Thursday, October 29, 2009

Small Potatoes

I'm not kidding - this post really is about small potatoes.

I had to work late tonight, so Willow and I stopped in at Trader Joe's to look for something quick for dinner, and we found these mini potatoes. How mini?


Um, does the fact that I could put 4 of them in my handy-dandy shot glass tell you anything?! I wasn't sure how long to cook them for - so I put them in a pot, poured in enough water to cover the potaoes and then some and salted it - and let them cook on a high boil for 15 minutes.

I squished them with a fork, put a little butter and some garlic and salt - and they were so yummy! I was a little afraid the skins would be bitter, but they weren't in the slightest.


(The rest of the quick dinner? Broccoli and cauliflower (I had eaten the cauliflower before I thought to take the picture), foccacia (meh.), and breaded fish fillets with mango salsa.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stitches East Recap


Trust me folks, this was the extent of our sightseeing in Hartford, CT.

When I first heard that Stitches East was moving from Baltimore to Hartford I was quite excited. It was a little more difficult and longer to get to, but I had never been north of Manhattan before and being a history buff, was really eager to go into New England. My friends and I book Amtrak tickets back in March, reserved a hotel room in the Marriott connected to the convention center where Stitches was being held, and we were on our way.

This was my first long distance train journey since living in Japan where train travel was part of my daily life. Maybe I should just say upfront that it was a good thing that I brought a 800 page book with me. Our 5 hour train trip took closer to 7 hours due to electrical problems - but I was okay. We arrived in Hartford just before 11pm, caught a taxi back to the hotel, and I was amazed at how clean and pretty the city looked. We passed the State House and some other historic buildings and I was eager to get out and explore the next day. The Downtown Hartford Marriot is a gorgeous hotel, by the way. It has a golden yellow theme throughout and is very striking.

The Stitches Market was fabulous as well - I had no problem spending money. There were a few vendors I missed seeing - Carodan Farms, Uncommon Threads, Rosies Yarn Cellar, Brooks Farm Yarns, Maple Creek Farms - none of which were at Stitches East -but there were some other New England-based vendors I had never seen before. Here's what I bought:

Farmhouse Yarn's Fannie's Fingering Weight in Aruba:


Handpaints by Artsygal:


Doodlebirds Creations in Watermelon Whee:


Creatively Dyed Yarns in Cadiz:


Great Adirondack Yarn Company Soxie in Blueberry:


Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK in a grape-y purple to make Willow a Mi Escuelita cardigan:


This should keep me busy for a little bit!

The burblings of trouble started when I was took a break from the constant walking and sat at one of the cafe tables. One of the women who sat at the table said that she was unable to get reservations at the hotel restaurant because the hotel was booked solid. No problem - we'll go elsewhere to eat. But then we started hearing problems about Hartford's escalating gang problem and how it wasn't safe for people to be milling about the city.

Jeez - how bad could it be? The concierge advised us to not even walk the two blocks to the Arch Tavern. One of the local Hartford vendors told us that when he travels into Hartford on the weekend, he carries a pistol with him. My friend Denise had something irritating her eye and wanted to go to CVS to get some eye wash and was told it wasn't possible - that CVS closes at 3:30pm on Saturday and doesn't open again until Monday morning. Omigod - this is not a great location for a conference that is 95% women! Yes, there is strength in numbers and all that, but was this even taken into consideration when Hartford was chosen as the next location? We had a laugh on our taxi back to the Amtrak station the next day - 1:30pm and the McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, and other restaurants we passed were all closed! (Thankfully the Subway in the train station was open so I could get a sandwich for the trip home!)

So, we stayed in the confines of the hotel the entire weekend. We weren't the only ones, either - we saw plenty of people ordering pizza and Chinese and eating it at the hotel and not venturing out. We had fun - my friends are great company, the hotel was beautiful, I had lots of yarn to fondle - but my friends and I have decided we are not coming back to Stitches East next year. We will go to another festival - perhaps SAFF or Rhinebeck.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The knitting is finished! I gave the hoodie a bath in Soak, found out she was too big to spin out in my salad spinner so I had to squeeze her dry by hand, and she is all pinned out:


It's not as huge as it looks - I took the picture at a bad angle. I made the largest size - 48" chest so it would give me about 4" of ease - I didn't want this snug at all. I also lopped about 3 inches off the length because I am terribly short-waisted.

