they grow ’em big in ohio

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

our hydrangeas finally bloomed over the weekend—not the best show ever from them, but we have a few pretties. the buds may have gotten nipped by frost during our oddly-cold early half of may (i’m not sure what happened, really), but this red one has a nice flower. this little shrub hasn’t grown much since we planted it five years ago and it blooms only intermittently, so i’m always grateful when it gives us a cheerful something like this.

oh, what a weekend—summer always puts a little extra work on our plates to keep the yard and garden up and i’m always surprised by how quickly the weekends fly by. friday afternoon i picked some fresh erbette to sauté and serve with a few other simple ingredients

and we ended the week with an elegant and delicious dinner for two at our favorite eatery.

friday night dinner is the most delicious one of the week—we keep it simple and take the time to enjoy a fairly-easy, but nice meal together. it’s a little celebration of the good teamwork that gets us through each busy week and provides food to eat and time to enjoy it together.

after dinner i worked on the nightingale stole a little more

and i think it’s about halfway to the finish line now. kristine, who dyed this beautiful yarn told me an interesting story about it. see, i’ve been holding back a bit on something i didn’t want to share about it because i thought it might be a bad thing to share

this is what my hands look like after about 15 minutes of knitting with the yarn. it builds up pretty quickly and rubs off on anything i touch. it kinda limits where i can take this piece of knitting, since it requires i wash my hands frequently (ok, the handwashing might just be me and my brand of OCD).

but kristine shared this information which she sent to her fiber club along with a shipment of indigo-dyed goods:

indigo is a dye with a complete and utter history onto itself. One could spend an entire lifetime on the study and practice of indigo dyeing. In order for indigo to permanently dye fiber, it must go through a reduction process where the oxygen is taken out of the indigo bath. The bath color changes from a blue to a green, then to a yellow. The color and testing the pH indicates the indigo bath is ready. As I dip a length of fiber or yarn into the bath, it comes out yellow. As it comes into contact with the oxygen in the air, the color changes from green to blue. Anytime indigo has been used in the dyeing process, the fiber must sit, curing, for at least a week in a controlled humid environment.

When spinning and knitting with fiber and yarn dyed with indigo, the blue color naturally rubs off on one’s hands. This is called crocking and is an inherent part of the process. It does not intimate a mistake or poor quality. Though crocking may occur, our products dyed with indigo are lightfast and high quality. Your hands turn blue, because although I have reduced the indigo, washed the fiber, etc. it takes pressured contact to release the extra residue. Your handwork is part of the indigo dyeing process. After knitting indigo dyed fiber, typically, the residue is gone, and the crocking will cease. If you find blue on your hands or clothing, it can be removed with hot water and soap. Please take care when using bamboo needles because they may be stained by indigo. In short, indigo is alive.

cool, right? haha, i still can’t take the project along if i won’t have access to soap and water, but at least i know it’s not something abnormal. and, it’s so pretty—it’s worth it.

later friday night i finished up my first nate sock while we watched TV. david put it on an declared it “wonderful”. i thought he wasn’t going to take it off for a while there, but then he did. reluctantly. it reminds me a little of his stonewall wrap. not really the same stitch at all but the same coziness. now i need to write a pattern and knit a second one.

for the holiday on saturday, i dispensed with my office work early so i could bake some cornbead to bring to debby’s picnic (i used this recipe and added grated zucchini, fresh corn cut from the cob, and minced jalapeños). sorry, no photos—i just plain forgot . . .

once that was in the oven, i worked on my maze sweater and got the front yoke done. i took a nap later on and then we went to the party, which was a lot of fun, just like last year. so many kids and babies in one place—and fireworks to cap off the evening.

afterward, when we’d settled back in at home to watch the opening stage of le tour, i worked on my fruit of the vine scarf and added quite a few more inches to it

see the beautiful washes of lighter and darker green across the fabric? it’s an extremely subtle effect that i love.
since i was on a roll with it, i kept going on sunday night—it’s actually long enough to bind off now, but i still have some yarn left so i think i’ll keep going. i don’t want to waste any of this lovely shivaya cashmere lace by letting a little leftover ball languish in the stash unused . . .

in a completely unheard-of turn of events i was up with the birds on sunday morning with at least two hours to spare before spinning class, once i’d had my coffee. so i picked up the maze sweater and got halfway up the back yoke as well before anybody showed up for class. later in the evening i finished that, too and this morning in class i joined the shoulders and started the neck

after class, i had to get out into the garden to do some work—the japanese beetles came back in droves sometime in the last few days so a good spraying (i use this product and it works well) was in order, since they have a habit of dessimating my eggplant and my climbing hydrangea in particular.

but they can’t have these—at least, not til we’ve gotten what we need for winter, heh.

but before spraying, i wanted to pick all the produce that was ready. and there was a ton—i put 7 bags of greens and 3 bags of zucchini chunks in the freezer, plus i picked and washed some for the table. there’ll be more in a couple of days, too.

