Sunday, March 25, 2007

Home again, home again.

I'm back, for just a few days, and my trip has proved two things.

1. I am not going to the University of Oregon. It just didn't wow me. Also, they gave me the least in scholarships. Also, I would have to buy a new computer, which sucks because I like mine and I just bought it last November! However, Lewis & Clark was just lovely, as was Portland. Laid back, chill, academic and intellectual, and beautiful (the school is on the edge of a large state park).

2. I did not knit as much in the car as I thought I would. Despite being in the car for 1,278 miles, and only driving less than half of the time, I only reknit the toe of Mike's Long Sock. The first attempt was ugly and far too large. I still think that the way I knit it is ugly, but I followed the directions. Here it is modelled on my hand (Mike's foot was out getting groceries at the time of posting). Perhaps I will take out where I psuedo-grafted the ends and try to redo that again. The toe is just so... square. I might go check out some other sock patterns to get some alternative ideas on toe-shaping. But I welcome anyone's suggestions!

I hope to knit more on the various planes and trains we will be taking this weekend and next week as we dash all over New England and Colorado. The second of the Long Socks, and my mother has requested an Unbiased bag of her own for Mother's Day, and then there's my knee-highs I've been planning.

I managed to visit only one yarn shop, in Eugene, which was quite lovely. I didn't buy anything, because I generally buy only for projects (and even with that, I run out of yarn all the time!). I wonder how Portland is as a knitter's-city. It seems hip and funky enough to have some excellent LYSes. Or Boulder, for that matter. This might end up being the deciding factor in where I attend law school. (The yarn shops and you know, where Mike wants to live).

Here, though, is the lone picture we took on our vacation. I'm very surprised we only took this one picture, of a truck on the I-5 through the mountains in northern CA, because we usually take 100's of pictures wherever we go. I don't know what it means, but I'll be heading over to the truck's advertized websites shortly.

(Saturday is the Lord's Day, Sunday is the Pope's Day).

This makes a little more sense now, as we listened to The DaVinci Code on CD as we drove to and from Oregon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

FO: Unbiased Bag!

This little bag just flew right along! I love it. It fits my wallet perfectly, and I don't have a fun, small purse. And now, here, the perfect sixed bag for going out (on those rare occassions that I do that sort of thing). So, some pictures and a rehashing of the process. First, a bag-in-action shot (yes, I'm in my pajamas. This is just the sort of bag that I would grab if I were in my PJs and needed to go out to the store for something. That is most likely the type of "going out" this bag will be used for.)

Now, pictures of each side. SS and I both like the side with more green in it better. (The second picture)

The recap:
Pattern: Unbiased Bag from Knitty, Fall 04.
Yarn: 2 skeins of recycled sari silk from Nepal
Needles: 4mm aluminum needles
Notes, modifications: Instead of making each section 7.5 inches across as the pattern suggests, I did each only about 4" across, resulting in a small purse rather than a large tote. I much prefer this size, as the yarn is pretty soft and the fabric with the smaller needles is very pliable. Any larger and this bag would have absolutely no structure of its own. The yarn was a dream to work with, until the end of the first skein. I think the problem was two-fold. 1) The end was spun too tightly, resulting in a very stiff, scratchy fabric. 2) The color distribution was all wrong. So, I started using another skein and had to unwind the yarn a bit as I went, to ease up the tightness. I'm pretty satisfied with the results. The yarn is still really beautiful, and I will definitely be using my leftover skein for something else. Or maybe selling it to SS so she can make herself a beautiful bag!

Oh, and by the way, in real world news... I got a full tuition scholarship to the University that Mike wants to go to, in the town I want to move to. Best. News. Ever. Graduating law school with practically no debt? I'll take two.

Blogging will be slow for the next two weeks, as tomorrow we embark on the first of two whirlwind trips to look at law schools. This weekend: Oregon, next week: Vermont & Colorado.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

In love

I am in love with this sari yarn. It isso beautiful and colorful, and not at all hard to work with, as one would think by the "scrappiness" of the yarn. It's like a breath of fresh air, and I can't wait to have this bag ready!

Not that I need a breath of fresh air, in the utopia that is California in the springtime. We climbed a mountain, smelled flowers, and sat in a meadow, all after 4pm today. It was incredible.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

That's one long sock!

I finished one of the Long Socks! My first sock (sigh). It came out a lot longer than I anticipated, so now it's more like a stocking. Unfortunately, I have to make another identical one! (Silly socks and their pairs!)

The picture is not good, and Mike refuses to show off his legs for all of the internet before there are two socks to model. So, better pictures next year when the pair is complete!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And what to my wondering eyes should appear...

Feeling like a lost little puppy without my 4th needle, unable to continue on the Long Sock, and without another WIP to turn to, I went to my odds-n-ends bag to start a cupcake for LP, who moved out of our apartment today. And, what did I find in that bag?!The final and fifth Brittany needle! (Imagine that heavenly, triumphant noise, like when angels appear or something)

Back to the Long Sock!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The best part was the baby lambs!

Two things, one happy and one sad.

1. I bid on some recycled sari silk yarn on eBay and I won! I just put in one bid and went to work, came home, and I had won! I sent off the check and the yarn should be arriving any day now, and I can cast on for the delicious little Unbiased.

2. One of my brand new, supposedly wonderful Brittany needles broke as I was knitting the foot of my sock. This is very sad indeed and I have to go buy new needles tomorrow.

