June 08, 2012

Blackberry Jam and Knitting Law Annoyance

Let's start with this post with a very important reminder about the laws of knitting.  Perhaps the most unfortunate law of knitting is this one:  If you start a project with stash yarn and knit the entire frickin' project except for the collar, you will absolutely run short on yarn and it will be a stash yarn that cannot be purchased anywhere in the entire universe.  Not anywhere.  Oh there will be Google Search listings that APPEAR to be what you are looking for and entice you with well-crafted descriptions, but when you pay the most insane price that anyone could think of for that one skein (for which you only need about 80 yards), it will arrive by priority shipping to your mailbox in the EXACT colorway, even the exact fiber content and weight, but will be a TOTALLY DIFFERENT PLY OF YARN!  Take heed. It never fails!

Do I sound like I speak from experience?  You betcha!  I need to do JUST the collar ribbing for the sweater that I have been knitting for 2 weeks in every spare moment for the mock-up for my next Knit Picks submission and, wouldn't you know it, I have been slammed all over the place by the laws of the knitting universe on this one.  I guess I am just going to have to use some stock yarn from my shop, dye it to look like one of the three non-matching skeins that I have used for this project, and not take any close-up pictures of the collar band. If all else fails, I will photograph it and consider it to be art.

And now to something a little sweeter, though no less time consuming ... this year's blackberry jam.  We've been impatiently waiting for the local farm (I say local, but I mean that one and only farm in the region with pick-your-own blackberries that is 45 miles away) to re-grow their blackberry vines for the past 2 years.  That's a long blackberry jam dry spell.  Anyway, on Wednesday I took the kids to pick blackberries.  We picked 3 gallons of blackberries that were about the size of my palm.  See?

Sadly, I think this will be the last year of picking berries with the boys.  The 15 year-old obliged out of obligation, I think, and because he was hoping to get to take a girl to the movies this week on a date, which would be funded by mom, and didn't want to take any chances.  The 12 year-old walked up and down the rows complaining about how boring blackberry picking is and hoping that the berries would just hop off of the vine and into his bucket because bending over to look underneath the bushes for the good stuff involved effort that he didn't want to expend.  The only one to take this annual event seriously was the 8 year-old, who loudly proclaimed that she LOVES picking berries with her mom.  (This is the same kid who abandoned me last year after about 20 minutes of picking blueberries to play on the playground because berry picking was not any fun at all.)  Of course, we are going back next week to pick blueberries while the boys are at camp, so we'll see how long that LOVE of berry picking really lasts.

The end result on Thursday was 11 pints of the best blackberry jam (please let it set up!!!) ever, close to a quart of blackberry syrup, and 3 quarts of frozen blackberries. My own blackberry bushes, which produce the same gigantic berries as the farm where we pick them, are about to give up about a pint of berries.  The vines are still working on "bush" status.  We are in the growing-our-own initial phase for blackberries and raspberries.

 Ahh, summer.


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