Tuesday, February 27, 2007

In sickness and in health, yarn we shall buy

I'm back from a weeklong visit to New Jersey to see my sis and ate at some fab places, scored some terrific yarn and even fell ill to boot. Everytime I visit NYC I develop a fondness for the city that goes beyond the awe it inspires at first glance. I love all the shops, eateries and people on the streets. Sure keeps you from ever getting bored. A life-long shunner of overused public transportation, I even like the subway. I don't know if I could live there, but for a visit it totally fascinates me!

We managed a one day visit to Boston too and man, I'm glad I bought a new coat and knit the hat. It was windy and bitterly cold but so much fun as we walked Harvard square and along the river Charles alongside the MIT campus. The hat I made from Elann Alpaca fit my sis way better than it fit me so I gave it to her. Here she is in Boston Commons wearing it:

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And in downtown Boston we found Windsor Button! I say "we", but my sister's not a knitter just a willing accomplice and in this case, a generous one. We entered the yarn shop minutes before they closed to escape the freezing wind, and wow! The shop is quite big with a really nice selection of yarn and notions (and buttons of course). We only spent enough time to get these -

RY Cashsoft DK in a pale lilac to make Odessa. Yet to buy the beads.
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A hank of the most soft mmmmMalabrigo in a very beautiful colorway called Dark Earth. I'm using this for the first time and it is definitely one of my favorites. Right now, it's on my needles becoming a ribbed scarf.
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And for the finale..... SEA SILK. Yep, finally gave in and bought this hank in this gorgeous colorway (don't know what its called). It will, of course, become a lace scarf but not just yet. Maybe later this summer once I find a worthy lace pattern. And it smells like silk.
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And in Manhattan, I checked out The Point NYC in the Village. It's a cute little shop with a cafe and some tables occupying most of the floorspace. They've arranged the yarn on the walls in little baskets and hanging display rods. The yarn selection was not awesome, but I did see some of the new Artyarns Cashemere. Beautiful, but pricey! So I bought this one skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Harvest and enjoyed their cafe.
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I sure have been neglecting the food part of this blog, but here are a couple interesting places we visited. A place in Journal Square called Sri Ganesh that serves up the most authentic and delicious South Indian food. I think we ate enough for 3 and got take out too!
And an upscale champagne bar in Manhattan called Flute. A very nice lounge for a pre-dinner drink or two.
And of course, we stuffed ourselves silly in the British style pub called Elephant and Castle attached to our hotel in downtown Boston.

Mr.P seems to have managed remarkably well in my absence, but he was the airport early to pick me up so I'm thinking maybe he did miss me a little, eh? :)

I'm still recovering from whatever bug bit me, so am slow catching up on OTN projects!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

43 days into a new year!

It doesn't seem like 43 days since Mr P and I toasted each other over beer at Old Chicago on New Year's Eve. It seems like a week or two. This year, I can't wait for spring to show up and get this damn snow off the ground! But on the bright side, cold weather = baking and knitting. What better way to feel cozy, warm and be happy you're not one of those miserable sods freezing their tushy off outside.

I made this really good chocolate cake with a different kind of buttercream frosting the other day. Saved ourselves a slice then sent the rest away with Mr P to his office. I totally forgot to get pictures, so to make up here's something yummy.
This is a Gingerbread Pudding Cake I made today to take to a friend's place. It is fabulous served slightly warm with ice cream (we got the sweet cream with nuts from cold stone creamery)!

In knitterly news, Jan has turned out to be the Month of Yarn. I bought lots of gorgeous yarn and have several on stix as we speak. Take a lookie and bring a towel to wipe off all that drool:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Bombon. An ultra soft merino from handpaintedyarn.com (in color bombon - shades of yellow, chocolate, maize and a sort of purple). It is right now being knit into a very pretty My So Called Scarf . The pink is a bulky handspun in Rosa Purpura that I bought for felting. And felt what you ask? COASTERS!

