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Yet More Learning

I’ve just finished the body of the Stilwell sweater (first mentioned in this post), but after much hemming and hawing I’ve decided to frog the whole thing. Why? I noticed that stockinette started to pucker at the transition from the colorwork band to the plain body section.

See what I mean?

I should have stopped to check the gauge of both sections, but did I? NO. I decided to ignore it and press on – “it’ll work itself out in blocking.” Now I’m quite sure that’s not true. I finally measured the gauge:

Colorwork band = 21.3 sts / 4 inches

Stockinette body = 18.7 sts / 4 inches

They should both be 19 sts / 4 inches. Clearly, my colorwork is MUCH tighter than it should be!  I went into this project knowing it would be a good learning experience (my first try at colorwork), and it is good to know that I tend to knit colorwork tighter, but I’m pretty sick of frogging this sweater. I think I’m going to take a break and move on to something a bit less frustrating. I’m sure I’ll come back to it soon, though. I love the pattern and the yarn.

Hey, Wait a Minute…

I have some bad news for all of you who (like me) thought the Knit Picks company had invented the harmony wood needles. Look what I found when I went needle shopping in Trondheim (Norway) the other day:

Exactly the same needles, but packaged as a “KnitPro” product. And here I thought Kelly Petkun had hand dyed the first set in her kitchen many years ago, and then decided to start a business selling them along with “affordable luxury yarn” – boy, am I gullible!

In other news, my Stilwell sweater is coming along nicely. I’ve knit up to where the arms attach and have set the body aside to start working on the sleeves (for which I needed these double points). Will have photos to share soon!

My Lesson in Colorwork

A couple weeks ago, I started working on the Stilwell sweater by Jerod Flood (Brooklyn Tweed), because it’s cute and it seemed like a nice, gentle introduction to colorwork sweaters. I decided to use the Knit Picks City Tweed HW I had brought with me from the US, since I’d lugged it all this way. Unfortunately, the two colors I brought made for horrible colorwork – there just isn’t much contrast between the two, even though one is quite a bit darker than the other.

Seems like there should be plenty of contrast, right?

And yet, not so much. The Lesson: make a colorwork swatch before you launch into a project to make sure your colors are compatible!

I ripped out the colorwork portion and substituted the dark green for navy blue Malabrigo worsted I also had in my stash. It’s a bit lighter weight than the beige yarn, but not too dissimilar.

Much better! I’m very happy with how this color combo has turned out. The City Tweed has quite a bit of merino in it, so the Malabrigo (100% merino) continues the feel of the beige yarn.

The project is Raveled here. Lesson learned, now back to knitting!

Greetings from Norway

Hello, dear readers! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long without an explanation. I’ve just started a 5-month research collaboration in Trondheim, Norway. I had been meaning to post before I left the States, but wrapping things up / packing dominated the last few weeks at home. I’ve just now gotten myself settled in Norway (with Lucas’s help) and am on my own (he flew back last week).

After I finished the Hex Blanket, I made a couple small things but didn’t have the time to devote to a more involved project. Now that things have settled down, I’ve just cast on a sweater that I’ll be posting about once it develops a bit more. In the mean time, I wanted to share photos of the two yarn shops I’ve checked out in Trondheim (I’m told there are several more).

Jens Hoff is located in the Torg (or Mall):

It’s packed with all manner of DROPS yarn & patterns, as well as ready-made Norwegian knits.

Garnhuset (Yarn House) is my favorite of the two because of their amazing selection:

They carry DROPS in addition to yarn from several other Norwegian/European companies. Amazing selection!

I also want to quickly share photos of Norwegian Knits on display at the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Trondheim. Unfortunately, the descriptions were in Norwegian (which I don’t understand), so I can’t provide further information on the pieces.

I really enjoyed the dress immediately above this text. Such an interesting use of felting / texture. I wonder if it was felted, then sewn, or knit then felted. I can’t identify any seams, but it’s not the best photo. Can you imagine knitting a dress to be felted??

I also had the good fortune of meeting two Americans and one Norwegian through Ravelry this past week. They are lovely women and I hope to spend much more time knitting / hanging out with them in the months to come!

