Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer slowdown

Early Monday morning I'll be leaving the States and heading to Israel for 8 weeks. I was offered a chance to work as a conservator on an archaeological excavation, and jumped at the opportunity. This will be my first time working on a dig, my first visit to Israel--and I'm very much looking forward to it. As a conservator on a dig, I will be stabilizing and putting together artifacts that are excavated by the team. It will be an intense work environment, where we will work from early in the morning until the evening 6 days a week. I will be knitting as much as possible, but do expect this blog to remain pretty quiet in the upcoming months. I'll try to post interesting pictures and stories if I can. In the meantime, I will also be guest blogging about my professional work as a conservator over at the Kelsey Museum website:

If you've ever been curious about life and work on a dig, do keep an eye out for updates. And feel free to send questions my way!

Best wishes for a great summer,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Knitting obsessively

I finished my second shawl of the summer--just in time for the thermometer to reach 100 degrees. This is the fantastic textured shawl by Dark Trico, which is available for free through Ravelry. I knit it using a soft green hue of Ultra Alpaca, which I had originally used for my first garment project several years ago. I'm really happy with the way this turned out, and I can see myself loving this during winter visits back to Chicago. [Ravelry link]

I've also cast on for 2.5 other sweaters (the .5 is still a swatch, but will be my traveling project this summer). Above is Anais by Nora Gaughan, which I'm knitting from a large cone of sport weight alpaca I bought for $10 at a yarn sale. It's a really deep eggplant color. I'm thinking of trying to make long sleeves ('cause what good is an alpaca tank top?), and am also thinking of modifying the neck line a la Carrieoke. Although I realize that the lace inserts are the whole idea behind this pattern, I do think it makes quite a nice shape without them. We'll see.

The final project is that second vintage sweater from one of my previous posts--the one with the placket neck. I was nearly finished with the back of that a couple nights ago. I started winding a second skein of yarn when I realized that a colony of mites (insects) had decided to hatch their babies in the box of yarn. If this sounds gross, let me tell you, it was. The yarn got put in zip lock bags and was banished to the freezer for 3 days. It's currently defrosting (to give the remaining eggs a chance to hatch, if they haven't died yet) and will then go back into the freezer for several more days. After that, I'll vacuum the dead insects off, and try to forget about what happened as I knit up the rest. This freezing procedure is similar to what we do in museums when there are infestations (a fairly common occurrence). I've never heard of wool-eating mites, so I'm thinking they just liked the dark cozy yarn-in-shipping-box environment. Blech.

New recipes

Meghan's Summer Garden Pasta
(inspired by the bountiful fresh zucchini, scallions, and rosemary in my garden)

1 small zucchini, cut in small cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 green onions, chopped
About 1/3 of a package of linguine pasta
A bit of butter or olive oil
salt and pepper
Grana padano parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, or what you have on hand
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Prepare the pasta, drain and set aside. Saute the garlic and zucchini and in the butter or olive oil until tender. Add the rosemary, cook for about a minute more. Toss in the green onion, and the pasta. Stir to incorporate. Add salt, pepper, and cheese to your liking. Add a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice, stir for a bit until the cheese is nice and melty. Serve hot. This will make one very large serving, or two normal-sized portions.

Falafel with homemade tahini sauce, cucumber and pita.

Thrift score

While perusing the local thrift stores for clothes to bring on my upcoming summer trip, I happened to find two pieces of Kanga fabric from Kenya for 99 cents each! The other wasn't quite my style, with large overlapping red and purple polka dots, but I did buy this green and yellow one. In trying to remember the name of this type of textile, I happened to find some examples of Obama Kanga. Pretty cool.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A good evening

I came home after work to find a surprise 6.5 inch zucchini growing in my garden! They had all been pretty tiny until this one. I promptly cut it off the plant, sauteed it up, and ate my first home-grown zucchini! It sure was good.

What a beaut!

Since I'm starting to think about packing my place up, I took a moment to look through my fabric stash and pick out fabric for my potential second quilt. It's an assortment that includes mostly clothing or scraps left over from making clothing. I've also thrown in two vintage pillow cases and several items of clothing I purchased in India. I'm not sold on including the darkest blue fabric (it's my favorite!) but over all I think this combination of blues, yellows and greens might be nice.

Any thoughts?

I'm currently thinking either of a whirlygig or string quilt. Though I'm open to any awesome pattern suggestions you've seen around lately.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A belated birthday brunch

There were flowers from my garden,

Vegan tofu scramble with a heart-shaped mushroom,

Cinnamon swirl buns,

Breakfast strata with potatoes, rosemary, and swiss,

A vegan ice cream cake,

And my lovely new butterfly pin from Chile, made with dyed horse hair.

Finished knit: North Roe Shawl

My second lace shawl, this time the North Roe Shawl in midnight blue Knitpicks Shadow alpaca yarn. I held the yarn doubled and used size 6 needles. The perfect thing to wear during top-secret espionage missions. [ravelry link]