Tag Archives: passiflora


Last month I bought some Hood strawberries, local berries that are so delicate they don’t go for sale outside the area. They’re tender and sweet and perfect. We ate some, and I made a small batch of strawberry balsamic jam with the rest.

strawberry balsamic jam

Three little jars of heaven. I liked Marisa’s recipe at Food in Jars, but I prefer my strawberry jam less cooked, so that there are still chunks of berries and a lighter color and less cooked flavor. This recipe uses no added pectin, so you have to cook it longer for it to set as jam. Still, delicious.

This week California berries are on sale at the supermarket for 99 cents/pound, so I decided to have another go at it. I bought 3 one pound boxes of berries, and used them all. A bit more than planned, but I don’t really like fresh strawberries, so there was no use in keeping some back!

I decided to use Pomona’s Pectin, which works with less sugar and the cooking time is minimal. You might remember my plum jam adventures from last year with Pomona’s Pectin. Ultimately, I decided that plum jam really wants to be made with traditional pectin and more sugar for that jewel-like set, so I’ll be back to that this summer. But for strawberries? Perfect.

strawberry balsamic jamsNo pectin on left, Pomona’s on right

I like the fresher taste and bits of fruit in this version with less cooking time. The only thing that I didn’t love is that my fruit wants to float in the jam after processing. Marisa says that it’s due to air trapped in the fruit, making it lighter than the rest of the jam. Possible fixes: Cut the fruit smaller (I wanted chunks, so no), macerate fruit with sugar overnight (too late for this time), or swirl fruit in jars as they cool (bingo).

fruit floating jam

I guess I missed one of the jars! I’ll keep that one for me, and mix it up when I open it. I have 4 half pints and 6 4-ounce jars.

The instructions for Pomona’s Pectin say to mix the pectin with the sugar, I think so it doesn’t clump. Next time, I’ll keep back half the sugar to mix with the pectin, and use the other half to macerate the berries overnight. Problem solved.

Notes to self for next year’s strawberry, with or without balsamic:

Strawberry balsamic jam

6 cups mashed berries, a little less than 3 pounds (I gave them a quick whirl in the food processor)
3 cups sugar (I might cut it back to 2.5 next time)
3 tsp Pomona’s Pectin
3 tsp calcium water
2 TBS balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

Combine fruit and 2 cups sugar; macerate in refrigerator overnight.

Canning day: Combine pectin with remaining sugar; set aside.
Add calcium water to fruit. Bring to boil. Add remaining sugar and pectin. Return to boil, stirring to dissolve pectin. Remove from heat.

Fill jars to 1/4″ from top, wipe rims clean, screw on lids. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath canner. (Sea level, your altitude may vary! See instructions in the Pomona’s Pectin packet.)

Yield: 8-9 cups

If fruit still wants to float, swirl in jar after cooling 30 minutes. Any sooner and it’s still too liquid to keep it from floating back up.

What else? I noticed that a vine has taken over our dead bamboo stand. I thought it might be morning glory, which would need to be removed. It’s been growing on the bamboo for a couple years, wispy and delicate. But this year it’s very vigorous, and covered with buds, which don’t look like like morning glory.

passiflora overtakes bamboo

Yesterday it came into bloom. It’s too high for me to see from the ground, so I took this picture through the window.


It’s a passionflower (passiflora) vine! I think it was a volunteer from the neighbor’s yard. Pretty, but I can see how it might get out of hand. In fact, it is jumping over to the lilac on the left, so I pulled some down.


Should I let it run free, as long as it leaves my lilac alone? The lilac needs pruning, so that will leave space between. But this thing is WILD! I read that some varieties make fruit, and so I guess I’ll wait it out. Passionfruit jam?

Are you jamming this season? I’m looking forward to plums. This year it’s going to be plum bourbon jam…

knit friends, Passiflora, blueberries

Samantha Roshak was at Twisted to kick off her trunk show yesterday. She brought some lovely knitted things.


Sam’s a designer from Seattle; I met her last year at Sock Summit. She’s charming *and* talented! Her show will be at Twisted through this weekend. If you can’t make it, you can check out her designs online.

s and c

Her friend Chandria came with her. I met Chandria when she came down on the SEA-PDX Yarn train in January. It was nice to meet up again.

Passiflora is done!


I love the lacy detail up the side, as well as the expanded lace on the back.


It’s reversible, and I did try it on with the lacier front, but I like the small panel better in front. The pattern was well-written and simple to follow. I didn’t change anything except to make it shorter throughout, because…I’m not as tall as I imagine!

