weekending at the speed of light

the bumper crop of hydrangeas we happened to achieve this summer is drying now and i’m enthralled with the colors—the vivid blues and lavenders of july have faded into a mottled browny rose, tinged with green. just lovely.

i’m not one to gather dried flowers to keep over the winter (just another dustcatcher for my house), but if i were, this would be the year i’d do it. they’d almost be enough to detract attention from the loathesome wallpaper in our so-called “dining room” (no one will be happier than me to see that stuff go, some day).

linda already put dibs on a bunch to take home next week and i think i’ll gather some to give to my friend susie, who seems to enjoy keeping them in view through the cold months.

i can’t believe another week has begun again—even though my calendar tells me it’s been four days since i posted, the weekend went by in a 5-minute blur, i swear.

that said, i was extraordinarily lucky to knit the whole day on friday—i can’t even remember the last time i got to do that. and i made the most of it.

i finished up my helebores lace beret on thursday evening and immediately put it in a bath to soak. right off the needles, it was tiny and the lace was bunched up quite a bit, obscuring the curves of the pattern.

afterward, the yarn softened and the lace opened up an spread out enough that it was exactly the size i’d hoped for—not too big, not too small. i didn’t actually stretch and pin it, because i wanted to keep some texture and a “natural” feel to the fabric. i just pushed it out with my hands like a pizza dough to the shape i wanted, reshaping it periodically as it dried (which took all of a couple of hours in this dry weather).

this morning i snapped a few pictures of it on my head (maybe a little too soon after waking up; excuse my puffy face, haha).

this is so exactly what i was aiming for that i can hardly believe i got there, considering all the issues i had with it at the start. it’s small, but with enough dimension not to look silly. it stays in place really well because it fits more closely to the head, like the top of an acorn.

it’s nice and soft after its bath—i love how miss babs yet lace yarn washed up; the silk/merino feels lovely. and the outback colorway perfectly fits the idea i was going for. it’s not supposed to be a warm hat (it’s lace, it has holes, after all), but just a little something to keep the drafts off or keep one’s hair in place during the fall and spring. i plan to use it indoors in winter—i have wished for an indoor hat for several winters now and i think this is the one. yay.

now to come up with a matching accessory—what do you think? wristlets? neckwarmer? some sort of scarf (maybe a criss-cross model)? i’m all ears . . . anything that would take about 250-ish yards that is not mitts (i don’t think this stitch pattern will work for mitts, since it’s a bias motif).

sigh . . . i’m happy.

with that off the needles, i turned to the much anticipated front of my vintage shirt—which i’ve decided to name Bel Air—after the car and the los angeles suburb. i think that captures the rat pack style i’m going for here.

anyway, i cast on thursday night and started the hem ribbing. friday morning i picked up where i’d left off and knit exclusively on it all day while listening to a really good book.

by evening, i had it knit past the waist, ready to split for the placket. i’m crazy about the stitch pattern; i love the texture. it’ll really pop against all that stockinette fabric surrounding it. just look at the sunna yarn glow—it’s incredible

i’m trying something different with this sweater, because the shaping is particularly awkward to work with the stitch pattern. first, it’s asymmetrical. then, the instant you take away one or two stitches, you lose the ability to work any part of the pattern and it ends up with long runs of stockinette anyway. so, instead of taking the pattern all the way to the seam, i’m setting the patterned part in from the seam and working the shaped area in stockinette. much cleaner.

barb, who will be test knitting, totally agrees, haha (she got to see it yesterday during spinning class). so far, everything is knitting to gauge and going smoothly. once i have this piece done, i’ll block it out to the schematic measurements to be sure, then i can write the pattern and get that out to tana for grading and tech editing. yay. hopefully, barb will be able to start her samples by mid-september.

saturday was less productive on the knitting side but we got an enormous amount of other stuff done. david got up extra-early so i could drag him off to our farmer’s market for a pea vines photo shoot.

it was a gorgeous morning for it and we got some great pictures. we also stocked up on some local goodies, like corn, bread, and homemade noodles, and ran into a few friends, too.

we were home before 11am and took a few more shots in our own garden.

