Friday, April 9

First things first: is it wrong to consider a Cadbury creme egg a suicide pill?

Baking Sourdough Bread
I love the taste of sourdough bread, and I began to love it even more when I found out that it is this kind of yeast that the people I study would have used.

A simple mixture of flour and water left to the devices of local airborne bacteria create a rising agent that, when fed with more ground-up grains and water and eventually baked to a solid, crunchy and chewy deliciously tasty loaf in the oven becomes BREAD. Yay Nature. The starter that I have was bought from a company whose original starter (mine is a descendant) was over 250 years old; when the flour company was a small mill. Here is a picture of my starter at its first meal:

Yes, thank you, I was aware that my run-on sentences are prone to crash the synapses of my more grammatically sensitive readers. I will not be moved, because I am cranky and have a headache.

Spinning Fine Laceweight Merino Wool
After giving me a wide selection of awful and tolerable wools and blends to spin, my spinning instructor decided to let me loose with some beautifully soft merino.

It feels like the look of those clouds you see right as the sun sets--not the fierce, stark kind that are trying to prove some weird radical dualism in a darkening sky but the gentle golden glowy clouds that were raised on Brahm's lullabies and benevolence.

Though on a regular basis I still prefer natural, plain wool, as a novelty there is but cashmere to surpass this softness and ease of spinning. Because I can, I am spinning this yarn very very finely. I shall ply it against itself into two strands, and then knit it into something that can be worn next to the skin. Probably something lacy, because that means I get to knit with it for a longer period of time. The picture here is of a mechanical pencil with 0.7 lead in it, so you can see approximately how thin this thread is.

Oh, never mind. And Jane Austen.
I was going to write something about the unique construction of a German sock heel flap, but instead I am going to download an audiobook of Mansfield Park and spin for an hour or two. I was never able to finish it as a handheld book because I kept wanting to throw it across the room. Perhaps if I am spinning the violent impulse will be restrained. A little.

I know it seems "typical" (whatever that means) for women to read Ms. Austen's novels for what one of my friends calls "manners porn", but I think she actually was onto something important. She notices things, and I like the way she describes people--their features and their characters may be different but she judges them solely on one thing: whether or not they are capable of what she calls "strong attachment". Psychologists use the same term to describe the intense love between mothers and their babies, the all-enfolding intimacy of lovers, the pure constancy of friends, etc. etc. and the absence of that capability can tell quite a lot about a person.

And besides, now reading Austen reminds me of sitting in little cioccolatterie and fancy gran caffés of northern Italy (sometimes Austen was the only author I recognized in the half-shelf of English books available in local bookstores). How I miss them.

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