Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting My Mojo Back

Since starting my new job I kind of lost my mojo there for a couple weeks but I feel it all coming back.

These past couple of days I've been home sick with a leg infection that has caused my knee to swell up a bit, so what is a girl to do? Knit of course!

It had been about a week since I'd knit and my Dad's sweater vest is not going to knit itself so I spent Sunday figuring out where I was and while at the doctor's office yesterday I knit while waiting for my appointment, I knit while waiting for my prescription and then knit when I got home before my antibiotic put me to sleep.

Today I'm looking forward to being in my office sewing some bags and measuring yarn and just playing in fiber. Maybe I'll even plan out some yarns for Tour De Fleece!

Anyone have plans for Tour De Fleece?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From Scratch

I love seeing things become something else. Be it roving become yarn and then a cowl, ingredients become bread or children growing up, I love it all.

This morning I was making a Berry Puff Pancake and was thinking about how much I love taking the fresh ingredients and how it becomes a yummy dish. I then realized that it is the same type of love I have for knitting.

I use less berries, because sometimes less is more.

While cooking has more instant gratification then knitting, my love for knitting runs deep because it takes longer then cooking. Knitting takes commitment that sewing and cooking do not have. I love the picking out yarn for a specific project, or even just falling in love with a yarn and searching for a project that will do it justice.

Currently I'm finishing up my Dad's sweater vest for graduation (sorry no pictures as he has not seen it and Mom reads the blog) and I was thinking about how the first sweater vest I made him was not quite right. The cuffs on the arm openings were too big and stuck up, the fit was off and while he likes it, I don't see him wearing it to work much because of these issues.

I'm also becoming something else. I'm becoming a better knitter, a better cook, a better sudoku player, a better girlfriend, and a better daughter. I notice that I also learn new things that make me better everyday and sometimes I have this urge to go back and remake or make something again because I want to apply my new knowledge to it and see how much better it can be.

If this new sweater vest fits my dad well then I'm going to offer to reknit the old one because I want to see and show how I've grown as a knitter. It's like baking the pancake a second time now that I've learned a thing or two about it (like skip the stick of butter and use a spray on butter).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

World Wide Knit In Public Day (or really week)

Today kicks off World Wide Knit In Public Week.

Originally it started out as a single day (June14th as it is the Yarn Harlot's birthday) which all of us knitters would show that there is more of us then others think.

Just today I was talking to a co-worker when she asked what my business was and when I told her I was surprised that she did not give me the look. You know the look, the one that people usually give us before people they explain that we can buy a sweater for less then yarn costs. However she had a friend that knit and she thought it was really cool.

To celebrate this week when we shout our love for our craft from every coffee shop, theater and park I'm giving away a Knitters Without Borders bag to the next 10 people that place an order of $30 or more!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Working

Since I'm working full time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium I'm trying to schedule my life around it.

Things like running have to be done before work, because I feel lazy after work. I have to pack my lunch the night before, because in the morning it feels like such a chore. And lastly I have to write everything down on a piece of paper that I need to do and then on the weekend try to get it all done.

The last one is the hardest because I like to get things done as they come up. Like laundry is piling up. Well I could do it now, but I will not have time to put it away for a few days and it will all get wrinkled. It feels like I'm back in college and trying to cram all the stuff into two days.

Well the good news is I'll be eating healthier. I've been cooking for Ben and I and ratatouille has become one of my favourite lunches (spicy sausage lasagne is Ben's).

Using a mandoline you'll get even slices of vegetables that stack up beautifully into a delicious and easy meal.

Forgot the eggplant in this one, but still pretty

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi) (or spaghetti sauce)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (or Chinese eggplant)
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme (leave out if using spaghetti sauce)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish and bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Let sit for 5 mins and enjoy!

