various and sundry

Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in food and garden, lace/shawls, projects, Uncategorized

(flower of the day, black-eyed-susan)

it seems like it took a month for these flowers to bloom. they came out very slowly this year. maybe they always do and i never noticed??

so, david updated my wordpress, and i spent a bunch of time yesterday resizing ALL the photos so the blog would run faster. let me know what you think. unfortunately, updating still did not fix the bug in the archives. if i set the blog to show only 6 or 8 posts, then in the archives that is all you’ll see. which is bad.

so, i have to keep the number of visible posts on this page at around 20 in order for all the archived posts to be available to everyone. it’s an old glitch and it’s annoying, but hopefully now we have a sort of happy workaround situation.
apparently this is a mac-specific problem, so a lot of wordpress users don’t have to deal with it, but if anyone has any information on a fix, i would be deeply grateful if you would share it.

we’ve had unseasonably cool weather for the midwest in july . . . i don’t think it has even hit 70 degrees this week yet. so, it seemed like a good idea to make some piping hot quiche

this dish was totally inspired by carole’s version from last week. hers looked so yummy that i thought it would be a great dish to revisit, using veggies from the garden. we have chard, and tiny, thumb-sized squashes that made a great combo, along with mionced onion. mmm. it would also be great with thin slices of potato . . . mmmmaybe next time.

then it was off to class where i worked on a secret sock project and had to twice rip back to where i was when i got there. just too much talking. oh, and yes, maybe all the laughing had something to do with it . . .
at least i got some feedback on the sock. it’s hard to work on things in secret (that is, not on my blog), and not be able to gauge how interesting they might be to others.

mostly i have a lot of secret knitting (really, since i started the bee rectangle i’m seeing progress on lots of projects).

i received a beautiful package from meg today with a full skein of the sock yarn for the club sock.

(i’ve been working with smaller, sample skeins and not sure if i’ll get a whole pair out of them). i’m still playing with pattern placement on that sock, and will show the two different versions next time.
meanwhile, as we were talking about that skein, i couldn’t resist ordering another of her colorways, since i have been sooo enamored of this yarn. that purple, straw-gold, and greenish-gray colorway is batty, and it sure caught my eye.

meg put together a sweet package with little cards and tiny sample skeins of colorway ankh (next on my list of downfalls), just in case i haven’t been tempted enough . . .

i also got this great card from anne today

it is SO me—seriously, i need about a case of these. i send a lot of cards and i have always wanted a knitting-theme card that really expresses my taste—modern, sarcastic, a little hard-edged. i love these.

BTW, there really IS another anne . . . it’s not just me talking about myself in the third person. just wanted to clear that up for anybody that thought otherwise . . .

and here is the bee now—just a few tidbits—i couldn’t resist the light this morning on the new yarn color.

it is moving along very quickly . . . oh but how i wish i could just have a whole day or two with it. and for those who asked, anne says that yes, she will be putting kits together, and yes, you can pre-order them by dropping her a line (use the contact form in her sidebar). and yes, the pattern will also be available as a standalone item here at my site. we don’t know the cost of the kit yet because the yardage for the stole is yet to be determined.

vanessa’s progress was slowed (just a bit) when she ran out of yarn (she’s substituting), but her extra yarn arrived today and she’s back in business.
rachael, however, is positively zooming along and you can see a close-up photo here of what she’s accomplished this week.

i got started after them, so i am behind . . . . but it’s not a race!

bigger IS better

Posted on 37 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

(flower of the day, multi-color lily)
seriously, this one lily plant has a variety of differently-colored flowers on it, from a solid deep mauve to white-with-pink-speckles. what’s up with that? it’s the only plant we have that did this . . . anybody else seeing weird lily behavior?

thank you all for the nice comments on my grandma’s knitting—she was really good at it, without ever making a point of that. we are so lucky to have many examples of her work. she and her six sisters all knitted and crocheted, and used to have a weekly “crochet” club meetup (not, of course, restricted to crochet). my dream would be to collect examples of all their work, if my cousins are ever of a mind to let them go (while staying at one cousin’s house recently i saw an oldie with a big tear in one corner and i SO wanted to sneak it out of there . . .)

and today, i got and email from wendy, who sent a link to this. how cool is that?

i holed up all weekend so i could get some knitting done. a few of the things i’m working on are secret, but i learned one thing about myself.

i need a big project at all times. after i finished the triangle bee, i tried to “relax” by working on socks and small projects. that’s ok, but i found myself growing restless and straying to the computer a lot, where i’d end up wasting time. i didn’t get any more done on my socks than if i was trying to squeeze them in around a big project.

so i started one. i can’t show you (seriously, i’m not trying to tease). but let’s just say the world is right again.

