Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pass the mittens, please

Winter comes early here...and by early, I mean September 29! Holy cow, it's real snow. Thursday and Friday were in the 70s, and today we have knitting mittens weather.
We've been meaning to make a coldframe for the salad garden, and so today's the day! DH has made two trips to the hardware store already today...
We'd better hurry!
I tried to get some pictures of the little husky boy running around in the first snow of the season...
...but he was just too excited!
Today's obviously a great day to catch up on some ironing, knitting, and for making some spicy Italian sausage soup and beer bread. Mmmmmm.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Power Weekend!

I had a total power weekend! I can't believe how much I got done. It started off pretty slow, actually. I had a hell-day at work (I am so tired of being so constantly crazed/pushed/rushed that I could scream!), and so I came home at 4:00 on Friday and just slept...until my husband woke me up around 7:30 or 8.

We went to our favorite wine store/bar and had a glass of wine and a beer on the patio (just about the last night we could do that!) and then went to a little sports bar a few blocks down for dinner. It was all I could do to drag myself home and get to bed! But I was also feeling kind of wired and wanted to work on some knitting or something. Thankfully, I just gave in and went to sleep.

Saturday was fun: went to the Farmers' Market for some grape-starter bread, sausages, and fingerling potatoes (I still have no idea if the ones in my garden actually made it), and then I passed around some flyers for Pilates for Pink. My studio is hosting a few classes to raise funds for breast cancer research, and if you are so inclined, check out this link to see if there's a class in your area: It's great, and all the money for the classes goes to the foundation.

Then I started cleaning like a mad woman! I got so much done: about 10 loads of laundry (apparently I haven't done laundry in a while), srubbed the bathroom top to bottom, completely reorganized the linen closet (and DH made new shelve), did a bunch of grocery shopping, made a King crableg feast for dinner, made cookies, and made--yes, actually made food for our doggie, Woo. Oh, yeah, I'm the housewife-hellion!

We also went to my B and SIL's for dinner last night and had a great chat with them and with my other BIL, who was visiting from Alaska. We had breakfast with the family today, too, which was really nice.

So, on to some knitting news: I finished the little mittens, but I was going to put fun cables on them and then in the middle I realized I'd just been knitting away (stress):

I think I might tuck them into the felted bag I'm planning to make for my sister as a birthday present. They were fun, and they gave me the inspiration to try a braided cable around a chunky hat:
I love the hat! I'm going to make some fingerless mits with the same braid. So fun and bright, and will be perfect for skiing at Targhee this year.

And then I finally started making some progress on the body of my cashmere/merino sweater (which is just like heaven to work!). This is probably the third attempt, and I put a little 2x2 ribbing at the bottom so that it wouldn't curl up. It's supposed to curl, but for some reason, I don't like the curling.

I also made a few swatches for some new designs that are swirling in my head. And now I see that it's 10:30 and I have to get to bed and go to ...ugh... work tomorrow!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soup Weather!

Yea! It's finally time to start getting serious about...mmmm...soup! I love soup, almost as much as cozy cashmere and wonderful boots. I've really been wanting to put some soup recipes together lately, and tonight was the perfect night--cool, with a hint of rain that is supposed to last all week and maybe even into next. With the Indian Summr weather that is so typical here, it's kind of a nice taste of fall.

I found an interesting set of soup recipes over the weekend, that is apparently pretty popular: it's a "soup diet" that Good Housekeeping magazine does in the fall. Truth be told, it looks like a great diet and a healthy way to lose weight, but what really excited me was all the soup-y possibilities.

You just make one big batch of basic vegetable soup, then add different things to it to make about 20 or so other combinaions, each one unique. Brilliant! The soup isn't difficult to make, and apparently freezes well, so I dug in!

The basic vegetable soup begins with the classic French Mirepoix trinity of celery, onion, and carrot:
And ends with a delicious soup packed with vegetables. I added imported French haricot verts, fire-roasted tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, zuchhini, etc. The recipe is fantastic already!
I'll keep you posted on the progression of versions. And the progression of cashmere....mmmm. There's nothing quite like soup and cashmere weather! You can check out the details for the recipe at

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Catching-Up Weekend

Our weekend was a little boring and unadventurous, probably because last weekend was a little too fun and adventurous! We went to the City of Rocks for a rock-climbing/camping advenure, then to Miracle Hot Springs where my husband went kayaking with our rafting buddies. In addition to sustaining a flat tire, the dog eating a chipmunk (whole), and then acting like a crazed chipmunk in the tent all night (no sleep for mommy and daddy, that's for sure), my husband also suffered a really bad shoulder blow in his whitewater kayak. Man!

So, this weekend has been pretty subdued, but nice for catching up on things. Supposedly, that is. Mostly I've just been sitting around and knitting! The weather has been great, though...those crisp, sunny days where you know autumn is just imminent. It really makes me want to dig out my boots and sweaters, which I'm planning to day this afternoon, after we run the dog's buns off at the Sand Dunes.

