Friday, June 13, 2014

Rewarding positive behaviours: stash and sourdough starters

I was reading an academic article yesterday on reward systems in the workplace. It said that employers and management should reward the behaviours they deem as positive because without reward and recognition, people tend to stop doing certain behaviours. This makes perfect sense to me - I'm definitely a fan of the carrot rather than the stick approach. Now the connection between knitting and workplace behaviour may seem a little  bit tenuous, but I think it really applies here. Over the last few years, I've made a real effort to knit from the stash. I made an epic effort to use up all of my 5-ply crepe last year and, although I bought 1.2kgs of wool last year, I have knitted all of it up already so none of it got added to the stash. This year I have bought ZERO wool, so when I had a hankering for something new and shiny this week I decided to reward my positive stashdown behaviours over the past six months by buying myself some new wool.

Okay, so I admit the logic is a bit faulty but look at my lovely new wool:

It's my favourite Opal Rainforest sock yarn. The one on the left is Veronica die Wilde (a butterfly, 2037) and the right is Hummel (bee, 1613). I bought it in a destash from another Raveller. Buying destashed wool is one of my favourite ways of acquiring new yarn - I like the idea of wool that would otherwise languish being used and loved. Plus, destashing gives me access to a much broader range of wool that I have at my LYS.

I took the picture on an azalea that has been dormant in the garden for the three years I've lived here but then a few weeks ago suddenly started growing the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen on an azalea. They're remarkable - like strawberries and cream. I didn't even know flowers could do shading like this. If I were a dyer, I'd make a series of sock yarns based on the colour of different azalea flowers. These colours would make seriously the most gorgeous socks.

I have also decided to try and make a sourdough starter (again...). I was inspired by an advanced copy of Peter Reinhart's Bread Revolution I have been reading. His passion for bread is so contagious and he breaks down really difficult (to me) things like sourdough starters into small, manageable steps.

Sourdough Starter: Day 1
What Reinhart's recipe does differently from the last one I tried was to use smaller quantities of flour and water (only about a quarter cup of each) and to add some lemon juice in with the water, with the idea that the acidity will encourage the starter to develop. I love sourdough bread but at $6 a loaf I don't get it very often. If I can make this work both my stomach and wallet will thank me.

I like to think that the fact that the photo I took with the flash on transformed the starter into a love heart is a good sign... Fingers crossed :)


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