Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

Gallery of Household Mysteries. Plus: Finished Objects

differentlineshandspun.jpg Dear Kay, Now that the end of summer is seriously upon us, I can’t really fake it anymore regarding the condition of the house. This morning, on the way to the kitchen in search of decent 9 a.m. light for photographing my handknits, I passed by these objects. totebagwithjunkinit.jpg That last, lingering tote bag from hell, or some trip, or something. I can’t remember one single thing that is in there. deadmicrowave.jpg This nonfunctioning microwave oven, still lying in state right there in the middle of the dining table. Where it has received mourners since its death. In May. typewriter.jpg This electric typewriter, still sitting on the floor of the kitchen where it has sat ever since my son David bought it at the I-24 Flea Market in Monteagle. For ten bucks. In June. almond-flour.jpg This five-pound bag of blanched almond flour, which arrived from Amazon.com in July. This may be the most confounding thing in the house. I honestly don’t know when or why I–obviously I, because it had my name on the box–decided I needed five pounds of blanched almond flour. It’s not like I have celiac. Or question the value of gluten. I love gluten! If they sold five-pound bags of gluten, I’d be right there. I don’t even like to bake. WHAT WAS I THINKING? As best I can recall, I think I read an article online about the unexpected joys of baking with blanched almond flour. Hey–whoever wrote that article, HIGH FIVE TO YOU because you persuaded me to order five pounds of this stuff! The Almond Growers Council of America owes you! ANYway. Back to the knitting. I have two items to show you, my sum total of summer knitting. Item #1: Color Affection Scarf by Välimäki coloraffection.jpg This was what got me through lectures this summer at the Assembly. I definitely encountered the too-tight-edge phenomenon that some have experienced when knitting this thing. But it went better once I added a yarnover between the first and second stitches on the RS, then dropped the yarnover on the next, WS row. Ease! Everybody needs a little ease. I used three shades of Rowan Siena which seems like Rowan Cotton Glacé’s first cousin if not actual twin. It’s mercerized cotton, it knits into these beautiful pearly stitches, and it is one of my all-time favorites. The balls are so heavy and small. You want to eat them. coloraffection3.jpg Alpine, Oak, Celadan (Rowan’s spelling, not mine!)–that’s my best recollection of the shades here. Once I started thinking that Siena and Cotton Glacé are the same yarn under different names, I had to go see if I was right. I wasn’t, of course. Head-to-head comparison: Cotton Glacé 126 yds/50 g Gauge Stitches: 23 Gauge Rows: 32 Siena 4 Ply 153 yds/50g Gauge Stitches: 28 Gauge Rows: 38 Turns out Siena is a bit thinner. Who knew? Over at Ravelry, you can see the 5,672 different versions people have made, using 5,672 combinations of yarn. Mind boggling, truly. An excellent way to see how color interacts, how proportion matters, and shade, and contrast. Item #2: Different Lines by Veera Välimäki differentlineshandspun2.jpg This project, the one that I abandoned under the bed in that hotel room in Athens, the beloved prodigal, has been an excellent companion during re-entry to daily life. (The tale of what happened to this project is here). The yarns here: Juliet Bernard’s handspun alpaca in cream, Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in khaki. I loved both these yarns so much–Juliet’s for the perfect irregularity of her spinning, and the Alpaca Silk for its machined perfection. I haven’t blocked either piece yet, but am looking forward to seeing what happens. I’m going to wrap them around the five-pound bag of blanched almond flour, to get the shape just right. Love, Ann




  1. Ann, I love you. I thought we were the only household that had bags of stuff or ‘things’ that get bought, brought home, put down AND THEN NOT MOVED FOR MONTHS. Currently: my ‘Falcon’ enamelware birthday present, (in red) not moved from the dining table for a month, and the 2 leftover tins of paint from painting the kitchen not moved from under the kitchen table since before the Olympics. WHY?
    Answers on a postcard please. But I say again, I love you for this. And the knitting is FAB. B x x x

  2. ps – I DESPERATELY wanted the enamelware, just that now it’s here can’t quite work out where to put it in the kitchen. So it sits on the dining table, gets moved to the kitchen, gets used, and then moved back to the dining table.
    I know this is sad. Possibly not quite as sad as a 5lb bag of almond flour (which I don’t think exists in England unless it’s a fancy name for ground almonds).
    B x x

  3. I love the mystery almond flour! yes, one of those sudden epiphanies about something or other which fade dramatically and leave you wondering what you were epiphanizing about…

  4. My goodness!! I think all of us have these mystery things floating around our houses. Who knew? Gluten? You can purchase it in cans (vegetarian meals), balls (?) and various and assorted styles at your favorite large Chinatown market!! The vegetarian meals are actually pretty good!