the pattern is almost ready and several test knitters have finished a successful sample, yay (go take a look at jocelyn’s pretty scarf-sized one, in woolen rabbit pandora, color lettuce; she’s already wearing it).
so i spent the rest of the day editing photos and working in the kitchen—i cooked up a big pot of tomatoes for puree, then dragged out all the produced i’d collected over the last part of the week and made a large batch of ratatouille (i had to buy the zucchini at the farmer’s market).

i put up a few quarts of puree and also made another batch of stuffed tomatoes, this time with a spicy filling of chick peas, chopped chard, and rice. i froze two bags of okra and dried a sheet of tomatoes as well. now we’re all set for the week, with a couple more meals tucked into the freezer for fall. yay.

that’s another new thing i’m trying this year—making fully-cooked dishes with some of fresh produce right off the bat. less tomato puree and more finished dishes, like sauce, soup bases, stuffed vegetables, casseroles, and stews. i’ll be really busy and traveling a lot in the coming months so i want to be prepared for good eating.

after that, i was pretty pooped and grateful to sit down again with some knitting, but found i was too tired to face the sweater for very long. so i actually got out an unfinished sock and worked on that for a while to rejuvenate, can you believe it?

i put this sock down sometime during may and haven’t looked at it since. i’ve taken it on a couple of trips in fact, but haven’t knit on it.
i’m ashamed, really . . .
but now i’m back on track, having got halfway down the foot on saturday night. soon it’ll be done and sitting on the men’s side of the sock shelf in my closet. once i finish that, i’ll look into starting a new design.

while we watched a late movie that night, i worked on the edging for the baby blanket—it doesn’t look all that different, so i won’t show another photo now, but i will say that last night, i rounded the third corner and am now heading the fourth side of the shawl—otherwise known as the homestretch. yay.

yesterday morning was spinning class, bright and early. i realized today that i’ve said nearly nothing about spinning all summer long. it’s happening, every week, but we’re all a bit lazy by sunday morning now and i forget to take pictures. everyone is about the same, but now there;s a bit hole where anne marie used to sit . . .

i’ve been working on the same batch of fiber most of the summer, but finally, it’s all spun up and i’m plying—i filled two ginormous bobbins yesterday and started a third; i think i’ll end up with a full three and then some of a fourth. this fiber is from beckie’s former flock of romneys, so it’s especially special

it’s been wonderful to spin, so soft and smooth to draft. i’ll be dying some of this for a winter knitting project that david and i have been planning for a while.

i couldn’t be happier, because once this romney is off the wheel, i’m going to set to work getting to know my new-ish norm hall better by spinning some lace yarn.

i’ve got a few different options in luxury fiber to choose from that i’ll be mulling over during this week. something very silky and fine, for sure . . .

and now it’s monday. back to work for me, hahaha.
i’m taking my mitts to class this afternoon to put in some time on them before they start to feel neglected. but before that, i think i’ll take advantage of the beautiful weather to get out on my bike.

28 Responses to “weekending at the speed of light”

  1. Denise Bell says:

    Love love love the beret!!

  2. Tara says:

    I’m surprised there aren’t more Farmer’s market pictures? Unless you’re keeping them for the pattern release… Sneeky, very sneeky.

  3. Ellen Norman says:

    Oh my, I can’t wait to see this sweater….
    I am waiting for your cute hat pattern and pea shawl…these are a must have!

  4. oohh, a whole day of knitting to an audio book – heaven! I’ve looked at that book before, I may need to investigate the audio version.

    The sweater looks great! Love the hydrangeas.

  5. Anne says:

    I love the way hydrangeas look as they “age”, dusty shades of pinks & blues & purples, very much of a vintage feel. On my monitor the lovely lace beret has the same colors as the hydrangea blooms, but it may just be my monitor.

  6. nancy schwartz sternoff says:

    oh my that peavines is just glorious. yayyay cannot wait to make it and love the beret. you are just amazing.

  7. Jody says:

    Love the henley pattern. Would it work in sea pearl? Still at work–I want to go home and knit!

  8. jennmoles says:

    Can’t wait for Pea Vines!! I want to make a great big ole’ pea vine!! It is so pretty!

  9. Cathy says:

    The beret is marvelous, and it looks fabulous on you! I wonder how it would work on my freakishly large head…

    I’m with Nancy on breathless anticipation for Pea Vines. And the vintage shirt is looking wonderful too.

