pomegranates and works in progress

Want to keep a child busy for an hour?  How about giving her a pomegranate?  My past experience with pomegranates is this: as a child my mom would hand us each a pom and send us far outside to sit on the grass to first open, then eat.  The former is an almost impossible task for a child; it must have taken an hour for little hands to pry one open, and the latter, the actual eating part, also takes forever and could be the most messy of all messy endeavors ever.  But I do remember loving them so much.  The little seeds looked like my ruby birthstone and I loved the way they popped in my mouth with a crunch and a tiny squirt of juice.  I also remember we'd have to hose ourselves off before we could enter the house again.  Did I say these are messy?

So, what does one do when given a windfall of pomegranates?  As in a whole trash bag full?  I had no idea so sent out a plea to my lovely and helpful friends on Facebook and got some great ideas!  I narrowed it down to freezing the individual seeds for later use in salads and desserts, juicing (jeeze, what a mess) and finally, simmering the juice down with a bit of sugar and lemon for a divine grenadine.  I kept some of the grenadine in the refrigerator, but with most I made some pomegranate vodka, two bottles.  Heaven.  

OK, so the kitchen was a mess, but the red freckles all over the kitchen, me and my clothes cleaned up easily with soap and water.  If you want to do something else messy, make borscht.  I harvested a basket of beets last week and made some quarts of borscht for the freezer--and just like poms, they're beautiful, red, messy, healthy and yummy.   

At the end of the post I have my current knitting projects.

The beauty shot:  Pomegranates, real and faux.


Score the skin with a knife, crack the skin open and gently pry the seeds out. Not messy, but time consuming.
Flash freeze for two hours.

When frozen, they will last for months in freezer.  Shake out a few at a time for salads or desserts.

Since I had so many I decided to juice what we couldn't eat fresh. I felt the best way to do that was to slice in half.  Cutting with a knife means that juice will squirt every which way.  Forge ahead.

I mean it, cutting a pom is fast but messy.  I went for fast and cut away then used my juicer to make a bigger mess and even make some juice.  Delicious!  I kept about a quart to drink fresh and with the rest I made a grenadine to flavor waters and a vodka.

Add a jigger of pomegranate vodka to a tall glass of sparkling water, add ice, delish.
 
My beet harvest.


I have some gorgeous yarns on the needles right now.  I have projects in Rowan Felted Tweed, Ysolda's Blend 1, Purl Soho's Linen Quill, Rowan's Brushed Fleece and as always, Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  All these yarns are heavenly; all are equally easy to knit and make a beautifully soft and even fabric.  I'm in knitting heaven this fall, no kidding.  These projects are getting the most attention at the moment:

Oh bliss!  Friday Anew with Ysolda's Blend 1!
Caliban with Rowan Brushed Fleece is almost done.

Purl Soho's Linen Quill might turn into Lila Light.  Haven't fully decided.

The Reiver Cardigan from Rowan Mag. 60 is further along now, about half way through.
And then, Little Knits just had to go and have a 40% off sale and I bought two sweaters worth of KSH! (help!)

Don't forget, it's time to dry the hydrangeas!
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Ava Tunic






You might think that because of this post and my last post, all I've been knitting is baby clothes.  But not true, it's just that I've only been finishing and photographing  baby clothes.  I'm planning a post that shows all my half-done grown-up knitting I'm feverishly working on--maybe that will be next week--and I've got some mighty gorgeous yarns on the needles.

Above is the Ava Tunic by Linda Whaley from Little Rowan Cherish, a book that I am infatuated with and a book that I'll probably end up making at least half the designs; I've already made three.  The pattern recommended Summerlite DK which I love, but I had some Rowan Wool/Cotton in my stash.  If you love this stuff, buy it and stash it as it's been discontinued.  It's so soft and cuddly to knit and wear.  It is practical too as it goes in the washing machine in cool water on a gentle cycle.  Even though the ball band does not recommend it be tumble dried, I have had luck putting WC in the dryer for a short time, maybe 10 minutes or so, then lay flat to finish the drying. 

As for the design, gah, it's absolutely adorable!  It just grabbed my heart when I saw it.  This is the 18 mos. size and I can just see a tiny girl toddling around in this wearing capris and bare feet perhaps?  Or leggings and baby-sized Uggs?  I changed the neckline a wee bit (3 rows of garter then cast off) and instead of the embroidered flowers I made these flowers.  Also, I used the "top-down set-in sleeves" technique which I use WHENEVER possible.  It's such an easy technique and it always turns out perfectly.

