all good things under the sun

marigold07_31

i can’t help posting another photo of our tall marigolds—i find them astounding. every time i look out the kitchen window and see that mass of orange pom-pom heads bobbing in the breeze, i am SO glad we planted them! one of these days i’ll remember early in the day to cut a few for each desk in the office.

squash07_31

since we had a nice sunny day today, i took some photos throughout the garden as i made my morning rounds. right underneath the marigolds, the summer squash are hanging in there—we’ve lost the zucchini plants to something, but these yellow zephyrs are plugging away, giving us a couple of nice little squashes every day or two. we’ve been eating them in everything from vegetable stew to pasta to eggs.

tomatoes07_31

and tomatoes are ripening daily now—still just a few at a time but more each day. for now, i’m letting them ripen right on the vine.

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tonight i’ll cook some into a very light marinara sauce with green beans, one of my very favorite summer dishes. last weekend i had to make it with canned tomatoes, so that batch went into the freezer. THIS weekend it will all be home grown and i plan to chow down on them; i can’t wait.

peppers07_31

a plethora of peppers is maturing on the plants now; i wish they would hurry up and get big so i can pick them. the first wave always takes forever and peppers won’t put out new flowers until you pick the old fruit, stubborn things. sometimes i pick immature fruits just to get things going, a sacrificial crop if you will. i’ve picked a few but i’d rather they just got big already, since they taste better when fully filled out.

okra07_31

now the okra on the other hand, knows just how to play its cards; it puts out breathtakingly pretty flowers in gorgeous shades of apricot, pink, and yellow before making its fruit. they only last  part of a morning so if i’m up early, i try to get outside to see them before they wither away. trust me, it’s worth getting up for . . .

potatoePatch07_31

working our way to the back of the garden . . . well, we can’t exactly get all the way back there because the potato patch has completely taken over.

climberBeans07_31

it has spread itself right out to the fence, meshing with the carrots and any green beans that had the unfortunate destiny of being late bloomers (which happened with one section of climbing beans, though i don’t know why; they came up fine on one end of the row but on the other, much later and less).

beanFlowersYellow07_31

speaking of green beans—holy cow, aren’t their flowers so pretty?

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and i’m not the only one who thinks so . . .

bee07_31

the bees are almost obscenely interested in what those tiny blossoms have to offer . . .

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and so gluttonous to get their noses into it, that they don’t even care how close i come with the camera

beeB07_31

what is that thing they say about the tango?

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my favorite shot of the day—capturing the excellent gymnastics involved when one forgets oneself and goes into a swoon over whatever is in that honey pot.

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i think it’s time to give them a little privacy.

pedalPushPockets07_31

back inside the house, i fired up the iron to give a final steaming to my completed pedal pusher cardigan. i stitched on the second pocket during my wednesday night class and i think they look pretty good.

pedalPushPocketsA07_31

they just need some steaming to lay flat, as do the button bands and the hem (i don’t like it when the hem ribbing pulls into a pumpkin shape; i prefer it to hang straight).

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i spread the sweater body flat on my pressing table, secured it with a few pins, and used a wet cloth to steam the hem and the pockets.

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they look a lot lees lumpy afterward.

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especially when hung on the form.

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it fits great; i’m very happy with the results. it’s roomy enough to wear long sleeves or even a heavy shirt underneath, but the raglan shaping means i still get a nice fit through the shoulders.

i can’t get over how light and airy the confection yarn feels; when i think “worsted weight” i think of something heavy, but this really isn’t. it’s a great weight for a fall sweater jacket; just what i’ll be wanting when i head off to rhinebeck. i’m pretty sure this will join my stone soup highlander as a go-to sweater.

pedalPusher07_31

and how about this dark chocolate color? i couldn’t decide which one i like best so david picked this shade for me and  i love it now that i see myself in this photo (i’m fond of the cookies and cream, so i would have gone with that, but it’s really too close in shade to my hair color which is not good).

now that met my secret project deadline for the month, i can spend some time over the weekend writing up this pattern to send to the tech editor. yay.

confectionSportTest07_28

speaking of confection, i promised i would show you a little bit about the development of the sport weight version we’ve been working on.  the last time i talked about this project, we had just received a box of sample from the mill for the various possible spinning configuration.

confectionSportTestB07_28

i think there were five or six version in all, each spun to slightly different specs for comparison. i eliminated several of those choices out of hand, without even test knitting them—these were the ones that looked very inconsistent, and too loosely spun to wear well. there were even a couple that just looked wrong—as if the singles had not been plied tight enough to even neutralize all of its twist (which gives it a rather funky texture and may cause it to misbehave when knit into a fabric).

of the ones that i decided to test knit, we have from right to left: the original 3-ply sport which is spun to the same specs as the worsted weight, washed; the original sport unwashed; a 3-ply sport spun a little looser, and a 2-ply spun a little tighter. i swatched each one in the same knit/purl pattern as well as in stockinette.

