the dust is settling

Posted on 19 CommentsPosted in food and garden, projects

our cranesbill plants, which have spread throughout the perennials beds to blanket any bare space available, have burst into bloom in the last few days, producing the most luxurious pools of flowers. many of these are in their fifth or sixth year here and they just get better and better—a great investment of a few dollars in the original plants. this particular one, which snakes throughout the dye bed, has such delicate color, almost like cherry blossoms. i don’t remember which variety it is (not being one to keep a garden journal), but it’s a beauty.

the climbing hydrangea is also covered with blooms finally (it’s been growing happily for six years, but not bloomed heavily til now). i thought it would have flowers like the big hydrangea shrubs, but these are different and quite interesting—more like dillweed, of all things.

each tiny bud produces a little spray of thingies (sorry, i don’t know the scientific name, or if they are actually petals), and each “bunch” produces just a few of those large white petaled flowers you think of as hydrangea.

and look how green everything is right now—it’s gotten very hot and humid (but no rain, which we sorely need), so the foliage all around is a lush, unearthly green. it will fade as summer progresses, but for now it’s kinda magic.

what a week—between the fiber show, getting the garden in place, and having the opportunity to spend time with old friends, i feel like a visitor in my own life today, now that things have settled down. my friend luci left yesterday afternoon, ending our mini vacation together. she was so impressed with all the different ways that the knitting community (i.e., YOU) shares information, communicates, and supports each other—she went away with a lot to think about (especially when i told her about sock summit and how knitters can crash a huge server with enthusiasm—that really is a striking example of our strength). we are in similar circumstances in that we each have our own business and are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to share what we do with others, while trying to support ourselves. it was exciting to have this time together and if not much knitting got done, well, my jaw certainly got a good workout.

thank you all SO so very much for your positive comments on the ondulé sweater and your enthusiasm for its release. i can’t really put into words how much it means to me when you write, not just to tell me you like the way something looks, but to offer encouragement and your absolutely unmatchable enthusiasm for new patterns. it is more than touching, more than supportive—you are a constant inspirational force for me.

why, you deserve flowers—how about poppies and sage?

speaking of ondulé, chris at briar rose fibers wants me to pass along that she is always willing to take custom orders for yarn; if you see a color on her site but not in the quantity you need, simply contact her and she will dye it for you. if you see something that you’d like toned-down or changed a bit, she is happy to do that too.

although not a LOT of knitting was accomplished this week, there was some . . . besides starting a fairly large secret project, i also got a bit of knitting done here and there while we watched late-night movies.

the second roger sock is gaining in length—the pattern is all set to go; anne marie has finished her test knit and given it her blessing.

yesterday i got back to work a little bit on some pattern writing and final edits. i suddenly have several patterns ready to release over the next couple of weeks, after a bit of a dry spell. seems like they all get to the same point at the same time right now (hillflowers, fernfrost, david sock, roger sock, gnarled oakwoods) so that i am either flush with them or i have lots of projects just getting started and no patterns to release. i need to get things back on a staggered schedule, heh.

i put a few rows on the nightingale stole the other night but really, you can hardly see the difference. this one is going to take a while, but it will be worth the wait. it should be done by the time it gets truly hot, when you wouldn’t want much more than this on your shoulders.

i’ve also been working a bit on the gold maze sweater

i got past the split in the body and have organized the stitches for the shoulder/armhole parts, but stopped there. i might pick this one back up tonight when i have some quiet time—i need to start the cable and pattern in the new stitch count and that takes some concentration for a few rows (i haven’t had any of that to spare in the last few days, ay).

a new arrival on my doorstep the other day was this combination of beautiful yarn and needles sent from cathy at signature needle arts and beth at lorna’s laces. cathy had a great idea about producing kits with yarn, needles and patterns, so she is approaching designers to work with herself and beth on putting kits together. these are the yarns for my sock

the blue is a little less intense in real life—i love both these colorway and can’t wait to start. and since i’m down to having just one sock on the needles, i think i can do that now (yippeee).

