Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I did spend some time knitting today. I didn't feel like continuing with the pink sock, although it's still pretty. I just need more sweaters, especially nice, soft mohair sweaters, more than I need more socks. With that in mind, I cast on a sweater in the pinkish-grey mohair I decided not to make a ruana out of a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Big day today. We went into Portland, and spent about 10 cents short of a thousand to buy most of what we still needed to run a restaurant.

Then we saw "Hugo," which was a great movie, "great" in the sense that it will change the way movies are made for a generation. It is brilliant on every level, and a must-see for anyone who has an interest in film.

It was late by the time we got home, after a quick trip to Powell's for reading matter and a calendar. No knitting for me, today.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We spent most of the day doing stuff for the restaurant. It's getting close to zero hour. I should put an add in the local paper for employees.

I'm almost ready to turn the heel on the sock I started yesterday, in pretty, sparkly, cherry-red yarn Sharon gave me last summer. I may start another mohair sweater tomorrow, though, instead of finishing the sock right off. I find mohair so much more comfortable than wool, and we're at the part of the year when warm sweaters in the daytime are a good idea. Besides, I find that a sweater in bulky yarn on size 10 needles takes as long as one sock in fine yarn on size 0.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today, TCM was courteous enough to show some of my favorite movies on the last rainy day predicted this week, so I cast on a sock for myself in some sparkly bright pink yarn Sharon gave me earlier this year. I'm using the same faux cable I used for the green hat and striped scarf. I like the stitch. It's pretty, and fairly easy and intuitive to work.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We took the last of the chairs to the restaurant today. Someone going into the spa next door told me they were cute, so I had to brag that I had reupholstered them myself. They are cute, for sure. Then, we walked a few doors down, and had lunch at Tokyo Teriyaki, which had sushi that wouldn't make a sushi house ashamed in LA. It was perfectly all right, which is better than I expected in a town with no visible Japanese community. From there, we popped down to the end of the block, where a vintage clothing store has popped up recently. While we talked up the restaurant to the clerk, someone else asked us for a job, any job. He didn't sound as desperate as the previous sentence makes him sound. We'll be taking applications in a few days, I'm sure. My point is that we'll have no problem finding people to fill the vacancies we'll have.

I finished the green socks I was making for Tom, and gave them to him. Then, I reworked the top of the green handspun hat I made myself a few weeks ago, to give it an extra half inch of length I dearly needed. It's not quite as cute now, as the wee point at the top has been replaced by a crocheted disk, but it now covers my ears. Since I only wear wool hats when it's cold out, covering the ears is a must. I was starting to weave in the ends in the green and white scarf I made to go with that hat (since it's striped, there are a lot of ends to weave in), but it got too close to bed time to continue.

Friday, November 25, 2011

We spent the morning today doing chores, cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner, and processing the leftovers-- picking the meat off the turkey, and simmering the bones and skin for stock.

We got bad news from the contractor yesterday, which pretty much ruined my mood for the Thanksgiving feast. The health inspector wants us to add a refrigerated sandwich line to the kitchen, which would cost thousands of additional dollars for which we have not budgeted, and eliminate half the useful counter space in the kitchen. I'm sure she's not actually requiring such a thing, but suggesting it out of ignorance of what a proper Jewish deli entails. She's probably thinking "sandwiches," like Subway sells, and wants us to have the same kind of counter they have. That could hardly be farther from the truth. Our sandwiches won't have anything to do with mayonnaise, or dozens of optional veggie garnishes. A proper deli sandwich is made of only a large portion of very good meat, between two slices of very good rye bread. Since we're not kosher, a slice of cheese will also be available, but that's still nothing that requires a specialized, refrigerated counter, at a cost of a few thousand dollars we don't have.

We went over the kitchen with a tape measure this morning, and found that there's no place we can add a fridge to the kitchen without removing something else. The most reasonable thing to remove would be a 4' counter, which we would replace with a 1'counter and a home-size refrigerator. An alternative would be to move the two convection ovens to the outer kitchen; they're not under the hood now, and don't need to be if they're only used for baking breads and such. We can do meats in the conventional ovens that are built into the ranges, which had been the plan from the start. It's a hassle, but it's manageable.

I did no knitting today. The morning was devoted to chores, the afternoon to the new Muppet movie (not as good as "Arthur Christmas"), and the evening to cooking. Tom's new socks aren't an urgent need. He has enough socks to last for years.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yesterday was bigger than I like, with a storm and medical tests for both Tom and me. Both of us came through with less trauma than we expected, and a clean bill of health, but half the day was gone, after a harrowing night. There was a power outage, 90 mph winds, and 2 1/2 inches of rain, on a night we were stressed about the tests, anyway.

