Sunday, April 30, 2006

miters away!

I adore Morehouse Merino. I love that it comes from sheep that live about an hour away from me. I love the colors and the barely spun three-ply yarn. I've bought lots and lots over the years, and it was the very first yarn that I bought. Remnants from that skein are in the second row, fourth one in from the left.

Because I've purchased so much over the years, I've got tons of little scraps. After Kay introduced me to the concept of the mitered square, I finally knew what to do with all of them! The squares are quite little, and sewing them all together is going to be a fairly miserable process. But I love the way that they look together. I need to visit their shop, Sheep's Clothing (so cute!), bring all of the squares, and figure out what other colors are needed to finish it off. There's no rush on this blanket, but seeing the squares in their plastic pouch just makes me happy while I'm plugging away on final papers.

Speaking of, there are many reasons to be POed at President Clinton for his actions while in the White House. However, as I'm working on a paper of the intersection of policy-making and politics in health care, his failures in that arena are really upsetting. Every last issue that was proposed in 1993 is still an issue in 2006. He proposed universal health insurance coverage by January 1, 1998; could you imagine if that actually happened? But the Clintons (yes, both of them) failed as politicians and we've still got an enormous mess on our hands. Some legacy.

Friday, April 28, 2006

an open letter to the mezzanine

Dear fellow theatre-goers,

Two things. First, to all the tour groups of high school students from the midwest; people in New York do not think it is "cool" to heckle the actors on the stage. We think that it is "cool" to be quiet, pay attention to the action, and laugh and clap only when appropriate during a "theatre production." As crazy as it might be, there are real live people up there, and it's not just a screen. The actors you know from the TeeVee are down the street in Three Days of Rain and the Caine Mutiny Court Martial.

Second. Eating peanuts out of a cellophane package during the show, one by stinkin' one, is r-u-d-e. It's a theatre, not your damn living room. There are a thousand other people in the room, and we'd like to hear the show we paid a lot of money to watch.

The narrator of the show was commenting about the inappropriate behavior of the audience. It wasn't pretty.

treat from the fairest clairest!

First off, SALE alert! Get 25% off storewide at The Point (on Bedford) Saturday and Sunday only 4/29-30. Spring is here and we're celebrating with a Sale! 25% off all Winter/Spring/Summer yarns* 50% off Colinette yarns Tagliatelli, Isis, Giotto, Prism, Point 5, Zanziba 50% off Noro winter yarns, Transitions, Yoroi, Kureyon, Big Kureyon *excluding Misti Alpaca, Cascade 220, and Lopi. This offer is not good with any other discount and cannot be used on any special orders. Sale in store only.

In other news, Claire is moving and doing the sort-out-and-toss procedure so frequently associated with relocating. She found some great treasures that appeared in my mailbox this week that I had to share.

The booklet of baby items includes a pattern for a bottle cozy! Wouldn't the publishers be surprised to see this pattern in so many of the new knitting books, but repurposed to hold the water bottles that everyone lugs around these days?

This booklet was titled something like, "Don't Forget Our Boys in the Army!" It was published in 1942. Wouldn't these head-warmer things be just the ticket for our boys in the army now? I'm sure that thick wool would be really helpful in the Iraqi deserts. Of course, those stationed in Afghanistan might find them useful in a couple of months.

I really like the purple shawl that's on the right side of this booklet. It's got a very cool texture. I don't recall the gauge for the pattern, but I do have a full pack of Rowan Magpie in a similar purple that might do very nicely... if I ever really have time to knit again. That remains in a bit of doubt.

Claire thoughtfully also included a piece to uphold the cocktail end of this here thingy. Ice does ruin Scotch. This appeared in New York magazine in December 1975.

Apologies for my poor photography skills. I should work on that. Or just not take vertically oriented pictures.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

el presidente

(Must. Solve. Weird. Photo. Problem.) No, it's not a mojito, although that does sound really good. The next time Hubby and I are driving through the south Bronx (this weekend, actually) we should stop at one of the fruit stands and get some sugar cane. Although it should warm up a bit before the mojito mixin' really gets going.

So anyway, I decided to pay homage to the baseball players of Cuban origin to watch the Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (expansion teams suck). While I'm not sure if there are any Cubans on either team right now, the El Presidente sounded interesting, so I gave one a shot.

