Monday, August 27, 2018

Hello there!  I’ve been having the most luxurious days, just filled to the brim with sitting cross-legged in a comfy chair with a pile of knitting in my lap, one good page-turner after another propped up in front of me.  There’s been Netflix, and a pizza.  I made a blueberry pie.  You guys, this pie!  Okay, Imma teach you this pie, because you need to know.

Cozy Things’ Blueberry Pie of Dreams
(Serves 1.  I mean, 8)

Your favorite flaky pie crust, 9”, baked
(Mine is 1c + 2T flour, 1/2 t salt, 1/3 c coconut oil + 4 T cold water
3/4 c coconut sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1/4 c water
4 c blueberries
Zest of one lemon
1 T lemon juice
8 oz cream cheese (we use vegan, this one is good)
1/4 coconut sugar

Bake the pie crust, and let it cool.  Add 3/4 c sugar, salt, cornstarch, and water to a saucepan and stir.  Add 2 c blueberries and lemon zest.  Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until it’s clear and very thick.  Stir in the lemon juice and remove from heat.  Let it cool.  Mix the cream cheese and 1/4 c sugar in a bowl until blended.  Spread in the cooled pie crust.  Add the remaining 2 c berries and press them gently into the cream cheese mixture.  Pour the cooled jammy berry mixture on top.  Chill and devour.

That pie is so good I can not stop thinking about it.  I hope you have an abundance of blueberries where you are.

There’s been a lot of knitting happening.  I finished my Albini cardigan (pattern here) and it is so light and lovely.  It was a lot of plain stockinette, which as you know is something I really love.  I used Holst Supersoft in “Slate Grey” which is beautiful and heathery, making dark gray look really kind of interesting.  I’m so in love with Supersoft right now.  The transformation it makes with washing just keeps me hanging on through the long miles of knitting at a relatively wee gauge; I can hardly wait to get the finished garment into the blocking bath.  It is so tremendously rewarding.

I’ve been at my spinning wheel all week, too.  My dear friend Debbie came over last Friday with a huge trash bag full of an unwashed fleece from her beloved flock of adopted orphans and I spent the next several days transforming that into clean, carded batts, all ready for the wheel.  Having that fleece lying around kind of lit a fire under me about the other unfinished fleeces I already had, so I buckled down and finished spinning the Romney/Blue-faced Leicester I bought two years ago at the Fiber Festival.  Speaking of gorgeous heathery gray, those finished skeins just make me want to cast on a comfy cardigan right now, something for the encroaching cooler weather, something for evenings beside the fire.  Something for apple-picking and cider-sipping and bonfires under the stars.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The air is steamy.  I drift along in it, feeling content.  Doc tells me he can tell how humid it is by the state and size of my hair, which at the moment is tall and fluffy.  He called me a humometer, which is accurate, and which made me laugh.  It is mighty sultry around here.  The fruits of summer are ripening all at once, and everything feels so abundant; the blackberries are as big as a baby’s fist.   We stop at every roadside stand, buying tomatoes from this guy, corn from that guy, peaches from everybody.  I can hardly eat them fast enough.  Sometimes I just throw it all in the blender together and drink it for breakfast, lunch and dinner; a tall, sweating, quart-size canning jar full of blended fruit, with a huge handful of spinach thrown in just to make me feel virtuous.

Inside the house, if you squint, everything looks orderly, but there is a slippery scrim of dog hair on every single surface, and the wet heat of the air has made my beautiful antique kitchen rug become unpleasantly fragrant.  I threw it onto the driveway yesterday and scrubbed it with hot water and soap, and then rinsed and rinsed and rinsed it until the suds stopped coming out, but I think it just got worse, because it reeks now like you wouldn’t believe and I can’t even stand to have it in the house.   It smells like a thousand bare feet and ten thousand snoring old dogs.  It smells like two hundred years’ worth of life, which is probably just about right.  More scrubbing needed, but now it looks like rain.

