September is my favorite month. Birthday, anniversary, a chill in the morning air that evokes that back to school feeling, and time for woolies.
It’s been a delicious week. I celebrated my birthday with friends and family, repeatedly. The kids came over and made kalua pork (instant pot ftw), and spam musubi, as part of a Hawaiian themed dinner.
DH and I celebrated our upteenth wedding anniversary a week later.
This was part of our anniversary dinner at Républica, a restaurant in NW Portland. The restaurant was recently featured in the LA Times. Dinner was delicious, and exquisitely plated. The co-owner/pastry chef is the daughter of a friend; I’ve known her since the kids were in preschool. It’s so great to see her doing something she loves, and doing it so well.
And I celebrated a friend’s birthday yesterday with a wine tasting/blending party. We tasted three single grape pinot noirs, and then played with blending them.
I baked a flourless chocolate torte, which we paired with an ice cream sampler. The new way to blow out birthday candles is by waving your hands at them. Thanks, pandemic! Still fun.
Time to get back to work! How’s your September going?
My publisher shared this online, which means I can, too. The proofs are back from the printer, and we’re good to go! You can see the cover for my book, Brioche Knit Love, and me wearing one of my designs. If you zoom in on the picture, you can see that the subtitle is “21 Skill Building Projects from Simple to Sublime.” Twenty-one! It’s been a busy summer of knitting and designing.
The book should be available October 19, if all goes according to plan. I’ll have information for pre-orders in a week or so. Looking forward to it!
I just finished all the edits on my book with my publisher, and it’s off to the printer! It’s so pretty. I’m looking forward to being able to share it with you. Soon! But not yet.
While I was waiting to see the layout so I could finish the edits, I went camping with a group of friends. We were at Lost Lake near Mt. Hood (Wy’east). A great place to knit! There’s not much snow on the mountain this summer; it has been hot and dry. Fires are currently not permitted in the national forests, so we didn’t get to hang around the campfire this time.
The alpenglow at sunset was still pretty, though!
There were two tent sites in my campsite; I pitched my tent up this set of stairs, and felt like a princess in the tower. A perfect place to knit.
A clearer picture of the mountain. One of my favorite sights, from land or sky.
And now I’m home, my edits are done, and the waiting begins. Publication day for my book is October 19, if all goes according to plan. This week I’m working on stuff for Knit Camp at the Coast (virtual), which will be September 16-18. Are you joining in? I’m teaching log cabin knitting, and I’ve added some fun new material for this event. And I’ve signed up for the whole event, so I’ll be there for more than just the class I’m teaching.
I’m also working on another virtual event for November. That little snippet of knitting in the first picture is part of what I’m teaching. It’s time to get my samples knit, and my handouts writ!
Hard to believe it’s September already…summer flew by, and my autumn calendar is filling quickly. What are you up to this fall?
I love my Cherry Blossom Wrapture; it’s so pretty. But it’s huge! When I designed and knit the sample, I wanted to see how far the yarn would go, and it went this far. 98 inches wide, which is a lot of wrap(ture) for a 5’2” person. So this week, I’m frogging the ends to take off 4 sets of stripes from each end. That’s a lot of frogging, but it’s all modular so it’s really easy to know when to stop.
I’m well on my way; one end is already done. I’m featuring this piece, as well as my other log cabin knits (Log Cabin Baby Blanket, Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks) in a video class I’m making for Olive Knits/Knit Camp’s Knit Camp at the Coast Retreat in September. The virtual retreat is open for registration to members of Knit Camp, a virtual club that has activities all year long. For knitters who aren’t Knit Camp members, registration will open on August 16.
I’m not a member of Knit Camp (yet?), but I’m going to register for the retreat. The other teachers are Marie Greene (founder of Olive Knits and Knit Camp), Marceline Smith (Hey Brownberry), Amy Detjen, Stephanie Lotven (Tellybean Knits), Shawna Clingerman, Marcie Leek, and Heather Best, teaching topics from knitting to lettering to yoga, and more.You can read all about it here. The retreat is September 16-18, online. Classes are recorded, and playback is limited to two weeks, just in case you can’t participate in real time.
This is the video class that I mentioned in a previous post. It’s based on my log cabin knitting class that I’ve taught before, but I’m adding new shapes and ideas for more log cabin knitting fun. (I learned some new things with Cherry Blossom Wrapture.) I’ve written the script, knit the step-outs and samples, and now I need to practice, time, record, edit, and compile. Never a dull moment around here!
I don’t have any in-person classes scheduled for fall yet. Are you still taking online classes? Are you taking in-person classes? What’s the mood out there these days?
You know I have a long-standing passion for yellow plum jam. Yellow plums are my all time favorite for jamming, and and for eating.
I made 2 batches (20 half pint jars) of ginger/plum/bourbon jam, from just two bowls of plums from my friend Linda. I thought I was done for the year.
Darn kids, I thought. Who’s dropping lunch reject plums on my dried up front lawn? Then I looked up, and realized the truth. The plum trees that I planted 10 years ago, that never produced fruit (well, one tree made two plums about 5 years ago), have decided that this is the year. Maybe they like being heat stressed, or they think they need to reproduce because the heat is going to kill them. Whatever.
I got on a ladder, and picked 19 plums. That’s the harvest, between the two trees. They’re oddly large, and the fruit is firm, like an Italian prune. I think they’re a Japanese plum, but I’m not sure; 2011 was a long time ago. The plums aren’t especially juicy, and they’re fairly tart. I don’t want to make more jam; purple plum jam isn’t as delicious as yellow plum jam, at least to me. What to do?
