Sunday, March 30, 2008

I have reached knitting Nirvana finally!! The light has come on and I can see at last. I am knitting Jared’s Hemlock Ring and I am delirious!! You non knitters may laugh but let me tell you, it doesn’t get any better than this. What was that saying about the soul of an artist? Yeh, well, in this case it all pertains to the creative within. That’s where the high is.

Allow me to explain: I am a beginner knitter and have always wanted to really learn how. I mean the hard stuff. Some weeks ago I discovered Brooklyntweed, the blog of Jared and Hemlock Ring, Na Craga etc. I went nuts. I just had to make that HR. I trolled the web like a hooker

in search of instruction. I joined a Yahoo group. I downloaded any and everything I could find and put in all in my binder. Then I proceeded to read and was so lost.

I read for days. Then I decided to jump in and to hell with everything. I knitted into the wee hours of the morning (try 4am). I ripped and reknitted and ripped some more. I was beside myself. And then it happened, suddenly, I knew how to go about it and understood everything. I am on row 31 and just a few more rows to 46 , where I have to switch to Jared’s chart. I think I’ll be ok lol.

Jared took an antique doily and modified it to make a throw, knitting it with eco wool and it is just stunning. He made it larger and offers the chart he made to help and if you are an experience knitter who can read charts, you are lucky lol. The link is below. I can't seem to make it come up here for some reason lol.

Jared's link

Here is what I have done so far. It looks like a lump of poop but it is correct. I count every row to make sure of it and have now marked the points. The bump you see in the middle is ok. It will flatten out when it is blocked. I will have to do some research on blocking. Jared’s looks like it’s ironed. I will keep you updated as I knit along. If anyone is doing this HR, please feel free to add some comments or tips.

On a sofer note (since I'm so hyped on the HR). I have finally taken all my angels down and given them a bath and installed them all around the ceiling in the reading room (guest room for people I love). Here they are getting washed and rinsed.

Here they all are ready for a hanging lol.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My wonderful birdhouse came yesterday and I have been admiring it for two days. I can't wait to take paint and brush to it and paint birds, flowers, grapes, leaves and maybe a cat...

Here is another view. It's about 44 inches tall and about 33 inches around. I love it! As I am looking at these two pics, I realize, that I did not finish hanging the chandelier ornaments back lol. Oh my, they still need to be washed hahahahahahh.

I didn't neglect my bread making either. I mixed up a new batch last night and today we have pumpernickle, I think. lol

I added spelt four, rye and stoned ground whole wheat and the usual ground flax and sunflower seed, cocoa, black strap molasses, caraway seeds and golden raisens. It tastes great. I am debating weather I need the cocoa and the molasses, just in order to get the color?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Here is my patch of Orange Marmalade. I had to open one and taste it with my new patch of Artisian bread that I make every two days lol. I never stick to any recipe, that's why you see the stuff in it. I grind the flax seed and add and then some sunflower seeds, a few golden raisens and I think this one has some cranberries.

In the back you see some Spelt four, rye and stone ground wheat and you know I am going to continue to mess with that Artisian recipe some more lol. I also mix it differently. Instead of mixing in 6 cups of four, I do four so I can add my stuff later, while the mixing is still in the easy stage. I let it rise two hours or so and put it in the frig overnignt. Next day I throw in my stuff and the other 2 cups of four and let it rise again and put it back in the frig sometimes....or make a loaf.

I have to thank Fibermania for that wonderful, no-knead recipe and so on. I also save money as I spend about 3.00 a loaf for good bread from the bakery and my bread is soooo much better with home made

I think I will have to make another batch of orange marmalade. This batch looks a bit small and while I still have oranges on the trees and hubby willing to pick and wash them.

I use sure-jell and the recipe is right in the box. It's not hard. So now we have Kumquat, Orange, Guava, Strawberry, Cranberry in the pantry.

I am still busting my chops on the broad spiral knit socks in that sock book. I am working the short rows for the heel turn. She says to inc after the sl st and then the usual dec at the end of the short row and turn. Sl, inc and so on. If you do that, you never arrive at the 14 stitches you are supposed to be left with as you are inc before each of the last two repeat rows....I may be new to knitting but this certainly doesn't make sense. Anyway, to hell with it. I did the heel without the inc's and came out with the 14 stitches. I still have to wonder what the deal is though. Here is a pic of the devil spiral sock top...

