Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mac Hat Attack

My friend jake sent me an email saying thanks for the hat with this picture attached. What a guy! I'm sure that all of his friends in IT are jealous...except the PC experts. What dweebs!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What's Wrong with This Picture?

There are several things wrong with this picture: number one, there is a cat lounging on our dining room table; number two, the table still has a Christmas table cloth on it; and number three, the cat (otherwise known as Josie Kitty) is reclining on a stocking cap that I just finished knitting!

There is a story behind this hat. I saw it over on Wool Windings, and I knew I had to knit it. I've already mentioned this incident before, but I'll repeat it with some detail. A few months ago I was using my laptop to give a presenttion to my students using an expensive projector. In my concern that I not let anything happen to the precious projector, I managed to knock my laptop on the floor, and ended up with the dreaded "question mark" on the screen. Jake, one of my friends in IT painstakingly took the laptop apart so he could retrieve all of my information on the hard drive before the laptop was sent off to the "hopital." This meant a lot to me, especially considering I had my college evening class grades on it, and I hadn't backed them up in over two weeks. So here's my rendition of the Mac hat for Jake, my savior in IT. I hope he likes it. I hadn't tried duplicate stich before and had several false starts, but Kristen Nicholas's tutorial really helped me.My duplicate stitch could still use a little work, but I'm proud of my first try.

Tale of a Gourmet Weekend!

You can always tell that I have a lot to do around the house when I decide to be longwinded. I do have a non-knitting related experience to share though. I took a cooking school class at the The New School of Cooking in Culver City this weekend. Now that I think about it, it is kind of knitting related because I knit the cap on the drive down there. I went with three co-workers, and we had a great time. Our session was on "souffles." After we listened to the teacher's lecture and watched her demonstration, we paired off and drew straws to prepare different souffles. My partner and I prepared a gingerbread souffle, and it was pretty good, but my favoite souffle was the cauliflower souffle over baby greens. I made it tonight, and it turned out very satisfactory, even Kai ate one.I'm not saying he raved about it, but he ate it.I couldn't bare to tell him that it had cauliflower in it!

Individual Cauliflower Souffles Over Baby Greens
Serves 6

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
t tbsp. grated parmesan (We used the really good stuff!)
1 head cauliflower, quartered and cored
3 tbsp. flour
1 cup hot milk (our teacher said it could be cold too)
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup Guryere cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. minced parsley
5 egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter six 5 ounce ramekins and sprinkle the inside with parmesan. Arrange in a baking pan.

Mince cauliflower, enough to yield about 1 cup. Set aside.

In a medium saucepn over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoon butter, whisk in the flour to make a blonde roux. Whisk in the hot milk to make a bechamel. Whisk in the yolks, one at a time, until flully incorporated. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the minced cauliflower and parsley. Cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the guryere cheese and seasoning. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 minute more. when the egg white are foamy, increase speed to high, and beat just until they hold soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Lightly fold a third of the whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites, until just combined.

Fill each ramekin with 1/2 cup of the souffle mixture. Smooth the tops. Bake until the tops are golden brown and the mixture is set, about 20 to 25 minutes.

While souffles are cooking toss baby greens with a god quality vinegar and oil dressing and divide on salad plates. Remove the souffles from the oven. Use a kitchen towel to hold the ramekins, and invert the souffles onto your hand, then bottom side down onto the plates with the salads.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Small Victory

So I had this idea that I could knit a beautiful set of gloves for my friend Jill who lost her dad in December, but I just couldn't get it right. Nothing turned out like I wanted. I'd knit for a while and decide they were too big, too long, too scrathcy, etc. Finally I tried using some Aurora 8 yarn. I initially didn't have much luck with it either. The pattern I used was for finer yarn, so the palm was way too big. Eventually, I decided that I wouldn't use a pattern. I don't really feel confident enough to knit real gloves without a pattern though, so I did fingerless mitts. They're kind of a knock-off of the fetching fingerless gloves from Knitty, but I'm proud of them, even if they were really EASY. Here's my first original pattern. Yay!

Wool: a little more than 50 g. Aurora 8 Karabella extra fine merino wool
Needles: size 3 double pointed

Left (right) gloves:
Cast on 40 stitches and join.

Rounds 1 and 2: K2, P2 rib.

