Meet the leek-cosy. It’s knitted in a 2×2 rib using Stylecraft’s ‘Life Changes’ yarn.
Oi, stop laughing about this terribly serious matter! There really is a good reason for this. Allow me to explain…
Being someone who wastes far too much time nosing into oddball corners of the internet – peering into its cupboards, opening the occasional drawer – I come across all sorts of things. On nights when I can’t sleep, it sometimes gets to the point where I feel as though I’ve Read The Internet. All of it.
One of the things that I’ve been reading about is regrowing vegetables from scraps. FREE VEG, COUNT ME IN! I thought, some time after midnight. The gist of the idea is this: plonk the discarded business end of vegetables in shallow water for a few days, and when regrowth begins, pot the veg-in-question up in some compost and wait (several months) for lunch to be ready. Whilst doing so, try not to fret about the poor plant’s fate of being callously regrown and re-eaten in an endless cycle of Orwellian butchery.
Disclaimer: I am absolutely not a vegicultural expert. (What? You could tell that was the case?! HOW ON EARTH?!!)
If you’re going to try the technique, the very best fun is to be had with spring onions, onions, leeks, and celery. I’m told – by the internet, at 3.00am – that garlic works well too, but we’ve already got 50 garlic plants growing in tidy rows in the garden, so that need is pretty much covered for now.
Look at this! The picture below shows the scrappy root-end of a red onion that I used whilst cooking dinner a couple of weeks ago. And now, three new onion plants are busy growing – all from a scrap that would otherwise have ended up on the compost heap. I think it might be time to divide and plant them. Note the toothpicks used to suspend the onion at the water’s surface. You’re supposed to change the water daily, but I can’t swear to be completely reliable about that.
Anyway, back to the important matter of knitted leek-cosies. I regrew my leek from a tiny, rootless, stump that was left from preparing a chicken stew. First, it grew in water (on the right in this photo):-
…And then I potted it up. When you grow leeks, the lower portion of the plant needs protection from light so that it remains white and tasty, rather than turning green and leafy. What on earth could I use to shield my indoor-leek? Soil? A discarded loo-roll tube? The rusty cogs in my brain finally turned, and I realized that a perfect solution was at hand. Knitting. So this is my leek-cosy. The ribbing means that it can expand as the leek swells. I knitted it on 4mm (US size 6) double-pointed needles, 20 stitches to the round. Celery stalks need protection from light, too, so I might have to knit a larger version very soon.
Dinner will be ready… eventually.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Robyn-the-robin says hi:-
No: I do not “like” this post – I LOVE it ! Really, Phil, you seem set on bypassing each record for a wonderful post – it’s positively exhausting. 😀
What will happen to Robyn the Robin when it’s really cold ? Where do robins go in the winter ?
You are obviously meant to be a yarn bomber: so my thousand-times-asked question is – how do you make the joins ?
I honestly thought last week that she should put a bird band around Robyn’s leg, with the twisted Yarn website address on it. Imagine, if Robyn flies to, I dunno, the south of Spain for the winter, and someone down their befriends her also. Then they type in the website address out of curiosity. That person would be the coolest new member of the site, EVER!
Bloody brilliant idea, N ! 😀
Gardening is so much fun, even in the winter inside knitting a cosy for your leek. You silly girl. Laughed so hard when I saw the picture. But then again,it would be probably be duct tape here as my whole life depends on it XD
Claire C says
I’m guessing that rib stitch is the best to allow for leek expansion (!)…. I’m mightily impressed with the ‘something from nothing’ philosophy, and of course yarn enhances everything. Leek legwarmers for the win!
I love your idea!
And I also love this sentence: “Whilst doing so, try not to fret about the poor plant’s fate of being callously regrown and re-eaten in an endless cycle of Orwellian butchery” 😀
Megan Drennan says
I would have been more surprised by your veggie/ knitting if my friend hadn’t returned from hospital appointment with a leaflet asking for volunteers to knit their gut ! Pattern supplied,the most gruesome pattern I have ever had the misfortune to glace at. The whole “works” is there….intestines,oesophagus,spleen,anus etc. The Diverticulitis society would like some knitted examples( why) to use in student lectures. Being a good citizen I am taking it into my craft group tomorrow and asking for volunteers. Should be right up your street.
