[misc] Murderface Monday

Dollar treated himself to a new bass guitar. Murderface likes the new hardcase:

MF on new guitar case

MF on new guitar case

He likes face rubs even more:

Face rub


[spinning] Black Alpaca

About 14oz of black alpaca, heavy worsted weight:

Black Alpaca

This was crazy boring to spin, but the yarn has a nice soft hand and drape. I'm thinking... Infinity scarf?


[food] Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with turkey, football and Pocari Sweat:

Pocari Sweat

Okay, maybe not Pocari Sweat. This is an "Ion Supply Drink" that I got at H Mart solely because of it's name. The name makes me think of sweat collected from mysterious animals called "the pocari". Or sweat collected from a here-to-fore unknown Amazonian tribe called "the pocari". But really- it's just an drink meant to resupply ions, I guess.

What does it taste like? Stale Alka-Selter drink, if you let all the effervescence go away. Not so yum.


[food] H Mart

An H Mart opened up in Burlington, MA in the end of September. The Boston Globe has a good article about it. The most interesting facts:

- this H Mart is the 30th store for the New Jersey-based chain owned by Korean businessmen (although in the video, it sounds like the President of H Mart says this is the 31st store), and the first one in New England
- H stands for hanahreum, literally “armful’’; the company says it means “love and care for the customers.’
- the store's footprint is the size of a football field

My sister and I took trip down this past Saturday. I had gotten some advice from other people who had gone ("It's crowded as [bleep]. Everyone in New England is there on weekends." I heard that parking was the biggest problem. So... I got my ass out of bed at 6:30 am on a freaking Saturday, put the coolers into the car, filled up the gas tank and picked up my sister a 7 am. We got to H Mart at 9 am and the lot was already 80% full. But we made it!


The store was already filling up fast. We grabbed a cart and went through produce first:


There were some great mushrooms here- some I had never seen before: White Beech Mushrooms, Brown Beech Mushrooms, Maitake Mushrooms and King Trumpet Mushrooms (all four of the exact kind sold at H Mart can been seen here). I got a package of the maitake, brown beech and enoki.

A whole section of refrigerated wall for bean sprouts and tofu:


Then around the corner to the Kimchi section... A whole department of kimchi and banchan!!!!


I got a tub of cabbage kimchi, young radish kimchi, sliced radish kimchi and small anchovy and shrimp banchan.

The onto meat and seafood:



The meat section was busy but the seafood section was completely backed up with more than a dozen people waiting.

The back corner of the store had housewares, with lots of comforters, pillows, dishes, cooking tools and rice cookers. I wanted a new rice cooker but instead got a very pretty spoon and chopstick silverware set. I had a long Korean spoon that died in a cooking accident and have been wanting to replace it for a while now. The set came in a nice burgundy velvet box.

After that, we went up and down all the grocery aisles. In the cookie aisle, we liked the description of these cookies:


"Original sweets covering good taste cookies. Enjoy nice time by sweets tastes." MMm, who doesn't want to enjoy nice time with good taste cookies? And it's a little hard to read, but the slogan above the Lily brand logo says "Taste, Cool Life, Health". I'm sure the cookies can deliver on taste and possibly health... but Cool Life?

We got snacks and tea and ice cream and frozen dumplings. We checked out and pushed the full cart through the parking lot to my car. The plan was to unload the frozen/cold stuff to the coolers we had brought, then go back inside to the food court for lunch. Of course, as we're walking, I can feel a car following us. The parking lot is totally FULL and many cars are prowling through the lot like big metal sharks.

At my car, we swing open the trunk door and start shoving things into coolers. A car approaches, stops, turns on their blinker. I snicker. I step back and attempt to wave them away. The driver opens their window and asks, "Are you guys not leaving?" We shake our heads. That car drives away and another one pulls up. I wave them away. This happened three for four more times. I was simply filled with evil glee about it. It's my reward for getting up on a Saturday while it's still dark out and being on the interstate by 7am. I'm sure I had the snotty, "Well, I guess you should have gotten here earlier. Maybe then you would be able to have a parking spot." look written all over my face.

Anyway, we went back inside for eats. I did stop by the Tout les Jours bakery to buy pastries and rolls for Dollar. I got a box and got some phyllo sticks, dinner rolls, a custard roll, honey buns (Dollar's a bread/carb junkie) and wondered, "Am I grabbing too much? Am I being greedy?" I look around and everyone is grabbing more stuff than me. I'm telling you, it's like Supermarket Sweep all day everyday at this place. People are getting food like they're feeding a family of 12 and they're not coming back for more food for months. I think everyone was trying to shut down the bakery by noon.

