favorite rows

last evening when i finally settled in to knit after a day of working outside and preparing food, i listened to the rain while getting into my knitting zone, and thought about favorite rows. it started because i was on one of my favorite rows of the flower and fern motif i’m knitting at the moment

i always try to leave off my knitting just after a favorite row if possible (either that or a purl rest row), so that when i come back to it i can settle in and work toward that row again. i know—it’s weird, but it’s my knitting and as far as i know it doesn’t hurt anyone else if i play a game with it to psyche myself up/calm myself down.

so, anyway, i almost always end up having a favorite row (or even a whole section, like the “swarm” in bee fields), don’t you? favorite rows are the ones i look forward to, that keep me rooted to the chair as i draw near to working them. they are knitting high points; in my own personal knitting opera, the rest of the motif crescendos up to the point of that row, then i work that row as if i completed a difficult climb and am standing poised at the edge of a glorious vista (ok, maybe not exactly, but it does feel rewarding and satisfying to work that favorite row . . .).

then i can sit back and look at what i’ve done, take a break if i need to, adjust the volume on my book or . . . whatever.

don’t laugh . . . i bet lots of us do this. it makes sense—it’s a way of breaking down the task of completing a piece into little bits over which we can get excited. regularly getting re-excited is good for one’s motivation (you ask me how i get so much knitting done? well, this is how).

i have lots of favorite rows in fact, and not just in knitting. my favorite row at the movies is the last row in back (and thankfully david is complicit in this), my favorite row in school was near the window (the better to daydream),

this row of gorgeous eggplant bushes is my favorite garden row. i work the whole garden and then i do this row last every time, just when i feel my energy flagging. it makes me happy, this row—just look at those beautiful leaves, how majestically the plants stand, how tall they are getting. wow. they even kind of remind me of that stitch motif with their uplifted broad leaves and little purple flowers (but no worries; we won’t be naming the shawl eggplant or even melanzana).

(i just reread all that and decided i’ve learned to delay gratification to the point where it could be an art form—if it wasn’t so crazy-twisted. i hope it’s not getting in my way somehow . . .)

speaking of the garden, it all looked so good yesterday when i headed out to work in the early morning. happy greens, now that they’ve got lime in their soil

healthy, happy eggplant of all kinds (more on that tomorrow), ecstatically happy herbs, squash looking good—even the spinach is doing ok, now that i have a variety in that likes summer weather.

we have fairly-happy tomatoes; they are producing well but the plants look like hell, all yellow and spotty underneath, and a few tomatoes have blossom end rot. still working on that, with norma’s help. apparently, my soil needed lots more calcium and magnesium—so i applied her suggested combination of epsom salts, bone meal, and coffee grounds. we are slowly achieving better-looking plants. the eggplant responded right away to this food, growing about a foot in one week, but the tomatoes, though growing, still look pale and wan.

everything is doing much better in-ground than when i had the raised beds. the plants are sturdier and producing more fruit, as i’d hoped. and good thing too, because soon after i finished an afternoon of cooking and putting stuff up from that morning’s garden haul,

we got absolutely battered by a hail storm. oy! they were coming down like rocks getting dumped. zinging every which way, like a hail tornado, and some of them were big. i was transfixed by the pounding noise and the number of rocks falling. by the time i thought to run for the camera—and i did think of it . . . gotta blog!—they had started to melt a bit, but you can see here

how big some of those in the foreground are. literally like golf balls.
i was afraid to look at the garden afterward, so i left it til today. the hostas are pretty shredded, but the vegetable patch isn’t too bad. most of the damage seems to have come from tree pieces getting whipped around.

the chard . . . not so happy anymore, but still alive

i don’t know if they’ll make it (and damn, i almost pulled them all out yesterday, but decided to give them a few more days). if not, the seedling chard is fine . . most of it was covered by flopping leaves and did not get scarred.

the eggplant is ok . . . leaves looking a little worse for wear, but fruits were all protected and remain unblemished. the worst damage was in the tomatoes (crap!)

