home again

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, projects

what a nice surprise to wake up to the morning after we got in from las vegas—a whiteout storm that blanketed our world, giving us a bit of a cushion on which to segue back to work.

we made the most of our last few days with the kids by taking walks to the park to play

getting out in the chilly air was a nice change of pace for those who are used to temps well above 100 degrees as a rule.

back at home and changed into PJs, we baked cookies to replace the ones i brought with me, which were eaten all to quickly.

luckily, i had the recipe on my computer; it’s the one i shared with cookie A’s sock club last year. we made ours with almonds and white chocolate as per nan’s request. we forgot to buy baking soda, but they seemed to fare well despite that omission.

our taste tester seemed to think so anyway (though i wouldn’t recommend leaving it out on purpose)

i did plenty of knitting during these days when the kids were off school—nan got me hooked on watching episodes of once upon a time; we’d watch three or four in a row while knitting and the boys played a video game or watched a movie with david. it was nice.

on our last evening we had our christmas celebration. first a meal of raclette, since nan and amad are swiss and wanted to share a bit of their cultural tradition with us. raclette is both the name of a cheese and a particular type of meal that has similarities to fondue.

nan received a little raclette stove from her employers as a holiday gift and found some cheeses that were nearly the right kind at trader joe’s. this will probably vary depending where you live, but you can usually find raclette cheese in a specialty shop or a good grocery cheese department. it’s a swiss melting cheese with a sweet, nutty flavor; if you can’t find it, then try a substitute from the following: emmentaler, gruyère, fontina, tilsit, comté, appenzeller, and morbier.

anyway, the idea is to roast the cheese a bit underneath the grill until it is bubbly or even toasted (a matter of taste). meanwhile above, pepper strips, mushrooms, tiny potatoes, and other dipping foods have been roasting to doneness; some parties like to have charcuterie or deli meats on hand as well. when the cheese is good and melted, use your dipping food to scoop it up and eat it. drink some nice wine with it, too; the acidity adds a refreshing note and a little holiday cheer never hurts.

like sharing fondue, it makes for a very social party with a relaxed eating experience. part of the fun is figuring out how you like your ingredients to be cooked and then waiting for the right moment to take what you want—you have to be careful or someone may scoop you, haha; ask me how i know.

i’m a slow eater and kept losing out to the men at my left. i eventually had to tell amad and david that i had dibs on one of the shrimp and a certain coupelle which held “my” cheese. and do you know what david said??
“well, you snooze, you lose”


(no worries—i totally said the same thing back to him later when he tried to put his cold self on my warm side of the bed)

after we washed up it was time for a little dessert and the opening of gifts. nan was smart and did not put any name tags on the boys’ gifts—they just shared everything (easy because amad is so generous and sweet).

i love how micah expertly wrangles into submission this gift box  that was literally bigger than he is.

totally worth the struggle.

we flew home on christmas, just ahead of the storm i didn’t know anything about til we got here. but yeah, it came, following right on our footsteps; i’m so glad we got home ahead of it.

it was the middle of the night when we finally arrived, so we were sacked out still when the mailman banged on the door the next morning to hand over a huge tub of mail containing several boxes, small packages, and a stack of cards—i have a lot of thank you cards to write, starting tomorrow; david and  so appreciate all the cards and holiday cheer that people send us.

one box was filled to the brim with fragrant lemons from the tyler orchard—kim, kade, and sam went picking and bundled up this bit of seasonal joy for us. OMG—what a gift. the house is simply filled with the scent of lemons; i’m in heaven. i detour through the room where i’ve placed them as often as i can manage just to smell it, mmm.

thanks you guys—you know i love this!

when i looked outside i realized that some time between going to bed and receiving the mail, we got dumped on, haha!

i had lots of FOs to block, so i stayed inside during the worst of it, soaking and squeezing and shaping woolens. remeber the other day when i asked which DK mitts i should knit? i decided after all to knit the hoegaarden mitts straight from our october club pattern, instead of going with a different one. i had worried they were too involved to work on while visiting, but it turns out, they knit up in a flash—i knit one during an afternoon and the other in the evening. ah, the magic of heavy DK yarn . . .

