Rachael in GSO

Just a blog about my life, my knitting, my dogs, and my general state of confusion.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An idea

okay. so here is the sweater from interweave knits winter 2006 - the rambling rose cardigan, which I love - but that one is WAY over the top for me.

So here is what I think. I have some gorgeous malabrigo that I've been looking for a project for.
And here's my little design sketch. I think I wasn't clear on where the colors would be. The cable panel in the front & back and on the sleeves would be blue. The base of the sleeves and the sides would be purple.
and here's the cable I want to use from Vogue Knitting.
so - two things. 1. opinions please! 2. how much of each color??

SP Contest #3

To write about my most emotionally connected recipe - that's the recipe that I got from my late mother-in-law for her pasta sauce. She was Italian, and her sauce is really good, and it's very special to me b/c she made it for us during her 'good week' when we visited over the summer. I chopped everything and did the stirring, but she was strong enough to come in the kitchen and put in a pinch of this and a sploosh of that, and to taste it & correct the flavor until it was perfect. Making that with her is a wonderful memory of a good time in the midst of much sadness.

So now when I make the sauce, the experience of learning how to do it comes back with the cooking, and happy memories abound with the eating. Especially when DH tells me that it really does taste just like hers.

If we're talking about a more long standing food memory, I would say apple pie, b/c I remember making oodles of apple pies with my grandmother and my mother. There was something so fun about that when I was a little girl. The slicing of apples, sprinkling of sugar, rolling of pie crust, of course mostly what I remember is being happy and content that everything in the world was good and enjoying spending time with them.

And then there's my chili recipe, which I made up all by myself. I remember that I couldn't find the mix I wanted and I decided that I was going to figure it out. It was really my first foray into making or altering a recipe to suit my tastes, and that opened up a whole world for me.

I have tons and tons of memories of happy 'in the kitchen' kind of memories from my childhood & even my adulthood (?).

Like the few Christmases I lived close enough to my BFF that we decided to make Christmas cookies together to give out to our families. An eight year old would be neater in the kitchen than the two of us were together, but boy we had fun & made some good cookies!

And how my Grandpop would make crepes for us when we slept over, I would lay in bed in the morning and I could hear him in the kitchen getting ready and then smell them cooking. He would make a game out of the whole thing, fly them through the air like flying saucers, make them with 'arms' so they were monsters, etc. They were soooo good, and I could put as much syrup as I wanted on them. ;-)

I don't have any one recipe that wins out over the others, just a realization that I have many, many happy memories of cooking & eating with family and friends through my whole life. And I have to say, I'm happy about that.

Great idea for a contest - it's brought back some good memories!

Monday, November 27, 2006

FO & assorted stuff

Okay - here is the little sweater I made for my goddaughter. I"m really happy with it other than my kitchener job under the arms...not so hot. I'll have to practice before I do that again on DH's sweater.

And here's the progress on DH's sweater.

I'm happy with it. I mean, I'm really TIRED of the sweater. It feels like I've been knitting it for at least 1000 years, but seeing it on him and being pleased with how it's turning out is definitely motiving.

and last but not least, here's some stitch markers I made over the weekend. I wanted to make my spoilee some sock sized ones, so there's some little ones that will fit up to a size 3 needle and there's some that will fit up to a size 9 needle. I'm sending her two sets. I hope she likes them!

I'm sending her off a package tomorrow, her birthday is next week. So very soon, my official second package will be on its way!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday

well - I am not insane enough to go to the mall, walmart, best buy, or any of the other mobbed places in the world on black friday - BUT my local quilt shop was having 35% off all fabric if you brough in three bags of food for Second Harvest. Go Randy's Quilt Shop! isn't that a good deal? so I raided my pantry & talked my step-mother into going with me (that took two words - quilt and shop) & got all this.

Gorgeous, no? for our bedroom. but first I need to get my sewing machine in working order again.

Then we went to the annual craft show here in town & braved the mobs to see what local artisans have done. There was some really gorgeous stuff, not much I was looking for, but it's always fun to see what people are making.

I got a wreath for the front door.

and this cultured pearl necklace pendant.

Then we went to a local restaurant for dinner, I had roasted duck with berry confit - YUM! and we went to see STOMP, that was tons of fun.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I am thankful for many, many things in my life - a short list: DH, my family & friends, our adorable doggies, my job that allows me to make a difference in people's lives, our lovely house & all it's trappings, my ability to follow through with things I enjoy doing and be reasonably pleased with the result - such as knitting and cooking.

So along those lines, I made us a DELISH TG dinner (from the mouths of my guests, not me) & here is what I served.

cranberry avocado salsa
upside down pecan cake (delicious for breakfast!)

Turkey basted in white wine & butter ala martha
cranberry sauce with spices (with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice & ginger)
roasted garlic mashed potatoes
cornbread stuffing with sausage & apples - my own frankensteined creation
maple bourbon sweet potato casserole with candied pecans (with 2x as much butter, maple syrup & brown sugar as they recommend - add cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg)
cheddar corn spoon bread
greenbeans almondine

whew - I think that's everything.

for dessert
pecan pie
apple pie ala fanny farmer - sometimes old fashioed is best...

