Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adventures Abound

We're trying new things around here.

First, I had a coupon for Greenling, an organic grocery home delivery service. They offer a lot of local foods, which are hard to find when you start looking.

Turns out, local foods really are better -- it's the freshness. On Saturday, we had my usual "throwpot pasta" (throw whatever you have into a pot and put it over pasta) with half a pound of ground beef from a cow who lived in nearby Bastrop and ate a lot of grass. OH MY GOODNESS. You could smell and taste the difference -- absolutely fresh meat, bright red when it was raw, that tasted superb. Also, meat from locally raised livestock may still involve the death of an animal, but the animal lived in better conditions and the negative environmental impact is drastically lessened by the reduced distance the meat has to travel.

We also got a half-dozen fresh eggs form a local farm in the same drop-off box. Four of them did their part in a key lime pie:

It didn't last long enough for a virgin photo.

I followed the recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and the ingredients roughly include the following:

  • 9 Graham crackers
  • sugar
  • LOADS of butter
  • the yolks of four farm-fresh eggs
  • a little bit of lime juice
  • later,
  • the four egg whites
  • confectioner's sugar
  • a pinch of cream of tartar and salt
  • a call to my mother to ask if it really takes that long to beat meringue: "It's faster if you have a mixer." / "Yeah, I don't think we have one."
  • a plea to my husband who generously turned his arm to the meringue when mine threatened to fall off, followed by, "You know we have a mixer, don't you?"

Lastly, I finally found the time to unpack my brand...
sewing machine!

Thanks to Kara and Consumer Reports, I settled on a Brother Innovis-40 machine, and this weekend I tried it out on a simple repair job. It ain't pretty, but that's one sports bra that'll have another few years of use left. I've got a skirt pattern and some cotton-hemp fabric waiting for when my courage rises.

By the way, I put money down for all the products mentioned here. Just in case anybody's wondering if Brother decided to send me a free sewing machine. (Say, that's a pretty good idea, now that I mention it...)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lace: How to Read a Chart

Tonight, I tried to pick up where I left off on my Traveling Roses Scarf:

I had the chart in front of me, and I stared and I stared for minutes and minutes. Dinner was on the verge of burning, but I couldn't tear myself away from that chart until I deduced properly where I'd left off. I began to mutter, to curse, to squint. How could I be so lost? How could it be this impossible to find my place? I'd only put it down less than two weeks ago! Confoundit, that stupid, mother-effing piece-of-crap pattern written by the biggest b--


I was holding the paper upside-down.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Navajoland: Come for the Unemployment, Stay for the Dust

(Which is not to be disrespectful to the Navajo. I think most Navajo would in fact appreciate the dark humor. And to be fair, there was an awful lot of dust.)

As I mentioned, the other week I went on a volunteer trip to the Navajo Reservation. We worked on the roof of a house that was about ten minutes from town. Behind the house was a view like this:

Next door to the dorm was a trading company with a wall like this:

I accomplished many things.

Happy Point Count: 52. It was significantly higher, but see that picture? These folks are selling Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb for $4.25/skein, and Lamb's Pride for $4.50/skein. Plus I was lonely, and I'd like to point out that some people shoot heroin when they get lonely.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FO: Selbu Modern, DK'd

The list of items I am intending to showcase here is sort of appalling, in that it's very long and I have the attention span of a turnip this week. That's what happens when you endure five and a half days of dust storms in rural New Mexico, much of it from atop the roof of a house where your cell phone just looks back at you and blinks rather than attempt any meaningful contact with the outside world.

Just sayin'.

Where was I?

I finished this a few weeks ago in September:

Apologies for the bathroom-mirror shot. I try to avoid those, but the odd part of finally living in a nice apartment is that there is no direct light against a bare wall anywhere in here.

This yarn is unbelievably awesome. Soft, soft, soft, and the colors behave excellently together, precisely in the opposite way of a dust storm and my sinuses.

pattern: Selbu Modern, by Kate Gagnon Osborn.
completed: September 28, 2009.
yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk (1 skein each of 127 (blue) and 132 (yellow), 146 yards each).
made for: me.
needles: size 1 and 3 circs.

Permit me to show off like your Cousin Buster last Thanksgiving and tell you about my mathematical prowess. See those decreases at the top? There are seven repeats in there. Yup, seven. Pattern calls for eight. I used a DK yarn instead of light fingering, and all my calculations (many of which involved the quantity pi) turned out righty-right-right. I'm just sayin'.

This pattern is a super one if you're not sure about your colorwork skills; there are only two strands throughout. Plus, it's beautiful. I've got my eye on Jared Flood's Beaumont Tam next!