i know you come here for the knitting first and foremost, so i’ll start off today with some yarny chat. i haven’t meant to be tease, keeping you in suspense about the new yarn we are testing out—just wanted to see if you could guess.
a couple of you did well, in fact—sharon came the closest, guessing a blend of cotton, alpaca, and merino for this deliciously next-to-the-skin soft fabric.
the actual content of our sample skein is 50 alpaca/25 cotton/20 merino/5 nylon.
i know you can’t feel it, but if you could, you would never have guessed such a high content of the wooly fiber (again, dehairing that alpaca provides the magic touch). i would sleep in this, it’s so soft . . . and i would hesitate an instant putting it next to the tenderest baby skin.
despite such a high percentage of alpaca, you would not believe how cool and cottony it feels and how springy and stretchy a fabric it makes. i am itching to cast on a sweater in it, maybe even a little sprössling for myself. i keep saying i’m going to knit another for summer, but up til now, haven’t quite found the yarn i’m dreaming of. i think this might be it—it certainly has the stretchy yumminess i’ve been seeking.
its ability for recovery is phenomenal; i find myself pulling on it it over and over, just to check it again.
yup; it’s still there. it’s a sport weight but the gauge is very close and i’m between two sizes for this sweater, so if i knit the smaller size it should work out perfectly. soon after i get home we will receive some skeins for garment testing and i can cast on.
sigh. sorry for running on; yarn adventures just get my blood racing! we have ordered some batches for retail release with next month’s shipment from the mill; we believe we’ll have that in around the third week of july.
speaking of which, are you ready for another surprise?
we have a second new yarn on our summer menu—this one is just what you’ll want to knit (and wear) when those intolerably sticky days arrive.
the fiber blend produces a stable fabric with a bit of irregular quirkiness to the texture—one of my favorite things about it, because i can knit a very simple fabric that is fascinating.
it can be knit sheer as voile or a little more firmly and it’s soft as a breeze, right off the needles.
we received two sample skeins in the laceweight (one washed and one unwashed) and i couldn’t resist casting on immediately for a simple shell top with the unwashed skein (swatches above have been washed).
the fabric is just out of this world light and airy—with ethereal luminosity. it’s worth knitting just to be able to stare at the fabric, i mean it.
i love how the blend produces these cloud-like areas of subtle, shifting shades (we can manipulate this to a certain degree be varying shades of one contributing fiber).
it would be gorgeous in lace of course—frillibet, squall, empreinte, twig and leaf (or twinings), campanula, hamsa, alhambra—the list goes on and on.
this piece, along with the hat, has been my mindless knitting while i’m away; they also serve as decoy knitting to distract prying eyes from my secret projects.
and they are doing a good job! can you guess what the blend is? the person to guess the closest by friday—including percentages—gets a free pattern for hamsa, one of my favorites (i should knit another of those . . .).
i can’t wait to get this top done and it won’t be long; it’s knitting up fast. it’s very simple—sleeveless (or tipped a tiny bit over the shoulder to make mine look wider, haha) with a loose fit and some very slight shaping to guide the drape. possible short rows at the back hem for some extra length and shape.
i’m planning a v-neck but i have still to finalize the neck finish.
i started with an idea of a scarfy sort of finish that gave it a vintage sailor look (ish). but now i’m thinking about keeping it simpler, along the lines of the mister’s pullover, though a little softer and more feminine.
(sorry, i didn’t draw that very well, but the neck is scrunched slightly into a crossed button closure so that it riffles just a little at the edge, much neater than it appears here, haha).
this option will allow me to repeat the garter stitch pattern at the top. still deciding, but i have a little time . . .
often i mull over these questions—and a lot of my design work or business challenges—while i run. it’s a good use of my time for one thing, but the rhythm really helps me organize my thoughts and inspires many a light bulb to go off. just about anything will suddenly make me see how to solve a problem.
we had some hot days over the weekend, so i decided to end my longish friday run with some walking and headed for a shadier path parallel to the park road.
when it veered away into the woods, i went along, thinking it was just a little detour. soon enough i realized it led into a larger part of the park i had never explored and seemingly not as well travelled by others either. hmm.
it didn’t feel creepy or anything—just a little less used. but i kept going and soon found some old buildings that intrigued me.
then i saw signs for the “children’s corner” and i really had to check that out, because to me it was feeling less sesame street and much more grimm’s fairytales—which would be a refreshing take on a children’s environment of today.
around a bend things opened up not the lefferts historic compound, comprised of the old lefferts home, garden, and house yard (another thing i love about wandering new york is discovering the roots for some of the avenue and neighborhood names, in this case lefferts blvd, the end of the subway line).
you can wander around, play with the various tools, and visit exhibits describing life at the dutch-style farm in the 1800s, in flatbush village.
among other things in the yard, i discovered a bed of flax (linen) just beginning to bloom—a little bit of joyful green in the middle of the woods planted by the kids in the spring as i understand it. i’m going to miss it, but this weekend they are holding a flax event, where you and your family can learn about this fiber plant and try some processing tools for turning the fiber into yarn and fabric. (there was also a flax harvest scheduled for the last weekend in june, but the plants won’t be ready so it has been cancelled).
a thatched structure in the yard captured my curiosity and i’m trying to find out more about it, but i can’t seem to put my finger on it just yet. it looks like it could have been a sheepfold or a place to keep wood dry.
further on the path took me to the zoo entrance; i can’t believe i never knew any of this was here and such beautiful old buildings, too.
of course i didn’t live near prospect park during my years in brooklyn; david and i would ride to park to cycle laps on week night when the weather permitted, but go offroad much. if i had lived nearby, i might have explored more inside.
near the zoo another building was just opening up—the carousel! well i had to get a closer look . .
and so glad i did; it’s magnificent, with all manner of individually crafted creatures you can ride.
the ceiling is a fantastic swirl of lights as well
with a frieze of painted depictions of brooklyn past, many of them telling of its history, seafaring and pastoral scenes alike.
the shadowy depths of its center column are brightened figures of mermaids and seascapes; i love it.
and just as i was turning to go, a class of children arrived, probably as and end of school treat.
i thought i’d be back to the park entrance after walking through this area but it turned out i had not progressed far at all along the roadway. that put me in an area i had often noticed from the road while running—at the bottom of a meadow, a series of primitive, sculptural forms had been erected that i wondered about.
well, there’s no time like the present so off i went to investigate. i had noticed there were often children and parents over here, climbing on the structures and playing in the dirt.
another example of recycling precipitated by hurricane sandy. children can play all over the blocky pieces to their hearts content, tiring themselves toward a good afternoon sleep.
it’s a real contrast to the older building thought the park and yet speaks back to some of the items in the lefferts compound that made use of felled trees and grasses as well.
a great environment for the imagination, whether you are a toddler or a gray haired runner, haha.
time to head home—i took the nearest path up and up, hoping to finally be led to the place where i came in.
while the paths are not as well kept here yet, they do allow for some undisturbed growth on the old wood alongside. and there are no stars so getting a stroller down to the natural exploration isn’t difficult.
to a lot of people, these parts of a city park might look dangerous to be exploring alone, but honestly, it’s just not. the new york parks are much safer than ever depicted on TV and i can’t think of once that i felt even a little threatened while walking in one (though i don’t treat this privilege recklessly by going there alone late at night or anything).
i always feel bad that this reputation lingers around city environments; cities are so rich with simple offerings such as walks in the park or through unfamiliar neighborhoods . . .
ok, i know this post has gotten long, but i just wanted to share that even though i’m by myself for a week, i have been cooking and not relying on eating out.
last thursday after my botanic garden excursion, i made a delicious soup—moraccan spiced chick pea and tomato. i’d had some from a neighborhood take out that was yummy and wanted to replicate it if possible. i figure if i made a pot, i could eat from it several times this week.
i used this recipe mainly, but incorporated components from this one as well PLUS i added a few waxy yukon gold potatoes to more closely imitate the one i had eaten.
herbs from nancy’s terrace garden to finish it off and then i let it sit overnight to allow the flavors to meld. it’s a completely vegan dish, in case you were wondering—just veggies and herbs.
omg, it is SO good. it is so good, that it’s delicious cold as well, which i discovered when the temperatures soared into he 90s over the weekend. you know how that is—salad is fine for a couple of nights (my own go-to hot weather food), but eventually you want something more substantial, though you can’t even bear to think about heating up the stove.
a dish like this is one answer; you can make it early in the morning and have it any time you want. super yummy and it makes plenty; i’m leaving a couple of containers in nancy’s freezer to share the love, haha (i hope i haven’t oversold it).
i also made a nice stir fry one night; i didn’t even cook rice for it, just ate the veggies and tofu. mmm, too bad david isn’t here . . . he would love this.
(i did ask him to come, but he wanted to stay home . . . oh well).
ok, i’ve had your ear long enough (sorry!); time for me to get out for a run and then back to work. i’ll fill you in the last of my trip next time (hopefully one more before i go home).