Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I was really blessed this holiday and got a couple of the best toys for Christmas. One I used for the first time last night to make a giant steaming pot of split pea soup. I have to wonder, cost aside, what has kept me from buying myself an enameled cast iron Dutch oven? Ordinarily, one wouldn't think a pan would make a great gift, but in my case, it does. Even though I have my own earnings, I would never spend that kind of money on myself, or something only I would use, and I think my family knows this about me. I will say, the only drawback to this gift is its very hefty weight. Holy smokes, it's heavy, but what an absolute joy it was to cook with.
The other toy I received is an iPad2. I already have a MacBook Pro and an iPhone, so I didn't think I had much need for such a device. Besides, there was no way I'd pay such a great price to duplicate some things I already own (see first paragraph). Having played with it for a bit better than a week now, I think I've rethought my position. Not only does it make Angry Birds easier to play, as a knitter, it's made me wonder how have I lived without this. I think it's already as indispensable as my phone and my laptop. While I'd still rather use my laptop to surf the web, the small size of the iPad makes it so much more portable than my MacBook and therefore the perfect knitting aid.
Today I bought the app, Goodreader, and with no experience at all, went straight to Ravelry and downloaded two PDF pattern files from my library. I made a copy of the Bella's Mittens pattern and fooled around with marking it up with my own notes. OK, so that will take a bit more experience, but I think from a pattern perspective, this app is going to pay for itself--a modest $4.99--over and over again, including a savings of paper, printer ink and sanity (it sucks to lose an annotated pattern). Got an iPad my knitting friends? Don't miss this app.
I scored on the book front, too. My daughter, who apparently listens throughout the year, gave me three books I had mentioned I wanted: The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Weekend Hats. I've used two of the books so far and used Cook's to make the pea soup. I don't think the pan can take all the credit for the outcome. That was a seriously delicious pot of soup that I usually cook for hours in a crock pot, however, I give the recipe most of the credit.
I also finished a hat last night, though to be honest, it took more than a weekend. While I don't remember when I cast on, it took closer to a week to finish the Topiary Beanie from that book. It was an ideal way to use up a little of my Madelinetosh DK stash. It's 16 degrees out there today with a windchill in the single digits, so I'm looking forward to wearing that hat to work tonight. I only wish I could finish Bella's Mittens by 4PM, too, but seeing as I haven't cast on yet, that's not likely. I do plan to learn to make sticky notes and highlights on Goodreader by then!
So to my family...I know I can be difficult to buy a gift for. Despite the lack of ideas and clues about what I think I might want as a gift, you all outdid yourselves. I thank you for your thoughtfulness and very generous gifts. I see hand knits in all of your futures!