Wednesday, May 30, 2007

summer skirt #2

and a detail of the front ties: i'm finding that bread is kind of hard to mess up. i accidently made this batch of cinnamon bread with double the yeast and then ran out of flour. so i added raisins, turned them into buns, and they're lovely! perfect for tea this afternoon:

notice the buffalo china? we finally finished off the set during last month's great wedding gift trade-in.

big bird, the cochin chicken, has lost her tail feathers again. every time we move the coop, the chickens dig a new dust bath--this time a little too close to the underbrush at the back of the yard. we think that a cat snuck up on them, grabbed at them through the fence, and got big bird's tail, since she's fatter and slower than the others--and has longer tail feathers. there are feathers everywhere and the other two chickens are hiding in the coop, but nobody got eaten--the only casualty is tail feathers. whew.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

summer skirt #1

i finished one of my summer skirts last night: the pattern is quite easy to make, quick (i clocked in at just over two hours), and with elegant results, i think. It fits well, although the side-slit construction is rather bizarre. i was determined to wear it today and just squeaked by...after finishing the hem last night, i had this much thread left:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

new skirt fabric

ready to be washed, cut out, and sewn! i'm planning to use this mccall's pattern, with a hem using bais tape after becka's tutorial.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

pile of sweater

i'm still stuck on the border for the garter stitch bolero. i picked up too few stitches around the curved front pieces, not taking into account the increases and decreases, which pulled the two fronts into the shape of half-baguettes. not so attractive. so i frogged this most recent mistake and am attempting to follow the line of the increases and decreases to pick up the right number of stitches.

notice the green chair in the background of these shots? at the greensboro art & antique fair this weekend we found exactly the old table and chairs that we wanted for the backyard: comfy and green with that slightly shabby vintage feel. i successfully haggled and we got one of the chairs free.

hooray for morning knitting (here it's ester) and grain coffee outside! this week my homeopath gave me to OK to eat gluten again, so my grain coffee treats are back on the menu. and with the help of my lovely, shiny new kitchenaid mixer, we've been baking fresh bread constantly. all i have to do is substitute soy milk for milk and nix the sugar. friday was cinnamon bread (wonderful with strawberries), today is grilled bread on our newly-constructed grill (both from simply in season), and this week i'd love to try a plain whole wheat loaf. now that the semester is over, we finally had time to put together and learn to use some of the more complicated wedding gifts--kitchenaid, grill--and are very much enjoying the results!

a parting image of the chickens, hiding from me. just after i took this they caught an unfortunate mole and were quite pleased with themselves.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

summer skirt

yesterday i decided to make a twirly summer skirt, and since then i've been deliberating between these two fabrics: amy butler's seagreen coriander and denyse schmidt's flea market fancy. i just ordered both of them. next week will be a sewing week!

the garter stitch bolero has been frogged and reknit several times in the past few evenings-- picking up stitches on this one has been a bear. at the moment the front and back are stitched together, one arm is fully knit, and i'm knitting the garter stitch border around the bottom, neck, and front edges. the second arm is picked-up and knit halfway down, but i'm waiting to see how much yardage the border uses. i love the full sleeves in the pattern, but i may need to make them three-quarter length: the yarn comes from a sweater that my mom no longer wanted, so there's a limited amount of yarn...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

perfect rainy afternoon

scrabble and knitting! this is modulara's garter stitch bolero, with fronts and back kitchener-stitched together and stitches picked-up for one sleeve. yesterday's rain also inspired me finally to use all the arugula in the house to make arugula pesto. it's, um, kind of bitter. perhaps i'll add a few handfuls of basil when our plants get bigger later this summer, and that might make it sweeter? for now--it's going into the freezer. oh, and i won the above scrabble game with my 68-point, 7-letter word "roadies."

Friday, May 11, 2007

airy scarf

cast on 05-10-07
yarn rowan kidsilk haze, meadow

pattern last-minute knitted gifts, airy scarf

after experimenting with different versions of the knit stitch, i ended up knitting the entire scarf through the back loop--it looks lighter and less cluttered and also gives the eyelets some space. i love the ends, where the eyelet rows are closer together. i think it looks very sol lewitt.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

knitting in the dark

i've placed ester on hold for the moment--after adding the arms and tripling the length of the fabric to be cabled, i'm a bit daunted. but more importantly, i'm working on a gift for my favorite aunt, the airy scarf from last-minute knitted gifts. i needed a swift knit, as her birthday is in two weeks; and the airy scarf is simple and elegant. i'm using spring-green rowan kidsilk (leftover from the legwarmers from the same book--i wear them all the time).

i'm still ambivalent about working with mohair. i find myself doing it often--most recently for this wrap, which i planned to wear at my wedding last october. i didn't make it in time--the day arrived with only four more inches to go. but i had also changed my dress to a flowy, brown-and-turquoise paisley farrah fawcett dress, so it wouldn't have worked anyway. so now, six months later, i still have four more inches to go. what to do with an all-white, mohair wrap? lovely but totally impractical.

the power in the house went out yesterday evening during a loud thunderstorm...there was just enough light left that i was able to pull back a curtain, train the light on the needles, and knit for an hour or so. i felt like a puccini heroine in a garrett, working by the light of a tiny candle...

Monday, May 7, 2007

eating locally

greens from our CSA box, local corn, and local catfish! for the past few weeks, our box has included fresh garlic, strawberries, lettuces, arugula, and mixed greens--so many greens that we can't keep up! last week i used several types of greens in a huge salad for a potluck picnic. this week i plan to make arugula pesto and freeze it in batches. one of the contributors to the simply in season mennonite cookbook suggests eating greens only when they are in season. while i couldn't give up my daily greens, i do like to extend the season by freezing as much as i can for winter.

d. and i have been thinking about the historical-political implications of our dairy-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free (and now gluten-free) diet, which we have followed for about nine months. we no longer eat sugar or chocolate--which happen to be the key products of the slave trade, completing the europe-america-africa triangle. since european and american companies in africa, latin america, and the caribbean continue to exploit the workers in these industries, we feel pretty good about not supporting them. although i still daydream about hot chocolate.

Friday, May 4, 2007


lately i've been peeking at this lovely pattern at least once a day. it's flowy, it's warm-looking, and if i use this elann yarn, perhaps in palm, i might be able to afford it. my only concern is that i don't just want the sweater, but rather the whole effortless, *englishness* of anna raitte's style. fashion envy as another american legacy of british colonialism, perhaps? or maybe it's time to start saving up for that walking tour of the british isles...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

ester as of this morning

the anticipation of a new project: learning the feel of a new yarn, discovering its little flecks of color, figuring out the rhythms of a new pattern. as anne of green gables says, "Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

i love the cable cast-on: flexible but sturdy. my first few tries were too tight--it seems to require a loose loop.

several times already i've come across little bits of straw spun into this aran tweed, reminding me of our dear friends' new jersey farm. they don't have sheep yet--but perhaps my agriculturally-minded husband d.and i should add a sheep or two to our suburban pasture...

cast on 05-02-07

yarn debbie bliss donegal aran tweed
pattern alice bell