Archive for August, 2009

weekend wrap

Monday, August 31st, 2009

the green beans i planted just before i left for sock summit are flowering—if the weather holds out, we might have a little crop of fresh beans before any frost hits. if the weather holds—it’s chilly here and last night, the air was positively frosty after midnight (and it looks so springy in the photo, right?).

tomorrow it will be september—wow. it already feels more like october; we’re wearing long sleeves and sweaters in the evening. actually, it’s kinda nice that the calendar still says august, haha.

i had a great weekend, how about you?? i spent a lot of time knitting this weekend and it felt sooo good—just what i needed to right myself. my energy was really lagging all last week; it seemed to be taking forever to recover from traveling.

besides finishing up my gray maze sweater and the nightingale stole, i finished a little gift knit and started a wrap in the snuggly, luxurious road to china light sport yarn from the fibre company (compliments of kelbourne woolens). by spending most of my weekend knitting time on that, i managed to get the first half done and the second half started.

mmmm. this yarn is positively addictive—it’s a yak/camel/cashmere/alpaca/soy blend (which explains how easy it was to seclude myself with it all weekend) that has a halo of differently-dyed fiber so that it offers up a luminous, iridescent glow in the light.

my colorway is grey pearl, which has a faint halo of blues and yellow-gold (and is, unfortunately, very difficult to photograph). but in some of the colorways the halo is quite distinct. karolyn, who test knit the piece, made hers in a gorgeous tomato red with tones of gold—just incredible. this will be a wonderful fall wrap and we’ll be showing you a lot more of it soon (it’s knitting up so fast i can hardly believe it).

i love the mix of stitches in this piece so much that we’ll also be knitting up a triangle shawl to coordinate in another fibre company yarn called canopy—a bamboo/alpaca/merino blend that is a little lighter-weight and drapier. i’m hoping to get that piece on the needles this week.

yesterday morning we met again for spinning class. not all that much new there—my bobbin is a little more full of very fine cashmere/silk singles

i am spinning this quite finely but it’s going a lot faster than i imagined it would—the chasing rainbows fiber is so beautifully prepared that it spins like a dream. i always forget what a pleasure it is to spin silk; it’s so smooth and pleasing in the hands . . . it feels even more luxurious in fiber form than in yarn.

what i didn’t do this weekend was work in the garden—note you haven’t see that for a while—and i probably should have. oh, i got some picking done (that’s pretty easy), but the beds could really use some cleanup and sorting. we had torrents of rain for a couple of days though, and i just didn’t feel like mucking around amongst the soggy mess. now that it’s dried out a bit, maybe i’ll get out there one day or evening this week. it just needs a couple of hours of attention—some dead-ish plants need pulling—i could use that space to transplant some okra

it’s funny—i transplanted the red okra into the ground before sock summit and those plants are doing only so-so, having been found yummy by insects. i had some extra little starts that i threw into the lettuce boxes just for somewhere to put them and those took off beautifully. so now they have outgrown the boxes and will need some ground space.

if i pull a couple of squash plants, that will make plenty of room—some of the squash has stopped producing, having fallen prey to powdery mildew or something, and some of it is still chugging away nicely

once i got the huge squashes cleared out, it took about a week for the plants to start putting out new squash but there they are—plentiful as ever. it’s nice though; since we had a little break form squash for a few weeks, i’m actually craving it again (and there are knitters to feed, hehe).

the tomatoes might be petering out now—while i picked several baskets at the beginning of the weekend, there were not all that many today (or, maybe the cool weather has just slowed things a bit). they might be taking a rest, or they might be retiring for the season—time will tell. at any rate, there are certainly a few plants that are done and need to be pulled.

the eggplant are going through their usual late-august rejuvenation period—now that the japanese beetles are gone and and the air has cooled a bit, they are putting out voluptuous new leaves and flowers, free of holes from munching bugs.

so we’re ending a little break where the fruit was kinda small and sparse, and i expect they’ll be back to regular production soon. i grew four types: these very dark purple indian ones that produce a long, narrow fruit with pointed ends which cooks very quickly (great for stir-frying); the miniature “fairy” type that grow fruit the size of eggs, literally, and have pretty, light pink buds

another miniature type that produces (excuse me, ladies) long, hard fruit with rounded ends. and then the regular large purple globe type. all are putting out leaves and buds like mad and a few flowered this morning

we should have an abundance of them in a week or two.
if the weather holds—i’m not kidding, it feels like it could frost before the middle of september this year. bummer—i love that we eat from the garden into october most years . . . on the other hand, the freezer is jam-packed with vegetables, so we have plenty in the event that the party ends early (but i’d so love to cook a dinner fresh from the garden for kim when she arrives on october 13th for a pre-rhinebeck visit . . .).

