Thursday, 3 October 2013

before and after...

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...
.. after a lot of tiny bits in crochet, some sewing, some stuffing, some beading....
... 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!


Sprottenpaula said...

Du machst immer unglaublich spannende und schöne Sachen!
Herr und Frau Birdie finde ich einfach großartig.

Hier soll es ab heute Nachmittag mit dem goldenen Oktober vorbei sein. Mal sehen wie viel Himmel uns in welcher Form auf den Kopf fällt.

Liebe Grüße

Andrea D. said...

Hmmm, der Kuchen sieht super lecker aus! Wie schade, dass du so weit weg wohnst, sonst käme ich mal zum Naschen rüber. ;-)

Die schwarz-bunten Socken sind phantastisch! Tolle Farbkombination und schönes Muster. Und das bunte Garn auf der Mauer gefällt mir auch sehr.

LG Andrea

Anonymous said...

welche Vielfalt!!! und bei dir naht der Winter auch!! liebe grüße wiebke

edith said...

Eine wahre Bilderflut. Schön so verschiedene Tätigkeiten.
Alles Liebe

Leigh said...

This is a true eye candy post! I love the coiled yarn. Looks so fun. And I confess I'm envious of those rose hips. I can't complain because my plants are still fairly young, but I love seeing those full bowls.

Elke said...

Da machst du dir ja unglaublich viel Arbeit mit den Hagebutten, aber das Endergebnis ist sicher sehr lecker.
Dieses Jahr habe ich leider keine Brombeeren ernten können - ich darf sonst immer bei den Nachbarn, wenn die in Urlaub sind. Diesmal war aber kaum etwas dran.
Ich hab mir die Rote Bete Bull's Blood mal angeschaut - die hat ja wirklich sensationelles Laub!

Nina said...

You've been busy! That blackberry cake looks delicious. I love the socks you've started. They are gorgeous.

Sandra said...

Ich finde die schwarz-bunten Socken auch "wow!" :)
Und Mr. und Mrs. Birdie waren für mich die schönste Überraschung. Du weißt, ich habe dir direkt ein Bild geschickt, als ich sie auf unserem tisch platziert hatte. :)
jetzt wohnen sie wieder in ihrer schachtel, bis wir nach dem ganzen umzugschaos einen schönen platz für sie gefunden haben. und ich bin wirklich froh, dass sie keine "cake topper"-füße bekommen haben. ;)

Woolly Bits said...

Pia - die voegel sah ich grad passend, als ich von der hochzeit hoerte - die mussten einfach sein:) und "liquid sunshine" hatten wir in den letzten tagen auch so einiges, aber es ist halt oktober, dafuer ist es so uebel garnicht....

Andrea - sowas in der art denke ich auch immer, wenn ich am telefon von feiern mitsamt torten hoere:) und die socken - sie gefallen mir, aber oefter muss ich das muster so auch nicht stricken:)

Wiebke - ja, es herbstet kraeftig hier, aber immerhin hatten wir auch mal einen ziemlich guten sommer! da faellt der wechsel zum winter nicht so schwer.

Edith - danke. ich mache gerne ganz verschiedene sachen und probiere alles aus.

Leigh - yes, the coils are fun to make. not so easy to use though - not really suitable for knitting or crochet. and of course the full bowls of rosehips meant days of scraping and itching to use them:) but I am sure yours will grow nicely in the next few years! might be all the rain you had that they weren't that prolific?

Elke - das auskratzen vor dem einfrieren/kochen kann man sich auch sparen und dann durch sieb/flotte lotte passieren. aber ich meine, der ertrag ist hoeher, wenn ich es vorher mache, weil sonst viel frucht an den kernen im sieb haengenbleibt! und brombeeren wachsen hier ueberall wild, da kann man in guten jahren fast "tonnen" pfluecken!

Nina - thanks. and the cake was delicious - and very simple to make! easier than the socks anyway:)

Sandra - die socken gefallen mir auch gut, aber das gekniesel um die ferse herum, wo ich in reihen statt runden fummeln muss und das muster trotzdem passen soll, ist etwas gedulderfordernd:) immerhin ist die erste socke bald fertig.. die zweite folgt aber vielleicht nicht sogleich:) und die birdies - naja, ein bisschen sahne am fuss gibt vielleicht zarte haut?:) solange die katzen sie nicht als essbar ansehen... es sollte ja nur eine kleinigkeit zum verzieren der "zugabe" sein, damit auch was zum auspacken da ist...

danke an alle/thanks for all your comments!


Ash said...

Wow! Someone has been so busy...looks great. :0)