I'm halfway through the leg of the second sock. I should finish tomorrow or the next day.

We saw "Arthur Christmas" today. Wonderful film, delightful in every second. Bring tissues.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm ready to turn the heel on the second sock.

There has been a lot of rain, but a lot more wind. I was scared to even walk the dogs tonight, that a tree would fall over and kill me. Hey, it happens.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today was mostly spent coping with the weather. It was much warmer than yesterday, but with a light rain and a fierce wind that has me twitching. The sound of the wind upsets me unreasonably; I don't know why.

I'm halfway through the foot of the second sock. Yeah, progress is slow, and I don't have the excuse of a complicated design slowing me up. It's a totally plain sock. The yarn is very fine, and I'm using size 0 needles, so I'll let that stand as my excuse for little progress. In truth, I think a lot of it is that I can't sit still.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another busy day. I took another load of chairs to the restaurant, checked out the Winter Market, and looked for fabric for a window treatment for the restaurant. The local fabric shop wouldn't honor the parent chain's coupons, so Tom and I drove out to Longview. There, we found the same fabric at a deep discount-- we saved $26 on that one piece.

Barely spent enough time at home to finish the toe increases on Tom's second sock.

We had our first frost of the season last night/this morning, and it never did warm up. The high in Astoria may have been in the low 40s, but in Longview in the early afternoon it was in the mid-30s. The nearby mountains have snow on them since yesterday; I suspect that the snow may be supplemented overnight. Or not: supposedly, the front bringing the next change of weather will be much warmer.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finished the first sock yesterday, cast on the second today. Last night's prediction of slushy snow didn't materialize. Today was clear and cold; there's already frost on the car.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I wanted to do a fancy stitch on the cuffs of Tom's new socks, but couldn't find the book with the stitch I wanted. I dug out the previous pair of socks with that stitch-- I think it's called "railroad rib," or something like that-- and found it easy enough to decipher. The yarn being fine, and dark in color, though, and the lighting in the living room none too good, nor my eyes any too acute, I gave it up as a lost cause, and went for a plain 2x2 rib. That's coming along.

The rainy season is getting well established.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Landlord won't chip in for air. Remodeling almost done. Acquaintances approaching me for jobs. It's going to happen.

On the knitting front, I turned the heel of the first green sock. I was looking at yarn online, and I seem to have overcome my brief aversion to pink. That's a good thing, since the restaurant is painted mostly a pinkish beige.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The joys of remodeling, part umpty-dozenth: Got a surprise bill in the mail today for $12K we hadn't counted on. That's more than the last payment due on the whole job, which will still be owing when this is paid. The worst part is that $7K of it is for replacing the swamp cooler; we had understood that climate control was part of what we were paying for in our rent. As far as I'm concerned, the landlord should be paying for that, not us.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Busy day. To start, I went down to the restaurant (which is almost ready!!!) to make some last-minute specifications on where I want tables, outlets, and such, then again to bring the mirrors and signs for the contractor to hang in the bathrooms. Then Tom and I went down to Tillamook, for the third time in five days, to pick up a few parts we had overlooked for Tom's new desk. On the way home, we stopped for elk burgers. Once home, I knit a few rows on the green socks I'm making for Tom. Busy.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Today, I started a pair of green woolen socks for Tom. That is all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I've been knitting for the last three days, with nothing to show for it but a ball of worn-looking mohair. After the first couple of days of knitting, I decided to change the stitch count and pattern. After pulling it out, rewinding it, and knitting for another day, I decided I really didn't want a ruana in that colorway. In fact, I don't like that colorway at all, come to think of it. I have enough pink. That shade of pink is okay for a blanket in a little girl's room, but not for winter outerwear for a woman in her 50s.

Don't know what I'll do tomorrow. Maybe I'll work on a green scarf for a gift. Maybe I'll root out all my pink yarn and overdye it with black.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I finished the little brown scarf this morning, and I'm thrilled with it beyond words. The design is simple, elegant, and unique. The yarn is refined, with just enough imperfection/irregularity to make it transcendent. I blocked it, and found that it's more beautiful than I dared imagine. If I give it away, it'll have to be a knitter, because only a knitter would be able to see how special it is. To a non-knitter, it'd only be a little brown scarf.

Tom and I took a drive down to Tillamook in the afternoon. We made a couple of stops along the way, for shopping and snacks (chocolate malts at the Chocolate Cafe in Cannon Beach-- mega-yum). At the Habitat for Humanity ReStore just north of Tillamook, we found a large desk unit for Tom, a folding bookcase for me, and a working TV twice the size of the one we're currently using, all for a total of $120. That's a deal.

