Sunday, November 6, 2011

This morning I picked up my friend June for breakfast. We drank tea, ate lots of pancakes, talked about all the important fibery things in life, and then after I wrote all the names on pieces of paper, folded them and put them in a box, June pulled two winners, first asking me whether the pieces were identical in size and fold. Of course, they were.

Then we did a quick fiber tour of the studio and the barn and came up with three bags of yarn June could take home, and one I’ve got to wash before she’ll touch it. The “gotta wash” pile is part of a larger stash I inherited from a neighborhood knitter with an old dog, non-opening windows, a smoker in the family and some other issues compounded with the birch pollen it acquired while it was being aired this spring. Most of the stash is in five large tubs in the barn, also in three double-bagged black plastic trash bags, with dryer sheets and mothballs, which didn’t improve it much. The freshly-washed yarn gets mailed to her when she returns to her winter home.

Robert asked about the lime marmalade. I started with 9 limes, a grapefruit and a lemon. Sliced it all very, very thin – 1/16 inch strips are ideal, but most of them were a shade thicker. Put it all in a 6 quart pot with about 2 cups of water and started to cook it. After about 15 minutes, I checked the recipe on the Sure-Jell light box – nothing like doing things in the right order. However, as luck would have it, I did begin with the 6 cups of prepared fruit (they suggested 5 ½) but because I was doing a Seville-style marmalade, I hadn’t done the fancy stuff about separating fruit and rind, peeling off the pith and boiling it separately and so forth. I just went ahead with the directions. As soon as the Sure-Jell entered the mix, it began jelling beautifully. I added the sugar, brought it back up to boil as directed, and it was done. The jars are mostly olive jars- one held jam, about 12 years ago; another once held maraschino cherries, which we couldn't quite bring ourselves to eat. I washed them in the dishwasher, then sterilized jars and tops in boiling water. They all sealed… though I had my doubts about one of them, so I suppose I’ll make the ultimate sacrifice and keep it. It’s very, very good.

Oh yes, the winners are Jennifer and Martha. Congratulations! I’ll be doing this again, by the way. Thank you all for reading and also for the nice things you-all said.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As of today, the last issues of the November Tatting Times are in the mail. Every issue, I’ve got a favorite pattern, and this “Christmas cookies” design is the current fave. It uses the ‘wandering wheel’ technique and was simply a pleasure to tat. I’m thinking I’ll do it again in a variegated, just for the fun of it. It looks smaller than it actually is because it’s sitting on a large dinner plate – it’s actually a little more than 6” across.

The magazine went out in three increments – this is the batch that went out Friday.

And here’s what I was doing when I wasn’t tatting or knitting (or working) - the jam is on the top shelf, then heading downwards, tomatoes and peaches, more peaches, more tomatoes, plums and the last two jars of last year’s sauerkraut, then a full (unseen) shelf of sauerkraut beneath that. You also can’t see the six market baskets with more canned tomatoes, applesauce, Catawba grape jam (though it might remain as a sort of sauce)… and no one can see the lime marmalade I’m planning to make on Friday.

Back to tatting and Tatting Times – I’m starting a major winter de-stash. If you are a Tatting Times reader, add a comment below and you have one of two chances to win a batch of tatting goodies including (among the goodies) a skein of my hand dyed thread. Winner will be chosen at random November 6 in the early morning.