Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


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Somewhat ethnically confused …

chicken soup – besides chicken (I had to settle for a fryer, as stewing hens are hard to come by unless we make it to Soulard Market up in St. Louis), it’s got shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice wine, onions, carrots … and Farfalle Piccolini (mini-bowtie) pasta plus some generic white wine, (because the bottle of rice wine ran dry – must get more for stir-fry sauces). It’s quite tasty, and again, enough for us, the freezer and some to share.

I’ve started another pair of socks with the Meilenweit Multieffekt yarn from my trip – one of the self-patterning ones. It’s going quickly because I just have to see what the color is going to do next. It’s intended as a gift, so I’ll have to wait to share photos.

There are finally some tomatoes on the 2 plants I got put in – the cherry tomato has been setting quite a few, and there are some on the other plant, which are supposed to be yellow ones, but I do wonder if they’ll make it in time. Somehow ripening pokeberries suggest that fall may not be too far away!

1. Garlic chives, 2. Coreopsis, 3. Tomatoes, 4. Shelf fungus, 5. Thistle with crab spider, 6. Sunflower, 7. Pokeberries, 8. Marigolds, 9. Tick trefoil (sticktight)

1. Garlic chives, 2. Coreopsis, 3. Tomatoes, 4. Shelf fungus, 5. Thistle with crab spider, 6. Sunflower, 7. Pokeberries, 8. Marigolds, 9. Tick trefoil (sticktight)


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A Mighty Hunter

I’m not sure why I went to the back door when I did yesterday morning, but this is what greeted me:

Hmm ...

Hmm ...

This is one of a pair of clogs I keep under the cabinet by the back door, in a not entirely successful effort to reduce the amount of mud/grass/general yuck that gets tracked in from outside. You have to understand that Amber seems to have a shoe fetish-she will periodically stuff her nose into one of my clogs (eeyew!), then grab it with her front paws and bunny-kick it with her hind feet, but she doesn’t usually pull the footbed out.

While I was wondering about the shoe, she started sniffing around the edges of a couple of containers sitting on the floor. When I investigated, I discovered a small skink (lizard – great bug control!) trying to be invisible. After a rather spirited chase, I was able to pop a wide mouth pint jar (approx 2 3/4″ in diameter at the bottom) over it. Notice that the tail (isn’t the blue gorgeous?) does not have a very pointy end, as is normal, suggesting that Amber at least got a little nip. I guess it must have first tried to hide in or under the shoes, before Amber pulled them out.

Small 5-Lined Skink

Small 5-Lined Skink

I released it some distance away from the house, in hopes of avoiding a repeat performance, but they do hang out around the back porch. It must be hatching season, because there was another, much smaller one today, but I got it too, much to Amber’s frustration and annoyance. She hung out back there for quite a while, evidently looking for more excitement.

The ribbed socks are done! I really like the yarn (Meilenweit Cotton), and can easily imagine knitting more of it. I hope it wears as well as it knits.

Ribbed Socks

Ribbed Socks


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As ye knit …

So shall ye frog – especially when one has been knitting inattentively! The sleeve for my current stealth knitting project has been most uncooperative, and I think I’ve variously either tinked or ripped it back at least 4 times now, so it’s currently on time out until tomorrow.

On a happier knitting note, here’s my current lace project – it’s the merino/silk laceweight that followed me home from Wisconsin, and it’s knitting up quite nicely. The only problem I’m having is a bit of a coordination issue when switching between worsted weight yarn on size 6 needles, and practically-sewing-thread on the same size 6 needles. It seems to take my fingers a row or 2 to adjust to the change. It won’t be coming along as quickly as I’d like, as other projects keep jumping in line ahead of it.

We went to St. Louis today, had a nice lunch, then made our usual stop at Global Food Market in Kirkwood for a few things. I love their produce, and the double-sided tea aisle is just amazing! Much of their stock is arranged by country of origin, so you often find similar products in more than one aisle – sort of a mini world tour.

No trip is complete without dessert, so last stop was Ted Drewes on old Route 66 for frozen custard – yum!


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Lots of help!

It’s been raining a little since about lunch time, and I’ve been slogging away at an editing deadline. I thought y’all might get a chuckle from my busy editorial assistants. You can see they’ve been working very hard, although earlier, Amber was checking out the box of projects, and making sure that none of them escaped πŸ˜‰

My knitting is all of the stealth variety right now, nothing I can show-and-tell until later. Even my sock is on the back burner for the moment. Later!

