Tuesday, January 19, 2010

fo: saroyan

off the needles

Saroyan is not only off the needles (which happened back in December), but even off the blocking squares!
Pattern: Saroyan, by Liz Abinante
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Cashmere, cassia (#016)
7 skeins @ 44 yds/skein
Needles: Clover US 8 bamboo circular

The pattern's very intuitive and easy to knit; extra kudos that Liz at feministy has offered it gratis. In look it's similar to Alana Dakos' Cedar Leaf Shawlette, but the construction is completely different. I'm not in love with the ends of the piece. They look a little blocky and unfinished. That said, it wasn't at all fiddly to knit, and I most definitely did knit it while watching Bones. How fitting!

The Elsebeth Lavold Silky Cashmere is soft and silky, but the yardage is truly maddening. So many ends to weave in! Also, the woven-in ends are fairly visible. It might be wise to undo the plies of the yarn and weave them in separately, but with so darn many of them, I was less than excited at the prospect. So while the fiber content may be luxurious (55% silk, 45% cashmere), the knitting experience is not. I'm very glad I purchased this at a steep discount or else I'd have been very annoyed.

Also off the needles is my first Wandering the Moor shawl. Yes, I enjoyed the pattern so much that I've already cast on for another (we'll save that for another post, though). This one still needs a good blocking. The bind-off was new to me, and I'm not 100% sure I did it correctly -- we'll see how it looks after blocking. It certainly is nice and stretchy.

I did notice a couple of wee typos in the written-out directions, but nothing major, and I'll email Celeste about them. The orange flower mcn fingering was delightful to knit (with magnificent yardage to boot), and I'm looking forward to trying more of Karin's yarns.

It appears I'm not alone in my disenchantment with Wuthering Heights! Jane Eyre, though, I do get. :-)

Thanks, too, to everyone for the hand cream recommendations! I'm using Aquaphor at bedtime now (per Buster's suggestion), and it has worked quite well. It's like slathering Vaseline onto your hands, though, so it's not the best for all-day use. I'll have to pick up a few more of your recommendations.
in the kitchen
chai tea

I found this recipe for chai concentrate via Amy's blog, and it's quite spicy and good! For the cost of one chai tea latte at ye olde Starbucks you can make enough concentrate to gussy up 28 regular cups of black tea. The mixture requires a thorough stirring to get everything to dissolve properly, so it's probably not the best for iced chai.
caramelized onions

Remember that Seinfeld bit about the milk conundrum at the grocery store? Do you have enough? Should you buy more? I always feel like that about onions. Somehow we end up with way too many. I hate having them go to waste, so the Everyday Food article on caramelized onions was absolutely perfect (same recipe for caramelized onions available for free here).

I topped my standard focaccia recipe with caramelized onions and goat cheese, I threw them into an impromptu pumpkin sauce for pasta, and some I just ate plain. Delicious and easy, though a little time consuming.
left: Joy the Baker's honey cranberry cornmeal quick bread - yum! This really grows on you. Not too sweet, not too cornmeal-y.

right: oyster mushroom, leek, and fontina quiche (weird pdf link -- not sure where it's from, but it came up in a google search) -- made with half the mushrooms, double the leeks, and gouda instead of fontina. The sheer amount of butter that goes into this recipe is a bit scary, but it's delicious. I followed the crust instructions from the recipe, which I wouldn't do again -- I would use my old standby, Martha Stewart's basic pate brisee pie crust.
on the radio

Even if you're not an NPR buff, you'll still most likely enjoy the second half of today's feature on "The Story," where Brad Stoller tells about a rite of passage adventure in Big Sur with his not-so-responsible father. Very funny but also heartfelt.

The bit about Carlos Castaneda and the "gait of power" is especially humorous, even though Castaneda was a huge weirdo.

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