Monthly Archives: June 2007

Go Help Digit

I don’t know how many of you actually read Rachael’s blog over at Yarn-A-Go-Go but if you have a cat or any other pet, you need to go and read the story of Digit the wonder cat. Four months ago, Digit disappeared. Rachael thought that he might have died.

But the other night, he showed up. Digit has been gone four months and in that time, he has had a rough life. Digit is spending some very unhappy at the vet’s right now. He has to gain a little strength before he can go home. But he is facing some major medical bills for some surgeries that will fix a few of the problems that are the result of his mystery trip. Go on over and read his story and donate to his vet fund. Every penny matters.

If you have a pet, you know how much vet bills can run for normal things. But the bills that Rachael and Lala are looking at are going to be pretty high because of everything that it is going to take to get Digit back on his paws healthy wise.

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Eye Candy Friday

Well, my post today was going to be about some knitting but what I received in the mail. I am in a few sock clubs. Okay, I am in 5 sock clubs. There the truth is out, I am truly addicted to sock clubs. And in today’s m ail, when I saw that I had 2 package slips, I didn’t think twice about it because I am expecting an order of sock yarn for a secret project that I am doing. I didn’t even realize until I got back to work that the package I thought was my order was actually my first club shipment from the Sundara Petals Collection. Thank you Priscilla!!!!! (She gave me the subscription as a surprise present. She is a fantastic friend to have help support your sock yarn addiction.)

The flower for this month’s theme in Sundara’s Petal Collection is actually a flower that I find the scent of offensive. But the colors are pretty. The flower is the grape hyacinth. The changes in the yarn color are very subtle but I like them. It will be interesting to see the colors change as the yarn is knit up. And the pattern is pretty as well. The cables create the look of the flower. So the pattern will be interesting to knit up as well

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The second package was my package from Scout’s Swag. This month’s package included a pattern by Cookie A. that looks like it will be a challenge. And Cookie created this pattern exclusively for the yarn. The colors in the yarn are hard to describe but I think they are more of an aqua-marine. Whether the yarn and the pattern will be used together remains to be seen.

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And just as a sign that I have not forgotten my Monkey socks, I am finally getting around to picking up the gusset stitches on sock 1. Remember that I am normally a toe up sock knitter so picking up these stitches is not something that I can do without thinking. Short rows don’t require much thinking or time for me to get done. But gussets are still a little scary.

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And yes, Suz, I will try to remember to bring both yarns with me tomorrow so you can fondle them.

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Recipes for the Hot Weather

Here in the mid-Atlantic it has been super hot the past few days. It has been over 80 degrees by 9 am if that gives you a clue. So I have found myself eating salads and thinking of ways to not use the oven. And there was a recipe in the May/June issue of Vegetarian Times that had caught my eye. So I decided to try it.

The recipe the way it is written allows for some variation. And I changed it of course. The recipe is called Couscous with Asparagus, Snow Peas, and Radishes. I first made it exactly the way it was written. And it wasn’t that bad. I made it last night but changed it of course. This time I still kept the asparagus but I added fresh peas, and scallions. I blanched the asparagus and cooked the peas the night before since I could do them ahead of time. I actually heated up the broth in the microwave instead of the stove top. I also used a tri-color couscous that I had picked up in the co-op. I like the color it provides. And the best part is that it tastes really good cold or at room temperature.

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I also decided last night to turn the oven and roast some garlic and beets. I had found a recipe on the Washington Post website for a heart healthy version of a Caesar dressing. It sounded good so I was willing to try it. So I roasted the garlic last night and made the dressing at lunchtime today. I was having a salad for lunch so I tried the dressing out right away. My only change was to add a little bit more buttermilk because it was a little on the thick side with the original amount.

So here it the recipe for the dressing since I can not seem to find it on the Post website now.

