Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sunshine and Garden Books

We broke our previously set record for low temperatures this week. Yesterday as I was out walking the dog in the morning, it was 17 degrees and that cold wind off the Fraser River was blowing. Reports said the wind chill made it feel near zero. I was out there, I believe it. The sun is not shining here. Today it snowed - again, and I've been ill with a persistently stuffy cold all week.

I would like to spend my days out in my garden working the soil and planting seeds - in the sunshine. But I can't when it's this cold outside and the ground is covered with snow. So instead, I made my way to the library and stocked up on gardening books. I walked out with a stack - "Talking Dirt - the Dirt Diva's Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening", "Incredible Edibles - 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City", "The Beginner's Guide to Edible Herbs - 26 Herbs Everyone Should Grow & Enjoy", "Grow Great Grub - Organic Food from Small Spaces" and "Sugar Snaps and Strawberries - Simple Solutions for Creating a Small-Space Edible Garden". The books are great and so full of inspiration. They contain wonderful photos and absolutely mouth-watering recipes - well, except for "Talking Dirt".I like a how-to-garden type of book to be full of new information and inspiration. I've been hanging out in gardens since I was a young child. I know quite a bit about gardening. I could write my own book on gardening actually, so a gardening book has got to hold my interest. It's got to be exciting for me and if it's about growing stuff, I want to see some nice color photographs of stuff growing.

To me, "Talking Dirt", a catchy title for sure, seemed to have too many words. The print seemed too small as did the pages. I kept trying to read it, but it seemed all I liked about it was the title. Several times I picked the book up and tried to get into it. Each time, I found myself putting it back down. I found it to be rather dull and boring. It contains illustrations rather than photos, and I must admit, even the illustrations bored me. (So sorry Annie Spiegelman, author, and Maggie Agro, illustrator. Your bios sound great, but your book just isn't for me.)Since I wanted to knit myself a new scarf for Spring, after stopping at the library, I headed to the yarn shop. I'm tired of wearing wool scarves, tired of winter actually, so picked out some Lion Brand Recycled Cotton. What I love about this yarn is that it's made from cotton fabric scraps that would have otherwise been discarded as waste when fabric was cut to produce tee-shirts. I like that where the other similar brands of recycled yarns stocked by the yarn store in which I shop are made in either Turkey or China, these Lion Brand recycled yarns are made in the USA and finished in Canada. The Lion Brand recycled yarn is really a pleasure to work with. The spun cotton fibers are soft, yet not so soft that the knitted piece lacks a good drape.

"Sunshine" is the color I selected, and most appropriate I felt for a scarf to be made during such cold and snowy days. I wanted it to be a casual scarf, an infinity scarf, one continuous loop, something like this - Double Loop Infinity Scarf at Bloomingdales - only a bit longer and in cotton for a chic look with tee-shirts and jeans. Here's the super simple pattern I designed for my new scarf:

Sunshine Infinity Scarf
Materials: 2 skeins Lion Brand Recycled Cotton - Sunshine
Bamboo Knitting Needles - US Size 6
Yarn Needle
Instructions: Cast on 25 Stitches.
Knit rows of garter stitch until both skeins have been used up.
Your knitted piece should measure approximately 5" by 72".
Finishing: With yarn needle, sew narrow ends of scarf together to form one continuous loop. Your infinity scarf is now finished and ready to wear.
How easy was that?
Meanwhile, I can hardly wait to put some of the new ideas I gleaned from my stack of library books to practice in my garden, and I certainly look forward to trying some new dishes this summer inspired by the recipes I drooled over in those books. I'm sure, too, that I'll actually get a chance to wear my new recycled cotton Sunshine Infinity Scarf - in the sunshine.

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