reel me in

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

squashFlower07_07

sorry to be gone an extra day or two—we’ve had SUN here throughout the holiday weekend and into this week and well . . . david and i really needed to spend some time outdoors enjoying it. we did some awesome longer bike rides over the weekend; cycling is one of our favorite things to do together. and the weather was perfect for some nice runs and for gardening too. which didn’t leave too much time for blogging and desk work, eek (but taking time off was so worth it).

thank you for your wonderfully enthusiastic response to my 4th of july post; i’m not much for flag waiving or talking about patriotism often because my hope is that living and working my beliefs will tell you everything you need to know. but once in a while, i like to celebrate the relationships that make our products a reality, so thanks for letting me know you enjoyed that!

knittingHatB06_03

now that july is underway and the heat has established itself, erica is dusting off the cotton KAL thread in our ravelry mothership group—please come over and join us in summer knitting! we’re starting out by knitting with our favorite organic color grown cotton by ecobutterfly while we await the arrival of our own cotton and hemp blend summer yarns. we are well stocked with most shades for small accessories or larger sweater and blanket projects.

this is the place to be when we start rolling out our new summer yarns a little later this month. in fact, erica would love your input on creating some fun kits for summer cotton projects—won’t you visit and let her know your desires?

hey, did you see that my alhambra design got mentioned in the american designers list on the love knitting blog? this was one of the very first “little nothings” and remains our best selling pattern to this day (along with several other little nothings).

alhambraCabecou07_07

the little nothings were conceived as a series of accent scarves that were almost like swatches—big enough to fill a neckline or toss around the shoulders, but small and light enough to tuck away easily into a pocket, purse, or glove box. for the knitter, they are a gateway into the lace world, a way of exploring a variety of stitch patterns and architectures in bite-sized helpings that truly become “potato chip” knitting. their timelessness and continued popularity are proof of the need for them to exist.

i still add to the little nothings collection from time to time; i feel this is one of the most fun categories of my design work as well as a way to try new motifs and yarns within the simplest construction—the rectangle. so i am especially cheered by seeing alhambra on that list!

totally by coincidence, we JUST had a new sample of this scarf knit up in our cabécou brillant lace (in champagne, ooh-la-la), thanks to our dear friend hattie. and it arrived here just the other day.

alhambraCabecouB07_07

it is SO, so gorgeous in this yarn—light and airy as tissue, but blocks out to crisp points and lines, with big holes winking through. this little neck scarf version took less than half a skein, but the design is easily altered to be a wide stole or a long, long scarf—knitter’s choice.

atlantiqueOTN07_07

so . . . speaking of summer yarns, i have finished all the pieces for my hemp top and yesterday i blocked them so i could start putting it together.

as with most fabrics, this one has a lovely fluid feeling after steaming—i can’t WAIT to see how it looks and feels once it soaks in a hot, soapy bath and the fiber really blooms, mmm.

atlantiqueNeck07_07

it is much easier to handle the edges now that it’s steamed—i can never get over the difference that makes.

atlantiqueSide07_07

it fits the form just perfectly with the side seams pinned together for now. this size has a 36-inch circumference and is intended for a smaller figure (mine). my form measures 36 at the bust and hips and has larger shoulders than would fit me properly—so the top has no ease on the form except that the fabric is inherently easy and relaxed.

atlantiqueFrontA07_07

on me it will be looser—i’m not quite as well endowed as my dress form, haha. as you can see, i have picked up sts for the neck but have not completed it. i started working on it last night, but ripped back what i accomplished because i changed my mind about the way it should be constructed.

atlantiqueFabric07_07

i feel cool and comfortable just looking at the fabric; i just love the natural color of this yarn. the back has a slight downward curve at the bottom—just a nice detail, you wouldn’t HAVE to knit that in if you didn’t want to (and it is easily altered to be straight).

atlantiqueBack07_07

i only had one and a half skeins of the yarn in this shade and we won’t be getting more til later this month. so my plan for this top is to finish the neck trim and add a narrow garter finish to the armholes, photograph that version, then rip the armhole edging out and add the sleeve i created for it. then we’ll rephotograph it as a second look. we will also do a full sleeveless version in another shade, now that our sample skeins have arrived.

squashZucchiniA07_07

our garden is absolutely exploding with growth and life, now that we have some sun to go with all the nourishing rain. i don’t want to jinx anything but we haven’t had such big, strong squash plants in a number of years—they make me so happy i could cry.

squashZucchini07_07

i’ve been picking baby squashes for a week now and it’s starting to look like we’ll have a bumper crop.

