Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Stuff than you can shake a DPN at! (a big one)

Hip hip HOOORAAAAYYY!!! Yes that was cheering. I finished the Mother's Day Gift that I was working on. Yes that's right I finished it! But no pics...why? Mom reads the blog! In other news I finally receive Sensational Knitted Socks (SKS) in the mail and I am diligently working on my first pair of sockies. I am very excited about this, even though I had to frog the whole darn thing and start from scratch b/c I did a knitted cast on which SKS says is insubstantial...so I frogged it. I cast on again and even though I only have about an inch of ribbing, I'm still really excited about working on the socks. I am working from the pattern in the Spring '07 IK 'Roza's Socks' The pattern should keep me from getting bored and my recipient likes to have plenty of ribbing so the socks don't slouch down...the best of both worlds! In other super-fabulous news I finished the fingerless mitt, although I ran out of yarn and had to use some pink sock yarn to finished the thumb...but it looks like a cute little thumb ring...and it was just for fun anyway. (Pics to follow, of course) I went to LYS on Friday and bought MORE SOCK YARN!!! While I was there the knitting ladies complimented me on my Sexy Little Sweater(even thought the sleeves suck butt!)So big ego boost for me. (yay!)And THEN I called Mom and asked her if she could use her mad sewing skills to make me a DPN case, and she said ok! Not only that, but she went and bought funky fabric and even found some patterns for them online AND insisted on making some pockets in it for my circs! How much do I love Mama? TONS!!! So that's the stuff. (I told you it was a lot.) I promise to post pics soon!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

SWTC Sock Boot Camp

So it occurs to me that I may have left out some of the details of my first ever visit to Webs, in my haste to update you on the past two weeks. On Sunday was the SWTC Sock Boot Camp from 12-4. I signed up and had been anticipating it for weeks. However, due to the fact that I had a medium sized emotional breakdown the Thursday (or Wednesday) before the Sock Boot Camp, I was filled with the dread you feel on the first day of classes at a new school. Will I meet anyone? Will anyone talk to me? Will I be an island in the middle of an LYS sea? Will I be the only beginner? What if I don’t knit “correctly”? All of these things and more were running through my head, and with a great deal of nervousness I made it out the door and to the Boot Camp, without getting lost. I arrived with a) no needles b) no sock yarn and c) no idea how to knit socks, but I did arrive with a very firm grasp on how to knit with DPNs and Circulars. (Ry tried to convince me to take my beach-now-knitting bag with me, and I said, “No, no, no, besides I don’t have any sock-type thing to knit anyway!)

So I arrived (friendless) behind two ladies that were obviously very good friends. “Here we go,” I thought. “Here I am the only with no knitting friends.” Well, I walked in and the the ladies that work there were wonderful, thery made me feel very welcome, friends or no friends. They directed me to the beginners table with my wee skein of yarn and my new Pony needles and when I looked at the table, it was full. So I wandered around for a bit and then when I checked back, halleluiah, there was an empty seat. So I took it! I sat down and immediately the instructor asked me if I had worked in the round before and I said yes but never with such eensy-weensy yarn or needles before and she said fine & I got started. Well as we were all knitting away, we were (of course) chatting and people asked me how long I had been knitting, and I said since September of ’06. And then they asked me how I learned to knit.

Me: “Ummmm…I taught myself”

Lady#1 :“You did? How?”

Me: “Well, I just Googled ‘how to knit’ and it came back with instructions and videos and all kinds of things so I just read all of those things and then just practiced.”

Lady #2: “Oh, that’s terrible.”

Me: “What?”

Lady #2: “That’s just awful, teaching yourself how to knit on-line. I tried that and found all those tutorials to be such garbage, you can’t learn anything right on there.”

Me: “Well, it seems to be working out…”

Lady #2: “Why didn’t you just have a friend teach you or a grandmother or take a class, so you could learn it properly?”

Me: “I don’t have any friends in Mass, my Gramma lives in Arizona, and I think I do alright at it…I mean it’s not perfect…but I seem to be doing okay.”

Lady#2: “Well, as long as you’re all right with it.”

I take a special kind of glee in saying that the lady who learned how to knit properly did NOT know how to do a knitted cast-on. Ha-HA!!! So anyway, I also spoke with 2 other ladies that were really nice (I only remember one’s name) and completely ruined my foundation row of K2P2, seems easy right? Apparently I can’t chat with people until the first 2-3 rows have been knit, or I’ll get too caught up in talking and end up with four purl stitches all together. I can, however walk and chew gum at the same time…so I’m getting there. (I ended up ripping the whole damn thing out & starting over, even I can’t live with that much imperfection.) I also realized that I am a slow knitter. Everyone reassured me that with practice I will get faster, I certainly hope so…I have a lot of projects in mind and I’d like to be able to finish them before Christmas (for the gifts) and next summer (for me). That was about it for the LYS visit. However, when I came back I felt pretty good, and Ry is encouraging me to go back and maybe take a Saturday class, or just hang out and knit with other people. So, after finals, that’s my plan. I like the idea of meeting people who share in this newly acquired addiction of mine, and being able to ask questions of more experienced knitters. The whole thing appeals to me. The next event I plan to go to is the Tent Sale, which I will be saving for. I plan on increasing my stash, much to Ry’s chagrin, I’m sure. Oh! And I have completely fallen in love with knitting socks! The tiny yarn, the little needles, the transportability of it all…I just LOVE it!

