Diem Interruptus

The window washer guy was here yesterday, which meant the day was kind of disorganized. I had things to do, but many of them involved being close to a window. I was trying to stay out of the way, and so the flow was a little messy. It is nice to have clean windows. The kitties are enjoying two levels of morning sunbathing. Smitty takes the high road, Sadie takes the low road. 

And yes, those are cat toys on the floor. Sadie likes her cat toys. She gets many of them out at night, and we often hear her having little conversations with them.

Smitty was at the ready for yesterday's canning effort. The table is off limits for him, but he still wonders why I put a quilt there if he's not supposed to lie on it. And, frankly, this one looks positively smashing with his furs.

Okay, so the window washer guy (Scott) never arrives before about 10:00 a.m., and so my canning was well under way when he arrived. I'm not particularly practiced with the pressure canner, and so I have to reread the instructions every time I use it. After the jars are loaded in, 3 quarts of water are added. My instructions said to add boiling water, and so I did. The boiling water cuts down on the heating time. Once the water is boiling, the canner is allowed to "exhaust" for ten minutes. I waited until I had a steady stream of steam (awesome alliteration), and then set the timer for ten minutes.

When the ten minutes were up, I placed the "pressure regulator" weight over the vent hole and then brought the pressure to 11 psi. Here, you have to monitor the pressure pretty carefully. These had to process for 30 minutes, and so I was watching the pressure gauge to maintain the same pressure over the entire time. In this way, pressure canning is more of a hassle than water bath canning. With a water bath, I can walk away from it. With pressure canning, I have to stick close by.

My yield was 7 pints. (Rule of thumb, apparently, is about a pound of beets per pint.) I was a little disappointed because the jars had some pretty serious siphoning. I put the best jars in front for this picture. They continued to bubble long after I removed them from the canner. When they cooled off and settled down, three of the jars had lost almost half their liquid. People in Facebook canning groups said they were shelf stable as long as they had at least half their liquid. All of mine did, but I still put the worst ones in the refrigerator. We'll eat those first. All the jars sealed, and so they'll be fine, but I take no chances with home-canned vegetables.

Other tips I got from the Facebook groups were that I didn't leave enough headspace. I left 1/2 inch as my go-to canning guide instructed me. As it turns out every single other reference in my kitchen said to leave a full inch, and that was the consensus of the folks on Facebook. Okay...so I'll do that next time. The other thing was starting with boiling water in the canner. Facebook folks said they start with hot tap water, and that the boiling water probably caused the jars to heat to fast. Could be...and I'll file that away for next time too.

Okay, so moving on, I was ready to sit and do some slow stitching. I stitched the first leaves on the third Heartland Barns quilt block. Mainly, I was just cleaning up my floss bobbins from the last time I worked on it. 

I've said this before, but I'll say it again. When I bought this pattern, I worried those leaves would be tedious to stitch. I'm finding them to be very easy to stitch. I use three strands of floss, and it only takes a couple of satin stitches to cover them completely. And I love how they look. So, I'll just keep going on this until I've filled my hoop. Stitching the leaves is enjoyable, but it's still a lot of stitching.

And by then, Scott was nearly finished. It seemed safe to move to my mid-arm machine next to one of the upstairs windows. The first petal was among the larger ones, and I wasn't bothered by the flames stitched a few days ago. For this one, I tried doing a bit fancier edging around the outside, and then I just filled in with some wavy echoing lines.

This next one didn't work out exactly as I'd envisioned it. Looking at it now, I wish I'd done something a little fancier around the outer edge. It occurs to me that I can add another line on the outside and then do something between the two lines. I'll probably add some more to this today.

This next petal was small and heart-shaped, and so I just stuck with the hearts.

I'm realizing that I need to stitch about three petals at a time on this. The well of my imagination runs dry fairly quickly, and I need to do something else for a bit, and then return feeling rested and refreshed. Here's where I left it yesterday.

The thing I love about free motion quilting is that it's very forgiving. Even when I'm not happy with something as I'm stitching it, I can look at it later and it seems just fine. It's easy to get bogged down when you can see every little bobble as you make it. When you stand back and look at the whole thing, you're hard pressed to find those errors. As for this project, there's no time-line, and so I'm enjoying doing it in bits and pieces. I'll probably do a little more sewing on my WIP's today intermingled with more quilting. It's a fun project, and great practice for free motion quilting. I'm not one who enjoys practicing. I want to be working on something, and so this panel fits the bill. I'm thinking there might be others that would be suitable too. Sounds like a good reason to go shopping, doesn't it?

On today's agenda I'll be hoeing the garden and doing a couple of easy household chores. Cleaning up my beet-juice-spattered kitchen is at the top of the list. Mainly, it'll be a sewing day. It's a good way to end up the week.


Barbara said...

I skated, fell down, and learned to pick myself up in front of millions. ~ Michelle Kwan

Julierose said...

What lovely FM stitching on the Dahlia panel!
Those beets look yummy--I haven't had home canned beets since years ago my Grand-mere made them...she always put in onions with them--and they tasted cinnamon-ey, too. I, personally, have never canned myself; but have helped prepare veggies for canning...
My head cold is leaving town, finally--so my PT should be ok to start this coming tuesday...want to get back to normalcy (or what passes for that here!!).

Hope you have a wonderful weekend...hugs, julierose

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Pressure cookers scare the daylights out of me so I have to admire your abilities with one. I'll stick to the hot water bath because at least then I know I won't be blowing things up. Loving all your fun designs on the quilt - and mustering my courage to start quilting one of the advent calendars tomorrow. I'm SO not a quilter so it could be a complete disaster!

Kitty Cook said...

If you buy a 3 piece pressure regulator for your canner, you would be able to walk away from it. It regulates the pressure for you and it makes canning so much easier. I bought mine from Amazon a number of years ago for around $10.

piecefulwendy said...

Smitty looks like he belongs on the table with that runner! Handsome fella. Glad you have the FB group for advice with the beets; they look tasty. Fun to watch your progress on the quilting, too!

Susan said...

I remember my mom canning beets. She did all her canning via water bath. I am not sure they even had pressure-canners at that time.
They kitties may need sunblock with windows being clean :-)
The quilt is looking great.

SJSM said...

I haven’t done beets but have pressure canned other things. Like you, I need to brush up on the safety protocols and the process the first time it gets brought out for the season. I do bring the water to a boiled first before adding the jars. So far, everything has come out fine.

I’m thinking I should hire a window washer. So far I have not done the Windows since the fall of 2019. Not motivated to do it myself. Enjoy your projects. They give you so much pleasure and come out so well.

QuiltGranma said...

such hard working kitties!

Kate said...

Your panel quilting is really coming along. The quilting looks great, you probably see all the mistakes because you know where all the bobbles are. Those of us admiring from blogland can't see those at all.