I emailed a vendor last week commenting that I couldn’t believe it was already March! I have had some serious slippage on my commitment to post every week although in my defence I did do some of that back end tidy up I had planned.

To be fair I haven’t actually had a lot to post about craft wise this past month. My train sock has grown comfortably but Eunice has languished a little. I am trying to decide if I will take her with me to Dunedin for Unwind this coming weekend but I am not sure that she is quite conversation knitting.

Lemon and pink sock at heel turn
I am at the heel turn and think that by the time that is done I will be at positive knitting (negative knitting being what you do when you are using ripped back yarn

Sewing

I have finished (or almost finished) a pair of pants that I cut out around this time of the year in 2022. I want to try them on again when I get home tonight as I think the front seam needs taking in slightly for a comfortable fit.

Pink trousers folded on bed
Dusky pink cord from Miss Maude Greytown pattern Seamwork Max

Summer preserving

The other thing I have been doing is conquering the challenge of bottling fruit. Our section has numerous fruit trees and we are aware that in a few years when we may need to be a bit more frugal with the groceries preserving some of that abundance would be useful. So my February weekends have included reminding myself how to make jam and finally getting to a point where I consistently get a seal on bottled fruit. I am up to about a 90% success rate with the off fail heading for the freezer.

Jars of preserved fruit sitting on blue table cloth.

On the topic of summer harvest I was able to pick up some kumara from the new harvest at a farm stall over the weekend and had some roasted last night. As I peeled and cut it, it was so clearly fresh compared to what we usually get at the supermarket and was so good cooked. It bought back memories of kumara from when I was small, before it became a supermarket staple in multiple colours and my parents’ test of was it as good as kumara from the Hokianga.

The cancer thing was also a thing for February

I think one of the reasons I was finding it hard to write was that in 31 January I had a PET CT scan to check out a very small nodule in my lung which was potentially a mestatisis from my bowel cancer. Apart from the nasty migraine I dealt with the following week there was a bit of a sense of limbo while I waited for the results on 21 Febraury. It is a met, but is also on its lonesome so the plan is to zap it with stearatatic radiation over the next month or so. One of the things I learnt last year was that the challenge of a cancer diagnosis isn’t so much the dying of it but the living with it. It’s possible this wasn’t the only escapee and others might start to develop (with likely the same treatment plan)  so I will have more frequent scans for the next year or two. I have also been trying to write a page about my cancer journey and the amazing team of people I have around me but its harder than I thought! In the meantime – we have screening programmes in New Zealand and follow up systems that (post code lottery aside) are awesome. So if you get these kinds of things in the mail please do it (or get on the register so you do get the mail)

Mammogram appointment letter
I find that every time I mention I am going to have a mammogram I ended up talking someone else through their concerns so they make an appointment.

The bit about the books

I probably should pause before I share my book recommendation to do a shout out to Greytown Village Bookshop who have been a great supplier of books to support my preserving research including:

  • Kai: Food stories and recipes from my family by Christall Lowe
  • Homegrown Happiness by Ellen Lewis
  • In a jam by Kirsten Day, and
  • In a pickle by Kirsten Day
Book cover One Illumined Thread

My fiction recommendation is One Illuminated Thread by Sally Colin-James which I  picked up at the library a couple of weeks back. I had looked at this book before and found the blurb interesting but the advantage of the library is you can sit down and be sucked in by the first chapter. The writing is lyrical and totally engrossing. The author has taken three very different characters across time and linked them together in an incredible way without it feeling fantastical. There is textile restoration, Renaissance paint creation and glass making with the finest thread of strong women, on being a daughter, on being a mother of a son and loss.

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