Monthly Archives: September 2011

Bits and bobs

Lots of little things to say today! So it’s (semi) Random List format time!

Ohdessa has a lovely review of my ebook on her blog today. There’s another chance to win a free copy there as well!

Odessa knows her stuff, she’s got lots of awesome colorwork mitten patterns – including the True North mittens in this fall’s issue of Interweave!

The ladies of the Just one more Row podcast are reviewing the book as well. It should be out today (hopefully they have lovely things to say about it as well)

I think peak foliage is going to be next week. I’m already planning a photoshoot (or two) for the occasion!

My dogs got sprayed by a skunk IN MY FRONT ENTRYWAY yesterday morning. The skunk must’ve let loose about 2 feet from my front door. The first warning I had was when the smell seeped through the closed door into my kitchen (sob)

I can now recommend this recipe for getting skunk off your dogs. It’s a miracle!

There’s no more hydrogen peroxide anywhere in Johnson, we bought it all.

Sadly I’m still looking for the miracle that removes skunk smell from wooden porches.

I’m going to the VT Sheep and Wool festival on Sunday, I’m so excited I can’t think about anything else. I keep forgetting Saturday even exists.

I’ve already decided I’ll be wearing my Lime Pop sweater – if you see me in my crazy green and purple sweater come say Hi!

I’m going to have discount coupons for my patterns, so you really should come say hi.

Does that mean I’m trying to bribe people into being my friend?

ebook on tour

With the completion of Time on my Hands I’m having a little ebook tour! There will be reviews of my book, and opportunities to win a free copy. I’ll be sure to let you know about these chances as they arise. Today there’s a wonderful review by Tina over at Peacefully Knitting.

To enter to win just leave a comment on her blog before October 2nd*. While you’re there check out the rest of her site, she reviews some really nice things, and has a bunch of great hat patterns of her own. I especially like her Pumpkin Patch collection.


© Tina Sanders

*How’d it get to be almost October already??

Updating

I’ve been updating stuff! Specifically patterns, but also my website! If you’re reading through an RSS feed you should come by and check it out! I have a new layout and pretty new headers. The main page still contains the blog content, but now I have columns on the right where you can find quick links to some featured knitting patterns, online magazines I like, other blogs I read, my twitter feed (in case almost-daily updates just aren’t enough!) It’s all very exciting*.

You should also check out the links at the top of my site. From here you can find more details about all my patterns. I’m working on creating dedicated pages for each one**. The dedicated pages have been going up as I finally get around to re-doing the PDF layout for each one.

white clovers preview

In the last two days I’ve redone the layout for ALL FOUR patterns with the Knit Picks IDP program. I’m not changing any content on these patterns, but I’ve been redoing the charts, schematics, and in some cases even the photos:

jay hat neil brown

I’m doing everything I can so the patterns are clearer and easier to use. With the update to these PDFs I’ve also made them available through Ravelry. So if you’ve always wanted the Jay hat (or White Clovers, Amidon, or Foote Brook) in your ravelry library now you can have them – and at the same great price as on the knitpicks website. The new PDFs will be available there too, shortly…

*well exciting to me anyway. I think Neil’s eyes glaze over when I show him these things. But he’s very good and tries to be interested in all of it…

**I’m almost done too, I just have the two freebies and the long-neglected Currants hat pattern.

Beaver Meadows

Sunday was about the most beautiful day you could possibly imagine. Neil and I packed up the boys, the camera, and went for a walk.

mosaic

1. whiteface, 2. crazy fungus 3, 3. crazy fungus 4, 4. crazy fungus 2, 5. crazy fungi, 6. fuzzy moss, 7. ferny moss, 8. water droplets, 9. red maple, 10. reggie, 11. valley view, 12. stream bed, 13. spider web

Along with a ridiculous number of fungi we also saw TWO baby trout swimming in streams so small you wouldn’t have believed they’d support fish of any kind. We ate sun warmed apples directly off the tree, let the dogs wallow in the river, and generally had the best time possible.

Finished!

With the release of Digital Age the Time on my Hands e-book is complete!

texting

It feels a little strange to be done with a project that has taken up so much of my time this summer. But strange in a good way. I can not wait to see people’s projects. I want to see how knitters take these designs and make them their own! I want people to have fun with these designs. I hope you like them as much as I do.