Ava Tunic, my Ravelry project page
All the Cherish patterns on Ravelry
Little Rowan Cherish, the book at Jimmy Beans
Rowan Wool Cotton at Jimmy Beans
The wooden hangers are from the Container Store and
there are two sets, an animal set and a zoo set.

The posies below are from my Pink Simplicity rose hedge in our frontyard.  The entire hedge is dusty, cobwebby, mildewed, and generally ratty in all ways. It's like it's begging for cold weather, a good clip and a long nap.   But every few days I can still manage to pick a tiny loving cup of buds.


This afternoon we have been invited to a picnic.  One of my husband's friends who is single and has a very large and beautiful garden has invited 50 guests to listen to some live music in his backyard.  His email said, I'll hire the band and set up some tables, you bring the rest.  Men! 


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Have a good weekend friends.

Kristen




Isaac Pullover











I call this tiny fisherman sweater a gansey, not an aran.  I've always thought the distinction between the two was that  ganseys or (Guernseys) are knit with knit/purl textures and have horizontal stripes.  Aran sweaters are knit with knit/purl texture and cables and have vertical stripes.  It's just what I've thought after all my years of knitting and if any of my readers know something different, I'd love to know!  I do know that fisherman sweaters in general originated in the British Isles and were tightly knit with thick, naturally colored, lanolin rich wool that would resist wind and rain.  The texture that was created with the cables, etc, made a thick fabric which added much needed warmth, not to mention beauty. Fishing villages and families developed their own distinct patterns which often aided in identifying at-sea casualties. (Edited 9/18 to add:  A reader sent me to Gansey Nation where I read this page and found out that most of my fisherman "facts" are myths!  Now I don't want to spread misinformation, but the writer does state that they only "may not" be true!)

I'm in love with this little sweater and it was pure fun to knit.  The pattern comes from Little Rowan Cherish by Linda Whaley, a book I reviewed a bit ago, and a book that I adore.  The yarn is Rowan Pure Wool DK, a soft machine washable yarn that was recently replaced by Pure Wool Superwash DK--almost the same yarn but now made superwash.  Still, the original yarn can go in the washing machine because the one rule I try never to break is to use only machine washable for baby and children's sweaters.   The pattern is charted and very easy to memorize with just a quick glance at the chart every few rows.

I loved knitting this little baby fisherman sweater and rather than store it in my gift-stash, I think I'm going to start a new stash and call it, the baby hope chest.  Nope, no news to share, and surely we are years away from that, but one can hope and be prepared, right?

Little Rowan Cherish by Linda Whaley
My Ravelry project page
Cute infant hangers are from the Container Store,  I bought both this animal set and this zoo set.


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Look at my Climbing First Prize below!  Here we are in mid September so it's a bit scraggly up close, but from afar, it looks fantastic!

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Little Rowan Blossom

When knitting books arrive in my mailbox I drop e v e r y t h i n g and flip though quickly, then sit down and read them like a novel.  Then it goes by my bedside for bedtime reading and happy dreaming.  I can't be the only one obsessed with knitting books, right?  I have a few new publications to share in the next weeks, and the first up is Little Rowan Blossom by Linda Whaley, an imaginative and feminine collection of knitted garments and accessories for girls aged 3 to 7 years.  From the book: "Timeless, treasured designs knitted in yarns excelling in comfort, wrapping your loved ones in garments hand made with love."  And from me:  This is simply the prettiest children's knitting book I've seen. I know it will become a classic.

As for gifting to expecting parents, I almost always knit a one year size, but I remember when my aunt gave me some toddler sized clothing at a baby shower.  They looked giant to me, but she said, "Two years may seem like it's a long time from now, but it goes by quickly and you'll be happy to have these clothes tucked away."  And she was right on both counts, those two years did go by quickly and I was very happy to have them when I needed them.  So, at the next baby shower, and if I know it's a girl, I'm going to knit one of these in the three year size.  Now, enjoy these pretty little sweaters on these pretty little girls. Shopping links are at the end.

Camelia in Summerlite 4-ply

Jasmine in Wool Cotton
Wool Cotton 4ply


Cluster Shoulder Bag in Handknit Cotton

Daisy in Summerlite 4ply

Flora in Wool Cotton

Flower Carry Bag in Handknit Cotton

Gardenia in Summerlite DK

3 pretty blanket patterns are included

Hyacinth in Summerlite 4ply


Magnolia in Wool Cotton

Peony in Wool Cotton

Violet in Summerlite 4ply
If the book is not at your local Rowan stockist yet, I found it online:


The suggested yarns are Rowan yarns I have used many times and can highly recommend.
They are all machine washable, soft to wear and easy to knit. 


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