Monthly Archives: September 2013

Foliage

round barn

Neil and I took the new camera out for a bit of a foliage tour this weekend!

elmore reflection

Things are mostly still orange, with touches of red peeking through.

maple path

And we still have a fair amount of green.

foggy valley

But it was a gorgeous fall weekend, and driving around is a good way for a very pregnant lady to see the foliage.

grass seed

Better than trying to go for a hike anyway.

hillside farm

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Frost

Every year around this time I start my frost watch. Average first frost comes around the end of September in my part of the world. This year many parts of northern VT have had TWO frosts already. My garden has narrowly escaped the freezing temperatures by living far enough up the hill at almost 1000 feet in elevation (cold air sinks, you see.) But it’s only a matter of time…

frosty seeds

I’m not worried though, for better or worse I’ve got nothing to protect. My salad tomato plants survived the june rains, but never thrived enough to blossom. My beans and squashes did slightly better, but the plants are exhausted and ready to be done by now. This has been one of the saddest years ever in my garden. Sure I’ve had years where hurricanes knocked out a perfectly good corn harvest. Other years where blight knocked out a perfectly good tomato harvest. But this year? I don’t even have any harvest I can refer to as “perfectly good.” Ok, that’s not true. The garlic did amazing things, but that was MUCH earlier in the season. The rainy June half-drowned everything I planted, and then the cool summer didn’t give any sort of kick-start to those poor plants. I’ve frozen a few pints of broccoli and two of beans that I BOUGHT from my nearby farm. Sure I’ve got my precious tomato sauce – but I bought those too. And we’re looking at buying pretty much all our squash again this year. But I haven’t lost complete hope:

fall greens

I still have my rows of cold-hardy leafy greens which I planted in August. Fall salad season is about to start with red and green lettuce, bok choy, and swiss chard. It’ll be good to be harvesting again! These hardy little plants will hang on through a light frost easily. And if I have the energy this weekend I may even set up some cold frames. I need to AT LEAST get out there and pull the grass, look at it coming up from seed among those little rows…

Playing with my new camera

It’s getting pretty and autumnal in my front yard

oregano

little trees

old sunflowers

red leaves

Jake at sunset small

Sauce time!

It’s sauce season! Also known as the time when my favorite tomato farmer calls me up and says It Is Time to pick up my bulk tomatoes

sauce tomatoes

We got 75lbs this year.

What can I say? Neil and I like pasta with red sauce. It’s hands-down our favorite, quick, meal. And why not, when the home-made pasta sauce is so very VERY tasty?!

So the past weekend Neil helped me process half of them into 16 pints of deliciousness.

sauce ingredient prep

It’s a good thing he’s willing to help, because I’m not sure it’s a good idea for me to be on my feet in the kitchen all day right now. So Neil and I took turns manning the squeezo:

sauce squeezo

I’ve told you about my squeezo right? (answer: yes, right here) I still love it. I mean, it’s as old as I am, and it’s been doing yearly service all this time. I’m not going to suddenly stop loving it!

Also on the list of canning hand-me-downs I’ve gotten from my Mom is this giant kettle:

sauce canning

Although it turns out to only hold 14 pint jars (whoops.) But still, it is so large that one burner on my stove will not bring it up to a full boil, not only can it cover two burners, but I actually have to run them both on high to get the water hot enough!

So yeah, that’s the scattered recollections of last weekend. Next weekend will probably look very similar. I have another 35lbs of tomatoes upstairs…

6 reasons

This project has way more sweat and cursing in it than any baby-room related item ought to:

photo frame

Alternate title: At least six reasons I don’t do scrapbooking. Seriously, why am I so bad at cutting things evenly in a straight line? Why aren’t my little photo corners even? I used a ruler and a template for placing them any everything! Grr. Argh.

But I’m sure the baby won’t mind. And it is rather adorable in the overall presentation, even if the details are wonky. AND it makes use of this window frame Neil and I have been moving from place to place for at least 8 years, so that’s good!

Note to self: I need more portrait style family photos…

DSLR!

