Friday, July 19, 2013

Watermelon Rind Sweet Pickles

I have not been exactly idle, working and hot weather notwithstanding...

About 3 years ago I read a lovely recipe for Watermelon Rind Sweet Pickles.  Having always loved these special and rather old-fashioned pickles, I decided to try my hand.  I am a pretty good cook, not afraid to try new things, and am usually satisfied with the result.  Practice makes perfect, in all things, and making pickles is no exception.  I am far from perfect, and continue to practice....

Watermelon Rind Sweet Pickles don't require the weeks of soaking in brine which is often the case with dill pickles, which cuts down on the time element.  Getting the sweet brine just right is another issue, sometimes it is too vinegary no matter what I do....a little of this and a little of that, a few more whole cloves, a little less cinnamon - and it comes out OK.

Thanks to several friends who offered me their watermelon rind (most had never heard of these pickles, but had faith in my desire to make them)

The process begins - peeling, more peeling, and slicing - 

 The first cooking bath -

Cookin' in the sweet brine...looks alot like the 1st bath, but with spices this time -

 ta da...Finished Product -
It is hard to see those little pickled squares of rind inside the jars, but they're there.  This batch is four 1/2 pints (jelly jar size) and some "left overs" which will be devoured soon enough.

The next batch awaits.  But it is just too hot to remain in the kitchen any longer today.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

HOT July - Summer in Idaho

So - it is HOT here in Boise, has been for several weeks...feels like years, but No, I must not complain about the heat.  I do better in hot weather than in cold, better than most folks do, fortunately, but this summer has been trying even my patience with the temps in the high 90's and 100's.  My garden is suffering, the kitties are suffering, everything seems to be melting.

Knitting has taken 2nd place of late, not only due to the heat, but due also to the fact that I have been very busy working.  I am a professional house organizer.  My business is called The Moving Diva...(long story there, how the name came about, but that is for another time.)  I love doing this sort of work, though my own house is, know the story of the cobbler's children - they had no shoes.  My house needs an organizer !  Especially my studio....knitting, quilting, weaving...and "stuff"...oh well, winter is coming, I'll do it then.

Not to say I have not been knitting however.  Stash yarn has caught my attention and has resulted in a couple of nice pieces.  A bulky weight cotton yarn has become a tee-top.  Some gorgeous non-wool blend in  my favourite colors of purple and dark green has become yet another EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman for those not in "the know") Adult Surprise Jacket.  I am still addicted to this pattern, and this is, by right count, number 11.  What can I say, I keep finding yarn in my stash which begs to become an ASJ !

The finishing details are yet to come, but it is taking shape.  The yarn has been in my stash for many years, just waiting for me to find the perfect pattern (in truth, I had forgotten about it.)

Short post today, but as it has been a while, I was called to at least stay in touch. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Good Intentions

"...and the pattern will be ready by end of May"  um, yes, well that was my intention.... Solis, the circular shawl I have been working on has taken a bit of a rest, though unintentional. 

I have been working at my "day job" as house organizer, and while that is a very good thing and most enjoyable, it does decrease the hours available for working on any knitting designs.

Solis will be ready when it finally rises to the surface again.  Besides, it is Summer now, and working on a wooly shawl named for the Sun probably is not on the top of your list for light-weight summer knitting.

Meanwhile, I did purchase one skein of gorgeous hand-dyed lace weight yarn from a friend who has a very artistic way with colour.  The skein is called Spring Meadow by Madsen Originals in Caldwell, Idaho. The fiber is merino and silk, and has a delicate and soft hand, so it will drape nicely.

It reminds me of the little violets and Johnny Jump-ups in my Grandmother's garden so many years ago (also in Caldwell). Something very special will be made with this lovely stuff.

Have a good Summer - I'll  be back soon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Busy, Busy May

Somehow May has run away with itself, with Time as her attendant !  Wasn't last week mid-March ?   Oh well, it has been a pleasant Spring, and hopefully it will be a long one.

My lovely iris are blooming joyfully in the front garden, and there is even a yellow one which I didn't think had made it through the winter.  I am thinking about expanding the garden further into the front lawn, as the grass is not happy.  Water pressure is sporadic at best, so consistent watering is out. The Cremesicle orange iris is a new one, and hopefully it will become a multiple bloom next year. 
Queen of the Night, a very deep purple, is probably my favourite - such a deep, rich colour.

Speaking of deep, rich colour - I really am knitting madly, finishing the next pattern in the Galaxy Collection.  This one is called Solis, for the sun.  Tiny glass beads dancing around the center catch the light and give it sparkle.

I am using a lace weight merino yarn, which is very soft and lovely to knit with.  There is a bit of subtle variegation in the gold/yellow colour which adds to the depth.

