Monthly Archives: February 2011

Peace out

I joined a yarn co-op last month and along with a bunch of other knitters put in an order for Peace Fleece. I can get a little crazy when it comes to discounted yarn (should I get two sweaters worth? Or three??) I tried to be restrained:

8 skeins of Ancient Fern worsted – for a men’s sweater design
ancient fern

5 skeins of Mir-Atlantis Periwinkle sport/dk – I’m hoping to make a light weight Wisteria with this bunch
periwinkle

1 skein each of Sheplova’s Mushroom and Violet Vyehchyeerom sport/dk
These will be for mittens, or maybe socks, or hats, I haven’t really decided yet…
mushroomviolet

Even Neil gets a little concerned when I start sniffing new yarn.

(please excuse the lousy flash photos – the colors are much deeper and more heathered in real daylight)

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Won’t be long

It’s winter here in the north country,
snow’s so high it’s up past my knees.
Car won’t start and the wood pile’s low.
Everything moves so slow,
and it’s so cold,
maybe I’m just getting old.
So I’ll hunker down for another night,
eat my supper by candlelight.
And it won’t be long
’till summer’s here again!
-Susannah Clifford Blachly

I’ve been pretty whiny about February recently, and it’s a small comfort that I’m not alone.

But my new CD: All the Colors by Susannah (who’s also a Vermonter) is reminding me that Spring will be back. I may have bought this as a gift for Neil at Christmas but really, it was because I needed there to be a copy in my home*! I love how I can HEAR vermont in her music. She’s a folk singer and if you like guitars and fiddles and pianos and soaring music (I see her described online as celtic/americana – that sounds about right) you really should give her a try. All her lyrics tell stories and the music is the coloring that brings them to life.

It looks like you should be able to listen to samples on Amazon – but I recommend ordering it straight from her website to really support my local musician.

*Don’t worry, he likes it too.

playing pretend

Right on the heels of Winter Foliage I’m working on another submission for Ennea Collective. But this one has an added complication – the seasons. I don’t want a lot of snow in photos meant for a spring release, but outside still looks like February.

stillfeb

Winter Foliage was easy to photograph, I took pictures in December for a February release. Once snow is on the ground all these winter months look pretty much the same. But the seasons are an issue for most of the year when trying to take photos for any release between 3 and 9 months in advance. This is why, back in December, I was skulking around the UVM greenhouse trying to take “summer feeling” pictures for a Summer Knitty submission. Greenhouses are a great solution if you’ve got access to one. Last year I took pictures for Trout River in February. Conveniently we took a vacation to Florida where it looks more summery then VT in Feb. ever will.

The original photos for Currants had the opposite problem. They were taken in August for a winter submission. In that case Neil and I went up to the notch on Mount Mansfield – the elevation is high enough it’s mostly evergreens and rocks. You can’t even tell it was 75F that day*

So back to today – where lunch break found me outside taking pictures of things in a tree. I put the object of my photography in the crook of a big branch, and shot up towards the sky.

bluesky

Nothing says spring is coming like blue skies and sunshine, right?

*There are other issues with these photos, namely that the flash went off every time. I really need to re-do the photo shoot for this poor, neglected pattern…

a peak

I think I’m ready for spring. I’ve enjoyed winter, and now I’m starting to dream of flowers, seedlings, and sun that gives off actual warmth.

Dulce de Leche is SO CLOSE to done – I’m past the sleeve cap and just having to finish a single, 3/4 length sleeve. But then I realized it had lost its charm, I was pushing to finish and not enjoying the process. So I set it aside. Now I’m working on brightly colored things. Things that mirror my desire to see the crocuses and daffodils push up through the snow.

knitting bag peak

I have some pretty hardy bulbs on the south face of my home. Maybe I’ll see them next month?

Just a hat

I’m working on a secret book project in some lovely pinkish-purplish cotton right now. It’s beautiful and shiny and makes me think of spring. But I can’t knit with cotton all the time – even the nicest cotton – so I’ve been working little wool-based projects in between.

cables

This is just a simple, cabled hat. Cast on, knit some ribbing, then started twisting the ribs to make cables.

back

The cables get shorter as the hat progresses, and I worked the decreases in to make the cables narrow as the hat does too.

top

It’s worked up in 1 skein of Lark from Quince and Co, the colorway is Frank’s Plum. I went to visit my family this weekend – my sister had flown in from New Mexico for a visit so of course we went down to see her! The hat came along for the car ride and stayed behind with my Mum. I think it suits her well!

front

Winter Foliage

It’s a gorgeous 50 degrees outside and I just came back in from going for a walk without a coat! It’s really too bad the forecasted low for Saturday night is -5…

Since it’s still winter around here now seems like a perfectly good time for my newest pattern, the Winter Foliage hat, available through Ennea Collective (check them out, they have lots of good patterns)

Hats A B and C - back

Winter Foliage is a stripy, colorful, slouchy beret style hat. It’s designed with the theory that in winter our outer garments are all very dark, and color mostly comes from accessories. I bet you could work it up in pretty spring colors and hope that it will encourage spring to arrive sooner!

