well, that was fun

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls

first of all, thank you all for your concerned emails this morning when our server was down; everything is back up and running smoothly now, phew.

and thank you even MORE for the enthusiastic response to the roger sock booster campaign to raise funds for claudia’s ride for MS. it is a rip-roaring success and we still have a few days to go—stand up and give yourselves a hand. if you haven’t read it yet, see yesterday’s post for more information; it’s super enabling, but in a good way . . .

wow, the weekend just whizzed by—so much to do before monday. i did a LOT of cooking this weekend (tomato sauce, a big skillet of curry, pasta with cauliflower) to get ahead on the week’s meals and already started putting some greens up in the freezer fro winter. once the garden produce starts rolling in, i need to devote a part of each day to managing the influx.

we worked out side a bit yesterday afternoon and evening—tidying up and reseeding places where we picked greens during the week. my dye bed (above and below) is a mass of flowers right now which the bees are enjoying in concert.

the hyssop and meadowsweet are in full bloom, bigger than ever, and the cammomile is right behind them, just beginning to flower. that area really could use some management, hahaha. for the last 5 years we’ve let it have its way until it is a tangle of tall, flowering chaos. i love the way it looks but it’s starting to overflow its bed and shade the lettuce boxes nearby. plus, the green santolina did not come back this year for the first time ever (normally it’s huge) and i’m wondering if it got choked.

i finally got some colorful annuals potted up for the front steps and around the outside doorways of the house—i’m very late in getting that done and though we found some good sales on them, the selection was not that great. must get out earlier for pretty plants next year.

the little time i had for knitting this weekend, i spent finishing up my secret project (it’s done) and getting re-acquainted with my other lonely, rejected WIPs

i added a few more repeats to the green scarf while we watched TV last night. it’s about halfway to completion now, maybe a tad less. that is, it would be fine at double the length, but i may have enough yarn to knit beyond that point.

i love, love the shivaya cashmere lace yarn i’m using—the color variations are so subtle that you have to have a bunch of fabric knit up before you see them, like washes of light over the surface—very pretty. and well, it’s cashmere—what’s not to love?

i started a new sock—the third in the “men behind our fiber pursuits” series

this is nate and though you can’t tell a whole lot about him now, you can at least see that he likes orange, heh. this one will have a bit of a vintage feel, a little like socks maybe my grandpa wore when he was young (not the over-the-calf ones, haha), with that yummy garter-y goodness guys like. it even has some openwork for a little offbeat edge, because i think that suits nate. and for some reason, this pattern makes me think of computer code.

i also started the dark version of the sailboat sock with the neutral lorna’s laces yarn.

but i haven’t even finished the toe yet, so no pictures.

today in classes i got back to work on nightingale in this blue-gray holding alpaca laceweight from a verb for keeping warm. i added a couple more repeats during the two classes—pretty good progress and it’s starting to look substantial now.

of course, just as my afternoon class was leaving, i discovered a mistake. i usually fix those right on the needles but after i took this one apart, i couldn’t seem to put it back together correctly. sigh.
so i did the only thing i could think of—i walked away.
we ate dinner and i checked the blog (it had come back up) and it’s waiting for me to come back now. hopefully the sts will have set so that if i do have to rip back it won’t be overly painful to pick up again.

fortunately, i have a great book to listen to while i sort that mess out. oooh, and i read another great book at the end of last week—loved that one.

okay, don’t get me started on good books; i’ll never stop. and i must—i have surgery to do . . .

roger sock

Posted on 48 CommentsPosted in patterns

second in a collaborative series of socks to celebrate the men behind our fiber endeavors, chris and i present the roger sock. roger is chris’s lovely husband and partner—many of you may have met him while stalking visiting the briar rose booth and your favorite fiber event

roger’s sock is knit in a fun rib-and-garter pattern that looks like a complicated cable but isn’t (and is much faster and easier to work). the deeply cozy texture is a pleasure to knit and wear.

now, the roger sock has another special attraction that i’m very excited to share. because it’s father’s day, i’m honoring my own dad by once again participating in fundraising for claudia’s ride for MS. for the next seven days (06/19/09 through 06/25/09) proceeds from the sale of EVERY roger sock will be forwarded to the national MS society to help claudia reach her goal.

so please, if you’re thinking of purchasing this pattern (or even merely toying with the idea) or have a friend who might want to buy one, doing so in the next week will mean another $5 for MS.
SEND ME TO THE POORHOUSE—PLEASE.

