it’s been a busy couple of weeks around here with the launch of our pairings club; behind the scenes we’ve been scurrying to enroll last-minute member signing up (thank you all!), organize the first mailing of club packages, and get the first chapter laid out.
everyone is excited! our clubhouse is hopping with gleeful posts as recipients rip open their packages to see what’s inside and download the chapter to take in the beautiful project photos and cooking splendor. if you’d still like to get in on the action, it’s not too late—we still have a few spots left.
but believe me, that’s not the only thing keeping us busy in these heydays of summer—our garden is exploding with goodies, just in time to test club recipes and supply our table with generous, healthy meals. this is the time of year when we’re most active; we need all the good nutrition we can get, with—hopefully—the least amount of time commitment.
squashes abound right now, but we are also picking loads of cucumbers for cool salads—those long spiny ones are new to us; we find them crunchy and delicious. peppers are ready for picking, too
along with several types of peas and a long list of greens.
squash plus beet greens, some chopped garlic and ginger, black pepper sauce, a little oil, and a hot skillet
equals two delectable side dishes in about ten minutes, when i’ve sorted and washed the greens ahead of time. add a piece of salmon and it’s supper, yum! when i have more time, i make roasted potatoes to go with. i always cook enough to have leftovers for lunching or snacking.
we both enjoy beet greens, so i grow beets, but since david doesn’t care for the roots, i mostly give those away. last week i took a half dozen small ones, added them to a brine of apple cider vinegar and sugar, studded the beets with cloves and threw some allspice, cinnamon, and herbs into the dish and WAH-la!—pickled beets, jewels of the salad plate. i like these a lot; the recipe is from the farmhouse cookbook (an old favorite of mine), but i found it online here to share with anne marie.
another easy fix for too much garden produce—sharing with friends. and we’ve been keeping everyone around us well supplied. lillian, doug, connie and bret, bruce and norma, mark and bil—yes, ALL of those friends have been eating from our garden too and we love it.
easy solutions for dealing with all the garden gifts is important because i’ve got plenty of design work to do as well. my knitting hasn’t suffered as yet, though i will have to make time soon for putting more of the garden stuff away in the freezer.
work on my twill stitch pullover has been progressing nicely; i had two sleeves done by the middle of last week and i swatched some cables in between there so i could start right away on the body pieces.
these two cables made the final cut for swatching. the one on the right is a looser, more flexible cable; i liked that it mimics the twill design at a larger scale. however, while the stitch definition is crisp on some needle sizes, it’s kind of lacking on larger ones; it ends up looking a bit unkempt and sloppy (in a stiffer, rounder yarn, it would probably be great). the other cable also mimics the herringbone twill, but in a different way and because its ribs cross over more stitches at a time, it is always crisp and stands proud of the fabric, even when stretched. but i decided to let david make the final choice about which one should go into the sweater.
and fortunately he chose correctly, haha.
with that settled, i started on the front piece right away. some of you might notice that i changed the hem ribbing from what i used on the sleeves. you know, i swatched a LOT before deciding on the ribbing for this sweater and in the swatches, the more subtle pattern really worked better for me. but once i had all of both sleeves knit, i realized that in a larger context, it all but disappears and at the very least, does nothing to elevate the design.
i should have started the sleeves with the chunkier rib after all, so i’m going to remove the existing cuffs and reknit them to match the body. that won’t be so bad—maybe and evening’s work? these things happen and if that’s the biggest problem i have with designing this sweater, i will not complain.
otherwise it’s really pulling together quickly. this is a much bigger sweater than i’m used to knitting for a prototype, so i was kind of dreading these body pieces (what if something went wrong??). but they are rolling off the needles at a nice pace, which makes me very happy. in fact, i will be far enough along by the time leave for alaska (on thursday) that i might leave this project to finish when i get back. i’d rather devote cargo space to a project that needs more knitting time, something i can really settle into during our travels (more on my planned travel knitting in the next post).
while i may not have chosen well for my sleeve cuffs, i do think that this cable was exactly the right thing for the side seams; isn’t it handsome? and so easy to work—just eight rows. and look . . .
when you put the side seams together as they will be after seaming, it’s doubly handsome. now, i don’t know about you, but doubly handsome edges out “just sorta handsome” in my book.
next thing on the agenda for this sweater is to think of a name.
i am starting to gather my knitting, teaching materials, a small popup shop, and a trunk show to head for a teaching trip to alaska at the end of the week—and barb is coming along! i’ll be back on wednesday for a last post before we head off. come see what i’m packing for the trip.