Food |Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 10:51 PM

#1 Son in the kitchen
#1 Son in the kitchen

This Christmas we tried something new. Usually #1 Son comes to my house for dinner and present opening, and we watch a movie or whatever and just chill. This year I asked #1 Son if it would be fun if I came to his house instead, and we could cook together and feed which ever of his roommates or friends were around and hungry? He thought that sounded fun, and we planned accordingly.

A couple of days later, he mentioned that his Totally Adorable Girlfriend™ would be in town. I said that she, of course, would be welcome, too.

A couple of days after that, he mentioned that TAGF’s™ father, J, (who lives in Portland), would like us to all come to his house instead. I wasn’t sure if I was really ready for the whole meet the ‘rents thing. But we try to go with the flow around here.

#1 Son still wanted me to come to his house because he’d done massive cleaning and didn’t want to waste it it sounded fun. So the plan became: I go to #1 Son’s house and we whip up an amazing vegetable stew…

getting ready for the feast
getting ready for the feast

Which we take over to J’s house, where he and TAGF™ will have crafted the rest of our feast.

And feast it was! #1 Son and I contributed the stew – amazing stew! – couscous with hazelnuts, and a bottle of wine. J broiled a wonderful halibut dish. And TAGF™ mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, and baked a cheesecake for dessert. All of the food was amazing, and I ate a lot of it. We all did, actually. J was a gracious host and I enjoyed meeting him. I had a very nice time.

There was a bit of present swappage, too.

look! I knit something!
look! I knit something!

Look! I knit something! I finished these just last night, for TAGF™, which means it’s probably the last finished object of 2009.

  • Yarn: Sundara Sock (100% Superwash Merino / 360 yds per 100gm skein) in Basil over Buttercup – less than 1/2 of one skein
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circular, US#2 (3 mm)
  • Pattern: Merletto Mitts by Jodie Scofield – a free download on Ravelry
  • Modifications: continued cuff ribbing on the palm side all the way up the wrist; fussed with the thumb a little.

I think she likes them
I think she likes them

It appears that she likes them!

When questioned, #1 Son had told me that her favorite color was chartreuse. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. #1 Son can be a bit of a kidder, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s being serious or not – especially via text message.

This was the chartreuse-est yarn I could find in my stash. All the time I knit I kept fingers and toes crossed that she really did like green. But she assured me that she really does, and her favorite color really is chartreuse.

#1 Son told me that he didn’t even know what color chartreuse was and he’d had to look it up, so there was no way he could have actually been kidding about it.

#1 Son got his big present a few weeks ago, but I gave him a little space heater for his room. He lives up in the attic of a 100-year-old house, and it’s cold in the winter. This one can also be used as a fan without heat, so it will also be useful in the summer when his room is too hot.

a little bling for the ears
a little bling for the ears

#1 Son gave me a bit of bling for my ears. Aren’t they pretty and sparkly! I can’t wait to wear them.

And also a cute little lantern candle-holder to hang outside in the summer.

I don't know what it is but it's pretty cool
I don't know what it is but it's pretty cool

TAGF™ gave me this. I have no idea what it is, but it has lots of little gears that whir and springs that wind and little feet that go around as it scuttles across the table. The geek factor is high and I like it!

I know I’ve been mostly absent, but I’ve had a lot going on the last month or so. Gentle reader, I will tell you all about it in the next post…

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 9:37 AM
tags:

happy 21
happy 21

It’s a minor upgrade this year, but oh such an important one!

Adam, this has been an interesting year that has seen its ups and downs. Congratulations to you on not only living through it (mostly with a fine measure of grace), but coming out the other end wiser and so mature and so all-grown-up. It takes my breath away to remember that 21 years ago you were still a part of me. And now you are so many things: musician and business man and artist.

And… congratulations on finally being able to legally enter the bars that you and your band have been playing in for the last 5 years.

Love you, sweetie! Happy birthday.

Knitting |Sock Summit by Judy @ 8:42 AM

So… #1 Son had this little mishap with his car (everyone is OK, car is not). Work sort of blew up into this massive amount of… well… work (go figure). There’s this little book thing that’s sort of taking over every spare minute of my waking life (and much of my sleep, as it turns out). And I’m frantically trying to get ready to teach two classes I’ve never taught before (or are at least in a new format) before the lovely Sock Summit organizers (bless them for taking that on!) email me and ask for stuff that I’m not ready yet to give them.

So… I guess it will come as no surprise that I’m sort of on hiatus here at PI. I mean, it’s kinda obvious that I’m not posting much. So I’m making the hiatus official. For the next three months, I will be posting on a very infrequent basis, and only when something special comes along that I really want to talk with you about. I am managing to tweet a bit, so feel free to follow me on Twitter, where I can be found as JudyBecker (I’m so clever with names, aren’t I?). I do try to check Ravelry every day. And the old e-mail in box is always open. I will return. I just need one part of my life to calm down just a little bit.