Added note: Since my clever granddaughter (who used to work at Best Buy) told me how to turn off the camera sound on my cell phone, Toby doesn’t find it as threatening, so I can sneak the occasional picture!


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Like my grandmother used to make …

I love to make soup, and I like to think I got a soup-making gene from my maternal grandmother, who taught me to cook.

I doubt if she made it exactly the same way every time either – I know my pots tend to vary by what’s available, but I try to keep “the makings” on hand. Soup bones are definitely not as easily found as they once were, but we’ve found a store than can be counted on to have slices of beef shank, beef neck and other good stock basics, and I’ve usually got enough for a pot stashed in the freezer, so that when the mood hits, I’m ready to go.

I started this pot yesterday evening, browned the meat and bones, then let them cook with an onion, tomato juice and a couple of bay leaves in the crockpot overnight – it smelled pretty good this morning! πŸ˜‰

Today, after removing the meat and bones, I added more diced onion, a cut-up bunch of kale, frozen mixed vegetables, a can each of beans and stewed tomatoes, and some cooked pasta (I remember her using potatoes, but Himself prefers pasta), then seasoned to taste, and put in the cut-up meat at the last. As usual, the batch expanded to fill the pot, so I had some to share, some for the freezer, and some for now – yum!

Vegetable Soup - sort of like my grandmother's

Vegetable Soup - sort of like my grandmother's

It seems like we’ve had a lot of really gorgeous evening skies lately, or maybe I’ve just been paying more attention …

Evening sky

Evening sky


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A favorite menu

Not that there’s much of it left, but this was dinner; about the largest tilapia filet (1 lb) I’ve ever seen, pan-grilled, then seasoned with Penzey’s Fox Point Seasoning and lime juice, red chard with garlic and balsamic vinegar, and Yukon gold potatoes. I’ve gotten lazy with the potatoes – I just wash and cut them into chunks (skins on), cook them in the microwave with a little water and chicken base, then mash them with just enough milk and butter in the same dish – very tasty, and so easy!
Pan-grilled Tilapia, Chard with Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar, and Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

Menu: Pan-grilled Tilapia, Chard with Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar, and Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes


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This ‘n that …

I’ve been whizzing right along on the socks. The 2nd one is almost as far along as the photo of the first sock from last Friday, as it’s the only auto-pilot knitting on hand right now. The lace pattern isn’t suited either to travel or tv-watching.

Gloria commented on the spindles and fiber in the previous post, and asked about BFL. All of it that I’ve ever fondled has been very soft, and I love spinning and knitting it. The current batch seems to have a staple length of about 5-6″ and should spin up very nicely. I previously spun some dark brown and it made a lovely stole that I really enjoy.

For more information, here are a couple of links. Oklahoma State University has a great resource here: Breeds of Livestock – Bluefaced Leicester Sheep; and from a breeders’ association: BFLBA: Wool: The Bluefaced Leicester is classified as a Longwool breed with a staple length of 3- 6”, a fleece weight of 3 to 6 lbs., and a fiber diameter of 56s – 60s count, or 24-28 microns, creating high quality luster yarns with beautiful drape.

The other day, in Undercover, Judy G wrote about gift knitting making poor blog fodder. That really resonated, because knitting for publication means I can’t share projects I’m really enthused about until they are published, which is usually several months away. Guess I’ll just have to knit some other stuff I can chat about.

Hollyhocks; Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Hollyhocks; Cedarburg, Wisconsin

PS. As I was writing this grab-bag of bits & pieces, I was strongly reminded of Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting, one of my very favorite knitting books – it contains a section titled “Uncharted Miscellany” πŸ˜‰


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A little stash enhancement …

I mentioned that I just might have added a little sock yarn to the stash during my recent trip (actually a couple of them are going to be Christmas presents – shh!). There’s also some Blackberry Ridge Silky Merino (upper right corner, Samarkand Blue), which is already on its way to becoming another stole.

Then there were 2 spindles – the green one is a Celtic Knot from Fox Den Fibers (definitely eye candy!) and a Cascade Mount St Helen’s in spalted maple which has a lovely finish. Funny thing was that when we compared notes later, my roommate at Knitting Camp also bought the same spindle πŸ˜‰ The spindles are joined by 8 oz of silver grey blue-faced Leicester that simply refused to stay behind – I do enjoy spinning BFL.

The other photo is the current sock-in-progress – the yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton (color #1010), and I love the way it’s working up! It feels great and the striping is nice and subtle. Can’t wait to get them done so I can wear them!