Roasted Poblano Recipe (as promised)

How to roast chiles

Before chiles are stuffed, they must be roasted. This gives them an earthy flavor and eases removal of the tough skin.

1) Place fresh chiles on a rack over a hot gas flame, on a grill or under a broiler. Cook on all sides for 3 to 5 minutes, making sure all the skin is blackened. Be careful not to overcook. As soon as the skin turns black, turn the chile to blacken another portion.

2) Place in a paper or plastic bag. Allow the chiles to sweat until they are cool enough to handle.

3) Pull off the skin, or scrape it off with a blunt knife.

Shrimp Salad Chilies Rellenos

1 pound shrimp
2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (divided use)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup corn kernels (from 1 or 2 ears of corn)
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and julienned
Corn vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Salt, to taste
4 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded

Toss crabmeat with the serranos, half of the pumpkin seeds, the basil, corn kernels, bell pepper and half of the corn vinaigrette. Season with salt. Fill each poblano with one-fourth of the shrimp mixture.

Serve each chile relleno on a plate with the remaining corn vinaigrette and garnish with remaining pumpkin seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

Corn Vinaigrette

2 ears corn, shucked
1/2shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, to taste

Boil corn for about 10 minutes (until cooked) or you may roast the corn in the oven, but this takes MUCH longer. Cut the kernels off the cobs. Combine corn kernels with shallot, garlic, vinegar and chicken stock in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive and corn oils until emulsified. Season with salt.

Recipie taken from AzCentral.com

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Well! First and foremost let me just say that I have delaying the blogging until I could get my pictures uploaded! Why did it take me so long? Laziness, pure unadulterated laziness.

Now, that I’ve fessed up to that, a lot has happened since I last blogged! First there was Easter. I decided to make roasted poblano peppers with a shrimp filling and shrimp fajitas for dinner on Good Friday (Ry is a Catholic so no meat!). It was delicious, roasting the poblanos gives them this beautiful smoky taste which contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the shrimp an corn filling. (I’ll post the recipe, relax!) The shrimp fajitas were pretty darn good too, if you like fajitas. If you don’t, the poblanos would go well with a nice steak cooked on the grill. After we digested for a bit, we decided to color eggs for Easter.

I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that the last time Ry colored eggs was when he and his sisters were little. Where’s the childlike joy and enthusiasm for Easter? Well, anyway we had a lot of fun and got creative with out little wax crayon and 3 colors of dye. (I messed up & bought the wrong kit, oops!)

Saturday was a day of rest and relaxation followed by a trip on Easter up to his parents’ house. Ry’s two sisters were both there, S & K. The visit was a lot of fun and very relaxing, K & I started in on the wine early, and I forgot (as usual) that when in the M household, you have a bottomless glass of wine. So needless to say I got a little toasty, and poor Ry had to drive us home! (again) The week that followed was not a good one for me mentally. Let’s just say I’m questioning some life decisions right now, and due to various circumstances I’ll be taking at least a year off of law school. I’m still not feeling so great in my mental processes, but I’m doing better.


On Saturday I noticed that the crocuses were in bloom and felt like it was actually starting to turn to Spring and then on Saturday we got rain followed by slush followed by snow and then finished off with some more rain. But I did get these great pictures of the crocuses. On Sunday I went to the SWTC Sock Boot Camp event at Webs. (Ahem, that means that I finally found Webs. As in, I did not get lost this time) It was awesome to finally be with a group of knitters!! I sat at the beginners table and chatted with the ladies there. Although it was a sock knitting event SWTC did not send enough sample yarn of the new TOFUtsies line, so we all ended up knitting a fingerless mitt. Still, it was nice to get the hang of knitting with sock yarn and on small DPNs. I was at the thumb gusset of the mitt, when I realized I could not live with so many imperfections in my knitting, regardless of the fact that it was only for me, so I ripped the whole darn thing out and started from scratch. I’m done with the ribbing & so far have no mistakes (knock wood). While I was there I explored the warehouse (LOVE IT), the front of the store, and their selection of needles. I must go back! Especially since there are some patterns that they have, that I want/need/must have. I also bought some sock yarn so I could finally make something for Ry, he was very excited about the prospect of having some lovely hand knit sockies! So that is a quick as a bunny rundown of the past two weeks.

In other news I finished the Sexy Little Sweater, tried it on & decided that a) I am a chub-a-lub and b) I’m not in love with the sleeves on it.

Sleeve Gap

Close up of sleeves

I think I might have to rip it out and re-do the ribbing on them. Ry thinks the sleeves should be shorter too, so that it’s almost a sleeveless top, I’m not so sure about that. (I have upper arm issues.) I wanted this to be a Spring/Fall Sweater, something to wear on the kinda-warm-but-not-really days here in New England. I was thinking about an inch of 2x2 ribbing done on smaller needles and decreasing the total number of knit stitches for a snugger fit. Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spring Break!! Woo Hoo!!!

