Autumn Projects

Mine are piling up. I have the need to make, travel, capture images. I yearn to visit cities and their galleries, to go to the coast. But heat and humidity have me in their grasp and I must wait for cooler days.

I am completing a small cowl made from Dales hand dyed and spun mohair from well-looked after goats. The yarn is curly and I have to proceed with great care so as not to add extra loops on the needles. It’s dyed in soft oranges, browns and blues, occasionally bursting in to jewel hues. I’ve not worked with this type of mohair before, it’s corse and wiry. I am not sure how comfortable it will be to wear but it will be nice and warm.

Looked-after goats and sheep is a vital aspect of making with yarn for me now. I try where I can to care about the wool I use. We have a good number of healthy yarn providers in the UK, many work from stock raised here or sustainable Fair Trade areas around the world. The history of wool and the industrial revolution of Yorkshire makes me feel that we should be considerate of the past, although I appreciate that the true cost of healthy yarn isn’t always possible every time or for everyone, but we can work towards this. I certainly don’t want people to stop making.

Along with knitting, there is sewing to do. I may tackle recovering the sofa.  I have done this over the years, having been taught by experienced people working in upholstery. You have to be both generous and brave when going for something big. Don’t be miserly with fabric! I am looking for a soft green velvet-look like this:

sofa

Aside from knitting, this weekend’s for meditation and yoga for cronkies! The autumn calendar locally is looking good, but everything seems to be happening all on one evening – tai chi, zen meditation, singing. Programming…

Looking forward to September and the goodies I hope it will bring. Time for the heatwave to go away.

Coffee Talk

Today

Library books and dvd gotten, order for others placed – I joined a new library today. Pens, oranges and coffee bought. I was rather chuffed to see Whittards was still in the centre of Leeds (a favourite of mine back in the 20th century) but somewhat perplexed by their descriptions of coffee beans – lemon and cacao, or blueberry heaven with a cherry on top and so on. So often I don’t know whether I’m in a baker’s, Lush or a cafe! The person behind the counter spoke quickly in a whispering voice – not helpful with the din of a grinding machine in the background. He looked at me in that what do you know about coffee way. I looked at him in that how come you don’t know your Brazilian from your Continental. Show me the beans I said. I need to see them and smell them.
Yes those I said. How much he asked. Go for it I said, I won’t be getting any more for a year oh and I want them ground extra fine for Turkish/Greek coffee, can you do that? That’s finer than fine. Fine enough to powder my face with. So he got on with the job, took my details, struggled to spell my email address and name. I gave him my business card :p Then he asked me: what kind of machinery do you use to make Turkish coffee? <cue Oliver Hardy stare at the camera from me>. I replied in my best non-patronising manner: a coffee pot with a long handle that goes on the hob/stove top. A small non-stick saucepan would do. He looked a little taken aback. Bless…. #coffeetalk

Karen Eland

 

Late autumn weekend soup

It has taken me many years to get used to chunky vegetables in water! I used to prefer finely diced, whizzed up, cooked to a pulp. I can now eat carrots that have been cut in the round and enjoy them. Here’s a simple, hearty vegetable soup for a day like to day – icy, touch of snow, rather cold outside. Serve with a delicious herby homemade focaccia, warm out of the oven.

After a quick dash to the local market in the northerly wind – we have two veg stalls on a Friday and one on a Saturday – I came back with the following ingredients:

Turnip, leek, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower.

How much soup you want to make and what amount of veg you add, is up to you.

I add to the veg, some frozen spinach, dark green lentils.

Then a touch of olive oil, half a stock cube, herbs de provence, 1 bay leaf, pepper. I don’t put in salt – it’s a forbidden ingredient now. Water, of course.

Put it all in a large pan at the same time, bring to the boil then simmer. Stir occasionally  The lentils will take the longest to cook through, but they are worth the wait. In the meantime the focaccia is baking in the oven.

I think I’ll put together a sweet apple and walnut pita too. The rest of the day is for chores, geometric design, assignment writing and reading.

Matisse.