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🧶Back in the saddle

Hello dear reader,

How’s it going in your creative world?

These past few weeks have been even more whirlwind-y than usual for me, as Knit Stars Season 9 filming has kicked into high gear. I made a commitment to go to all the filmings this year, which means I’m up in the air, upside down, and all around right now. 🙃

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

This past week, I filmed on location with Chantal @knitatude in Calgary, Alberta and Gary @gary_knits_gary_rides in Palos Verdes, California. Before filming with Chantal, I took a few days to explore one of my top bucket list places, Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

This side trip involved facing a number of long-standing fears, starting with horses.

I hadn’t been on a horse in at least three decades. Yes, I grew up in Oklahoma, so I had plenty of exposure to horses as a child, at summer camp, and whatnot. The problem was I always got a horse with a name like “Leader” or “Chief,” with the pervasive result that my horse would break into a gallop and throw me off in an attempt to get to the head of the line.

This time, I got a very sweet boy named Drifter. Thank goodness, because on top of trying to stay in the saddle, we had the added challenge of muddy trails and steep, rocky cliffs. I hung on tightly and tried to relax, continually saying “good boy good boy” in what I hoped was a soothing tone.

At the end of the hour when I finally climbed off of Drifter and thanked him, I could barely feel my legs but inside I felt like I could climb Mt. Everest! 💪

The next day presented another fear to conquer – canoeing across Lake Louise. While this glacier lake was undoubtedly the most beautiful place I’d ever been, it was also rather foreboding when it came time to row across it with nothing but 15 seconds of instruction and a scrawny life vest.

Fortunately, I had “The Shift” by Andrea Mowry to keep me warm and a strong co-paddler. 😎It turned out to be a blissful and breathtaking experience – recommend 10/10!

From there, it was on to the town of Banff where we took the famous gondola to the top. Yet another fear to face…

We were rewarded for our bravery with a surprise appearance by a family of mountain goats and spectacular views of Banff’s unique mountain vista with incredibly sheer rock formations.

After a few days of sightseeing, it was time to get down to business, filming Chantal’s Season 9 masterclass on sweater design.

It was a complete delight filming with Chantal, getting to know her sweet husband Todd, and their two long-haired dachshunds.

After workshop filming day, we spent a day shooting “b-roll” by a river in Canmore, where folks couldn’t stop gawking at Chantal in her iconic wedding dress and Sweater Scarf. We all held our bladders for more than 5 hours to get those perfect shots! Then we filmed bonus content for the Yarniverse and shot our new “19 questions” segment at Chantal’s boxing gym.

Let me tell you, Chantal’s answers to my questions packed a punch – literally!

From Calgary, it was on to Palos Verdes, California to film with Gary Boston. His Season 9 Masterclass is all about using knitting + crochet for good, setting up your own drive or make-along fundraiser.

We had the most fabulous time hanging out with Gary, his husband Charles, and their lovely pup Julietta. I know y’all think I do this filming for the locations, amazing company, and deep connections…but really it’s to pet all the gorgeous furry friends. 🐕🐾

…or maybe it’s the food? This cheese-encrusted burrito, procured at a little place a block from Chantal’s home, was heaven!

While filming with Gary I also got a peek at the absolutely knockout hat + mitts set he designed for his masterclass, which includes a segment on self-striping yarns. WOWZA! I am obsessed and can’t wait to make these!

Huge thanks to Gary, Charles, Chantal, and Todd for hosting me this past week…and next up is our Northeast US filming leg, including ChiWei, Gudrun, and Carolyn. Can’t wait!

But for now…maybe just a bit of normalcy, knitting, and rest. Wishing you the same this week.❤️

xoxo,

P.S. The first Knit Stars Season 9 workshop featuring Carol Feller was early-released TODAY! The rave reviews are already rolling in. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up for Season 9, you can do that here through midnight Pacific tonight, Sunday, June 30th. Newsletter readers can use coupon code SHINEON to save $20 at checkout.

Going along with this week’s horse theme…

This week I was reminded how much I love a bandana cowl. In fact, Gary and I had a long chat about our fondness for this particular project shape.

We love how it provides a touch of warmth without bulk.

We love that it stays put without fussing or futzing.

And we love all the pattern variety out there!

So I thought I’d do a brief round-up of some Bandana Cowls I’m loving right now.

In addition to “The Shift,” (shown in green above and in my canoeing photo), Andrea Mowry has a number of other bandana cowl designs, including her “DRK Everyday Cowl.”

This one is designed to be a blank canvas so that you can add your own special touches – handspun yarn, stripes, fading, using up odds and ends to create ever-changing, unique knits. A pattern you can relax into as you knit it again and again. Its soothing garter stitch is balanced with polished slip stitches and I-cord edges.
The Cordelia Bandana Cowl by Debbie Field is crocheted, a combination of granny stitch and half double crochets that create a texture you won’t be able to resist. It works up quickly and you’ll love wearing it!

