the weather is still unusual for october - very mild, often sunny or at least dry and not too much wind! I don't trust this - somehow I have the feeling that very nasty weather is just around the corner:) anyway, I finished most of my berry picking, endless blackberries (taking advantage of a very good year!), seemingly endless rosehips (though that's down to the job of scraping out the seeds before using them) - just the elderberries left, but I expect that I can pick the first batch this weekend.
I managed to pick about 12 kg of blackberries, and after days of scraping and sieving of rosehips I ended up with 2.6 kg of rosehip puree (without sugar, most of it will end up as jam). I keep picking blueberries, but they only ripen bit by bit, so I have to freeze them and wait until I have enough - unless I take what I have and put them into a fruit salad. soon fresh fruit will be harder to find - unless you're willing to buy stuff imported from the other end of the world! I also tried rosehip syrup for the first time - but I think I let it simmer for too long. I filled it into a tall, narrow bottle - where it set so nicely, that it barely moves at all. I think I have to re-heat and dilute it, otherwise I'd have to scrape it out of the bottle to use it!
Mostly I make juice from the blackberries, which I can use for fruit soups, hot drinks and jelly, of course. and I make some fruit puree (without seeds), which can be mixed with gelatine and whipped cream for dessert, or for ice cream etc. but I also froze some smaller bags full for cakes - like this pastry filled with almond/egg/sugar/blackberry mix - delicious!
I just wish that our grapes would be as plentiful as the blackberries - this is the one and only we managed to pick. but I have to say: they looked perfect (this colour in yarn - I want some!!) and they tasted just as nice. maybe we'll have some more next year?
even though there are still a lot of gardening jobs waiting to be done, I managed to finish a few bits and pieces on needles and wheel:
I blended some merino and corriedale in greens and yellow with bits of sari silk, made rolags and spun it into a coiled yarn. the plan is to make another bracelet, but first I have to crochet around the metal base, before I start weaving the coil yarn around it.
I also started a few small christmas decorations - not, because I felt very christmassy, but because some members of our group are doing mini workshops shortly before christmas in the museum, where we have our CTC meetings. before I decide for a suitable small deco project, I have to try out different patterns! they don't look very promising all curled up (and worked from sock yarn, they are too chunky anyway!)...
... but once they are blocked, I think both of them look ok. I'll spray them with starch - but I will try out a few more before I decide on one or two. we only have 2 hours, which doesn't exactly leave an awful lot of time, esp. when I don't know how good visitors will be at crocheting! which means that the patterns have to be quite basic, nothing fancy or complicated!
these "before and afters" have been finished for a while, but I couldn't show them before.. not very promising, some sock yarn in very boring colours...
... let me introduce you to bride and groom, Mr and Mrs Birdie:) they were just a small gift to unwrap for a wedding in the family. I don't particularly like money gifts, but being far away and not knowing what might suit this was the most sensible way, I think. though in hindsight I find a bride in natural white with gleaming white hat and skirt a bit odd - that's why I added a bit of purple. the original had white beads and white ribbon, which made for an even paler looking bride....
I also finished the base of my first "moody jungle" sock, knitted with the silk sock yarn I had dyed during the demo session at one of our group meetings. I will make a few colourful flowers, probably in crochet, to attach them to the sock base. and one bell-shaped flower will be attached to the i-cord, which I used instead of a rib. a leaf already dangles off the other end of the cord, which can be knotted - but the sock is tight enough to stay up on the leg anyway.
the second "first sock" I started is knitted with the very colourful sock yarn from the same dye session. I didn't like the colours very much at first, but then I thought I'd give them a try together with black. the idea was to work something like "stained glass windows" - and I am quite happy with the pattern now. the heel and toes will be all black (lots of fiddling and knitting in rows involved in the gusset:) but the foot will have the same pattern. I put on the leg part and checked if I can feel the slipped stitches under my foot, but no, it didn't feel different from "normal" socks at all.
the group project for this year was a postcard exchange - which we held at the september meeting. I thought about embroidery first, felting maybe, patchwork? but then I decided that I am first and foremost a spinner and knitter. so I spun up some fine white merino yarn (single) and knitted a rectangle in the estonian lily-of-the-valley lace pattern.
actually the making-up of the card was far more work than the knitting:) I zigzagged the front across a piece of cardboard, covered in dark blue crepe paper, made up a "postcard" back in white evenweave, embroidered the lines and sewed it all together. it could be used as a real postcard, but I don't think it will be. we had lots of very different entries, and everyone agreed that we should do another exchange next year (and I just realized that I forgot to take a pic from the card I received in exchange!)
of course I always have some fibres on the wheel as well. this skein on the left is the first one spun from the "studio donegal" pencil roving I brought back from the trip up north. the colours are gorgeous, even though the yarn is a bit rough. it's not really spun for use as knitting yarn, normally it's used to weave tweed fabric, so it has to be quite durable to last. I think if they made the same colour graduation from merino wool, spinners would stampede them and buy every scrap they could lay their hands on:)
and last but not least - the forgotten fat quarters of christmas fabric I bought. some of them might be used for textile christmas cards and the greens will probably end up as binding for a christmas runner. high time to start, only a few measly weeks to go!! not to mention halloween - and the fact that I still haven't framed my cross stitching!