31 October 2008

To measure or not to measure

Ask me to create something in the kitchen that entails sticking precisely to a recipe, and I can’t help but improvise. I’m the kind of person who thinks a “pinch,” a “handful,” and “until it looks right” are actual measurements.

So when I decided to make some biscuits a few days ago, I thought I would try this measuring thing. And I was going merrily along, as best I could - I knew I needed half a bar of butter, so I eyeballed it, trying to take into account the invisible third that had been used for something else. Tablespoons are no problem. And for the bigger amounts, I pulled out my handy measuring cup, and measured away. I always put in less sugar and less butter, which is usually okay.

About half way through I noticed that the dry measurements had all been in grams, a measurement of weight, not in ounces, a measurement of volume - obviously, ounces are on my measuring cup. This might have been fine if the measurement had been grams for everything - the proportions would have been okay. But, no: remember, I'd gotten the butter more or less right, and the tablespoons. So I switched to measuring the remaining ingredients in grams. Not my best decision ever.

Into the cooker go the biscuits! The worst part of the story? They came out really well - and I have no idea what my measurements were.

This is not dissimilar to how I do my calculations for knitting in my head - okay for one piece, but it becomes a little confusing when I've got a pair of mittens and a pair of sleeves to work on, all in the same time period. Why don't I write these things down?

So I'm writing it down now. The sleeves on my phildar pull: cast on 44. Remaining Druid mitten: cast on 42 for the cuff. Increase to full amount of stitches after cuff. Though actually, in the case of the mitten, I'm going to frog the first one and redo it.

17 October 2008

Week in Review

This past week, at knitting group, Paris came up and I realised I couldn't remember the name of the métro stop near my grandmother's flat. This was the stop I emerged from every Friday afternoon to go to lunch with my grandparents and my aunt and the occasional other friend or family member, as well as for every holiday and every birthday for a whole year, and I couldn't remember the name! Quelle honte, n'est-ce pas? As soon as I got home I had to look it up: Laumière! It was such a relief - of course, I can remember what it looked like, and the walk from the métro to her house. I remember arriving and that there would always be some lovely smell emanating from the kitchen. My grandfather was usually the one who cooked, and he was really good at it. After lunch, my aunt and my grandmother would smoke a cigarette each, and we'd each eat a small square of chocolate. Every once in a while, when I left, my grandmother would press a 100 franc note in my hand (yes, it was that long ago that I lived there), which made me feel like a child, but in a really good way. She used to knit all the time, and how I wish that I had been a knitter back then, so I could have knit with her.

Aside from my memory lapse, it was a lovely evening with the Hoxton knitting group - it was a big group, and one new knitter had just seen us in passing, barely even knew what ravelry was, and just decided to join us, which I thought was so nice. And, by coincidence, she had happened to go to school with one of the other women there. Anyway, I had a really good time.

This is what I was knitting that night:

The colour is most accurate in the first photo.

In non-knitting news, I sent in my absentee ballot this week - it won't make too much of a difference, as I'm in NY, which will go for Obama anyway, but it still felt good to do it. Now all I can do is keep my fingers crossed that he wins. Even Karl Rove thinks McCain is highly unlikely to win; he said if he does, he'll “have engineered the most impressive and improbable political comeback since Harry Truman in 1948." Though I wonder if he's doing this as a kind of reverse jinx - you know?

Another thing I've been able to tick off my to-do list is that I've finally bought some brown boots, which I've been wanting since I got here back in February: everyone here has such cute brown boots, all different shapes (within reason of course) and sizes, and I think after eight months, I can say my wanting them wasn't just a flash in the pan. I really love my new boots. So cute.

Also, it's been getting chilly in London, so I made some house socks. They did not turn out anywhere near as pretty as Ysolda's, but that's not the pattern's fault, I think my yarn choice, while good for warmth, was not so good for cuteness.

I've started some druid mittens from the latest vogue knitting.

Speaking of mittens, my niece called me yesterday to tell me that the mittens I made for her a few years ago are now too small. Hint hint. Her favourite color is constantly changing. A month and a half ago, it was dark blue and dark green, so I asked if she wanted dark green mittens, only to be told that she would prefer if they were brown. I hope I can knit them fast enough that she gets them while she still likes brown!

11 October 2008

First pair of socks ever

Here are my Bacchus socks:

And I started a scarf in this lovely Lobster Pot bulky yarn - I've had it for a few years, and I have had no idea what to make with it. I'm not entirely sold on this scarf.

I might like to make it into these slippers, but it seems too nice to just pad around the house in. I just don't know. I guess I'll keep knitting it into a scarf.

Well, except that I think it's time to take a wee break from knitting, and focus a little more on finding more work, especially with a recession coming on, it seems like it might be a good idea.

08 October 2008

Some free time

I just had a crazy week, but starting today, I get a little bit of breathing space.

And what good timing, because look what I got today!

It's the wool from the CSA I joined last year, Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm. It's very soft, and I love the warm white color. I also got 6 skeins of worsted weight. The one pictured here is sport weight. Now I have to figure out how (or possibly if) I should dye them. I'm thinking a nice dark red...

This week I went up to Sheffield for a meeting, and I didn't see that much of the town, only this part around the train station:

And the little sister dress, that I'm making for a friend of my sister's:

And a Bacchus sock: