Winding down Twenty Ten

I finally finished the collar and sleeves on my Twenty Ten cardigan this weekend. I had thought I’d end up having to buy buttons for it since there are 13 buttonholes and I knew I didn’t have nearly enough of anything in the right size. But I found a few mismatched options when I started poking around in my button box. I was tempted to finally put some of my mother-of-pearl button stash to use, but ended up liked the way the more colorful hodge-podge laid out in the photo looked instead. (Those branches in the vases are part of my table display for the Berry Park Holiday Market happening this Sunday, Dec. 5 at Berry Park, 4 Berry St. in Williamsburg, from 12-6. I’ll be there selling jewelry, other people will be selling other stuff, there will be booze: should be fun.)

This was actually my second attempt at the collar and sleeves. For the first go-round, I had ignored the numbers in the pattern because they seemed far too low, and picked up as many stitches as I thought would work. The results were … unsuccessful, as this terrible cell-phone photo shows:

Lumpy sleeves, collar devouring my head

It feels good to have this one almost done. It took a weirdly long time to knit, considering that it’s chunky yarn and has short sleeves, and I’ll be very happy to move it from the project basket to a dresser drawer. It would be nice to end 2010 with no long-standing projects still in the works, especially since I have several ideas for new designs I’d love to focus on next year. I should sort through the bins and bags this week and see what I unearth.

Spiced Cranberry Applesauce

This happened because one of my last CSA distributions included four pounds of Golden Delicious apples, which are pretty much my least favorite kind of apples, so they’ve been lurking in my fridge, bland and mealy, for more than a month. And because it’s fresh cranberry season and I still had a couple of bags in the freezer from last year to use up. I used whole spices for this batch, but they were kind of a pain to fish out (cranberry skin, cranberry skin, whole clove? no, cranberry skin), so I’ve written the recipe below for ground spices. I was very happy with how it turned out, tart and sweet and gently spiced. I just had some for breakfast this morning, layered with plain yogurt, and am looking forward to trying it out in this recipe. There’s more liquid in here than I’d usually use when making applesauce, but I wasn’t sure the apples would generate enough juice to cook the cranberries and the texture was pretty much ideal in the end.Spiced Cranberry Applesauce

4 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1″chunks
1 bag cranberries, fresh or frozen, rinsed and picked over
3 c. cider, apple juice, or water
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cardamom
1 t. allspice
1/2 t. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and cook over medium heat until cranberries have popped and apples can be easily mashed with a fork. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to puree.

BBC book list

Kim tagged me in one of these Facebook memes that turn up every couple of months. It’s kind of an odd list (separate entries for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and the Chronicles of Narnia as a whole?), but it’s always fun to check myself against some random list that someone possibly at the BBC might have put together. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder to me to read some freaking Dickens already. And get around to Cloud Atlas while I’m at it. And, say, haven’t I been meaning to read Swallows and Amazons for ages now?

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt. If you decide to do one of these too, let me know!

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Like a record, baby

I was experimenting with the WordPress app on my phone with the last two posts and I like it pretty well (especially since I don’t have the photo-stretching issue that I often do with regular updates). It’s definitely handy, though for me it lends itself more to a quick photo update than much text (I feel like me typing on the phone kind of reads like a telegram: have spun singles stop will three-ply stop combinations as follow stop. And so on.).

But the point of those posts was that I’ve gotten back into two things I’ve been neglecting for a while: making jewelry and spinning. I’m going to have a table selling jewelry at the Berry Park Holiday Market — Berry St. and N. 14th in Brooklyn on December 5 (12-6) — and wanted to make some new stuff for that. I unpacked all of my shiny, shiny supplies, but I was really feeling awful all weekend and didn’t do much more than poke at ’em and push ’em around the table while consuming my weight in cough drops.

I did, however, spend a significant time at my wheel for the first time in months. I’m not interested in having less than a sweater’s worth of any handspun yarn and have gotten in the habit of buying at least a pound and a half of whatever fiber I get, so it’s usually pretty boring for me to post about spinning (still spinning that same stuff! wheel goes round! bag still full! or, for the last few months: nope, haven’t done that lately!). But when I pulled out the bag with what I had left of the batch of wool/silk tweed I was working on, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was down to about four ounces. I put on the audiobook of The Amber Spyglass and spun along in a cold-medicine-induced haze.

Unspun fiber.

Then I was done, but still felt like spinning (and, more importantly, wasn’t really feeling up to doing anything else), so I started plying and filled four bobbins lickety-split.

And I love it. I love that it’s tweedy without being muddy, that it’s substantial with being too heavy, and that the three-ply construction makes for a rounder strand than my usual two-ply. It’s probably about an aran weight. I’m going to wait until I have a final yardage measure before I start thinking about projects, but in the meantime, I’ll just be staring at it adoringly.

Singles event


I just finished spinning singles from about 28 ounces of wool/silk tweed that I got at Rhinebeck last year. I’m going to do a real three-ply with them, mixing singles I spun at different points in the year in hope of getting the most consistent final product possible. There are twelve bobbins of singles and I lettered the bobbins in order as I finished them, A-L. Counting off 1-4 gave me the following plying combinations: AEI, BFJ, CGK, and DHL.

A clean, well-lighted place

Last weekend, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather/late fall light combination and took a long walk around Green-Wood. I love the dramatic shadows you get when the sun is this low in the sky. The picture below was taken right around noon.

I hadn’t posted a good grave-marker-reclaimed-by-the-earth photo in a while.

That bizarre sculpture on the ground definitely wasn’t there the last time I was in this area.

I was fully expecting/half hoping to get an angry badger to the face while I was taking this. (I love badgers.)

Then I had the good fortune to stumble upon what very well might be the most beautiful tree in the world…

Herkimer 1.0

This is the sweater that I reknit when I made Herkimer. I made it out of some wool/mohair handspun last spring and was really happy with how it turned out, but when I polled some knitting friends about how people would react to a pattern made in handspun, even with a standard gauge, they all said no.

In the end, I’m really, really happy that I redid it. The Ultra Alpaca has much better stitch definition and the lighter color shows off the details much better than this navy blue. Plus, reworking the sweater allowed me to refine the pattern and tweak some fit issues (in the unlikely event that I develop serious biceps, this cardigan will still clothe them comfortably). I’m still awfully fond of the original version though.

Announcing Herkimer

I’m delighted to announce that my first downloadable knitting pattern, Herkimer, is live on Ravelry. It’s a seamless cabled cardigan knit in Ultra Alpaca and sized from 32″ to 53 1/4″. I did the actual knitting a while ago, so I’ve really been enjoying getting to show it off. And the fact that I’m in a position to do so is due to my very good luck having friends with the skills I needed to make this pattern happen: Carolyn and her prowess with the camera, Jenn and her math-whiz tech-editing skills, and Jackie‘s graphic design know-how.

Carolyn took the pictures while I was in Chicago earlier this summer, and she and Jenn were nice enough to wander around downtown Chicago with me while I looked for the kind of picturesque urban grit I had in mind for a background. (I had no idea the city was so clean and shiny! All the talk of gangsters and stockyards had led me to believe there’d be more dirt.) But we found this lovely brick wall, and Carolyn went to work while I stood there awkwardly, trying to look like a normal human wearing a sweater. She’s such a good photographer that the final shots look natural, but Jenn got a few camera photos of us at work.

Chicago has the nicest back alleys I’ve ever seen. There was a Maserati just out of the shot. (But what do I do with my hands?)

Hitting the reset button


It’s been the kind of week where a series of minor frustrations and aggravations and other people’s snits and phlegm and egos have combined to leave me a quivering mass of raw, exposed nerves. I’m sensitive and snappish and paying too much attention to what Sarah Wilson calls “the vile, judgey voice” in my head. And I hate it.

There are ways to work myself out of this state, of course, and I’ll be doing my best to fill up the weekend with them: good food, good fiction, seeing friends, making progress on existing projects, getting outside and getting some exercise, going somewhere I haven’t been before, cleaning the apartment (no better way to redirect a bad mood, really), combing the dusty shelves in the back room at Metalliferous, being gentle with myself.