Is it just me?

I don’t know about you, but I keep coming across projects I want to knit. I think I’m losing my mind! Today, my heart stopped when I saw Muir, I mean, wow, that’s a beautiful shawl. It was one of those moments when all my current projects were simultaneously shown the closet door. Well, not really. I couldn’t do that to them, not after all we’ve been through together, but there was that moment when I looked at Muir and thought, I have found the next Big One. I really want to knit Muir, but it’ll have to wait.

Okay, and then to make matters worse, I just had to fight choking traffic tonight to go to the Seattle Knitters Guild meeting to hear Terri Shea discuss her book, Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition.

These mittens are so intricate and beautiful! Terri came with a whole bucket-load of mittens and gloves, and this blue and gray one just screamed, “Knit me! Knit me, you fool!” I bought the book, and I’ll probably make at least one pair of mittens from it someday, but…it’s insanity, I tell you! I live in a place where you rarely need mittens! I guess I could make a pair to wear when I go for a walk, right?

Well, there’s always food to comfort the troubled soul. Tonight’s dinner was my first try at New England clam chowder.

Excuse me, I have to find some chocolate….

Vancouver follow-up

The weekend trip to Vancouver during the last weekend of August was fun; here are pictures of some of the highlights:

Urban living, as viewed from Granville Island Market

Exotic fruit from Granville Island Market, left to right: passion fruit (lilikoi), cape gooseberries, mangosteen.

When we went to Granville Island Market, I was stopped short on numerous occasions by the variety of foods, among which was the exotic fruit. I had to buy these three because this variety of passion fruit and the fresh mangosteen we had not seen since we enjoyed them on our honeymoon to Bali 7 years ago, and they can’t be found back home. The passion fruit is different from the shriveled purple variety I see in the markets at home, and the mangosteen is so unlike anything you will ever eat, and the fruit (the white stuff pictured below) is so delicately sweet and luscious. I’ve heard that one of the reasons mangosteen isn’t available in the U.S. is because it doesn’t ship well, but the imported specimens I bought and tasted in Vancouver were every bit as good as I remember them. Heaven!

I had to try the cape gooseberries after reading about them on Francesca’s Fluffbuff blog, which she knows as alkekengi. I’ve tasted dried cape gooseberries from Trader Joe’s, and although I don’t seeing them fresh in the States, Francesca has. We saw them frequently in Vancouver, sometimes with their paper-like husks on (like tomatillos). They have a very unique flavor, not easily described, but maybe faintly sweet, somewhat tart or sour, very seedy, with an overall texture similar to cherry tomato, just not as juicy. My son and I enjoyed munching on these.

Having visited this city many times, I am often amazed with how livable and alive it is. Traffic is a big problem (the transit system is apparently good), but it seems lots of people walk, and where there’s foot-traffic there’s lots of independent business. The number of small stores and eateries was wonderful to see, but especially the variety of cultures represented by the restaurants was amazing. Even the shopping mall had a busy produce stand and fishmonger.

We picked-up some tasty fresh pasta, sauce, and fresh grated cheese from Duso’s Pasta & Cheese at Granville Island Market and, thanks to the small but handy kitchen where we stayed, we had dinner in that night:

Among our finds of other local food, we had the best cinnamon roll, which sadly, we’d bought only one of from Bean Around The World coffee bar (by the way, for something different try their London Fog drink: Earl Grey tea with vanilla syrup and milk foam on top):

Take note of how thin the layers of pastry in the cinnamon roll are, not thick chunky, dried, gagging hunks of pastry that I often see. It was the most perfect example of what a cinnamon roll should be.

We almost didn’t make it to the yarn store, since on our way we drove past Transylvania Peasant Bread, boasting a brick wood-fired oven (we did stop there after the yarn store). Indeed, walking into Transylvania Peasant Bread is like a step back to another era: there’s the baker, his dome-shaped brick wood-fired oven, and a couple of shelves of fresh loaves of two types of bread. It was that simple, no 20 different types of bread to choose from. So I chose a two-pound (?) loaf sour dough whole wheat (I think that’s what it was), still warm from the oven; evenly baked, dense, very nice.

Finally, a picture of Alan Dart’s knitted pirate from the Simply Knitting magazine issue I bought on the trip:

A labor of love of knitting?

For Labor Day weekend we went to the Sequim/Port Townsend, Washington area and I was actually able to accomplish some knitting on the shrug!

I took this cell phone picture yesterday on the Bainbridge Island ferry ride back home. The shrug has become a bit of a labor, I have to admit, and I am looking forward to the end of it.

We had a wonderful meal one night at a Chinese restaurant in Sequim; I think the place is called North Star and the food was quite good to excellent, and the waitress was wearing running shoes, so that tells you how hopping the place was. Overall, the trip was another nice respite from the daily stuff.