our hydrangeas finally bloomed over the weekend—not the best show ever from them, but we have a few pretties. the buds may have gotten nipped by frost during our oddly-cold early half of may (i’m not sure what happened, really), but this red one has a nice flower. this little shrub hasn’t grown much since we planted it five years ago and it blooms only intermittently, so i’m always grateful when it gives us a cheerful something like this.
oh, what a weekend—summer always puts a little extra work on our plates to keep the yard and garden up and i’m always surprised by how quickly the weekends fly by. friday afternoon i picked some fresh erbette to sauté and serve with a few other simple ingredients
and we ended the week with an elegant and delicious dinner for two at our favorite eatery.
friday night dinner is the most delicious one of the week—we keep it simple and take the time to enjoy a fairly-easy, but nice meal together. it’s a little celebration of the good teamwork that gets us through each busy week and provides food to eat and time to enjoy it together.
after dinner i worked on the nightingale stole a little more
and i think it’s about halfway to the finish line now. kristine, who dyed this beautiful yarn told me an interesting story about it. see, i’ve been holding back a bit on something i didn’t want to share about it because i thought it might be a bad thing to share
this is what my hands look like after about 15 minutes of knitting with the yarn. it builds up pretty quickly and rubs off on anything i touch. it kinda limits where i can take this piece of knitting, since it requires i wash my hands frequently (ok, the handwashing might just be me and my brand of OCD).
but kristine shared this information which she sent to her fiber club along with a shipment of indigo-dyed goods:
indigo is a dye with a complete and utter history onto itself. One could spend an entire lifetime on the study and practice of indigo dyeing. In order for indigo to permanently dye fiber, it must go through a reduction process where the oxygen is taken out of the indigo bath. The bath color changes from a blue to a green, then to a yellow. The color and testing the pH indicates the indigo bath is ready. As I dip a length of fiber or yarn into the bath, it comes out yellow. As it comes into contact with the oxygen in the air, the color changes from green to blue. Anytime indigo has been used in the dyeing process, the fiber must sit, curing, for at least a week in a controlled humid environment.
When spinning and knitting with fiber and yarn dyed with indigo, the blue color naturally rubs off on one’s hands. This is called crocking and is an inherent part of the process. It does not intimate a mistake or poor quality. Though crocking may occur, our products dyed with indigo are lightfast and high quality. Your hands turn blue, because although I have reduced the indigo, washed the fiber, etc. it takes pressured contact to release the extra residue. Your handwork is part of the indigo dyeing process. After knitting indigo dyed fiber, typically, the residue is gone, and the crocking will cease. If you find blue on your hands or clothing, it can be removed with hot water and soap. Please take care when using bamboo needles because they may be stained by indigo. In short, indigo is alive.
cool, right? haha, i still can’t take the project along if i won’t have access to soap and water, but at least i know it’s not something abnormal. and, it’s so pretty—it’s worth it.
later friday night i finished up my first nate sock while we watched TV. david put it on an declared it “wonderful”. i thought he wasn’t going to take it off for a while there, but then he did. reluctantly. it reminds me a little of his stonewall wrap. not really the same stitch at all but the same coziness. now i need to write a pattern and knit a second one.
for the holiday on saturday, i dispensed with my office work early so i could bake some cornbead to bring to debby’s picnic (i used this recipe and added grated zucchini, fresh corn cut from the cob, and minced jalapeños). sorry, no photos—i just plain forgot . . .
once that was in the oven, i worked on my maze sweater and got the front yoke done. i took a nap later on and then we went to the party, which was a lot of fun, just like last year. so many kids and babies in one place—and fireworks to cap off the evening.
afterward, when we’d settled back in at home to watch the opening stage of le tour, i worked on my fruit of the vine scarf and added quite a few more inches to it
see the beautiful washes of lighter and darker green across the fabric? it’s an extremely subtle effect that i love.
since i was on a roll with it, i kept going on sunday night—it’s actually long enough to bind off now, but i still have some yarn left so i think i’ll keep going. i don’t want to waste any of this lovely shivaya cashmere lace by letting a little leftover ball languish in the stash unused . . .
in a completely unheard-of turn of events i was up with the birds on sunday morning with at least two hours to spare before spinning class, once i’d had my coffee. so i picked up the maze sweater and got halfway up the back yoke as well before anybody showed up for class. later in the evening i finished that, too and this morning in class i joined the shoulders and started the neck
after class, i had to get out into the garden to do some work—the japanese beetles came back in droves sometime in the last few days so a good spraying (i use this product and it works well) was in order, since they have a habit of dessimating my eggplant and my climbing hydrangea in particular.
but they can’t have these—at least, not til we’ve gotten what we need for winter, heh.
but before spraying, i wanted to pick all the produce that was ready. and there was a ton—i put 7 bags of greens and 3 bags of zucchini chunks in the freezer, plus i picked and washed some for the table. there’ll be more in a couple of days, too.
ok, now. i’m going to show you something scary—i mean, total strangers have been coming over for the last two weeks from the doctor’s parking lot to stare at these
these are my tomato plants (houses added for scale).
i kid you not—they are taller than me by a good bit now and growing every day. need another perspective to see what i mean?
behind me are the cherry tomato plants.
i applied the first fertilizer just last week, when they started to fruit in earnest, so it’s not chemically induced, either. is it the weather? the soil improvements? the fact that i’ve largely ignored them except to take blog photos? can i expect anything like this for next year (because certainly, it’s unprecedented in my experience here).
and then there’s the squash
(foot-high swiss chard added for scale)
uh, is this really my garden? there’s so much foliage out there now that it’s kinda dark when you stand in the middle of it all, hahaha. maybe it’s gonna get really REALLY hot (like it is in texas right now) and this is just the plants’ way of preparing to shade the fruit . . .
anything to protect our precious bounty . . .
i’m definitely thinking that i’ll end up pulling some squash out (i can’t believe i’m saying those words) once i have enough in the freezer for winter. there’s already too much and i’ve only been picking for about 10 days . . . i’ll keep two plants for eating and sharing. same for the greens; i’ll trim back to a row or two once i have the winter stock put by and plant green beans in the space left behind for a nice august or september harvest.
if i’m lucky, i can time it so that the new seeds are sprouted and developing well before i leave for sock summit, not to be mature until after i’m back. this way, there won’t be as much to do in the garden while i’m gone. because wow, that is gonna be one long trip—i’ll tell you more about that another day. suffice it to say that we have some exciting travel plans for august and probably nothing like you’d imagine.
and let’s finish up with something for you to guess about . . . what am i knitting now??
ok, i think that’s all i have for today—speaking of knitting, i think it’s time i got caught up on that; maybe i’ll even finish that scarf tonight.