Still knitting. This is Lintilla in handspun. Pretty sure the fiber is from Miss Babs. But I have been bad and not labeled some when the yarn is finished sadly. Sarah of by Sarah was wearing a lovely one at MDS&W that she had knit up out of handspun. And she was of course right about the fact that this pattern is addictive and easy to memorize. It is perfect for a handspun. I may have to knit a second one soon.
Category Archives: knitting
Yes, you read it right, gingerbread jam. I love gingerbread and I figured that had to be some way to take the flavors of a nice warm gingerbread cake and make it into a jam. I challenged SB Canning over on Facebook and we both have come up with out own versions.
Today was the perfect day to make this jam since it really feels like autumn outside. It was gray and drizzly and just plain old damp. The kind of weather that makes you happy you are a knitter!
I will preface this with this is not a tested recipe but I based it on one that I trust. If you have not canned before or it has been awhile since you canned, I would suggest you check out the up to date information offered by the National Center for Home Food Preservation has to offer.
And a note about the molasses I used. Unless you use molasses on a regular basis, you may not realize that there are two different types. There is the milder unsulphured mollasses and the blackstrap molasses. The blackstrap molasses has a much stronger flavor. I have always used Grandma’s Original Molasses which is the gold label one. There is a difference in the age of the sugar cane from which the molasses is made which accounts for the difference in the two types. When you are cooking, please stick to the lighter molasses. Blackstrap molasses is really dark and thick like tar. The flavor is really strong and a tiny bit will go quite a long way. With the regular molasses, the flavor is sweeter and lacking the bitter taste of the blackstrap. You will ruin your recipe if you use blackstrap. If the recipe calls for blackstrap molasses (like my mother’s baked bean recipe), you are normally only using a tablespoon or two. So please make sure you are using the regular molasses. And you will find it in the grocery store normally where you will find the syrups. Some people use it on their pancakes and waffles.
roughly 4 pounds of apples (I used 4 Granhy Smiths, 3 Ginger Golds, & 1 Honey Crisp)
Wash and quarter the apples.Do not peel the apples because you want the natural pectin in the peels! Cut out the cores. Use your food processor and shred the apples in batches. Ad the food proceeder bowl fills, dump the shredded apples into a large Dutch oven.(I use my Le Crueset one.) As you add the shredded apples, toss them with about 1 cup of apple cider and 1/2 cup of bottled lemon juice. And do not worry if it seems like you are over filling the pan. The apple shreds will cook down.
Add 4 to 5 ginger coins at this point and 2 cinnamon sticks. You do not need to peel the ginger. I cut about a 3 inch piece of ginger and than sliced it lengthwise.
Cover the shredded apples and cook over medium heat until they start to cook down. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. I found it took about 30 minutes over medium heat on my stove. The apples will release a lot of juice and you really do want them to start to dissolve and cook down.
After the apples have started to cook down, start adding the sweeteners. I added a total of 1 cup of molasses in 1/2 cup increments. I allowed the mixture to come back to a simmer before the second half cup.
Add the spices -
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (use 1/4 teaspoon if using ground nutmeg)
I combined all of my spices and added them at once.
Between each addition, bring the mixture back up to a simmer.
I adding another 3/4 of a cup of white sugar after the spices. Check your apples for sweetness after adding the molasses. By using the Granny Smiths, I knew my apples would need a bit more sugar. I wanted the jam sweet but with a touch of tartness to it. I would not add more than 1 cup of sugar total.
Cook the apple mixture down until it is jammy. Or you can either use an immersion blender or transfer half of the mixture to a blend and puree it until it kind of looks like applesauce. Make sure you pick out any ginger slices and the cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer again. Taste test it to make sure you like the flavor and adjust any spices if needed.
While waiting for the mixture to come back to a simmer, mince about 1/2 cup of crystalized ginger.
Once the mixture is back to a simmer, pull it off the heat and stir in the minced crystalized ginger. Follow standard canning procedures and fill your jars with the hot mixture. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes and allow to cool. I ended up with 10 8 ounce jars total.
And I have been knitting! I started the toe of a sock September 30 so I would be ready for the beginning of Socktoberfest. I am already past the heel and up on the leg of the sock. I knit this one from the outside of the wound ball. Once I have the leg about 2 inches tall, I plan to start the second sock pulling from the center. This way I will hopefully have a better chance of the stripes being similar!
