Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras socks

I've been knitting plain socks lately and needed a little color explosion. This is some stashed Opal Hundertwasser sock yarn. Each colorway is based on one of the artist's paintings. Imagine dyeing your own sockyarn (we once used Yarns to Dye For) using the colors of your landscape, your garden in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, the tree branches against the sky outside your window.

If I were to begin right now it would be with the clover devouring my yard: the toe would be the light yellow clover flowers with a soft green foot in st st for the clover leaves. At the ankle would begin the light grey bark of the crabapple tree in a rib stitch. It would grow up my leg until it hit a soft blue sky and I'd so some simple fair isle pattern to fade the branches into sky blue.

You could custom dye a ball of yarn to knit up this way. Or, you could tie bits of yarn together and wind it into a ball. The best part would be designing a label with directions and the original scene that inspired the yarn. This would make a great Lenten project - using stash and leftovers to create landscape socks, mitts, tea cozies, neck warmers.... waiting for Spring.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Espresso art in clay

My local coffee shop is closed for remodeling so I'm working out my coffee muscles with this tiny barbell. I am studying frothing and tamping. And I am dreaming of espresso cups and cappuccino cups thrown from Navajo clay - thin porcelain burns my finger tips, smashes on the faucet. I like to stack cups bottom up - wouldn't some white slip painted like latte art on the dark clay be nice? If Mr. Lear makes the drinks, they will have a design on the top and on the bottom!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Queen Ann's Lace

My friend Eleni is making a Queen Ann's Lace scarf from Silkgarden sock weight. It is so delicate and fine and beautifully colored. I found a Silkgarden scarf I did not love and began ripping and crocheting this over the weekend. It is extremely addicting. A huge round of orange chenille rolled out of my cabinet and now it too is being made up into a scarf. The wonderful thing about chenille is that all your mistakes are hidden in the plump softness. There are a ton of examples in the Ravelry gallery. The pattern is here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

London Fog, Berkeley Fog

Lately I've been making my coffee or tea and bringing it along in a thermos. Today I was early for pottery and it was pouring rain when I heard the siren call of Starbucks. I went in looking for a cup of tea, but I was curious about the drink London Fog. It's a cup of Earl Grey with steamed milk and a shot of vanilla syrup and it's wonderful. As I sat there drinking I planned my homemade version: it begins with a super-strong cup of Earl Grey with Lavender (while you wait for the tea bag to steep, the milk is loosing its steaminess), a bit of steamed milk with some vanilla sugar mixed in. Maybe I'll make some orangey sugar. Maybe I'll make some Earl Grey ice cream and fold in candied orange! Do you see what Splendid Table is doing to me? The above is the only foggy pic I could find, one of Mr. Lear's stencil photos.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stormsvale middle band

I'm a little farther on this one. We had a party over the weekend and all our clutter is still balanced precariously on top of the washer and dryer. I'd like to keep it that way; it's so pleasant. I was very sad to see that Domino Magazine folded. I just checked their book out of the library. I will now devote myself to scrounging up back issues.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Of Sugar and Snow

Mr. Lear and I were enjoying a wonderful lunch this afternoon when I looked up and thought I recognized Carol Field from her photo in The Italian Baker. Mr. Lear (who has made many many treats from The Italian Baker) swore I had been brainwashed by nonstop Splendid Table podcasts. And then he stared at her for a while and thought so too. I don't know if we were correct, but we did see this book being handed across her table: Of Sugar and Snow. Back at home, I googled the poetic title and now I am really looking forward to Jeri Quinzio's newest book on the history of ice cream due out this Spring. Till then, I have her blog

Lemon gold

I am treating these beautiful Meyer lemons from my friend Eleni like deer I have shot with a bow and arrow, using every part to honor the noble citrus. Here I grated the peel into sugar for lemon-flavored ice cream. I also candied some peel and put it in a jar with the syrup - it's marmalade really. I wonder if I could make a simple syrup from the peel for sodas and drinks and then candy the peel separately for breads and cookies? I can't nail their antlers to the wall, but maybe I should paint a still life of the last three and hang it on the wall.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mustgo meringues

For my grandma and grandpa, Thursday night was Muscow night. I never understood what a smorgasboard of leftovers had to do with the a strange country called Muscow. It was only later that I realized they were saying "Must Go" night. We usually celebrate Muscow Night on Fridays when we make homemade pizza with leftover salami, cheese, olives, and vegetables.

These are Muscow Meringues. The egg whites are leftover from ice cream making and the candied fruits and raisins and almonds are from nooks and crannies in the frig and cabinet. When I grew tired of spooning out little blobs, I threw some coffee concentrate into the bowl, gave it a mix, and plunked the whole thing out on a cookie sheet as a giganto flat meringue. I hope this ends up as some kind of Pavlova thing.