But today, I also have something special to tell you about!

And I’m doing that in the next post, so it doesn’t get mixed up with this one.

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 7:46 AM

afternoon view
afternoon view

I really thought that the week was going to calm down a little bit.

That was before #1 Son’s computer started having what we in the vaguely techie business like to call issues. When in need, #1 Son always calls Mom’s Tech Support. This particular incident ended up requiring a complete wipe of the hard drive and reinstall of XP, and there were driver issues and… I won’t bore you with the details. But it took time.

And then there was the little incident where the nice officer on the lovely motorcycle stopped me as I was on my way home from dropping the fur kids off at the Cat B&B. He informed me that I’d just been doing 30 in a school zone. I’m usually very, very careful about that. In my defense, it was a high school that sits way back from the main street. It was the middle of the morning and no children were anywhere to be seen. And I admit to a bit of distraction as I tried to figure out how to cram 3 days of activities into about 8 hours.

I banged my head against my fortunately knit cozy clad steering wheel while the nice officer wrote out a ticket.

And then I ended up sort of needing a second root canal. The good news is that now the pain is all gone. But it took time. Actually, more time than usual.

I have a very tiny mouth. (No comments from you out there in the peanut gallery.) But it turns out that I have deep roots and a lot of nerve. So it takes a bit of doing to make sure I don’t feel anything while the whole root canal procedure is being performed. And that takes time. But with that finally accomplished, Dr. P was happily reaming out my tooth, and I was happily ignoring the whole thing as I lay there with what feels like a balloon pressed against my mouth and drool running down my chin, when the light went out.

You know. That light that the dentist shines in your face so that the inside of your mouth is lit up? That light. It went out. The. Light. Went. Out.

After a stunned silence, a mad flurry of activity ensued as everyone in the office tried to change the light bulb. (I just know there’s a really good joke in there.) It turns out that those light thingies are quite complicated mechanisms and you have to practically take the whole thing apart just to change this itsy bitsy light bulb. And the person in the office who used to change all of the light bulbs because she just loooooved doing it so much had retired the month before. And nobody was really sure of the best approach.

It was suggested that I be moved to the next room. But the room wasn’t ready and it was announced that in that room the brain wouldn’t boot up. I have no idea what that meant. But I really had no desire to be in a room where the brain wouldn’t boot while my mouth was under construction.

As the mad flurry whirled around, Dr. P (love this man) calmly continued with his business, mostly by feel and with the help of a little hand held fiber optic spot light. I lay in the chair, drool dripping from my chin and laughing at the absurdity. Because, really, what else could I do?

Eventually Dr. P reached the point in the whole operation where more light became necessary. What are you doing? he asked the light bulb changers.

It’s difficult to do and you have to use this spreader and it’s hard to get it in the right place. was the reply, in a tone that said you obviously have no idea how to do this or you would understand.

Dr. P stood up. Give me the screwdriver. And he started in trying to take the thing apart.

I have been taking things apart and putting them back together since I could hold a screwdriver, and I desperately wanted to get up and get in on the fun. But, all things considered, I decided it was safer to stay where I was and watch from the sidelines. Eventually the old bulb was removed, the new bulb was inserted and the light fixture was returned to a fairly usable state. Dr. P finished up his business, my tooth was reconstructed in a temporary sort of way, drool was wiped off my chin and I was off back to the races.

I ran home, threw a few more driver disks at #1 Son, threw a load of laundry in the washer, and headed out the door to Westside Wednesday Sip ‘N’ Stitch because I really felt that, all things considered, I deserved at least a short bit of knitting with my peeps. I had decided that I would just plead guilty to the traffic ticket (remember the ticket? – that was before the root canal) and make it go away. So, carefully following instructions, I signed the ticket, wrote out a check, tucked both inside an envelope addressed to the correct location. And just as I stuffed it into the slot in the mail box and it left my grasp never to be recovered, I realized that I’d sort of forgotten to put a stamp on it.

Yeah. It was just that kind of week.

