Archive for the ‘food and garden’ Category

busy city

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


last week i mentioned that we were heading out to participate in a large wine and food event downtown and what an adventure it turned out to be! first of all we made new friends all over the place.


i mean, who can resist doughnuts, especially those made by peace, love, and little donuts? and doughnuts with wine?? well, i’ve learned—that’s how we do things in canton OH, haha.

just after setting up our pretty booth, a big storm rolled in that spattered everyone with rain throughout the evening. in fact, at one point the tornado sirens went off and they cleared everyone off the street to get inside under cover.


no matter; it didn’t last long and afterward, everyone came out ready to party. the event was absolutely PACKED and the rain just made everyone duck under the tents to congregate around the booths—perfect. and we got to have fun too—i tasted a few wines that i really liked, my favorite being fagus, a grenache that comes from a 90-year-old vine. it was very dry with a wonderful clove scent. mmm-mm.


of the non-wine offerings, this was my personal favorite—chocolates by erin. this is what i brought home for a treat at the end of the night.

what a fun event; we didn’t sell a lot but we gave out tons of cards and invitations to our grand opening party next weekend (which i jokingly refer to as the GOP).photoShoot09_17

once vintage canton was over, we all had to scurry to get everything finalized for our september purple club release. we had a very specific look we wanted for the photo shoot, which required just the right kind of streetscape. i love the way everything turned out, thanks to david and sarah and our models quentin and sheyanne.

and of course there is no rest for the wicked—as soon as this month’s samples were off the needles, it was time to get serious about other projects that have been queued up, including cooking for the week ahead and catching up with things around the house.


i’m not joking when i say i’m still picking tons of beans every few days; they just won’t stop. i picked three or four pounds of them on sunday and since they were a bit big, just roasted the whole lot (thank you cathy). some i coated in sesame oil with chile garlic sauce and some coated in truffle oil, salt, and pepper. these were ziplocked away into the freezer for future meals.


meanwhile, i had some smaller ones i’d saved aside from the previous batch to make a big pan of those stir-fried beans i showed you last week. i could eat those every night; we had them on sunday with salmon, fresh dug, crisp-roasted potatoes (jealous??), and fresh sweet corn.


yeah, the potatoes are gonna be the next tidal wave—we have so many out there and they did SO well this year that i’m actually a little frightened. every time i go out to dig some, i get all i need from one or two hills—these took longer to hose off than they took to dig, haha. we might have to store them right where they are and dig as we need them; i don’t think we have room anywhere to keep them in the house.


I’ve spent a good deal of my “free” time in the last week on swatching—in addition to several secret projects in various stages of planning and knitting, i’ve got some gorgeous birte DK from spirit trail fiberworks with which to design a new scarf/cowl in time for jen to release it in her booth at rhinebeck.


i love this sludgy dark blue-gray, the color of an oil slick. it’s called bog shadows; isn’t that appropriate? i found a pattern i liked right away—one big motif with a cable running right up the center. it’ll be so striking but SO simple—just the thing to make a few of for holiday gifting.


along with that dark color, jen also sent this rich, ocean blue that fades in some areas to teal and olive; another winner. and look—jen has a BUNCH of birte on her sale page right now, many colors still have two left (which is what you’ll need for a nice sized scarf with some leftovers)


i’m also gunning right along on my colorwork projects for fall classes—this is one version of my new mass transit cowl which is being released the first weekend of october. i’m knitting it in one colorway of briar rose fourth of july along with two shades of stone soup DKmarble and granite. next i’m going to knit the exact same pattern with the same colors, but in a different arrangement and i think you’ll be amazed at what a big visual difference that will make.

(these are awfully fun projects . . . they make me want to abandon all my responsibilities, run away to a remote cabin in the woods, and knit every variation i can think of for the next month or so from just these two patterns. does that make me a bad person??)


i have my boilermaker cowl (also a future release) knit to the point where i really need to add a third shade, but put it aside because that shade has not yet arrived from the mill. i  might just go ahead and work with another one; trying to decide . . .

our plan is to make everything available during the yarn in the barn event weekend. if you can’t make it to michigan, we’ll bring it to you at home—we’ll offer kits right here combining our undyed bare naked wools with chris’s beautiful fourth of july in four different colorways so you can knit along with us from home.

i’m excited—are you excited?


and finally, needles are in the shop—both our retail space and our online store. and if you want some, you better get them before i cannibalize the rack—i’ve already taken one pair (to knit my second cowl!)

