Archive for July, 2009

nate

Friday, July 31st, 2009

third in the series of socks dedicated to our guys, this sock is named for chris’s son nate, a key player in the briar rose team, making sure their beautiful website runs the way it ought to. i picked this pattern for nate’s sock because it has a 1940s vintage feel that fits his offbeat sense of humor. the orange was all his idea, but i have to agree, it makes for fun knitting.

shown above: size medium in briar rose grandma’s blessing, a superwash merino sport yarn, in colorway, 9058a.

shown below: size small in briar rose nate’s sock yarn, a delicious 2-ply merino sport, in colorway, 104.

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

chris and i are SO excited to be going to sock summit—it’s been many months in the planning and now we are on the verge of meeting at the event (many hugs and squeals are anticipated. and some beer, please). please visit our booth (817-819) to see chris’s beautiful yarns and socks (and sweaters and shawls!). she will have all of her fibers available, as well as patterns for these socks and much, much more.
ronni, who has been piloting a big move from texas back to california these last few weeks, has also managed to squeeze in some proofreading and other essential work; she deserves a big hand. we are also excited to be seeing her next week at SS!

and to david, our model—thank you!
i must apologize for having so few photos this time; we were on a deadline with this sock and i shipped them off to chris before i realized we hadn’t done a full photo shoot. but here are a couple more, anyway . . .

friends don’t let friends run out

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

kim is my total hero.
i ran out of yarn around 2:45 this morning—which was fine, because i had to stop and go to bed at some point. and not 7 hours later, the mail carrier arrived with another skein in hand.
just look at that match—kim is a wizard.

she even added a little present to the box—a skein of bambino in wood rose and a beautiful hand-sewn project bag.

for anyone who has been wondering or asking—and can i just say how cool it is that you have SO much faith in us, based on two blobs??—yes, indeed, there will be a kit for the Bee Blob Thing (it will have a real name) available through the woolen rabbit shop as soon as we can share all the details (probably mid-september). i believe it will be offered in three colorways: my color (which needs a name!), bodacious blossom (which is the color kim is knitting with), and her new sea dreams colorway.

so yeah—we need to name this colorway here; kim has left it up to me.
unfortunately, i’m not coming up with much; i liked someone’s suggestion that is looks like squash blossoms, but that’s kinda close to kim’s color name
and you are always so helpful with this

leave suggestion in comments (try to avoid links if possible, since that sends your comment into moderation). we’re looking for a fun, cheery, name, related to the color in this photo (such as, if anyone knows a slang phrase for “squash flower”, that might be cool).

in other news, first thing this morning a big truck pulled up outside and ejected several hunky men on our front walk. along with a bobcat.

it’s finally time for us to get new front steps—i thought i’d never see the day.
our steps have lots of character, but they are a hazard, especially with people coming here regularly for class. they are also very difficult to shovel and de-ice, being so uneven. the stoop and walk have been high on my list of things to fix for some time.

it’s been a really interesting journey to this day—we started shopping for estimates about a year ago for this job, making appointments with probably ten to twelve contractors. maybe four of them showed up to get measurements; only two actually gave us estimates and just one was someone we felt very good about.

why do contractors make appointments and not show up? or come to take measurements but send no followup or estimate? it just seems that, aside from wasting my time and putting a bad business card out there, it’s a total waste of their time to come out, look at a job, and not follow up. if they don’t have time, why do they waste it this way?

anyway, we did find someone we like (through a good friend who is a great builder) who is competent and courteous AND who—most importantly—started the job today.

(david has bobcat envy—he was totally glued to the upstairs window while they pulled the old concrete out)

they got all the old stuff pulled out today and the ground leveled (we have problems with tree roots). everything looks like it’s just about set for the concrete to be poured.

it’s been a satisfyingly noisy and productive day. now they’d driven off somewhere and it’s quiet, at least for a while. i think i’ll go make my acquaintance with that new skein of yarn.

after some lunch, that is . . .

more of everything

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

nothing all that new around here, but plenty to fill every minute of the day. i keep picking and picking stuff and the next day there’s more. thankfully, my friends are happy to take lots of it off my hands. i just can’t believe how much food is coming out of that garden this year.

and not likely to stop any time soon. i hope everyone believed me when i told them to help themselves while i was gone . . . otherwise, it will be a mess of rotting produce out there when i get back.

i can’t believe how much the okra transplants have grown in the two days they’ve been in their new home—they’re almost doubled in height. i started them from seed in a bare spot in the asparagus bed and it took quite a while for them to get to the size i thought was healthy for transplanting.

that, together with the fact that the asparagus is the one thing that’s not showing spectacular success, which makes me think we need to do something in that bed to get it up to speed. norma got hers going with rock phosphate, but according to our soil report, the phosphate is already high, so i hesitate to do the same. hmmmm . . .

i may have to grill david on what exactly he did when he aneded the soil in spring; he may have skipped that bed because it had plants growing in it—this would explain why it’s like last year’s garden only in that area.

obviously, it’s raining here today. we did have two pretty warm days in a row, but nothing like some of you are having. still, enough to get the tomato ripening jump-started.