It's mainly rum, with a little bit of dry vermouth and Cointreau, finished with a dash of grenadine. The resulting drink looked like a Cosmo, and was an entirely skipable cocktail. Of course, that didn't stop me from having two. All of the ingredients were unpacked from the cabinet, and each drink was only two ounces... so it makes sense, right?

Craziness abounds because it's actually the end of the semester, and lots of academic writing awaits me. I'm also trying to help launch a new software program at work, keep up with my regular duties, and not let the latest bout of insomnia get me too down. Much fun at Casa YaC. But tomorrow will feature a loverly post about a crazy gift from Claire. (I know, I owe you a phone call. Just as soon as I finish this bit about the Hillarycare health care reform package of 1993).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

soooo close!

I'm very close to finishing the first of my Retro Rib socks... just a little bit left to do on the toe. I probably could have finished it on the train last night, but I really needed to try it on and see if the decreases needed to be sped up. And I didn't feel like sharing the fitting with the general train population.

Of course, most people have very few qualms about treating the train like their living room. The nail clipping, extremely personal phone calls, loud video games... I'm not sure that people were meant to live in such close quarters.

Monday, April 24, 2006

baby mj

Woo hoo! A cause for celebration: a baby gift is done! And even better, it was all knit out of stash. Inspiriation for these gifts come from the Mason-Dixon gals and their fabulous new book. The top row is two bibs, not made from Handknit DK or Denim, but some spare balls of now-discontinued Weekend Cotton. I've done a couple of projects from it, and completely understand why it's not made anymore. Having it removed from the stash really lifted a dark cloud off of my shoulders. I just need to put a little bit of velcro on the tabs to hold them shut.

The bottom two items are the Baby Genius Burp Cloths, from stashed Peaches 'n Creme. Likewise, using up any item purchased at a Walmart makes me feel good too. I purchased it when my conscience was undisturbed by Walmart (yes, it's been sitting around for quite a while), and I'm happy to be rid of it! Thankfully I now know the direct source for dishcloth cotton so I won't have to support the evil empire.

One baby down, a zillion to go.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

magic wands!

I knew reading Styles would pay off someday. Can you believe it? (Click on the Slide Show.) I can't wait to get my paws on a pair of these babies. These are the perfect needles for those long and dark car trips. When learning to drive, were you told that driving with the inside light on was Bad and Dangerous? I certainly did. Hubby always says that he doesn't mind the light, and frankly, just turn the damn thing on so you can knit and stop complaining about how long the drive is taking and how much you hate being in a car, because given the choice, dealing with the light while driving is better than grumpy you. But I always say that the light has to stay off whilest driving because that's what I learned.

This is going to open up a whole new category of vacation yarn packing. Not only do you have to find the perfect project that meets the needs of the trip, you'll have to find something that works with the glowing needles. Sadly, I'm not a big fan of straight needles. When are the DPNs coming out?

Also, how many times will this article be posted on knitting blogs by the end of today? My rough estimate = 750. Leave a guess, and I'll send you a baby item (since that's all we've got around here).

Saturday, April 22, 2006

more library enhancement

I've gone a little crazy on buying knitting books this spring, but there is just such a bumper crop of them that I can't help myself. I'm almost done, really.

One Skein is my kind of book. I like my projects short and sweet, and with one skein how long can it last? I also have an unfortunate tendency to purchase one skein of something that catches my fancy and never have a real plan on how to use it. The patterns in the book include a lot of twists for basic projects. The hat isn't just a hat, but has lots of great cables of different sizes. The baby hat (and I certainly need some of those) has some great detail on the edging, and the bib is a little flower! So cute! Despite the presence of legwarmers (does anyone wear legwarmers?), it's a great book that I'll start using really soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

no knitting to speak of

I seem to be hitting the NYC conference circuit with great gusto this spring. Really, it's fun to sit in a darkened room with PowerPoint slides flashing by when the most beautiful day since the last conference is right outside. Truly. I love it.

Well, it is nice to be out of the office every once-in-a-while.