emily and erica are going through the website a little at a time to add links to the pattern pages for the right needles along with yarn suggestions.

we are all working hard this week making final preparations for our grand opening days next weekend—i hope you’ll try to stop in if you live nearby. i promise it will be worth it; we have some awesome door prizes for one thing. we’ll be drawing names every hour, but you have to be present to win.

alright now, somebody said something about working g hard and that would apply to me too—i better go over to the office and see where i’m needed.

also ran

Sunday, September 7th, 2014


did you ever have one of those weeks when you felt harried and frantic to keep up the whole time but had nothing to show for it at the end?


the nice thing about blogging is that you actually end up with a record of your activities—it’s not to say they are all productive but at least you can account for your time!


we finished out last week with an incredibly wonderful friday at massachusetts museum of contemporary art—AKA massMOCA—where david, my mom, my cousin, and i explored the installations, sculpture, and paintings throughout the buildings and grounds.

i love this kind of place, where the history of what the buildings used to be provides a pervasive and insistent background to my experience of its new use. the ability to display REALLY large artworks at the proper scale is just astounding; we were overwhelmed at every turn.


like this hallway/ramp left intact from takes you from one floor to another—it looks like a mineshaft. i swear i can hear the strain of carts creaking their way up from ground level heavily burdened, then the clattering rumble as they return to be reloaded.


the rest room was one of our most favorite works of art, with its rough-welded, black steel stalls and long work sinks.


halfway through our day we took a break to share a picnic on an outside deck—my mom had packed sandwiches, salads, and fruit. the weather was spectacular.


after that we explored the boiler house and anselm knifer annexes, both fascinating. this is my favorite photo of the day; isn’t the light just beautiful there? david and i were equally transfixed by the atmosphere in the boiler house.

wow; it was just so great to have a chance to visit this place. we don’t have anything like this where we live now and it’s one thing i really miss about NYC—the privilege of stopping in just anytime to world-class art exhibits.


on our last day, my mom and i took a ride to nearby middeburgh, NY to shop at the produce farms there. since our tomatoes are not very productive this year and i hadn’t seen any bulk tomatoes in ohio yet, i thought i might have more luck buying a bushel there to take home and put up. i wasn’t wrong.

i could have bought a carload of that eggplant—it looks so good! we picked up a variety of vegetables and fruits for dinner and to fill my mom’s fridge, plus my bushel of canning tomatoes and few big heads of garlic for planting later in the fall.

my mom had been worried that all she had for dinner was lentil soup, but by the time we added fresh sweet corn, sautéed bok choy from my cousin’s garden, green beans i’d brought from our garden, and some left over pasta, there was plenty, haha.


the next day we packed up our car and headed home with supplies to fill our labor day with end of season kitchen chores. those hours in the car were our last quiet rest hours for the whole week, i think.

first thing the next day i got myself out to the garden to see what needed picking—that would be everything. plus i had left some tomatoes to ripen on the counter while we were gone. even though my friend barb had been over to pick beans on saturday, there was a full basket to get in on monday. good thing i got out early, because the rest of the day was rainy and dreary—perfect for spending time in the kitchen.


even though i had a backlog of desk work to do, this is the time of year that when nature calls one must report for duty.

i thought it would be quicker work than it was though; it ended up taking all day to get those tomatoes peeled, cooked, and puréed.


but SO worth it. i think we now have plenty stored up for winter sauces and other dishes.


any tomatoes we get from our own garden i plan to roast and put up a little at a time, like this pan of garlic-and-oil roasted heirloom tomatoes. i had enough here to make some calamari sauce for dinner and put a carton in the freezer. i have another batch that’s ripe now which i’ll cook with green beans freeze for side dishes.


speaking of green beans, we had the best dish the other night, based on a suggestion by ellen—blanched beans, drained and cooked in oil til they char just a bit. i used sesame oil and added a tablespoon of red pepper chile sauce at the very end—fantastic; we gobbled those up. i could have eaten just that for dinner i think!


also on the way home from albany i finished knitting the bocce hat i brought for a travel project to alternate with my secret knitting project. i had washed it when i got up and while i cooked, it dried.


now it can join the others in waiting for its photography, which hopefully will be happening this week (left to right, bocces in vegan yarns fifo sport, ecobutterfly organic pakucho cotton, and studio june springy sport). once we have photos, we can release the pattern.