i’m very excited about the needles too; coincidentally, i was grandly surprised to be gifted a set last week by my good friend jocelyn, so cathy graciously coordinated that order with what we talked about me needing (all done without blowing the surprise) and i ended up with a set each of 2.25 mm and 2.0 mm—the perfect combination of needles for this yarn (i like to use the 2.0 mms on the heels with thinner yarns). yay.

i also need to think about the last sock in the men’s series—the nate sock—that i’m doing with grandma’s blessing. chris gave me some awesomely beautiful colorways to work with.

ooops, i see i have an appointment in just a little while, so i’m going to end here—sorry for the abrupt finish; it just came up so suddenly (time flies and all that). next time, an update on the vegetable garden and hopefully, lots more knitting.


Posted on 44 CommentsPosted in patterns

i love practical sweaters, but we also need sweaters that will dress up a pair of trousers and travel easily. i thought a little semi-fitted cardigan with a subtle texture would be just what was needed—it looks like a jacket, but feels like a sweater, with a flattering amount of shaping for any body type (and it comes in eight sizes, yay). knit up in sport yarn, it’s a wearable weight for several seasons.

shown here, size small in briar rose grandma’s blessing, colorway, 9027, which is very similar to 9068B (has all the same colors).

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

my dear friend chris has been sending me gorgeous sweater yarns for several years now, which i have been lucky enough to knit into garments for both david and myself. all this time i’ve been promising i would write the patterns for these pieces, so i’m awfully happy to be featuring the yarn and patterns together (finally). thank you chris for making these pieces possible!
rachel put her usual eagle eye to the new task of proofreading this pattern; many thanks for all your hard work and attention to detail rachel.
tana took on the enormous task of tech-editing and sizing my sweater patterns, for which i am completely grateful as a newbie to this work. i am learning so much and hope that our working relationship becomes a long-standing one.
my friend jocelyn eagerly volunteered to test knit this sweater and has been letting me know she enjoys wearing it as well. thank you so very much jocelyn!

and of course, many thanks to david for pulling off yet another lovely series of photos—it was very hot, i was tired, but he made it all look good anyway . . .

yep, summer’s coming . . .

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, projects

it’s that time—poppies popped this weekend right on schedule for memorial day; how do they do it? i can’t help but snap one shot after the other of these gorgeous flowers.

and the buds with their tight bundles of papery petals

hahaha, speaking of paper, we had a very interesting morning here yesterday . . .
on sunday evening, david decided it was time to set our plan for mulching the garden in place. we’d been collecting newspapers from neighbors for several weeks, which we planned to lay down all over the dirt between the plants, top that with soaker hoses, then spread a layer of clean straw on top. this design (copied from our friends beckie and mark, who used it last year to great success), would cut down on weeds, keep the ground damp and cool (thus conserving water), and hopefully, help keep the plants healthier. a great plan, right?

i was a bit dubious about getting started without the straw on hand but david was convinced it was a ok to go ahead. all went well with laying the paper—the weekend was warm humid, and still.

first thing monday morning, it was all still in place. then the wind picked up and the sun began to dry out the paper—are you getting the picture? i quick went out back out to start hosing everything down again, but i had to run out for a bit to pick up a friend, so i couldn’t stick around to keep vigil. by the time we got back to the house, there was paper all over the yard (but very little in the garden, oy!)

i roused david and asked him to please go get some straw while i wet everything down again and got the paper back in place. within a couple of hours, we had it all fixed up again

but wow, i never expected to spend half of memorial day chasing paper around the neighborhood . . . instead of say, writing a nice blog post about poppies and wool shows, heh.
but all turned out fine, and if nothing else it was completely entertaining for our guest, luci, to watch us figure out another gardening dilemma. if you try this at your house, do not start without all the requisite supplies on hand, no matter WHAT your significant other says.

luci, a filmmaker, is an old friend of ours from NYC who is in town for a few days to do some screenings of the documentary she and her husband scott made this past year about children of missionary families. and we’re lucky to have her with us for a few days that have been really fun (and a nice break from the usual pace).
we went to the film saturday night—it was awesome. it was great for us to see the results of their work for the last few years—they stayed with us during some of the filming in 2004 (some local families are featured in the picture). she was out of town sunday and then yesterday she came here for a day of vacation (and odd, spontaneous outdoor entertainment, as it turns out). she has one more screening and is staying tonight as well—it’s been SO so good to have this time together to catch up.

