disappearing days

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

these are one of david’s favorite flowers; we have bunches of them.

whoa. this week is already disappearing on me. i can’t believe two days have passed since i posted; it feels like hours. i’ve sorta got a million things happening at once: patterns finalizing, patterns in progress, a blocking queue (blocking queue?? yup; three shawls all need blocking at once and darn it i can’t show you any of ’em . . . yet . . ), works in progress, and of course the garden needs much attention right now.

today is my lovely niece susan’s birthday—she turned 13 today and will start high school in a few weeks. i just got off the phone with her and she’s very excited about her drawing and other activities. she’s SUCH a lovely person . . so warm and nice, so intelligent, and so great to talk with, and really good with her brothers and sisters, too (she is the second in a family of seven children, to put that in perspective). we are exceptionally lucky to have her in our family. and, she knits; what more could you want in a niece? we wish her the best and brightest birthday today!

so let’s see . . . what’s going on with projects?

i am barreling along on the shawl—it is so fun to knit that i’m afraid i have been giving most of my knitting hours to it, instead of spreading that time around as i normally might.

the stitch pattern is a bit unusual in that half of the vertical repeat has purl rest rows, and half has lace knitting on both sides. and that creates this interesting shift in the side-to-side “pull” of the stitches where it becomes a bit more active. it’s very very cool to work and watch it unfold. i thought that possibly this was just the geeky me responding to it, but jocelyn started her test knit the other day and she has become equally smitten with it. she claims she can’t put it down. and that’s a good sign i think.

the other project that gets quite a bit of air time is the scarf i’m knitting from briar rose grace

sharon suggested calling the scarf “tudor grace” and i instantly knew that name hit the right note, yay. oh this yarn is lovely too; i know i’ve talked about it before, but the more i knit with it, the more i love it. chris has added some skeins of grace to her site; you can find them here.

it has so many beautiful color transitions, sigh. it’s squishy and strong—no snagging or pilling or limpness. mmm. i’m about halfway through the scarf—i’ve just been working on it in class and in waiting room situations but it feels like it’s knitting itself.

i also finally got a new sock started; feels like a long time since i did a sock, even though i know it hasn’t really been. so, kites it is—i think this pattern works up great in catherine’s yarn and colorway . . .

very, very summery. it’ll also look like ribbons blowing around and around the leg once i get a little further along. this is another great bamboo merino blend yarn—a little more high-twist (but not too), but silky and strong at the same time. it’s knitting into a lovely fabric. i can’t wait to see this sock against david’s skin.

one of the things keeping me really busy the last few days is keeping up with what’s coming in from the garden. we are eating well alright these days, but it takes time to make that happen (and totally worth it). the other day i had these

and a drawer full of eggplant, squash and peppers

so i roasted the peppers, eggplant and tomatoes with olive oil and garlic, and sautéed some onions with the squash, then put it all together with handfuls of fresh basil and oregano to make this

ratatouille from the garden, david’s favorite. a dish like that takes some time but it can be done in stages of a few minutes her and a few there if need be. while i was preparing that i also put up some more greens for the freezer

and a large bag of green beans brought over from a neighbors garden.
some of our fresh meals are not so complicated at all

now this one is easy and it has all the food groups, so it’s not a compromise at all. and sometimes we go for medium difficulty

a quick stir-fry of asian greens in brown sauce, and a fillet of cod smothered in fresh tomatoes and garlic, then broiled, with rice. and it has the added bonus of looking like a flag.

we try to keep it easy and still get good nutrition. it’s worth the trouble too; we rarely get sick, if at all. i’ve been known to go for years without even a cold.

remember the gorgeous yarn that became alhambra? well lisa milliman, the dyer (AKA dicentra designs) has been busy with her color alchemy again and came up with a whole new array of colorways for her rich, buttery alpaca laceweight (it gleams when it catches the sun, it does)

do you know how many of these i love??
she sells her yarn in her etsy shop (where you can also contact her) and through crown mountain farms here, she will also be at the oregon flock and fiber show in september i think, where she will have plenty of these if you so desire.

ok, now i’m going to show you something that could be perceived as totally indulgent, if it wasn’t such a good investment. you know i am a total book ho, right? particularly when it comes to knitting books. but you may have noticed that i have not been buying books willy-nilly this year. for one thing i have been pretty busy, so i haven’t had time to look at them much. and for another, i have been saving instead so i can make a big book purchase all at once, because i had a wishlist that was sticking.

and last week, i finally found everything i wanted in one shop, so i took the plunge and made an order

i have coveted and desired these japanese stitch dictionaries for several years, but each time i got serious about ordering them i thought that i should instead divert the monies elsewhere (believe me, when you own an old home there is always an elsewhere . . .).

so a couple of weeks ago i was scrolling through some sites looking at them again, and talking myself out of it again since i never see them all in one place. then i went to marsha white’s needle arts bookshop, and there they ALL were.

