July 27, 2008

Not such a useless word after all

The predictive text feature on my cell phone is missing some really important words. Like “douchebag,” “crappy” and, most unbelievably, “brunch”. Anyway, what it lacks in being able to predict how I text, is more than made up for by having lots of words that I’m pretty sure have never been used in a text message in the entire history of texting – like tonsorial. And mordant.

Why do I mention this? Because it’s annoying, but also when I first got my phone, I thought “WTF does mordant mean!?!?” And now, I’m proud to say that I know exactly what it means. Because I have mordanted. I am a mordanter.

When we were at MA Sheep and Wool, the Daft Crafter and I bought ourselves a natural dyeing kit. Natural dyes require a mordant – a chemical additive that improves the light and color-fastness of the dye. You can either pre-mordant your yarn in a mordant bath or mix the mordant with your dyestuffs. And a few weekends ago, we mordanted the crap out of some yarn.


Incidentally, doing stuff like this with other bloggers is awesome. Because they're taking pictures of random crap just like you are. And no one thinks it's at all weird...Plus, they write fabulous posts about it, too...


The whole dyeing experience was extra exciting because we also tried out the new Knitpicks sock blanks. They’re machine-knit into a long rectangle in such a way that you can easily hand-dye SELF-STRIPING SOCK YARN. And since the sock blanks are knit two strands at a time, you theoretically end up with a pair of matching striped socks by knitting one sock from each strand. Fantastic.

So how did the natural dyes look? Well, on the right is my first effort, striped in Cutch and Madder. Mordant mixed in with the dye. Before heat-setting the dye, the two colors looked nearly identical on the yarn. Thus, sloppy-looking stripes. But still, fairly nice.


On the left is my second effort (100% ripped off from, I mean inspired by, the Daft Crafter’s efforts pictured below), striped in Cutch, Madder, Osage, Cochineal, Logwood Grey and combinations thereof. I love it shamelessly.


[Please note, the very, very serious expression on her face in this picture in no way represents the amount of fun we had. Mostly we were laughing. Also, drinking beer.]

And my last, premordanted in a mordant bath and then handpainted with a combination of the same colors as above. Pretty enough to make me resent all my other sock yarn for not being as pretty as this yarn.


The only real drawback to this whole process (besides rather more math than either of us were prepared for, and a whole lot of fussy measuring and timing things) is that you have to let the dyed yarn “season” for a week before rinsing it.

For an instant gratification type, I can see this being tough.

But it’s not as if I’ll be running out of sock yarn any time soon.

July 20, 2008

Now that's my kind of church

I'm more than a little curious about this, because both my imagination and my google-fu have failed me.

What is tattoo worship??? Anyone?

My best guess is that they're adjusting their spiritual appeal to their neighborhood, Allston being, well, Allston.

In which case, I can't wait to see if they'll have "Dive Bar Worship," "Piercing Worship" and "Weather-Inappropriate Black Boots Worship" in upcoming weeks.

July 16, 2008


I’ve mentioned the epic awesomeness of my best friend Quinn on a number of occasions. She’s everything you could ever want in a best friend, and more - kind, brilliant, thoughtful and hilarious. Plus, she genuinely appreciates the knitting in a way that’s really rare for a non-knitter.

Given her many exceptional qualities, it takes an exceptionally great guy to meet the good-enough-to-date-my-BFF standard.

Luckily, she has just such a guy. He’s good and kind and makes her laugh. They’ve made a really lovely life together over the last several years. And this past weekend, they made it all official: my darling BFF eloped with this wonderful guy and got herself married.

He’s everything I could want for her, and I know they’ll be brilliantly happy together.

So, congratulations again, pumpkin!

You did good. Really, really good.

July 11, 2008


Like most women, I keep a stash of feminine products in the office. They’re in an unassuming IKEA box on the bottom shelf of a crowded bookcase.

So a few minutes ago my (male) boss walked into my cubicle, said “Nice hatbox. What’s in here?” and just opened it (while I was mentally screaming "NOOOOOOOO").

