Thursday, August 19, 2010

In A Jam

In A Jam
I have been knitting every day, really. The body of the yellow and white blankie is nearly finished and the wool blankie is resting until cooler weather prevails. I have to move on to other projects that are calling to me. One project that is being worked on is a baby gift. Pictures and pattern link will happen next week. I want to finish it before posting about it. It's about 75% finished, so you know it was a smallish project.

So in the mean time I have been caught up in the summer months food fest. I am such a fan of doing as much food from scratch as your time allows. Lately my time has been plentiful enough that I managed some food projects. One of which was canning. I am not a real experienced canner but I am throwing my hat into the ring and am trying everything I can right now. My favorite canned foods are fruits. I started about five years ago by making strawberry jam and blueberry jam. We picked all the fruit ourselves and I give it my best try. I was thrilled with the results but because of work I did not canned anything again for five years.

I felt inspired by a fellow knitter that it was opening up Pandora's box. I picked strawberries this year, twice. I made jam and we froze about 5 quarts of berries. There is only one bag of strawberries in the freezer and I am sad. Blueberry season has come and is nearly gone so we dashed out last week and picked four pounds of berries. We took three buckets with us but because of the heat and humidity and the fact it is the very tail end of the season, we barely filled up one bucket. My yield from the very brief picking was two batches of fresh blueberry muffins (we ate some and I froze some), froze one pound of plain berries and ended up with five half pint jars of blueberry jam. I am not a fan of jelly so all of my fruits end up and jam. I hate the thought of wasting the fruit.
The next season that is going on right now is peach. We had to drive to this place to pick peaches which ended up being a very pleasant tour of country back roads of Virginia and North Carolina. We went for the first time two weeks ago and we picked two pecks. Each bag they give you holds about 1 peck or 12 pounds. Since we were beginners, we didn't know we should have picked a bushel. When we got home I canned five quarts of my very first peaches. I made a peach cobbler and we ate some of the peaches too. I was so pleased with the results that we decided to go back and pick more the next week. So last Sunday we drove back to Knott's Island and picked three pecks. So that's 36 pounds of peaches. I have already canned six quarts and still have more to do. So today I am going to make peach jam and save some peaches for peach cobbler for a cookout this weekend.
The next season I will be looking forward to is apples.

Monday, August 02, 2010


I have been very busy working on two afghans and have not been blogging. I have been reading blogs but not keep up with mine. I didn't intend for there to be such a gap in time since my last post but I have actually been making very good progress on so many things. I have been cooking more, painting chairs, getting things ready for a fall yard sale and trying to finish two afghans before I lose interest.

I have talked about the mitered square afghan here in an earlier post. The wool mitered square has blankie has taken on a life of it's own. I am smitten over the whole process including five (yes I did say five) swaps to add different kinds and colors to my afghan. It has over 250 2"X2" squares. The afghan is knit on 2.25mm needles (the smallest sized ones). I usually knit my socks on that size because I like how smooth they look. I thought that since the afghan was going to be knit with sock yarn, I should honor that fact by knitting the whole thing with my sock needles. When I professed this fact in public, someone, anyone who was a friend should have knocked me upside the head. An intervention might have been needed at that point. Now it's just too late.

I have three one gallon bags of mini swap yarns to add to the wool blankie. I think maybe now I might have just about enough to knit the approx. 1,000 squares it's going to take. I have been averaging at least 2 squares per 5gm mini skein. I am very excited to want to finish this blankie whose finish time is estimated at about one year. Yup, one year. I don't want to take that long but there have been a few bumps in route to completion. One bump is blankie #2. I went with a friend to Michael's and they had Sugar and Creme 100% cotton on sale from $1.79 to $1.00 a skein so I purchased 20 skeins. I had a plan in mind and I was hoping to do it cheaply.

I wanted a summer blankie. After sitting with that wool afghan on my lap for hour after hour in the sweltering heat, I decided I needed a cotton version. Nuts, right?? Well, it's been so much fun that's it about half way finished. The wool blankie was temporarily forsaken for the newly loved cotton blankie. This time though I learned from my first mistake. I increased the needle size to #7s to accommodate the bulkiness of the cotton yarn. It has worked beautifully.

I am super pleased at how it's coming along. It's so much easier than the smallness of the wool blankie. Either way I am going to finish both sometime in the next year, but not before I start this blankie. I got invited to a baby shower. So tomorrow it's off to the yarn store to buy yet more yarn to make yet another blankie. I guess knitting on socks right now is totally out of the question...