I had the chance to spend Thursday down at Sandy Point State Park next to the Chesapeake Bay. Of course I had to bring the current pair of socks on the needles with me. These are for a friend who lives in a cold winter climate so these are STR heavy weight knit at a really tight gauge to keep her toes toasty this winter.
Category Archives: knitting
I honestly keep forgetting to blog. Yes bad blogger. So what I have been doing? Knitting for starters. I am hooked on color work aka stranded knitting. It is highly addictive it seems.
I have knit quite a few hats over the summer which has turned out to be good for this recent spat of early cold here on the East Coast. Current proof of knitting is a pair of Muckle Mitts for a friend.
And I will hopefully try to be a better blogger now that colder weather is returning.
I was invited to take part in 50 Hats in 2014 Challenge by Stacey of UrbanGypz and this is actually hat #2. The idea is to set your own goal of how many hats you think you can knit in the upcoming year. I am going to aim for 20 hats since that is doable for me. Plus I won’t lose interest this way.
This hat is out of some handspun from FatCatKnits called Frog and Carp that I spun awhile ago. The pattern is Mandelbrot from Knitty. My project page on Ravelry has the details on this hat. I am casting on already for another one using this same pattern and yarn since I want to tweak it some to suit me. So look for another one soon.
But the real question is pom pom or no pom pom. Thoughts?
I saw this over on Hege’s blog and and think all knitters should watch this. Grab your knitting and find an hour to sit and watch this video about the history of knitting during the Golden Age of Knitting. (I watched it while working on the crown of another handspun Bailey. Photos soon)
My handspun knit up in a super soft Barley hat for a friend’s son. The yarn is two different shades of Miss Babs. Best part tons of yardage left to knit myself one too!
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.
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.