knitting, but not much happening

Posted on 40 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, projects

no new flowers today but here’s a taste of what i’ve been eating for lunch every day this week. mm-mmm—nothing like it. i can’t get enough.

we’ve had several days of heavy rain in a row, following several weeks of extremely dry weather. such a relief—not that it’s been hot, but the dryness really gets into my skin after a while.

the other day david came into the house from the yard, sat down, pulled his pad of paper in front of him, and said (very seriously): anne, we need to talk about the tomato plants

after choking down a giggle i said yeah, they’re awfully big.”
just as a reference, i give you this:

this is what they looked like after all the dry weather we’ve had.
here’s what they looked like last year about this time:

since it started raining, they’ve grown visibly, if you can believe that’s even possible. there are a couple that, when the vines are completely extended, measure at least 12 feet in height. yikes.
plus, the weight of the water is pulling down the vines and they are now crawling all over the peppers and the ground. so it’s getting to be a mess out there.

(buildings are same size as always)

david: you are not going to be able to penetrate the vines to pick when the tomatoes start ripening
me: oh, i think i can squeeze in—i might have to crawl, though . . .
david (looks at the ceiling): i don’t think it’s possible. is there any reason why we can’t lop them off along the tops? you might lose some, but—
me (shrieking): NO. (calmer) well, at least, i don’t think so. i never heard of anyone doing it
david: did you ever know anyone who had to?
me: no
(long silence—david is really good at waiting me out)
david: i underestimated how big they could get; i should have used much bigger cages to support them
me: we-ell, i really don’t think anyone could have predicted what’s happening out there. i guess i could call cooperative extension and ask an agent.
or ask the blog . . .

so i’m asking: does anybody know if it’s ok to prune tomato plants at the top?

most days i i find it’s a good strategy to go out and look for what’s ripe and remain in total denial about the overall picture.
and what’s ripe has been so yummy—correcting the soil not only gave a growth boost to the whole thing but made it all taste a lot better, too.

i’m picking a few of these every day now—they are ripening later than usual but it’s been truly chilly most of july. in fact we are about to break a record in NE ohio for the coolest july weather. still, not too shabby on produce—the fridge is full and i’m giving it away to everyone i know.

the other night i went out and picked all the eggplant that was hanging low near the ground—the plants are really loaded with fruit and i figured taking these in would lighten the stress and help the rest grow a little bigger. we’ve been eating eggplant for the last couple of weeks, but this was more than we can use at once.

so i cut them in chunks, tossed with olive oil, and roasted on cookie sheets til golden. once they were cooled i put them in ziplocs for the freezer. i’ve done this with excess eggplant for the last two years and it is an awesome way to save it for later—they taste really good cooked in pasta sauce, curry, or a mid-winter batch of ratatouille.

tomorrow it’ll be time to pick greens again but i think a couple of the spinners may want to take some home, and then there are more knitters coming on monday . . .

the winter squash is coming along nicely too—i planted a seed mix so it’s a surprise what types we’ll end up with. i know we have at least one acorn squash and whatever this is (possibly muscat de provence?). the plants are growing right through the fence out onto the back street; every week or so i go around and re-lay the vines where they won’t get damaged from car tires.

i bet you think i’m running on about the garden because i haven’t been knitting. well, yes and no.
i HAVE been knitting a LOT, but . . . all the progress is on big projects where it doesn’t show much (at least, not to me)

every night i add at least one repeat to nightingale and it’s finally looking a lot longer.
not quite long enough to say it’s almost done (i haven’t measured, but i can tell it’s not there yet).
i’m contemplating leaving it be until i go away next week; this piece is at the point where it would make excellent plane knitting—i know the body pattern by heart though i still need the chart for the edging (but it’s a small chart, easily totable).

and i’d rather finish off the bee thing before i go—that would save a lot of hassle, since it needs to be blocked before the gifting deadline. if i finish it by next weekend, i could block it before i go. then, david could ship it to its final destination just before he leaves so as to be there when it arrives (very cryptic, i know, since i haven’t explained our august travel plans yet—more on that next week).

i’m well into my second ball of yarn and a little ways into the swarm pattern of the middle section (see the wittle bees?). this is my favorite pattern to knit in this piece (i dunno why).
i have hit that point though, where the rows are starting to feel long and i can only complete about four per hour. i keep thinking i’m less than halfway through, so why does it feel so big, so soon?

i think the bulk of the fingering yarn is one thing that makes it feel big. another thing is that i might be almost halfway there—there are about 170 rows in all and i’ve completed about 110 or so? but there is knit-on edging too so i can’t really be halfway there . . .

probably the biggest reason it feels like it’s slowing down is that i’m not knitting on it enough. and when i do, it’s late. so if i put down nightingale for just one week and motor on the bee thing, maybe i can make it.

i’ve also been thinking a lot these last two days about my travel knitting (besides nightingale). i’ve swatched for a new big project in a yummy yarn that i might take along (not sure yet)

but i’m feeling a need to get some small projects on the needles for traveling and socializing. i’m jonesing for a sock project (it’s only been a week, but i miss them!) so i’ll definitely pack the two nate mates that need to be finished. and i have mitts on the brain—fall is just around the corner. a neckwarmer also makes a nice travel project, hmmm.

i had to go through my stash today to find a few things to send my niece who requested a yarn gift for her birthday. and it really got me in the mood for knitting fall accessories . . .

ok, now, i’ve got a bee thing singing my name in the other room; i’m going to answer the call.

whitfield jacket

Posted on 44 CommentsPosted in patterns

david wanted a heavy field jacket and this is what i came up with—a tweedy, rugged-looking coat with a longer, easy fit and a neck opening that’s ripe for a scarf. lots of pockets for all that stuff he needs to carry, side slits at the hem to prevent bunching, and a big collar to pull up against the wind. his own is sized for outdoor use over winter clothing, but the next smaller size could be nice in a slightly lighter weight for lounging indoors.

shown here, size medium in briar rose robusta, a woolen-spun 3-ply corriedale yarn in colorway, david loves green.

