Girasole post at the Chronicles of Yarnia

Girasole,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

I have a guest post up at the Yarnia shop blog about the Girasole.

December 31, 2010

I have all these excellent friends with excellent blogs that I read and marvel at–Lindsey and Kat and Hollis and Becky are all making stuff and writing about things and I love them for it. And then Naomi sends me new things that she’s writing and I’m amazed.

So, given that it’s the last day of 2010 (see the subject line) it’s time for show and tell, with a bit of resolve to have more focus (here and everywhere) in the new year.

ozzy and patrick
Ozzy and Patrick giving each other a good stare-down in my apartment
Hollis and Lindsey during an afternoon of knitting and in Prospect Park
My Girasole, which I’ve been knitting for months and will keep working on for a few more.
The shirt I made and wore as part of my jar-of-pickles halloween costume
My American Thanksgiving
Sara Bergen Franklin and her brother, whose family thanksgiving I went to this year.
Go moves
Our Go swatches from the MST festival
zach and jess and ozzy
Zach and Jess and Ozzy.
serious faces
Walking across the hudson with David H.
No Art
No Art on Franklin Ave.

Okay, that’s what I have for now. See you all later.


pear jalapeño jam

carrot pickles
(spicy carrot pickles, pre-brine)

This morning I made jalapeno-pear jam. I read all my canning books and few canning blogs and the instructions that came with the pectin, and decided how I would do it. After I did the canning I licked the pot that I had cooked it all in–it’s good, only a little bit spicy, still going to be excellent in a PB&J sandwich.

It turns out that I’ve made (or been a part of making) pear jam before:
stack of jam
(from that summer making jam and such with awesome kids, when I ran the kitchen at camp Na’aleh)

I thought that I would do some sort of round up of all this year’s canning projects. They’re a sort of funny thing to make: somewhat permanent, in that the making fills shelves and cupboards, but then they get eaten and gifted and they disappear. So they do need a bit of chronicling, but I should do it write and figure out the recipes for each, so they can get recreated. That may never happen.

But I will say that we opened the pickled fiddleheads the other day–they were this year’s first canning project, back in May when it was fiddlehead time. And so they are delicious and somewhat anachronistic. Though maybe vinegar makes things timeless.

on the radio

Internet radio!
(Internet Radio Station, Beacon, NY)

I found this in a folder on my desktop called “working on.” It’s about radio and it’s better than I remember feeling it was when I was writing it. It’s charmingly dated–pre Obama election (you’ll see it mentions the campaign, months and months before the election happened), I was living in Canada, I had just devoured Late Nights on Air, which had won the Giller Prize. It’s unfinished, but here it is:

My father and I have been bickering about the National Research Council official time signal. “The beginning of the long dash, following ten seconds of silence, marks the beginning of ten o’clock” the man says, “that can’t be ten seconds” my father says, “that’s only four or five seconds!” They wouldn’t lie to us, I say, it has to be ten seconds. My father tells me to listen with a stopwatch tomorrow, but tomorrow I’ll be in Toronto, where the announcement is at one, and I’ll be at work and I won’t remember anyhow. It won’t be until two weeks later, while I’m drinking coffee on a Sunday afternoon, having just listened to Stuart McLean, when the short beeps begin and the announcer begins his spiel: “the beginning of the long dash….” I look at my watch. I count ten seconds. I call my father.

According to the CBC website, the official time signal is the longest-running feature on CBC radio.

Lately, I have been thinking too much about radio. Partly because I have been doing a lot of listening: to As it Happens in my home as I make dinner, to WNYC podcasts on my headphones at work, to the snatches and snippets of country music and American election talk in the car as I was driving around New York and Maryland and Pennsylvania over my winter holiday. More so, it’s because everything I read seems to be about radio.

The start of this wave was Rick Moody’s short story, “Pirate Station” published in the 2006 edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading. It begins:

“For the first twenty-four hours, the pirate station broadcasts the sound of someone cough nervously. An august beginning. It’s not the dead air of the rural FM dial. It’s someone coughing nervously.”

The Pirate station goes on to play 6 solid days of improvised jazz by people who have never before picked up insturments; a bird-call request program, a study of whistles, and several weeks of the sound of southwestern cacti “until, by general assent, it is agreed that cacti make no sounds”

(It goes on. It is wonderful. It’s short. You should read it yourself. Or let Rick Moody read it to you:

Everything I think that I know about Pirate Radio comes from watching Pump up the Volume as a teenager. It is a movie of high school students, in their bedrooms with tiny pink radios or in groups gathered in parking lots, listening to the seditious sounds of Happy Harry Hardon tell them that the world is messed up and adolescence is hard, but they are not alone; he swears through the airwaves, plays Leonard Cohen, and encourages his audience to “talk hard!” What they don’t realize, of course, is that Harry is actually the shyest, most anonymous boy at school, ignored in the daytime only to be worshiped at night. And this is what radio is–it is superhuman, it is a cyborg, it is an individual enhanced by machine to be something powerful and unifying that exemplifies the hope of possibility. This true for Happy Harry’s midnight broadcasts, and for Moody’s tituar Pirate Station, but it is also true for the more quotidian radio; the radio of the National Reserach Council official time signal, weather reports, and news.