whenever we travel, we always have our mail held at the post office and when we finally got it on tuesday, there was a package containing a sample of stephanie pearl-mcphee’s oatmeal stout cowl, knit by our dear friend cherie in three shades of our very own confection worsted yarn.

stephanie designed this cowl, and infinity scarf, and some fingerless mitts with clara parke’s new CVM yarn, but before steph could release the pattern, the yarn was sold out (cuz clara makes gorgeous stuff that everyone loves!). she kindly mentioned that our confection would be a nice substitute, so we asked cherie to knit one.


that stephanie is always right about yarn and knitting—confection is lovely knit into this design, because in addition to being soft and squishy, it has beautiful drape—perfect for achieving those plump warm folds we like for this kind of cowl. and we have a good range of shades to play with—use three or five, whatever.


we also are just about ready to add the sport weight of this yarn to our shop pages, in case you like a lighter accessories. i think we’re just waiting for the last couple shades to arrive from the mill; we’ll be sure to announce when it’s available.

meanwhile erica O has started an oatmeal stout KAL in our bare naked wools group on ravelry. if you’re a fan of cushy yummy QUICK knits and a fan of the yarn harlot, why not grab a pattern and join us?

oh, and did i mention i was signed up to run a half marathon today to round out my week? yeah and right up to the last minute, i wasn’t sure i’d be able to participate—i’ve been rehabbing and ankle injury and back to running for only about a week.


i had to decide by yesterday what i was going to do—sit another one out, switch to a shorter race (there was a 10k as well), or stick to the half and do it as a walk/run event if need be?

the thing is, i REALLY wanted to participate in this event—the entire course was run right in my neighborhood; these are streets i run every time i go out—it was my race! so i bit the bullet and committed to the whole shebang.


i got up early and felt good; my ankle was a little stiff, but i had no discomfort and no pain. the morning was quite cool (low 50s) but looked to be the start of a real beauty of a day. i literally only had to walk about ten blocks to the start line, so i got myself downtown just a little before 7:30 when the race began. i had decided beforehand that i could walk whenever i wanted and told david i would turn around and head back at the slightest hint of trouble. after all, i knew i would never be very far at all from home.

still,  i was nervous.

and guess what?? i didn’t have to do any of that! i started at a light, slow (for me) pace and felt great; omg, before i knew it i was at the halfway point and i hadn’t even really thought about the fact that i was running the whole time, i was enjoying myself that much.


i actually didn’t even walk once, which is a major breakthrough for me; i ALWAYS have to walk just a little. i think starting out with such a cautious pace was really good for me, even though it’s very hard for me to do when i’m feeling tip-top. it’s so easy to start out too fast and wasted my energy at the beginning. not that the end was easy or anything, but i made it in great time, considering everything and i learned a LOT.


only a few minutes slower than my usual half marathon time—plenty to be happy about there. i placed fourth in my age group, just shy of a prize. but i got my reward—i am BACK, haha.

on the way home i had an overwhelming yen for baked macaroni and cheese; but no energy to make it. fortunately i remembered there was a wee, single serving dish in the freezer from the last batch i’d made.


well, a happier girl never there was; color me content.

Garden Inspired Knits

Saturday, August 30th, 2014


Most of you know Anne has many passions that drive her creative force. Anne appreciates beauty in every form and finds a lot of inspiration in nature. Her and David’s garden is a labor of love every year, no matter the size of crop.


Anne likes to be up early in the morning to see what the world has to offer each day. New plants, flowers, nests, insects, buds and blooms end up spiraling in her head until they produce or inspire a stitch pattern.


Often the patterns get on the knitting needles immediately, and sometimes they sit in the Anne vault for months or even years until the right yarn comes along.



Anne thought it would be fun to start a trip down memory lane and highlight shawl and scarf designs that were birthed in the garden. She started a Facebook album, which will be added to over the next few days, and started posting pattern photos on Instagram with #GardenInspiredKnits. I thought it would be fun to highlight a few more here. Come…take a walk with me…


Lacewing is a faroese shawl with allover floral and fern patterns finishing with a banded insect motif just above the hem. It’s worked top-down, with shaping at the shoulders and an applied (knitted on) lace edging at the hem border. 


