Posts tagged knitting

A Long Overdue Post

As some of you may know, I have been moving around a lot since Christmas and I’m about to change continents twice in the next 4 months.  My ‘change one thing every month’ project has been put on hold for this period of upheaval, and will be resumed once I start my new life in the USA.  It seems a bit pointless to seek out new things here in Jeju when I’m leaving so soon, and I don’t want to buy any oils etc. for making toiletries, when my main goal is to reduce the amount of stuff I have to lug around.  I’m currently in the middle of packing and I can tell you, it’s bad enough as it is.

I have been doing a fair bit of knitting and cooking recently, but in my usual way I completely failed to take photos.  You’ll have to believe me when I say that the spinach and mushroom ravioli I made from scratch was divine; as was the green tea shortbread and sugar-free vegan carrot birthday cake.  And the knee-length socks I knit myself are so cozy and cute.

I did manage to get my lovely friend Jessie to take some photos of me modeling the hats and gloves I knit recently, so here they are.

Pattern for the glove part – I used the same lace / cables pattern as the hat.

So, while I haven’t been doing much in the way of lifestyle change since December, I have been doing lots of inspirational reading and watching, and I really want to tell you about it.

In particular, I want to tell you about the amazing ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ by Barbara Kingsolver.  I strongly urge all of you to read this book.  Seriously.  It follows a year in the food life of the author and her family, as they pledge to eat only foods from their local area.  If they can’t grow it or find it locally, they learn to live without it.  As well as being wonderfully heartfelt and entertaining, it is also well-researched and thought-provoking.  Kingsolver intersperses anecdotal tales of life on the homestead with information about the greed, corruption, chemicals and lack of care in the global food industry that really will terrify you.  We all need to read this book, and learn from its message of getting back in touch with the land, and feeding ourselves with seasonal, local, organic vegetables.  We need to change our perception of organic produce as a luxury commodity, and instead see it as a necessity for our health and the health of the land we live in.  You can get organic, locally-grown produce very easily regardless of where you are, and it need not cost more than the money we already spend getting imported, nutritionally barren fruit and veggies from the supermarket.

Read me!

Anyway, I don’t want to get too preachy.  Indeed I am in no position to do so anyway since I have yet to start purchasing organic and local (yet another thing on the list of ‘things to do once I get to America’).  But this is something I am coming to feel very strongly about, and I believe that for our own health, if nothing else, more of us should feel the same.  To hear a more eloquent voice on the subject, *please* read the book.  It will change your life.

Okay folks, that’s it for now.  In the future I must remember to write more frequent mini-posts of things as they come up rather than monthly epic sessions such as this one.  Also, must take more pictures.  I’m leaving Korea this weekend, so see you on the other side!

Happy crunching.

PS:  Read the book!


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Christmas knitting

So, now that everyone has opened their gifts (somewhat early, in Adam’s case), I can reveal what has been occupying most of my sitting-down time for the last 3 months and caused me to be that weird woman at parties who is knitting in the corner.

First of all, I give you… the stockings!

There they are!

I made fourteen in total, at a rate of about one each week. Eight for Adam’s family, and four for my brother and his family. Then, just when I thought I was finished, a friend here on Jeju asked me to make two more, so of course I was more than happy to oblige. In another classic Helen move, I mis-counted when I ordered the yarn, so I didn’t have enough left for my own! I will make one before next year when it can join the other Mathews’ stockings on the mantle. (^_^)

Here they all are, thrown in a big pile on the floor (my phone provided for scale, these things are huge!)

So much knitting!

Each stocking has the recipient’s name on it, plus a nice snowflake motif. I went with red for the girls and green for the boys, so there is some uniformity without them all being the same. This was the first time I’ve knit with double-pointed needles, and my first sock, so it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about the construction of socks. For the knitters among you, the pattern can be found here.

So that was a big project. But not only have I been knitting stockings like there’s no tomorrow, I have also made my first foray into garments with Adam’s Dude sweater.

I finished it!!

A few months ago when first really getting into the swing of things with knitting, I made the mistake of asking Adam if he wanted anything, and let him browse the patterns on Ravelry with me. He spotted an amazing pattern for this sweater from The Big Lebowski, and of course had to have it. I was slightly terrified intimidated by the prospect of this being my first piece of clothing, but I thought I’d give it my best shot. So I ordered the yarn and got started. The yarn, by the way, is just heaven. Pure, undyed Peruvian highland wool from Cascade yarns. It arrived still smelling of sheep. So, I got stuck into this project at the same time as making the stockings, and, OH WAS IT FUN! It was so rewarding watching the beautiful patterns emerge, see all the pieces of the sweater take shape, and finally actually wear it. It wasn’t too hard to execute and didn’t take as long as I thought it would (I thought finishing it by Christmas was a long shot but it turns out I had plenty of time). I sent The Dude off to Adam in early December along with all the stockings for his family, and he couldn’t wait more than a few days to open it, so here he is wearing it. Hopefully a more complete picture will follow soon (hint!)

The Dude abides.

He seems to be pretty smitten with it, so I’m pleased. There are one or two changes I want to make when I get to see him and it in the spring, but otherwise I’m thrilled.

Of course, this is not the only knitting that I’ve been up to, oh no! I’ve also made a couple of smaller presents for my most wonderful friends, M-J and Lorna, although M-J is exercising discipline and not opening hers until Christmas so no photos of that yet. For Lorna, I made some fingerless gloves with some beautiful yarn I found. I also made myself a pair. (^_^)b

In non-knitting based Christmas DIY, I also made cards for everyone, as usual, and some seriously tasty mince pies. Alas these all got posted / eaten before I thought to take pictures, my blogging instincts clearly need some work.

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