Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

If you celebrate that sort of thing. . .

(made from this pattern)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Swap

Here is the first bit of promised swap-info. This was from the Autumn/Halloween Swap on ravelry. It was the first ravelry swap I participated in, and I joined the day that I finally joined ravelry. It was a lot of fun, although I do find the flickr swaps a bit more active and easy to post updates too. But maybe it's just because I'm more familiar with flickr. Probably so.

Anyway, above you have my lovely swap goodies. I must apologise here to slippergirl for taking so long to get this photo posted. At least it's up in time for Halloween! As I mentioned, I've been somewhat preoccupied with this Christmas crafting.

I am especially happy to have some point protectors (believe it or not, in the 10 years I've been knitting, I've never owned a single point protector -- and there were certainly times when I should have been using one!) and crazy flavors of candy corn. I've never had either of these before. And I think I'll be using the yarn for yet another gift in the next couple of months so that's certainly a good thing to have! Thank you so much, slippergirl, for all of the fun loot!

Below is a photo of the things that I sent to my swap partner. My favorite thing to make/gather was the "boo" wall hanging. I just had a few Halloween bits about and once I started sewing them together, it became one of those most fun of all projects where it all just seems to magically work out and go together and fit. That doesn't happen often, I can tell you! There is also a skein of cascade 220, some Martha cupcake papers, candles made near my house, a tin full of candy corn, fingerless mitts, knit by me, and a project bag I sewed up.

Not included in this photo but in the package were a whole bunch of candy corn and a great Halloween pattern designed by Thea. It's felted (which my partner, Cary, seems to like to do), and super-cute. If you knit and are into Halloween, you should go check it out!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blogging Holidays

For all of my on-again-off-again relationship with Needle and Dime, I am just realizing that I've never before actually blogged through a holiday season. How do people do this? I find that I'm spending most of my time making Christmas gifts (with a little bit of swapping on the side -- more to come soon on that front). Christmas gifts which I can't really blog about here. Hence the lack of posts lately. But, as I've hinted, I have a few swaps ending soon and will be back with show and tell very soon! (And you know that there will be a huge post right after all of these gifts are given!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Knitting Again

You may have noticed that I'd not been knitting much for some time. Quilting had taken over all of my spare time. But I guess that it must have been the yarn crawl, although I didn't buy much yarn on it, that sent me back to thinking about knitting. And the sheep and wool festival in Rhinebeck this past weekend was the last straw. I bought a lot of yarn. More than I'd bought in the entire past year all put together.

Last week, the week between the yarn crawl and the festival, I knitted these ornaments for the Trim the Tree swap. Then today I've started knitting this (progress pictured above) while watching this fun new find. Full of wonderful cardigans and sweaters. I forsee a lot more knitting in my future. Especially now that it's so chilly here (in the 50's over the weekend! -- fall has arrived).

planned to be socks

planned to be two pullovers (not both for myself), the finishing for a pullover begun last year, and one skein of tbd (the red-orange one)

vest for Patrick

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back from Yarn Land

And into my pile of dishes (and apples). But at least the dishes are kind of quiet and don't involve walking miles and miles of NYC. Don't get me wrong, the Yarn Crawl was super-fun (and where I spent my entire weekend). My feet just don't feel terribly happy about it. I have a ton more photos over on flickr but here are a few, just as a representation of my holiday weekend.

And the loot. Hmm. That doesn't look like very much yarn for a yarn crawl. Oh well. I guess it just goes to show that the quilting bug is still in full effect!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another Garden Post

Anyone who might be there is likely to be tiring of gardening posts, I would guess, but I still have one more to share. Garden season is coming to an end and crafting in front of the fireplace season is about to begin.

In the meantime, one more gardening post.

Tonight I made my first soup of the season! With lovely leeks from the farmer's market and broccoli from my garden (which wasn't very photogenic), I made Molly's Broccoli Soup with Lemon Chive Cream. So good! I even got to use some garlic chives from the same (most helpful to this new-to-gardening-few-vegetables-eater) farmer at the market. I hadn't had the soup since last winter and had forgotten how just good it is. Good way to start soup season!

Must remember to keep the woodchuck out of the garden next year so I can make a whole lot more of this then.

As for the lack of crafting, beyond soup-making, I blame the apples. Which are seemingly never going to end. But, luck of all luck, yesterday this new, wonderful gadget was sent to me by my thoughtful mother. Now I can peel and slice the apples in half the time. And, as an added bonus, my waste bowl was not looking quite so equal to my cookpot (in other words, the peeler keeps me from wasting so much fo the apple). Too bad it doesn't cook them for me too. . .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dresden Plate Progress

I'm loving loving making this Dresden Plate. I never wanted a full quilt of these but I always loved them and wanted to try one. And it's so much fun! I see now that I'm making pretty slow progress but I think it's just because it won't be there to work on any more once it's finished.

I followed this tutorial, used a border like this doll quilt, and used this quilt as the inspiration for the treatment of the circle in the center (it's done, in my case, by applique of a blue-dot circle and then cutting out a square of the white fabric barely larger than the blue circle, folding it into quarters, cutting a curve out of the corner, and applique-ing the shape on top of the circle). It's not perfect but I like to just chalk that up to "handmade".

All that's left to do is to add solid-blue squares to the corners (I can't seem to find what's left of my solid blue fabric. . .), put on the back (which will be blue-green, rather like the color in that Denyse Schmidt square print there), and then bind it all with the white-with-aqua-dots fabric which is kind of out of focus but toward the top of the photo above. And then quilting. Which will be pretty minimal on this small of a quilt. Sadly. I do enjoy quilting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Apples Apples

Well. After that post last week in which I mentioned processing a few apples, I put up 3 apple pie fillings (in ziploc quart freezer bags into the freezer) and set aside 4 lbs of apples to use for the apple butter. And then there were only about 8 apples left. So I decided to go back to my friends' farm for a "few" more apples so I'd have enough to make sauce. Yeah. A few. They had other ideas and sent me home not only with my bag completely full (which I'd only filled halfway last time) but also a box that they'd ostensibly filled for themselves but decided that I needed to take with me.

At least it was a lovely weekend, weather-wise, especially after the constant rain of last week.

Not that I'm not happy to have all of the apples (because I feel very lucky to have them). Just feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Especially as I am still without an apple-peeler-corer (we tried to buy one yesterday but the store had run out).

Today I used up about 2/3-rds of that box to make 7 quarts of applesauce (all I did was fill my largest pot with apples, a fair amount of cinnamon, and about 1-2 c. of sugar, heat it on low for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then used a canning funnel to put it into 7 quart jars). As for the rest of the apples, I'm begining to run low on ideas. I'm going to do the apple butter and I think an apple-plum chutney from, again, my Small Batch Preserving book. Then maybe 3-4 more pie fillings. Patrick wants some apple leather which, apparently, is just made by baking applesauce spread on a baking pan. That should leave me with about half of the bag to go. Any suggestions?

Pop! There goes one of the applesauce jars. What a satisfying noise!