But today is ever so much better. The pic is of the view out my back door yesterday afternoon. I am at Cat Bordhi’s annual visionary retreat, where I am surrounded by amazing people in this gorgeous setting and my creative juices are flowing. And I may even get some work done on the book. But blogging, I’m afraid, may be sporadic for the next few days. I could tell you all about the retreat and who’s here and all, but then I’d have to kill you or something because it’s all a deep, dark secret and very mysterious and blah, blah, blah. (It’s actually a lot of hard work.) But I will try to blog more from Madrona, where I will attempt to Kennear all kinds of famous people — maybe even the Yarn Harlot!

by Judy @ 12:04 PM

Andean Chullo
Andean Chullo

Please note: If you found your way here via Google, Ravelry, or other search engine, I appreciate you kind comments. I am not, however, affiliated with Knit Picks. I don’t know where the pattern is available. I will not copy the pattern or charts for your use, nor is my copy of the pattern for sale. Emails that ask me to violate copyright, ask me to sell the pattern, or ask for sourcing info will be deleted without response. Please contact Knit Picks to request information regarding the pattern, the kit, or the designer.

This is the Andean Chullo Hat Kit from Knit Picks.

It became the first finished object of 2009 because I was up until the wee hours weaving in little ends that I stupidly did not weave in as I went. And there were a @%#! bunch of them, gentle reader. After sleeping for a few hours, the hat got a very quick steam-block, which fortunately turned out to be all it needed. I sewed the tassels on in between dinner preparations and such. It was finished, photoed and wrapped about an hour before #1 Son showed up for dinner. Whew.

#1 Son’s take: star.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gif Mom! you are really rockin’ this knitting stuff! This is the best hat ever, and it fits perfectly. Look at the little alpacas on the earflaps! Too cute! My friends are going to be so jealous. They couldn’t believe all the kitted stuff from you that I wore when it was cold and snowy. [ed. that warms the cockles of my heart! what more could a mom want to hear?] So you had to finish this and is that the reason I couldn’t come up on Christmas? [ed. No! that wasn’t it at all!] Haha… Oh, yeah… there was this snow thing, huh.

Andean Chullo
Andean Chullo closeup

Here’s a closeup of the main body of the hat. I’m using this picture as my iPhone wallpaper now. 😉

The Particulars:

  • Pattern: Knit Picks Andean Chullo Hat Kit
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Pallette included in the kit – 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 231 yds/50 gr per ball – portions of 9 colorways: Sweet Potato, White, Bark, Semolina, Pimento, Blue, Clover, Masala and Pool. There’s plenty left over for another hat, or two, or three.
  • Modifications: none. Really. The pattern is a choose your own adventure. You pick one of two earflap charts, four of six pattern band charts, and one of two different hat top charts. Colors are suggested but not dictated and I did change one or two.

Andean Chullo inside
Andean Chullo inside

And for those of you just dying to see the inside (you know who you are), here you go.

I’m a two-handed fair-isle knitter — that is I hold one color in my left hand and pick it, and the other color in my right and throw it. Philosopher’s Wool has a wonderful video that shows this technique. Their technique recommends not having floats longer than two stitches. On this hat I have floats up to 5 stitches. Do watch their video if you have not done so before. Their weaving stitches are very cool.

I will probably knit another of these hats and be a bit more adventurous with the colors. The kit came with enough yarn to knit several.

modeling the goods
modeling the goods

Happy #1 Son with his hat and mittens. 😀 He wore the hat for a goodly portion of the time he was here, so I think it was very successful.

Food |Knitting by Judy @ 10:58 AM

Broad Street mittens
Broad Street mittens

This is Secret Project #1 that I have not been able to show you until now. It was the last finished object of 2008. I am modeling these because I wasn’t sure of my ability to get #1 Son to pose. (click the pics to embiggen) They’re a little big on me, but fit him perfectly.

I had really a lot of fun knitting these. I made the thumbs also convertible, because that seemed cool and fun. It took me several tries to get a thumb I liked, but I’m really happy with the way that these turned out.

The buttons were a happy find at Jo-Ann. They are made from a polyresin material that’s flexible, so the buttons won’t break and won’t hurt his wrist if #1 Son bangs them against something accidentally.

#1 Son’s take: star.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gif Oh, yes! Do you know how hard it is to find mittens with convertible thumbs? You just can’t get them. These are awesome! And the buttons – how cute are those! And look, I can hang them up by the loops! How did you get them just the right size? [ed. I followed the pattern and crossed my fingers]

Broad Street mittens
Broad Street mittens

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock medium weight Mill End in an unknown colorway that I picked up at Tina’s destashing sale
  • Buttons: JHB Clay Swirl buttons purchased at Jo-Ann
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Turbo 24″ circulars, US#3 (3.25 mm) and a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circulars, US#2 (3.00 mm)
  • Pattern: Broad Street by Janis Cortese
  • Modifications:
    • I ribbed all of the fingers because #1 Son likes the fingers snug
    • I made the thumb also convertible by knitting it in stockinette and ribbing the last 3 rows. Then I followed the directions for the mitten part, except in miniature, to add the convertible part, except I kit the end following the thumb instructions so it would look and fit right. (hope that made sense)

Andean Chullo
Andean Chullo

And this is Secret Project #2 – the Andean Chullo Hat Kit from Knit Picks.

