FO: hemlock ring.

First, the answer to the blocking dilemma: blocking trumps civilized meals at the table. I opted not to use pins — the ecowool was sticky enough that it seemed to stay where I pulled/tugged it, probably thanks to gravity, as most of the “petals” were hanging off the table. Despite rolling the blanket in a towel before laying it out to dry, I had to periodically wipe up puddles from beneath the petals.  Because this is a wedding gift, I decided not to spread it out again to photograph it — that just seemed like a recipe for a blanket covered in Boh-hair. So here’s a shot of the finished hemlock ring, folded and draped over a chair in the kitchen:

I am thrilled with how this turned out. Plus, I learned new things about lace knitting, casting on, and binding off, and I reclaimed some lace knitting confidence after my ishbel fail. Victory! I used just under 1.5 skeins of Cascade Ecowool (using US 10.5 needles as called for in the pattern) and I made the regular size, binding off at the marked row on the chart. And with the kitchen table back, I made pizza for dinner last night.

This is a tomato, basil, and mozzarella pizza — no sauce, just some olive oil brushed on underneath the toppings. This is might be my new favorite pizza combination — the tomatoes were so sweet — almost caramelized by the heat of the oven.

In the land of tomatoes, want to see what I have planned in the kitchen for tonight, tomorrow, and/or Friday?

Time to can some tomatoes! I’ve never done this before, and I’m psyched. My mom emailed me her recipe for sauce and scanned in her handwritten notes about canning whole tomatoes. I remember her doing this when I was little, and I am looking forward to having my own jars of tomatoes I picked on my shelves!

Also, my fridge was so colorful after I unloaded yesterday’s haul from the farm that I just had to take a picture. I also opened the fridge door and pulled out the drawers so that the boy could admire everything from the rainbow of goodness inside to the adorableness of the baby eggplants.

Last picture today: year three, day one. Me and my goofy grin are off to campus soon. A big year begins. But first, I’m going to knit another inch of that big, happy cowl-neck.

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hemlock blob, boh, buttons.

A podcast, an episode of Project Runway, and two mugs of coffee later, I present to you my hemlock ring, in blob form, and I love it. Now, where am I going to block this thing?

Boh has no idea.

Yesterday afternoon,  I quickly added a fourth (red) button to my Shalom, and then swapped out the less matchy orange button (second from the top) in order to make this wearable, and quick. See, yesterday was cold and rainy, and, let’s face it, rather unproductive. A coffee shop work plan took shape, and I decided that I needed to be able to wear Shalom. I think I will eventually swap out the orange buttons for red ones, but this worked wonderfully for yesterday’s coffee shop work date (followed by a french-fries-with-delicious-dipping-sauces-reward-for-reading date). Here are a few more Shalom pictures! (Tough to take good photos in artificial light. The blurry ones are my favorites.)

Back to the pile of reading!

beginning the bind-off.

This is going to take awhile, but boy, is it ever pretty! The knitted bind-off option for the hemlock ring involves a repeat that includes turning your work, and then knitting and purling into one stitch several times to create that lovely loop. Then you turn back and bind off those stitches, and continue on to the next grouping. Slow, but worth it, I think.

Also, last night we had a super easy, super delicious meal, completely inspired by this tomato tart over at inoakpark. I followed the recipe that K. links to, though I used slightly less butter in my crust, and didn’t need the additional tbsp of water. Also, I only slathered whole grain spicy mustard on half of the dough, as the boy is not a huge fan. I used mozzarella instead of goat cheese, fresh flat-leaf parsley for the herbs, and tucked a few stray rounds of zucchini into the gaps left by my tomato slices. The dough took less than ten minutes to make, and requires no resting time. Thirty minutes after that, this deliciousness came out of the oven. I’m not ashamed to say we polished off the entire tart. I will be making this again.

t-10 rows.

I am so close to finishing this. Which is excellent, because I very much want to block it and send it to live in LA. I’m neglecting my reading, and I even allowed myself to watch the entire final disc of Mad Men Season 3 on Saturday. (Okay, and I’m currently downloading the first few episodes of Season 4 to keep me company as I knit around and around.) I have a few rows of stockinette and one more increase section before I bind off. And then I’ll be able to keep reading…and perhaps cast on a few of the projects I’ve been daydreaming about lately!

