Random on a Wednesday

Here’s what going on:

1) That baby sweater is done!! (Except for the grafting of the underarms, and weaving in of ends, which I’ve hidden for the photo but am ‘fessing up to that here). When the second one (since they’ll be going to a set of twins) is done, I’ll order some buttons and send them off, so cute!!! Pattern came from here, it’s my own handspun yarn.

baby sweater

b) We got out third CSA pickup today and things are really starting to heat up! This week we got aramanth, kale, lettuce, arugula, snap peas, summer squash, beets, green onions thai basil and cherries. This is a half batch. Some Aramanth is going to the goat cheese and white wine sauce with spinach and garlic thing tonight, the cherries are going in a pie either this weekend or sometime this summer (you can and should pit cherries when they’re cheap/in season and freeze them, they do great). The rest I figure we’ll eat at some point, delish. Anyone know what to do with thai basil? We have kind of a lot…

CSA week 3

Cherries!!

furthermore) I realized, upon trying to figure out what was for dinner that my recipe book is organized with the bread section first and the most populated. I guess I like bread…

IV) I am having a hard time spelling sweater. You know when you say or spell a word over and over it sounds or looks wierd? I just googled sweater to make sure I’m spelling it correctly. I think I need some wine…

A Great Weekend

Although there was a slow start to the weekend, it was a very nice weekend. Saturday was a fabulous beach day and Sunday was not. But it was a fabulous lazy day, I just sat on the porch and read and knit on the baby sweater for hours. It was foggy and damp and by the end my knitting pattern was actually wet from the fog and the outside. It’s very nice to have a day with nothing required of you at all, lawn is mowed, beach is damp and windy, there’s nothing you have to do.

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This is the second sleeve of the baby sweater. Man, they are small! I love that you can knit practically a whole sweater in a day. I’m a tiny bit afraid that I have not quite enough yarn to finish the top, but I’ll just ignore that for now and hope really hard that I do. I think I do… Also, almost finished with John Adams and not entirely certain I wouldn’t have found him irritating and snobby. He seems like that little kid with the glasses and the nasally voice who spouts off long lessons about very specific insect species…

Quelle Perfect Sweater

Upon donning my featheweight cardigan (ravelry link) Quelle Perfect Sweater is the only descriptor. (Please pardon the dumb expression and the contraposto stance. I’m a terrible poser. I’ll work on it. Promise)

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Pattern is Feather weight cardigan
Yarn is Malebrigo laceweight
Took less than 2 skeins (440 yds each)
Very quick knit, less than a month, I think. But I wasn’t spinning or knitting anything else during that time, so who knows how many hours. Maybe 20?

I LOVE it. Perfect for the two dresses I have for summer that I wear most commonly. The yarn was purchased at my favorite yarn shop, which is 2+ hours aways, in Brattleboro, called Knit or Dye, on my 1st wedding anniversary. I love this shop. Of the shops I’ve visited, the owner is so friendly, helpful, and in case that’s not enough, there is a tea room downstairs (separate business but connected by an indoor staircase, no small benefit in Brattleboro, VT.) I love it. If you’re even passing through Brattleboro, go there.

Anyway, I digress. I promise it fits perfectly, and is perfect for wading through the miniature front garden. The waist is the perfect length for dresses without making you look either stumpy or like you just didn’t want to knit anymore. I rarely knit something more than once, but I very likely would knit this in another color if I needed one for another dress…

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It’s a baby, not a teddy bear…

I have a minor problem with baby sweaters. Or rather several. One is that I have none, and therefore have no idea what size a 9 month old is. I made a baby sweater for my best friends baby, and was sweating bullets that it was too small for her 6 month old self. Upon calling her to find out how it fit, I anxiously asked “does it fit?” “Someday, I’m sure it will.” Drat. Too big. At least I didn’t miss it’s short season of wearability! But seriously, I have no idea what size babies are. Also, they’re a weird shape. Enormous heads make for nervousness over non-cardigan style things, because even if you can fit the enormous head through the hole, can you do it while the kid is somewhat comfortable? I think not. And then there’s the stumpy arm problem. Babies have stumpy, fat little arms. Which is all very cute and all but I have issues accepting that a 4″ sleeve is really truly long enough for an arm. We all have to start somewhere, but somehow 4″ seems very short. Or 6″ or whatever they’re supposed to be. Also, there’s the pattern problem with not really having one that I like. Most are too boring, some just not my style (or anyone under 60’s style, really), and I have trouble picking one. All of this leads to sweaters that look better suited for a teddy bear, not a mini-human.