Roasted Garlic Dressing

Creamy, thick and slightly sweet, this quick dressing would be a worthy, more healthful stand-in for a traditional Caesar salad dressing. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To roast garlic: Slice the top off 1 head of garlic so that the tops of the cloves inside are exposed. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the garlic has softened and browned. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then squeeze the softened garlic cloves out of their skins and discard their stem ends. Adapted from “The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible,” by Pat Crocker (Firefly, 2007).

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 head roasted garlic
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

Whisk together the buttermilk, roasted garlic (preferably still warm), vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Add the cayenne pepper or smoked paprika 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use; shake well before serving. Makes ½ cup

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And yes, there is knitting still going on but I haven’t taken any photos of it lately.But I did take photos from yesterday’s farmer’s market though.

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Farmer’s Markets and Yarns

This past weekend was busy. Saturday was bust getting my hair cut and the copper-y reds from sun exposure toned down. Than the usual Saturday errands of Borders, the local co-op, and such. (Yes, I visit Borders at least once a week. I read that much sometimes.) I did manage to swing by one of my LYSs to pick up some yarn to finish a baby blanket.

Sunday was the better day of the weekend though because I was going to DC. Well, actually Takoma Park which is both a Washington, DC neighborhood and a Maryland town. I was headed down there to pick up some lace yarn not only for myself but two friends who are unable to find this particular lace yarn in their towns. Malabrigo lace weight is hard to find apparently. But I did find one shop in Maryland that had it and it was close enough to visit.

When I called the shop to see if they had the lace weight yarn, I was told yes they had just received an order of it in so my timing was really good. When I asked about their hours, I was told the hours for both Saturday and Sunday. But I was also told that the Takoma Park Farmer’s Market was held right outside their front door on Sundays. And the words farmer’s market sealed the deal. I was going down there Sunday.

So Sunday morning bright and earl, I was headed for DC. I picked up Metro at the end of the Red Line closest to me which is Shady Grove. I had about a 45 minute ride which meant time for knitting at least part of the way. It is tourist season in DC so Metro can get crowded the closer you get to DC.

I was told that the shop and the market were 3 blocks from the Metro station. And sure enough, it was easy to find. I came prepared and had a huge bag that I use for toting all sorts of stuff around with me. I hit the farmer’s market first. I bought items that I normally do not see in the farmers’ markets in my area. I bought rainbow chard, mesclun mix with plenty of baby beet leaves and baby chard leaves, jams, garlic, cucumbers, and some stuff for a swap since it was local. I also decided to try some new things. I have never been a fan of beets or fennel so I bought some baby beets and some fennel. I am going to roast the beets tonight and turn them into a cold salad. (I tried a cold beet salad recently that was really good. I tried it because a friend and I were sampling each other’s salads.) I took the fennel to another friend Sunday night and she fixed it for me to try. She is Arabic and her family likes to eat it raw along with celery, carrots, and other vegetables with a dip made of sour cream. I can say that I did try it but the taste is not something that I really like.

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So with a heavy bag of fresh veggies, I headed into the yarn shop. It turned out to not really be a yarn shop but a very interesting store that had a very eclectic range of items and a nice little corner full of yarn. And the yarn selection was really nice. I found yarn for all three of us. But I couldn’t decide between two different colors for me so I bought myself two different colors of the lace weight yarn. I also give a quick lesson in toe up socks to one of the store employees while I was there. She is trying to learn how to knit socks.

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After heading back to Metro, I decided that I would stop at Sticky Fingers Bakery which meant changing trains. I had heard about the bakery from a few different vegetarian magazines plus Madam Sprite wrote about it awhile back. But it was worth it. I bought some of the Sticky Cinnamon Buns and 2 Little Devils. I am now planning on making my own vegan cinnamon buns. They were that good. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t be back to the bakery since there are other items I want to try…..