Hat A - back

This hat was designed to use 10 mini skeins I spun up from a sample pack of Into The Whirled. There are a lot of fiber sample packs available to hand spinners – and the question I’m attempting to answer is “now what do I do with these little skeins?”

mini skeins in progressmany little skeinsmini skeins in progress2

But there’s good news for knitters who don’t spin. The hat requires 20-40 yards of fingering weight yarn in 10 different colors. So I think it’s perfect for using up leftover scraps of sock yarn, like this:

hat C - front

And if you’re the type of knitter who doesn’t have leftover bits of sock yarn then A) I have no idea how you pull that off and B) You can work the hat up by alternating between two skeins of self striping yarn, like mini mochi:

Hat B - side

This hat was knit in their Ginger Rainbow colorway. I recommend alternating between two skeins so you get drastic, noticeable color changes between each pattern stripe. There are more details for this technique in the pattern.

See what I did there? I knit this pattern THREE times. I never knit anything that many times! What’s more, I knit them consecutively (almost) without breaking for anything else! It’s a really fun project. The stripes are worked in a slipped stitch pattern which creates that interlocking look.

Hat A - snow

You only have to knit with one color per row – it’s a dead easy pattern to remember and work up. I’d like to thank my cousins Naomi and Leah, and their friend Meghan, for modeling for the photo-shoot.

You can find this pattern on Ennea Collective, and you can favorite and queue Winter Foliage on Ravelry.

Hats A B and C - top

Swatch Stories

I’m swatching for new designs right now. It’s fun, seeing the potential unfold in front of me. But the two swatches I knit yesterday had some extra difficulties. Both are designed to be worked in the round. One is a heavily cabled pattern with twisted stitches and cable crosses on every row. It’ll be challenging, but not ridiculous in the round. But here’s the problem – I didn’t want to work in the round. So to make things “easier” on myself I worked it flat, which meant 3 or 4 cable crosses per WRONG SIDE row. Yes, you read that right – this was to make things easier on myself…

But did I learn? Apparently not. The second swatch is for a color work pattern – an advanced color work pattern where several rows involve carrying three colors at the same time. Once again, I wanted to work the swatch flat. Can you see where this is going? If you guessed “purling while working a stranded pattern with three colors simultaneously” then you win! Not that there’s a prize or anything…

VT Odyssey hat

I finished my all-vermont-all-the-time hat! Actually I finished it over the weekend, set it to block behind the stove, and then forgot to document it for days…

VTodyssey

I ended up using Grumperina’s Oddesa(ravelry link) pattern. I realized I didn’t have enough yardage for several of the patterns I was considering. And I knew I needed something really simple because of the marled yarn. I used size 6 and 7 needles because I didn’t want the fabric to be too dense, and I knit the body of the hat until I was afraid I didn’t have enough yarn to finish, then worked the crown decreases. I ended up with about 10 yards left over, and the body is a little deeper then the pattern directed – which is how I frequently like my hats.

VThatfront

In my opinion the swirly hat pattern and the swirly yarn combine to make an excellent hat! If you want to look back this is the yarn I spun, from the fleece I washed, from the sheep that I saw sheared. No, I have no urge to learn to shear the sheep myself – at least not yet…

apple pie for breakfast

I’ve heard this recipe called Swedish apple pie – but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it made by my swedish family. I made one over the weekend to take to a new knitting group. The hostess also said she’d never seen such a pie in her swedish family either. So maybe it’s a misnomer. Anyway, I make it sometimes with less sugar just to eat for breakfast, so that’s what I call it. My favorite way to eat it is to turn it up side down so the apples are on the top, and then melt some cheddar cheese on it. So. Good.

peeling apples

Ingredients
3 apples, peeled cored and sliced
2 eggs
3/4C sugar (maybe 1/2C if you’re making it for breakfast)
4T butter (you could cut this too, but then it’d be dry)
1/2t salt
1.5C flour
1/2C milk
1 1/2t baking powder
cinnamon to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a pie plate with the apple wedges. Sprinkle as much, or as little, cinnamon as you want over them. If you want something sweeter this is really good with some cajeta drizzled over the fruit.

apples and cajeta

Melt the butter. In one bowl mix milk, eggs, and butter together. In another mix the salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until everything is just blended.

Pour the whole mess into the pie dish, over the apples. It should cover them pretty thoroughly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

pie with cheese

Eat with cheese – seriously, it’s better this way.

Snowshoe love

We went snowshoeing a while ago, but I’m only just now pulling the photos off my camera. It seems like an appropriate day to mention how much I love:

Neil
Neil snowshoeing

Jake and Reggie
running dogs

Vermont
Laraway Lookout View

And, for sheer amazing-ness, have some tree sized icicles:
tree sized icicles

That part of the hike was amazing, and terrifying – both the possibility of falling ice, and of falling off the cliff on the left hand side of the trail…