Monday, July 20, 2015

my garden - midsummer 2015

It's hard to get up early when you stay up late!  But the mornings I do get up early, I really enjoy being out back in the yard.  It's the best time to weed, of course, and I find it to be a soothing contemplative activity.  During the summer, as I am sure I've previously mentioned, it is lovely to sit out back and sip - hot tea in the morning, cool beverage in the evening, and hear the city just beyond view, the birds and insects within view.  A better place to read, knit or visit is hard to find.  

Some of the things we've harvested so far this year include sugar snap peas...


Sugar snap peas are the first things we plant, at the end of March.  They're a cold-season vegetable, and just when I think I can stand winter no more, I can start my garden.  A few years, I have forgotten to start these soon enough, but luckily not this year.  We had some warm weather in early spring, so we dug up a bed and turned over soil, and planted two rows of peas.  A few weeks later, we were getting record-breaking rains, and the peas were soon poking up from the ground.  They did very well this year.  Everyone in the house loves to eat the pods right off the vine, as well as sauteed with olive oil and salt, or in a stir-fry dish.  First up, delicious, and beautiful blossoms to boot!  I'm telling you, it's win-win-win.  

For the first time ever, my own homegrown garlic...  
A few years ago, we planted garlic - and didn't know when to harvest them.  Since then, I've read up on garlic, and when I saw the plants dying back, I knew it was time to get the shovel!  Boy, I love garlic.  When my mother-in-law introduced me to fresh garlic, it changed my views on cooking forever.  And to have it straight out of the garden, to know we took care of it and raised it organically, so much the better!  Can't wait to roast some, or add it to marinara.  Yum!  I love the dried roots in this picture.  


And the blueberries...


Blueberries are something I did not like until we started growing our own.  Truthfully, blueberries do not readily grow in Colorado; when we planted these, we dug a big trench and filled it with a bale of peat.  The plants have done alright, they are still alive, and we've had blueberries every year.  Though I'm not sure we can say they do well.  However, I know my boys love them, and I know how good they are for us, so it has been worth the few handfuls (and many lovely pictures.)  

Perhaps it's all the rain, I don't know, but we've noticed more butterflies and tons more ladybugs than ever, this year.  I've gotten a few really nice pictures!  I even spotted one without spots today - ha! 



Hopefully we'll have peppers and tomatoes, soon.  I'll let you know!  



Saturday, July 11, 2015

knitting and all the things I do in a summer...

Recently it was noted that I don't do a good job of keeping up on my blog.  So true.  And I really love my blog.  It has been a pivotal project in my creative life.  As a stay-at-home-mom with three very small boys, I felt isolated from other artsy-crafters when I began this blog, and isolated from friends in general.  And then I discovered blogging, and suddenly my world opened up.  This new-found world also changed how I viewed my photography - both literally and philosophically.  And unlike many other bloggers, I've never not wanted to blog, I've never wanted to stop.  I just... get busy.  I actually got so busy, I forgot my new password for awhile - yikes!  

A little of what I've got going on...  Knitting like crazy, of course.  I just finished a hat design for a friend, which turned into a pattern, just in time for a deadline.  After that, I finished a smoke ring (cowl) design, which I want to keep, but won't.  Just before that, I test knitted a beautiful cabled project for another designer, and it will be gift someday soon-ish.  

I recently began collecting my knitting swatches as I stumble across them while straightening, and they've become a pretty little stack.  I've been enamored with collections, actually, for quite awhile, so imagine my delight when I discovered I have a new one!  


My garden is a bit better this year than last; my boys are growing up.  We've been all over the western United States this year - Seattle, San Diego, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona!  But you know; there's no place like home.  I read a whole book in a weekend!  I faced a major disappointment.  And I have had time to savor friendships. 

I look forward to sharing more about all these things.  For now, though, they're just little swatches of stories in my head.  More soon!  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Halligarth Shawl

The last knitting project I've finished is my Halligarth Shawl.  




I am in the process of writing several patterns, including a few shawls, and I thought how easy it would be to take something on a trip that was someone else's pattern.  You know, where the many details were decided, and all I had to select were the yarn, color and size.  I would not have to worry about keeping notes; so I dug this yarn out of my stash, which I'd had in mind for this pattern.  

