Friday, August 18, 2017

blogging on an empty stomach



Late last Sunday evening I was happily sitting up on the day bed in our studio listening to a podcast and knitting rows of my colour work socks. It was the end of a busy weekend and the relief I felt at being able to sit in one spot uninterrupted, taking sips of a hot cup of tea in my favourite mug and knitting a bit, felt immense.

But then as I started to increase the stitches for the gusset it occurred to me that when I'd altered the pattern to knit from the toes up, rather than as the pattern was written - from the cuff down, I'd started the chart in the wrong place.

At first I thought I'd continue on and try not to think about the fact that I'd started knitting half way through a flower. No-one would know except me. Then I looked through the Ravelry gallery at all the other photos of these particular socks and realised that the whole reason I'd decided to knit these socks was because of how beautifully the design lay on the socks and to do it differently would ruin the entire effect. And then I decided that there was no way I could continue because I'd know, and I wouldn't enjoy the knitting as much and I definitely wouldn't be as proud of the final result.

So I started analysing the chart to try and work out if there was a possibility of rescuing any of it at all. And then as I was contemplating pulling out hours and days worth of stitches, I noticed that instead of feeling defeated something crazy was going on inside me. My heart was beating loudly and my breathing was speeding up and I felt a bit crazy.

First I slid one sock off the needles and started ripping at the stitches. Long strings of wiggly white wool and then blue wiggly wool started to make a nest in my lap. It always seems strange that yarn that has not long been knitted becomes wiggly so quickly.

It was almost fun pulling all those stitches apart until I realised that I'd better wind them onto their balls or they were bound to become one big knot. Which they did at a few points of course, and that nearly made me cry, but luckily I had nice pointy 2mm needles to stick through the knots and undo them.

Thankfully my farmer boy came into the room just in time to help me wind the balls of the second sock and to reassure me that it was indeed a very upsetting thing to happen and that it was okay if I wanted to cry. I thought I would but I didn't.

I had hoped to keep a couple of inches of knitting above the toes but in the end wasn't able to catch all of the stitches and ended up saving nothing but the two blue toes.

That night I couldn't sleep and lay in bed dreaming up the words for a book about life lessons, told from the perspective of the knitted and unknitted socks. All night I worked on the chapters in my head. Patience, focus, concentration, the ability to adapt, strength, the importance of appearance, turning things upside down, learning from mistakes, dealing with our failures... the list of things the socks could teach lengthened.

And as I tossed and turned I became more and more convinced that this was a brilliant idea. Knitters, crafters, hand-makers, hand made appreciators, Steiner folk, the audience for this book would be niche but strong.

As daylight dawned I must have fallen asleep because the next day the future of that book didn't look as bright....and the sight of those little blue toes looked a little depressing.

It took from Monday til Thursday to knit back to the spot where I'd pulled them off. This time I knitted the chart backwards and I'm thrilled with how they're working out. And although those four days are already just a blip in my knitting life, although the book idea seems ludicrous now, I still am interested in how my knitting humbles me and makes me a better person.


In other news, I had hoped to show you the slabs of wood we cut from our trees earlier in the week. Beautiful slabs that will hopefully become shelves for my studio before the year is out. I also thought you might like to see the hyacinths and almost flowering daffodils, the germinated broad beans and the budding almond blossom. But it's blowing a gale out there and is POURING with rain and it's just not going to happen.

Here are the only two outside photos I was brave enough to take today, just outside our front door, as we were coming in from moving the chickens to higher ground this morning (wet down to my undies). 

But crappy outside weather is the absolute best for sitting by the fire and reading and also for getting into the kitchen and making delicious and hearty food for the fam. And just my luck that Julia Busuttil Nishimura's  new cook book Ostro arrived at the post office this morning. 

In the inside flap of Julia's book it says 'My approach to food favours intuition over strict rules and is about using your hands, rushing a little less and savouring the details. It is food that slowly weaves its way into the fabric of your daily life - food for living and sharing.' Sounds pretty perfect right!




Ostro is also one of the most beautiful books I have seen in ages, each photo is more delicious than the last. I can't decide what to make first. In fact it kind of makes me wish we were in the future and I could press a button on a page, reach in and grab that gnocchi for my lunch, or that Greens Pie, or....

Note to self - never blog on an empty stomach or you'll spend far too long ogling the beautiful pictures and reading the scrumptious recipes, delighting over Julia's gorgeous wardrobe, her perfect props, her effortless style, not to mention her sweet son Haruki.


Congratulations Julia, Ostro is sublimely delicious from front to back!

Congratulations on Ostro to you too Michelle Mackintosh, designer of all the most beautiful books in the world (including mine) and maker of some of the most gorgeous too.

And that's me and my Friday blog for this week.
I hope it wasn't too sock heavy for you.
I hope you've got a lovely, cozy weekend lined up.
For the first time in months we don't have any plans at all.
It looks like it might snow though which would be fun.

So how about you?
Would you read a life book if the narrator was a pair of hand knit socks? HA!
If you could press a button and reach out and grab any dish to eat in the whole world right now what would it be?
Do you prefer sweet or savoury?
Do you cook from books or do you make it all up?

I think it's time for lunch, you can probably hear my stomach growling from there.

Big toasted sandwich love,

Kate

xx

25 comments:

  1. Good afternoon Kate. I admire your knitting talents and cannot even imagine where I would begin with it, let alone undoing all of that hard work. That book looks gorgeous! Oh my...now I feel hungry. Wouldn't it be amazing of you got snow? Make sure you get a photo! I cook from books for baking, bread and sweet things but I almost always make it up for savoury things.

