Interesting Stuff

When I see things that interest me, I like to make a note and add them to my list of blog potentials. Here are a few treasures I’ve come across recently.

How Men and Women See Colours – Differently, Of Course

My husband and I were picking the colour for a carpet runner and it was clear that we were thinking, and seeing, differently. Our lovely salesman pulled out the pic you see above to explain what may be going on. I can’t credit the creator as I don’t know what the source is, but it’s fun and may be useful in some situations of discord.

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Perfect Fall Sweater & Perfect Sweater Folding

Handknit designer Mary Annarella, Lyrical Knits, writes to the knitting community every few weeks or so and I always read her posts. She’s funny, engaging, and always has something interesting to say about knitting, designing, and from time to time, singing.

Mary’s latest design, Heart of Glass, (named for a song by Debbie Harry) constructed in a silky yarn, is terrific right now for whichever hemisphere you live in.  She is offering this pattern to her subscribers, and mine, at 40% off on Ravelry with the code – blondie – through Monday, October 30th. Thanks, Mary. I especially love the sleeveless version. Continue reading “Perfect Fall Sweater & Perfect Sweater Folding”

Help! My Poodle is a Yarn Eating Monster!

Writing twice in one week is an aberration for me, but I need to talk about the destructive predilections of my 11 month old poodle.

This is what he did today – my knitting was secured in a zippered bag and I found this knotted mess.

It’s hard to believe. You can see that the bag was still zipped, but he managed to make a small hole in it and get the knitting, the needles, and the yarn out and onto his teeth.

I know poodles are smart; it took him no time to learn the meaning of the words food, hungry, cookie, treat, chewie, but this particular yarn sourcing and destroying talent is beyond ridiculous. Yesterday he ripped opened a plastic bag with yarn and needles in it.

The only saving grace in all of this – I can tell when he has something that’s neither a toy nor a chewie, so I race to the location and save the knitting, the slipper, the credit card, the wallet, the shoe, from destruction. Even more of a saving grace is that Hugo is a sweetheart and he thinks he’s a lap dog, although a bit oversized at 60 pounds.

The only solution to save my projects? All knitting bags will have to be the cloth, zippered variety, at least until either I train Hugo better, or he turns into a dog. He loves the beach, too.

Last minute update – Hugo brought me a cone of yarn on my way out the door. I’m afraid to go home.

What I Learned at Camp

In 2017, Camp was not the Guide Camp of decades ago, rather a weekend away with fellow knitters on the north shore of Lake Huron. Backpacks were in order then, knitting bags now, like the perfect-for-the-weekend one pictured.

What else was different?

  • There were 4 of us, not 30.
  • Cooking was on a stove and BBQ, not over an open fire.
  • Food was much better, although appetites were not quite as ravenous.
  • There was wine and beer.
  • Sleep was in actual comfy beds, not in tents on rocky ground, flesh barely protected by sleeping bag and groundsheet.
  • There was a bathroom with a toilet, not holes in the ground that we campers dug ourselves.
  • There was a shower, not a frigid lake, although there was a frigid lake.
  • No badges were earned; lots was learned. We worked on projects, but none were finished, despite intense efforts.

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TNNA, Enhancing Strawberries, & Mellowing Garlic

I just found a delicious thing to do with strawberries, especially those that are suffering from the entirely-too-much rain this year. The berry taste is good but weak – all the delicious flavour of one normal sized berry has been flooded into a behemoth.

But first, behind the scenes at the Spring TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association trade show), where the yarn and pattern creators congregate to sell their wares to yarn stores. Knitty’s Amy Singer took some yarn and people photos that had me wanting the yarn and wanting to attend next year. And Tara Swiger, maker, teacher, and marketer, took a walk-around-and-be-introduced look at the show and posted this You Tube video.

So, the strawberry back story –  I was at my local farmers market with a bag of rhubarb and a flat of strawberries and the scone seller told me about macerating, then roasting rhubarb before adding it to her amazing rhubarb/almond scones. (Yes, I bought one. It was delicious.) It occurred to me that maybe roasting the strawberries would improve their flavour, so I searched on-line and discovered that people have been roasting strawberries for years. It became a thing in 2014.

Into the oven they went at 350°F for about an hour. One pound/1 quart berries sliced in half, on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Rimmed is very important. Very juicy stuff. I added about 1/4 cup sugar to aid the juice release. This photo is the berries right out of the oven, still bubbling.

Delicious. Fantastic on yogurt. They pretty much retained their shape and had silky flesh, crunchy seeds, and concentrated strawberry scent and taste. The house smelled like berries.  And they keep for days.

And here’s a better way to mellow garlic that I learned from Cook’s Illustrated. I was making pesto and the original recipe called for blanching garlic in boiling water for a minute or so to mellow the flavour, but the newer instruction, in the 100 Best Recipes book, has the garlic cloves tossed in a hot pan, skins on, and cooked a few minutes until they are soft. Poke with a skewer to check. This was the best pesto I’ve ever made. Who knows if it was the garlic that made a difference? Maybe it was the basil, the cheese, or the olive oil that was different but I’ll be using this mellowing method for lots of purposes this summer.

It’s Canada’s 150th Birthday

The plan – write about the terrific Canadian yarn dyers and knit designers  who are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1st. But where does one begin? Canada has an outsized proportion of dyers and designers for its population. It’s impossible to do even part of it justice, so here’s a very small selection.

I chose Canada Deh! socks by Dana Gervais to be front and centre, not just for the wittily appropriate name and the Maple leaves, but also because every element is Canadian. It’s a collaboration with Alberta dyer Stephanie at Knitley Road, using Canadian raised and milled wool, the pattern both tech edited and test knit by Canadians. The mission was “to make a very Canadian sock to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday.” Consider it achieved. And what pattern could be more appropriate for Canada than socks?

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