Monthly Archives: July 2011

Slice of life


Hello! Welcome to the library. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

at the library

We have a great childrens’ section, and a monthly story hour!

childrens section

Our YA section is a work in progress:

YA section

but we’re getting more shelves this weekend! Just wait until you see what we have planned. This library has great potential!

Curly toes

Since I’m always raving about the Freedom Rangers, I figure complete honesty is important. They’re clearly smarter than cornish cross. They range better, chase bugs, drink from the stream, and take dust baths. But they’re still meat birds – obviously based on how they grow!

mmm tasty
(note, this is from the beginning of July* – so this hen is only 6 weeks)

And for the next 4-6 weeks we’ll be feeding out 50lbs of feed each week on top of everything they’re eating outside. And there’s one other, obvious, sign of the selective breeding that goes into making birds like this, meet Curly Toes:

curly toes

Yup. There’s something a little special about him, isn’t there? I had one bird out of 26 with this problem last year, and again this year. It’s not really a problem for him. It doesn’t seem to slow him down, he’s one of the biggest rooster now (oh yeah, at 8 weeks the roos have already started practicing their crow – just like cornish crosses the whole bird development is sped up) The other birds don’t pick on him, and he can run around with the others no problem. But lets just say I wouldn’t want him to pass on any genes.

*These photos are old, life got in the way of this post. Just use your imagination – these birds are even fatter and happier now.

U2 socks

If you’re like me you’re kinda sad that you can’t make it to Sock Summit.  But I’m playing along from home this year! Tangled has just released their summer issue and it’s full of sock patterns, including my U2 socks:

Apparently this year’s summit has an 80’s theme, so that’s where the pattern names come from. When they asked me for suggestions I figured you couldn’t find a more Irish band than U2, and I couldn’t come up with a Scottish 80’s band with enough name recognition (I tried)

You can also favorite and queue U2 on Ravelry.

cabled feet 2

These socks knit up very quickly because they’re worked in Beaverslide’s Sport Sock yarn. It’s a great merino yarn with just enough mohair for durability (but no halo)

cabled feet

The cables are all charted, so you’ll need to be able to read charts. I also highly recommend learning to cable without a cable needle (but I recommend that for many of my patterns…)

Finally, Tangled has a way for you to play along from home too! From July 28 – August 14 you can take $1 off any of their summer patterns using the code SOCKSUMMIT11



So I knit this shawl:

nameless shawl

It was just meant as a little something to work on when I got tired of the mitts and the DPNs.* The yarn is colinette jitterbug from my stash. I was going to use it for the mitts, the ones which are now going to be made from the glissade. But when I was swatching I realized it had too much bounce, not enough drape, and no shine.

So it became a shawl instead. I like the shawl, although the yarn still wasn’t meant to be. I ran out of BOTH colors, the green about 50 yards from the end and the white about 75 yards from the end. Luckily for me there are kind-hearted people on Ravelry. Kind-hearted people who were willing to mail me remnants of their skeins (in the same colorways!) so I could finish.

nameless wingspan

But then I really LIKED this shawl. So I’ve written up the pattern. It’ll be made with a sock yarn that has better yardage. I pawned off the knitting the second one on a friend (thanks Amy!) so I don’t have to make two.

But it still needs a name. Got any suggestions?

*I need variety in my life, always.

a visit

Yesterday Neil and I headed out into The Kingdom on a yarn mission. I’d been in touch with Judy of Ball and Skein and she’d agreed to provide yarn support for one of the Time on my Hands patterns. Then she suggested that rather than picking colors through a computer monitor I should just come visit her studio and see everything in person! It was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.

It was wonderful to get to see all her yarn bases, all the colors she has dyed up, and her studio.* I chose two colors:

Nickeld & Dimed, and Manise in Glissade.

We got to see the skein winders (which they design and build themselves), spindles, oriface hooks, and all the other projects going on!

oriface hook
Yep, one of the pretty little hooks is hanging on my spinning wheel now.

And best of all we got to sit on their porch looking out over their little lake and enjoy the beauty of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Her place is even more beautiful than her photos show. It was breezy and warm and a great chance to visit with some of Vermont’s other fiber-minded people.

As an aside about the book, I want to acknowledge that yes, my designing has slowed down this month. Along with the need for emotional and mental recuperation there are technical issues. For instance 3 of my next 6 photoshoots need clocks at my parents’ and sister’s houses. So there won’t be any more designs released in the Time on my Hands book this month. However the behind the scenes work is starting to pick back up. I’m back to knitting and charting and sending things off to my tech editor. I hope to release 3 patterns in August, and I’m still aiming to have the collection finished by this Autumn, it just might be October instead of September. Thank you all for your understanding and patience.

