Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The shawl fixation continues! I recently finished an Annis shawl.

The shawl is worked from the lacey edges in towards the middle. The horseshoe shape is formed by short rows. The firm bind-off edge helps the shawl keep its shape.

The only part of this shawl that I did not enjoy were the nupps. Going from 1 stitch to 7 stitches and back to 1 again was crazymaking! I ended up using a crochet needles to turn those 7 stitches back into 1. With my workaround, the nupps were bearable. Unfortunately, my nupps are lost in the color of the yarn.

Despite the nupp issues, I loved knitting this pattern. I loved it so much that ever since I finished it, I've been wanting to knit another one.

I was given this yarn (Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino) as a gift a long time ago and finally found a good pattern for it other than socks. It seems that the colors were made for my mom! She took the photos of me above and then took a turn trying it on herself. She couldn't resist the urge to brainstorm other ways you could wear the horseshoe shaped shawl.

In fact, prior to trying this shawl on, she was not a fan of shawls. It turns out she was operating from a very narrow definition of shawls. I think she is a convert now!

I will definitely be knitting this pattern again.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I had a particular vision in mind when I started this shawl. The purple went well with the variegated and was supposed to tone the variegated yarn down a bit. The fibers matched, the weight matched...match match match. It turned out that they matched too well for my taste.

What I wanted was stripes. What I got looks like a purple-based variegated yarn. The resulting effect isn't necessarily bad. It's just was not what I wanted and I am having a hard time getting past that.

I did enjoy knitting the pattern. I like how the designer, Stephen West, wrote the pattern so that is interesting to knit, yet has some spans of mindless knitting mixed. It was a balance that allowed me to knit it social knitting environments without screwing it up.

The only thing I changed about the pattern was that I blocked it into points. The pattern was written for the edges to be flat, but mine begged to be pointy.

Lesson learned on pairing matchy-matchy yarns. Too bad I had to knit 900 yards of fingering weight yarn to learn that lesson!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Weekend

Last Saturday was a hot summer day. Sally and I had planned long ago to go on an afternoon Mississippi cruise and it just so happened that the day we picked turned out to be perfect for it!

The cruise was through Padelford Riverboats. They had a historical narrative pumping through the speakers as we cruised the river, but I think the most enjoyable part for me was being out on the water, seeing the sights and boaters and birds pass by.

And, the ice cream we got from Izzy's afterwards was enjoyable, too!

After the cruise and ice cream, I headed home to make dinner. I made gazpacho with all of our own produce. In fact, I modified the recipe so that I could use what we had on hand. My mods included omitting the celery and tomato juice. It seems Paul and I crave gazpacho once a year, so now we have 2010 covered.

On Sunday, my mom and I drove to Wisconsin to spend the day with family. We took my 92 year old grandma out for an exciting day filled with family, a picnic and a visit to the park/zoo. She got to feed the goats. Watching her reaction was one of the highlights of the day for me. She giggled like a little girl!

We stopped at the "antique mall" on our way out of town per my request. The place has a mishmash of rusty old stuff outside, so it catches my eye every time we drive through town. After showing me a few knitting books from the shelves that I wasn't interested in, my mom asked if there would be any old knitting books that I would like. I mentioned that I would be excited to find anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann or Barbara Walker. A minute after my request, my mom spotted an old copy of Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. The bookshelves were not organized so it is amazing she spotted. So, I bought it! The copy I got looks like it could be from 1971 and I paid a whopping $3! I don't have any of her books, so I am really interested to read through it. I am not sure if any of the patterns in that book will call to me, but I am glad to add it to my knitting library.

In addition to my appreciation for a great book find, I also enjoyed the 2.5 hour drive each way. My mom and I rarely have hours where we can just sit and talk. We got to talk over some family history stuff and catch up on what has been happening in each of our lives. A good weekend, indeed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Unscheduled Saturday

With my new job, my days have been very busy and tiring. I am really liking the new job, but there is a lot to learn. The result is that I haven't had a lot of time or energy to get things done around the house. If you add all that to the fact that I was planned up and out of town for most of last weekend and you get a long to-do list. Luckily I was able to have a whole day without any obligations to work on some stuff I have been wanting to do. (Like blog!)

I started the day out with a lovely veggie scramble breakfast (made by Chef Paul) and consumed on the deck. Then, Paul and Tchazo went off to run errands and go to the dog park. Jack stayed back to be my shadow.

I picked a big bowl of tomatoes.

Then, I slow roasted them for half of the day. I followed these directions and turned my oven on to 250 degrees. They are coated in olive oil and have basil, parsley and salt sprinkled on top.

The result is mighty tasty. I am going to freeze this batch even though I am really tempted to make everything on the list at the end of the recipe.

Next, I worked on putting some of our monstrous basil to use. I made 3 batches of walnut pesto and put it in the freezer.

