Thursday, April 12, 2012

Marmalade and marmalade-coloured knitting

Over the last couple of weeks I committed a couple of indiscretions in the produce aisle, won over by handsome citrus, so it turns out that I am not quite through marmalading just yet. (Someday I should just move to California or Spain where all the lemons and oranges are.) On Monday night I put up 750mL of Meyer lemon and juniper marmalade (wait! no, don't look at me like that, it tastes beautiful, clear and cold and bright), which didn't set... so this morning I dumped it out into a pot, boiled it for a few minutes, resterilized everything, and put it up again. It turned out that I had optimistically over-estimated its temperature the first time around in my eagerness to can it already and go to bed. This time I had less unrealistic expectations about speed, but it only needed about five minutes at a rolling boil to gel perfectly.

Lemon marmalades

The lemons I used in this batch had slightly darker peel and flesh than the last ones, so the resulting marmalade is slightly more orange than the Meyer lemon and vanilla marmalade of a few weeks ago. It is still pretty true to the colour of the fruit that went into it, which is all I hoped for.

Anyway, indiscretion #2 was these beguiling fellows.

Blushing clementines

The blush on them! I was expecting them to be either blandly sweet or cardboard-textured, but was pleasantly surprised to discover lovely juicy flesh and a robust flavour. They will become the orange and anise preserves I've been daydreaming about.

Kitchen knitting

This knitting is keeping me company in the kitchen while I wait for water to boil and peel to soften. It's #2 in a pair of sportweight socks, which means that the knitting goes pretty fast even though I work on it only intermittently in five-minute sprints. I adapted a couple of patterns from Haapsalu Saal, one for the cuff edge and one for the leg and instep.


My adaptations consisted in rearranging some elements so that the cuff edge would flow seamlessly into the leg; adding some width to the leg pattern repeat that could be decreased away to narrow the leg to the ankle; and beefing up the texture with a lot of bobbles (actually not a lot: there are around a hundred of them in the pair, and none at all on the instep).

Toe shaping

I got a little cute with the toe shaping. These are columns of double decreases spaced at intervals around the toe, decreasing at a rate that averages out to 4 stitches every other round, so the angle the toe comes to is the same as the standard wedge toe. It was a compromise for me—really I wanted my deeply textured ribbed lace instep pattern to keep going all the way to the tip of the toe. At least the centred double decrease columns keep going!

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