that hot air vent in our office has become a favorite place to block and dry small items; i can keep an eye on them and remember to reshape often, so they look their best.

i knit the matching cowl back when i was making samples for the club release; i wanted to complete the set for a gift. they look great together; really luxurious. i’m glad i knit the mitts to match and not something else.

near another heat vent in my study, the creel set is laid out drying as well. there was a moment last week when i really wasn’t sure i liked this project, but i kept going because how many times does it happen that i’m not in love right up until i block something, only to do a total three-sixty once we see how it comes out of the wash??

add yet another to that list—i just love it now. the texture totally stands up to the busy, two-tone yarn color of the hat and mitts. and the hat shape, which looked for all the world like a giant (unattractive) baby binkie on the needles

has relaxed nicely with very little coaxing and is now doing exactly what i envisioned in my head.

for good measure, i let it dry completely on my homemade hat blocker—an upturned bowl balanced atop a large jar (or vase).

i dunno; maybe it was the light in that apartment? the mitts were incredibly homely, i thought, when i got them off the needles. but they look SO much better here at home. i mean yes, the handspun baa baa huey yarn i’m knitting with lends its own texture and “voice” to this project, but one that is cozily attractive to me now. and in a sleeker, more consistent yarn, they will be elegant. any guy would love ’em. the pattern needs a last few touches and then it can go off to the proofreader, yay; hopefully, we’ll be ready to launch it some time next week.

and while i busied myself in the morning blocking all the items i’d finished during our trip, we spent the whole afternoon yesterday shoveling snow during the lull; no sooner did we get back inside than it started up again—furiously spewing and redoubling its earlier efforts. david went back out after dark to clear the walks again.

by this morning, the snow had stopped, but the sky still looked ominous—low, dark gray, and heavy. sure enough it started up again just before i had to go out to the dentist. obviously, not a good day to run; hopefully there will be enough clear pavement tomorrow for that . . .  no worries if not; i have plenty to do indoors (and an exercise bike for just this situation).

with so much knitting done, i have lots of pattern writing to catch up on, but there is another project that’s been waving its hand at me for a couple of weeks—seaming up my bloch ness cardigan.

i got my pieces out this morning and spread them over the pressing bench. that’s as far as i got before something interrupted me and i ahven’t been back upstairs since. however, as soon as i’m done writing this post (very soon) i’m heading straight to my workroom to block the pieces.

just look at them all; aren’t they deLISH?? i cannot wait to have this cardigan finished; i am so in need of cardigans in the weight right now—i’ve been wearing the same two or three almost constantly and that’s getting a little old.

ok, now, that’s enough dawdling over a blog post—time to get me back to work. now that i’m home and have you all caught up, i’ll be back to our usual schedule of about every other day. next time we’ll hopefully see a finished sweater and maybe a pattern for that new hat i knit on the plane to vegas. . . for which our friend malin has kindly suggested a name and i like it—we will call it strömming, which means herring in swedish (also sill, but i like strömming better).

ok, good night.

17 thoughts on “home again

  1. It is such a lovely thing to enjoy your Christmas with loved ones and arrive at home before the storm. In Denver, our snow came on Christmas Eve, so it was a lovely white Christmas. All the best in the year to come!

  2. All that snow is the perfect incentive to get Bloch Ness seamed! The colour is just so atmospheric. I can almost smell those lemons, what a wonderful gift. I can see lemon curd in your future, or perhaps a lemon meringue pie! I love the set you have knit using Cheryl’s yarn. I have some handspun that might just work with this. Happy New Year to you and David, and thank you so, so much for all you do to keep us knitters happy! xx

  3. Wegmans was sharing samples of raclette last week and I bought some, both goat and sheep. They only served it plain on crackers, and it is very very tasty! I want to try cooking it as you have described!

