Monday, November 27, 2006

red velvet, finished objects, and other thanksgiving tales from austin, tx

Bad girls eat cake. Or, at least girls who fancy themselves bad 'cause they're out of town and it's a holiday and they can take a break from the goody two shoes world of sin-free eating at home. Fitting that this cake is red. Lord knows it's the devil. I'd say how good it was, but that would be bad of me.

Now, I didn't go looking for this cake. I'd done pretty well on Thanksgiving day. The Husband Known As The Bubba and I were visiting Annie, my mother-in-law (who HATES being called Annie, but she doesn't read this blog, in which almost everybody gets a cutesie sobriquet so ha ha). For the holiday, Annie and her roommate, MC, took us to eat at their friend Debra's house. Debra has a lovely home in Round Rock, a place I so far do not love (this matters because I'll be moving to Austin on the first thing smoking), and does her own home renovations. Yep. She built herself a pond in her backyard and is in the process of remodeling her master bathroom after having turned her guest bath into a temple almost too good for poo. Anyway, Debra's also handy in the kitchen (sorry to follow poo with food but the two are connected) and made a scrumptious dinner. I stayed away from dessert because I'd had two helpings of everything else.

Of course Friday meant TG leftovers, but it also meant a visit to where Mister Stevens was staying. As luck would have it, Mister Stevens had come to town to give a paper at UT Austin and to hang out with the friends who arranged for him to speak there. We were terribly excited that our visits would coincide, that he'd get to see Annie and The Bubba and I'd get to see his friends J. and Phillip for the first time since years ago in New York. I was also excited because I'd get to see his friend (and now mine) Marvin, who lives in San Francisco and came to join the fun.

Marvin is the reason I'm back on the sauce (just kidding, I'll wean myself the second I hit the runway at LAX). From scratch, no less, he made carrot cake, pies, and the red velvet cake above. He's so good that he made the cakes at home, brought them as carry-on, and frosted them in Austin. To me, that sounds like some kind of wizardry.

I was happy I'd done my part to show Marvin how wonderful he is. I'd made him this (modeled by the giving-you-some-cool Bubba):

I'd been working on it for the last couple months. In addition to my gazillion other projects, I'd pick up this one and 'round and 'round and 'round I'd go, only the interest of the stripes keeping me from drowning in a pool of Wool of the Andes stockinette. When I arrived in Austin, I still had to put the fringe on. Me no likey doing fringe. It's tedious. But for Marvin, anything. He's the only person I've ever seen literally give away the clothes on his back. The first time we met him, he was wearing the jacket The Bubba's got on. The Bubba admired it and before we parted company Marvin took it off and gave it to him. I'm not the stingiest person I know, but such generosity blew me away. For a long time, I wanted to do something to commemorate Marvin's kindness. The scarf, in the same colors as the jacket, is the result. It's not perfect -- I tried every which way I know to get truly jogless stripes, which made for some visually fascinating joins (and I don't mean that in a good way). Still, it's a pretty dashing piece of knitting, I humbly submit.

Marvin's in the middle, probably thinking, "These two freaks are smothering me."

I'm wearing another little something I completed while in Austin:

It's a pattern, "Sherry's Easy Shrug," from Unwind in Burbank. This made my third time around with this one. I made it in Lamb's Pride Bulky about a year ago. Anyone hear that? Lamb's Pride Bulky? I live in Southern California. Why no one had the decency to stop me from knitting what amounted to a radiator for the upper regions is beyond me. I even did it twice because I didn't like the length of the sleeves the first time I wore it. Knowing nothing of the benefit of picking up stitches, I ripped the whole thing and made it again. I wore that version a couple times before finally figuring out why I tended to faint from heat exhaustion every time I went near it -- B-U-L-K-Y W-O-O-L. But I couldn't stay away from the pattern. I wanted myself a bolero. A chill chaser. Some vintage-inspired shoulder chic. So I went back at it, this time with Karaoke. I knit it on size 10s, so it went pretty quickly. But, once again, I didn't dig the sleeves on the finished product. This time I picked up and knit bands that, for some reason, remind me of buttercups. That took a couple of tries because I had to bust out the DPNs and figuring out how to avoid ladders in ribbing was a merciless process. I wound up ripping and re-knitting the left band. But it's a comfortable and handy knit. I can't say how the Karaoke will wear, what with the soy content and all, but I can say that working with it was a yumfest.

