Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rare Finds

Both fibery and fungal.
Odd Couple Interests
 Many of you know that Thaddeus likes to forage for wild mushrooms and has a handful of different edible mushrooms he can identify without question as to their non-poisonous qualities.

I, on the other hand, am usually not a big fan of mushrooms.

There are, however a couple of mushrooms he finds that I do like. In the Spring he gets morels and in the late Summer, he finds my favorite mushroom of all.

Known as "Hen of the Woods", or "Rams Head", or maitake by the Japanese, the Latin name for this mushroom is Grifola Frondosa.

The flavor of this delicacy is a subtle woody flavor and it has a firmer texture than most mushrooms, and even when cooked for a while, it still maintains a snap to it. So far, Thaddeus has made a very rich beef stew with them and sauteed them in with some breakfast potatoes. Both of them were incredible dishes.  

The Other Rare Find
There are some very talented independent yarn dyers that I've run into in my years of knitting, but I've absolutely fallen in love with John (Dye Guy) from the Fibre Garden's dye jobs.

I met up with John and his sister and niece in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago to pick up my latest acquisition from him.

The top one is Paca Toes sock yarn in the colourway "Coal and Ash". The middle one is probably my favorite, it's Lace Time in the colourway "Black Pine" and the bottom one is more Lace Time yarn in the colourway "Chameleon. They feel as luscious as they look. So two rare finds in my recent past.  

Current Knitting
 None...not even on my travel sock. Work has been a bit nuts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Am I a Ridiculous Cliche?

Don't you think it's necessary to ask yourself this question every once in a while? Unless of course you're okay with being a ridiculous cliche.  

Am I the Carrie Bradshaw of Knit Bloggers?
I was sitting next to a young woman on the plane yesterday and was watching her type on her iPad what appeared to be a personal journal or a blog entry or dog forbid, an article for publication.

First of all, I know I shouldn't have been reading this private writing, but it really was like a train wreck that I couldn't take my eyes off of.

 She started out ruminating about how she always knew she wanted a family and a house, but in her mind, the dream was to have all the husband and picket fence-like items too. She also wrote how she had destroyed that dream by having to raise her now 3 year old son by herself and she had another one on the way with no apparent husband.

I'm assuming it was some sort of immaculate conception.

She also wrote about how she love her son and he was the greatest thing that ever happened to her, and she couldn't imagine how she would be able to love the in-the-womb-daughter-to-be in anywhere near the same way. She also noted how her son drove her crazy sometimes.

She wrote in an incredibly sophomoric, idealistic way about all this, reminding me very much of the voice-over of Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw as she typed her supposed articles of personal interest for her employer. Just like the Carrie Bradshaw articles, I found this young woman's journal/blog/article to be way too precious and contrived and pretentious and twee and self-centered and...well, you get the idea.

And then I thought perhaps some of my blog entries had many of the same qualities.

To be clear, I am not okay with being a ridiculous cliche, so I worked really hard on writing this blog entry.  

Current Knitting/Spinning
Lots going on in my knitting world, although you'd never know if from my frequency of blogging lately.

First, I've done some additional work on the lace baby blanket from Heirloom Knitting, using Ted's handspun lace yarn.

I've never done a project like this where you knit the outer sections first, and pick up stitches on each side as you knit up the center panel. The subtle color variations in Ted's handspun is looking quite nice...almost like orange sherbet.

I've also started working on a funky fringe-like scarf.

I'm not sure I'll like the result, but it's enjoyable to knit, and if it turns out like I hope, I'll post particulars on how I made it in case others are interested.

I also started another project based on the viral YouTube video of a women obsessed with puffy hexagons that she's putting together in a blanket. I think it's called the beehive blanket...I refuse to post the video, but I actually liked the idea of what she was making, so I've started my own. I don't know how she's making hers, but I've come up with my own way. I'll post photos and an explanation of how I make mine once I've got enough hexagons knit up and put together to make it look like something.

Finally, I also got a bit of spinning done this past weekend.

I still have a long way to go on the second bobbin of singles, but I'm really looking forward to plying and using this yarn. I'm considering whether to try dyeing it myself or perhaps paying one of the amazing independent dyers I know to do it for me.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sky Clubs

With all the flying I do, I never thought I'd ever care to purchase a membership in any of the sky clubs.

Until Irene
Fortunately Irene turned out to be a minor inconvenience for me and most of the people I know. A postponed flight and some road detours (quite a few road detours in addition to the ones that were already in place), but that's about it.

However, Delta Airlines seemed to have taken Irene as an opportunity to take a three day weekend, because even though my Monday morning flight was cancelled and I was rescheduled on a flight the following day and bit later, Delta still couldn't get it together quickly enough to get our flight out in time for me to make my connecting flight in Minneapolis. I ended up arriving around noon, and the only flight I could take to Edmonton was at 10:00 pm. Delta gave me apologies and a $10 food voucher that I could spend at any food vendor in Minneapolis airport. Seemed kind of stingy for a 10 hour delay, so I asked them for a free day-pass to the Delta Sky Lounge.


So, as I sat in an uncomfortable plastic molded seat next to a highly-prized electric outlet, using the for-pay wireless internet to try and get some work done, I debated where to spend my $10 food voucher.

I got two e-mails from co-workers. The first one suggested I find a nearby hotel room and work there for the day. The second one suggested I pay $50 for a day-pass in the Delta Sky Club.

I liked both ideas, but when I realized I could buy a whole year's worth of club membership for 70,000 frequent flier miles, I opted to do that. I figured I usually spend 1-2 hours each week in the Minneapolis airport, so now I'd get free internet, a clean bathroom and coffee/snacks if I wanted them. Plus, there were comfortable seats and plenty of electrical outlets.

It turned out to be a good decision, even if I only used it for the 10 hour delay. Then, as luck would have it, I got an e-mail the day I was flying home last week, announcing a brand spanking new Delta Sky Club in the Seattle aiport (where I spend about 3 hours each week). Looks like I'll get a lot of use out of this year's membership.

I'm typing this blog entry in a comfortable chair, drinking a free latte and using free internet.

Current Knitting/Spinning
I finished the final side-panel of the heirloom baby blanket and I've completed two repeats of the center section of the lace blanket. I have about 18 more to go. I'll try to get a decent photo that will show the pattern, but I don't hold out much hope until it's blocked.

I also finished the first bobbin of singles using the Optim Merino from Australia.

Clearly, I've also started the second bobbin. Given how long the first one took, I wanted to at least get something done on the second so I can get to knit something with this fiber in my lifetime.