There were different counters to order food from and tables to sit at. There was a Japanese, Chinese and Indian counter. We went to the Korean one:


And ordered two kimchi chigaes. Since Dollar enacted a kimchi stew ban on the house, it's the only thing I order when given the chance.


Come on. How good does that look. I like that it's served in the dish that it's cooked in, so it's still furiously boiling when it's brought out. This one tasted very good. It had kimchi, tofu, pork belly and rice cakes in it. I totally ate it all and then had to waddle out to the car for the drive home.

As we were leaving, the parking situation was so bad that police were directing traffic in and out of the lot. Which I think is just the norm for a Saturday at H Mart. I was also noticeably more aggressive driving away from H Mart than I was going there. I was cutting in on lines of cars, my sister was shouting at people that honked at us, I was weaving in and around traffic. I'm just saying, when you leave H Mart, you feel like you've gone through hours of intensive combat training and you're kind of itching for a fight.

All in all, I highly recommend going. It's so awesome in so many different ways. All I can say is: GO EARLY OR YOU WILL NOT GET A PARKING SPACE. Also, by the time the parking lot is full, all those people have to be somewhere, right? They're all inside hovering around you as you're looking at the meat; or standing in front of the meat and not moving to let you see the meat; or abandoning their carts diagonally in the middle of an aisle so they can get a free sample of food. You can't let these things drive you crazy here- it's just how this place operates.

Last night, I was finally able to have some rice and kimchi and radish and sauteed maitake mushrooms. As I sat there, I thought, "It was totally worth it."

H Mart: Burlington, MA
3 Old Concord Rd.
Burlington, MA 01803
(for GPS, use 43 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803)


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface napped on the spare bed in the craft room on Sunday while I worked at my spinning wheel and listened to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

Murderface - napping in the sun

I will have lots of nice, new handspun yarn to show this week. Plus, an extra-long Thanksgiving weekend will give me lots of time to spin.


[crochet] A miracle, I tell you.

Do you believe in miracles? I have one to show you...

Catherine Wheel

Pattern: Noro Catherine Wheel Scarf by ellemenop (rav)

Hook: 3.75mm (F)

Yarn: 1.5 balls of multi-colored Shes Club Peacock (yarn I got last year in Korea- a superwash fingering weight) and 2 balls of Elann Devon (now discontinued) in an eggplant color

This project was very fun to work on. It goes fast and the pattern is very well written with helpful charts and everything.

Basically, you go back and forth, alternating solid and multicolored wheels. Then you go around the entire outside of the scarf with the solid color, making half-wheels... Then you going around the entire outside of the scarf AGAIN, making the pretty/frilly little picots. So you need to make sure to stop growing the scarf in length to ensure you'll have enough yarn leftover for the border.

Here's the miracle: I was able to finish the border with 6 inches of dark purple yarn left over. See?

Leftover yarn

IT'S A MIRACLE. The border was nerve-wracking. From start to finish, my thoughts went something like:

"I'll have enough yarn."
"I hope I have enough yarn."
"No, I totally have enough."
"Okay. If I run out of yarn, I'll just do the border in a different color."
"That would look stupid! I need to have enough yarn!"
"I don't have much yarn left."
"I'm going to run out of yarn."
"If I run out of yarn two inches from the end, I'll kill myself... I'LL KILL MYSELF!"

I finished the scarf with mere inches left over. It was meant to be. And it needed to be acknowledged. I went to find Dollar...

AMY: Do you believe in miracles?


AMY: I have something to show you that will make you believe. LOOK! [holds up multi-colored purple blob, and points at 6 inches of string hanging down from the end.] BEHOLD!

DOLLAR: Uh... Wow?



AMY: It's a MIRACLE! ... A MIRACLE! Don't you see?!

DOLLAR: Seriously, you have crazy-eyes and you're scaring Murderface.

AMY: Okay. I know. I'm just a little... [starts to sob]

DOLLAR: Oh sweetie [hugs AMY]

AMY: It's just, my stress level has been out of control finishing this thing... It's been, like, three hours of Russian Roulette...

DOLLAR: There there, everything's going to be-

AMY: [pushes DOLLAR away] It's a revelation and needs to be recognized by the Vatican!!! [shakes the scarf]

DOLLAR: I still don't even know what the miracle is! What? You finished that- What is that? A scarf?

AMY: I hate you! Why don't you get it? I thought I was going to run out of yarn- But I didn't!

DOLLAR: That's the miracle?