  5. Ann don’t come to Hendersonville. Or do because our house will make you feel much better with piles of this and that from various trips over the summer. Glad to see you are normal enough to have mystery things that pop up over time. And as for the flour, think macarons, I think that the real French kind take almond flour. And when you get them done, call Hendersonville. We’ll be right over and help you get rid of them.

  6. Whoa! Cosmic! Today, we finally disposed of our dead “nuker” (maybe 18 months after it died–but only 3 months after I learned our town dump took e-waste!) And at the dump, I found a guy who wanted our elliptical machine. Maybe you will find a taker for your almond flour at your town dump. (You will have to keep the typewriter for a bit longer, I suspect.)
    Your knitting as always is lovely.

  7. That Veera! I think I love every one of her patts. How to choose? Both of yours look stunning. Great job Ann.

  8. Have you read Bailey White’s story about all the things that have been left where they were set down and have been in the same place for decades? Maybe it is hilarious because it takes our foibles and ability to overlook the obvious and expands it to such an extreme, yet the way she tells it is believable. It’s in “Mama Makes Up Her Mind”. She used to read stories on NPR. What a treat.
    You crack me up!

  9. I loved this post! Thank you for making it o.k. that I have a helmet and one clean sock on my dining room table.

  10. Our dead microwave has been replaced, but it’s been inside the cupboard of the guest room (small extra room, really) along with the regular oven that was also replaced by the same new (combination) oven, and a portable TV (i.e, it has no antenna, but what TV does, nowadays?) for several months now. And the dead printer is riding around inside the dickey (what we call the trunk or boot of the car) for at least a couple of months in search of nirvana.

  11. Hi Anne,
    Do the lovingly discarded objects in your home get housecleaned around before you take their picture? Because mine are usually surrounded by dust. From my perspective your home is spotless.

  12. I love this post, especially since just thinking about my house makes me feel like weeping. Seriously. It’s a tiny house, and everything is … everywhere. (Oh dear. I’m thinking about it. Where’s my hanky?)
    That almond flour is like a sack of gold, in my opinion! One of the (few) things I make that everyone, vegetarian or not, LOVES, is “meat”balls or burgers made with almond meal. Not sure how much difference there is in meal and flour, because the meal is pretty fine. Anyway, I’d give it a whirl if there was a sack of almond flour sitting on my counter. (Because there isn’t room for it anywhere else. Sigh.) Let me know if you’d like the recipe, and I’ll send it along!

  13. I can’t help with the flour, as we have allergies to nuts here. I’ll up your typewriter with a dot-matrix printer! We were going to toss it out, but then my daughter got all sentimental and weepy about it, so it’s on the dining room floor! Lordy.

  14. There is a bag of almond flour in my life, too, with a knitting connection: I googled plum cake, and Ysolda Teague’s blog popped up, with a recipe for a great plum tart with an almondy crust.
    Our current mystery bag’o’stuff is five pounds of citric acid crystals, in a box with some dust bunnies and a tube of iron filings. It’s been hiding on the kitchen window seat for months, under a semi-dead laptop. What were we thinking?

  15. Such a relief to know I’n not the only one with random things “where they don’t belong” in my house. Beautiful knitting too – great to hear your voice.

  16. I had just finished reading The Onion’s take on Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention and then I turned to this. Between your description of the state of your house and the Onion, I have laughed hard enough to have tears rolling down my cheeks. Thanks to both of you!
    P.S. Love the knitting!

  17. Re almond flour:
    Trust me, it is worth the effort. Check Martha Stewart recipe or quick google search. Hint: leave the egg whites out over night.
    Happy baking !

  18. Re almond flour:
    ¡¡¡Macaroons!!!!!! The colors! the flavors! They are almost addictive like knitting!
    Trust me, it is worth the effort. Check Martha Stewart recipe or quick google search. Hint: leave the egg whites out over night.
    Happy baking !

  19. I think some baking is in order!

  20. Oh my, so glad your knitting was mailed back to you! Both shawls look amazing and will be truly lovely once blocked and done.

  21. This fight against the inertia of objects in the house is an epidemic.
    Jealous of your almond flour – my honey is allergic. My favorite German Christmas cookies are made with it. Zimtsterne. I think they’re a pain in the neck to make, though, so don’t wait ’til Christmas baking season. Or maybe it’s kind of one of those things that you’ll never do at all, because if you don’t have fond memories of them and they’re a pain in the neck… why would you?
    You’re inspiring me to get back to work this morning, though, because the biggest, scariest item on my to-to list is to go through the house and gather up all the bags that have come in and all the bags and bits and bobs that are floating around waiting to go to this or that person or charity or… Good grief.