    When I can find nice fat hydrangeas in an autumnal green-and-garnet mix, I grab a big bunch for the vase in the front hall (where it’s less likely to attract cat hair).

  10. Laurie says:

    Dear lord, you’re having weekends like mine, poor thing…LOL!!! Love the beret and of course Pea Vines. Knit on!!!

  11. Teyani says:

    phew! You’ve got so much happening it’s amazing!
    Am loving your newest knits – can’t wait to see Bel Air unfold. The yarn is so perfect for the design.

  12. Elizabeth in VT says:

    If I were a beret person, this would be the one.

    If you’re going to use it as an indoor hat, then I suggest an indoor accessory: wristers (not as warm as mitts, and more indoor-task-friendly; a neckwarmer that isn’t too bulky for indoors (one of those that has a slit and looks like a bowtie, but that style is so not you); a scarf would have to be quite short, to stay out of the way of indoor tasks.

    Anyway, my $.02.

  13. Beth says:

    Cute beret! And the pea vines shawl looks so, so nice.

    Hydrangeas that are fading are my favorite because I love all the changing colors. This summer my neighbor gave me a bunch of hydrangeas (as in a ton of them) and one little bloom was kind of a blue-green color. Everything else went limp eventually but the little blue-green bloom dried in the vase and now I can keep it all winter long!

  14. Carol Cairns says:

    Love the beret! I could see a matching shawlette/cowl with a nice curving pattern around the neck. Good for a bit of warmth indoors and a touch of color under a coat. But whatever you decide, I’ll probably knit them up!

  15. Virginia says:

    I don’t care about any other accessory – I just want the beret pattern! My daughter loves hats and that would be a great start on holiday knitting!

  16. Marsha says:

    I want to knit ALL your designs but there aren’t enough hours in my day – hey, who did you pay off to get more hours in yours?

  17. Fiberfanatic says:

    Love the pea vines shawl photos, I can’t wait until that is released. BelAir sounds wonderful and the stitch pattern looks fun.

  18. Carol says:

    I love the new beret, especially since I have a small head and it’s hard to find a hat that doesn’t overwhelm me. I think a pretty little cowl would be the perfect accessory, and it could be worn indoors to keep those pesky drafts off the back of my neck (which always gets cold).

  19. Liz in Missouri says:

    I’ve been peeking in on your blog for a while now! I just love your designs AND your garden! Sure wish I could sit with your group and learn to spin!

  20. Jocelyn says:

    I love that tam! You’re right, it’s the perfect size, not too big (important for us small-headed, short-haired types), not too small (don’t want to look like a pinhead) — you hit the spot! And the sweater is gorgeous, too. (I think I found my yarn for it this weekend, heehee.) I can’t wait to see how the dyeing turns out with that lovely handspun!

  21. Katherine says:

    I love the beret! I especially love to see how it looks on someone (you) with short hair because I have a pixie cut. Are you going to be publishing the pattern?

  22. Mitty says:

    I think a crossover scarf would look wonderful with the Hellebores beret. And it would be practical for wearing around the house too. (I always have to layer up too in our drafty old house.) The pea vines shawl is lovely and a lovely size for fall/spring. BTW, thanks for sharing the pix of your new study. It looks great!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    What’s the stitch pattern in that lovely brick red unfinished sock? Or is it one of your patterns? I covet it! :)

  24. Christine says:

    What a cute beret! I think some wristlets would go awesomely with it! We are finally in the states living just outside of Boston. And finally with internet. No couch or bed, but we have the espresso machine, internet, and my Knitspot binder. So all is good!

  25. shannon says:

    Your hydrangeas are so beautiful they take my breath away. And you are simply adorable in your cute little cap. keep up the good work with the knitting, gardening, spinning, chatting…. love to visit your site.

  26. Kim says:

    Your peavines is lovely!!!

  27. Eugenia Potter says:

    I NEED that sock pattern! Is it already published, or new?
    Please, please say more about it.

  28. Ann says:

    Your hydrangeas look great. We get them in December & my neighbor always pick a bunch for me for Christmas. The Pea Vine shawl looks so good on you.