Orange you glad I said hearts?

Houseproud orange you glad IMG_5829

I made marmalade last week, my pets! I am VERY pleased with the way it turned out – sweet and bitter, just like marmalade ought to taste. I used fruit from our backyard trees, as well as a few oranges that a neighbor left at our door (which I suspect came from a tree in their backyard), plus two farmers market lemons. Making was easy enough, but took a little time (one day to soak the fruit, the time it took to carefully slice the soaked fruit, and then total cooking time). I used a recipe from one of the Mister’s French confectioner cookbooks*, but had to cook my batch for hours longer than the recipe suggested, as will happen when you combine four markedly different citrus fruits together in one pan. Hmm, yes: the next time I make another mixed citrus marmalade, I shall cook the citrus slices in order of skin thickness, and thusly produce a marmalade that both tastes and looks divine. Still and all, my regular afternoon snack of a toasted tortilla and a dollop nut butter has been much improved by the addition of a small spoonful of homemade marmalade, lemme tell you…

“But what about hearts,” you ask. “You promised a heart motif, you promised, you did”, you say. And so I did, and here you go – use it as you please, with my blessings:Houseproud orange you glad IMG_5891

I offer this little pattern in the spirit of Elizabeth Zimmermann – without instructions or commands. You and your clever wits can see how it’s made, I’m very sure. Well, I should point out that the yellowish bits at the top of the heart motif should be read as white – this pic is taken from my current project journal, and is clearly a work-in-progress. I developed it for a pair of fingerless mitts, knit in the round.** The front of the mitts had this motif with a back of red and white “lice” stitches, plus an extra purled “seam” stitch at the start and middle. Therefore, other than the two “seam” stitches, all stitches in this motif are knitted (not purled); if knitting back-and-forth, please purl all even rows.

I also used the heart motif to make these two jar cozies. Both were knitted in the round, with the red and white “lice” pattern continued on the back, and two purled “seam” stitches. The felted one on the right gets heavy usage as a coffee cup cozy, and is beginning to show its age. I love that thing to pieces, and get the sweetest compliments from baristas when I hand it over at cafes.*** It was the twin of the cozy on the left, but the white yarn was tinted pink during the felting process.

Not pictured in its totality is the red wool hat I knit using the motif, in which all of the red stitches are purled and the white ones knit. You can see the hat in process in the right hand pic: I’ve completed the ribbing and bottom portion, and am just starting the knit-purl motif. The hat turned out well enough, but I’m not mad for it, as you have to squint to see the hearts. If I use the motif for another non-colorwork project, I would increase the top of the heart by one row to make the purled heart look a little fuller. And if I use it to make another non-colorwork hat, I’d start the motif immediately after the ribbing: right now the hearts only show from above when I’m wearing the hat, which kinda works, as I am rather short and am only getting shorter…

And on the subject of short, that’s it for this week, duckies. I hope you have a pleasant week wherever you are and whatever you are doing. I’ll be spending my free time this week canning pears (in a light syrup, methinks) and sewing the varies items in my shamefully tall mending pile. So until next time and very fondly, I am yr little munakins

Houseproud orange you glad IMG_5862

I cooked the marmalade on a very grey and rainy day, but the marmalade itself was warm and sunny. 

*Merceron, Julien, À la mère de famille: Recipes from the Beloved Parisian Confectioner (Chronicle Books, San Francisco 2014), page 202

**Amusingly enough, the original mitt pattern was self-drafted, sans guidance from a responsible knitter, and therefore I cleverly made two right-handed mitts. I didn’t see the error of my ways until I had bound off the second of the pair, which I did sitting next to the Mister on a plane returning from a visit to family in NYC. One of my favorite memories of my mum-in-law is her reaction when I texted my news: “We’re safely on the plane and I am an idiot with two right-hand mitts.” It takes a fellow crafter to completely understand the tragic / comic feeling of moments like that …

***Not only is the cozy very cute, but it’s also very practical: wool felt is an EXCELLENT insulating material, and the cozy works well with either hot or cold beverages. It will keep your fingers safe from getting burned (or freezing), and will help keep the contents warm or cold (as appropriate).

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