Sunday, March 04, 2007


It's been a rather productive weekend. I spent yesterday cleaning the downstairs, looking at candidates for the yarn shop, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner for some friends. We had a pork loin roasted with herbs, onions, and apples, accompanied by red cabbage with juniper berries and sweet potatoes. Tom made a spicy black bean soup for starters. The soup was followed by a salad of bitter greens with apples, stilton, and pecans, dressed with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. To finish off the meal, I served a wheat-free apple cranberry crisp with vanilla ice cream. And of course, there was the usual assortment of fine libations. A good time was had by all!

One of our friends has a wheat or gluten allergy, so I'm always looking for wheat-free recipes, especially desserts. With the crisp, I found that substituting 1/2 cup of white rice flour and 1/2 cup of rolled oats whirled in the food processor makes quite an acceptable substitute for the flour measure. In fact, I actually preferred it. Maybe it's my imagination, but the substitution produces a lighter textured topping. Of course, the substitution wouldn't work if gluten was needed.

And I was truly decadent for lunch today. While Tom was munching popcorn and watching Monster's Ball, I whipped up an omelette aux ciboulettes. Along with a little bit of salad left over from dinner last night, some baguette, a small glass of Chardonnay, and listening to Vivaldi's opera, Orlando, I could almost imagine that I was back in gay Paris.

What? You want to know how the yarn shop search went? It too was very productive. I bought a lamp that was marked down almost 50%! No, seriously, it went well. I got a much better sense of what size space I'd like. There are two potential contenders, but one place is for sale and terribly overpriced. If we bought a shop, I wouldn't have any money for inventory. But maybe this place won't sell and the owners would be willing to rent with an option to buy. I think this space would offer the most options for me and support my vision of the shop becoming a place for the knitting community to gather. The other place I looked at was also nice and definitely affordable. A bonus is the that current tenant's wife runs a little day spa in the back. So my clients could not only buy yarn, but they could also get a facial as well! The downside is that the shop is on a small side street with zero parking. So the search will continue.

If you check my sidebar, you'll notice that there are several knit alongs that I joined. I'm notoriously bad at knit alongs, because mostly I never finish anything, despite starting off with good intentions. The most recent along is the Twisted Knitters. I joined in the hopes that I'd force myself to spin more, maybe get a crash course in dyeing, and then knit up the results of my labors. Ha! Other than buying The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, a drop spindle and some yummy roving (and trying to learn how to spin with a spindle again), I made zero progress, despite having close to six months to do the work.

So, you'd think I'd learn, eh? Nope. I joined the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club. I have no idea what to expect, other than fabulous yarn that gets shipped to me every other month or so. How great is that?! I think I'm actually supposed to knit the socks, but we'll see. I still have three sweaters and scarf to complete.

And if that isn't enough, I also joined Secret Pal 10. Other than the One Skein Secret Pal exchange, I've never been able to find the "official" secret pal information. (Hint: Do a Google search on "Secret Pal 10." Duh. I'm a computer professional; you'd think that I would have thought of that sooner.) I'm looking forward to this exchange. And after my final One Skein gifts that I sent went missing, you can be quite sure that I'm going to send everything insured and with a tracking number and maybe with return receipt requested!

Gauge Matters
I checked the gauge on the Christine sweater this morning. Alas, it's a little off. The pattern calls for 26 stitches over four inches and I'm counting 27. So, there you have it. My niece is a wee slip of a thing and this sweater is supposed to be a whopping 28-3/4 inches across the chest, so with a gauge of 27 stitches, the final chest measurement would be 27.4. (Of course, that's assuming that I'm doing the math correctly and that's a big assumption.)

Despite the evidence that I'm not getting gauge, I'm going to knit blithely on. The knitting goddess may smite me yet.

Emma is also feeling laissez-faire about gauge.


Sheepish Annie said...

Gauge, alongs and exchanges...three of the things that never go well for me! I mean well in all of them, but I just can't seem to pull it off in the end. Dumb luck is what saves my knitting and a failure to meet deadlines for sign-ups takes care of the other. :)

I think you may be close enough on Christine, though, to pull it off. A little blocking might just keep it in the right shape for thay little niece of yours.

Anonymous said...

STOP!!! You are making me hungry! No more eating... bathing suit weather coming up.

So, did you bake the pork loin in the oven or in a crock pot? Apple/cranberry crisp... YUM!

Anne said...

Oooo - yarn AND a facial!?!? Sign me up. My friend in Walla Walla works over a yarn store that has a wine bar in it. How cool would that be?