ok, now. i’m going to show you something scary—i mean, total strangers have been coming over for the last two weeks from the doctor’s parking lot to stare at these

these are my tomato plants (houses added for scale).
i kid you not—they are taller than me by a good bit now and growing every day. need another perspective to see what i mean?

behind me are the cherry tomato plants.
i applied the first fertilizer just last week, when they started to fruit in earnest, so it’s not chemically induced, either. is it the weather? the soil improvements? the fact that i’ve largely ignored them except to take blog photos? can i expect anything like this for next year (because certainly, it’s unprecedented in my experience here).

and then there’s the squash

(foot-high swiss chard added for scale)
uh, is this really my garden? there’s so much foliage out there now that it’s kinda dark when you stand in the middle of it all, hahaha. maybe it’s gonna get really REALLY hot (like it is in texas right now) and this is just the plants’ way of preparing to shade the fruit . . .

anything to protect our precious bounty . . .

i’m definitely thinking that i’ll end up pulling some squash out (i can’t believe i’m saying those words) once i have enough in the freezer for winter. there’s already too much and i’ve only been picking for about 10 days . . . i’ll keep two plants for eating and sharing. same for the greens; i’ll trim back to a row or two once i have the winter stock put by and plant green beans in the space left behind for a nice august or september harvest.

if i’m lucky, i can time it so that the new seeds are sprouted and developing well before i leave for sock summit, not to be mature until after i’m back. this way, there won’t be as much to do in the garden while i’m gone. because wow, that is gonna be one long trip—i’ll tell you more about that another day. suffice it to say that we have some exciting travel plans for august and probably nothing like you’d imagine.

and let’s finish up with something for you to guess about . . . what am i knitting now??
ok, i think that’s all i have for today—speaking of knitting, i think it’s time i got caught up on that; maybe i’ll even finish that scarf tonight.

37 thoughts on “they grow ’em big in ohio

  1. Hmm. We have a couple tomato plants on our patio, in pots, and they are huge this year too! At least 5′ tall. Two years ago, we couldn’t get a single tomato on the vine…

  2. Dinner looks yummy. I’m loving the Nate socks too. You could always slow down on sock patterns. I can’t seem to keep up. 😉
    I would love to know how in the world your tomatoes have grown so tall! I’ve never been able to get mine as tall as me let alone taller.

  3. Hmm. When you say “this little shrub hasn’t grown much since we planted it five years ago and it blooms only intermittently” how much has it actually grown? I planted some hydrangeas this spring. They’re just itty bitty things right now, about a foot tall if that. They’re supposed to grow to around 4′ tall, but I’m wondering if they’re going to take 3-4 years to get that size, or is it more on the order of 10-15 years? Oh my, I hope they don’t take that long.

    My tomatoes are pathetic. Maybe I should show them the pics of yours and explain to them this is what they’re supposed to do.

  4. Obviously, you’re knitting the chin-strap for the Red Baron’s flight cap, right? . . . or the beginning of a hipster tie . . .

  5. My tomato plants are around 7 feet tall with a good number of tomatoes on them and still flowering and setting more. I’m absolutely stunned. They’ve outgrown their stakes and I’ve rigged a string trellis from the top deck rail . . . I don’t what I’ll do when they outgrow that in the next couple of weeks!

  6. Would that be a Centennial russet potato next to the salmon. Just baked the first of the season on Friday. Wish I could find seed potatoes for those. Love that gold sweater too. And I just started the heel flap on the Roger sock — another winner, Anne. Totally soothing and meditative to knit.

  7. I have serious garden envy!! Do you think it’s the biodynamic planting? I’m so curious, after your writing about it. I will have to read up on it and try it next year! 🙂

    I also just love Kristine. She’s so passionate and talented – what’s not to love? That shawl is beautiful!

  8. Okay. I’m gonna stop reading your blog. Your dinner looks so yummy (wanna come cook for me?); your knitting…well, I needn’t comment there. And your tomatoes! Let’s just say they dwarf my paltry attempts at growing tomatoes this year. Man, am I depressed! LOL

  9. Fascinating information about the indigo. (I’m like you, I’d be washing my hands every few minutes!) Your tomatoes put ours to shame. Actually your entire garden puts ours to shame. Thanks for all the gorgeous knitting; everything is beautiful, and I just love the colors in the yarn you’re using for your new project, whatever it is!

  10. Well, sign me up for the Nate sock! I keep my eyes open for projects, etc with my grands’ names. I know a young man who will be receiving these for Christmas!

  11. Phew. Its not just us. Our tomatoes plants have now formed a hedge and are over 5.5 feet….and still going. We only fertilized them once! And here I thought just 5 plants wasn’t going to yeild much yumminess. (Last year we had 9 plants – 9 scrawny plants- though the sungolds gave us plenty of fruit).

