Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts

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Yarn Doodling

One of the fun things AKD [Association of Knitwear Designers] members get to do is play with yarn. πŸ˜‰

Twice a year, before The National Needlework Association (TNNA) trade shows in January and June, we volunteer to help with the Great Wall of Yarn. Yarn companies send samples of yarn(s) they want to feature, then each participant receives a “goodie box”. The idea is to knit up a sample that shows the yarn to advantage, then send the sample back to be displayed at the show. Sometimes the samples later turn into designs that are accepted for publication.

These are 2 of the samples I just did. I wish I had taken a photo of the Crest of the Wave sample before I washed it, as it looked like such a crumpled mess, but it really improved with blocking. The yarn is about the thickness of heavy thread.

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Soup of the evening …

Cruising the grocery store aisles a couple of weeks ago, a package of Sweet Italian Sausage Tortelloni caught my attention — somehow it whispered “soup” to me. Things got hectic, and I tossed the package in the freezer, out of sight, but definitely not out of mind, and one evening recently it became soup, and quite tasty soup at that! I suspect the leftovers may be even yummier after the flavors blend a while.

Tortelloni Soup

1 large onion, 2 stalks celery, medium chop – sautΓ© in olive oil in a large kettle until soft. Add 32 oz chicken broth (I used Swanson’s Natural Goodness, which has less sodium), 1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes, cut up, plus a can of water, about 1/2 cup dried mushrooms, soaked, drained and cut up, bring to a boil, then add 1 (9 oz) package of Tortelloni (I used Buitoni) and about 8 oz frozen mixed vegetables. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until everything is cooked through, adding approx 6 oz frozen leaf spinach for about the last 5 minutes. Add more liquid as needed – this makes a pretty thick soup. Season to taste (I used Mrs Dash Tomato, Basil & Garlic, plus a shot of Penzey’s Italian Sausage Seasoning). Garnish with grated pecorino or parmesan cheese if desired. It would be good with crusty Italian bread and a salad. Enjoy!

While I’m on the subject of food, which seems to be a recurring theme πŸ˜‰ Nora had another keeper recipe last week for “Nameless Asian Noodle Dish”. It’s almost all ingredients that are permanently in my fridge or pantry – I just had to get the bean sprouts. I used Thai rice noodles because I had them, ground pork which I keep in the freezer for a tofu dish we like, and chunky peanut butter – the results were very tasty! I’d probably add just a bit more heat than I did this time, and cut back on the bean sprouts. Himself wanted to know why I didn’t make more – maybe because the skillet was already on the verge of overflowing? Anyhow, thanks Nora!

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Meet Me in St Louis …

One of our daughters and her family drove over from Kansas City on Saturday, and we met them in St Louis for the day. As the weather was uncertain (so what else is new!) we decided to go to the Missouri History Museum, which always has things for a variety of interests. The guys enjoyed the Flight City exhibit, while we gals checked out the 1904 World’s Fair and some of the material on the Lewis & Clark Expedition, and I think everyone looked through the Charles and Ann Lindbergh displays. There was also a large trailer out front with Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, that I found especially interesting, as years ago, I had been through the Ford Theater, and the house across the street, where Lincoln died.

We finished off with a little shopping, where I found a new knitting bag – “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. How could I resist?

We had a nice visit, then headed home to some very hungry critters. They stayed overnight, spent some time at the Zoo this morning, and are currently on their way home.

The drive to St Louis resulted in a lot of knitting time, so I made progress on the 2nd cabled sock and another project. We came home pretty late – not good knitting, plus I was having trouble staying awake, which would probably have created a frogging opportunity, so I didn’t even try!

Back home today, I poked around the yard and found a few neat things which WP was determined to include in the grouping above. Maybe I’ll eventually figure out how to make it arrange things the way I want them, but meanwhile …

Have a great Memorial Day!



Moth Wings is done! I’m not sure whether I’m glad or sorry that it’s finished – I did enjoy working on it. I suspect that more Malabrigo Lace just might be on my list of yarns to revisit. Final stats: approx 200 grams of yarn, just small amounts left of the 2 skeins; approx size 12 x 90 inches. I wimped out on using blocking wires, which would probably change the final measurements.

What I would change: I would probably get another skein and make it at least 1 repeat wider, if not 2. I will write the instructions for it, and calculate for a wider version. Will I make another one? Probably not – much as I enjoyed it, life’s too short to knit it more than once πŸ˜‰ I still haven’t gotten a truly satisfactory photo, but here’s the best I have so far:

Besides this, I got about 3 deadline things out of my life in the last few days (whew!) – there are always more, but none is terribly pressing right now, which is a relief.

