Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Jam

I have never used frozen fruit to make jam, I have never made jam in November, and I have never made jam with Alexis and Bri.  Last night, I did all three, creating a most delightful day-after-Thanksgiving event.

A few posts ago, I wrote about teaching my darling daughter-in-law how to can.  I had purchased a dozen quilted jam jars for that same weekend, just in case we had time left over to do some jamming.  But applesauce takes a long time to make and then can, so we never got to jam.  We remedied that last night.

We are developing a Thanksgiving tradition that suits us well, especially with me still teaching.  Thanksgiving day, I prepare our meal in a leisurely fashion, and then Jim, Matthew, I and whomever (this year it was Matt's housemate Dan and Raven who works with both of these men) sit down to give our thanks later in the day.  Rob, his wife Alexis and her sister have been appearing on Black Friday, when the ladies hit the Black Friday stores, I make my mother's Scalloped Turkey casserole and we share  a Thanksgiving redux.  The holiday goes on and on in a sweet family sort of way.

After dinner last night, Alexis said, "I feel like putting my jammies on and making something."  And we did..make something: actually two batches of something--13 jars of raspberry and raspberry/peach jam.  We used these amazing raspberries a friend gave me (already frozen!) from the bounty of her overflowing bushes. We threw in some of my frozen peaches for batch two.  Curious if using frozen fruit would make it set or taste differently, Alexis and I could not taste any difference.  Good to know.

It sure is fun to jam in November!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

"Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother's arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today."
                        --Martin Rinkart, 1663

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mitts, Mitts, and More Mitts

I love making and wearing mitts.  With at least half a dozen mitt patterns already knit, I probably have a dozen more patterns downloaded to try.  On these cool, late-fall mornings, I enjoy rooting through the jumble of hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves in our winter woolen basket to select a pair of mitts from my own personal stash.  Encountering almost blustery weather during after-school bus duty this week, I was especially grateful to have grabbed a pair of mitts on my morning dash out the door.

Thanksgiving arrives next week, and Christmas soon follows.  For some reason, I feel a bit slow on the knitting uptake for this holiday gift-giving season.  In years past,  my Christmas knitting list was well formed by the time school began in September.  But this Fall, I have been knitting just a lot of mitts (some of these and some of these). Even though I am still uncertain who will be gifted from the pile sitting in the cedar chest, I do  know lots of fingers will be free and many hands will be warm.  Mitts are good for that.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Good Fit

I have been knitting sweaters a long time. The second thing I remember knitting (after a pair of slippers) was a striped sweater vest, made from acrylic yarn. I still have that now wrinkled, simple pattern, courtesy of a Community Education "Introduction  to Knitting" class I enrolled in shortly after our first child was born (...that would be winter of 1973. Oh my!).  Since I have been knitting almost 40 years, you would think that I would be able to knit a sweater that satisfies, in other words, a sweater that fits in a properly pleasing manner.  It is not as easy as it would seem to guess what a particular pattern, gauge, and yarn will yield on this aging body.

Today, I sewed the buttons on a sweater vest I knit up with  a few skeins of Paton yarn (on sale), hoping that this snugly fitted sweater vest would suit my need for warmth without sleeves. A simple little piece for this transitional time of year.  A quick, slip-on sweater that wasn't too big, too long,  too wide or too bulky (my complaints about other sweaters I have knit for myself).  I think it may just work!   I made a few changes, simplifying the edges and adding more buttons down the front.  This is one, I do think, I may wear a lot.

[As I am posting, Joe Paterno just won his 400th football game, making him the winningest coach ever in college football. And to think, he actually slept here, once living in our basement, the former home of the football coach who preceded him--Rip Engle. Our own a little piece of Penn State History!]

Thursday, November 4, 2010


School and life seemed to be getting a bit heavy and then I fly South and spend time with a magical five-year old (and his mama and da too) who always manages to lift my spirits and set life aright....again.