Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

look who decided to show up

Friday, August 28th, 2015

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hey, remember me? do you recognize me? i know i’ve been terribly negligent; we’ve been very short-handed around here lately and i’ve been hard at work on myriad projects all at the same time.

i feel like i talk about the monster that is our garden a LOT, so let’s start with knitting stuff and slowly work over to the back yard situation.

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you may have seen his already, but our good friend romi has designed and knit the most striking shawl in our stone soup DK yarn—just two skeins in two shades will make you one swoop shawl (thank you romi!!). rosemary used river rock and pumice, but there are several possibilities for great pairing. we are a bit low on the popular stone soup yarns at the moment, but we will be restocked near the end of september—just in time for serious sweater knitting.

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swoop is knit mostly in garter stitch with insertions of mesh wedges. i love how the ends of the short row shaping create those radiating dashes. it reminds me of the neon in times square or parts of the chrysler building.

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the mesh wedges along one side are airier and allow light to come through, like a crooked venetian blind, haha. though it’s knit in DK weight yarn, you can see how light and airy it is in these photos; our yarn is cozy and warm but very light for its substance. you can purchase swoop in romi’s ravelry pattern shop either as a single pattern or as part of her 7 small shawls; year 5: asymmetry collection.

by the way, rosemary also has just released a book with interweave press, inspired by her new home in nevada—new lace knitting: designs for wide open spaces. the eBook is available now and the print version will become available in september.

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as you can see from the above photo, i’ve been up to some finishing work; that’s my sleeveless hemp top in my lap as i wove in the final ends last night.

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i actually completed all the knitting about three weeks ago—i can’t believe it’s taken me all that time to get the finishing work done but there you have it.

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a neck finish here, then distracted for a few days; an armhole finish there, then pulled over to something else. and so it goes.

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well finally, it’s done and this morning i gave it a nice sudsy bath in hot water. it’s drying now—in fact it’s time to turn and reshape it before a crease sets in.

ok, i’m back; that didn’t take but a few minutes and it’s a really good way to make the fabric look its best.

i did take a photo before i dunked it in the water. it will hang a little differently on me. this is a longer top with a looser, wider hem; the smallest part of the torso is at the high waist area (you can see the silhouette on the far left there). i think it will look great with shorts or skirts or slacks; i love it.

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i had originally thought the neckline should be more voluminous but i changed my mind when i saw the way this simpler neckline tips out just a little. because it ended up simpler than i thought, i will probably lower the neckline about an inch in the final pattern.

we’ll try to get some photos over the weekend so you can see how it looks in real life, on a real person.

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some time between finishing up the pieces of that top and getting the seams completed, erica and i left home to travel to the michigan fiber festival. it was supposed to be an adventure for david and me, but he got called away in the other direction at the last minute, so erica kindly stepped in.

we had a lot of foot traffic at this show and enjoyed visits from so many of our friends. it felt as if all day long we were chatting and helping people pick out projects (i love when a show is like that). so despite the almost treacherous heat, we had a good show and are looking forward to a few more in the near future.

first up, along with 20 other shops across northeast ohio we are participating in the yarn discovery tour from september 8 through 26. if you’ve been wanting to visit our shop, the 19 days of the tour is a great time because in addition to our regular hours and knit night, we will be open for extended hours: thursday/friday from 11 to 6 and saturday/sunday from 11 to 5. from the number of requests we have already received for passports, this should be a really fun time. every visitor receives a free pattern!

in just three weeks i’m teaching at windy knitty in chicago (sept 18 through 20). on friday evening i’ll present a trunk show and we’ll do a yarn tasting. on saturday we’ll have a lace project class (we’re knitting a sampler version of the bee fields shawl) and on sunday we’re tackling the finishing series—all great stuff; you should join us!

then during the first weekend of october, BNWs will be traveling just a couple of hours away to have a booth at the athens area fiber faire, which looks to be a terrific (and growing) show in a great college town. the organizers describe it like this:

Located in the scenic Hocking Hills region of southeastern Ohio, Athens in October is bustling with autumn activities. From our top-ranked farmers market, through our quaint uptown, to the gorgeous Ohio University campus, Athens offers an astounding variety of shopping, dining, hiking, biking, and sporting events for all ages. Only an hour from Columbus, and within 3 hours of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, Athens makes a wonderful day trip or weekend getaway spot. So spread the word and mark your calendars; we’ll look forward to seeing you in October!

after that, we are heading east to NYS for rhineneck weekend. though we did not get accepted to have a booth at the main show (WAAAHH!), we will once again participate in indie untangled on friday october 16 and will also host our annual kingston marriott popup shop on sunday afternoon and evening, october 18.

