30 November 2010


7 Small Shawls: T - 32 days and counting down.

I am still reveling in the relaxing and enjoyable knit this shawl is providing. It's a great way to wind down after a day of craziness and a few projects that are vexing me sorely (I've been listening to Emma as I work and the language is so wonderfully descriptive). I am recommending this one as a vacation to Jessica, who, I'm afraid, has had enough of beads for a long time after recently finishing Celaeno (although it is a truly lovely version!).

I've gone past the halfway point several times and ripped back when my decreases did not produce a fabric that mirrored the increase side. I had chevrons, then I had holes, and then I had zig-zags. But the stripes had to be perfectly straight, and it ended up being one of the very easiest and most obvious of decreases that made it all look proper. It was one of those cases of over-thinking to begin with. But see how straight the stripes are now?!
I have the center stripe marked. Here you can see the close-up. I think the two sides are almost indistinguishable, don't you?!
The method I have been employing has created a series of loops along the side that are perfectly uniformly placed. These will be picked up and the rest of the shawl knit down in a lovely simple lace pattern.
The loops are very easy to see, even more-so in person. I don't very much enjoy picking up stitches, so I wanted to make sure this was a walk in the park. Each loop is very visible in the same contrast color, which actually makes it rather enjoyable!
I'm also enjoying some yarn I received recently from Black Trillium. Aren't those lovely colors? I do love high twist sock yarn. :)
I also purchased some yarn from one of my favorite Etsy shops, Yarn Chef. It's a cashmere and silk blend that is truly decadent.
It's a lovely color, but sadly not one that looks at all good on me. Due to the vagaries of computer monitors, it appeared much less pink on mine than it is in real life. I'm afraid that I need to commit the despicable act of over-dyeing to warm up the color. I'm thinking a touch of gold.... Shhhhhhhhhhh.

I'm trying not to think about how much I have to get finished by the end of the year, and am resigned to putting one foot in front of the other and working to achieve super efficiency. Happily, we are not entertaining this year. And I almost have all my Christmas shopping done. Just one store left to visit. Does anyone else do Christmas shopping for themselves? I mean buy their own presents, wrap them and put them under the tree with everyone else's? I know I can't be the only one. I think Santa may bring me a spinning wheel this year. ;)

Labels: ,

29 November 2010

Monday's Musing

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” - Albert Einstein

And don't forget my Cyber Monday 15% off on patterns! (Through midnight PST)


28 November 2010

Cyber Monday starts now!

From 12 am EST to midnight PST (yep! three extra hours!) on Monday November 29, Designs by Romi patterns, including my 7 Small Shawls eBook subscription, are 15% off! Enjoy!!!

eta: The discount is applied in your shopping cart.


26 November 2010

A lovely day off

Yesterday was a gloriously beautiful day here in paradise, so we started the aforementioned tradition: The Annual Thanksgiving Wild Turkey Hunt and Photo Expedition. The kids looking out for gobblers:

We drove up my very favorite road in these parts, along Little Sulfur Creek, and I was taking photos all the way.

This is my favorite spot in the world, except maybe Venice, but that's really a different paradigm, eh?

I was the only one to bag any turkeys and this is as close to being shot that any of them got!

There were these amazing trees just covered in Spanish Moss.

And here's a lovely view from the top.

We saw some abandoned mines, either Mercury or sulfur, I don't know which.

And my favorite tree to look at (as opposed to my favorite tree to smell: California Bay Laurel): Madrone.

The bark peels off naturally to reveal incredible smooth red branches underneath.

Yes, it's as smooth as it looks. I could just stare at it and run my hand over it all day.

Back we went to Chez Romi where a traditional holiday tantrum was thrown by #1 Son. It was gotten over and then we had a non-traditional meal of BBQed tri-tip (how Californian of us!), sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, pilaf, and my grandmother's invention: Apple Goo. It's a kind of crazy-sweet and gooey apple dumpling that you can only really eat once a year if you want to avoid being diabetic. It was delicious and we were all stuffed afterwards.

And in the tradition of thankfulness and sharing...here's the recipe! I've never know anyone who didn't just love this stuff, and people used to invite me over just so I'd make it. So now you can make it and not have to put up with me, too. :)

Grama's Apple Goo

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut 2 medium tart (sharp) apples into very small pieces (if yours are sweet, you can add about 1 tsp of lemon juice after they are cut)

have on hand: cinnamon and sugar mixture
sheet cake pan measuring approx 9" x 13"

Prepare one recipe of plain pastry using:

2 cups sifted pastry flour
2/3 cup shortening
3/4 tsp salt
ice water as needed (added at end)

Place sifted flour, shortening and salt in bowl. With two knives, cut shortening cross-ways into flour until the mixture looks pebbly.

