Monthly Archives: September 2012

photo shoot locations

A conversation about photo shoot locations came up on ravelry and I realized it was a blog post waiting to happen.

You see, of the 41 patterns for which I’ve done the photography 13 of them were shot on my little 2 acre lot right here around my house.


This might not be shocking if you think I have a big, manicured yard but I really don’t. My front lawn can’t be more than 30×15 feet, and we don’t exactly have a lawn mower (of any kind) so other than weed whacking it a few times a summer it doesn’t get trimmed. Yeah – I’m that house on the road, but it doesn’t matter because I live in the country with 20 odd free ranging chickens and a clothes line*.

So yeah, 14 patterns shot on my property:

at home
Amidon, Asters, Cocktail Hour, Creemee, Foote Brook, Gifford Woods, Hirta, Jubjub Bird, Morningtide, Queen City, Snippet Scarf, So-Called hat, White Clovers, and Winter Foliage.

If you look at those thumbnails you can see a few similarities. But I’m also lucky to have woods, a stubbly field, and a view all in one place. And of course the photos taken against a flat wall or a fabric backdrop are practically cheating. And even more luckily my big west facing dutch doors let enough light inside for indoor photography with outdoor lighting – lucky me!

But wait, there’s more! Another 5 patterns were photographed within 5 miles from my home – which means on my road just up or down the street from my house:

near home
Glorious Morning, Hyssop, Icicles, Kathryn Margaret, and La Moelle.

And anther 10 patterns within 25 miles of my home:

near by
Bewitching Hour, Boyden, Carmi, Currants**, Gnarled, Jay Hat, Kingdom, Nymphaea, Play Time, and Sheep Herder’s hat.

So! Out of 41 photo shoots I’ve done a grand total of 29 (that’s 71%) within 25 miles of my house. So, how do I managed to get such nice photos out of my scruffy yard? I will save that for another post…

*not that the chicken graze the grass – they don’t. Just that if my property were suddenly plopped down in the middle of HOA territory my lawn probably wouldn’t be their first problem.

**Oh dear Lord, don’t look at the photos for Currants, they desperately need to be re-done…

a return to spinning

It must be autumn. I know, because I’ve started spinning again.

return to spinning

I knit all year ’round. But I know there are people who mainly knit in the fall and winter. That’s how I am with spinning. It drops off in spring and I don’t spin at all during the summer.

little spindle

Don’t know why that is, but it’s the truth. I’m really just a knitter who likes to spin. Not a Spinner with a capital “S.” Part of my spinning revival every fall is due to the fiber festivals. I know I’m going to want to buy fiber at Rhinebeck. But I have trouble justifying that to myself when I haven’t touched last year’s fiber yet.

pretty little cop

This is a friesian wool, blended with mohair and alpaca from the Mountain Fiber Folk. I’m hoping to finish this and then spin my wool/mohair/alpaca/sparkle blend which I picked up at Rhinebeck last year. I think the two will look very nice plied together, don’t you?

blue mohairwool

Apple picking

pick your own

We went apple picking this weekend! I know a lot of the orchards in the north east lost their harvest due to the weirdly warm spring which included some nasty crop-killing frosts. Luckily we missed the worst of that.


But their were some varieties that didn’t survive. And the varieties that did, were a lot lighter than usual. This was the LAST weekend for apple picking – and usually it goes well into october!

handsome sweater

The apples that were left were mostly up high. They had the little claw baskets available. But sometimes we wanted apples that were even higher up…

reaching the high apples

We got a lot of macouns and liberties. A few cortlands, and a selection from the old heritage trees that were at the back of the orchard. Best line of the day came when we asked one of the employees what kinds those apples were and he said “oh, you probably won’t like this one.” So then of COURSE we had to try it!

gorgeous day

It was a gorgeous day for apple picking. And now I have a bushel of apples in my kitchen. The liberties will be for eating, while the macouns and heritage breeds will go into the apple chutney and apple sauce I’m planning to make. Of course I still have tomatoes in the fridge… Maybe I’ll make some tomato chutney too…

round up

It’s been one of those weeks that is crazy full, but not necessarily great blog material. Last weekend Neil and I processed 12 chickens. The freedom ranger roosters always grow faster than the hens, so we do them first. The coop is a lot more peaceful now and I think the layers are glad to see those boys gone. But it’s a long, hard day of work, and not the kind of work where I feel fulfilled at the end of it.

