11/30/2006

Setbacks

I swear the universe works in mysterious, and infuriating ways. There must be some sort of cosmic rule that dictates whenever one comes close to finishing something really big, a catastrophe must occur at the very last moment. Icarus has had a catastrophe. It happened two days ago. I had finished it at last, well nearly- I had to bind off - and I had just run out of yarn. The last edging row was worked in the new yarn that the shop keeper at Noe Knit assured me was a perfect match/compliment and wouldn't at all be 'too much'. well, it was definitely much 'too much' it was hideous and bright, and after beginning the bind off I decided to take it out. At which point the new yarn clung desperately to the old, and refused to budge. More tugging resulted in a tangled knot that needed to be cut out. What I wanted to do most at that point was shove the whole thing into a corner and give up knitting entirely, but instead I have been painstakingly threading a guide thread through the 570+ lace stitches several rows back in advance of taking the shawl off its needles and cutting out the naughty new yarn. Stupid sticky mohair. Its taken me hours to do this, but I think that I'm nearly ready to put it back on its needles, hopefully with all stitches intact. I'm crossing my fingers that i will be able to finish this in truth as soon as the new ball gets here....I can't believe I have to order a ball of yarn for 1 row and a bind off. Somebody somewhere in the universe has something against Icarus.

11/21/2006

In Progress


















6 rows to go. I feel like this shawl is getting heavier every minute, and I'm bowed under its weight unable to cast on anything else until its finished. And I must finish because I desparately need to knit these fingerless gloves...and these socks..I'm still worried that I"m going to run out of yarn but we'll see how far I get tonight, if I don't finish I make a yarn run tomorrow.

I'm also making progress on my stripey socks. Here it is just before I turn the heel.


















Althougth the yarn isn't striping in clear cut stripes I like the diagonal striped effect that its turning into. Haven't decided yet what heel to use, generaly I go with a short-row heel but I would like to try something different. Any suggestions?

11/20/2006

Best Ever























Banana bread has the most heavanly smell. It warms up the whole house, and makes me salivate long before its ready to eat. I made this loaf the other day from a recipe found on epicurious - actually from a recipe found in the comments for a banana bread recipe on epicurious - and it really is the best banana bread ever. Banana bread isn't subject to the same sort of subjective tastes that other baked goods are. For instance, it would be difficult to say what the best brownie recipe ever is, because some people like cake-like brownies and others prefer fudge-like ones. But banana bread has an international standard I think - moist, but still firm with just a little bit of nuts - and this one was perfect!

Best Ever Banana Bread
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together.
Beat eggs, and add with bananas to butter mixture.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda 3 times.
Blend into banana mixture.
Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan and bake until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Place on rack to cool.

We ate this very fast, I think that I will have to make another loaft tomorrow.

I'm almost done with the Icarus shawl, only 9 more rows to go! Its a race though, the last ball of yarn is getting smaller and smaller very quickly and I'm worried that I'm going to run out before I'm through. Also on the needles is a nice stripey sock which I hope to have a picture of next time as well.

Until then, a gratuitous image of Miss Blu looking very chic in her beret!

11/17/2006

Kisetsu
















Every year with the passing of Halloween I start to feel the 'Holiday' season looming ahead. It always feels like one big rush from Thanksgiving to New Years, interspersed with Christmas, my father's birthday and now Blu-chans birthday as well. Aside from the usual expected consumer pressure, I often feel a sort of internal seasonal pressure as well - a drive to feel connected with the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter. This time of year I constantly dream of soups and cider and pumpkin pie, and I get excited at the thought of brisk walks through leaves, wearing mittens and scarves and frost - which is amusing considering that I live in San Francisco, and it was 65 today and probably never frosts. But these are things that I remember from my childhood on the east coast.

I have been thinking about these types of remembered rituals lately, and how they connect to the Seasons. How sometime next week most of America will be eating Turkey, regardless of whether Turkeys are native or not to their state. Isn't that odd? And cranberry sauce? Cranberries have a pretty specific enviornment that they grow in, and it certainly isn't California. But I wouldn't dream of having Thanksgiving without these things (well ok, actually I do occasionally) because its tradition and just wouldn't 'feel' right. It amazes me how ingrained the rituals of the holidays are in me, and that no matter how far I go I'm sure that I will probably always look for pumpkin pie in Nov. because, in my understanding of the world, it is supposed to be there.

I have been trying to eat more 'in season' for awhile now. It ensures that your food travels less distance to your plate, and the local organic produce is generally better. This isn't that easy, because most of my cookbooks aren't written according to a season and if a recipe calls for tomatos they are certainly available from a hothouse at the grocery. To help my shopping I recently got a food wheel for the Bay Area, that shows which produce, fruit, fish and nuts are available in each month locally. and according to this wheel, in November instead of cranberries I should be eating - limes. which most likely do not go well with turkey.

The purchase this week of Martha Stewarts Holiday issue has also tipped off my Holiday craft lust. So many pretty things....so little time. I start to think that if I started now, this instant ,maybe I could knit socks for everybody I know and bake cookies by Christmas. This is truly delusional. I know that while making everyone on my list handmade gifts is a wonderful idea, I would never finish, and would end up buying stuff anyways. But I will make cookies.