I have being doing more and more yoga. Having tried out most of the local yoga studios, I have found one that I like. And the classes at the studio balance out the classes at the gym. Ever since yoga has become the hot new fun exercise, every where you turn it seems like there is a yoga class. But yoga is just not about the physical. Yoga involves a spiritual component too. And the studio where I am going blends the spiritual side of yoga into what we do. Plus I have gone back into my books and started reading about the history of yoga again. And yes, I am seeing some results already. Subtle but still there. Of course, when you are trying to lose weight, you never lose weight where you want to the most. But slow is better.
And there has been progress on the knitting front.. I have been trying and trying to block the Traveling Woman shawl I finished last month. Well the third time is the charm. It is all pinned out and dry. Well it feels dry but I am going to give it one day before unpinning it.
But now that it is blocking, I can reveal who the shawl will be going too finally. The shawl will be going home to Jodi of A Caffeinated Yarn in Chicago. And today is Jodi’s birthday so go on over and wish her a happy birthday!
And weather and allergies permitting, I am hoping to get out early Saturday morning to go and shoot photos. I have a new place in mind but I need to get permission first. I always try to get permission before going onto private property before shooting.
Okay, after a longer than intended hiatus, I am back. I think. I have managed to pull myself away from the time suck of Facebook and the various fun games there. I have managed to get my Bloglines down to under 500 unread posts. I have also cleaned up my lists of blogs that I read too.
So what have I been doing the past few months? Some knitting, some spinning, and tons of reading. Oh yeah, shoveling snow a lot too. ANd I managed to get sick as well right before Christmas. I think I would have preferred to have had bronchitis rather than the cold I had. Bronchitis doesn’t take as long to get over as a cold. Okay maybe not for me.
Um, I am still wondering if Alaska and Canada are missing their snow this year? For some reaso, the mid-Atlantic seems to have gotten it all. I mean over 50 inches so far this winter. And we still have a few more weeks of winter to go yet. But at least the bulk of the snow came back to back. The piles are melting slowly and I can actually see some grass peeking out.
I am back at my spinning wheel spinning. And I am knitting with handspun too. I managed to get some things finished during the hiatus. But unfortunately I can’t show them off since they are going to be a surprise gift for some one. One project that I can kind of show off is the Traveling Woman shawl I knit. It needs severe blocking though so it looks like a giant blob. But for once I have been able to get an accurate color shot of the yarn.
The story behind this yarn is really fun. The fiber was dyed by Scout out in New Mexico. It was spun by Amanda in Baton Rouge. I knit it up in Maryland. And it will be heading out to Ohio for blocking. And where it will end up after Ohio is still a mystery. But it definitely is a traveling piece of knit wear.
The shawl I am currently knitting out of handspun is Wandering the Moor. (Ravelry link.) The colors are a soft heathered purple. The yarn is spun from some top I bought at Md&W last year. The fibre is a super soft blend of merino and seacell. The fibre never really had a chance to age in the stash. So I will be hopefully buying more of this blend this year at MDS&W from the same dyer. But this time, I will be buying at least 16 ounces. I am just starting the lace portion of this shawl.
I have also been spinning a fair bit over the last several weeks. I have been clearing off bobbins And this is resulting in new yarns. I am now spinning fingering weight yarns pretty much all of the time now on the one wheel. And It is a good thing that I like knitting with skinny yarns.
I have to send a special thank you out to the lovely Jodi of A Caffeinated Yarn. She sent me a really special birthday present that included not only books and teas but a lovely knit shawl. She knit me one of Ysolda‘s lovely little shawls. It is perfect in that it adds just the right amount of warmth and the color is lovely. I wore it over a black dress recently to a memorial service and quite a few people came up to me and asked about it. The older ladies were impressed that knitting is till gong strong.
I have also started back to the gym. I am not happy with the trainer I had been working with and am waiting to hear back form one of the other trainers. But I have been going every other day and at least spending 35 to 40 minutes on the treadmill on the hill setting. But I really need to get back into lifting weights.
