Have I Mentioned the Citrus?

I believe I have mentioned (scroll to the bottom) the fresh citrus available here in Tucson. We've had church members bring us oranges, grapefruit (LOTS of grapefruit -- it's amazing how many of our members can't eat them because of medications), something called a limequat (think small, kumquat-sized lemons -- they're great for marmalade), and last week, a small bag of fresh-picked key limes:

Key Limes

Yep, they even have key limes here in Tucson. In fact, key lime trees fit in quite nicely here in the desert because unlike other citrus (and very much like most of our native plants), they have spikes. Go figure.

Anyway, this morning I juiced some limes and made a key lime pie. Now, lest you think this was as easy to do as it was to type, let me show you something:

Key Limes Are Small

This is a key lime with quarters added for perspective (Arizona and Maine, chosen deliberately). Below, a key lime with the only reamer we own:

Key Lime Juicing

So, you get the juicing wasn't quite like juicing a regular lime or a lemon, right? Zesting wasn't a picnic, either, since key limes have a very thin skin much like a kumquat.

So I made a key lime pie, and it's now chilling in the fridge:

Key Lime Pie

And with the leftover egg whites and some of the leftover key limes? I made key lime macaroons:

Key Lime Macaroons

And yes, they're big, because macaroons can be big and still not ruin the diet too badly. The macaroons were simple:
  • beat four egg whites with two tablespoons of key lime juice until they form soft peaks
  • meanwhile, combine two teaspoons of key lime zest with 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • when the eggs form soft peaks, beat the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, into the eggs until they form stiff peaks
  • fold in 2 2/3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • drop onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes
Yum!!!! These I've already tried, and they are delightfully tropical.

Knitting, You Want Knitting?

Okay, knitting.

Red Ribs

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multiringel #5030
Needles: Kollage Yarns Square Double Pointed #2
Pattern: Basic toe-up sock with slip-stitch heel a la Wendy; 4x1 rib on top of foot and leg and 1x1 rib cuff; sewn bind-off

In her last payment package, Susan at Kollage Yarns included a treat:

Square Needles

These are their new square knitting needles, a 24" #7 circular and a set of #2 5" DPs. I used the circular to knit the dishcloths I showed on off my birthday, and I used the DPs to make these socks.

What do I think of the needles? I love them, actually. They are incredibly comfortable to knit with, and the cable on the circular is soooooo soft (softer by far even than KnitPicks), and really has no memory. Bend it, twist it, fold it, crease it -- it's like magic. I am not really a fan of DPs since I discovered magic loop, but I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these socks on the square DPs. I'm thinking about ordering myself a 40" #2 to use for magic loop -- I'm anxious to see that super-soft cable in action.

In other knitting news, I have most of side #2 of the shadow-knit kimono done:

Shadow Knit Kimono

But that's on hold while I power through two secret sample knits. One is a lot of really boring black stockinette, the other is a little more interesting:

Detail of a Mystery

But that's all you can see for now. I don't even have any socks on the needle right now because the endless black stockinette project is portable and knittable anywhere.

And now, if they've made it this far, I just want to say howdy to all the gals in the cataloging/metadata services/get the stuff ready to go on the shelves department at O'Neill Library. Take good care of my buddy.

3 Crocheters + 19 Years = 1 Afghan

3 Crocheters + 19 Years = One Afghan

Many, many years ago (1984), after I was accepted at Mount Holyoke College, my mother decided she would make me an afghan. We found this very interesting pattern (it wasn't all granny squares, though there were some of those -- it had other shapes and stuff, too) and she got the yarn. She started on it, fully expecting that it would adorn my dorm room bed no later than second semester my fresh(wo)man year.

Life happens, you know, and for some reason the afghan got laid aside, then the pattern got lost, and the whole thing fell into the abyss that was my mother's yarn stash (ask my father -- he'll tell you all about it -- the abyss, that is).

Fast forward 19 years (yup, 19 years -- how long has your oldest WIP been marinating?), and I'm shopping Mom's stash for anything to keep my hands busy over Christmas (that reminds me -- when we get all the stuff out, I need to take a picture of the stocking I knit M that year). In a trash bag in the corner are a whole bunch of granny squares and a whole lot of yarn. Hmmmm -- looks familiar. "Mom, do you still have the pattern?" No, pattern's long gone (wonder if I could find it on Rav), but any crocheter can make granny squares, right? So, my fancy interesting afghan, 19 years later, became a plain granny square afghan in colors that aren't my favorite (see #38). I taught M how to make granny squares, and over a holiday trip to Michigan to visit friends (whose dog thought the yarn made a great chew toy), we finished the squares. (We also taught said friend's oldest son how to crochet -- picture it, four adults, all of whom have been crocheting since childhood, totally baffled at how to teach this kid to crochet. Why? He's left-handed, and in crocheting, that really matters.)

