Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back and getting back to normal

After being away for President's Week, the past week has all been about trying to catch up with pretty much everything. Tons, and I really mean "tons", of stuff awaited for me when I got back. This is the state of my desk:


Each and every piece of paper needs to be dealt with, and the volume is actually way down (I wish I could say the same for my inbox.) And we won't even talk about what's up there:


After all, if it is up there, it is not important. But let's start from two weeks ago, when we went here for a week:

And as I thought, not much to do and heavy use of the iPod, so I finished the Globe Trotter Mahogany Socks:

Globe Trotter Mahogany Socks
Pattern: Globe Trotter Socks by Jodie St. Clair from Strings & Yarn
Yarn: Superfine Superwash Sport Merino by Lisa Souza
Ravelry project page here.

I did not work on the Zephyr Shawl as much as I wanted to, because I got a nasty cold, I even lost my voice for a couple of days (my husband thought was an improvement not a problem), and I was completely out of it on our flight back (found out that I can sleep on the plane if the kids are on the other side of the isle and I am drugged.)

Zephyr Shawl
Yarn: Zephyr Laceweight Wool-Silk by Fiddlesticks Knitting
Pattern: June Marinella Shawl by Lucia Tedesco from Maglia!
Ravelry project page here.

I was knitting this for Hollis as a Stitches sample, as as you can see, I did not finish it, but I work on it all day while I was at Stitches, and it got several people to buy this gorgeous yarn ($11 for a ball and you get a shawl out of it!)
And that brings us to Stitches West 2010 ...... but that is the subject of tomorrow post.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


"Packing" is code for "how much yarn can I stuff in our suitcases?" Packing usually leads to me saying things like, "no, you do not need socks, I'll just pack some sock yarn."

This time around, for reasons I am not going into it (they do bring the headache back), we have very limited space, so here is all I am bringing:

- my Knitting Olympics project, all 15 balls of Sesia New Jersey (a couple will be in the carry-on since I have to cast on the plane, but the rest will be packed.)
- Daisy, 3 balls of Mission Falls 1824 Cotton
- Zephyr Shawl, one ball of 630 yards, lace knitting was invented for traveling
- Globe Trotter Mahogany Socks, because I need to knit socks on the plane
- since I plane to finish the socks while in Italy, Sleekit Mitts for the ride back (1 ball of fingering yarn)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Knitting Olympics

In 2006 the Yarn Harlot held the first Knitting Olympics. The event ended up to be larger than the actual Olympics (try googling "Knitting Olympics 2006" and you get more than than 350,000 results.) Then Ravelry came along and now we have the ravelympics 2010, but as much I love Ravelry, the Knitting Olympics belongs with Stephanie (and besides that, I am afraid that reading the Ravelympics rules will make my headache come back.)

So I am in for the Yarn Harlot Knitting Olympics. I will knit a sweater, like last time, 2 Tone Sweater by Amy King. I will be casting on on the plane to Italy and it is particularly fitting that I will use the yarn that I got several years ago in the same place I will be staying during President's Week.

Swatching tonight at knit night.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fourth, Fifth ......

Ok, I am not counting anymore, but here what I have finished lately:

Alpaca Hats

Alpaca Hat

Alpaca Hat

Yarns: Baby Suri Alpaca & Silk (Solids) by Misti Alpaca, Inca Alpaca by Classic Elite Yarns, Melange by Blue Sky Alpacas
Pattern: Basic Hat and Mitten Set for Children #253 by Diane Soucy
Ravelry project page here.

Black Socks for My Dad

Black Socks for Dad

Yarn: Superfine Superwash Sport Merino by Lisa Souza
Pattern: Gentleman's Matrimony Celebratory Socks by Sockbug
Ravelry project page here.



Yarn: Aurora 8 by Karabella
Pattern: Ingenue by Wendy Bernard
Ravelry project page here.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

World Nutella Day, February 5th

Yesterday was the World Nutella Day and to celebrate Paperino and I made some crostatine con nutella (I do think that the best way to eat Nutella is straight from the jar, but that wouldn't been so celebratory.) I would post picture of them but I was not fast enough with the camera, they are gone.
Once we made the crostatine (crostata is pie in Italian and the shell is made of shortbread) I was left with the egg whites from the shortbread, so I made Torta Nera (black cake), recipe from my grandmother:

Torta Nera
300 gr of sugar
250 gr of flour
100 gr of unsweetened cocoa
1 cup of milk (you can substitute orange juice, my brother's variation)
1 tablespoon of baking power
2 egg whites whipped until firm

Mix everything together, egg whites last and very gently, and bake for at least 30 minutes at 350 F.

I was asked for the Plum Cake recipe, here it is (it has nothing to do with plums.)

Plum Cake
300 gr of flour
300 gr of sugar
200gr of butter
5 eggs
50gr of raisins (sometime I skip these)
100 gr of candied fruit in very small pieces
1 tablespoon of baking power
1 expresso cup of cognac (I use whatever I have, lately Cointreau)

Soften the butter and whip it with the sugar. Add all the other ingredient and pour it in two loaf pans 5x9". Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

Friday, February 05, 2010

When I like a project

Remember the Purple Charlotte I did not like? The three skeins of Nature's Palette Fingering that I did like together are becoming a December Little Shawl. I casted on last Saturday and on Moday was at this point:

Purple Little Shawl

Probably can't see it, all scrunched up like that, but I am at the lace border, 2/3 done. When I like a project, it goes fast.

P.S. The weekly menu thing? Not going so well after all, yesterday I could not find any salmon I like so we are not having salmon today, and I got so distracted doing some work that I forgot to defrost the chicken so we ate pasta. If it weren't for the fact that it never takes me more than 20 minutes to come up with a pasta dish, we would starve.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

This one is about food

My friend Gudrun has this fantastic blog about food and kitchen gadgets. The posts I like the most are the ones about her weekly menu, I do admire her organization! I remember when I was working in the corporate world and I used to be organized and with planned menus as well, rather then "opening the fridge and wondering what I can make tonight and do we have milk for breakfast?" So there, she inspired me and I decided that Sunday will be "weekly menu planning day" again. So here I go ....

Sunday: completely forgot about it

Monday: it's my night out with my knitting friends. Dinner? Not my problem

Tuesday: horrible headache so my family ate "pasta al burro e parmiggiano"

Wednesday (today): picked up a steak, a marinate, and we will have steak with patate al forno and verdura ripassata in padella. At this point I should probably warn you that I do not speak much food in English. Patate al forno are potatoes cut in small pieces and tossed with olive oil and salt and then roasted in teh oven. Traditional recipe is with rosemary as well, but I rather add lemon juice at the end.  Verdura ripassata in padella is greens first boiled (so they are tender) and then sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and salt.
I have made a plum cake as well for tomorrow breakfast (eating protein for breakfast is against everything that is Italian and believe me, the day goes so much better if you start it with a good espresso and a slice of cake.)

Thursday: Chicken with lemon and rum

Friday: this used to be pizza night, but the kids get "pizza" at school on Friday, so I hardly make pizza at home anymore (they get "pizza" on Monday too.) So I'll be traditional and we will have fish: Slow-Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon with some kind of sauteed greens or roasted asparagus.

Saturday: Penne with salmon and vodka if I have salmon leftovers or rigatoni mari e monti

Sunday: I am hosting a baby shower for lunch, so I am hoping we will have leftovers for dinner, otherwise I will make a gatto' di patate (mashed potato cake) that will be good for Monday night as well (I know, I said Monday night is not my problem, but ... oh well, I am nice.)