Wednesday WIPs, Including Me

As I transition out of my job, and into focusing on home, my (very) small business, and my creative endeavors, I’ve been struggling to blog. Transitions are hard for me. It’s not that I don’t like change — and this will be a good change. It’s difficult for my nervous system to regulate change. I’m always surprised by the period of paralysis that is inevitable.

I couldn’t wait to cast on my Spring Thaw yarn. I’m making a Bandana Cowl Number 4 by Placemarker. I’m thrilled with the feedback I’ve received on the box. And I’m so grateful to everyone who placed orders, and to the talented makers who partnered with me.

I got a head start on my flax seedlings in my Megs Levesseur Ceramics pot.

I’ve been testing rose wax and lanolin candles for the Wool & Roses Yarn Mystery Box. Only a few days left to order! I can’t wait to see how Kelley at Dye Mad Yarns interprets this colorway in alpaca and silk yarn.

My Vertices Unite is coming along. I want to finish this before April 15, when the Ambah Ocean Moon Mystery Knitalong starts. That’s probably not going to happen, but I’m going to try anyway.

My Arrowhead Cardigan looks much the same. I try to knit a row or two a day, striving to get to the shoulder seams.

I finished the ribbing on my Auchnaha cardigan. I’ll probably put this away for a little while, until I finish Arrowhead. Although, I’d like to be wearing it now!

It’s supposed to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit today, after a low of 19 yesterday. I guess I’d better get my seeds started. I’m going to grow more natural dye plants this year.

What are you working on this week?

Year of Projects Update

The Elderberry plant survived the winter.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week. We lost a beloved family member, Bob’s Stepfather “Poppy.” I got some tough news at work. Poor Dan Bill has a UTI and had to go to the vet. I still got some crafting done. Making things brings me joy, and helps me deal with stress.

Knitting

I’m loving the way Vertices Unite is coming out. I’m about 1/3 of the way through section two. It’s all naturally dyed merino and super soft.

Design

I’ve been working on a knitting design for my summer yarn mystery box. I told my therapist that trying to sketch ideas for designs was not working for me. She told me to try picking up the needles and yarn and start making something, so that’s what I did. And it worked! It won’t win any design awards, but it will be a nice, practical use for the yarn.

Sewing

I sewed two more pair of joggers — in speckled gray French terry and navy organic cotton fleece. Very comfy, and I should be good on joggers for a while.

This is my next sewing project, a Melba dress in this knitting print. I can’t wait to rock this.

Other than that, I’ve joined our local fiber arts guild and signed up to help, and I’m rediscovering the joys of our library system. I’m hoping to start baking and cooking again, and I needed some inspiration. And it will be time to start seeds and dig up the garden soon. I’ve planted peas and greens already!

This has been a Year Of Projects (YOP) update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Put Your Bigfoot In: That’s What this YOP’s About

Knitting

I got Marilee the All Sass and No Squatch pattern for her birthday and then subtly suggested a knitalong. I may have gotten really excited and powered through. I just have the crown to do. You probably can’t see the gold stellina sparkle. When I finish and sew on the pompom I ordered, I’ll try to get a better pic. Can you see Bigfoot? It’s okay if you can’t. Bigfoot is elusive.

I’m making good progress on my Arrowhead Cardigan sticking to my one row a day.

Sewing

I’ve been wanting to sew a velour sweatshirt for a couple of months. What can I say. I’m a child of the 80s. I found some mostly cotton velour fabric. What color, you ask? Well, Valentine’s Day is coming. I thought, “I know. I’ll get rose.” Yeah. A pink velour sweatshirt. Good thinking. Except, it’s really pink. Will I go ahead and sew the sweatshirt? Or maybe I should sew a robe instead? I’m going to stew on it.

Spinning

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Gardening

I ordered some kale, broccolini, and German Chamomile seeds for the garden. The greens under the greenhouse are still alive but not in great shape. I do think that I can plant some kale and cabbage in there when I plant the snap peas, though.

I’m still getting over whatever virus this is that isn’t Covid. I may have had a secondary sinus infection. I’m fatigued. I’ve been working, knitting, and binge watching Scott and Bailey. It’s my new favorite show (after UK Ghosts and Beforeigners.)

How are your projects coming along?

This has been a Year of Projects update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Ten for Tuesday: Project Peace

The Healthy Knitter posted on December 1 about Project Peace and her need to let go. The blog post touched me, and in the spirit of lighting my own candle from hers, I thought I would write about ten ways I can experience more peace.