Add enough ice water to make the dough hold together when squeezed gently in your hands. Mix the dough completely but do not over-mix. The pieces of shortening make the pastry crispier. Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each out, cutting each quarter into 4 sections (a total of 16 sections). Place approximately 2 T of apple in the center of each section
and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon mixture over the apples.
Don't worry if your pastry looks terrible, all will be covered in the final step!

Fold each square of dough over apples into a triangle, and fold up edges. Pinch dough together so that no apples will escape.
Add to pan. When the pan is covered with the triangles, take the remaining dough, break it into small pieces and add along the edges.

In a saucepan, combine:

1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
4 T butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 cups water

and bring to a boil. Boil together 3 minutes and then pour mixture over apple triangles in pan. It will look like this:

Let sit for about ten minutes, until it looks like this:

Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Let sit for at least 45 minutes before serving. The longer it sits, the better it is.

Cheers! :)

Labels: ,

25 November 2010


Today was the First Annual Thanksgiving Wild Turkey Hunt and Photo Expedition at Chez Romi. I was the only one to "shoot" any turkeys. ;)
Hope you had a fabulous day! More pics tomorrow!


24 November 2010

My addiction

7 Small Shawls: T - 37 days and counting down.

No, not to Addis, although they are fabulous.

I'm talking about my
current small shawl. My knitted bonbon of a project.
I am so loving it! It's such a wonderfully relaxing knit, and I so so so needed that! I love the way the striped garter stitch looks.
I love the pebbly texture.
I love the greens.
I love that the stripes are vertical.
I love that the stitches are so easy to pick up along the edge (there are little loops just waiting!),
and I love love love listening to the audio book I checked out and downloaded to my iPhone while knitting in bed. This is the life!

Meanwhile, Musetta was holding court today.

And there may have been a little exploring.

The thing that amazes me? How a tiny six and a half pound kitty can have us all completely wrapped around her little paw. But she does, and we're absolutely hers.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US and I have much to be thankful for. I know that should really be "for which to be thankful," but it sounds so stilted and formal, doesn't it? I am thankful for my family, the beautiful place where I live, the fact that we have plenty to eat, a roof over our heads and live in a peaceful area. I'm thankful for our furry and fishy family members. And I'm thankful for being able to do what I love and for our wonderful knitting community. And you all, dear Readers, are a huge part of that. Have a fabulous day!


23 November 2010

In which Chez Romi is adopted

...and the bunny runs away with the yarn.

7 Small Shawls: T - 38 days and counting down.

Last Friday night there came a pitiful mewing at the window. I thought it was a neighbor's cat in heat, so I really didn't pay attention. But then it continued through dinner and well after dinner. And finally, unable to help myself any longer, I opened the front door. There, I met the new mistress of the house, all six and a half pounds of her. She was hungry and thirsty, but I didn't want to let her in because I was afraid she might give the house rabbit (more on her) something. I ran into the house and came back out with some water and roast beef cut into small pieces. I had been afraid she might have despaired of me and started to wander off to find another easy mark person to feed her and love her, but no! She was waiting patiently. We were all smitten, so Mr. Romi and I decided that, if she was still with us on Monday, we would take her to the vet and get her checked out.

She was still here.
And she had quite taken over all of our hearts.
And Mr. Romi's shop.
So Monday I called around and asked if any kitties of her description had been reported missing (no!), and then I took her to the vet: no microchip, no viruses, a slight case of ear mites (now cured), no pregnancy. Yay! We have now been officially adopted. I think her name is Musetta, but the boys differ. Mr. Romi wants to call her Friday, #1 Son wants to call her KittyKitty; only the Bear agrees with me (or is good at sucking up; one or the other). She is the absolute sweetest, purr-iest little thing. We had just been talking about our old kitty Emma the weekend before. She was the best kitty ever in the entire world, and when you are lucky enough to be owned by the best kitty in the entire world, you feel that you should just quit while you're ahead. We're pretty sure Emma was listening in to our conversation, disagreed, and sent Musetta.

Sadly, other animals in the house were not so wonderful. Rabbits: another good reason to have interchangeable needles.
And yes. She chewed what was on those needles too. You can just see the little bits of Timothy hay in the Malabrigo.

By coincidence, I was swatching the same pattern in another yarn (Jamaica Farewell from Royale Hare) and had just decided that I liked the Malabrigo better.

But! There was more goodness! I got an iPhone. Yes! I have joined the 21st Century (well, almost). After waiting and waiting and waiting to upgrade from my POS old phone, I finally made it to November 20th and we all piled in the car and headed down to the AT&T store to get my iPhone! It's fabulous. And there are kitteh pics on it. :)
I love it!

