April 2007




These are all from my walk to work last Friday, on my "real" camera.

Part 1: Run-a-gogo!

I’m not sure I mentioned it here, but I’m participating in the second round of Runagogo! (April 1st-July 1st).  My goal is to have walked/run somewhere between 200 and 250 miles; I’m at 56.9 right now.

Part 2: PELC

I’m on day 5 of the challenge, since I started on Sunday.  So far, I’ve made quiche, broccoli/mushroom/potato stew (not photographed ’cause it’s just not pretty, but it’s tasty), and a supposed-to-be-salad-but-turned-into-stirfry of bok choy, kale, tofu, and alfalfa sprouts.  (Lunch yesterday was a giant Cameo apple, and I’ve been eating breakfasts of cheese or asian pear butter on toast of bread that’s locally made and sold at the farmers’ market, although probably not from local ingredients.  Dessert has been strawberry yogurt from Pequea Farms.)  What I am missing the most is rice noodles and whole grains (quinoa and millet, mostly), plus things like beans and lentils and peanut butter.  I’d be doing better on the grain front, at least, if I’d managed to bake anything; I knew on Tuesday that I should cook or bake something, but I spent the evening knitting.  Maybe tonight; I want to make something cornbread-like with that cornmeal I bought last Saturday.

Part 3: Festival fiber usage

I set out quite a list of stuff I wanted to have done by Maryland.  I have abandoned all hope of knitting that orange mohair-blend shawl, especially because I haven’t finished spinning the yarn for it.  I doubt very much that I’ll finish the pair of Tess’s Yarn socks, but I should get at least a decent start on the second sock (after I finish the first one).  I also have no chance of finishing the spinning of either the silk cap or the wool/mohair locks, and I’m not going to knit those wristwarmers in the next week, either.  Still, I am happy with my fiber productivity of the last several months.  The one thing I want to make sure I do before I leave for Maryland is sample that ramboullet, so I can add another variety of wool to my repertoire.  (Sort of, at least.)

And here’s a picture, just because:



I understand, now, how people who commute by public transit knit socks so quickly.  Most of the foot was knit while sitting around with relatives in Virginia (several days of sitting and talking), but nearly all of the ribbed cuff so far was knit at a symposium I attended last week–several hours of sitting and listening.  (Oh, and the fine, white hairs in the sock?  Mohair from the Prairie Silk of my Highland Triangle Shawl, which I wore to that symposium and which was in my lap while I was knitting.)

I don’t often take public transit, and, when I do, it’s usually for no more than fifteen minutes, and I’m often standing by the back stairwell of the trolley.  That means I can’t knit more than a couple of rounds per trip.  On the other hand, if I had a twenty- or thirty-minute (or longer) train ride twice a day, well, it adds up kinda quickly. 

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I like my 25-minute walk.

My first real cooking of the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge was a quiche:


This is actually the overflow quiche–the main one was in an 8- or 9-inch glass pie pan.  Nonlocal ingredients: oil and seasonings (salt, pepper, thyme, basil.  oh, and soymilk).  The tarragon and parsley weren’t precisely local, but they’re from my parents’ CSA, dried by my dad.  Further specs are in the extended entry.


I made cookies for last night’s Fiber Night, and they were sufficiently well received that I thought I’d post the recipe.  I was excited to find this recipe because they’re gluten-free and sweetened only with honey, expanding the range of people who can eat them.

They’re not the most photogenic of cookies, and I neglected to photograph them anyway, but here’s the recipe as I made them:

3 c ground almonds [I used almond meal from Trader Joe’s]
2 eggs
1/2 c honey
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla

Mix everything together and chill for 3 hours.  Spoon into blobs ranging from horsechestnut-sized to walnut-hull-sized and bake ~12′ at 350ºF.  Makes ~3 dozen smallish cookies.  (They puff up a little bit, but they don’t spread.)

The original recipe called for ground hazelnuts; they’d probably also be quite good with ground walnuts, and I should be able to do that with local walnuts, eggs, and honey, if not local salt or vanilla.  (The eggs and honey in this batch were both local, the honey even coming from West Philly.)  I had originally hoped to have enough cookies to feed some to my labmates before Fiber Night, but I think I’d want to do at least a batch and a half if I were going to split them up like that. 

