Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blue Indigo Cosmos

AVFKW held a celebratory indigo dip in early November to commemorate their first anniversary in their new shop.

Prepped yarn or fiber or fabric is slowly immersed into the hot indigo pot.

Work is done while the dipped items "cook."

Blue Indigo Cosmos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

4 shades of quince

Jam: 4-5 pounds were washed, cut up and cores were composted. Add zest strips from one lemon, add water short of the top, and cook for about 30 min, then run through a food mill. Measure 5-1/2C max at a time, add 90-100% sugar by volume, and 1/4C lemon juice. Cook to jam state for nearly an hour, put in jars with ½” headspace and process in boiling water for 10min, rest for 5min before removing.

Batch 1 (3pints) was a nice red color. Batch 2 (2pints) was lighter, and Batch 3 (2C) was lighter still. Each successive batch was on the stove for less time (was I getting impatient? Yes.) – note to self: cook longer for deeper color.
Colors (from the left): a stack of membrillo, jam batch 1, jam batch 3 on top of jam batch 2.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little things

I'm working on little things.

I'm making small jars of jelly, small batches of jam, small swatches of knitted stitches with thin needles and thinner yarn, and a small foray into a hat. As I read the hat pattern I think of two or three ways to make it. But the problem is that I'm so busy thinking that I'm not doing. So I take the leap and "just do it", knowing that no outcome is ever going to be realized unless it is started. I take notes as I move along. I've been misled and seen failure too. Those things are put to the side or get torn and ripped apart.

And occasionally I'll take the "hair of the dog"(1) with a wild belief that I'll be inoculated.

(1) hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences

Friday, November 18, 2011

Plaid Friday: t minus 7

In addition to supporting local, you can support indie. Plaid Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when you (and yours who are lounging around) can go browse and support an independent retail merchant.

Can you walk, bike, or take public transportation there? drive less than 10 miles there?

Do you know who the retail proprietor is? or do you know that if you needed to speak with them, they would be responsive to your request?

Is the merchant somewhat knowledgeable about what they offer you? either about the source of the item, how to best use it, or other resources? are they helpful?

I'm going to support places where there are faces, names, and intelligence behind the counter.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Depth in a flight

Davitt Moroney performed Bach's 6 French Suites this afternoon on a "flight" of harpsichords in Hertz Hall, Berkeley. They were grand: 3 of them on the stage, each made by John Phillips (Berkeley) in 1995, 1998, and 2010, and based on famous antiques by Ruckers(Antwerp)-Blanchet(Paris)-Taskin(Paris) in the late 17th-18th century, Dumont (Paris) in 1707, and Grabner (Dresden) in 1722, respectively.

Moroney spoke about the relationship between composer, country, musical style, and instrument. He also spoke about the relationship between composer, performer, and maker of instruments and cited his own long friendship with Phillips that started when they were both in graduate school in the department of music decades ago.

Each harpsichord was tuned slightly differently, resulting in three "well-tempered" tunings conducive to a pair of suites.

The suites were nearly orchestral at times.  A lute accompanied a melody that sounded like an oboe.  A chamber group played minuets and trios.  A full baroque orchestra played a fanfare.  I am partial to Sarabandes, and the one in the 3rd b-minor Suite was especially transportive.  Moroney's scholarship and musicianship contributed greatly - the ornamentation in the 6th E-major Suite was especially rich, verging on the Italian style, as Moroney mentioned before he performed it.

There was depth to time while I sat and listened and focussed on these works.  It was an experience to remember and savor.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blushing in small batches

7 large ones are about 5 pounds. Bought on Thursday, boiled and drained Friday and overnight, jelly Saturday, membrillo Sunday late afternoon and evening.

Jelly: strain through clean dishtowel. 5c juice + 4c sugar + 1/2 lemon juice yields 5c jelly. Test for set on a cold plate. Continues to jell one day later. 10min processing, 5min before removing from pot, 8-1/2c total.

Membrillo (Paste): Run solids through food mill with a coarse disk.
3c solids + 3c sugar + 1/2 to whole small lemon's juice yields 3c.

Bring to boil then cook over very low slow heat for nearly an hour (until stiff). Brush veg oil in hot jar, allow 1/2" headspace, remove bubbles and smooth off the top. 10min processing, 5min before removing from pot. 8c total.

Slow food blushes as it heats up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A shot brings back the lilting melody of women's voices reading poetry full of imagery, alchemy, and spirits. Some of the poems were inspired by the simple desire to use a particular word.