Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One good yarn deserves another

If there are photos above, it means that the batteries for the digital camera were the problem. I turned the camera on this morning and it made a promising beep-beep sound and the green light came on. Then went back off. Then nothing. I changed the batteries. Same thing. Knowing us, all the batteries need charging, so I'm not worried. Yet. Wasn't that a good story? You can see why I want to be a writer.

If there are photos above, the first is of the Belle Epoque sleeves, waiting for the UPS man to bring the ball of yarn that will make them a perfect pair. The second is a close-up of the pattern for the christening shawl. I like this pattern a lot, and it's a four-row repeat (both wrong side rows are actually the same, so it's three rows to memorize). We'll see how I feel about it when I get to the edging. And then sew on the edging. Around the entire shawl. I've mentioned how I feel about finishing, right? In other knitting news, I was watching a Friends re-run yesterday, and really liked a top that Phoebe was wearing. It wasn't a knit piece, but I've decided to try my hand at designing something along the same lines. Except for small projects like scarves, I mostly follow patterns, although I almost always substitute yarn. I did actually tweak a sweater pattern. I made Pin-Up Queen from Stitch 'n' Bitch for myself, and I wasn't crazy about the sleeves, so I designed a stockinette bell sleeve with garter stitch edging, loosely based on another sweater in the book, and it worked out fine. And I love that sweater. I don't know why I'm so afraid that designing a whole sweater will result in a three-armed belly shirt. More on this after the Knitting Olympics.

If there aren't photos above, well, I'll need you to use your imaginations today.

Writing: I wrote 8 pages yesterday. It might not seem like much, since it's 8 out of...probably 250-300, but it's quite an accomplishment for me. I can read 8 pages in about 8 minutes, but it takes me 4 hours to write 8 pages. I'm happy with it. My characters are taking on lives of their own, and the dialogue has been a snap to write. And Tim, I appreciate your suggestions! I don't write action sequences very well, and this could be just the thing : ) You're definitely on my list of first-draft readers.

Cooking: Last night, I made a standard recipe from my repertoire, Penne with Zucchini and Ricotta from Cooking Light, but was inspired to tweak it by the mushrooms in the fridge left over from my broth-making. They needed to be sauteed. Right now. So, while the pasta cooked, I worked on the mushrooms (half a pound each of cremini and white). The pasta recipe called for 2 TBL olive oil to be stirred in at the end. Instead, I heated it in my Calphalon chef's pan (thank you, wedding registry!) on medium high and added the mushrooms (wiped with a damp paper towel, stems sliced even with the caps, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces) and stirred to coat. After two minutes on medium-high, I lowered the heat to medium-low and covered them. I stirred every couple of minutes until the mushrooms started to give up liquid, then added them to the pasta mixture. Yum. At the point at which they start to give up liquid, you can add 1/2 cup white wine, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, until the liquid is reduced by about half. Add salt, pepper, and thyme for a nice white wine-mushroom sauce. Or...add 1 cup light cream, simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, stir in 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmagiano-reggiano, and cook over low heat until slightly thick for an amazing mushroom-cream sauce that would never meet Cooking Light's requirements.

Blogging: My sincere thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to read and post comments!

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