Monthly Archives: May 2016

Late spring

Foggy spiderwebs are the best

No, really.

Although cute warblers are good too

And you can never have too many wildflowers, right?

These are coltsfoot, not dandelions. I see them most often along roadsides as soon as the snows are melted. They’re usually home by May but I found some still in bloom at the top of smugglers notch!

Spring weekend

A family weekend in photos

Visiting montpelier

Hiking and scrambling

Planting wildflowers

Building our new fire pit!

Moving on

Big changes, my pretty and loyal rooster has gone home. He’s back at the farm where he hatched. I’m so glad he recovered, he was even back to crowing before we sent him home. I’m sure he was lonely here by himself. I miss eating our own eggs. And I miss watching the silly birds run around. But given the uncertainty in our future housing it just makes sense, not having chickens right now. Windsor clearly misses them too, she keeps talking about our sick rooster going to another farm to get better.

Not having to worry about the free ranging flock will make our next project easier.


The landscaper is putting in our lawn, over the leach field we installed last winter. He’ll also scrape up all those brambles and saplings. We’re finally putting in the wildflowers we intended to plant over five years ago (apparently I could have a tag for blog posts of large earthmoving equipment in my front yard.)


And my pretty sunflower kitchen has been normalized.

We’ve had our house on the market since November, and if we don’t sell in the next month we’ve decided to rent it out and find a place to rent ourselves. We need to move before next winter. Wish us luck.


Oh. And I knit a whole sock! More on that later.

Custom Colorwork Techniques

Stephannie Tallent has a new class on Craftsy that I’m excited to share with you all! Custom Colorwork Techniques is more than just a class on fingerless mitts* – it’s a primer for designing your own mitts with your own trims, colorwork patterns, and sizes.

colorwork mitts class

Stephannie has tech edited some of my patterns, published another in her Hitch book, and is an all-around awesome designer. So when she offered to let me view the class so I could recommend it to you all I jumped on the chance! Especially since I’m also getting to share at 50% off link with you!

The class is broken up into six videos each with its own focus. This class is not for absolute beginners, Steph assumes you know how to knit, purl, increase, etc… and if you’re comfortable with some basic chart reading and math that’d be helpful too. But with lessons including a chart reading refresher and how to use either the provided worksheet handout, or build a worksheet in excel, this class will help you make perfectly beautiful AND perfectly fitted fingerless mitts.

Steph’s style of teaching is approachable and conversational. One of the things I love about Craftsy classes is that they feel much more like a one-on-one lesson with a friend than sitting in a big classroom with lots of other students. This class is perfect in that it covers everything from my favorite increases (the lifted ones are the most invisible) to my favorite gusset-style (offset thumb gussets!). And she’s even provided a charted template so you can free-form design across the whole mitt – thumb gusset too! While the excel portion was mostly review for me I love the lesson on choosing colors; including complementary colors and a couple of tricks for checking the contrast between two yarns (that’s the part that trips me up the most when I start a new colorwork design.)

The Craftsy platform is designed for hosting craft classes, and its perfect for it. I love the note-taking feature, and the ability to check your notes later without having to scroll through the video. The 30 second replay allows you to re-watch the directions for something quickly and easily. You can ask questions of the teacher and get a direct answer, or you can just review other people’s questions and the teacher’s answers to them. The integrated project pages will even let you see what your classmates are working on!

Have I piqued your interest? Here’s the link for 50% off Steph’s class! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

*Although I love mitts enough that would be fine!

(Please note that I did receive this class free for review purposes. However my opinions are my own, I won’t review something I don’t truly enjoy and think that you will like.)

Ramp season

If you’ve never heard of them – well I’m not surprised. They’re a member of the allium family (along with garlic and onions) but ramps (or ramsons) grow wild throughout much of eastern north america.

