Archive for May, 2008

in flanders fields . . .

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

oh how i wish i was! i yearn for a trip like that . . . with bicycles . . . it’s been too long since we really traveled. but here the poppies are a-poppin’ and flashing their dressup skirts, so it’s almost as good (at least, that’s what i’m telling myself).

and apparently, there is plenty more where that came from

these are david’s favorite flower (and one of mine too) so we have as many as we can fit in our small areas of bright, hot sun. some day we will have a field for them, but not here.

still, we manage to make it seem so. the area near the garage that faces the backstreet is our one spot that receives bright sunlight and is dry. everything we throw back there flourishes, even though we hardly pay attention to what’s happening. right now, in addition to these gigantic poppies, our eNORmous sage shrub is blooming

and the wooly thyme makes a dense carpet i could only dream of for the beds closer to the house

lavender grows to great heights and we even get volunteer cherry tomatoes there, regenerated from gardens past. unfortunately, the only view anyone gets of all this wild splendor is when leaving the parking lot of the doc’s office across the way, but still, we like that it looks nice for them. if only we could do something with the front of the house. everything we try out there pretty much fails. it’s too shady and the ground is a dense network of tree runners. we try—we really do. and some day, we might just hit the right combination of plantings that make it look lush and cared-for.

so, because i was out planting in the garden til dark last night and then at the computer til pretty late, i have very little more knitting than i did yesterday.

i did not get as far on my mitt even as i’d planned

and now i am spending a beautiful afternoon inside, trying to catch up a bit. hopefully i’ll get enough done that i can get back out and plant the things i bought yesterday (i might have had a little accident with my credit card at lily of the valley farm, where i went with beckie yesterday after work, “just for the ride”. wait til you see what i found . . i’ll take pix once it’s all in the ground and i get some weeding done).

luckily a box of blog fodder arrived in the mail today from lis and jodi at one planet yarn and fiber—samples of some new lines they are carrying as well as some old favorites i’d never tried (such riches—thanks you two!).
so because i don’t have much knitting progress, i thought i’d show you some yarn.

first up are Kaalund yarns from australia. these two selections just cry out to be little nothings. there is a ball of beautiful merino laceweight 2-ply

a soft, cushy, classic yarn in a subtle colorway called glass house.
then, the luscious Enchanté, a cultivated silk 2-ply in a yummy yummy mix of orangey-pinks called guava.

i’ve been wanting to organize some silk knits for the summer, so this really sets me up, along with this next gift, from their handmaiden line.

now most of you might have noticed that i’ve never knit with anything handmaiden.
i KNOW. i’ve admired it believe me, but never indulged myself (see? i can be good).
but, all that is about to change.

that peridot skein there? is going to be a big scarf i’m gonna use it ALL for a wide, long scarf that we could bring along to an air-conditioned joint when we wear a sleeveless dress on a hot summer night.
or, you know, you could stay home and just wear the scarf with no worries about it being too warm—it won’t stay on long . . .

and as if that wasn’t enough, they sent some of this swiss cashmere silk to make a wrap in the fall. now, this we have to be careful with . . . this is dangerous.

the color is a little more muted and neutral than it appears in the photo. promise me that if you get some of this, you will lock it up. otherwise, it’ll go blind from too much fondling.

they also included some of their artesano alpaca yarn, which i somehow did not get a picture of, but next time i promise.

and lastly (i’m telling you, the box is bottomless), from be sweet yarns (you really should click that and read about this amazing company), a nice, cool, organic cotton/bamboo blend yarn that is dyed with lo-impact dyes.

i chose the denim colorway and now i wish i had asked for enough to make a summer top. it’s super-soft and feels nice and cool—it would make a great skirt, too.

lis and jodi always go to great lengths to work with companies that are easy on the planet, are doing good things for their employees, and offering products that are unique and safe to use. their shop is a special gathering of yarn lines that you might not see anywhere else, so if you haven’t been there yet, you are in for a treat.

ok, back to the drawing board for me; i owe a mitt pattern to jocelyn and michelle, and if i’m good i might finish in time to go out and enjoy the day (thankfully, i have a big window in front of me).

Caterpillar Sock

Friday, May 30th, 2008

everyone’s favorite friendly bug marches along the leg and foot of this cozy sock. the easy-to-memorize pattern makes this one a good take-along project.

shown here in yarn nerd 950Mhz Merino sock yarn, in colorway wooly bear (left), and monarch (right). adam is offering kits in both colorways, complete with pattern and enough yarn to knit a pair; click here to order.

to purchase pattern or obtain complete pattern information, please click here to order or view the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

debbieKnitter was smitten enough to be cajoled into test knitting along with me, thank you very much.
and rachel as always rose to the task of proofreading with enthusiasm; thanks rachel!

(i know. that one is almost too cute, but i couldn’t resist asking david to do it. i tell you, the man has no limits)

i had nothing. i thought.

