When someone goes above and beyond to do a great kindness, the only proper response is repayment in kind.
The kindess: A carefully wrapped shoebox filled to the brim with koulourakia (koo-loo-RAH-key-uh), or koulouria (koo-LOO-ree-uh), as we call them. They are my favorite Greek cookie. Like a traditional shortbread, they are crunchy, somewhat dry and not too sweet. The perfect accompaniment to coffee in the morning.
No one makes better koulouria than Helen. When her daughter was married a couple of years ago, Helen left a box of them in every out-of-town guest’s hotel room. They were divine. So when I recently saw Helen at a family gathering, I asked if she might share her recipe. Helen came through with the recipe and the aforementioned stash of cookies. I made short work of them, as my hips can attest.
How to repay such generosity?
After some collusion with her wonderful daughters, we determined that lavender would be a nice color for a little something. As if there wouldn’t be something lavender and appropriate just waiting in the stash … which, of course, there
was. (Insert giggle/snort of choice here.) Two skeins of Spirit Trail Fiberworks Paivatar, a merino/cashmere/nylon blend in Lilac. I married it with Elektra for a host of reasons: the Greek origins of the pattern name, its unique pentagonal
shape, its wearability ’round the shoulders in chilly summer air conditioning or around the neck under a coat in winter.
The pattern by Romi Hill is terrific; flawlessly written. I made some modifications to make up for not using beads, as follows: Instead of using the suggested increase for each of the spines, I used a YO. This highlighted the spines in a decorative way without having to stop and insert beads. If you are making your own – I did this for every increase until the last chart.
Because I was wary of running out of yarn, I opted for the minimum number of repeats. In a perfect world, I would have knitted using US 5 needles because Paivatar is closer to a DK weight than a fingering, but because of yardage concerns, I went with US 4. I blocked the daylights out of it and the garter stitch opened up quite nicely. Ultimately, I had about eight yards of yarn left over, confirming my suspicions. Sometimes the Yarn Goddess is with us ~ probably because this was a gift.
I was very pleased with Paivatar in spite of working it up on a slightly smaller needle than it really wanted. (Not the yarn’s fault.) This yarn would be suitable for a cowl or other next-to-skin wear. It certainly handled lace – and blocking – eagerly. I used regular blunt-tipped Addi Turbos and it did not split at all. The colorway exactly matched its name, and its tonal variation was perfect. I did alternate skeins at the spot where the garter-stitched edge met the pattern so that the two skeins would blend.
Project marriage score: 9
Elektra is now belatedly winging its way to Helen, having spent more time than I will admit to on the the wires. Really, it’s the least I could do.
Now I have to pull out the flour, sugar and eggs and try to replicate Helen’s koulouria. On the other hand, there’s a Greek festival this weekend and I’m sure I’ll find some there …