well. the devil on one shoulder tossed the gauntlet down in front of the angel on the other shoulder and said, “what’s your excuse going to be now??” and the angel didn’t have one.
in fact the angel was feeling quite devilish indeed that day and quickly filled her cart with every wishlist item. she then took her birthday, christmas, and other windfall money and blew the whole wad on the accumulated books. and it felt so good.

of course i will pore over the stitch books obsessively, getting to know them over time, but i also found a book i did not actually have on my list, but had seen and coveted on lene’s blog before it was available in translation.

this is a wonderful exploration of knitting history; just the kind of thing i can get lost in. annemor sundbø is one of my favorite knitting historians, and her book, setesdal sweaters is another favorite read, so i snatched this one up.

i feel greedy alright but totally satisfied too. there are a few times when i spend a considerable sum on something fiber related and have no qualms or guilt at all about it. for instance, when i purchased my schacht wheel (used) i felt a twinge of nervousness at spending the money (we were pretty broke that year) but once i had it in my house i never gave the money another thought. it is a perfect thing in so many ways; a great value for the amount i spent on it. in fact this is true of all my wheels . . . i am very satisfied with what i got for the money in each one, to the point where the money is beside the point (and believe me, in our life, money is never beside the point; we have to save for things we want, and pass on other expenses to do it).

anyway, back to marsha and her shop—you should totally consider buying your books from her, and at the very least, you should look through her shop if you are seeking something unusual or special. marsha has a first-class shop full of books you can’t get just anywhere. and her shipping rates to the US are completely reasonable; it’s definitely worth comparing with other booksellers. and she is just a wonderful retailer with an avid interest in the best knitting books. period.

and, when my order came, it had this beautiful poem included

how can you not love someone who loves knitting and needlework this much?

37 thoughts on “disappearing days

  1. This is what I call a well-balanced meal (in a blog-reading way) …. flowers, produce from the garden, knitting, cooking, beautiful yarn, Japanese stitch dictionaries (drool!!), and for dessert a poem. I feel satisfied.

  2. Not only does Marsha White have knitting books that you can’t get anywhere else, she’s a marvelously friendly individual. Her shop ought to be bookmarked by every serious knitting book buyer or collector!

  3. Warning! Your knitting time will go downhill very quickly because you will be so distracted by the Japanese books!

    Ask me how I know this.

  4. Oh dearie me, you must not have allergies… or take medicine for them and mean that you don’t get sick as long as you take the medicine… or wear oxygen masks… or… (sniffle, snort) sorry, allergies have given me a cold and it makes me grumpy.

    How many tomato plants do you have? And have you observed that small tomatoes ripen earlier than big ones, particularly?

  5. Forget the knitting – I’m coming over for dinner!

    I’d already been over to Marsha’s shop and drooled excessively. So many things I’d love to have but there is a catch. You see there’s this incredible designer that has these to die for patterns that keep sucking up my piddly extra money. Because, of course, once the pattern is bought I must have just the right yarn for the project.

    It’s all a plot so I can’t buy those cool books first! I know what’s happening here. And you know full well I have to knit the new shawl.

    🙂 🙂

  6. I’m with Davied, Black eyed Susan’s are my favorite also, there just a happy flower. Ok you are making me so hungry and its only 6:30 am.

  7. Wow! You did get a lot of books. Now I’m anxious to see what lovely patterns you pull out of them for new designs. 🙂 No pressure or anything… just sayin.

    I think there’s nothing better than books as gifts. Things you can read and re-read. How perfect is that?

  8. ooh – thanks for the link to the bookstore! I had a hard time finding the Japanese pattern books too – I ended up buying a few piecemeal but would have loved to find a bunch in one place! Can’t wait to see what you come up with from them!

  9. Oh oh! That comment about never getting sick???…you have just challenged the gods, Anne! I think you’d better go light some candles and incense or something! lol

    Seriously, you really need to do a recipe book! I find your meals very inspirational and often try something new after seeing what you’ve done! I get in such food ruts with the same-old, same-old.

    Your knitting as usual is breathtaking! Your yarn choices are just lovely.

  10. One more thing…because you are a knitwear designer, wouldn’t your kntting book purchases be deductible off your taxes? I am a nurse and all my medical book purchases and workshops are deductible. Might be worth talking to your accountant. I wonder, could you push it even further and deduct your yarn? Considering what some of our politicians claim for deductions, I don’t see why your couldn’t claim all of it! lol

  11. Oh dear! I must check the garden for tomoates, shop, knit, shop on Marsha’s site, eat, knit, cook (well, maybe not that), knit some more and repeat!

    You are an inspiration! Heart you! I’m a wee bit green with tomato envy…look at those beauties!

    Gorgeous knitting…that shawl is outstanding!

  12. We are fortunate indeed to have Marsha up here- sometimes she has an open house and you get to see ALL the books. And she really knows her stuff- she probably reads every one of them. She and her staff give top-notch service.

