Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Duck Chow Mein

I made duck chow mein for dinner tonight. Its REALLY good.

I know.. your thinking... "Is she NUTS?!?@?" ummm... no. Duck is good. Duck isn't difficult and the whole she-bang only cost me $7. We'll have leftovers for lunches too! I love 99 Ranch Market with a passion.

Duck - 2 legs, $3.82
Baby bok choy, $.99
Fresh Ginger, $.40
Garlic (already had it)
Onion, $.20 (they were .39/lb)
Mushroom Soy (Had it)
Chili sauce (had it)
Brown sugar or palm sugar (had it)
Rice Vinegar (had it)
Fresh Chow Mein noodles, $.79 (and I only used half the bag)

Set a small pot of water to boil (for the noodles). Score the skin on the duck legs. Season with salt and pepper. Heat pan and put the legs in skin side down. Cook until fat is rendering out ~5 min. Flip. Cook for another few minutes (I call it good once I'm not seeing pink on the edges, they'll cook more later). Remove duck from pan and set aside to cool. Wash bok choy and chop (2-3 cups worth). Chop 2+ cloves garlic, grate 1 Tbsp ginger, and +1/2 of the onion. Strip the meat (and any crispy skin) off the leg bones and chop roughly, discard any uncooked fat/skin, set aside. Reheat the duck fat in the pan (2-3 Tbsp is enough, if there is more, remove it). Is your water boiling? Add the noodles and cook until al dente (these really should be on the chewy side, ~3 minutes). To the duck fat, Add the garlic, ginger, onion, and a TINY bit of chili sauce. Stir fry until onion begins to color, add bok choy. Let cook, stiring until bok choy is wilted. Add the chopped duck and stir a couple core minutes. Add 2 Tbsp mushroom soy, 2 tsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp vinegar. Stir and let cook while draining and rinsing your noodles. Add the noodles, Stir, SERVE! Its not necessary but I also threw in a bit of chopped fresh Basil at the end.

Short Short version:
Cook Duck, get fat
Chop veggie types
Cook veggies in fat.
Add Meat.
Cook Noodles. Drain.
Make sauce with meat.
Add Noodles.

The short version is really what I do best. I don't measure. It comes out tasty. I'm happy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Epic Sweater Returns

I'm attempting to start the Epic Sweater again. Wish me luck.

I have finished a baby blanket. Pictures to come. Possibly a pattern too. I'm still trying to decide what to name it thought... Butterfly Nets? Butter Baby? hmmm... more soon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm such a fink....

I know... I said I'd post... I lied. Oh well...

On to current things. I traveled a whole lot in August, here are some highlights:

The home brewed beer in Utica, NY.

There were also 6 tapped kegs. I came home and recovered for a week before heading out to Colorado on the train.

The scenery was very scenic and I didn't sleep too badly. I came home long enough to get my classroom ready then went to Grass Valley for a driving clinic with Oliver. I was too busy driving to get many pictures but this is Oliver before our last drive where we did a driven dressage test and he rocked!

I somehow haven't done a whole lot of knitting. I started a baby blanket and then left it at school over this long weekend. The baby shower is next weekend. I'm gonna have to knit like crazy next week!
I think I'm going to start a sweater for the baby's older sister. So I'm off to hunt down a pattern....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Travelling Abounds

I'm off to traveling tomorrow. I will start with a weekend trip to Portland. My grandmother is from a tiny village in Greece and there are enough people from that little village that have immigrated to the West Coast that they have started having a Village Reunion every summer. I've never been so it should be fun. We will be staying with my Great Aunt Marina who I haven't seen in about 20 years.

I'm going to knit her a pair of socks while I'm traveling there out of this:

It is Sushi Sock yarn from The Unique Sheep in the Autumn in the City colorway. It looks like summer to me... :) It is Superwash+Bamboo and I Love it!

I'm going to try to hit a few yarn stores while I'm there and I'm also going to stop by the Oregon Brewers Festival
And have some yummy beer while I wait for my mom, uncle, and grandma to arrive.

After Portland I'm off to Upstate New York to visit friends. More blog later, must pack now!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Olympic Trials

The knitting Olympics are technically only every 4 years during the winter Olympics but I'm going to practice with the summer Olympics as an "Olympic Trial". The idea being to begin a project at the Opening ceremonies and finish by the Closing ceremonies. It should be something challenging. Since the Olympics are falling during my train trip to Colorado (lots of knitting time) I've decided to take on 2 Olympic Events. I'm going to be pulling up 2 projects from WAY back.

