Saturday, July 14, 2012

Knit Stops: Seasonal Interruptions

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. " 

                                                                           Sam Keen


My mother-in-law's blueberry patch provides more than enough fruit to last my family all year.   
At the end of last school year, I envisioned myself posting on my blog several times a week.  There, I would proudly display many finished projects as well as original designs I’d devised.  I’d also anticipated spinning the two large bags of fiber stashed in the closet under the stairs.  Alas, my summer break is almost over (my school semester begins on August 1), and while I have knit a bit each day and worked slowly to create a pattern for a shawl (which should be posted next week), I have not created copious amounts of knitwear.  And while I do have several ideas floating about in my head for knitting patterns, actually executing the designs and completing finished garments will, I know, take me months.  In addition, while my spinning wheel hasn’t sat completely idle, I haven’t faithfully worked with either speed or efficiency. 

When I am done, I will have balls and balls of very scratchy, lanolin-rich wool. Now I have to decide
what to make--definitely not scarves.
 Tapioca flour used to thicken the fruit filling worked very well for this
blueberry pie. I used Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee recipe for the butter crust.
 If you use this recipe, make certain that you don't mix the dough
for too long, or you will end up with a tough crust.
 (I learned this lesson the hard way in the past.)  
But it is summer.  This is the time of year I dream about, not only for its unstructured days but for the fresh fruits and vegetables that come with the season.  While my backyard gardens haven’t done particularly well, as the soil is basically red clay over a layer of shale that’s a foot deep in places, I am still fortunate enough to have other sources for local produce.  At the beginning of summer, I dream of the first local tomato, ripe and uncooked, in whose delights I will revel, a foreign relation of its pale tasteless hothouse relatives at our local supermarket.  By the end of the summer I usually have so many of these (given to me by my mother-in-law who lives in the country) that I am busy cooking them to make pasta sauce.   In fact, my love of fresh foods and their availability is part of the problem with my lack of summer knitting and spinning productivity.  Aside from holiday travel, when I am at home during the day I am also spending time preparing food.  During the school year, I simply lack the time to cook dishes using fresh ingredients—aside from some quickly thrown together salads or steamed vegetables.  So, while this is a knitting blog, I thought I’d post a few pictures of projects I’m currently working on (and one tiny one I’ve completed) and also show some images of the culinary activities that have cut into my knitting time. 
I used local tomatoes, homegrown basil (in a pot), and fresh mozzarella (found cheaply at Aldi's) to make a homemade pizza (shown here uncooked).  For the dough, I used a recipe entitled "Mitch's Fabulous Pizza Dough," which never fails to make great crust.  Find it here. 
I don’t, however, lament the fact that I didn’t apply myself to my blog and knitting like a full-time job this summer.  The luxury to get up each day and to devote myself to a variety of activities—leisurely or productive—is the joy of savoring summer break.    
I'm making this Ice Cable Hat from the Rowan "Winter Gifts" booklet with handspun alpaca I bought last week. 

My Sullivan's Island Shawl is nearing completion.  While my sample has a few mistakes in the center panel
(as a result of pattern tweaking) the design is actually really simply, so I had to take a break from its
repetitiveness to work on other projects. 
The seashell pattern is simple--including 36 rows of beads is a bit more labor intensive. 
I've strung beads everywhere, on vacation
at a friend's house, at home watching
television . . . but the results are
worth the effort. 

I did manage to finish one humble project this summer. 

2 comments:

  1. What lovely summery pics! It's got to be right that blogging to deadlines and keeping to timetables generally take a back seat when the summer break is here - yours is not long in UK terms if your next semester begins on 1st August - here, no Autumn term begins before September. Hope you got my email update - looks like my parcel may just get in under the wire of your summer break which is what I'd hoped. I love your spinning wheel by the way and that hat.... reminds me of the most delightful strawberry hat I bought for my son just before he was born. Same shape and design with the green hull and stalk at the top, just red with yellow flecks instead of blueberry coloured! E x

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  2. Oh you, you say that you don't have a lot going on in terms of knitting, but just LOOK at all of those complicated, beautiful WIPs. I must respectfully disagree with you talented knitter (and spinner), I think that you have achieved a great deal and I commend you!

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