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look at all those tiny zephyr squashes! actually, several of those have grown big enough to pick since this picture was taken on saturday.

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for immediate use at the table, i like them tiny, when they are almost seedless and so tender. a quick sauté with mushrooms and they are ready to toss with buttered pasta or roll into eggs for an omelet.

i let them grow just a little larger to cook with eggplant, peppers, and onions for ratatouille or ciambotta (coming soon, i hope).

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acorn and butternut squashes are also coming along nicely, though it will be much longer before we’ll taste those. fingers crossed that these plants stay healthy and bring all their fruit to maturity.

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green beans are really climbing vigorously now—the fence is filling up with foliage and it won’t be long til it’s completely covered.

eggplantFlower07_07

the eggplants are getting big too, which makes me thing they have plans to be putting out some large and plentiful fruits—bring it on. we didn’t get very many the last couple of years and i’m really looking forward to having enough for freezing ratatouille and ciambotta in quantity.

eggplantFruit07_07

as if to encourage my faith, this plant has begun to fulfill its promise. let’s just hope the rest follow . . .

tomatoes07_07

and then there are the tomatoes and basil—whoa. our plants are really beautiful, with huge, thick stems and luxuriant foliage (which i’ve had to prune twice). but i’m always wary because that’s not at all unusual during june. it’s what happens in july that plunges me into despair almost every year. the sudden onset of high temperatures and low rainfall often does my tomato patch in. this year we have taken a LOT of extra care to get the soil and nutrient balance right so they have the best chance of surviving. again, fingers crossed that they make it.

the basil is really plentiful for a change; i’m hoping that is a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the garden produce.

erbettePlant07_07

if the success of the greens is any indication, we are in for a nice year of harvesting. i can’t get over how vigorous  and healthy the swiss chard is after several years of lackluster growth. this photo of one of the larger plants was taken on friday or saturday and by monday i came back in the house with this

picking07_07

a full basket of big erbette leaves—aren’t they gorgeous?

erbetteSoak07_07

i got them right into a sink of cold water to remove the dirt, then rolled them into a towel and put them in the fridge to chill. we are eating these tomorrow, maybe in pasta or a curry, not sure; i just know they’ll be delicious.

chardCharlotte07_07

and the red chard is not far behind; almost every one of the transplants i did has taken and grown—by the weekend i should be picking again, this time for the freezer (we can only eat so much of it at once, haha). i love having greens in the freezer to eat during the winter, either by themselves or in dishes like pasta, chile, curries, and soups.

pepperPurple07_07

so far the peppers are a little slow compared to everything else—just this one lone purple one on the vine. but they are coming; i saw some little marconi’s forming on another plant; i must have missed the flowers.

it was getting kind of dry out in the garden and while we were promised rain all day today, it never materialized. but then the skies opened up this evening and dumped buckets of rain, for which we are very thankful—any day we don’t have to water is a good one (i’m a freak about wasting water; i hear my dad’s chiding voice every time i hear a faucet run for more than a few seconds).

bretGarden07_07

that’s what’s so brilliant about bret’s pleasantry garden—it requires not a drop! isn’t it pretty now that it’s filling up with flowers of nice notes? next time, i’ll take some photos of the back sides . . .

well, speaking of finishing that hemp top, i better close my thoughts and get back to that if i’m going to show off a completed piece in my next post. in fact, i have lots to do; i got a little behind this weekend, having too much fun away from my desk.

hope you are enjoying summer as much as we are! and the best isn’t even here yet—ENVY club starts in just ten days and i’ve got a super special yarn and design that i can barely keep to myself (but i’m determined)—are you ready?

erbetteLeaves07_07

eat your greens; you’re going to need them.

10 thoughts on “reel me in

  1. The hemp top is perfect, love the rounded back hem. Your greens look gorgeous, too, I’m sure they’ve been a source of inspiration:) Looking forward to Green Envy!

  2. You and David deserved some fun time together. Your garden is awesome. Love, love love basil! It’s nice to see some knitting that looks great as well as being doable in a shorter amount of time.

  3. Truthfully, while I love the little nothings, I live in a land of short summers, and I have stopped summer knitting, and have geared up for fall now. I like to have something ready for the first cool nights. A cashmere double happiness is on my mental schedule for August.

  4. Ooh, i’m loving the little hemp top…i definitely need one of these for our late (and hot) summer weather come September…

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