Knitting :: A simple pair of socks for Liesl’s Monthly Sock Challenge. I was going to try to do a pair for the challenge in August, but it ended up being a really busy month, so I’m starting the challenge in September instead. The pattern is my current favourite plain sock pattern, Plain Vanilla Socks by Keri McKiernan.
Reading :: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. I’ve heard that both this book and the film adaptation are fascinating and well written, so I’m giving it a try even though the premise isn’t the happiest. I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s quite captivating so far, and the narrative voice is really interesting.
Enjoying :: Having a backyard at my apartment this year… such pretty light for pictures and so nice to have some outside space!
What have you been knitting and reading this week?
A few weeks ago I went to G’s new apartment for a couple of days to help paint her room (a bright yellow!). We also squeezed in a quick visit to G’s cottage with her adorable dog Henry. It was such a beautiful day and Henry is so much fun to play with! It’s been such a strange summer here in terms of weather that I really loved when it was sunny and warm… hopefully a chillier summer isn’t a sign of things to come for this winter. Was this summer colder than usual for all of you as well?
As you can probably guess from the silence here over the past few weeks, I’ve been busy with a bunch of things that have been keeping me from blogging! The end of summer, camping, visiting friends, moving, starting classes again, and so on. You can all expect regular posts to start again next week- thanks for sticking around while I was away!
Let me know in the comments how the end of your summer was!
I’ve been doing some more preserving this week… peach preserves and cherry jam! Both turned out quite well, I think. The peach preserves are from the Food in Jars blog (sliced and preserved in honey with lemon zest) and the cherry jam is the basic fruit/sugar/pectin/lemon juice formula from the inside of the pectin packet. The cherry jam is lovely on toast and the peaches are perfect mixed into some yogurt… I imagine they’ll both taste even better in a few months when good produce is scarce!
Have you been making any jam or preserves lately? I’m on a bit of a jam making spree right now so if you have a favourite recipe or flavour, I’d love to hear about it!
Knitting :: A tiny baby cardigan for H’s brother’s baby (nicknamed the blueberry). The pattern is Linnie (thanks for all of your input about patterns last week!) and the yarn is Viking Baby Ull in colourways 368 and 369. I realised after I had chosen the yarn that the colours are rather reminiscent of blueberries… so it’s a blueberry cardigan for a blueberry baby!
Reading :: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve been really enjoying non-fiction books about food and gardening/ farming/ preserving lately, and this one seems to be highly recommended. I’ve just started it but I’m enjoying the writing style so far.
Drinking :: A surprising amount of tea, considering current temperatures! Favourites recently include plain English Breakfast and Just Peachy and Saigon Chai from Davids Tea (Just Peachy is sold out online, but some stores still have it if you want to try it!).
Watching :: Season 1 of Flashpoint. Most of you know by now that I’m a sucker for crime shows, and this one is fairly well done and filmed in Toronto! I don’t know if I’ll watch all 6 seasons (the show ended a few years ago), but I’m enjoying working my way through season 1 at least. I also picked up Lark Rise to Candleford at the library awhile ago- I’ve heard great things about it and I can’t wait to start watching it.
What have you been knitting, reading, drinking, and watching lately?
My garden finally produced enough cucumbers to make pickles, and even though these are my first pickles, they turned out really well! The recipe is from one of my current favourite canning books and is definitely a must-try. The yield is small (4 pint jars), so it’s easy to make a batch and tweak the amount of dill and garlic. I’ve included the recipe below- let me know if you try them out!
Ingredients: (For soaking overnight)
3 lbs (1.5 kg) pickling cucumbers (about 6-8 large)
8 cups water
1/4 cup coarse pickling salt (For the brine)
2 cups white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
2 cups water
2 tbsp coarse pickling salt (For the jars)
2 tbsp dill seed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
Cut off the ends of the cucumbers (if you are sure which is the blossom end, you can just cut it off rather than both ends- it will make your pickles lose their crunch!) and cut the cucumbers as desired. Smaller cucumbers can be left whole, or larger ones can be quartered or cut even smaller. In a large bowl, stir 1/4 cup salt into 4 cups water until dissolved. Add 4 cups of ice water and the cucumbers and let bowl sit in the fridge overnight or for 12 hours. Rinse with cold water.
To make brine, in a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Into each hot jar, place 1 1/2 tsp dill seed and 1 clove of garlic. Pack cucumber into jars and pour in the brine, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Check jars for bubbles, screw on sterilized lids, and process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Sealed jars are shelf-stable for 1 year and are best eaten at least 2 weeks after canning. We find the flavour is best if the jars sit for 24 hours after opening before eating them.
Happy Thursday- I hope you are all having a lovely week so far!
I’m still working on my hitofude cardigan… I’ve got one more lace pattern repeat for this section (which is, if I’m reading the pattern correctly, the sleeves). The construction of this cardi is so interesting that it’s like a surprise each time I read and knit the next part of the pattern. The whole garment is knit in one piece, no seams, without breaking the yarn once. Such a creative design.
I also need to cast on a new project soon… I know two people who are having babies in September, so I picked up this fingering weight yarn in two shades of purple at Romni Wools when I was in Toronto last week. Do you have a favourite baby sweater pattern (preferably that would work in 2 colours)? I was thinking maybe this one or this one.
I haven’t been reading a ton of non-academic stuff recently, but I have been cooking a lot and trying out recipes from a bunch of different cookbooks. I love that I can take cookbooks out of the library and try a few recipes before deciding whether or not to buy the book! Here are a few of my recent favourites:
I finished these PJ shorts a few weeks ago but I’ve just gotten to uploading the photos… aren’t they so perfect for summer? I actually started this pair for me, but they’re a bit small, so they’ve become a part of my sister’s PJ collection. The fabric is a cute floral print from my mum’s stash, and the pattern is from Liesl Made.
I’m hoping to do a bit more sewing in the next few months, so I’d love to know- what are your favourite online sources for fabric and notions?
On another note- I haven’t found a site I love for tracking my sewing projects. I’ve added this one on both Craftsy and Kollabora- do any of you use either? Which do you prefer?
I’m sorry it’s been so quiet here for the past couple of weeks… I’ve been working a finding an apartment for September! We signed a lease earlier this week (and good thing too, because somehow it’s already August!).
It’s hard to believe that there are only a few weeks left of summer, especially because there are so many things to get done – what are your plans for your last month of summer?
I turned 20 today, which I’m pretty sure must be a mistake because there is no way I’m old enough or responsible enough for that. Mistake or not, though, I had a lovely day with some of my favourite people! Dinner and a movie (the Avengers) with H and G last night (thank you for the yarn, earrings, and fabric tape!) and dinner and cake with my family tonight. My mum made an amazing cheesecake with strawberry sauce. And although I had to work today, my coworkers gave me cookies and my boss gave me a few roses from when she was finishing the display of flower arrangements. Overall- a pretty awesome start to my twenties!
Yarn details- Cascade 220, colourway 8885 Dark Plum. (Rav link)
Earring details- From this artist, although this pair isn’t listed in her shop right now.