Engagement rings and other excuses

Life is changing rapidly at the moment and with all that change blogging has proofed difficult. The one yarn related thing that has been happening is a secret, ironic isn't it, in the year of full disclosure. I had so many plans for this year, but God had different plans - much better plans.

I haven't blogged since March. One excuse is that on April Fool's day in the middle of the LYS my mum works for, my man got down on one knee and proposed to me. We are now trying to plan a wedding in just a few short months and will tie the knot on July 4th 2015.

I'm so excited to be engaged, after being with this man for 7 years, there is nothing I'd rather do than marry him. 

But I'm getting way ahead of myself here. You see, 4 days ago we were offered a one bedroom rented flat. Since then we've seen it, signed the contract and paid the deposit. I've lived in the studio we call home since May 2009. Now, in May of 2015, I'll leave. My man has lived here for 4 or 5 years too. For some reason people seem to think we are rockstars for pulling that off. That many years together on 28m2 and the only place you can 'escape' to is the bathroom? Truth be told, we've hardly ever had to 'escape'. 

Now, in just over a month, we'll be moving to a place twice the size of our current flat. With an actual bedroom and kitchen! In just over 2,5 months we'll be married as well. But again, with the getting ahead of myself. 

In between the move and the wedding I have two big exams. For my oral exam on June 24th, I have to first write a synopsis, the topic will be given on May 26th and we only have a few days to write that. Then on June 1st my BA thesis is due. 

Oh and there's more. Much more, that I can't or won't tell you at this point. Not everything is meant to go on the internet. 

All this has lead to a lot of debate in my head concerning blogging. Should I stop? Should I just post when I actually have something yarn related to share with you? How about a year from now - where do I see this blog then? The answer to all those questions is I don't know

I love the community of blogging. I love reading your comments and getting to know you just a tiny bit better every now and then. I love the creative outlet writing is and I wouldn't want to be without that. But if this blog is going to survive and I really want it too, then it may have to go through as many changes as I am. These past two months have seen more life changes for me, than the past 4 years put together. 

In a quiet moment I'll have a talk with my fiancé (that is so odd to type) about this blog. He almost always knows what questions to ask and when to just listen and frankly, that may be all I need to figure out what the future, at least the near future, of this blog entails. 

For now, thanks for stopping by and thank you for being part of my community. 

Knit Crush: Rena Varsakis

Rena Varsakis is the woman behind The Red Fox and Gown. I Love the quirkiness of her patterns.
Would you wear a fox hat?

As always, all pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from their respective Ravelry project pages, by clicking their name, you'll be taken right to them.   

Planning a shoot and fighting an urge...

Easter brings with it the opportunity to go home and that means a chance to do a photoshoot. I'm still terribly undecided on the issue of single patterns or a cohesive e-book for the collection I'm currently working on. At the moment I'm leaning towards e-book, so I'm planning the photoshoot accordingly. If the weather allows it we will be able to shoot 4 patterns during easter, hopefully in one day. That is, if I finish knitting the sample of the 4th pattern.

I'm surprised by how much I enjoy designing sock patterns and I'm currently knitting on sock #2 on my second sock design. It's coming along well, but there's still half a sock left and easter is sneaking up on us.

It's also with regards to this sock that I continue to fight the urge to just start the testing fase already! It's so easy to get impatient and just want it all done, NOW! I dream of the day where I'll be able to manage having several patterns in testing, but alas now is just not that day yet.

What plans do you have for easter?

Glimpses of a sock

Today I want to share with you a glimpse of a sock design I'm working on. It's ready for testing, but I've learned the hard way not to have more than one test knit on the go during the semester, because something is bound to be up with both patterns at the same time and also I have a group of wonderful testers and they can only knit so much for me at a time. (Btw, if you want to join in, you can!)

100% Rye by Shannon Stronger - a Review

Sourdoug is a passion of mine and rye is a grain, I eat almost daily, so when I found out that a woman I admire was coming out with a new cookbook called 100% Rye, I had to get a copy and tell you all about it. Shannon Stonger and her husband Steward graciously provided a free copy for me to review, but although I will send them a grateful though every time I bake from this book, it did not influence my review.

