Friday, January 25, 2013


Once upon a time there were a dozen eggs, a pinch of salt, some "OO" flour and a bit of semolina.  Some water and oil, a little elbow grease and a bit more flour.  And this was the net result.

Sunshine and nostalgia

I channelled my late and much beloved Noni (grandmother) for a few hours this weekend.  She was my original tutor for all things pasta. We spent hours at her basement "working kitchen" rolling sheets of yellow translucent pasta through the hand-crank machine. We made noodles, tortellini and ravioli full of the best fillings and folded, cut and crimped with the greatest care. We would emerge a little more tired and slightly flour-dusted but excitedly anticipating the meal that was sure to follow that would wow the lucky recipients.  She was a wonderful teacher, cooking companion, grandmother and friend.  I miss her.

Rolling, rolling
Drying a little before cutting

This weekend, I didn't go all out.  I hadn't had time to make fillings, so plans for ravioli and tortellini will have to wait.  But we did make some lovely fettucini and a fair number of pasta squares which should make a great compliment to a bowl of brothy soup.

Drying time

I made two batches of dough. The first was her recipe which is especially yolk laden and wonderfully yellow.  I have yet to run across another recipe like it.  And the second was from a new cookbook that my sister had given to me, called The Glorious Pasta of Italy (Marchetti).  It was Saffron Pasta Dough, and it smelled wonderful.  It's funny in these pictures that the two are drying together and it's impossible to tell the saffron from my family recipe.  The golden yolks and those ruddy saffron threads net nearly the same result. 

It was an industrious and pleasant afternoon.  Followed by a nice meal spent in good company. There is nothing more I could ask for.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kilkare Socks

In June of 2012, I visited the most wonderful place, full of the most amazing women, beautiful scenery and inspiring classes. It was that event and those experiences that prompted me to start this little blog.  And the yarn for these lovelies was purchased there - at Squam Art Workshops - last summer.  And isn't it fitting that I finished them up the same week I received my confirmation for this summer.  I cannot wait. 

Vanilla socks

As a testament to how good Squam Art Workshops really are, I give you a few pieces of evidence: 9 women who were unfamiliar with each other, were so well matched (by Elizabeth) and compatible that (what I hope will be) a lifelong friendship has been created; we enjoyed each other's company so much that we couldn't wait an entire calendar year to get back together, so we met in Chicago in October, and of the nine of us that met in 2012, seven of us are returning to be room-mates again this coming June.  Is that good, or what?

So it looks like we'll get to experience a new cabin, but I'm betting that the porch will again look something like this. 

Several days accumulation, ahem.

Warm feet and fun times ahead! Is it June yet?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Retrospective – Harvey Pullover

Harvey and the small fry

I thought that I would share with you all some photos of Harvey.  Harvey was a sweater that I finished about two years ago and it just fits the small fry this winter.  Harvey's maiden voyage was to the Central Library.

Harvey roams the stacks...

and stops for "story time".

What I remember about the knitting: I fell in love with the sample sweater that was on display in Kirkwood Knittery.  And the pattern book and yarn (Mirasol Hap'i) was kind of an impulse buy, but one that ultimately worked out really well.  The knitting went smoothly and I loved the thick/thin variation of this cotton yarn and the subtle texture of this all-over cable. It in ravelry here.

I'm not usually a huge fan of cotton yarn and initially I was worried that the finished product would be too stiff to be comfortable, but that's not the case at all. I think that it will definitely get softer with wear.  It is also the tiniest bit "linty" and I picked some up on my own black sweater when I was carrying the girl around, but I'm betting that will subside with a few more wears and washes too.

She'll probably get lots of great use out of this sweater for the next year also.  Right now the length makes it look like a tunic and the sleeves are rolled up, but next  year I bet it will be a perfect pull over length. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Grand Central 2.0

This is the second iteration of the Grand Central cowl.  The first one, in that lovely caramel color, I wear almost daily.  This one is a gift for a great friend of mine who asked for one when she saw mine.

Mourning Dove gray

I was sad not to get this done for her in time for the holidays, but there will be plenty of drafty weather here in the Midwest through March to make this useful this season.  She picked this lovely gray from Jill Draper's etsy site to go with her off-white wool coat.  (The yarn that I'm using is the Hudson Super Wash Merino Worsted, and I got a lovely little hand written thank you from Jill with the yarn.)

My first encounter with Jill and Natalie Selles (of leeleetea) was at Squam, and then again in Chicago this fall.  Natalie is the designer of the Grand Central cowl.  My group of girlfriends and I were so thrilled to find a little lifeline to heavenly Squam in the windy city.  We descended on their booth a couple times and bought enough of Jill and Natalie's patterns/yarn that there was later swapping of skeins and ideas at our apartment afterward. We can only hope that they'll be back in NH with us in June.

And I'm sure that this cowl will be lovely again, and I hope that its recipient gets as much use from it as I have from mine.

Now back to the actual knitting. Hopefully some finished photos soon.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Central Library

The Great Hall
The week between Christmas and New Year's Day we took some time to visit the newly re-opened Central Library here in St. Louis.  It had been closed for renovation for some time and it's grand re-opening was December 9th. (It was built and originally opened in January of 1912.)

Frescoed ceiling of the entrance hall
We're frequent visitors to our local branch of the library, but neither of us (or the small fry) had been to Central which is in downtown St. Louis.  Over the last few months, the library bulletin that gets sent to the house has kept us up to date about the progress, and plans for the opening. And I can tell you that it did not disappoint.

Fresco detail

The library, in and of itself, is a wonderful resource full of amazing books and friendly and knowledgeable staff.  Everyone we encountered was welcoming and courteous. We didn't have the time to get immersed in the stacks, but I can tell you that I have been daydreaming about losing an entire day there since our visit.  The oversized/folio section full of art tomes is beckoning the loudest...

Oversized stacks
Second amazingly ornate ceiling
But the thing that was most impressive was the architectural detail of the building interior.  It was nothing short of amazing.  I believe that it must be one of the most under appreciated features in downtown St. Louis.  The floors, woodwork, frescos, grand hall, ceiling tiles and metalwork banisters, grates and windows were breathtaking.  The place is full from floor to ceiling of creative inspiration.  Patterns, colors and details galore.  I'm so, so glad that went.  And we will be going back.  My better half and I are planning a library date soon.

Hall to the west of the grand hall
Amazing ceiling number three...
And four.

And the children's section... Nothing like the small fry had ever seen before.

Go. Go now.  You will not be sorry. To read more look here for the St. Louis Post Dispatch article.