I am so glad the CSA season is finally here. I tend to be a more adventurous cook when every week I bring home a box of unknown ingredients and need to fit a menu around them. Not to mention I eat lots more healthy stuff than during the carb-loading winter months, when all I crave is comfort food.

This week among the bounty was a head of cabbage. Now I’m not much of a cabbage eater; the obvious dish is cole slaw, which has never much appealed to me. But in digging through blogland I came across a recipe that looked to be worth trying. So good! Not a creamy-type cole slaw; really a cabbage salad with tomatoes, peanuts and a lime-olive dressing. We grilled up a couple of burgers and mounded the salad on the side. So tasty. I might learn to enjoy cabbage yet. Later this week: rustic cabbage soup.



graffitiDid I miss the day in Sunday school where we learned that graffiti is OK as long as it’s Biblical?

In the Groove

Before the arrival of baby G, I would now and then have what I called my “domestic diva” days. Days when fresh bread got made, knitting projects were finished, and the list of household tasks got noticeably smaller. I hadn’t really had one since, until Sunday.

Fresh bread got made:


(this is a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; I can’t say enough about how much I love this book! This is the only way I can manage fresh bread with the baby.)

I finished spinning and washing some yarn:


This is from Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm; it’s a delicious cormo/mohair mix. I think I want to dye it but I’m not sure yet.

The boy and I took a nice walk down to river, where we saw this:


Only two this week. Last week there were six!

And asparagus risotto for dinner, with the asparagus from our first CSA box of the season.

asparagus risotto

There was strawberry-rhubarb crunch too, with the fruit from the CSA, but we ate it all before I could get a picture.

It felt really good to have a day like that. It raised my ambitions for this weekend.

And away we go!

I am headed off to Yarn School! Mr Pepper and I are leaving just as soon as I get my rear end moving and finish packing. Pictures and I’m sure much excited gushing to follow in the next few days.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out!

The Sweater That Will Not End

Saw this sample hanging in a booth at Stitches Midwest last summer. Circled the booth four times before I finally ventured in to touch it. I was starstruck from the moment I laid eyes on it. Perfect project for me — glorious pumpkin orange color, tiny allover baby cables, not too dressy, body-conscious but not too tight. I bought the kit and was more excited about starting this sweater than any project I’ve ever started.

Should have known there would be trouble.

I cast on about two months later (made myself finish a lesser-loved project first). That was October. Here it is just a couple weeks later. The neck and yoke went so quickly.

But then it stalled out. This sweater will. Not. End. I took it on a trip the end of November and really felt like I was making progress. But when I got back, I had to put it on hold for my variety of holiday projects with their absolute deadline. Once Christmas was over, I noticed a hole about six inches back. A hole. I put the (by-now) damn thing away for a few more weeks while I mulled over what to do. I ended up ripping back just those stitches where I thought the problem was. No dice. I ripped back a couple more. I did manage to fix the hole, but when I started working the stitches back up I had way more yarn in each row than I could ever satisfactorily hide.

So rip I did. All six inches of tiny baby cables. And I’ve been reknitting ever since. The first picture was taken on November 3. This was taken this morning:
Sally sweater

Still no sleeves, still haven’t finished the body. Sigh. It’s a good thing I started out loving this pattern so very much, else I would not even be able to look at it by now.


Still recovering from my weekend in New York. Took along the sweater that will not end (more on that shortly) but didn’t get much done other than on the plane there — once I hit the ground I was running and didn’t stop until I collapsed in a heap on my own couch three and a half days later.

I did wrangle some shopping time on Saturday. Picked up this:

School House yarn

at School House Yarns, an odd, slightly musty shop in an incongruous office building parked in a strange patch of Manhattan. But oh, the deal. A pound and a quarter of Italian merino-cashmere blend for under $50.

Then following Broadway downtown, stumbled on the Union Square Greenmarket. We haven’t had the faintest whisper of spring yet in Chicago, so just the presence of a farmers’ market, let alone one with *flower* booths, was almost too much to bear. And then this:

Union Square booth

I practiced a little self-restraint and didn’t buy anything, though I did reading the tags with the different natural dyes (onion skins, cochineal, indigo, etc.). I did also schlep over to Purl Soho, just to check it out, and was pretty disappointed. It was the size of a large closet, and packed. Not one for crowds, I couldn’t force myself far enough into the shop to see much. Price of Manhattan real estate I suppose.

Yarn octopus

Yarn octopus

Originally uploaded by lindypepper

There is a cultlike devotion in certain knitting circles to making socks. I really, really want to like knitting socks. I do. I’m a practical girl, and there is just about nothing more practical than a pair of socks. Small, portable, useful, there’s nothing about the *idea* of socks I don’t like.

But up to now, I just haven’t enjoyed it very much. I can never get them to match. Either my gauge is different, or my repeats are off. And I have terrible second sock syndrome. I get to the end of the first sock, admire it, and then sigh and say “Do I really have to do this all over again?”

In my quest to find myself a little sock magic, I bought a copy of Melissa Morgan-Oakes’ “Two at a Time Socks.” Love the concept, and am looking forward to trying out some of the patterns. But I’m feeling fairly inadequate in my first attempts — oh, the tangling! I can’t seem to get a rhythm going and it just feels like loops and needles and yarn everywhere. I’m hanging in there and hoping for the best…