This
I can handle.


About the little project above here, it's cruising along. Thanks to the snowstorm and the fact that the kids spent about 6 hours outside yesterday. I was able to make soup, knit, shovel, and knit. The design is evolving as I knit into it. I'm taking notes as I go.

However, I realized I was knitting (again) with discontinued yarn from stash. Ugh. But I think I have tracked down 20 extra skeins of the exact colorway at a yarn shop I found online during the big snowstorm. Woo Hoo Internet.

Hampton Yarns in Hampton Bay NY. I haven't actually ordered the extras yet, but the shop carried the DK according to Google and the owner, Kathleen, has already won my heart with a quick response that yes, they had the Aran too. She then another follow up email telling me to join their customer club for an automatic 5% off my order. That little bit o customer service? Always goes a long way with me. I'm in. I'll be doing a little "shopping" online later today, once I figure out how much extra I'll need.

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Also during the snowstorm, I managed to finish up my own Grace Beret. I gave Mrs. Carter's to her last week when I went in with dreidels and cookies for the class.

(Told you I'd need one too!)

The extra jaunty angle was for photo purposes only so I could get the camera around to take the top. The actual hat is worn straight back on my head and is only a little slouchy, and not really all that poufy. It's pretty perfect actually. The puffiness is more subtle from the front and you see it more at the side and back. I'm so loving these hats!

I think my next lacey project might be one of Ysolda's designs. Either Snapdragon or the Rose Red. Those are gorgeous. And I'm still planning on a little Ishbel.


But they'll have to wait, since I still have to buy Ysolda's book. I totally intend to, I just haven't yet. I can't figure out which one to get since there's a few things in each I want - like the old style Chinese menus, I'd pick a few from Column A, a few from Column B.

Eventually I'm sure I'll buy both.

Just like Craig did when choosing which presents I needed here.


Frangelico AND Godiva.
Yes, we had hot chocolate this weekend in the snow.

and PS, Maya's teacher told her that her bird project was one of the two best in class. Makes me a little scared about the others, but does justify the buttons and precious time used on said creature, doesn't it?

Friday, December 18, 2009

is finally done. The drawings, the written presentation and the index cards for the oral piece.
It's a biome adaptation project. Lets just say I adapted to another night without knitting.

By the way, this is sooooo not what I expected to use those vintage leather buttons for.

But Maya needed big round eyes so he could see predators from all directions.

(That's my poison ivy stuff in his talons. Because you can get it in Dec. if you really try.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


This is the time of year when real life just takes over. Dinners out, guests in. Family to visit and traditions to continue for another year. Deadlines at school, volunteer obligations, a crapton of shopping - followed by a crapton of wrapping - followed by "Shit, we ran out of tape since Zoe used it to dress all her Barbies in construction paper dresses again." And a trip to the 5 and 10 for tape. Again. Hopefully there's a little time left over for the usual bits, like chores and cooking and a shower. I don't know about you guys, but my knitting life is the luxury I have when my real life is all neatly tied up in a bow. And right now, it's not.

Yep, so now is when my mojo chooses to return, right?

I'm carving out a half hour to blog by leaving the groceries in the car (it's cold enough out -- the brisket will be FINE) and deciding I can eat an apple while I walk back to the school and call it lunch. Peeing should also happen, but I'm gambling here since I am so eager to share (and to sit here and ignore the List for a sec).

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Right now my hands want nothing more than to be wrapped around that soft taupe aran merino in the photo above and they are sooooo hugely pissed to be typing, with a future in grocery unpacking - and baking - and a social studies bird project due tomorrow -- for the remainder of the day that I think they just might smack me.

See, that little pile of taupe above is awesome. Soft and spongy and amazing. And the drawing they're sitting on is a cardigan type thing I cannot wait to be wearing. It's my next design obsession -- and yes, it could suck once it's knit, but for now it's just full of promise and nice cabley surprises. And it should totally go with my favorite boots :-)

So, after a few months of throwing figurative pizza slices at the ceiling and waiting for something to stick, this feels great. Since the Luckies and the White Russian, I've had a messy ceiling dripping with imaginary yarn cheese. Stops and starts. Drawings, swatches and frog piles. Yarn I don't even like anymore since it didn't do as expected.

Until now -- yes, now. Right fucking now. This week. And here I sit typing and looking at the clock and debating if I can get upstairs, pick that puppy up and get a few rows done in the 5 mins left. Or maybe pee. I should totally pee.

Instead, maybe I'll dig in Grandma's books and leave you for a drink for the weekend.

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How about Kahlua mexican coffee?

All the caffeine you need to get your list of to dos in order, so you can knit later.

1 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz tequila
fill remainder of mug with hot coffee and top with whip cream.

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And it matches my aran yarn. Taupe. Kahlua. kind of.
OK, I should really go pee now.
(excuse any typos -- I didn't have time....)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



Two hats ready for the post office, more stash yarn, and one fabric button used up.