BUT, i did finish my orchid lace mitt, and i think it’s so pretty . . .

i got started right away on mitt #2. it is so light and comfortable, and the lace details are so delicate

here’s a closeup of the thumb gusset. the fit is similar to my other mitts, but this one has the lace pattern to match the cuff.
the mitt is not blocked yet because i want to do both at the same time. i knit mine on size 2 (2.75mm) needles but for a smaller fit, using a 2.25mm or 2.5mm would do the trick. and these are long,

but there will be an option in the pattern for a shorter version too. the yarn is fearless fibers laceweight merino in the miracle colorway, same as the orchid lace scarf.

i also worked a lot last week on the rectangle bee pattern, which rachael and vanessa (can you believe her??) are test knitting as you read this. and look, vanessa’s is black! i LOVE it.

i worked on a couple of other secret projects to put toward fall submission deadlines that are coming up in september, but i also worked on the merlot vine socks for october sock club

almost done! now i have to think of the perfect way to end the cuff. the pattern actually is a rib, and it has a cool scalloped edge, so i was thinking of just using that all the way up. you can kind of see it here

and here

i’m not sure though . . . we’ll see.

and i also finally got my butt over to ravelry where i haven’t visited in AGES. jess and casey invited me very early on to participate, and i agreed, but i’ve had so little time to actually go over and play. but one or two “friends” have been hounding me to check it out, so i made a point this weekend to get myself there. and wow, has it grown since the last time i checked in. the place is a-flurry with activity. it’s a great resource for anyone who needs to know about a pattern or yarn before embarking on a project.

i think it’s great to have that forum for everyone to discuss designers and their work, and to browse projects in progress. since i would have to choose between spending time here and spending time there, though, i think i would like to stick to focusing my time here on my blog, where i can talk about the design process more, and share other parts of my life. ravelry isn’t really set up for designers to do that, and anyway, i like to do that at “home” so to speak.

but it was great to see so many familiar names there and finally put faces to them! i’ll keep checking messages and so forth, and i’ll keep my current projects more up to date from now on, too, but i’m hoping that people who see my work there, will continue to come here, where we can examine it more closely.

so, all in all a wonderfully quiet and very productive weekend.

a few notes:
this week we are trying to clean up the blog a bit so that it loads and runs faster. believe me, i am TOTALLY aware that it has been very slow. and i’m sure you are aware that i am hopelessly lost in web-land, and that change comes slow to my internet world.

since the beginning, we have experienced a wordpress glitch where, in order to keep my archives intact for you to see, it was necessary to allow the blog to load a full two months worth of posts (yes, i tried everything, but two [actual] web experts agree that it is a glitch in wordpress). we are going to try installing the newest wordpress update to fix that; we are hoping it will also fix the problem that some IE users have which makes my sidebar drop to the bottom of the page. tonight david is going to install the update, and hopefully tomorrow we will still be here, safe and sound.

and then my buddy rachel also gave me some pointers on getting the photo size down without sacrificing quality.
SO, over the next few weeks, i am going to take ALL the archived photos and reduce the size, so that everything loads better. that’s a fairly tedious and extensive project as you can imagine, with all the pictures i use, so the effect of that change will come more slowly.

hopefully none of this will affect YOU, but you never know . . .

greedy me

Posted on 66 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

(flower of the day, echinacea, at sunset)

i am really flattered that no one guessed what sin i am. but wow, everyone thought i was lust, which gave me pause . . . and, probably i am in my heart. but i picked my sin by color, and by what i might knit, so i picked greed. and deb obliged me with a great golden-green color, just right for money . . . or for what passes for money i some circles.

it’s really more bronze-y than this, but it was a bit difficult to photograph. perhaps once i start swatching, the true color will make itself known.
deb’s sock club is sold out now, but there will be another . . . and it will be heavenly.

i worked a bunch on the socks in class last night, but i’m going to show you something else today—the orchid lace mitts (this picture makes it look as if it’s all sunny and summery, but really, it’s very rainy and chilly today).

i’ve been working on these in spurts, and i don’t know why i don’t just sit down and finish them, because when i DO work on them, i make huge progress in a short amount of time. they just knit up so fast.

the gusset and thumb are going to be really pretty—i can’t wait to do that part.
i love the weight—there is none. they are truly weightless. mmm.

here’s a shot of the cuff detail

of course, all the lace will be much more open after a little steaming . . . when they are all done.

and now i have some really special knitting to show you. yesterday i was emailing with rachel and we were talking about old knits and how well they hold up. i started thinking about some afghans i have that my grandma made, now over 40 (gulp) years old. these are made with red heart wool or something similar—something you could buy in the dimestore, most likely. they are in beautiful condition, even after MUCH hard use within our family life.

