2009 is sure wrapping up quickly. I don’t really want to greet 2010 without Mr. MmmYarn but the cosmos don’t exactly give a person a choice in these matters, so I put the champagne in to chill and bought a bottle of crème de cassis so I can make kir royale, my New Year’s Eve drink of choice. And the eve after and at least one more after, if not two, because there’s only so much booze I can drink in a sitting whether I’m trying to keep track of a pattern or not.

Now, Stollen, on the other hand, is something I can eat a lot of in one sitting. I did make my Stollen the other day and it turned out well. Here is half of it:

2009_12_27_Stollen1

The key to its great flavor is to soak the raisins in rum for a week before baking your Stollen. My raisins soaked for a month so they were super-tasty. This year I added a bit of orange zest left over from the San Diego Sunshine bread and it added a subtle new flavor that went wonderfully with the rumminess:

2009_12_27_Stollen2

Lest you think this has become an alcohol-fueled blog (sheesh, I had Glühwein in my last post, now champagne and rum in this one), I have to tell you I did get my exercise and vitamins yesterday. I trekked to two different drug stores, searching for contact lens solution to use up the last of my FSA dollars for 2009. The second (and final) one I went to was on Clement Street. The ethnic markets there always yield some interesting items. The market I went to had dragon fruit again so I picked one up as a treat:

2009_12_29_DragonFruit_exterior

So very tasty for my well-deserved snack after walking at least 6 miles, nearly half of it with a full backpack. And beautiful, too; the interior contrasts nicely with the exterior:

2009_12_29_DragonFruit_interior

I don’t know how the Vietnamese (my fruit came from Vietnam, its little label said) eat their dragon fruits, but I use a spoon to eat the white parts out of the peel.

Today I’ve been cleaning up my filing cabinet. Did a lot of paper shredding. I also scrubbed my bathtub yet again, something I’ve been doing probably twice a week out of pure enjoyment since I made my own scrubby stuff. Last month I checked out “The Urban Homestead” from the library and while many of the suggestions I can’t implement where I live (no garden or chickens for me), I can use the natural cleansers. I followed the instructions and mixed baking soda and liquid castile soap into a paste, then added about half a teaspoon of peppermint extract from the baking shelf. My tub is minty fresh and sparkling clean when I’m done. My hands are minty and don’t have that horrible dry feel I get after using commercial cleansers. Plus the scrubbing part is far easier, requiring much less labor than I needed when using my usual generic Ajax/Comet-like stuff. I’m sold! Yes, the rest of the place is in the same mess it’s always in. I guess if I were to have a visitor I’d have to show the bathtub last or else it will show up everything else.

Anyway, you didn’t come here for culinary exotica or cleaning tips. This blog is about yarn and I have been knitting.

First up, a hat for a good friend who’s going through a rough time. She made herself one of these hats, then remarked to me in November that she had bought some black yarn to make a second one but wasn’t looking forward to slogging through 40″ of ribbing. I volunteered to be the slogger and she gave me the yarn.

HatAdult_2009_12_06_ChemoTurban

I guess I don’t need to buy a hat form if the 8-pound exercise ball doesn’t mind being a model.

Pattern: Esprit Chemo Turban by Ann Cannon-Brown
Yarn: 2.33 skeins Cascade Fixation, 98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic, color 8990
Needles: size 7
Size: adult
Started 11/17 and finished 12/6/2009

It was an interesting knit because I rarely use an elasticized yarn. I started with size 9 needles and my gauge was far too small. I also didn’t like the feel of the yarn on needles that size. With too small gauge you usually go up in needle size to correct the problem. However, I know my knitting style so I went down to size 7 and found that got me bigger gauge and was more comfortable because I was no longer fighting with the yarn. Go figure. She says the hat fits her perfectly and I delivered it right in time for her to wear it to a holiday party.

Next up, the latest brown socks for my mom (must get better photo in daylight when I next visit):

Socks_2009_12_12_Sam_forMama_2

Pattern: Sam by Cookie A., as published in Sock Innovation
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Hand-Painted Sock Yarn, 75% merino superwash, 25% nylon, color 9931
Needles: size 1 (ugh)
Started 10/28 and finished 12/12/2009

I picked this pattern because my mom wears short shoe-like hiking boots and therefore can wear socks with a heavily-textured pattern on the cuff. Any stitch pattern up the ankle would probably be uncomfortable on someone with tall hiking boots. I hear she is the envy of her hiking friends, having seamless and custom-made socks.

Socks_2009_12_12_Sam_forMama_3

Pattern modifications… maybe. I don’t really know. I worked the cuff pattern as written, then stopped reading the pattern and did my usual heel and foot.

The last item for today is the Noro scarf I had on the needles for ages, modeled by Sancho Panza:

Scarf_2009_12_18_Noro_Kureyon_drop_stitch

Pattern: garter stitch with a yarn over row every 5th row
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn, 70% wool, 30% nylon, color S102
Needles: size 3
Finished size: 7″ x 68″
Started 11/9 and finished 12/18/2009

Absolutely love the highlighter pink and yellow in this scarf. I am tempted to keep it; for now, it will go in the sale box and we’ll see if I fish it out of there.

Up tomorrow: hats!

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