    *grin* I love the photos of your garden. Then I think I want your garden…but then can I have your garden with out the larger time investment? Probably not. Dang.

    The photo of the yarn – is it a Briar Rose yarn? I love the colors, very spice like. (And I’m really excited to see Briar Rose fibers in the wild at sock summit! Though they are such a pleasant surprise when they arrive on my doorstep.)

    Enjoy the week 🙂 and thank you for all the photos!

  12. Your garden! Oh my goodness! I will be re-reading what you did this year, and copying it to the letter in my own garden next year. My tomatoes don’t even reach my knee…I’m in awe. Good work!

  13. Your garden is beautifull! I wish ours hadn’t taken suck a beating during the 90 some days of rain we had here in MD between April and June. Now re: the indigo, I would like to respectfully disagree with the indigo crocking. I kept a woad and an indigo vat for years and all the fiber I ever dyed in it, be it wool, silk, linen and cotton never rubbed off. But I did keep them as fermenting vats, which I had to get rid off when the hubby and I moved to a house with neighboors close by…

  14. Your garden kills me. I’ll never get tired of saying it. When my friend, Marlowe, knits with our indigo dyed yarn, I can see the path of where her yarn touches her hand as she knits. I love it. There is always a line across the front of her ring finger, I tease her and say that it is her Verb wedding ring.

  15. The Tuareg people are known as “the blue people” because of the indigo cloths they were….it rubs off onto their skin.

  16. Baby wipes! Then you can take your indigo knitting along. My tomato plants are up to my hip with just a couple of tomatoes on them. May be time to refertilize…

    Love that Nate sock. I don’t know what your new project is (a tie or belt?), but it doesn’t look like what I thought you’d be working on next…lol.

  17. Holy Tomato Plants, Anne! You know, come to think if it, one of my plants is growing like mad as well! Definitely all the rain we’ve been having.

  18. Awwww….your garden….!!! awesome!!! It must be the water, eh? LOL 🙂 Love the sweater too!

  19. I am jealous of your garden. I realize you’re in a different growing region than myself, but my eggplants are only just blossoming and my container of lettuce bolted/rotted in the box. (I did try the lettuce container after reading your blog last summer)
    However, some of my tomatoes are almost taller than I am, but being 5’2″, it’s not as impressive.
    Knitting beautiful as always. Another random fact to file and forget about indigo…that rubbing off part is related to why your blue jeans go white in the wear spots.

  20. Your tomato plants look like the Amazon Jungle!!! We will have no tomato plants on the coast of Maine. Cold, rain. Bah.

    The knitting is beautiful, as always!

  21. Attack of the killer tomatoes! Sorry, could not resist. You have some killer squash there too. When I was growing up we had a rhubarb plant that usually got to be a little over six feet. The fruit and veg, ya gotta keep it in line.

    The indigo stole looks lovely but I would never have the patience for all that crocking, no matter how much historical interest indigo may hold.

  22. Your veggie garden is amazing! Do you think testing the soil made such a difference (although I was always impressed with your previous years’ crops)? Maybe instead of pulling extra plants, a Meals on Wheels site or something similar could use the vegetables? These places always run on little money and good, fresh veggies are a treat. Just a thought 🙂

  23. Wow, I am so envious of your garden. To echo Madeline, Second Harvest can usually use excess garden produce and around our area in CA I think they even have volunteers that will come pick what you don’t want if you are too busy to pick for them. I know there is another group in our area of CA and maybe nationally but I don’t recall the name and it is written down there but I am now here (TX that is).

    I’m also envious of your industry. Because if I had that much garden produce I still wouldn’t eat as well because there is no way I would stay on top of the garden.

  24. Cute picture of you Anne! pink looks good on you and your cheeks! hahaha Ohmygosh!!!!! STONEWALL!!!! I forgot about my Stonewall!!!! I gotta get crankin’ and finish that sucker!!!

  25. Wonderful write up about the indigo. I’ve grown the plants (and they are very fun) but not dyed with it yet… someday..
    Those tomato plants are amazing!! David must have had to get clever with figuring out how to stake them up.
    and errr, emmm, is there a second freezer in your future? (ha ha ha) Because it sure seems like you’re going to be able to feed five armies this year!

  26. Looking at pics of your garden is enough to believe that Ohio is in a different universe. Seriously, this year you have a winner.

    Love the patterning that you are doing on the sweater.

  27. WHOA! Watch out, your tomatoes may start to come into the fridge for a snack 😉 I swear Tomatoes always thrive with a little abuse. I don’t see you abusing them, not sure if it’s the changes this year or what. YUM! Looks good to me!

  28. Thanks for the tip on the bug spray. Something’s been munching the leaves of my Japanese eggplant too. I may have to try it. Your garden looks amazing. Incredible!

    What’s that yarn you’re knitting with or is that part of the mystery too? Looks like some Brooks Farm that I used a while back to make a gorgeous Clapotis.

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