Serves 5
100 cals per serving, Total Fat 6.2 g 7%, Saturated Fat 0.9 g 3%, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg 0%, Sodium 82 mg 4%, Total Carbs 11g, Dietary Fiber 3.9 g 10%, Sugars 5 g, Protein 2 g, Vitamin A 47 µg 7%, Vitamin C 57 mg 76%, Calcium 30 mg 3%, Iron 0.7 mg 4%

One I made tonight with eggplant, shot quickly with my phone

Sunday, June 3, 2012

To Make

Yesterday was frustrating. The people who organized the memorial were over an hour late and I left 10 minutes before they showed up it seems. So I've invited those that want to remember George to Rosie McCann's on Friday at 8pm for a pint.

I did however make banana nut bread for the memorial and forever more it will be George's Banana Nut Bread:

Sorry for the crappy phone picture

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups white sugar
2 cups mashed overripe bananas
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts

Makes 2 loaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter or margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in the bananas, eggs, and walnuts until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, and stir just until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the crown of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for at least 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep in the moisture. Ideally, refrigerate the loaves for 2 hours or more before serving.

George would have gotten the joke behind my serving it and may have stuff himself full on it. He is very LSG.

I make things no matter what mood I am in, but when I'm down making things can be the only thing that keeps me together. Yesterday I baked the bread when I could not stop crying and laughed when I nearly forgot the bananas thinking "George would have laughed too."

We knitters are very lucky to have a tool to help us cope with the world around us. We are makers and when we're angry, sad, worried or distressed we have a way to just block it all out by focusing on our craft. When it is all over we can see that we made it through it by the things we made. We eat the food we cooked and feed others with it, we can count the stitches we knitted by the way the gauge is completely off, and we can sometimes give knitted items to the people we worried about.

Yesterday I cried, but I accepted that he was gone and that he would have smiled when I began singing Yesterday while walking on the beach

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Those Quiet Days

Sometimes we just need a quiet day.

Today I'm just sitting around the house waiting till I leave for my friend George's memorial.

A couple of weeks ago I was cooking while chatting online with a friend Danny and he told me that George had passed away. I did not buy it for a few minutes because it was sudden, there was no warning that this was to come (he was a healthy 28 year old), and it felt like a joke George might play on us to just mess with us. But it was true, he'd died.

Now George would not want me to cry or linger on his death so I'm doing all I can not to till I leave.

George was amazing. He had the humor of George Carlin and could make your grandmother smile with his good natured crude jokes. I knew him in middle school, because he was friends with my neighbour, and when I got to high school he was there to welcome me. He was a senior and I was a wide eyed socially awkward freshman. The table we hung out included about 10 other people and we were all social outcasts. We welcomed everyone and had someone brought you to the table George would have been the first one to welcome you.

After high school George went through a rough patch like most of us at the table did, but he caught a break when he got hired at a company that paid him to go to school. He then moved to Georgia to work for the company and later married his girlfriend Ashley.

Though he and I have not seen each other in years he was suppose to come out and visit at the end of this summer. We were going to get as many people from the table together again at my house and revisit those old days.

I'll miss George's usual greeting of "Yar!" online, his excitement when we discuss his visit, his ability to make me laugh, his random email links that you have to brace yourself before you open them (example), and our discussion of what adds best to ramen.

Sorry dude, but I did not make it without crying. You can chide me after greeting me with your usual Yar and a hug.

Friday, June 1, 2012

1 Year

Well yesterday was the 1 Year Anniversary of the blog and store! I celebrated with a slice of carrot cake naturally.

I feel like I should have some great big thing to say but all I've got is this great joy that we're still trucking along and growing.

We began with just sock yarns and now have stitch markers, DK yarns, lace weight yarns and 2 different sized bags. This year I plan on focussing on the products we already carry and take those further.

We're looking at self striping yarns, ombre yarns and lots more bags. I'm deciding if I want to keep the stitch markers or not. Sometimes I get the urge to play with beads and during those times is when the markers get made.

I really want to start focusing on designing more. I have been on this huge fair isle kick and last weekend Ben and I where in Tahoe and this is what I came back with on Monday:

They are the Selbuvitt or Not Mittens and I'm in love with them. They have been knitting up quickly and will be replacing my ill fitting alpaca mittens.

I'll most likely be designing more fair isle stuff soon and releasing my handspun yarn patterns. We'll see...