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this year we are making the sunday event more of a salon/reception to treat our friends and customers to refreshments and offer a sneak peek at our next big company project. some of our favorite celebrity knitters will be on hand; so excited!

around here there is lots of knitting, even though it is a little erratic and i’m prone to a bit of project ADD. for one thing, i’ve had some secret knitting to do, which i can’t share for a while. i’ve been organizing some new projects to start—about four of them need to get on the needs ASAP if i’m going to make my next set of deadlines.

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i did start one new project with this deliciously squishy vesta, a new yarn offering from spirit trail fiberworks—check out jen’s awesome new website—a chunky worsted merino that is SOoo squeezable and yummy, i look forward each day to my knitting time with it. it’s as good as chocolate, i swear.

with it i am designing a longer jacket type sweater. i don’t want to tell you too much til i have enough knit to show you—i think it makes a better impact that way. but i can tell you it revolves around some really beautiful cabling. and the cool thing is that the pattern will translate to another chunky, smoothy favorite of mine—our chebris worsted. yum.

more on this project in the near future . . .

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in our monday class, susie, debby, and debbie S. are all closing in on finished blanket statement projects. susie, in the foreground, is whipstitching her better breakfast strips together into the large version of the blanket. they are so gorgeous; even i’m jealous. debby and debbie are knitting the last strip of their blankets, so they will be joining soon.

so, is anyone out there as distracted as i am by the incredible wealth of produce we are having right now?? as if my own garden wasn’t enough, i’ve succumbed to peaches . . .

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i mean. how could i not? i didn’t really need a lot of peaches for freezing, but we’ve been enjoying them for breakfast every day that we can. i’ve baked a couple of pies and plan to pick up more at the farmer’s market this weekend so i can bake one to bring to my mom next week.

and in addition to those there is the most fantastic corn this year.

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which is making its way into our freezer as well.

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home frozen corn is about a hundred times better than even the best store bought and so easy to do. this is another thing i’d like to get just a little more of—maybe one more dozen.

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fruit and corn are the only items that i’ve had to buy elsewhere—we are getting much more than we need from our own back yard (YAY!). squash, greens, and beans still going strong; in fact i’ve been picking about fifteen pounds of beans each week since they started, with no reduction in sight.

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as you can see, the tomatoes also started coming in; i’ve been cooking a pot of puree every couple of days. also lots of eggplant and peppers, which are super sweet this year and tasty. BTW, these two hauls were only a day or so apart (and you wonder why i’ve been scarce?).

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my other favorite way to put up tomatoes is to roast them with garlic in the pan, then process. this makes a puree with a more intense flavor and color—great for pizza or any sauce that requires bolder ingredients.

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when we got back from michigan there was a monster of a squash in the garden; i could hardly believe how big after just a few days away (must’ve been all that sun).

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my acorn squash plant succumbed to some malady or other, but at lest it had a few nice sized squashes on it before it went. these are stored away now in the basement. my butternut squash continues to expand throughout the garden in the bloom of good health; the winter squashes on the vine are enormous.

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besides the pie i plan to bake early next week, i’ve got a box going to bring to my mom—garlic, fresh dug potatoes, a butternut squash, and whatever else i can unload onto her unsuspecting self think of that she might like.

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definitely some peppers and tomatoes and definitely a big bag of green beans (hehehe).

last friday i went outside just to peek and see if anything needed immediate attention and when i realized i still hadn’t pulled the onions, i thought i should do that—the tops had been laying down for at least a week and we were having a nice dry sunny day.

