Impasse

I found myself at a stalling point as I’ve been overthinking how to knit the lace border for my Nurmilintu (Little Bird Lullaby) shawl. Finally I have a plan.

Nurmilintu (Little Bird Lullaby) shawl

In the grand scheme of things, the way I finish a shawl is of infinitesimal importance, so I decided to just get on and finish it, one way or another (remember, “the cult of done”). I allow myself one more week to get this done, which should be more than enough. Not sure whether I’ll block it or when, as I don’t have a suitably large mat for it.

The original yarn, the fabulous Dragonfly shade of Dazzle by The Natural Dye Studio, is surely not enough to complete the three repeats in the lace section and that wool is sadly no longer produced. Shame because:

“Dazzle is an unbelievably soft wool, with an amazing sheen and really is “the Best of British”! This gorgeous yarn comes from pedigree British Blue faced Leicester sheep which is spun and then dyed by us here in the UK.”

One option would have been to use another yarn in three similar shades, but they are quite less intense and the texture is more sheepy, so they might not work well together. You can see the details in this post. What do you think?

Another option was to knit a different border.

Finally, I decided to call it a day: proceed with the original border, using the original yarn by making only one repeat in the section. Hopefully I will just have enough and I’ve not just put myself into more trouble! Living dangerously.

So finished object #2 is going to be the Nurmilintu shawl. Hold me accountable.

Leg warmers

On the background I’ve been working on a pair of leg warmers, perfect for the cold season and working from home: more layering, warmer, less heating used. I’m currently using some leg warmers I knit ages ago, but it’ll be nice to have another pair.

I just realised I never blogged them when finished.. these are the old ones:

and these are the new in-the-making ones:

While ago I made knee warmers for my elder father in alpaca yarn. The yarn is really warm, soft and nice, but it has very little “memory” (it will not bounce back as alpaca has little elastic properties), ending up not staying properly in place. I just had the idea to repurpose them as leg warmers too!

It’s nice to have woolly, own-made accessories to keep warm – a relatively green option to reduce heating costs.

“relatively green” because it depends on the materials used (natural wool vs synthetic yarn), their sourcing (local vs produced across the globe with huge mileage footprint) and producing techniques (more or less environmentally friendly).

I often buy vintage wool yarn (you can find plenty of unused vintage yarn on sale), so the yarn is from already used resources rather than using up new resources. Or vintage fabrics. Do you use vintage or upcycled supplies? What projects you made with them?

Today’s the day

Finished object #1

One down, let me present the next in line – you might remember from old posts: Little Bird Lullaby (the pattern is Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander). 

I want it done before this month moves on. It only misses the border, which is where I stalled because I wanted to make a different one from the pattern.

I’m not into lacy, pointy edges and found some more-me alternatives in one of the many knitting books in my library: The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey. I want a knitted border, not too frilly but with a nice motif, perhaps something like a leaf or so (I love plants), that can be knitted on without sewing and follows the skewed shape of the shawl. Easy, she said.

Knitting projects

I made some progress on my In Stillness jumper as I was away. It got to a halt when the right DPNS were not available and an order has been placed for them; once I get the needles I’ll proceed with the sleeves. I really like the fabric and the colours. Because my gauge was completely off, I did some wild adjustments (read: guesswork) to make the yarn and the sizing work. So far it seems to have worked well… but let’s not challenge the Knitting Goddesses.

Given the cold weather and the hours spent watching programs from the sofa, I had the longing for a warmer blanket… so I casted one on with some vintage pure wool yarn, of which I had a sizeable quantity. This is the free pattern Pauli by Loona Knits. It’s in German (or Russian if you prefer!) but I can read it and also includes an easy chart. The result is pretty but the stitches are really basic – knit and purl. Here are my project notes.

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Original photo from Pauli by Loona Knits pattern.

I cast on almost double the stitches as in the original pattern to have a double-sized blanket. I just hope it’s not too large and the yarn will be enough! I know, I know… swatches… nope

SIP: Sofa in progress

Contrary to common sense, I decided to add yet another expenditure to the pile and have the sofa base professionally done by a local carpenter.

Preview of the sofa base: top element resting on the leg

I like old furniture, especially those in the early 19th or 18th century. Clearly, one such would not be affordable, unless in a pitiful state (if that even!), so having one made in old style is the closest I can get to it.

I hope it turns out nice 🙂 More pictures to follow.

Section of the top element

Have a lovely and peaceful weekend!

Healthy Brownies recipe (flour and yeast free)

In a recent post I showed some “alternative” brownies I made as a slightly healthier variant to enjoy in these stay-indoor, low-exercise days.

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Here’s the recipe, in case you might want to try.

These are not as sweet as the store-bought ones, so you might want to adjust sweetness to suit your taste. Keep sugar quantity to a minimum for a healthier version.

It could be adapted for vegans by replacing eggs and chocolate with vegan alternatives 🙂

Makes 4 small browny loaves (like the ones in the picture)

INGREDIENTS:

> Quantities are slightly approximate as I improvised <

250g Aduki beans (Japanese red beans*)
3 eggs
50g coconut butter
100g cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate
50g sugar
1 pinch of sea salt (enhances the sweetness)

STEPS:

Prepare 4 small baking trays (each about 12 by 22 cm, 4.5 by 8.5 inches, or so) – they don’t need to be very deep, but at least 5 cm, 2 inches.

Line them with baking paper to prevent sticking. 

Cook the aduki beans in water for a long time (approximately 2 hours) until they’re well cooked and soft.

Drain them of water and let them cool down.

Preheat your oven at about 180 degree Celsius, with top and bottom heating. 

Mash them with the blender until they have a soft paste consistency and the skins are no more detectable.

The consistency should be soft but not too watery (slightly runny but not much).

Add the coconut butter and whisk, then the cocoa powder, sugar and salt, while continuing to whisk. Finally add the eggs.

When done, mix in small chunks of the dark chocolate (about half of the choc bar).

The mix is now ready to go in the lined baking trays. Distribute evenly across the trays.

Shake gently to allow the mix to settle. Spread some choc chips on top. The mix should be about 1/2 inch (1 to 1 1/2 cm) deep.

Bake in the oven until the mix is dry but not very dry (it shouldn’t be as dry as biscuits or cake, but rather still retain a somewhat spongey texture).

The baking time might vary slightly from oven to oven, for me it took approximately one hour. I checked them from time to time to assess the cooking stage. 

When cooked, let them slowly cool down.

Then cut into slices or tiles and serve. 

~ ~ ~

These can keep for some days – I stored them in the fridge, but a cool and dry area might work as well. 

If you make them, let me know how this worked for you.. hope you enjoy them!

* Aduki beans (aka as adzuki or azuki) are Japanese red beans, see https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/aduki-bean. I got these ones through Amazon (no paid link)