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… 😉

feisty robin
feisty robin

A very happy holidy to you, gentle reader! I hope that you are warm and safe and have your loved ones tucked in around you. I wish you peace and joy and yarny goodness.

I wanted to share with you something that has greatly entertained me over the last week or so. (I’m snowed in. I’m easily entertained, trust me.)

Do you see the little robin perched on my neighbor’s back fence? This little guy discovered the Asian pear tree when the snow first started falling. Having found what must seem like a 5-start robin restaurant, he has been guarding it from all comers, and apparently even sleeping next to it. I have watched him stand off a whole little flock of robins and other birds that had designs on his tree. At one point I heard a loud chatter and scolding and peaked out the back door to see a very surprised looking falcon perched on the fence post. I doubt that the falcon wanted Asia pears, but I’m surprised he didn’t take the robin.

I love this little guy’s feistiness and attitude. It will be interesting to see if he sticks around once the snow thaws – which should be soon!

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 11:36 AM
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Mom: hello

#1 Son: [without preamble] I need to go buy chains right after work today. Some scary $#!* happened on the way over here.

Mom: Are you OK?

#1 Son: Yes, I’m fine. But it was really scary $#!* – really scary!

Mom: I worry about you driving over the bridges.

#1 Son: The bridges were fine. No problem across the bridge. But Hawthorne is really sketch. Really scary. I’m still sort of stressed out. But slow and steady wins the race and all that. But I think I really need to get chains.

Mom: I agree! Chains would be a very good thing! Call first before you go to the store to make sure they have them in stock.

#1 Son: Good point. Did you know that they’ve declared a state of emergency here?

Mom: Yes. It’s pretty dicey out here, too. The roads around me haven’t been plowed and it’s really bad. I don’t want you coming up here if it’s like this tomorrow. It’s not worth it, even if it is Christmas. We’ll just have Christmas later.

#1 Son: You’re right. I agree.

Mom [somewhat surprised by #1 Son’s ready agreement not to come on Christmas after several previous conversations where horrible driving conditions were dismissed as not really that bad]: How about New Year’s? Are you off that day? We can just have Christmas on New Years!

#1 Son: Good idea! That sounds good. I’ll let you know about the chains. Love you!

Mom: Love you, too!

RIght now as I look outside it’s raining lightly and the snow is starting to melt. But there’s so much of it, I can’t believe that it will all be melted before it starts to freeze again tonight, especially with the layers of ice. And there might be more snow tomorrow above 500 ft. For me, that means that someone somewhere will flip a coin to decide if I’m going to get snow or not. Friday we’re supposed to be back to just rain. Thank goodness.

I’m not sure who ordered the record snowfall for a white Christmas here in Portland. But… let’s not do this again, eh?

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 9:10 AM
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ice on snow
ice on snow

Brrrrrr… I know I said that you probably know what snow looks like, gentle reader, but last night the snow turned to freezing rain. What I have in my yard now is an ice oreo: two layers of ice cookie with a creamy snow middle. Yum.

This is the ice on my Japanese maple. I have to admit that, while I really hate ice storms, if I’m warm and safe I love the way that the ice looks as it coats everything. I wish we had sunshine today, because that’s when it’s really lovely.

The endless drone from the local media indicates that it’s not going away any time very soon. But I have a fire in the fireplace (gas, thank goodness), and hot toddies, and my cats and my knitting. The pantry is stocked and I have all of the necessities. But I do hope I can get out some time before Christmas. I promised #1 Son a big Christmas veggie stew like last year. Alas, I have few veggies to put into it right now – at least not all of the ones I want. 🙁

should be hibernating
should be hibernating

I have lived in the Portland area for 35 years, and I don’t ever remember having snow like this.

I wonder if my camellia will bloom this year? It was budding nicely when all of this hit. And now it’s frozen in time. You know how I said a few days ago that Barry The Berry Bear should be hibernating? Bet he wished he’d listed to me.

Don’t forget that the contest ends tonight at midnight PT! Get those entries in! 😉

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 12:12 PM
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whine and cheese
whine and cheese

I’m sick of it. Since last Sunday it has been snowing off and on. And when it’s not snowing, a repeated thaw/freeze cycle has left the street perilous even for walking – let along driving. I have managed to leave the house once: on Thursday, when there was a brief respite, I drove to the store. Then the rot set in again.

The local media are droning on and on endlessly. Coming today it’s The Storm Of The Decade (if not the century), and The Roads Are Dangerous and Oh! My! God! It’s! Snowing! In! Portland! and look a car just went sliding down a hill and here, let’s give you the forecast for the umpteenth time this last hour and here are some emails from viewers who are sick of their programs being preempted by useless weather coverage, how cute! and did we mention It’s! Snowing! In! Portland!?

There are no pictures I could take to show you except snow. I’m guessing you know what that looks like, gentle reader? I have no knitting I can show you because I’ve been working on The Secret Project which cannot be revealed.

And, to add insult to injury, I’ve now apparently come down with a cold.

Why, yes, I would like a little cheese with that whine, thank you very much!

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 5:02 PM
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a little snow
a little snow

Here is my obligatory Oh! My! Word! It’s! Snowing! In! Portland! picture.

It’s a little early. If we get snow, it’s usually in January or, rarely, February. December is unusual. Those of you who live in snowy places would laugh at us here. There has been nothing on the local TV stations today except Storm Coverage. They’ve been predicting this all week, and I can see a certain amount of satisfaction in their coverage that this time they were right.

They had actually predicted that it would start last night. I only hoped that it would wait until we were all safely home from the Christmas concert we attend every year, and it did. And this morning when I woke up, it was still just raining, with a little snow mixed in. It started to snow in earnest around 9:00 AM and it’s been snowing ever since. I would guess I have around 5″ right now at my house. You can see that Barry The Berry Bear looks a bit cold. He should be hibernating!

Portland Public Schools have already announced closing tomorrow, along with a host of other schools and some businesses. Chains or other traction devices are being required on all of the freeways, even in town. Yes, it’s funny. I grew up in a snowy place and so I’m in on the joke. In our defense, I can only plead that our snow is usually really wet and compacts into ice almost instantly when anyone drives or walks over it. And ice is hard to drive on no matter what.

I have a full pantry and need go nowhere for awhile, so I will be fine. And I don’t think I will run out of yarn any time soon…

On a different note, Archaeology Magazine’s top 10 discoveries of 2008 includes a mummy found near a busy street in Lima, Peru. I would not ordinary discuss such things here, but this mummy, gentle reader, was buried with balls of yarn and knitting needles. These would be used for single-needle knitting, more like nalbinding than what we thing of as knitting proper. But, still… Archaeologists believe that she was a master weaver because of the tools in her tomb. Maybe she just loved her stash and wanted to take it with her?

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