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well, it didn’t take any time at all to pull them and they started drying right away.  but once i was done i thought, hmm, i’ve been meaning to plant some fall greens to make a salad bed where the garlic was and now i have a second empty spot—maybe i should do that before too many weeds set in.

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so i started smoothing the dirt on those two mounds and as soon as my rake went into the soil a bit, i hit potatoes. now, i and been wondering how the potatoes were coming along this year and curiosity got the best of me so before i knew it, i pulled a plant up. attached to the end were two enormous potatoes and several smaller ones. mmm, potatoes.

well as it happened, there were several plants sort of kind of in the way of making a really nice long bed of beets, so i puled those few plants up as well—now i had several nice bakers and a decent basket of little ones to make something with.

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i planted my seeds alright—some spinach, some beets (mostly for the tops; they are my favorite greens), and a whole mix of seeds jumbled together in the other bed for hearty salad greens.

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i am thinking that if we continually cut the leaves of these plants when they are no more than 4 inches in length, we will have  avery steady supply of “power greens”, our favorite salad mix.

the seeds sprouted within just  a few days and already there are straight rows of red and green seedlings to watch (i’ll post pictures when they get just a little bigger; they don’t photograph well yet.

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over the last week i’ve been working on a big pattern project for a deadline, but on saturday night i finally said, enough—i need to get out of this chair and into the kitchen. i pulled all of the last few days produce out of the fridge drawer and got to work on a HUGE pot (my 16-quart one) of ciambotta for  freezing. everything that went into it—tomatoes, eggplant, squash, onions, peppers, garlic, celery, basil, oregano, and potatoes—was from the garden, except for the carrots.

omg, it was SO good. luckily we had company last night for dinner and even more lucky, the meal was already cooked.

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recently, someone remarked to me that one of their all-time favorite blog photos was the one i showed several years back of t=my freezer at the end of summer. well, it’s not quite the end of summer and i’m reserving space on the top shelf for more tomatoes, but as you can see, we are filling up steadily. everything is pretty systematic—a little of each item near the front so we can access them all, but by necessity, plenty behind that front layer too. the bottom shelf is mostly for ready made dishes, so that area rotates more frequently as we use up soup, casseroles, curries, and stews, then replenish them. the door (which you can’t see here) has racks of bags containing greens and beans.

still some work to do to get it filled to the brim . . .

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and now, i think i hear a big bag of beans calling my name—time to do some topping i think.

pedal pusher

Friday, August 21st, 2015

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as i sit up in my office on the second floor of our house, i can’t help but notice that in the cooled evening air, there is a scent of dried leaves that adds a definite note of the autumn weather to come.

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i’m also laughing my head off every time i think about the photo shoot we did last night out on the street below. . .

barb, in her own personal film, hamming it up for the camera while she shows off her newly completed pedal pusher cardigan, knit in light and lofty bare naked wools kent worsted.

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the neighbors nearly split a gut laughing at us—barb, cool as a cucumber in a turtleneck and wool sweater in the 90-degree heat and me running up and down the street with the camera to get shots from every angle.

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at least they thought we were “cute” instead of insane (which is probably more accurate, haha.

this time i didn’t allow her to do her “sultry” look again; it was smiles for miles only. oh, we did some shots where she was standing still as well

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the catalog shot as she looks into the sunset

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the quintessential autumn apple picking shot over at a neighbors house (who doesn’t seem to have apple stealing squirrels like we do).

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beautiful side shots to show off the cabled detailing along the raglan seams.

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some with the garment unbuttoned and then buttoned up tight so you’ll know it looks good both ways.

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and of course a sexy backside shot to show you how beautifully this casual-fitting sweater looks on her figure, even without shaping.

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but our favorites by far were the ones on the bike.

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thank goodness she’s a great sport.

barb chose kent DK for her test knit, which has stellar drape—just the right amount to knit a fabric that skims the body without losing its grip. it won’t sag or slide into an overgrown garment just from being worn a few times. yet, it has an elegant hand with a pearly sheen that screams “sophisticated”, even in a casual garment like pedal pusher.