I worked on the Long Sock all day today, at a nine-hour retreat for work. I had a lot of trouble counting stitches and also paying attention to the meeting, so got the entire heel turned and realized I had done it with the wrong number of stitches. So I ripped it all out, and knit it again. This time, I realized I had done it on the wrong needles (ie: on the front of the sock instead of the back, where the heel goes... yes, it does make a difference). So I had to rip it all out and start again on the heel. I had just finished it and was beginning to work on the decreases for the body of the foot, when I made the silly decision to try on my half-finished sock. This is when the supposedly very sturdy and wonderful white birch needle broke.

However, these hardships were overshadowed by the beauty of where we held our nine-hour meeting.

Behold, Slide Ranch.

(This is where the baby lambs were.)

(Also, I did not take this picture. I found it with Google. Thanks, Google.)

(Also, I would like to note that it is not yet the middle of March and I spent the day outside, barefoot, in a tank top, and I got sunburnt.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

My Domestic Day Off

Today was a wonderfully productive, wonderfully domestic day.

It all started when I decided to do laundry, and realized we were almost out of detergent! This necessitated a trip to the grocery store, but first, Mike came home from work (on the way from one job to another) for lunch. We made delicious avocado sandwiches with my homemade hummus, and I realized we were almost out of that, too! Another reason to go to the grocery store.

So, after lunch, I hopped on my bicycle and rode to the store. There, I found three great deals: 3 organic white onions for $1.19, 7 organic avocados for 99 cents and 3 artichokes for 99 cents! (Our grocery store, the Berkeley Bowl, has a great shelf of "seconds" produce, molding/ bruised / sliced veggies & fruit bagged and repriced, often with ridiculous deals such as these. Or, about a pound of limes for 79 cents.)

I arrived home and proceeded to start on a spree of domestic bliss: First, I used four of the avocados to make a delicious guacamole. Then, I made hummus. Finally, I found two half-finished loaves of bread ( a rosemarry ciabatta and a walnut-sourdough) and made croutons! Now, as I write this, vegan shortcakes are baking while fresh strawberries macerate with sugar.

Also, today, I did all of Mike's and my laundry (is there a grammatically correct / aurally pleasing way to construct that phrase?), plus all the towels and rugs. Then, I made a Star Island-style laundry rainbow. Unfortunately, as I was hanging the laundry, the sky clouded over and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, cancelling my plans to go on a hike up in the hills.

So, while the laundry was in, I knit and listened to This American Life & Democracy Now!. When Mike got home, we played Scrabble (and when LP inquired, discovered that the world record for points scored in a single game is 830!). While waiting for Mike to play, I was happily knitting along on the Long Socks. Then, the yarn started acting all crazy like, dramatically changing weight, and breaking. I guess this is what I get for buying the $2.50 / skein Lion Brand, which is what I get for working less than full-time at just about minimum wage (CA). The yarn will still work, and Mike is still excited about the socks, but just look at the difference in the sizes of the strands! And this is only one round apart. Plus the knot... this is just leaving me very disappointed.

I have determined to buy some recycled sari silk yarn to make the great Unbiased bag from Knitty. Even though the stuff is expensive (comparatively), it's a great cause. I can't decide whether to brave eBay, or to just suck it up and buy the stuff from an online retailer (or, better yet, my LYS). This stuff is just gorgeous, and I love the idea of supporting a cottage industry empowering women to financial independence (which feeds into my heistation to purchase the yarn on eBay... how do I know where the proceeds are going, although the sellers obviously had to buy their yarn somewhere...?)

I also discovered this lovely pattern for knee-high socks that I am going to make for myself, as the mate to Mike's Long Socks. I just hope they allow knitting needles on the plane for our cross-country law-school exploring marathon.

UPDATE: SS suggested I may have been influenced by this video we watched last night. (From Feministing.

Cooking: Terms and What They Mean

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sourdough bread

Damn, there's a lot of bread down the drain when you make a sourdough starter. Every day, throw out half. Then, to make it into a stiff starter, throw out half. Then when that rises, throw out more than half! Then, when that rises, mix in some flour. Five hours later, fold it twice. Five hours later, fold it again. Five hours later get it ready to bake. Then turn on the ove, and an hour later, bake it. As if I have 35 hours of uninterrupted time with which to bake bread! There's not even a convenient time to sleep in this schedule!

However, it came out great. It's not too sour, but that should improve as the starter ages. The crust and crumb are really great- a thick crust and a chewy crumb, which is great. Also, if anyone wants some sourdough starter with that famous Bay Area natural yeast, let me know. Our fridge is full of it. (Jenne, one's for you!)

I did manage to find time to go on a gorgeous hike in Berkeley...

... and go wine tasting in Sonoma & frolic in a field of wildflowers.

Also, I found this on another blog, and since my copy of The Bread Bible is right next to me, I thought I'd do it.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

"Spoon or pipe the batter into the muffin containers, filling them three-quarters full. Pour a little water into the unfilled muffin cup to prevent uneven baking. 3) Bake the muffins."

It's a recipe for "Big Banana Muffins".

In knitting news, I bought delicious Brittany white-birch dpns (size 2) to use for the WWII Long Socks, and have been working away. I've got about 4". I knit 2" the other day, and another two on the way to wine tasting, but unfortunately 4 hours of "tasting" wine and frolicking with the roomies plus getting in the car does not make for a prime knitting mindset.

I'm not too into the tan, but I am starting to dig the spiral it is making. These are supposed to be thigh-high socks, but we'll see how long I can stay interested in a 2x2 rib! We did decide, while knitting in the park this afternoon, that thigh-high socks would make Mike the hottest thing around, so I better stick to it!