Labels: , , ,

22 November 2010

Monday's Musing

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” - unknown

"Don't worry; be happy." - Bobby McFerrin

Have a happy week, everyone!


18 November 2010

Two timer

7 Small Shawls: T - 43 days and counting down.

This has been an unusual year in many respects, not least of all my amazing project monogamy. I think I might have cheated just once. Just a little teensy bit.

But that's at an end. I've been playing with Malabrigo, and Shawl #6. Shhhhhhhh.
I'm not sure yet if I like it. I think another swatch is in order. Some Jamaica Farewell, perhaps? Yes, yes, I think so.


17 November 2010

Suddenly in love

7 Small Shawls: T - 44 days and counting down.

First, an admission: I am not feeling the love for the entrelac shawl idea I was toying with before. It's going to have to wait for next year (did you hear that the 10 shawls in 2010 people are doing 11 in 2011?!?!). Because right now, my entrelac is ugly and I want to knit a fun fluffy bonbon of a knit.

So I took the gorgeous green (because my knitted bonbons are all green) yarns that Kristine sent me: Creating in The French Monk's Finest and Magic Bean (possibly my very favorite yarn color of all time) and started playing with things that I love.
Like stripes in garter stitch.
And interesting constructions.
And lace.
And now I'm irreversibly, irretrievably in love.
Totally head over heels with shawl #5. I am having such a grand time with this yarn and pattern combination! And I so needed this: a thoroughly relaxing knit that I can barely stand to put down. A busman's holiday of sorts. Because really? I so love what I do for a living.



15 November 2010


Did you see the new Twist Collective?! This is a gorgeous issue. And I am lucky enough to have a sweater in it!
Meet Lalou!
She's made of kidsilk haze and lots of beads.
A party sweater perfect for sipping a fine champagne!

Photography © Mårten Ivert.

Labels: ,

Monday's Musing

"Don't think about it; just do it." - unknown

Words to live by. :)


13 November 2010

Sushi night

Can I just say that I love sushi? If there were one food I could take with me to a desert island, that food would be sushi. I have never met a piece of sushi I didn't like (except maybe some not-so-fresh uni). But with three guys around the house, it is prohibitively expensive to go out and order up all the sushi they can eat.

Enter the local Asian market. :)

In a previous failed attempt, I found the most important part of good sushi to be the rice. It needs to be short grain sushi rice, and it needs to be rinsed. Do not try to substitute rice. Trust me on this.

I found a sushi rice recipe on the back of the seaweed package and it was perfect. 3 cups of rice, rinsed, to 3 cups of water. I steamed the rice in our fuzzy logic rice cooker. When the rice is done, remove it to cool at least 20 minutes. I put it in a shallow oval dish. Boil together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1 tsp salt and 1 T sugar until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour over rice and mix gently until the liquid is distributed evenly. Let cool to room temperature.
Prepare all the ingredients before you start to put the sushi together. Here I have shrimp (bought prepared and frozen), cucumber, pickled daikon, avocado, fake crab, and some spring mix to make up for the fact that shiso was not in season. I also had tobiko (flying fish roe) and pickled plums (not pictured). Here's where I warn you that I don't officially know how to make sushi, I have just spent some serious time sitting at the sushi bar watching it be made. Also? I stay away from raw. I leave that to the real sushi chefs. :)
First up: rolls. Lay the seaweed out on top of a piece of saran wrap on the bamboo sushi mat. Have a small bowl of rice vinegar standing by. You'll want to wet your hands with it so that the rice won't stick as much.
The larger rolls take a whole sheet; the smaller rolls take half a sheet. Here is what the rice will look like when it is patted out (by hand) on the seaweed.
Add your ingredients down the middle. The sesame seeds are a delicious addition.
This is the tricky part. You're going to roll the mat over while trying not to catch the saran wrap and the mat inside the roll. It may take a little practice.
This is how it will look halfway through. You'll want to pack it down tight and press it into shape. Peel off the mat and the saran wrap and roll it over until the seam is on the bottom.
It will look like the picture below.
While it's in the mat, you'll want to pack it so that it's sort of square-ish. Don't worry about the rice getting mushy from being packed too hard. It will stand up to lots of pressure, and you need that pressure to make the roll stick together properly for cutting.

Finished rolls ready for cutting.
You'll want to use a super sharp knife to cut them, and it's helpful to wash it between rolls to get the sticky rice starch off.

I also made some nigiri sushi (the rolls are maki sushi).

Before shaping the rice, make sure to coat your hands with rice vinegar.
I put little seaweed strips around the rice and stuck them together with a piece of rice.
Then they got filled with tobiko. YUM!
Shrimp came next. I put a little wasabi on the underside. I love wasabi.
All cut and ready for eating!
Everyone was stuffed. :)