Category Archives: piano

Some enchanted evening

Piano and pinot was grand!

I love the whole process of a party, cleaning the house, getting out the nice china, crystal, and silver, setting the table. It’s like playing dress-up with the house.

table

The event was a fund raiser, and we served 12 different pinot wines: a sparkling white pinot, pinot gris, pinot blanc, pinot noir, pinot meuniere, a rose (sorry, don’t know how to find the accent mark), and some sweet late harvest dessert wines. All were from local Willamette Valley vineyards: Brick House, LaVelle, Penner-Ash, Willakenzie, Winter’s Hill. My favorite was the LaVelle sparkling wine, but I’m a bubbly girl. No picture of the wine-laden buffet; I forgot.

Desserts included cheesecake, cream puffs, a raspberry/blueberry tart, and a dark chocolate and raspberry cake. Yes, that’s a gravy boat on the table, but it’s filled with chocolate sauce. Recipe at the bottom of this post.

Our pianist played Bach (C# prelude and fugue), Mendelssohn (Song without Words), Debussy (first Arabesque, Clair de Lune, La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, Golliwog’s Cakewalk), Grieg (Andante from a sonata), Rocherolle, and more. She was fabulous!

pianist

This picture was taken before we put the lid on the high prop stick. The piano sounded glorious; it was such a treat to hear someone else play it. The sound experience is different out in the room; I’m used to hearing it just from the bench.

I have a fridge full of leftover wines and desserts, and I get to enjoy a still-clean house!

In other news, remember how I mentioned that the squirrel had won the bird-feeder battle? It turns out that he has a friend. I saw them taking turns at the bird feeder. I chased one off, and while he was on the telephone pole, the other one appeared. They’re pretty brazen; they don’t mind me taking pictures from fairly close range.

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I’ve figured out how Onan and Conan access the feeder. They jump from the trellis on the front of the house onto the top of the feeder pole. It’s about five feet, laterally. No problem for these guys!

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate sauce:

Chocolate Sauce

24 oz semi-sweet belgian chocolate chips
One pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks and softened

Five 8 ounce jelly jars

Place the chocolate chips into a large heat-proof mixing bowl; place the bowl over a large pot filled with hot water. Let the chocolate melt as you proceed with the recipe.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter until blended. Ladle the sauce into jars; cool completely before screwing on lids. Store in the refrigerator (all that butter and cream!). Scoop out the sauce as desired and warm it on low power in the microwave. Or eat it by the spoonful directly from the jar. ūüėČ

Makes about 5 cups

That photo mosaic meme…

I’m not even sure what a meme is, but out in blogland there are a lot of them. I think it means many people doing the same thing? This one has been going around for a while. I was slow to jump on the bandwagon, but I knew I would get there, eventually. Hey, I’m a sheep! But that’s not a bad thing for a knitter. Here’s my mosaic, and I think it looks cool.

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1. Ponte San Michele – Vicenza, Italy., 2. Artichoke Lover, 3. Made in Oregon, 4. Blue Morpho, 5. Mozart’s Starling, 6. Lemon drop, 7. Notre Dame at Twilight, Paris, 8. lemon bar, 9. French Knitter, 10. Snowmen family in TX, 11. Tender Love and Care, 12. Piano Innards As Art

In case you want to try it, too, here’s how to do it.

Instructions:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image for each question.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

In other news, I had the piano tuned this week. It’s pretty stable, tuning wise. I always get the treble voiced down a bit when it’s tuned, because it gets a little too bright as the hammer felts pack down with use. It sounds divine right now. I’m hosting a piano and pinot event next week, so this is perfect timing. I’m not the pianist next week; I just have to clean the house! And serve dessert, pour wine, and enjoy the music.

Oh, I started seaming Josephine this morning. Tiny stitches, but it’s going pretty quickly. I love mattress stitch; it looks so good on stockinette.

Josephine of my dreams

and the Josephine on my needles aren’t quite matching up. :sigh:

I finished one shoulder of the front this evening, held it up, and realized that the eyelet row wasn’t going to land where I want it to be (under the bustline, not on it). But in order to add some length on top, I have to take it back to the armhole bind off, and add it *before* the armhole.

So I frogged back to the armholes. Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.

I’ll have to redo the back, too, after I finish the front. :sigh, again:

But look at all the practice I’ll get with short-row shoulders! Hey, I’m trying to find the bright side. Work with me.