But today I got to hear, in person, the guy whose life story made me get off my duff and go to graduate school. (He's lucky that I didn't kick him in the shins as a thank-you.) In lieu of your knitting or drinking content, check out Partners in Health. Heck, make a donation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

basket of baby fixins'

To address the baby flood, I created the "basket 'o baby" to inspire me to get knittin' for all these little ones. I'm planning on leaving it near the couch so there's always something to work on while chillin' and watchin' the tee-vee.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to start concentrating on The Amazing Race and a diaper cloth. Later, y'all.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

the ramos gin fizz

Two weeks ago, Hubby and I happened into a nearby store that specializes in Middle Eastern fare; really, the whole eastern part of the Mediterrean Sea. We got what we were looking for (Greek desserts to follow a lamb and phyllo pie) and then started browsing. I got a happy surprise and found orange blossom water (from Lebanon) on the shelf. (That's it, in the center.) Finally! The key ingredient to a Ramos Gin Fizz.

Using the Biff Grimes' recipe, I shook that mother up. The result? Just OK. It was nothing compared to the ones made at the Pegu Club. I'll try some others and hopefully find a keeper recipe.

For now, it's time to make another round of Sud-Ouests. It's been that kind of week. Please don't remind me that it's only Tuesday.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

and a happy spring to you too!

To celebrate spring in a completely non-religious way, Hubby and I went to the New York Botanical Garden today to renew a very lapsed membership. We have high hopes of visiting on a regular basis, in part because we have about a dozen (and more on the way) free parking passes, and it just seems a shame to waste them. Of course, we could take the train, but let's wait until we run out, shan't we?

The garden was tricked out for Easter, with about six cute little topiary bunnies scattered around. Kids got a fun-seeming map of them all, but dull adults who were purchasing memberships weren't so lucky. I was a little sad that I didn't get one (but wasn't interested enough to go and ask for it).

As always, the daffodils were my favorite early spring visitor.

We'll try to head back in two weeks for the azalea and lilac show. Hubby's the azalea fan, I'm over the moon for lilacs. When you've got them growing right outside your window as a kid, they tend to stay a favorite for life.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

whoops, i did it again

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, what's better than heading to your LYS and stocking up on some fun little items? Nothing! Did the champagne tasting at the wine shop affect my judgement a little, because it's common knowledge that I don't need any new yarn? Maybe. I went to the shop to pick up a #7 circular needle, as the heavy Susan Bates metal needles that I have are killing my wrists. Of course, they didn't have a #7, so a #6 will have to do. Really, I went with the intention of getting a needle. That's all I was going to get. Really really.

The orange and purple Koigu was too fabulous to pass up; you never know when it's going to disappear forever. Into the shopping bag. Oh, and there are some blue shades of Cotton Classic, which I'll need for the log cabin blanket that will go into production in the near future. And Yay! They have a nice green Zara to match the leftover purple skein that's at home already. Wow - the Mission Falls 1824 Cotton... great for the LMKG baby hat. Must get one. And then there was that Classic Elite Star. It's cotton with 1% lyrca, which gives it an amazing spronginess. Fun colors, too. Since it's all-baby, all-the-time here, it was almost a necessity.

I beat Hubby in the impulse purchases this afternoon by $20. By beating, I mean spending more than him in the wine store, of course.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

run for your lives!

Another baby-in-waiting was discovered at the seder last night. Unknown gender, due at the beginning of June. Seriously, I'm not sure that this is funny anymore. Do I even know any more women of child-bearing age? There are more in the non-child-bearing age that can adopt, so I guess I should just prepare for further onslaught.

I think I need to go on disability or something so there's time to knit for them all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

panic attack

This morning I had a small panic attack when I realized that my pretty pretty spring scarf was missing. I was certain that I put it in my bag last night when leaving work, and therefore it was supposed to be in my bag this morning... and it wasn't! Time to freak out! Which I did! Very well indeed!

I was upset for various reasons: (a) I hadn't even posted a picture of it yet; (b) as previously discussed, it was a more expensive project than I normally undertake; and (c) I'd only worn it once! It was a finished object! Those are really rare around here!

When I arrived at work, my pretty pretty scarf was sitting on my desk. I then vaguely recalled someone saying how warm it was outside last night, and taking it out of my bag before leaving. A public apology is due to Hubby for dealing with my foul mood this morning when I thought that I'd lost the scarf.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

omg, like my favorite thing ever

Trader Joe's has done it again, and come up with the bestest snack food ever ever. These papadams are like Pringles but without the greasy, so you feel like they just can't be bad for you. And they are very light and crunchy, too. The tandoori masala is super-tasty, especially since I'm such a fan of the fake-Indian dish tikka masala. The yogurt and dill was a big surprise. They were very similar to sour cream and onion chips, which I also lurve.

