Wednesday, October 20

According to "Do Not Destroy".

This first picture of my knitting on the left (the cobweb of dusty alpaca in the back) and my best friend's is the purple cardigan piece. Hers is the blue cup and mine is the white. She is my dear friend since childhood, and now we live in the same country!

God is very good to me.

And that is what I want to remember about the time in between my last entry and this one. In other news; I was in a serious car accident, have had several emotionally dramatic things happen in my family that have kept me on the phone for an hour per night (on average) for several weeks, have learned two or three new skills to help me in my household work, have been reintroduced to my sign language skills rather forcibly, helped a friend move, and catalogued a boatload of library books for our church library. It means I am tired and struggle not to be cranky.

Knitting & Spinning: Yarns, Ribbons, & Rosettes
I won two blue ribbons and one red at the county fair; one of the blue ones and a purple rosette for Best-In-Show for the scarf in this picture. And I got all blues at our state fair:)

Two of the entries were yarn--a fine undyed laceweight merino (2 ply), and one wet-spun linen that made my fingers all pruny every time I spun for more than half an hour. I gather not many folks spin linen around her so that might account for the wonder of it.

The lace scarf is one from my own merino laceweight; also 2 ply, but different from the yarn I entered as a skein. It is an Estonian motif after the lily-of-the-valley, designed by Nancy Bush. Mrs. Bush is an historian extraordinaire whose second home (in the style of Gertrude Stein and Paris) is Estonia.

My parents are farm kids but they raised me and my sisters as city/island/extraterrestrial kids, so we never got the experience of entering things in fairs or being in 4H or anything. Their families back home will be pleased to see my ribbons in our Christmas missive.

Cotton is the other fiber I've been spinning--I won some at the MS&WF and haven't been able to find a better way to process it than spinning straight from the boll, which is what my spinning folk told me to do in the first place.

My handspun has been going to good use--I made a pair of armwarmers for my mother for Christmas and a headwrap for me to keep my hair up and away from my face when I'm working--this last is one of my few head-coverings that my sister claims does not "make [me] look homeless". Pics forthcoming if I can find decent ones.

And I knitted my first sweater:) It is delightful! I am surprised it worked out, and surprised at how easy it was. And my knitting group is very supportive and helpful. I love them and how positive and knowledgeable they are. It is good to surround oneself with such good people. And warm sweaters... I knitted it out of cheapish wool so it is already pilling pretty badly but it fits me well and is incredibly warm, and nobody noticed at my knitting group that I was wearing a handknit garment until I told them! Since it is a game between us to guess about handknits, I believe this means I win.

Cooking, etc.: Canning and Preserving
I decided ages ago that I wanted to learn how to can and preserve fruits and vegetables, and now I have begun. My canned tomatoes (several dozen jars, due to a miscommunication at the farmer's market) turned out well as a beginner's project. I was a little ambitious and tried not only a following project of blueberry-lime conserve (very good!) but also tomato jam (a childhood favorite of my mother) and serendipitously one of my shoppers found a lot of stew meat on sale, so I canned that too and that made about a dozen jars. Soon I shall continue on to the autumnal delights of apple sauce, apple butter and pumpkin pickles. This year I'm going to make more apple sauce than I did before. And the house will smell delicious.

I thought a picture of Mambrino was a bit necessary--I love this bowl for mixing and raising bread dough, 'frisaging' pastry dough (much better than plastic, metal, or glass because of the texture), serving salads or bread... and all the other uses in the kitchen that bowls get. Because it is handmade, the surfaces aren't perfectly smooth symmetrical, and I find that this quality of all of his to be practical and useful. I love using Mambrino with King Arthur Flour's old-fashioned dough whisk; I get the perfect amount of control over quickbread/muffin and cake batters.