Thursday, January 27, 2011

For strategic sheep purposes...

That's right!  Today's post is brought to you by the Falkland's (via Corgi Hill Farm's magnificent dye pots and my  very own spinning wheel).
Falkland, and is the January fiber of the month for CHF's un-club (details here) and I chose the Irish Moss colorway.  It's 204 yards of chain plied goodness and I just can't decide what to knit from it.

And this:
is a camel silk blend called 'Fresh Dill' that was on the wheel when the postman brought the Falkland braid. It's 250 yards of heaving fingering 2-ply.  Only through sheer willpower did I manage to get it finish and plied before immediately throwing on the Falkland (which is currently hogging all my love).  I still have 4 or so ounces of this color to spin up, but this polwarth
is trying to jump the queue.

If you've never tried CHF's fibers (and even if you have!) you may want to check out this rav thread where you could win some.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Broiled Tilapia and Roasted Broccoli

Tonight, I tried my broiler for the first time.  Or, really, any broiler for the first time.  I've been toying with my newly downloaded Whole Foods recipe app (which is awesome) and collected a set of week night dinners.  Tonight was adapted from this recipe.  It's also the first in a series that I'll tag 'Costco Gourmet'.  To qualify for this, recipes must have the majority of their ingredients from Costco - which is really easy to do in this house!  The roasted broccoli went well with it, but the recipe will wait until later!

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise 
4 tablespoons homemade yogurt or sour cream 
2 tbs lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried tarragon 
4 tilapia fillets
Combine half of the parmesan and all other ingredients except the fish.  Smear over tilapia and let sit for 15-20 minutes. 
Preheat broiler.  Line baking pan with foil.   Place filets on foil and sprinkle on remaining parmesan.   Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until topping is lightly browned and fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 8 minutes.

Thanks to you all for your sweater comments!  After taking those pictures, I got around to trying on the body that I had knitting and... either my math or my gauge was off.  So, I must either 1) frog or 2) finish and gift.  Decisions decisions!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January is for Sweaters

As 2010 was drawing to a close, and I was trying to cram in every last shawl and Christmas hat, I really found myself wanting to work on sweaters.  Don't get me wrong - I love hats, scarves, lace shawls, and even socks.  Somehow, sweaters - with their issues of fit, gauge, and fashion, seem like the holy grail of knittings.  Plus, it's cold out!  I wear this to work nearly every day, and could use a few more.  Besides, even Tika mentioned that eleven sweaters in a year might be a bit crazy.  I don't deny that I might resort to tiny sweater-shaped ornaments by December, but I'm going to go for some full size ones in the mean time.

I'm turning my ridiculous Palette stash:


into an EPS colorwork yoke sweater (which meant ordering 9 skeins of charcoal heather for the body and sleeves, but this still counts as stash busting)!  I'm cruising through the body, and am now faced with a decision:

Autumnal browns and reds?
Cool greys and greens?
I ask you, my lovely readers... what do you think?

And, because January is also for baking hot things, I'm celebrating my pantry reorganization with these potholder tutorials:

Time to dust off that sewing machine!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beginnings with bleu cheese

Reasons I don't food blog:
I have no formal training in cooking (other than a high school Chef class).
It's much easier to take pretty pictures of yarn than food.
I don't really have a niche, culinarily speaking.  I'm all over the place.
I'm unclear about the copyright issues about adapting other people's recipes.  

Reasons why I might start:
I love cooking.
I cook a lot.
I love the food I make.  I think other people might like it, too.
I like to make things from scratch, because I like to know everything that's in my food.  I'm a compulsive label-reader.  Many things are much easier to make than you would think!
I am far behind in my recipe countdown.  I need a new reason to keep adding new recipes!

I think food blogging might be a fun addition.  It's in the spirit of the blog - utilitarian (flannel) but also a bit of elegance and excitement (lace).  In that spirit, here is my lunch today:

Bleu Cheese Coleslaw

Ruby Tuesday recently added bleu cheese coleslaw to their salad bar, and I found myself looking for any reason to go there.  The easier route was to create my own recipe so I could bring this to work for lunch every day.  It livens up leftover chicken, but today I'm splurging and having it with a crab cake!

1/2 c olive oil mayo
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbs mustard
3 c shredded cabbage (1 head)
1 c blue cheese crumbles

I shred my cabbage in a food processor, then toss it in a gallon bag.  You can also buy precut coleslaw mix, if that's easier.  Either way, I mix the whole salad in the bag then leave it there or, more often, split it into single serving jars for taking to work.  You can do it in a bowl if you're feeling more traditionally minded. 

Mix ingredients and refrigerate!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sock stash

As promised, here's the rest of my sock yarn.  My birthday resulted in two Knit Picks orders. The major point was a yarn meter, which means I no longer have to count incessantly while using my niddy noddy. I'm excited about that, but it hardly makes for a pretty picture. What does is this...
Stroll tonal in Springtime and Kindling in the aftereffects of last week's blizzard. The kindling is destined for fire starters, while the springtime is still undecided.  I queued up a ton of socks in '09 that I still haven't managed to knit.  One lucky winner will get the springtime!

