Episode 190

This episode includes three completed knitting projects, a lettlopi sweater in progress, a review of Addi’s Flexi Flip needles, and the details of how I’ve been making water kefir.

February is National Embroidery Month.  I’ll be stitching my first cross stitch project in celebration.  It’s slow going for sure, and I’m relying on my drugstore magnifiers and my Ott light with magnification lens.  The book I’m using is Feminist Icon Cross-stitch by Anna Fleiss. I use #embroidermore on social media to tag all of my embroidery projects so that you can follow along.

The Back Porch

This month, I’ve been knitting an array of designs by Caitlyn Hunter, all in Blacker yarns.  Finally, I have knitted items for head, hands and neck to form a matching set.  Well, nearly matching.  I love all three of these projects and I know they will wear well and keep me warm.

The Front Porch

My next project is Humulus, a top-down, colorwork yoke design by Isabelle Kraemer.  I’m using some deep stash lettlopi with added contrast color from The Woolly Thistle that arrived in no time at all. Instead of swatching, I just followed the directions for cast-on and yoke and so far, I’m satisfied with the results and eager to start the beautiful intertwined hops design.

Chin Waggin’

Pictured is a design project in progress knit entirely on US 0 Flexi Flip needles from Addi. I purchased mine from Island Wools in Washington.  I was very pleased to be able to begin my sock project on these needles, which accommodate Ysolda Teague’s tubular cast on method very comfortably.  I find the cable’s flexibility and the pointy and blunt tips helpful features, and I like the sturdy storage tube.  Flexi Flips are easy to knit with, and all stitches stay on the needles during storage and  intense jostling inside my project bag–no needle minder required.  I wish the joins from cable to needle were smoother and I would like the pointy tips to be pointier.  If you are a sock knitter who likes to try the newest thing, I would encourage you to seek out these needles. If you use magic loop to knit socks because dpns frustrate you, these needles may be a good compromise between the two methods.  If you are very attached to pointy tips on your dpns, you will likely be disappointed with these needles.

Ever-expanding Skill Set

I’ve been making water kefir and enjoying the probiotic properties and effervescence of this product. Pictured above is kefir being flavored with fresh blueberries after about 36 hours of a second fermentation on my countertop.  I prefer to do my initial fermentation without flavoring ingredients.  I harvest the kefir and then do a second fermentation on my countertop.  Rubberized lids are very useful for this process because they let gasses escape.  I ordered my kefir grains from Cultures for Health and so far I’m very pleased with their quality; they have nearly doubled in quantity after initial activation and 5-6 batches of kefir.  I’m now doing my fermentation in a 2-quart mason jar.

Though I ran out of time to talk about it on this episode, I made kimchi pancakes and served them with a tangy dipping sauce.  The recipe I consulted is an old one from Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist video series.  My pancakes included some modifications: I used half garbanzo bean flour and half kamut flour.  I created a very thin batter and let it sit on the counter for 1 hour, but I did add and egg and continued thinning with water.  After pouring batter into the skillet and allowing it to set, I added a generous amount of chopped kimchi before flipping the pancake.  These are light and delicious and a great entry-point for those who might be skittish about kimchi or folks who are looking for something to do with kimchi other than use it as a garnish or side dish.

Gratitude Journal 

Thank you for all of your well-wishes, kind notes, and beautiful gifts.  Friends in the fiber community are really helping to ease the challenges I’ve been facing over the past few weeks.  Samuel has commented many times about how fortunate I am to have positive energy coming at me from just about every direction.  You are keeping a smile on my face and reminding me to count all the good things.