Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Brisket, Teevee, and the Ever-Roaming DVD

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Dear Kay,
First of all, I am going to flat-out brag about the fact that I have a brisket in the oven, at 9:30 in the morning. I can’t really remember the last time I did something like this. “Cooking” “supper.” I have been melting, and reconstituting, and microwaving all summer. At some point, slicing a tomato ceases to count as cooking when there’s no entree to go with it.
The love of a new cookbook can really help. I am 100% inspired by Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook, the cookbook I picked up this summer when its author, Martha Hall Foose, gave a talk–the mother of all talks, really–on pie crust. Her brisket is called “Midnight Brisket,” and she says you have to plan for it: count back 36 hours from the time you want to serve your brisket. I’ll let you know how it goes, twelve hours from now when it has finally completed six hours in the oven at 200 degrees, five hours in the fridge, then reheating and saucymaking.
What if it really sucks?
Fall Begins in August
I know that most of you are still out there with your pool floaties and your SPF 100 and your summertime reveries, but for me, summer ENDS on August 17, when school starts. I’m done with summer; I’m moving on. Labor Day is just some blip on the calendar.
With the arrival of fall, knitting starts to look like a great idea. As does watching a TV series from Episode 1 through the end of Season 6. My son David discovered that Lost is available on Netflix, instant viewing if you watch it via the Internet. I never got into Lost, but when David started chain-smoking it this summer, he dogged me until I caved and watched the first episode. Hooked!
We replaced our old TV (so ancient that it might as well have been housed in a Mediterranean-style cabinet). (OK, not THAT old, but it could not handle the tidal wave of cable that was pouring out of our wall.) It turns out that you can instant-watch Netflix things via our new TV. I don’t know. It takes a 14 year old to explain it all to me, and I hate that! The confluence of it all is starting to get to me. I think I paid a gas bill on my TV. WhatEVER.
So I start lining up episodes of Lost, and I start chain-knitting.
After finishing the Medano Beach Bag, I had leftover Hemp for Knitting, so I thriftily (ha) started one of my favorite patterns from our second book, Ann Hahn Buechner’s Monteagle Bag.
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Four cones of Peaches n Creme is the apparent capacity of one Monteagle Bag.
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I forgot how trippy these stitches are.
I ended up using some Euroflax for the top of this one, and I like the thinness of it. Hemp for Knitting is just a little chunkier.
It’s only a night or two of knitting to finish one, at which point you get this delicious moment where you stretch out all the wrapped stitches and see how it looks. After making two of these bags, I have the pattern in my head, and that is really surprising, considering how kooky the stitches appear to be. Again, nothing’s too hard once you dive in.
Postcard from a Revolution
OK, this is really funny. I get back to town, and there’s a postcard.
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Liza of Cambridge, MA (hi Liza, you obviously responsible citizen!) wanted to let me know that she was soon going to send the Singing Revolution DVD along to the next recipient. It sounds like Liza is having a great summer at Watch Hill and such, and I’m glad to hear that the DVD has successfully reached its 22nd stop on its journey to 104 different knitters.
A few stats for you: the Singing Revolution DVD left Nashville September 19 last year, so it’s making a stop every two weeks or so, which means that it’s going to take a total of about four years for the DVD to make its rounds. 2013! I encourage you all to stop, drop, and watch ASAP when the DVD arrives at your house–because it’s not at all clear to me that people’s addresses are going to stay the same for that long! Or that DVD players are even going to exist by then! Hurry, y’all! We’re being chased by technology!
Love,
Ann

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Lovely bag! I like the sort of crunchy-granola feel of it (in the best way possible!) in the hemp and flax.
    I cranked through the first five seasons of Lost in about three months and then watched the sixth in real-time. I have a friend who watched the first five seasons in 29 DAYS. That show is mad addictive. I am curious to see what you’ll think of the ending.

  2. I have never really been interested in Lost, but we have been definitely enjoying Netflix via the Wii. It makes it pretty easy to streamline our dvd collection and only leave out the items not available via Netflix.

  3. Glad to hear that DVD is still motoring along. I don’t remember where I am on the list (I’d sorta forgotten about the whole thing), but look forward to seeing it sometime within the next three years!

  4. I recently discovered that Hulu has scored Seasons 2 & 3 of Kingdom…in two nights, I had watched all the “new” episodes.
    And this is why I don’t have “television” in the normal sense of the word. The first step is to admit there is a problem…

  5. Oh, we love our NetFlix Instant Play in this house. I myself just completed a 3-season Veronica Mars marathon.

  6. (Read in a 12-year-old-girl voice):
    OMG, me *too*!! I am totally watching Lost from the, like, very beginning and I’m knitting this AMAZING blanket for my youngest who is off to, like, college any day. Too, too funny!

  7. Chain-knitting. Hee hee. Tickled mah funnybone.

  8. Love my Netflix service, and especially love the streaming videos! My favorites are the documentaries and the foreign films, most of which I had never heard of before.
    There’s a great documentary that I stumbled upon, called Paperclips, which you and your family might find interesting. It’s about a Holocaust study project by the students at a middle school in a small town in Tennessee. It took me a while to get past the Tennessee accents (sorry about that!), but the documentary was so wonderful that I ended up buying a copy of it for a knitter friend of mine who teaches at a juvenile justice high school. The students at this high school have all committed one or more crimes, and the vast majority come from very poor, harsh circumstances in dangerous neighborhoods. The teacher got permission to show the film to her classes, and it was a real eye-opener for them, since all they relate to in the world is from their own street-wise experiences. My friend said her classes had many good discussions after viewing the film.
    Mary G. in Texas

  9. Don’t worry about the brisket. I don’t know your recipe, but I know the method. In my family, you make three briskets. After skimming, you freeze two. Yes. It will be that good. Enjoy.