I did save a little out for a modified caprese salad, though. Summer makes for such good eating.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mid-August State of the Garden Report: Fruit-bearing

The fall crop of raspberries have started to ripen. (Whoa! I just noticed the creepy Tchazo eye in this photo!) We have been picking (and the dogs have been stealing) about a handful of berries a day. I think I have mentioned this before, but I think the berries would be doing much better if I had pruned/trimmed them back. I am learning as I go. For this year, I have low expectations. Just picking some to eat with yogurt for breakfast is enough to make me happy this year.

The apples are also struggling this year. The one pictured above is our best case scenario. The one in the photo below is our worst case scenario. I hung up the sticky ball traps, but I wasn't diligent about reapplying the sticky stuff. I am not sure if that would have helped, but I can definitely tell these apples aren't going to be pretty when we cut into them. That is, if there are any left to harvest after the squirrels, birds, bugs, dogs and whomever else is after them takes their share. I guess I won't be making that apple pie for Paul with our apples this year. Fortunately we have a great apple vendor at our farmers' market.

The strawberry plants are steadily producing a few berries at a time. This plant is looking for some soil in which to propagate. We haven't decided on a place for the strawberry bed yet, so for now, they are going to have to stick to the pots.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mid-August State of the Garden Report: In the Ground

Our garden is a jungle! Back when I was planning and planting the garden, I failed to truly realize how big everything would get.

We had to force a few spots open so we have a place to walk into the garden. The enormity of the plants is both a good and bad thing. The good part is that what is growing and producing heartily for us. Here is some of what we have recently harvested:

Carnival carrots
Collard greens and green beans

cucumbers, red and white chard, kale

Not everything is growing happily, though. The bad side of the unexpectedly enormous plants is that the edamame's sun was blocked by the zucchini. It also seems to have been almost beaten to the ground by the encroaching zucchini foliage.

Another garden fail, unrelated to the jungle plants, has been the onion patch. The soil wasn't leveled well enough which caused the water to pool in the bed. The pooling water prevented the onion stalks from growing. We now have 300+ onions that are only slightly bigger than when we planted them. Oops! Lesson learned. When we have a chance, we are going to dig them up and replant the space with a fall crop of salad greens...with level soil.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mid-August State of the Garden Report: Potted

A long overdue report on the garden...

The plants in the earth boxes aren't looking any taller but they are producing at a good pace. Some of them have started to yellow, but they seem to be still going strong.

We are getting a good amount of bell peppers (red, green and yellow). We put 8 plants in one box and they don't seem to be crowding each other.

The blossom end rot that appeared with out first batch of heirloom tomatoes seems to have disappeared. The tomatoes we are getting now are just the right size. At first we were getting one or two ripe at a time, but over the past few days enough of them have ripened that we are planning on making our annual batch of gazpacho tonight.

We've also had a steady supply of cherry and pear tomatoes. The plants aren't as prolific as I have seen in the past, so I haven't had enough to dry yet. If it keeps up at this pace, I may need to supplement with some from the market, so I can have a batch to dehydrate. For now, we enjoying them in salads, pasta and as an easy addition to our work-week lunches.

One of the first things I made with our heirloom globe tomatoes was a caprese sandwich. We've also been eating a lot of variations of tomato sandwiches with herbed mayo. Delicious!

The potted herbs have reached a point where keeping them from flowering is a challenge. They all want to bolt. I have been holding some of them back successfully but the cilantro and dill are done. When I pulled the dill out, I noticed that the pot also contained a tiny strawberry plant. I am not sure how it got there, but I have accepted it and let it take over the pot.

In an attempt to sustain the herbs for longer, I recently trimmed them back. I turned some of the trimmings into herb bouquets and brought them inside.

Stay tuned for the "in the ground" and "fruit-bearing" updates!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How about a shawl?

Despite the knitting funk I mentioned earlier, I have been knitting. In fact, I have been knitting shawls. Lots and lots of shawls. I can't seem to get enough of them, which I think is partly to blame for my knitting funk. Whenever I want to start a new project, I look through my stash and a ton of patterns to narrow down my options. Lately it seems the only ones that interest me are shawls! I am still trying to achieve a balance in my WIPs. Until then, you will be seeing lots of shawl FO posts.

This shawl is Vortex. Here is a link to my project and a link to the pattern in Ravelry. I used a silk yarn I bought from a vendor at the Shepherd's Harvest Festival. I think the person goes by Carpool, but she doesn't have much of a web presence. I used up almost all of the 870 yard skein.

The only modification I made to the pattern was to do a 2-stitch picot bind-off. I followed Knitty's directions.

All in all, I am really happy with my Vortex. It came out slightly smaller than I had anticipated but it is still functional. The spacing of the colors in the yarn worked out well all throughout the project, which was a big relief! I liked that the pattern was pretty mindless, but with just enough interest to keep me engaged. This project made for great knitting group and commute knitting.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...