  1. Start the day with knitting. Instead of spending most of my day thinking about how I can’t wait to knit at the end of the day, and then reaching the end of the day too tired to knit, I am going to try starting my day with a little knitting. I used to do this and I think it helps set the right tone for the day. And considering I spend a couple of hours in the morning staring at a screen while drinking my coffee, I think this is completely doable.
  2. Journal every day. This is another opportunity I have to make the most of my morning. It doesn’t have to be morning pages, it can be jotting a few lines in my journal, like this list!
  3. Go for a walk. I need to set the intention to go for a walk at least a few times per week. Walking down my country road is very peaceful. Once I start working it’s difficult for me to pull away from my desk, but I need to find a stopping point to do it when I can. It makes a big difference in my mental health.
  4. Real talk with friends. I am fortunate to have friends that I can be real with. I need to work on ways to incorporate this into my daily routine, even though we are far apart.
  5. Bake! Baking helps me slow down and savor the moment, so I’m going to try to make time for this on the weekends as a more regular thing, and not just a holiday thing.
  6. Listen to music. I made a couple of holiday playlists on YouTube and have been listening to them this month. I could certainly make other playlists and continue to add to them and edit them. I can also listen to other people’s playlists when I want to experience the surprise of new artists.
  7. Eat meals at the dinner table. I tend to eat breakfast and lunch at my desk while working. That really needs to stop.
  8. Hand write a letter or card. I’ve been enjoying writing the few holiday cards I usually send, and I could easily write letters to friends as well. Taking the moment to hand write something is really a luxury these days when a text or email will suffice.
  9. Take more photos. Photography was one of my first creative outlets, and I still enjoy taking the time to craft a good composition. It takes me out of myself. Even if the photos aren’t for posting and are just for me, I should take more time to create them.
  10. End the day with reading. I would like to have enough energy at bed time to read one chapter in a good book, maybe with a cup of tea. I am still reading Making a Life, which is perfect for this. I would like to cultivate this practice, instead of falling into bed and pulling the covers over my head and waiting for sleep because I’m too exhausted to read.

If you looked carefully at my first image, you’ll see I replaced number 7 to check the garden greenhouse with eating meals at the table. That’s because I went out to check the greens, and last night’s hard frost has ended them. I should have picked them this week, but I didn’t take the time to do that. Checking the garden is still a great way to find peace, but maybe not in the middle of winter.

What are your ways to find a little peace? I hope you will share them in the comments, or on your blog with the tag projectpeace.

Garden Variety Friday FO

This morning, instead of working out, I worked in the garden. I cleared out another section and put together my new pop up greenhouse! You can see I left some flowers at the end of the garden for the pollinators. I’m still finding bees in the garden.

I planted kale, arugula, and two varieties of lettuce seed. My hope is the cooler weather and greenhouse will keep the moths at bay. I will have to watch the slugs, though. Fingers crossed we’ll have some greens soon! And if it works well, next spring I’ll plant cabbage in there, and hope to have some to harvest early.

I also got my hair cut off this week! I love it. I tried to grow it long, but once it hit a certain length I kept pulling it back. Why have long hair if you only wear it pulled into a ponytail? So I went back to short hair. I will probably never try to grow it long again.

Do you have any finished objects to share today?

Garden Update

I spent some time in the garden this morning. One of the great things about being a lazy gardener is the surprises, like when your Japanese Indigo flowers and you didn’t know how pretty their little pink flowers could be. I also found some volunteer Lamb’s Ear. I don’t know where that came from, but I’ll keep it. There were tenacious weeds. These weren’t the same plants that I had pulled up in the spring. These were other weeds that took the place of the weeds pulled up in the spring, like Bitter Dock and Evening Primrose. I like Evening Primrose, but they will take over so I made sure to pull up what I could. I found two bell peppers and a few springs of basil to add to our pizza today.

I amended the soil with compost when I made the second planting of cabbage, and it did help the plants make heads. Too bad the cabbage moths got to them, even under the netting. I guess I’ll have to try something different if I’m going to get cabbage and kale out of the garden.

My plan is to spend the rest of the day knitting on the couch. I’m so glad it’s October!

Saturyay

I’m still fighting a summer cold. My doc says 7-10 days is normal for a virus, so hopefully I’ll be right as rain by tomorrow.

My first canned tomatoes.