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it was a little over one year ago that i completed my prototype of this sweater, which is modeled here by lauren in our confection worsted yarn.

my idea was to create a wool sweater that would be easy to wear for commuting by bicycle. light and airy enough to wick away moisture from under layers (i like to go fast on my bike, so i need that), but warm too, for battling a brisk fall breeze.

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my version has the optional side entry pockets with the same cabled detail as the front edges and seams—super handy for any bike commuter.

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and it looks great once you hop off and shed the helmet—no one at work or in the store would know you had your riding gear on.

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being a hard wearing 3-ply yarn (as opposed to the kent, which is two-ply and slightly more textured), confection is lush and spongy, with a smooth surface—that translates to a squishy fabric with super-consistent stitches and great definition for those cables.

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made from springy, light corriedale wool, it holds its shape well; the shades of this wool are clear and bright.

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shown above, size medium in confection worsted, color dark chocolate, with multi-tone bone buttons

shown below, size 1X in kent worsted, color driftwood, with mocha buffalo horn buttons

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i just love how the neutral shades of these yarns do so much to highlight lauren and barb’s pretty hair color and skin tones. and they look great with all the colors and fabrics in your wardrobe too.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to purchase in our knitspot online shop and here to purchase in my ravelry pattern shop.
(if you wish the pattern to appear in your ravelry library, please use this ravelry store link, thanks!)

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get ready for fall by setting off on a sweater knitting adventure! meet up with us in the BNWs rav group threads to knit along and post updates on your progress. pedal pusher could be your rhinebeck sweater; its easy to knit design has no seaming, so once it’s off the needles, you are done—you have plenty of time to finish if you start one now. what’s not to love?

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looks great both up close and from a distance; this is a terrific piece to fill out your cold weather wardrobe which you will turn to again and again as the colors of fall surround you.

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it’s here!

Friday, July 24th, 2015

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yesterday our mail carrier, rick, rolled up to the curb in the big mail truck to deliver five big boxes—our monthly batch from our ohio mill, ANF. and you know what that means . . . our first batch of hemp and cottons yarns have arrived!

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well, you can imagine how quickly i had the box cutter out, haha. the first thing my hands landed on was the hemp blend in fingering weight (above)—don’t you just want to reach out and skuh-weeze it? these skeins are spun to the same yardage per pound as our other fingering weights and are equally springy, able to be knit on needles up to size 4.5 mm or even 5.0 mm for openwork fabric. after knitting with this yarn in laceweight (which we also received in two shades), i want a whole wardrobe in it and maybe some throws and other home items too.

after a bit i composed myself and kept digging, because that was just the tip of the iceberg. are you ready? cuz here come the cottons!

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this is the re-do on the lighter weight version. when we attempted the same gauge yarn as our other fingerings, it wouldn’t hold together all that well unless it was overspun, which made it feel coarse—not what we wanted. so to keep the same soft hand, we went instead to a sport weight gauge and that worked beautifully—it’s soft and springy, perfect for light sweaters, shirts, clothes and blankets for kids and babies, and my personal favorite—great socks.

yes, i really do think this yarn would make excellent socks. it has all the right fiber types to make strong, soft, and durable legwear.

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there is a DK weight in this yarn too (above, left); we are knitting a leaving sweater with short sleeves in that. we should be listing these new yarns in the store by tomorrow—we chose names for everything the other day at our company meeting and  now we just need some photos from david for those store pages. once it’s up, we’ll be back with a blog full of wonderful yarn prøn, pattern ideas, and swatches—stay tuned.

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also in this delivery, a delicious batch of chebris sport and lace in the divine crème shade. this is the first time it’s been spun at the new mill and the note tucked in along with it made me smile . . . our miller, carrie, is as enthusiastic about our yarns as we are (especially these mohair blends); she always sends little notes and texts when she’s excited.

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but she’s never wrong—they really do make delicious yarn. batches and shades vary, of course from one to the other; fiber in lighter shades is generally finer than dark ones and this batch is particularly soft and delightful.

also in this shipment was more better breakfast DK and fingering in poppy, warm coals, and waffle. it’s like christmas every month when our boxes arrive, haha.