I’m getting ready for next week’s Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge (as previously discussed here).  I’m thinking of starting early–on Sunday–so I can exclude the following Saturday and head up to New York for the day.  This project is also going to (finally!) get me to the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market tomorrow morning, so I can get the best possible variety of local food to cook. 




It’s feeling more and more like actual spring around here.  These pictures are from my trip to Virginia a few weeks ago, though–the dogwoods in Philly are still just budding.


This is just because I can’t bring myself to post without including a picture.

I picked up a copy of Stephanie‘s new book last Friday, and I also spent a pleasant twenty minutes looking at other books I’ve been thinking of buying.  Victorian Lace Today has moved up on my list, as has No Sheep For You.  I’m wondering, though–would it be awful in some way for me to buy No Sheep For You and knit some of the designs in wool?  Is there a compelling reason not to do so?  (I really like Morrigan, Jenna Wilson’s fine-ish gauge aran-style sweater.)

I also want to share two of my recent music discoveries:

1.  The Rosebuds:  my Crafty Lab-Neighbor handed me their album Birds Make Good Neighbors and told me to listen to it.  As she predicted, I really like it.  It’s on the poppy side of my taste in indie rock (but definitely within the range of stuff that I like), possibly comparable to Death Cab for Cutie or recent Magnetic Fields.

2.  Let’s Go Sailing: Phillyist.com posted about their then-upcoming show, included a link to an mp3, and advertised a shirt/totebag/cd/ticket giveaway.  I listened to the mp3, entered the giveaway, and won.  I was, alas, unable to attend the concert (last-minute work stuff plus exhaustion), but the cd, The Chaos in Order, is quite good.  It will soon find its way into my indie playlists.

Because of general low energy this weekend and yesterday’s steady rain, I spent a lot of time knitting, spinning, and cooking.  (And doing laundry, but that’s neither fun nor picture-worthy.)   Here is a new picture of my freeform blanket, as of this morning.  It’s now on the floor, as it no longer fits nicely on top of my yarn box/coffee table.


(Sorry about the flash.  It’s grey and rainy here.)


A dogwood in Virginia, about a week ago.  (This one should get a lot bigger if you click on it.  Also, I love my 40-year-old manual SLR…)



Here are two more pictures of spring–the first is from VA, the second is from the biopond garden.

And now I’m off to NYC for a seder.

In answering Mim‘s questions last week (yes, still working on outgoing questions, sorry), I realized that I haven’t shown any pictures of the green freeform blanket that I’ve been working on since late September/early October. 


(My apologies for the blurry picture.)  I’m going to approximate its current size as about 15"x18".  As you can probably tell, I started out with really small blocks of each color and then realized both how long that would take and how many ends it would generate, so I started knitting larger chunks.  I have been weaving in some of the ends as I go, but I’m waiting until a block is entirely surrounded to weave in its ends.  I’m trying to make it reversible and not add too much textural complexity on top of the color variation, so I’ve been knitting a lot of garter stitch and simple ribbing…  It’s not an extremely portable project, as I’m still trying to change yarns fairly frequently, but it’s really fun to work on (says she who hasn’t added to it in weeks).  Still, since so much of the yarn I started with was/is either Manos or Malabrigo, I’ve been coopting pretty much all of the green handspun/proto-handspun (aka fiber) that isn’t firmly associated with another project, aiming for thicker-than-fingering-and-thinner-than-heavy-worsted for the grist.

Here are the most recent additions to the green-yarn pile:



The larger skein is ~180yds (maybe 2.5oz?  a little more than half a 4oz unit) of Amy Boogie‘s superwash merino in "Hidden"; the small skein is a bit more of the merino/silk blend I bought at NEFA soon after I started spinning.  I’m really happy with the superwash merino–it’s really soft, and most of it is exactly the grist I wanted.  I feel a little silly using it for this blanket rather than something I might actually want to machine wash, but not silly enough to change my plans.  Mmm, green.

I have returned from the South, for a second round of earlyish spring.  There will be lots of pictures after I get my film (yes, film!) developed and digitized, but, for now, here’s a picture of the yarn store I passed.


It was closed, or I would’ve at least gone in to investigate further, but it looked more like a cheesy ceramics store than a yarn store from the windows.  Still, it’s a great sign.