This final pattern is a bonus, a thank you to the wonderful knitters who’ve purchased the whole collection. As such it is only available as part of the e-book, and not as an individual download.

trapped in the screen

I really loved this photo shoot. It happened in Buffalo at my friend’s house, and she has this GIANT screen which we covered with binary numbers. I love how it really encapsulates the “help, I’ve been trapped in the internet!” feeling I wanted from these mitts.

cuff closeup

The binary on the cuffs reads “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero,” which translates to “Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.” When I discovered the rest of the line from this poem I knew it was the right thing for these cuffs, since the working title of the project was “The future is NOW!” In my e-book I have assigned times of day the way some books have chapter numbers. So the collection starts with Morningtide at 6am and goes through Bewitching Hour at 12 midnight. But then Digital Age sneaks in at 2am the next day! It’s the future, get it? It’s also a reference to sitting up on the internet until 2am.

checking the code

Like I said, I hope everyone else enjoys these patterns as much as I do! I’m hoping to arrange some reviews and pattern give-aways on other blogs soon. So stay tuned, I’ll let you know where you can go to read more and possibly win a copy of the e-book!

choosing yarns

When I’m designing something I try to put a lot of thought into what fibers and which yarns will suite the design best. Although sometimes even the best laid plans go awry. I have a shawl design* which I knit out of two skeins bouncy, squooshy fingering merino from my stash. I picked several pattern features that took good advantage of the bouncy merino. Then I ran out of not one, but BOTH colors with inches to go on the shawl. Turns out those skeins were only 350 yards each… Rather than being that designer** (the one who requires 4 skeins of sock yarn for a pattern that uses 50 yards of each second skein) I decided I needed to change the yarn – even though that meant I had to get more yarn, and wait for the second shawl to be knit***

Right, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, yarn decisions.

So for my Boyden sweater I know that I need a woolen yarn with good stitch definition. That way the cables will pop even against the field of stockinette. I know I need a solid or semi-solid (single color) yarn, so the color won’t distract from the cable pattern. I know I want a DK or worsted weight yarn.

little skeins

Recently I got two lovely little mini skeins in the mail from Dirty Water Dyeworks The gray is Marie a cashmere merino blend. The brown is Edna a silk and polworth blend. Both yarns should have the bounce and stitch definition to work well for this sweater. So mostly I just need to choose my favorite. Below is a poll, let me know what you think about these two yarns, and about sweater yarns in general!

I’ll keep these answers in mind for future designs as well, feel free to leave comments if you want to expand on any of your answers.

*coming soon!

**I’m sure they don’t do it on purpose…

***which I conned my friend Amy into doing for me. I didn’t want to knit the second one as well.

Garden Wrap Up

There was a heavy frost warning for all of VT for Friday and Saturday nights. Apparently we’re far enough up the hillside to avoid even these widespread frost warnings (which is one reason I can get away with a late planting of my fall garden) But I’m not one to take chances with my little squash seedlings, so I was out there covering them up both nights.

Saturday morning started by discovering my spring-planted summer squash had survived the night. But still, I decided it was time to harvest my winter squash. Now I have 10 butternuts, 5 acorn/carnival, and 6 delicata squash curing behind my wood stove. I also picked a grocery bag full of dry bean pods, which I’ll shell once they’ve cured. With the exception of the broccoli, brussel sprouts, and tomatillos* my summer garden is done.

curing squash

So, for my sake if not yours, I’d like to recap and write down what I hope to do next year.

Garlic: Was awesome, so easy and growing it between the corn totally worked.
Next (this) year: plant more, keep the chickens from digging them up in the fall before the snows.

Beans: I love dry beans, but I’ve decided I dislike bush beans for this purpose. The fruit spend too much time in contact with the ground, thus molding or sprouting too much.
Next year: Bush beans for my green beans and pole beans for my dry beans. This will also keep me from getting the two confused as I’m picking green beans…

Tomatoes, etc: Too sensitive to blight (except those tomatillos)
Next year:Not growing any. I need to give the soil a year off. We may try the potatoes grown in sacks of planting soil trick – but if so we’ll do it outside the normal veggie garden.

Corn: I love it, even with Irene knocking it over right as it peaked.
Next year: the Ashworth is quick enough I hope to do 3 successive plantings to extend the harvest, rather than having it all ripen at once. Also I think with the extra garden space I might try two rows of popping corn.

Coles: Broccoli and cabbage good garden crops for me, they freeze well and we eat lots. Brussel sprouts did well, if we eat them all we should grow more.
Next year: I should just be grown from seedlings. I can’t start my own have have them not-leggy unless I get a grow light.

Peas: Spring ones didn’t germinate.
Next year: skip the spring planting, plant more in the fall, they’re doing great now.

