Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The Anticraft is an online craft magazine that usually not-at-all-subtly reminds me that I'm a grown up. It is dedicated to macabre and or sinister crafts (to use their own words). It's a knitting, crochet, sewing, and cooking magazine, but with a decidedly dark twist. I have not ever had the desire to make anything from it.

Until today.

I present to you The Anticraft's Beltane 2008 issues, dedicated entirely to bacon. There is bacon fudge, bacon gingerbread cookies, a knitted bacon scarf*, and even a bacon crown**. Here's a snippet from the editor, Zabet Stewart:

I was thinking that bacon was a salty, crispy wonder of the world. I was thinking that bacon was a little like Mata Hari, seductive and delicious at first glance but actually devious and dangerous. I was thinking, "Cholesterol, schmolesterol." I was also thinking, at least while standing in the bacon section of the local grocery anyway, "I may just need to become a vegetarian."

I couldn't agree with her sentiment more. Even that vegetarian part. But good or bad, bacon mania has gripped the nation and I love it. I'm still inspired to find the perfect bacon cookie, and it's good to know that thousands of young, edgy hipsters will be joining me in my quest for the perfect combo of porky and sweet. It warms the cockles of my domesticated, conservative heart.

*yarn knit to look like bacon, not using bacon as the "fiber". I'm having troubles with misplaced modifiers there

** actually a crown made of bacon. I guess for your favorite pork princess.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Proud mama moments

Miss Nora wanted to learn how to knit. So we sat down, started to teach her, and she decided that it was still too hard for her little fingers. But she still wanted to play with yarn. So I reached back behind the mental cobwebs and recalled how to finger knit. I set her up with a ball of chunky purple yarn and her fingers, and off she went. This picture was taken about a week ago; the resulting tube is now about 8 feet long. Every time I break out my knitting bag, she gets her project and sits down next to me. It makes me squee with delight.

I'm not having the same delight at my own knitting these days, though. The wrap that I started with Trekking XXL is pretty, but lives in that irritating space between mindless knitting and something that I have to pay attention to. I kept forgetting to concentrate, and now there are several errors in it. I was thinking for awhile that I'd just try to block out the ugliness, but I just know that it wont work, and the bockety parts will bug me forever. So I think it is going to have to be pulled out. ARGH. Even that will be a pain, because it is being knit with two yarns at once.

I really need to finish the crochet sweater I started. I have the body done, I just need to finish the sleeves, then figure out a border. The sleeves will take me an hour or two, I think, but the border vexes me. I'll need the input of crocheters much more skilled than I to pick the right one that won't look stupid, methinks.

Sorry I've been a blog slacker lately. I've been feeling rather grumpy of late, and hate for all that grump to spill out here. I'll try to do better, I promise.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I could die from the cuteness

I've been open about my inability to knit socks. I've tried a few times before, and always seem to get bored or frustrated then frog them and use the yarn for something else. I went so far as to say that I have no desire to knit them. Just when I thought I had written off socks for good, something came into my life to turn all that resolve into "maybe I'll give socks one more try."

Let's back up a little. Last weekend, there was an Alpaca festival near me. So I took the girl with me, and we went to go meet some alpacas. There were something like 400 of them there. Plus vendors. I love any place with vendors. We watched the judging of young male Huacayas. Nora was really happy to see the one win that she was rooting for. And a few minutes later, a young girl (maybe 9 years old?) was walking her baby alpaca around, and let Nora pet her. How cute is that?? I am still angry at myself for leaving the house without my camera, but at least the phone has a camera-like feature on it to immortalize the day. If I had some farm land and a spare $10,000, I would have brought one home with me. They are lovely creatures.

As for the vendors, Marie from The Fiber Station was there. I had "met" her on Ravelry, and was happy to finally meet her in the real world, too. And she had the cutest little needles there. They are Hiya Hiya brand, and only 9 inches long. These are not straight needles, they are 9-inch-long circular needles. For knitting socks. Have I mentioned that I luuuve them? At first the novelty of them was what won me over. But now, it's the fact that there's no fumbling with DPNs involved. I know Magic Loop and two-circs methods are great, but I've never been able to convince myself to really try either one. I'm stubborn that way.

