starts

yay, we have sprouts.
several of the rows of seeds i planted last thursday are showing signs of life, as expected, the rapini was the first to germinate and generously so. i know i say this every year, but if you haven’t ever gardened before, or are showing a newbie how to grow things, rapini (or broccoli raab) is one of the most gratifying greens to begin with. typically this vegetable is an acquired taste, but we find that growing our own produces greens that retain their unique flavor without the bitterness (in fact, they are very sweet; i’m eating some right now from last year’s garden as my lunch).

the other night while we were knitting, susie mentioned that her hydrangeas were covered with buds, so i went on a detour to see what was happening with mine.

indeed, there is a bud on almost every branch of every shrub—fabulous news, as last year they got frostbitten and produced almost no flowers.

i noticed last week that they were looking especially full and green, even the row of scraggly ones we have at the front of the yard. i’ve despaired over that row of shrubs for several years, because they were supposed to fill out to be six feet across and as yet, have not (my dreams of a hydrangea hedgerow are struggling to stay alive with them).
i began fertilizing them last year on a more frequent basis and i think it’s helped; they look like they might finally gain a little height and width this season. and if they flower, it will be a big bonus.

banks of iris blooms are lining the yard this week—david seems to have gone to town in planting them everywhere, unbeknownst to me. they are really lovely, thank you david!

it’s been a perfect week of weather; hot and sunny with everything still a fresh, crisp green. we’ve been getting out every day for bike riding, which feels great after sitting at my desk all day. david scouted out a few new routes that i really enjoy, on country roads away from the traffic (which has increased since we first moved here). it’s a good change, since the new routes are a bit longer, prettier, and much less stressful to ride.

i’m getting ready for a few upcoming teaching dates by getting some new small projects on the needles to travel with and squaring away the charting for a few bigger ones to work on when i’m home.

i’ll be teaching at the great lakes fiber show this weekend (sweater fitness and finishing); there is still room for signups if you’ll be in the area and can make it (it’s a great deal and they will take signups right up to the day of classes).

after a few days at home, i’m excited to be heading next weekend to ontario, canada for a week to visit the kitchener-waterloo area. i’ll teach at shall we knit? and then adjudicate the kitchener-waterloo guild knitting show, which focuses on lace this year. just afterward, i’ll head up to toronto to teach at the purple purl for a couple of days.

as soon as i get home from canada, i’ll turn around the next day and head for TNNA—no teaching there, just business and networking with peers. but busy, that’s for sure. it will be nice to land back home in mid-june, where i’ll stay put for a bit . . .

soooo, traveling projects are needed. i did a little swatching with some possible yarns and stitch patterns and here’s what i came up with.

a little lace scarf in a stitch pattern that’s a bit like the one i used for caricia, but different.

i pulled out some enchanted knoll 50/50 merino/silk lace yarn and it worked a treat. i love the way the deep ocean colors of this queen mermaid colorway run over the pattern.

i cast on right away so that it’s all set to go when i am. you’ll be seeing more in the next couple of weeks . . .

then i cast on for another small project that i’m really happy about

you know i love little triangle shawls and this yarn has been begging to become one, ever since i received it last year from dani at sunshine yarns. this skein of her sunsilk in colorway mustard seed has been wound and sitting in the basket near my knitting chair for quite some time, waiting for me to make the right idea come together. it’s a rich, silk 2-ply lace/fingering yarn with a gorgeous sheen (like the sun itself is inside it); it handles really well and makes a lovely fabric. well, i finally came across just the right stitch the other day and 1-2-3, a triangle scarf was born (i have just one skein, so mine is a scarf, but the pattern will be sized for bigger as well).

it’s got all of those qualities i like in a summer project—an easy-to-work pattern with a lot of bang for the buck, small enough to tote around, easily memorized so i’m not chained to the chart. it starts at the hem and i’ve got ten rows completed; i’ll show you more details when that pattern shows a little more (i love the hem edge already!).

next i swatched a pattern you might recognize from the delicato mitts—i’ve always felt i did not get enough of that pattern from knitting the mitts and wanted to use it again, but i also feel that for me, it is best expressed in a certain kind of colorway.

then susan sent me this incredible skein of her nimbus cloud lace yarn, a soft alpaca/cashmere/silk blend that is simply to die for. this colorway is lilac frost, similar to the lilac swirl she has currently listed. i’m looking forward to knitting this up; i haven’t cast on yet, but soon . . .

i have a secret project on the needles that i’m making very good progress with (but what do you care; you can’t see it, right? i don’t blame you . . ) and another i just received the yarn for, that i’ll need to get on the needles right away (and now that i see the yarn, i’m not sure my original plan will work; wish me luck).

before i stop to go a bike riding before spinning class, let me show you something fabulous as a closer. for some time, our dear dear friend karolyn has been working away on a project with me to fill in some gaps in the knitspot traveling shawl museum trunk show.