I"m still full today.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Signora Bimbi's Double Dark Chocolate Torta
by Lynne Rossetto Kasper


It's not so pretty, it cracked a bit coming out of the pan, but the powdered sugar mostly covers that up. ;-)

It has cinnamon and espresso and 3 entire bars of bittersweet chocolate. OMG.

Yesterday was DH's birthday, so I made this cake for him. For dinner I made
Sausage Rose Diavolo:
1 jar commercial spaghetti sauce - basil flavor
1 lb pasta
1- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
red pepper flakes
1 lb hot sausage

Cook hot sausage, drain grease, put sauce, red pepper flakes & cream in & bring to a simmer, add enough cream so it turns 'rose' color. Let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve over pasta with fresh grated parmesan.

YUM! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I live here.

49 other states are aghast as North Carolina goes backwards in time.

seriously people. and we live here.

what is WRONG with them???


what does that mean anyway? trans-siberian orchestra. just a family sounding PR name to give a heavy metal band new life with a new audience.

but seriously people. you haven't heard the nutcracker until you've heard it like this...

go here: http://www.trans-siberian.com/multimedia/index.shtml and listen to 'A Mad Russian's Christmas'

no really, you MUST listen to it! don't you think Tchaikovsky would have loved to hear it like that?

so we went to see them tonight - and even though it's not thanksgiving yet, this concert is the kickoff to the xmas season. The concert was amazing.

beethoven's 5th is fairly mindblowing when they play it too.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Here they are - my very first pair of socks! And the SSS wasn't too bad, but I will definitely try the two socks on two circs method next time.

I know you can't tell, but I actually did a mini-cable rib on them. I think it was probably a waste of time with all the color changing.

But still, I like 'em!

Now what to cast-on next... Posted by Picasa

Shopping is Hard Work

It is. Really.

I'm back from a whirlwind weekend with my BFF. We met friday afternoon, after a 4 hour and 45 minute drive for me and a 4 hour and 15 minute drive for her, grabbed lunch and were on our way. I came home with a good assortment of work clothes, sweaters, pants, etc - and a LOVELY coach bag - my one serious splurge. I've been wanting one for 3-4 years now, so all things considered - I think I did pretty good to wait this long!

And of course a HUGE chunk of my xmas shopping is done - the main reason for the trip - lots of adorable clothes for my goddaughter - the ridiculously cute two and a half yo Miss Gracianna (BFF's daughter).

While we were there, we ate dinner at the most adorable Bavarian restaurant Schankerl Stube - YUM! See that strange glass vase thingy? That's our half carafe of wine! It's some sort of gravity dispenser - you push your glass into the bottom and it moves a little metal stopper and lets the wine flow. Way funky. And can you see the waitress in her lederhosen? Do only men wear lederhosen? Well. She's wearing the female version - whatever it's called.

And I checked out the adorable yarn store Y2knit. D bore with me for that - and became reasonably inspired to start a blanket for her sister-in-law who is expecting next spring. I got some Brown Sheep Nature Spun in Chuck Berry and some gorgeous hand painted sock yarn by Claudia in a color called 'OOPS'. The yarn is from South Africa, a beautifully soft merino - she is located in Harrisonburg, VA, so she's local and that always makes me feel better about spending a little bit more than I would otherwise. Anyway - the yarn store was seriously cute and the owner was incredibly friendly and helpful.

I am SO jealous - I wish I had a yarn store like that near me!! Ours are okay - very nice, helpful people, but the selection is lacking in many ways. Here's the cardigan pattern in the picture.

So - two days of outlet shopping, we got up this morning, had breakfast at cracker barrel and were on our way. And 4 hours and 45 min back today and I am EXHAUSTED. It was soooo much fun! So much fun shopping - but really just tons of fun to spend time with my BFF - the kind of time that we always seemed to have in abundance when we were in college - but as we grow older those times seem to come less and less frequently. Because of that we have declared Veteran's Day weekend our official get together weekend every year - a blissful if insane 48 hours of shopping insanity to hang out and talk and laugh and renew our friendship.

And I am about ready to throw my computer out the window b/c this is at least the 15th time I've tried to publish this and blogger won't load my pics and picasa keeps hyperlinking all the text I try to copy in. I'm less than thrilled right now. Okay so a little editing got the hyperlinking out - but of course that eliminated all the actual hyperlinks I put in there. lovely - just lovely. Why do computers have the ability to make a person so completely irate??? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Okay - I'm not. But I am leaving in my pretty new car! Even though it's not so new anymore. I'm just full of half truths today.

I am LEAVING in my semi-new car tomorrow to go SHOPPING. and not just any kind of shopping - OUTLET MALL shopping with my best friend who I haven't seen since the wedding in May.

What is more fun than meeting a good friend for nothing but shopping, eating, and talking (repeat)?

So I will be spending my weekend in Maryland where it looks like it's going to be reasonably warm and not rainy - YAY.

