Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Try, try again

Maybe I got a little overconfident about my skills in the kitchen. Maybe it was the universe coming back to teach me a little humility. Get my hubris under control.

Last week, when we got our CSA box, I was crazy-excited about making kale chips. While I was at it, I thought I would try my hand at beet chips, since the family is all "Borscht, again?", and in so, doing a re-enactment of the Great Gazpacho Rebellion of 1996. While I normally don't give in to the demands of foodie agitators, a little of Jasmin 2009 peeked out and decided to try something new.

(I have this habit of making something, loving it, eating it, and then continuing to make it through the appropriate season. For the record, both my Borscht and Gazpacho are legen-wait for it... - dary.)

For the record, the borscht is so good that when I offered my nephew some, and rattled off the ingredients list, he made a Face. I said, "I know it sounds like a giant fart in a bowl, but I promise, it's super good." He agreed.

So, I got out the ingredients and Mandy (the mandolin, who came and gave without taking), Mom helped with the prep, we fired up Sybil (the oven, who can't decide whether she's running hot or cold), and we got started.

Some of the chips worked out well, but the overall issue was that we had too much on each baking sheet at a time. (We also had a tall, dark, and handsome saboteur, who ultimately destroyed them all with his negativity and need for counter space.)

Failure is not a great motivator for me. I may have shunned the kitchen since the Chip Incident. However, given the fact that we still need to eat, and prepare a nutritious low-sodium diet for Mom, abandoning the kitchen was Not An Option. We had the ingredients for Romanesco Cauliflower Pasta, so last night, I did the prep for Andrew (the tall, dark, and handsome saboteur, if there was any question) to put together the meal.

(I'm training for the Ravelympics, and that yarn isn't going to spin itself. Division of labor is the only way for a modern-day Ravelete to compete.)

I pounded through the prep (Look, Mom! I'm mincing!), and spun while Andrew cooked. The meal turned out incredibly, and now? I'm all excited about cooking again.

Now, we'll just see if I can finish my yarn in time for the Ravelympics. I'm 3 oz away (I think) from finishing my singles.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sleeves. Check!

First, I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone about how I feel about seed stitch. (Except for you, Emy, but I'm pretty sure you're a Cylon.) Last night, Mom and I went to Wednesday night knitting, and I worked and worked and worked on the sleeves.

I knew I was pretty close to finishing them when we left, and when I got home and Andrew fired up the newest episode of Heroes, I was ONE ROW away from the bind-off. So, in the spirit of Jasmin 2010, I finished the sleeves. (By the way, I said from the start that Sylar only needed someone to love him. I didn't need any tattoo-powers to know that, duh.)

What got me through finishing the sleeves, other than being so close, was the newest, most effective carrot I found to dangle in front of myself- cashmere. I found some worsted weight cashmere that I bought last year(?) in cowl quantities- one in light grey, one in Mom's Red. The scrunchable cowl is calling my name for the red, and I told myself that when I finished the sleeves (while Mom was lining the pieces), I could start a new cowl.

Alas, I have two sweaters of my own, which are finished, minus some sleeve and collar action. So, instead of winding up my cashmere, I'm finishing a sleeve and a collar today. I'm not committing myself to sticking to this finish-two-start-one thing, but it's not a bad way to start the year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ah, seed stitch.

This is Boo's sweater, sort of:

boo sweater

I may have hit a wall. So, here's the list of things I would rather do than knit one more row of seed stitch:

- Dust.
- Dishes.
- Laundry.
- Tidy my office.
- Look up knife technique classes at Sur La Table.
- Blog.
- Catch up on "Big Love".
- Finish up Season 5 of Hercules on the Roku Box.
- Take a nap.
- Complain about seed stitch giving me ennui on Facebook.
- Complain about seed stitch to Andrew, my mother, and both dogs.
- Holler "WHYYYYYY?!" into the night sky, shaking my fists.
- Justify replacing our mugs with Mustache Mugs. (Go ahead, click. You know you want to.)
- Daydream about casting one not one, but THREE sweaters for myself, then snap back to keeping myself on track with Jasmin 2010.

And you can bet that I've done each and every one of those things, with only 2 1/2" more to go on each of the sleeves on Boo's Sweater. Tomorrow, I will drink a lot of coffee, and finish the sleeves.

Jasmin 2010, over and out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Jasmin 2010 has arrived

I know I've historically posted my different resolutions- nay, lifestyle changes - before the turn of the year, I've had a plan for Jasmin 2010 since I planned out Jasmin 2009.

Jasmin 2010 is all about finishing. Taking projects and making a choice about whether they are going to be finished, frogged, or donated. I'm not saying that I won't leave anything unfinished, ever, but what I am planning to do is actively work at not abandoning my projects (or books) mid-flow.

I've started cooking pretty seriously, and to that end, I will be taking a knife techniques class. If it's a reasonable price, I'm going to use my Jasmin 2009 skills and just go for it, and if it's a little pricey, I'm going to ask for it for an anniversary gift. I know I'm getting better gradually, but it's better to learn good techniques first, rather than have to unlearn bad ones.

So, I have started 2010 off on a great note. I pushed the Barbara Walker interview live, and I'll be going through my UFO boxes and ripping out abandoned, ill-conceived, or just plain unloved projects. Free up the needles for other projects, and free up some space. (I'm finding that watching Hoarders is especially inspiring for freeing up space and getting rid of things we don't really need.)

2009, you were great for trying new things, but you were also incredibly hard on my family. It's you, not me, and I've moved on to something better and brighter. 2010 and I have a bright outlook on things, and I think we're going to get on famously.