many, many green ones lay about at the base of the plants this morning, both big and small. fortunately, we did not plant determinate tomatoes so as long as the plants recover alright, we should be able to get more fruit to replace the loss.

of course, after this ferocious 15-minute storm, the sun came out brilliant as could be. it didn’t even rain enough to really wet things down—til later, just about the time we wanted to head out for a bike ride. it rained then—and how.

nothing to do for it but knit.
i got lots done on my shawl last night and the first half of the pattern to jocelyn who is test knitting. right now i’m trying to decide how long it should be. i’m leaning toward something slightly shorter; it seems like it’s time for something more dainty. not a shoulder shawl or anything, just and inch or two shorter than say, irtfa’a. to keep the insect band at a nice level and in proportion with the field pattern.

i’ve been swatching for socks while watching TV late at night. david requested a pair from the tea rose yarn that catherine sent me, and hence set up a new challenge: let’s make pink socks that look manly (and still appeal to a woman). jeesh.

i’m looking at knit/purl patterns because that was part of the request, though i’m not beyond going with some openwork if i need to.

i might need to—though i love me a good knit/purl motif, i’m not sure there is enough contrast to pull it off (though i said that about tesserae, too, and those were fine).

i like this one a lot; it looks like a string of kites flying across the fabric. i like them all. but of course, i’ll ask david before i decide . . . .

44 Responses to “favorite rows”

  1. gilraen says:

    Green tomatoe chutney is divine!!! My aunt makes it for me every year!!!! Yummmy.

  2. Megan says:

    You know, in the South we’d make fried green tomatoes out of those. Weird-sounding, I know, but delicious!

  3. Keatyn says:

    I love the last swatch you showed for the socks you are making for David.

  4. nestra says:

    I don’t know if I would dismiss melanzana out as a shawl name. It rolls off the tongue and makes me think of an elegant lacy shawl you could wrap around your shoulders when your European castle was a bit too drafty.

  5. Ria says:

    It might be a bit late to suggest, but can’t you pickle green tomatoes and use them as a garnish for something? It might save those ones on the ground from being a total write-off.

  6. suzanne says:

    I always try to end after a purl row so that my first row the next day will be a knit pattern row. Plus, I tend to end my knitting after 10 pm and a purl row is usually all I can handle. If I try another lace row, I usually mess it up and have to tink back which moves back bedtime even later.

    The green shawl is looking good.

  7. Sherri says:

    Oh Anne it’s glorious! I can’t wait for this to be finished and in my queue!

  8. Ronni says:

    I like the kite imagery. And you have reaffirmed my belief that I don’t want to live in the midwest. Hail? In July? No thank you, ma’am!

  9. Norma says:

    Oh, CRIPES. Mother Nature can be a mean-spirited b.tch sometimes, can’t she? Have you also put some lime near your tomatoes? It may be that they also need some lime in order to absorb their calcium. I’d give it a try. Eggplants and tomatoes are related plants, so whatever worked for them should work for the maters, too. I’m going away for a few days, but I’m only as far as my Blackberry, so email away!

  10. Ruth Anne says:

    Oh my goodness, it didn’t rain here at all, let alone hail! We got about 5 minutes of thunder and lightning followed by . . . nothing.

  11. Lisa says:

    I do the favorite row thing, too…it seems to make things move along more quickly and enjoyably. I think that’s why I get so bored with things that require large areas of stockinette…no variation to keep it exciting…nothing to look forward to except inches. :}

    I love sitting in the back row of movie theatres, too, especially in stadium seating theatres…all the way at the top, right in the middle. Best seat in the house!

  12. Sarah R says:

    This is a perfect opportunity for Green Tomato Casserole. Slice the tomatoes and layer them in a baking dish, dabbing each layer with butter and scattering grated parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings and bread crumbs. Bake until hot and bubbly. Yum yum yum.

  13. Beth says:

    Your poor garden! I’m glad the damage wasn’t worse.