BTW, if this film sounds like something you’d be interested in viewing yourself, or viewing with a class or group (highly recommended), you can contact luci or scott here to find out more about screenings or purchase a personal copy here. you can also find out more, watch clips, and see current news on facebook

(see our strawberries? im so excited about them . . .)

and that’s not all that’s happening around the place—this weekend was also the time for our local fiber show in wooster. friday evening we went to dinner with chris and roger of briar rose fibers and had a wonderful meal at the south market bistro, spending several hours talking about all things under the sun and enjoying each other’s company.

roger held the sock knit in his honor (i think he has a future as a sock rep, don’t you??).
on sunday, i went to the show with my spinning class, where we spent the first hour or so in chris’s booth—we all came away with something gorgeous.

i picked up this beautiful shawl pin—you might be familiar with the one-of-a-kind buttons chris sells, which are created by her sister; now she has pins, too (and stitch markers). every single one is different and i fell in love with the pebbled texture and color of this one. it is surprisingly light and will look wonderful on a shawl or scarf knit from natural wool.

i also came away with a couple of skeins of harmony, perfect for the hillflowers scarf or stole, to be released very soon. and i might have scored a small bump of merino roving, which i haven’t tried yet, but it feels very promising

just four ounces, quite mangeable to spin over the summer, i think.

not far off we came across catherine’s knitting notions booth where whole other realm of colors and yarns tempted us

catherine’s been busy over the winter and spring getting lots of yarn ready to sell at summer shows. this is one of her new colors—winter sky—i just melted when i saw it (look familiar?). this is her classic merino sport yarn i can’t wait to think up something to knit with this (hmm, it would be beautiful and soft for a baby . . .).

catherine was also happy to feed my love affair with good bamboo merino sock yarn with this wonderful skein of gray classic merino bamboo to knit up into some classy socks for one of my guys during the summer.

it was so good to see catherine and talk about what’s new (she has a new sport yarn coming out soon with a tighter twist), what yarns would work with what patterns, and just catch up on news. and meredith was there with her, smiling as always.

we found the fleece sale soon enough and purchased a gleaming white, blue-ribbon coopworth fleece which we are having processed by wooly knob fiber mill and blended with nylon for spinning sock yarn. we’ll split that between a few of us when it’s done; we were actually looking for a nice light gray fleece when we started out, but then this white one stole our hearts, what can you do? anne marie and i also found some lovely finn fleece that we bought and dropped ff for processing as well—beautiful soft brown fiber, enough for a sweater each—yummy.

unfortunately, we were so carried away doing all the we didn’t take any photos (and i managed to leave home completely forgetting my camera, so there you have it).

between the ride to and fro, i started the second roger sock

obviously, we also did a LOT of talking in the car, heh.

last night we watched a wonderful german movie and i finished the second david sock

all in all a great holiday weekend—there’s more to talk about, but i think i’ll save that for next time. also, later today—the release of the ondulé sweater pattern. right now i have to take luci to her screening but i’ll be back in a few hours to post that. meanwhile, how about another mighty poppy picture?

let’s get dirty

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

well, the garden is in—i’ve spent the last few evenings and and this morning cleaning up and getting all the plants in the ground. we reconfigured things yet again this year; david decided we weren’t making good use of the space we had so he plowed up a little more around the edges and made the whole area one big planting patch.

the front bumpout there is the kitchen cutting patch—herbs, celery, leeks, scallions, etc. directly behind them is a big patch of tomatoes that extends several rows (i once again bought too many tomato plants); i’m rotating them from their usual space at the back. behind those there is a pepper patch and an eggplant patch; out of sight to the right is the strawberry patch and the asparagus bed—still struggling along. we’re not sure why the asparagus does not come back after a good first year, but it’s happened twice now . . . and we’re still trying.