This year a book about radio won the Giller Prize, and as of this writing there are 1617 holds currently on the 299 Toronto Public Library copies of Elisabeth Hay’s Late Nights on Air, the story of certain set of characters working at the CBC in Yellowknife in the 70s. The book deals with the conflicting ideas of isolation and intimacy, both in the Canadian north and is the radio booth, where you sit alone yet talk to everyone. It is about a quarter of the way through that Gwen, who has driven 3000 miles in pursuit of her northern radio dreams and has been given the night shift, begins to experiment with Pirate Radio-eque tactics:

“She experimented with sound. “Can you identify this bird?” she asked into the night, playing a persistent, rather eerie bird call she’d recorded through an open window in the early morning hours, not expecting an answer and not getting one either. She recorded Eleanor’s impish, girlish, delighted laugh. She recorded a Venetian blind clicking in the wind and Bill Thwaite typing in the newsroom.”

Here is the secret about radio: it’s always about somewhere.

If I were going to finish this, the last line might go away. I would write about listening to podcasts while I walk around New York, about moving to a new city and adapting to a new morning voice on my alarm, about about listening to CBC Sudbury on the internet in order to hear Tracy read the news.

What I didn’t get to in the essay was something about Sarah Vowell’s Radio On, especially the part where she goes on a trip with her grad school class to new mexico, and she takes her portable radio and listens to the radio of that place, on the bus, walking around, looking at landscape art. I was amazed by this description (the book is from 1995); these days you can listen to New Mexico radio from anywhere, like I listen to Sudbury from Brooklyn. And this was written before Satellite Radio, which really is from nowhere.

All to say: there is more to say.

I love the little Calgary Houses

calagary, M:ST, canadian thanksgiving weekend

Pickled Party

Here is a photograph of the pickled eggs in action at my birthday garden party. There’s Barbara on the left, with a pink pickled egg on her fork, and Sara on the right eating something else.
they were enjoyed

And here is a photograph of me and Ms. Naomi Adiv, at the same party.
dory and naomi

Sticks and Stones

I am off to Calgary tomorrow to participate in the Mountain Standard Time Festival! David McCallum and I are performing Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones is a long-duration public intervention performance that makes use of knitting and the ancient Chinese strategy game, Go. The project explores the subculture of the reclamation of craft, strategy games and public gaming and the public’s relationship to these things. Go is played on a grid and knitting - as a series of rows and stitches - is an excellent medium for representing this grid. The long performance will see two competitors engage in the public knitting of a game of Go, resulting in the gradual creation of roughly 300 swatches, representing the state of the board at each move throughout the game. As the swatches accumulate, they will be gathered and presented, documenting the process of the performance.

Exhibition: October 11-28
Venue: TRUCK +15 Window
Performances: October 8-10
Venue: Art Central
Presented by M:ST

This is the outcome of this pile of books on our coffee table, back when D and I were roommates in Toronto.

go and knitting

Okra Pickles

IMG_1890,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

Okra Pickles

Okay, so Okra pickles aren’t as thrilling as pickled eggs, somehow, but this photo is a lot nicer. So here you go. Recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. With extra garlic.

It occurs to me that I will indeed eat well through the winter, but it will be all pickles and condiments.

A works-in-progress roundup

Okay, this is just a crafty works-in-progress list. There are other things going on.

1. Quilt for me. 6-inch squares all cut, laid out, two rows sewn together. Old photograph:
fabric squares

2. Crocheted granny-square blanket, in browns and orange and teal and white. All squares done, time to begin joining them

3. A Girasole! Just begun. Here is linds winding up my yarn cones:

4. Pair of lace knit socks (can’t remember the pattern at the moment). I knit one fully, then decided that I need to go down a needle size or two. So I will frog the whole thing. I’ve never done that before.

5. An Entomology shawl. Nearing completion! You might recall it from that bike and gardens and coffee day in Red Hook a while ago:
good day, good knitting

6. The thing with the hexagons. This is a secret.

7. Kindle case/cozy for my mom. In nascent stages of existence.

eggs, a picklin’

eggs, a picklin’,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

with some beets


hexagons,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

tiny precise hand-stitching. This shit is addictive, yo.

Knitting, East and West

my bicycles at valentino pier

This is a photo of my bike at Valentino Pier, in Red Hook, from a few weeks ago. When I parked to go to Baked to get brownies and coffee before sitting down to read on the pier, I got to park up against a yarn-bombed bike rack!

