Saturday, October 6, 2018

Trolls Ascendant

What a strange and terrible week it's been, so dominated by the spectacle of corrupt and spineless politics in Washington, Big Lies, and crackpot threats of violence. In an odd way it reminded me of the scene on a beach while a hurricane is going by: the warning flags are up, the water is churning with tremendous force, and yet some people are surfing. Perhaps some of the same principles of responsibility and self-care may apply.

Sandy Beach during Hurricane Olivia

When trolls are ascendant, one is left to concoct one's own sunshine amid the sturm und drang. A third way, if you will: not reacting to them, not pretending they aren't there, but a form of resistance (admittedly privileged) to their coarsened public discourse. So I've been doing some cauldron work, and am rather pleased with the results. There's more tomato jam to add to the Great Wall of Tomato Jam, this time using yellow and (more) orange tomatoes. It's Marissa's recipe again, with 20% less sugar, white vinegar substituted for cider vinegar, and ground jalapeño subbed for smoked paprika and cayenne. I'm ridiculously happy at how the colors have held during cooking and processing.

Yellow and Orange Tomato Jam

Ah, the colors. I could look at this all day. Flavor and yield are good, too. Tomato jam is often paired with cheese, but I like it best with eggs.

Red, Orange, and Yellow Tomato Jam

Meanwhile, the Diana Prince sock progresses, while as anticipated the shrug is Overtaken By Events. Ah well, maybe now more than ever a bit of Amazon fortitude and some fancy needlework is needed. Pew! Pew!

Wonder Woman W

After an absence to several years, I'm planning to go to Rhinebeck this year. I've been before, but for the first time I'm planning to stay overnight. I'm thrilled to bits, even though I'm still so busy that I'm not going to attempt to knit a sweater. But... er... well, maybe a hat.... To be continued

Friday, September 21, 2018

Away Again

And just like that, summer turns to fall. Not that you could tell by my schedule. For me it's another long flight, another cast on. This one is Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) socks by Becky Greene. I'd admired the pattern before, almost exactly one year ago, and unwisely cast on in an overly busy yarn. One year older and wiser, I'm going with a more subtle variegation, Zitron Trekking XXL colorway 77.

Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) socks cast on

That's better, sockwise. Travelwise, this trip proved rather eventful. More when I'm back in terra Jersey.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Pedants and Scofflaws at Summer's End

Every year without fail, some quarrelsome pedant or other may be counted on to argue that the end of summer is actually the autumnal equinox and not Labor Day weekend. Woe is me, this Labor Day weekend I seem to be awash in pedants, more so than usual, and I am tired. Maybe it's the torrential rain, maybe it's the subsequent heat and humidity. How hot and humid is it? Hot and humid enough that gadgets large and small at the U.S. Open were malfunctioning, from the ticket scanners to the big video screens. But not to complain, I'm glad I could attend this year after missing last year.

Pixelated

Then again, I rather doubt heat and humidity explain the inane questions this interviewer put to rising star Naomi Osaka, who bore it with patient good humor and only a little side-eyeing. Edited to add: Naomi Osaka went on to win her first major title, decisively upsetting six-time champion Serena Williams in what also became the most controversial final match in U.S. Open history.

Naomi Osaka being interviewed

It also doesn't explain these tomatoes. I planted what was supposed to be an orange cherry tomato plant, that is, a plant that bears orange-colored cherry-sized tomatoes, but what grew was an orange-colored slicer. Oh well. They're tasty, strikingly colored, sub-acid, and sufficiently plentiful for a half batch of Orange Tomato Jam. It would have been a full batch, but some hungry pedants gorged on a few.

Orange, but not cherry

After a bit of cauldron work, I had – dare one say it? – summer's end in a jar. I used 20% less sugar than the recipe specifies, white vinegar instead of cider vinegar, and gochugaru instead of smoked paprika and cayenne. I'm happy with its flavor and especially that it held its color through cooking down and processing. We shall see how it holds up in storage – if the hungry pedants don't eat it first.

Orange Tomato Jam

Some pedants insist on no white after Labor Day. Scofflaw that I am, I cast on a white linen Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. Although it's hot and humid outdoors, I could use a little something in the frigid air-conditioned indoors.

White linen Featherweight

It must be admitted the project involves a scofflaw's gambit – that it will be finished before the onset of cooler weather and so can be worn this season. Also a scofflaw's optimism that if not, it can be worn next season. Tralala.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Swallowtail and Tomato Jam

Some folk are marvelous caterpillar wranglers – patient, dedicated, knowledgeable. Me, sadly, not so much. I know just how devastating those tiny tiny jaws can be in the garden, so about the closest I'll get to intentionally having caterpillars near my vegetable patch is this new Swallowtail...

Swallowtail Shawl

... and these quarter-pint jars of tomato jam, now safely beyond the reach of those tiny tiny jaws. Sorry about the weird lighting, it's been thundershowers all day roundabout Exit 151.

Tomato Jam

Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark is a favorite pattern. It's such a favorite I've knit five with somewhat spotty documentation – the first is pre-Ravelry, the second was not blogged because it was a gift, and so on. Each had its pleasures.

Swallowtail the first Swallowtail the second Swallowtail the third Swallowtail the fourth

Swallowtail the fifth is knit in lovely SweetGeorgia Yarns CashSilk Lace, colorway English Ivy. It's a gift, too. I never tire of this pattern.

Swallowtail the fifth

And I never tire of the magic of jamming. One starts with fresh fruit, its goodness lush yet fleeting, adds a bit of cauldron work, and ends with shelf-stable summer in a jar. Tomato jam is new to me, but why not? Surely worth a try. (Gentle readers, let's sidestep the highly partisan question of whether tomato is a fruit or vegetable, else we'll be here all day.)

Fresh diced tomato

I used Marissa's highly recommended Tomato Jam recipe. I made a two-fifths recipe, maths was involved. The warm spices – ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and red pepper flakes – give the jam gentle but definite heat. The fragrance at first seemed overwhelmingly sweet and Christmas-y, but as the flavors melded, the red pepper became more dominant, maybe too dominant (we'll see). Yield was spot on, three quarter-pints and a small cook's share. One jar failed to seal, a first for me. Not a problem, the open jar offers the opportunity to sample the developing flavors. I've been finding the jam is persistently too sweet for my taste; next time, I'd reduce the sugar by one-fourth. So far I've tried the jam spread on crackers, with cheese, and on an omelet – I bet it would make outstanding avocado toast.

Swallowtail and tomato jam... could be a cool BnB, LOL. Onward.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Along August

It's August, which means summer is stealing away and SKAers are finishing UFOs. Sure, I'll join another -along, I have ::cough:: a few potential candidates from the clothesline of shame. For starters, here's Hanauma Bay Socks by Adrienne Fong. Originally it was cast on September 1, 2013; it's pictured with an August 3, 2018 NYT headline noting Apple Inc attained a valuation of $1 trillion. How time passes when you're not paying attention.

Hanauma Bay SIP

Also noteworthy: I just finished the first book I've read purely for pleasure in ages, a marvelously epic yet intimate retelling of ancient Greek mythology through a feminist lens, Circe by Madeline Miller. It was quite wonderful – truly full of wonders – and erudite without being showy. I'd like to read another, but also want to slog through my long, long list of books to read not-for-pleasure. Happily, books (like UFOs) keep; I'll get to it.