Saturday, August 27, 2011

We love ya, Dad!

RIP Ernest E. McFadden, Jr.
May 23, 1921--August 26, 2011

You'll be with your beloved MaryLou forever now!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's harvest season!

Harvesting the Good Things
I've been busy these past 3 days with the box of peaches I bought on Friday. I'll be making my jelly later this year when it's cooler, but I hadn't made peach butter in several years and it's a family favorite. You have no idea how much work I can get out of my 3 fellas by offering them a small jar of peach butter! ;)

It's a long process, starting with dropping the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds so the skins slip off easily. Then they're chopped, one of my secret ingredients is added and they're cooked until soft. Next is putting them through the food mill to make a fine puree and remove any bits of seed that may have crept in there. Then we add the sugar and cook them down while stirring. This is the tough part--standing beside the pot for 1.5-2 hours, stirring and testing to see if it's condensed enough to jar and seal. As it cooks down, it splatters everywhere and you have to watch your hands and feet to make sure you don't get burned with flying hot peach butter! I usually bring a book and hope the peach butter doesn't splatter it. But it's all worth it, since I made 16 cups and that should last us for 2 years.

The remains of 26 peaches!
Peaches in the pot, and more for dessert!

Pureed and measured so I can add sugar

I’m still plugging away on the lace curtain. I have 4 more repeats of the lace pattern then I can start the hem, which is all stockinette stitch and should go much faster. I have also begun a swatch for an autumn-themed vest for myself. Below is the swatch, knitted in the round so I get the correct gauge. The yarn is all my handspun from my blended batts and it’s lucious–the ground color (beige) is a blend of BFL, Merino and tussah silk and it’s just so slickery-soft. The vest will be knitted in the round and steeked. Then I’ll add a leaf border around the fronts and just a bit of the red around the armholes. Or maybe I’ll use the brown/green yarn? Both the red and brown/green yarns contain angelina because I love glitter and glitz. You can see just a bit of the gleam in the closeup photo.

So, what's everyone else doing with their garden produce or their farmer's market purchases this year? Any good recipes out there?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Latest knitting projects

Oh my. I swore I'd post every week, and here I notice that I haven't been around for TWO weeks? Ah well.....

One of the Black and Gold Knitters on Ravelry runs a charity scarf collection. The scarves are given to women in crisis when they first go into a shelter environment, and are meant to let them know that others (especially other women who are craftspersons) care about them. So I spent most of July knitting up some of my wool handspun and acrylic leftovers into scarves. These are most of the results (three others were still drying and not available for photography).

And then I went back to the pile of WIPs. Finished the Trekking Handpaint socks, the yarn for which was purchased at Will's Wools in Hoorn, Netherlands. I'd never seen that color of Handpaint locally and just HAD to have it! I love the socks. Then I moved on to the handspun socks, where I had stopped the second sock at the ankle because I was distracted by starting yet another project. I find this happening a lot, starting more projects, because I love the planning and problem-solving stages. Which brought me to the third pair of socks that I started this weekend. It's more of my handspun, but this time it's from a blend I sold several years ago. I may have to resurrect this blend, maybe add some camel or cashmere to the blend--what do you think? Would you like navy/turquoise sock spinning batts with camel or cashmere?
Handspun socks
Trekking Handpaint socks

Handspun Navy/Turquoise socks

Last but not least, I've also restarted on the lace curtain that I began in Europe in May. It's a bit tedious knitting--36" wide and 39" long with Size 10 Crochet Cotton--but I think it's turning out well. It's the Frost Flowers lace pattern from Barbara Walker's First Treasury and I've always loved that lace. To break the monotony of the lace and to make it a pretty door curtain, I've inserted a mesh in the middle which widens as the curtain grows. The mesh is at it's widest at this point, so it's the same rows repeated for another 12-15" until I can make the hem.
I must be testing my stamina this month, because I'm planning a major renovation of my attic studio due to mistakes made by the original contractor (whom we fired), two out-of-town trips and a rather large festival in the coming 6-weeks. Yikes!