Sunday, May 31, 2009

More stuff

Pattern: Everlasting Bagstopper
Yarn: Dzined Hemp Worsted (body), Pakucho Organic Cotton in Chocolate (edge and handle) - 1 skein each
Needle: Size 5 (bottom and edge/handle), 10.5 (body)
Notes: This was easier on the hands than linen! I made some changes. I wasn't excited about having to sew on ribbon handles (and concerned about how long that would last), so I followed the Ilene Bag with 1x1 rib edging in Pakucho (once I ran out of Hemp) and then did a 20-stitch handle in 1x1 rib. I like the effect, which is very 1973-on-the-way-to-macrame-class. It was fairly quick, about a week to finish, and super easy to do while watching television.

More knitting...I've actually made progress on Matt's Hjalte. Partly, I made a rule that I can only do mindless projects until it's done, which means no Shipwreck Shawl or Twist and Shout. Since I really want to start those, I started working on Hjalte, at least a couple rows whenever I knit. I've finished one repeat of the cable pattern on the back, and it looks great. It's starting to get easier for me, too, and I can almost read the cabling the way I can lace.

When I was looking for my size 5 needles for the bag, I found the 24" in the bottom of my stash container, attached to the ill-fated Tussie Mussie (which I decided to do in stockinette instead of reverse stockinette AND decided to eliminate the nosegay pattern, so it's quite boring) and decided to finish it. I have miles to go:

Reading; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley was an excellent mystery, featuring a precocious eleven-year-old, Flavia deLuce, in 1950s England. She is hilarious and slightly disturbing, with her fixation on poisons, but she's an engaging sleuth and the mystery is excellent. I'm almost done reading The Writing Class by Jincy Willett, which is laugh-out-loud funny, but also really thought-provoking. The protagonist is a writer who hasn't published in years and teaches writing workshops at the university extension. Her current class is excellent, except for one anonymous prankster. When the prankster's activities escalate, the class pulls together (even though the culprit is certainly one of them) to try and unmask him/her. With excerpts from the student writings and the teacher's bitter, cynical blog, it is a fantastic read.

Writing: Nope.

Cooking: I have really been keeping the kitchen going lately. Lilah and I went with friends to pick strawberries at a nearby farm, and it was so much fun. I've made 41 jars of Strawberry Vanilla and Strawberry With Black Pepper and Mint. I made the usual Strawberry Vanilla, and even that was much better with fresh, local berries. I couldn't get over having jars of jar three hours after picking the berries. I also made a big batch using Pomona's Pectin for the first time. Unlike Sure-Jell, you don't need huge quantities of sugar to get the jam to set, so I was able to use a relatively small amount of agave nectar, and it was delicious. More fruity than the traditional, sugar-packed jam. The Strawberry With Black Pepper and Mint is from Mes Confitures, and it took three days. Most of that time, it was just in a bowl in the fridge, but three days! It only produced 4 jars and some extra, but it is amazing. I'm close to a website launch for selling jam, which is exciting. Tim, Web Designer Extraordinaire, is just waiting on some changes to the copy and some photos of the jam and our strawberry picking adventures. Now that I have stock, I'm ready to unload it :)

The garden is really clicking along. We are going to have ridiculous quantities of zucchini this summer:

We have just a few tomato plants (ha!):

I planted lots of peppers to go with the tomatoes for salsa canning this summer:

My mint "patch" has turned into a forest:

And the eggplant are doing well:

I really want to do a lot more next year in the garden!


Anonymous said...

Love the Bagstopper; the neutral tones are great. A great use for your Chocolate Pakucho!

Hjalte is mucho impressivo: Matt is going to be Mr. Dapper.

Website launch! Jam! Wow, I'm so excited for you! I feel like I want to ask a bunch of questions about your methods (I love that the recipe can work with just a bit of agave), but perhaps these are going to be trade secrets of the biz. Probably easier for me to just buy the finished goodies from you. You go, business lady!

Another WOW with your gardening. So much green! Fantastic, all of it. I've got beans coming along like they could produce something eventually, but I planted tomato seeds and got no sprouting - none. Planted again. We'll see. I'm blaming peckish birds.

YarnThrower said...

I wish I could get things to grow the way you can! Part of the problem, I think, is not having time to water, and forgetting to water...? Also, I think our soil is tired... It is so cool that you're launching a web business!

Mary said...

Love the color combo on the bag! So are colors I always love on finished products but never call to me in the yarn store :)
And Hjalte is looking great too!