The Aidez is done!

Holy smokes, I made a sweater.P1040260

It only took a year, but I’m finally done! Overall, I’m super happy with the pattern, and would love to make it again. It was a lot of work, and I think I need a break from cabling for a while, but I love it so much! I’m excited about the prospect of another sweater, and have been eagerly prowling Ravelry for more patterns. I’ve been eyeing Sundottir but I’m waiting to find the perfect yarn. In the meantime, my knitting tasks involve finishing up a baby sweater and a new pair of socks, but I’m craving a new big project. Hopefully soon!

 

An Oktoberfest-themed weekend

This weekend has been just excellent! Let’s back up to Friday…

Friday

My good friend Salka was in town for Honk!, a music festival in Sommerville. She lives in Burlington, VT, so we don’t get to see each other too much these days. On Friday evening her bus arrived, and I picked her up at South Station! She was busy for most of the weekend with festival activities, but we had a chance to quickly catch up over a fast meal. Then I was off to an awesome concert with my parents while she headed to the Institute of Contemporary Art. That’s been on my list for a while to check out, so I’m glad she had such a great experience there.

We met back up in Harvard Square a bit later, and stayed up entirely too late drinking tea and catching up. It was just so so great to see her!

Saturday

On Saturday morning Salka and I headed to my local favorite breakfast place, Darwin’s Ltd. I’m always a fan of their fantastic breakfast sandwiches, and this time was no exception. I always love the atmosphere – I should go back in the evening to get some work done sometime!

I said goodbye to Salka for a bit, and headed home. Teddy and I had a cooking extravaganza! We made lovely apple crisp, some chickpea dahl for dinner, and the coup de grace – chocolate covered orange peals!

The peals were an adventure, and they took quite a bit of time, but ended up being well worth it. YUM! We roughly followed this recipe, but put our own spin on it. For one thing, it’s so much darn work, so we made a massive batch! We also ended up essentially dumping the chocolate on top of the peels, rather than dipping them. Since we didn’t candy the peals a lot, they were quite soft. We were concerned that they would break down during the dipping process. Instead we ended up with a chocolate bar with orange peals. It tastes awesome, but isn’t quite as beautiful as the way the professionals do it!

We ended our day by heading over to a co-woker’s Oktoberfest! party. It was a great time – they made some home brew which we got a chance to sample, and they really committed to the theme! It was fun to meet some new people and spend some time with work friends in a more relaxing environment.

Sunday

I continued my Sunday morning of going for a run and doing a few errands before meeting up with Teddy in Harvard Square. We went to another Oktoberfest party – this time in Harvard Square! This was a massive event – a huge number of craft vendors, food samples, live music, and of course, beer. The Honk! parade ended right in the middle of the square, so we spent some time wandering around before watching the parade. We ended up finding a great place to stand, and saw the entire parade, including Salka! Always fun to watch her play. Both Teddy and I were so impressed with the creativity and passion put into the event. It was so fun!

After the parade we stopped by one of the vendors to get some Indian food. By this point we were both feeling a bit overwhelmed by the crowds (I’ve never seen Harvard Square so busy!) so we headed back to my house to eat it. We had a relaxing afternoon full of watching a new show, knitting, and more cooking.

Later in the evening we met up with Salka and made a lovely dinner while watching Friends – a Salka and Mary tradition. Glad we don’t let other weekend activities get in the way of it 🙂 We all went to bed very tired and very happy.

Did you do anything exciting this weekend? Any Oktoberfest themed events?

DIY: Tote Bag

Last weekend I made a great new tote bag! I scanned the internet for a pattern before settling on this one. I liked how it was reversible, and that it used all quilting fabric. I spend so much time knitting, and I rarely buy fabric these days. I love looking at the quilting cotton, so I wanted to be able to pick out a fun print!

I ended up purchasing three fabrics – 1/2 yard each of two contrast colors for the outsides of the bag, and 1 yard total for the top and handles of the bag. This worked out to be the right amount for two bags! They were a bit smaller than I initially anticipated, but I like the size for a small knitting project. One is currently holding socks, and I plan to use the other for a pair of mittens. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon!

DYI: Mead

Today Teddy and I tried something we’ve been talking about for a while – making Mead!  This drink, also known as Honey Wine, is one of the oldest fermented drinks – archaeologists have found evidence of it from as early as 7000 BC! We figured that it’s age would make it more difficult to mess up. This is our first attempt at fermentation, so we wanted to do something more simple than beer.

We started with this basic recipe. While gathering supplies, we headed to a local brewing supplies store, and realized for just a bit more money we could easily invest in better-quality equipment that would be easier to use, and would last for an unlimited number of batches. Success!

All said and done, we gathered the following supplies for making 2 gallons of mead:

  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 pounds honey (we used McLure’s of New England Orange Blossom Honey)
  • 1 package yeast (we used Red Star Cote des Blancs Active Dry Wine Yeast)
  • 50 raisins (yes, we counted)
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 tsp diammonium posphate (DAP)

In terms of equipment, we used the following:

  • 2 1-gallon growlers
  • 2 rubber stoppers
  • 2 airlocks (we used the 3-piece kind, but any will work)
  • Various kitchen supplies – funnel, measuring cups, cutting board, etc.

Though we were inspired by a recipe, we ended up changing things quite a bit. Below are the steps we followed:

  1. Sanitizing everything . We made 3 batches of 2 cups of water mixed with 3.5ML sanitizing solution. We used one each for the growlers, then the final batch for all the supplies that would be in contact with the mead.
  2. Prepare the ingredients. This included counting raisins and cloves, chopping oranges and dissolving the yeast in water
  3. Mix the ingredients. We put the honey into the growlers first using the funnel, then put the oranges, raisins, cloves, yeast and DAP. We also used some water to make sure we got every last drop of the honey out of the containers. Then we put that water into the growler.
  4. Fill the growler the rest of the way with water
  5. Shake everything vigorously for a while – the more the merrier

Now we wait – the had part! We put the stoppers in, along with the airlocks, and put them in a dark corner of a closet. Most of the fermenting should happen within the first two weeks or so, and then things will slow down. The longer mead ages the better it gets, so we’re hoping that this will be ready in time for a rarin’ holiday party! I’ll be sure to report back when we finally try it. The suspense is already killing me!