Thursday, 30 September 2010

Garden State Sheep and Wool

This was a couple weeks ago, but I'm way behind and getting caught up with everything going on. The Garden State Sheep Breeders put on an annual sheep and wool festival. It's very small, nothing fancy, and mostly livestock. There is a fleece auction, but it was unimpressive- there were a lot of mediocre and very dirty fleeces. The few that were outstanding were being shown only and weren't for sale. Boo hoo.

There were pretty angora rabbits though:
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Most of them were so tame and they really enjoyed the attention.

This one was all glug glug glug glug.

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They had sheep shearing

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and lots of sheep being shown and paraded around. Alas, Rhinebeck is right around the corner. I had a fun day, but went home empty handed- nothing grabbed my attention enough to take home.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


We spent a long weekend camping in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

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It was cold enough at night to wear hats to bed, but daytime was perfectly warm and sunny.

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I loved all the waterfalls.

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It's really pretty there- lots of deep, dark woods and craggy cliffs and mountains.

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We followed the watergap down along the NJ border and stopped to swim and eat pie.

It was a nice, relaxing weekend. I didn't get any knitting done at all since we were on the bike (deemed too dangerous) but I got a lot of sunshine, hikes and nature instead.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

FO- Anastasia Socks

All this handpainted yarn is getting to me! I love the way it looks on the skein (oooh, colors!) but a lot of times you have to do the most simple of sock patterns in order for the whole thing to not give you a headache. I'm starting to like plain, solid colored sock yarn.

Yet, here I am, with a whole bin full of multi-colored sock yarn. What is a girl to do?

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This was a skein from last years BMFA Rockin' Sock Club. I liked the pattern by itself, and I was okay with the purpley yarn, but when I started knitting, I was quickly overcome with doubt. The lace pattern got lost in the dark stripes. I frogged those socks and found a new pattern for the yarn.

I found the Anastasia pattern by Minty Fresh. The simple spirals worked well with variegated yarn while not putting me to sleep.

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I cast them on during a weekend trip to Sag Harbor while waiting forever for a table at brunch.

By the next weekend, they were done.

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I did these toe-up, two at a time on 2 circs. I was really happy with the pattern/yarn combination.

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There is something oddly compelling about spiral patterns. Once I start them, I feel as though putting them down for a break would somehow interrupt the spiraling I just keep going.

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These are destined for giftdom. I won't say to whom.

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The specs:
I used 1 skein (360 yards) of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Pepe Le Plume colorway.

Needles were 2.25mm (US 1) circulars- the Addi Lace variety. I am going to need to rave about these in a future post as they are my new favorite sock needles.

These are part of my A-Z stashdown. I have two more skeins of BMFA lightweight to knit up- I saved my favorite colorways for last.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Maine Coast

As much as I love being up in the mountains, I like being on the coast even more. We took a nice lobster roll roadtrip down Route 3 to the coast.

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Aside from seafood, Maine is also good for travelers because of the vintage diners that dot the old highways. A-1 Diner is a classic 1946 Worcester dining car plopped down on the corner of Main St in Gardiner. They had excellent old-school diner food and fresh seafood.

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People in Maine really love their vintage cars, and a weekend doesn't go by without a car show somewhere.

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I lucked out with the weather and got another week of nothing but sunshine, and spent most of the time riding my bike, firing up the grill, and lazing around on the beach.

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I also try to line my trips up with some sort of berry season. By mid-August, the raspberries are pretty much done with, but the blackberries and wild blueberries are ready to go.

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It's really hard for me to justify living where I do after a couple weeks like that.


The weather this summer in New York left everyone absolutely miserable and house bound. Since the traditional sanctuary of the movie theater is now having bedbug infestations, the most obvious thing to do was to leave.

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It was a long ride up, but we took mostly back roads and fun mountain roads, stopping to catch up with friends on the way.

What was unbearably sticky and sweltering in the city translated into warm, sunny and breezy a couple hundred miles north. Everywhere I went, people raved about what a fantastic summer they were having.

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If this was New York, both woman and dog would have been sporting third degree burns right now.

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It's always nice to catch up with family, hang out at the beach with a margarita and work up the bravery to take a swim.

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We to tend to eat well, as always.

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We also tried to pioneer new sports, like a rather soggy affair with tow-in kayaking.

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Nothing else cures the summer city blues like a week in relative isolation in Northern Maine.

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Friday, 24 September 2010


I had to go and spend a week in Chicago for work, which is usually just no fun. However, I was able to sneak out and go exploring occasionally. Instead of getting loaded on cocktails before dinner with co-workers, I would head out and meander around instead. I hate leaving a city and only seeing the inside of meeting and hotel rooms and steakhouses (hello, Dallas).

Chicago is one of my favorite cities. I love the old architecture and the new architecture, the draw bridges, the museums, and I especially love Millennium Park and all the Frank Gehry designed elements.


We went to a Cubs game. Wrigley is so small that even the nosebleeds are close enough to see what's going on if you cared to know.


I wouldn't say I'm a baseball fan, but I really don't mind sitting around outside in summertime, chipping away at a knit project and chatting it up while sampling local stadium delicacies.

I have to work with these people. None of them seemed to care about the game so much as long as the beer vendor was available every few minutes.

My flight coming home was delayed 10 hours, which means I also got to hit the Art Institute. They have an enormous collection and quite a few Iconic works. Nighthawks....

...and Renoir....

...and Winslow Homer. He's one of my absolute favorites, and he lived and painted very close to where I grew up so I love the watercolors he made of the Maine coast.

Also, I'd like to shout out to the museum guard who approached me, told me that I was his favorite work of art in this place and then tried to give me his phone number. Wow. I slowly backed away into another wing of the museum, wide eyed with horror and posturing like I knew Kung-fu. I've never had that happen to me at the Met. I felt like I had a real Chicago experience to talk about when I got home.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


We awoke early on a Sunday morning and explored Lyon. Lyon is the second largest city in France (next to Paris) and know for being the culinary epicenter of France. Be still, my heart.


The streets were quiet when we set out early on a Sunday morning. We hit both a art market and a farmer's market that lined the banks of the Rhône and Saône rivers.


Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière overlooks the city.




There was a mass going on while we were there (no pictures) but it was completely blinged out in gold on the inside.


Atop the hill, there is also ruins of the Roman theater of Fourvière.


It was built in 15 BC, and is still in use for movies and festivals.

Most importantly, Lyon is know for its Bouchons- casual restaurants that specialize in traditional Lyonnaise cuisine. All that walking up and down the hills really worked up an appetite.


Wine is customary with meals. You don't order by the bottle at a bouchon, but you order it decanted into jug- un pot of either beaujolais or côtes-du-rhône.

The food is rich, fatty, meat-centric and delicious.

fromage de tête, which amazingly contains no cheese at all. Head cheese is an acquired taste. Gelled meats are not my favorite, but I'm a brave eater.

quenelle de brochet- dumplings of pike in some sort of buttery cream sauce.

This was amazing. It was pork tenderloin medallions wrapped in thick slices of bacon. I didn't know you could make bacon more delicious, but using it to gift-wrap pork was an eye-opener (and and artery clogger to boot). Mushroom pate, ratatouille, and ethereal scalloped potatoes were on the plate as well, but the combination of 4 really awesomesauce foods on one plate was completely overwhelming. I was plotting to kidnap the chef after my first bite.

This is what I called "fruit pizza". It was a great way to end a meal- nice and light (sort of?) with a buttery thin tart crust.

It's really easy to fall in love with a place after a lunch like that.