in the meantime, my most pressing garden concern shall be what to make for dinner tonight and will i have time/energy afterward to roast some more tomatoes and eggplant?

honey baby

Friday, August 28th, 2009

each new arrival deserves some fanfare—the songs of bees in the fields and ssh-ssh of summery grasses are gathered here in a soft shawl that provides just the right comfort and protection for a sleeping babe or toddler. knit in dreamy colors of superwash fingering wool, this piece will travel a little one’s life for years to come as a treasured token of childhood.

shown above in woolen rabbit essence merino fingering yarn, colorway what’s up, buttercup?

kim at the woolen rabbit is offering a kit that includes yarn (choice of four delectable colorways) and pattern; click here to order.
visit kim’s blog to see her beautiful blanket in progress, in colorway bodacious blossom
(shown below)

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

my friend kim at the woolen rabbit has the BEST ideas—she approached me in late spring proposing a baby bee blanket project for a special gift. i had often thought about reworking the bee shawl pattern into a baby blanket, but hadn’t got my mojo up for it. then she put . . . well . . . a bee in my bonnet by talking yarn and colors and then there was a new nephew arriving for me and she said she’d test knit and off we went on a magic blanket ride, each of us finishing just in the nick of time (well, she will, anyway, if we all send good knitting karma her way!).
thank you ever so much kim; i probably would’ve put this one off til who knows when if it wasn’t for your encouragement—and it turned out to be so much fun.

BTW, kim has several new and luscious yarns in her delightful shop, including one with cashmere—go take a look!

and now, let’s see a few more photos . . .

mental health friday

Friday, August 28th, 2009

with just a little paperwork that HAD to be attended to this morning, by 10:30, i was able to tell myself enough—it was all caught up enough that the rest of the day could be spent knitting (there is all of next week to work, honey).

i finished up the seaming on the gray maze sweater and washed it to block—it’s drying on the porch now.

who says that stitch patterns don’t pop in dark yarn?? i just love this one—i’ve been wanting a charcoal gray sweater for years now and finally i’ve finished one. this will get tons of use—it’s light as a feather so it will work for several seasons of the year (i’m one of those people that wears sweaters from september to mid-june).

once i was done there, i sat down with the next piece that was nearing completion and by 2pm

my blue yarn cake was down to its last strands. after tucking in a few ends and measuring it up, i put it on to soak for a while while i checked email, talked to my friend vanessa for a bit, and did few things around the house (not like cleaning or anything, heh).

BTW, i just discovered that all of a sudden, all the comments are going into moderation before being emailed to me. i’ll look into why, but if you don’t see your comment right away, i’m still trying to figure it out . . . and it will appear as soon as i remember to look for it (which i haven’t had to do before so it’s not on my schedule exactly).

anyway, after an hour or so, i rinsed the stole and got to work stretching and pinning it out.

pretty! this is the superfine alpaca lace yarn called holding from a verb for keeping warm in colorway nightingale (not shown on the site, but very close to colorway dusk).

i know . . . you want to see that edging pinned out right?? i hear ya—i’ve been waiting months to see it myself; the thought of it has kept me knitting into the wee hours every night this week.

because it took me so long to knit (my fault and no one else’s; i’ve allowed myself too much distraction this summer), the pattern has actually been ready for some time—it’s all set to go except for some nice modeling shots, which we’ll take care of as soon as the stole is dry.

i can’t wait to try it out . . . now, what pin should i use with it?

it blocked out to a more generous size than i anticipated—not a lot, but nice, since i ran out of yarn before i finished the number of repeats i predicted i’d need. all’s well that ends well though; turns out that the 1085 yards i had was just right for the size i was aiming for. now that’s the right way to end a friday.

ok, that’s enough now; can’t spend the rest of my mental health day on the computer . . . if i leave now, i’d still have at least 6 more to knit hours before i need to hit the sack. yay.

the crafty man

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

It is by losing himself in the objective, in inquiry, creation, and craft, that a man becomes something.
– Paul Goodman

every once in a while david surprises me yet again with a new venture he has undertaken. the other day when my knitting class was on the way out, we found a box on the doorstep from endless, an online dealer of shoes and handbags. of course we giggled a bit about david ordering a purse and i quickly forgot about it.

