white whirled

today, we woke up today to a tree-bending blanket of snow straight from the pages of dr. seuss. we had plenty of fair warning for this storm, so it wasn’t a shock or anything—just a small setback. especially in light of the disaster we watched during the wee hours of this morning in japan.

a little snow just pales in comparison . . . and so pretty too.
i even managed to get my camera out before i had coffee, to get pictures while it was pristine and unsullied.

it’s still coating each branch, pretty much as you see it; not much of it has fallen.
the view down our back street rarely looks this nice, so i was happy to take a picture while it was at its best.

last night, as the storm was gathering some force, i was holed up with debby and susie for a nice long knitting night—literally in front of the fire. it was so cozy and nice, none of us wanted to break it up—we knit for about five hours like that until we realized we better get out to beat the snow.

since i had finally worked out my charts for the hem of the maroon shawlette, i brought that along to work on

and i got all the way through the first hem chart while we chatted.
now this piece has been sort of hovering in the wings, patiently waiting to be fabulous.

I’VE known what it would look like since the day i thought it up in my head, but i realized that you have no inkling of where i’m going with something until i show you. so here it is—now you can finally see what’s happening with it.

to me this is very victorian, with that dark, substantial quality they preferred for everyday clothing and items that received a fair share of use. the feeling is greatly enhanced by the deep maroon color—great northern yarns mink/milk/merino blend in heathered merlot.

i knit the whole garter stitch portion while riding trains and planes in the UK, then put it aside to await charting for the hem. that was very enjoyable indeed, but i’ve been looking forward to the fun of knitting the lace pattern.

the zigzag motif is the same one i’m using in the gray rectangle scarf, using a similar weight and fiber blend (yak/mink/merino/soy). this would make a lovely man’s scarf (if you can bear to give it up!)

anyway, i’m excited about the shawlette all over again, now that i’ve moved it forward. it won’t be long til it’s done, which means i also need to get back to the pattern i started writing for it . . .

when i finally did get home last night, i jumped right into my pajamas to get warm and watch TV with david. i decided to get started on another project from my to-do list—a new sample of david’s cable-and-rib christmas sweater.

it’s a small start indeed, but since i have this batch of woolen rabbit grace i’m dying to knit up, i thought i might as well cast on. this is the scottish heather colorway that kim dyed up for me while i was away (her photo is much more accurate than my photo).

i can take pieces of this sweater with me in my travels at the end of the month . . .

which reminds me, we’ve made several additions to the event schedule since i got home, including an additional stop in dallas in early april, while i’m there for the DFW fiber fest. after dallas, i’ll move on to austin, where i’ll visit my family and teach at hill country weavers.

in may, i’m looking forward to teaching a relaxing spinning/knitting retreat in pennsylvania, hosted by beth smith of the spinning loft. it follows right on the heels of maryland sheep and wool, but is a complete 180 from the the hyperactive hustle bustle of taht show (and a chance to spin some of the fiber you bought). this weekend promises a low-key portal to dive deep into spinning lace yarns with beth and then learn how to knit them into gossamer webs (that’s my department). this is a wonderful opportunity to spend focused time on that long-term project you’ve been contemplating or to get a kick start on a larger project you can work on all summer. and it’s very well priced as such events go; worth every penny and there are still spots available (contact beth for more information).

after the retreat, i’ll continue on to revisit richmond, VA, scene of an incredibly fun and focused halloween weekend. they enjoyed their classes so much that they invited me back, yay—see details on the events page. hopefully, i’ll also be making a stop at eleganza yarns in frederick while i’m over there.

whew, that was a mouthful . . . how do i get so sidetracked?
what i really wanted to tell you about today is a new book that arrived in the mail—it’s the perfect antidote to the cold and snow.

the newest—and long awaited—title in the CIA “at home” series, italian cooking is a luscious publication in its own right; you may not even need to light the stove to benefit from its spell.

that said, you won’t be disappointed if you do—this book has plenty of yummy, soul-warming recipes that are easy on your time budget. and a few complex ones as well, for days when you want to hole up in the kitchen and stay there . . .

but first, many thanks and kudos to my friend nathalie for making this book happen and for sending me a copy—it’s a wonderful treat, thank you!
the photography will knock your socks off and make you weep, so be prepared.

the book is divided into sections according to the “families” of italian cuisine—beginning smalls and starters, then moving through progressively heartier fare and desserts. this makes it easy to put together full menus or to pick and choose for lighter meals; easy to separate the vegetable-based fare from the meats as well.

the first section is a concise overview of regional highlights, with notes about food, wine, and cheeses throughout italy. then it’s straight on to the good stuff—recipes and photos of food, right in your face.

the pages practically explode with the color and aroma of delicious things to eat—i have to limit myself to just a few pages at a time, haha. everything looks soooo good.

and so much of it is vegetables, or dishes based on vegetables where you could easily subtract the meat and not miss it.

now here’s my favorite aspect of it though—the short, easy-to-digest instructional segments that start off each section. take the gnocchi, for instance . . . for starters, they hook you in with a picture that makes you want to roll around naked in it.

