First of all, I still love you. I know I never call, and I haven’t even written in a while, but you are still the blog of my heart. I know you think I have run away with that little scamp Ravelry, but I was just working late. All summer.
I’m here now, though, and determined to do better by you, and in that spirit, I’ve decided to come clean about what I’ve been up to this summer so that you will know it was nothing (too) disloyal to you.
A Wee Online Party
…with 160 of my friends. At least, that’s what the WiseSweater KAL/CAL/SAL on Ravelry has felt like: One big, summer-long party. Looking at my last blog post, I realize that the moment the Wiseheart & Friends Rav group started up, I stopped blogging–because suddenly I had a new part-time job. And once the KAL itself started up, I’ve been spending every spare moment with these wonderful, wacky folks. (You know who you are.)
The group is over 400 members strong, and the KAL has about 160 members, including one crocheter and a couple of dozen folks who are spinning the yarn to knit the sweater. And here I was expecting only about 20 folks to show up. Eep!
Here’s my cardigan (“Wheatgrass Truffle,” if-you-please) so far–well, the back section, actually, up to the waist.
The DK yarn is hand-dyed in colourway Bruised Ego by the ever-talented Jennifer of Holiday Yarns. It’s a new base yarn for her, 50/50 merino/silk–soft, shiny, smooth, a pleasure to knit with.
Anyway, the KAL, eeet eeez Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Soooo much fun!
I Be Jammin’
Drat that Boogie babe. She just had to go and tweet about all her delicious jam recipes, the blueberry lime this and the peach lavender that. The final straw was this photo of her root cellar. All those jewel-like jars, lined up so neatly…completely irresistible. The next day I came home from the store with a canning pot and all the accessories, plus a few boxes of canning jars.
Our CSA farm is having a really good harvest this year, and our veggie and fruit bins have been full of goodies. But no matter how much one loves peaches, eventually you open the fridge and hear yourself say, “Peaches for breakfast…again” and that’s the day I decided I just had to make some peach lavender jam.
For days, it was boiling water baths, and jars lined up in the corner to cool, and chopping boards and bags of sugar and splotches of fruit everywhere. (Note to self: Blueberry lime mint jam is not a good hair conditioner.)
This is the result so far:
click to embiggen
That’s about 4 dozen jars: peach lavender jam, blueberry lime mint jam, blueberry lime jam (just left out the mint, yummy!), blueberry maple jam, tomato and thyme jam, tomato sauce. I still have several pounds of beets to work up into something, and the tomatoes from the CSA are taking over our counter this week, so I might have to clear off a second shelf in our weird little bright yellow basement. And I want to try the carrot rosewater jam recipe, and the golden plums and sage recipe, and…
Lots of goodies for the winter ahead.
I’m a first-time canner, and I’ve always been scared to try. To my delight, I discovered it was really easy, and fun–although quite a bit of on-your-feet-in-a-humid-kitchen-work for us chronic illness folks. Well worth it, though. The joy of making things just never gets old.
As usual, I did a lot of research on the internet and in books before I started, and I have to say the one site I kept going back to, over and over, for recipes and links and info, was Tigress In a Jam (she also does Tigress In a Pickle, as well as other things, click all the links!). She runs Tigress’ Can Jam and I found her blog postings (each month is a different canning challenge) fascinating and entertaining. Girlfriend can write!
Life is weird. (Betcha never noticed that.) I bought my brand new Matchless wheel one week before Buddy got really sick last spring, and I was so busy nursing him and doing whatnot that I didn’t have the sit-still time to sit down at my new wheel for months. Instead, I had spindles sprinkled around the house so that I could reach for one and spin for a bit whenever I had a spare momentito. The result was that months later, I couldn’t find my Bosworths when I was ready to start spinning the qiviut for my Spin-Off project.
That was a Good Thing, probably; I’d really gotten into a rut with my beloved Bossies, and not being able to find them meant that I ended up spinning the qiviut on my barely-used Lily, and the silk to go with it on my Greensleeves Ethan Jakob. Those two spindles and I ended up spending hours each day together in order to spin enough yarn for the thingie I knit for Spin-Off, and I loved every minute.
Now that the mag project is done and turned in (and hopefully being incorporated into the Winter issue even as I type this), I realized I STILL couldn’t find my Bossies.
It was time to put on my big girl panties and Get Organized. I remembered Beth‘s awesome spindle racks in her shop, and went to Home Despot in search of wood dowels and hooks and bears, oh my.
Left to right: Bosworth FW (purple heart), Lollipop Planet Sheep (no longer made), DyakCraft FiberShip, Fox Den, Bosworth Midi (bird’s eye maple), Bosworth Midi (red cedar), Cascade Mt. St. Helens, Bosworth Moosie, Avi Wasserman, Lily, Ethan Jakob, Spindlewood (square whorl, pink ivory and ebony).
I’m going to put up at least one more dowel because I still have coughseveralcough more spindles to hang. I’m going to use an adjustable bracket to mount the next one, instead of just long hooks, so that the dowel will be far enough out from the wall to hang the bigger whorls. But this second dowel will go on another wall so it isn’t up too high to see all the pretties.
I’d really like to mount a cool light above the spindle racks so that they get the proper limelight treatment. The outlets in this house are oddly placed, however, so that requires a bit of thought.