Friday, November 20, 2015

Collard Stem Pesto

I mentioned kale stem pesto when I wrote about Linda Ly's book. So I recently had collard greens and I decided to see if I could use their woody stems to make pesto.  I did whiz the stems first by themselves in the food processor, but then I added walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, salt, a handful of whatever herbs I found in my garden, and olive oil.  Delicious!  Not woody at all.

November has been very mild, hence the presence of herbs yet in my garden.  I'm going to experiment with the pesto again and see if the lack of fresh herbs still makes an agreeable pesto.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Wee Shawl for Phoebe

I was intrigued by the Larkrise to Candleford shawl I had seen on Soulemama and Ravelry. It looks like a warm hug!  I'm actually watching the Larkrise to Candleford miniseries right now, but I haven't seen anyone wearing the shawl yet.

There were some similar patterns on Ravelry, but they were all beyond my abilities or patience to increase said abilities. I boldly struck out on my own and I think it worked (and I wrote the details below in case you want to try, too)!  But Phoebe keeps growing, so I'm not sure how long it will work.

How I made the shawl - also called a "sontag" in the 1800s

(not a "pattern" - please, I am not at that level yet!)  I used size 7 needles and medium-weight  (is that called worsted? confusing) wool yarn that I got for a song at the creative reuse shop.

I started a dishcloth, which means I cast on 4 stitches.  Knit all 4.  Then slip one, knit one, yarn over, knit the rest of the row.  Then repeat this (which adds a stitch every row while creating a picot edge) until you have 75 stitches.

Knit 25.  Keep them on their needle and bind off the next 25.  Leave the last 25 on their needle.  With a third needle, work on one of the wings of 25 stitches.  To continue the picot edge without adding any stitches, slip one, knit one, yarn over, knit two together, knit rest of row. Only do this when you are starting a row with the picot trim, otherwise just knit the whole row across.  When the wing measures four inches, start decreasing: at the picot side, slip one, knit two together, yarn over, knit two together, knit rest of row.  On the plain side, knit two together, knit rest of row. When you get down to 4 stitches, bind off. Repeat process for other wing.  Weave in ends (there will be ends at the beginning of one wing, too, but I can't quite explain the details of how I got the yarn where I wanted it - trust me, it could not have been hard because as it must be obvious by now, I can't handle hard knitting).

Sew buttons on the wing tips.  Wrap around baby with the wings going under her arms, to button on the point of the vee at the back.  Adorable and warm.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Four Heads for the Crock

I got five enormous heads of cabbage from market - I think the farmer charged me $1.50 a head.  I shredded and shredded and shredded cabbage on the mandoline slicer I borrowed from a church friend. (My shoulders and arms were sore the next day and I couldn't figure out why at first!)

So yes, the crock took four heads of shredded cabbage, pounded down with my meat mallet, to get filled up. I salted the layers as I went.

I put a plate on top, weighted it with a quart jar filled with water, and covered the whole business with a tea towel.  My husband carried it down to the basement and it will ferment for several weeks before we start tasting and enjoying.  I'm curious to see what Phoebe thinks of sauerkraut!

Friday, November 13, 2015

At the Windy Washline

Do you want to get some fresh air in your lungs to drive out the germs your people bring home?

 Want to get some sunshine in your eyes, some mood-boosting Vitamin D delivered without a pill?

Want to use a free bleach alternative with no chemicals?

Want your laundry to smell fresh and delicious and utterly clean?

Want to dispense with an appliance, get that square footage back, reduce your utility bill, and reduce your carbon footprint?

 And do you want to do all these things simultaneously for real super-efficiency?

"The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.  The answer is blowin' in the wind. . . " (with thanks to Bob Dylan)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Little Tiny Knitted Vest

So now I am looking for ways to keep the baby warm with materials I have on hand.  And I have been slightly obsessed with knitting!  This may be due to a bout of  tendonitis in my thumb joint (less hand sewing), the relative speed of tiny baby knits, and the convenience of a friendly teacher to call on.

I used some yarn I had on hand that I hope has some wool in it to make this little vest.  The idea is to keep Phoebe's core warm without wrestling and shoving her arms into two sets of long sleeves.

 I used this tutorial, but I cast on 36 stitches and used 20 for the neckline and 8 for each shoulder.  I also did not use the fisherman's rib because I didn't recognize all the methods and I was too impatient to go to my teacher or You-tube; I did a knit-2, purl-2 rib.

I was pretty proud of myself for figuring how to segregate the groups of stitches to make the neckline!

However, when it was time to sew up the side seams, I realized that the vest was rather narrow for Phoebe's chub.  So I knitted two little panels (I think 12 stitches wide - maybe?  it took me a while to get photos of the vest in action, and I've knitted other things in the meantime) and then added one panel under each arm.  This is only obvious is you take your eyes off the sweet baby face above the vest.

More vests coming soon!