Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Of Homemade Vegetable Soup

I can't cook meat. When I was younger, I spent several years as a vegetarian. The reasons I gave it up and returned to omnivorous ways are boring and won't be mentioned. However, because I did not eat meat, my mother never taught me how to cook meat. My mom was an incredible cook. She made pot roast, swiss steak, salisbury steak, beef & noodles, stew, you name it, she could cook it. And it would be perfect every time. I am my mother's daughter, but I can't cook meat. It's either too tough, or too dry or too tough and dry. I remember my mom's cooking with fondness but have never been able to duplicate it. She died several years ago, so I can't ask her. I miss my mom at times, especially when I'm cooking.

Yesterday though, I finally made something that turned out! Pot roast in the crock-pot! (Thanks to Bobbee for the recipe) Round one was yummy pot roast, and round two is yummy homemade vegetable soup. The manchild is essentially a vegetarian, so he didn't touch either. Well, he nibbled a bit of pot roast. With ketchup. He just doesn't like meat much. Probably not a bad thing.

Knitting? Oh yeah, well I've been doing a lot of knitting. I have experienced knitting tradgedy. Remember those pumpkin Victorian Diamond socks I was working on? I can't find them. Anywhere. I think I left the bag somewhere. I've been trying not to think about it too much but I'm just about to the point where I'm going to have to admit that they're gone. Along with the pattern, because I was too lazy to make a working copy of it and was toting around the original. And my brand new Knit Picks sz. 2 double pointed needles. Sob. Maybe it will still turn up...

In more positive knitting news, I have finished a Christmas stocking for my grand nephew. Geez that makes me feel old. My sister was 11 years older than me, and her daughter had my grand nephew when she was pretty young. So, at 48 I have a grand nephew. He lives in Florida so it's hard to knit things for him. But I saw this pattern [hey Lori, it has a moose on it!] and decided to knit it up for him. It's kind of a weird pattern. Instead of knitting it like a giant sock, you sort of knit it in one tube and then go back and add in the heel at the end. Weird. I think if I make it again I'm just going to knit it like you would any sock. I'll get a pic of it up soon.

I'm having fits with the Christmas Gnome. I seem to be incapable of doing a decent mattress stitch. I can kitchener with the best, but a stupid mattress stitch has me completely beaten. I have torn out these seams so many times that the yarn is really looking crappy. Do you have any idea how hard it is to tear out mattress stitch? I look at the pattern and they show beautiful, invisible seams and mine are lumpy and twisted. Sigh.

I think I need some yummy vegetable soup to make me feel better.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

KMKS Questionnaire

I've decided that my limit for swaps will be no more than two at a time. I can't keep up with more than that (not even counting the $$ involved)! So, I chose my second swap carefully and picked the Knit Mitt Kit Swap. Since we already have our swap partner names, I figured I'd better get the answers to the questionnaire up!

What are your favorite colors? I like color in general, especially fall colors -- dark green, rust, golds, browns. I like deep, rich color. I also like jewel tones (not pastel), especially if black is mixed in. I like blues and purples. I like just about anything except pastels.

Are you a new mitt knitter? How long have you been knitting mittens? I have knit one pair of regular mittens and several pairs of fingerless mitts. I've been knitting about 3 years, give or take, and a pair of mittens were one of my early attempts. Everything went great until I started the thumb. Somehow I managed to knit it backwards so that the "wrong" side ended up on the outside. I couldn't figure out what I did wrong for the longest time. I still have a problem with knitting backwards when working in the round, I have to watch myself.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Depends. If I'm just knitting something without any texture or pattern to it, I'd prefer multicolored yarn. If it's something that has a cable or other texture to it, probably a solid color.

What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn? I live in Minnesota, so something that will keep my hands warm. A nice, thick wool most likely.

Where do you usually knit mittens? They're portable, like socks, so I knit them everywhere!

How do you usually carry/store small projects? Gallon size zip lock baggies. Boring but usable.

What are your favorite mitten patterns? Haven't knit that many so I can't say what my favorites would be. I am dying to try some of the folk or scandanavian type mittens I've seen.

What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques? So far, I've mostly done ribbed fingerless mitts, but I don't think I'd call them a favorite style.

What new techniques would you like to try? Scadanavian/norwegian folk mittens.

What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens? Double points.

What are some of your favorite yarns? I'm not too picky, although I'm a snob when it comes to acrylic. I don't care much for acrylic.

What yarn do you totally covet? Mountain Colors, Mission Falls, pretty much anything handpainted.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Oh yeah, these, the "Solhav" mittens from Nordic Fiber Arts. These "Frostrosen" would be just fine too.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I use all of them, but I haven't learned how to do small things on circular needles yet. I have Knit Picks double points which I love. I covet their Options needles. I like a nice, sharp point on my needles so I tend to stay away from bamboo. I break wooden needles.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Huh? Well, I guess I'd be something handpainted, probably wool with just a touch of silk thrown in.

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Well, anything chocolate. I like fruits and nuts for snacks, trail mix sorts of things but I tend to be a bit picky. I like trail mixes with cranberries, blueberries, pineapple and nuts other than peanuts. My favorite is the Trader Joe mix with sour cherries, pineapple and nuts. I love chocolate covered cranberries.

What’s your favorite animal? Dogs and cats, equally.

Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts? Warm mittens.

If you were a color what color would you be? It would be hard to pick just one color. I'd be a handpainted mix of pine green, dk. rust and warm brown with just a bit of gold thrown in.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Hmm... Well, I've always been attracted to intricate, colorful images. Things like mosaics, complex patterns. I learned to knit because I really, really wanted to do fair isle. I think that's why I want to learn nordic knitting (that, and all the millions of Norwegians around me).

Do you have a wishlist? Yep. It's at Amazon, search the email

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? Wow, I think that's enough!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A box from my Secret Pal!

Yesterday the manchild called me at work to ask if he could open a box that came in the mail. Of course, I said, "heck no!" and hurried home to find this wonderful box of goodies from my Secret Pal.

Of course, one thing is missing -- the wonderful pair of slipper socks that went on my feet as soon as they came out of the box and didn't come off until I went to bed. They are made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and are wonderfully warm and soft.

Thank you, thank you Secret Pal, it's an awesome box filled with lots of great stuff: two skeins of Wildfoote sock yarn (I've wanted to try that!), one gorgeous skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, a bar of sandalwood soap (my favorite), a bar of cinnamon goat's milk soap (looks heavenly), a tube of Burt's beeswax lip balm, the gorgeous, comfy slipper socks and a yummy chocolate Halloween ghost. Nice job SP!

I also sent my secret pal's box out yesterday but I forgot to take a picture of it. I included a skein of RubySapphire yarns (one of the offers off the the SP9 webpage), some Chibi needles, a couple of sock patterns, some chocolate truffles and now I can't remember what else!