i’m kinda glad it’s cooler today, because i need to cook up and put away some of these vegetables. i’m thinking a nice pot of ciambotta will be just the thing to take us through a few meals in the near future. and i’ll roast up some more eggplant for the freezer while i’m at the stove. and i still have some beets to prepare for the freezer. i just can’t let myself fall behind on the produce.

yesterday i ventured out to the doctor’s for a check-in and on the way back, i took a few minutes to stop by a goodwill i had passed many times. i’d heard it was good so i stopped to investigate. i was looking for shirts and i found a great one, along with a few brand-new long-sleeved t-shirts (which are a staple for me).

then i scored something i didn’t even think to look for there. as i was turning from one row of shirts to the other, i noticed to my right a whole aisle of just baskets. in recent years i’ve trained myself to avoid these aisles because i can be a real sucker for junk.

but wow, now i am the proud owner of awesome garden baskets for the sum of just $2. my old plastic ones (the kind that come free with plants) have been breaking one after the other and i’d been putting off searching for something better. these aren’t just better, they are WAY better and cheaper AND recycled, to boot. nice.

meanwhile, on the fiber front

i did manage to get up early on monday morning, so i finished spinning my gold cormo. i even got it plied and put on to soak before class got started at 10 am.

it dried really well over the last few days. it’s so soft . . .
i had some singles left when the first of the three plies ran out so i dug up a couple of bobbins holding other orphan singles and just for fun, spun them together to finish them off

here’s the gold cormo plied with some leftovers from a sock yarn i spun last fall—it will make a great accent yarn when i finally knit those socks. i love the way the gold pops against the dark gray.

after the gray was gone, i joined on some leftovers from my 3-ply rhinebeck yarn, in hope spinnery fiber.

so lots of nice new yarn to add to the stash. i’m not at all sure what i’ll knit from the cormo but there’s plenty for a nice scarf or a mitts and hat set. that might be nice to go with my newest sweater . . . nah—too matchy-matchy. but maybe with jackie . . .

anne marie and beckie came over last night to hang out and anne marie finished spinning her coopworth fiber while we talked. so we are both all set now to start a new spinning project after the august break. beckie worked on her sweater and again, i totally forgot to take a picture (too bad because it’s really pretty).

i have been VERY faithfully focused on the Bee Thing in my knitting all week. i’m really close to being done with the body of the piece and finishing my third skein of yarn

look how big it’s gotten! not scary-big though; i am assured by all the experts that no one ever wished for a smaller one of these. kim sent out a fourth skein of yarn yesterday that should arrive just about the time i need it. i’m always surprised at how much yarn a square piece uses; i need to get better at estimating these.

here’s a second photo of it, using different a light setting—i’ve been feeling a little like i’m not showing the color fairly because it’s really somewhere between these two—and the variations are beautiful in both. it’s probably actually closest to this detail photo

which someone here very accurately described as the color of peach melba yogurt. and it is just such an ambrosia of color flavors.

while i work on the Bee Thing, i’ve been putting some heavy thought into what i’ll take along on my trip. i’ll be gone a total of 16 days (i KNOW!)—obviously, i’ll need a lot of knitting. i was poking through the stash today, to try to narrow down my choices—why i thought THAT would help, i don’t know; i felt rather dizzily manic when i left the workroom.

i have two nate socks already packed and nightingale. i have another stole project i need to get going on (i might even start that tonight if i run out of bee yarn). but i don’t want to bring too many big things. i’m thinking about mitts and more socks, a neckwarmer, and ideally, i’d LOVE to have a little lace scarf along (or two). but that sounds like too much, doesn’t it?

we’ll have to talk about all that tomorrow. as with other things around here, the possibilities are truly mind-boggling—i don’t know if i can think about them all at once . . .

breakfast of champions

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

every morning is a good time for a fiber fix, but sunday morning is the best time here, because that’s when my spinning buddies arrive for our weekly class.

i finally remembered to actually take pictures, too—i always take the camera out, then we get talking and i forget to get photos of what everyone is spinning.

that top photo is linda’s finished singles from the bump of briar rose BFL purchased at wooster in may—a beautiful gray/taupe/with a touch of mauve mix, something like this one.

she was all set to ply it today and by the time class was finished she had one bobbin full

just one more to go.
barb has also been working her way through a big batch of the same fiber in the same colors, but more intense (more green ad more plum)

they are like shades of each other; it’s really cool (especially since barb and linda sit next to each other). barb is spinning a 3-ply that she plans to knit inot a sweater—right now, she’s thinking jackie—you can see her stockinette swatch there. the yarn shades so beautifully in allover washy shades; it’ll look great in that tweed fabric.

as it happens, almost all of us are finishing up current spinning projects (though none of us actually finished them today, heh). sadly, not in time to get a medal (or even the lanterne rouge) in the tour de fleece (heaven forbid we’d be that organized).

anne marie insisted i photograph the last bit of a very big batch of coopworth fiber she’s been spinning into sweater yarn for a couple of months (remember when they all laughed at how long it took me to spin my BFL sweater yarn in the winter??).