Squashes: Planting them in a hole with compost in the bottom, rather than in a mound, continues to work wonderfully!
Next year: Get traps/organic sprays for the cucumber beetles and squash bugs. They took out all my buttercup vines this year.

Other: I want to try sweet potatoes next year, they’re not a nightshade relative and I’m going to have extra space what with not doing tomatoes. I also want to do a true three-sisters planting with pole beans growing up the corn stalks and squash underneath for weed control. This goes with my desire for popping corn, since it’s hard to get into a garden like this and pick sweet corn without stepping on squash vines.

*motto: more frost-proof than any member of the nightshade family has
any right to be

Red cabbage coleslaw

I knew I wanted to bring coleslaw to knitting group for the pot luck.* But I wanted a fancier than the normal cabbage and mayo recipe. I make a pretty nice coleslaw with apples, carrots, and raisins. However I wanted something new so I checked the internet.

Fifteen minutes later I was appalled at the lack of creative recipes available! So, here’s mine:

coleslaw ing

Red Cabbage Coleslaw**

Ingredients
1 medium red cabbage – chopped approx 6 cups
2 small apples – chopped approx 1.5 cups
1 medium carrot – grated approx 1/2 cup
3 small beets – diced approx 1/4 cup
1/2 red onion – diced approx 1/4 cup
1/2 cup raisins
Dressing:
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T oregon bay seasoning (includes celery seed, bay leaf, mustard, ginger, chilies)
1 T honey dijon mustard
1 T worchester sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t pepper
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder

The chopping is, of course, the most time consuming part. So do all of that. I like my slaw chunky, so I just chop the cabbage to 1/2-1/4 inch pieces, you could chop more finely if you wanted. But then I’d chop the apple more finely too. 3 small beets are better than 1 large one because they’re more tender than the larger ones. You could shred them like the carrots, but that’d be EVEN MORE MESSY.

coleslaw chopping

Toss all the salad ingredients once chopped.
Mix the dressing next. I change up the flavors slightly each time. Instead of sour cream you could use plain yogurt. I used cottage cheese once which was tasty, although it looked kinda funny. I suppose you could you mayo, but I like the sour cream flavor better. If you can’t get onion or garlic powder the salt versions are ok, but then you should leave out the plain salt.
Once the dressing is thoroughly mixed pour it over the salad, toss well, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

This makes about 9 cups of VERY PINK salad. The cabbage and the beets both bleed into the dressing, which is pretty dark from the balsamic vinegar to begin with. But it’s so tasty! Good thing too, since I have a lot in my fridge right now…

coleslaw finished

*but after all this I forgot. At least I still got a good blog post out of the process…

** just as good with green cabbage, but you’ll want to leave out the beets too…

Printed patterns!

No, it’s not a trick of the light, or some photoshop magic:

printed patterns

These are my patterns in actual, hard copy, printed form!

I’ve had one local LYS and several yarn dyers interested in wholesaling my patterns recently. So I finally put in the time to research the process, and now they’re available! Mountain Fiber Folk and Ball and Skein will have my patterns, and I believe they’ll be available at the fall fiber festivals and shows these vendors attend!

printed patterns clear view

They’re printed in full color on heavier than average paper so the color ink doesn’t show through. They come as shown in pretty plastic sleeves all neat and ready for pattern binders.

I’m really excited about this next step. If you’re a LYS interested in placing a wholesale order please get in touch with me. I have a price sheet and everything. I feel so official :-)

Turkey soup

Yesterday one thing just lead to another. First it was the coldest day of the year since last spring. Cold, damp, and rainy. I decided to heat up the house by baking bread. I walked the dogs while waiting for it to rise, and picked some apples while I was out*. So then I decided to bake some apple crisp too.

Next I realized the only thing missing for dinner was soup. So I pulled some mystery meat** from the freezer. And got the crock pot going.

turkey soup

Finally, because we’d had no soup for lunch. I thought “hey! I should can these leftovers***. So I got out my little pressure canner. It’s kinda small, so I don’t use it as often. But it was perfect for leftover soup. It holds 5 pint jars, and that’s exactly what I had left.

*I wrote a poem. Neil says it doesn’t suck:

in the autumn fog
with my dogs
I don’t mind
homemade bread beckons

**I didn’t THINK it was mystery meat. I thought it was rabbit, but once thawed it turned out to be turkey…

***I don’t like frozen potatoes even if they’re cooked first. And the last bit of leftover soup always goes bad in the fridge before it’s eaten.