As pao was very unwell last night and has been resting in bed all morning, I took the opportunity to get the breadmaker and washing machine going, sit down with my beanie and listen to Brenda Dayne’s Cast-On podcast. Episode 2 has a Knitter’s Manifesto in which she defines really accurately why I knit/crochet/craft. It isn’t because I’m distinctly consumerist and love to shop for shopping’s sake which seems to be the world around me here in the UK seems to be going. I’ve become very anti-consumerist and although I’ve been spending money on materials, needles and patterns, I’ve really enjoyed producing something that is an outward expression of my inner creativity. I recently finished a beautiful Rowan cardigan which I customised to fit me as I thought the arms in the pattern were a little long and I only have short arms. I suppose I could have gone out and bought an off-the-shelf standard sized only part-wool cardigan for less than what pao and hmb paid for the wool but it wouldn’t have been as much fun for me to receive that. I would have had to roll the sleeves up or something rather than figuring out how to alter the pattern to suit me.
I suppose I also like the surprise that I feel when I’ve finished something as I can sit back and be proud of what I’ve made. It is like the loaves of bread dough which have been churning away in the breadmaker this morning (yes, I know it’s not completely creative but when pao has bought me a breadmaker, I should be grateful and use it – and pao, after two years I’ve finally come round to liking it but only for its dough). I love put the ingredients in and hearing it going round and round whilst I knit and listen to Brenda. Same goes for the washing machine, too. After a number of rock-like loaves with indents in the bottom from the breadmaker dough paddle, I’d decided that there had to be a better way of making bread so a couple of weeks ago I got out Nigella Lawson’s book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ and looked at the plain white loaf recipe. I put all of the ingredients into Bertha (well, the breadmaker has got to have a name and well it looks like a Bertha because it is really big and that was my objection to her when she arrived – we do not have a big house) and left it to do its thing. I took it out and left it to rise once on the boiler in the kitchen and then put it in the oven. We had a nice enough loaf of bread but it wasn’t as light and airy as I would have liked so I made a second batch but divided the mixture into two loaf tins and rose these until they were double the size again. Hey presto, bread I like!
pao’s grandmother asked me for a brown loaf the last time we saw her so I’ve been making that this morning but I have really gotten into bread today that I’ve made three batches of bread and there is a fourth (yes, fourth) batch churning away in the breadmaker. The brown bread didn’t quite turn out as risen and pretty as the white so I feel I’m going to have to experiment with that some. Enough with the dough-version (get it, ha ha.. yes, I know I’m not funny).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Brenda has managed to capture the essence of what I’m like. I have a decent job now (albeit with a whole bunch of student loans which I needed to get where I am) but I don’t take it for granted. I like to think that I’m not mean with money but I see it as wise to be careful especially when you don’t know what life will throw at you next. I’m not big on gardening but I did enjoy having an allotment when I had one probably because I was growing something which I could use. I am certainly not big on growing flowers but I will happily grow things I can make something out of. I will certainly miss making the warm broad bean salad with the really sharp vinegary, mustardy sauce with broad beans which had been picked and hulled moments before. It is pretty cold and bright today and I am tempted to go and dig over part of our tiny garden so the frost can get to the soil but I’ve got a loaf to deliver in a short while and I’m pretty relaxed sitting here listening to Brenda (and Bertha) at the moment.
I love the simplicity of making things and seeing the joy that things I’ve made for other people has given them. Even if it is just a loaf of bread to have with some carrot soup I made.
So to the knitting news: I’ve been working away on the Gaby hat in the Rowan Next Big Thing book. I can’t say that I think it resembles anything like the photo in the book at the moment but that may be because I decided just to do it in one colour and it is not finished yet. Here’s a photo – judge for yourselves.
I started on a simple garter stitch scarf using the beautiful Wendy Frizzante which I posted about a while ago (look here for a photo). I’m making it a lot wider than the last one because it I think it is quite lightweight and might make a nice throwover the shoulders type of thing. Thank you to Chris for the suggestion and the info on Brenda Dayne: I’ve been having a lovely day.
Update: pao is too unwell for us to visit grandma so I’m in for a happy afternoon knitting and listening to Brenda probably. pao discovered that Ophelia has gotten between the curtain and the lining in the bedroom to make herself a kitty warmth tent as the sill is above the radiator.