I’ve actually never foraged for ramps before this year. And I was starting to think that’s a good thing. Ramps have been in the news ’round these parts for some pretty serious over-harvesting. But we went out for an early season hike, and along with all those wildflowers I posted about, we found these guys:


And lots more where they came from. I’ve heard you shouldn’t harvest more than a third of any wild thing when you’re foraging. We harvested less than a tenth of the ramps growing on the hillside we found.

What we brought home was just the right amount for us. I’ve got two jars of refrigerator pickles steeping at the back of my fridge:

ramps for pickling

And we made a ginger beef stir fry with the remaining ramps and all the leaves. The first green harvest of the season:

ramps with ginger beef

Of course this was two weeks ago. The dandelions are blooming now, so they’re up next! And just in case you’d forgotten, my book (Cast Iron, Cast On) has two recipes for edible dandelions!

Summit vest

Hot off the press!* We have the summer 2016 issue of Interweave Knits: and I’m in it! I’m psyched to see my Summit Vest is in good company (check it out On Ravelry, where you can favorite and queue it as always)

interweave knits

When I saw the summer call included a theme for “mountain house” I just knew I had to submit. An entire story line in a summer issue about living in the mountains and needing a sweater once in a while? Sign. Me. Up. Working with the new editor, Meghan, was a pleasure and I love her eye for details. This issue is cohesive and beautiful.

interweave knits

I love this vest (easy for me to say). The cable and lace pattern is one that I’ve wanted to use in a garment forever. Integrating the ribbing with the chart took a bit of tweaking. So when you cast on follow those setup rows carefully. But once the ribbing is established it flows naturally into the charts and the body of the garment.

interweave knits

The body of the sweater switches to stockinette while the charts continue up the front and the ribbing continues at the sides to provide some stretchy fitting to the garment. The pattern keeps on going right up the hood and meets at the very crown of the head.

cable close up

This is not my first time designing with Imperial Yarns and I love their Columbia base every time I work with it. You all know I love single source yarns and sustainable family farms. This yarn is also woolly, bouncy, but still soft and squeezable. I highly recommend it!

*well, sort of – the print magazines won’t even be on the news stands until the 16th! But the patterns and the electronic version are on Interweave’s site already. Isn’t living in the future fun?

Spring flowers

After a cold and snowless winter spring in Vermont seems to be taking its sweet time to arrive. Trees still haven’t started leafing out and the grass is only just turning from brown to green. But the ephemeral flowers didn’t get the message, so at least there are a few signs of hope!


Bloodroot – grows in moist woods and thickets – including the edge of my yard.


Trout Lily – with mottled leaves that are supposed to look like brook trout.

Both of these grow just one seed per plant and that seed is carried away and eaten by ants! Talk about slow reproduction…


Red Trillium – the reds always bloom first, the white and fancy will come later in spring.


I honestly don’t know! It’s too early for strawberries and the leaves are wrong. The leaves are wrong for bloodroot too. Anybody want to guess what these little guys are??

Sad rooster

It’s been a rough couple of weeks at the Herrick Abode*. I’ll try not to dump all at once, but we’ll start with the story of our sad rooster.

You’ve all seen Chief before, he’s a gloriously red rooster.

chief roo

And he’s always been a good rooster too. Takes care to share treats with all his hens. Helps them find the best nesting nooks. Never attacks his humans. Stands up to the fox in the yard.

Oh yeah, that last part is why he’s a sad rooster these days. Apparently, we have a resident fox. We’d seen him once early this spring, but foolishly thought we’d run him off the property. But A week or two ago I came home to this


And not just here. There were poofs of red rooster feathers all over the front acre. And a very sore, beat up looking rooster lurking around his coop. Poor guy clearly fought the fox and while he didn’t quite loose, he didn’t exactly win either. Our hens are all gone.


He’s spend the last week recuperating. He’ll have a nasty scar on his back. But after several days of sleeping in the clean straw he’s back on his perch and I’m finally sure he’s going to pull through. He’s headed back to our friend’s house where he hatched to rejoin her flock. He’ll have some new hens to protect and care for soon.

*Inside joke. Our real estate agent calls our house an abode. I would never have thought of that one myself…