Next post: Men in tiny yellow shorts and a contest which yours truly got to judge. Gotta love Austin.


jessie said...

Nice scarf, but maybe that's because Bubba is looking totally smokin' in those pictures. :-)

Summer said...

oh my god I love it when you update with pictures.

I started kniting last week! I suck. I also knit with 10's. I am jealous jealous jealous of your jacket.

Ellen Bloom said...

You are a knitting goddess, my dear! The scarf turned out soooo the colors! It was worth the boredom.
Just think about how much Red Dye #42 red velvet cake contains. Maybe that will cure you of eating it....even though it looks delish.
Excellent photos!

Phisch said...

Wow.That's a gorgeous shrug.

sappmama said...

Jessie, LOL, I could barely get him to model. Okay, so it WAS hot and I did demand that he wear a jacket and wool, but it didn't take that long! He'll be thrilled to be associated with the word "smokin'," ha ha.

Summer! This is so exciting! I totally sucked at first, too. Don't even worry about it. It's a right of passage. Soon you'll be making the cutest of cute baby stuff.

Ellen, thank you. Yeah, I know. It'd probably be healthier to eat the yarn. But red velvet cake only once a year. I mean, c'mon!

phisch, thank you. It was a fun knit, too, in spite of all the drama.

Joslyn H. said...

Three, sharp, sharp! I must say, you did a great job on the scarf. That pose is outta sight;) I just moved to Arizona by way of New York by way of Austin and I really miss Texas. The people can't be beat. Also great job on the shrug.

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

The scarf is perfect! And the cake would be too much temptation for anyone to resist.

:) I had pie every day during T-day weekend for breakfast.

Glaistig said...

Love the scarf and the shrug!! And red velvet cake is one of my favorite things in the world. I could eat it for breakfast. . . .

Anonymous said...

yup, your men friends are beautiful...oh, yeah, knitting... i love the shrug and the scarf is beautiful...elegant! :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sappmama said...

joslyn h., thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Funny thing, I considered moving to Arizona ,I used to live in New York, and soon I'll be moving to Austin. Looks like we're following each other in some weird way.

monkeyGurrrrrl, pie for breakfast? That's inspired.

glaistig, red velvet cake for breakfast? That's inspired.

tanya francesca, on both the menfolk and the knitting -- thank you!

Marce, hi. Your comment didn't post here for some reason, but I did get it in my e-mail. Thank you. On the "good eats," we have to keep trying until we find what works. Then we have to try again. Right? :)

Anonymous said...

OK...I was drawn in by the reference to Jackson State since that is my alma mater......But I continued reading because I found your description of the place and of the football games quite comical (and true..hahaha...)

I was tickled to see that the club fellas have adopted this form of entertainment and dance as their own... that's quite flattering to want to don yellow tight shorts and blue go-go boots and call themselves J-Settes.

I also personally knew Hollis and tis' so true, he was a proud member of the boys club as well and was a choreographer for years with the J-settes. That man could dance his ba-doodity off. Anyways.......I scrolled on down after reading all about your night out and nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that your Bubba is my old school chum.

Now ain't that nuthin. So of course, you know I'm a sista from deep down south......"Bubba" and I went to a magnet high school together....he and his bosom bubby, Reginald, used to help me out in math class. (It didn't take because I became a journalist:)

Anyways......just know that your honey has always been a gentleman.Good to know he's found himself such a sweety pie.

Take care...and although I definitely don't knit....I'll continuing checking out your blog because you are too funny.

Signed - Berry Sista in the South

sappmama said...

Berry Sista! You have to STOP! Now you know you MUST e-mail me ( b/c The Bubba won't sleep until he knows who you are. Isn't this a small world?! (And congrats on all you've accomplished since high school!)

seedless grape said...

I just saw your Craftster post about the shrug, so I came over here to comment! It looks TERRIFIC! I love the whole outfit--nice work on the skirt, too. You look fabulous!

sappmama said...

Thank you, seedlessgrape!