Sunday’s piano party was fun. The premise of the group is that the more you play for others, the more comfortable you’ll be playing in public. It’s a small, non-threatening group. So far, so good. I also go to a bigger group that meets bi-monthly at a local piano store, but I’ve missed the last several meetings. Something about spending all my free time knitting instead of practicing!

I wore this:

cable tank front

cable tank back

I love this pattern; it’s ingenious. It’s knit smaller than body size, and it stretches to fit (negative ease). The ribbing on the back makes it work. The pattern is the cabled tank from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2007. A quick knit with 6 skeins of Berroco Cotton Twist (cotton/rayon blend).

Knit haiku

I wrote a haiku the other day. I’m not really in the habit of doing so, but Dee at Cooking with Dee is having a haiku event, and I wanted to send her something.

Knitting in sunshine
Pink yarn on smooth black needles
Poetry in lace

I made some more stitch markers yesterday. They’re pretty, but not as fun as the first batch. I think the difference is that it’s just the one bead, and that wasn’t as much fun as picking several beads for a marker. It was more of a job than a creative activity. But here they are, anyway:

markers2

Pianists, note that this picture is on the back of a Schirmer book. The previous markers were on Henle blue; I thought I’d continue the theme! Henle is my favorite urtext edition.

I’m going to a piano party on Sunday, so I’ve started playing again. Nothing like a deadline to get me on the bench. At this point in my piano life, I’m not practicing enough to learn something new, so I thought I’d try to resurrect some old repertoire. I have several pieces that are easily revived, but I’m reaching further back and trying to re-learn some other things, notably the andante from Mozart’s G major Sonata K. 283 (I used to play the allegro, too, but that’s an ambitions resurrection right now), and Beethoven’s G major Sonata Op. 49. No. 2. Neither one will be ready for Sunday. I’m enjoying it, anyway.

Josephine’s shoulders: short rows

I’m a big fan of the three needle bind off for shoulder seams. I’m in this for the knitting, not the sewing! Fewer sewn seams = happier knitter. Josephine has slightly sloping shoulders instead of a straight across seam, so I needed to learn a new trick before I could use a three needle bind off. Short row shoulder shaping! I found a very good tutorial at Knitty. Worked like a charm. I couldn’t figure out how to simultaneously short row the neck shaping (I ended up finishing in the middle of the shoulder when I tried it), so the neck has a stairstep bindoff, but the shoulder is perfectly smooth. No problem; picking up stitches for the neck on a stairstep bindoff is easy. Here’s the back of Josephine:

jo back

And the shoulder:

jo shoulder

Modifications so far: shorter on the lace portion at the bottom (reduced by 1/2 repeat) because I’m short and want it to end at hip length, and also I think I’ve arranged things so that the eyelet row that will hold the drawstring will be right under the bust, instead of on it. I think it will look more flattering that way.

On to the front! The other modification that I’m planning is to raise the V-neckline. I hate wearing layers; I don’t want to have to wear a camisole under this. The pattern as written has a very deep V-neck, suitable for a cami underneath, or else a sewn-in lace inset. Neither idea excites me, so I’m just going to start the V neck a bit higher. Fingers crossed!

On the piano front: I finished reading Katie Hafner’s A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano last night. I’m not much of a Bach fan; my preferences tend more towards Mozart and Beethoven, but I do love all things piano. I didn’t know much about Gould other than that he recorded two definitive versions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, early and late in his career. It was really interesting to learn about him as a person (beyond idiosyncratic) and the piano he loved, but even more interesting to learn about Verne Edquist, the piano technician who tuned and regulated the piano to make it into Gould’s dream come true. You can learn more about the book here:

Look Inside this book

 

Back to knitting!

Camping Gear, PDXKnitterati-style

I’m going camping with some friends this weekend. It’s a good thing they’re in charge of important things like cooking gear, because I don’t own any. We’ve been camping with most of the same people for 7 or 8 years. It started as a cub scout outing when Kid2 was younger; now it’s just a bunch of families having a good time.

It’s been cold and rainy here for weeks, so I’ve pretty much had my head in the sand about this trip, refusing to believe that it’s going to happen. But today, the sun came out, and it’s supposed to be nice for the weekend. Time to inventory the camping equipment:

Tents and tarps, camp chairs

Sleeping bags, air mattresses, extra blankets

Guitar, song books, music stand

Knitting, knitting, and knitting projects

Jewelry making supplies (more stitch markers!)

A new book to read. This arrived yesterday, and I’m looking forward to diving in. If I’m not playing the piano this weekend, at least I can read about it. A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano.

