Sunday, December 11, 2016

Snowy Days, Cottage Pie, and Mr. Bond

Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife. -- Jonathan Schattke, scientist
Well, would ya look at that.

We've lived on Vancouver Island for just over three years, and this is the first year that we've had an actual dump of snow. I hoped it wouldn't come. I find it really inconvenient and awkward when it snows here, mainly because it's that wet, heavy, slippery, icy, can't-get-out-of-the-parking space kind of snow that shifts and melts and turns the sidewalk into a skating rink

That's the long way of me saying that I hate it when it snows here.

That aside, I suppose it's good weather for playing in the kitchen. I made a "cottage pie" today. I put that in quotes because there's no actual beef in it, and I substituted sweet potato for the mashed potato. I used some textured soy protein to replace the beef, and used a recipe for miso gravy to give it some flavour. It would be vegetarian if it wasn't for the beef broth I added, and it would be vegan if it wasn't for the milk and butter I added to the mash. I am neither vegetarian nor vegan, but I find it a very convenient way to eat foods low in fat, high in fibre, and with a decent amount of protein. I think I added too much liquid because it ended up bubbling through the mashed potatoes:

But for all that, it went into the oven looking good and came out of the oven tasting great, so that, as they say, is all that matters:

In the meantime, I've been trying to find something to make with a skein of Fleece Artist that I was trying to make into a top in my last post. I thought it was going alright, but I picked up the project one day and just couldn't make myself like it. I think the colours contrast too much with each other to make a wearable garment... at least a garment I want to wear. No matter what I did, I was going to end up with distracting splotches. So, with a big sigh, I ripped it all out and decided to try Elizabeth Zimmermann's Ten Stitch Blanket, which is a pattern which starts out with a square that is ten stitches wide, and then spirals on itself around and around until you get to the size you want...

...except, somewhere along the way, ten stitches turned into thirteen. I'm not sure how that happened, but at least I have not added any more random stitches for the last few turns. I keep thinking that I might still be able to make this into a garment at some point, but if it ends up being a blanket, I would not be unhappy about that result at all:

I would have made it much farther with that project if it weren't for our company Christmas party, which took place on Friday evening. It had a James Bond theme, and last Sunday evening, I opened my closet and pulled out a dress that I thought I'd never have the guts to wear: a black, form fitting dress with a slit up the leg and a low back. A very Bond girl dress, and this was the only opportunity I could ever see myself wearing it. The thing was, I wasn't very comfortable with having so much of my back exposed, especially with the pending snow in the forecast, so I decided that a drapey scarf would be just the thing. I cast on for Sachiko Uemura's scarf pattern, A Different Breeze on Monday evening. I knit like a mad person all week, and by Thursday night, I soaked the finished product and gave it some light blocking:

And it was exactly what I wanted. I would have modeled it with the actual dress, but it took way more engineering to get that dress on than I cared to repeat. Suffice it to say that it draped nicely across my throat:

And reached all the way to the small of my back:

To speed up the knitting, as well as to force it to lie flat against my throat, I substituted the lace stitches for plain knit stitches, and retained the twisted ones in the pattern to give it some texture:

The sad thing is that it was so chilly in the hall that I ended up wearing a wrap nearly the entire time, but at least the vision was realized... if but for a short time. I feel pretty proud of myself for being able to whip up such a nice accessory for myself in such a short period of time. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

I have just over one week of work before I take a break for the holidays. I am so looking forward to some time with my family, and then to some time to myself, not to mention the scads of knitting time that I'm craving so much. I have 1000 metres to work through for that blanket. I'm just hoping I don't get too bored with it in the meantime. And I feel a bit sorry for my blog readers, because that might be the only project I have to report on for a while. Sorry, y'all. I'll try to jazz it up for you with some baking photos or something...

Now that's a pretty good promise! It's a good thing I like  cake  cookies  you guys enough to  go eat all the cookies  slave away in the kitchen. I shall endeavour to find some interesting baking recipe the sake of your entertainment. It shall view it as yet another necessity... a duty... a service to my faithful blog friends...

Onwards I march to the kitchen. Have a good week.

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