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Some Merlot, please
Some Merlot, please

The :Nota Bene 2006 wine release party was a fine event.  This is third year we’ve gone, and this small winery located in a light industrial area of south Seattle continues to go from strength to strength.  The grapes are sourced from eastern Washington, from the Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, and Red Mountain appellations.  We first became aware of them when co-owner Carol Bryant asked Greg to come  to the party in 2007 to sign a book for her husband, co-owner Tim Narby, who is a big fan. She gave us some wine, we bought more, and have been coming back ever since.

Carol, Tim, and Greg
Carol, Tim, and Greg

Tim just happened to have a copy of City at the End of Time on hand, so got that signed this year, and we sipped our way through the new releases and chose a case to take home.  They have a great Futures Club, where pre-ordering a case at the end of the year gets you a very nice discount on wine that you can taste, choose, and collect in March.

No wine for the baby
No wine for the baby

Everyone had a lovely time, even if not everyone had wine.

I’ve finished the knitting portion of the Danish Tie Shawl I started in January with the yarn I won at the St. Distaff’s Day Spin-In. Now I’m working on the edging, a charming series of interlocking crochet loops.

Here we go loop-de-loo

Here we go loop-de-loo

They are surprising fussy to do, but I’m getting the hang of it.  You have to keep dropping a chain to pick up and attach the previous one, so it’s rather slow going.  I just hope there’s enough of the light grey yarn.  I’m only planning on edging the two lower sides.

Off to browse and sluice at the annual Nota Bene vintage release party — this time it’s 2006.

Snow day

People!  This is not normal April weather for the Puget Sound area.  Granted, we live in the convergence zone, but this is ridiculous.

Chilly cherry

April 18th.

Chilly rhodie

Fer real.  The previous latest snow that’s happened since we’ve been here was April 4, and this is much heavier.  In fact, today, we’ve had a little bit of everything — rain, hail, small snow, big fat fluffy snow, and even a tiny bit of sunshine.  Weird.

In other news, last night I made a really nice dish of fresh pasta, served with a fat roast chicken, salad, and a very tasty Italian Rose.

Warm pasta

Pardon the messy bowl, I took the picture after dinner. I made the pasta myself, and it was extraordinarily toothsome.  The recipe was from Alice Water’s remarkable cookbook The Art of Simple Food, a book I cannot recommend too highly. I gave it to ‘most everyone for Christmas last year and cook from it often. It is a distillation of her years of being a restauranteur in the French and also West Coast modes, and her passion for local, fresh food, all put together in a well written and usable text.

The pasta called for extra egg yolks, and perhaps that is the secret. Two cups of flour, 2 whole eggs and 2 additional egg yolks. Mix into a rough dough, adding a tiny bit of water if necessary, which I had to do. Wrap in plastic and let sit for an hour. This is one of those statements in life that when you hear, you must believe it. So I say again, if the instructions for any flour-containing recipe say, “Let sit for an hour, “believe it.

I’ve noticed a few other statements that work that way, too, by the way.  When a child says he has to throw up?  Believe it.  When a person you feel romantically towards says, “I’m no good for you,” believe it. The third one, when a waiter in an ethnic restaurant says “You no like”, I merely take with a grain of salt.  It’s usually just fine, but then I’m adventurous culinarily.

But back to the pasta.  After its hour-long nap, I rolled it thin and cut it into fettucine, then tossed with it flour, covered it with a cloth and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours until dinner.  Other recipes have called for drying the pasta on sticks, artfully arranged around the kitchen, but this was simpler and worked fine.  Boiled in ample salted water, tossed with some olive oil and Cibo’s Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, and it was a delectable treat. Try it!

This sock wasn’t through teaching me lessons. I was knitting along, turning the heel and proceeding to move up the back of the heel, when the directions in Cat Bordhi’s excellent book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters told me to move what she calls “wing stitches” back to the heel needle. Uh oh. Mine were already on the heel needle, and I had done my short rows for the heel with them there. No wonder the sock was strangely large in the ankle area. Strangely large is not something that is restful to contemplate in a sock that is 8.5 stitches to the inch width-wise and 11.5 rows per inch lengthwise. This, for those who care, makes for 97.75 stitches per square inch.

There was nothing to do but rip it back to where I went wrong, namely in not moving the wing stitches to the instep needle.  Remember when I said I have no luck picking up all the live stitches in yarn this fine? The sock took it as a sign of weakness on my part, an opportunity for a Life Lesson .

 Strangely large

Here are the sole stitches carefully picked up —  me hoping it was every single one.

Needle, inserted

Everything above the needle?  Doomed to be ripped out. Several square inches.  Oh well.

Pile of frogged yarn

Turns out I inserted the needle one row too far down
So close!

but every stitch is accounted for.

After that angst-filled afternoon, wine was called for.

Fortunately, it the day of the Nota Bene  2005 vintage release open house. We had pre-ordered a case, so got to taste the new wines and put together a selection to take home, as well as listen to some great jazz by Phlonomenon.

Cello and keyboard

The sock didn’t get any wine.





My husband, Greg,  and I were invited to a wine tasting Saturday, a release party for the 2004 vintage from Nota Bene Cellars. Mingling with a roomful of strangers, chatting and sipping very good wine, I spotted a really cool felted purse on the arm of another lady. Eventually the flow of the room brought us together. “Did you make your purse?” I asked. “Why, yes, and did you make yours?” Since I was carrying this, of course the answer was yes.  Hers was from a pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting, a nifty little handbag with a very cute rolled edge — perhaps it was the Buttonhole Purse from the blog?  Anyway, after marveling about the wonders of the Internet and the ways people can connect, we went for a taste of the 2002 Syrah — great stuff.