DeskCam: Anybody want to go to the GUN SHOW? (I’m showing off my new Spudds shirt. And my new bicep.)
Month: March 2009 (page 1 of 9)
Major power outage in Sydney CBD. Now that was fun! At about 4:45pm this afternoon, everything went ZAP! And all the computers shut off. We all looked around. There was a few minutes of joking while the office manager ran to find out what we should do. I sent an SMS to the Snook saying that our power was out. His reply: “Ours too!” Okay, THAT changes things! (His new office is at the Rocks.) Somebody noticed that the traffic lights were all out on William Street. We stood at the windows and looked down at the growing rush hour traffic chaos. Somebody joked, “You should be twittering this.” HELL YEAH, I should! I grabbed my iPhone but the 3G network kept crapping out before my tweet went through. I called my friend Kunaal whose office is at Wynyard, but oddly they had power! (But no Internet, so he had no idea what was happening.) Eventually most of us decided to leave, so I shuffled down ten flights of fire stairs with everybody else. Then I hiked up to the park and towards the city. While waiting for a bus on Castlereagh, I managed to get through to Twitter and did a search on blackout. That’s when I discovered that everyone was attributing it to zombie attack. Oh man, that was fun. I tweeted* all the way home. Snookums managed to train it to Central and met me at the house. Thankfully, Chippendale seems to have power (and Internet). And now here we are, enjoying a beer and feeling sorry for all those still trying to head north over the bridge!
* I really think this may have been a turning point in my relationship with Twitter. The explosion of the zombie blackout meme was fun and addictive. I told the Snook it was like this amazing spontaneous virtual chat room with folks from all over the city. Plus I picked up seven new followers thanks to my tweets!
Lamb and Barley Stew
The Snook and I watched the “Barley” episode of Good Eats last weekend, and I became obsessed with his lamb and barley stew. I picked up the ingredients Monday night (one lamb shoulder, one bag pearl barley, three carrots). I soon realized I had a problem. The original recipe actually calls for barley grits. Well, neither Coles nor Harris Farm had that. Snookums did some research and found this recipe, where someone in the same dilemma decided to make her own. We decided to follow her advice. (You can’t just substitute plain pearl barley, as it takes a lot longer to cook.)
Thursday night Snookums roasted the barley in a pan on low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally. Then he whizzed it up in our spice grinder (an old coffee grinder) to chop it up a bit. Meanwhile, I went to town on the lamb shoulder with a big sharp knife. We browned the lamb in seasoned flour, then combined the carrot, lamb, barley, and chicken stock. It then cooked for about 35 minutes. I was worried that with so few ingredients, it might be bland. I WAS SO WRONG. It was all nutty, roasty, lamby goodness. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s so warming and filling. This is the perfect recipe for winter. I highly, highly recommend it, especially if you can find the barley grits pre-made. But I’d say it’s still worth the extra work even if you can’t…
It’s finished! I dragged the Snook out for a photoshoot this morning. There’s a slight visible line from my drying rack across the front, but I’ve already steamed it out for Show delivery. The light was too nice not to go for the photographs right away.
As I said on Ravelry, I kinda feel like crying a little bit, like when I finished my first half-marathon. This WAS a marathon. Getting to the finish line is just such a relief. Regardless of whether it wins anything, I think this may be the knitting project that I am most proud of. Thanks to all you guys for your great comments, advice, and encouragement.
More photos are on my Ravelry project page and on Flickr. Read on for the technical details.The pattern is “Na Craga” from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting. Unfortunately the book is out-of-print and used copies sell for hundreds of dollars. Luckily a kind Raveler was willing to share hers with me so I could knit it.
I ended up using 19 skeins of Naturally Harmony 10ply. The last skein (used for the collar) is a different dye lot, but I can’t spot the difference at all. The twisted ribbing was done on 4.5mm needles, with the body and sleeves being done on 5mm. It took me nearly four months to do the actual knitting, and then the sewing up took another two weeks. It’s being entered in the 2009 Sydney Royal Easter Show Arts Competition in class #119 (Aran Knitting). I’ll update if/when it wins a prize!