YOU GUYS! I have such exciting news!!

new DSLR

I got a new fancy camera!! It was over a year ago that I started playing with my friend (and co-author) Calley’s DSLR camera. And it was awesome. And I quickly decided I needed one of my own. I accepted pretty quickly that I was going to get a Nikon, since that’s the interface I was learning. And I’ve been saving for the camera ever since. I got a Nikon 3200. If you’re looking at getting a camera of your own I recommend you look at the reviews on Ken Rockwell’s site.

I actually bought a 50mm lens that was compatible with both my friend’s camera and the current models for the book photography. That’s the best kind of lens for both food shots and knitting patterns. That’s the lens that give the gorgeous blurriness in shots like this one:

ondulation hand perspective

That kind of shot is much MUCH harder to get with my standard point and shoot. I’ve been doing ALL my design photography with a basic, Kodak Z915 for all this time. I even re-did some patterns shot with an even older camera with that little model.

So yeah. You can expect some much prettier design photos in the future! And also, much prettier blog photos. I mean, look at that one in the mirror. That was taken after sunset without a flash. Do you know what would happen if I tried that with the point and shoot? Blurry fuzziness would happen, that’s what. This camera is so, SO cool.

Happy Birthday!

I have approximately ONE sale you can count on each year, and it’s time! It’s my birthday, but I have a present for all of you

boyden preview

31% off all my self published patterns! Can you guess how old I am this year?

Ondulation preview

The sale applies only to my indie designs, you can see all the options right here. No codes are necessary, just buy the pattern and the discount will be automatically applied!

stammel preview

This sale applies to my ebook of hand patterns too! For a short time you can get all NINE patterns for $12.42

tea time preview

The sale will run from noon EDT today until noon on Friday. (My birthday is Thursday, the 12th, in case you were wondering.)

Transitions

My life, my mental state, and much of my house look like this right now

baby's room

With new and exciting changes just around the corner we’re in complete transition. My baby will be 37 weeks along on Tuesday, which is when we get to call her “full term” and she can put in an appearance any time she wants! I’m still hoping for a late baby, sometime after October 4th would be great. But we’re as ready as we can hope to be.

Well, sort of. We have everything we need. The cosleeper is set up in our bedroom, so it doesn’t bother me (too much) that the baby’s room is still full of boxes. The cloth diapers are clean, but except for the ones packed in the go-bag all the sizes are mixed together and still in a basket in the laundry room. The nursing pillow cover has been washed, it’s around here somewhere. I have a pump and bottles and a bottle warmer (all still in their packaging) just in case. But is anyone ever really prepared for nursing?

See what I mean? It’s all about transition right now. Neil has started his second year of classes. It was 39F when I woke up this morning. I have 75lbs of tomatoes waiting to be turned into sauce. These are all transitions of one sort or another.

What transitions are you facing this season?

Hitch

I’m really pleased to announce that I have another new pattern to show off! This one is the Three Second Kiss sweater in the Hitch inspired collection published through Cooperative Press.

three second kiss front view

As always you can favorite and queue it on Ravelry (and click through the rest of the collection! It’s all amazing work by some great designers!) The book will be available for pre-order (in both hard copy and PDF!) September 5th on CP’s website. Once the PDF is available you could purchase it through Ravelry as well.

Three Second Kiss is a bohus inspired pullover. I’m calling it “inspired” because I had been itching to try some knit and purl colorwork as is used in traditional bohus designs. but colorwork is tricky enough (both to design, and to knit) with two strands per row, so I limited myself to that. Traditional bohus sweaters from the mid 1900’s often used three or more colors per row as well as knit and purl stitches in their patterning!!

three second kiss back view

The sweater harkens back to the original bohus designs in the yarn choice as well. The Sunday Knits yarns include merino/angora (traditional) and merino/cashemere blends. I commented while knitting this that it’s a really ROUGH life when the harshest yarn in the sweater is the pure merino…

three second kiss hem

I do think the “inspired by Alfred Hitchcock” part of this book might be a BIT of a stretch in my case. While I appreciate the gorgeous styling and costuming of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies I can’t bring myself to watch one all the way through. I’m fine with blood, but scary suspense is the WORST for my brain. It’ll keep me up for days, and I value my sleep too much for that…