I cast on yesterday for a ankle sock, as I was anxious to get to the "meat" of the sock. I couldn't imagine wasting the time on a bunch of cuff right now (this impatience is mostly why I've failed at previous sock attempts). It took a little trial and error to get used to knitting with the 2" tips. I finally got the hang of it, got the cuff done. I turned the heel last night, it was a piece o' cake. I'll be picking up stitches for the gussets later today, I think.

Now I must go finish getting ready to play outside with the kids. it's supposed to be 63 degrees out this afternoon, and sunny. Cannot waste good days like this. All too soon it will be 90 and humid.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bacon Cookies. (I wish I were kidding)

Who: me
What: Breakfast Cookies, from Workbasket magazine, Sept 1973
Where: my kitchen
When: this morning
Why: God only knows.

Being a fan of all things vintage, I bought a bunch of Workbasket Magazines from 1973, expecting granny square afghans and ugly sweaters on models with hair helmets and bad sunglasses. I found all that. But I also found that there were recipes. Lots of recipes. I would have skimmed past them if it weren't for the captions on the 2-inch-square photos. The first one I came upon was something about a zesty tomato and frankfurter sauce served over macaroni. I started reading them out loud to Mr. Deplume while he was driving us somewhere, and we had some good laughs.

Then I came upon this: "Why not have a cookie at breakfast time? Bacon, cereal and orange juice flavor these."

bacon? cereal? orange juice?

I looked at the recipe. It also has raisins. I immediately thought of the line from one of my favorite movies, Better Off Dead, "It's got raisins in it. You like raisins."

After Easter dinner, I showed these magazines to my family, all of whom also laughed. No wonder the 1970's were so screwed up: look what we were eating! In the course of that Easter afternoon, I came to realize that I must make the bacon cookies.

And I did.

The recipe is simple: mix flour, nut-like-cereal (think Grape Nuts), sugar and baking powder, then add butter, egg, orange juice concentrate, bacon and raisins. Mix. Bake. Enjoy.

And enjoy, I did not.

My three-year-old boy actually found them to be tasty. I'll pass them out to adventurous friends and family, and will share their reactions here, in case I'm just imagining that they are bad. The texture is actually pretty good. And the raisins aren't really even noticeable. But one thing is clear to me: orange juice and bacon should NOT co-mingle.

not. not. not.

See, even the cover model think they look like a bad idea. She's giving me the "look" and clutching that cardigan, planning to use it to protect her from the hickory smoked horror.

I have found out that there is another, modern, well-thought-out bacon cookie recipe out there, the bacon maple cookie, although the idea of chocolate chips and bacon sounds bad to me, too. But I'll probably try them someday, too. I'm still holding out hope, as I'm a true fan of bacon. It really is a wondrous meat-like substance.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Fuzzy Wuzzy Fur Feet

Ugh. eyelash yarn. It's not fun. When I was a new knitter, I was sucked into the sale price and the pretty colors. I was just sure that if I just happened upon the right project, it would look good. Pretty soon I realized the folly of my ways and stopped buying novelty yarns. But not before accumulating a small stash of the stuff. It's taking up room in my cupboard. And taunting me.

Entering stage left, the Fun Fur Smackdown on Ravelry. We've started a challenge: to use the novelty yarns in our stashes. We all have some lurking in a corner, lets get it out of there! So far I think only three of us have started anything. But it's a start.

I just couldn't bring myself to knit a scarf with it. There are already "magic scarfs" in my possession, not to mention plenty of scarves in general. I don't like to knit toys. I tried to crochet a toy, but I'm apparently not yet skilled enough in the hooking to work with the fur that way. Better to start with regular yarn in my first true attempt at amigurumi. After spending entirely too much time browsing for patterns, I settled on these two-needle booties. I'm using some thrift-store vintage acrylic and Red Heart Foxy together, on US5 needles. They are soming along, but I'm already sick of working with this stuff, and I'm only 3/4 of the way through the first one. I hope they fit my girl once they are done. Otherwise, they are going to charity. Some kid needs fur slippers, right?

I'd rather be working on the shawl I started with Trekking XXL. But it's curling something awful, and I'm afraid blocking just won't fix it. Le sigh. Since I'm using two different colorways in it, watching the color changes is really fun. (Pretty odd, what we yarnies find fun, eh?) I just hope after knitting 900 yards of it, it is wearable. ::fingers crosssed::