to market, to market

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, lace/shawls, projects

before starting work on saturday morning, we decided a quick trip to the royal oak farmers market was in order—we needed to stock up on  a few fresh foods for dinner over the weekend.

i had never been to this market, but i’m sure i’ll return—it was a lot of fun. and i made a series of yummy purchases, starting at the charley’s mustard booth, where i bought a bottle of deLISH brown country mustard.

the market was hopping and produce was moving quickly, so we made our rounds as fast as we could. vegetables for a vodka pita dish were first on the list

garlic from green organics farm, tomatoes, basil, broccoli, mushrooms, and

fresh gnocchi in two flavors from tracina’s—spinach and black truffle . . . mmmm.

gotta have lots of good fresh food for baby knitspot—look how big he’s getting!
(more on that later)

once we found everything on our grocery list, we dawdled over the booths featuring non-essential items. i was completely smitten with the ida belle handmade soaps booth

which was filled not only with wonderful natural scents and pretty soap packages, but some lovely vintage china pieces as well.

moving on, we also spent some of our cash on max’s granola a really yummy local product with a great inspirational story behind it.

of course, we didn’t forget buddy, waiting for us at home—we bought a small bag of treats just for him at the sunbear’s just bones treat buffet. i think he was pleased . . .

after the farmer’s market, we made a quick stop at the grocery store to search for a large cantaloupe—yes, it’s that time of the week, when baby knitspot progresses to another “fruit level”. erica bought a melon in preparation for the weekly photo, but then found out upon returning home that it weighed in shy of the 5.5 pound mark. nor did we find one big enough at the farmer’s market (not yet in season in michigan).

looking to remedy that, we ran in to the produce section of the nearest holiday market. lo and behold, there was a big stack of cantaloupes holding  several that appeared to have great potential.

one in particular caught my eye and i said firmly, “that one”. i scooped it up and made my way to the scales with erica in tow.

sure enough

we roared with laughter when we saw the weight—right on the button at 5.5 . . . who knew my talents extended into the melon milieu? i had to wait while erica took a minute to put on lipstick for the photo (plenty of eye rolling on my part there, haha), but we finally got the picture she  wanted.

by then, the sun was getting very hot, so we made our way home to settle down to work for the rest of the day. we’ve been getting quite a bit accomplished, yay!

and i’ve been knitting here and there as well

my twig and leaf shawlette has grown quite a bit since you saw it last—i’m really happy with how it’s turning out and it’s been a lot of fun to knit. you can really see now all the subtle variations in what appears to be a very dark colorway of briar rose stella.

i think i can finish this up soon, maybe even by midweek. if i can manage that and we can get a photo shoot in as well, there could be a pattern release this friday, yay!

alright now, back to work for me—still more to do before i leave here tomorrow morning to go home.

six weeks to ejection

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

i’m at erica’s place, working for the weekend. this morning she had a non stress test; i played the role of wry commentator spectator, keeping erica laughing for the duration. there was plenty of knitting time as well, which i spent on twig and leaf, but did not take pictures—apparently i am only capable of taking pictures of one subject at a time, haha.

after the non stress test, we moved on to the BPP ultrasound

which was even more cool; the technician was really enthusiastic about the baby’s movements and behaviors and gave us a very detailed blow by blow of the whole show. i’ve never seen an ultrasound before and being one of those people that can never figure out what i’m looking at in the photos—head? butt? i can’t tell the difference—i found it fascinating.

in fact, i managed to shoot a nice five minute video of the experience, which i’ve posted on the knitspot youTube channel for your viewing entertainment.

i got a lot of knitting done since you saw my project last, so next time, i promise i’ll have a few photos to share . . .

a nature break

Posted on 32 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

ahhh, finally my july book chapter is done and in the hands of our webmaster. while i can’t exactly sit back and relax just yet, what i can do is get us all caught up.

on friday we went to the swan pond to shoot photos for the final chapter of the BNK ebook. the two ponds are across the road from each other, one for black swans, one for white. david gave me the second camera to keep me busy take background photos while he worked with our model, ellie.

i took all these awesome photo of the swans—the white ones with their six babies and the black ones with one teenager. that’s mister fancy pants in the foreground there . . . he seems to be in charge, much more so than the male in the white swan family.

i ended up with WAY too many photos for just one chapter, so i had to cut out a whole grouping. i figured, it’s ok—most of our club members read the blog and i can show them off here without ruining any of the surprises in this month’s chapter.

i was happily clicking away and the swans didn’t seem too bothered by my presence

the male must have realized how close i was, because suddenly, he started advancing. i backed up but could not resist continuing to take photos—i’m such a tourist

but then all at once, he veered off course and started chasing ellie for no reason! i never saw her move so fast; good thing she took up running this year!

he chased her right over the fence. we were hySTERical (from a safe distance now, of course). every time i think about it i start laughing all over again. our only regret is that david did not get it on video. ah, me.

back at home, i’ve been continuing to focus on just two projects for now—one is a secret and the other is twig an leaf, which i have to say, finally seems to be growing; can you tell? look how gorgeous this briar use stella is knitting up—now you can really see all the different colors in it, especially in the sunlight.

the silk content gives that stitch pattern a lot of dimension. i am truly within striking distance of completing the lace hem section, having finished several more rows the other day while visiting with susie and a couple in class yesterday as well.