So we have this afghan, which lives on the futon in the guest/weaving/yarn room. And I forget from day to day that it exists. But there it is -- one project which took 19+ years and three crocheters to see completion.

Got a better long-in-the-making project story?

3 Crocheters + 19 Years = One Afghan

Happy Birthday to Me!

Definitely not the birthday I wanted or asked for. When asked, nay badgered, by M about what I wanted for my birthday, I could only say "President-Elect Obama". I knew it was a gift she couldn't promise, but it's really all I wanted. I got that, and a little bit more that I didn't want.

Thank you to those who've expressed sympathy here, privately, and on Rav. We're going to get through this ("no matter how many chicken wings it takes," as one of our friends says). We've got a great private support network, and the Southwest Conference and local UCC pastors are providing fantastic support to the congregation and the Church leadership.

To observe my birthday -- and because it's my blog, darnit -- I decided to catalog some of the new experiences (good and bad) that my 43rd year has brought.
  • I lived through my first foliage-less fall (as an adult -- there was that year in FL when I was in 1st grade)
  • I lived through my first snow-less winter (again, as an adult)
  • I went four-wheeling
  • I knit entrelac
  • I bought a major appliance
  • I have a job that's entirely virtual (woohoo!)
  • I got paid real money to knit
  • I ate (and didn't like at all) prickly pear cactus pads (LOVE the fruit)
  • I lived in a Red state (again, those few months in OH -- which this year is blue anyway -- when I was an infant don't count)
  • I stayed up for a significant time AFTER the Super Bowl was over (gotta love that time difference)
  • I didn't change my clocks for daylight saving time
  • Someone I know was murdered
  • Someone I know committed suicide
I could seriously have done without those last two.

And just because life has been a bummer -- and it's my birthday and I want something happy here -- some dishcloths:
A Dishcloth I Can Believe In
Recognize it? It's the Obama campaign logo -- a dishcloth I can believe in

More "believeable" discloths -- these are the ballband dishcloth (modified for my tiny hands) in red, white and blue

Oh, and I don't think I showed off these:
Waving Lace Socks

Pattern: Modified version of the Waving Lace Socks from Favorite Socks. I knit these toe-up and mirrored the lace on the two socks.
Yarn: Lang Jawoll Colors #58.
Needle: KnitPicks Harmony 32" 2.5mm circular

There is knitting happening here at Casa Likelyyarns, but much of it is super-secret sample knitting, so I can't share, yet.

PS -- Page 13 of the Fall 2008 KnitPicks catalog (the one with the Palette sampler bags on back) -- remember this mystery?

In Which Sandy Learns to Hate

Sorry, folks, this one starts out good, but it ends on kind of a downer. But I had to get it off my chest.

This morning I woke up in a world very different from the one I woke up in yesterday morning. It is a world where an African American child now has proof that he or she can grow up to become President. It is a world where we as Americans have once again stood up against the forces of hatred and division, against those who would control us with fear and suspicion, to show the world a way forward. Many have fought, bled and died along the road to this day, and part of me still cannot believe it has happened. Perhaps it was last night that MLK saw when we went to the mountaintop:

It is also, however, a world that is minus one person who, up until yesterday afternoon, I cherished dearly, someone who, in the just-over-a-year I have known him had become a dear friend, even something of a big brother. That all changed yesterday when he took his own life. In the moment we found out, I realized that I have never before felt anger or hate. In the moments since, I have called him every name imaginable, and I admit that most of the tears I have shed have been tears of frustration that I cannot pummel him senseless for what he has done to his wife, his children, his family, his friends, and the church that now has come to grips with why their pastor came to this. Not to mention that I have watched the love of my life beat herself up with guilt over not seeing this coming and not stopping it.

I know that hate and anger will eventually subside, and I will grieve to loss of a cherished friend and the unspoken pain that led him to take such drastic action. I will probably one day even forgive him for what he's done. But right now, I am left to wonder at my unrealized power for hate.

For now and forever my supreme joy at watching a nation, THIS nation, elect a black man president is co-mingled with anger that someone could be so selfish and cowardly.