Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Very Special Request

I love my husband, I really do. He is something strong to lean on when I'm weak and something soft to land on when I fall. He is the other half of me. We are truly soul-mates. But.... has one major flaw. He doesn't wear sweaters. Never. And no hand knit socks for him. I did make him fingerless gloves once and he might have worn them. I never saw them on his hands. I ask him a lot, can't I knit you a sweater? Nope. A couple of weeks ago, it was so cold and we were in our vacation condo, you know, the one where we have to walk the dogs, no nice fenced in yard to let them out. And after the fourth or fifth time of putting on all the clothes we own, or so it seemed, Mr. Truck said, "I really need a hat." Did I hear that right? He needs a hat. So I made him two, in two days because it's the first knitted thing he's ever asked me for. They're not special hats, he's a plain kind of guy, but he wanted a brim to roll up and it had to be long enough to cover his ears. Just a hat. It doesn't even require a pattern or much thought. But they were made with love and a bit of excitement because it's the first time Mr. Truck ever asked me to knit something for him.

And I've actually seen him wear them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

B is for Bread

Back when I was a young mother with small children I stayed home with them all day. And I knit. But I also baked all our bread. Since I was still a bit of a hippy then, I put all sorts of things in the bread, sprouts, wheat germ, oatmeal, to get the children to eat something that was good for them. I also put that stuff in the cookies, but that's for another story. I learned from a book, no internet then. And I found that kneading the dough and watching it rise and serving it to my family was soul satisfying, something like knitting. Now the children are grown and I go to work and we have a bread machine and I don't bake bread so much anymore. But it snowed a couple of Saturdays ago and I though bread would warm our house and my soul and I made the easiest bread, Italian. The smell of the yeast and kneading the dough and watching it rise then punching it down were so rewarding. And the bread was delicious.

My recipe, such as it is.
Mix one packet of dry yeast in one cup of very warm water with one teaspoon sugar and one teaspoon salt. Put one tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and add about two cups of flour (the whole loaf takes about four to six cups of flour depending on the humidity) and mix in the water mixture. Stir and stir and stir adding more flour until you just can't stir it anymore. Dump it out on a well floured surface and knead and knead and knead for about ten minutes adding more flour until the dough is smooth and shiny and not a bit sticky. Put it in an oiled bowl and let it rise in a warm spot for an hour all covered up with a damp towel. Punch it down, that's fun, and roll it out into a rectangle sort of shape and roll it up pinching the ends closed. Make a few slices in the top to allow for expansion and let it rise (covered) again for another hour. Bake at 400 degrees F for about twenty minutes. It will sound hollow when you tap it. It's good warm with real butter. Better with home made soup.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Found the Only Way I'll Ever Knit an Afghan

I joined a KAL. It's called A Year in a Blanket and the idea is to knit one square a month for a year and by the end of the year, you'll have enough to make an afghan. There are some amazing ideas and squares being made. You should go check it out. I need immediate gratification so knitting a whole afghan was never for me. I know my limits and it would end up stuffed in a closet, never to be finished and I would always feel guilty about it. I figure that if I don't finish this one, I can still make pillows. But what to make? Well I've always loved cables and the aran sweater look so I pulled out my copy of Harmony Guide Cables and Arans edited by Erika Knight and spent an enjoyable snowy Saturday afternoon on the couch looking and deciding. I came up with my first square, Woven Diagonals, although Mr. Truck says I knit a lattice.

It's about 12 inches square so if I make twelve of them I think it will be a nice size for sitting on the couch. And it only took a couple of evenings so I got my immediate gratification.

The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Cloud. Very affordable for something of this size. Now to decided what I should do for February.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

First FO's of 2009

Well that's not such a witty title but I have no other.
My winter coat is camel color and I realized I had no brownish hat to go with it, but I did have brown yarn. So I knit one. Now Mr. Truck says most normal people would go buy a hat, but I don't understand that concept at all.


And then I made some more socks. We're having a little read along/knit a long in the Outlander group to get ready for the Dragonfly in Amber swap so I made Dragonfly Socks.

And I finished my Chevalier Mittens. This one is drying on the radiator cover. Doesn't everyone dry things there? Sometimes when I'm really cold I sit on it.

And I just had to show you how much Dunkin liked his Christmas presents. He walked around with both of them in his mouth for about a week. See his tail wagging? And now he knows the word duck. But neither of them squeak anymore.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A is for the Agony of the Tech Support

It all started with this last week.

I broke one of the last two coasters we own. Being a knitter I thought I'd just knit some, so I found these. Now just print out the pattern with the new wireless printer Mr. Truck gave me for Christmas. We had set it up and printed before and it was a beautiful thing. No more running up the stairs with the laptop and plugging everything in. (Mr. Truck is very worried that I'll fall down the stairs and hurt the laptop.) But this time it didn't print. Somehow the printer had lost it's connection. After six hours with tech support, it printed two pages and never printed again. Back to the store it went.

We got a different printer but it wouldn't connect to anything. Best Daughter Ever's fiance (who is an IT person for a very famous something you would recognize) spent hours here and couldn't figure it out but we ended up with three routers because now we couldn't connect to the internet without being plugged in. We called the router tech support, the internet tech support, and finally the computer tech support. We reset everything, restored some things and did config ip a lot but it seems that the laptop has lost it's ability to connect to the internet wirelessly and needs some sort of a transplant at the laptop hospital. So I can only connect by plugging in and now I'm stuck upstairs in the office. But we have a diagnosis and hope.

Mr. Truck gave me this, too.

And again, I needed tech support. This time it was in the form of two teenagers. Great niece and nephew (they are really great, in more ways than one, their father is our nephew) showed me in less than five minutes how to work my shuffle. Much easier kind of tech support. "Aunt Sue, just do this. See? It's easy." And it is.

I've even downloaded a book for a little read along/knitalong in preparation for our next Outlander swap and I've cast on the Dragonfly socks. And, inspired by Amanda, I've knit a mitten and part of the other one, too. But I have to say that calling tech support all the time does interfere with the rest of my life including the knitting.

And if you're wondering about the fiance part, the wedding is in March.