Saturday, August 18, 2007

Of Knitting and the Like

It's been a little bit since I've talked about what's on my needles. As usual there's "what's on my needles" and then there's "what I'm actually working on." So this is really "what I'm actually working on." After the last few weeks of steamy temps, I'm not actively working on anything with a lot of wool content. That said, today's high was 73 after a downright COOL overnight (and since Gaye and I found her a nice, $20 airconditioner for her bedroom, the temps will probably stay cool right into September and beyond, LOL), and I find myself looking forward to working again on some of the wooly lace projects. I did have to finish one wooly project and that was a single sample santa mitten for the class I'm teaching later in the month at the LYS. They also wanted the sample baby sweater I'm doing for the class in October, so I started that. Omygizzle, it is sooooo cute!! It's the Baby Bolero sweater from One Skein (I didn't pick it--the yarn store did) and it uses Inca Cotton's 100% Organic Cotton in colorway Ecru (which is the natural color of the cotton--no dyes). Now, this cotton has been out of my price range this year, but since it's a sample for the store, they just gave me the skein and I have to rave about it. It's soooooo soft and just a JOY to work with. Partly because of the yarn, and partly because of the newborn size of the sweater, this thing knits up super fast. I've gotten a bit bogged down in the sleeves because each of them take as much time to knit as the entire rest of the sweater--and there's an obscene amount of SEWING for such a tiny little thing, but it's going to be worth it. The sweater is adorable. I already have a second one on the needle for one of the newborns expected shortly at church and since the Inca Cotton skein has a generous 325 yds (and the sweater only uses 150 yds), I'm going to knit up a second one for the other newborn expected shortly at church.

Anyway, I'm in a sweater mood again, ironically. I think it was the two baby sweaters that I did earlier this summer that did it. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the third version of that baby sweater and making progress and I'm working also on a sweater for Max and one for Milo (sorry, no picture--it's a red stockinette sweater with assymetrical cables running along one shoulder--a large and full-sleeved version of the sweater I made for Cousin O's first birthday.) and I'm feeling like I'd really like to finish those sweater vests for the boys for church AND make some progress on Chris' sweater, but that starts to be a lot to get done between work and school starting soon.

Plus, before you know it, we'll be in Christmas knitting mode and I have to get something for the second piano teacher done before then.

Oh, and the garden? I never got the expected hate mail about my weedy garden and so I still have it. My goal this week and next is to work a tiny bit each week day on it in the hopes of getting things enough under control by this month's weed check that they let me keep the garden another year. When the tomatoes are really and truly done, I'll start replacing the plants with plastic wrap and see if I can't do something about the weediness of the plot. Then next year, plant mostly melons and corn in the garden and make good use of ground covers and mulch. I can't grow tomatoes in this plot for a few years because I'm fairly sure that the dirt is harboring tomato diseases and it takes three-to-four years of no tomatoes to make it safe for tomatoes.

If I can honestly kill off the frickin' frackin' crab grass in the garden, it would be worth keeping. (I have to say that the last three weeks load of a half-bushel of tomatoes for canning each week has done a lot towards improving my resolve to keep the garden. It sure wasn't feeling worth it before I had a couple of batches of pizza sauce canned up. Today I got 4.5 quarts of spaghetti sauce canned up (unburned for once) and I think it's very tasty. I only plan one batch of Mrs. Zook's Tomato soup since I still have quite a few quarts left and I'm not sure yet how hard/easy it will be to get the twins to eat tomato soup in their lunch. I did get them lunch thermoses, so we'll see how that goes. I still have chili, green beans, more beans, and I'm debating doing a chicken soup base to which I could just add noodles.

As an aside, Mrs. Writing and Living, I'm totally sympathetic to your pressure cooker fear. I was more than a little skittish the first few times using mine, but I follow the directions (that came with the pressure cooker) to the letter and I don't go any further away from the canner/cooker than the very next room. I use the kitchen stove timer to check the pressure every five to ten minutes when getting the pressure up to where it needs to be and I've been known to just stand there in the kitchen and watch it go up (if only going to 5 lbs pressure, for example, or if it's just one lb of pressure shy of the goal). I've gotten very good at knowing where to set the temp on my stove to keep it at a very stable pressure (just a little under five on the front right burner, just a little over five on the back right burner). The biggest "chance" I'm taking is that my stove is, um, not approved for canning. You're not supposed to can at all on a glass-top stove. I don't know why, but I've been told it's because of the weight of the massive pots. So I'm taking a risk there--and as soon as the household can afford it, I'll send it over to Gramma Gaye's house and replace it with a propane stove that is safer to use. But that could be another few summers.


slawebb said...

Propane stove? I've never heard of one of those. Must be like a gas stove. And seeing as propave is a gas stove, it is in fact a gas stove. Just dofferent then what I used to use. I have a electric stove now and I hate it! How is a propane stove different then a natural gas stove, besides the obvious reason?

PS Rebecca's pregnant again and Delia just turned 1 in August

Writing and Living said...

Yeah, well, I have a glass-top stove. It's just not meant to be.

I have a co-worker that cooks everything - like green beans for supper - in her pressure cooker. I am in awe of her. :o)

The Queen said...

Congrats to Rebecca! That's exciting news. And no--a propane stove isn't any different from a gas stove except that gas stoves work off of natural gas and propane stoves work off of propane. We don't have natural gas coming to the house, but we do run the garage heater and the dryer off of a large propane tank, so it wouldn't be too much trouble to use propane for the stove.

Most gas appliances have kits available to make them run off of propane, too. They need a different kind of valve or something.