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I did go to knitting group last night, and it was good.  I finished the mosaic knitting hat (top left) and the “hand grenade” hat.  I had six hats that needed the ends woven in, so that’s what I did.  I also taught a girl to knit (I say “girl” — she’s 25, but they just seem to get younger every year . . . ).  She’s already an accomplished crocheter so I taught her how to knit continental style as crocheters already know how to tension the yarn in their left hand.  Hopefully, I’ve won a convert.  I think I have.

I’d like to do a video tutorial on how to do the PussyHat without seams to show how you start it with the Turkish cast on using the Magic Loop technique.  I think people shy away from it because it seems hard, but it really isn’t.  Turkish cast on is so simple and so useful.  I’ve got a little webcam and I’ve got a headphone with a mike on it.  I think I can get some freeware that I can use to record video on my computer through my webcam.  The sticker is how to position the webcam so it shoots over my shoulder.

I went grocery shopping after knitting group to get groceries for the month.  By the time I wandered all over Walmart, put the groceries in the car, then got them all in the house and put away, I was just knackered.  I was a naughty girl and stopped by Whataburger on the way home and got a chicken strips meal (3 chicken strips, French fries, white gravy to dunk and a piece of “Texas toast,” which is an inch-thick slice of bread painted on both sides with melted butter and toasted on both sides on the grill) and a medium vanilla shake for dessert.  The “meal” comes with a medium drink, so I had that Coke in addition to the large Coke I got before I went to knitting group, which I was still working on.  Knitting group lets out at 8:30 and it was after 11 p.m. when I sat down to eat my supper.   Not long after I finished eating, I fell asleep in the recliner at my computer and it was after 3:30 a.m. when I woke up.  Just as well.  By then, my dinner had “gone down” and I could go to bed without worrying about having a reflux episode.  Realized just now that my dessert, the vanilla soft-serve shake, which I put in the freezer when I got it home last night, is still in the freezer and, as I type,  it’s sneaking up on lunch time. . . .

Naturally, Walmart didn’t have any almond milk coffee creamer (I just went with the regular vanilla almond milk, which you have to buy by the half gallon, so I got some Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal, too, as almond milk has expiration dates. . . You can drink chai latte cold as well as hot — equally delicious!), but they did have the Stoned Wheat Crackers, which I dearly love.  (I got four boxes — one thing you learn when you shop at Walmart:  When they have something, you get as much of it as is practical, because they probably won’t have any the next time you shop.  They’re pretty ‘hit or miss’ that way.)  They didn’t have any Tostitos blue corn chips either.  However, they did have Tostitos black bean chips, which I didn’t even know Tostitos made, and I got some of them to try.  I’ve liked black bean chips in the past.  (They’re gluten-free, BTW.)

OK.  Chai Latte.  If you want to be a purist, you have to brew the tea with hot buffalo milk (as in Asian water buffalo, not American bison) instead of water.  The American version is less exotic, but while you’re brewing the tea, you have to cook the milk, add these ingredients, do the Hokey-Pokey. . . .  Forget it.  I just take a regular “chai” tea — the kind that says “Chai tea” on the box — brew it with hot water and add either Creme Brulée coffee creamer or vanilla flavored almond milk.  (Health-wise and calorie wise, the almond milk is better.)  In the winter I make it in my 1.5 liter, glass-lined thermos carafe, which will keep it hot for hours.  However, I also brew five bags’ worth of the tea in my big heavy glass pitcher, let it cool to room temperature, then add the almond milk and put it in the refrigerator.   Very refreshing on a hot Texas summer afternoon, and summer commeth, ya’ll.  I’m thinking really seriously about getting one of these for sitting out on the “patio” in the back yard, and I’ve got a big thermos cup which keeps stuff cold as well as hot.  That would be just the setup I need for a little plein air knitting.  Yes, ma’m.

I got this sangria pitcher from the Williams Sonoma catalog yonks ago.  It was made in Italy from recycled glass and it weighs a ton, but it’s just perfect for brewing ice tea.  You have to heat the pitcher first by filling it with straight hot water from the tap and letting it sit while you put the kettle on to boil, and put a big metal spoon down in to pour the hot water on, because it’s not tempered glass.  It has this plastic thing that you fill with ice and put down in it when you make sangria so the ice melting doesn’t water the sangria down.  I’ve only made sangria in it once.  I bought it for tea.  So long as you observe the precautions, it works very well.   I think I’ll make a pitcher of chai latte later.

I have to say, Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn are really missing the boat.  They could really yupmarket* the iced tea thing.  Special teas, special pitchers with inserts for ice that doesn’t dilute the tea, special infusers, monogrammed glass and pitcher sets, monogrammed sets of ice tea spoons, electric ice tea brewers that heat the water to the exactly correct brewing temperature . . . the whole schmear.  As anyone can tell you, you can’t make the realio trulio genuine article unless you have all the special gear to perform it . . .

All chortling up the cuffs aside, though, I must confess I am a bit of a purist when it comes to iced tea.  You have to start with real tea, either bags or loose, and brew the tea with hot water.  Those powdered “instant” teas are for the birds.  (Not only ‘no,’ but ‘hell, no.’)  You also have to use a glass pitcher.  I don’t care what anybody says.  Making iced tea in an acrylic or plastic pitcher makes it taste funny, especially after it’s sat in the refrigerator for any length of time — like an hour or more.  No.  Glass is impervious even to sulfuric acid, does not affect the flavor of anything it contains, and can be cleaned thoroughly with hot water and soap.  I’ve drunk iced tea out of aluminum tumblers like used to be popular in the 1950s, and it’s OK, but I prefer glass glasses.

In the knitting news, I now have the dubious distinction of having explained how to do a cable cross in knitting over the phone (a neat trick if you can do it).  The conventional abbreviation for a cable cross begins with C for ‘cable’, followed by the number of stitches over which the cable will be worked, and then either the letter F for ‘front’ or B for ‘back’ which tells which way the cable cross is to go. The abbreviation my friend A called to ask about was “C6F” from my wedding yarmulke pattern.  The cable is worked across six stitches.  The first three stitches are slipped off onto a cable needle, held in front of the work (‘F’), the next three stitches are knitted, then the three stitches on the cable needle are knitted.  In the case of a twisted cable, which the cables on the wedding yarmulke are, “C6F” gives cables that are twisted toward the left (hat below left).  “C6B” would give cables twisted toward the right (hat below right). *yupmarket — upmarketing that targets yuppies