January 2009 Archives

Cable-Down Raglan: It Burns


Since I'm once again blessed with large amounts of free time (in between studying for and taking tests), I decided to start a new sweater. I had a nice baby alpaca/cotton yarn I wanted to use for Stephanie Japel's Cable-Down Raglan, which is in the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits, and after a quick gauge swatch to be sure that the substitution would work (in which I got exactly the gauge required on the first needle choice -- that never happens), I began knitting.

I don't know what it is about knitting cables top-down and in the round that makes my brain not want to understand them, but I think I have to pull this out and start over because I seem to have gotten slightly rotated and knitted my cables backwards. And actually, I think my cast-on was too loose, as well, so I'd like to tighten that up a bit, though it may require a set of needles that I don't have (#5 dns, though perhaps I can try out Magic Loop with one of my long circulars instead).

It's a bit of a tradition for me to start a sweater about fifteen times before I actually finish it, so it's not like this is unexpected. I do hope, though, that somewhere along the line I actually catch on and see what the heck I'm doing. Cables are super-easy for all they look complicated (compared to things like purling five stitches at once, for example), so it's puzzling that this is so puzzling.

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A Few Tales of Cooking and Learning


The jelly I made over Christmas turned out very hard; it becomes more liquid on heating, but is really a candy rather than a jelly. I know what I did wrong, next time it will be better, yadda yadda, but I still find the world of jelly-making much harder than jams. Everything is so much more delicate and complicated. It's fascinating, in much the same way that methodically reducing recipes used to be fascinating. (Plus, I have like 30 jars of the stuff to deal with now.)

I won't have a chance to do anything about it until our next fruit crop comes in, which will be midsummer sometime. Until then I have bought a new book on jellying to study. When I'm not studying for my professional exams, that is.

In the meantime, we took a trip out to Japantown yesterday and bought a ridiculously complicated rice maker. Noel immediately loaded it up with brown rice, and we had brown rice for dinner last night, then lunch today. It's safe to say that the rice maker is a win. It certainly makes a better brown rice than we do.

We had piles and piles of winter greens in the fridge over the holidays, and were just unable to keep up with the supply from our CSA box. And a bunch went bad or marginal when we were away over Christmas. So last week Noel declared greens bankruptcy and fed them to the chickens (who have eaten quite a bit of them but still prefer grass for reasons of their own); what doesn't get eaten there gets composted, so it's all good. Of course, on Friday there was a box full of even more greens, and we're right back on the downward spiral.

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Three Photos from Elsewhere


It's notable that on our recent jaunt through the cold parts of the United States, I took three photos, and all of them were of cases of food. Although one is actually a photo of the case itself, rather than the food (which was unexceptional).

A brief tour? Certainly. Here we have the Philadelphia airport, F Terminal, after a red-eye to Pittsburgh, a one-hour layover, and a quick hop to Philly. F Terminal is where you go when you are going to fly into Ithaca, so at the holidays it is usually packed with people I've known since childhood. I don't know if any of them were there this time, because I was so tired I could hardly see. I did see this, though:

Pastry case at Au Bon Pain

The brilliance of this design may not be obvious. Let me describe it. I am standing outside the store (Au Bon Pain, for those who must know). From the outside you can see the pastries, and their little nametags, and their prices. But you can't choose anything, so if you can't make up your mind you can stand there and gape without blocking the way of somebody who is ready to choose something. Or without being blocked by some simpleton who must stand in front of the case blocking the view for everybody else.

Even better, you can see whether you want to haul your pile of luggage into the store to get a pastry at all. The window case makes a million kinds of sense in a high-traffic, high obstruction environment like an airport. Now they just need to put one at the pre-made sandwich counter at the lunch place near my office.

From Ithaca, we went on to Minneapolis (via a bumped partway through our three-leg trip, so we spent much of the day in Philadelphia airport drinking wine at Vino Volo). From Minneapolis there was nothing to do but drive three hours up to New York Mills, MN, to see family. And when one goes to Mills, one must stop at Motley to visit Morey's for stinky fish of all sorts.

We bypassed the lutefisk (we'll be enjoying its flavourless, textureless jelliness at a smorgasbord this weekend).

Morey's seafood - lutefisk

Instead, Noel got some smoked whitefish (because I like it better than salmon) and a little tub of something terrible involving herring that I don't want to think about. His parents got a package of frozen salmon burgers that we had for dinner that night (they were very good, tasting of smoked salmon with a bit less slippery a texture than you usually get in a whole-fish product).

Morey's seafood - smoked fishes

Then it was back to San Francisco, and a quick drive out to Sacramento to pick up the sausagesdogs from Dog Camp, and we were able to collapse in a little pile. Seven days and seven cities (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Ithaca, Minneapolis, New York Mills (OK, not really a "city"), Denver, Sacramento).

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