I have a few other accessories on the needles, but need to wait before they get their official debut. I also cast on for my own gray lace beret, and honestly I may be more excited about that than about any of the other projects in my world right now.

The rest of today will be spent on some new ideas in my head. I realize I have only TWO sweater quantities of yarn left in my stash. Two. Crazy. Seems I spent the last year or so knitting it down without realizing. No really, I didn't see it happening. I have lots of bags of stray skeins, and maybe enough odd DK tweeds to do an entire fair isle cardigan, but people, there are only two real bags left.

One is the dark purple Jo Sharp I began seed stitching and decided not to, and the other is 11 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. So I figure I'll come up with ideas for them, knit 'em up and completely deserve a trip to Webs in a few.

Sound good?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sorry to run yesterday, but I have lots to catch up on now.

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The short lucky pattern is posted and available on Ravelry and it's also on the sidebar here. I wear it more than any other sweater I've made, which kind of surprises me since it's maybe the plainest of all my patterns. But maybe that's why it's such a wardrobe go-to. I can pair it with anything - like scarves or other shirts with patterns on them. It's super soft and the shape and the short sleeves work with my skinny jeans or with a casual dress just fine. And that color makes me happy.


So anyways, there it is. Enjoy :-)

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Onto the other knitting.

This truck hat is an experiment in the works. Apparently the pig suggestion from little James was a red herring, and I shouldn't trust the opinion of my smallest nephew in matters related to knitting. My sister sent me in a more appropriate direction - trucks.

I looked for a truck pattern and couldn't find one, but at least it's an easy shape to fudge. And I have a bag of Cascade bits just perfect for this kind of thing just stitting around in stash. So I did a few drawings and looked for boy colors (no small feat around here).

Craig is confused by the street I made above the brim.

( See, lines on a street.... down on the bottom? Am I kidding myself or does it work? ) Unfortunately it might be a little big, but the boys in that house have good sized noggins, so I'm going to go with it. Just a few more rows of black and it'll go in the mail.

(Annie, you approve?)

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Lastly, if you need a party recipe, here's a good one.

The photo is scary - and I'll spare you the skanky ham recipe (that's what the giant red thing is) , but the berry dish in the front is super easy and sounds like a groovy thing to bring over someone's house.

Raspberries Rasputin
(that's what they call it)

1 package frozen raspberries
3 oz peppermint schnapps
Put berries in shallow serving dish. Add schnapps. Serve while berries are still slightly crystallized with ice. Garnish with miint.

2-4 servings (so multiply if you need to)



Friday, December 11, 2009

I apologize for the radio silence, but most my knits right now aren't for prying eyes. I've been diving into the stash and coming up with all kinds of accessories that suit whatever bits of stuff I have to use up. This little number below is my current favorite.


I'm not sure why I never made one of these before, but I sooooo should have. It's the Grace Lace Beret from Ravelry. I used about 1.5 skeins of Sublime Merino DK and a set of 6s. And this can be shown since it's meant to be a gift for Maya's teacher, who I'm pretty sure wouldn't be reading my blog in her spare time.

I'm realizing I have another skein and a half leftover, and I'm also realizing I am going to have a hard time parting with this little hat, so in order for it to actually be given to the recipient, I'm planning on making a second one for me. Otherwise this thing isn't leaving my sight. As an added bonus, once I knit the second one, my entire bag of Sublime will be finished. (leaving me free to buy more)


Zoe's teacher needs a little something too, so here's a Hermoine Hat out of Cashmerino. Also a great pattern and a really pretty hat, but I will be able to gift this one a little easier than the first since I've apparently moved into the beret stage of my life.

The kids are eager to get moving since we're off for Hanukkah tonight with friends. With that in mind, I'll leave Short lucky for tomorrow - I'll be posting the PDF. And a cocktail and another party tip/snack/game.

But first, I gotta get going.

Happy Hanukkah for those of you who celebrate!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

This is Jordan in her White Russian. She was one of my test knitters, and she's the first one done. I just need to send her some buttons so she can finish up that little tab at the bottom properly. Am putting a little bag together for the post office later.

I really think the best part of this whole design thing is seeing your patterns knit up. Her yarn's a little more drapey than my original choice, and the tunic looks just a little more fluid. I love how the arms look. Mine are cuffed up. And most of all, I love, love, love this lavender.


I also love that she made her own White Russian concoction and took a second photo - :-)

Saturday, December 05, 2009




First the hair. And a bathroom mirror in serious need of some Windex.



I'm afraid I'm channeling Farrah a little more than I intended to, but I'm OK with it. A few days to figure out how to manage the poof and what product will keep those curls calm and I'll be good. Most importantly, the bangs hide those forehead wrinkles like a charm.

As for knits, I've got two to share.



Maya's tunic from the newspaper circular is all done and she loves it. So much she let me take these couple of photos on the rainy and cold porch while her buddy Molly waited in the door and heckled her. I used three skeins of Cascade, which at $24, just beats the$25 Kohl's price tag for the original sweater in crappy acrylic. Nyah nyah.