*she doesn’t have a retail store on site, but you can visit her at many festivals around New England.

Too damn hot

It’s too hot here – if you’re in the US there’s a good chance it’s too hot where you are too.

basil lime pop

Basil Lime Freezer Pops

1.5 cups water
3T maple syrup
3T lime juice
minced fresh basil

basil lime pop ingredients

The amounts are going to vary widely depending on the size of the glasses/containers* you’re using. Mix everything up so it tastes good, but you want it a little strong. The flavors are more mellow once it’s frozen.

Put the basil in the glasses. Mix the sugar, water, and juice. Pour in the glass. Add some kind of a stick. Freeze.

I pulled them out when they were half frozen to mix the minced leaves down into the half-frozen ice better. This way the sticks stood straight up as well. But you could just let them freeze with slanty-sticks. Anyone who judges your slanty popsicle handles clearly doesn’t deserve a frozen treat.

* They make popsicle molds, but I don’t own any. I just made sure the glasses were wider at the top than at the bottom. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get them out.

raspberry cherry sage jam

A friend brought over some cherries. Neil and I picked raspberries from the front yard. I was looking at these in the fridge and thought Hmmm– jam! And I like to put other flavors in my jam, so I asked the internet, and the internet said sage goes with cherries.


2 cups chopped, pitted cherries
3 cups raspberries
0 or 12 sage leaves* minced small
3T lemon juice
1 packet pectin
5 cups sugar

I don’t have a cherry pitter – but I got pretty good, pretty quickly, at chopping them in half and pulling out the pits. I like my jam chunky, so I didn’t chop them any more, but you could if you want it more smooth.

Put the cherries, raspberries, sage, and lemon juice in a sauce pot. Put them on medium heat until the raspberries liquify and the cherries get soft. Add the pectin and turn up the heat. Bring it to boiling while stirring constantly.

Add the sugar and bring it back to a boil continuing to stir. Boil hard for 1 minute (stir stir stir).
Skim the foam off the top**. Ladle into half-pint jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes. Allow to cool, store any leftover dribbles (and jars which don’t seal) in the fridge.

*I used 6. I can just baaarely taste the sage. I’d either up it to 12 or skip them entirely, depending on how unique you’re feeling.
**jam directions always say this – I think it’s a waste of jam and never do it. The foam doesn’t seem to affect the canning, setting, or flavor- just the look.

Mid-july garden

mid july garden
The plants are getting big…

broccoli soon
The broccoli will be harvested soon,

cabbage heads forming
and the cabbages are forming heads.

first garlicsa few peas
The first garlic, and the peas are ready.

tiny squash
Tiny squash are forming,

bean bloom
and the beans are blooming.

tomato blossomcorn flowers
Even the tomatoes and corn are thinking about fruit.

bea balmphlox and hollyhocks
My perennials are good when left alone,

sunshine flower
and I have a volunteer sunflower!

Even when there are no words

There’s still craft.

Picture 024

I’ve been knitting – but nothing that requires thinking. No math, no numbers, no charts, no designing. Just a shawl, and a simple gift for a friend.

And I’ve been spinning. Mohair, wool, silk, merino, blends. It’s not quite meditative because it involves just a little thought. Just enough thought to keep my mind from wandering.


This is the hardest post I’ve ever written. But I believe it will help me to put my thoughts down in writing.

My sister Kathy died this weekend. She was on a school trip to Nicaragua.

kathy and sancho 2

Kathy was 22, she’d been diagnosed with lupus several years ago. She was determined not to let the disease control her life. She had it pretty well in hand too, which is why her doctor agreed it would be ok for her to go on this trip. Nothing was supposed to go wrong.

kathy at the pier

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt

Kathy was a strong, independent person. A few years ago when she had too much fluid on her brain, I watched with pride and some amazement at how well she handled having brain surgery. She donated her hair before they had to shave her head so that she could help others.

kathy and luis

Kathy was fiercely loyal, proud, and a good friend. She was a military wife, she was fluent in Spanish, she could swear like a sailor in two languages (I’m making an assumption based on how good she was at it in english)

kathy and luis 3

She was in Nicaragua working on a sustainable development and economics program, we’ve been told that whenever they traveled she made a point of sitting on the bus with the locals, talking to them and learning from them.

on the bus

The point is that she didn’t let anything slow her down or hold her back. I know that she wants all of us to continue on. It’s just hard to see how to do that right now.


Thoughts and prayers for her, and those of us she touched, gratefully accepted.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail — Ralph Waldo Emerson