hello readers and happy new year! i hope everyone had a warm and satisfying holiday week—ours was busy, but filled with good friends and great news, the first being that we not only met our goal of matching last year’s scholarship fund, but we passed it by about $725—yay!
david and i will kick in to round that amount up, making a final total scholarship of $4500. once again, the knitspot nation has pulled together to make a really good thing happen; thank you all SO VERY MUCH!
david and i stayed home for the holidays this year and it was nice each weekend to have a quiet few days at home. with the weather still warm for christmas, we got outside to run and bike each day, cooked some delicious traditional meals afterward, and spent some time knitting on current projects together.
christmas eve marks the time for our annual feast of fishes. since we didn’t have company over to share the usual array of seven fish dishes, we made a simpler—though no less yummy—puttanesca dish for two.
meanwhile, with our family rather scattered across the USA this year, my nephew put together a hilarious photo stream to which we all added our holiday preparations throughout the day. filled with pictures and video of my mom cooking for his family in maryland (peppered with too-cute pictures of baby eli modeling various holiday outfits and eating meatballs), my older brother and his wife celebrating with friends in hawaii, my sister and younger brother in texas with their families, it ended up being a really fun shared celebration after all.
i am one of those people who enjoy the christmas eve celebration much more than christmas day, haha. by late evening we were settled at our own table with these gorgeous plates of pasta.
just the thing to fill and warm us after our brisk evening bike ride, but not so much fuss that we couldn’t enjoy it immensely.
my current knitting is all secrets projects, i’m afraid—things i can’t share just yet. suffice it to say that i am knitting like mad and that i think you will really enjoy these projects when they are unveiled. david on the the other hand, has been working through the top shaping of the squish me hat he started over thanksgiving.
he’s had to redo it a few times because he struggled with dropped sts. and then he had it all done, but realized it wasn’t as long as he’d like, so he ripped it back again. good thing he’s using nice yarn—stone soup DK in river rock—all that ripping and redoing did not harm the yarn one little bit. and this new batch is SO soft; i can’t get over its flannely, baby soft squishiness.
persevering paid off in the end though—he’s been wearing it almost nonstop for the last week or so, with the cold weather that has descended.
i think he was very glad to have it on saturday, when we spent the whole—very frigid—afternoon in cleveland, shooting photos of the ensemble collection.
speaking of stone soup DK and the ensemble project . . . last wednesday barb brought her finished sample of the interlaken skirt to knit night to pass off to me for the weekend shoot. this one is a couple sizes smaller than my prototype and made to fit me (or whoever could wear it for the photos). we are swapping; in exchange for me keeping this one, she will take home my prototype skirt in kent DK that you saw her clowning around in a couple of weeks back.
i took the new one home for blocking, to get it ready for the weekend photo shoot. after a nice bath and some steaming, the the fabric was light and drapey, but still had that warm, cozy feeling too—just the perfect winter skirt. i love the flare and the length that resulted from the revised pattern; it fits me perfectly now. more finished photos in a bit . . .
i forgot about it because it’s not blocked yet (i know; shame on me, you’d think i’d be more excited to get it done!), but my blocking space was taken up at the end of last week by another project.
i love how the gradients work with this scarf; no matter which way you wear it, they come together to double the effect.
in the week between the holidays, i got a couple of new secret projects on the needles and underway, making excellent progress on both the knitting and the patterns. i’d like to get both of these squared away as quickly as possible so i can get back to knitting things i can share.
also during my evenings last week week, i spent a little time each night getting started on the makings for our new year’s eve party. one night i made gluten free crispy vanilla wafers to use in a cookie crust for cheesecake.
the next night i made the cheesecake; it’s my grandma’s recipe that she got from her nephew’s wife, who got it from her mother and it is heaven on a plate, i’m telling you—light as air and fluffy, it never feels like a brick going down, even after a big meal like the one i had planned.
plus, with just a short list of gluten free ingredients, it was the perfect choice for our NYE dessert, since several of our guests need to be careful that way.
the only thing is, like all of my grandma’s recipes, it consists of a penciled in list of ingredients on the back of an envelope, sorely lacking in notes about method. so my cheesecake invariably cracks. i have read up on that and am trying different methods to see what works, but i won’t share the results until i get it right. i promise that when i have a successful outcome, you will be the first to know!
the day before NYE i raided the garden yet again and came in with a boatload of greens to clean and cook for the main dish—vegetable lasagne. why buy expensive frozen organic spinach when we have the good, great fortune to pick our own fresh, delicious greens??
david was especially gracious the night before to clean all the greens and veggies while i prepared tomato sauce and a series of fillings for the lasagne layers. good thing we did it that night—it took hours longer than i imagined (but totally worth getting ahead of the game)
i did take the whole day off on new year’s eve to make the final preparations. i mixed and kneaded homemade pasta dough, both regular and gluten free. then david and i rolled it into sheets and i assembled the lasagnes, layering that lovely fresh pasta with cheeses, sautéed mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and chopped greens sautéed in oil and garlic. when beckie arrived, the two of us composed antipasto platters of oranges and olives as well as cheeses and vegetables. a real feast!
i know it sounds like a ton of work—and it is—but SO, so worth it. we made two large pans and had enough left for another small pan plus some handcut pappardelle that we will prepare sometime later this week. plenty enough for everyone to eat like kings and for us to have several meals prepared and ready to go in the freezer.
naturally, i spent new year’s day relaxing, haha. well, knitting like nobody’s business with my feet up anyway. for me, that is a complete day off. plus, i wanted to get a sample done so i could go to the photo shoot on saturday without anything hanging over my head.
after weeks of unseasonably warm winter weather, the weather finally turned cold here, just in time for us to spend a full day outdoors taking pictures over fifty miles from home. oh well; the show must go on, eh?
yes, it was incredibly chilly, even raw, especially at the beach; i don’t know how everyone managed to stay so cheerful, but they did and we had not only a lot of fun, but put in an excellent day’s work as well.
remember the skirt in stone soup DK that i showed you earlier? photographed at several sites in cleveland, we love it paired with the oculus coat as part of the ensemble collection.
and we also love it in kent DK, this time with a dramatically large, winter weight shawl in better breakfast fingering yarn, designed by rosemary hill.
we moved from one location to another throughout the day, from beach to bridge, capturing our little collection in a variety of moods against the city background.
we can’t wait to show all—coming soon! look for a full reveal sometime around 1/18. and until then, stay warm!