The pattern should be ready by end of May.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sagitta - the arrow

  Sagitta, the Latin word for arrow, is a constellation located within our Milky Way galaxy.  Not to be confused with Sagittarius (aka "the  archer") which is a much larger constellation, and is located in a different part of the galaxy.  Sagitta was identified by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and can be seen from every location on Earth except Antarctica.  

Various arrow motifs appear within the shawl's fabric. Yarn Over lace patterns form the arrow motifs and large beads emphasize the arrow points.  The designs in the center are set off by garter stitch edges.  This design becomes a long rectangle shawl, or stole, and can be easily made wider by adding repeats of the central motifs.  Wrap this shawl about your shoulders as you go star-gazing for Sagitta, the "arrow."
Pattern available here or in my Ravelry store  (Kenilworth Design Studio)
It gets done.....
                                                                 with a little help from my friends...

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Spring, come Explore the Galaxy with me

Spring blooms and a new knitting pattern - finally.  The winter was too cold, lasted too long, and became downright discouraging.  But the promise of spring prevails, and here we are.

When I look upon on my garden, I know it is Spring - tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and the courageous bleeding heart are all seeking the warmth of Spring sunshine.

I was keeping plenty busy during the cold wintry months, keeping track of too many designs and which project was demanding attention, and where did I put all the size 6 needles ?  Oh, they are all inside projects, of course.....Something needs to be completed so the needles can be set free....for a little while anyway.

As I "hinted" last month (oh dear, it has been that long) there were several new patterns in the works, all of which are to be included in three new e-books.  These e-books are collections of patterns designed around various themes, as most pattern e-books are.  

Here is the first pattern - Moon Glow Scarf, which is the initial pattern in the Exploring the Galaxy e-book.  I had a single skein of Alchemy's Silken Straw, in a pale shade which can only be described as "moonlight" and it lent itself beautifully to this light and airy scarf.

The ebook will be priced at $28 (USD) which will be a considerable savings over buying all six patterns separately, though you may do that as well.  Moon Glow is priced individually at $6.00, and can be purchased in my Ravelry store Kenilworth Designs

Any light weight fingering yarn will do fine for this pattern if you are looking for something special, about 300-400 yards will make a lovely scarf.  (Mine is shorter as I only had one skein of the Silken Straw)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

In Camelot, it's Spring !

"...and Spring starts March the 2nd, on the Camelot !"   To paraphrase the jolly song from a much-loved story.  In Treasure Valley, Idaho, not so much...yet, there are hopeful signs.

 The bright yellow of the first crocus is a welcome contrast against the still tender ground.  Many brave tulips and daffs are checking out the possibility of sunshine.

Spring is teasing us, as she usually does in March.

She probably has some surprises in store for us, in the coming weeks, but there is a slight change in the air, and that is encouraging. 

The skiiers are still enjoying new powder on the ski hills at Bogus, and they have decided to stay open later....making many folks very happy.  There is nothing quite like spring skiing, with the brilliant sun and the fresh snow....well, that is a tale for another time.

Teddy is ready for Spring, exploring what's new, looking for any adventure...and helping Mommy in
 the garden, of course. 

Meanwhile I really have been busy designing - knitting, knitting and tearing out, and putting in.  Some fun things are coming in the next few weeks.

Here are a couple of "teasers" - Coming soon to a pair of needles near you !

Sagitta - a rectangle scarf/wrap. Lace-work and beads, of course, but using sport/DK weight yarn, so it moves quickly along.
Sagitta is a small constellation in our Milky Way Gallaxy.  It is also the Latin word for "arrow."  I thought arrows would make for interesting lace-work in a shawl.  We shall see where these arrows go, once they leave the bow.

The Emerald City of Seattle is the first pattern in a new collection - named for my much-loved Puget Sound area and the City of Seattle.  Patterns will be named for various locations or icons of the area, and will be available both as part of an e-book collection and individually. 

More details and ordering information, as well as pictures, pictures will be coming.  My intention is to get these two new patterns up and available early this month, so stay tuned.

'Til we chat again, have a lovely early Spring !

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An Afterthought Valentine - Sweet Hearts Shawl

Yes, yes...I know it is after Valentine's Day.  Maybe that is a clue that I really don't enjoy V-Day, if truth be known.  However, I did have fun making this little bit of beaded pink delight, hearts and all.  It is very feminine and dainty, and will add a bit of "pretty" to whatever you are wearing.  The Regia sock yarn I used makes the knitted fabric very soft and drapey, so it sort of "flutters" as you move....very alluring !

The pattern is a F*R*E*E* one...yippee !!  You can visit my store on Ravelry
to download your pattern.

