Canning day.

Well, it’s here. A bit late for me, but here all the same. The first canning day of the summer dawned bright and early for Joshua and I today. We headed out to our local you-pick farm for some tart cherries.

The farm had two varieties, Montmorency (American) and Bayleton (Hungarian). After tasting a couple of each, Joshua made the call. Bayleton it would be.

The berries are a darker red and have a bright, tart cherry flavor. We picked about 6 pounds. The trees were laden with ripe berries, so it didn’t take too much time.

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I had promised Joshua a cherry pie if the tart cherries were in, so that was our main goal. Between you and I, cherry pie is my favorite pie, so it wasn’t exactly a hard sell. Of course, I also have a burning desire to preserve, so I decided if we had enough after pie I’d jar the rest up.

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Joshua manned the cherry pitter for the pie cherries and I went after the rest with a paper clip. A paper clip is surprisingly fast on sour cherries and leaves the cherry intact for preserving.

With the prep out of the way, I set to work making the pie. Now, pie dough and I have never been best friends. I can make it taste good, come out nice and flakey, but it never looks the best. Today was no exception.

I used a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens red checked cookbook. It’s my go to for basically anything. It came out looking, well… like I made it.

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“Rustic”

With the pie out of the way, I got to preserving. I used Marissa McLellan‘s recipe out of Preserving by the Pint–which is an amazing book, btw–for Sour Cherries with Bourbon. Now, if you know me, you know that is right up my alley. I did some brandied cherries a few years ago and they were heaven.

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The smell of bourbon wafting out of this pot was everything.

It’s a very easy preserve and was in the water bath in under half an hour. I used Bulleit Bourbon,  a good standby that’s not too expensive. I took a picture of my little canning setup:

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I love my kitchen for canning. I’ve canned in some tight and far less than ergonomic spaces before, so it always pleases me to have all my canning accoutrement laid out. While the jars processed, I googled things to do with cherry pits. I had a hard time thinking about just throwing them away. There are lots of options it seems, cherry pit vinegar and cherry pit liquor among them. Three guesses as to which way I went.

I didn’t really find a recipe for any of these things, but a few bloggers mentioned what they did, sort of. So we’ll see how this experiment goes. I had about 1 cup of cherry pits and I combined them with 2.5 cups bourbon. I put it in a dark cabinet and will test every month to see how it’s doing. I’m guessing it will be 3-4 months before it’s where I want.

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Now I am to that lovely part of a canning day where everything is done and I have a cold beer and my feet are up. There was a little bit of the sour cherries with bourbon left over after canning, so that may make it’s way into a cocktail in the next few days. And of course, I can’t wait to cut into the pie tonight!


YoM day 173-174: Sock knitting

YoM day 175: Sock knitting, baking, canning


Happy making!

No regrets.

On Friday night, Kevin said, “This weekend is like your Christmas, I want you to enjoy it.” He was right, and I sure did. My weekend of fiber joy actually started on Thursday and then cruised right on through Sunday. I knit a lot, saw a lot, bought a lot, and planned a lot. I hope you’ve got a minute, this could be a long one.

Things started off on Thursday with the release of the Fairyhill Shawl by Helen Stewart. I had been looking forward to it’s release since the announcement at the beginning of April. I’ve had my yarn picked out, made a bag for the project, and generally sighed wistfully in anticipation. Well, it certainly did not disappoint. It’s a gorgeous, sweet, lightly lacy shawl. I’ve gotten a good start on it and it honestly flies by, Helen’s patterns are written so well. I’m past this point now, but here it is at the 20% mark:

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After work on Friday, I took off and drove up to Knot House Yarns in Frederick, Maryland. Now, I won’t go into great detail, but I work in College Park–putting Frederick about 60 miles away along the beltway in Friday afternoon traffic. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t quite a quick jaunt. It was, however, well worth it. The Knot House was packed with two things: people and yarn.