The rack next to that one was also yarn-wrapped, in a different pattern:


Red Hook is full of surprising and lovely things. Especially gardens.

As well as reading on the pier, I got in a bit of work on my Entomology shawl

which I put on hold for a while to knit some fingerless mitts as a sample-knit for Yarnia, my dear friend Lindsey’s yarn store in Portland Oregon. You can read my guest blog post about the mitten-knitting over the Yarnia blog, but here are a few photos:

Coffee for me!

Coffee for me!,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

These litle notes are my favourite thing about being home. Vancouver, August 2010

like this like this

like this like this,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

a small collection of what people like

Also, people who like knitting like sewing. And country music. More on Flickr (click the photo to get there).


2 years in America, my phone contract is up for renewal, and I am coming to realize that I just don’t want an iPhone, or any other “cool” phone. Maybe I want a Razr, they were cool phones once. It’s nice to know that my friend Kenan doesn’t really want one either.

Instead of playing word jumble or brick breaking games on the subway, I’ll read John Steinbeck (the other day a woman tapped me as I was reading East of Eden and asked if I was reading that for school or for fun. When I said for fun she was impressed; I wonder would she would have thought if I had been reading The Production of Space?)

Not that I am anti-technology, mind you. I very much appreciate my sewing machine, which I used to make a banner for the Crow Hill Community Garden, and am using to piece together some blocks for a quilt (one for myself and my home, this time).

garden banner
9-patch blocks

Also, I like my new dehydrator, gifted by Emily in her going-away-paring down. Sara, my awesome new roommate, and I made kale chips, with kale she grew in her friend Stefan’s garden.

triangles for Rachel and David

I want to show off a few photos of the quilt I made for Rachel and David’s wedding gift.

Good Growing

A few weeks ago, I stumbled into a plot at the Crow Hill Community Garden. I showed up to dig and help out, got offered a plot, and had it filled with seeds and plants by the end of the day. (That was also the day that Ghana beat America in soccer, and I don’t normally care about sports, but that was spectacular).

This is what my plot looked like then:
garden plot
Collards around the outside, beans and cilantro and peas and some other seeds in the ground.

And this is what it looks like now:
My beans, getting all big and stuff.

peppers sprouting
Hot peppers, sprouting out of the ground.

green pepper
A green pepper, growing.
I bought some plants from the Natty Garden shop and put them in (I wasn’t going to rely just on things from seed this late in the season), and the green peppers are starting to produce fruit.

I’m calling the whole thing the pipe garden, because I excavated this piece of pipe when I was digging up the earth, and put in it in the garden, and planted these little flowers in it.
flower in a pipe

In addition to the Crown Hill Community Garden, the Little Franklin Garden is doing alright too. Last week, someone stole my tomato, which is unsurprising, but it would have made more sense to wait until it turned red. Why steal unripe produce? Anyhow, that same plant is growing another little tomato; growing just keeps chugging along.

new tomato

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

jars on the windowsill

Monday was watermelon-rind pickling day. Man–that’s a serious process. Even just peeling and cubing the rinds is tons of work (that was done slowly, as I ate up watermelon). Then soaking in brine. Then rinsing and boiling. Then boiling sugar and vinegar and fruit. Then adding the rinds back in. Then removing them and reducing the syrup. And then sterilizing and packing and processing. I went to bed much later than I should have; I hope these things are delicious in the end!

The recipe came from Vegan Soul Kitchen, which is not a canning book, but does have a whole section on no-waste watermelon. There are recipes in 2 other of my canning books, maybe I’ll try those too. Watermelons produce a lot of rind…


kombucha,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

looks like a saudi sheik

Tree Cases

Last week, my dear friend Jamie and Rufus got married! They had their friends decorate squares of fabric that were then pieced together into a chuppa quilt by some family friends.

Here’s what it looked like hanging up at the party:
wedding chupa quilt

Mine is the square with the little triangle trees, far right of the second row from the top.

So, as a gift for Jamie and Rufus, I wanted to make something that complemented this quilt I knew they were going to have after the wedding, so I made some pillowcases that matched (well, close to matched) the patchwork pattern of my square. Inspired by the Little Forest Quilt I made these pillowcases for J + R:


I had never made patchwork pillowcases before, and freaked out a bit when I realized that I wasn’t quilting the work and that there were all these raw edges on the back of the tree panel. Inside the pillowcase, yes, but still problematic. Their exposure would mean that they were going to fray and come apart after some number of washings. For a small while I thought I was going to have to line the pillowcases, which would require more cream-coloured fabric and not making my June 6 deadline. But then I dug through the box of craft ephemera in my closet and found some super lightweight fusible interfacing, which I ironed onto the back of the patchwork panels, sealing the whole thing up without making the pillowcases stiff. Amazing!