Saturday, February 27, 2010

Local Fare Fair

So those of you who have been in college and lived in a residence hall know that in such a situation, there generally isn't much to get excited about when it comes to food. This last week I've forgone the cafeteria and it's grease-laden faux-mestibles in favor of fruit, granola bars, and whatever I can manage to make with my two saucepans, small cutting board, and single knife (I've pared down a lot since last year). Surprisingly, it's quite a lot: tons of soups; multiple permutations of stir-fry-like concoctions using brown rice, lentils, or quinoa; and my all-time favorite breakfast of pinhead oats mixed with whatever fruit's lying around.

But as exciting as brown rice and lentils are, the week's real excitement came Thursday evening at the Stevens Point Local Food Fair. Held at a local high school, the event featured exhibits from local farms and businesses, a free baked potato bar and desserts, and even an original multimedia presentation about the future of local food in the Stevens Point area. All that emphasis on locavorism brought me back to my days at Quad Cities Buy Fresh Buy Local, and that can only be a good thing. Plus, my mom took me...and it's always good to spend time with Mom! (P.S. thanks for the you!)

Overall, the fair was pretty awesome. The multimedia presentation was a little odd--long story short, it focused on a group of farmers in the future who genetically modify a "future-loom" seed which contains a breathing, speaking messenger, which they send back in time to warn people about their dangerous farming practices...anyone else see a flaw in logic with genetically modifying a seed and sending it back in time to warn people against genetic modification? But really, the overall message of the fair was good, and it was heartening to see how many people showed. I love seeing people with a vested interest in the origins of their food.

I also love getting new books. My mom (she really is awesome) bought me a new one at the fair as well. Your Eco-Friendly Yard: Sustainable Ideas to Save You Time, Money, and the Earth is chock-full of sweet ideas for the backyard of your dreams. I swear, someday I'll live in a place where a backyard is usable more than three months of the year. Plus, my mom went to college with the author...right here in Stevens Point! Pretty cool. Only problem is I think she took the book back with her when she returned to my hometown 150 miles away...

So, check out Your Eco-Friendly Yard. And get involved in the local food economy of your hometown! I'm not saying you should be a die-hard about it. There is a continuum. Just check out your local farmers' market. You can't beat the atmosphere, and it's usually not just fruits and veggies (although those are great too). Many markets also offer local eggs, meats, baked goods, preserves, and sometimes even handicrafts and housewares. And they're not as expensive as you might think!

The Big Jump

I have recently embarked on a new knitting challenge; I am going to knit a sweater, for myself, out of sock yarn! Hand-painted sock yarn, to be exact. I saw this yarn almost a year ago in a yarn shop in Davenport, and it immediately made me think of a favorite book from my childhood. Can you see the resemblance? I also found the title of the book fitting for the name of this sweater. Designing a sock yarn sweater is surely a big jump from my previous knitting endeavors :)

This project is to be a celebration of knitting. It will be simple in design, to show off the yarn and to demonstrate how beautiful a sweater in stockinette stitch can be. There is no pattern, I'm making it up as I go, and I'm sure a fair amount of frogging will be taking place. But even so, I can't describe how this project excites me! After swatching in the round last week, I finally casted on a few days ago.

The sweater is knit from the top down, and I've casted on for a 28" boatneck opening. After researching other patterns, I decided to follow the raglan set-up method used in the Candy Stripe Noro Raglan. Thank you, Jenn! From this pattern, I set up for the raglan sleeve increases by setting aside 1/6 of the total number of stitches for each sleeve. I decided to do paired raised, or lifted, increases for the sleeves, leaving two stitches of stockinette between the increases. I love how it looks so far! For more specific details, check out my Ravelry listing for this project.

P.S. I have to confess I already had my first frogging episode. The yarn started to pool a little strangely after awhile, so I ripped out a few rows and started alternating rows from two skeins. It totally worked, and I consider the frogged rows to be "practice"!