Saturday, 9 November 2013

Knitting Frustrations and Fancy Corn

Well, here we are, three weeks since my last post. It has been really hectic, but for the life of me I can't really think why - I haven't gotten a lot done.
Desiree (the neighbour who's garden I sporadically tend to - when it gets out of hand for her) decided she didn't want the lime tree that was in her garden. I noticed it sitting there behind the fig tree she planted, and asked if she wanted it moved, which is when she said she didn't want it and asked if I wanted it. Oooo! Not going to turn that down! So spent and hour or so digging out a 3ft lime tree and lugging it across the road home. The only place I had to put it was in the driveway/kitchen garden between the kitchen window and the lounge window. Which of course was EXACTLY where my much prized 4yr old heirloom variety marjoram plant was. So I had to dig that out, and moved it into the front garden. I really hope I didn't kill it as I haven't come across another one like it anywhere! So now I have a very sad looking marjoram in the front garden, and an even sadder looking lime tree with wilted tips and dropping leaves in the kitchen garden. The lime tree will make a comeback (hopefully), but I will lose all this year's blossoms and tiny fruits that were on it. However next year should be great for it.

I went into town early last week looking for yarn to crochet a gorgeous Victorian style ruffled neckwarmer that I bought the pattern for a while back. Spotlight was having a sale, and I picked up several balls of the most scrumptious variegated Moda Vera "Tarantino". It is normally priced at $11.95 a ball but was down to $4.00 a ball, and with my Spotlight card it was reduced even further to $2.60 a ball. I was totally thrilled at my little haul. Immediately upon getting home I dug out my crochet hook and got started - which is when I realised crocheting this wonderful knobbly kinky yarn was going to be impossible. The type of yarn it was meant you just couldn't distinguish the loops or yarn from the knobbly kinky bits that made up the yarn.
Not to be deterred, I spent the next few hours trolling the internet looking for a suitable knitting pattern for the yarn, that used a knitting needle size that I actually had. Invariably most of the patterns called for needles in sizes I didn't have, and I wasn't about to walk the several miles back up town (and back home again) a second time just to get some needles (which I didn't have the money for anyway). Finally I found a cute little basic Victorian neckwarmer pattern as a free pattern. I dug out my one and only set of size 9 needles - a vintage pair from my grandmother's collection. A few evenings of knitting, and I was getting close to the end. However all the increases meant the rather short needles were getting very cramped, but I was determined to get those last few rows out. Unfortunately old plastic needles aren't that robust and one of them snapped into four pieces as I was trying to push the stitches down to make room. Arrrrrggghhh! Only three rows to go!
Well, only one thing to do. Spend an inordinate amount of time transferring around 260-odd stitches onto a smaller needle (to get them off the proper size needle I now needed, to be able to knit the right size stiches with), then transferring them all again to another needle, because after the first transfer the knitting end was at the wrong end of the needle. And no, I didn't have a circular needle which would have solved that problem. Now I could knit that row with the proper size needle. One row down, two more to go. Sigh.
Finally, I finished, and I really like the neckwarmer. It is a lovely little pattern. By this time the next payday had arrived, so I bought some nice hand crafted wooden knitting needles (which are actually cheaper than the crappy plastic ones available in the local shops) from an online trader whom I have bought from before, and when they arrive I will knit a cowl/snood to go with the neckwarmer.

On the garden front, everything is going insanely well. I am already snacking on the odd strawberry during my morning rounds. The blueberries - which normally don't come ripe 'til January for one variety and March for the other, are already plump, and both will be ripe by December. The tomatoes and tamatillos have been flowering madly for several weeks - two months early, the zucchinis are already producing their first zucchinis (they were only 3 leaves big last year at this time), and the pumpkins are also flowering (didn't even have plants up yet this time last year).
My most exciting garden thing though, was the arrival of my heirloom variety corn seeds from Koanga this morning. The three varieties I will be growing this year are Blue Hopi, Blue Aztec, and Bloody Butcher - all varieties originally grown by the Native Americans. The Blue Hopi and Bloody Butcher are flint corns, grown for drying and grinding into flour. I am looking forward to making blue and red tortilla to serve with my homemade chilli. The Blue Aztec is a dual purpose corn, grown for eating when the cobs are younger, and also for drying and grinding when they are older.

Blue Hopi

Blue Aztec
Bloody Butcher

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