Friday, July 20, 2007

It's a sad day

...when a yarn store closes. This morning I went to say goodbye to one of my favorite yarn stores, lint. Today was the first day of their closing sale, so I headed over there bright and early (10am). ;-)

I got there just after opening, and it was already full to capacity, so I had to wait outside until someone left. Shortly after I arrived, a line started forming behind me. After about 10 minutes, I was let in. Everything in the store was 30% off. I wanted to buy it all, but I had to refrain myself. My husband gave me a ride over there and was going to come help me carry yarn. And also keep me from overspending. I'm glad he came, because they ran out of baskets so he helped a lot by acting as shopping cart. My hands were then free to fondle and squish as much yarn as I could.

Here's what I ended up getting:

6 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Dark Khaki Green, 4 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino in Harvest (dark yellow), 3 balls of Classic Elite Classic Silk in Moss green, 1 ball of Rowan Felted Tweed in Carbon, and 1 ball of Rowan Felted Tweed in Midnight.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


branching out2
Originally uploaded by knitterj
and it feels so good! I really missed knitting with wool. I haven't worked with it since the Eli projects, and even then it was Wool/Cotton. I know, the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece has some wool in it, too. But it really behaves like a cotton so it doesn't count.

I'm currently working on the Branching Out scarf, using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I've been dying to use this yarn ever since I got it at the Knitting Bee Super Bowl Sunday sale. I used to go over to it and just squeeze it.

Now I've got it on the needles, and I love this yarn! I'm a big fan of tweedy yarns, and although this isn't a true tweed, it does have that kind of effect with all the silk nubbins. Note to self: get more Silky Wool!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by knitterj
Do you ever have one of those days when nothing you knit works out? Here's my collection of failed projects.

I tried knitting the Flower Basket Shawl with Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, but I didn't like the way it was looking. I know, it will look different after it's blocked, but I dunno... it was just too holey and it didn't have enough stitch definition for me.

Next up was the Backyard Leaves scarf. Years ago, I bought some Laines du Nord Dolly Maxi for this project. At the time, I thought the yarn was just not performing well for this pattern. The yarn was becoming untwisted and splitty, and the whole thing was puffy and springy. I don't know why, but I thought it was like wine - getting better with age. It didn't.

I also tried it using some Debbie Bliss Merino DK (the other green, sloppy pile in the picture). This was better in terms of the yarn performance, but I just wasn't happy with the stitch definition. I want to see those darn leaves! I'm thinking that this scarf, for me, is begging for a lighter colored yarn so that the pattern really shows.

Then for some totally asinine reason, I dug up some Koigu I had in my stash and started the Wavy Pattern scarf from Vogue Knitting. What was I thinking?! First of all, I really don't like knitting with dark yarn. Brown's about as dark as I'll go, and this stuff is almost black. Second, I'm just not a fan of this yarn. I know everyone and their mother loves this stuff, but I find it too elastic and I don't like the bumpy texture.

So, back to square one. I'm currently working on the Branching Out scarf from Knitty, the DK version, using some Silky Wool I had in my stash. So far, I can't find anything to complain about, so I think this one might be a winner. I'll work a few more inches before posting a pic and an update.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pizza update

As promised, yesterday we went for Round 2 of the quest for perfect homemade pizza. We used the remaining 3 balls of dough that had now been sitting in the fridge for 3 days. Aside from that, the only other modification we made on this batch was that we let the dough rest for about 15-20 minutes after shaping, before putting it on the grill for the par-bake. Oh, and I also kept it covered under plastic wrap during that time.

I don't think either of those factors made much of a difference. Here's the second pizza (the first was eaten before I could get a pic):

As you can see, we decided to put meat on this one. It's the bulk Basil Chicken sausage from New Seasons, accompanied by some goat cheese and arugula from the Beaverton Farmer's Market.

In case anyone is interested, this is what the pizza dough looks like after it's been par-baked. This is the point where you'd put your toppings on. Quick! The poor thing's all naked and vulnerable...

The final pizza we made took advantage of the remaining sausage. There was quite a bit left, so I loving called this one "The Meatzza". We both agreed that these were much tastier than the first batch of pies, but then again, these had meat on them!

And since I'm such a carb-o-holic, I also made Earl Grey Biscotti. It doesn't taste as strong as I'd like, but that won't stop me from eating them!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pizza anyone?

It's a great time for food in Oregon right now. Since it rains so damn much here, there's a lot of agriculture - which means awesome farmer's markets. Which means it's also an excellent time to cash in our anniversary present from my in-laws.

They are friends with a chef, so they are having him cook us up a gourmet meal at my in-laws house. Yeah, it's a little delayed (our anniversary was in March), but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait. On Friday, we all met up to discuss the menu. We started off talking about 4 courses, but things kept getting added and I think we ended up with more like 7 and possibly 8 courses on the menu! I can't wait for next Saturday!

But let's get back to more recent endeavors. On Friday (prior to the meet-up with Chef Karl), I made a batch of pizza dough using the SAF yeast, and letting it do a slow fermentation in the fridge overnight. Then on Saturday, we went for it and fired up the grill with the pizza stone on it for about 45 minutes.

Chef Karl suggested that we par-bake the crust for a minute or two, then add the toppings. This allowed us to easily slide the raw pizza dough onto the stone, without the weight of all the toppings to hinder a good swift action. This turned out to be an excellent tip, but still our first pizza ended up burned on the bottom.

I think we left it on too long during the par-bake, and also the stone was super hot! It's like pancakes or crepes - you always throw out the first one, right?

So, on to pizza #2. Oh, and btw, these are not big pizzas, about 9" round. Pizza #2 I had a good feeling about. I laid the crust out thinner and more evenly, and Mike par-baked it just until it would hold its shape. This guy got the addition of mozzarella slices. Here it is on the stone, in the grill:

Ahh, yummy pizza...

And the crust held up to the weight of the toppings!
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Although this pizza performed well, it was still missing that certain je ne sais quoi. Though sturdy, it wasn't exactly cracker-like, but it also wasn't soft and pillowy. It could have been a bit more tender and chewy, but then wouldn't it just flop over like a wet noodle? Hmmm, we have Round 2 coming up on Monday, so we'll see if perhaps resting the dough after shaping it will yield better results.