Wednesday, March 28, 2012

la primavera

With temperatures in the 80s the other week, Chicago seemed to have skipped spring and gone straight to summer.
Luckily the flowering trees and spring bulbs were there to remind us of the season.
My weekend away in Michigan with the knitting girls was amazing. So relaxing, and it felt like summer as we sat on the deck, knitting, chatting, soaking up the sun, and sipping Lady Sibyl cocktails. Blissful... (P.S. Don't you love that someone dreamed up Downtown Abbey-themed cocktails?  I want to try the Lady Mary next).

Hmmm... lots on the knitting front, but not a ton of photos yet. Mostly I've been digging out old projects and finishing them off, though I did give in to temptation and cast on a sock:
Very... vibrant?!? OK, more like garish. The real reason I cast on was to try out my new 9 inch Hiya Hiya circular knitting needles. Yep, 9 inch circulars. It took a while to get used to them, but now that I've adjusted how my left hand holds the needle, the sock is flying along. We'll see if this pace holds up once I hit the heel. Then again, perhaps it's time to try an afterthought heel... I don't think these needles would work well with complex stitch patterns (especially cables), but for plain ol' stockinette or a basic rib pattern, they seem fine so far.
What else have we been up to?
Brewing beer!  Here's Paul tending to our second batch of homebrew, a breakfast stout.
We got started with a kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop. The grapefruit honey ale turned out quite well!  Not too sweet, with a nice citrusy finish. The kit is fairly easy, although make sure to read all directions very thoroughly before you start brewing. Keep in mind that not every ingredient is included, so make sure to pick up extras like grapefruit, honey, etc. first. Also, the kit leads you to believe that this is quick and easy and doesn't require much equipment. That's partly true. Much of the brewing time isn't terribly active, but you need to set aside a solid block of many hours. You can read a book, knit a few rounds on a sock, then check temperatures and stir. 

Also, you definitely need at least two very large pots and a mini auto-siphon. I highly recommend buying Star San so that you don't have to worry about rinsing all your equipment thoroughly after sanitizing it; also, it's easier to pick up bottles, caps, and a bottle capper from your local homebrew shop than it is to drink enough bottles of Grolsch (which have handy swing-tops).
recipe round-up

- Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake, from Joy the Baker
- an incredibly decadent and addictive snack mix from Southern Living -- credit goes to Julie from my knitting group for discovering this recipe (NB: "honey graham cereal" is code for Golden Grahams)


Alisa Kim said...

oooh i love the background of the sock (and the sock itself!). is it a quilt? it's lovely!

Tracy Altieri said...

I have never cared for double pointed needles and have really taken a shine to the shorter length circulars - agreed - they take a little getting used to - but I love them! Also - I love home-brewed beer!

Chris said...

We've had some slightly more springish weather the past few days, but it's going to skip into summer again.

I'll have to give those short circs a try sometime.

Gigi said...

Good grief -- you've been busy! I love the idea of Downton Abbey inspired cocktails! They both sound so good, but it might be hard to find elderflower liqueur here in Little Rabbit ;). And I like your sock -- not garish -- just colorful. I have a 9" sock needle lurking around here somewhere, but I've been afraid to try it. You've encouraged me ;).
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who disliked "Violets of March". I was beginning to think I must be extremely critical and hard to please . . . but maybe we both are -- hee hee. Just kidding!

Oh, and grapefruit ale?! Sounds heavenly!

Katie M. said...

I love that sock! What yarn are you using? It's summer here in Nashville, too (all of a sudden), and I'm feeling very confused. And scared ... for what August will bring. At least you'll have some nice cool beer! ;)

knitseashore said...

Your knitting weekend makes me envious! Sounds like you had so much fun, esp. with the Downton Abbey cocktails. :)

It's gotten cold here again, but I'm hoping for another heat wave soon. I think I might start a summer scarf just to have something quick to work on, like your sock.

Sharon said...

It's cool to see homebrewing on the rise and in our own family - I do hope they share. As for the needles, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool DP fan, no pun intended.