Round 3: Left Twist (knit the second stitch from the FRONT, then knit the first stitch and slip both off the right needle together), purl two

Repeat these three roows 6 times, Knit two more rounds of k2, P2 ribbing.

Work 6 rows in st. st.

Thumb gusset:

Round 1: K22, M1, K2, M1, K16 (42 sts)
Round 2 (and all alt rounds): K
Round 3: K22, M1, K4, M1, K18 (44 sts)
5th Round: K22, M1, K6, M1, K20 (47 sts)
Continue like this, increasing 2 sts every other round until 54 sts. Knit 1 round.

Next Round: K38, slip first 22 and last 18 sts onto st holders.
You should now have 14 sts on your needles. Divide stitches onto 3 needles, cast on 2 sts and join. K 8 rounds.
Cast off and break wool.


Pick up and knit 2 stitches from the bottom sides of the thumb, then divide stitches on the stitch holders onto three needles and knit nine rounds.

End with the six rows of the same ribbing used for the cuff. Bind off stitches.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More Snow Pics

Just working on my thesis today. I've discovered some important information. If you use "Geneva" instead of "Times Roman" font you can add an additional page for every ten pages typed. That's why I'm saying that I have twenty pages typed now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Snow! Snow! Snow!

We certainly got the snow we were looking for. I knew that rain was forecast in the valley, but it didnt sound like they expected any snow in the mountains. Russ called the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park to ask if we needed chains, and they assured him that we didn't. In fact, as we traveled up the mountain, it was raining and we didn't see snow for most of the way. There were remnants of dirty snow on the sides of the road after a while, but that was all. I knit Paige a little hat with some leftover orange and cream merino wook that I had during the trip. She was worried that her pink stocking cap would clash with her orange ski jacket. We got to the lodge around 1:30, and it was still raining. We checked in and went outside again, and it was snowing. It kept on snowing then all day, great big flakes.

Our wool socks worked great considering that all we had for shoes were running shoes, except Paige who had Uggs. We didn't end of skiing after all because the road to the place that we had planned to rent skis from was closed. That was all OK though, we hiked around a little, made a snowman, and threw a few snowballs. This morning it was still snowing, and we drove up to a snow play area. Then we headed home again. We were a little worred tht if we waited too long that we'd get stuck even though we have four-wheel drive. We saw a coyote right in the middle of the road on the way home. It just stood there looking at us.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Let's Go Skiing

It hardly ever snows where we live. I mean as in it hasn't really snowed in seven years. We can see the snow on the mountains though and could drive up to it in less than an hour, But we never do. We're more "beach" people. It just seems like a hassle to get together all of the necessary ecoutrements to drive a hour to get cold and wet. On the other hand, I always feel a little guilty that my kids have hardly been "to the snow." So, tomorrow we are fixing that situation. We are going cross country skiing at Sequoia Naitonal Park, which is about three hours away. We're even staying at the lodge there. I got out some of our old woolen socks, mittens, and hats that I knit a long time ago out, and we're planning to stop on the way to buy a couple of sets of gloves since Russ and I don't have any good ones. The kids have gone downhill skiing on school trips a couple of times lately, so they're better prepared than we are.

Rowdy, the beagle is going to his "dog parents for the weekend, so we're set.....I think.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


My doctor thinks I had viremia. It means a virus in the blood, which could account for me feeling so achey a few weeks ago. The rash is all gone now, so he says my body took care of it. A friend at work has another diagnosis. She wonders if I didn't sleep on my arm, and that caused the capillaries to burst. Sounds plausible to me. Anyway, I feel pretty good although still not entirely great.

I did a little search this evening for knitting stores in Davenport Iowa. I was reading a story last night in one of those Knit Lit books, about when that person first learned to knit. I think my aunt originally taught me, but she also introduced me to "real" yarn. I remember her taking me to a knitting store in Davenport or one of the Quad Cities. It was so magical to me. I think that I remember it being down by the river, and I remember that I bought enough skeins of mauve Brown Sheep yarn to knit a sweater. I must have been a sophomore in college because I don't think I did much my freshman year except tempt fate. Anyway, it's a pleasant memory, and I'm sure that that yarn shop is long gone. My aunt died several weeks after Russ and I were married, so she's been gone over twenty years, but I do think about her sometimes when I knit or look through some of the wonderful old 1940s pattern books that she gave me.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Putting a Hold on the Gloves

