Month: February 2014

Multiply by 64

Last summer, my mother-in-law sent me home with a cardboard box overflowing with a mass of old yarn – acrylics in every color and a few skeins of wool. I spent 2 weekends tying the skeins into hanks, washing them and twisting them together for storage while I figured out what to do with them. How much yarn was there? More than this:

The poster is from The Oatmeal – click the pic to go there …

In the fall, I thought it might be nice to make a blanket for my MIL to say thank you. I thought I could have it ready in time for Christmas, or maybe pretty soon after.

I finished it two weeks ago. I kept running out of the colors I’d chosen and I had to GO BUY MORE. Oops. Fortunately, the pattern is somewhat forgiving – there’s only one place where I think the new color did not match as well as I’d hoped and is very obvious. Otherwise, the alternating stripes and layout of the colors helps hide those changes.

It’s the Hue Shift afghan pattern. It’s meant to be knit in 10 colors of sport weight yarn. I went with 8 colors of worsted, greens and browns. I love the way it lives up to its name, and the finished product is warm and springy and soft. And machine washable.

If you can’t stand weaving in ends, you might ask a trusted friend to stand on suicide watch if you do this project. I think I spent about 3 hours at the end of the project weaving in ends … at least 2 ends per square times 64, plus row ends, stitching the four big squares together and the border … seriously – if you hate doing it, you might end up throwing the whole thing out the window at the end when you get to that part. Which is definitely preferable to throwing yourself out the window, but such a waste of good work.

I think when I did the math, I came up with close to 100 hours on this afghan in total – in part because I didn’t like the way my first quadrant turned out, so I took the whole thing apart and redid it. Yeah.

For a sense of scale, a timer selfie …

Totally worth it.


Thirsty Thursday: Milk Punch

I’ve been trying to make every cocktail in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (see the cocktails I’ve already made here) – partly because it’s an unusually well-curated cocktail book, and partly because it’s written so well, with a little history of each cocktail and notes on the recipe. I’ve actually read it cover to cover.

When Girl Scout cookies come around every year, I order shortbreads. Always. 2 boxes. I love those damn shortbreads. So it seemed like a good time to try out Milk Punch – Milk Punch and cookies.

Generally speaking, the idea of milk or cream cocktails sounds really gross to me. I could blame my lack of naturally-occurring lactase for that, but I felt that way before my body quit making lactase, too.

But this milk cocktail is surprisingly tasty. Milk, dark rum, brandy, simple syrup, a touch of nutmeg … it’s one of the few things brightening the last bleak, frigid days of winter.

The Milk Punch recipe in Haigh’s book is heavy on the milk – 4 ounces. I also own The PDT Cocktail Book, and Jim Meehan’s recipe calls for just 1.5 ounces, and bumps up the rum & simple syrup a bit. I like Haigh’s addition of a few drops of vanilla, and the lighter milk portion and higher rum content of Meehan’s. Haigh calls for serving over crushed ice; Meehan over one large cube.

Since the two couldn’t quite agree, I pieced the two recipes together and came up with this compromise that doesn’t taste like a compromise:

2 oz. whole milk
1 oz. brandy
1 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. simple syrup
a few drops of vanilla extract

Shake well with ice. Strain into glass with one ice cube. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. Enjoy with a few* Girl Scout cookies.


* They package them in the sleeves because that is one serving, right?


February 22, 2002 I met Dan in a basement dive bar.

February 22, 2008 I married Dan legally in our townhouse’s basement and ceremonially in another basement bar.

We have a thing for basements apparently, but we celebrated our 12th / 6th anniversary above ground. First a bit before the fact with partner yoga for Valentine’s Day …

Happy trees

… and then for our actual anniversary, brunch at The Bristol (delicious … they deep fry their breakfast potatoes) and dinner at Balena (good cocktails).

I like having him around.


Maybe it’s the 2 bouts of flu and now the cold I have contended with over the last 7 weeks.

Maybe it’s how crappy and weird the weather has been during that same 7 weeks.

Maybe it’s the realization that all of my Facebook friends don’t want to hear every inane thought that comes into my head so maybe I should find some place to put those where they can avoid them if they want to without blocking me on the Facespacey.

Maybe it’s the blanket I finally finished knitting for my mother-in-law with the thought, “gee, I’d actually kind of like to blog this.”

But I miss having a blog and decided after almost a year without one that maybe I’d give it another go. I’ve got a lot of projects half-started right now and a lot of things that I am just learning how to do (and still in the failing-miserably stage). When I blogged before, I liked being able to go back and see an evolution of sorts as I slowly got better at some things and cut my losses with others. So here I am again.