Jean Kapcia says
Ahem – I’ve made one such digestive system! It was a request from a biology teacher friend to use as a visual aid and he loved it. The pattern started from the bottom up (literally!) and while I won’t be taking commissions, I thoroughly enjoyed making it ???? Phil is most definitely an inspiration!
Barbara H. says
Hey, Megan, because I am a avid knitter who just got over a bout of Divertic TODAY (officially over it so don’t care to fully spell it) I would love to make an example of it! in knitted form so that I may exorcize it from my mind…do you have a lovely pattern, hmmm?
dotstestsiteDot Walker says
This so made me laugh Phil!! Thank you!! & your grand dad would be proud of you – he regularly grew tomatoes from the pips of those he’d had for tea (they tasted really good!), I still have an apple tree in the garden that he grew from a pip!
I love to read your blog posts and this one has cheered me up no end, thank you.
Your dedication to knitting in and for all areas of life is impressive! Also, your dedication to growing veg from scraps far surpasseth mine. Pretty sure I tried to do that with a carrot top some time ago. I gave up when I realised it had shrivelled up from lack of water. May you have many a delicious regrown meal!
I burst out laughing when I saw the cosy little leek. But it makes sense. We used to grow all our old bits and ends when the kids were young. It’s great fun.
This piece is so well written it is a joy to read! It has cheered me up on a grey morning! Thank you so much! So glad Robyn is still around too,
Margaret Riley says
Dear Phil, Please please keep these posts coming. I love your imagination; Robyn ; your quirky humour that keeps us brighter in a dark world.
Jean Kapcia says
Phil, your handiwork and posts are a tonic in this mad world – you definitely inspire me – please see my post under Megan Drennan’s comment earlier xx
I giggled too when I saw the leek cosy. It is a great idea to grow something for nothing but you are more dedicated than I am. Mind you, lovely way to show off your knitted creations around the house and to use up scraps of yarn!
Worry Brill Idea! (Go on, see if the Twinnage can guess the book! Think it might be “Ging, gang goolly it’s an alien” or another by that author)
So far I’ve been composting my vegetable peelings and ends. I might just try this as well, with some of the ends, though I probably won’t be knitting them acrylic cosies/light excluders. Then all I’ll have to do is find somewhere to plant them out for the required months. This might be a tad difficult as our concreted yard is on the northeast side of our house, consequently a tad on the dim side. Wonder how they’d do in the south-facing bedroom windowsill?
Years ago I read a very fun book: ” The After Dinner Gardener.” Maybe you can still find it, all about growing plants from leftovers. Seriously, it works!
The After Dinner Gardening Book has all sorts of possibilities. I have some papaya seeds on my sill waiting for sprouts. What fun you’re having…and what energy! I’m in my waning days so am slower to accomplish my ideas, so I get energized by your enthusiasm. Thanks for all your posts.
Love this post!! Really want to try this (the growing veggies from scraps, not the knitted veggie clothes, my family worry enough about me!!).
Before I clicked through to your post, I thought “wait, is this an April Fool’s joke? No… it’s still March… what on EARTH is she talking about?” And then I read, and thought “well, I’ll be!”
Just sitting down to dinner after 3 hours in the garden today. What fun to read about your leek cozies! I totally get it. I have some starts in the window from my scented geraniums and they are currently sharing space with dragons tail and creeping Charlie, i still remember going up into the forest near my college to cut a burl off of a redwood tree so I could have something growing in my dorm room.
Thanks for always giving us something interesting and enjoyable to read.
Just been catching up here – I don’t know why I missed some posts . . . Pleased to hear you are writing a book – can’t have too many books about knitting. I also want to mention that I am a professional indexer and would love to index your book when the time comes. Every good book needs an index!