Sunday, September 25, 2011

totally autumn

Phew, last week was rough... my poor Jeep broke down on Lake Shore Drive and is still in the shop getting its transfer case rebuilt, autumn quarter's about to start, and there's still a lot of packing to do before we move on Saturday. Time to focus on the positive things, like this little baby sweater I finished:

size: 3 months
needles: US 6 Clover bamboo circs and US 7 DPNs
yarn: Quince and Co. Lark, pomegranate, ~2.3 skeins (300 yds.)

Very fun to knit! I just love the pattern, and I'll definitely revisit it. The yarn is soft and springy, with a deeply saturated color. I used a little more yarn than the pattern specified, but my gauge was also a bit loose. I knit the 3-month size, but the final (blocked) measurements are more like the 6-month.

The yarn fluffed up a bit during the blocking process. Be forewarned that this isn't a smooth, silky merino -- it's lofty and wonderful, but not buttery soft. I'm curious how well it will hold up (I'm guessing quite well), as I'd love to knit a cardigan for myself using Lark.
Other good things...

- Coastal Knits is available for pre-order! Such pretty patterns. Can't wait for this to arrive in my mailbox!

- Brooklyn Tweed's fall 2011 patterns are out! I absolutely love Tinder -- it looks so cozy.

- Loopy Yarns had a 6th anniversary party last Sunday, and I picked up some very intriguing Imperial Stock Ranch 2-ply pencil roving in a beautiful shade called wild iris.
It's very soft and lofty, and it will be interesting to knit, as it's unspun. This yarn is earmarked for the Pembroke Wrap from the latest issue of Interweave Knits.

- I concocted a new ice cream recipe in honor of the lovely autumn days:

pumpkin spice ice cream

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 C. pumpkin butter
1.25 C. half and half
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, or to taste (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker (I use a basic Cuisinart ice cream maker and run it for 18-20 min.). Transfer to an airtight container and put in the freezer to harden, at least 3 hours (even longer is better).

P.S. Sorry to be so slow at replying to comments lately... it has been a little hectic around here. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

cats + knitting + tea = bliss

A certain someone doesn't seem to mind being surrounded by boxes.  Me, I'm a little nuts from packing already, but it perhaps it's time to take a queue from Kylie and go with the flow.
Best way to relax? Getting a head start on holiday knitting. It's never too early!
The pattern's High Line by Kirsten Kapur, and I'm using some vintage Knit Picks Andean Silk that has been marinating in my stash for quite some time. The yarn's a little thinner than recommended, so I'm using size 10 needles. Honestly, this will be a much more useful size, as it's going to be a super cozy, warm scarf which you can really wrap up in.  I can't wear alpaca (it makes me so sneezy), but I can handle knitting with it in short bursts. I think this will block very nicely!
My boss just returned from a 3-week holiday in Yorkshire, and she kindly brought me fancy teas from Bettys Café Tea Room in York. Now that's the way to a girl's heart...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

shawlette + movies for the queue

A friend of mine has a beautiful, peaceful urban garden, and yesterday seemed like a perfect opportunity for a photo shoot.
pattern: Berger shawlette, by Lisa Fliss
yarn: Orange Flower MCN fingering weight, "boysenberry"
~ 300 yds (2/3 skein)
needles: Clover US 7 bamboo circs

Easy, free pattern. Seriously, this knit up in an instant, as the stockinette body goes lightning fast. I absolutely love the yarn -- I used a different colorway for my Wandering the Moor shawlette, and it holds up beautifully and has a good balance of drape and body. Plus it's super soft.  Overall, a win-win project. The pattern requires a small amount of yarn, so it's a great way to use a short-ish skein of fancy merino sock yarn.

film recommendations

I'm always on the lookout for movies that are different and interesting (no Transformers for me, thank you very much), and these two fit the bill lately:
Trollhunter -- a Norwegian mock documentary about film students following a man they suspect of poaching. Surprise, he turns out to be a grizzled, slightly disgruntled government employee -- on the Troll Security Service.

Junebug -- a film that explores class and cultural conflicts, as a newly-married couple heads from Chicago to the husband's hometown not just to meet the family, but for the wife to convince an "outsider artist" into signing up with her gallery. It's a film that does a good job of showing rather than telling, and it's uncomfortable at times as it explores how people negotiate relationships, their day-to-day lives, and their anxieties. Paul wasn't too keen on this at first, but really came to appreciate it in hindsight. Junebug does a good job of building characters, which I (like Ebert) value.

Does anyone have film recommendations to share?  I also saw Bridesmaids, which was a hoot (plus it was great to see Milwaukee on the silver screen), but everyone knows about that one already.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

almost autumn

There's a nip in the air and a spring in my step -- forsooth, autumn's just around the corner here in the upper midwest. We've been happily munching away on apples and pears from last Saturday's green city market.

I've been knitting away at f.pea's mossy jacket pattern. I'm using the specified yarn, Classic Elite Beatrice, now discontinued. This is a machine washable, heavy worsted weight merino wool with a neat construction -- 3 plies very lightly twisted together, which means that it's very easy to separate the plies (esp. with my pointy Knit Picks Harmony needles).

What's neat is that the 3 plies are different colors -- 1 tan, 1 beige, and 1 variegated. The yarn knits up into a very pleasant variegated, marled fabric -- not garish or awful like so many other commercial yarns. Each of these three plies seems to be a plied light fingering weight. Great stuff! Too bad it's no longer on the market.
In August I instituted a no-new-yarn policy as we prepare to move, but this has already been bent a bit, as Quince and Co. restocked Lark in pomegranate. Not only did I order one more skein to finish Camilla Babe, but also a color book.

I'm contemplating colors for an Aidez cardigan using Quince's lofty aran-weight Osprey yarn. Frost?  Peacock? Delft? So pretty!

Two small projects are blocking on my dining room table as I type, so I'll be back soon with FO posts.
in the kitchen

-- I really want to make pumpkin ice cream -- I just saw this recipe, but it's definitely more complicated than I'd like. Any recipe suggestions?  Otherwise I'll probably experiment (I'm thinking pumpkin butter + a slightly less cream-cheesy version of my cream cheese ice cream recipe).

-- Sour cream brown sugar ice cream was on the menu for a get-together last weekend! It was awfully yummy. I swirled fig butter through half of the batch, and that was especially tasty.

  Sour Cream Brown Sugar Ice Cream

2 C. sour cream
1.5 C. half-and-half
1 C. brown sugar, firmly packed (preferably dark brown)
.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T. bourbon
fig butter (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions (about 20 min.).

Optional: Pour half the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Dot a few blobs of fig butter over the top; swirl with a knife. Add the rest of the ice cream. Add a bit more fig butter if desired.

Put in the freezer and allow to harden for at least 3 hours.
A copy of Moosewood Restaurant New Classics has been sitting in my kitchen bookcase for a few months, sadly unopened and untested. I pulled it out to peruse at lunch today, and the recipes look fantastic! I'm getting very excited about veggies again. 25 tape flags now mark recipes that were calling my name. I'll keep you posted as to the successes.
Jane Austen fans, the Los Angeles Review of Books features an interesting review article on two new books about Jane Austen.