Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bread starter

I'm so jealous of these bakers with starters passed down from Medieval times! Yesterday I decided to begin my descendants' starter. There's a bowl of half flour half water on the counter. One day they will pinch off bits and give it to their children headed for Mars. I washed my Central Park Hoodie and it grew a little. I need to block it back to size but I can't take it off. I'm not sure if I'm shivering from the rum raisin ice cream or trembling from the concentrated ice coffee.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coffee concentrate

Lynne of Splendid Table - the soundtrack of my life - mentioned making a coffee concentrate by mixing a pound of medium grind coffee with 11 cups of cold water and letting it sit all day and then keeping it in the frig. I halved the recipe yesterday and this morning I tried mixing 2 oz of concentrate with 6 oz of boiling water. It wasn't hot enough for me. It had an even wonderful full taste, but it wasn't hot. Then I began sipping ice cold concentrate from the measuring glass and it was glorious. Tomorrow I will make milky ice coffee - very milky.

2/1 edit: I've relaxed the formula a little, I mix a half pound of coffee ground on an 8 and 6 cups of cold water and leave it overnight. In the morning I strain it into a glass pitcher with a tight cap. I'm going to start using some as a flavoring in meringues and chocolate sauce.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stormsvale collar

I'm almost ready to begin the next band of Fair Isle. I'm going to have to wear this around as a cropped, high-collared vest for a while. I need to be sure about the width before I commit to the next band.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All Creatures Great and Small

We have been watching All Creatures Great and Small in the evenings while I make my way through Stormsvale's collar band. I can imagine dozens of Stormsvales inspired by all of Tristan's Fair Isle sweaters. James's aqua pullover in that cobblestone pattern is so beautiful under a brown jacket! In one scene Tristan stood next to him in his green zip-up tweed and they looked like a page from a knitting book for men who take their sweaters to work.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stormsvale for lazybutts

I began the wonderful Stormsvale pattern the other night, but could not keep the details of Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare separate from the decreases in the herringbone pattern. And so, like Shakespeare, I made a choice. I'm going to save the herringbone pattern for another version. Yesterday I knitted every minute of the Inauguration. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wall accessories

Last month I saw a magazine photo of a bedroom with silhouettes of birds flying over the bed. I have been going through my clip art books looking for something to perk up our walls/furniture and/or appliances.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Altered books

The cover of the FT magazine last Saturday featured Su Blackwell's "The Girl in the Wood" - a handmade popup carved into a book of fairy tales. I found a lovely book to re-use as my daily planner. Perhaps I should forget about pasting calendar pages into it and instead concoct a popup for each month.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Smashing pumpkins

I'm feeling like Ma Ingalls, butchering my Halloween pumpkin for soup. I roasted this baby and threw it into some stock. I'm knitting away on a Central Park Hoodie and planning how to use my stash.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thyme and cornmeal

Do you listen to Splendid Table on your local NPR station? For me it was like discovering an old cable series now available on Netflix. Their e-newsletter for this week had this advice:

"Instead of making yet another new year's resolution aimed at self-improvement, consider what Sally Swift, the managing producer of The Splendid Table, often does. She picks a cookbook that's new to her and cooks her way through it during the coming year. She says it's a fun and simple way to learn a new cuisine. Select the book, stock your pantry with the staples unique to the cuisine you'll be "studying" and you're good to go. I love this idea!"

This worked out so well over the Summer with David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. I may try an Indian book. Today I began my journey through the 2006 Martha Holiday Cookies magazine. (I think this is the issue they turned into a cookie book.) This is what you can make with some raggedy old thyme from your yard and a handfull of currants. They are wonderful.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cookie plans

I'm not finished with the holiday cookie binge. See how pretty these are? They tasted like spicey cardboard. I have that Martha cookie magazine from a few years ago - the one with the picture index organized by texture. I'm going to make cookies this year. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The red sweater

My version of the Cardiff sweater is off the needles and living its own life. It is so gratifying to knit from an old photograph, like time travel without the temporal anomaly worries. I will explore this category of knitting further in the new year.