Crafty as a Serpent

A knit blog with recipes and theological musings interspersed.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Maine, United States

Abby d'Ambruoso is a Lutheran pastor and interfaith chaplain, currently serving in a variety of ministries in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pizza night!

Will is in New England visiting family, so tonight, when I made pizza (one of our favorites) I didn't have to make any adjustments for his sensibilities. I made a whole wheat dough (almost completely whole wheat, hardly any white flour), with lots of toppings (Will likes sparser pizza) and I didn't eat the crust (which he always does and I usually give him mine).

He won't be back until Friday, so I have the house to myself for the week. I've been reading, listening to the radio, and knitting. I've also been working a ton.

In the knitting world, I've cast on for a hat for Dulaan. It's in 3x3 ribbing all the way (I've never done a hat like that, but I think it will be nice). It will also be fast, which is good as the deadline is soon.

I've also been working on Sarah and Bruce's afghan. I finally got through ball #8. There are 12 balls, so I'm 2/3rds of the way through. It's already huge, so I'm not sure if I can finish it this summer. It's hot and humid here today. I think I'll have to save it for days when it is stormy and cold.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Gay Wedding in Massachussetts!

I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Boston, MA celebrating my friend Branden's wedding. It was so great. The wedding was very beautiful, the music was phenomenal (to be expected when one of the grooms is an organist), and seeing all of our friends from college was great.

I spent most of my knitting time on dishcloths. I put together a set for the grooms and then also one for the household of the people we stayed with (friends of Will's from high school). I knit a couple in star stitch, one in garter stitch, and finally did something in the feather and fan pattern.

I knit the feather and fan one at the Red Sox game on Saturday, just before the wedding. We saw a few home runs, including a grand slam. The sox beat the braves 15-3. It was awesome. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for the Sox. I think we can conclude that he is a great addition to the Sox bullpen. And I think we can also conclude that the Braves were definitely experiencing pitcher envy (as their bullpen sucked on Saturday).

I did finish the 4th Dulaan item while in Boston. One more to go and then I'll ship them off.

Now that I'm back, I'm working on Pentecost planning (this Sunday already-eek!), unpacking, doing laundry, and getting ready for El Salvador.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dulaaning along (and also sewing)

Who knows why, but last night after confirmation, I came home to an empty house and pulled out a project I've been intending to work on since August. It's not knitting, but rather sewing. For our second anniversary, I got cotton for curtains at our place this year. Will and I wanted a home, not a temporary apartment for the year. Well, we have a temporary apartment, but I'm making it into a home. Will painted accent walls in the living room around Christmas time. Now I'm making curtains at only 2 months until we leave. But we will leave this apartment in better shape than we found it. I can only hope that the next tenants will enjoy the colors as much as we do.

I cast on for another hat last night at confirmation. This hat is intended for Dulaan. This is item number 4 of 5, with one month to go before the deadline. This is a very reasonable amount of time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hospital knitting and other tales

I got a call this past week from my stepdad Tom saying that his mom, my step-grandma Betty, who had been in the hospital with double pneumonia, had taken a turn for the worse.

It's hard for me to talk about Grandma Betty without mentioning how much she rocks. She's in her 80's and she gardens, sews (she made my wedding dress), and cooks. She was a home ec teacher for years and she keeps house like nobody's business. She grew up on a farm, married a farmer, and raised 2 kids on a farm. Even though I'm not blood related, Grandma Betty adopted me in to the family, and she always made me feel welcomed and loved. Will and I were so happy to get to spend Easter with her and Tom this year, especially since her husband of some 60 years died in September.

So yesterday I drove down to Fort Wayne with Will to see Grandma Betty. When she was awake, she was still herself and could connect things and answer questions. She couldn't talk because she had a mask on and it was supplying her with oxygen. But the machine wasn't cutting it and they decided to put her on a ventilator.

My little sister has flown in from Hungary. My stepbrother has come in from Wyoming. Even my mom (who's not actually still married to my stepdad) came in to say her goodbyes. I'm not sure if the vent is going to make things better or not (actually, I'm pretty realistically thinking it's not. Once you're on a vent, it's hard to be weaned off of it), but everyone is getting to say goodbye.

I'm so lucky that I was able to be there to sing for Grandma Betty, to pray with her and her family, and to support Tom and his sister. I'm so grateful to be able to do that.

I knit on some Dulaan knitting while at the hospital.

Today, I went up to Ann Arbor and then bought plants for the garden. I put in some lemon thyme, Italian parsley, basil, oregano, and planted seeds for purslane, beets, zucchini, cucumber, and marigolds.

And I'm making a very late dinner of eggplant curry.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Total Knitting Time?

This morning, my partner packed the car and zipped off to Grayling, Michigan to fish the Au Sable river. He loves to fly fish, and he's been dreaming of this trip almost constantly since last Fall. I hope he has a great time and that it doesn't rain too hard.

