After seeing seitan made for the first time by friends while on holidays in Albany (using the basic seitan recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance), I was keen to try it out for myself back home. I picked the Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon, and while mine looks much lighter in colour than the Albany version it was super easy and very tasty.
On its own the seitan didn’t have the most complex of flavours, but it really came into its own simmered in a gingery, garlicky marinade with soy sauce, tamari, ketjap manis, and maple syrup (from the ‘tempeh marinated in chili and soy’ recipe in this cookbook) and served with onigiri (made using this method).
I can see this quick, easy and moreish combination becoming a weeknight staple.
I knit the first sock of this pair as a test knit for Kala’s sweet Boys of Summer pattern back in April, just after designing the Treehouse Socks (and knitting the single sample sock).
That turned out to be the last sock I would knit in 2010. I had sock burnout, and a range of other projects clamoured for my attention–big; small; intricate; plain–I made them all, and none of them were socks.
I have never felt any shame, guilt or even embarassment about this fact, however. I take on projects that happen to interest me, and if I feel a desire to finish them swiftly, then I do. Otherwise, I either get back to them eventually or undo them, likewise without shame, guilt or embarassment.
I see my craft as a way to enrich my life, not restrict it, and I think the challenge of creating something new is a big part of what I enjoy about the craft. Sometimes all it takes for a project to seem new again is a few months apart.
Hi again, socks. Nice to see you. Let’s go for a spin.
Please leave a comment if you’re interested. Thanks!
This project has been on the needles for the past month, and in my head and spreadsheet form for a lot longer. Now that the knitting is done, I need to finish writing the pattern up, and then start looking for test knitters.
This will be my first garment pattern, and I wanted to get it right, so I started with the part that I was most intimidated by: the grading, or sizing the pattern up and down to obtain instructions for multiple sizes.
My usual process for a knitting project involves minimal swatching, designing on the fly to make the finished product fit me, and then reverse-engineering instructions. While this often works for a pair of socks when employing a rigorous test knitting process, I felt that making an adult garment fit a range of sizes required more precision, so I started with these numbers and aimed to fit the closest size to my measurements, rather than my actual measurements as I usually do.
The initial idea I had for this garment was quite different to the finished product, and the process of knitting and reknitting it to reflect my changing ideas on the design and desired fit was pretty similar to the on-the-fly method I typically use, but in this case I kept referring to spreadsheets stuffed with formulas so that I never got too far off track.
While the finished product may not appear very complex, I think it’s a good starting point for my knitting design and pattern-writing skills, as I’ve learnt heaps about the need to balance being methodical and efficient with the time-consuming (but necessary) organic process of inspiration and revision that fuels the design and motivates me to get it finished.
Anyone out there who’s dabbled in design, what’s your process?
If 2009 was a year for experimenting with plant-based fibers, 2010 saw a narrowing of focus in terms of craft and yet a broadening of my other interests.
I spent time this year rediscovering my love of the written word, and added to that an interest in the graphic novel.
I delved into the worlds of twitter and facebook–maybe a bit too far–and decided to step back a bit for my own sanity.
I launched the inaugural Compassionate Craft Week, made a shawl for a friend, and cupcakes for the RSPCA.
I watched my younger brother marry, the first of my siblings to do so.
Early this year I successfully applied for a more senior position in my workplace, which meant a payrise along with greater responsibility and the accompanying stresses.
I joined in on the Vegan Month of Food and discovered some wonderful new favourites.
I committed to the ‘no shampoo’ method of hair care, got through the unfun initial detox period and will never go back.
I was spoilt with amazing live music, and invested time in some really good TV on DVD.
Recently, watching this video and beginning to read Bitchfest rekindled my passion for equal rights for all human and non-human animals, with feminism forming an integral part of this worldview.
This was the year I connected with the half-sister I’d never met, and I feel much richer for it.
All of which means I’ve had less time to craft, but the bulk of my crafting time has been spent on larger, more long term projects like sweaters (3 adult sweaters!), shawls (my first and second shawls ever!) and a blankie. Add to that three new designs–all accessories, all featuring cables–and a generous sprinking of charity knitting, some quick crochet, and an oddball project or two, and you have my year.
How was 2010 for you?