  10. Gonna make that Monteagle tonight! Yours looks great and reminds me of Martha’s (yes, that Martha) paint dipped baskets. Have you seen ManShopsGlobe on Sundance? You’d love it.

  11. Likin’ the multi-coloured Monteagle bags. Sweet! It’s true that they’re quick knits.

  12. Oh, I’m jealous over here. Our school district is just wacked, we don’t start till Sept. 8th! Who cares that they were in school till Mid June, it’s time to start! Last spring there was some hopeful discussion of starting before Labor day since it fall so late this year, but that got scrapped. If they would start sooner, they could get done before mid June, ya know?
    Please tell a non cook and avoid-er of cook books what a Brisket exactly is.

  13. I was hooked on Lost and watched every episode real time. However, it became so complex that I found it impossible to knit. I felt if I looked away from the screen I would miss some important clue or something. Or a shot of Sawyer. Enjoy!

  14. NOOOOO!!!! Summer is not over! Not until my tomatoes ripen!

  15. By 2013, I might own a DVD player!!!!!

  16. I love the Monteagle too. I’ve made 3. A great knit.

  17. Oh thank goodness. For a second there, I thought you’d gone clean off the rails and knit a tank top.
    And yes! Please let us know about the brisket.

  18. A 36 hour brisket? Is this meshuggah, or what? My mother’s whole labor with me was 13 hours (and I suspect that is the REAL reason why she did not want a second child…)
    But,I digress. Really, your post made me feel homey and comfortable. From truly cooking supper, to knitting mesh bags, to new cook books, the start of fall–and knitting season–to the DVD making its rounds on this planet, it was (as Uncle Jim used to say) “a slice”.
    Thanks, Ann.
    LoveDiane

  19. I watched LOST last summer to get on board and be ready for season six. I have a 7 foot long Kiki Mariko Runner and a cardigan to show for it. I love that show!!

  20. I can’t leave without my Netflix either. I watch it on my TV via this Roku device. There are several very good BBC dramas on the instant streaming for many hours of knitting enjoyment. I especially recommend Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, and Wives and Daughters. If you are in the mood for Dickens, Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend are excellent too. Have fun!

  21. Funny how summer ends when school starts. At least for the rest of the country there is usually some pretty dang hot weather still coming, not so in Alaska. There’s that Fall chill in the air, even when it’s sunny. That and the leaves are starting to turn. That aside, it is a lovely time of year up here. Enjoy your fall knitting, I know I will be!

  22. First, I didn’t understand a darn thing about your new-fangled TV. We are barely out of the wooden-cabinet-and-TV-as-furniture stage here. Paying bills on the TV?! What will they think of next, what with the internets and all?
    Second, that “brisket” sounds an awful lot like Southern pulled pork, except with beef, it being close to Rosh Hashanah and all.
    Third, once it dropped to 88 degrees, I knew summer was over. Thank God.
    Four, your comment about David chain-smoking Lost was pretty great.
    I have a book for you. Can your mailbox handle a picture book?
    xo
    R

  23. We too moved out of the era of old TV this year. Goodwill would not even take the old one. I think the new one is worth about the same as the car I drive. I love having Netflix stream to the television. Right now I’m on a 24 kick, but this summer I watched Dr. Who with my teen. What fun!

  24. Loved reading about two of my favorite things – LOST and brisket!

  25. i thought you had knitted a little
    tank top also –are you allowed out
    of house while the meat is cooking?
    sugar and creme yarn now comes scented
    the dish cloth makers will have fun
    with this one- i figure camomile
    will put me to sleep vanilla for the
    kitchen and yarn in the stash
    for a dr who scarf hopefully

  26. Love Lost.Just waiting to watch the final season on DVD or netflix, whatever comes first!

  27. I spent all my summers with Granny & Grandaddy in south-central Texas, and I cant remember a single special occasion that wasnt marked with a slow cooked brisket. So sad that I cant find a good BBQ brisket in rural northern california. I guess I need to bust out the 36hr recipe and make it myself.

  28. Love the bags. Fond memories of stuffing them with Monteagle pantry items. I spent last Monday on the beach on the other side of that postcard view, for years that old hotel has been a hulking wreck and it is positively gran now.

  29. Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought the bag was apparel; I thought maybe a swim suit coverup. I like that bag and think it’s about time I tried one.

  30. Oh – which reminds me – we HAVE moved since I got on the DVD list. I have a forwarding order but you never know. Email me for the new addr (and maybe let me know what # I am??).

  31. Forgive me! I thought you said you had a biscuit in the oven. Here, let me move my chair a little closer to the screen. There. OK. Apparently you don’t.
    :)

  32. Watch Hill was one of the beach locations we spent time at regularly as teenagers. I remember seeing the Ocean House and wishing I lived there. I wonder if it is still open. I will look into this.

  33. I love Netflix too. We watch it through our Wii on our very old TV. Not having a live-in 14 year old I did manage to figure this out by myself. Unfortunately not much knitting to show–must be watching the wrong stuff. Apparently Lost is what does the trick???

  34. OK, I’m dying to know how the brisket was. I’ve waited the full 36 hours, right? I’m not jumping the gun?

  35. Hi Ann and Kay,First of all the State Fair knitting stories makes me wish I didn’t waste my youth growing up in NYC , but in some small town that had State Fairs. Oh well. I live in Israel now. And regarding the pictures of wall murals on the left side of the column. The one before the last from the bottom has a man gulping a cold drink and on the back of the building is an Israeli flag. On looking carefully it looks like a boulevard in Tel Aviv, and if I’ m right my son and his wife lived right near there for a while.
    It’s a small world aftr all! Keep on knitting,
    Susie in Israel – there are lots of knitting groups here in the Holy Land.