summer fine

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though it’s been mostly chilly and rainy over the last few days, i did manage to get this sunny photo during a rare break in the clouds.

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as i stepped out the back door on my way to the store the other day, this little butterfly was so intent on exploring the marigolds that it allowed me to get really close up to take some pictures.

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i hovered above, snapping every few seconds until i got the money shot for you (it didn’t take long).

the garden is just buzzing with butterfly and bee activity these days. our neighbors got a hive in the spring and we are visited by their honey bees as well as a host of bumblebees, wasps, and other types.

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the result being plenty of good eating for us. i just collect produce daily until i have enough to make something and then spend some time in the kitchen on rainy days cooking it up (more on that later).

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i was kind of tied up with other matters on friday, when we opened our little retail space to customers for the first time. i ran over in the morning to “check in” and sarah put me right to work figuring out a solution for displaying our buttons more prettily, haha.

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and of course after that, it was one thing after another, tidying up this corner and that, trying our different ways to display samples and merchandise. sarah concentrated on getting all the structural pieces in place first and now we’re working on warming things up with loads of luscious samples. it’s a work in progress, so to speak.

during our first weekend, we enjoyed visits from friends who drove in from an hour or more away, as well as some who live more locally. it was a lot of fun to chat with everyone who stopped by. we’re really excited to begin having classes and yarn tastings soon.

all of this evolved so quickly that we’ve barely had a moment to really plan how it would look; one minute there was a beehive buzzing in the first floor of our house and then next thing we knew, we had an offsite space for it. and then the possibility of making a shop presented itself—well, it’s been a whirlwind month, alright. we’re pulling our look together as quickly as we can . . .

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next weekend we’ll be open during the same hours—please stop in if you are in the neighborhood for any of the hall of fame events. we are just a block or two off the grand parade route on saturday morning and only a few blocks from the hall of fame itself—come on over and say hello!

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this weekend we were also excited to be sponsoring a running event here in town! the hands for hope run was a benefit to support TIQVAH, an after school program here in canton that provides students with new learning experiences, a place to do homework, and support for making positive choices as well as healthy snacks and meals before heading home at the end of the day.

i was SO excited to run in this event and wear the shirt with the knitspot logo, but as luck would have it, i developed a bit of tendonitis in my ankle on thursday that took me down. i had to be content with cheering everyone on at the start line, pout.

i also had to sit out the pigskin run on sunday morning, a hall of fame race. thankfully though, my ankle seems to be benefitting from the rest; it feels LOT better already and i’m thinking that tomorrow morning i should be able to go walking on it, weather permitting. if that goes well, then i’ll try some easy running on wednesday, or a run/walk pattern. i don’t want to take any chances; i have a couple of big races coming up later in august and september that i definitely don’t want to miss.

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late last week i finally got my new pedal pusher cardigan into the wash for a good wet blocking.

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wow did that go nicely! the sweater blocked out perfectly to the exact size it was meant to be, both in width and length.

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and the fabric looks awesome—knit in our 100 percent corriedale confection worsted—i can’t get over how consistent and smooth it is.

and with hardly any encouragement either; i washed it in the machine on the hand wash cycle in a mesh bag, then just shook it out and laid it flat, smoothing here and there.

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this is what a beautifully balanced yarn will do for you.

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i was a little behind on getting the pockets knit up, so once i had them done, i soaked them separately in a bowl of soapy water and pinned them flat to dry on my pressing bench.

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once i figured out where i wanted them placed, i stitched one on during my class this afternoon (i still need to steam it) and will do the other on wednesday night, i think.

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i love how it looks with the pockets applied and they’ll be so useful. they totally turn this cardigan into a jacket i can run around in for a good part of the late fall and winter. with a great scarf or shawlette at the neck and a slouchy cap?? so much more comfortable than a big coat, especially in the car . . .

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doesn’t it look great form the back? the fabric has such nice drape; the consistency really shines in this view.

and i used just a little more that four skeins of yarn. while technically it’s a worsted weight, which sounds heavy, the springiness of the fiber makes an airy yarn that goes a long way and produces a garment that is light and very breathable to wear.

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now i just have to decide on the buttons. i’m down to two options—these cedar ones that i love, but which might be too big and a bit rough for the buttonholes. or some bone ones that are kind of a marbly greenish gray.

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i’m kind of leaning towards these because they’re so smooth and then also, you know how i love the hand-me-down-from-grampa look.

i decided to give it some thought while i worked in the kitchen this weekend.

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there was a lot to do—on the one hand, i had a sink full of vegetables which i wanted to turn into a pot of ratatouille.

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and on the other hand, a tidal wave of green beans to square away (these are all from a four or five foot run of climbing beans that matured in just the last few days).

