Spring gleaning

Yesterday I was listening to the second installment of the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Challenge (yes, I should already be listening to the 11th, no judging!) and Deepak was going on about life balance and activities about we're passionate and I don't know what all because I was like...meditating, and this snuck through: Find something to be passionate about...it is a deep form of healing.

Not sure I've ever thought about it that way before; that taking a passionate interest in work, knitting, cooking, bees or the cats is healing.That health could be associated with engagement. But it makes intrinsic sense. The more connected we are to this world and the things that give us joy...the less likely we are to chuck it for the next. Metaphorically.

Spring is here officially, which means in Colorado it snows. We get to cling to the cozy parts of winter just a bit longer. Like the scarf pictured above. Or new projects yet to be imagined.

New is the operative word, though. Try something new, whether it's a new skill, recipe or area of interest. It's that time of the year.

Loving the West

There are plenty of reasons not to love it, starting with colonization and the eradication of the great bison herds, but there are also many things to admire: How ranchers have preserved open space, the live-and-let-live practicality that made Wyoming and Colorado the first states to give women the right to vote, that same spirit which made the Centennial State the sixth in the nation to legalize civil unions (nine other states allow same-sex marriage). There are times when things seem so hide-bound out here in the land-locked American heartland, and then there are times like this year, when the legislature acts to make in-state tuition available to undocumented young people, that it's possible to see the spark of hope, ambition and grit that settled these harsh lands.

Anyway, here are some things to love about today's West:

 

 

Commissioned yarn!

I've developed something of a Sleep Season yarn problem. So much so that I've even started making special orders. (Don't mind Antone, he's judgey like that.)

Much of the yarn Meg dyes is fingering weight, perfect for socks, shawls, wristers, and so on. I fell for a mixed-berry colorway but wanted a quicker-to-knit yarn weigt, DK or worsted. Kelly at Wild Yarns arranged the commission and Meg gamely accepted.

The result is pictured. 100 percent merino. If it wren't so wooly, I'd be tempted to take a lick.

Thank you, Meg! You're an artist!

What to do with 25 lbs of teff flour: Make injera, of course!

We get these bees in our bonnet here at Nake-id Knits (coming May 4, in fact, we'll have 20,000 of the little suckers). This particular bee, though, had more to do with a craving for Ethiopian food and the delicious fermented bread associated with cuisine called injera.

The bread is made with teff flour, a gluten-free flour made from an ancient grain that's high in protein, copper, iron, zinc and calcium. Bob's Red Mill sells small bags of the stuff for about $7-$8 for 24 ounces (they carry it at Natural Grocers), but that seemed a little rich for regular injera consumption.

On our tour de Aurora last week, I picked up a 25-pound bag of teff for $35, knowing full well Nake-id IT would think i was nuts. Since then, we've started putting teff in bread, in cakes, in roux; I even have a recipe for teff muffins.

And, yes, we've made injera.

I used the recipe from Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food, a darling zine, which uses teff, urad dal and brown rice flour in the mix.

Start by mixing all ingredients and let them ferment. Ours went just over three days. Then I added extra water and blended so that the batter was the consistency of crepe batter.

Pour the batter in a hot tefflon pan without oil. And cook for about 45 seconds. Then cover.

Cook for a minute or so. Then remove with wooden spatula.Serve with Ethiopian lentils.

The lady who sold me the massive bag of teff flour said that you can't make injera without a special injera maker. These are like large, electric crepe makers and cost upwards of $100. I found the humble tefflon pan worked just fine. 

These were lovely. But not restaurant quality. Next time I'll try 100 percent teff to see if the result is more to my liking.

If you are looking for teff flour in the Denver area, you can find it at the Tana market in the strip mall at 2222 S. Havana St.

Ethnic food tour de Aurora

One Middle Eastern grocery. Two Asian. One Ethiopian market and one English (with tea room). One Indian shop. Ethiopian food for lunch. All within two square miles.

Aurora is Denver's suburb gone right. Entrepreneurial, diverse, artsy and cheap, Aurora is playing host to the best parts of the American dream. In HMart, the enormous Asian grocery on South Parker Road, Asian, African-American, Middle Eastern and Caucasian customers shopped for bok choy, oyster mushrooms and rice, united in the chores we all must perform to live modern life.

Deanna was my tour guide and equipped with the YUM Guide from the City of Aurora, we found every kind of lentil, dried fruit and spice imaginable. Tucked into a Korean strip mall, we foud Tana, an Ethiopian shop where I scored the following:

25 pounds of teff flour, people! The raw stuff of Ethiopian injera bread that's packed with protein, calcium, thiamin and iron. Plus, it's gluten-free. Got a batch of injera fermenting on the shelves now.

So grab a YUM guide and take your own tour de Aurora. You'll be supporting a lot of locally owned businesses if you do.

The beauty of knitting a store sample

I'm teaching a cabling class later this month featuring Jared Flood's handsome reversible scarf, Cinder. We'll go over cabling with a needle and without, reading cable patterns and charts all the while stitching away happily on this little gem.

I'm knitting this as a store sample, which means, I. Get. To. Knit. It. For. Free! Yes, it goes back to live at Wild Yarns, hopefully doing its job selling piles of Thirteen Mile yarn.

The Thirteen Mile chunky is perfect for this patter and lends Jared's design a tougher, more rustic look.

For my part, even though our time together will be brief, I'm happy to be in the company of this gorgeous yarn for as long as my two skeins last.

A slice of the Bay Area

Such a bad blogger. Distracted by travel, work, new interests--hello honey bees!--life.

Herewith some OK images of life in the Bay Area:

 

Le Hobble Skirt--Preview

This isn't quite ready for its close up--note the orange fur and unfinished waist band. But it's almost there. Now to write and design the pattern. (And procure the right shoes for the shoot!)

Finished Object: A hat was made

There are very few models in the house. So unless I catch Mr. Nake-id in the mood to pose in a girly beret, I'm left with the other men in the house.

The beret is Hannah Fettig's Simple Beret in multiple gauges. Because of the bulky nature of the handspun I was using (and my pin head and limited yardage), I adjusted the pattern beyond the gauges the designer offered. Cast on 52, multiply and divide accordingly. (The yarn: Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures black-white Norwegian handspun wool purchased at Wild Yarns.)

Knitting with handspun is a joy, like knitting with yarn someone breathed life into. An absolute joy. (For me, if not Antone.)

 

In praise of thoughtful editors

Those of us who write for and love print indulge in a fair amount of gallows' humor these days. We chuckle about being dinosaurs, about how we'll soon be out of work (my Plan B--the Chanel counter at Nordstrom, save me a place, ladies!), about how every job today requires not just excellent writing skills, but also the ability to work with the Adobe CreativeSuite, handle social media, understand content management systems, and gee, wouldn't it be nice if you could take great photos and shoot video.

Makes the ability to write a good feature story seem almost quaint. Like knitting.

It's not like I'm one of the dusty ones who's clinging to her OED like it's a life raft in a turbulet sea. I'm hep. I stole Mr. Nake-id's iPad and made it my own. I read ebooks (expanding type for aging eyes!). I have a personal brand (that and $4 will get me an almond-milk latte).

It's like we're on the Titanic, and we've already seen the movie. Say "hello" to the music industry, people, that iceberg has our name on it, too.

I guess in the meantime, we should ask the orchestra to play faster, and give thanks to editors who see us not just as a means to an end, but also as people who respond to thank yous, fun assignments and the occasional goody or two. We're all in this boat together. And, for all your hard work and consideration, I thank you back.