Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Messy Garden

Due to a dearth of knitting pictures*, today I am presenting pictures of my very messy garden. Feel free to laugh.

Messy Garden

To the far right you can see the beginnings of this year's attempt to support our 50 (or more) tomato plants. I have high hopes for this apparatus -- it's a trellis with twine. The idea comes from The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward Smith. It all depends on how lazy Len ends up being.

Garden or Lawn?

Is this a garden, or lawn? My goal is to get this weeded by this weekend. I have lofty goals.

Purple Beans

Despite all of the weeds, the purple beans are growing very nicely.

Green Beans

The green beans are not.
The edamame look even worse. But the rabbits are well fed. My goal for this weekend is to line our current fence with chicken wire. (Hahahahaha!!) It all depends on how lazy I am!

Caged Brussels Sprouts

Maybe if I get the fence lined, I can set the brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage free.

*It isn't that I'm not knitting at all. I'm concentrating on Daffodil and one picture of a white blob looks quite a lot like the next. I'm still trying for mid-July. It seems, not that I am at the edging, the number of stitches is no longer increasing. Thank god.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Simon Says...

..."Thanks, Barb!"


He certainly believes his humans do not appreciate the gorgeousness that is Himself nearly enough. If we did, we would not yell at him when all he wants to do is climb the new screen door (all 15 lbs of him!) He has been threatening to go live with our friends K & S, who have declared their undying love. He thinks they will let him climb their screens.

Judy, one the other hand, thinks we appreciate her way too much, and wishes we would lay off.

Judy Makes an Appearance

Wire Weaving Continued

I had another go at weaving on the wire warp a few days ago and managed to get pictures last night. Bad pictures.


This time I tried pick-up. First, I have to say I have never done this type of pick-up on the inkle loom (or any other loom, for that matter) -- I've done the brocade, which involves warp floats, but not this technique which uses the warp for the pattern -- so if it looks really bad, that's one reason (I actually don't think it looks that bad). Second, the picture is showing more of a contrast between the brass and silver than actually exists. I think the subtle patterning would look fine using fiber (wool or cotton), but the wire really needs more contrast.
I don't think this will end up being anything more than a reference piece, since it is more interesting than pretty.


I'm planning to cut this warp off tonight and will hopefully come up with some brilliant plan to finish off the beaded bracelet.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Home #5

Bundling Hay

This is about 2 miles from where I live. I love how the color of the hay changes from season to season. In late fall to early winter it is the palest of green and was my inspiration for the very pale green in the fair isle cardigan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer Knitting!

Last summer I made a list of knitting projects I was knitting on, and while I had hoped to finish them, this year's list is remarkably similar:

1. Daffodil continues.


I've decided to give myself a deadline: mid-July. Last I counted there were 1128 stitches on the needle and I'm increasing by about 50 every other round, with about 20 rounds to go. Wish me luck!

2. The obnoxious Flower Sweater continues:

Flower Power

The back and both fronts are done and I have started the sleeves. I have no idea what book this is from, I made a working copy of the pattern and then lost it. I started this I-don't-know-how-long-ago, and I'm not really sure what possessed me, but I still like it enough to want to finish. I still hate intarsia.

3. Shedir:


In Rowan Calmer.

4. A pile of DK cotton:


This pile of cotton will some day become a cardigan. Nirvana didn't have enough of any one color (that I liked and could afford), so I bought a contrasting color and will put in a few stripes.

5. The fair isle will continue during times I can stand to knit with wool:

Fair Isle Sleeve

I'm so completely in love with this.

6. And Faye. Of course. I've made no progress whatsoever.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I planted our vegetable garden on Memorial Day. I decided to get it all done on that one day because I didn't want to feel compelled to do anything at all during the rest of the week. It worked out nicely because it ended up being in the 90s all week and I could barely tear myself away from the fan.

Things didn't start out well: we had seed trouble, cold snaps, late frosts and often felt like it would never, ever be summer. And yet, here it is:

The Garden

Some day I will convince Len to go with raised beds, but this was not the year. From left to right: row 1. green (bush) beans; row 2. Edamame (soy) beans and purple (bush) beans; row 3. cabbage*, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and habe
ñeros; row 4. sweet red peppers, someday there will be cayenne and jalapeño plants; rows 5 and 6. heirloom Beefsteak tomatoes; rows 7 and 8. Amish Paste (heirloom) tomatoes; row 9. Supersweet 100 tomatoes (hybrids, but too good to pass up); and row 10. watermelon and pickling cucumbers (especially for my friend K and my sister, Krista). I still need to find room for leeks, considering we lost a bunch of tomato plants last night (damn rabbits!), that shouldn't be a problem.

*The cabbage was a mistake, we meant to get more broccoli plants, but the leaves look exactly the same. Oh well, we will make sauerkraut.

And besides all of the grass that's coming up, we have real plants coming up, too!

Purple Beans & Edamame

I love how the shoots come up with the seed pods still attached. This is the row with purple and soy beans.

Herb Garden

We also have an herb garden: here are sage, tarragon, chives, oregano and mint. Cilantro plants are coming up, and I also have rosemary, thyme and Thai and Sweet basil planted.

And just because it's so darn pretty!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You Must Read This

I'm back from, what can only be described as, The Best Vacation Ever. For many of you, great vacations may be about travel, beaches, sun, or some sort of water or snow based activity. For me, it's all about sitting around on my rear end, watching bad television, and doing little else. I was so relaxed by the end of the week, I practically floated to work yesterday.

Last year, NPR started a series called "You Must Read This" as part of their summer reading programming in which writers discuss their favorite books. I love the series. I love knowing what people are passionate about, especially when it involves books, and I wish they would ask me about my favorite book. Because, while I don't have a favorite color, and I'd be hard pressed to tell you what my favorite singer or movie is, I do have a favorite book. One that you should read.

I was 16 when I first read Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. I think I picked it off of a reading list, so it wasn't required reading for me. If this book got shoved down your throat as part of High School American Lit (or whatever other class you had), I'm very sorry. You deserved better and so did this book. It's so grand and angry, but full of grace and love. Over the dozen or so times I've read it (including once in French), Grapes of Wrath has given me insight into some big truths: compassion, fear, love, humanity, generosity, selfishness, justice, and injustice. And so on. Steinbeck's story of the Joad family's migration west to pursue a better life in California rings true now, as we try to deal with today's migration issues. To me, the most universal message we take from Grapes of Wrath is the danger in losing sight of the humanity of the dispossessed. Society at all levels, rich to poor, becomes uncivil, fearful and violent. If you haven't read this since high school, do try again.

In other reading news, the other night I finished Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. The plot itself is simple: an international group of party-goers are taken hostage in some unnamed South American country. But it isn't what you'd think. Patchett digs deep into the nature of love, relationships and beauty. It's a gorgeous book and I was heartbroken when it ended. I've already passed it on.

I'm also reading Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963, the first in Taylor Branch's compelling history of the Civil Rights Movement. Richly detailed -- Branch does not merely tell us why King's father changed his son's and his own name from Michael to Martin, but also discusses the importance of names in the Black community, both of themselves individually and as a group -- but never didactic, this book is Important and utterly readable.

What are your favorite books?