Oh - and I plan on checking out one LYS that is very close to the outlet mall. I just can't resist!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Arrested Development--The Mole

I realize that this isn't anywhere near as funny out of context - but OMG - I really did laugh so hard I had tears rolling down my cheek and I kept saying to DH - 'Play it again - play it again!'

And he did - and I cried even harder the second time through.


post election day headlines...they keep looking better and better.

Rumsfeld Out in WakeOf Democratic Advance;Gates to Head Pentagon
President Bush says Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down. The dramatic move comes as Democrats sweep to a House majority.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Secret Pal package #1

Look at all the pretty things my secret pal sent me!

There's some yummy things to have with the tea & cocoa (chocolate YUM!) . I'll take that to work for my 'afternoon tea' tomorrow.

And a Chibi that comes with some bent darning needles - I've never used those before, but it looks handy - and definitely a good idea to have a place to put the needles, I have a BAD tendancy to leave those laying around...

She sent some cool sock patterns for variegated yarn from Knitty - already is sheet protectors - I like the way she thinks!

And of course, the icing on the cake, I know you see it there (and I know you're jealous)...is the gorgeous hand dyed merino sock yarn from rubysapphire (it looks like there's an etsy site). SO PRETTY.

I think the people on the card are dyeing yarn - what do you think? ;-)

and now DH can rest assured that SP is not some strange pyramid scheme designed for knitters...
Thank you secret pal!

one additional note - I had never had shortbread with nutella before - that was heavenly! (yes I ate all the chocolate already...)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ah - Sunday

And a weekend of Christmas knitting is behind me.

but really - I just wanted to put up this pic of Pixie and the PB jar.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Something Red - FO

Here it is! Something Red - and it's lovely. I'm thrilled with it, and I really think I will wear it quite a bit.

My only issue is with the yarn. It's Swish Superwash from Knitpicks - and it's very soft and not at all itchy, BUT I do not recommend, under ANY circumstance, that you wash this yarn. First of all the ribbing separated out so I looked like I was wearing a maternity top and I had to rewet it and block it to get it to behave, and after that I spent about 2 hours with my trusty little electric fuzz buster turning it back into a wearable sweater. It had fuzzed so much that it looked like it was 2-3 years old, not brand new. I didn't do the inside, b/c I just don't have that much patience right now. So - superwash merino is a good idea theoretically, but I certainly wouldn't throw it in the washer again.

Oh - and this is my new haircut too...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

socks that rock

okay, so I've been sucked into the sock knitting thing far enough that I did it - I joined the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club - check it out - it's so awesome!!!

I'm sooooo excited to get the fun new colors and I think it's even better that I don't get to pick them out b/c I always pick out my favorites and then I never want to give them away! When they send the new colors hopefully the colors will 'speak' to me as to whose 2007 Christmas present they are!

The funniest part is that I've still only knitted one solitary sock - but I liked it! I have 2006 xmas stuff I need to get done before I can go back to exploratory sock knitting.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Native American History Month

Did you know that November is Native American History month? I didn't until today. I suppose - why would I? But we always seem to know when it's Hispanic History month or Women's History month or African-American History month b/c of things on the news, books that are advertised, etc - why not Native American - you know, the people who were here first? Oh, that's right - probably because they were here first.

At any rate - the place I work, a community college, had four men from the Piscataway Nation here to educate us & perform some traditional dances. It was pretty amazing. The main speaker will be the 29th chief, his last name is Tayac - maybe it was Mark? - in his family lineage, of the Piscataway Indian Nation when his father dies. 29th! That's absolutely nuts - how many of us can track our family back more than 3 or 4 generations?

I find a lot of cultural things fascinating, I think that's probably because I don't have much culture - which is not to say that I'm uncultured - just to say that I'm very waspy. I'm english and scottish and irish and maybe a tad bit german - and parts of my family have been on this continent hundreds of years - the most recent thing I remember seeing in my grandfather's documents about somebody 'coming over' from ireland was in the mid-1800's. In grad school I got into an argument with one of my instructors who insisted that we all had culture OTHER than American in our lives. I don't. I really don't. No Christmas dishes we can trace back to Ireland - no haggis served at Thanksgiving (and thank God for that), no plum pudding, no days of celebration that don't fall on the regular govermental holiday list, seriously - we are simply American. that's it. that's all. and that's enough for me. Though my Dad does have a kilt in our clan tartan, and that's pretty cool...

So anyway, we were here at the beginning, for the settling, the civil war and all that. And what I'm finding distressing today is that my ancestors probably had some level of participation in what happened to the American Indians. I have no reason to think that they actively participated in any horrible acts whatsoever, but they were here and it was happening. I'd like to think that maybe they were involved in some sort of protests, filing briefs against it or publishing books about the horrors that were being done - and I suppose that's always possible, but it seems unlikely.

Watching those dudes dancing their dances today, I can only imagine what it would have been like to see dozens or hundreds of them dancing together two or three hundred years ago. It would have amazing, magnificent, and at least a little bit terrifying.

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