I put out the question on FB, and the answer was: Plum Torte. The famous NYTimes recipe from Marian Burros, to be precise. I remembered that Smitten Kitchen also had a take on it, and another friend referred to the Food52 version. Excellent references, all. I did a mashup of the three using:
3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1/4 cup corn meal 1 teaspoon baking powder Large pinch of salt 3/4 granulated sugar 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) salted butter, softened 2 large eggs 5 plums quartered and pitted (because mine are so big) omitted the fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon chunky sugar and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for garnish
Cream sugar and butter, beat in eggs, beat in dry ingredients. I put mine in an 8” springform pan, because that’s the one I have. Top with plums, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or til done. Cool, remove from pan, celebrate!
I told you the plums are oddly large. The recipes call for 12 small Italian plums, halved, and a 9” pan. If I had halved the plums, I could probably only fit 4 in the pan, so I cut them lengthwise, twice, and made a flower/sunburst with them. They sink into the cake,, so you’d never know, and I forgot to take a picture before baking. I’m not a real food blogger!
We loved this so much, I had to make it a second time, because we still have a few plums left. Also, I wanted to tweak it a bit; I used more corn meal the first time, and it was crunchier than I like. I have medium grind cornmeal, because I use it under pizza on the pizza stone. A finer grind would be ideal, but I don’t use corn meal often enough to have more in the pantry.
This cake is actually for dessert tonight, but I wanted to take a picture for you. And now I have to taste it. Such a sacrifice. Delicious!
My book manuscript is done! I turned it in on Sunday evening, before my Monday deadline. Woot!
Writing a manuscript for a knitting book is more than just writing prose. There are patterns (21, in this case), charts, keys for the charts, and photos for tutorials. Those extras don’t go *into* the manuscript; the writer just notes where those things belong, and then those things have to be stored somewhere for the person compiling the book to access them. Done!
I took a little time before that to go to the coast. I did some manuscript editing, knitting for a video class I’m doing (more on that later), music making (guitar, mandolin-playing friend, harmony singing), and lots of walking on the beach. Working from home means working from wherever you are.
It was cool and cloudy, for the most part. The hot inland air meets the cool coastal air, and we get clouds and fog.
I tried to find an intact sand dollar, but no luck. This one looks like a miniature volcano.
You can tell that the aforementioned seagulls have been feasting.
The sunsets were odd, dropping out from under the clouds for just a few minutes before sinking into the sea. But pretty, nonetheless.
Now I’m waiting for the copyeditor to get back to me. In the meantime, I’m working out a script for the video class I’m making. More on that in the next post.
I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!
My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.
I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.
More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!
I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.
You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.
Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!
I took a break on Sunday and Monday, since weekends aren’t a real thing around here lately. On Sunday DH and I took a walk on Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcano cinder cone. I’ve probably posted pictures from there before, but there we were again!
Our city water used to be held in reservoirs on Mt. Tabor, but now they’re underground. The city kept the old reservoirs because they are beautiful and add to the atmosphere of this city park.
There’s currently a piano at the top of Mt. Tabor. I’m not sure why it’s there, but it’s available for public play.
And there’s one place at the top to peek at Mt. Hood, through the trees.
On Monday, I went hiking with the kids in MacLeay and Forest Parks. I love that there are easily accessible green spaces in the city.
The weather has been beautiful this past week. And now it’s back to work. One more thing to design for my book. Things are moving along. Tech editing is under way. Our first photo shoot is this week; I’m looking forward to it. There are still a few things to finish knitting, for a later shoot. And then a lot of work putting it all together. I’m pretty excited about this!
Currently on the needles, another piece for my book. I love these colors together, Iris and Cackle. These are on the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock base, but I’m not knitting socks!
I had to knit a small swatch and do some math to see if I had the right increase rate for what I want, and I didn’t. A wee bit of frogging ensued. Better now than 20 inches in. And say hello to my new split keyboard! It’s more comfortable for typing. It also has lifters to tilt them thumbside up. I’m still doling out my knitting time in 15 minute increments, but my forearm tendinitis is much better.
So how do I use math to know what I want the increase rate to be? Math and gauge tell me that I can have it shaped like either of these mock-ups.
I cut both shapes from tissue paper, like making a muslin when sewing. I just didn’t have any fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the cause. I tried both these shapes on, and that told me that I want the second one. Okay! Normally I would just knit for a while and see how things are looking, but I don’t want to do that much knitting if it isn’t going to work out. That means I have to be smarter about how I design. I hope it all works out the way I think it will.
We went to St. Louis last week to celebrate Mom-in-law’s birthday. I had this lovely view on the way home.
I had some good knitting time on the plane,
but unfortunately had to frog 6 very long rows the next day when I found a stitch that had dropped, *under* the most recent increase/decrease row. (I think I knit the yo but not the stitch that it belonged to.) Ugh. I finished this project yesterday, a week later than I hoped I would. But it’s done!
When I started my book project, I was asked to do a mood board. What reflects my vibe/ What do I want my book to look like?
Looking at recent projects, I think you can tell I like a monochromatic palette, different shades of the same hue. And blue is big! I can’t have an all blue book (and why not?), but I can definitely have a monochromatic vibe.
I just need to swatch what I’ve charted to make sure it works, and then this is off to Ann, who is sample knitting for me.
I’m funny with deadlines. I used to be a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into an all-in obsessive. Not good! There’s a lot of knitting that needs to happen, but slow and steady wins the race.
I need to do a better job balancing my knitting time. I didn’t listen to my body, and I have developed tendonitis in my forearms, which affects knitting *and* typing. You know, the things I need to do to get this book done! So I’m not knitting for 3 days, and minimally typing.
For now, I’m petting yarn, and sketching and charting things on paper. I’m on the last big design project for the book, and then I have three more small ones that should be easy. Should. I never know until I actually try to knit them!
Have you ever done a mood board? What would your mood board say about you?