OH! btw, you must take a gander at the roger sock knit up my friend gail especially for today’s event—she’s rockin’ the sock in autumn oranges. gail is a huge supporter of MS as well—thank you gail!

just in case my shameless begging leaves you cold, chris has sweetened the deal by assembling an incredible prize basket filled with briar rose goodies (note the predominance of orange, the MS color) to offer as incentive. not that you need an incentive to give—i know you don’t.

on sunday, june 28th, one lucky purchaser of the roger sock pattern will be chosen to receive

a sweater-sized hank of legend, a shawl-sized hank of sea pearl, some grandma’s blessing for socks, a bump of her fabulous BFL roving, a shawl pin, and stitch markers . . . WHOA.

ok, now, back to the sock . . .

shown here, size medium in briar rose grandma’s blessing, colorway, 9027.

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

chris has embraced this sock project and fundraiser with such enthusiasm—it’s always a delight to see what she’ll come up with when i throw an idea her way. many more wonders await you in her online shop—please go!
ronni, my right-hand person, once again scoured the pattern for any little problem so that you won’t run into any—thank you ronni!
my friend anne marie test knit the sock as a gift for her dad (oh man, i hope he isn’t reading this, hahaha). many thanks to her and her beautiful knitting.
and my good friend beckie lent her lovely legs and feet (and sense of humor) for a modeling session.

i’m balancing as fast as i can

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

nothing—and i mean nothing (not even strawberry shortcake)—tastes better to me than fresh-picked spinach. i’m completely thrilled that we finally have a successful crop. i pulled up all the plants this morning, which amounted to about 2 pounds of edible greens from my 1-by-6 ft planting box. we’ll sauté these lightly in garlic and oil, maybe with slivers of that ronde-de-nice squash we picked yesterday to eat with baked potatoes and salmon. my stomach is growling just thinking about it.

(i can’t help it; i’m just a lot more into savory foods than sweets)

another way i’m going to balance my day is to knit in the afternoon. it’s been ages since i did, and the lack of noticeable progress in my WIPs is showing it. i was thinking about this while i was out in the garden this morning and i realized something important. knitting is my career now, but i still think of the actual knitting as a “treat”—something i’m allowed to do when all my other work is done. i’ve been caught in a mindset where i don’t feel like i’m “working” unless i’m at my desk. this was ingrained in me during the very short time i worked in the corporate world and it’s been hard to shake; for many years i worked at home or in other designer’s studios and had no problem viewing my tailoring and patternmaking as real work.

of course, at my desk, i can invent all sorts of “important” things to do, like checking email too often (and answering ones that could wait), looking at ravelry to see if anyone has questions, fiddling with patterns that could just as easily chill, editing photos, etc.

the same thing goes for my fitness routine, which i struggle to maintain now, after years of making time for it easily, every day. i used to see it as a non-negotiable, absolute necessity for healthy living. now, it makes me anxious to spend that time away from work. very unlike me. i have to re-teach myself to appreciate and enjoy the flexibility that i’ve worked so hard to create in my life.

it’s a little brighter today and i managed to get a few nice shots of the small projects i’m working on.

i wish the scarves were a lot longer than the last time i showed them, but i’ve only managed a few repeats on each. pompa, however little, had the honor of being squeezed and hugged at TNNA by sylvie, who created the pearl bison yarn it’s knit with. i just love the open trails that zig-zag across this fabric; it will read as a very decorative piece to wear with dark, simple clothes—the kind of accessory that changes an outfit a lot (so it’s a good one to bring on a trip where you can pack only one suit or dress).

like i said, i added a couple of repeats to my green scarf yesterday in the dentist’s office. i’m having a difficult time getting a great photo of the yarn color, which is an absolutely gorgeous grass green, with dashes of sky blue and gold tones to add depth. but when i take pictures, i’m getting nothing close. it’s either that or this

and neither one is very accurate. the top one is closer, i guess. trust me though, it’s even more beautiful in real life.
i’m still loving this stitch pattern—it’s just perfect for taking along when i might have a few minutes to knit. the motif is so easy to work and to recognize what row i’m on. and yet, the fabric is complex and very pretty, like i spend a lot more time working for it than i do.

my secret project is truly shaping up to be finished soon; i think i can get most of it done this afternoon and evening. which means i can then devote myself more fully to the other projects i have on the needles (like nightingale and the maze sweater), as well as start some new ones.

