Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is it stew or is it chili?

Sometimes a really good weekend can be a fairly forgettable one. No - I don't mean party-so-hard-you-forget. I mean the kind of weekend that finishes with clean laundry, a finished pair of knitted socks, a fresh haircut, long phone conversations with friends and family, a big pot of stew neatly apportioned into lunches for the coming week, dishes complete, a finished library book to return, and a comfy cup of chamomile tea to unwind with. Throw in some extended cat-on-lap time and herds of goldfinches at the thistle feeders, and really, it could be the perfect weekend all around.

Speaking of stew, what defines stew vs. chili? I make mine with chunks of beef or lamb, lots of onions, black beans, kidney beans, green chili peppers, and chopped tomatoes. Since its greatest bulk is in the preponderance of kidney and black beans, does that make it chili? Or is it defined as stew due to the size of meat chunks? Either way, I call it yummy.

Here are the new socks (top-down Hourglass Eyelet pattern with heel flap, short-row toe, and zigzag bind-off construction using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in South Shore colorway on US2 needles, in case you wondered).

Yes, my feet are very wide.

I didn't get around to doing yard work, but the weather is expected to hold and next weekend is a 3-day-er (Friday is Nevada Day and a holiday for state employees).

I hope your weekend was equally nice!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Batch of the Blues

On the fiber front I have been immersed in blue.

I finished knitting a long, long scarf from the last of the handspun yarn leftover from the log-cabin afghan. The resulting 128" long scarf was just a little too plain blue for my taste, so I did a little experimental dye job on it. I soaked it in water (with a touch of dish soap as a wetting agent) for about 20 minutes, then squeezed it out lightly and folded it in half 3 times. I put red dye in a glass jar and set the jar inside my dye-only crock pot within a couple of inches of yellow dye. I immersed one end of the wet, folded scarf in the red and the other end in the yellow. I simmered the scarf for about 40 minutes, then took it out and rinsed it. I am very pleased with the subtle graded color I achieved, grading from purple to blue to blue-green and back. The initial variations in the original blue dye job add to the overall depth. Some may consider 128" a bit long for a scarf, but giving it about 3 loose wraps around the neck shows off the color gradation nicely.

Another blue project is the "Montana" bath set I am knitting from blue kitchen cotton. I made the initial washcloth to test out the very simple 2-row stitch pattern used in the Montana Scarf from LoopKnits. It turned out to be the best washcloth pattern I have ever tried, since it is both supple and scrubby, and its openwork (when knit on US9 needles) allows the heavy cotton to dry quickly. It is also completely reversible and naturally lays flat. Best of all, it is complete idiot knitting, making it almost perfect for knitting while walking. I say ALMOST perfect, since I am knitting off a cone that is too big to fit in my purse. Here are the 2 rows (working on a multiple of 6 ss): Row 1 - *K3, P3* repeat to end of row. Row 2 - *K1, P1* repeat to end of row. That's it. Give it a try. I am now working on a handtowel to go with my washcloth.

One more partly-blue project in progress: My Hourglass Eyelet socks from Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn are past the heels and headed down the insteps. Hopefully to be finished soon.
Maybe I'll tackle something other than blue next...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Winter arrives in Nevada

A blast of cold air has poured down from the arctic and we woke up to snow. I never got around to harvesting the lavender, so it is pretty much too late.

In preparation for the predicted cold spell, Wednesday evening I brought the worm farm back into the house, this time protected by an ant-resistant moat.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Yosemite - still working on the pictures,,,,,

Still too busy for a proper post. Here's some more images from Yosemite:

Or if you prefer the classic black and white look: