Peter Quince and Nick Bottom

by forumholitorium

The autumn rainy season arrived last week and continues. When there is a pause of an hour or so in precipitation, TC and I throw on the wool and hiking shoes and head out in search of adventure. One such foray led to a serendipitous sighting of three donkeys chewing on a fence near the parish church in Straßengel. I feel a certain kinship to donkeys, and not just because my great-grandmother’s maiden name was a Tuscan dialect word for donkey: this animal and I are willing to work hard to do what we want to but have no difficulty refusing to do something that another creature wants us to do if we are not convinced of its appropriateness. Stubbornness need not be seen as a negative quality – a stubborn individual is not easily pushed around.

After a few failed attempts at sweater projects with this yarn, I finally finished a bulky jacket of handspun wool from sheep on an island in the Baltic Sea whose name eludes me. I modified a popular pattern by adding an intricate cable from a scarf and lengthening the sleeves. There are so many cable patterns out there. While many speak to me, others leave me cold or make me wrinkle my nose. The trend at the moment is extravagant. Designers seem to be capitalizing on the appeal of cables by trying to cram too many into a single project. (This may have the inadvertent effect of scaring away potential cable knitters who are daunted by the number of different charts they need to follow on one piece.) Just a few well positioned cables on a classic design (like the mostly stockinette base of the jacket above) are all you need to jazz up a basic sweater. I’ve started printing out cable patterns that I like and collecting them in a folder. Then when I find a basic pattern I like, I will be able to incorporate cable elements into it. There is still so much to learn, but it is fortunate that there are so many good resources for knitters available on the Web.

There is still much to learn about quince processing as well. TC transformed our first windfall of quinces into membrillo, or quince paste, and quince jelly. The second group of beauties shown above came from the farmer’s market. Since their beautiful skin is unriddled by bruises, they should keep awhile. What an intoxicating aroma they give off! I can’t bear the thought of cutting them up. I think we’ll plan on getting uglier ones at the market on Saturday, ones that need to be processed right away.

Though the lack of sunshine (and thus adequate light for taking pictures) is getting to me, rainy weather is conducive to reading and knitting. I have decided to experiment with setting specific goals for what I want to read and knit over shorter periods of time and see if this helps me work through my stacks of books and yarn stash any quicker. I’d like to read the books and knit up the yarn in the picture above by the beginning of November. If this weather holds, it shouldn’t be difficult.

 Keep warm and dry, be stubborn when necessary, and good luck with your projects!

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