Wednesday, July 28, 2021

July Days

photo by daughter Kate

These last July days are hot and humid. Jonah's sunflower is in full bloom in Connecticut. The geranium blooms on my porch are a little sparse but tomatoes wait on my kitchen counter. Late last week I dug up several potato plants. Each one produced ten or so potatoes, including several large enough for baked potatoes. What I was thinking when I planted ten potato plants? Last week I made a potato salad. It tasted good but we can't eat baked potatoes and potato salad every week. I know they are supposed to keep in a cool dark basement but will they? Likely, I'll give some away. 

Tending the garden in the evenings means less knitting time but my projects are coming along - in fits and starts. This week for Kat's Unraveled Wednesday I have some unraveling to report. Somehow I lost a stitch when turning the heel of the second shorty sock. I couldn't find the errant stitch but my stitch count was off by one. The heel isn't a good place for a lost stitch so I ripped it out. It didn't take me long to re-knit. Besides turning the heel is my favorite part of sock knitting. Even if I have to do it twice, turning a heel feels so smart. Ha. The foot of a top-down sock goes quickly. This evening I'll finish the toe, she said with optimism.  

Some evenings I turn on a fan and work on this everlasting shawl. Near the end of the yarn I didn't have enough to knit a proportional garter stitch border with a picot bind-off. I modified the pattern so wasn't surprised the shawl looked a little off-kilter. Lord knows I don't need any extra off-kilter these days so Sunday I ripped out three sections. I knit the third eyelet section longer and am now onto the last garter stitch border and bind off. It's all knitting and eventually I'll finish the shawl. The Spring Rewilding Shawl might need another name, maybe Everlasting Shawl. I'm getting my money's worth out of this yarn. 

I am reading Horizon by Barry Lopez. In this memoir/nature writing, Lopez looks back at the places he traveled during his life. He reflects on six regions of the world: western Oregon, the Arctic, the Galapagos, the Kenyan desert, Botany Bay in Australia, and Antarctica. With the exception of the coast of Oregon, these are places I will likely not visit so I'm enjoying this tour. Lopez weaves the stories of the explorers and indigenous peoples, the effects of colonialism, and climate change with his remarkable life. I think I read that he finished this book with the knowledge that he was dying. His ideas challenge my perceptions and his writing is a gift. 

I hope you are staying well and finding ways to enjoy these hot days. I hope to finish my sock later today but first I have tomatoes to sauce. The kitchen will be a little steamy but tomato sauce in the winter means a little taste of summer.

Ravelry Links

Shorty Socks

Spring Rewilding Shawl

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


These summer days I walk about 8:00 a.m. to beat the heat. Warm dappled sunlight filters onto my shoulders as I listen to birdsong. Robins sing, cardinals call to their mates, and doves coo. Although I know the "phoebee phoebee" of the chickadee and the screech of the bluejay, I'd like to recognize more species by song. Recently sparrows returned to our yard. I am happy to see them as I read house finches are driving down the sparrow population. So it goes. 

With the temperate summer weather and rain, the tomatoes look great. Last night I picked the first few ripe tomatoes and dug red potatoes from under one plant. This may be the first time I've successfully grown potatoes. Potato salad is on this week's menu. The forecast is for hotter temperatures with no rain so I'll have to be diligent with watering. Summer is in full swing. 

Today for Unraveled Wednesday with Kat and friends, my knitting matches the book cover. I don't know why this please me. I am easily entertained. After a break from the shawl, I picked it up again. I've enjoyed knitting it but am ready to be finished. The little ball in the photo is the remaining yarn, so picot bind-off or not, I'm coming to the end. My carry around project is a pair of shortie socks from leftover yarns. Once I get half way down the foot, the toe calls my name. I brought it in from the car and finished the first sock. They are good for the spring or fall when I don't want to wear a full sized wool sock.  

Natalie Goldberg's recent book, Three Simple Lines: A Writer's Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku is the best kind of armchair traveling. She visited Japan to tour locations where the old masters, Basho, Buson, and Issa lived and wrote Haiku. Goldberg's writing may not be for everyone but I find it lyrical and peaceful. She practices Buddhism which is an interesting point of view for traveling. The jacket cover art is beautiful. I found this note at the bottom of the back jacket flap, "The jacket art illustration "Full moon and tree." Picture album of plum blossom, Kyoto, 1808. From a haiku book illustrated by Okada Baikan, a poet and Nanga artist." I am enjoying learning about the history of haiku and a little more about Japan.  