And “Rosewood Bandana Cowl” by Jenny Noto can be knit in one OR two colors, with no need to catch any floats. It’s beautiful with variegated as well as two coordinating or contrasting colors.

So giddyup and cast on a bandana today. Every wardrobe needs a whole posse of them, IMHO!

Recipe and photo from Korean Bapsang

Gary’s Favorite Kimchi

While we were filming our new “19 questions” segment with Gary, he whipped up some homemade kimchi! I was fascinated to learn that many people have a special container or even dedicated fridge to store their kimchi while it develops its flavors and healthy bacteria. Gary and Charles make many different types of kimchi but this is their basic go-to. Enjoy

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Napa cabbage, baechu (배추), about 5 to 6 pounds, or 2 small (about 3 pounds each)
  • 1 cup Korean coarse sea salt, gulgeun soguem (굵은소금)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 pound Korean radish, mu (무)
  • 1/4 large Korean pear (배) optional
  • 3 – 4 scallions
  • 1 piece dashima, 다시마 (dried kelp), about 2 to 3 inch square) – optional

Seasonings

  • 1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour, chapssal garu (찹쌀가루)
  • 1/2 cup gochugaru, 고추가루 – adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup saeujeot, 새우젓 (salted and fermented shrimp), roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons myulchiaekjeot, 멸치액젓 (fish sauce)
  • 3 – 4 raw shrimps, about 2 ounces, finely minced or ground – optional
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup water or dasima broth

Instructions:

  1. Cut the thick white part of the cabbage in half lengthwise. Then, slowly pull it apart to separate into two pieces. Do the same for each half to make quarters. Running the knife through all the way would unnecessarily cut off the cabbage leaves.
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in 5 cups of water. Thoroughly bathe each cabbage quarter in the saltwater one at a time, shake off excess water back into the bowl, and then transfer to another bowl.
  3. Using the other half cup of salt and starting from the outermost leaf, generously sprinkle salt over the thick white part of each leaf (similar to salting a piece of meat). Try to salt all the cabbage quarters with 1/2 cup salt, but you can use a little more if needed. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage quarters. Pour the remaining salt water from the first bowl over the cabbage. Set aside for about 6 – 8 hours, rotating the bottom ones to the top every 2 – 3 hours.
  4. The cabbages should be ready to be washed when the white parts of the leaves are bendable. It’s okay to have a bit of resistance. Rinse thoroughly 3 times, especially between the white parts. Drain well, cut side down.
  5. Meanwhile, make the optional dasima broth by boiling a small piece (2 to 3-inch square) in 1.5 cups of water for 5 minutes, and cool. Mix the rice flour with 1/2 cup water (or optional dashima broth) and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to a thin paste, and cool. Yields about 3 – 4 tablespoons.
  6. Prepare the garlic, ginger, and saeujeot. Combine all the seasoning ingredients, including the rice paste and about 1/2 cup water (or the optional dashima broth), and mix well. Set aside until the gochugaru dissolves slightly and becomes pasty.
  7. Cut the radish and optional pear into matchsticks (use a mandoline if desired), transferring to a large bowl. Cut the scallions diagonally into about 1-inch long pieces. Add the prepared seasoning mix to the radish, and mix well by hand. Throw in the scallions, and mix everything lightly. Taste a little bit. It should be a little too salty to eat as is. You can add salt, more salted shrimp or fish sauce, as needed. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld nicely.
  8. Cut off the tough stem part from each cabbage quarter, leaving enough to hold the leaves together. Place one cabbage quarter in the bowl with the radish mix. Spread the radish mix over each leaf, one to two tablespoons for large leaves. (Eyeball the stuffing into 4 parts and use one part for each cabbage quarter.)
  9. Fold the leaf part of the cabbage over toward the stem and nicely wrap it with the outermost leaf. Place it, cut side up, in a jar or airtight container. Repeat with the remaining cabbages. If you have loose large leaves, you can use them to cover the top of the kimchi (see note 1). Once all the cabbages are in the jar or airtight container, press down hard to remove air pockets. To collect any remaining seasoning, rinse the bowl with 1/2 cup of water (or the remaining optional dasima broth), and add it to the kimchi container. Close the lid.
  10. Leave it out at room temperature for a full day or two. It can be longer, depending on the weather and how fast you want your kimchi to ripen. Then, store in the fridge. (see note 2)

Notes

  1. You can cover the top of the kimchi with large outer green leaves (as I did in the video) if available. Some people also use plastic wrap to cover. But, this is not absolutely necessary, especially for this small batch of kimchi.
  2. Although you can start eating it any time, kimchi needs about two weeks in the fridge to fully develop the flavors. It maintains great flavor and texture for several weeks.

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