New Stash Yarn

Juniper Moon Farm is one of my very favorite fiber farms. I’ve been following their blog (and falling in love with their sheep & goats) since a knitting buddy brought them to my attention – right around the time they moved to Central Virginia from Martha’s Vineyard.

I’ve been drooling over their yarn for quite some time and finally took the plunge. Last weekend, two lovely skeins of sock yarn (100% wool) in the “Persuasion” colorway were delivered.

I can’t wait to knit them up! I’m trying to decide between this lightweight cardigan (raveled) and Romi Hill’s Merope shawl (raveled) – two very different items. Stay tuned…

Closure

In this post, I mentioned the blanket that Meghan (of Allergic to Wool) and I were making for a badly injured friend. Ultimately our friend passed away before we could finish it, but the blanket is now complete and ready to be given to her Mother. Meghan and I knit our halves from across the Atlantic, so there are slight differences between them, but I think it makes the blanket more charming. At this moment, it’s pinned down for a final blocking, but I took a few photos outside earlier:

The blanket was knit with this pattern. Meghan’s half is raveled here, while mine is raveled here.

Knitting this blanket has given me the opportunity to meditate on our friend’s wonderful, yet too short, life, and has provided me with an immeasurable amount of closure and acceptance of her passing.

We miss you, Debbie!

Blackberry Jam

Hubby has been growing amazing fruits and veggies in his garden this Summer. He nearly doubled its size from last year and has added many new varieties and types of plants.

Let’s be honest, I was not the most helpful gardener last year (I have pretty heinous allergies), so this year I decided to trade in my gloves for the responsibility of post-harvest management. Freezing, canning, cooking, etc. While I can definitely handle freezing and cooking, canning has been looming. I appreciate the idea of canning, but after hearing horror stores of molten fruit / veggies boiling over onto the stove – well, let’s say I’ve been apprehensive about trying it.

My family visited us at the farm last weekend, and their trip coincided with our blackberry bushes (brambles?) bursting with ripe berries. My siblings and hubby set to work picking, while my Mom (also a canning novice) and I read Blackberry Jam recipes. My mother-in-law (and resident farmer) came across this book from way-back-when and passed it along to me:

[Photo borrowed from eCrater.]

This is a small fraction of the berries they brought in for us:

We used a little less than half of the yield for a batch of Jam (we froze the rest). The recipe called for 9 cups of mashed berries and 6 cups of sugar boiled together until the temp reached 8 deg F past the boiling point of water (which varies with altitude).

It took quite a while to reach the correct temperature, but then again I was too nervous about boiling over to increase the flame beyond medium-low. Meanwhile, we filled the sink with hot water and placed our canning jars inside to avoid thermal shock (and breakage) when filled will boiling Jam.

Once the fruit finally reached temperature, I put on big silicon gloves and filled the jars, while Mom wiped off the threading and added tops. Then we placed them in a LARGE pot (which Lucas uses for brewing beer) partially filled with hot, but not boiling, water. We had put a kettle on just before filling the jars, so once they were full and in the large pot, we added boiling water over top, such that the water level was 2 inches above the jars. It took 2 kettles to accomplish this! Then, we brought the large pot to a rolling boil and waited 15 min.

Boiling the jars causes the air inside to expand and escape. As they cool to room temperature, the seals on the jar lids prevent air from getting back inside, creating a vacuum – and lasting freshness. I placed the jars on a baking rack to cool, and within the first 30 min you could hear the lids ping as they caved in due to the vacuum pressure. Success!

Please excuse my ultra-cluttered counter top, dear readers!

Ultimately, we made 8 half-pint jars of Jam. There was 1/2 cup or so left over that we stored in the fridge…after we all stuck a finger in to taste, that is. YUM! Quite a positive, not-at-all-scary experience, and some good quality bonding time with Mom!

I’ve definitely caught the canning bug. Perhaps pickles next?


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I love hearing from my readers! Feel free to contact me via comments or at this address:

rambleonrosemary [at] gmail [dot] com

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