It became the first finished object of 2009 because I was up until the wee hours weaving in little ends that I stupidly did not weave in as I went. And there were a @%#! bunch of them, gentle reader. After sleeping for a few hours, the hat got a very quick steam-block, which fortunately turned out to be all it needed. I sewed the tassels on in between dinner preparations and such. It was finished, photoed and wrapped about an hour before #1 Son showed up for dinner. Whew.

#1 Son’s take: star.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gif Mom! you are really rockin’ this knitting stuff! This is the best hat ever, and it fits perfectly. Look at the little alpacas on the earflaps! Too cute! My friends are going to be so jealous. They couldn’t believe all the kitted stuff from you that I wore when it was cold and snowy. [ed. that warms the cockles of my heart! what more could a mom want to hear?] So you had to finish this and is that the reason I couldn’t come up on Christmas? [ed. No! that wasn’t it at all!] Haha… Oh, yeah… there was this snow thing, huh.

Andean Chullo
Andean Chullo closeup

Here’s a closeup of the main body of the hat. I’m using this picture as my iPhone wallpaper now. 😉

The Particulars:

  • Pattern: Knit Picks Andean Chullo Hat Kit
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Pallette included in the kit – 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 231 yds/50 gr per ball – portions of 9 colorways: Sweet Potato, White, Bark, Semolina, Pimento, Blue, Clover, Masala and Pool. There’s plenty left over for another hat, or two, or three.
  • Modifications: none. Really. The pattern is a choose your own adventure. You pick one of two earflap charts, four of six pattern band charts, and one of two different hat top charts. Colors are suggested but not dictated and I did change one or two.

Andean Chullo inside
Andean Chullo inside

And for those of you just dying to see the inside (you know who you are), here you go.

I’m a two-handed fair-isle knitter — that is I hold one color in my left hand and pick it, and the other color in my right and throw it. Philosopher’s Wool has a wonderful video that shows this technique. Their technique recommends not having floats longer than two stitches. On this hat I have floats up to 5 stitches. Do watch their video if you have not done so before. Their weaving stitches are very cool.

I will probably knit another of these hats and be a bit more adventurous with the colors. The kit came with enough yarn to knit several.

modeling the goods
modeling the goods

Happy #1 Son with his hat and mittens. 😀 He wore the hat for a goodly portion of the time he was here, so I think it was very successful.

I made a pot of chili and a pan of corn bread. We ate and watched Mission: Impossible III on cable – which is way fun when you can cheer Tom on and jeer the bad guys and discuss the physical possibilities of actually doing any of the stunts in real life and why the heck can’t they get a better camera angle than that one and isn’t the technology and aren’t the gadgets just the coolest things ever?

The chili came from a kit that was a gift from one of my cousins. The kit was made by the Women’s Bean Project, a nonprofit organization that helps women to transform their lives and move to self-sufficiency by teaching entry-level job readiness and life skills. My kit came with enough for two batches of chili – one Firehouse and one Mild – and spices for two batches of salsa.

The chili mix comes with the beans and spices, and you add a can of tomatoes, onion and green peppers. I had made the Firehouse chili earlier in the week, and found it very mild and in need of salt. #1 Son and I both like our chili pretty hot, and if that was the Firehouse I couldn’t imagine how mild the Mild would be.

So, besides the tomato, onion and green pepper, I added a bit of salt, a big Anaheim chili and about a tablespoon of dried chipotle chili. ( The kit suggested adding a teaspoon of chili powder if desired. teaspoon… hahahahaha) I’m not sure how much chili I added because I poured it in until I thought it looked like enough but it was probably around a tablespoon.

For some reason the beans refused to soften up all the way – and I’m sure that was cook’s mistake somewhere, although I followed what I usually do with dried beans. But I was also trying to get a hat finished, so I may have been distracted. At any rate, some of the beans had a sort of al dente texture – nice in pasta but not quite what you want in beans. But the chili tasted wonderful! #1 Son ate two helpings and took the leftovers home.

The cornbread was from the recipe on the back of the Albers Yellow Cornmeal box. It’s the recipe I’ve always used – fast, easy, and comes out great.

#1 Son’s take on dinner: star.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gif Perfect chili, Mom! Good and hot, but not so hot that it’s not really tasty. What kind of chli did you add? Good choice! And you always make the best cornbread ever! I tell all my friends how good your cornbread is.

Do you think I should tell him what recipe I use? Nah… 😉



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Stuff I Gotta Do

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I Mog Di

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Fatigues henley sweater

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#1 Son's Blanket

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