Here is the heel turn, it looks small.
I went to the library yersterday in search of knitting and found these books. I have already maked some uniqued patterns for copying.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oh thank God. I had written this entire post with pic and everything and then blogger decided to die and everything was lost after all that work. I was cussing up a storm. But lo and behold I just came back and blogger had saved everything. I now have to take every cuss work back. Well this was the blog, read on.....

I almost missed the strawberry season lol. It was one of those crazy windy, and bad storm coming days yesterday. Of course I had to run out and do my errands and beat the storm. Well, I have to have some excitement in my life right? Anyway, I dashed into the veggie stand, got my veggies and a flat of late straberries....

I started immediately, less I procrastinate and loose most of them. I washed and hulled them and washed them again. I only lost about 8 and that's not too bad.

Then I crushed the berries with a potatoe masher, added 3 cubes of lemons (I sqeeze fresh lemons and freeze them in ice trays and bag them). I cooked two patches of jam. I added some natural apple pectin along with the sure jell. I did one with the less sugar jell and one with the normal amount of sugar jell. I can't tell the difference.

Out of a flat of strawberries, I got 13 pints. My cost for the berries and sugar and sure jell, $23.00, not including the jars, which I use over and over and I wish some of my dear friends would bring my jars back or buy me a case of them hahahahhahah...

Anyway, I checked on ebay. One jar of 16 oz. Tennessee strawberry jam sells for 5.49 and 10.49 to ship, wow.

I consider Smuckers a good brand of jam and an 18 oz jar of that cost 7.50 on line. So lets say that my cost would be 2.00 a jar and would retail for 6.00 a jar, I would make a 58.00 profit...would I make them to sell? Nope, I'm retired but I' tickled at the thought to have an "A" class jam for a song and for that I don't mind the work.

I now have in my pantry: Cumquat, Cumquat+Kewi (to die for), Strawberry, Cranberry, Pineapple (from my own yard yet). I still have to do my orange marmalade (from my trees) and blueberries. These and Kwie jam are all I will make, unless some exotic fruit comes along.

I have made pear jam and stopped because my son will eat the entire jar at one sitting and never gain an ounce of weight and that in my opinion defeats the delicacy of having a pear jam so fine and wonderful, now and then is to be savored not swallowed lol. I would make it again if I found some pears worth the effort.

All my pineapple jam is gone and only have two jars of cranberry left. We do savor those as the cranberries are expensive and you can only get them at Thanksgiving. I missed the blueberry sale at the Mormon church but will try real hard the next time. That is one great jam. No kewi is left either but will watch the sale on those and make some. All my jams are use multi-purpose. I use them to make ice-cream, cakes, jam rolls or just toppings. I have never seen pear or kewi jam anywhere for sale, so they must be a specialty. Kewi jam is to die for.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I couldn't help myself today. I was reading on my favorite blog, Fibermania, about Artisian bread. She made this yummy loaf. I didn't buy the book as I had to have the bread now. I did some research and came to the conclusion that in order to make this type of bread, two things had to happen. The way the dough is mixed and the way it is baked.
I took the basics and did my thing. The main thing with the artisian bread is a very crusty crust and lots of holes in the bread to make it airy. So what you do is put the flour in the bowl, make a well. pour some warm water in the middle, dump some yeast and sugar and stir it up, it's kinda sticky and runny but that's good. I covered it and went out with my friend Gloria. I came back after 3 hours and the dough was all bubbly. I put the rest of the four in, added some ground flax seeds, sunflower whole seeds and a few golden raisens, made one large round loaf ...flung it on my stone and baked it in a 450 degree oven with a pan of hot boiling steaming water on the bottom shelf of the oven.
That also helps with the crust. Well looks like the bread came out great. The two main things to make this type of bread is: the way yu mix it in the beginning and the water on the bottom shelf. The water must be boiling and steaming before you put the bread in and that is what make the crusty crust. Now I waited a whole 15 minutes before I cut into it. It baked perfect and the crust is crusty and it is delicious butttttt there are no holes (I almost wrote ho's ) ahahahahh. I guess I need to let it rise a second time and divide the dough in half so it can have room to grow. more.