yesterday our mail carrier, rick, rolled up to the curb in the big mail truck to deliver five big boxes—our monthly batch from our ohio mill, ANF. and you know what that means . . . our first batch of hemp and cottons yarns have arrived!
well, you can imagine how quickly i had the box cutter out, haha. the first thing my hands landed on was the hemp blend in fingering weight (above)—don’t you just want to reach out and skuh-weeze it? these skeins are spun to the same yardage per pound as our other fingering weights and are equally springy, able to be knit on needles up to size 4.5 mm or even 5.0 mm for openwork fabric. after knitting with this yarn in laceweight (which we also received in two shades), i want a whole wardrobe in it and maybe some throws and other home items too.
after a bit i composed myself and kept digging, because that was just the tip of the iceberg. are you ready? cuz here come the cottons!
this is the re-do on the lighter weight version. when we attempted the same gauge yarn as our other fingerings, it wouldn’t hold together all that well unless it was overspun, which made it feel coarse—not what we wanted. so to keep the same soft hand, we went instead to a sport weight gauge and that worked beautifully—it’s soft and springy, perfect for light sweaters, shirts, clothes and blankets for kids and babies, and my personal favorite—great socks.
yes, i really do think this yarn would make excellent socks. it has all the right fiber types to make strong, soft, and durable legwear.
there is a DK weight in this yarn too (above, left); we are knitting a leaving sweater with short sleeves in that. we should be listing these new yarns in the store by tomorrow—we chose names for everything the other day at our company meeting and now we just need some photos from david for those store pages. once it’s up, we’ll be back with a blog full of wonderful yarn prøn, pattern ideas, and swatches—stay tuned.
also in this delivery, a delicious batch of chebris sport and lace in the divine crème shade. this is the first time it’s been spun at the new mill and the note tucked in along with it made me smile . . . our miller, carrie, is as enthusiastic about our yarns as we are (especially these mohair blends); she always sends little notes and texts when she’s excited.
but she’s never wrong—they really do make delicious yarn. batches and shades vary, of course from one to the other; fiber in lighter shades is generally finer than dark ones and this batch is particularly soft and delightful.
it’s been a really full week around here, starting with the kickoff for our ENVY club last friday, when the first pattern rolled out. yarn had been landing left and right for several days beforehand to shouts of approval, so clubbies were ready and waiting with fingers poised to download as soon as the chapter went live. in fact, we sold out our remaining few spots that week—thank you everyone; we SO appreciate that! since then, the threads have been abuzz with activity as everyone casts on to knit green.
with that underway, i spent the weekend catching up on things around the house, as well as trying to reduce the pile of work on my desk (and yet, still looking at one despite my diligence, haha)
on friday afternoon i allowed myself to put my feet up and knit on my hemp blend tunic top and got surprisingly far in just a few hours. even though i’ve already recorded how quickly pieces go in this yarn, it’s still amazes me when i do it, haha. we also went out for a nice long bike ride that evening—wonderful. the weather here has been stunningly beautiful; it’s silly not to be out enjoying it when the work days ends.
after an early run on saturday, i drove to our local blueberry farm and bought a ten-pound box each for barb and myself. i hurried home home to get mine into freezer bags before she came over to knit all afternoon (she’s been away and we both missed knitting together).
as she was leaving, we took a look into the garden where, lo and behold, we saw green beans by the dozen just a day or so away from picking. afterward it was out for more cycling with david and a late supper.
we’ve been eating very well from the garden around here, with fresh picked greens and summer squash on the menu nearly every night.
that evening we had the quickest of dinners with salmon, wilted red chard, and a quick stir fry of summer squash, mushrooms, chard stems, and scallions.
the garden is loaded with more that is about to come—peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and loads of green beans.
i picked the first ones last sunday morning; aren’t they lovely?
that day i had just a small take, enough for a dinner and the next day the same. but by yesterday, i picked a full basket—3.5 pounds
i will cook those up tonight after our ride and get some of them into the freezer. this year i am going to do most of them as finished dishes—such as stir fry or stewed lightly in tomatoes—i think they taste even better that way and it saves time on the eating end.
another thing barb and i discovered is that the peas i have been waiting for and watching are not what i thought they’d be
they are even prettier! i was completely surprised to see these dark purple pods coming out of the flowers. i didn’t even know we had these seeds, but there you go. they are filling out now and should be ready to pick very soon.
another crop that is more lush than usual are the herbs—especially the basil. i don’t EVER remember having such big plants with so much foliage. since i planned to get a lot of other picking and processing done on sunday, i went ahead and brought in a basket of basil too.
most of this i just took off the stems, put through the salad spinner, and stuffed into ziplock bags for freezing. but some i kept in a damp towel to make pesto later in the week, mmm—hadn’t had that in a year; it was time.
the big item i really need to get on top of was the greens—i had let them go a few days too long and they were halfway to my waist, like tropical plants.
did you think i was exaggerating? this is what my kitchen island looked like after i came in with my haul of swiss chard and collards (that island is something like eight or nine feet long).
