progress is good

Posted on 18 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

last night i noticed that my stack of go bags has visibly diminished—this must mean i’m finishing things, right?

and so it is—i have finished a couple of secret projects since we last had a look at that pile, which allowed one or two bags to migrate over toward my knitting chair, where i am now working on the project within.

far be it from me to read too far into my knitting behavior or my denial toward languishing projects, but honestly, i can’t for the life of me think of even one reason why i put aside wasp and rose for so long. i really had a serious block about it for a while, causing me to throw up all sorts of excuses for not working on it. was it just the uncertainty about the hem design?

because i sat down last week and totally squared that away in an hour or so. of course, plenty of distance is good in these matters; i had forgotten entirely what my original intentions were or what i was trying to achieve. i basically started from scratch again and i’m pretty sure that helped (though i have yet to see if it will be pretty, haha).

now that i’m back in business with it and i know where i’m going to the end, i am a refreshingly motivated.

this is fine lace on small needles and the rows are getting long, but the knitting is not difficult. i’m able to work at least two or four rows each night and that’s WAY better than none, right? i’m already much closer to the end of the second trellis chart—one more trellis to go after that and then i can begin the hem.

i have a few days coming up during our visit with my mom that should afford some long knitting hours; i’m hoping to make great gains during that time.

if anything is going to get in the way, it’s a sudden (but ineveitable, haha) betrayal by my own body. i don’t know whether it’s from lack of sleep, allergies, or some mysterious deficiency yet to be determined, but since the middle of the summer, i’ve been having vicious—and quite sudden—attacks of sleepiness that are seriously cutting into my knitting time. and not just at the usual after-lunch time; some days it hits by 10:30 am. and of course they tend to descend with the most force when i’m working quietly in a relaxed state—as in knitting or pattern writing.

of course, i could just try going to bed earlier . . .

anyway . . . besides wasp and rose, i have some small secret projects going that i can’t show you, but also my new sweater, which is knitting up SUCH a treat that i keep it up in the third floor TV room so as not to be tempted into working on it at the expense of other things.

sleeve one is nearly done—maybe a half inch to go, but i fell asleep before i could finish it last night. since it’s a raglan, i only need to knit to the underarm and put it on a holder. i’ve pretty much decided that i AM going to knit the sweater in one piece; even though it’s not my preferred method, i do want to place cables right on the seams; working in one piece will facilitate that.

isn’t the fabric yummy? the yarn is indigodragonfly polwarth/silk DK. it’s such a beautiful, varied green when you get up close (ask for colorway curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!), with lots of blue and some bright olive highlights. but it reads as a rich solid from a distance, very elegant. i’m really glad i went with the size 5.0 needles; i wouldn’t want the fabric any more dense than it is.

i realized today that i’ve been running on and on about this garment with a complete and detailed picture in my head of what it will look like, while you have no idea whatsoever where i’m going with it. heh.

for someone who loves to draw and has spent half my life lying on the floor making art with with pencil or charcoal in hand, i am woefully delinquent about doing fashion sketches. all my garment construction work takes place inside my head; it’s the way i prefer to work. i actually hate sketching garments and i’m not at all good at it, isn’t that funny?

however, i made one the other day on a post-it when i working out my starter pattern and trying to decide whether to go with cables or ribbing at the seams (i could still go with ribbing instead of cables; it’s not too late). it might help fill in the blanks between what i know and what you know.

the body fabric will go straight to the hem; the cuffs and button bands will be worked in deep, meaty rib and the seams will be covered with cables—unless i do end up going with ribbing (not trying to mess with you; i’m just not sure yet).

anyway, it illustrates the point that i only resort to sketching when i absolutely must—it’s too awkward and laborious for me to indulge in it for fun.

so i’ve got these two projects happily moving toward completion as well as a secret thing or two. plus the accompanying pattern work to go with them.

and enjoying the fruits of the garden. tonight, i’m cooking an indian curry with eggplant, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, all from the garden—plus tofu, and maybe chick peas. mmm.

our butterfly bushes are covered with flowers now and indeed, are attracting hoards of butterflies. we never had them before but i’m hooked now.

the weather has been simply lovely here, balmy, almost cool during the day and chilly enough for a blanket at night. the other day when i went out to run, i realized that fall had begun—just in small ways for now but the signs are here; i noticed also a sudden increase in interest for sweaters, mitts and cowls.

knitting season is here!


