Sunday, September 30, 2012

Picking and Jamming

This weekend had such beautiful weather for picking our harvest and making Jam.  Usually, when the fruit is ready, it's too hot to really have fun in the kitchen, but this was perfect weather!  We picked tomatoes, cabbage, plums, corn and blackberries, and I don't have pictures of the last two, because we ate them before I got my camera out - oops!

These are little Italian plums - very sweet and tasty!!!

Blackberries are the most fragile, so the first thing I made was a batch of blackberry jam.  But there were more berries, just not enough for a full batch of cooked jam, so I decided to make a batch of freezer jam (first time for that), and it is totally yummy, way more of a fresh fruit flavor!

And still there were more... but not enough for a batch, so I decided to use the remaining crushed berries to plums and make a combination recipe.  Even though there was less than a cup of blackberries in the batch, it has lots of blackberry flavor in it!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friendship Bracelets

Years ago, I bought a little tapestry loom.  It's a beautiful little loom, called the Big Sister, but by the time it arrived, I didn't have time to learn to use it, so it went into the closet.  Things are a bit different now, still busy, but the Mirrix company who made it has been doing weave-a-longs to help us learn to weave, and Claudia did weave-a-longs on her blog and also a Craftsy class, which really helped me get it out and start weaving on it!

For my first project, I chose to do Affinity Bracelets, because they are small, simple and I could put more than one on the loom at the same time, while making each one a bit different.  The warp threads (thread that runs the length of the bracelet) are silk that was in my stash for hand embroidery, while the weft (thread that you weave back and forth with) varies.  For weft, I used more of my silk threads and C-Lon beading thread to weave the beads with.  They are simple bracelets designed to be tied on, but if I have time, I may try other closures that she gave instructions for.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

San Juan Island trip

Last weekend I had the pleasure visiting Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island.  The Rainshadow Quilting Arts Guild  invited me to speak and teach my fusible applique technique, and I was excited to be able to go visit them!  Their guild is filled with lots of wonderful people, so the lecture and class were lots of fun to do.  I was surprised to hear that one of their dedicated hand applique ladies was in my class, and had enjoyed learning my technique!  There was also a new quilter-to-be whose first visit to their guild was the Saturday meeting, and she decided to come to my class on Sunday.  I bumped into her again as we were waiting for the first ferry to Anacortes, where she was on her way to pick up a sewing machine from her mom.  She's off to a wonderful start and I hope someday I'll see some of her quilts!

While I was there I stayed with Barb, the Program Chairman, and it was like a mini retreat at her house!   Her friend Mary was also there, and we were able to work on our projects in the evenings.  Just look at the view we had:

After class on Sunday, we were able to visit a local quilt artist's studio.  Penny makes such gorgeous quilts and had wanted to come to my class, but she is busy preparing for a one person show.  The finished quilts and ones in progress were all beautiful, but the 3-D quilts were gorgeous!!!  Wish I could see them hanging in her upcoming show.

While waiting for the ferry, I was able to hear these gypsies from my spot in the ferry line.

There are many cafes and restaurants near the ferry lanes, which is a good thing, because you need to get there early to get your spot in line, and then wait for it to arrive.  Only one street away are the shops, so those leaving a bit later in the day can shop while they wait.

The ferry is arriving.

There are so many boats in the harbor, it's a maze to walk through it.  From here you can't even tell one boat from another (except for the few in front).

Can't wait to return again...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bread and Cheese

This weekend was cheese making weekend, with a bonus of bread which used some leftover whey!

Italian Feather Bread:

Feta made with goat cheese, which tasted great with the bread!

Mozzarella - oh this batch of mozzarella came out so much better than my first try!  It's so buttery tasting and the texture is much softer than my last, overcooked batch.  Was wonderful eaten with the bread, but hope to have some left for pizza.  Well, I guess I can always make more :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trapeze KAL clue 3

Since this summer has been spent with lots of time on the road, not much quilting or sewing has been done and I'm starting to feel withdrawal symptoms - must get back to my machine!

I've been participating in the Trapeze shawl KAL (knit-a-long) for several weeks now and we are on clue3.  On week one we knit one of these trapezoid shapes, then we had two weeks for clue 2, which was to make two more of the same shape, placing our stitches on colored yarn that was different for each one.  This week's clue started putting them together with the lace triangle in between two of the trapezoids, that we have also been calling things.  It's interesting to watch the knitting take shape, and I'm guessing that the next clue will be another triangle which is a mirror image of this week's triangle, that will connect the remaining piece we have knit.  From there, who knows, but I'll venture a guess we'll move on to adding a border.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Penumbra scarf finished!

Well, almost.  You've heard the phrase "haste makes waste", well, it's true!  I was the first of the group to finish knitting.  Brought it home and soaked it, so I could block it into shape, and as I was patting it out, I found a boo boo:-(  Unfortunately, it happened when I was only about 1/4 into the shawl depth, so I'm just going to have to darn it and hope no one notices when I'm wearing it, because there is no way I'm going to tear it all out at this point!  The only other thing left to do is weave in the ends and it will be ready to wear.

The big picture:

As you can see it's really long, so I'll be able to wrap it around my neck more than once!  Here's what it looks like up close:

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Knitting with Beads

About a month ago, I decided to join the Mezzaluna Club that Sivia Harding was doing.  (Here's the Ravelry link.)  I'm only getting the patterns, then choosing my own yarn / beads from my yarn / bead stash, and am loving the first installment!  Last week, she sent us the first pattern and shipped yarn and beads to those who have signed up for the pattern and kits.  For those of us not receiving kits, she had given us  approximate supply lists so that we could search for yarn and beads that would work.  It was difficult to make a final decision before seeing the design, so I had pulled out a few choices.  Once I saw a picture of the yarn that was in the kits, I decided on a beautiful, varigated blue Ella Rae sock yarn.

This first design is called Penumbra, and it's beautiful!  When I saw the pattern, I just had to start knitting, and with the long holiday weekend, was able to get quite a lot done.  Just finished row 70, and only have 6 more pattern rows to go!  The needles aren't long enough to spread it out, so I did my best to take a picture of the center, and then one a little closer.  Hopefully you'll be able to see all the beautiful beads.