The shawl design was inspired by the lacewing,

Green Lacewing Adult

a delicate insect that is a great help in pest control for your garden. The name alone easily lended itself to a lace knitting pattern. Originally knit in Knitting Notions Class Merino Lace, this would be stunning in Chebris or Mrs. Lincoln’s Lace. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Frillibet is a triangle shawl


with a mix of leaf


and petal motifs that mimic a blooming hydrangea.


I think this is one of my favorite shawls because I find hydrangeas such a beautiful explosion of color.


I love going on walks through my neighborhood in June and July, seeing all the different shades of their blooms. Frillibet was originally knit in Malabrigo Lace, but I think it would make a stunning knit in any of the natural colors of laceweight cotton or  Fibre Co Meadow. For more, see Anne’s original blog post here.

Morning Glory is a wrap that pays homage to a delicate flower that only lives for a day.


Most morning glories unravel into full bloom in the early morning and they prefer bright sunlight. They definitely have an almost magical quality in their temporary beauty.


This piece is knit in a DK weight and I think it would be gorgeous in Stone Soup DK. It has such unique properties and when knit in lace it has a sophisticated rustic appeal. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Anne says Fruit of the Vine is the “essence of summer knitting—practically weightless, it takes up no space in a purse or tote. the pattern is simple to work and to memorize; with wrong side rows all in purl it is the perfect knitting for hazy, daydreamy summer evenings. come autumn, when mornings are nippy again, you’ll have a bit of sun-soaked color to wrap up with, mmm.”


The beautiful open work lace mimics a grapevine trellis, with bits of fruit poking through.


The original scarf is knit in a discontinued yarn,


but it would be suitable for several laceweights found in our online shop here. See Anne’s original blog post here.


Sonnenblume is full of delicate motifs that when all brought together in this cleverly structured semicircular shawl, it looks just like sunflowers.


To me, sunflowers are one of the happiest flowers – they’re large, hearty, come in array of gorgeous colors and resemble little smiling faces. Just this afternoon Padraig and I stumbled upon sunflowers lining a neighbor’s driveway and we froze in our tracks, smiling at their beauty.


Sonneblume was originally knit with Knitting Notions, but it would also be lovely in one of the soft organic cotton colors here or a Bare Naked Wools here. See Anne’s original blog post here. To view Anne’s entire shawl/wrap collection click here and to view the scarf collection click here.

Pop back now and then over the next few days on Facebook and Instagram and see more of Anne’s garden inspired knits. There’s an abundance of them! So I’m dying to know, which is your favorite garden inspired design of Anne’s? Tell me in the comments below by Tuesday 9 pm EST and I’ll pick two winners to receive a shawl or scarf pattern of their choice!

we get around

Friday, August 29th, 2014






to continue on the theme of finished knits, my friend susie brought her completed capricorn triangle to our monday knitting class. this shawl, knit in our cuddly chebris lace yarn, was the april feature of our 2014 bare naked knitspot club and members of my monday class have been working through it together over the summer.

janet finished hers a while back and i’m blanking on where debby is with hers, but susie is now the proud owner of a finished AND blocked copy of her own. and as you can see, she’s pretty chuffed about it, haha; what’s not to love about this photo?


debbie s. will be the next finisher—she’s been plugging away on the first half of her edging and was victorious in getting to the halfway mark at last monday’s class. seeing susie’s finished gave her a little something to look forward to (pattern is exclusive to club members until april 2015, but eBook memberships are available here; KAL for the project can be joined in our BNK rav group).


just that morning i had blocked a couple of things myself—one of them was my completed empreinte crescent shawl, knit in the beautiful forest mist shade of organic color grown cotton.


i am totally in love with this piece all over again—it is so different, yet equally fetching in light, refreshing cotton lace. and wow, so great to finally see it off the needles, huh?


i think this hem lace is one of the most stunning patterns i’ve ever had the privilege to knit—it just knocks your socks off, doesn’t it? it’s really pretty in the rectangular version too, where more pattern results in a piece with lots of wow factor.


and the edging, short though it be, adds that little extra-exquisite touch—again, its impact is amplified in the rectangular piece where it runs along the full length of the piece.

once it was unpinned, i got to play with it on the dress form


i had to fan myself a little bit when i stepped back to see it.


the drape of this fabric is so alluring and it does so effortlessly; you don’t have to fuss to make it look incredible.


just toss it on and fluff—talk about power dressing, haha.