i finally got a nice picture of the sailboat sock today, too—you can see now that the little ripples that run up the foot and ankle look like trails left behind by the boats in the cuff. i had a little crisis over how to end the top cuff the other day but, thankfully i had students in the house for classes and they voted on a solution that works.

and i was able to finish it up. the sock is a little big for me; i should have knit the smaller size for myself. i thought working on 2mm needles would make them small enough but not so. when i start the dark one in the neutral colorway, i’ll know better.

we’ve had a very chilly, rainy week here—heavy rain, too (the tornado sirens even went off during spinning class last night). i have a bit of cabin fever, which might account for the sudden need to escape my desk. it’s trying to brighten up out there now, so we’ll see—maybe i’ll even get out for a ride to clear my head.

the garden loves this weather though—i think the tomatoes doubled in size

and they’re covered all over with flowers.
the eggplant is really spreading its wings now, too—the leaves are getting to be that large, majestic size that shades the fruit so well from the sun

i’m especially proud and pleased with the way my seed bed looks now—although everything did not germinate evenly (some of the chard varieties are really spotty), some stuff is doubling daily, it seems

the rapini (far right) and asian greens (far left) are doing their usual standout job, making me feel like a real gardener. and the beets are doing much better this year than last. some chard came up well and some didn’t—it seems to be a crapshoot every year with that. i have to be honest about something though—i’m not sure which chard is which, or which row is beets. they all look the same right now. the bright yellow chard is obvious and there’s a white one i recognize. but there is a chard that looks exactly like the beets at this stage so i’ll have to wait some more to find out which is which.

the weather has been just perfect for growing greens—cool and rainy for 3-4 days at a time, alternating with 3-4 days of heat and sun. they love it. this rapini might be close to the picking point—i’m waiting to see tiny flowers that signal it’s time. seriously, even if you have reservations about the taste, growing rapini is so good for your head that it’s a must. as it happens, we love it in a few dishes (like our favorite soup).

yesterday when i was taking pictures of the orange lilies, i noticed that the dark red ones looked about to burst open. when i went outside this morning, they had

and with that, i think i’ll keep my promise to walk away from my desk to knit. tomorrow, we release the roger sock and reveal its special purpose.

a day late and a berry short

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden

it was a real tossup today which photo would be the headliner, but i figured you’d probably really REALLY like this one. we’ve finally gathered enough of our home-grown strawberries to make something, so i baked some shortcakes using this recipe which was highly recommended by my monday afternoon knitting class. i added just a little sugar to the sliced berries and let them juice a little, whipped some cream, and while the shortcakes were still slightly warm, put together our dinner dessert. yummm.

this was today’s runnerup photo—honeysuckle. it’s only pretty and alive for about a minute before it starts to decline, so i made sure to go out in the pouring rain to take a few shots. it’s very, very wet today, but the garden is heedless and once i got out there, i took more than a few pictures because i found a couple of other things had sprung open

ooops, a few drops got on the lens, but no matter—the lilies are still striking in the dim light today.
over in the vegetable patch, more amazing developments

the squash, after a week of standing still are suddenly growing several inches a day.
we picked our first ones for dinner (they are about 6 inches long or so)

which david cooked up with eggs and potatoes—sooo good.
while i was out there i realized that if i don’t pick the spinach first thing tomorrow morning, it’s in danger of bolting already. i can’t believe how fast it grew—i have to decide what i’m going to plant in its place . . .

the conspicuous lack of bloggable knitting continues, although it’s not exactly my fault this time—the light in the house was so dim today that almost all my WIP photos were blurry. i have one decent one

of my finished sock. it really doesn’t show very much except the little sailboat motif that rings the leg. the photos of the red scarf progress were nothing but recycling material.
just think though—tomorrow we’ll be rolling in it.

i had a dentist appointment today which i completely forgot about until 30 minutes beforehand whereby i raced through the shower while david started the car—havoc to my work day (hence the late post), but nice for knitting; i added a couple of inches to my green scarf. do i have a picture? no.

last night i knit a whole big whack onto my current secret project (though i still didn’t finish, darn it). i was really hoping to be done with that by now so we could get back to regularly scheduled blog material, but it’s gonna be a couple more days, i think. everything is going swimmingly with it—i’ve just hit a slow patch. i keep saying i’m going to walk away from my desk at 6 pm to knit on it, but it has yet to happen.

tonight is spinning class, which was moved from sunday due to me attending TNNA. they will be here in 45 minutes, so i can’t tarry here. but i can leave you with flowers, how about that?

the first eggplant flowers unfurling.