Monday, January 23, 2012

On the Road Down

Since I generally try to post at least twice a month and I said I'd be better about things this year, I thought I'd better get my rear end in gear. 

Let me do the numbers run through first. First up, writing. Good news: I made my 8,000 word goal for January on the novel, and I have 1,259 words towards February.  Bad news:  It's still not done. I have 146,320 words and 481 double spaced manuscript format pages, but it is still not done.  Good news: There's only about two to two and half days left of stuff that happens in the novel, and I got another sex scene in, as it is supposed to be a trashy novel.

 Next, fiber.  I have spun 1.11 ounces of fiber this month, and I've knit 392 yards of yarn thus far (I only count stuff I finished).  I finished designing and knitting the hat and dress set for Kate S, and I made some matching booties for it too.  I've written up a cruddy first draft of the pattern, which Mary S has generously decided to try to slog through.  The general consensus is that I need to provide a range of sizes, but I think it's going to be a lot of math. (Duh.  Understatement of the century.)  So I'm putting it off for a bit, but I will get to it. 


Cashmere or Vicuna before spinning
Cashmere or Vicuna after spinning
In spinning, I finished up spinning the ounce of camel I had.  And by the way, I do think I'm allergic to it.  Same reaction as I had two months ago, so I put on a dust mask and slogged through it.  Will not be spinning with camel again anytime soon.  I also had a fifth of an ounce of something which was wrapped in tissue paper.  I didn't keep the any record of what it is, but it was so soft and luscious and there was so little of it, that I'm guessing it was either cashmere or vicuna. I don't know what I'll use it for, but it was fun to spin, and I'm slowly working my way through all my little random sample lots of stuff.

I'm still working away on the Absinthe sock which you can see here on Ravelry, but I haven't taken any pictures of it lately.  I just finished turning the heel and will be starting the leg (it's a toe-up sock).  I've been working on it awhile, but the pattern is intricate, and I'll been futzing around with deadline knitting a lot lately.  I also began designing my plus size, hourglass figure, short row shaped front, close-fitting, three quarter sleeve sweater that began as a twinkle in my eye in Shannon Okey's Sweater Map Class at Stitches.  Talk about freaking math, I spent 4 hours just in the initial writing up the first size for me thing.  But I think I've figured out a way to do it, that I can generate all the numbers for everyone for short row shaping so I can actually publish a pattern and have it work for a lot o' people.

Also, quick product review.  I got some blocking wire from Inspinknity on Etsy, the regular ones and the Deluxe Ultra Fine Lace set.  Can I just say that even if you have other blocking wires (which I did), you need these wires?  I got the Ultra Fine Lace Set first thinking that I already had regular blocking wires, so I just needed some lace ones.  Once I got them and tried them out of the package, I immediately ordered the regular set. Run, as fast as your little fingers can type and get these.  I was able to bend them in a curved u-shape to block the hat I made for Kate S's soon to born munchkin, and they popped immediately back to straight.  When you take the wires that are curved in a circle out of the package, they immediately pop back to straight.  These are so cool, and can be stored in what looks like a gallon size zip lock that it came in.  I can't wait to have some really crazy lace to block.
Cashew Ranch Dip and Chips and Salsa
Mexican Layer Dip
Fried Fake "Cheez" Nuggets
Chicken Fingers, Hominy Salad and Ginger Bok Choi

In cookbook news, Mary Kate and I had the allergy dinner event. This was our first go at serving food that neither Mary Kate nor myself is allergic to. This was a good dry run to test some recipes. None of the dishes served contained milk, eggs, soy, wheat, gluten, or any of the other things that Mary Kate and I are allergic to. The cookbook we are planning will be free of dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts, which are the 8 most common allergens. We served a ranch dip made of cashew nuts, which was awesome, a hominy salad, chicken fingers, ginger and garlic bok choi, a chipotle butternut squash soup, my crazy hot Italian pea soup, a gluten free sponge cake with rum caramel sauce, date cashew truffles, and a cranberry apple crisp.
Hot Italian Sausage Pea Soup
Gluten free sponge cake rum caramel sauce
Cranberry Apple Crisp
Date Cashew Truffles

 Now, we can't use the recipes using cashew for the cookbook, but we wanted to try them because neither of us are allergic to cashews and the recipes sounded good. I think everything was a success except the chicken fingers (which still need work) and the cake.  By cake, I mean the cake itself, because the caramel sauce was killer.  The cake, not so much.  But it was also my first attempt at gluten free baking, so not the end of the world. 

Since the dinner, I've been trying to research 1 hour a week as per the Purple Calendar of Doom, and try one new recipe.  I'm still trying to test mayo recipes.  So far, not good.  I have one that came close-ish but the texture was really off. 

In health news, I have five visits into the gym this month and only need three more by the end of the month. I haven't gone as much as I've scheduled myself, but we've had a lot going on, and the weather has also not been helping. But I shouldn't have a problem getting that time in by the end of the month. 

In being almost 40 news, I only have two weeks left.  On Friday, I'm dying my hair auburn red.  Not because I have a ton of grey, but because the color is starting to fade out, and I can't tell you how much that is ticking me off.  So I've been watching it get lighter and an ashier brown blond in places for about a year, and I've had enough of panicking that it will turn this awful washout out tobacco stained yellow color before it goes white.  So, I'm all done, no more waiting to see what horrors the ticking clock of time has, they have freaking dye for that.

I think that's about it for this installment.  Seriously, go buy those blocking wires.  I'm not kidding. (Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with the seller, nor have I been provided with any financial remuneration for making these statements).