Why bother to make stuff from scratch when I could go to a store and pick everything off the shelf? Why go through the effort of canning food, taking the time to make bread, stock and pasta, floundering around in the garden, sewing clothes, or knitting a pair of socks? For me there’s a few different reasons. First, I like doing it. They’re all hobbies I’m either still struggling with or am getting better at, and in any of those cases I don’t mind spending the time it takes to do them. Second, I like the feeling of control they give me. I know what I’m eating when I eat something I made myself. I know how much work and mistakes it took to preserve something from the garden, or struggle with a pattern before having something that I can use. I take better care of something I’ve made (usually), and I waste less of the food I make myself because I know what it took to make it. Now that fall is here I’m looking at what I’ve made out of summer, and thinking about fall cooking, knitting, and sewing.
Here’s my canning yield from this summer, one jar each from batches I made. Left to right: Asian shiro yellow plum sauce, blackberry jam, straight shiro plum jam on top of shiro/blackberry jam, pear cardamom jam on top of tomato salsa, tomato jam. I wish I’d gotten the chance to do some pickling this year, but the timing just didn’t work out for me. Last year I did dilly beans, which were spicy and awesome, and a really good pickle relish. My regular cucumber pickles were kinda uninspiring, not crisp enough. I’ll definitely have to make a point of doing the beans and relish next year. Now that fall’s here I’m pulling out projects that I’ve knitted or sewn, and working on new projects. Ironically right now I’m working on a very light shawl that’s more appropriate for spring and summer. I’m using a tussah silk yarn that I dyed years ago and never found a good use for:
It’s a simple pi shawl that is pleasant for mindless knitting, good for on the bus. Next, I need to finish up a sweater I started at the end of last winter. I ripped apart a beautifully-knit sweater I got in Ireland 17 years ago and only wore once, because it was a really, really unattractive fit and I finally realized I was never going to wear it, and started to knit up a new one out of the yarn. I’ll blog about that pretty soon.