Posted on 29 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

with friday marking the launch for the first chapter of our 2012 fall in full color club and all which that entails, i was more than ready to take an actual weekend away from my desk. all work and not play makes anne a dull girl.

i had my chapter finalized the night before, but we still had a few steps to go before the eBook went live and as soon as i knew it was in the hot little hands of our clubbies, i headed off for other horizons.

the first order of the day was to get out in the garden to pick—it had been three days and i was almost afraid to look at the green bean plants. well, they were pretty heavy with overgrown beans—about five pounds worth, but not so overgrown as to be inedible. actually, while we do like more delicately-sized string beans for the table, these would do very nicely for freezing, to be used in soups and stews later on. i would put them up that evening after supper.

which reminded me to dig up a few new potatoes to roast—they would be excellent with some green beans and salmon for a nice friday dinner. these are the fingerling potatoes that were coming up all over the garden in the spring and which i transplanted into one spot as an experiment. well, they took just fine and now we are eating them.

next on my agenda was to get out for a much needed bike ride to clear my head and have a look around. haha, i had been out running only the day before, but it felt like eons had passed since i’d been up for air. bike riding is the best cure for that. friday is also the day we do errands, so i got two bike trips in that afternoon.

back home and showered, i put my feet up in my favorite knitting spot, and got to work on wasp and rose while i waited for david to be ready to do errands. of course, i promptly fell asleep and ended up having a nice (and much needed) nap instead. i’d have to revisit this project after the errands, after supper, and after the green beans.

i will admit i stick to the schedule better with the produce than with my knitting at times; i think it’s because certain knitting will hold if i can’t get right to it, whereas the produce will become an all-consuming tidal wave if i don’t keep up.

and i’m not wrong—the next morning, before i went to knit with debby and susie, i went out to check on things and came in with another basketful. these i brought to the two of them to split; i didn’t have the heart to commit to them myself. and i know there will be more . . .

in fact, haha, on sunday i just happened to go out to pick basil and another basket of beans came back in the house with me. well, good to know we’ll be well-stocked for winter, eh?

that evening i started the new sweater i was talking about in the indigo dragonfly polwarth/silk blend. i’m beginning with a sleeve as usual, in order to make sure my gauge is ok, but also because i haven’t quite decided whether i’m going to knit this in one piece or not. i know i said i wouldn’t and it’s not my preferred method BUT, it may be the best strategy for the design i have i mind, which has cables at each seam.

for certain it won’t be top-down though—too difficult with all the sizes to explain the placement of the seam cables simultaneous with the setup of the pattern. it’s much easier to go about it from the bottom and decrease them out.

anyway, it’s looking lovely in this yarn (colorway curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal)and knitting up a treat on needles bigger than what i’m used to—what’s not to love?? though i said in my swatching notes that i was definitely, absolutely going with the tighter fabric, i changed my mind. i kept feeling the fabric over and over and finally realized that the looser one would be better for this particular sweater style because it has a nicer drape.

so saturday morning i headed for susie’s with my sleeve in tow and knit away. i had gotten through the ribbed cuff the night before so i launched into the pattern and got maybe six inches done while we all chatted and had breakfast. what a nice way to begin a weekend off, right?

halfway through the morning, we all decided that when knitting was over, we should go out to a local fruit farm to buy peaches. i also wanted some corn to freeze and maybe some tomatoes. our plants are full of fruit, but it isn’t ripening—i wanated insurance, since we are wiped clean of tomatoes at the moment.

as usual, i got carried away—i did come home with beautiful fruit for the table, but i may have also brought home a boatload of additional work for myself.

three dozen corn for the freezer.

a big basket of peach seconds, also for the freezer—and oh, those would not wait; they already had some spots. plus, a half bushel of rip tomatoes. what was i thinking??

actually, what i was thinking was that next weekend we are heading for a visit with my mom, so if i didn’t do it now i would miss out on the opportunity to have this stuff at all.

and who in their right mind can resist the perfume of ripe local peaches?? or fresh-picked corn? i planned to run home and get that corn done right away to preserve the flavor.

what i forgot was that we had a party to go to that night, so it would have to wait and i’d have to do all that work at once on sunday. that’s ok, it was a fun party—and just across the street, too. with live music and dancing—irresistible and it wasn’t likely i’d get any quiet work done at home anyway, haha. it was a good chance to spend time with our neighbors

sunday morning i got up early and tackled the messiest job first—the corn. i steamed it for just a few minutes, iced it down, and then cut all the niblets off the cobs

SO pretty! and sticky—corn kernels can fly an amazing distance, just sayin’.

ten big quart bags in all—plenty to get the two of us through the winter. and good incentive for eating more corn; it’s SO much better than store bought.

i went out for a run and when i came back, i put up the peaches next—another messy job, but more easily contained to one countertop space. these i just peeled and sliced—still a lot of work, but at least there’s no heat involved.

i like the work of the kitchen, especially since i make a habit of listening to music or a book while i work. it’s completely different work from what i do at my desk all day and really refreshing. even when the hours are long, it’s a good tired at the end, not stressful.