I'm getting discouraged about the whole glove thing. I don't understand why I can't find a pattern that will work with worsted weight yarn. I knit all day yesterday using some pink aurora that I bought when I needed more yarn for Paige's Harry Potter scarf. It ended up being way too wide. Sooo I thought I'd do what I always do when I'm discouraged in the knitting arena of my life. I decided to start a new project. I asked Kai, "Would you mind going in my bedroom and getting that pretty skein of green yarn on my white bookcase?" Listen to what my son said, "Mom, why don't you finish what you start before you go starting something else?" He obviously doesn't understand me.

I am onlly temporarily abandoning the glove idea, I am knitting some mitts. I still want to give somethinghem to my friend whose dad died recently and if I don't do something easier, I really will never get finished before spring weather comes. I've been wanting to try the mosaic mits in Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts anyway, so here goes.

I don't care about football AT ALL, but every since my sister and family moved to Indiana, Kai has been a Colts fan, so he happily had his own private Superbowl Party yesterday. Only Rowdy was invited. His best friend is a Bears fan, so I guess they couldn't watch the game together.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Busy Week..again

I don't have any exciting knitting news to report although I have knit a lot this week...and frogged a lot. I almost finished my first glove for my friend Jill. When I tried it on, it just didn't look right though. The cuff went way up my arm, so I thought about it awhile and then frogged the entire thing. I also frogged my niece's mittens because I didn't read the directions right...twice. So I'm back where I started from, but that's OK. That's why I love knitting. When you mess up with sewing you have a mess on your hands. It's impossible to "uncut" fabric. With knitting, you can make the bad stuff all disappear.

Another reason that I don't have much knitting to report is that I now have thirteen pages of my thesis complete. I mean thirteen pretty much perfect pages. I'm aiming for sixty, but I'm still starting to feel like I might make it. I'd like to make it to twenty this weekend and finish the entire thing by mid March.

OK, and here's my other reason that I haven't knitted or blogged much this week. I had a medical "adventure." I woke up yesterday with this weird rash all over my left hand. It looked like broken blood vessels more than a rash really. As is my usual response, I kind of thought I'd ignore it for a while. So I went to work, but then I started worrying about it and tried to make an appointment with my GP. He was on vacation, so I decided to go to "Urgent Care," our town's answer to the emergency room, kind of. I had to wait about an hour, but a really nice doctor came to check me out and asked all the perfunctory questions. No, I hadn't changd detergents or taken any new medicine, etc. Then he leaves and comes back with a stethoscope, and says something like, "Well, let me tell you my concern. This looks like "capilarosis" or something ike that. It means rupture of the capillaries, and it can sometimes be related to blockages in the heart valves. Well, I neglcted to tell him that I'm awful squeamish about doctors mentioning I have internal organs in any way.

I did manage to warn him that I was getting dizzy, but the next thing I remember was him yelling, "She's back!" Yep, I fainted and I guess I was out a while because he said that he was calling for adrenaline. He was pretty careful with me after that, and so were the girls who tried to take my blood in both of my arms and my left hand, to no avail! I have low blood pressure anyway, and I guess my blood just wasn't going to flow for them. I went to a lab in the afternoon and finallly did get my blood work done with no problems. So, I was pretty unsettled last night even though he said that my heart sounded fine when he listened and that chances were that he would never know what caused it. I'll get the results of the blood tests on Tuesday, so I'll just have to wait.

I don't know if I've ever mentiond that I'm a runner....jogger. I run three or four miles four mornings a week. I used to run a lot more, I've even run three half-marathons; but I'm not up to that mentally anymore. I know that runners can have heart problems, but I think it's pretty unlikely. Our cross country coach at school had a heart attack last year, and he's about as fit as they come though. Anyway, I feel OK today..Oh, I forgot to mention that I went back to school and taught two classes yesterday too. I've got some weird issues about that. Somehow this kid who used to ditch school ( know like orthodontist appointments that took all day) quite regularly has turned into this person who hardly ever misses work.

So there is my story. I've turned this into one of the types of blog entries I usually pass on by, ones with lots of text and no pictures. Oh well, maybe by Sunday, I'll have some beautiful gloves to show off.