About the author
Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, cookbook author, and fermented-food enthusiast. She is the author of three books: Simple Food for Winter, Simple Food for Spring, and 100% Rye. She also chronicles her family's off-grid journey at nourishingdays.com.  

About the book
First off, let me tell you about my overall impression of this book. It rocks. There, that's it. You want more..?

What do you think about when you hear about 100% rye baked goods? If you have no familiarity with rye you may just think " how exciting", but if you've ever had a rye bread go Wrong (yes, with a capital letter), then you may be slightly on edge, at the same time chances are that you've also had rye breads done right and know what glorious baked goods they are.

Shannon uses traditional ingredients in her baking, much in tune with Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, which happens to be one of my favourite cookbooks, so I'm slightly bias from the get-go.
For me, sourdough is something I preach. If you ever get me talking about baking, it will not be long before I offer you some sourdough. If you have no idea what a sourdough is, here is (some of) Shannon's explanation:

"At its most basic, a sourdough starter is simply a slurry of water and flour that contains a living colony of bacteria, yeast, acids, and other microorganisms we probably don’t even know about." p 16 

Shannon also shares a good deal of her personal story with her reader which leaves me with a feeling that anyone can make these recipes work for them. Just listen to one of her musings on rye:

"I found that rye flour has a window of hydration in which it works best. Too dry and it becomes a lead brick. Too moist and overworked and it becomes gummy and shapeless. Working with this fact, and not against it, was a sort of breakthrough I had when I began developing recipes for my family." p 8

This book gently takes you by the hand and guides you through the motions, even if you have never used rye or sourdough before. Shannon deals with the many questions that surround rye and sourdough, problems that may occur and ways to adapt the recipes to your comfort level. All this is spruced up with rustic, handdrawn illustrations that makes the book both authentic and charming as well as mouthwatering colour photos of the baked goods.

Finally, any cookbook that lists carrots this way is bound to win my heart:

"2 cups (tightly packed) freshly grated carrots (none of that pre-shredded, dried out nonsense) " p 78

Sadly, I've yet to try any of the recipes due to time constrains, but I'm positive they are delicious and will recommend this book to anyone and everyone interested in baking with rye and sourdough.
First on my list of recipes I want to try ASAP is this delicious goodness that I'll leave you with as a teaser:

A productivity tool - #CTBrainDump

A New Week, Already?!

After I read my bible yesterday morning, I looked at instagram for a few minutes and stumbled upon Create & Thrive's blogpost on Morning Brain Dumps. This was a God-sent message for me, since I had no idea how to go about what seemed like a frustrating Monday.

You see, I'm writing a thesis and I have a  big, huge problem: I'm not actually writing anything. Ouch, that is not a nice place to be. I'm spending my days frantically looking for a primary source to analyse for my thesis. I've read a bunch of secondary material already and am hooked on my topic of choice, I just haven't had much luck locating a primary source.

The Morning Brain Dump

Well, enough with the woe-is-me already and on to the tool, right?!

You basically make four lists before your day begin. The first and most important is your MUST list. The second is your SHOULD list, then there is your COULD list and finally the WANT TO list.

Since September 2014 a bullet journal has been my faithful friend, so naturally I made the list in my journal.  It started out looking like this (and yes, I did it in English because most of you don't read Danish and I know you are curious to know what I actually had to do, you don't have to thank me, really it's okay):

During the day more items got added as I thought of them, because I was waiting to hear from the royal library whether or not they could find a book in their archives. For hours it didn't look like I would make any progress on my most important MUST, so I decided to get a lot of other things taken care of, while I basically had to sit around and wait.

By 1 pm, the end of my lunch break, my list had grown quite a bit, but a lot had also been checked off:

At 2 pm, while I was busy working on both COULD items and a WANT TO item, I received notice from the Royal Library that the book I needed was now available. So I waited not so patiently until my bread was done baking and my laundry could be put in the dryer and then I headed off to the capital. By then my list looked had no item on it, that I hadn't at least started to work on:

When I came home, I had two possible primary sources for my thesis and had gotten a whole lot of things done, so I decided to relax, finish this post, drink some tea and knit on the sock as the only item left anywhere on the list was the PT (Practical Theology) for next week.