So last week was Spring Break, and for the first time in a long time I actually did something, thanks to my lovely grandparents. This is how it went down: I got an e-mail from my Gramps asking when spring break was, so I replied and told him it was the 17th through the 25th of March, then he replied by saying that he & Gramma really missed me and would I like to come out to Arizona for a visit during the break, so I replied “YEEEESSSSS!!!!! Of course!!!!!” So he booked my flight to leave on the 16th and to return on the 23rd.

Now, let me just remind you that New England weather hates me, it really does…I plan for a hike and it rains, I want to go for a bike ride, ditto and on and on. Well the 16th was no different, the nigh before they said to expect flurries and snow on Saturday, so I went to bed thinking “Haha, Suckers!” I woke up with the weatherman telling me to expect 1”-2” of snowfall per hour starting at about 6:00pm. So, I thought, well maybe my flight will be fine. Nope. Flight was cancelled. Cancelled! So I tried calling the airline, big mistake, big HUGE mistake. I was on hold for about an hour before Ry reminded that I was on my cell phone, during the day, and not a weekend. I quickly hung up and told Ry to hop in the car, so we could go to the airport ticketing counter and get my flight rescheduled. We zipped on down there (it’s only about an hour away) screamed up to the curb and I FLEW out of the car and up to the ticketing booth and guess what? It was devoid of almost all human life except for one lonely airline chica who gladly and helpfully scheduled me for a flight leaving out of Boston on Sunday. So Ry & I went back home and settled in for the snow, and did it ever snow! It was buckets (or so it seemed) and we went out with Molly into it and played around and then watched a ton of movies, and went to bed.

As it turns out we got about a foot and a half of snow; it was pretty, but I was ready for the Sunny Southwest, not dreary New England! Ry and I made arrangements for Molly (he was going to Florida to see his Nana) and spent Saturday packing, then headed up to his parents house in the Boston area, so we could have a short trip into Logan in the morning. We arrived at Logan at about 6:00am so I would have 2 ½ hours to check in, and it was a total zoo. Everybody flight had been cancelled on Friday and most of Saturday so everyone was flying out on Sunday morning. Well I rushed and rushed and even rushed my good-bye to my sweetie so I could make the plane on time. I rushed to my gate, threw myself down and heard it “Due to a maintenance problem your flight has been delayed…” AAGGGGHHHH!!!!! They wouldn’t even give us an estimated time of departure so that I could go and have coffee with Ry or anything, but every hour they pushed it back another hour, it was awful. Finally at 1:30 we boarded and left. The flight was easy and it was a direct one, so no connections. The girl sitting across the aisle from me had about 10 beers on the plane, and she was tiny and she seemed fine!

I arrived in AZ intact and very happy to see the Grandparents; we had Mexican food and relaxed in the evening. The week I spent there was wonderful, we went to the pool. I got to drive the golf cart around, we saw a concert (The Guseman Family, pretty peppy group, the son was the most talented though) had Chinese food went shopping. Interspersed with all of this my Gramma showed me the picture of the pine needle baskets she makes and the decorative gourds she makes and designs. She showed me pictures of her when she was little, and where she grew up, pictures of my dad when he was little. We had heart to heart talks about my Dad my aunt and my uncle (God rest his soul), and life in general, it was the most amazing thing. I felt like I really got to know my Gramma in a very real way, in almost the same way I got to know my Mom over the past few years.

Towards the end of my visit I was able to get together with some friends from highschool, Danielle, Sarah, and Mark. Sarah was one third of our trio (Sarah, Stephenie & Me) in highschool. The three of us went everywhere together and did everything together we were the Three Musketeers. And then senior year, Sarah & I had a huge fight and did speak to each other again. Steph kept us up on each other lives and eventually the loss of the friendship faded from my mind and the Steph got us all back in touch with each other. Until I arrived in Phoenix, I had only e-mailed Sarah, and had not spoken with her. So, at my Aunt’s she returned my phone call and it was the first time I had heard her voice in 11 years! Well, Dani, Sarah, Mark and I all decided we would go to Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix. The wait was ridiculous but the Pizza was the best I’ve had in my life!

After getting together with my friends, Gramma, Grampa & I went out to the mine claim she used to live in. On the hike out we passed by some bleached out coyote bones. I took a picture of them (it didn't turn out) and wanted to pick up one and take it back with me, but then I thought I might have to answer some tricky questions to TSA. So I left them where they lay, and hopefully will be able to see them again when I take Ry out there with me.

Mine Claim

It was very cool to see where my Gramma lived and summered as she was growing up in Arizona. They just had a shack on the claim and a collapsible trailer that she, her sister and her parents all slept in. They had no electricity and had to drive about 10 minutes to get water. It's amazing to think that her mother and father moved from the "luxuries" of Pennsylvania to absolutely nothing in Arizona and made a real go of it. It impresses me immensely that these are women that I am descended from.

All in all my visit was lovely, and I miss my Grandparents already. But I am slowly trying to convince Ryan to take the bar in Arizona and move out there. Hopefully I'll be going back to AZ soon and making a permanent life out there!