Boh has been keeping an eye on this project. Too bad it isn’t for him…

there and back.

Apologies — I didn’t intend to just stop posting this week! I think I’m still recovering from my whirlwind 36 hour (+travel time) trip to LA for the wedding of a dear friend. I’m up early this morning, enjoying a full mug of coffee before heading off to an 8 am yoga class, and I have some photos to share. (Not much knitting, I’m afraid.)

The hotel was less than 3 miles from the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. How could I not go? (Especially after TAing a class this spring that covered the Reagan presidency.) Let’s just say that the view was fantastic. The rest? I was surprised at the lack of any sort of coherent narrative (triumphant or otherwise) about Reagan or his presidency. Don’t get me wrong; there was quite a bit of material suggesting that Reagan single-handedly won the Cold War, but it was repetitive and rather disjointed. Instead, the focus seemed to be on the spaces Reagan inhabited: “his” Air Force One (commissioned in 1973, decommissioned in 2001 — he logged the most mileage and negotiated to display it when it was retired), a Cadillac from his motorcade, a replica of his Oval Office, and a scale model, dollhouse style, of the entire White House.  I have lots more to say about the ways the volunteer tour guides described the various exhibits, as well as the mandatory posed photo at the entrance to Air Force One (not unlike those roller coaster photos you have the option to purchase at an amusement park), but I’ll stop there for now.

The wedding took place at a stunning temple high above the Simi Valley. I posted a handful of photos from the pre-wedding receptions and the ceremony itself on Flickr, if you’re interested. (Click through on the sidebar.)

Despite the briefness of my trip, I had a fantastic weekend. It was so nice to catch up with dear friends, and especially wonderful to see the bride and groom so happy.

Boh stayed with his best friends this weekend, and when I picked him up (after a red-eye and an hour and a half drive from the airport), he didn’t seem to want to leave. Once we got home, however, he made himself comfortable. Here he is after our much needed afternoon nap on Monday.

This pizza was made with bbq sauce. Note to self: in the future, check the cupboard for tomato sauce BEFORE making pizza dough. (You know, if tomato sauce is important to you. The bbq sauce was actually pretty awesome, and I’d do this again.)

I call this “unstuffed zucchini.” Last night I looked at my farm share and thumbed through a favorite cookbook full of recipes contributed by CSA farmers, and stumbled across a whole page of ideas for stuffings to use in vegetables. This is a mixture of onions, tomatoes, chopped basil, garlic, ricotta and mozzerella. I sauteed the veggies, mixed in the cheese, and then instead of stuffing the zucchini, I simply chopped it up with some summer squash, poured the stuffing on top, and baked it until it developed a nice crust (45 minutes or so). Let’s just say there isn’t any left.

And there you have it. I’m about 15 rows from the end of my hemlock ring, and I will be almost sad to finish it. I’m going to have to make another, as this one will soon be winging its way to LA in honor of the union we celebrated last weekend.

In other news, the boy returns tomorrow. Hooray!

pancakes and procrastination.

My friend T. and I picked a few pounds of blueberries on Tuesday afternoon, which meant that on Wednesday, I made pancakes for breakfast and lunch.

Boh has continued his efforts to take over the couch at every opportunity.

And I have directed all of my powers of procrastination into my hemlock ring blanket. I’m sure I’ll be able to get back on track once I’ve exhausted the episodes of Arrested Development available on Netflix. (I’m halfway through Season 2.)

I’m still reading, just nowhere near as quickly or effectively as I’d like. Note to self: get on that.

paws off, please.

Somebody really likes my hemlock ring blanket.

Unfortunately, lace (even with heavy worsted weight yarn on big needles) + dog paws does not equal a good idea. Poor Boh.

Here he is again for scale — as you can see, I’ve begun the feather and fan section of the blanket, and might need to start looking for a longer circular. I’m using something in the 32 inch range right now, and I can see that this is going to start growing exponentially very soon.

Also, last night I made zucchini and onion pizza. I think I might have the leftovers for breakfast. Yum!