Since then I’ve made stock (still needs to be canned) made more pasta sauce, finished hulling the dried beans, harvested the last of the broccoli.

I’ve also been doing a lot of computer work. I’ve been fixing layouts for wholesaling (that takes a lot of time in the evenings) The speedy sweater I knit last month is graded, the pattern is written down (and not in the chicken-scratch notebook either) and it’s off to be edited. My blog is all dressed up for fall. I’ve done a lot of photo editing too.

Does anyone want to hazard a guess as to why Microsoft picture manager is making all my photos look dull and gray suddenly? I didn’t used to have this problem, and then I calibrated my monitor. Now the jpgs and tiffs look fine in: photoshop, picture and fax viewer, paint, and anything else that was willing to open a jpg. But in picture manager they look gross. What’s even more confusing is jpgs I saved before calibrating my monitor look fine. It’s only the ones I’ve saved since then. AND if I use the “export for web and devices” setting in photoshop then the pictures look fine. And I could say “well that’s the reason there” except that all those older jpgs that look fine weren’t saved that way. I wish I could say I don’t care, except it’s nice to have a quick way to browse photos. And photoshop is many things, but quick isn’t one of them.

So yeah, life is busybusybusy but not all of it is blog material. I secretly think that’s a good thing.


We have a widespread frost warning tonight. While that might not hit us up here on the hill frost is a “better safe than sorry” event and so it’s time to take stock in the garden.

The sunflowers are quickly going to seed, which the chickadees and goldfinches adore:

birds love sunflowers

The beans, broccoli, bunching onions, and carrots are still going. All but the beans will survive a frost. I’m not pulling my carrots until the very end as they will sweeten up with a bit of freezing weather.

climbing beans

The squash and corn are flops. The corn flopped literally, and so I have only the wind to blame for that. The squash failed because I had a bumper crop of gray squash bugs. I don’t know if this was due to the warm winter, the fact that my squash were inside the fence and the chickens couldn’t get to them, or just plain bad luck. Any way I look at it this is a major disappointment since we’ve been growing most of our squash for several years now.

But the beans have done wonderfully. I have enough beans in my freezer for the whole winter. And once I got there I left the rest to go to seed.

I enjoy growing my own dried beans. I’m probably in the minority here given how few Americans buy even the dried beans at the store – what with canned beans being so cheap and so easy. I was in that group once. Then I got a little baggy of dried beans from my CSA one spring.

shelling beans

And my opinion of beans was transformed. They were so much more flavorful!* And so much prettier. And beans are so easy to grow.

dried bean jar

Shelling takes a bit of time. But it’s something I can do in front of the TV at night. And it’s not like the dried beans are going to go bad sitting in the pod or anything.

*Not surprisingly, this is like most other things grown in a small garden.

Deep-Rib vest

The preview of Interweave’s Knit.Wear Fall magazine went live right at the end of last week, and so I have another pattern to show you all! My Deep-Rib vest is knit out of Malabrigo’s merino worsted which is a great yarn for showing off the stretchy, curve hugging vest I designed!

Deep-Rib vest

© Interweave Press

The ribbing in this tunic length vest combines with some simple waist and bust shaping to make a perfectly fitted garment. It’s mirrored in the deep shawl collar which you can either fold back or fold up to keep your neck warm.

Deep Rib collar

© Interweave Press

Interesting factoid – Interweave didn’t change the name of this from my submission! I usually put a lot of thought into my names, but knowing that Interweave generally changes things to fit a theme I skipped that step this time. After submitting I slowly began to realize that something about the Deep-Rib name sounds dirty to me. Whoops!

Deep rib vest

© Interweave Press

There are a lot of really wonderful, wearable (some of the sculptural) designs in this issue, which leads me to another: Knitting Wishlist

These are all things I would knit from knit.wear if I had more hands or more time!

knit.wear designs

1. Knit Purl jacket by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud 2. Lakkos cloche by Cassie Castillo 3. Hourglass Sleeve pullover by Carolyn Noyes 4. Disc cardigan by Heather Zoppetti 5. Gathered blouse by Katya Frankel.

What about you? Which is your favorite?

