Hello and Happy Tuesday.
Welcome to the first installment of the Make It Your Own weekly post. In this newsletter I’ll be helping you to use your hands to make things and grow things yourself and be a nifty thrifty. Coming up in future newsletters I’ll cover: knitting dishcloths, re-using old jumpers, dyeing yarn, growing winter and summer vegetables, preserving and reviewing books that are good value for money. Please, pretty please, leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.
THIS WEEK’S BOOK REVIEW
Odd Ball Knitting by Barbara Albright. Go to the Book Reviews Page to read it.
SELBY’S YARN PICKS
Patonyle by Patons 80% wool/20% nylon, 4ply sock wool, 50g balls, made in Australia
This is the best sock yarn I have found. I made a pair of socks in this yarn 2 years ago. They have been washed many times in the washing machine and are still soft and comfortable. It feels beautifully soft in your hand and is pleasant to knit with. I’ve been a bit disappointed with the change in colours lately. Some of the nicest colours were discontinued in favour of self striping fair isle varieties. That said there are still some attractive neutrals and browns as well as the bright self striping colours. Compared with other sock yarns, Patonyle comes out on top for softness and price, though it can’t compare with the huge colour ranges of the European sock wools. You need two balls for a pair of socks but at $6 a ball it is much cheaper than Opal or On-Line which can cost $22 for 100g.
Patonyle need not just be used for socks. I’ve got plenty of old patterns for kid’s jumpers and I have made a lace shawl. With the added nylon, anything you knit will last and last, even if washed in the machine with your other washing.
You might see it every time you go into a yarn store but give it another try. $6 dollars a balls is extremely good value for a yarn that feels good to knit and that will last for years.
IN THE GARDEN: PUMPKINS
Harvesting The best time to pick pumpkins is when they are ripe of course. You know they are ripe when the stalk turns woody and dry or when the vine dies. You can pick them sooner but the flesh won’t be as orange and they won’t store for as long.
Storing Store your pumpkins in a dry place where air can flow around them. They will keep for several months. Once cut, keep them in the fridge. In the past we have kept them in the pantry but we have so many this year that we are keeping them in a wire basket in the laundry. You can only really store the types that have hard skins and have been allowed to ripen properly.
Saving Seed You can keep the seeds of this year’s pumpkins for next year. When you cut one ready to cook it, put a few seeds aside on a windowsill until they are good and dry, then store in an airtight bag or container. If you have only grown one type of pumpkin, there is a pretty good chance your seeds will produce the same type again. If you have grown a few types, they will probably cross-pollinate and you might get some surprises. All will be edible though. The green one in the picture grew in our garden all by itself; who knows who it’s parents were. You can save the seed of bought pumpkins but use a recognised variety such as Butternut, Queensland Blue or Ironbark; you’ll be more likely to end up with the same variety than if you use a hybrid variety.
Here is our pumpkin harvest for 2007, mostly Butternuts, 2 Red Kuris and 1 of unknown parentage
That’s it for this week. Perhaps in a few days I’ll post some pictures of things I’ve been working on.