Project 1: Pixie Cables baby afghan

<-----The blue/green cabled blanket

I have had this booklet for at least 15 years. It has both crochet and knit patterns, but I only knew how to crochet back then. I remember looking at the cables and thinking that that would probably be the softest prettiest blanket of the bunch but that I didn't know how to knit, and mom could only knit and purl and was too busy trying to remember how to do it herself to actually teach me (and I had NO attention span for learning... It was probably more me...). I still have the book so in a weird way I think I'll feel a circle of completion to finally knit the first project I had ever wanted to knit. If I can knit that "unattainable 'cause its knitting" afghan from way back it will be quite the cool thing. So, until August I need to find some yarn for it. I was originally knitting this baby another one of my mitered baby blanket patterns but the stripes are annoying me and I think that one is not going to get finished. I don't think I want to use the Blue Sky Cotton for this one because the cables require something with a bit more elasticity, but I also don't want to go straight acrylic or wool. It would be really cool to do this in something organic but that might be a budget stretcher. hmmm... maybe panda cotton?

Project 2: Argyle Socks

In a random pile of old pattern pamphlets that my mom somehow gleaned from someone else I have patterns from 1940. Absolutely classic and fairly clean instructions for knitting argyle.

Early in my kntting career just after I started doing socks I bought 4 colors of a super wash wool that I thought I'd make fair isle socks with. I spent WAY too much on the yarn and I don't even know if its enough to make 2 whole socks with so.... Not Gonna Happen. Instead I'm going to use it for argyle! That way I'll definitely have enough for the argyle part and I can use bits of different colors for the heels and toes, and it should use less yarn than fair isle would have since I'm not carrying the yarns around the whole row.

More to come on these...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Moving along

This is going to be one of those 'random' posts. Other people seem to do random Thursdays. I think I'm just going to have to do a random Monday.

1. Tulip on Crack is finished except for sewing in the ends.

Its still awfully cute, and I've started a little ear flap hat for her big sister to match.

2. We did win lots at the county fair this year...

And those ribbons don't even include the BBQ!

3. I'm going to send in my entry for the Lambtown spinning contests July 19th in Dixon. I'm probably nuts, but it just sounds like fun.

4. Pebbles has just turned 10!

I got Pebbles from the Milo foundation as a kitten when K left me outside of Safeway while he ran in to use the ATM. Less than 5 minutes later I had a kitten. (K now knows better than to leave me alone at pet adoptions)

10 years later she is still the queen of bitchy spoiled kitties. And still quite the round fluff ball. She has stared down a hawk and was bit by a raccoon yet had no other scratches on her.

Many more years pebbles!

5. I got a new cell phone, after I was no longer able to charge my old phone. I got a Samsung Glyde . Its pretty cool. The pictures in this post were all taken on it! Considering our actual camera sucks, the pictures look decent. It also has a web browser (and I get 1 month of free browsing!) and can do movies and music too. Its definitly a step up for me but less of a jump than switching companies to get an Iphone.

More when I'm feeling less random. I'll start temping next week and I'm going to do some traveling in August.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Warning! Mature content! Not for the weak!

It can be addictive.
It can rule your life.
You think "but everyone else is doing it" or "I don't have an addictive personality, I can try it and leave it.....".
You think you can pick it up and just do a little.
You know people who have tried it and haven't had lasting side effects.
You also know people who have fallen into the cycle of highs and lows.
It is expensive.
The high may last for a full day before cutting you off.
The rush is incredible, It draws you in and won't let you go until its done.
You will find yourself scraping the bag for any last little bit until its all gone.
You may have to get more....

What am I referring to?


The Dream in Crack Tulip Sweater

Isn't it just too cute! Aren't the colors too sweet!

I didn't think I would succumb to the trendiness, little did I know that when faced in person with this kit..... The wool fumes overcame me. I saw the kit. I had to knit it. I cast on immediately. I was halfway done by dinner. I would have been done in 24 hours if I hadn't picked up the button band like I was actually on crack. I ripped it back, then reclaimed the high by knitting the sleeves and I'm about ready to re-attack the button band. The baby I'm knitting this for isn't even due until October but I will be done in a total of 3 days (if not for the crazy button band it would have been 24 hours).

I paid more than it is listed on that website... but I still have this much left over...

I'm going to make matching little hats for the baby and her big sister. Just to prolong the high.

You've had your fair warning. Good luck.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Creating without (many) pictures

I think I am a creative person. I like making things. The things I make may not be gorgeous but I always enjoy the process and seeing results, whatever they may be. Lately I've been branching out a bit.... the county fair is a good starting point, I entered the Potato Pirate contest and the Marshmallow monster contest.
My potato is the big ship on the blue (so stable that they leaned a less sucessful entry on it!) I called my pirate "Yukon Goldbeard" and my marshmallow monster is Cuthulu in green on the far right with the blue base. Both won 1st place.