the big dark patch toward the back is my seed bed—i have all sorts of greens and beet seeds planted there. since i have more room this year i planted the greens further apart rather than broadcasting them randomly as before. this should cut down on the need to thin and allow the plants to grow bigger (provided the seeds take well).

then, along the back fence are all the squash plants; kris, beckie, and i are all trying out the idea of training them up the fence to cut down on beetle invasion; it worked well for kris last year so we’re experimenting with it more. i even have a few watermelon plants this year—small refrigerator melons for david; he really loves them.

i planted lettuce and spinach in the boxes to the left, near the dye bed. and out of sight i have another planter with jalapeño peppers in it.

that should be plenty to get started, heh.
i still have a few perennials to get into the ground, but i think i’ll do that over the weekend; right now i’ve had enough sun and dirt and bending over, oof.

needless to say, not a huge amount of knitting has gotten done in the last couple of days, but there is some

my nightingale stole is growing—seems like there is little progress when i’m knitting it, but then when i spread it out the morning after, i can see it’s getting longer. hard to believe that this will transform into a larger version of this, isn’t it?

but it will. about the name—though the composition was inspired by the blooming of the lily of the valley, when i looked into using that in the name i found that there are dozens of patterns already using it. so i looked at the swatch and thought some more, and realized that the pattern also looks like the fluttering wings of a small bird—maybe a starling or nightingale. and since the yarn (alpaca lace from kristine) color is nightingale, i’m going with that for now.

my second david sock is progressing nicely, but not done yet

almost there.

and somehow, though i haven’t been knitting much at all (opting instead to fall into bed, stupid-tired, at the end of the night), the maze sweater has grown a lot—i’m just a few rows from the underarm bindoff now (that cable is at the side seam, btw)

these sweaters in the round can get you that way—with rounds that amount to over 200 sts, usually, you start out resigned that you have a whole lotta knitting to do before you see much progress at all. the stretch ahead to the underarm bindoff seems interminable. you measure and measure and it never freakin’ grows.

then suddenly—usually when you’ve finally got into a groovy zen state with it—you’ve either overshot your mark (grrr), or you’re right there. i’ve stopped measuring these kinds of sweaters until i’m really almost sure it’s worth it, hehehe.

so yeah, i’ll be splitting it into two halves soon to work the armhole and shoulder area, which is often the point that these sweaters go a lot faster for a while (until the sleeves, but we won’t think about that now).

and now, before i sign off for a couple of days of holiday weekend activity and a trip to the fiber show, how about a little yarn prøn?? i knew you’d say yes . . .

tanis and karen at string theory sent me some yummy sample skeins this week to try at some point in the near future. above we have their impossibly squishy DK merino, colorway north haven

and below

we have the delectable caper sock yarn in colorway fusion. this stuff is deeply lovable and has the best of all worlds—merino blended with nylon and a bit of cashmere, yum.

next i have something very special from great northern yarns, where craig had the brilliant idea to blend combed mink fiber with cashmere for an ultimately luxurious yarn. my friend kim in san diego is knitting a shawl from the lightweight version and we all fell over ourselves trying to sit next to it on our visit.

it blooms in the most lovely way as it’s knit up, creating a gorgeous halo that is nothing like anything else i’ve seen. and do i even have to say that it’s soft?? well it is—you’ll have to trust me, it’s softer than soft. use your imagination and go as far as you like, hee-hee!
this is the DK weight yarn in the natural brown colorway; currently he also has black, but will soon be releasing a line of dyed yarns. we can’t wait, right??

ok, now, we have a dinner date at a great restaurant with dear friends tonight and i just happen to be ravenously hungry. in fact, i skimmed this post but didn’t rally proofread it—please forgive any errors . . .
i’ll try to be back maybe sunday, but probably, it’ll be monday.
have a wonderful holiday weekend.