and watching the freezer fill up with neat stacks of bags is rewarding—we are going to eat well for the whole year. i’m actually going to get some more peaches; they weren’t all that much trouble to do and they are leaps and bounds tastier than the store bought frozen ones. plus, i’d like to maybe make some pie filling to freeze.

ok, one more thing to go and my work here would be done (and our kitchen clean again). but first, just a little nap—i really needed it. the tomatoes could wait til after dinner.

i got to work cutting them up while david did the dinner dishes. i cut them in big chunks with the skin on and only cook them very briefly, so the prep doesn’t take long at all. when they’ve cooled a little bit, i puree them in the food processor and box them up.

some i will use to make sauce and pasta dishes or pizza—for these, i add a pile of fresh basil leaves on top so i have it handy when i’m cooking. others will be used for all sorts of other favorite meals, like indian curry, chili, soups, and stews; for these, i leave the basil out.

by the time all that was done, it was after 11 pm and monday morning was right around the corner—wow, that went fast! now the new week is underway and i’m already looking ahead to preparing next months book chapter. my goal for the next few weeks is to put together the next few installments so that when i’m traveling in september and october, i won’t have all that much to worry about.

this week we’ll have nice meals, thanks to our garden and the efforts of the weekend.

mmmm, cheese goes so well with fresh fruit . . . i’m eating manchego and sharp provolone with my peach.

so with that, i think i should skedaddle; i’ve got class this afternoon and a few things to finish up before they get here. see you next time . . . enjoy the last of the summer.

vineshadow wristlets

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in patterns

just a little something to go with your longshadows scarf or stole—a bit of whimsy to add depth to a sweater or jacket, and to keep the wind out of your sleeves as the days grow chilly.

shown here: size small, knit up in spirit trail nona, a luscious merino/silk/cashmere blend which is a heavier lace/light fingering yarn. the colorway is autumn aurora, a custom colorway dyed just for our club. jen says she will be releasing this one in her shop later in the fall; look for it in her booth at rhinebeck as well.

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

the pattern is also included in the FIFC 2011 eBook, as part of the 2011 club collection—eight terrific accessory patterns with a total of ten pieces. each pattern is multi-sized and suitable for gifting; many have will universal appeal for women, men, and children alike. purchase the eBook collection from the knitspot club website or in our ravelry pattern shop.

i’m a little short on photos of they were completed during a long teaching trip last fall, but you can see more lovely examples on the vineshadow ravelry project page.
happy weekend to all!


Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in patterns

i can hardly believe that a whole year has passed since we released the first pattern chapter of our fall in full color 2011 club. but there you have it—time flies when you’re having fun.

i was on the road with cookie when we did this photo shoot in oakland, CA, right around the corner from a verb for keeping warm, where we were to speak that night.

we found a great city block on which to take all the photos—no matter which direction we worked, there was something interesting—street side we had great cars, while terrific houses framed our work in the other direction.

(cookie is trying not to laugh)

apparently unsuccessfully . . . she cannot be suppressed

but she manages to gain a modicum of control by turning completely away from me, haha.
what can i say? i’m a bad influence.

anyway, about the piece . . .  this is a nice, wide, long, lace scarf or stole—a really useful piece for late summer and fall, when you want an extra layer, but not something heavy.

you can pile it up around your neck  for that first hour of the day when it’s still chilly

and then rework it later on when you go out to lunch.

(still trying not to laugh, haha!)

shown here is the scarf version, knit up in spirit trail nona, a luscious merino/silk/cashmere blend which is a heavier lace/light fingering yarn. the colorway is autumn aurora, a custom colorway dyed just for our club. i’m not sure if jen intends to release this one in her shop, but if not, she has many lovely shades that would work well.

the stole is wider and longer; while we did not have a sample of that for the photo shoot, you can see many beautiful examples knit by our club members on the longshadows project page in ravelry.

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

the pattern is also included in the FIFC 2011 eBook, as part of the 2011 club collection—eight terrific accessory patterns with a total of ten pieces. each pattern is multi-sized and suitable for gifting; many have will universal appeal for women, men, and children alike. purchase the eBook collection from the knitspot club website or in our ravelry pattern shop.

many thanks to jen at spirit trail fiberworks for creating such a spectacular yarn color for our debut club package—it was, and continues to be, one of the most popular and sought after skeins we’ve  shipped to date.

what can i say about a good friend like cookie that would adequately describe how much i admire her and appreciate our friendship?? we have loads of fun no matter what we do together and she’s a terrifically good sport when it comes to modeling knitwear.

enjoy our new release—matching vineshadows lace cuffs will be ready for release later today or tomorrow (i need to get my book chapter done before i can do that).