This is the new Chroma, a noro-esque series of color progressions in a fingering weight.  These colors are New England and Galapagos.  I plan on using at least one of these to try out more of Cat Bordhi's sock architectures.  Maybe Upstream, or Sidestream?  I did ridgelines a few years back and didn't care of them, and haven't picked up the book since.   I think subtle self-striping yarn might show off the architecture well.

I now have 10 skeins of sock yarn ready to go!  Now I just need to cast on...

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Dye-athon!

I've recently reorganized the stash a bit, and was shocked to find that I only had 2 skeins of usable sock yarn.  I had some undyed and some unsatisfactorally dyed sock yarn, but very little usable.  Out came the dye pots, and my house smelled of wet wool for a few days, but this is what we got:

The two at the top are 100g skeins of knit picks Bare base (which I don't even bother to reskein) and each one was overdyed at least 3 times until I was happy.


The two on the bottom are skeined from two sock blanks that sweet pea and I did together.  I love the sock blanks.  I don't presoak as long as directed, and it gives the yarn an almost heathered look.  I did several of these a few tears ago, and made some of my favorite socks out of the yarn (like these ones below).

My techniques are pretty vague and unmeasured, but I did get a chance to spend more time with my copy of Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece (Amazon or Rav link), which I highly recommend.  I mostly just throw the yarn in a dedeicated pot with a few glugs of vinegar and a smattering of dye, then simmer until I remember its going.  I used Jacquard acid dyes, but I think it would be easier to start with Wilton cake dyes.  There are a good range of colors, and they're food safe.  The book has much more info, including some cool stuff on color theory.

This had been languishing in my stash as a pale sea foam green and grey skein of laceweight.  I overdyed this with chestnut and am much happier.  This will either become Gnarled Oakwoods or Tibetan Clouds stole.

Up tomorrow... How a birthday order at Knit picks enhanced my stash!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I've been musing over possible fiber-related goals for the year.  10 shawls in 2010 was fun, but I want to try something new.  I mentioned my current obsession with sweaters, and I've been toying with the idea of my own sock club.  Then I've been finding little patterns here and there that would be fun.  Plus, there's all the fun spinning!  But then there are a few WIPs that really should get done...

But there was no theme!  I decided to make 11 my theme for 2011; 11 things from each thing I want to knit (or spin) this year.  If I do one a month from each, I should be just about on time.  But there's a little wiggle room, too.
  And items can count for more than one category.  If I knit a cabled hat for my brother - that's three categories right there!

11 Sweaters
11 Mittens/Gloves
11 Socks
11 Hats
11 Skeins of handspun
11 Other objects
11 Cabled Things
11 Lace things
11 Gifts
11 Things from Handspun
11 Things from that have been queued for longer than a year

Anyone else have 11 things they want to accomplish this year?  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Whew!  What a year!

We've had a good one here at Chez Book, and are hoping for a continuing happy trend in 2011.

I finished all 10 shawls for the challenge, a fact only held out by two largely-garter-stitch Multnomahs in the last 2.5 weeks of the year.  Here's the final one:
The yarn is a special skein of laceweight dyed for me by a friend several years ago in a secret santa swap.  I've been wanting to do something spectacular with it, but it turns out the subtle color variations really wanted something simple.

I'm done with the shawls.  There's an 11 in 2011, or something like that, but I'm switching gears for 2011.  I was thinking of my own sock club, but I only have 2 skeins of sock yarn in my drawer.  Two!?!  WTH?

As for the 12 mile quest.  Dudes, I was only 800 yards shy!  That's waaaaaay better than last year, in which I crapped out somewhere in mile 6.  The spinning wheel definitely helps.  And, this is a fun way for me to keep track of how much I finish.  It's also good inspiration to get things finished and have fewer WIPs laying around.  So... here goes 12 miles in 2011.

In the spirit of new beginnings, I spent New Year's Eve frogging projects, drying self-dyed yarn and watching movies with the fam.  Here are some of the ingredients for 11 sweaters in 2011:

A frogged hooded scarf into a cabled sweater (or this?) for Sweet Pea.

Two skeins of klickitat that I dyed grey to become an Inishturk for Mr. Book.

Three skeins (and some minis) for a colorwork sweater for Little dude.

Not pictured:  A drawer of Palette for an EZ fair isle, and 9 skeins of same-dye-lot Malabrigo for a blackberry cardi.  Both for me, cause I'm greedy that way.  This is also going to be frogged and reforged into something that will fit my mom.  I also plan on finishing my Feathered Plum Cardi.  That puts me at seven.  I'm sure I can find five more...

Happy New Year to you and yours!  I look forward to sharing further craftiness!