The garden is producing tons of tomatoes. No one seems to be eating them, so I started canning. This is my first batch. The pink is German Pink and the other two are Cherokee Purple. I wasn’t sure how the Cherokee Purple would can, but they peeled better than the German Pink, although you can see they are seedy. Will still be good in soups, I bet. I also canned two jars of Bob’s tomatillo salsa.

I finished clue seven of the mystery knit along early in the week. The last clue is out, so I plan to finish this up this weekend, if I can. Lots of beading!

Other than that, not very productive this week. Today I need to start collecting the flax seeds in the garden and will start retting some flax for fiber. It got away from me since I’ve been sick. And I want to sew on my overalls this weekend. Hopefully I’ll have something for a Year of Projects update tomorrow!

Tomato Cobbler

Cinna Knits suggested I make tomato cobbler with my plethora of tomatoes from the garden. Tomato Cobbler?! What’s that?! I had to try it. I’ve never made a savory cobbler before.

I basically followed this recipe. However, I tweaked it a lot. So here are my instructions for a vegan and gluten free version.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Peel and thinly slice 1 and 1/2 yellow onions. (Because that’s all the onions I had.) Add about 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until transparent, or go ahead and carmelize them, which is what I did.

While the onions are carmelizing, peel and mince two large cloves of garlic. Rinse and de-stem about 3 cups of cherry tomatoes. I used Igleheart Yellow Cherry from my garden. I also had a couple of larger Cherokee Purple that needed eaten, so I cored and cut them into quarters. Four cups of tomatoes? At this time I also pulled two bunches of basil leaves off the stem and cut them into large pieces.

Once the onions are carmelized, add the minced garlic and sauté together for a minute or two. Add 3-4 tablespoons (what I refer to as “a splash”) of balsamic vinegar and stir until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add 2 tablespoons of flour. (I used a gluten free blend from Nuts.com, similar to Bob’s Red Mill.) Stir until the flour forms a paste. Or, if you are like me, you won’t have enough liquid for that. I didn’t want to add more balsamic so I added a little water.

Add the tomatoes and basil leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt, and remove from heat. Stir well. Set aside. At this point I covered it to get a little more liquid so it was easier to combine.

I had already de-petaled a few calendula flowers, de-leaved a few fresh thyme sprigs, and cut fresh sage leaves into slivers for my biscuit dough. I love cooking from my garden!

To make the biscuits blend together 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, 3/4 cups corn grits, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (instead of cheese), 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Work in 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan butter and the calendula, thyme, and sage. Once that was crumbly, Add about 1 cup oat milk with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, instead of buttermilk. I had to mess with the dry ingredients to get the dough consistency right. If you make biscuits a lot, you get it. (Or you can follow the recipe linked above.)

Once the dough was ready, and I had given the tomato mixture another turn, I scooped up the biscuit dough and dropped it onto the cobbler, still in the cast iron skillet. I ended up with six biscuit blobs.

Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the tomato mixture is bubbly. We’re having this tonight with burgers.

I have to say, it’s pretty tasty. It will be great with a bison patty.

Sorry if this is vague. This is how I cook, like my Grandma. “By guess, and by gosh… By guess I made it, and by gosh you’d better eat it!”

In other news, I have been sick twice in two weeks! This time it’s an upper respiratory infection. I was down and out for 48 hours. I’m feeling better today, but I’m trying to take it easy as I’m still fatigued. I do hope to get to some knitting this weekend. Sewing may be too strenuous.

Just the YOP

Fiber Art

I framed my second to last piece! I just need to finish the stitching on the last piece and then frame it, and then I will have all 10 pieces complete!

Knitting

I’ve started on one sleeve on the Milkshake Cardigan.

Sewing

I’ve started sewing my yarn ball overalls.

Gardening

It’s tomato season!

This has been a Year of Projects Update. You can learn more about the group on Ravelry. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Garden Update

Twocumbers (I have to give credit to Clara Parkes for that name.)

I cleared all of the cucumber and zucchini plants out of the garden. We couldn’t handle any more cukes or zukes. I’ve got plenty for more pickling, and Bob made a delicious vegan lasagna with zucchini sliced lengthwise instead of noodles.

I transplanted the kale, cabbage, and broccoli seedlings for fall. I hope this net keeps the cabbage moths off. I also transplanted arugula, chard, and Bibb lettuce seedlings.

In other exciting news, we have blackberries! Which are my favorite, even if the brambles jump out and scratch me.

It’s worth it.