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

another winning yarn from chris at briar rose. there are so many i hadn’t tried til recently—those “surprise” boxes she sends us in winter really expand my knitting horizons.
once again ronni does an impeccable job helping me get the pattern in shape for publication, while at the same time managing family life and moving.
tana’s guidance as our tech editor cannot be underestimated—she’s the one who takes a raw, one-sized creation and turns it into a pattern for all sizes—we love her!
jan and erica (cabingirl in comments) worked through the test knits of this project and we appreciate their efforts so much!

and of course, big thanks to david who inspired and collaborated in the design and then put in a star performance as a model here (he even got into it a little bit at the end, wink)—big hugs and kisses from all of us, david (but mostly me).


Posted on 74 CommentsPosted in patterns

this is the jacket i’ll keep near the door this fall to grab over and over again on my way out the door. a comfortable, tweedy leisure jacket (that truly deserves the name) to knock around in with jeans or to wear as a change-up from a suit jacket with “nice” trousers. not too heavy, but still, the fabric has a great density that keeps its shape no matter what you’re up to in it. you don’t have to tell a soul what an easy knit it is.

and in a few days, we’ll bring you the guy version . . .

shown here, size small in briar rose fourth of july, a smooth, light worsted 4-ply yarn in colorway, 8000; black cherries.

the gorgeous glass buttons for this jacket were purchased from moving mud—i sent them a swatch and they created just the right thing for the fabric. how awesome is that?

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

yet again, this project is made possible by the generosity of chris at briar rose. and now she has a new website—always worth a look!
thank you so much ronni for gracing this pattern with your technical skill and good advice. ronni’s been moving for a couple of weeks now but thankfully, still finding time to do some work with me.
thanks also to tana, our wonderful tech editor, whose placid nature never fails to be infectious.
my very good friend anne marie performed a heroic test knit in just a couple of weeks (and it’s gorgeous, to boot)—you can see her jackie sweater in the briar rose booth at sock summit!

and of course, david gets a big round of applause for a great photo shoot.

another quickie; now with blocking prøn

Posted on 31 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

mmm, gold.
we have some inside and out—the black eyed susans have bloomed just in time to celebrate my new FO. these are one of david’s favorites.

finally we had some rain yesterday. not an all-nighter, but on and off for a few hours anyway. enough to perk things up outside for a bit (but we could use a lot more). from my spot on the bench near the back door, the morning air was still a little crisp and smelled of damp earth—that was nice.

well, of course it rained—yesterday was blocking day. it wouldn’t be right to get the whole living room floor covered with wet wool and then let it dry in just a few hours, now, would it?

my friend debby came over to visit and we blocked a few of her things. i’d stayed up til the wee hours sunday to finish sewing my sweater in a one-night hiatus from the bee thing (which i made up for in class on monday). i washed it yesterday morning, using the hand wash cycle of the machine—the way we handle all our woolens.

i laid it out on the porch because the morning was breezy, warm, and dry. i gave it a bit of shaping but not much—it came out of the washer pretty much the size it was supposed to be everywhere.

after my class left at 6pm though, the air had turned chilly and damp with rain, so i moved it inside where it could dry better. this morning i got a few nicer shots

i know some people expected that the texture would flatten and disappear when washed (and that’s a valid concern), but i think it stands up very nicely to blocking (the quality of the yarn and gauge affect this too, of course).
and the fabric—wow—this is one of the most comfortable fabrics i’ve knit lately.

once again, the yarn is briar rose legend and the colorway is like 1086 or 1076

truthfully, it’s still an eensty-weentsy bit damp inside so i’m wearing it a bit gingerly (and my head is cut off because i tend to grimace when i take my own modeling shots, heh—not attractive)

we also blocked three of debby’s recent FOs, including the boxleaf triangle (size mini) she test-knit using just one sock-sized skein of grandma’s blessing

it’s a beautiful dark-wine-and-midnight-blue colorway; a gift from chris when debby contributed a square to a charity afghan last year.

then she had an elm row scarf she just finished in louet mooi, colorway aqua

i just love the sheen of the silk and the halo of naturally colored brown bison fiber that rises from this yarn. beautiful . . .

and we also blocked a rivolo scarf, knit up in woolen rabbit harmony sock yarn, colorway moroccan spice (i think).

it was such a nice afternoon; we spent hours just pinning and chatting—or not—then knit until the rest of the gang arrived for class. i worked on the Bee Thing (that’s its new, temporary blog name) and got another repeat finished. i sent everyone home with a bag of greens, squash, peppers, and beets, then david and i sat down to a nice supper of leftovers for ourselves.

after dinner i did desk work for for just a little while, then spent the better part of the evening working some more on the secret project.

you can see it’s grown a lot, right?? i’m almost done with the first section and i’m looking forward to the next one—that’s my favorite pattern in this project.

well, i took a break from writing my sweater pattern to do the blog, but now it’s time for me to get back to work. see you next time . . . and maybe between now and then we’ll have a little treat.