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it’s been a really full week around here, starting with the kickoff for our ENVY club last friday, when the first pattern rolled out. yarn had been landing left and right for several days beforehand to shouts of approval, so clubbies were ready and waiting with fingers poised to download as soon as the chapter went live. in fact, we sold out our remaining few spots that week—thank you everyone; we SO appreciate that! since then, the threads have been abuzz with activity as everyone casts on to knit green.

with that underway, i spent the weekend catching up on things around the house, as well as trying to reduce the pile of work on my desk (and yet, still looking at one despite my diligence, haha)

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on friday afternoon i allowed myself to put my feet up and knit on my hemp blend tunic top and got surprisingly far in just a few hours. even though i’ve already recorded how quickly pieces go in this yarn, it’s still amazes me when i do it, haha. we also went out for a nice long bike ride that evening—wonderful. the weather here has been stunningly beautiful; it’s silly not to be out enjoying it when the work days ends.

after an early run on saturday, i drove to our local blueberry farm and bought a ten-pound box each for barb and myself. i hurried home home to get mine into freezer bags before she came over to knit all afternoon (she’s been away and we both missed knitting together).

 

as she was leaving, we took a look into the garden where, lo and behold, we saw green beans by the dozen just a day or so away from picking. afterward it was out for more cycling with david and a late supper.

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we’ve been eating very well from the garden around here, with fresh picked greens and summer squash on the menu nearly every night.

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that evening we had the quickest of dinners with salmon, wilted red chard, and a quick stir fry of summer squash, mushrooms, chard stems, and scallions.

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the garden is loaded with more that is about to come—peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and loads of green beans.

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i picked the first ones last sunday morning; aren’t they lovely?

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that day i had just a small take, enough for a dinner and the next day the same. but by yesterday, i picked a full basket—3.5 pounds

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i will cook those up tonight after our ride and get some of them into the freezer. this year i am going to do most of them as finished dishes—such as stir fry or stewed lightly in tomatoes—i think they taste even better that way and it saves time on the eating end.

another thing barb and i discovered is that the peas i have been waiting for and watching are not what i thought they’d be

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they are even prettier! i was completely surprised to see these dark purple pods coming out of the flowers. i didn’t even know we had these seeds, but there you go. they are filling out now and should be ready to pick very soon.

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another crop that is more lush than usual are the herbs—especially the basil. i don’t EVER remember having such big plants with so much foliage. since i planned to get a lot of other picking and processing done on sunday, i went ahead and brought in a basket of basil too.

most of this i just took off the stems, put through the salad spinner, and stuffed into ziplock bags for freezing. but some i kept in a damp towel to make pesto later in the week, mmm—hadn’t had that in a year; it was time.

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the big item i really need to get on top of was the greens—i had let them go a few days too long and they were halfway to my waist, like tropical plants.

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did you think i was exaggerating? this is what my kitchen island looked like after i came in with my haul of swiss chard and collards (that island is something like eight or nine feet long).

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what i had thought would be a couple of hours work stretched all the way to evening as i extracted the tough stem and rib from each leaf. but so worth the work—this is my very favorite crop and i like to have plenty in the freezer to eat all winter long.

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i ended up with eleven bags of chard, five bags of collards, and three bags of chopped stems to use in soup, stews, stir fries, and curries.

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i also had a large colander of baby leaves that i put in the fridge to use as “power greens” in salad during the week (we pay a lot for that mix in the store when we don’t have our own!).

then it was time to tackle the pile of squash and eggplant i had from the previous week—i was anxious to turn this into a pot of ratatouille, our first this year.

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i added a few store-bought peppers, and onion, and some tomatoes left in the freezer from last year, along with some fresh basil and garlic. so yummy.

i left the kitchen very, very tired on sunday evening, but with a good start on filling the freezer and a week of meals all cooked.

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on tuesday i used that bundle of cleaned basil to make pesto with fresh green beans, our first tomatoes, wilted red chard and stems, and some frozen broccoli flowers. i even used garlic from the garden, as david had dug up a bulb to see if it was ready. it was, and omg is it good.

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by wednesday, all signs were go for our garlic harvest and what a beautiful take it was—forty three bulbs total, most between 2.5 and 3 inches in diameter.