what i had thought would be a couple of hours work stretched all the way to evening as i extracted the tough stem and rib from each leaf. but so worth the work—this is my very favorite crop and i like to have plenty in the freezer to eat all winter long.
i ended up with eleven bags of chard, five bags of collards, and three bags of chopped stems to use in soup, stews, stir fries, and curries.
i also had a large colander of baby leaves that i put in the fridge to use as “power greens” in salad during the week (we pay a lot for that mix in the store when we don’t have our own!).
then it was time to tackle the pile of squash and eggplant i had from the previous week—i was anxious to turn this into a pot of ratatouille, our first this year.
i added a few store-bought peppers, and onion, and some tomatoes left in the freezer from last year, along with some fresh basil and garlic. so yummy.
i left the kitchen very, very tired on sunday evening, but with a good start on filling the freezer and a week of meals all cooked.
on tuesday i used that bundle of cleaned basil to make pesto with fresh green beans, our first tomatoes, wilted red chard and stems, and some frozen broccoli flowers. i even used garlic from the garden, as david had dug up a bulb to see if it was ready. it was, and omg is it good.
by wednesday, all signs were go for our garlic harvest and what a beautiful take it was—forty three bulbs total, most between 2.5 and 3 inches in diameter.
haha, yesterday morning when i threw open the doors to the sun porch for air, my nose was met with the delicious aroma of fresh garlic, which david has laid out to dry there.
we didn’t have a good harvest the last time we grew it and we didn’t have a garlic patch last year at all, so at the end of last summer i made a special effort when visiting farmers markets to buy a variety of big bulbs for seed.
i know i bought different kinds, but they weren’t labeled in the garden. some is supposed to be hotter or spicier or more mellow than other, but i know not which. heh, i might be able to tell which heads go together, but i doubt it; i think we will just play luck of the draw and use it randomly.
and while we did enjoy the fruits of my sunday labor all week long, during that time, more has been growing—in fact it seems to double itself each week.
i let the squash go an extra day and they got a little bigger than i like for the table so i will cut these up and bag them for the freezer; they are excellent additions to chile and bean dishes.
since we have eggplant and squash aplenty, more ratatouille and ciambotta are in the cards as well; we adore those dishes. with peppers just about ready to pick, i will have all the right ingredients at my fingertips.
and when they are joined by tomatoes (hopefully soon), i can cook up some vegetable based pasta sauces as well. we’ve picked a few tomatoes, but the real red tide is at least a couple of weeks away, thank goodness; i am staying just ahead of being overwhelmed at this point.
even the winter squashes are big already and i’m not sure i really know when to pick them (yes, the stems really are that color, too). we’ve never had acorn squash succeed to the picking stage, haha. the butternut squash vine is loaded too—if it survives the hot weather, there will be lots of them.
as you can imagine, it’s been a bit of a challenge to keep up my knitting and most of what i did last week was secret stuff as well. i saved the work on my hemp top for when i needed a soothing, easy to knit thing in my hands and a little at a time, i finished that front piece by yesterday.
i love the shape of this one—a bit different from the first design; looser around the waist and hip, it fits most closely just under the bust. the scoop neck will be home to a nice cowl with subtle stripes that will be echoed around the armhole. while i don’t think a short sleeve will look well on this design, i do think it would be very pretty with a three-quarter sleeve (like those on triticum).
meanwhile, i’ve been working a bit at a time on the pattern for the top i showed you earlier in the week and soon it will be off to the tech editor (like hopefully later tonight!)
hey, here’s another great way to take advantage of the stunningly sunny days we’ve been having . . . use those rays to admire a beautiful yarn, haha.
take a gander at this spectacular use of our cabécou brillant sport yarn in color poivre that cherie used to knit her loden shawl from the recent wool people 9 collection. she knit this baby in just a few days—it’s fun and goes quickly on larger needles in the sport weight yarn.
so many of our yarns work really well in BT patterns, which are created for artisan yarns. the designs take great advantage of the qualities unique to these yarns, such as greater loft and buoyancy, greater character, and a sturdier hand.
cherie used two skeins of cabécou brillant sport for her loden project; details on her yarn substitution are described on her project page. thank you cherie, for generously sending the finished piece to us right away for photography; david took some gorgeous photos the other day with our model, karen.
i will try to be back in a day or two with more—i really miss writing and hearing from you all when i’m not able to get here. believe me, my intention is to blog every other day, but then i go out in that garden and my day—and sometimes my week—has been planned without me!
haha, last sunday when i was knee-deep in picking, my mom texted me and i sent her this photo. back came her response—”omg, are those squash plants??”. this, from a woman who lived on a farm for her entire marriage (and believe me, we had squash).
yeah, they are big alright; sturdy, wonderfully healthy things—at last. and all to soon they will be memory; the days are getting shorter and our bike rides have to be a little earlier—fall is really just around the corner.
a great reason to take full advantage of NOW. and there is david, gathering his bike clothes—i better get going.
have a lovely weekend; play hard!