Happy Ending

What a week! This week I discovered that I’m allergic to something in bloom around our house, probably a tree, and I’ve never considered myself a person afflicted with seasonal allergies before. Teary eyes, sneezing, and a nose so drippy I couldn’t keep enough tissues around me to keep up with it. By Tuesday afternoon I got my hands on an homeopathic remedy and things have been improving ever since, and by Wednesday I was actually able to put mascara on again.

Last night, in celebration of my sister-in-law’s birthday, my mother and I met her at La Taberna Del Alabardero in Seattle for an evening of Spanish food and flamenco. However, not before arriving an hour late because we live across Lake Washington, east of Seattle, and I made the unfortunate choice of the wrong bridge, and chose the one with the even more unfortunate car-flipped-onto-its-roof which meant that all lanes of traffic were down to one. The evening ended well with a wonderful performance of authentic flamenco and singing by the Jesus Montoya Flamenco Company, despite a being served a very poor example of Spanish food by La Taberna.

Any unpleasantness this week was vastly improved by the sale at So Much Yarn in Seattle, conveniently located near Pike Place Market. Yes, I broke my yarn diet, but all because I fell hard for a skein of Pagewood Farm Yukon Hand Dyed Sock Yarn in Harvest colorway. I spotted this one skein the week before the sale and kept dreaming about it all week long. Being the first customer at the sale, I was relieved to find my one skein exactly where I’d left it during my previous visit.

The other deal-breaker for me was the 3 skeins of Dream in Color Classy (worsted) in Gothic Rose colorway. I dreamed about it almost as much as I dreamed of the Yukon yarn, and, yes, I dreamed in color.

And since I was off the wagon, I added 2 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in a warm golden brown.

Oh! I was so bad today… What’s knitter to do?

They’re coming and going around here…

We finally bit the bullet and bought a real stove and ditched our GE Profile gas stove. The old one was okay, if you didn’t mind pretending to cook with gas, because it’s performance was slightly better than electric. It all came about with watching last season’s Dancing With The Stars (which starts Season 10 tonight). Somehow my husband found out that Debi Mazar from last season and her husband Gabriele Corcos have a blog and video blog (available through TiVo), Under The Tuscan Gun, about cooking food from Corcos’ homeland of Tuscany. The videos are pretty good for a homemade production (literally filmed in their home) and the recipes look delicious, but what caught my eye was the stove, a Blue Star range. My husband was right on it, and in fact, it turned out he’d had his heart set on a Blue Star years before I knew it existed. Wouldn’t you know that a local dealer was having a sale on Blue Star ranges and, long story short, out with the old and in with the new.

It’s been one of those, “pinch me, I must be dreaming” things for me because I never thought I would ever have a restaurant-grade range to cook on. The difference between the standard stove in your average U.S. home and this stove is vast, and it’s really like driving a Maserati after you’ve been driving a 1960 VW Bug. Really. It’s been a whole different cooking experience with the Blue Star, and we’re still getting the hang of it, but stir fry is restaurant caliber, as is anything sauteed. And, wait, rather than taking 30 minutes to boil a huge pot of water for a pound of pasta, in now takes less than 15 minutes. Microwave a cup of water? Why bother? It’s done almost as fast on the Blue Star. Everything cooks so much faster. I. Am. Happy.

And then our Jura Capresso espresso machine got jealous that it was no longer the star of our kitchen and went crazy on us and kept tripping the outlet, luckily that’s in a box on the living room floor and will be heading-off for some warranty work tomorrow. So I dug out the old Bialetti stovetop espresso pot and we’re getting by with that for now (our first time using it since staying in the rental home, courtesy of Barilla Pasta, in Montecatini-Terme).

I have two scarves in the works. One is one made with yarn that I bought at Tokyu Hands in Tokyo when we visited there before adopting our son in Seoul, exactly 5 years ago this week.

I’ve been wanting to make something with this fuzzy deep pink stuff, and finally settled on another Wisp.

The other is Lacy Serpentine Scarf using Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering.

Lacy Serpentine is rather surprisingly easy once you get it down, but I am not loving the yarn because two rows of it and my hands are so blue I look like I’ve been picking blueberries, and I am rather annoyed that it does this.  I know it’s hand painted, but do you think a little warning is in order that the yarn needs to be washed before you knit with it?

Scarfed that one down!