she bought it in maine last summer (where, ironically, she is headed again at the end of this week). i think she’s just about had it with the dark brown though.

i had high hopes of finishing up this gold cormo fiber from briar rose (not on her site, but you can find it in her booth at fiber shows) this week and i got really close. i’m almost ashamed that i stopped when there was so little left to do—just a handful there

but, like everyone else, not quite guilty about it, haha (if i hadn’t been talking and taking pictures, i might’ve made it . . .).
actually, since i’m writing my post tonight instead of tomorrow, i’m thinking that i could get up early and finish it before class in the morning—that might be a really nice way to start my monday. i could take my wheel out into the sun porch and finish the singles at least; maybe even get it plied.

i’d love to get this yarn washed and hung before i leave—that way, when i get back i can start on a fresh new spinning project. i have a batch of light brown finn fleece that i’m dying to get my hands into. if i don’t get the cormo done tomorrow, then maybe one night anne marie and i can try to finish our respective projects while visiting, thus clearing our wheels for starting a new one when we get back.

i’m not ignoring susan—she is spinning a wonderful batch of romney/mohair that she purchased on our trip to the woolfest in june. but my pictures of it today were a disaster—we’ll get some nice ones next time to show it off.

now it wouldn’t be spinning class if anne marie didn’t model a sweater, would it?

(she’s saying she wants it bigger and we’re telling her it looks cute that way)
aww, we’re just teasing her . . . we get it—it’s a jeans sweater, it should be loose.

as usual, class ended all too soon. i had a very quick breakfast that i loved (picture my eyes rolling with delight when i say that)

now, you don’t need to ask me for the recipe because there isn’t one, but really, this couldn’t be simpler. heat some olive oil in a pan, scramble two eggs, and shave a bit of cheese. toss a couple of big handfuls of greens into the hot pan, fold until the greens are wilted, add pepper, pour the eggs over them, top with cheese and cook about a minute. fold it all up and flip for another 30 seconds or so, then eat it. yum.
and the vogue knitting was pretty good, too, yay.

once i was fortified, i went out to the garden to clean up a bit, do some transplanting, and take care of the tomato plant issue.

the last of the bok choy had bolted so i pulled it out and transplanted my okra starts in those rows

i cleaned out the lettuce and spinach boxes so i could reseed them, and prepared the space where the beets used to be for some green beans.
i figured that since i’m going to be away for a couple of weeks, whatever i start now would have some very healthy, undisturbed growth by the time i get back. beans grow fast and i might have a nice batch to pick by mid- or late september
in the boxes, i planted a few spare okra seedlings and some romaine lettuce (that’s my favorite).

after that, i wanted to avoid the tomatoes for a just a little longer so i cleaned up around the greens

unfortunately, i have not figured out any way to keep the summer squash from, well . . . squashing them—yet. you can see in this next photo that the squash plants, which i had hoped would climb up the back fence, are instead bearing down on the greens like an angry mob.

(this is one reason i spoke of pulling them out—there is just so much of them, in every way)
while i was exploring around the squash, trying to size up its prunability (i’m thinking no, but if anyone has tried this successfully, let me know!), i rediscovered the volunteer tomato plant that rooted itself in the spot where it was least likely to survive.

right at the base of the old tree stump, where i can’t even get a spade into the soil. apparently, the stump is not completely unlovable as i have always thought.

once i got all that done, i had to face the moment of truth—lopping back the tomatoes.
and wow—way to go blog! so much good advice that conflicted—seriously, you were split about half and half with utter certainty on each side—i love the conviction with which you argue though.

and in the spirit of not wanting to choose between you knowing that both sides are almost certainly right, i went with a cowardly diplomatic hybrid approach—i did it both ways

lopping the tops off the plants did not entirely appeal to me, to be truthful. however, the ones that toppled over this past week in the rain suffered quite a bit of damage in the form of bent/broken limbs, which by today, had begun to sport yellowing leaves. so those, i cut down.

and then there was this one cherry tomato plant with really REALLY long vines that were tangled up in everything and had tomatoes only very 18 inches or so—well, i got so frustrated with that one that i cut it back quite a bit. mostly out of annoyance, i admit—it was momentary, though.

the rest all got trimmed of non-fruiting suckers from below or along the sides of the vines. along the way i discovered some bottom yellowing that was suspiciously NOT like storm damage (i.e., the spots were coin-shaped and had brown centers), so i got busy cutting all that away wherever i found it, too (and later we applied both rotenone for insects and liquid copper for fungus/blight).

and where yesterday the tomatoes looked like this

tonight, after six hours of pruning and coaxing and primping
and after FOUR large wheelbarrows full of vines went to the compost pile (or wherever david made away with them)

they now look like this

with lots of space for air to circulate around them and for the straw underneath to dry in the sun.
(but i’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed that they will stay healthy—this is the time of year when trouble can start).

they are chock full of plump tomatoes that’ll be ripe just about the time i leave for sock summit.
sigh—just my luck.
i really hope there are more when i get back.

the pepper plants that were buried underneath the avalanche of tomato vines are breathing freely again. hopefully, all is back on even keel out there for at least a bit.

and i think now, it’s time to knit.