1. Clean cucumbers in cold water.
2. Place water, vinegar, sugar, salt in large pot.
3. Place sprigs of dill (stems and all) and pickling spices in cheesecloth. Knot the cheesecloth and place in pot with the rest of ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil to make a brine solution.
Place a few peppercorns, few garlic cloves or chopped garlic, 1/8 teaspoons Alum, a couple dried whole chili peppers in each empty canning jar that is going to be used. If you desire hotter pickles, add optional 1 - 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes to each jar.
5. Then place pickles in jar and fill with brine solution.
6. Wipe rims of jars with clean cloth, place lids and screw on bands fingertip-tight.
7. Process for 8 minutes in water bath.
8. Remove to cloth-protected counter and let rest undisturbed for 24 hours to cool.
Pickles are ready to eat in about 2 weeks. Enjoy!