Way to go, Joe. Just keep making them, OK?

Monday, April 10, 2006

they were right; i was too weak

I'm a West Wing fan from way, way back. I love all the characters like crazy. I was rightly horrified by the WW after John Wells took over sole Executive Producership. Therefore, this article nearly drove me over the edge this morning. After all the devotion, how could they have considered electing Vinick? Thank goodness Santos is my next President.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

seriously stalled

I'm in a bit of a holding pattern right now. Nothing seems to be working out, knitting-wise. I did finish the lovely spring scarf this weekend, and will share a picture later (still in the camera). The Retro Rib sock is toying with me, and I can't seem to get the heel started. If I can't get this going, what's going to happen when it comes to the short-row part? Yikes: too scary to contemplate. I also set out some pieces of a potential baby gift, and found that my gauge varied wildly. Far too wildly to consider sewing the piece up. Finally, I started to make the linen hand towel from MDK and that's too loose and floppy to be a towel, too. I'll have to frog and go down to a #3 needle, but that's too much like socks, so I'm not pleased there either. And the kitchen sink is clogged and we have people coming over for dinner tonight. Guess I get to use the new bathtub for washing the dishes.

This concludes my session of complaining. Thank you for your attention to these matters.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Today's drink comes to us from the Wall Street Journal's cocktail column last Saturday. The Sud-Ouest might be the most interesting cocktail I've made at home. The main ingredient is pineau des charentes, which is about as difficult to find as it sounds. The third stop is the charm, and I finally found it at 67 Wine and Spirits. (Which is not on 67th Street, for your information. It's on 68th Street.) It's a cognac with wine, and also comes in a red variety. The bottle labels it as a dessert wine, but it doesn't have the sweetness normally associated with them. The book of cognacs I read at the shop while waiting through the search for the pineau also said that it makes a lovely aperitif. Again, not so sure about that.

However, this drink is fabulous, and potent. Give the ingredients a good shake and serve in a cocktail glass. It has a great layered flavor that is well-balanced, and didn't need any sprucing up from simply syrup or more juice.

2 1/2 oz pineau des charentes
1 oz gin (Plymouth, of course.)
1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 oz Cointreau


Thursday, April 06, 2006

how could you be cranky?

Especially with a watch like this?

A watch that matches my favorite pajamas? I didn't remember how loudly Swatches tick, and it's a wee bit irritating. But so darn cute overall! Of course, that's not what is driving me crazy today. I think that I just need sleep, and a lot of it.

And for the Yankees to win another game already.

The high point of today was finding pineau des charentes to try this cocktail recipe that Hubby found over the weekend. I'm ready... and will report on it soon.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

yee-haw, y'all!

Yesterday after work I had the extreme pleasure of heading down to Coliseum Books for the biggest event in NYC knit blogging this month. Maybe even this year! I got to attend the reading for the publication of Mason-Dixon Knitting with Ann and Kay. It was great to meet Ann after reading about her for so long. Who knew that she was so tall? I also got to see a number of famous bloggers that I'd met at Kay's previously: Ann and Kay, Lis, Cara, and Valentina.

Even though the book was out for a whole week, I decided to wait and purchase the book at Coliseum, since they are so cool and host knitting book readings. I didn't want to dive into the book there, so I was actually eager to get on the train home. It was engrossing, and there's not much that can hold my attention during rush hour trains. I didn't even put on the iPod or use earplugs. I was shocked when the train pulled into my station.

Given my previous rant about photography, I am so pleased that MDK has utterly beautiful photography. Clear, large, and interesting. The patterns look great, and there are a number of things that I can't wait to try out. I want to go through it again, more slowly, and absorb the material more. It's really an inspiring book, and can't recommend it enough.