I also spent some time throwing pots at our school arts day a couple weeks ago. I nearly got a minor in pottery in college but hadn't thrown in years. Lots of fun, I won't have pictures of my creations until next fall (they didn't manage to glaze them before summer!) .

And... I'm making sourdough bread! How cool is that! I even started my own starter (Thanks to the naked chef...). I'm going on week 3 with it and it keeps improving. The hardest part is letting it rise then getting it in the oven without deflating it. It requires a 10-14 hour rise time (natural yeasts are much slower than the store bought kind) so it has to be protected. It also rises better if its moister. So I'm rising the current batch in a little glass pan that I can transfer directly to the oven and I have it in a big ziplock with toothpicks tenting it to keep it from touching (read: deflating) the dough. I'm glad I'm doing mini-batches because this stuff produces bread every couple days and we can only eat so much (especially since I haven't been getting the best results yet...) Pictures to come on the bread.

1 more day of school!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'll Blog again soon.... Really!

SO... I suck. I haven't blogged in ages. I've knitted all sorts of things, lemme sum up:

1 pair of socks for last year's TA
1 pair of little socks for a 4 year old
1 little baby hat for a teacher at work
1 really little pair of baby socks for someone I don't actually know, but she loved them.
1 eye patch for the county fair (2nd place)
2 potholders for the county fair (3rd place)
1 silly bag (still needs handles)
1 green scarf for this year's TA
1 pair of socks for this year's other TA

I got a new cell phone and my horse has learned to canter (without bucking anyone off).

School's out in 5 days, look for more posts once I'm on break!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The little things...

Its been a rough week. So right now I'm trying to focus on nice happy things... Like...

The cutest little baby hat I have ever knitted!
Its a Bitter Melon! Really! I looked it up and the blossom and the color matches. :)
There will be many more of these to come, and I'll probably post the pattern too!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Epic Sweater visits the Frog Pond

Weeeellll Sheeeit.

Epic sweater take 5. Or is it 6?

So I was whizzing along ( as much as an epic sweater can really whiz...) and arrived at the correct number of stitches to have a 40" around sweater. Good, right? Wrong. What should have been 9 or 10 inches of length to achieve that width turned out to be more like 6 inches. Lets look...

That is the sweater I'm basing this whole affair on. Note the length of the raglan lines. Mine is the same (or nearly) width. Shit.

Lets take a closer look...

And now the reasons why this whole thing will be redone... again...
  1. Raglans are not supposed to have sleeves at 90 degree angles.
  2. K does not have arms at 90 degree angles.
  3. K is not built like a football player
  4. K is not planning on taking massive amounts of steroids which would cause him to look like a football player.
As a bit of a pain reliever I have been knitting a little baby hat. Its going to be a veggie hat. It now has a stem! :)

This yarn is just basic Sidar acrylic in a color I like to refer to as "Don't lose the Baby!" If you can't find your child in this then you shouldn't breed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Epic Sweater

Epic, very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale); "an epic voyage"; "of heroic proportions"; "heroic sculpture"

This is an undertaking. Its a commitment to excellence that I rarely even aim for. But when its for K I go all out... I'm knitting him an epic sweater. It is in Fisherman's Rib. It is in nearly natural wool (very little dye, not superwash.) . The wool took me 4 months to procure. I bought sample skiens. I did test knits for ribs, cables, needle sizes, and color. I examined and repaired the old sweater ( a welsh import) for gauge, structure, and stitch.

I began knitting from the top down, and cut it loose.

And cast on to smaller needles, and knit 1 inch... and ripped back.

And tried again with less stitches... and messed up the ribbing and ripped it back.

And tried again with different markers and was doing okay until until I realized I didn't have the right number of stitches for the rib, and cut it loose.

Finally... Cast on 96 stitches. 5-m-5-27-m-5-11-m-5-27-m-5-6-m (m=Marker)

Joined around, and began to knit. Fisherman's rib is tricky. I need an extra marker for the round as well as for each raglan miter because you have to switch from knit to purl every round. It goes slow, what looks like a row is actually more like 4 rows. I'm on size 4 needles and getting something like 4 stitches per inch. The increases are tricky too, they have to be done in pairs to maintain the rib but not in the same round, so I actually am knitting a 6 row pattern.

1: Knits and increase
2: Purls
3: Knits and increase
4: Purls
5: Knits
6: Purls

SO Each of those added ribs along the miter is 6 rows of work!

I am up to a 24" needle now but only 1/3 of the way down to the sleeves. I'm going to do the whole thing seamless to avoid having my nice work botched up by seams. But I am going to add plain 1x1 ribbing at the neckline, hem, and cuffs.

