OK, so what have I been doing all week? Knitting and cooking of course. For the cooking, scroll down.
But for the knitting, look here... pictures! Of finished and not-quite-finished objects! Yay! Here are those Fetching gloves from Knitty, unblocked in green superwash wool and blocked in fantastic red alpaca. The cabling is hard to see in the fuzzy alpaca... also I fucked up the picot bind-off on the right glove, which is actually not in the picture. The red ones are a christmas gift for my step-mom Bev, and hopefully she won't notice the mistake... one definate plus to knitting for a non-knitter.
I also finished the Worms and Fish scarf, which is probably the coolest thing I've knit all year. Maybe even the coolest thing I've knit ever... But. I'm having misgivings. What if the person for whom it's intended doesn't like it? I made him a Merman hat last year, which kind of matches the scarf, but he hasn't worn the hat yet. If he doesn't like it then he won't wear it, and this scarf must be worn! Not wearing it would be a crime. So, do I ruin the christmas surprise by sending him a picture and asking point blank if he'll wear it, and thus risk having to knit him something else... or do I give it to him and simply badger and guilt him into wearing it? My Catholic upbringing says, "Badger and guilt! Badger and guilt!" but what do you think I should do? Has anyone else had a similar dilemma they'd like to share?
This weekend I also cast on a hat made of this lovely cotton I found. Normally I tend to drift toward just the wool sections when I'm in the yarn store, but the beautiful colorways and soft texture of the Patagonia Nature Cotton was just irresistible. Really, I didn't think cotton would be this soft and lovely. This stuff may just have made a convert out of me, and since I live in the Sonoran Desert, cotton is probably smarter. I chose color 205, which is variegated greens, and color 216, which is mostly dusty blues with some greens and browns mixed in. I've been alternating the colors every other row. And up until yesterday I'd just been knitting it under lamplight so I wasn't sure how the colorways would blend. Yesterday I finally took it out in the sunlight to get a look, and I'm pleased. The second picture shows the colors a little truer... Very manly, I think.
And this weekend I also made my favorite chicken soup from scratch. It's tried-and-true, total comfort food, but I keep wondering if there isn't some way I could spice it up a little. Does anyone out there made chicken soup from scratch, and if so, what's your method? Mine takes me two days to do. The first day is just making the stock by boiling a whole chicken, spices, garlic and onion, carrots and celery. Then I strain out and toss the veggies, pick the carcass, and put the stock in the fridge overnight. All the fat forms a solid layer on the top (eww) and the next day I can just scoop it off. Day two finds the stock, chicken, and fresh veggies cooking again to make the actual soup. Usually I cook noodles or rice separately and add them at the end, but this time it was pearl barley, which I liked. It's awfully good soup, but does anyone have a suggestion to make it better? I'm all ears...
Oh, and finally I got my camera back after James' great birthday bash a couple of weeks ago. I made him a sort of sea-change chocolate cake with ganache icing, and a fresh raspberry and ganache filling. And oh yeah, I poured Kahlua into the cake itself after it cooled. Folks seemed to like it. But really I was most proud of the decorations... notice that some of the sea creatures are attacking tiny plastic babies. Such fun.