i think that tonight i can get through the decrease row and begin the short rows of the garter stitch body. then it will be travel knitting, perfect to take away with me to erica’s house later this week.

and if don’t, i have plenty of other projects sitting in bags, ready to go—lots of second socks and shawlette samples to add to the trunk show.  i could grab any one of them to throw in my travel tote.

i bet you’re wondering how my garden is doing in this heat aren’t you? haha, yeah, i know it’s the first thing that comes to mind when i think of my friends . . .

as you can see, it’s doing rather well despite the drought—thanks to david’s careful schedule of watering. a couple more weeks and the aisles won’t be passable any more.  that’s a good thing; with a nice canopy forming, the ground will stay cooler and less exposed to the sun—less habitable for weeds near the roots and better able to retain the water it does get.

i’m starting to pick a little of everything, nearly every day, too, yay!! this was my haul from the day before yesterday. i’m picking everything small and tender so it doesn’t get out of hand. we prefer baby vegetables anyway; they are SO much more tender and tasty.

this is from today. squee—i love that striped zucchini. this doesn’t even count all the greens—we can pick those every day if we want, pretty much as many as we can carry.

it’s shaping up to be a bumper year for potatoes, peppers, and eggplant . . . which hopefully means a good one for tomatoes as well, since they are all nightshade plants.

oh, speaking of nightshades, i was surprised when, in the comments, several readers mentioned that they didn’t realize that eggplant came from a flower. above ground plants flower before fruiting; most root vegetables don’t, but potatoes are an exception—they are included in the same family as eggplant—nightshades.

anyway, i prepared a little photo story chronicling the progress of the eggplant growth.

eggplant flowers come in a variety of purple, orchid, lavender, pink, and white shades. the fruit does too, though the color of the fruit is not necessarily reflected in the flower. all the nightshade plants have similar flowers, with four to six fused petals that radiate from a central cylindrical tube.

they can be an herb, shrub, bush, vine, or tree. nightshades that you might be familiar with include tomato, eggplant, pepper (above), potato (below), and tobacco

you can see that the flowers are remarkably similar from one type to the next—and pretty too in a delicate way. the flowers usually last less than a day; if you sit there long enough you can see a visible difference in an hour.

these tomato flowers come and go so fast you hardly know it’s happening.

they open, they close, and when they open again, wah-LA, they are fruiting.

here’s the dark purple flower of the long asian eggplant.

besides edible vegetables, the nightshade family also includes medicinal plants and poisonous ones—as you know, there do exist plants that produce both an edible fruit as well as poisonous leaves or stems.

once it fades and dies back, the outer shell closes back around that center tube and it begins to grow protective spines. these can be very sharp

but since eggplant are prone to attracting insects, it makes sense that they have something to defend themselves with.

the flowers of the bigger eggplant have even bigger spines.

at first the spines are soft, like guard hairs, but eventually, they become very sharp and thorny—probably to keep larger slugs and vermin off the fruit, which is big enough to support a small climbing creature.

within the closed shell, the fruit begins to form.

it grows very quickly if the conditions are right—what you see here happened in the space of about three days from flower to five-inch fruit (i like to pick them small)

i think i photographed every half day or so to catch it.

is it any wonder i don’t get as much knitting done as i’d like??

Vintage Knitspot – Stocking Cap for All Sizes

Posted on 184 CommentsPosted in projects

Ever since we found out last week Baby Knitspot is a boy, I’ve had the urge to buy little man clothing. I’ve also had the urge to cast on something new and quick. Fall will be here before we know it, so I thought a nice wooly baby hat would be a perfect knit. Off to the knitspot archives!

I came across Stocking Cap for All Sizes.

Another great design with a multitude of sizes – 18 to be specific! And..a worksheet for determining hat size, gauge, and cast on number. That Anne, always there with helpful tools!

I labored over what stash yarn to use (yes, baby knitspot has his own plastic tote full of appropriate baby yarn). The pattern is written for DK, worsted, and chunky so I had a lot to choose from. His tote has so many lovely yarns. I was having a hard time deciding and then it hit me! I could use handspun. Just as Anne did in the model for the pattern.

I spun 9 oz. of Briar Rose Polwarth during Tour de Fleece 2011. It was such a lovely fiber to work with and the colors were fantastic. It was my second handspun off of the beautiful Ashford Traveller I bought from Anne. I ended up knitting a cowl with my yield and had this bit left over…

Magically enough for a baby hat!

After doing the worksheet that came with the pattern, I swatched on a US #7.

I really liked the density of the fabric, so I went with this gauge and plugged my info into the worksheet. This gave me the cast on number and off I went!

I love knitting with handspun and watching all the colors come alive. There are lots of shades of blue and green and just a hint of eggplant. Just neutral enough for a baby boy.

I’ll probably finish this tonight. Don’t you just love knitting wee things?! But as I’m knitting I keep thinking I should have one to match baby. We’ll see how much leftover I have. Maybe I could get my brim done and find an appropriate coordinating yarn.

As you’re all reading this, I’m envisioning some of you with crossed fingers that a contest will pop up at the end of this post. Well, your wish has been granted! Leave a comment by Tuesday 9 pm EST and one lucky winner will receive a $10 Knitspot gift certificate!

Before I get back to my knitting, I have an update for all of you. Baby Knitspot will arrive in about 6.5 weeks and now he’s the size of a pineapple!