Jubjub Bird socks

I think that just because it’s cold and I want to wear thick socks all winter doesn’t mean those socks have to be boring. In that spirit I’m releasing my Jubjub Bird sock pattern today! these stripy socks are written in 5 sizes to fit a whole family

Jubjub hero

Something about the stripes makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. I can’t explain why – they just do:

Jubjub with book

To check out design details and more you can see their page, here. And of COURSE they’re on Ravelry (here) for your queuing pleasure.

Don’t you think “queuing” is a weird word?

Ok, moving on! These socks are knit out of the same sportweight superwash merino as my Lime Sorbet cardi. That’d be Periwinkle Sheep’s Merino Sport. She’s adding some new colors to her store this month, so you can knit stripes in whatever combination makes you happy!

jubjub forked heels

Along with graduated stripes worked out in 5 sizes these socks also have a forked short-row heel. This isn’t a completely new technique, but it is one I haven’t seen in use as often. The forked heel provides a little extra fabric. I find that short row heels are always a bit tight, and then they wear out quickly. These heels should be a great improvement over that!

Jubjub en point

And yes, this is the Alice themed pattern I posted about awhile back. Which means that Annika of NoirBettie will be getting a copy of the pattern!

Happy Birthday!

It’s my birthday! And I’m turning 30 (gasp! A round number! How shocking!)

birthday cake

As is traditional for this day all my self-published patterns are 30% off. This just applies to the individual pdfs, not the ebook. Want some suggestions? I have them!

If you’re considering going to a fiber festival this autumn you could pick out something designed specifically for farm yarn like Asters

– $3.50

Or Grand View

grand view kim 2
– $5.60

And since it’s fall now is a perfect time to be knitting Boyden:

boyden open front
– $5.25

Or Catamount

– $4.20

Also maybe you should be thinking about christmas gifts, maybe someone on your list would like Kathryn Margaret:


– $4.20

or Gifford Woods

gifford main
– $3.85

But those are just some of my favorites, you can pick your own!

the tomatoes

Since I didn’t grow any tomatoes I knew I would need to find a good source for them in order to make my traditional pasta sauce for winter. A really good source. After all, I usually process upwards of 40lbs of tomatoes, and we usually run out of sauce by March.

pasta sauce a lot of tomatoes

So I put myself on the canning tomato list at Lewis Creek Farm. And when I got the call I drove an hour there (it’s an hour from my work, there’s a mountain ridge in the way…) to pick up my 75lbs of tomatoes.

pasta sauce tomatoes

On sunday I started processing tomatoes. I chopped them up and put them through the Squeezo*. The squeeze pulp and juice came out the other end.

pasta sauce goop

And I squeezo’ed and squeezo’d and squeezo’d some more.

And 2.5 hours later? I’d processed HALF my tomatoes. And I had more tomato goop than would fit into a 4 gallon pot. So I got that simmering, simmered it all evening, and got it low enough that I could add the 2 bottles of merlot** that I needed for this triple-batch recipe.

With the rest of the tomatoes back in the fridge, and the pot on the back burner, I went to bed. I let the whole mess simmer overnight. In the morning I got up and chopped herbs and added spices and drank tea.

pasta sauce herbs

And by lunchtime I had 14.5 pints of delicious, AMAZING herbed merlot pasta sauce. The best (most tiring?) part is that I need to do it all over again soon…

pasta sauce the sauce

*I still love my squeezo, still doing this product placement out of sheer love for the thing!

**This always leads to me wanting to walk into a store and ask for their two largest bottles of cheap merlot.

pasta sauce ingredients

photo shoot time

I had my first real photo shoot with the fancy D60 camera over the weekend. My friend Calley (the camera’s owner) came up to help, and my friend Dana was our model. We’d originally planned the shoot for Saturday evening – to catch the pretty golden light. But the weather forecast was calling for rain by evening. So at the last moment on Friday I asked if they were both available in the morning – and thankfully they were! Friends who are willing to be up and dressed by 7:30am on a saturday are awesome. Especially since Calley lives 1.5 hrs away…

1st shoot 1

The sun filtering down through the clouds that morning was perfect lighting for the photo shoot. And my friend Dana was a perfect model. Calley was the spotter, checking for wrinkles and setting scenes and all sorts of things so I could focus on the shoot.

1st shoot 2

It went wonderfully! And then Calley took her camera home with her. She needs it for a class she’s taking next weekend on food photography with Helene Dujardin. I’m almost as excited about it as she is. It all ties together – more on that later.