    Her whippets are cute too.

  13. I love the shawl, the colorway is gorgeous! The scarf is also very beautiful, I can feel my stash growing already! 🙂

  14. What a great post. Your shawl is looking gorgeous, and is spurring me on — I’m still getting jiggy with this one, and having such fun! And those alpaca laceweight yarns…It’s just mean to show those off. I want some, alas.

    I may have to print that poem for my stash shelves 🙂

  15. Oh man, you really are trucking on that shawl! Can’t wait to see what the books inspire you to!

  16. Can’t wait to see what you do with the Japanese stitch dictionaries. I have the _Knitting Patterns Book 250_ one. The complexity of the patterns is so beautifully over-the-top.

  17. Happy birthday to your niece! She sounds like a lovely person.
    There was no way you could feel guilty over this book indulgence: how could a business-related “indulgence” be guilt-inducing?

  18. Well I just have to say you are bad! Instigator! ;‘) You just want me to get into more trouble with my husband, by encouraging me to buy more books. I love the Japanese books. I have two and would love to have more. Thank you for the links. I can’t wait until the shawl pattern comes out. I love it.


  19. Love your book haul. I succumbed to many of the Japanese stitch dictionaries a while back. My current bete noir is trying to find again, and then find a way to buy, a knitting pattern book in Japanese that had the cutest hat ever in it. I’ll have to check your source.

  20. Wonderful!
    I’m going out to get ingredients for ratatoille tonight!
    And the shawl is gorgeous, as is the Grace scarf…David wears pink? Cool!
    I’m always inspired when I stop by here…what a visual treat it is…

  21. I might have to boycott your blog for a few weeks. You’re tempting me with such beautiful yarns and new exciting books and I have absolutely no money for hobbies right now! I have to save for kids heading back to school. So, no more tempting posts until September, please!

  22. HEY ANNE – have not messaged for ages but your blog is always in my favourites – yes MARSHA is a lovely person – we are so fortunate to have her here in TORONTO , to visit her shop and see her at our monthly dkc[ downtown knitters meeting] – I have resisted those books so far but the patterns and stitches are great – love the pear shawl and will look forward to your surprises

    – still can’t believe how busy you are and all you accomplish -good for you !!!

    pat j

  23. Sigh….it all looks wonderful! The alpaca yarn is stunning and the shawl….I can already tell I am going to love it.

    Off to check out Marsha’s shop 🙂

  24. What a great book resource! Thanks for sharing it. I’m sure I’ll get lost there soon. LOL I completely identify with your book ho-ishness. LOL I splurged big-time during KnitPicks recent 40% off sale…two different orders. I’ve been in reading heaven every since they got here. 🙂

  25. You make me feel so unproductive! Not only are you producing vast quantities of lace, you’re gardening and cooking and book shopping! I’ve only managed painting, re-painting, and paint scraping lately (Amanda should not be allowed to paint any interior surface if she doesn’t wish adjacent surfaces to be a bit painted as well.)

    I think I agree with David on the flowers, Black-eyed Susans are so pretty and summery. But please don’t tell me the latest shawl pattern is addictive – I have enough projects as it is, thank you very much!

  26. Your knitting is beautiful and your food is making me hungry!!! I had enough roma tomatoes and basil for some fresh spaghetti sauce the other day. I baked some focaccia to go with the pasta and sauce. Making that dinner made me so happy.

    It seems that your books are an investment into your career as a designer – totally worth it.

  27. Fabulous entry — food, wool, knitting (roasted veggies in ratatouille — never though of that very clever idea). Marsha White is the best “shopkeeper” with a great personal touch. And she seems like the nicest person, too.

  28. I swear, sometimes I don’t know if I’m reading the blog for the knitting or the cooking ideas!

    Isn’t Marsha the best? If you think she’s great over the ‘net, you should meet her in person – all that amazingness is even more so when you deal with her one on one. She’s my favourite book ‘pusher’. DH has her address for every event.
    I love the Japanese books, I only have the one – the Mondracht shawl. But amd dying to have more. I covet your pile!

  29. Mmmm, that ratatouille is exactly what I do when I’m overrun with exactly the same produce. I’m starting to wonder, though, if I’m going to get ANY zucchini or summer squash! The plants seem to be doing fine, but not producing anything. Sniff. And my tomatoes have not really started to ripen in earnest yet. They’re threatening to, though. Soon! And then summer will be OVER all too soon. Such a short growing season I have….

  30. Lisa’s new colors are fabulous. Now I can hardly wait for Sept to arrive so I can see her at OFFF!

    Congrats on the fabuloso SCORE of great knitting pattern books.

  31. When I went to Japan in March, I came back with quite a few knitting books, and I was feeling more than a little smug about having all these herd to find titles. Then I visited Marsha’s shop, and she had ALL the titles in stock! I couldn’t believe it!

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