The weather has turned hot, so it’s a little too warm to wear right now. Yes, it’s sleeveless, and has lots of lacy built in ventilation, but the yarn is wool, silk, and bamboo, and it’s a little warmer than I’d like on a 90 degree day. Last week, it would have been perfect. Don’t worry, it will be cooler again. It’s Portland!

The sunshine is encouraging my blueberries; we still have loads on the bushes. I keep picking, and baking, and freezing. A friend called to ask for a clarification on my blueberry cobbler recipe, so I’ve edited the recipe to make things clearer.

That’s the news from here. Next on the knitting agenda: finishing a pattern, and finishing last year’s abandoned project. Both are blue. ‘Tis the season!

Baseball, hot dogs, knitting…

Stitch & Pitch night is coming! The local Portland Beavers are having their last Stitch & Pitch event; the team is moving after this year.

We go way back with the Beavers. DH worked for them in the 1980’s. I used to sit behind home plate, knitting, knowing that the cage would save me from foul balls even though I wasn’t always paying attention. The Beavs were the Phillies AAA farm team back then; now they’re part of the San Diego Padres organization. DH went on to work for the NY Mets in 1986, a glorious year in which he earned a World Series ring. (I wish it were here for a picture, but it’s in the bank box. Sorry.) Talk about good timing.

My god-daughter is coming to visit from Seattle. She’s a big baseball fan at age 8, and she’s also a knitter! We’ll have a great time. What should I knit? Passiflora isn’t at a stage that would be good mindless knitting. I’m working on neck and shoulder shapings now. Here’s the back:


And the front is a little more demure. The shapings are the same, however, so it’s completely reversible.


Maybe I’ll start my Breezy Market Tote. I can sell the pattern beginning September 1, so it would be nice to have another sample around.

See you at the ball game?

summer slow down

I thought I’d have a lot more knitting to show you, since I had 3 hours in the car and 6 hours on a plane on Friday, but I’m just a little further than I was in the previous post. Why?

back lace

See how the lace pattern on the back gets wider every 6 rows? Apparently I forgot to increase the lace on the left edge on the last increase set, and then I knit merrily on for 30 rows. Oops. I blame it on the spa at the resort. I had a delightful body polish/mud wrap/moisturizing treatment, and was so relaxed when I came back to my knitting that I wasn’t really paying attention. But it was worth it.

We passed through Boston’s Logan Airport on the way back, and I met up with a friend that I’ve known for years but had never met in person. We frequent the same piano forums, and Ravelry, and we’re Facebook friends, too.


Not only did she drive to the airport to meet me, but she brought me a gift.


Truffles from Dante Confections, made by Santi Falcone, her neighbor, the ex-piano maker. How cool is that? I read about him in “Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures” by Noah Adams, way back before I ever went to piano camp. Thank you, Kerri!

Flight home was uneventful, but I didn’t do a lot of knitting there, either. There was free wi-fi on the plane (in-flight wi-fi seems so wrong, since they’ve always told us to have our wi-fi OFF before this), so I caught up on my blog reading. Now I need to go knit, instead of reading about knitting!

people will talk…

Martha! Some crazy lady is out back taking pictures of her knitting!

back detail

Yup, it’s true. I’m at a resort on the coast of Maine for DH’s work conference, so the neighbors don’t know me. They can talk all they want. This is the back lace on Passiflora.

back lace

We came here via Boston, so I had a lot of knitting time on the plane and in a car. We spent a night in Boston, and took a quick tour through the North End before coming up by car. I had to see this.


One if by land, two if by sea at the Old North Church, right? Do you remember which it was? No peeking! In the meantime, here are the organ pipes in the church.


The organ was built in 1759 and was the first organ made entirely in the Colonies. The organ has been rebuilt several times, but the case is original. The clock was built in 1726, and is the oldest functioning clock in a public building in the USA.


And it was two lanterns, signaling that the British were leaving Boston for Lexington and Concord by sea. Points to you if you remembered! (I forgot.)

Here’s just after sunset last night.

after sunset

We took a boat tour this afternoon; here’s the lighthouse and dock from the water.


You can stay in the lighthouse, but it’s not air conditioned. We’re having a heat wave on this coast this week, so I’m happy to be in a room with a/c!

Dinner tonight was a traditional lobster bake.


Doesn’t it look delicious?

hello baby

I’m looking forward to seeing how Passiflora shapes up. The lace you saw in the previous post goes up the sides of the garment. There’s a little bit of lace on the front, but not as much as on the back. The lacy holes should be nice air conditioning. The yarn is fuzzier than I thought it would be, but it’s the yarn specified in the pattern. I wouldn’t want to wear it on a super hot day, but I can see wearing it in Portland…Oregon, that is.