Here are the buttons I bought for the hoodie:


I knew I wanted metal buttons, and these bronze ones are perfect! The wool (Northampton from WEBS - bought at last year's Stitches East) has the odd yellow fleck in it, so silver was out of the running. I also like the celtic knotwork look of it - it goes well with the cables.

Lucky was very interested through the entire process:


"You know I am going to sleep on this at some point before it is dry, don't you?"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Wrap-Up

Sorry for the long delay! When you have four adults who all use computers heavily in one house, and only one computer to go around...

Mom and Dad flew back to Canada today and we will miss them terribly - especially Willow. It hasn't started yet, but I suspect the waterworks are going to open up right before bedtime. We had a wonderful time while they were here - for the most part the weather cooperated, and Mom and Dad did a lot of independent exploring while Andrew and I were at work.

Last weekend we drove down to Rehoboth Beach so Mom and Dad could see the Atlantic Ocean:


Dad can now say he has been on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (England and Delaware) and Pacific Ocean (Vancouver Island and Japan). The weather was pretty nice - it was cloudy and windy, but about 78'F. Check out this sky:


Luckily, the heavy rain managed to hold off until we were on our way home. There was a greyhound adoption conference going on while we were down there, and there were gazillions of greyhounds about. Rehoboth is normally a very dog-friendly place, but there were so many greyhounds around that it became odd to see a terrier or pug walk down the street!

Willow lost another tooth - the day after her first one came out:


(and another one came out this afternoon - the Tooth Fairy is going to have to take out a loan if this keeps up at this pace!)

I even managed to finish some stuff while they were here - the Cucumber Socks:


I loooove these socks, and they fit me perfectly. I will be washing these socks this week and bringing them with me to Stitches next weekend. I have almost finished my hoodie vest for the trip as well - all that I have left is the button band and we are good to go. Pictures soon!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Willow Lost Her First Tooth!

My baby hit a milestone - one a long time in coming.


And a close up of her snaggle-toothed glory:

Close Up Snaggle Tooth

I think that second tooth is coming out tonight!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

All Good Days End With Knitting

My parents are visiting right now, so I took the day off work to do some touristy things in Philadelphia with them. Despite the fact that we have lived close to Philadelphia for close to 9 years now, I have done very little exploration of the city - so I was looking forward to this.


We took the train to Suburban Station, got out, and walked around Philadelphia City Hall and headed down to the Reading Terminal Market to have lunch. My Dad loves markets, so this was a great place for him. If you are ever in Philly, you can get about any food imaginable there.

After lunch we walked down to Independence Hall, where we saw this beautiful murals:


It's hard to give you the scope of that picture - the building was about 6 stories high. The building next to it had this great trompe-l'oeil facade:


And in the same lot, there was this third, very life-like mural:


There are murals like this all over the city - it reminds me a bit of Chemainus, a town on Vancouver Island.

After walking around Independence Hall, we went to the Liberty Bell Center (which, for those of you who don't know, it is free to go to both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center). Here's a picture of Dad, me, and Mom in front of the bell - I am always in awe at the small size of the Liberty Bell.


We saw the famous Love statue:


I turned around from the Love statue and saw a woman in a box knitting with the biggest knitting needles I had ever seen!


I went over and teasingly asked her if she was knitting with size 90 needles - and she replied that they were size 50mm. I didn't ask her how much the needles weighed, but I am sure it was tiring on her arms after a while. If you closer, you can see that she is knitting with roving (which was very soft, by the way) and she had knit the ottoman beside her. Her name is Eugenie Perret, and she and her partner Candy Depew were part of an art installation called The Welcome House, where a different artist does something in the box every day from 10/4 to 10/13. I just lucked out to walk by on the day there was knitting in the box!