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haha, yesterday morning when i threw open the doors to the sun porch for air, my nose was met with the delicious aroma of fresh garlic, which david has laid out to dry there.

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we didn’t have a good harvest the last time we grew it and we didn’t have a garlic patch last year at all, so at the end of last summer i made a special effort when visiting farmers markets to buy a variety of big bulbs for seed.

i know i bought different kinds, but they weren’t labeled in the garden. some is supposed to be hotter or spicier or more mellow than other, but i know not which. heh, i might be able to tell which heads go together, but i doubt it; i think we will just play luck of the draw and use it randomly.

 

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and while we did enjoy the fruits of my sunday labor all week long, during that time, more has been growing—in fact it seems to double itself each week.

i let the squash go an extra day and they got a little bigger than i like for the table so i will cut these up and bag them for the freezer; they are excellent additions to chile and bean dishes.

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since we have eggplant and squash aplenty, more ratatouille and ciambotta are in the cards as well; we adore those dishes. with peppers just about ready to pick, i will have all the right ingredients at my fingertips.

and when they are joined by tomatoes (hopefully soon), i can cook up some vegetable based pasta sauces as well. we’ve picked a few tomatoes, but the real red tide is at least a couple of weeks away, thank goodness; i am staying just ahead of being overwhelmed at this point.

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even the winter squashes are big already and i’m not sure i really know when to pick them (yes, the stems really are that color, too). we’ve never had acorn squash succeed to the picking stage, haha. the butternut squash vine is loaded too—if it survives the hot weather, there will be lots of them.

as you can imagine, it’s been a bit of a challenge to keep up my knitting and most of what i did last week was secret stuff as well. i saved the work on my hemp top for when i needed a soothing, easy to knit thing in my hands and a little at a time, i finished that front piece by yesterday.

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i love the shape of this one—a bit different from the first design; looser around the waist and hip, it fits most closely just under the bust. the scoop neck will be home to a nice cowl with subtle stripes that will be echoed around the armhole. while i don’t think a short sleeve will look well on this design, i do think it would be very pretty with a three-quarter sleeve (like those on triticum).

meanwhile, i’ve been working a bit at a time on the pattern for the top i showed you earlier in the week and soon it will be off to the tech editor (like hopefully later tonight!)

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hey, here’s another great way to take advantage of the stunningly sunny days we’ve been having . . . use those rays to admire a beautiful yarn, haha.

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take a gander at this spectacular use of our cabécou brillant sport yarn in color poivre  that cherie used to knit her loden shawl from the recent wool people 9 collection. she knit this baby in just a few days—it’s fun and goes quickly on larger needles in the sport weight yarn.

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so many of our yarns work really well in BT patterns, which are created for artisan yarns. the designs take great advantage of the qualities unique to these yarns, such as greater loft and buoyancy, greater character, and a sturdier hand.

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cherie used two skeins of cabécou brillant sport for her loden project; details on her yarn substitution are described on her project page. thank you cherie, for generously sending the finished piece to us right away for photography; david took some gorgeous photos the other day with our model, karen.

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i will try to be back in a day or two with more—i really miss writing and hearing from you all when i’m not able to get here. believe me, my intention is to blog every other day, but then i go out in that garden and my day—and sometimes my week—has been planned without me!

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haha, last sunday when i was knee-deep in picking, my mom texted me and i sent her this photo. back came her response—”omg, are those squash plants??”. this, from a woman who lived on a farm for her entire marriage (and believe me, we had squash).

yeah, they are big alright; sturdy, wonderfully healthy things—at last. and all to soon they will be  memory; the days are getting shorter and our bike rides have to be a little earlier—fall is really just around the corner.

a great reason to take full advantage of NOW. and there is david, gathering his bike clothes—i better get going.

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have a lovely weekend; play hard!

going natural

Monday, July 20th, 2015

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right after my last post about this top, i took off the armhole trim and set in the sleeves i’d knit as an alternate look.

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i don’t know about you, but i really love it both ways! so obviously, i’m going to need a second one . . . good thing we have another shade in this yarn.