  14. MelanieZ says:

    I used to make green tomato dill pickles with whole cloves of garlic at the end of the season. My, but they were tasty around Thanksgiving on a condiment platter.

  15. --Deb says:

    Your poor garden!

  16. Carrie says:

    I have favorite rows too! :-)

    Do you save the best bite of a meal for last as well?

  17. Carrie says:

    P.S. We had hail in May (in NY state) and I thought that was strange. July? Crazy…

  18. Hattie says:

    I totally have favorite rows too, and do just the same when knitting. ;)

  19. Theresa says:

    I have favorite rows, too! And I do the same thing with the favorite food, also. :)

    One thing about living here in CA is that I miss me a good thunderstorm. Or rain storm. Of course, a garden-demolishing hail storm…not so cool. :(

  20. fleur says:

    Sorry about the storm!!

  21. Theresa in Italy says:

    We had a hailstorm two nights ago—apparently most of central Europe got hit by this storm system, we were lucky it wasn’t worse.

    I have favorite rows too, and I also try to end up on a purl row so when I pick up my work again I can start with a knit row! :)

  22. nolaboard says:

    Oh dear, so sorry about the tomatoes!
    I, too vote for the fried green tomatoes, yumm.
    And I also agree that melanzana sounds nice for a shawl, though eggplant does not.
    I think dumping coffee grounds is great, but I also think that mixing them with compost, and adding finished compost as a mulch is even better.
    Have you read Ruth Stout’s gardening books (How to have a green thumb without an aching back, no work gardening book, etc?) She was a delightful writer, and has a method of using deep mulch to protect and feed her plants, as well as adding required nutrients to the soil that I have used over the years. It also protects growing plants somewhat from horrid hail storms. I think you’d enjoy her, she was proud and fiesty, and very smart as well.
    She’s doubtless out of print, and I lost mine when the levees broke, but I’m sure you can find her books used or at libraries.
    Enjoying knitting Rivolo. I suspect the yarn I grabbed from my stash (mikado) would have been much better in bramble, but I’m loving it all the same. Just can’t see the pattern as well as I’d like to display it.

  23. Anne says:

    How totally heartbreaking to lose all those tomatoes! Could you do anything with them? Fried or chutney or something?

  24. Teyani says:

    oh dear – so sorry ’bout the tomatoes. My plants also are all yellow on the bottoms, and it’d be so sad to lose all the teensy greenie tomato starts. bummer. Yet I’m betting that they will make a strong comeback. Every time the deer comes by and chomps on mine, it seems to go into a growth spurt right after. go figure.
    such weird weather we’re having this year.

    I really like the “kite” pattern on the pink socks.
    and yes, I do the same thing of getting to either a rest row or a fav row :-) such silly knitters we are.

  25. Sally says:

    Another ‘vote’ for the kite pattern.
    It’s still an amazing colour pink though and I’d happily wear it!

  26. Jocelyn says:

    Oh, no! Your poor tomatoes! Can the green ones come in to ripen on your pool table?

    I’m liking that kite one quite bit, too. Also, you’re not the only one with favorite rows; I bribe myself with those rows on really long projects :)

  27. Kate says:

    Oh No! Your poor tomatoes! What the heck is with this weather man? We didn’t get a real summer until mid July! As a consequence I have hardly any tomatoes at all… but they are finally coming…

    Love the third sock-test. I agree about the kite-thing that really looks neat!!

    Also loving the shawl and am almost greedy to see more!!

  28. Diane says:

    (1) agree on the “favorite rows”
    (big smaile on my face as I read it!)

  29. Angelika says:

    I was jut going to wildly type, but then at least read the first comment……and yes, Green Tomato Chutney is wonderful….as is Jam.
    Haven’t been around much due to health problems, the folding of the program I worked for for the last 11 years and travelling around and closing things down properly, organization of my trip to the US in the beginning of September….my marriage there ( Yes, after being asked for 6 years I finally said YES….) and with that preparations for a move towards he end of the year the very latest and then coming back, selling my home and making the move…..hopefully my final international one…the 6th …..can’t even think about it or I get hives.
    I read your blog and am part of the Ravelry group but have been short on time…even for knitting…..