 

I met a lovely dyer, Carol of Swift Yarns, and fell in love with her colorways. Check her out, and if you’re on the East coast, even better–it seems she’s been hitting the road with events and trunk shows from Virginia to Pennsylvania. She is the sweetest thing and chatted and helped me pick out colors, even thought it was packed. I was in the mood for a few skeins of single ply yarn since I haven’t really knit with it before. She also had a very pretty cowl pattern she had written and was giving away. Carol was modeling it and it looked so nice! I thought a soft pink would make it a nice staple for me.

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The other two skeins of Swift I bought for a two color shawl that she had a sample of (I know, sometimes I have my own ideas, but Carol’s were so good I didn’t have to!) called the Cupcake Shawl

Saturday morning I awoke to a text message from my little brother saying that he would be stopping in for the night. It was a welcome surprise and we scurried through the house to get the guest sheets done and clean the inexplicably messy kitchen. With all of that done and with Kevin’s blessing, I left–alone!–to go enjoy myself at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I toured all of the vendors and stopped in at a few. There were some lovely things there, really something for every fiber artist.

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I had never stopped at the Jennie the Potter booth before, her stuff is precious! I loved her jewelry and stitch markers, but really wanted the tumbler. I had been seeing the pattern on instagram and those leaves and branches are just stunning. Things went rather sideways when I hit Marigoldjen, at one point I had 6ish full skeins and a ton of halfsies in my arms. After some serious conversations with myself, I settled on yarn to make three pairs of socks. Reasonable, right? My last purchase of the day was 4 skeins of O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in Watermill. I have gotten it into my head that I just have to knit a Waterlily top.

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The color of this yarn seems so perfect to me. I think it will look good on my skin and it is soooo soft. I believe it will feel being swathed in a cloud. After that, I came home. Little brother arrived and we settled in for a lovely evening of tacos and catching up. We–finally–opened up some of last year’s salsa. It was a revelation! Need to make tons more this year.

Brother’s a mathematician and came armed with a question for us to work on: How many pizzas would you have to eat to raise the temperature of the oceans by 1 degree Celsius? With a lot of assumptions and even more laughter, we came up with an answer. Perhaps not a right answer, but an answer.

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About 1 trillion pizzas, if you’re curious. And if you can convert pizza calories into pure thermal energy.

The next morning, the boys went on a long bike ride and I made breakfast. After sending little brother off with hugs, the kids and I headed back over to the fairgrounds for their day at the festival. We had a darned good time:

At one point, the kids got lunch, but I wanted a lamb burger–from another, much longer line. We decided that they would eat and then we’d run into the main barn to look at the felted animals and then I could grab food and eat while we walked back to the car. Well, that was all well and good until I ran across Backyard Fiberworks. I opted to forgo lunch and buy yarn instead.  I regret nothing:

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I hit the local brewery stand on the way out for a treat for Kevin and I. All in all, it was one of the loveliest weekends I’ve had in awhile. My only problem is I want to knit my Fairyhill all the time, but I simultaneously want to cast on all the things. Ah the eternal, conundrum. Monogamy or startitis?


YoM day 123: Sock knitting

YoM day 124-127: Shawl knitting

YoM day 128: Sock knitting


Happy making!

 

Year of Making

A Year of Making

 

Last year around this time, I was inspired to choose a word to encapsulate a goal for myself for 2016. After a great deal of thought, I chose “make.” I chose make because that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to become more of a maker: to produce, to create. I feel that I achieved the goal I had in mind at the time. I finally knit 12 pairs of socks in a year, I canned something other than jam, and I made Christmas gifts for my siblings.

As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about how to proceed. Whether to choose a new word or to continue with my word in a new way. I stumbled across an Instagram post tagged “yearofmaking” and that got me thinking. What would a year of making look like for me? I know that I would not be able to make something everyday, unless we start counting messes and spaghetti dinners. But can I work on a making project every day? I think so. I hope so.

Sweaters and shawls, quilts, canned goods, preserved goods, perhaps even bread. My goal is to put energy into a making project every day. Some days that will amount to a few rows on a sock, and that is ok. I plan to chronicle my progress here. I often see the sentiment that a year from now, you will wish you had started today. And so today, I will post this first post and knit on my sock and look forward to the promise of a new year.

2017 will be my year of making.