Next up we have an order from Elann.com. I got some Sonata (100% mercerized cotton) for my first attempt at a top. The color is victorian grape and much as I love the color, I'm a little taken aback with the feel of cotton. It's not as soft as I'd hoped. But we'll see how it knits and washes. I also got a lone skein of peruvian alpaca in blackberry wine. This was combined with the same yarn in color Garnet for a hat. Pictures of the hat later because I plan to knit a second hat and make it a double for warmth. In the meantime, here's the yarn:

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And here's a treat for hungry eyes. Lorna's Laces Shepherd in sock weight. Yarngrove.com was having a sale last Sunday and I couldn't resist. If you haven't shopped with them yet, go check it out at Yarngrove. They have a great selection, good prices and free shipping on all US orders. They're very nice too. I only got one skein of each colorway because I plan to make anklets and 215 yds should be enough for a pair. The green and reds is called Gold Hill and the blue/teal is called Buck's Bar. They're both soft and gorgeous. A definite inspiration to complete the sock I have on the needles!

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And for you greedy ones, here's a close up.

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We went to Boulder, CO the other day and visited this yarn shop called Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins. It's a really neat place. Lots of yarn, and a good selection of books and needles. Mostly natural fibers but some novelty. Oh and they also stock nice knitting bags. With the greatest difficulty I kept my hands off the Koigu, Manos and some gorgeous hand painted stuff, and ended up getting 2 skeins of Reynolds Lopi for a bag I'm designing. They also have this really adorable shop dog named Bridget.

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If you ever get a chance to go Boulder, check out both the yarn shop as well as a little place called The Boulder Teahouse. It's a teahouse with a history and filled with beautiful Russian art. They also have tons of tea to choose from and a very unique menu. Don't forget to get one of their champagne tea cocktails and the gingerbread!

And that's it for yarn news. There are several projects being worked on and I'll post some WIP pictures next post. I'm excited about my upcoming trip to NJ to visit my sis, so I'm probably going to be MIA until next week. Happy Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Return of the blogger

OK, so "tomorrow" took some 6 days to show up. But I'm here, aren't I? And with gorgeous yarn and recipes!!

The promised recipe first :
I came up with this method of making tilapia after reading another recipe made with mustard paste. Let's call it "Tilapia in Red Chilli Mustard Sauce"
Cut up the tilapia fillets into bit size pieces, rub turmeric and salt into it. Let it marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. At the end of those 2 hours, heat a small amount of mustard oil in a pan and fry the tilapia pieces. Set aside.
In a pan, heat some oil add jeera (cumin) and methi (fenugreek) seeds. Then add a whole dried red chilli broken into pieces. Fry for a few seconds, then add rough chopped onions. Saute until the onions are golden brown. Add a 1/4 tsp yellow mustard powder. Add a tsp of tomato paste, stir then add a quarter cup of water. Transfer mixture into a blender and puree. Return to the pan, add fish pieces, salt, chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice.

And now for the YARN!
This is what I recently got in the mail and I'm totally in awe.

That's 2 hanks each of Artyarns Regal Silk and Supermerino in Yellow Ferns (133) and 1 hank of the supermerino in Cappucino. Aren't they beautiful? Here's another picture with true colors:

The silk will become a scarf in the Column of Leaves pattern and it's supermerino partner will become a pair of mittens and a flat topped hat. The lone skein of supermerino will become... hmm, I don't know yet. Something lovely.

I really really want to buy more of the artyarns silk and one of their sexy short-sleeve top pattern and go for it. But I'm yet to attempt making a garment. So... I guess I have to wait. Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

And I finished and mailed my sister's hat in Homespun Quartz. It's the left one in the picture and is in plain k2p2 ribbing. The one on the right was an experiment that needs more thought. It has a k1p1 ribbed brim, and the body is knit in garter. It's too loose. Oh and there's still yarn leftover from the one skein of Homespun after these 2 hats.

I finally started on my Shadow lace scarf and finished the bottom of my soon-to-be-felted tote in Cascade 220. I'm itching to start a new scarf with some yarn I will get soon. Think handpainted in yellows and browns. More on that later!