When I was outside, looking for a suitable place to take pictures, I found a few more things in bloom. The mock orange just has a few blossoms open now, but should have lots more soon. It has such a lovely scent!

According to the Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers, blue-eyed grasses are members of the iris family, which surprised me, as it’s hard to see any resemblance between them, except possibly the leaf shape!

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Around our yard

Some things from the yard, including a couple of evening sky shots (I discovered that a fence post makes a pretty good steady rest). I found the mushrooms when I mowed the grass yesterday evening – they’re growing around the stump of a silver maple we had to cut down a few years ago, before it could fall on the house. I mowed around them!

In the knitting department, Moth Wings is finished; everything but the blocking, that is. I suspect it’s going to be somewhere in the large scarf to small stole range. Small happy dance – I received the August Knit ‘N Style, and I’m pleased with my Subtle Stipes Top πŸ™‚

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Wool Day 2008

Last Saturday was the 27th annual Wool Day at our friends’ farm. In spite of all the rain we’ve been having, the weather cooperated and it stayed pretty into the afternoon. It’s always been a chance to visit with friends, old and new, in a beautiful setting, share projects and information, and just generally have a really nice day. This year was no exception.

There were 70 angora kids this spring – you can see some of them here, along with some of the other critters: Wool Day photos

I just took my knitting this time, but there were several wheels and spindles and one friend was working on bobbin lace. I resisted temptation, and didn’t even go to look at the fleeces, as I need to work through at least some of the spinning fiber I’ve already got! πŸ˜‰


Comfy Cats

Do you ever feel like the only thing you knit is cat beds? While Amber was napping on the scratching block** with a felted mouse (royal purple, no less!), Maggie has been drawn to my current knitting project – whenever I lay it down, it seems to end up as a cat bed.

Said project needs to be out of here soon – once it’s gone, I plan to process and post photos from Wool Day on Saturday. I would have hated to miss it, and was able to rationalize it as “knitting time” πŸ˜‰

**We have used these through a number of cats, and they’ve all loved them. They’re corrugated cardboard that fit into several different frames – we have a single, a double and one that mounts vertically that Maggie particularly likes.

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It’s Been A Fairly Quiet Week

My usual morning routine has been to feed the “zoo” while the water heats for coffee and the computer gets up and running, then enjoy that first cup while checking email and reading several blogs. That’s been somewhat disrupted as we still have very little browser access – only a few things will come up before the connection times out. Ravelry is one that does, plus I discovered that Bloglines works, so I can at least keep up with the text part of some of the blogs I like to follow, though not the pictures. At least my email works! It’s supposed to be fixed sometime next week. but so far the big irony of the whole thing is that since I contacted tech support, they sent me a Customer Satisfaction Survey … in other words, a link to an online survey. Guess what? I can’t access the survey because The Connection Doesn’t Work – duh! (Late Update: I think we’re back on – woo-hoo!)

Moth Wings and the socks are on the back burner while I work on a deadline project. I DO love having a design accepted, especially when I haven’t had one in Knitters in a long time, but the other projects are whispering from their bags… Meanwhile, the time I haven’t spent online has been put to use on deadline knitting, though that’s not done yet. I received a copy of the July Creative Knitting, and I’m very pleased with the photo of my sweater, “In the Green.”

Last week I took Toby to the vet for a checkup, and on the same trip, picked up 2 bags of cat food (different diets). Usually I put them in the storage container right away, but this time I left them out over night – big mistake! When I came out the next morning the smaller (4 lb) bag had been dragged about 4 ft from where I left it, and I don’t think Toby was involved, judging by the small claw or tooth marks in the bag – here’s Maggie revisiting the scene of the crime, er… investigating the evidence πŸ˜‰

Amber’s been doing a lot of bird watching lately, sometimes from what we call the Box Seat by the front door, sometimes from the top of the china cupboard in the kitchen, both of which have a good view of the oriole and hummer feeders. (sorry about the kitchen window shot, but so far that’s all I can get! The “hummer” is a stained glass ornament.)

Monday the little green heron was hunting around the pond out front – I really didn’t expect to get much, but the Mavica camera has a 20X digital zoom, and I was very pleased to get a couple of photos before he bailed out on me! I also found some Virginia Creeper on a fence post.