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: Socks
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!
She will be getting another pair of socks as a late birthday present from P. P also managed to finish exactly one pair of socks last month too. And they are for T. Lucky girl!!! Now if she would get comfortable with smaller needles, I may try to get her knitting her own socks. Maybe if I start the socks using toe-up and do the toe, she can knit them until it is time to turn the heel……… Might be a good idea.
I am still working on my colorful cowl. It is looking like it may be done in time for Stitches. Right now unblocked it is 16 inches long and I still have about half a skein of the yarn left!!! I will knit on it today and plan to bind off about 9 pm. I need to wash and block it. So the final length will be determined by how many repeats I can finish between now and 9 pm. I am hoping for another inch or two in length.
Fall is really here. I actually had to turn on the heat yesterday morning for the first time. And it the heat was running this morning when I got up. I actually wore hand knit socks yesterday for the first time this season. And funny enough I have already finished the first pair of socks for Socktoberfest!! Okay the yarn is a summer weight yarn but I plan to wear them year round. The yarn is Regia Bamboo Color and the pattern is a variation of the Tutti Frutti pattern I found over on Ravelry. I changed the pattern to a toe up version and added ribbing to the top of the socks. I may end up giving these socks to my niece since the yarn is machine washable. My SIL is still trying to get her to learn to sort her own laundry. (SIL does resort after T and JT have sorted their own laundry just to prevent accidental red underwear.)
I have also been good and not started a new pair of socks yet. I need to finish one more pair that is already on the needles first. I have a pair where I need to turn the heel on the second sock and finish the leg. P has been complaining that her feet are cold in her office.I have been on the hunt for red leaves on the trees. The leaves are starting to turn and everything is either gold or green. But there is a tree right down the street that has some red on its branches. Broken ankle or not, I am hoping to get up into one of the state this weekend. I am thinking that I may end up towards Emmitsburg where the leaves should be nice and starting to color. I noticed that the leaves were starting to have better color yesterday as I went to pick up JT from cross country practice.
This weekend will be spent knitting and sewing since I need to finish up a few sewing projects along with the knitting projects. I just realized how fast the holidays are approaching and that I need to finish gifts that will have to be mailed overseas. I started one of the fast knit gifts last night but I am not liking how it is turning out. I can’t believe that I only have one size 15 needle and it is a metal needle. The yarns I am using are too slippery for a metal needle. I will have to stop at the LYS tonight on my way out to hear a friend’s band play. Is it rude to knit while listening to a band play in a coffee shop? I hope not.
Chiggers are evil evil creatures. I am unable to wear shoes right now because of chiggers. If there is a bug that will bite and leave a huge welt, it will find me. I was at two different friends’ house on Monday and I am not sure which one has the chigger problem. I was wearing sandals and the bites are all over my feet and ankles. The nasty part about chigger bites is that they do not not show up until about 12 hours later. To say that I been spending my time trying not to scratch my bites would be accurate. Thankfully, I found the one drug that does work on chigger bites. My feet and ankles are slowly starting to look better. Of course this means all I want to do is sit in front of the tv and knit and read.
And there has been knitting that actually has been finished for awhile. Socks have been waiting for my sock model to agree to pose for the last several weeks. But my sock model has not been cooperative. But I bribed her with a few books and she agreed to pose. OF course, getting my underling photographer to do the photography was easy. All I had to do was let him use the camera. Although the photographer and model did have some issues. But they are siblings so that is to be expected. And since she ended up with two pairs of socks, she really couldn’t complain.
She modeled 4 different pairs of socks of which she was allowed to keep two pairs. Two of the pairs were knit by P and the other two were knit by me. The first pair is already up on the Knit Buddies Blog but here is a shot on the foot. And yes, she liked them. She will be wearing them to school as the weather cools down.
The second pair that she chose to keep was a pair that I had knit for her. She wanted to give it my aunt – her great aunt. But the choice to keep the socks was always her choice. Even looking at the finished socks, she was still saying to send them to our aunt. That is until she put them on her feet and was seduced by the power of STR. Yes, the power of STR colors and softness is that strong. She has decided that they will be her socks to wear at home on snow days. Although, with the colors as bright as they are, they would be perfect for finding her in the dark.
The next two pairs she tried on were mine. The first pair she liked except that the yarn matched a hat that is her brother’s (the photographer) favorite hat at the moment. (It is his favorite until the next knit hat gets into his hands.) And the second pair was a pair that P had knit for me using Noro Kureyon sock yarn. Personally, I have found the Kureyon sock yarn to be a little bit harsh. And this is after it has been washed and soaked about 4 times. I did not tell my niece this when she put on the socks. But she was willing to keep them on for as long as it took her brother to photograph them. Either our feet are a little bit sensitive or the yarn is really rough. I know that P said this pair will be the only time she uses this yarn.
