Saturday, February 23, 2008


What is comfort on a cold grey dismal Philadelphia Saturday?

Muffy and I headed down to the Reading Terminal Market today for brunch/lunch. They were having a special event called the "Souper Bowl."

We drifted around and tried some of the yummy free samples, had some soup... ok, but something was missing...

apple dumplings from the Dutch Eating Place. Amazingly there were two seats available at the counter. We hopped up on stools and split a warm apple dumpling with heavy cream (yes, that sound you hear is my arteries clicking shut!) Now, this is comfort food.

Comfort also comes in the form of yummy knit wear.

These are Pear Tree's Crocodile long fingerless gloves, knit in their divine 4-ply merino. The only mods I made to the pattern was to knit them in the round, and the length of the hand and thumbs. My hands and fingers are rather short so they would have been way over the tips of my fingers if I followed the pattern.

So many of my sweaters and tops have 3/4 length sleeves, so I always have a drafty gap between my gloves and sleeves. No more...these fill the gap perfectly. And they are uber toasty and comfortable. Thank you marveous Magda for getting me hooked on these gloves and lending me the pattern.

Hope you all had a Saturday of tasty treats!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

in the 'burgh

I spent this weekend in Pittsburgh with my father, celebrating his retirement. Free at last, free at last....

Our first stop was the exhibition of Dale Chihuly's art glass at the Phipps Conservatory. I expected to be impressed by this exhibition, but I my jaw dropped to my knees before even entering the building. This amazing chandelier was glowing into the night through the glass dome over the visitors' center.

What I didn't expect was that the glass would be so beautifully integrated throughout the conservatory. Every room but one very formal garden room had installations of glass. Each item carefully placed by Chihuly and his team. An employee of the Conservatory told me that it took eleven days and a ten man team to do the installation of the exhibit. I think this huge Fiori was one of my favorites. The scale of some of these pieces is really impressive.

If the exhibit weren't closing this weekend, I'd encourage everyone to hop a plane to Pittsburgh. A special thanks to Gryphon's Feather's posting that brought the Chihuly exhibit to my attention.

The Phipps was a big part of my Pittsburgh childhood. My mom would take me once a year to roam the gardens. It was particularly magical to me in the winter...surrounded by lush greenery, flowers and warmth.

Another important part of my childhood was the Carnegie Museum and its collection of dinosaurs. As I remember it from my memory, it was a cold stark white marble hall packed with dinosaurs. The new dino exhibit is in a much expanded space and they have plenty of room to separate the bones by period. The exhibit has all the interactive bells and whistles to round it all out. Saddly the T-Rex is still being put back together, so I couldn't visit my old friend. The most impressive thing about the new exhibit is the new armatures for the fossils. They have managed to construct them so they are as unobtrusive as possible.

We made a stop that was not part of my nostalgia tour, but will be a sure visit for all future trips, Pamela's P&G Diner. The pancakes were thin, crispy and divine. Thinking about them is making me drool. They have a bunch of locations in Pittsburgh, skip the long lines in Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, head straight for the Strip District where there are two larger rooms with tables. Thank you Christine for insisting that I have breakfast there!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

B is for Basil

I love Edward Gorey's Gashleycrumb Tinies, but that isn't the Basil I'm thinking of.

This Basil is a baby blanket designed by Courtney Kelley of the Smith Island Pattern Factory. I knit this beauty out of Koigu KPPPM. This colorway is so scrumptous I almost unraveled the blanket to make a shawl for myself.

Basil was knit for the brand-new son of one of Muffy's bestfriends. It was a good deal, she handed over the cash, helped pick out Koigu in a color combo I loved, and I got to knit a pattern that interested me. This was my first experience knitting lace with Koigu. The knitting is fabulous, but the blocking really elevated the WOW factor of the blanket. It in no way resembles what the mother thought was a baggy lace beret when I was knitting at the shower.

Want an easy lace knit? Go with this baby! I wish I had taken pictures of the binding...a K1, K2tog row at the fold makes a lovely picot edging. The bind-off is fiddley but takes care of the hemming at the same time as the bind-off. The binding makes an edge with just the right weight...don't skip it!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Blue Period

When I was much younger and I would tell my mother I was depressed. She would tell me I wasn't depressed, just in a funk or feeling blue. Now I know that I really was suffering from depression. At the moment, I really am feeling blue. Not to worry my friends...spirits are high, but the knitting is blue! Juliet has staged a comeback and is at the same place we left her before frogging (I'm still a little dizzy!)

I was on a real finishing kick, but last night I succumbed to the need for more variety in my life. I swatched...I know, hard to believe, but I did. First I swatched for Gretel on 7 DPNs. The yarn is uber lovely Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran. My gauge looked a little off and no 8 DPNs, so I put that aside until knitting circle, when I could take some 8s for a test drive.

Not to be discouraged, I pulled out my Pear Tree 4-Ply Merino and knit another gauge swatch for the Crocodile long fingerless gloves. That was a bust, went up a needle size and voila! Cast those puppies on and started knitting while watching the CA Super Tuesday returns. I am loving these!! One of the best things about this yarn aside from the beautiful sheen and amazing softness is the slubbies that occasionally pop up and add some character.

What else put a big grin on my face? Being awarded this by Andrea, my favorite frogger...

The rules are to give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

Here are the 10 people that make my day or inspire me:

Marissa, Sherry, Jan, Dacia, Wendy, Emily, Kate, Jennifer, Carol

And of course right back at you, Andrea!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Brunch is calling

There are few gatherings that I enjoy more than weekend brunches with friends. This afternoon Marissa, Madga and Moi hit up A Full Plate Cafe on Liberty Walk in NoLib....YUM.

So, my phone has a crush on Magda's phone; it calls her all the time. It called her phone today while we were having brunch. Last weekend when Magda couldn't have lunch with Mindy, Marissa and myself, my phone called her's 23 times and left voice mail messages that were little snippets of our luncheon conversation. Almost like being there if you listened to all the messages. Yup, there is a little stalker activity going on here.

Full Plate is so cute and the food is really delish. The real winner was the Cinnamon Bobka French Toast, tasty.

I showed off my finished Endpaper Mitts. Don't they look fab? My only disappointment is that I took so long for me to finish them. Once I got past my past my completely irrational phobia of all things Kitchner, I was good to go. Mitt #2 was knit in a flash!

And do you see there to the right, part of Marissa's waffles with banana cream, strawberries and coconut?

Not much left when the feeding frenzy was over...just a lot of laughter. Good times, my friends, good times!