What’s your summer knitting? Or winter knitting, for those of you down under?

Passiflora update

Well, these are really clematis, not passion flowers, but I love them passionately.

clematis 4

They’re growing on this spring’s new trellis. I love how the leaves and buds echo the metal ones.

trellis update

But that’s not what you’re really here for, is it?


Here’s Passiflora. I’m ready to start the detail at the front and back neck. Gauge has been an issue for me on this piece; I went down two needle sizes, and it’s still a little wider than I anticipated. The second needle you see there is me starting over with the next smaller size needle, just to see what would happen. It’s too small, so I’ll just soldier on with the first piece. I think I’m now knitting more tightly, and that may take care of it.

detail side

What else is new? The Teen decided to brew some ginger beer (non-alcoholic). He likes the spicier varieties like Fentiman’s, which we don’t get very often. He got champagne yeast and these cool re-sealable bottles at FH Steinbart here in town. They were very helpful there.

ginger bottles

We did a tasting on Sunday, and it was pretty good! Great ginger flavor, but he realized that he had put in too much water, so it was more dilute than he expected, and less fizzy, too. Round two will happen after we finish drinking round one…we don’t have more bottles!

ginger chef

The kitchen has been humming. CollegeGrad made dinner that same day, fried rice with Chinese sausage. It’s nice to have someone else make dinner sometimes! He’s hard at work, looking for work.

rice chef

And the sun finally came out of hiding, just in time for the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, an annual event here. Saturday was glorious, and fun. How was your weekend?


Super Chikan with his gui-jo made from a ceiling fan and a guitar neck/headstock, and lots of bling.


Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble


Sunshine means party time!


in which I show you an FO

FO: as in finished object.


CollegeDude graduated from the University of Oregon on Monday. We’re all very proud of him, and thrilled to pieces. But now I need a new name for him…

It’s been super-busy around here, with just a little knitting. I did have several hours of knitting time in the car on the way to and from graduation, so I worked on Passiflora. My gauge swatches told me I needed to go down 3 needle sizes, so I did. It’s worked in the round, so it takes a while to get much length on the needles! I got about 3 inches done, and saw that it was way too tight. So I went back up 2 needle sizes, and started over. Depending on how I looked at it, I was either spot on, or way off. So I just kept knitting. I’m now halfway through the third ball of yarn, and I’m pretty sure I’m making gauge…or not.


The hem really curls. If I had any sense at all, I would steam it to see if it’s going to hang straight.


But I don’t want to get the ironing board out. It’s hiding to the left side of my IKEA shelves. You remember these.


They’re still this neat and tidy, except I filled that empty space with the knitting bag that’s supposed to be there. Perfect.

Eventually I’ll check about that hem. But not today…

sew cute!

singer 306

I don’t sew a lot, but I have my mom’s old Singer 306 sewing machine from the 1950’s. I love this machine. It’s big, black, heavy, and makes a dreamy machine hum when it runs. I actually learned to sew on a newer Singer that Mom had in the 1970’s, but it didn’t have this great sound.

When I was at Mom’s house last week, I nearly tripped over something on the stair. It had been sitting there for a long time; it was pretty dusty. I decided it needed rescuing. She said I could take it home.

singer 20

It’s a little hand-cranked Singer. Mom didn’t know much about it; she said my dad picked it up somewhere. He loved gadgets. Baba passed away in 2001, and I think the Singer may have been sitting on the stair since before that…



It looks like it uses the same bobbin and bobbin holder as my big machine. It’s missing a needle. But other than that, it seems to be in good working order. I wonder what it was meant to do? Mending? Just a curio? It feels too solid to be a toy, but maybe it was. Time for a google search!

I poked around online and found this interesting site. It seems that my little Singer is a Singer 20 toy sewing machine. It was made sometime between 1926 and 1950, because it has the threading numbers on it (post 1926) and doesn’t look like the “modern” 1950’s models. Looking around some more, I found that the machine came with C-clamp to fasten it to a table. That makes sense; it would be hard to hold it and sew at the same time. Apparently Singer used to market these toy machines to young girls so they’d remember the Singer name when it was time to buy their own real machine. More about the marketing here, if you’re interested.


It looks like the little sister of my big machine, and I’m happy to give it a home.

In knitting news, I’ve finally cast on with the Incense for Passiflora. Can you believe I waited more than a month after the yarn arrived? There’s not much to show for it yet. I’ve gone down 3 needle sizes, and I hope I’m getting gauge. I’ll report back soon…