Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Answers, in no particular order

I have probably the worst track record in the Blog-O-Sphere for answering questions in the comments. I told myself I was going to be better about that. And then I promptly wasn’t.

And now, I’m just randomly answering all the ones I remember. How awesome is that?

So, item number one: The blue baby sweater. The pattern is, delightfully, a free one. Buttery Soft Baby Set, courtesy of Lion Brand yarns.

To answer another question, well. Normally, yes, I’d block the pieces before I seamed them. The main reason I didn’t bother with that on this one is that I’m using ac…(c’mon, girl, you can say it…deep breath…) acrylic yarn.

(Blech…ack…yuck…hang on, I have to go brush my teeth now…)

OK, so, silliness aside: The reason I’m using acrylic is because I’m doing this knitting for one of the charities my knitting group, Knitting 4 Children, supports. This group has been all but dead for a couple years, but lo!, in the last month or so it has sprung alive with a vengeance.

Which has been wonderful, frankly. I’ve had a bunch of little sweaters all done except for running in seams and adding buttons for a long, long time now. Meant to, was gonna, etc. etc. etc., but just never actually did it.

But after having been prodded, I spent some good quality time over the holidays watching anime, drinking hot beverages and finishing some things up. And then I cast this little sweater on during our knit-a-thon a couple weeks ago, honoring the group’s founder – alas, no longer with us (although I’m pretty sure she’s watching from her spot with the angels, and approving the sudden rebirth of her group).

But to return to the point, it is fairly common when you’re knitting for charities that cater to newborns, especially preemies, for them to request / require no animal fibers. And occasionally, they will even request no cotton, either. The reason is simple: A lot of their tiny clients have extreme health issues…the last thing anybody needs is to find out that this poor little thing, already struggling to keep breathing, is allergic to wool and has allergy-related asthma. Or breaks out in hives all over their precious little head or something.

Also, acrylic can hold up to rough handling – like, say, going through sanitizing-strength washing, and/or a harried mother with forty things jumping up and down on her last nerve, who may be driven to tears by instructions to “hand wash, lay flat to dry.” (Ask me how I know about that part. Ahhhhh-hem.)

So – this and many of the other baby articles to follow will be made with acrylic, or cotton. Both of which I have in ample supply, although the cotton is mostly natural / white and will require some dyeing before I’ll be ready to use it. Oh, DARN the luck.

(Yeah, again, as the mother of four children…I don’t really like WHITE articles of clothing or blankets. I mean, they’re sweet and all for that newborn, and who doesn’t love a lacy, pure-as-the-driven-snow-white blanket for those early pictures or baptism or what-have-you…but on a day-to-day basis? Yeah. Just sets you up to feel like a bad parent because ohmygah, this thing is stained / dingy / otherwise no-longer-WHITE-white. Because even tiny babies have a way of instantly covering everything they come in contact with in sticky / yucky / weird-colored blech, somehow.)

Completely unrelated but randomly coming back to mind for no apparent reason (from, like, last summer) – dried zucchini.

Racks of zucchini

This really is one of the simplest food preservation deals out there.

  1. Wash produce
  2. Peel if desired
  3. Slice or dice as desired
  4. Spread evenly on trays – not touching will speed things up tremendously
  5. Dry until done, which can be determined either by The Touch-And-Yeah-Feels-Pretty-Dry-To-Me test (unreliable and potentially dangerous) or, By using a fancy table of various fruits and vegetables showing how much of their weight is water. Requires that you weigh before you begin and then requires a little math to figure out how close you’ve gotten to that 80-95% weight loss (!!!)…but is a much more reliable way to know it isn’t likely to mold on you, even though you stored it 100% right (you’re pretty sure, anyway)

And then, you can use them in a variety of ways. The slices in the picture I actually drenched in some vinaigrette first, and we ate them like potato chips. Untreated slices can be eaten like very chewy chips, and they and larger dices work well in soups (especially pureed ones – the texture won’t be anything like the original vegetable, but the flavor is usually good enough that you aren’t playing the “is that a chunk of potato, or zucchini?” game)…smaller dices can be tossed into a salad as-is, or rehydrated first with boiling water.

And this was never a question, but should have been. Holiday cherry recipe from the book Canning for a New Generation.

Holiday cherries

Ohmygah…fabulous. They’ve had a good long time for the spice flavors to deepen, and just wow. Insanely good. So are the honey-ginger apricots. This book is a real keeper, if only for adding some unusual twists to the usual suspects.

I think that’s all the most pressing random items for today.

I think.

Wait. I think thinking is what gets me into these messes in the first place.

Never mind. That’s it. Good night, and may your God go with you.

1 comment:

Colleen Mole said...

Darn that hubby of mine for not letting me buy a food dehydrator when I saw one for 10 bucks at Goodwill! (Just because we live in a studio apt and have 1 sq ft of counter space!)