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when i woke up yesterday morning to the sound of rain steadily drumming on the roof, i knew it was the perfect day to spend in the kitchen, starting with the vegetable stew. i cut up each selection into nice chunks and sautéed each one separately before adding to a pot of simmering tomatoes

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from eggplant to peppers to onions and squash, the dish progressed until it was a full pot of deliciousness that just needed some seasoning and fresh basil added. mmm.

while that simmered, i put a big pot of water on for blanching the beans and got to work taking the tops off. thank goodness for audiobooks when a tedious task is at hand, right?

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before long they were all cleaned and ready to go and once you get to that point, the rest is but a few minutes work getting them blanched and into and ice bath afterward. i ended up with three bags of plain beans and two cartons of green beans in sauce for the freezer, plus one carton of green beans in a vinaigrette for our dinner that night.

which we also ate with our little harvest of green peas. i had planted just a few feet of pea vines to see if they would grow undisturbed by rabbits. squirrels, or birds. lo and behold, they did. we only harvested one meal’s worth, but next time i’ll do more.

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tonight we’ll eat that ratatouille with some cod fish and another night, we’ll eat some with pasta. about half the pot was divided into two containers for the freezer; in january we’ll eat that and pretend it’s july again, hehe.

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i have more blog fodder, including the results of testing the sport weight confection yarn, but i think i’ll save that  for the next post. i don’t want to get boring on you . . .

17 Responses to “summer fine”

  1. autumnsky says:

    The sweater is lovely! I would go with the bone buttons :)

    I’m so excited for you to have such a wonderful little shop to showcase all your lovely yarn! I do hope that one day I’ll be up in your area and can drop in for a visit.

    Donna

  2. Josee says:

    The shop looks great and so does thst corriedale.

  3. Paula says:

    We used to sit in the back seat of grandma & grandpa’s Studebaker, riding along shucking peas & snapping the tops off beans – would go through grocery bags of those in July – guess we were cheap labor!

    Pedal Pusher is just beautiful, so simple & classic – I’d go with the bone buttons, simple.

  4. Barb says:

    Love love love the sweater…..and the beans look yummy….can’t believe how large they are. Maybe a drive by thru the alley and I could pick those you can’t reach…haha

  5. Hattie says:

    Love how the shop is turning out! So awesome!

  6. Jo Morgan says:

    What a cornucopia of beautiful things–the knitting, the butterfly, the colorful veggies! Sorry about your ankle–I hope it continues to improve. Maybeit’s saying you need a little rest.

  7. Lanafactrix says:

    Oooh green beans. That is what I’m buying at the store next time I go. Green beans and new red potatoes, om nom nom nom nom!

  8. Alhbooks says:

    The garden produce is beautiful but I’m especially taken with the PedalPusher. The hard warmer pockets really give it extra personality! I need to get some Confection to play with before much longer…

  9. josiekitten says:

    Those French beans look delicious. For some reason, we haven’t managed to grow any this year. I wish we had!! Another vote for those bone buttons too. It’s a great sweater.

  10. Karen says:

    Love the sweater and can’t wait to visit your new retail space!!! Road trip from Cleveland!!!

  11. Susan G says:

    Love Love your garden Anne!!!Wish I had the space for all that yumminess. I think my Jack Russells would be unhappy if I took away some of their backyard space. Question for you – the lace sweater in your blocking photo – is that your design? If so, which one? Love that as well as the one you just finished. I hope your ankle is feeling better!!

  12. Ruth Ann says:

    I love the Pedal Pusher sweater, and the side entrance to the pockets is a great idea. I like the bone buttons, too. Wonderful post.

  13. donnag says:

    Pedal Pusher looks so comfy! I vote for the bone buttons, too. What’s the tease with the lace sweater?:) I love that one, too! I hope I’ll get to visit the store sometime, be sure to keep it well-stocked:) And you are inspiring me to make a big pot of ratatouille. Hope your ankle is feeling better.

  14. Bertha Mallard says:

    Congratulations on opening your retail space. The knitters in your city are so lucky to have their own LYS.

  15. Alison says:

    Sigh…I could knit the rest of my knitters life with only your yarn and patterns. Can’t wait until I’m in the area to see your store in person. For now, I’m settling in with my Bare Naked Knits club projects and enjoying the group of humpback whales that have occupied our Monterey Bay, close enough to shore to hear them vocalize.

  16. Lynette says:

    I love, love, love your PedalPusher cardigan along with your new yarn. Can’t wait to get my hands on both pattern and yarn.

  17. Helen says:

    What? No “Knitspot” olive on the shop walls? It would give you just a punch of color.
    Congrats on the shop opening.