Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Knitting: Beware the Lusekofte

Well, I cast on the kit for the red Lusekofte Norwegian sweater... finally.  Unfortunately, I am a complete idiot because I didn't realize from the very vague wording in the instructions that *both* sleeves are meant to be knitted at the same time, meeting at the shoulder, and knitted together for the purposes of steeking them later.

So here is the start of the second sleeve.  The first sleeve is about 6" past the cuff up the arm, so when I catch the second one up, I'll be good.  I think.  The plain maroon part you see there is the inner cuff facing.  I think if I were to do this over again (and I might in another color) I will go down two needle sizes for the facing, instead of one, as my stranded colorwork pulls in a LOT more than I think it's supposed to.  It's not puckered, it's just rather tight.  Tight enough that the facing seems larger by comparison.

I also cast on a pair of Knotty Gloves for bedside knitting.  I have just WAY too much sock yarn, and the Summer Blooms was already wound into a cake from my failed attempt at the Ulmus Rectangle.  The second attempt.  It's a cool pattern, I just seem to have trouble finding yarns that don't make it look clownish.  So far I have most of a cuff.  I would do them two at a time, but I find that knitting from both the inside and the outside of a yarn cake gets really twisty, and beside is not the place to dangle and untwist it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Food II: The Perfect Homemade Hamburger Bun

I don't know if it's the new Zojirushi Bread Machine I got for Christmas, or the excellent recipe I found and modified, but this makes the *best* hamburger buns.  Seriously tasty, soft but not too delicate, and lots of flavor.  This recipe is mixed in a 2-lb. capacity machine.  If you have a 1 1/2-lb. capacity machine, you may have to watch your dough closely on the first rise.

Cheese Onion Buns (for bread machines)

1 1/4 C Water
4 1/4 C flour (bread flour is best, but all-purpose will work)
1 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 C Sugar
1 Tbs. dry Milk powder
1 Tbs. dried minced onion
2 tsp. salt (do not omit this, it's necessary for a proper rise)
1 1/2 tsp. bread machine or quick active dry yeast

1.  Measure ingredients precisely and add to the bread machine pan in the order recommended by your manufacturer's instructions.

2.  Set machine to the "dough" cycle and allow dough to mix, knead, and go through one rise cycle.

3.  Punch down dough and remove from bread machine.  Rolling it into a log shape, cut the dough into eight pieces for large buns, or ten pieces for smaller buns.  Roll each piece into a smooth ball and flatten slightly with your palm.

4.  Lay buns 1 to 2" inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.  Cover with a damp dishtowel or tea towel and let rise a second time for one hour.  Preheat oven to 350°.

5.  When the buns have completed their second rise,  place in preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes or so.  They should be golden on top, but sound hollow if you tap lightly on their underside.  Cool and store.

Food: 2010 or The Year of Recycling

While it's not particularily "green" to recycle an old blog post, I'm going to refer you to my 2009 Post-Thanksgiving post about what to do with all that leftover Holiday ham and turkey.  It contains both my Turkey chow mein and Ham and Egg Fried Rice recipes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movies: Non-Christmas Christmas Movies 2010

Since a lot of TV shows are in their holiday season hiatus until January or later, I thought it would be fun to list my top five favorite movies set during the Christmas season without being *about* Christmas.

5.  P2(2008) - This little-known psychological thriller follows a young professional who's simply trying to get out of the office to meet her family for Christmas dinner.  The parking structure seems to have other ideas.

4.  Gremlins (1984) - A beloved cult-favorite of the '80s, a young man gets an unusual pet for Christmas and gets more than he bargained for.

3. Lethal Weapon (1987) - Perhaps over the years we've forgotten that this jam-packed action classic opens with a Christmas carol playing as we close in on a dead body.  The contrast between how Riggs and Murtagh spend their holidays is heartbreaking and sad.

2. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2001) - This Robert Downey Jr./Val Kilmer vehicle would not have been complete without the sexy Ms. Santa in her outfit.  Okay, well maybe it would have.  Still an excellent flick.

1. Die Hard (1988) - Meeting your wife at the Nakatomi building during a Christmas party?  What could go wrong with that?  The first in a series of high-octane films, they all happen at Christmas.  You'd think he'd learn to stay home.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knitting: Bogged down

As usual, I started too many projects and got caught up in trying to finish what I started.  It was making knitting feel like a chore instead of the fun thing it's supposed to be.  I realized this yesterday when I cast on a pair of Ringwood Gloves and finished almost an entire glove in one day.

I believe my New Year's resolution from 2010 will be making its reappearance in 2011.  Cast on one project at a time.  And buying yarn one project at a time.

I do have 90% of my family gifts made.  I should make something for my uncle, but his wool allergy makes that kind of difficult.  I do have lots and lots of cotton yarn though, it's just persnickety to work with.

After the New Year I plan on getting serious about reverse-engineering this sweater.  It's an adorable little thing, seen on the TV show Fringe.  After that, if I still feel like reverse-engineering things, I may go after an adorable shawl-collared gray sweater I saw Helen Shaver wearing on Supernatural several seasons back.

So many things to knit, so little time...

Saturday, December 4, 2010


If you didn't watch last night's episode of Supernatural, go watch it NOW.  I'll wait.  Really, it's that good.

Okay... hopefully you've been keeping up with Supernatural this season, because a crap-ton of stuff got resolved, answered or skewed in a new direction last night.  And Hooray for Castiel!  Not only did he kick some ass righteously (in every sense of the word), he learned some new tricks, too.  That must have been quite a performance by the Pizza delivery guy.

Fringe also pulled a mid-season massive plot-resolution episode.  Fauxlivia's cover was blown, they're back in their correct universes, and now we get to see how Peter reacts to knowing he's been sleeping with the enemy all this time.  Is it going to screw up his relationship with Olivia?  Also, hilarious use of coined wordage by Walter.

Once again, anything I'm supposed to watch with the hubster, we are behind on.  This means Glee, No Ordinary Family, Walking Dead, etc.  I have been watching old seasons of the comedy "Frasier" to fill in my knitting time... guess who I spotted?  A very young version of Sue Sylvester from "Glee" as a snooty mother trying to get her child into prep school.  Hilarious.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Knitting: Change of Plans

Well, I did NOT start my Norwegian Sweater during the Thanksgiving festivities.  I started feeling guilty about starting something for myself when I have relatives in Minnesota freezing their butts off.  SO...  I'm knitting other stuff, but I can't talk about it.  Yep, they read my blog.

Don't you hate it when people do that?  Announce they have a secret and don't spill it, not reading my blog.

Knitpicks, of course, had this HUGE sale... 40% off... on the holiday weekend starting with cyber Monday.  Do I have any money left to take advantage?  Heck no.  All spent on presents already thanks to some nifty Black Friday deals on Amazon.  Oh, there was such a lot of very, very pretty sock and lace yarn... some at less than $2 a skein.  Can you hear the whimpering all the way over where you are?  Yup, you should.

Ah well, I shall put it all on my wish list and cross my fingers.