AMY: You don't understand! [runs to her craft room and slams the door]

End scene.

He didn't get it. Any-way... More pictures of the (miracle) scarf:

Catherine Wheel

Catherine Wheel

These were both yarns that I've had in my stash for a while and I'm happy with the way they look together. I don't crochet very much at all but this was a great project. Minus the insane amount of stress at the end.


[knitting] Lace Scarf with Baby Alpaca Brush

Lace scarf

Pattern: Lace Scarf from Plymouth Yarn

Needles: US 9

Yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush, less than 2 balls

This is a really nice scarf. The pattern isn't free but it comes with three scarf patterns on one page. I'm amazed that I stopped well before finishing the 2 ball. The scarf is very soft and very light. The yarn is a pain to rip back if you make any mistakes but the finished product is so pettable and soft. I think this is going to my mom for Christmas.


[spinning] Tampa

I've been spinning more than knitting recently. I wrapped up a sport-weight two-ply:

J. Knits Our Best Roving

The original fiber is J. Knits Our Best Roving in the Tampa colorway. I had already spun another 4oz in a different color and wouldn't really classify it as "best". Both bumps were really matted and dense and require a frustrating amount of pre-drafting: ripping the fiber into thinner strands (almost pencil roving) and then opening THAT up, so that the fiber would draft/pull smoothly and evenly.

In the end, I had the following two-ply:



It's a lot more even than the brown one and I'm planning on knitting it into a baktus scarf. Barber-pole two-plies really look their best in garter stitch, I think.


[knitting] Regenbogen

A new pair of socks:


I'm calling them Regenbogen, which is German for "rainbow".

Yarn: Schoppel-wolle Zauberball, color #1564 "Tropical Fish", less than one ball.

Needles: US 2

Pattern: No pattern, just followed a generic toe-up recipe from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I cast on 28 stitches for the toe, increased up to 60 for the foot, did a short-row heel and kept going up the leg on 60 stiches again.

Notes: In theory, I like toe-up socks but they never turn out all that well. The short-row heels are a pain to work (e.g. Pick up a wrap and purl three together through the back of the loop? That's about as much fun for me as playing Operation.), the short rows always end up holey/gappy on one side of the heel, and my bind offs on the leg are never stretchy enough not matter how loose I do them. If I do socks, I'll just go back to doing them from the leg down, with a proper heel flap.

Also, this sock yarn is a single ply, which makes me a little nervous. Going back-and-forth for the short row heels really made the yarn fuzz-up there. I think these are going to be bed socks, never to be worn with shoes. I get the feeling that the slightest agitation will wear though socks fast. But this yarn is soft and would make a nice scarf or shawl.

Also also, you can see I tried to make the colors match from the toe-up. I started the dark blue too early for the 2nd sock (the one on the left) and you can see that the colors really start to un-match from the heel up. Frick!


[misc] Murderface Monday

Mondays haven't been the same around here without Murderface. When I was sick last week, he stayed in bed with me:

MF napping

I was a little worried that he had the flu himself (I may have accidentally coughed on top of his head one time), but I think he just sleeps a lot.

Next to him in the bed there is a tea bag... Filled with catnip. Cute, right? It's a fabric tea bag, string and little cardboard tag at the end of the string.


[knitting] Good Luck Cowl

I finished this cowl ages ago and it just kind of languished around until I finally gave it to my sister this past weekend.

Good Luck Cowl

Pattern: Good Luck Cowl by Drop Stitch Knitter (rav)

Needles: US 4

Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet, color #22, one skein

This was a very nice project. Easy pattern and a good one-skein project. A skein of Happy Feet is only $6 or $7, so this is a nice economical project. I might go for a solid color next time, for me. This is a good colorway for my sister, so it went to her. There's some colorpooling, you can see, but she doesn't mind that (and it pretty much disappears when you have the cowl on and it's scrunched up).


[misc] Recovering

Wow, I haven't posted in ages. I was out of town for work, back at work, spent last weekend at Carnage Con playing boardgames and, unfortunately, catching the flu. Friday was fine, Saturday afternoon was okay, Saturday evening I was a little *koff koff* "I don't feel too good." Sunday was fever, chills, body aches (which felt like someone took a baseball bat and beat every part of my body), Monday was just as bad as Sunday, but with added coughing, runny nose... You know what? Let's just say Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was a mess. Today I can actually dress myself and put on real clothes. Which is good because I remembered last night that I have a car appointment this morning.

Damn youse, Carnage! [shaking fist] Damn youse! Next year I'm either (a) not coming, or (b) wearing a SARS mask the entire time.