When we got home, after buying cheese and Christmas presents in Tillamook, and enjoying a sensational sunset/moonrise on the way home, I finally started knitting up the mohair I mentioned yesterday. I decided to go with the ruana, both because I don't already have one, and it's the most mindless option. Sue me: I like mindless knitting.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I knew I couldn't go through another day of no knitting, and I knew what my next project would be: something to use the hand-spun, hand-dyed bulky mohair in soft pinkish grey I picked up at Village Spin and Weave in Solvang, possibly supplemented with some Colinette mohair in a purplish pink whose name I no longer remember.

The grey mohair was in a single, sweater-sized hank, which wound into a ball the size of a volleyball. Of course, after it was softball-sized, or so, I realized that I hadn't needed to wind it at all. The halo had matted together enough that there was no way it would tangle; I could have knit it straight from the skein without worry.

Then, there was the matter of choosing a project. I have enough pullovers, by any standard. I don't wear cardigans often, but the one I made earlier this year is a similar color. I have a mohair coat in pinks and browns, and a woolen jacket in many colors, with an emphasis on brownish red. I don't even need a blanket; I knit a mohair blanket last Knitting Olympics.

Undecided what to do with the mohair volleyball, I pulled out a skein of exquisite yarn I bought several weeks ago at the local fiber arts cooperative. It's sock weight, hand-spun of natural dark brown merino and hand-dyed silk in (of course!) pink and lavender. I'm almost done, now, with a tiny scarf, a neckpiece more in the realm of jewelry, actually. I cast on by the Magic method, and knit around the perimeter, increasing by four stitches in each round to keep it flat. I started with stockinette, then threw in some eyelets, and finally a border of seed stitch to give it a possibility of staying flat in use. All I have to do is cast off, and it'll be done.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Second day of no knitting. I've been catching up on the catalogs, which have caught up with me since I moved. I should dig up some yarn for the next project Another mohair sweater? I'd like that.

More creative cooking. Today, I improved the disappointing commercial pastrami by grilling it and dusting it with spices. Much yummier. For dinner, I made meatballs and simmered them with beef hotlinks in diced tomatoes and barbecue sauce. Served over noodles, it was tasty.

I tell ya, the restaurant has to open soon.

Monday, November 07, 2011

No knitting at all today, but I did sweep the garage.

I've been wanting to cook, big time, and my refrigerator shows it.

I'm beginning to think the restaurant will never be ready. For the last couple of months, it has continually looked like it would be ready in a couple of weeks. It still looks like it'll be ready in a couple of weeks. It's like the old joke, of covering half the distance to one's goal every day.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Watched much TV and many movies today; I'm done in with spectator sports. On the bright side, all that sitting enabled me to finish the mohair hat. I intended to make it a bit bigger-- it's sort of a tam-- but I'm tired of it. Pattern stitches in mohair are just plain hard.

I did much creative cooking today. At lunchtime, I made a Brazilian corn cake I found online. The result was similar to Marie Calender's famous corn bread, and way too delicious not to have a second piece. For dinner, I made a casserole with shredded potatoes, sweet corn, sharp cheddar cheese, and a seasoned custard mixture with a good shot of cream. As with the corn cake, it was too delicious not to have seconds. I spent some time on the ski machine as penance, but I'm still going to avoid the scale for a couple of days.

The restaurant had better open soon. I need other people to feed my cooking to.

Friday, November 04, 2011

We had a wonderful outing today. After checking the road reports to make sure there was no snow, we drove out to Beaverton, where we found cobalt blue water glasses in our price range for the restaurant. We ordered 40; I think we should have ordered 80. Then, in the course of shopping for groceries, we heard that there is, indeed, a decent deli in Portland. We found the place, and had a very good lunch. Then we hit a couple of ethnic markets before making our way home. Fun, fun, fun. We got hit by a flurry of wet snow on our way home, but it didn't stick.

For the record, Portland is breathtaking in the fall.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

I started a hat, using the yarn leftover from the mohair sweater. I can't remember the last time I made a sweater and hat combo for myself. For Tom, yes, but not for myself.

I love the mohair sweater, by the way. I'm wearing every evening, when we walk the dogs.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I finished the scarf last night. Today, rather than decide what to knit next, I re-did the collar on the mohair sweater I finished earlier in the week. Third time's the charm. This time, I did a mock turtle, which has proven itself both comfortable and warm. Since sweater weather has arrived, I can test these things right away.

Tom is leaning toward not taking a trip to LA this week. I would have missed him, if he had gone.