i know, i know . . . i sound like a broken record—the garden this and the garden that. the truth is, i have been spending nearly half my day out there just keeping up with it, haha.
saturday night—ok, to be fair these are not from our garden, but we were grocery shopping and saw a great deal on organic strawberries, of which i do not have enough to get through the winter. so we brought home six boxes which i put up in the freezer after dinner.
but the rest of the week has gone something like this
even the winter squash is already well on its way to greatness.
yesterday i took an enforced break from picking to block an FO (more on that in a minute) and work on getting a blog up—and i did get all my photos done, but then i had an afternoon of meetings. after our bike ride last night and a late supper, i cooked some of what was piling up in the fridge. yes, it was very late, but omg, ratatouille made with everything from the garden??
very worth it. by this morning it was cooled and awaiting its garnish of fresh basil before being tucked into the freezer. we are so going to appreciate this on some future winter evening.
of course when i got out to the garden at 8 am to grab that basil, i saw with some trepidation that i would pay for yesterday’s laxity by having to pick double the amount of everything. sure enough, i didn’t finish up til almost 11. i spent over an hour picking from the back fence alone!
the weekly total for green beans since sunday?? fifteen pounds. i’m not kidding. and as you can see, i am now picking our peas as well. we only planted enough for a very small harvest—maybe one meal—but they will be honored by being cooked into something special.
don’t get me wrong; we are just thrilled at finally growing such a successful garden. i chalk it up to finally understanding our soil and how to grow in it as well as more regular fertilizing (we got a recommended schedule when we had our soil tested and we’ve been following it with great results). it’s just a surprise after all these years—we planted according to our previous success rate (not great, no matter how much i loved it). maybe now we can plant less or with more variety.
i’ve been cramming as much as i can into any spare time that remains between work, managing the garden harvest, and taking advantage of the glorious summer weather (i’ve been running most mornings and cycling with david three or four times a week—as much as i can).
on sunday night i went to a yoga party and brought homemade gluten free cherry crumble bars to share with friends. i had cherries in the freezer that barb gave me, which i had been looking for an excuse to use.
scroll down the recipe to see the gluten free version; i did what it said (with one mod; i prebaked my crust for fifteen minutes) and they came out great; after doing 2.5 hours of yoga together, everyone was ready for snacks and these were gobbled up right away.
back to the knitting part of this post . . . i feel a little silly about this fartlek hat project taking so long.
wanting to test drive our first sample skein of ginny cotton sport, i started it on my way to NYC in june, but soon fell down the rabbit hole of our current green club project—the poor hat has languished since. finally on monday i decided to get serious and finish it up. honestly it took no time to knit once i put my mind to it. and it’s so soft and cute; why dilly-dally?
fortunately, i do not dawdle over blocking the way i sometimes do over knitting. once it’s done, i am always anxious and thrilled to block an item. first thing tuesday morning, into a hot sudsy bath it went.
fresh from the bath, it was dripping wet even though i’d squeezed as much as i could out of it. if you lay it out this way to dry, it will take forever, but also the weight won’t allow the fiber and sts to bloom as nicely.
i roll it in a towel and squeeze with all my might to remove as much moisture as possible.
this definitely makes it drier, but also more distorted. no worries tho—reshaping will fix that.
reshaping is a process that has several benefits for your just-washed hand knit fabric. first, it is a way to bring the piece back to the intended dimensions. second, the process jogs the yarn’s memory, helping it to regain its original spring, and third, reshaping encourages the fiber to bloom and contribute to a stable, cohesive fabric surface.
to reshape, vigorously pull the fabric on one direction several times. do not allow the way it looks at this point to scare or intimidate you—we are working with knit fabric; it is engineered to be flexible. in fact, you built it to be stretchy, so stretch away.
now pull in the other direction (i bet you guessed that was coming, didn’t you?). the pulling should be aggressive at first and less so with each repeat. after a few times, you should notice the fabric becoming lighter and airier.
next give it a good shaking; this will help the stitches fall back into place but keep their new lofty shape. for blooming fibers such as mohair, alpaca, mink, cashmere, yak, etc., you can even slap the piece against a hard surface a few times to dislodge the fiber ends from the yarn
they will rise up to form that beautiful halo we love in a luxury fabric, both visually and structurally desirable. you can already see it starting here.
once the piece is back to looking more normal, lay it down and smooth lightly to straighten one last time and then allow it to dry.
i usually revisit it every hour or so while it is very wet to repeat the reshaping steps (pulling and shaking) and turn the piece to a different position; this encourages speedier drying time and prevents creasing. the hat “grew” in the wash, but consistent reshaping during the drying phase bought it right back to its proper size.
and the bloom just gets better—so pretty. after a bit of wearing and handling the halo will rise to its full potential.
once dry, the fabric has regained its elasticity but is airier and oh-so-soft; i still can’t believe it has cotton in it. ginny dries to a light, stretchy, and extremely comfortable fabric. another summer winner! i will definitely be knitting a hat for david with this yarn, yum.
i hope you are having some wonderful weather wherever you are—get out there and take advantage of it!