And I did mention that there would be a contest of sorts for my returning to the world of blogging. I am gong to make it really simple. Post a comment and tell me if you are a spinner or a knitter. Spinners will get a lovely soft luscious batt and knitters will get a skein of handspun yarn. You will get enough yarn to make a project. I need to spread of the love of knitting with handspun after all. And yes, I will mail international so do not hesitate to post a comment. So since I am posting this late on Tuesday afternoon, I will pick a few names out of everyone who posts Saturday afternoon. That should give everyone a chance to post a comment.
I am scheduled to work for Karida Saturday morning in her booth at Crafty Bastards. I will be bringing down around a dozen skeins of handspun yarn from her rovings. I am not spinning them up as fast I thought I would. But I would rather spin less yarns and have nicer yarns than tons of yarns that I would not want to knit with myself. But to encourage DC area readers, I am going to bring a skein of my own yarn that I will give away to one of the readers of this blog.
Here is the deal, I have a skein of handspun naturally dyed alpaca that is a lovely blend of natural chocolate brown, pale green, and a raspberry pink. It is about a worsted weight and the skein has 160 yards in it. (Really a few more yards but I would rather error on the low side.) To win this fabulous skein of yarn all you have to do is find me and tell me what you would make out of it. If I like the idea, you will walk away with the skein. All I will ask is that you send me a photo of what ever you make out if it. I looked over on Ravelry and there are quite a few patterns that could be made using this yardage and weight of yarn. Keep in mind though that handspun alpaca is heavy and very very warm. Here are some Ravelry links to various patterns that caught my eye – Celtic Cable Neckwarmer, Turn A Square, Quant, and a personal favorite is Woodland Trails. Now for Woodland Trails the yardage in this skein isn’t quit enough to do the full repeats but I did mine and used only 177 yards so you might be able to get it out of this skein.
And I have been knitting in between spinning. I have knit three Ripley hats. I will knit a few more but I need to find yarn in the stash for them first. But I have also knit something out of handpsun too. Kristi of Designs by Kristi was looking for some people to test knit the pattern and I volunteered. I had just finished a handspun yarn that was the perfect weight and enough yardage. This cowl knit up super fast. I am planning to knit up another one here shortly. I need to see what yarns I have that will fill the bill for it.
And I should really introduce the new photo only blog Playing with Fire. Strictly photos. Click on over and check it out. Hope to see DC area readers this coming weekend.
It seems like many of my friends are either still pregnant or have already had their babies. And I am always behind in my knitting. But when Cosy published her lovely Baby Belle pattern, I feel in love with it. And than she turned around and asked me if I would be interested in knitting one for a project she has in mind out of my own handspun, I couldn’t say no.
The first one is about 3/4 of the way done. I have the sleeves to knit next since I finished the body last night. I need to spin up some white yarn for the button band next. I couldn’t get gauge but I went ahead and cast on with the sweater in a 3 ply pink that I spun back in the early spring. I am ending up with a sweater that is probably a six to nine month size but with babies bigger is better.
I have fiber that I will start spinning hopefully tonight for a second one. The first one is definitely girly-girly and the second one will not be so girly. The fiber is blues and it will be cute with white and blue and ruffles. The trick for me will be to not alter the pattern. I never follow a pattern exactly. I always tweek them.
But I am currently swatching another handspun for a different baby sweater for a friend whose daughter is already three months old. My knit group had planned to knit her a baby surprise jacket out of a yarn I spun. But for some reason, the sweater never was knit. But that is okay because mommy will end up with the yarn and can knit what she wants out of it.
First of all I have to saw that Laila of Rawfish rocks! I ordered some fiber from her in May during her Etsy-versary and that meant I was entered into her drawing. And when she tweeted that I had won, I was surprised. The prize was a skein of hand spun yarn, a crocheted basket, and some hand made knitting needles.
I had sort of forgotten about it and when I went to the post office earlier this week, I was surprised to find a package from her waiting for me. And inside was a lovely skein of an almost acid green bulky yarn, a crocheted bowl in yellow and gray. And to top it all off, there was a pair of hand made knitting needles with the Tour de Fleece logo on them. Well our team’s logo.
And finally the photo for the finished S’mores socks that were started way back in 2007. It took me forever to finish these socks I admit it. They need to be re-washed and send on to P so she can wear them as soon as the weather turns cool enough to wear socks again. But I can honestly say that I will never knit this pattern again. Or at least not for several years. The K2P1 rib gets boring after awhile.
