11 January 2012

Ten Soups

A friend of mine cross-blogs with someone who suggests topics on Tuesdays, and you have to list ten items that fit under that topic.  This week it was SOUPS and even though I didn't get it done yesterday, here are ten soups that I love:

1.  Italian wedding soup - love the little meatballs, the greens, and the pasta pearls.  Yes, the link is to a commercial canned soup, I get lazy for this one.

2.  Mushroom barley soup - an earthy soup, could be vegetarian but substantial enough for a winter meal.

3.  French onion soup, as long as it's not too oily.  I just love onions!

4.  Cabbage soup - not just boiled cabbage, but the sweet-and-sour type.  I probably have a taste for this from my Eastern European heritage.

5.  Tom Yung Goong - the Thai lemongrass soup that usually has chicken, may have tofu in a vegan version.  Tom Kai Gai, which uses cocoanut milk, is pretty good too.

6.  Chinese hot and sour soup is one of my go-tos when I have a cold.

7.  Almost any Japanese udon noodle soup.  Other ingredients depend upon the weather and my mood.  Sluuuuurp!!

8.  Speaking of weather, when it is hot I can eat (or drink?) gazpacho by the quart.

9.  Ditto borscht, which I can also take hot in the winter, especially if it has beef bits in it.  But in summer just the clear juices, with beet shreds in the bottom.  No sour cream, and not too sweet.

10.  Hard to decide what should be here.  My mother's lentil soup?  Chinese egg drop or Greek avgolemono?  I think it will have to be the chili my brother makes every Christmas eve.  Not quite the same as the one my father made when we were kids, but pretty good, especially with chunks of his homemade cornbread on the side.  No recipe, since everybody seems to have their own favourite.

08 January 2012

My New Year's Shawl

It has become my habit, recently, to call the week between Christmas and New Year's my "Week of Selfish Knitting."  I do a lot of knitting and crocheting for others - this week is supposed to be items for ME, in part to mollify my grandmother and others who think that I do need to make things for myself.

(This does not stop my grandmother from raving about whatever I have made for her.  Her catchphrase this year is "the stole stole the show!" and almost daily we hear about someone else "fainting over it" when she goes down to supper.  My grandmother freely admits to wearing it with one tail hanging down her back so that people can see it, to show it off more.  My grandmother is nothing if not dramatic.)

When I made the Sweet Pea shawl for my friend Jenna, I liked it.  The pattern is kind of fun, it comes out huge, and worked up fast.  I thought about making one for myself.  Then, after I had cast on this shawl as my "selfish knitting," out of a hank of Brooks Farm's Duet yarn on the day after Christmas and worked on it fairly steadily through the week:

....I found exactly three balls of Bamboo Ewe, the yarn Jenna had given me for her shawl, in a pretty blue on sale at AC Moore.  I remembered that Jenna's shawl had taken a bit under three balls for the main part.  And I had a $10 certificate to spend, that would cover the purchase with a bit to spare.  Luckily, I needed one item to finish Eina's project, so - as my SIL would say, "Meant To Be!"
The colour is "Twilight," the hook is a US I-9, and I slipped the naked ball and hook into my pocket when I went out for First Night, knowing I would have some time while checking wristbands to get a bit of crocheting done.  Which I did:
You know how people wake up on New Year's Day with hangovers?  I woke up and found an error.  So I had to frog back and restart a row (yes, the above shows more than one row), and by the end of the day, with other things happening, I had achieved this:
I was already into the second ball.  At this rate, the shawl would be done quickly.  And thanks to having January 2nd off work as the official first holiday of the year, this much was done:
I continued the speed of a new ball each day.  It does help that the rows get shorter and shorter.  My friend Jenna told me to "stop speeding!" but crocheting does go fast!

Then work started, and I did slow down a bit.  I also had a problem - I was going to run out of yarn!  I'd added a repeat, since I wasn't going to add fringe (I do NOT like fringe) and thought I might have enough yarn.  No, by inches:
That knot is just short of the final scallop.  Happily, on the way to my knitting group's weekly get-together on Wednesday night, I was able to find one more ball at a store on the way, which was not only the same colour but the same dyelot!  How magical is that?

Also fun is that when I told the salesclerk what I was doing, she seemed interested so I brought in the shawl and showed her.  The clerk said that they don't often get to see the finished items, and she really appreciated the opportunity to do so.

I decided that since I had a nearly full ball of yarn left, I would add a border.  This took longer than I'd hoped, because I needed to adjust the spacing so that the scallops hit the bottom on top of the shell below, and ended at each side tip.  With a bit of ripping, adjusting, and muttering, I was done and on Friday morning, after the sun came out, I spread the shawl on my livingroom floor to photograph:
Complete with a closeup of the edging and stitch pattern:
Then I made sure that the ends were run in and finished, and wore it out that night.  Got a lot of compliments!  I am sooooo happy with it.

The other shawl does continue.  It doesn't look too much bigger, because of being squished onto a circular needle due to the number of stitches:
The center length is now 15" and there's still quite a lot of the yarn to go!  Luckily it fits into my purse so I can carry it and work on it whenever.  I no longer have the "selfish knitting" obligation, but I am definitely going to get this finished before I go to DFW Fiber Fest in March.  I did get my registration sent in before the New Year, thus classes at a discount.  One is a crocheting class that sounded interesting, the other an all-day class on knitting lace with beads.  I've got the concept but not the expertise, and thought it would be a skill to learn, especially as I keep making shawls.