Monday, September 27, 2010

All Ready, But For.....

All ready for Fall, that is.  Those first early signs of a change in the weather got my inner nesting instincts going.  I ordered some new Fiesta Ware bakeware in awesome autumn-ish colors, perfect for roasted new potatoes with sage, apple crumble, and oven-baked onion soup.  I'm ready for risotto, polenta with mushroom ragu, and pasta with rich sauces.  It's time for spicy scented candles and a roaring fire in the fireplace.  I'm ready to wear all of the new woolens I've knitted. 

I'm all ready, but for the weather, that is.  It's an infernal 108 degrees today. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Procrastination Doesn't Pay

Procrastination doesn't pay.  Well, sometimes it doesn't.  Certainly not this time.  Inspired by the beautiful chunky scarfs in the new Rowan No. 48, I went searching through my stash for a particular yarn, and found it -- already knitted up.  Into a chunky scarf.  Now, what a fully knitted item (all finished but for the weaving in of ends) was doing in my yarn stash, I don't know.  After seeing it, I still can barely recall knitting it.  And I like it (now, anyways).  Maybe I wasn't happy with it back then?  Maybe now, I'm just unduly influenced by the return of the chunky?  I dunno, 'cause back then was a long time ago.  And I'm not typically one for the chunky knits.  But either way, I sure could have used this big, monstrous, warm scarf on several occasions last winter.  Oh well.  Need to stash dive more often.

Big chunky scarf in a simple rib (cartridge belt, I think), knit with Orlov by Bouton D'Or run with a strand of Damasco by Katia on US 35 needles (yeah, I know).

Big Chunky just had a bath and is now outside blocking in the breeze.  I'll be ready this winter. 

Procrastination Pays

Procrastination pays, sometimes.  Certainly this time.  I'd been knitting away on the hooded Helsinki scarf from Rowan, close to done with the 2nd half,  when I realized that I was probably going to run short of yarn by just a tad.  Since the yarn was handspun made from a beautiful Lincoln fleece gifted to me by my good friend Cary, and there was no more fleece, there was not going to be any more yarn.  I almost starting ripping it off the needles right then, but really I didn't want to even look at it at that point let alone frog it, so off to the time-out corner it went (for a good long while). 

I finally had another project in mind for the yarn, so it just got a pass out of purgatory.   But before starting the major rip, something possessed to me unroll the 1st half of the scarf, which was still on a stitch holder, and lo!  There was little remaining ball of yarn dangling from the end.  It looked like maybe, just maybe, enough to finish.  I decided to go for it, knitted away, and yes indeed ran out of yarn.  TWO ROWS SHORT.  Two flippin' rows!  And that little ball was enough to finish those two rows and bind off.  To think that I almost frogged the thing in a fit, and it would have been for nothing.

this much left

crappy photo of a lovely cabled pattern (Helsinki by Sarah Hatton, Rowan No. 42)

I would have liked to have added a repeat or two to give it a bit more length at the top, but I think it will be fine.  It may likely grow a bit anyway -- it weighs in at over a pound and a half!  Now I just need a chilly, blustery day to wear it.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

End of the Season

The fruit trees are finally spent.  We had a pretty good harvest this year, especially the plums (note to self:  next year, cull the fruit!).  Over 56 pounds of plums went into jam, several more pounds went into plum-raisin chutney, and when I couldn't take chopping another plum I tried making a few jars of whole plums in honey syrup.  When the weather gets cold, I'll try cooking these down into a compote to top steel-cut oatmeal; I've never canned whole fruit before, so it will be interesting to see how these work out.  Nectarines also became jam,  peaches became two types of chutney, and a swap with friends yielded some awesome apricots that turned into lovely jam as well.  Blackberries are in the freezer, waiting patiently to be turned into pies.  A neighbor brought by some figs, which combined with some rhubarb from the farmers' market are now another lovely jam.  Alas, our apple tree is not faring well and produced no apples this year, but a friend has promised a bagful, so I should be able to make apple chutney this year. 

As much as I love the process, I'm glad to be done.  Mother Nature has a warped sense of humor, and it's always over 100F degrees when I need to do the canning.  Nothing like getting the oven going and huge pots boiling on the stove on a hot and steamy August day.  The reward comes later, in the winter.  Homemade fruit jam is like summer in a jar.  And chutney served with good cheese and a glass of wine by the fireplace is one of my favorite simple winter meals.  By then, I'm reminded that it was all totally worth it. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Too Late

John and I headed out early for a long walk this morning, thinking we'd beat the heat.  Too late.  The sun came on strong, and it was over 90F degrees at 9 a.m.  That last hill almost killed me.  But as John says, finishing ugly is still finishing.  Now at least I can rationalize staying in and knitting today.