    Greetings,

    Angelika
    Mexico City
    PS: you are the first one in knitting circles to know about my good news….lol….I keep on thinking that once I am on the Oregon Coast I can have a garden like you, I already cook similarly to you…..but my big hope is to knit like you….

  30. samantha says:

    I love the pink yarn! I’m glad I’m not the only one to have a significant other asking for pink (and green, too actually) socks! I’m loving the new shawl! (I read consistently, even though I never comment, sorry!)

  31. Danielle says:

    Great post, love the progress on the new shawl. I totally relate to what you’re saying about your favorite rows, and playing “games”to keep things fresh and fun :)

    Oh boy you did get a pounding, so sorry for your poor garden! I surely do hope things bounce back well.

    I vote for the kite motif too, love the pink yarn btw.

  32. Ellen in Texas says:

    I love your new “lush” looking pattern. I’m so sorry that you received hail damage to your garden!!! But I’m sure it will be fine. I’m still jealous you know…..garden, food…..I’m really going to send a box through UPS and have you fill it for me with all your yummy food!!! WTG!!!

  33. Kate/Massachusetts says:

    You can take the larger tomatoes and wrap each in a piece of newspaper, lay them in a single layer in a cardboard box and let them ripen. I do this in the fall with the greenies. Most of them ripen although I have had a few rot. My cousin made green tomato pickles last year. They were really delicious. Perhaps not all is lost!

  34. vickie says:

    Oh no! Poor little tomatoes! I hope they weren’t frightened. (I know it’s weird but I actually think things like that. I pat the leaves of the plants so that they know I think highly of them.)

  35. Josiane says:

    After the beetles, now the hail! Your garden will have had it rough this summer! I hope it recovers well.

  36. kathy says:

    Anne –
    I’ve been away from he computer and your blog for a month or more. Brings home the fact that your blog is very special to me. I’m not certain how you manage it, but reading your blog gives me a great sense of peace laced with quiet excitement. Love it.
    Your patterns are wonderful, too, though I lost many of them to the flood waters that raged through our city.

  37. Lorraine says:

    Anne- You could call your project Aubergine- which sounds alot nicer than eggplant.

    Wild weather this summer, eh?

  38. claudia says:

    That tomato carnage is difficult to look at. Yikes.

  39. Andrea says:

    Nothing so weird about fav rows. I do it myself but never crossed my mind that other people might NOT be doing it. HAHA
    Now I’m thinking I might be so weird I don’t even notice!

  40. marjorie says:

    That is really too bad about the tomatoes. But there is still time for the plants to recover.

    I always try to end at a point that won’t stretch the item (the fattest part of a cable, for example, and on the purl side). I always thought I was a bit nuts, and I never mentioned this to anyone lest my secret be revealed. But I do have a favorite lap lane in the pool, a favorite paring knife, and, of course, favorite yarns and colors. It gets worse as I get older.

  41. heather says:

    the last swatch has my vote! hope your garden recovers….we’re still having way too much rain and not enough sun for anything to grow much.

  42. Theresa says:

    My mouth is watering for some pickled green tomatoes now! When life gives you green tomatoes . . .

  43. Kim says:

    bummer about the tomatoes :(.

    I am so with you on the bee swarm. Definitely my favorite rows :)

    Anne, I can barely wait to start your new shawl….I can tell I am going to L.O.V.E it!

  44. Jill B. says:

    I see I wasn’t the only one with the idea of Pickled Green tomatoes. It was just a “good thing” in the latest MS Living magazine: http://www.marthastewart.com/goodthings/pickled-green-tomatoes?autonomy_kw=pickled%20tomato&rsc=header_1

    I’ve never seen hail that big! Maybe it doesn’t get that big on the west coast.