Are you learning about anything new this summer?

Ravelry Links

Spring Rewilding Shawl

Shortie Socks

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Still Spinning

Today is overcast and humid but the days were bright and beautiful this past week. Sunday we carried our dinner to the deck. Afterwards I stayed outdoors to ply a skein of yarn. If I had known my husband was taking a photo, I would have changed into a better shirt. My spindle spinning skills are improving. Although I'm still predrafting fiber, there is a good bit of consistent yarn in this skein. Sarah's positive comments about Polworth fiber prompted me to try it. I'm glad I did. The fiber and staple length make it good for beginners. It is a nice alternative to merino. This is the third skein and measures about 53 yards. I don't think I could get much more on my spindle. I have one small bump of this fiber to spin. 

I knit a little on the Rewilding Shawl and have come to the long and longer rows at the end of the shawl. I didn't take a photo because it's hard to see any visible difference. Hazel Knits no longer makes this yarn and I might know why. Lyric, a laceweight superwash merino, has a crisp hand that feels like cotton. Either the superwash processing or the dying created a yarn that feels lifeless. I'm reserving judgement until it's washed and blocked. The light weight fabric isn't awful but it isn't what I expected. The baby sweater flew off the needles. The combination of colorful yarn on comfortable needles and a tried and true pattern made the knitting fun and easy. The sleeves don't match but I think that adds to the charm. By the way, I won this game of yarn chicken. Whew.

I also knit on Norah's cardigan. I finished the textured yoke and put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn. Now I'm knitting on the stockinette body until I come to the cute little pockets. Today is a dark day so I had to adjust the light settings on the photo. 

I'm reading The Beadworkers, a collection of short stories by Beth Piatote. The stories are set in the Pacific Northwest and Piatote's characters are Native Americans. Her writing is spare but lyrical. Usually I am not a big short story fan as I want to know more about the characters and their story. However this is a wonderful collection. 

I am linking to Kat and the Unravelers on this Wednesday in July. I hope you are enjoying these summer days. 

Ravelry Links

Baby Sweater

Norah's Sweater

Spring Rewilding Shawl

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Early July Notes

Overnight a little rain fell. This morning the sky is gray and the air is heavy with humidity. The finches are at the feeder so I hope that means more rain. I am clipping oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and chives. Fresh herbs are one of summer's pleasures. Last week I bought a new journal for gardening notes. When we moved into our current home in 1991, I started a garden journal. Somewhere along the way, I quit making notes and sketches but kept sticking in plant tags. Several years ago the tags exploded onto the kitchen desk and I threw the whole mess away. I wish I'd kept my early notes but in a fit of neatness I did not. A digital journal would be more efficient but I'm a paper/pen/pencil kind of gal. This time I'm determined to do better. Wish me luck. 

Wednesday is the day Kat and the Unravelers write about knitting and reading. How is it Wednesday again? The baby sweater is fun to knit. For the record, I'm going to win the game of yarn chicken. The color sequence in the sleeves will not match but with this yarn it doesn't matter - at least to me. A baby isn't going to care either. Man, these little sweater sleeves are a breeze. I knit the first one in an evening - almost instant gratification. I finished the fingerless mitts. If I made them again, I'd add a stitch or two to the thumbs. The pattern calls for Aran weight yarn and I used DK so that is the difference. They fit me, snug thumbs and all, and match this cowl. 

Every now and then I enjoy a deep dive into a writer and her work. The more I learn about Emily Dickinson the more I understand her poems and admire her work. I reread I Never Came to You in White by Judith Farr. Farr imagines the life of Dickinson in letters written by people who knew her. I read it when it first came out and it made little sense to me. Now having read more about Dickinson, I found it very intriguing. The letter format is appropriate as Dickinson was a prolific letter writer. Indeed her letters were collected and published in Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters that I have also read. 

Jonah, my FaceTime reading buddy, asked for Frosty The Snowman. Then we had a conversation about the snowmen he built last winter. A child's mind and delight is wonderful. 

This is more than enough writing from me. Click on over to Kat and the other Unravelers (link above) for reading and knitting inspiration. 

Ravelry Links

Leaf Mitts

Baby Sweater