  22. Would you settle for a 3.5 lb. can of vital wheat gluten from Honeyville? I, too, have an unopened 5 lb. bag of almond flour from Honeyville, because they were having a 10% off sale on everything. If you figure out what to do with the stuff, please let us know so that I can use it up.

  23. Ann, Goodwill Super Stores, if you have one in your area, accept all dead electronics for recycling. Kiss that microwave goodbye!
    If you’ve got large objects for disposal, 1-800-Got Junk are the people to call. My one experience with those nice, friendly people was wonderful. The sound went out on my 15-yr.-old floor model TV, and no one repairs the old TVs anymore. My problem was how to get rid of my beloved television. Goodwill would only come get it if it was in working order, and I had no way to get it to Goodwill for recycling. While pondering my dilemma, a Groupon notice popped up on my computer for 1-800-Got Junk. It was meant to be, I tell you! I couldn’t call them fast enough to set up the appointment, and they hauled away the TV the same day!
    Sorry, but I can’t give you any advice on the almond flour because I didn’t know it existed. There must be some recipe lurking in your kitchen that requires it.
    Mary G. in Texas

  24. Both projects look beautiful!!!

  25. My house AND car have the end-of-summer accumulation. There is a beach bag at the ready at the kitchen door, and a bicycle with attendant bicycle equipment bag jostles with beach chairs for space in the car. The car is also full of sand in every crack and seam. These things will have to wait because since the tourists have left Cape Cod this is our time to get out and enjoy it. Late October will be soon enough to deal with summer detritus – winters are very long here so we don’t let go of summer until we have to.

  26. citrus acid crystals are used to make “bath bombs” those lovely scented balls you drop into running bath water that fizz and twirl make your bath beautifully scented
    should be able to google a recipe…
    made them with my students years ago for Mother’s Day gifts!

  27. I hate my Colour Affection
    I love the colours I chose but I ended up with the “too tight” edge
    going to toss :~{

  28. also
    I have “colour Affection” envy
    I hate mine
    love the yarn, love the colours
    ended up with the hateful too- tight-no- way -to- fix- it edge
    HATE IT!
    going to toss :~{

  29. My dad restored his car on my dining room table for a year. We live in a condo. Now we have rules. My kitchen and hallway have been half painted for nearly a year. Relax. Love you.

  30. They do sell gluten in bags, although my favorite baking supplier sells it in one pound bags (vs. 50 lb commerical bags). It’s used to boost the gluten content of other flours. I’ve used it mostly in rye breads.

  31. I’ll happily take the almond flour off of your hands. I don’t quite go through it in boatloads, but I do use it. I bought a smaller bag just a couple of weeks ago.

  32. I’ll happily take the almond flour off of your hands. I don’t quite go through it in boatloads, but I do use it. I bought a smaller bag just a couple of weeks ago.

  33. DavidLebovitz.com has an almond cake recipe that uses store-bought almond paste, but I know of a version in which almond flour is substituted, and it’s less almondy, and therefore more delicious.
    Not a Lark recipe, a home one. Let me know if you’re feeling cake-ish.
    Color Affection is on my list, but I like to wait until a minimum of 6000 others have tested the waters before I jump in.

  34. Well, that’s just so homey. I mean to say that it is literally like my home, with finished knitting projects and flotsam happily coexisting. (Or maybe the typewriter qualifies as jetsam.) Evidence of a life—and time—well spent, I think!

  35. For the first time in my life (that I can remember) this summer I threw out a small appliance within a week of its demise, even before I bought the replacement! I tell you, it was an epiphany.

  36. oh just toss the stuff out if you have mouse
    drippings you will just get sick

  37. Put that bag of almond flour in the deep freeze and you’ll be all set for Passover next year.
    Passover is the Revenge of the Celiacs. Tell ol’ Pharaoh: let my gluten go!
    Love those shawls. Not sure I can resist their Finnish charms much longer. All that garter stitch, striped…..
    xoxo Kay

  38. I’m looking at a hubcap my 6 year old picked up off the curb and cleaned up to give to his art teacher. He found it in June. Now he goes to a new school.

  39. “Everybody needs a little ease”
    Love it!

  40. Boy you are lucky the Housekeeping in Greece was so nice, Greeks are nice in general we have found…

  41. Keeping a clear clutter free home..that job never seems to ever end.

  42. Keeping a clear clutter free home..that job never seems to ever end.

  43. yes-macarons or financiers. (the almond flour mystery). please post the results!

  44. I googled “five pound bag of gluten” just to see what would come up. I don’t think you can get one, Ann, but I’m on the lookout.
    Lovely wraps for the Fall!


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