July 28, 2009

At long last, summer!

This has been kind of a sad summer, not because of anything that's happened, but because of circumstance. Weather circumstance. We've had a lot of rain here in New York, rain that has prevented trips to the beach, bike rides, walks in the park. In short, the opportunities for outdoor living have been severely curtailed this summer, which is sad. Last summer was glorious! I spent so much time in Prospect Park, running, riding my bike. I wandered about new (to me) neighborhoods, ate lots of frozen yogurt, walked home from work at least three days a week. So lovely. So it was with great excitement and gratitude that I greeted this past Saturday, a bright, dry and sunshiny day!

When I woke up on Saturday, I was was bursting with energy and plans, both novel and mundane. Run? Check. Laundry? Check. CSA? Farmer's market? Check and check. Obligations taken care of, I dove into some fun stuff: Kool-Aid dying:

Wet wool smells so much better when stewing in a vat of grape Kool Aid. I worked on some yarn that was given to me by Oiyi during a destash. I wanted to darken it up a bit, make it a little more autumnal. The yarn is a wool-acrylic blend, and acrylic won't pick up the dye from Kool Aid, so I knew I wouldn't get an incredibly vibrant effect, but I was pleased with how well it worked. The original yarn color was heathered lavender, and I dyed three skeins with grape Kool Aid and one skein with cherry. In the pot above you can see the grape doing it's work (no finished picture, yet), and below is the skein dyed with cherry, drying in my sunny backyard. It's a weird color, but I like it. I haven't settled on a plan for the newly dyed yarn, yet, but I'm thinking striped, cropped v-neck cardigan. Most of all, I'm happy to have picked up a new skill.

While the skeins were a-dryin', I loped off to my neighborhood park with my knitting and a book to enjoy a bit of the blessed weather. The park was as nice as expected, and I found myself a sweet spot on a small slope in the sun. I spent most of the time reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (so good!) and watching my neighbors. New Yorkers crack me up with their compulsive tanning. I'm of the camp that swimsuits should be worn when near water, otherwise one looks at best out of place and at worst like an exhibitionist skeezer, so it still (after 14 years of living here) surprises me to see people in the middle of a city wearing swim trunks and bikinis without a swimming pool, fountain, river, lake or sprinkler in sight. If seeking Vit. D while in a city, there's nothing wrong with shorts and a tank top, but I kind of feel (and it's not a super strong feeling, more of a preference) that if you want to do some serious tanning, tanning that requires a bikini or the like, you ought to get thee too a beach.

The sunny, summery weather had me thinking about canning, something my mother and grandmother used to do in July and August. I'd never canned myself, but decided that given my background, it was high time that I learned. I've been following a blog about canning called Food in Jars for a bit now, and the author's practical posts had me feeling that it was something entirely within my abilities. So . . . I headed off to Target to purchase my supplies, including this, the bible of canning:

There are so many exciting recipes in there, I can hardly stand it! Instructions read and supplies purchased, several hours later, I had these:

Four pints of sweet cherries in a light syrup. I think they're beautiful! And I'm hooked, hooked I say! I've a feeling that friends and loved ones will be receiving canned gifts from me this holiday season, in addition to knitted ones. The only thing that may get in my way is the blasted rain we've been having. It's really limited some of the local crops, and fruit (including tomatoes, which have been hit by late blight), in particular, has not been as abundant as in other, drier years. Rest assured, though, that this is not the last of my adventures in canning.

After four back-to-back gift projects, which I cannot yet share here, I have started a project for myself. Its Seedum, by Canadian knitter/designer Jane Richmond.

After all of my yearning for summer, I go and start a heavy fall sweater, and in seed stitch, no less. Go figure.


littlebirdbigcity said... Best Blogger Tips

Whoa! That blog is awesome, and now I have a brand new obsession. I'm going to get my tush off to some blackberry bushes!

Oiyi said... Best Blogger Tips

That is so awesome that you were able to dye that yarn. I can't wait to see what you do with it.

I got that book at Target, too. I haven't had a chance to read it yet. The cherries look awesome!! I am thinking cherry pies in the Winter and you will get to experience Summer again.

You were not kidding when you said you got so much energy! Great post!