Going down to DC made me realize just how much I miss the city but at the same time, I live close enough to go down for day trips or dinner. But if I had to live in the city, Takoma Park would be the type of neighborhood that I could live in easily. And I will be going back but I plan to wait until the weather cools a bit. Summer has hit the mid-Atlantic and that means hot, hazy, and humid. I don’t mind the heat but traipsing around the city on a hot day is not always my idea of fun.

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Garden Eye Candy

I noticed last night that I finally have some cherry tomatoes on the vine. The flowers have been there but I missed the tiny baby tomatoes. And my nephew might actually have a pepper or two ready to eat when he gets back from buying me some mouse ears. Hopefully he brings me back something really interesting. And given that he is a13 year old boy with a very warped sense of humor, who knows what he will bring me! And yes, he did promise to bring me something.

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Time for Socks

Okay, the summer of socks started this morning. And yes, I am in the process of casting on a brand new pair. I am casting on for the June sock for the Sockamania Club Knit-a-long. I am doing the toe-up version. Imagine me doing a toe up sock!!! My favorite method. And I am using the Panda Cotton in Picnic for these socks.

Yesterday was a good mail day since I received my June package for the Rockin’ Sock Club. I love the colorway this time. Anything with the name Fire in it has to be a good color for me. And the notes this time mention that the patterns submitted for this year are mostly toe up. And since I like toe up that is no problem for me. But based on some of the comments on the Club blog, there are people out there with issues with toe up socks. I am willing to try different techniques and take a chance on trying new colors that I normally wouldn’t buy. That is why I love sock clubs.

And speaking of sock clubs, I am going to give a brief mention to a new sock club out there. This is a sock club that one of my LYS is offering. The shop is Eleganza Yarns. I promised to give the club on my blog so here it is. The club offers six kits of exclusive hand dyed sock yarn dyed by a Maryland dyer. This yarn is not even offered in the shop and will not be for a full year after the color is delivered in the kit. There will six exclusive sock patterns as well. All of the details can be found on the shop’s website. And yes, I will be doing this club since it is local. And no, I am not getting anything in exchange for mentioning this other than trying to get more people into the club. And I am lucky enough to have had a preview of the first yarn dyed for the club. And that is the photo for today since I was lazy and didn’t take any other photos. p6150005.jpg

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Proof that I Knit

Okay, it is proof that I knit something other than socks. I am taking a very short break form socks until the Summer of Socks starts tomorrow. Although I do need to prep one thing tonight. Since I do most of my socks toe up, I normally have 2 or 3 dpns with my crocheted provisional cast on in my sock tool bag. And right now, I have exactly zero prepared dpns. I like having them ready to go so I can start when I am ready. So I will be be prepping a few dpns tonight. Sock yarn will not touch these needles until tomorrow.

I feel in love with the Wisp pattern in the new Knitty and I was surprised to find that I had a skein of Kid Silk Haze in my stash. One of the benefits of Ravelry is that I have been spending some time in my stash. Since this is a yarn that I have never used and given that I am not a huge fan of mohair, I decided to give the yarn a try. I have cast on for Wisp and will doing it using only one skein of the yarn. I have decided to make a change to the pattern though. I am not doing the eyelets along the long sides of the scarf. I may do this pattern again and will see how the pattern looks finished first. So far so good. I had to frog once and changed my needles to something with a sharper point but I am now in the third repeat.

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I also started a baby blanket for a friend who is pregnant. She is still just a little bit pregnant so I have plenty of time to finish the baby blanket as in at least six months. One of my LYSs is having their anniversary sale so I picked up some Encore and started the Ribbons Baby Blanket pattern from Fiber Trends. It is a super simple pattern and actually goes pretty fast. I am almost at the end of the first skein and ready to start the second. I may have to pick up some more Encore in a Project Spectrum colorway and knit a second one. I chose a color that is good for when you are not sure whether the baby is a boy or girl for the first one. Maybe I can do one in a chunky weight and give it to my youngest nephew for Christmas…. I have yet to make him a quilt but a knitted afghan would be the same thing. p6190002.jpg

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