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November 09, 2003: Temporary domestic goddess

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I have been a big slacker and done absolutely nothing on my knitting for the entire month of October, so it was a good thing we had craft night Friday night. While we sat at the table I rather hastily finished binding off the top parts and then the woman whoís been helping me showed me how to put together the shoulders and by the end of the night I was mostly done with the neckband. And then yesterday I sat down with it and figured I might as well see if I could figure how how to start the sleeves on my own, and what do you know, it was actually not so hard at all! The sleeves, like the rest of the sweater, are being knit in the round, so thereíll be no seam. In fact the only seam at all is on the shoulders and itís a pretty uneven seam, I should add, but the good thing is that the my nephew really wonít care, and frankly, if the worst I can say about my very first sweater is that thereís an uneven seam on the shoulder, I really donít have much to complain about. We just wonít talk about the half dozen spots near the bottom of the sweater where I sort of screwed up on the cabling, now will we?

Anyway, Iíve been merrily knitting away and even figured out how to switch to the double-pointed needles (which look, as my dad noted, as if I am actually building the sweater out of Tinker Toys). One sleeve is almost done now, and unless I become a huge slacker again, itís looking more and more likely Iíll get this thing done in time for Christmas. Considering how far I have *not* been getting on that dratted novel, I have a sneaky feeling I might get this thing done before the end of the month.

Itís been kind of a hectic weekend, despite me finding a few hours here and there to churn out most of a sweater sleeve. Saturday afternoon was a birthday lunch for a friend, where we wiled away several hours being loud and raucous with laughter. Luckily it was in a restaurant that was already loud and raucous even without our help, so we were in no danger of being kicked out. This was especially useful when we got into the whole noisy discussion of politics (general consensus for our group Ė the Shrub is an idiot and his administration scares the bejeebus out of all of us).

After lunch Richard went off to see the third Matrix movie. Iíd initially planned on going with him but I was getting tired and something I ate didnít agree with me and so I curled up in bed with a half dozen cats and knitted while he went off to see it by himself. After that we went over to my parentsí for dinner because my dad is back from Germany for a week or so and I thought it might be nice to actually get to *see* him, and during the course of the evening pizza was consumed and my parents thoroughly trounced us in Scrabble.

This morning I got up and realized that I had never finished shucking the rest of those pomegranates, so I did them rather hastily and barely got them done in time to hop in the shower and then head off to church for choir practice. And then after church, and after lunch, Richard and I did a mad scramble around the garage trying to track down all my jelly-making paraphernalia, followed shortly thereafter by a frantic call to my mom asking if I could please, please borrow her strainer and the thing to remove jars from boiling water, and wasnít it lucky I figured out that Iíd forgotten the huge bags of seeds *before* I left town, and then finally I headed off to meander around back country roads until I found the house where the jelly making party was to be. I was greeted by a very tiny dog who wanted to make sure that I knew she was fierce and protective, really she was, and there was a brief detour before the jelly making to go visit the kittens who live in the garage and like to stalk potato bugs, and then five of us all gathered in the kitchen over the oven and a camp stove on the porch, and got down to the serious business of making jelly.

I am not sure exactly how many batches we ended up making because we all sort of lost track after a while, but to give some perspective, I brought a 25 pound bag of sugar with me and I think thereís maybe 5 pounds of sugar left, Also, by the time we were done there was one counter covered in about 50 jars, and of those only two didnít seal. Only two! Not only that, the first batch or three had already set! Having gone through the frustration of making jelly, only to have it stubbornly refuse to set and instead remain forever a sealed jar of fruit syrup, it was rather a relief to know that this time around was a success.

We decided to take one of the ones that didnít seal, even though it hadnít completely set yet, and while two of us stirred various pots of jelly or seeds and two sat at the counter and worked at making cute little fabric tops for the jars, the woman who owns the house rummaged around and produced bread and butter and shortly thereafter produced toast, smothered in our freshly made jelly. It was so good!

We all had a marvelous time, talking and laughing and taking turns switching from task to task, even if by the end of the four hours or so of jelly making we were all sick to death of stirring and pouring and boiling and measuring. When we were finally done, we all whisked around and did our best to return her kitchen to some semblance of pre-jelly normality (or at least without so many purple splatters on counters and floor and walls). And then we all gathered up our things and we each took two jars of jelly for ourselves (which still leaves about 40 jars to sell for the holiday bazaar in two weeks) and headed home.

By the time I got home I was in no mood to do anything at all in the kitchen, so we got a take-and-bake pizza that was just covered in spinach and mushrooms and onions and tomatoes and it was better than any pizza I have had in a very long time. I pondered doing more knitting but then I decided that I had done enough creating for one weekend and I think, despite my plans to make a few loaves of bread tomorrow, that I might just postpone that for another day.

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