here is one she made for my mom when mom was pregnant with my older brother in 1956, and moving into her first house. it is one of those famous “50 different patterns” afghans, for which you knit a square in each color of 50 different stitch patterns, then crochet the edges and sew them together.

this piece is VERY special to me, as it is responsible for jump-starting my knitting “career” at the age
of 4. i know i’ve told this before, but this afghan was draped over the back of our sofa all through my childhood. i use to lay on the couch and gaze at the patterns, exploring them with my eyes and fingers trying to puzzle out their secrets. it was a language to me and i wanted to figure it out

i was particularly entranced with the cables, and knew that i MUST learn how to make those wonderful structures (like all muggles, i though it would probably be easy). i pestered gram til she finally relented and taught me the first steps of knitting. hehe. well, it was quite a while before i ever tackled cables, but i held it as a goal for a few years, and finally achieved simple ones at around age 8 i think.

just look at this cool edging.

even the fringe has held up really well, and this afghan was used, washed, and bandied all about our home . . . but always with care and a certain reverence, i must admit. we were taught very early to respect the things that were made for us by others. i was lucky enough to inherit this afghan when my mom sold our family home a few years ago and moved to a smaller house.

here is another piece that i use all the time. this one was made for me for my fourth birthday in 1964.

i was so excited! my sister got one the same year with a ripple stitch in shades of purple (for some years i was a little jealous of that purple, but now i adore this turquoise/cream color combo)

it has a beautiful cable and lace pattern, and the drape is wonderful. even the sewing has held up all these years . .. i’ve never had to darn it.

it has magic powers to relax me and send me to that sleeping place, whenever i need to. but my favorite bit of all? has to to be this

thank you gram, for everything you gave me!

a mile in someone else’s heels

Posted on 31 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized

i know i KNOW. i’ve been dilly-dallying in the same spot on this sock for over a week (oh, how i know!). and to be honest, i have done a LOT of knitting in order to go nowhere.

why all this angst and kvetching over the damn heel you might ask?

to tell you the truth, this is something i’ve been meaning to tackle for some time—the Big Heel Workshop. i’ve been putting off trying all the fabulous heel variations there are because i am a lazy sock knitter. i like to settle into my chair an not move when i’m knitting. i like to do what i already know (ok, not always, but a lot). i didn’t mean to launch the Heel Summit Talks right in the middle of a design project, but that’s what happened.

so that’s why we keep seeing the sock in the same sort-of-stuck state. there is a lot of actual work going on here, and MILES of yarn knit (and i want to say how well it suffers the reknitting) . . . just not a lot of proof. it’s called process knitting. (hehehe, oh THAT old excuse).

this is the sock that used to have cookie’s heel on it. since then, i decided that wasn’t the heel for me, or for this sock. i don’t care for the hard lines juxtaposed with this lace pattern. of course, that is not to say that i wouldn’t use this heel in another project . .. it just isn’t working aesthetically for me here.

so i ripped back and tried another heel, this time wendy’s.

this is better; it’s not so hard-edged, and it has a slanting line that’s nice. but i have to say, i still think that maybe it’s not right for this design. but i don’t want to rip it back cuz i might keep it, so i laid that one aside, and took up the other test sock.

this time, i did my nice, clean short-row heel with a twist (which i didn’t photograph, sorry!!) one of the problems with my usual short-row heel is that for some people it is not deep enough. so i tried this thing i thought of to extend the short row heel. it is WAY cool, and i love it, but guess what?

yeah, it was wrong for this sock. so i ripped that back (3rd heel last night, and all this time the bike race is AWESOME), and reknit, using my usual short-row heel,

which is clean, simple and uncluttered, i like this heel for designing because there is nothing about it that distracts from the patterning in the sock. it’s smooth stockinette texture is plenty to provide a nice contrast to any pattern, making the pattern edges appear nice and crisp.

AND it matches the toe nicely, too. so i think that after all that, i’m going to go with what i know. only now, i know a LOT more. i also think that most sock knitters have a heel they love and are comfortable substituting it into any pattern. so the simpler i keep the heel, the easier it will be for those knitters.

(hehe. except guess what? this heel might be on the wrong sock—oy!)

my wonderful friend rachel and i email about a LOT of things (she is a very astute proofreader), but today we are having a conversation about old knits—those pieces of our family history that we cherish and use after many many years. talking about it finally got me to take some photos of my grandma’s afghans, so tomorrow i think ill share them, and you shall see of what i was spawned.

in the meantime, when you visit rachael’s blog, you will see a button at the top of her sidebar for fund free mammograms—PLEASE CLICK it and cast your ballot for free mammograms. thank you!