Monday, September 5, 2011

No-Labor Day


I've had a really lovely weekend. Knitting on my Inspira Cowl is a refreshing break from the cardigan I've almost finished, and it means that I can completely ignore the sweater I have languishing on waste yarn upstairs, begging me just to sew in the ends and graft the underarms, choosing instead to focus on a slow and steady purl bump progression of color. I've also been paging through two really excellent books. After just finishing Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, I was ready for a little realistic reading, and have been indulging in learning a new interest - canning and preserving - and seeing someone else's viewpoint of another - a knitting book written by the fantastic Jane Brocket.

I already owned two of Jane's books - The Gentle Art of Domesticity, The Gentle Art of Quilting - both of which were excellent reads, useful informational books, and a look into the modern-day world of a well-loved crafter and photographer. Jane has a way of writing that makes you feel as if she is your friend just around the corner, and she has extended this writing from her blog to three books, the latest of which is The Gentle Art of Knitting. While I adored the first two books, I will say that the third is certainly geared more towards a beginning or casual knitter. You won't find any patterns in here that you won't be able to work out yourself. But that's not what I read her books for anyway. I read them for the feeling I get while reading them - as if the time you're reading is sunny, and calm, and you could curl up on the couch or in your favorite chair and have an afternoon to yourself.

Recently, mostly due to some of my Twitter friends' obsession, and my own obsession with Pinterest, I have developed a strong desire to pickle and preserve my own food. I relish the idea (pun intended), of filling my imaginary larder with beans, jellies, jams, spreads, chutneys and pickles, to enjoy well into the deep winter of Iowa. Something about living in Iowa especially spurs my desire to do these things - winter here recalls some deep mental connection to my great-great-grandmother, who rode in a covered wagon to Montana and lived in a sod house, quilting, knitting, and canning her way through summer to last through the cold winter. I suppose since the quilting and knitting have come my way, the food preservation desire was only a matter of time.

I picked up the book Well Preserved, by Eugenia Bone, at a local Borders' going out of business sale. I got it half-off and figured that, if nothing else, I'd cheaply discover that canning and food preservation aren't within my budget or abilities. I have only just started this book, but it seems very thorough and at least an interesting read. And it's perfect for sitting on the porch under a lightweight blanket as the air is turning towards fall.

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