I started and finished One Row Lace Scarf by Turvid lightening-fast and, really, it’s not too surprising because it’s definitely one of those quick and easy projects, especially when using DK-weight yarn vs. the fingering-weight called for in the pattern. This was one of those plain and simple stash-busting projects to utilize the one skein of light blue DROPS Muskat I was given at a knitter’s guild holiday party a few years ago, and at a very short 100 meters (109 yards) I had no idea what to do with it. Thankfully, Ravelry is the wonderful pattern source that it is and I was able to find this scarf in a pattern search. I knew that with so little yarn to use that it wouldn’t go far, so instead of 5 pattern repeats, I did 4 repeats across and was able to produce a scarf 12 cm x 96 cm (5” x 38”) in size; just enough for one wrap around the neck and a simple tie. Perfect for a mild weather scarf.

Pattern: One Row Lace Scarf by Turvid
Yarn: DROPS Muskat (100% mercerized cotton), one skein
Needles: 5.0 mm (US 8 )

That’s Much Better

It’s been almost a month since I last posted anything and I thought I’d check in and say something.  I didn’t go anywhere; I just didn’t post.  Maybe I’m following the growing trend to not blog so much.  Hard to say.  I would love to say that my absence from blogging was due to competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics, which, by the way, took place just a mere 200 miles to the north, and which has been a almost a life long dream of mine to go to, but which will have to wait for a more convenient time in my life.  If I were to do such a thing, I’d compete in Ladies Figure Skating (something I once aspired to do after watching Pegging Fleming in the 1968 Olympics on TV as a child), or Short Track Speed Skating, or Slalom, or Curling.  If not Olympic competition, I’d love to say that I went someplace marvelous and vastly different from where I live for some sort of exotic vacation.  No, I was just home, nose to the grindstone, knitting and taking care of my family.

During my absence I re-knit Andrea’s Shawl and customized an Anthropologie sale purchase.  First, Andrea’s Shawl Redux.  The remake went along quite well, and after I’d completed the edging (see post entry of Feb. 9) with the leftover purple Mink Yarn, I decided to put aside doubts and hesitation and frog the first shawl and continue on.  Mink Yarn is lovely stuff, and it seems rather unassuming at first, but as you work with it, it gets softer and fuzzier.  The flip-side is that it’s delicate and gets knotted when fiddled with a bit and the knots inevitably lead to breaks.  So there were lots of breaks in Mink Yarn during the making of Redux, and so lots of ends to weave in.  But Redux worked-out great and now I have a bigger shawl and I just love it.  I want more Mink Yarn, too, but I am still determined to work through my stash as much as possible.

The other yarn I used was Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply Alpaca in brown.  All the details for Redux are the same as for the original Andrea (see my post for Jan. 28), just that I made the large instead of the medium this time.  With such light yarn, it still fits nicely under a coat or sweater.

One other difference, is that I ran just shy of enough Mink Yarn to finish Redux.  In fact, I had just 6 inches (15 cm.) left of top edging for the shawl to be finished when I ran out of Mink, so I ripped-out the top edging and used the Indiecita instead.  I’m fine with it.  I’m just glad the top edging doesn’t curl like it did in the first one.

Now with my Anthropologie sale purchase.  I forgot the original price of this sweater coat, but I think it was $138, and I bought off the sale rack for $29.95, figuring that at that price for 100% wool it had potential for me.  I don’t know what is with the design of it, but it had this wool felt accordion-like thing wrapped around it’s midsection like a bad dream or something out of a science fiction movie.  I’m sure it looks great on someone, but I don’t need extra attention to my midsection. You know?

It used to have a belt and that was missing at the store, but I can’t imagine that it did much good.

So I carefully took my seam ripper to it and, oops, made a couple of holes for which I knotted the ends together, and, ta-da! A cool-looking sweater coat.

It had no buttons or buttonholes, and I like a little closure.

So I found a nice clasp at Button Drawer (“no minimum order”) and the rest is history.

What else I’ve got going on is that I went for a CT scan to check if I am in the clear on my thyroid cancer (from back in 1997), and I found that I am.  Great!  And then the doctor found some other stuff my body’s been up to that isn’t ideal: both kidneys are in bad shape.  Who knows why?  But I guess we’re going to find out.  Definitely not news that cheers me up, but maybe it won’t be so bad, I’ve heard that the body can function pretty well on a small percentage of viable kidney.  I’ll be visiting with a nephrologist (kidney specialist) in April to see what this all means.