  4. Oh I can smell those lemons all the way over in Scotland – thank you for that breath of sunshine!
    And it feels a little crazy… but I am off to queue that cowl and mitt set for next Christmas! No harm in starting early!

  5. Thank you Anne for sharing your Holiday celebration with all of us. I love reading your blog and appreciate the effort it takes to regularly do this. It’s the only blog I read and I really enjoy it, knitting, cooking and adventure.

  6. It sounds like a lovely holiday. We got the last of the storm here in Main yesterday I guess. However it looks like we may have more snow by tonight.

  7. How lucky you were to be able to enjoy the storm from the safety of your cozy house, and that it didn’t interrupt your travel. Your holiday sounds lovely and fun, full of good food and knitting! Love the new mitts – I need to make mine up soon.

  8. Thought you might like to know that Trader Joe’s now carries raclette cheese! I found it at “my” TJ’s 2 days ago and was very surprised. Unlike most Raclette you find in specialty cheese shops in the U.S. this comes pre-cut in the right shape (rectangles) to fit the little raclette trays on the grill (well, usually they are this shape!). It comes in an 8.8 oz package for 5.49 – a very good price, comparable to buying it in a grocery store in Switzerland. Look in the cheese section – I found it on the top shelf – not the most obvious location. Or just ask!

    BTW your FO’s are delicious too. Looking forward to the final photos of the Boch Ness.

  9. Beautiful knits and a lovley holiday for you both. It’s so much fun to share these days with family and friends. I’m just glad for you that you made it back ahead of the stormy weather. Aren’t Lemons just the BEST scent?

  10. eye candy all the way around, anne – your nephews are gorgeous, the knits are spectacular and ooooohhh those lemons. that kim is so thoughtful – mine scented my apartment for days and then i preserved them to use in all those middle eastern TAGINES (the computer keeps trying to self correct to tanginess, which is also true!) i love to make.
    wishing you and david a happy and very healthy new year.

  11. Yummy – the food and the knitted goods, too! Speaking of the latter, you meant a “total 180” on that handsome creel set, right? (A 360 would mean you returned all the way around to your original, thumbs-down opinion!)

    Best wishes for 2013, and I hope those are Meyer lemons to grace your house with a particularly heavenly scent!

  12. Glad you liked the lemons Anne. . . the citrus trees are just ‘firing up’ for the winter. Sam assures me the grapefruits will be flaming on the trees when you get here in Feb. . . . I’m sure he will demand a little ‘payback’ in the way of some Indian food (you know how he can be. . . . )

  13. So glad you had such a nice holiday! Enjoy your blog lots! Lots! LOTS!!
    Went to Ravelry to get info about the hoegaarden mitts and the pattern is listed as costing $45.00. Is this an error?? Even for an ebook it seems quite a bit. (must admit, though, I haven’t bought one recently) 🙂

  14. We used to have a raclette–a present from my son and his then-wife (who’s French)–after we had admired her mom’s. We never did use it, though, so we gave it to my youngest daughter–who is married to a Frenchman. We did love the food it made, but the cheese was hard to find then.

  15. My sister married a French man, and they enjoy raclette regularly. You’re making it seem accessible to me — not just a French thing.

  16. Seeing your beautiful snow scenes, I have to share my snow day story – am thoroughly enjoying being semi-snowed in – the roads are fine, but the parking lot and steep, narrow driveways behind my apartment are horrendous, so am taking full advantage of not having to be anywhere. I’ve been knitting and starting to tackle my New Years resolution of getting my stash organized and knitted down – so many dreamed of projects still languishing in the closet! one in particular has been tugging at my memory – dug it out and the pattern is Knitspots own Wing-‘0-the-moth shawl, the yarn is a lovely Atlantic blue from Knitting Notions, now familiar to me from the current FIFC! Am embarassed to say I bought these at the 2007 (!) Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, long before I came across the Knitspot blog. That will be the next project on my needles – who knows what other treasures are hidden away, waiting for a day like this.
    Wishing everyone a happy new year full of knitting and other good things!

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