My pictures were not loverly, but really! I was there! Muchos congratulations!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

springing forward

I'm giving the very thin sock yarn a brief break to make a springy scarf, since I don't really have anything that fits the bill (quelle horror)! The yarn is a 50/50 blend of mohair and silk, and I'm using the Blue Sky Alpaca Opera Scarf pattern. I probably should have gone up a needle size, but I started it at movie club (hi, movie club!) and did't have size 11s in the purse. The yarn is from Catherine Van Laake Loom in Eessence Atelier [sic]. I can't find it online anywhere. I got two 50g hanks at Knit/Purl in Portland in January. It was more expensive than I normally go for ($16.75), but it just feels so very good. I got about 14" out of half a skein, so it should be fine, lengthwise. Glad that I got two, though.

The dye isn't fixed terribly well, because my bamboos are now quite blue-greenish on the tips. My fingers weren't quite as bad, and they washed out just fine. But if I wear this during the warmer spring months, is my neck going to turn blue too?

So, I brought this along to a conference that just finished. For the long plenary session yesterday I dragged my co-worker to a table at the side of the room. After 20 minutes I passed him a note: "Would it be OK if I knit discreetly?" He nodded, and I pulled out the scarf. I was happily knitting away, listening to the speakers drone on, and occassionally commented on the proceedings. Co-worker excused himself for a moment, and when he came back he said that people throughout the room were writing letters and napping. Therefore, it appeared that I was almost the only person paying attention... because I was knitting!

I'm into the second ball at this point, and should have the scarf finished by the end of the week. Spring temporarily disappeared from NYC, but it'll be back, and then I'll be ready.

baby parade

So far in 2006, I've done three baby gifts: the Taro-inspired blankie, a purple hat, and a set of hat and booties. Still to go:

Baby MG: a boy, coming in May, friend of my Mom's. Gotta do something (not so subtle hints from her).
Baby CJ: gender unknown, coming in June/July, Dad is a former co-worker of mine. Sweater?
Baby MCS: gender unknown, coming in June. Big brother has a blanket, sweater and penguin already. But, they live in the South and I hear that it's a little hot for garments. Another toy? Do I have time for a blanket to match the big bro's? No. But I'll try to do it anyway.
Baby JL: a boy, coming in June, college friends. Baby has siblings already, so there are plenty of clothes. Perhaps a toy? I like little toys a lot, despite the massive amount of finishing that's required.
Baby MK: gender unknown, coming in September. Need to figure out something in a blankie format with colors, but not too bright. Hmmm....

So, I think that's the Year of the Baby. Of course, there are still MONTHS to go, so I'm sure that more will spring up from somewhere.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I tried out a couple of drinks on Friday night, and had marginal success with both. The first drink was the Star, from William Grimes' Straight Up or on the Rocks. It is equal parts applejack and sweet Italian vermouth, and needed just a little simple syrup to make it very drinkable. Grimes writes, "Said to have been created at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in 1911, the Star cocktail was famous enough by the teens to be celebrated by Franklin P. Adams in his 'Coming Tower' column in the New York Tribune." Who was Franklin P. Adams, you might ask? Good question. Let me know if Google comes up with anything.

The next drink was an original of mine. I wanted to use up some crappy brandy that we had languishing in the cabinet, we had an orange, and I thought that it would be OK together. I used about equal parts brandy and OJ, and then thought that it needed a little pep. I put some sparkling water into the lowball glass, and it was good. But it still needed more pep, or so I thought. I just a touch more in, and completely watered down the drink. Ah well, it was good while it lasted.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

flash your stash!

I signed up for Flash Your Stash day pretty late, and also haven't conquered the whole "button" thing, but here goes anyway:

Above is the stash that I'll admit to having. It fits in three under-the-bed containers, and that seems like a reasonable amount, doesn't it? I didn't have a lot of time to unpack all of the layers, but I think that you can get the idea. It's a goodly amount of yarn.

This is the stash that I don't admit to having. It doesn't have a nice storage space. It's in random bags in our spare room/office. I use a lot of the heavy zipper bags that sheets and linens come in; they work beautifully for holding a single project at a time. I found the Cotton-Ease on super-sale in December and went a little bonkers. But there are so many cute cute sweaters in the Miss Bea's books that I had to stock up while I could.

How does your Hubby feel about all of the yarn stash? Well, we have an agreement. He doesn't say anything about the yarn, and I don't say anything about the wine. (He's in the Biz, so there is a reason behind all of the wine beyond the fact that we just really like it.

The top picture, again, didn't cooperate. Tilt your head. One note about the yarn and wine: most skeins cost well under $10, and I don't think that Hubby can say that about the wine. Ha!