Well being lace, it was not quite as easy-to-travel as I had planned, but it ended up being a great a lot of fun.  And I did not have to take notes.  Whenever I wear it, I will always be reminded of my trip to Seattle with my friend Gerri.  It is currently in the shop, luring in knitters looking for a new shawl or lace class, but I look forward to getting it back soon.  

Details
Designer:   Gudrun Johnston
Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal, about 810 yds
Color:  54007 Deep Rose (Red)



Just one mod(ification):  I worked one extra repeat, and therefore picked up a few more stitches along the edges, which allowed me to center an edge repeat on the point.  I had very little yardage left over but it wasn't really a close call, so I wasn't on the edge of my sit hoping I had enough.  It worked out pretty perfect!  



Thursday, April 9, 2015

back...ish

I keep meaning to get back here and I keep forgetting my password because it's been so long!  

So for today, spring blossoms and one of my all-time favorite quotes, from Mother Teresa. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Margin, Too

I posted the other day about one of my patterns, Margin.  Here's more technical info on that!  The pattern is available from Windy Valley Muskox but we are working on the website - hopefully wrapped up shortly.

Yarns I used:
-purple is WVM Merino in 7015 Thai Basil, one skein.  This merino is heavenly, I also have stranded mittens in this fiber!
-gray is WVM Majestic Blend in 5030 Fog Bank, two skeins.  This yarn is a blend of silk, merino, and qiviut.   I have designed a cute hat with this one before.
This pattern uses just about every inch of these yarns!  That's a total of about 650 - 670 yards.  
You can find more info on the Ravelry pattern page, here.

I also had it test knit.  Olivia did beautiful work with this, including lovely in-progress and finished pictures.  So pretty, I had to share with you:

test knittting

Here's her finished shawl, I swiped this picture from Ravelry (with permission.)  Gorgeous, right?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things I Knit: Margin

I've been meaning to post a lot more about my knitting projects, but it always seems like I have too much or not enough to say.  So today's the day!

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE knitting.  I like it so much, it might be a problem.  I wash the dishes so I can use the sink to soak finished pieces; I do the laundry so I can have towels to block my projects on.  I clean the house so I can find all the yarn I've left various places!  I found my Thing in life; that Thing that makes me feel like I was born to do something specific.  I definitely knew it was not science!  I'm good at a lot of things, and I know not everyone can say that.  But for me, knitting is the thing that I'm great at, that flows with little effort and lots of joy.

Along with personal fulfillment, knitting has opened up a world of opportunities for me - meeting people, making money in several ways (teaching, test knitting, contract knitting), expanding my photography, and travel!  I started writing my own patterns almost immediately but have had mixed advice on whether to publish and where.  Along the way, I have had the good fortune to build friendships with some lovely ladies related to my local yarn shop, and Windy Valley Muskox, among others, and the opportunities to publish my patterns opened up.  

Okay, I can see I'm getting very short-story-long, here; let's cut to the case!  I recently published Margin, a shawl pattern for Windy Valley.

7349 Margin

I absolutely love this shawl, I was sad to leave it with Dianne at WV when I left the show in August, but I suppose I could always knit another one!

I set up a shoot with one of my favorite models, and we got some great pictures including these:

7341 Margin

7325 Margin

This pattern grew from a concept my dad mentioned to me in the past year, about having margins - that is, space for life to grow - for friends to show up unexpectedly or to take care of yourself when problems arise.  Or for God to show me things I might otherwise be too busy for.  To notice that my boys are growing so fast.  To savor the beauty.  This is something that I also find in my photography, although sometimes I'm in too much of a hurry trying to find it.  Writing this pattern was an exercise, a reminder, to stop, to listen, to look, to breathe it in.

ETA Feb 2015:  Several people have asked about this pattern (I'm thrilled!)  It should be available at the Windy Valley website but as of this writing, that website is a bit under construction.  If you would like the pattern, you can write directly to Dianne at dianne@windyvalleymuskox.com, or if you happen to be going to Stitches, you will be able to buy it in the booth, along with the yarn.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014