fruits of summer

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, food and garden

dogwood06_17

SO nice to be home again—and to be in one place for five weeks straight. with summer in full swing, it’s time to enjoy what the season brings us. dogwoods were in full bloom when erica, emily, and i went to one of our city parks this week for the final immersion club photo shoot.

if you are part of the club and haven’t downloaded the chapter yet, you must go see—emily is gorgeous modeling our last blue project. and if you missed out on the blue club, please consider joining us for pairings—it promises to be lots of delicious fun.

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speaking of delicious, it’s that time of year again when there are so many yummy foods right at our fingertips that we can hardly manage them all. first up, strawberries and you have to get those right away if like me, you want to freeze enough for winter. so the day after i got home from DC, barb and i got ourselves to a grower and i bought two flats. at home i set up a production line to get them washed, topped, and into bags to freeze. i remembered to keep some aside for a pie; i like mine with rhubarb and i plan to bake one or two tonight.

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we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw they also had peaches in from south carolina—last year they were available much later. i bought some to eat, but i know now that i should plan to be freezing a batch before long, if they are coming in early everywhere.

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with so many distractions pulling me this way and that, i am trying hard to stay on schedule with my knitting and design work (but summer fever lurks at every turn!). when i left for DC, i was up to the armhole bind off on this pullover project in our hempshaugh fingering yarn, so i left it behind to save space in my bag. once home tho, i was determined to finish it up so i could wear it. last night i blocked the pieces and today i started the neck finish during our morning sweater knitting class.

wait til you see it done—the fabric is surprisingly shimmery. it’s going to look great with my shorts (that i haven’t started yet, HA!).

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our garden is exploding with goodies as well and growing faster than we can keep up with. the greens grew about a foot while i was away last weekend! believe me though, i am thrilled—it wasn’t that long ago that we had trouble growing plants this thick and lush. they are badly in need of more thinning—a task for early tomorrow. the good thing about getting that job done is that we will get to eat some baby greens this week.

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not that we’ve been starving; we’ve been eating from the garden as often as i have time to cook. here we have asian greens, thai basil, and cilantro . . .

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with snap peas, garlic scapes, spring onions, and mushrooms (those, we bought). with some ginger and tofu, we’ve got a fantastic stir fry meal; you can’t eat fresher than that, mmm.

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and here’s another fresh item—a new little scarf pattern, in stone soup fingering yarn (mmm, SO soft and squishy). aren’t those little leafies adorable in the marble shade? i had two other projects packed to take to DC but i cast this one on just before we left—you know, in case i needed it. well, lucky me because guess what?? i DID need it (thus reinforcing my compulsive overpacking of knitting projects for travel). see, i would have preferred to work on those other projects but everywhere we settled down to knit, it was very dark. and those projects were dark too, so they just didn’t work for me. thankfully i had this one along and made excellent progress on it. and now i know the pattern by heart so i can take it even more places; it will be finished in no time.

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this is one of the darker projects that got sidelined during my trip. it’s a sweater for david and for the next ensemble collection too. it’s a remake of a favorite sweater inking him years ago, this time in the mussel shell shade of our kent DK. it’s the perfect guy sweater in the most subtle of patterns that looks like woven fabric. just enough texture for him, just enough entertainment for me not to slit my throat from boredom—it’s a win-win.

funny, i had hoped to knit, oh, at least two sleeves over the few days i was at the trade show (dream big, i always say). as you can see, i did not (i know, what was i thinking??). in fact, we barely sat down the whole weekend, logging over eight miles each day; when did i think i was going to knit? most of my scarf knitting i did in the car on the way home, knowing i had to have something to show for myself this week, haha.

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well, i’m home now and happy to be here for a while. i met with my sweater knitting class this morning and they are rocking right along on the whitfield shorty—the perfect first sweater project; it has all the parts and shaping of an adult sweater, but in a manageable size. paula is having so much fun with hers (and is so far ahead) that she even bought yarn today to make a second one. go team!

trees06_17

it wouldn’t be right to complain about all the knitting i have to accomplish and then run on and ON about nothing so i’m going to stop now, but i wanted to share this one last photo with you—isn’t it cool? it looks like a group of druids gathering on some misty scottish moor, but actually, it’s just a garden area in our park on a very humid morning. so pretty.

sights and sounds

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing

cityArch06_13

we’ve been traveling again!

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over the past few days we’ve had the wonderful fortune to see, taste, and experience one of the most diverse cities in the world.

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we’ve got so much to share, from stunning architecture and decor

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to otherworldly art

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and design (and designers).

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a fun aspect of our trip was that we had some free time to explore the city we were in and we made the most of it.

