Thursday, September 24, 2009

home-made pesto

I have a thing for basil.

I grew three different kinds this year and we enjoyed it all summer in stir-fry, pasta, and salads. I've been known just to pick it and eat it.

So, although the curly-leaf and Thai varieties were pretty much spent (I worked those plants, believe me) my hanging pot of plain old Italian basil needed to be harvested.

Hence: pesto.

No real recipe, just: chop up a whole bunch of basil into little itty bits (I don't have a food processor); add a couple spoonfuls of minced garlic (I use the "jar-lic," as my sister calls it, from Costco), and then olive oil until it's about the consistency of natural peanut butter. I didn't have any nuts, so skipped those this time, and let each person add their Parmesan individually because of some dairy sensitivities. Cook a bag of Trader Joe's brown rice spirals, toss, and serve.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finished Vine Yoke!

This is why I don't do the "take a picture of yourself in the bathroom mirror" photo shoot very often.

Let's think of it as "artsy" rather than "blurry," shall we?

Because, even though I sorta teach people how to take good photos...I can't hold the camera steady for the life of me. (And, in my defense, I couldn't have the flash on because it reflected off the mirror, but there wasn't quite enough light for it to work well without the flash.)

I finished this up on Monday evening last. It looked scrunched and funky:

But see how well my garter kitchener stitch turned out?

I was still a little nervous that it might not be long enough. I'm long-waisted, so I usually add .5" to 1" length to sweaters so I won't end up looking like Jennifer Aniston in the first couple of seasons of "Friends." Cropped, in the fashion sense, is a four-letter word as far as my body type is concerned. But even though the scrunched and funky sweater looked short, I decided to trust Ysolda, who insisted that she had taken the vertical stretch of garter stitch into account in the pattern.

I soaked it in the washer with some Eucalan for a half an hour, then spun out the water and spread it out to dry on a towel. I encouraged it to grow vertically, then left it to do its magic. Just like my swatch, first it grew a lot, then it shrunk back to the exact right gauge when fully dry. Woo to the hoo.

Now it's time for buttons (I was too excited to wait to take the photo above), which I've already purchased. Side note: I found them at JoAnn, and they, amazingly, match the red-orange of the yarn exactly. But they only had three cards in stock (six buttons) so I had to special-order two more. JoAnn charged me $7.95 for shipping on $5 worth of buttons. Can you believe that??

Knitting this sweater was an absolute blast. The pattern requires a lot of trust in Ysolde (and thank goodness for Ravelry, because there was an error in the sleeve math--now fixed--for a couple of the sizes, including mine; if you bought the PDF early you should have received a link to the revised pattern) and her math genius, and a couple of times I had to really think ahead and write out my pattern rows to make sure it was all going to come together at the end, but every single time: it did.

My mods were minor:
  1. For the sleeves' provisional CO I used Judy's Magic Cast on with two KnitPicks needles and then just knit one direction, taking the needle tips off and holding the stitches on the KP cable for later. This worked well for the kitchenering later.
  2. I increased above the yoke pattern across the back (4 sts total) to give a bit of back-neck shaping. I didn't want it to ride up. I'll report back on this one once I have the buttons on and have had the chance to wear it.
Loved it!! And--I can't believe I'm saying this--I can't wait for our indian summer to get over with so I can wear it to work. But there's no rush...