So Epic. So worth it. So handsome.*

*Him and the sweater! I can't wait to put them together!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Rush

AH.... back to knitting and blogging. I've been a lazy ass on both accounts for some time now and I mean to rectify! Here's the lowdown on the spring knitting crazy:
  • the county fair is only 2 months away
  • I need 'thank you socks' for my TAs (oh, and another pair of socks for last years rock'in TA, she wants a pair for graduation, she loved the last pair so much!)
  • I finally have yarn to knit K's sweater
  • There are 2 teachers having babies at school, so they need baby blankets, 1 down 1 started
  • I have my sweater to finish
That's still lots of knitting. I'm not sure what I'm entering in the fair yet, we'll see what's finished! I really want to enter one of my baby blankets. The only one I've ever entered was a half finished piece of crap that got a 3rd place.

Here's my most recent start on a baby blanket, my mitered blanket pattern (I just love it!) in vaguely girlish Easter egg colors....

I've also started K's sweater, for the 4th time, this time on smaller needles and with the correct # of stitches.

I also need to go to Trader Joes ( a good place to knit socks in line)
because my last batch of daffodils never opened! How sad! nothing worse than springtime without pretty daffodils!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stitches Checklist

Counting down to the big yarn convention... and attempting not to completely go broke!

I'm planning on purchasing
  • ~1100yds worsted wool for K's sweater
  • 6 ply sock yarn. Enough for 5-6 pairs of socks (christmas presents)

Given the right price I might also get:
  • Yarn for a sweater for me ~1000 yds
  • More sock yarn
  • spinning fiber
  • wool carders
  • ravelry schwag
  • stitch markers
Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blankie Done!

It got fixed, finished, and blocked!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Counting is....

Counting is something that, as a math teacher, I should really do well. I usually do it without thinking. My Mitered Baby Blanket is elegant in its constant and finite reduction of stitches. You start with 50 stitches between each marker and work your way down to zero. 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 45, .... when you get to 36 stitches you are half way done. A lovely sigma function....

As long as you don't drop a stitch.

As long as you don't drop a stitch, right along the miter, and don't notice that your count is off until 30 rows later.

Lets look.

This is my version of surgery.

<----The dropped stitch is strung on that circular

The other needles are holding the other stitches next to where the miter should be.

I could have just sewn in the dropped stitch at the miter. No one would have noticed.

But I like my nice stitch counts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dancing Legwarmers

These Legwarmers are a quick knit and the pattern can be adjusted for different yarn weights and needle sizes. Made originally for Barbara, who does a lot of ballroom dancing in a cold barn/garage.

Yarn: 140yds Aran weight, I used Mission Falls 1824 Wool (superwash)
Needles: US 10 Doublepoints
Guage: 3 stitches per inch

TR= knit the second stitch on the left needle, then the first one, then slide them off together.

CO 36 stitches (or any multiple of 3).
Join in the round being careful not to twist.
Rows 1-9: *K2 P1* repeat around
Row 10: *TR, P1* around
Row 11: *K2, P1* around
Row 12: *TR, P1* around

Do K2P1 rib for 8-10 inches then repeat rows 10-12.
K2P1 for 8 more rows.
Bind Off LOOSELY. (The legwarmers will stretch to fit over the leg)

Knit another one and you'll have a cozy pair of legwarmers!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Knee sockin'

I'm using the Noro Sock I bought in Seattle to make a pair of knee socks. I actually started knitting a patterned rib sock but realized that I could make a MUCH longer sock with the amount of yarn in the ball...there is 462 yards here! Crazy! SO I rewound it into a couple balls.

Notice the repeats? Count the bits of purple... there are 3.

Essentially this means either I use a single repeat for each sock to make them 'match', ignore the repeats and have completely screwy socks. OR my choice of working the 2nd sock'backwards' staring from a green section heading towards a purple and maybe, just maybe having the same amounts of the colors on both socks. Being that they are knee socks and I want to wear them with a skirt I don't want them to be too horribly obviously mismatched. Which is an odd thing for me since my socks rarely match... So rarely that my mom bought me 3 pairs of the same coffee cup patterned socks for christmas in the hopes that with 6 socks I could manage to make 1 pair!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Old year DONE! New year begun!

I finished as much as I really needed to! All presents for Christmas day were done, Finished a pair of socks on the plane to Seattle, and finished 2 more pairs while there! Then I knitted a pair for myself!

SO I still have this scarf to finish, and a pair of thick leg warmers to knit, but really I feel I have been quite successful in my holiday knitting.

Seattle was fun, I printed out a list of yarn stores and went to 5 of them... my stash has regrown itself after my holiday stash reduction... but the yarn is SOOOOO nice!

I got some Fleece Artist!

Some Smooshy!

Some yarn for someone who may recognize her signature colors....

and well... this whole stack!