This is supposed to be a knitting blog although you couldn’t tell that by the lack of photos lately of knitting projects. It has been all about spinning lately. But I have actually picked up a few UFOs and worked on them plus started two new projects. One of the new projects is out of hand spun but I haven’t photographed it yet.
The pattern is Cashsilk Fern by Felicia Lo aka Sweet Georgia. This yarn is a mystery to me. It is either a Scout yarn or one given to me by P. I found it in the stash already wound into a center pull ball with no tag. I just liked the colors. It seemed nice and spring like to me. Well green at least since spring here in the mid-Atlantic is very green this year. The second new project is the same pattern but out of hand spun. I like knitting with handspun!!!
Update on spinning for the month is not much being spun. I am taking it slow this month and practicing at spinning a finer yarn.
The last several days it has been rainy. And Saturday morning was no exception. But my mid morning, it had stopped raining. The best part of Saturday was hanging out with some of the rock stars of the spinning and indie fiber world. Now Gryphon and Kate are part of my spinning group so to me they are just friends. The same goes with Karida of Neighborhood Fibers and Olga who is a very talented designer. To me, they are just my friends. I just recently met Cosy of cosymakes at the Homespun Yarn Party. But to me, she is my friend Lauren’s friend. And I kept running into her at the festival as well. It is not until you attend a fiber festival like MDS&W that you realize that your friends are really major players in the indie fiber world.
But I was surrounded by the real rock stars of the spinning world on Saturday and Sunday. I already know Steph of Loop who creates fabulous fun batts for spinners. But she brought Lexie of Pluckyfluff fame with her to MDS&W. And both of them ate lunch with us. And it seemed like Kate, Elizabeth and I kept running into Lexie and Steph. But they were great and helped us by pointing us towards fiber and tools that we needed to check out. And yes, all three of us spent money based on their recommendations.
And Sunday was a totally mud fest at the festival. It poured almost all day yet those of us who are totally dedicated were out there. There is much more but it will have to wait for a post tomorrow. And the camera stayed i the back pack almost all day Sunday because of the weather.
This past weekend involved a trip to not one but two sheep farms in the rain, a trip to Clover Hill, and a trip to the DC area to meet with Woolarina and Karida of Neighborhood Fibers. And no not all on the same day!
Saturday was a rainy misty sort of day but it didn’t stop me from heading out to a farm to purchase a fleece or two. I have fallen in love with the Leicester Longwools and wanted to purchase a fleece to clean and spin as my entry for the MDS&W skein contest. I am eligible to enter as a novice spinner and as a novice spinner spun Maryland wool. And it turns out the farm is not that far from me and is owned by one the Festival Chairman of MDS&W Gwen Handler! Her farm is Hill Farm and she has her own booth at the show. I got a sneak peek at what she is dying for the show and the colors are lovely. I came home with a black lamb fleece and a white adult fleece. I have washed up a good portion of the lamb fleece and it is lovely. I have also washed up some of the white fleece but the rest will be going out for processing.
The day was finished up with a quick trip over to Clover Hill to pick up some bobbins from Jolene and pet the new rovings in the store. She now carries lovely batts from Grafton Fibers. And there will be more new stuff in the booth at MDS&W.
I ended the day up at my Friend Leslie’s farm. I wanted her to look at the new fleeces and to let me know if there was anything special I needed to do before washing them. And of course, it is always a great treat to go up to the farm because of the lambs. The lambs are growing fast and still very adventurous
Sunday, I met with Woolarina to go over the bits and pieces from the most recent Yarn Party and write down what we wanted to change for the next Yarn Party. Yes there will be a third Yarn Party but we have not decided on anything more at this point. It will be nice to take a few months off before starting to plan again.
I took Metro downtown DC to meet up with Karida. I am spinning some lovely pink merino/silk up for her into what is going to be a lovely 3 ply yarn. This yarn is actually going to be the yoke of a sweater for her. She is paying me in roving which is a good deal. We met at the wonderful chocolate shop where she works on weekends. It is called ACKC and I was treated to a lovely blackberry and mango smoothie by Karida. Lovely shop worth the walk from the Metro station too. And yes, I did come home with some chocolate which I am limiting myself to one piece per day.