Monday, August 03, 2009

blogiversary + various sundry

Holy cow, it's my third blogiversary! Has it really been that long?
Art is long, and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still like muffled drums are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
On that cheerful note... how about a contest? I offer up two books -- The Gentle Art of Domesticity and Mocha:

a little something handknit by me out of heather green alpaca:
and perhaps some yarn.

Just leave a comment on this post if you'd like to be entered. I'll pick a name via the random number generator this Sunday, August 9. ETA: US and Canada only, please, due to shipping costs.

My knitting circle holds an annual Christmas in July party, and I really lucked out at Yankee Swap and ended up with some gorgeous Malabrigo that I cast on immediately:
Pattern: Beanpole Beanie, by Rachel Weaver
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Pagoda, .75 skein
Needles: US 4 circs, US 6 circs and DPNs, US 3 DPNs
Notes: Great, clear pattern, fun to knit, plus it was designed by a fellow Chicagoan (not that I know her personally, but I support the Upper Midwest in a general sort of way). This was my first time doing bobbles, and some of them are a little wonky, but that's just fine with me.

This style of hat is a little "wild" for me, but I'm going to try to branch out from my usual plain ol' stocking caps and try some new things this winter. Rose Red, I'm looking at you!

I worked on this while sipping an almond latte at the cutest and friendliest coffeeshop in Portland -- the Dragonfly. A woman still in her running gear came over to me and wanted to talk knitting -- turns out she had knit with this exact colorway of Malabrigo and had just loved it.

I just got back from Portland, and everyone else is gearing up to head there for Sock Summit. A few highlights:

- Jade Teahouse & Patisserie
- Tilde (I found a wonderful Orla Kiely handbag on sale there)
- Ken's Artisan Pizza
- Caffe Mingo (mmm... prosciutto e melone)
- Dragonfly Coffee House

Knittingwise I met up with Sarah (Blue Garter) and Jodi (who made the trip down from Seattle! so great to catch up) at Knit / Purl, which is a very elegant knitting shop with a carefully edited selection of beautiful yarns. Lots of Shibui, of course.

I also made it to Abundant Yarn, conveniently near Jade Teahouse and Tilde in Sellwood. They have a wonderful, wide selection of yarns, and it's nice and roomy, with a coffeeshop inside. The ambience, however, leaves a bit to be desired. [I'm probably just spoiled by the atmosphere at Nina here in Chicago and Lakewood Fibers in Madison.]
While driving up to Mt. Hood from the east, I noticed a little sign on the side of the road for Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn. I managed to sweet-talk Paul into taking a little detour (best. husband. ever.), and we followed the signs through a few turns to get the loveliest alpaca farm and yarn shop. The alpacas were darling (I got to feed them), the workers were friendly, and the shop was pleasant, stocked with some handspun and micro-mill-spun alpaca yarns, amongst others.
Paul has informed me that if we ever get an alpaca, he's naming it Samuel L. Paca. Love it! Too bad I'm allergic to the cuties.
on the hi-fi

NPR is featuring some great free downloads from the 2009 Newport Folk Festival:
- Neko Case
- The Decemberists
- Fleet Foxes
- Iron & Wine

We're passing on Lollapalooza this year (too much heat + sun + crowds + expense), but are seeing both the Decemberists and Fleet Foxes at pre/aftershows at Metro this weekend. Should be great!
in the kitchen

The Maroni meatballs were OK, but the sauce was a real dud. Not a rave review... perhaps these recipes are too traditional for me? I'm a big fan of cayenne and bold flavors. I will, however, give a rave review to this five minute tomato sauce recipe, which is very versatile (and easy). It's even great on pizza.

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