Despite this, I have a few skeins of yarn I want to knit up that are baby-sweater-sized skeins (another problem, not having knit many, I have no idea how to gauge how much yarn I’ll need). And so I’ll begin to learn. We have some friends who recently had twins and I’ve been a delinquent knitter-friend, and there’s the best friends baby, who at some point I’ll figure out what size she is, and I need to get these skeins out of my stash! So it begins…

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Oh My! Salad

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We got our first CSA share last week which had a ton of greens. And it’s really warm, like way too warm to cook. So we made our favorite Oh My! Salad. Trader Joe’s has a trail mix they call Oh My! And is supposed to have a lot of Omega 3 in it. Whether this is true or not I don’t know, but one day when it was too hot to cook, we made a salad and dumped the Oh My trail mix on top to add some protein and the Oh My! was born. It morphs into whatever we have in the fridge that needs eating, typically strawberries, almonds, goat cheese, pepper, onion, grapes, dried cranberries, whatever there is goes on the oh my, and it is delicious.

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Today after Oh My! I went to knitting with my now-faux-Salina, and it was also way too hot in the library, by I digress. (Did I mention it’s warm? ‘Cause it is.) She has most of a collar, which God willing is the last one I’ll have to put on her. And since it was hot in the library, talk turned to ice cream. Now what we really needed was ice water. But what we decided we needed was ice cream. So I got myself an ice cream cone on the way home. I can vouch for J.P. Licks mint chip hard yogurt, it’s delish, and made for a great walk home. Now off to the basement to dig out the window fan and try to cool down a bit.

So I was Trolling Craigslist…

A few weeks ago, I was just perusing Craigslist, for antique spinning wheels, not that I need one, have room for one, or even was particularly serious about having one. Just looking. I came across one that looked really nice. Photos on craigslist are never super, but from what I could tell, all the parts were there. Cool. I just filed it away, thought “someday I should get one of those” and continued my life.

Then last Saturday, after a glass of wine, I was thinking “man, that was a pretty wheel. I’d really like a CPW (Canadian Production Wheel). I wonder if it’s still for sale?” I looked at it again, decided to call the guy the next day, and went to bed. I woke up still wanting it, so I tried to wait a reasonable amount of time (calling people at 9 am on a Sunday is probably not polite), and then on a total whim, which is SO not like me, I drove an hour up to New Hampshire to see it, armed with $250 in cash, and came home with a wheel. Only it doesn’t fit in my home, so I continued on to my parents house, where it is currently residing.

full on wheel

iron treadle

philias caudrette

It’s an antique Philias Cadorette wheel, made in Quebec sometime around 1920, and the wear marks on the treadles and the whorls show it was used for a while before it became a decoration. But it’s all there, spins great, I got a drive band on it last night and did a little spinning. I’ve never used a double drive, so it wasn’t perfect, but that’s more me than the wheel. It’s so amazing how old stuff, there is equal attention to making it work and making it pretty. Look at that cast iron treadle! The turned spokes! 90 years later, with little love in between, the wheel is true, and you can string it up and make it go, and it’s truly a beautiful machine. It’s pretty dirty and the finish could use some love, so that’s my summer project with my Dad, we’ll get her all prettied up and she’ll look amazing. I cannot wait. She called to me. I’m not the kind of person who drives all over the planet and goes to the ATM on a Sunday morning like that, it was meant to be.

The Perfect Loaf of Bread

Bread baking

I love bread. Because of this perhaps, I’m very picky about bread. You can only eat so much bread, and there is no point in eating crappy bread. And non-crappy bread is expensive. And making bread is fun (since I love yeast as previously discussed). But finding the perfect bread recipe and making perfect bread from it is not really that easy. I have a great rye sourdough, a pretty good half wheat half white sourdough, and a few good sandwich breads, but none are perfect. The loaf above is pretty darn good though, it’s a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for a half whole wheat 7 grain bread, using Bob’s Red Mill 7 grain cereal, which is DELICIOUS as breakfast (which means either my taste buds are whacked or I’m getting old) as well as in the bread. This one came out particularly well as for once I weighed out my flour instead of the cup thing. I hate being shown up, but this way is way better than my usual scoop and see how it feels method. But like so many things, once you go home-made it’s hard to get the old stuff.

Bread is not hard. It does take a lot of time in total, but you’re touching or looking at the dough for maybe less than an hour over 8-12 hours, surely we can all handle that, no?