AROTL

I think I’m set!

Master of my domain

Right now, I’m pretty chuffed because I purchased my own domain name, so now you can go directly to http://pdxknitterati.com and that’s me, right here. You no longer have to include wordpress in the addy.¬† If you’re subscribed to this blog, please change the address subscription to https://pdxknitterati.com/feed¬† It’s a good idea to update it so you don’t get lost in the redirect world. (That last bit was something I read while figuring out this process, and I assume there’s a good reason for it.)

The last time I ran into the term “Master of Your Domain” was on the pianoworld.com forum. There’s the MOYD Club in the Adult Beginners Forum; members pledge to practice daily, or come groveling with excuses. I made it through the year in 2006, but my practicing collapsed in December of 2007 due to, um, Ravelry. I’m not in it this year, but I am playing/practicing again. Balance…

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love getting comments, so please comment!

 

Back on the bench

Today was the last day to post an entry to the Adult Beginners Forum online piano recital on pianoworld.com. I’ve posted an entry in the 8 of the 9 previous quarterly recitals, but didn’t think I was going to post in this one. I haven’t played much this year; too busy knitting and designing and blogging! But I just couldn’t stand the thought of missing another one. This morning I dredged up two very short pieces that I learned last year. They’re by Enrique Granados, from his Stories of Youth, Op. 1. The first one is Cuento Viejo, or Old Tale, and the second is unnamed, but is marked “lento con tenerezza.” I love the yearning quality of it. It was fun to bring these back, and get it in, just under the wire, one hour and 20 minutes before deadline.

Granados Medley

ETA: And I wasn’t the absolute last entry. There are at least two other entries after mine. 63 in all, I think. Nice!

Shetland Triangle Love

The Shetland Triangle is done; it’s drying on blocking wires this very minute. I love how this turned out.

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See the subtle sparkle in the yarn? Love that silver!

Blocking wires really help pull this into shape and show off the¬†pattern of the lace. Here’s the shawl before blocking:

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Cats don’t really help much with blocking; the wires are pretty tempting. But Mookie thinks she’s helping, and that’s what counts.

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I’ll post a picture of the shawl in action after it gets off the wires.

Details:
Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark, from Interweave Knits’ Wrap Style.
Size 6 26″ Lantern Moon circular Ebony needle (love these!)
A bit more than one skein of Silver, Silk, and Superwash Merino Sock Yarn from Painted Skeins  (skein is 100 grams, 420 yards). I added three extra repeats of the body section; if I had added only two (10 total), I could have done this with one skein of yarn.

I left off the last two rows of the edging to make the edge less pointy (thanks, BrooklynTweed) and I cast off knit-wise on the wrong side to counteract stockinette’s tendency to roll. I used a size 8 needle as the working needle to cast off.

I must really love it; I’m going to make another one starting tomorrow. This shawl is going to be a birthday present. I want one for me, too. There’s a Shetland Triangle KAL (knitalong) group on Ravelry, and the cast on date is May 1. I’m ready! I might use a size 7 needle and make it a little bit lacier.

And I’ve found a piano piece that’s pulling me back to the bench: It’s Beethoven’s Sonata in G Minor, Op. 49 No. 1. Just the first movement for now. Yummy.

Edited to add pix:

It’s really hard to take a picture of yourself!

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Holey, holey, holey

I’m working on Evelyn Clark’s Shetland Triangle from Interweave Knits’ book, Wrap Style. Wow, this lace knitting is really addictive! The pattern is easy to remember, except for the first few stitches of the odd numbered rows, but other than looking at those few stitches on the chart, it’s cruise control knitting.

I love how the knitting looks like a crumpled blob on the needles, but when I spread it out a little, I can begin to see what the fir cone pattern is going to look like. Blocking will really bring out the pattern after I finish knitting. Soon!

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The yarn I’m using is Silver, Silk, and Superwash Merino Sock Yarn from Painted Skeins. It has a thread of real silver in it, which appeals to the magpie in me.

I worked on this a little last week on the Amtrak train from Seattle. I went up to see Perri Knize read from her new book, Grand Obsession, at a piano party at Classical Grands. The book is the story of her search for the perfect piano, falling in love with one, and the journey that begins when the piano, Marlene, arrives having lost her distinctive voice. Perri is a member of a piano forum that I frequent, and it was nice to meet her in person! The trip also gave me a chance to catch up with some other piano friends.

Knit on!