Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today looks like an excellent day...

to hole up and knit. The rain started last night, around midnight, and it's feeling blessedly cool for a change. I don't think that's going to last all day. We're under a flash flood watch, but I don't think it's going to stop me from making at least a short jaunt out to see what's going on in the world today.

Today's the first day I've ever heard one of my neighbors - it sounds like the person upstairs from me is doing aerobics. It's fairly quiet though. In some ways, it's a nice change to hear another human.

One of these days I suppose I need to get out and head to a knitting group around here, get to know some people. The weekday meetings are hard - I don't always leave work early enough, and by the time I walk home, I'm not really excited about going out again. I'll have to get over that hurdle. It's also a group that meets in a small space, and there's something intimidating about joining a group of strangers in a small room. The other group that meets on a weekend I feel less enthusiastic about. It's farther away, and I've picked up a strange vibe.

Anyhow. I am still knitting, just nothing too exciting. In the process of exploring the yarn shops around here, I picked up some more stuff - a ball of Trekking XXL, probably to remake the Primavera socks, except this time in my size. I also fell down hard in the other store - I don't like the location as well, but the shop is gorgeous - and I bought two more skeins of sock yarn. The yarn is gorgeous, and deserves photos as soon as I clean up my apartment. As a moving-in present I also bought two Morehouse Merino kits. Totally mindless patterns, but the laceweight is pretty fantastic on the hands. It's another rustic yarn with a fair amount of variation in thickness, a single ply that isn't incredibly strong but possibly a bit deceptive. I'm knitting a Verona shawl, which is a giant rectangle of stocking stitch, and a Partridge Scarf which is a self-fringing triangular scarf, and also totally mindless knitting. It's about all I can manage.

Last weekend I sat down to finish some of my albatross projects, the Cutaway Cardigan and Badia. I really don't like seaming. It's not difficult, I just prefer knitting to sewing. I'm very close to being done with Badia, but am slightly stumped. My next step is to seam the sides, and then I'll have to deal with the armholes. The pattern calls for knitting ribbing first, then seaming (which seems odd to me) but my concern is that the ribbing is going to make them too small and too tight. I think that leaves me with crochet to fix the problem. I suspect I'd be more excited about the project if I liked the yarn I used, but more on that later.

Time to finish my coffee, then get on with the day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Did I mention that my kitchen is small?

For a week after I moved in, I didn't have internet. Work's been busy, and long, and all-consuming, and I just haven't been able to figure out what to say here. The problem with a knitting blog is that it's about knitting, and now that I have no AC, and it's high summer, there's a minimal amount of knitting going on to write about.

But then I remembered that occasionally, I cook, and I thought I'd tell you about the challenge I set myself after moving here. My kitchen, as I mentioned, is small.

(Please excuse the dishes in the sink - I decided to take photos and write this after I fixed dinner.)

That's the bulk of my kitchen, with the photo taken from me standing with my back against my apartment door.


This is taken from the living room, and you can see the entire extent of my kitchen here. There's a closet that I use as a pantry, but I'll be honest and tell you there isn't much in there. The paper on the fridge is a takeout menu from a sushi place.

See? Small. Since I wasn't really happy with using a cutting board on the sink as counter space, I bought this cart from IKEA. By the way, I'm a lousy shopper. IKEA terrified me. Way too many choices. Nice stuff, but overwhelming.


Anyhow. I've set myself 2 goals while living here. First, you might note there's no microwave, and if you've ever followed me on Flicker, you might notice that I can't shut up about how hot it is here, so turning on the oven isn't an option. Thus, a lot of convenience food is out. Second, I'm really trying to limit takeout. Third, with access to fresh food (small farmers markets, a big farmer's market, and Trader Joe's) I'm trying to really limit processed food items. And finally, I'm trying to cook without a cookbook. I can't take full credit for this idea - I saw this blog post, and it resonated with me. So far, it's been an interesting experience. I'll admit to eating a lot of salad, and some basic pasta, but it makes shopping a lot easier. As an added benefit, I think this in conjunction with walking to and from work has resulted in me dropping some of the excess pounds I carry around. Oh, and my final challenge? My kitchen tools consist of one large pot, one pan, and one medium pot, a spatula, spoon, vegetable peeler and a can opener. Knives, a set of mixing bowls, my multi-tool and a George Foreman grill round out the tools.

Tonight wasn't the healthiest meal, but it was tasty - I brought some well salted water to a boil, then added angel hair pasta and about 8oz-10 oz of asparagus trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces. That cooked for about 2 minutes, until the pasta was close to done. Then I cracked an egg and dropped it into the water, and cooked for about a minute more. I drained most of the water off the pasta/veg/egg combination, then tossed it in a bowl with maybe 2-3 oz of herb coated chevre, and tossed everything to combine. To keep it from being too sticky, I finished it with a tiny bit of olive oil and ground black pepper over the whole mess. It was even better than usual, thanks to the addition of the egg.

This weekend I'm planning a trip to the market for more fresh vegetables and for some spices I desperately need. I'm having fun cooking this way, and it's a nice way to shake things up a bit. A friend suggested trying a chickpea and apple salad today, and I'm leaning towards trying that this weekend. Simple ideas are definitely welcomed, so please share if you have a favorite ultra-easy dish that I can try!