they even give you photo illustrations of kitchen techniques

(ok, i know he’s not making gnocchi, but who can resist coaching by a cute chef?)

then they follow it up with amazing recipes. some of these i even recognize from my visits to the caterina ristorante at CIA.

like this winter squash and rice torta, which we sampled at lunch in october.

another thing i love about this book is that it includes so many wonderful, offbeat italian comfort foods that not many people would be familiar with, such as this chestnut and bean soup

or pretty, beet-filled ravioli

or rice. you don’t really think of italians as being big rice eaters, but they are—and not just risotto, either.

i’m going to be spending some more quality time with this book, exploring all of its luscious offerings; maybe i’ll even try something from it this weekend (i have soup planned already and i’m not sure how much time i’ll have for something else . . . but i’ll make an effort). italian cooking at home is a wonderful book to curl up with, even if cooking isn’t planned into your day . . .

and on that note, i’m leaving you—i’ve got knitting upstairs that’s calling my name and fingers that are itching to get to it.

23 Responses to “white whirled”

  1. Darci says:

    Loving the gray scarf pattern – I might have to double/triple that in width for a baby blanket…

  2. josiekitten says:

    That looks like a great book – I’ll have to see if I can track it down in the UK. We are eating out at an Italian tonight, just seeing those gnocchi is making my tummy rumble! I do like the grey zigzag scarf. When I first got back into knitting, it was the bright colours of Noro yarn that tempted me. Now I find myself being drawn to far more subtle colours and shades. They are more interesting!

    By the way, I didn’t skip school yesterday to spin! ;)

  3. Jennifer says:

    So excited you are coming to DFW! That book looks fabulous.

  4. Cathy says:

    Are you going to be teaching at Eleganza Yarns? I didn’t see anything on their website. Sweater fitting class, please!

  5. Anne Marie says:

    Gnocchi are Tom’s absolute favorite. I need to get my hands on this book.

  6. Susan in Guelph says:

    Hooray! I was wondering where this wonderful shawlette had wandered. I am so looking forward to the release of the pattern, Anne! No pressure, of course….

  7. Kat says:

    YAY!!! You’re definitely coming back to Richmond!!! I’ve cleared my calendar and hope I can get into all of the classes this time : )

    Love the shawlette and gray scarf in progress. Know they’ll end up as purchases.

    And the Italian cookbook has me salivating. Looks yummy.

    Can’t wait to see you again!!!

  8. Debbie says:

    Anne, Could you please provide a link, as to where to buy the cookbook? I did look, but I must have overlooked it. I even did a Google search. The book looks great!

  9. Mary says:

    We finally have some green shoots popping up and a few crocuses in the spots with southern exposure and it’s in the high 40′s- low 50′s. I hope we don’t get more snow. The Grace yarn is very pretty. And I have to get a copy of that cookbook from you know who.

  10. Kathleen says:

    Wow, that cookbook is fantastic. It makes me hungry just seeing your posted pictures. I have a question regarding the shawl you’re making with Great Northern Yarns in Merlot: Mink/Milk/Baby Merino yarn. I love the color you’re using and would like to buy it in advance to have ready once the pattern is released. Any chance you might give me a hint as to how much/how many skeins I should buy?

  11. amanda says:

    Although I’m more than ready for the snow to be done for the year, I do think this was the prettiest one we’ve had yet.

    Now to the important things–that cookbook! I thought I was still slightly stuffed from a late, larger than usual lunch, but now my mouth is watering. That all looks soooo good.

  12. Oohh, that cookbook looks heavenly, esp. the beet ravioli!

    Can’t wait for the newest shawlette pattern.

    We got rain for your snow, so now our snow is nearly gone! (this is a good thing)

  13. janna says:

    The cookbook looks wonderful, and I love that scottish heather colorway — but I do not like that snow!

  14. Kim says:

    Wait. . . .WHAT????!!!! You guys had snow AGAIN???? Anne! What’s UP with that???

  15. Kim says:

    Seeing that book makes me think of our fun dinner at the CIA last fall. This book will be my Rhinebeck purchase this fall.:-)

    I love your new shaw!

  16. Kyrie says:

    Ooh – I am loving that little zigzag shawl. And that sneaky Kristy – she hasn’t said a word about you maybe coming to Eleganza!

  17. Rani says:

    My eyes are just starving for color and those cookbook photos are just the ticket. Mmmmmm. Warm, colorful food in this white/gray bleak time of year. I am off to find it at the library or bookstore.

  18. michelle in cali says:

    now you’ve done it. i’m cold AND hungry! hard to do when it’s sunny & 70 degrees here in california! ;->

  19. Danielle says:

    I just came back from a huge Italian meal for dinner and looking at that cookbook made me hungry for more Italian food – amazing! Gnocchi first, please! :)

  20. Tara says:

    Great. It’s 10 AM, and I’m already craving Italian food :)

  21. Caroline says:

    Your pictures make me happy that I cast on some white lace last night!

  22. imjustlori says:

    Well shoot. I just had lunch, and you’re making me hungry all over again. I love a good cookbook.

  23. Laurie says:

    Oh my…you DID get some snow! We just got a light dusting down here – right in time for evening rush, of course. The cookbook looks divine!