I am almost finished with yet another pair of socks. I wanted to have a pair of plain socks on the needles and when I reached into the stash, I pulled out some Regia Bamboo yarn that has been in the stash for a bit. Since I could tell the yarn had some drape in the skein, I went over to Ravelry and searched for a pattern. I fell in love with the Tutti Frutti pattern over there. Of course, I have changed the pattern some what by turning it into a toe up pattern. And I ahve decided to add some ribbing to the top. The yarn may be a summery yarn but I will wear these in the winter time. Photos soon since this is a fast pattern.
Yesterday was a bit dreary with the reports that people were receiving their October STR shipments. But we had some rain so I couldn’t really complain. And the rain stopped long enough last night for me to head over to Borders to pick up some books that I had on hold. It started raining again after I got home last night so I sat and worked on my Mr. Greenjeans and listened to the rain.
There are two bright spots today despite the fact that it is very overcast, dreary, dark, and drizzly. One is the new book I picked up last night and the other is that my October STR shipment was waiting for me at the post office this morning.
No matter what when I go to Borders, I always check out the bargain books. And last night, I picked up a book about fire trucks and engines. The best part is that the book came with a little wooden ladder truck. With my coupons last night the price was even nicer. So of course this little book got added to my pile. I read the book when I got home and it is really interesting and actually accurate about the descriptions of what each piece of fire apparatus does on a call. I am picking up the last two copies tomorrow night for my chief’s mom. She is going to give them to her grandchildren as Christmas presents. (But of course, she might give one to her son the fire chief!)
This morning it was a tad on the nippy side considering that the temperatures have been in the high 70s over the past few days. I hate cold feet so I reached into the sock day and I am wearing hand knit socks today. My toes are nice and toasty. I also decided that since it was damp that I would wear something made out of wool instead of fleece as a jacket today. I pulled out a poncho I made a few years ago to wear. (I normally don’t wear ponchos but I had to make this one. It is called Poncho Mia!!!)
I was thinking of giving this to my niece but I think I will keep it now instead. It was nice and warm on the walk to the post office this morning. And at the post office there was the nice bright and cheery yellow slip that means you have a package in my box. Yes, it was my October shipment of the Rockin Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Let’s just say that Tina must have been communing with the spirits from down around Baltimore. The colors are perfect for the Raven series and Edgar Allan Poe. I am thinking that I will be acquiring more of the yarn in this series. After all, I do live in Maryland and Poe is most definitely associated with Maryland and is buried in Baltimore. So my logic follows that I need yarn from the Raven series.
There is a photo up on my Ravelry stash page that actually shows the true colors of the skein but for here, I am only posting the black and white photo. And here is a shot of what the skies look like today.
I went to the post office today and picked up several packages. Two of them are from P. One is a large box of yarn for Steph‘s school project. The other smaller box was for me. The smaller box contained her yarn from the first shipment of the Wool Girl Sock Club. See when the yarn came in, she realized that the color wasn’t a P color but that it was me. So she was a super nice friend and sent me the yarn. Thank you P, I love the yarn!!!!
She also sent me moon cakes for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. They were a little bit late but that is okay with me. The trick was making sure I got at least one. My mother loves them so you can guess where most of the moon cakes ended up. Yes, at her house. But I did manage to keep one. She is going to ration herself to half a moon cake a day.
I also received some new sock yarn. Okay, I will admit it, I have a slight addiction to sock yarn. If you have to have an addiction, at least one isn’t that bad. The yarns are nice and pretty and soft. This time around I went with a red theme. The new yarns include Laguna Waves from Duet Sock Yarns, Casbah Sock from Hand Maiden in Blackberry, and Ruby River Smooshy Sock Yarn from Dream in Color. Yes, the Casbah sock yarn has some cashmere in it. This yarn will make some nice cushy socks.
I also received a wonderful package from Jody of A Caffeinated Yarn. But the contents of that package will be shown tomorrow along with a brief review of a new quilt book that I bought over the weekend.
I finally finished my Inside Out Socks that I started quite awhile ago. The yarn and pattern were the first club shipment for this year for the Rockiin’ Socks Club. This is the second year that I have belonged to the club but this is the first pair of socks that I have made. I just really like the yarn.
Part of the reason why I did not make any of the socks the first year is that they were all top down. And I am a toe up girl. And this year, several of the patterns have been toe up. I will get around to making all of the socks eventually. But I really like this pattern which was designed by Kaci.
The colors are not colors that I normally would lean towards but for some reason these called to me. And the pattern is fun. I am actually using it again to make some socks for P. I have modified the pattern slightly by changing the toe and heel to st-st and not putting the cables on the leg. Basically, I am just using the ribbing patterns. And yes, I will use this pattern again.