    Happy weekend, stay warm x

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    1. Ahhh it's a bit of a shame you don't knit Jane with all those sheep hanging around your farm. I have a feeling you'd love it too. x

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  2. Beautiful socks! I usually have to wait and coax myself into the frogging and re-knitting too - especially when I know it will be long and hard (lace stitches at the worst!). I'm about to try making anatomically correct toes for the first time to finish off what I'm hoping will be my Best Fitting (and Memory-ful) Pair of Socks Yet. Also keen to check out Julia's cookbook - her blog is amazing and her kale and hazelnut pesto is one of our go-to recipes! Thanks for connecting humans through your sharing xx

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    1. That's such a gorgeous thing to say, thank you. xx

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  3. Good Morning Kate. I cannot knit for toffee! but can crochet and feel your pain when the whole dream has to be unravelled! its painful and so much time lost
    I love to bake but am more of a savoury vegetarian always wanting to teach myself to eat more 'different' foods so I'm always experimenting.
    Have a delicious weekend, stay warm. (Here in the uk its actually sunny warm at the moment but I doubt that will last long) x

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    1. I love the term savoury vegetarian, I am one of those myself. x

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  4. Hi Kate, I think the book sounds like an amazing idea. I have a few crafty friends I can already imagine gifting it too as a present! xx

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  5. Commiserations on the socks, although the second attempt look great. I too have been wet through down to my undies yesterday. We got caught in a heavy thundery downpour walking back from town in the UK. I was so wet, was wearing sandals so didn't even bother to avoid the puddles, (which were more like lakes) and just waded through. It almost felt liberating. Unless it's a recipe I have used a lot I always cook from the book. The vintage style sweater for me is finished and just needs to be sewn together ( I hate sewing up), so I'm procrastinating a little. Then onto my sisters Aran sweater. Stay well, have fun in the snow if you get some.

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    1. Ahhhh that reminds me of the time two years ago when we were traveling through the UK in your summer and it was FREEZING!!! All we had packed were sandals and summer clothes and everyday we got wetter and more soaked through than the day before. brrrrrrrrrrrrr. xx

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  6. Oh dear Kate, I am with you on the socks. I've knit the design i'm doing twice already and yet somehow, it wasn't going right the other night. I'd taken them with me on Monday and pulled them out after that session too...oh why why why aren't they looking right? I've redone them so this is the third time I've cast on and I'm back to the spot I felt it went wrong...I'm still not sure it's okay! grrrrr! And yet, once that decision to pull was made, I was so glad I did. I need to finish them by the 26th, my girl's bday. They're anklets and should be done and yet now I'm worried I won't get them finished. And I have to figure out a great cake to make her instead of googling all kinds of cakes hehehehe! I'll keep you posted. lu xxx

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    1. Oh honey that does sound annoying. I really do hope that by now you're well on your way to finishing them and super pleased with how they're turning out. Happy birthday for tomorrow. xx

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  8. I can knit but haven't yet worked up the courage to knit socks. Your pattern is looking rather beautiful. Your area looks so lovely and lush. We haven't had any rain for a few months and the last week has been hot(31C here today). If this is winter I'm extremely concerned what summer will bring.
    It has cooled down enough for me to pick up the crochet blanket I am making for my folks for Christmas. I'm hoping we will have a cool change and I can get the blanket finished.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Oh gosh Jane, that sounds like my kind of winter. And actually, if that's your winter then you should totally pick up sock knitting, it's the perfect hot day craft. x

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  9. Your socks are amazing! I got a half-knitted sock from two years ago out of the basket, unravelled it (very wiggly) then cast on again and couldn't remember how to do it. Sigh. It's sitting there looking at me, waiting. I think a book on life lessons from the perspective of a sock is a hilariously good idea.
    Re cookbooks, I think that every one I buy is more beautiful than the last and I pore over them. Then I forget which recipe is where and I'm usually in a hurry so I end up making my own recipe up!

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    1. I'm exactly the same with cook books. And craft books. But oh how I love google. x

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  10. Those socks look amazing, I would have cried while unravelling them. Does look rather wet, I hope you stay dry this weekend. Lucky you getting a she shed, how awesome will that be.
    I enjoy recipe books but rarely follow a recipe completely, usually because I don't have all the ingredients or I'm trying to adapt it so that most of the family will eat it 🙄. Right now if I could eat any dish it would be something made by my mum specially for me.
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Cheers Kate

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    1. I love the thought of your special mum made meal.
      I hope you have a gorgeous weekend honey.
      xx

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  11. You've inspired me to take up sock knitting (again). Just need to finish a scarf (and maybe a hat?) first.

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    1. Yay!! That makes me so excited. xx

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  12. I would totally read a book on life lessons through knitting! I wrote my uni dissertation on the usefulness of the process of knitting during WW2 compared to the finished items!

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  13. I would absolutely read your book about life lessons learned from knitting - the chapter headings sound brilliant! And I wish I could eat one of my grandma's nutmeg donuts (she never wrote down the recipe before she passed away), generally prefer sweet, and like to start recipes from a book but add my own twists.
    Thank you for your posts, they are one of the first things I check when I've been away!

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  14. Hi Kate, I know that feeling, realising you have made a booboo, knitting a few more rows, wondering if you can bodge it and save it, then in the end frogging happily and starting (sometimes entirely) over! For me I don't mind a big frog, it's the knitting I love and although the end result obviously does matter, it's equal to pleasure of the knitting process for me!! Thank you for your beautiful blog, I've signed up to google just so I can comment on your posts. (I've also started to read it from the beginning!!! I'm up to Nov 14th 2011!! Love Kelly xxx P.s I've got loads of wip's at the mo, knitted Zebra, jumper for me knitted but needs to be seamed, daisy stitch baby blanket for my sister's 5 day old baby, amongst others!!!

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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