Nath Knits

and should probably be doing something else.

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Out like a lamb

It’s been a pretty nice March!  There hasn’t been any snow for weeks.  The weather is now consistently above zero during the day (mostly single digits) with cold nights.  Can’t complain!  The month feels like it’s been busy, but I don’t have much to show for it.  Ravelry says I have four projects on the go, so it could just be that I’m spreading myself kind of thin.  Also, I spent an embarrassing amount of time watching past seasons of Scrubs in the evening.  It makes me laugh at the same time as I recognize the bad sitcomness of it.

I did finish one thing, though:  knee socks for Zebula.  I used all but about 45 cm of the sock blank.  I like how they turned out.  The sock blank was kind of blotchy (it’s the one on the right):

But the finished sock changes colours softly, and because the dye didn’t penetrate the fibre all the way in places, the effect is heathered.  I’m really pleased.  I’m looking forward to doing the other two pairs.

I had started the Sheepy All-in-one for a friend’s new baby, and run out of yarn (I think I mentioned it, but I’m too lazy to go back and see…).  I ran out of black yarn, and it’s a warm garment, so I gave up, both because the baby is growing and the weather is getting warmer, and started something new.  The Sheepy will have to go to a future winter baby (anyone pregnant out there?)  I decided to go for the Necco Wafer Hoodie from the last Twist Collective.  I’m using Elann’s Sonata yarn, which feels strangely cardboardy until you knit it.  It has a nice, glossy sheen to it, and it’s washable.  I’m very nearly done.

I also started the Whisper Cardigan, using some leftover Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud.  The whole thing will weigh less than 150 grams when it’s done.  I like the effect, but I had a hard time getting started.  Since the yarn is so thin compared to the needles, I was having a hard time with the gap being left by the loops in my circular needle (it’s done in the round).  I tried to use DPNs, but then I had four gaps instead of two.  So I finally fixed it by using Magic loop for an inch or so, and then pulling out just one big loop from my circular, effectively making it into a tiny circular needle.  This makes a gap in one stitch, but I move it around, so it is less obvious, and corrects itself better.  Then when it’s finished, I can go back and minimize the gaps from the first little bit of it.  It’s only about 10 cm along.  I don’t work on it that often, though I did do a big chunk of that during an interminable dress rehearsal for the last concert I sang in, much to my director’s dismay.  But come on!  We sat there for two and a half hours, and sang for a total of maybe 20 minutes.  To be fair, it wasn’t our show  — it was for Opera Kitchener, a fundraising concert featuring two great soloists (Richard Margison and Eve Rachel McLeod) .  Kind of an Opera’s greatest hits.  I thought I’d hate it, but I ended up enjoying it more than I expected.  The audience certainly liked it.  But I digress…

As I mentioned, the snow’s all gone.  So here’s my first picture of ‘front garden in progress’, taken last Sunday (March 22).  This year, I’ll be taking these every week, to see the progression.

I managed to rake most of the leaves off the periwinkle last weekend, to make the garden look a little greener.  I left all the leaves on the beds as mulch, though, to try to limit the number of weeds that try to take up residence since there are still about two months left before I can plant all the herbs and veggies I want to put there.  And you can’t tell from the pictures, but there are lots and lots of crocus, daffodil and tulip shoots in the beds near the front steps.

I picked up a great book yesterday, called Fresh Food from Small Spaces by R.J. Ruppenthal.  It talks about growing veggies and herbs, mostly in containers, and also touches on growing mushrooms, fermentation, sprouting (did you know that sprouts are way more nutritious than the grains, legumes and seeds they come from?  I had no idea!) and some livestock (chickens and bees).  I don’t need containers, though I will make a few for the tomatoes this year, but I do have a fairly small space to work with, so it was worth reading.  I don’t think I’ll delve into livestock of any kind.  But having a log with shiitake mushrooms in the  basement is strangely appealing…

Zebula got a real bike!  She had outgrown her last one, so we went shopping last week.  We tried a couple on, and finally settled on this one, both because there’s room for her to grow in it, and because it’s not too pink, and so can be passed on to Vorlon when he’s bigger.  Though we did pinkify it with streamers:

It has gears and handbrakes and everything!

On a totally unrelated note, the kids and I took the train to Ottawa during March Break, to visit with my parents.  Can I just say that I love the train?  I love the train!  It’s such a nice way to travel.  Beats driving or flying any day!  Anyway, during dinner at my brother’s, attended by my father, stepmom, mother, her new dude, and my brother’s family, we were discussing Middle Eastern food.  My dad was born in Egypt, and his mom cooked all kinds of interesting things after they came to Canada.  My mother was reminiscing about things like basboussa, kibbeh, kunafa (my late stepfather, was, to put it mildly, not an adventurous eater).  I lamented the difficulty in finding Lebanese pita bread here (Greek style (poofy) is ubiquitous.  Lebanese (flat, dense and chewy) is harder to find, and is often not very good.  While Greek pita is excellent for dipping, it’s not great for making sandwiches, as the pocket, if there is one, is often too flimsy to handle it.  Good for wrapping, though.) And I expressed regret at not having gotten Nonna’s recipe for those cookies she used to make for dipping in coffee that she cranked out of her food mill somehow, and the other ones she made that she rolled around in icing sugar.  Anyway, all this made me crave Middle Eastern food.  I decided to go out for lunch to Al Madina, a local Egyptian restaurant, with Dr. Thingo on Wednesday, but they were closed for renovations.  So I took out an awesome cookbook from the library, and I’m going to recreate a bunch of stuff.  I apologize in advance for the garlic that will be emanating from my pores for the next little while as I satisfy my cravings.  Pickled turnips!  Lahmajoun!  Basboussa!  Here I come!  I’m not going to make baklava, though, as my brother’s is always infinitely better.  I wish I knew what he does that I don’t.  I’ve asked, and we can’t pinpoint it.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  I will go attempt to make some order in Vorlon’s room, and start my garden today (indoors).