i knit the smallest size of the pattern, using needles one size smaller than it called for (3.25 mm and 2.75 mm). i used less than one ball of the ecobutterfly cotton lace—about 450 yards/1.3 ounces; your mileage may vary. the piece blocked out to about the same as it did in the wool yarn on slightly larger needles; plenty large enough for a good sized scarf on me.

i am completely thrilled with the outcome!


on the same day i also blocked a sample scarf that karolyn knit for us, using the unusual purple fifo cotton lace that was shipped with the july installment of the passion club. an openwork celtic knot is placed at the back of the neck.


this cotton yarn grows in an extremely deep and rare shade that runs the gamut from the color of purple beets or carrots to a brownish mauve. we were very lucky to procure for our club shipment the most purple examples of its type—much more so that the heavier weight versions we have in sport, fingering, and worsted weight.


this yarn knits into a completely different fabric from the green and brown color grown cottons. with a fiber texture more like linen, the fabric is sturdy like denim and has the same propensity to be a bit stiff at first, softening with time and handling. the design is the rectangle version of the club project, knit into a fabric pattern inspired by bandana prints. this pattern will be released when the club pattern comes up for general release in november.


i knit a bocce hat from the fifo cotton in sport weight, which i also blocked and washed the other day, but forgot to photograph. i’ll do that when i get home; i’d like talk a little more about how the fabric opens up and changes with washing.

well, that was monday—we were to travel on wednesday and i wanted to use up the various vegetables we had in the fridge before we left.


so once everyone went home, i got to work in the kitchen on a curry. i think just about everything in it was from the garden except the tofu.


yum-yum; summer eating is so good! and the best part is that there was plenty to put in the freezer so when we get home, we can just thaw and heat for dinner.


first thing the next morning we hit the road for albany. as usual i drove the first half and david took the last half, which meant i was free to knit til we got there.


i brought a few different projects along, but the one i worked on in the car was my third bocce cap in our kent DK yarn—i’m trying to get a few samples knit in different fibers so we can have a variety for the photo shoot.

i finished the brim and did my increase round, then changed needles for the body. i always enjoy passing that milestone; even though the size grows a bunch all in one shot, my hands love changing to larger needles and a looser gauge.


with the ease of a more flexible fabric, the body pattern just flies along—lots of stockinette and a pattern that begs for more rows to be added. by the time we got to albany and settled in, i was well into the hat body.


i worked on a different project that evening, but the next day, i knit on it while i checked email and ravelry and later when we went to the movies, i put on a few more rounds.


and on today’s trip to massachusetts, i got a bunch more done—i’m almost ready now to start the top decreases.


today i finally did some running after almost a month of rehabbing my ankle from its mysterious injury. i’ve been biking a lot to keep in shape while it heals, but have been hesitant to run or even walk on it, since the last time i tried, i had a backslide with it. i figured this would be a good time, while i was away and getting more sleep and some relaxation.

so yesterday i went for a good four mile walk and today i did a mix of walking and running, finishing with two miles of running. the roads near my mom’s place offer some nice shady woods as well as neighborhoods—there are even trails leading into the pine bush nature area to explore. often those are way too muddy to navigate when i’m visiting, but today they were good and dry. it felt great to be out there again; i’m hoping i can keep it up. so far, it still pain free and i’ll try again tomorrow. unfortunately, i’m fairly certain that next weekend’s half marathon is out—a big disappointment since the race route takes us along all the streets i run nearly every day; i was really looking forward to it.


yesterday we went with my mom to the movies in the afternoon and then to a terrific photography exhibit in the evening at the albany institute of history and art. i really enjoyed that; if you live nearby, it is well worth checking out.


then today we were lucky to take a trip with my cousin to massMOCA museum of contemporary art. this was such a treat; one thing i really miss about living in NYC is the access to world class museums. i’m going to tell you all about that in the next post as this one is getting too long now, but i do want to show you one beautiful thing i saw today (among many others)


this adorable doggie named flannery, who stole my heart when she posed so readily for my camera. what a charmer! we had a wonderful day filled with art and my head was just about to explode with visual excitement by the time we left.


back at my mom’s place, we made a nice dinner of fish and vegetables, including—guess what?—green beans from our garden, which we all enjoyed.


now it’s time to join my mom and david in watching a movie (we sort of glut ourselves on AMC classics when we visit, haha). i’m working on a secret project this evening; let’s see if we can sneak up on it to spy . . .


drat, not quick enough; it heard me coming and zipped itself up tight. a sure signal that it’s time to stop typing and go knit. see you soon.