(well, to be honest, she’s doing all the work and i’m just sending yarn and art-directing, heh.)

anyway . . . the other day i got a wonderful box with five completed shawls. okay, so let me just put that in perspective: i sent a big box of yarn to her the first week of march and this week i got five shawls in the mail. she also knit like, two sweaters and a couple of other shawls for herself during that time.

has your head stopped spinning yet??

anyway, one of the goals of doing this project is to show off some of the indie yarns that have been hiding in my stash for too long. so many incredible artists send yarn, more than i can knit by myself, even though i want to use them all. when i saw we needed replacements for shawls i’d given away, i thought this would be a good way to show off those yarns and get them out in front of an audience. as they arrive from karolyn, they will be added to the trunk show and also featured here, one by one.

and with no further ado, here is the new hypoteneuse.

this wrap is one of my all-time favorites—my eye is always arrested by its strict, formal pattern and simplicity. originally knit in handspun tweed as a gift for david (the very first manLace we did), here it is with a fresh look in oasis, a scrumptious 50/50 camel/silk blend from the woolen rabbit.

we are looking at colorway hot toddy and let me tell you, it is luscious. the fabric is dense, fluid, and extremely light. positively lust-inspiring.

it is super-soft, yet has great stitch definition. this easy-to-knit lace piece has been a perennial favorite ever since its first publication; it makes a great first-lace project or an entertaining TV project for experienced knitters. worked in a tweed, it is rustic; in a smooth solid it has a sleek elegance.

many thanks to karolyn for knitting it and to kim for providing the beautiful yarn—thank you both from the bottom of my heart; you should both get flowers

we will feature each piece on a different day as we can; i can’t wait to show you more.

23 Responses to “starts”

  1. Kim says:

    Ohmygosh! Karolyn is a MACHINE!!!!! That Hypoteneuse is fabulous. Makes me want to get out my pattern and start it up!!!

  2. Jocelyn says:

    Ooh, so beautiful! And such amazing knitting!! How do people do that?!

  3. Liz says:

    Ack. I wish you had posted early about teaching at the Purple Purl! I called and they are already full. I’m on the waiting list and hoping…

  4. rapini is one of my favorite veggies to toss with pasta. I just add a little pesto or tapenade, perhaps a small bit of highly flavored sausage bits or some chicken, and it is always luscious.
    I am in love with the Queen mermaid colorway. I am always a sucker for intense blue-greens, although I love all the colors you’ve shown on today’s post.
    Hypoteneuse was the very first patterns I saw from you. LynnH of Colorjoy sent me the link, knowing I would love seeing the shawl, and David as a model.

  5. Tece says:

    Love the Queen Mermaid! Weather update: we just had thunder and hail, for pete’s sake! But at least the tomatoes have doubled in size in between storms….

  6. juniperjune says:

    i love these swatch posts, so much promise! and so exciting to see what’s on the horizon. these are particularly beautiful yarns, too; blue-green and lavender-gray are the two sorts of colorways that i’m most powerless to resist!

  7. Connie says:

    I just sent a Ravelry message to Karolyn to tell her I can’t wait to see her wonderful work. That Hypoteneuse is just fabulous! I have wanted to knit that pattern for ages and I think I am now hooked. MUST.BUY.IT.NOW. :-)

  8. Connie says:

    P.S.
    My Hydrangeas are blooming here in GA for the first time since I put them in the ground a couple of years ago. Yippee!

  9. amanda says:

    That blue swatch is really pretty. Of course, the color is so wonderful, I would probably say that for any stitch you chose to use!

    We’ll (my mom & I) be at Great Lakes this weekend, but just yarn shopping. I think she might be interested in Sprossling; maybe if I enable her to buy yarn for that I can limit my own excesses…

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Nancy says:

    That Enchanted Knoll ocean yarn is really calling me….

    Have a terrific time at Great lakes!

  11. Ann says:

    I love looking at your swatches as they are all so pretty. The ocean blue yarn looks gorgeous & I can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

  12. Lanafactrix says:

    Making us wait for the rest–so cruel!

  13. Susan says:

    I love the new Hyponteuse! The yarn looks so nice!
    Don’t you just love the hydrangeas!?

  14. Lorraine says:

    Anne- That’s uncanny- I cast on a shawl in some of EK’s Queen Mermaid- isn’t it wonderful?

    That Karolyn- what a girl!

  15. Gabrielle says:

    Wow! you are a gardener too. You know you can start rapini very early, in march even, as well as many other greens. I am partial to bok choi and some other Asian greens. I find that an early harvest, that is very young greens, are the most delicate and least likely to be bothered by pests.

    Uh, yesterday I started your fiore di melanzana pattern and it took me a while to realize that you named it after eggplant blooms! I love it that much more now! That is why I chose to link to my gardening blog rather than my spinning one. Anyway I hope you plant some eggplants soon if you haven’t already, I am partial to ‘Ichiban’. It is very productive and delicious.

  16. Laurie says:

    I’m struggling with the underachieving hydrangea border as well. My dream is to convert all our weed…er…flower beds to hydrangea beds, but Romeo is hesitant since the three we planted three years ago have yet to get over 8″ high and display more than one anemic little bloom.

    Love Hypoteneuse! I had hoped to drive up to Wooster for the fiber festival this weekend, but other activities descended: two sets of out-of-state friends in town, baseball tickets, drumming class. Oy…

    How exciting that all the great knitterly folk will be here in Columbus for TNNA!!!

  17. Cathy says:

    Oh my, each of the new stitch patterns is lovely, and Hypoteneuse is stunning in that yarn/colorway!

    I love broccoli raab, simply sautéed with garlic and hot pepper. Your hydrangeas are beautiful – mine just have mealybugs, sigh.

  18. Lori says:

    I made the Delicato Mitts in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk in Wisteria – almost the same color as the Lilac Frost from Susan. They are absolutely yummy!

  19. you must stop tormenting us with more gorgeous lace patterns and yarn. I simply cannot keep up! That nimbus cloud is to die for!

  20. Kim says:

    I am always so humbled when I see the beautiful creations that you (and Karolyn) make with my yarns. Hypotenuse is beautiful!

  21. jill says:

    Hypotenuse = snuggling up with a cup of cocoa. Lovely result.

  22. Susan says:

    Hey that’s my yarn! I’m verklempt! It looks lovely with that sititch pattern, too.

  23. fien says:

    mmm goldfinger rather than mustard seed but beautiful…like the gold slave in ballet russes’ scheherazade.