Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Camping Adventure with Lace

I had a bit of a whirlwind trip to the west coast last weekend - first a wedding in Phoenix, then off to California for a few days camping in Los Padres National Forest, near Santa Barbara. Naturally, the lace knitting came with. Here she is, hanging out on a little Ponderosa Pine, enjoying the view from our campsite:

Lace had quite an adventure. Mountain Man thought it quite imprudent to bring such a delicate and light-colored project, when I have plenty others to choose from. She did come back smelling like campfire smoke, trailing bits of vegetative matter, and looking a wee bit dirtier thanks to my woodsy fingers. But I felt like I needed to make some lace progress, and there's nothing like a long plane ride and mellow camp days for steady knitting.

The woman in the campsite across from ours was also knitting. But she looked so concentrated and was knitting with such incredible speed that I didn't feel like disturbing her. I would love to be a speed demon like that - makes me think I need to learn continental.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Amazing Lace Begins

A portrait of a woman and her lace companion: hopeful, playful, campy

Woman: I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to join the Amazing Lace. My shawl and I have already been on this journey for a few months, so we begin as a strong team. We have brave, heady optimism for a strong finish.

Lace: I have to be honest, I'm nervous about this one. She's already detailed here how she has had difficulties finishing lace in the past. She doesn't come to this adventure with a strong record.

Woman: One of the beauties of starting this with a few months' experience is that we know each others' quirks and strengths. And we share great respect and fondness.

Lace: She's a knitting dilettante, that's her quirk. She claims to love me and totes me along everywhere as her companion. But she claims that she always needs a side project to keep her interest in me.

Woman: I'd love to share the story of how we came together. I was looking for a shawl back in March to knit for my wedding this summer. I had numerous false starts with other lace patterns. The stitch pattern is from Eunny's print o'the wave shawl, but this is a much simpler construction: six repeats of the main pattern, knit knit knit from start to finish, no edgings, no grafting. Very fluid, clean lines, and marvelously textured. And isn't she beautiful?

Lace: It's true. I'm beautiful. Seen here lounging on the marjoram plant.

Woman: We have our challenges. But we've come so far, and I'm bound and determined to make it to the finish! Here's the lace's official "start" photograph:

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Last weekend was beautiful - soft, steady rain, mist in the valleys, lush, cool spring air, and jaunty wild columbines blooming at the edge of the forest.

The sad truth, though, was that I spent nearly every waking minute chained to my desk, writing a very difficult paper indeed. My wedding shawl was tucked away on a side table, where I cast it wistful glances. Taking a legitimate break to knit would've felt wrong, but every so often I'd pick it up to fondle and admire. And then it hit me: at the current length, it makes a perfect little costume cape!

So here I am, striking a pose in my 'thinking cape", hoping that this cape would grant me superhuman intellectual prowess. In fact, I think it did nothing but enable more procrastination, but I thought I'd show it since I have little actual knitting progress to share (just a bit on the second jaywalker and a few more inches on the lace here, but nothing worth trying to show).

Only one week left of finals period - and fifty pages of papers to go - and then hopefully I'll get some real knitting done. I mean, where are my priorities?!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Finals. Period.

The lilacs are blooming, the birds are singing.

But don't be fooled - this is a harrowing time of year for a graduate student. I have about 60 pages of papers due next week, and 20 due the following week, so there's no time for flowers and songbirds. And no time for knitting.

I did start the second sock last week. But this is as far as I got before I was gripped by panic and had to turn back to my work.

And the same dreadful feeling is coming over me now. But if you, dear reader, have a few minutes on your hands, I highly recommend checking out this hilarious political parody about Bush and climate change

Monday, May 01, 2006

Acorn Pancakes!

Please let me know if you try out this acorn pancake recipe. Hundreds of people have visited this page since I first posted my recipe, but I've never heard from any of them. I'd love to know what you do for your own acorn pancakes!

Recipe for a perfect Sunday morning: Start with a bowl of softened acorns - removed from their hulls, and boiled until they're leached of tannins.

Most recipes call for roasting the acorns and grinding them into flour, but we simply took the softened acorns and ground them into a moist meal with fingers. (It was much less laborious and, I think, made for a nice pancake.)

Acorn Pancake Recipe:
2 1/4 cups white flour
3/4 cup acorn meal
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 beaten eggs
1 tbsp melted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup applesauce
3/4 tsp vanilla

We mixed these ingredients to combine and then cooked them on a griddle until they were nice and browned on both sides.

The pancakes were incredibly flavorful, earthy, and delicious served with maple syrup. This was just made up on the fly. You may need to add more or less flour or milk depending on how moist your acorns are. It's enough for 3-4 hungry people.

And to complete the morning? I finished my first Jaywalker sock.