Sunday, 29 July 2007

Jam and Jaywalkers

This weekend has been very busy and also very productive. Saturday we all went to the allotment and were joined by Di to pick berries ready for jam making. The red currants are the most abundant again this year and also tricky to de-stalk. The black currants have done well this year but I am most pleased with the white currants. We only planted them two years ago, but the bushes have established themselves well and have produced a significant amount of fruit. Di then came and spent some time with us. We had intended to make the jam then, but two local supermarkets did not have preserving jam. What is the country coming to? I feel like writing to the Women's Institute about this. I thought jam making was a national pastime. Last year I bought my sugar at Coop, but the guy told me they had stopped selling it. Instead of making jam Ezzie, Shona and myself went to Pizza Hut. Judging from the queues there, going to this restaurant is a national pastime. I stress this was not our first choice, but unfortunately our favourite restaurant, Ceres, was closed and this was the nearest child-friendly place we could think of.

Today Ezzie went to the allotment while Shona and I went to get food for Di's leaving picnic in Hillsborough Park. There was quite a gathering, though I'm not surprised because Di is a popular gal. I am really sad that she is moving to Australia but it's the right decision for her and we wish her well. Kin joined us as well and afterwards we went to Nonna's for a coffee.

When we returned it was time to make jam in earnest. I don't actually like jam, but I love making the stuff and giving it away. For those of you also worried about the preserving sugar crisis, Waitrose came to my rescue and had a selection of two. There is hope for the nation afterall. Here is Shona and the fruits of her labour. She has been very helpful and has cut goodness knows how many cucumbers and gherkins ready for tomorrow's pickling.

From the photograph the jams look the same colour, but from left to right they are black, red and white. I am amazed by the white currants; they have turned a rosé colour.

Anyway, back to the knitting. I continued to knit the Jaywalker sock for a while and had even completed the heel, when I decided enough was enough and it had to go. Even my mother's thin pins wouldn't have got into it. It would seem I am not the only one having problems with this particular pattern. Read here for more details. I have asked people on the Sheffield Forum for an alternative sock pattern. Caroline has suggested Toe Up Socks and I think this is the best idea because I can use all this beautiful yarn. I will have to learn some new techniques, but that's no bad thing.

The throw is only two rows from completion and I have started knitting with the Popsicle yarn. Ezzie likes the colours and so they are for him. He is due another pair of socks. Shona and I are waiting eagerly for the Opal Uni yarn in Camel ready for dyeing. Shona tells me she will be dyeing her sock yarn purple, green and orange. I'm still not sure what I'm going to have but I want bright!


Caroline M said...

I have gherkins, I've not been officially pickling them, just dropping them in a jar of vinegar as I pick them off. Two plants keeps me in gherkins but there's none for anyone else.

McKnitty said...

I have a recipe for cucumber pickle. It has onion, mustard seeds, sugar and cider vinegar in it. I add gherkins and courgettes for extra flavour. It is gorgeous!