then last evening while i was writing my blog post, things got awfully quiet in the next room and i wondered what he was up to. when i went through to get a coffee refill, i saw him all set up with supplies for putting together a pair of . . . well, shoes. hmmm.

and of course, my first reaction was, “can i take your picture—pleeeeze??”
(he just laughed and shook his head—why not? anything for the blog . . .)

david has actually been sewing a bit here and there since childhood, when he first asked his mom to show him how to work the sewing machine. he always mends and alters his own clothes; i don’t know that he likes it so much, but it’s a task that needs to be done and he’s capable of doing it himself. every once in a while he takes up a little craft project that involves sewing just to try something new or interesting (one year, he made me a sock monkey for christmas).

i dunno how he managed to run across a kit for making one’s own shoes (well, he’s a heck of a shopper for one thing; not like me), but once he saw it, i guess it captured his interest. and here he is, stitching shoe parts together, hahaha.

it’s apparently not as easy as the package makes it sound (oh, really??), but the parts do look sorta nice, so i’m looking forward to the results. i’m pretty sure though, that no matter what the package says, it’s going to take him longer than one afternoon to get his shoes.

i spent the morning roasting tomatoes for the freezer and getting through some email and paperwork. we’ve got the maze sweater pattern in production now and it’s well on the way to being something we can pass off to the test knitters.

i’ve been so busy that every day i don’t notice til evening that my calendar needs to be changed (i just put it on tomorrow’s date to get ahead of the game a little). i’m dying to start a few new projects but i really really need to feel more caught up on paperwork before i lose my mind. almost there—by tomorrow, i should be able to plan on knitting all weekend, yay.

this evening, beckie, susie, and debby came over to knit, which was an awesome break. we had a quick little dinner from the garden of ciambotta and bread, with pie for dessert and then we all got down to business. beckie ad susie are working on top-down cardigans, debby is knitting socks, and i worked on sewing in the sleeves of my gray maze sweater. i didn’t quite finish that up but i’m almost there.

speaking of which, i am closing in for real on nightingale and i’m pretty excited. i’m feeling like i have only about one more repeat of the pattern left in my yarn cake. we’ll see; i’ll put in a couple of hours later tonight on that and try to get to the end.

see what i mean? once you can see light through the yarn you know you’re in the homestretch. i’ve been putting in some serious late-night knitting time on this project and i think it’s paying off. i might even be blocking this piece by saturday (me hopes so!).

but all that late-night knitting has it’s drawbacks—it’s really hard to get up in the morning when i stay up til 4 am. i was on a great schedule while traveling of going to bed a bit earlier and getting up at sunrise, which i liked. but now that we’re home, we’ve gone right back to our night-owl habits, which don’t suit me as well, i’m finding. my energy during the day has been terrible. i’m going to have to work on that.

the other night i spent the evening working up a little baby cap to send my SIL nan, along with some yarn and instructions so she can copy it. i used some briar rose grace, a 50/50 wool/bamboo blend left over from the tudor grace scarf i knit last summer.

i thought it would be a fun switch from doing just socks. i wrote out a pattern as well, but she gets a lot from looking at the knitting, too. i have to be careful here—baby stuff is so fun and cute and quick, i could totally see myself falling off the deep end and not resurfacing for a while. and i have other things to do right now—i have to save that urge for another year. better to teach mom to knit them i think (though i am having daydreams about knitting a boy-sized whitfield jacket . . .).

today i got a package myself—before i left town in early august, i had discussed with michele at three bags full that i wanted a little tote made from a specific fabric i saw online. she took a look and agreed that she could make one.

it’s just the right size to fit inside my bike basket, so that when i do errands, my stuff is protected from dust and rain and motion (no more DPNs scattered on the road, haha). i wanted something bright and fun to take to the market or transport knitting projects—it fits perfectly.

i have a thing for inner pockets and fun linings and this bag does not disappoint

just the kind of ironic touch i love, hee-hee.
michele’s work is just beautiful—i have several of her project bags and they are made with the nicest quality i’ve seen. she uses beautiful beads for the zipper pulls and her stitching is always so well executed. she has a variety of different-sized bags made up is wonderful fabrics in her etsy shop. these bags were also featured at the dye dreams booth at sock summit, in case they look familiar.

well, i think that about wraps up everything i have to share today—time to go finish nightingale.