Tag Archives: Vodka Lemonade

Almost Lemonade

So, I was trying on my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and I thought one of the sleeves looked shorter than the other. Not by much. I took a closer look, and this is what I saw:

sleeves

Apparently I missed 2 rows of the lace pattern. Oops. I don’t mind ripping back. While I’m at it, I’ll rip both of them back to make the sleeves a little shorter. They’re supposed to be 3/4 length, but I think they’re a little too long, so they just look like they’re too short.

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vl 2

I’ve rolled them up here, and I think I like them better. What do you think?

It’s plum season at Lorajean’s house, and she gave some to me.

plums

I made two batches of ginger plum jam. The first was with all yellow plums, and the second was mostly yellow with a few purple. It doesn’t take many to completely change the color!

jam

As with last year’s batch, the jam hasn’t set yet (although the non-processed sample jars have gelled nicely). I’m not worried; last year it took several weeks before the jam was a properly jammy texture. I do know that both of them are delicious!

Hedging my bets

I finished knitting my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and the entire time I was knitting the sleeves, I wondered if I had made it too small. I tend to second-guess myself when I’m nearing the end of something, and it takes all my will-power to push through. Thoughts of completely frogging the piece, or even just abandoning it, dance through my head as I knit on and on.

I’ve learned my lesson about ease in sweaters; too much ease just makes it look like my sweater is wearing me. But I was afraid that I might have gone overboard this time in my quest for a flattering fit with zero or minimal ease. I’m hoping that the seed stitch bands will relax a bit and cover just a bit more in the front.

VL blocking

Which they did. Now I’m just waiting for it to dry so I can try it on again. But you’ll notice that I haven’t sewn in my ends yet…in case I have to frog! But look how delicious all the subtle color shadings are in this Damson colored Luminous DK (85/15 Polwarth wool/Tussah silk) from Sincere Sheep.

While I’m waiting, I’ll show you pictures from our Tuesday hike. We did the Horsetail Falls Loop hike in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s an easy 2.6 mile hike with views of 3 waterfalls. It begins and ends at Horsetail Falls, which is 192 feet high and right off the Historic Columbia River Highway.

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There’s a trail that wanders up to Ponytail Falls, which feeds Horsetail Falls.

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This part of the trail goes behind the falls, which lends a great perspective.

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The third waterfall on this hike is Middle Oneonta Falls. (There are three: Upper, Middle, and Lower)

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Lots of greenery along the way…

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…as well as some not as green things.

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I like how the drops of sap look like beads on knitting. (It always comes back to knitting, doesn’t it?)

The end of the hike loops back to Horsetail Falls, where we spent some time hanging by the splash pool. I used to bring the kids here on hot summer days, a long time ago.

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It was nice to get re-acquainted with the falls, and to do something completely different!

I’ll let you know about the Vodka Lemonade after I try it on…

Sleeveless

But not for long. I finished the body of my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and we’re on to the sleeves. I have 105 grams of yarn left, so I think we’re in good shape.

The pattern calls for knitting the sleeves on dpns. I have and love my Brittany birch dpns, but I want to keep using the Lantern Moon ebony needles I’ve been using, to avoid any gauge issues due to stickier/smoother wood differences. I don’t have ebony dpns in the correct size, so I thought I’d try using two circulars.

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(late night picture taken with iPhone, sorry for goofy exposure)

What’s that you say? I should have four needle tips? Well, I did when I started! But I was reading blogs while knitting, and I must have picked up the wrong tip. Suddenly I had a free needle, and a wacky loop of cable with no way to reach the next stitches. Oops.

This is the second time this has happened this evening. Maybe I’ll use those dpns after all.

Jamming in the kitchen

It’s high strawberry season here, and the local strawberries are gorgeous.

hoods

These are Hoods. They are smaller, softer, and sweeter than your grocery store variety of strawberry. They wouldn’t travel well, which is why we just have to enjoy them locally. I bought a half flat of berries to make strawberry jam.
Et voila! I used the reduced sugar version of MCP pectin, which set up nicely.

jam float

If you look at the two jars, you can see that the fruit is floating in the jar on the right, but the fruit in the jar on the left is evenly distributed. I didn’t water process the jar on the left because I was going to use it this week. Hmmmm. Why does the fruit float in my jam? I went on an internet hunt for some answers, and I found these: There was air in the fruit because I chopped it instead of crushing it (no, I only crushed it), or I didn’t cook it long enough for it to be thick enough to keep the fruit from separating (but this would only apply to the long cooking used for jams without added pectin, which mine was not).

I guess I don’t really care WHY the fruit floats; I just want it not to float. It tastes great, but I want it to look pretty as a gift. I don’t want to tell the recipient to stir it to distribute the fruit after opening it. I also want the jam to not have the bubbles from the foam. Here are my options for prettier jam:

1) Add a bit of butter to the jam while cooking, to reduce foaming.

2) Stir and skim for 5 minutes to allow the jam to gel a bit more before before putting it in the jars. The skimming would eliminate some of the foam, which tastes fine but isn’t pretty. I don’t think this stir and skim will keep the fruit from floating, though; the high temperature of the water bath processing keeps the jam more liquid than the non processed jam, and the fruit will still be able to float through the jam until it is cool.

3) Invert the jars a few times as they cool, to move the fruit around as the jam thickens. I think this is going to be the solution to the fruit float. I just have to make jam before midnight so I don’t have to babysit it all night long to do the inversions! Next time I’ll add some balsamic vinegar to make it strawberry balsamic jam. It seems to be the hot new flavor combo around here; I just saw strawberry/honey/balsamic/black pepper ice cream at Salt and Straw.

Just like sweaters; sometimes you have to do things twice to get exactly what you want!

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(please excuse the lazy picture; it’s raining out and gloomy inside!)

I just separated the sleeves from the body on my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and tried it on. I’m going to go back and add 4 more rows (2 more YO rows) to make the armscye a tad deeper, and the body just a little bigger. I’m between sizes, and chose to knit the smaller size, but an extra 2 sts on the fronts and 4 sts on the back should give me the fit I want. This pattern is a very fun knit so far, simple enough to multi-task, but enough going on that it’s not boring. That makes it a perfect knit for me.

What’s your perfect knit? Mindless? Follow a chart every moment? Somewhere in between?

Ouch! But better…

It’s been decided. The lovely yarn from Sincere Sheep wants to be a Raspberry Vodka Lemonade. The cardigan is knit from the top down, beginning with a seed stitch collar.

seed st

Miles and miles of seed stitch. Actually, five inches, or 3360 stitches (96 sts x 7 rows/inch x 5 inches). I started on Sunday evening while watching Game of Thrones, and continued Monday evening, reading and knitting. Seed stitch is mindless enough to multi-task; in fact it *requires* multi-tasking so as not to lose my mind! But by Monday night, I was in pain. My forearms were on fire. Time for a break and some ibuprofen.

progress

I was better by morning, so I went on to start the body. It has raglan shaping, as you see here.

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The collar and the left front edge look good so far! And I was relieved to see that my tiny gauge swatch didn’t differ from my stockinette gauge once I got the body started. The pattern is pretty intuitive so far, so I don’t need to look at the pattern at all. Happy mindless knitting!

I haven’t finished my Malabrigo merino project yet, but it’s on the home stretch. I don’t have to look at the chart for that any more, either. Woot!

There’s nothing like the joy of a new project on the needles. Let’s see if I can keep up the momentum. I’d love to wear this cute cardigan soon.

What’s new in your knitting world?