One thing that I enjoy about sock clubs is that I have no say in the colors that I receive. And if there are patterns involved in the club, I am exposed to patterns that I would normally just ignore. And between P and I, we swap the stuff that we each get in sock clubs that we don’t like. Generally if there is something in a club package that one of us receives that we do not like, the other one will love it. So we send the packages on to the other one.
An example of this is that P joined the batt club over at Abby’s Yarns. The first shipment was one that she wasn’t too sure about but she spun them up anyway. And as she was spinning, she realized that the colors were more me than her. So I know that I have about 500 yards of sparke-ly purple yarn sitting at P’s house right now. I received one of the shipments for Scout’s Swag that as soon as I opened the package, I knew everything in there belonged to P. So the entire package, pattern and all, were sent on to her. And she loves the color and the pattern.
I will be honest, P and I are each other’s worst enablers. We buy yarn for each other all the time. Plus we will buy yarn for the other one and realize that when we get it, we actually like it for ourselves. But we will knit it up into socks for the other one so that we can enjoy the yarn. Plus if we knit the other one socks, the favor is reciprocated. An example of this is that right now I am knitting up a pair of socks that are for P. I was ordering some yarn from Jana at White Oak Studios and P mentioned that she liked the color Sleepless in Seattle. So I added it to my order. And when the yarn came in, I feel in love with it. And somehow, the yarn ended up on the needles instead of the box headed to P’s house. I am enjoying the yarn color and knitting her socks. But when I am doing knitting them, she knows that she will have a nice warm pair of socks to keep her feet warm on the cold windy nights that are in the future.
So here are the socks that I am knitting for P. I am using the Inside Out Pattern again but I am calling these socks S’Mores because they remind me of them.
There is nothing like new yarn to make you feel better. So I ordered myself some sock yarn while I was sick. Okay, I never need an excuse to buy new sock yarn but it does make you feel better. So I ordered some yarn from my favorite source for Fleece Artist and used up my credit at the Loopy Ewe.
I also added some yarn to my stash at the same time I was getting rid of quite a bit. Steph is still collecting yarn for her knit group at school. And I brought a large bag full of yarns and some straight needles to give her at our stitch group this weekend. She gave me a skein of Bright Dyes sock yarn that she received as part of her sock club. She thought the colors were a little bit bright but I like them.
And I also received my first installment of the semi-solids sock yarn club from Zen Garden. I love the color!!!! I actually have a pattern in mind for this yarn already. As soon as I opened the envelope at the post office, the pattern came to mind. And to give you an idea of how nice the color is, the ladies at the post office were petting it.
I am still waiting on two more yarns coming from the far coast of Canada. But from my last order from this same dyer, I have already started a new sock. I actually do not have a plain sock on the needles, so the new sock is a plain sock. The yarn dictated a plain sock too. The sock is named after the yarn color. The name of this new sock is Kermit Had a Nightmare!!!! It is acid greens and black. And I love it.
I also joined a local quilt guild this weekend. I used to belong to a very large guild about 40 miles down the road. But I stopped going because the church where the meetings were held was basically out in the middle of nowhere. There are two guilds in the Frederick area. And the one I joined is the newer of the two guilds. The only reason I joined the guild was to save some money on some classes. The dues for the rest of the year are only $6 and that saved me #30 on two classes. So I am now signed up for two classes from a British quilter at the beginning of next month.
I also managed to finish piecing another top yesterday. I started a new top which is based on on Amy Butler pattern. I am not really following the directions since the pattern isn’t well written in my opinion. I am still sewing the strips together. I bought the yardage stated in the pattern but I didn’t get the number of pieces called for. I want to sew all of the stripes before I go out and purchase a little bit more fabric.
And has anyone made any of the Amy Butler purse patterns? I purchased one of her purse patterns Saturday and some fabric. But she calls for canvas plus interfacing. So I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions.
I received my package from the Virtual Vacation Swap while I was sick. So I am finally revealing it to everyone. And no, P, you may not pet the yarn. I know what will happen if I ever let you pet the yarn. 😉
On to the lovely goodies from Alaska –
There is a nice little hat with Alaska on it in a pale pink-purple color. There is also some tea from Alaska Tea Traders. And a lovely mug in purples with Alaskan wildflowers on it. There are some lovely batiks to use in making a pattern called Nature’s Sweet Kiss. The pattern is from an Alaskan designer. There is some Alaskan sour dough starter. I love sourdough breads. I generally have good luck keeping my starters going once I get them started. I think I feel the urge to start making bread again.
There is also something called Alaskan Bear Breath Mints. I love the tin they are in. There are tons of postcards and a beautiful magnet with Mount McKinley on it. There are flower seeds for wildflowers and irises. There is a nice little tree ornament from Santa’s Village.