He got this completely appalled look on his face, said “Oh – I see” in a very small voice, carefully shut it and backed far, far away.

I’m going to go die now. But I bet you a million billion dollars he won’t be poking around in anyone else's office stuff. Ever. Again.

July 8, 2008

Leagues, both major and minor

I went to a baseball game last night.

This will surprise just about everyone who knows me, since I consider baseball unwatchably boring. Happily, knitting does radically increase my tolerance for watching sports. And since it was a Stitch ‘n Pitch, the event did combine four out of my five very favorite things: Drinking beer, eating greasy food from carts, smoking in publicly owned facilities (yay minor league ball parks!) and knitting.

Incidentally, when I told one of my fellow knitters that I was doing almost all of my favorite things, she leaned over to me and, with brilliantly dry delivery, said “I'm not sure what your other favorite thing is, but no matter how nicely you ask, I will not have sex with you.” Awesome. I do love my dirty-minded knitting ladies.

And it really was a blast being surrounded by my people, including the aforementioned mind-firmly-in-the-gutter friend Sarah, and the always-awesome Quirkles ...


Needles and yarn everywhere you looked! Socks on circs! Socks on DPNs! An entire section full of random people that really cared about the difference between metal, wood and bamboo. At a baseball game. It was especially charming to be sitting in a ballpark and knowing someone within shouting distance would be able to provide almost everything I needed to finish a sock – such as scissors and a darning needle, and a reminder of how to do the kitchener stitch (which I somehow COMPLETELY FORGOT HOW TO DO while sitting there – I blame the heat. Also, possibly, the beer).


Our local minor league team, the Lowell Spinners, got their asses resoundingly kicked, but I had rather more success. Despite the kitchener stitch memory lapse, I finished a sock…


Plus, there were some major league knitting celebrities, handing out buttons and stickers and being their charming selves. I didn’t want to be all intrusive with the picture-taking.

So I Kinneared them, Yarn Harlot style. Because there's nothing weird or stalkerish about that.


And I did score some of their Ravelry goodies (including a much-coveted-by-me “Where my stitches at?” pin). I always thought of myself as someone who would be calm in these situations, but I believe I received my pin and stutttered something along the lines of "SWEET! I mean, thank you, er, so much. And, um, thank you for, uh, Ravelry." Suave!

Now that’s my idea of a night at the ballpark.

Next up! I continue to drown in greens, but now I at least kind of know what to do with them, thanks to the fabulous advice from all of you....

July 1, 2008

Admitting defeat

Over the winter I signed up for a weekly half-share of produce from a local farm. This is a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, wherein you pay X dollars to a local farm during the off-season and get a box of produce per week during harvest season.

You not only support local farms when they have minimal income during the off-season but you get awesome super-fresh produce delivered practically to your door all summer long. Plus, possible hot farm boy sightings every week.

I think it’s genius.

And I like to cook and really, really love vegetables, so this seems like a perfect arrangement, right?

Well, this is what I’ve received so far:

2 bunches swiss chard
2 bunches kale
2 large bunches arugula
2 heads lettuce
2 huge bags spinach
2 bunches of beets, with (you guessed it) greens
2 bunches radishes
2 pints strawberries

I understand of course that it’s early in the season and this is what’s ready to eat in New England right now. That’s actually part of the charm of a CSA – you’re 100% guaranteed to be eating seasonally. And the greens are seriously gorgeous.




But I live alone, so the vast majority of this stuff needs to be cooked and eaten by me. And quickly. I’ve made countless salads with the tender greens. I’ve sautéed pounds of kale and chard and spinach with garlic and oil. They're particularly tasty with polenta and roasted portabello mushrooms. I’ve tossed leftover cooked greens with orzo, parmesan and good olive oil for pasta salad.


I’m done. I can’t eat any more greens. The greens have won. Anyone local want some of this stuff???

Also, despite a valiant effort at cooking them and a sincere appreciation of their beauty, turns out I am not such a huge fan of beets.



Or, if I can't share the wealth with you, do you have a favorite recipe for greens??? Cuz I’m getting a whole new batch of them this weekend…