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today we head home full of ideas and inspiration.

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and while maybe just a wee bit tuckered out,

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excited and looking forward to what’s next!

see you when we get there!

say cheese!

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden

pizzaErica06_01

everyone at knitspot central has been working so hard the last few months; now that the great lakes fiber show is behind us we have a bit of a breather, so the first order of business was to have a little fun and throw ourselves a pizza night.

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david and i prepared setups on monday for GF pizza shells, regular shells, and all manner of toppings. and since it was also doug’s birthday over the weekend, there had to be cake, too.

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everyone put together the pizza of their choice—erica is vegan so she opted for veggies-only, but made a matching one to take home to emily, who couldn’t make it to the party.

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i think doug was a little amazed at his pizza making success, haha; he might even try this at home.

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after supper was cleared away, out came the cake—chocolate with chocolate frosting, yum!

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doug showed us how it’s done by blowing out all the candles at once. of course we didn’t challenge him much by lighting one for each year . . .

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our weekend at the fiber show was fun—it’s always great to visit with the friends we see at these events. thanks to all who made the trip to our spot under the grandstands; we SO appreciate you finding us.

while not our regular spot at the show, our space was a nice size and we were able to display quite a lot from our collection of samples—everything from the spring and winter ensemble collections was on parade, plus much more. our spring and summer yarns, lace weights, and stone soup fingering were the biggest hits at this show.

our next show is the michigan fiber festival in allegan, MI; our booth will be in the big new barn from 8/19 through 8/21—mark your calendars!

illasCiesHempSleeve06_01

still working away on my illas cíes pullover in my spare time; i’m knitting my newest version in our hempshaugh fingering yarn, color buckwheat. we are restocked on most of the yarns that were sold out for little while after maryland, though a couple of those are already sold out again (thank you!).

i haven’t been able to work on this project as much as i’d like because i’m also knitting a secret project at the moment that’s a little time consuming (but SO worth it). that said, i’ve just about finished with this sleeve (#2) and after i bind off, i’ll just have the front to knit. and to be fair, this is supposed to be my relaxing vacation knit. but i’m chomping at the bit to get it done, too—i’m anxious to play around with those shorts i was talking about, especially now that the weather has turned so hot.

i also have several other projects started for the fall/winter ensemble that i need to prioritize before i get behind. i’ve been moving a little slow over the past week or two, but now that i’m feeling better, i think i’m about to launch into power knitting mode, haha.

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plus, there is always something hanging around the edges of my well-organized (HA!) work life to derail me. these luscious little lovelies are test skeins for a yarn that’s been percolating in my head for a while—literally something new and shiny. they came in one of the boxes with the most recent shipment from our mill.

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once i laid eyes on them, well, i just had to roll off a bit of each and do some swatching. i owe it to the mill to give prompt feedback after all . . .

when we get test skeins, i like to swatch them more or less equally in both stockinette and garter stitch.

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plus some kind of pattern stitch—in this case, i chose a lace pattern.

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they are a similar combination of fibers with one difference between them and the one on the right is spun a little finer as well. more about these as our testing progresses . . .

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it’s almost strawberry season where we live—still a couple of weeks to go, but our plants are filling up with fruits. still small and green, they are almost like fairy fruits from another planet.

lottos inspiration for our pairings club going on here . . . .

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peas are up and reaching for the sun and the fence to climb on. everything we planted is thriving so far except for the green beans—they’ve been in the ground a little less long and i’m still waiting to see if they will appear. i confess i’m a little worried that they haven’t sprouted yet and have ordered another packet just in case. not that i usually have to worry about having enough green beans, hehe.

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i tried a new (for me) experiment this year—propagating my own sweet potato plants. we usually get ours from our friend jeff, but he wasn’t sure he’d have enough to share this year (and has since come through with a batch for us; thanks jeff!), so i started on some of my own, since i still had a few nice ones from last year’s garden in the basement. even though i was a little behind in starting,i thought it was worth a trial run and i’m catching up fast since the weather warmed up.

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basically you stick some toothpicks in a sweet potato and set it in a jar of water, stem end up (kind of like sprouting an avocado). after a couple of weeks, little sprouts will grow from the top. when they get a few inches high, you cut them out and put them in their own jar to grow roots. the old potato will continue to offer several generations of sprouts; jeff usually gets enough for his own garden and more to share with friends.

we have a neighbor family whose kids seem intent on making friends with david; i thought it would be fun to offer them some space in our garden to grow these over the summer.

okay, well someone was making some noise around here about needing to knit more, so i think it’s the hour to make that happen; see you next time!