Sunday, June 04, 2006

Making things...sing

Lots of you commented on the jam and canning parts of my posts. Hang on, I've to get up on my soapbox. Ahem. If you can follow a knitting pattern, of course you can make you some homemade jam. No, wait, that might exclude some, if you can follow a recipe, you can make jam. No--it goes farther than that. If you are able to drive a car, follow lab procedures, or follow how-to instructions of any kind, I know you can make jam. And it is so satisfying. Really. A while back, I wrote an article for a full color fancy magazine (that's since gone out of production, isn't that the way it is?) and I took the photos too...and it's an article I'm proud of. It was about how to can, the history of jam and preserves, and why homemade food is so great. Simply put, as Michelle Shocked says:
If you want the best jam, you've got to make your own.

Ahem. Stepping off the soapbox because the strawberries are done here and the other fruit isn't ripe yet. On to other things.
This is a linen lace table runner, designed and knit for Becky and Sam. Becky and Sam are getting married next weekend, in Pittsburgh, and I'm excited to say I will be there to see it. (Then I get to drive 500 miles home by myself, but that's another story.) I've known Becky and Sam for over 10 years. Becky knew me before I knew her; we were in a class on religious mysticism in college at Cornell, and the professor always called on me by name because he knew me already. Then, Becky went to grad. school at Duke with the man who is now my husband, and she met me again, and she's been our friend now for years.

Sam played in the Cornell Jazz Lab Ensembles with me, except he played bass and it was a jazz big band, so we hardly spoke. ..there were 20 or 30 people in that band, and we didn't talk. We made music. One night in 1998, I went to a birthday party at a pub in Durham, NC, right after I got married, and Sam was there. It took us a long time to realize, yeah, we did know each other. Once I knew he'd played in my band, well, I knew he was a good guy. He came on time, he followed through, he knew how to cooperate and blend well with others. He was a team player. I told Becky I thought she should go out with him when he asked her out. She said, "We're just friends." So, I made this zig zag lace table runner, with butterfly wing edges, to show how, through the twists and turns, we become intertwined with one another. Through time, the stitches get tighter, just like our relationships. May you have a long and happy marriage, Sam and Becky. Make music together. Remember--it's the spaces between the stitches--the rests between the notes, that make things work. Count and value those silences, too.

Here's some of the cherry blossom colored wool and alpaca I showed you a while back. It's light and lofty stuff and the color is impossible to catch, it's lavender and gray and pink and misty. Finally, something boring, practical, and totally knit for me:
A lightweight vest for summer. This is from the spring/summer 2006 Knit Simple magazine, except I didn't use a variegated ribbon, I used a gray cotton blend one. I didn't do the decreases the same way, and I didn't make some string thing to hold the two sides at the edges. I used this great couple of black gray buttons from the stash. My stash is multi-generational--maybe the husband's mother or grandmother found these buttons. Those buttons, and their unknown history? They make the vest sing.


Blogger Melanie said...

I wouldn't say your vest is boring at all! Very nice, and lovely handspun too.

June 4, 2006 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

What a nice story about the table runner you knit for your friends upcoming wedding. And, I agree with Mel about the vest and the handspun.

June 4, 2006 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

I third the comments on the vest -- 'elegant' is an unusual synonym for 'boring, practical', but I can see how it was derived :-)
Homemade jam is not only usually (I have had some failures!) best for flavour, but it's the only way to get unusual fruit combinations. Summer Pudding is a British dessert; I love jam made with the same combination of fruit: raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, a handful of strawberries and another of gooseberries. I've never seen *that* on a supermarket shelf!

June 5, 2006 at 5:11 AM  
Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

Too cute! I love the vest!

June 5, 2006 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Samsara said...

Nice, vest, Joanne - looks very comfy and emminently wearable in the warm weather! I love the idea of the multi-generational stash. :-)

June 6, 2006 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger jenknits said...

I love the story that goes along with the table runner! The vest, handspun and table runner are all very lovely. Sam and Becky are very lucky to receive it.

June 6, 2006 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Great post Joanne. Your writing sings.

June 8, 2006 at 10:53 PM  

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