Evaluation Time

Not only did I get a lot done, I also felt like I had a really enjoyable day. Being able to see that you are getting the things you MUST get done is great, seeing the SHOULD, COULD and WANT TO is fantastic.
I'm going to try this out for a while and would encourage you to do the same. Have you tried something similar before or do you have another favourite productivity tool?

Let's review: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

This book, Eating Animals, so many words come to mind in a big giant mess.. Have you read it? If you have an interest in food, if you eat - you should read this. There, that was pretty clear, wasn't it. 
I finished reading this book, the day before I'm writing this and frankly, I'm tempted to turn to page one and read it again. 

So where do I begin with this review. Let's begin with the fact, that I was already fairly smitten with Mr. Safran Foer's writing style before reading this book. Everything is Illuminated is a fantastic read in my opinion. While Eating Animals is not fiction, storytelling is still at the centre of it. 

It's a mixture of his own debacles with eating animals, his (final) decision on a vegetarian lifestyle, kafka, statistics, interviews and even someone bashing Joel Salatin, a man I really admire. This book seems to have it all... Here are some of the questions that came to mind while and after reading it.

Is this just a vegetarian trying to convince me to become one?

Yes and no. mr. Safran Foer puts it pretty bluntly that he thinks anyone but vegetarians are fooling themselves, even the so called ethical omnivores. His personal view seems to be, that the only way you can truly avoid and change the meat industry is by being a vegetarian. 
However, his main goal seems to be educational. He provides a swarm of information and then asks: Knowing this, can you still justify eating meat? 

This book, naturally focussing on the American meat industry, distances itself from me somewhat. I live far away from those practices, don't I? I live in a place where we do not water cool chickens, Mr. Safran Foer told me so himself. Add to that the age of the book (first published in 2009) and I have reasons enough to discard everything he tells me, or do I?

The fact of the matter is that I don't. I'm not naïve enough to believe, that I live in a country where animals are treated as they should be by the farmers and given a quick, painless, humane death after a life of frolicking on pasture. 

Did he convince me then?

The short answer is no. The long answer is complex and according to Mr. Safran Foer, not an answer at all.
You see, my man and I don't eat a lot of meat. In any given week our meals are somewhere between 50-85% vegetarian. So why aren't we just biting the bullet and doing it 100%? Because I believe in eating animals. I believe in nurturing my body by the consummation of carcasses, however gross that may sound to you. 

I would love to tell you now, how I'm one of those ethical carnivores, who really makes it work. That I only buy our meat from small farmers and butchers, that we know they lived like true chickens, pigs, and cow. 
Right now, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the meat we do buy isn't even organic, because we simply can't afford it. 

The demand of cheap food

Now, that makes us pretty average consumers, doesn't it? The very ones Mr. Safran Foer rightly points out to be the driving force behind the continuation of the industrial meat industry. I would like to think this isn't entirely the case. We spent 25% of our monthly net income on food, which, at least at a glance, is a lot more than most U.S. citizens do.  As our income grows our food choices improves.
We all have a limited amount to spend on food each week. We all make choices every time we buy something. We used to buy mostly organic, but as we discovered my lactose intolerance, that changed. We choose to prioritize my immediate gut health over the long term effects of eating organically. We still have our non-negotiables that are always organic and always buy everything else organic when we can afford it, but living a life without lactose is our top priority and it is costly.
The same goes for meat. We choose the best kinds when we can, and we have certain kinds of meat that are NEVER allowed into our home, basta.
As our income grows, we'll be able to make even better choices. This is our answers, the non-answer according to Mr. Safran Foer and maybe he is right.

It's the thought that counts

None of us are changing the world by thinking. Only acting on our thoughts makes an actual difference. But I'm still tempted to claim that it is the though that counts in this case. It is my firm conviction that we should all know what we are eating, how it was produced, slaughtered, butchered, transported, stored, the whole shebang. But even the slightest grain of awareness brings us closer to a better world. You may not be able to revolutionise your eating habits today, but you should be able to think about them. Admit where you stand right now, don't be ashamed. Then dream up where you want to end up, make small goals and get moving in the right direction.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic and the book, Eating Animals, in the comments. I would love to hear what your two cents are.