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the original 3-ply one feels a little stiff when it’s knit on smaller needles, but what i found is that after a good soak in hot soapy water, it softens and blooms beautifully. you can tell a lot of mill oil and dust got washed away too, which helps. notice the terrific depth of texture this fabric has, even after washing; corriedale fiber is very springy.

confectionSportTestG07_28

the stockinette fabric is very regular and cohesive, even in its prewashed state.

confectionSportTestE07_28

the 2-ply yarn is super squishy and delicious feeling but it makes a slightly less consistent fabric. this might right itself after washing; i didn’t do that yet. we all agreed that while we love the way the 2-ply yarn feels, it’s kind of weird that the texture doesn’t match that of the 3-ply yarn.

confectionSportTestD07_28

above and below, the 2-ply is on the left and the 3-ply on the right. a noticeable texture difference between the worsted version (3-ply) and the sport version in 2 ply would not be appealing; 2-ply yarn also tends to drape differently and pill more easily.

confectionSportTestC07_28

the sum of those factors, plus the fact that they don’t translate stitch patterns with equal clarity, starts to make them feel like they’re not part of the same family.

plus, we have a 2-ply yarn in the kent DK, which performs very well in a 2-ply construction.

confectionSportTestF07_28

next it was time to compare the two 3-ply versions, which were spun just slightly different. really, there isn’t much of a difference in the fabric at all, but the looser construction may result in a slightly less consistent fabric surface.

so we all decided that sticking to the original version was the best plan and now the mill is working away so we can have it in stock for fall. i can’t wait; this will be the perfect yarn with which to design the longer cardigan version of my aztec mazes pattern—a project i’ve been wanting to do for a while. the sport version will be offered in all the same shades as the worsted confection, so maybe this time i’ll go for the cookies and cream . . .

bocceCottonA07_28

thee are still a good number of weeks left to enjoy summer knitting and summer weaner, so i cast on a new cotton cap last week and have been working throughout the brim a few rounds at a time. this design is a reknit of the bocce cap i designed at christmas time (in blue, above) and then never published. i need to write the pattern but i totally forgot how i made it, so i thought it’d be wise to knit one in soft, sport weight cotton. yum.

elsewhere in the tangle on my knitting couch, my empreinte crescent shawl in ecobutterfly cotton lace is stalled because i got distracted with secret knitting. but i’ll be getting back to that in a few days.

our cotton KAL on ravelry has been lots of fun and very popular; all of us here have been inspired by seeing various patterns knit up in a cotton fabric rather than wool.

kiltiSkirt07_31

barb knit this absolutely adorable cotton skirt using the organic cotton sport yarn with the kiltie pattern and making it a little longer. she took home some of our custom designed glass buttons the other night to finish it up so her granddaughter could wear it to school in a couple of weeks.

brandyTYA07_31

let’s end on a really nice note (literally!)

our scholarship recipient, brandy wrote a very nice thank you note to our community to mark the end of her freshman year at college.

brandyTY07_31

whenever i hear from brandy, i am so impressed with how well she is doing and how she keeps us updated on her life at school. thank you brandy. and thank YOU everyone for making her success at school a stress-free possibility.

and now it’s time to go—very late here in ohio and david is waiting for me to join him in some TV watching and knitting. bye bye, gotta fly . . .

beeD07_31

12 Responses to “all good things under the sun”

  1. josiekitten says:

    The sweater looks fabulous, it will be a great addition to an autumn/winter wardrobe. Very interesting to read about how those yarns all knit up slightly differently. Got to love all those bee photos too! And to top it all, a lovely letter from Brandy, it’s nice to know that I played a very small part in helping her out. Have a good weekend!

  2. majordomo says:

    i love the detailed notes and swatches about the new yarn! it was fascinating to get a peek into the process. congrats on the completion of another great sweater!

  3. Ruth Ann says:

    I absolutely love the Pedal Pusher cardigan. I haven’t knitted a sweater in a long time, but this one almost tempts me to take the plunge. Thank you for sharing the sweet note from Brandy. It makes you feel like that scholarship money has been well-directed. God bless you, Brandy!

  4. steph says:

    fascinating process…..lovely results!!!!

  5. Jo Morgan says:

    The pedal pusher cadigan looks great and also looks like the kind of garment that would be worn constantly. The beautiful pockets make me want to take an Anne Hanson finishing class–they are so neat and symmetrical–gorgeous! Your garden is fabulous. The rabbits muched all our marigolds this year. Due to mange in the coyote and fox population, they have spread from a nearby reservoir/state park to the neighborhoods. Yea summer!

  6. Alhbooks says:

    I love seeing the fruits or your labors, both from the garden and from the workroom. The new yarn samples are so much fun to examine!

  7. Mary says:

    Garden is looking good–the bean flowers look a bit like wild sweet peas.
    I like the original 3 ply, too.

  8. Katharine says:

    Oh, your pedal pusher looks fantastic! Don’t you just love having a sweater in the confection? I love mine so so so much. Thanks especially for the pics and sharing of the Confection Sport development. I could see exactly what you are going for. Having knit a sweater in the worsted, I can not wait to do one in Confection Sport. Oh, and your garden is stunning this year. You and David did an AMAZING job with it. You rock!

  9. Kristin C says:

    Your marigolds are amazing!
    I am in live with your pedal pusher sweater, please let me know if you need a test knitter!

  10. Kristin C says:

    I am in love with your pedal pusher, and can’t type…

  11. Tina says:

    What a glorious garden you have! I miss the ability of having a garden :) Such a lovely post … squishy yarn, beautiful knitting and such a beautiful new design!

  12. Liz says:

    Your pedal pusher cardi is wonderful – it looks so cozy! LOVE your garden posts…. they are what has inspired me to grow my garden a little bit each year, seeing your wonderful yields and putting them up for winter. Right now my garden is still pretty small, but it’s getting there. I wish I thought to take a peek at yours when I was at the boutique. :)