Friday, May 30th, 2008

if i had blogged in the last two days i would have shown you the progress i made on my wooly bear sock. as it happens, i got all caught up in negotiating a lot of non-knitting stuff (which is never good for my mood or my blog mojo), and ended up each day too late and not having anything blog-worthy.

i mean i knitted, but mostly on the big secret thing i can’t show you right now.

however late night knitting was somewhat fruitful

and now i have two completed caterpillar socks, one in each colorway. i know adam is nearly done dyeing yarn for the kits (only a few left last time we talked!), so it looks like we will both be ready at the same time. i really wanted to post the pattern last night but we ran into some trouble during the photoshoot.

there we were out in our yard at sunset, each of us with one pant leg pulled up, and one crazy (but wrinkle-free) sock on one foot, bending and twisting every which way to get some great caterpillar sock photos, while keeping our feet in attractive sock poses (heel up! foot arched! it’s really not easy to get a guy to do that).

yeah, we ended up with a couple blurry ones. and we reinforced our neighbors puzzlement about what exactly is these people’s fascination with their woolies about, that they need to take so many darn pictures of them, and what’s with the weird poses? is it something obscene, maybe? (to their credit, they were desperately trying to ignore us but it was futile). and why don’t they ever seem to be going off to work?
we just happened to hit prime time for spying on the neighbors yard maintenance and they were out in droves.

worse though, the light was a little strong for the yellow in the yarn and we got some too-strange results overall. the two colorways don’t seem to want to play nice when photographed together. back to the “studio” we go this afternoon and hopefully, i’ll have that pattern to post this evening.

or earlier if i can, because these arrived in the mail today

the rest of my eggplant and pepper starts; i’ll need to get those in the ground this evening too. and i really should do some cleaning of the beds while i’m out there. if there’s time.

ok, a word about my mail carrier. as you know, i adore her, but here’s another reason we should all love her.

the other day she was delivering yet another box of yarn, this time from michelle at the sweet sheep (i’ll show you in a sec), and marveling at how much more mail comes and goes and how thrilled she is about my business. she starts to head back to her mail van, and then turns.

“hey”, she says, “you didn’t by any chance get broken into last week did you?”
“no!” i said, “and i hope i never do.”
“oh good”, she said, “i was driving through the area on my rounds the other day and i saw a pickup truck with a spinning wheel in the back and i know you have a couple, so i got concerned.”
“oh well,” i said, “our local fiber show was this weekend and it was probably someone headed there.”
(here, my mind began to form images of a wily thief sneaking out my front door on tip-toe with my merlin tree wheel clutched to his chest—nonchalantly of course—trying not to raise any suspicions)
“and,” i added (trying not to smile), “it’s not the kind of thing most people would steal; hardly anyone actually knows how to use one.”
“you’re probably right,” she laughs, “but if you do hear of any stolen ones, i have the license plate of that truck.”
“wow, krystal, that is so great of you, thanks!”, i said.

seriously, how can we not love her?

so anyway, right now i have myriad small projects on the needles and one big project. most of the smaller ones are second socks that i’m working on in class, and whenever i go out (i hardly ever go out). and i pick them up here and there for late night knitting. but really, nothing new and interesting.

so last night i decided to fix that situation. i opened the box from the sweet sheep, which i knew held a bunch of sample of michelle’s new sock yarn, sweet socks

and wound off a couple of colors to experiment with for the fine-yarn version of the leaflet mitts (which i knit last week in catherine’s worsted weight yarn).

michele offers two put-ups of this squishy, soft, lovely sock yarn—regular sock skeins and humongous 750-yard skeins for shawls and bigger projects. you know, because sometimes, more IS more.

i started with that melon pink, which is awesome, but i really had my eye on the shamrock, which fairly glows with inner light and has been flirting outrageously with me since the first time i glimpsed its online photo (i’m serious).

so i decided to save the pink for another project and knit with the green. i worked out the mitt pattern for two yarn weights yesterday, so i can test the pattern as i go, and send it off to jocelyn, who is anxiously waiting to use it with her newly-plied handspun (and if you click on her link and go to her blog, she has a tale of two test knits there, featuring two very special knitters).

i got through some swatching for needle size and knit the cuff before calling it a night. so for those of you who really wanted to see this mitt in a nearly-solid colorway, here you go

i think i can finish one of these tonight (after the garden and after working on my big project).

you know, i didn’t think i had anything to say today and no knitting content. hehe. just goes to show how well i can go on about nothing.

ok, one last picture. sorry it’s a little dim; david took it through the window

this little fella lives in our back yard. we see very few bunnies here; there are too many cats, skunks, and possums, i think. but this baby appeared last week and has been hanging out. he loves our weeds, especially the clover that grows in the lawn. he doesn’t even flinch when i bang in and out the back door. we can sit there for half an hour together, but always when i don’t have the camera out with me (natch; he’s no dummy). but if i cough or clear my throat he takes off. i like him a lot.

but hear this: the minute he decides that my garden is a feast for him alone, he’s history.

UPDATED TO ADD:
just a quick note to say that i was in a pretty crappy mood last night and this morning and i absolutely did NOT feel the bloggy spirit. but now that i did, i feel SO much better and happy. i think that writing helps bring to mind all the humorous notes of the day, helps put things in perspective, and brings me face to face with the fact that things really do balance out . . . . thank you for bringing such a lot of fun and peace to my life!

shifty

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

tired of working plain stockinette with strong self-striping yarns? here’s a pattern that adds a bit of interest for a nice change of pace. a shifting twisted rib with great stitch definition that stands out against, but doesn’t fight with, a great colorway.

shown here in twisted fiber art arial, colorway batty

to order pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to view the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

many thanks to manon for a wonderful test knit . . . she’s a champ!