Back at the ranch...
I have church council tonight. And staff meeting tomorrow. And text study today. And intern committee tomorrow night. And tonight, after council, I may have some extra time to myself. (Although, if it goes too late, I may just read and then go to sleep. We'll see.)

All of these meetings, which total about 7 or 8 hours in the next 48, means that I have some wicked good knitting time ahead of me. That is, assuming that my thumb problem eases up.

Last week, I did some seriously good knitting, cranking out some fo's like nobody's business. My right thumb was a bit sore, but I didn't think much of it because sometimes your fingers get sore when knitting for extended periods of time.

But the soreness hasn't really gone away. It has eased, but it is not all gone. I'm a bit afraid that if I knit long and hard today and tomorrow that I will damage the thumb more.

I am a continental style knitter, so if there are any tips about how to relieve that affliction, I'd welcome them.

In the meantime, I'll be casting on for some thick and warm wool socks for Dulaan. That and working on the "first sweater".

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Retreat, retreat!

Yesterday, I returned from the Ohio Lutheran Clergywomen's Retreat (at Camp Mowana Retreat Center) to find that one of my colleagues had given me and Will a pair of free tickets to a Nora Jones concert at the historic Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor. Will made reservations for dinner at Zanzibar in Ann Arbor and off we went. It was delightful. We had a very nice dinner (mussels in red curry sauce to start, arugula salad with shaved fennel, beets, and goat cheese, and sea scallops and pappardelle pasta with saffron cream sauce... mmm). And the concert was great. Will had to go to work at 11, so we had to leave at 9:30, before the show was over, but it was still great. We only knew Nora Jones' first album, so we enjoyed listening to new stuff. We also heard M. Ward whose song Chinese Translation I had heard on Frontier Airlines when I had flown to San Francisco last month.

At the retreat, I was in good company. 4 of the 11 of us were knitters, including my friend Kelly. Kelly and I roomed together and talked until 2:30- oops!

The new bishop from Northeast Ohio was there also, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. She was down to earth and very funny. I loved hanging out with her and getting to know her. If I didn't have such strong ties in the West, I'd love to have a call with Bishop Eaton as my bishop.

Today, Saturday, has been a day of laundry and cooking and baking. I did 3 loads of laundry this morning and this afternoon I made carrot cake, cinnamon raisin bagels, chocolate banana bread, fresh pasta, and homemade tomato sauce. Dinner totally rocked and now I have stuff to last for the week. Oh, and I went to the store also somewhere in there.

About our local grocery store:
We live in a very diverse part of Toledo, and our local grocery store caters a lot to soul food. It's funny, because shopping becomes a cross-cultural experience. I can get cooked chitlins, but I can't get fresh bread. I can get pork fat back for beans, but I can't get prosciutto. For the most part, we do find basics there. We also shop mostly at Trader Joe's and Costco in the Ann Arbor area and supplement with stuff from our local grocery. I cannot wait until the farmer's market begins on Saturday. Hurrah!

In knitting news:
I finished a pair of socks for Dulaan. At the retreat, I also cast on and finished a hat for Dulaan. It feels good to have 2 items done, and I'm wondering if there is interest to have a Dulaan-a-thaan here in Ohio. No one has responded, so I don't know. My LYS has said they would be willing to host, I just have to give them the word. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


On Monday, I spent some good time out in the Peace garden here, weeding. I gardened with Judy, who went to the Yarn Harlot event with me, and with her friend Sveya, who is a master gardener. We did excellent work.

That got me thinking about the vegetable garden in the back of the yard. No one has done anything with it for a long time, so today I went to Phoenix Foods, our local food co-op and purchased some High Mowing Seeds. I bought seeds for a gourmet lettuce mix, arugula, carrots, sugar snap peas, and shell peas. I'm pretty excited, even though we won't be eating any of this until at least mid-June. Oh, well. Here's hoping they grow really fast!

I didn't plant all the seeds I bought. Really, who ever does? But I will plant again in two weeks so that the harvest continues. We won't necessarily be here to enjoy the yield of all the work we do this year, but that's kind of like paying it forward.

In knitting news, I'm working on 4 projects. I'm working on a pair of Dulaan socks, out of Dale Baby Ull. They're yellow, and will have blue toes.

I'm continuing on Sarah and Bruce's big afghan (the Lily Chin reversible cable afghan).

I'm working on the first sock of green alpaca in the Zokni pattern. Beautiful.

And I've cast on for my first sweater- again. I knit a full sweater and then hated it enough to frog the whole damn thing. And so I did. And now I'm knitting it again, now that I am a wiser knitter. I am to the waist on the back. We'll see how long it takes me.

And I have purchased the yarn for my Sock Pal's socks (due in August). I haven't decided on a pattern yet.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I spoke with one of the owners of my LYS and he said he'd check, but anticipated there'd be no problem in hosting a dulaan-a-thaan at the store. We might also check into having at a local church...
This would be in Toledo, before the Dulaan deadline...