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AND another weight, a fingering yarn that knits up to a nice density. i’ll be knitting a skirt with it soon . . . but i’m also looking forward to a making a couple of long-sleeved tops for fall with it. i can totally see it as a cuddly thermal henley, for one thing—can’t you? (note to self: make three of those)

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after prancing about the bathroom in it and snapping photos, i put in into a basin with very hot soapy water to soak. normally i’d put it in a mesh bag and wash it in the hand wash cycle of my machine, but i had just the one item and it’s so light, i didn’t mind doing it by hand.

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the fabric bloomed beautifully in the wash and as it dried, i “encouraged” it some more by reshaping frequently (see my blocking DVD for this and plenty more great techniques).

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as expected shaping the pleats was simply a matter of pinching the fabric a little to make pleasing folds; after drying in place, they stay put on their own quite nicely.

the whole garment dried in just a couple of hours; i was surprised how fast. but then, the fabric weight and fiber blend really encourage it along—which bodes well for summertime wearability; that’s why i love my linen clothing in humid weather.

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in fact i wore it all the next day when laura and i traveled to pittsburgh for a teaching engagement—it felt like a soft, old t-shirt next to my skin from beginning to end; i wouldn’t lie to you about that. i’m changing just two things in the pattern—the sleeves (and only the sleeves, for some reason) lengthened a bit in the wash so they need to start out shorter and i think the neck could be just  little lower, maybe one inch. pattern is on the drawing board.

and see that skirt? that’s what i’d like to knit with the heavier hemp blend, once we have more shades to work with. that would work with lots of tops to make a two-piece dress.

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so yeah, on wednesday we went on the road—to one of our favorite shops that we’d never visited—natural stitches in pittsburgh, PA. i don’t know why we’d never been—it’s not far and we love them. the fact is that i just don’t get out enough, period!

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first of all, it’s BIG and has lots of great yarn. and secondly, they have one of the smartest, most connected staff i’ve experienced (see above).

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best of all, the bathroom is not to be missed; do you think that belted version of the ombré sweater would look good on david?  (have i talked you into it yet?) and if all that isn’t enough

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they carry bare naked wools!
zelda knit this beautiful tree ornament using several shades of stone soup DK. i don’t know what pattern that is (probably zelda’s own design) but you can find plenty to choose from in this collection by arne and carlos.

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natural stitches has stone soup in every shade and they’ve even knit some mighty beautiful projects with it

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david knit a wheaten wrap that is exquisite and was displayed in a very prominent spot in the shop.

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and zelda hit it out of the park with her distant shores pullover, designed by the incredible Iaroslava Rud (i have a serious crush on her work; go look!) knit in nature spun sport with the yoke in all shades of stone soup fingering—WOW.

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is that not spectacular?

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so yeah, we love this shop and we love the people that work there (david tried on my pedal pusher cardigan and received much feedback on how hot he looks in it).

anyway, after several staff members traveled here for a sweater fitness class in february, yvonne decided that they should being me over to pittsburgh to teach yarn voyage for the staff—i loved that idea!

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yarn voyage is jam-packed with cool information that i think is essential for anyone that knits or spins, especially those who teach or work in a shop. but i don’t run the world, so i have to be patient and wait til it occurs to knitters and shop owners to take the class themselves.

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and ideally, this is the kind of shop that you want to go to—where the staff is connected to the global community, they choose products they care deeply about, and they are  continually learning and applying new skills in an effort to serve you better. so next time you are in pittsburgh (you might be dropping a child off at college soon!), remember to visit natural stitches

well we just had the best day—i’m so happy we went and i hope we can do it again. it felt good to get out of the office for a bit too—it’s summer after all.

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after class was done, a few of us went out for fortification before laura and i headed home. a refreshing cocktail tastes so much better at the end of a good day.

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nice food is always good as well and i think everyone around the table enjoyed their local selections

as we headed out of town we chatted enthusiastically about all the great ideas we’d tossed around with our friends; that’s another thing i love about getting out and about.

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i settled in to knit with the last few remaining minutes of daylight . . . i’ll be back soon to show you what i’m working on next.

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