The ends of the shawl can overlap in front, in a Victorian fashion, so use a lovely shawl pin or delicate brooch to hold the fronts closed.  The pretty pin I used in the photo was a gift from my Dad, when I was about 15.  He always remembered Valentine's Day and gave lovely things to my Mother and to me.  Those are sweet memories.  The pin just seemed to fit this purpose, perfectly.  Papa would like that.

As always, Happy Knitting, and do share your projects with me.  I enjoy seeing other knitters' versions of my patterns.

If you have followed my previous design posts, or seen my work on Ravelry, you will soon realize that I love adding beads to my knitting.
Adding beads to knitting does take a bit more time, and can be rather fiddly to get all those tiny glass beads to cooperate - especially when my favourite darling (cat) is helping !

Teddy just wants to know what is going on, and if he is missing anything important.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Harriet's Ruby Solitaire

Lady Peter Wimsey, (aka the former Miss Harriet Vane) was given a magnificent ruby solitaire as an engagement ring by Lord Peter, when she finally consented to his ever-patient proposal.  It was early fall, 1934, in Oxford, England, and after solving the mysterious and quite scandalous goings-on at Shrewsbury College, Harriet and Lord Peter reconciled their differences and acknowledged their deep affection for each other. (Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L Sayers, pub 1936.)

This brilliant red shawl is sprinkled with ruby-red beads in each of the lace medallions, as they drift across the width of the shawl, and in the border edging.  While Harriet was not one to wear frilly lace or glittery baubles, she would appreciate the elegance of such a shawl, as she cherished her ruby solitaire and her beloved Lord Peter.

I used one of my favourite yarns for this shawl - Sirdar Baby Bamboo, which is a DK weight, a blend of bamboo and wool.  Washable (by hand), soft fabric, intense color, and nicely drapey.  What more could a knitter ask ?

This pattern is available in my Ravelry store for $8.00 (US)

Back to knitting - I have two more to finish this month !
Happy knitting, everyone...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February - Snow, with chance of green shoots

What a long winter, so much snow, fog, intense cold, and inversions that clog up both the air and your breathing.  We usually don't have snow and ice remaining thick on the ground for over a month, here in Treasure Valley, Idaho.  Snow falls, then the sun shines and it melts away....usually.  This year the snow came, and it stuck around, then it froze, and snowed some more.

The skiiers are thrilled...commuters, not so much !

 Yesterday, I spotted several tiny green daffodil shoots peeking out of the cold, chilly ground.  They seemed to be testing the air for signs of warmth or encouragement.

   Each year my bulb garden seems to be more beautiful, with its floral array of yellow, red, deep blue-purple and brilliant green folliage.  What a lovely gift from Nature !

As this really is a knitting pattern site (also) I should be describing the latest creation off the needles instead of discussing the weather.  However, due to an unexpected blessing of a three-week temp job, knitting and designing took a back seat.  Don't despair....there will be three lovely patterns to tempt your knitting genie, before the end of the month.

Hints:  One is about Rubies, one is about Sweet Hearts, and one is about a "jubillee of cherries".....

Stay tuned...I'll return in a little while...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Vineyard Scarf

Winter Vineyard Scarf is a F*R*E*E knitting pattern. You can find this pattern here

 It is a pretty fast project to complete, as it uses Aran weight or worsted weight yarn, and size 8 US needles.  The design is easy to learn and memorize, and before long you will have a soft and cozy scarf to keep your neck warm during the last days of winter....I hope these are the LAST days of winter !!

I love the colours of the vineyard, deep red-purple of the fruit, the depths and textures of the green vines and leaves.  The warmth of the sun and the aroma of the growing earth encourage us to ponder the wonder of nature and what is so freely offered to us.

It has been a very cold winter in the Northwest United States.  Boise has been under several inches of snowy ice for weeks, which is very unusual.  Today it began to rain, and it seems almost tropical.  The huge lethal looking icicles are drip-drip-dripping onto the pavement, disappearing as the afternoon sun begins to penetrate the chilly air.

We look forward to the coming Spring, as we snuggle in for another few weeks of chill.  Happy knitting, everyone !  As always, Teddy has to show his interest in all things wooly...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cafe au Lait Shawl

Happy New Year !  It is still January, so you can still wish Happy New Year...and I wish all of you a very Happy and Prosperous 2013, with good health and many blessings.

My Cafe au Lait Shawl is finally finished and ready for show.  This is a fun project, pretty quick to knit up with basic knit and purl stitches using a sport or dk weight yarn.  The shawl is worked side to side, increasing along one edge using yarn-overs, then a center panel is added which has little cables and seed stitch running through it.  The second half shaping decreases along the bottom edge while keeping the yarn-overs along the selvedge.

Knit in a soft merino wool, it is warm and cozy for these chilly winter mornings. 

You can purchase the pattern here  buy now  or in my Ravelry store for $8.00 US