I want to show you my latest finished sweater.  This is “Lovable” designed by Sylvia McFadden, knit in some very lovable yarn.  The tag says “100% British Mixed Wools from Knockando Woolmill” in the natural Dark Grey color, yarn that was carded and spun on Victorian machinery in rural Scotland.  I know!!!  All those words are the best words ever!  I just want to run around in circles, leaping with joy.  This treasured yarn was given to me by my friend Erin, who carried it all the way from Edinburgh in her suitcase, and then, when destashing, thought of me. There will be more sweaters to come from Erin’s destash yarn, and I can hardly wait.  Lovable, indeed.  I wore it this morning, for awhile.  I’ve been hearing the geese on the move already, and I sense a change in the air.  Soon, the berries and peaches will be gone, and there will be apples and pears, and those are just as good.  It’s time to get out the wooly yarns, I think.

Monday, August 6, 2018

It is properly hot here—not out-of-bounds hot, the way it seems to be in Europe this summer, but just a regular hot summer, the way I remember summer, and the way I love it.  I point a big fan at my head and just read a book, quietly melting.  It’s not too hot for me to knit (it never is) but for reasons unrelated to the weather, the Cozy Things Sweater Knitting Machine is taking a brief hiatus.  I decided to sew something, because (see above: I like the heat) I apparently enjoy suffering and failure.  All my knitting projects are being confounding right now, and I seem to have backed myself into a situation where I have nothing to do except knit eight sleeves, and since that makes me want to scream a little bit, I picked out a really nice sewing pattern and some really questionable fabric and got to work.

Fabric.  You guys.  Okay, I’ve tried linen in the past, and I loved it, but despite all kinds of careful finishing and double-felled seams and neat topstitching, it fell completely to pieces in the wash and I am not having that, ya’ll.  Apart from linen and all the synthetic fabrics you could want, there isn’t anything left in the fabric store except quilting cottons and polar fleece printed in Dora the Explorer motifs.  Help!  Honestly.  I try buying fabric online, but it never looks or feels like I thought it would.  I don’t know what to do.

This fabric was a desperate move.  It is a very lightweight cotton, printed in India, perhaps using some kind of resist technique and indigo dyeing...okay, it is a curtain I bought at Home Goods.  I think it looks fine and it hangs nicely (because it’s a curtain) and the pattern was really good, with lots of interesting construction techniques that were fun to work on but not too hard (because, honestly, I have the sewing skills of an advanced toddler) and it fits and looks good.  But there’s still this problem:

It clings to everything.  Everything I sew clings to everything.  Am I just extra-staticky?  Sigh.  I will make another one of these in better fabric, once I figure out what that is.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Planning for the future

I have got the madness for colorwork right now.  Finally, finally, I feel somewhat adept at managing two colors—one in each hand—and while it’ll probably never be as fluid as knitting plain stockinette from my natural side, it feels like a big accomplishment to get comfortable with being a switch hitter.

This is my Aamu, designed by Isabell Kraemer.  Goodness, isn’t her style just so good?  It’s all just so wearable, and so comfy looking.  I can imagine having a whole wardrobe of handknits, just made from her designs, and being happy.  I knit this in Knit Picks Palette “Finley Heather”, which is a beautiful pearly gray, the very best color ever.  The yoke contrast colors—and I tried to replicate Isabell’s color choices—are a combination of yarns from my stash, in pale pink, burnt orange, yellow, and bittersweet. There’s some Holst Supersoft, some Elemental Affects, and some more Palette in there.  I have accumulated quite a stash of Palette.  You guys, that is such a nice yarn.

It occurs to me that I knit for the future, in all seasons.  Which means I can never wear what I’ve made right away.  I don’t know why I do this, but last winter I made so many 3/4 sleeve superwash fingering weight hardly-a-sweater sweaters, and now that it is properly hot in my neighborhood, I keep choosing the wooliest projects I can imagine.  A fine-gauge wool turtleneck is just the sort of thing I dearly love, to knit it right now, and to wear it when the leaves start to turn.  I’m starting to think about Rhinebeck now—what to wear?  I’ll have such a good time figuring that out!