The weather also puts me in the mood for wam, cozy fall projects, and I started a great cashmere-merino sweater this weekend. I did a ribbing mix on the sleeves, starting it out with a 1x1, then adding a purl to every other purl rib, making it a 1x1x1x2 sort of rib, that I took about seven inches up the sleeve.. I really like it--almost gives a Victorian quality to them.

The project is stalled for a couple of days, though, because I realized I didn't have the right size circular needle. I need a 24-inch, and all I have is a 29-inch, which isn't working at all (the body is knit in the round, and having tried the larger circ, I can see that's just not going to work). So, hopefully my LYS will have the correct size and I can back to that tomorrow.

The little Woo-Woo got to play with his "cousin," Moose yesterday. This is him questioning whether I'm serious in my suggestion that we get ready to go. He's such a suspicious little brat...too dang smart for his own good! A few weeks ago I was sick and my brother-in-law called to say he was going to pick Woo up to go play at their house. So, I got him all ready with his leash and collar, and then they didn't come over for nearly an hour! I thought the little guy was going to kill me. Since then, I think he wonders if I'm just messing with him. Twerp.

So, while I'm waiting for the right circular needle, I went to get my morning latte, some sushi for lunch, and found this sort of roving-style yarn. It's wool with a little acrylic in it, which I would normally turn my nose up at, but I've been craving some really chunky mittens and a hat for when we go hot-springing, and hopefully that acrylic will keep the wool from felting in the hot steam. Either way, the colors are really cute and I love how chunky-monkey it is.

The lack of a really good yarn store around here is about to kill me, though. We have our little shop that's been here forever and I love the owner, but I really crave having miles and miles of yarn to design around. I can go to Salt Lake City or Boise and get some good things, but I wish I could have a whole pavillion at my disposal any time I want. There are tons of designs swirling in my head, and without having the tactile ability to see what it's really like, the stuff on the Internet is great and all, but...

I used to have a subscription to a fabric mill that would send me swatches every season. I've been looking for something like that with yarn, but it doesn't seem to be a common service. I need that! I'll keep looking, and in meantime, happy Sunday!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kayaking in Yellowstone

We decided to take off Friday night for a weekend in Yellowstone! Living so close, we do end up in the parks a lot, but we did a couple of new things. First of all, we paddled on Yellowstone Lake to the shoreline geyser basin. We actually attempted this little trip a few weeks ago, but the winds were a bit fierce and I was only three weeks off knee surgery, so much to my surprise—I couldn’t balance my kayak. Yikes! We had to turn around, but my husband actually went back out a week or two later and explored. So, now we were going together and it was such a worthwhile trip!

You start on a launch point of black volcanic sand on the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, and start paddling to the point on the left of the lake. This is about as far as we got last time, where we saw an elk feeding along the shorline. A little later, we were lucky enough to see her twin fawns, resting on the beach. Poor little babies...they were kind of scared but were very good and kept their heads down just like they were supposed to.

Around the point you start to see the boardwalk (full of tourists) who are looking at the fishing cone and other mini-geysers around the shorline. The fishing cone has some neat stories attached, where visitors in the early 1900s would catch a fish on a line in the lake, then dip it in the boiling waters of the fishing cone and have a freshly-caught-and-cooked meal, right on the shore! Getting to see the fishing cone up-close and personal is a bit of a rare treat.

Around the point you start to see the boardwalk (full of tourists) who are looking at the fishing cone and other mini-geysers around the shorline. The fishing cone has some neat stories attached, where visitors in the early 1900s would catch a fish on a line in the lake, then dip it in the boiling waters of the fishing cone and have a freshly-caught-and-cooked meal, right on the shore! Getting to see the fishing cone up-close and personal is a bit of a rare treat. Going around, you get to see all sorts of things from the water that you can’t see from the shore—lots of little geysers and run-offs that pour hot showers down into the lake water (which is very cold). One section has a run-off that must be really hot, because it makes the lake water feel like a bath, but then just dip your fingers down another four or five inches in the water, and it’s freezing again.

We paddled along the shore to the end of the basin, stopped for some lunch, and then turned around again. I wanted a nap so bad—the combination of the hot sun, the cool breeze, the water, and a good lunch really got me in nap mode. We sort of forgot the tent poles this time, so we had to sleep in the back of the Bronco, which was sort of different, but hey, you just have to roll with the punches, right? To tell you the truth, it was kind of fun—sort of had that “pillow fort” quality to it!

The next day we decided to get out a super-secret map to the petrified forest on Specimen Ridge, near Norris, that a friend gave me a couple of years ago. The hand-drawn map has some sort of cryptic directions to it, and a neat commentary on petrified trees by Dr. Erling Dorf. The map and directions were drawn up in 1989, and from what I was told by my friend, it was a big secret that the park rangers didn’t even want anyone to know. Woohoo! A secret map to Yellowstone. So, we started off on a steep slog up the side of the hill, then cut over to the ridge, off-trail. Suddenly, a petrified stump appeared! It was so cool—then, just up a little, another, and then several others. Very neat.

Here's a picture of me, from the top of Specimen Ridge, looking down over the valley.