what I read in June 2022

Bare Minimum Dinners by Jenna Helwig

I wholeheartedly support the philosophy of just doing enough cooking to get by – god, I am so sick of preparing meals every single day for 30 years – but most of the recipes were very meaty.

The Best Cast Iron Baking Book by Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

At least one of those godforsaken meals I prepare every single godforsaken day is cooked in one of my grandmother’s cast iron pans so this was right up my street.

Body Harmony by Nicole Berrie

If you, like the author, are heavily into juicing, food combining rules, and sitting on the table with your bare feet beside the bowl of salad you’re tossing, then this book is for you.

Charles Dowding’s Skills for Growing

A really enjoyable, informative book on vegetable growing. I love his spirit of experimentation.

Cookies: The New Classics by Jesse Szewczyk

Some interesting ideas, but I think I prefer the old classics.

Down to Earth by Lauren Liess

Decorating for rich people with homes that are already extraordinary.

Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann

Young Judith Earle grows up next to a country house occupied by five cousins slightly older than her and longs to fit in with them. The complicated relationships among them all continue into their twenties, with immature, naïve Judith learning hard life lessons along the way.

I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but it grew on me. It’s surprisingly modern for a book written almost a hundred years ago.

Flea Market Garden Style by Caroline McKenzie

Books like this always confuse me. Are there really people who decorate their yards with mirrors and rugs and pillows and such? Do they carry them in and out of the house every day or they do they leave everything outside to be ruined within a week?

From Burnout to Balance by Patricia Bannan

Filled with such groundbreaking advice as: eat lots of vegetables, get enough sleep, find a kind of movement you enjoy and do it, etc.

Get Messy Art by Caylee Grey

I expected this to be about lightening up on expectations for artmaking in general, but it’s about creating art journals, which is fine, but not a particular interest of mine.

Knit Like a Latvian…Accessories by Ieva Ozoliņa

Not many patterns I’d make, but I love the colourwork charts. Really lovely work.

Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale

True story: In the mid-19th century, Isabella Robinson was trapped in a marriage to a philandering, money-grubbing, uncaring arsehole and made the mistake of confessing to her journal her lust for the other men in her life. Mr Robinson snooped through the journal while she was ill, became outraged, and took her to divorce court with the journal as a very public Exhibit A.

Depressing and infuriating, but it’s my pick for most fascinating of the month, for sure.

ripple scarf

Recently, I came across a bag stuffed full of half-finished projects I’d abandoned for one reason or another and instead of shoving it back where I’d found it and forgetting about it for another five years, I resolved to either rip out or finish each and every single item. This is progress.

First out of the bag was this ripple scarf, which needed another, oh, six feet or so. The labels were long gone, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Fleece Artist hand-painted wool, mellowed out with alternating stripes of some anonymous black wool.

Taking decent photos of knitwear is hard.

Christmas knitting revealed, part one

It’s a rarity for the child of a knitter to request even more knitwear, so when Charlotte mentioned before Christmas that she could use a new pair of mitts, I was all over it.

Hat, cowl and mittens of my own design (only using 2 x 2 rib so not as impressive as it sounds) in a long-stashed blend called Glen by Debbie Bliss. I think they’re okay.

a baby blanket for Emily

When Charlotte said she would like to make a handmade baby blanket for her friend Emily, but just didn’t have time to do it, I (Ms Tendonitis) said, no problem, pick the yarn you want and I’ll knit it.

The good news is that knitting doesn’t hurt nearly as much as working at the computer. The bad news is that my arms were so screwed up from working at the computer that I could barely bring myself to knit.

Still, I am tough/stupid (30% tough/70% stupid) enough to persist and I got it done in the nick of time with only this lousy photo to commemorate the finished product. It was pouring rain outside and my photo stylist, Foster, was busy eating lunch so I snapped this about five minutes before Charlotte came to pick it up on her way to the baby shower.

Now to start the Christmas knitting…

a bright red baby blanket

I’ve knit dozens of baby blankets over the years and photographed very few of them, mostly because I forget, but also because it’s hard. How to make a big square of fabric look more enticing than just a big square of fabric? Luckily, Foster photographed this one, which was a gift for our lovely friend Amanda who is due in August.

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