Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Had Forgotten...

...How mind-numbingly, crushingly, amazingly BORING plain old knitting is. 

As I recuperate and the bruises from the IVs slowly fade (though I still have a most colorful groin area, if you want to know...), I thought I'd alternate knitting projects. 

So you know I finished the baby sweater. I had enough yarn to do "something" -- but not another baby sweater. I don't like "newborn" sizing because babies tend to run "linebacker large" in our family, and I'd hate to waste the knitting on something the kid wears for one picture and then never uses again.

I thought, "I need a go-to Super-Simple, Awesome Baby Layette to put together so that I have the items in stash, rather than knitting a sweater here, a couple of hats there, and  -- oh -- I've never done BOOTIES!" 

So that's what I've been working on, as well as knitting a few rows here and there on the Fluro sock. 

Ultimately, my Super-Simple, Awesome Baby Layette will be a combination of patterns. The sweater is a pattern I got from renewing a knitting magazine, so I'll try to find a link. The hat is my own pattern, so I'm working on it (there's the mind-numbing thing about knitting 14" or so and tossing in an every-so-often yarn-over to keep me awake) and will debut it if it works. And I haven't decided which bootie pattern to use. Once I figure all that out, it'll show up here. 

Not my creation -- I must state that. Except for the hat, I am not designing it. I'm just aggregating patterns that are go-to items for a gift. Often, I think, we resort to our old favorites, and there's totally no reason NOT to do that. 

I just want mine in a folder so I can find them the next time I have to baby-knit. 

The NFL...

Has blown the call. I mean seriously. Check out this editorial from The Schenectady Daily Gazette.  Apparently, in the grand scheme of "What an NFL player can do wrong" -- domestic violence is far, FAR down the list. 

See, here's the thing: The NFL has suspended player Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens, if you're counting) for 2 games. Seems Mr. Big Man knocked his fiancee out and there's footage of a beating. So Commissioner Goodall says, "We simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others..." blah. Blah. Blah... It's only 2 games, dude.

The NFL has suspended players for LONGER for LESSER infractions, such as suspension for EIGHT games for failing a second drug test. I'm all in favor of clean players, but let's just wake up and smell the coffee... You're effectively telling me that DOMESTIC VIOLENCE rates a lesser suspension than failing a pee test. 

Just read the editorial. And then let the NFL know how you feel. I know I will.

The Great Pickle Relish Experience...

So Hubby has been a total champ. Since the surgery and the explosion in the garden coincided, and since we'd already thought that this would be The Summer of Pickle Relish, he's been doing all the chopping.

Yes, that's a LOT of relish!
First, I wasn't able to just stand up long enough to do all the work. Then - I'm on a pretty effective blood thinner. I think he's afraid I'll chop more than pickles! So he even tried the food processor, which didn't work. I mean, luckily, he did about a quarter of a batch and we realized "pickled mush" wasn't the look we were after. So we - HE - reverted back to chopping. And chopping. And chopping. 

The end result (and we're still not done yet) is FIFTY-ONE jars of relish. Half-pint jars. Today, though, we're giving up on relish. We will finish off the cucumbers, though he's threatened to rip out the remaining plants!! 

Today, we'll be doing - or starting - sweet pickle chips. He doesn't like dill pickles, and frankly, I have a lot of those left from the last Pickle Expedition. And I also have a couple cases of Bread & Butter. So we found a recipe for "sweet spears" and I don't see any reason why we can't make them "chips" instead of spears. So when he gets done with the dog-walking, he'll get to use the food processor (seriously, he really IS the only one who uses it!) and slice them into 1/4" medallions. Then we soak them overnight. Tomorrow, we process, by making a brine, packing the pickles into the jars and pouring the boiling brine over them. A 10-minute soak in the canning pot, and we should have a bunch of pint jars of pickle chips. 

Personally, I love them on a good pulled pork or on a ham sandwich. We also adjusted the recipe for the brine; we ended up throwing a lot of it away, and so we knocked it down a bit. We still have some "light" jars, but I think we can make "refrigerator pickles" out of that brine, by chopping up cauliflower florets, artichoke hearts, etc. and just stashing them in the brine for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Pearl onions would work, if you can eat 'em. 

Back to Knitting...

RAK package
So on a FB page I am involved in, we have what are called RAKs. Random Acts of Kindness. We choose a member and we mail something to him or her - just because. It can be knitting-related; tea or coffee have shown up. So has an abundance of chocolate. This is what I got as a RAK package, just before I went into surgery. 

This is a lovely sock bag in U of I colors (it was a fellow IL resident who sent it to me), a fantastic ball of sock yarn and a knitting mag - which has several patterns I'd like to start on. 

The RAK list got so overwhelming that the FB page administrators decided to move the RAK portion to Ravelry. Which reminds me - I have to go check to see if my package arrived to its sender. 

Random Picture...

What species??
Before I go back to the mind-numbing baby hat...I want to show you what turned up on the cone flowers yesterday. And I want to tell you that this is a photo from my phone's camera. I am not sure which species this is, but I've been fiddling with the cone flowers all summer, trying to catch the huge bumblebees and the various butterflies that have come along. I did see a swallowtail, but the little stinker moved so fast that I couldn't catch him. 

If anyone knows what this is, please let me know! 

All I can say is that he waited patiently for me to take the picture. I've also seen a slight uptick in hummingbirds, though I think we need to take down all the feeders and give them a good wash. 

And the birds are loving the bubbling water under the tree. We're fiddling with the other bird bath; I think it may need to go in the shade, but we're still working on that. 

It's been a really amazing season for the garden, and it's not done yet. We've gotten about 6 tomatoes, and before you scoff, realize: we planted tomatoes for about 4 years running and got nothing. Nada. Zip. This year, the cooler weather, the rain and the general timing of the season have conspired to make even a lazy gardener look "very productive."

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