And apparently she can dance in it.


There's one more finished knit below. It's a Gryffindor hat for my adorable peanut of a nephew, who spent all of Thanksgiving with a hardcover copy of Harry Potter which is about as big as he is.

(If Annie's still out there reading - you know who I'm talking about. )


I have to figure out another appropriate hat for his brother James, who when asked, said he likes Pigs. Any good Pig Hat ideas? I refuse to knit a snout and subject him to misery of the novelty hat, but intarsia pigs will be just fine. I bet there are some out there....

Next to Eli's hat is one of Grandma's party books.

This one's from Charlie's liquor store of Shopwell Plaza in the Bronx NY. Since we're coming up on the holiday season, you guys might want a few more recipes to go with that jar cheese and nutmeat concoction you're already enjoying, right?

Here's some easy ones:

Frankfurter Snack

Cut franks in 1" pieces and split lengthwise. Fill with mustard and sliver of pickle.
Fasten with cocktail pick and broil.

Viking Special

Chop up one can of boneless sardines, two hard boiled eggs and 8 sweet pickles. Mix together with salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Smooth onto on rye bread or in celery sticks. Sprinkle with paprika.

Corned Beef N Pickle Treats

Chill canned corned beef and cut in 1" cubes.
Spear each cube on toothpick with a tiny gherkin.

Deviled Cheese Boats

1 pkg cream cheese
1 tbs chopped pickle
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs chopped stuffed olives
12 slices tongue

Mix cream cheese and blend in ketchup till smooth. Add olive and pickle. Spread on tongue slices. Roll up. Fasten with picks. Chill.

(OK, Eeeew.)


And what party's complete without fondue?

Scotch n Soda Fondue

1 lb shredded cheddar
1 tsp flour
1 tsp butter
1.5 oz scotch whisky
7 oz club soda
1 tsp worstershire sauce


Toss ingredients into fondue pot, without cheese. Add cheese handful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt before adding the next handful. Once cheese is melted and mixture is thickened, beat one egg lightly in seperate bowl. Add a little hot cheese mixture to it and then put into pot, stirring again. When it's smooth and creamy it's ready.

Serve with crusty chunks of bread for dipping.

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That's it for the snacks. Next time I have a few ideas from the Punches and Pitchers section.

Anyone ever see sparkling burgundy at the store?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I raked. Remember how we hired two neighborhood kids to do the leaves so Craig and I could make cocktails the other day? Yeah, well. All the best efforts of two ten year olds don't hold a candle to my yard of ginormous trees.

The final tally? 30 bags kids, 30 more me.

So far, followed by about half a bottle of white wine.

Tomorrow, I'm getting my hair cut and going to knit, so maybe I'll have something more interesting to share.

I like her hair. I might bring pics.

And yes, Sarah Hope -- I owe you some button photos. I thought you'd be buttoned out!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Zoe got her Owls. And I've saved her bitter art for the future.
(Ironically, I have no buttons small enough for eyes and must buy some. Figures, right? Ha. )


Besides the hat, very little knitting was done, but we had a great week. We gave the kids a little slice of my childhood with a trip into NYC. Besides a morning at the Met, we saw the holiday windows and the ice skaters at Rockefeller, smushed through the FAO Schwartz crowds, ate big pretzels from a cart guy, walked through Central park, and best of all --

spun through every one of these we could find on 5th Avenue.

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I also helped move my Grandma from her house into a smaller place, where she has no further need for this. You guys know how it works, right? I love it. I've always wanted it. And it made me teary to get it. The tears had nothing to do with the fact that the bottom compartment was completely full of amazing buttons.


Since my family knows me well, they also passed on my Grandma's collection of old party-themed pamphlets from the 60s and 70s. Grandpa, especially, never passed up the opportunity to get something for free and these all look like they came with magazines or bottles of booze or were giveaways at the market. They are awesome.


Full of amazing little hints to throw the Perfect Party. Decor, food, etiquette AND cocktail recipes. My first might be the Blinker (from the Carstairs Party book - a free gift from Esquire Magazine)

Blinker

2.5 oz grapefruit juice
half oz grenadine
jigger Carstairs White Seal (or other American Blended Whiskey)
shake with ice in silver shaker and strain into glass

according to the glossary here, a jigger - 1.5 oz

There are many recipes that look like this. Creamy with olives on top. Also lots with toothpicks, lots rolled up and lots with mayo and cream cheese. One recipe calls for a Jar of Cheese. Not sure where I find cheese in a jar.

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But how about these cheese canapes?

1.25 cups mashed american cheese
2 tbs cream
1/8 tsp chili powder
chopped nut meats
Ritz Crackers

Mash cheese, blend cream. Add chili powder. Force cheese mix through pastry tube onto crackers. (yes it says "force"). Sprinkle nutmeats on top.

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I am going to get so much joy out of these books.

I hope my friends are hungry and in an adventurous mood for the next few months. I may have to make them the cocktails first so they'll eat the snacks. I definitely have to make the cocktails first.