Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Late September

Since there's no hope to make this a cohesive post, I'm going to jump in with both feet:
Isn't this the most beautiful sock wool you've ever seen?  It's Biscotte and Cie's Boréale.  If you look close enough, it has a thin thread of metallic fibre called Stellina spun together with the merino.  Yum.  I have no clue if this wool is going to be a pair of socks or a shawl.  Yes.  It screams "impulse purchase".  And yes.  I purchased two skeins.
Like a moth to a flame, it's more Stellina!  Juno Fibre Arts Sirius Lace in colour Oyster.  874 yards of extra fine Merino combined with silk and Stellina.  This one I have plans for - the Holey Square Shawl by Marianne Sigg.

Both of these yarns came from the Twist Fibre Festival in Saint-André-Avellin, Québec.  We're marking the calendar for next year's festival.

Oh look!  A sunset!
And yet another sunset!
That's one of the things I love about this time of year.  The glorious, clear skies.  We can see upstate New York, right over there.  (Seriously, it's 30 miles to the south of us, really not that far!)

Getting back to wooly matters, the Viajante I spent nearly two weeks knitting, was frogged:
After bashing off two full skeins, I decided this wool could have a better vocation.  Joji Locatelli published her newest design, Boxy and Buttony, and the deal was sealed.  Here's my progress, after nearly 4 weeks' worth of re-knitting:
This sweater is knit in one piece from the top down.  I'm nearly done with the body and still need to knit the sleeves and finish the neckline.  The end is in sight for this project.

And speaking of end in sight, I finally finished my Scarfigan.  This wool has been to knitting hell and back, having been knit and now re-knit:
I finally put this scarf out of its misery at nearly 76" in length.  I washed and blocked it on the weekend, and finally added the fringe last night.  It's beautiful, it's warm, and it looks like a million dollars.  Joseph Galler's Peruvian Tweed in colour 113, if you need the salient details.  Pictures don't do justice to the three plies of wool.  This might be the softest yarn I have ever knit with, and re-knitting it wasn't even such a chore.  That of course can be said now that the project is finished.  There will be more Joseph Galler in my future.

Because I'm a spineless, guileless wool-hoarder, I came home with more yarn last week:
Mirasol's Miski, 100% baby llama, a first for this knitter.  (Did I just say Peruvian Tweed was the softest yarn I've ever knit with?  It might be a tie for first place).  In my defense, this project is nearly completed.  I've already knit 2 skeins and will probably cast-off this project tomorrow.  It's Evelyn by Wei S. Leong, another free Ravelry pattern.  There was a sample cowl knit up in my local yarn store, and it was totally wearable.  Perfect for taking the chill off a cold morning.  I hate nothing more than a cold neck and cold feet, which is why I had to buy more sock yarn, too:
My new purple driving mocs needed matching socks.  At least that's my reasoning and I'm sticking to it.  Buying Rowan will never, ever be a chore.  I've heard amazing things about Fine Art, and can't wait to get this pair of socks in the works.

As the days get markedly shorter, and the nights get colder, my needles are suddenly in over-drive.  Like a squirrel stashing away acorns, I'm busy warding off the cold with more wool...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


This was in my in-box this morning.

Photo courtesy of Eric, taken somewhere over the north Atlantic.

If the dawning of a new day doesn't move you, well, I don't know what will.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Moon Rise

Clear, clear, clear skies.  A glorious sunset, a wonderful moon rise.  Venus is at 2 o'clock.

The camera doesn't do justice to the colour of the sky.

The air is crisp.  Our low tonight is 4C or 39F.   I don't need to tell you the woodstove has been lit.

Ah, September.  I love thee so.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stormy Weather

It's hard to believe but summer is winding down.  You'd think that with 45 years behind me, this annual recurrent feature called "fall" shouldn't come as a surprise.
September is a slap in the face, always has been, always will be.  Unless I move to the southern hemisphere, I think I'm screwed.

Maybe I shouldn't be worried, but considering summer started some time in July, I feel like I just didn't get enough down-time in.  Maybe that was bad planning on my part, or maybe it was weather-related, we'll see how I feel mid-February when the battery in my brain needs a boost.

We've had some remarkable storms blow through our area recently.  Here's the front moving in:
Within minutes it was pouring.
I always marvel at how dark it gets when clouds roll in.
Thankfully, the skies cleared up and the sun came out again, basking everything in a golden glow.
Facing east, we even had a beautiful rainbow.  I've opened the Velux window in the bedroom to take this shot, hence the corner of the roof in the picture.

Considering we have temps going up to 32C or 90F coming up, it's not over until it's over.  We should be able to squeeze a bit more summer out of September yet.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Strawberry Freezer Jam

You might think that it's a little bit late in the season for strawberries.  Well, think again:
These gorgeous little gems come from Quebec's renowned Ile d'Orléans, an island located in the Saint Lawrence river, mere miles from Quebec City.  I spied these beauties at my local grocery store and could not resist.  The flavour is very concentrated, and they're not watered-down like some of the spring fruit we traditionally get.  It was also high-time I used that package of freezer jam pectin I've had wedged in the back of the pantry for years now.

Meh.  Use before November 09.  Well, that's still within my comfort zone.  Remember I'm time-challenged?  I checked on Bernardin's website, and the packaging has been revamped (probably twice since then), so if you're looking for this pouch, be forewarned it now looks different:
Why make freezer jam?  Well, several reasons.  It's no fuss, no muss.  Just mash strawberries until you have 4 cups, add 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar to the pectin, mix together until well-combined, then add crushed strawberries and stir for 3 minutes.  No need to sterilize jars and no need to cook the mixture.  Why lose all that colour, flavour and those wonderful antioxidants? I really hate to see people spend more time and energy on something that should be this simple.  It also produces a superior tasting jam, and that should be reason enough to keep the stove turned off.

Part of the reason I generally avoid jam is the high sugar-to-fruit ratio.  Using 1-1/2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of fruit doesn't seem that evil to me.  I wouldn't eat this stuff for breakfast every day, but spread on waffles or thin pancakes, it's a thing of beauty.

Cracking open a jar of this strawberry jam in the middle of winter can keep a person from going insane.  It's like a little ray of sunshine during a long, cold season.

If that's all it takes, well then, sign me up:
The recipe makes 5 - 250mL jars.  You can use any type of container to freeze this jam - you don't have to use traditional canning jars like I did.  I used them because they were in the kitchen from my mango chutney episode, but little Rubbermaid or Tupperware-style plastic containers will do the trick.
I use it straight from the freezer.  I just slice out what I need, and it melts in seconds when put on hot crepes or toast or waffles.  Because I'm an infrequent jam-user, my strawberry jam stays much fresher this way.

So if you've never tried this method of jam-making, I hope I've convinced you to try it.

Just don't keep your pouch of freezer pectin on the shelf for 5 years like I did.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


August just flew by, didn't it?
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