Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Early Harvest

The other week I planted a new crop of radishes and some beets along side them. They were a bit slow coming up, but they are coming along nicely now.

Between last week and today I've pulled all my turnips in the back garden. Last Thursday I roasted some with some chicken. Now the remainder are sitting in my fridge waiting. I did a second sowing this afternoon.

I also finally planted the little swiss chard plants in the ground that my mom started. We'll just have to see if they do anything or not. I had actually bought some swiss chard from the greenhouse and planted it along side the house. That is looking nice but I haven't used it yet.

My zucchini have started to produce as well. Last week before we left I picked a couple small ones. I just didn't want to come back to huge zucchini. Instead I came back and found one small but definitely havestable one.

I was working out there this morning (on vacation this week!) pulling weeds. I can never believe how quickly they grow! Anyway, while I was at it I started to thin the carrots a little. They were really baby carrots, but I save them anyway and brought them in with the zucchini and a couple onion leaves I accidentally broke while thinning the carrots. I chopped them all up and made an omelet for lunch. It was pretty good.

Now I'm waiting to see if I can get a 3rd good sized salad for dinner sometime this week from the window box lettuce I planted.

If I'm lucky and we actually get some sun I think before too long we will have some cherry tomatoes too!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Like I said in my last post, it is mittens and socks.

I finished a pair that I had started a long time ago for M in time for Father's Day and presented them to him yesterday. I told him they were Father's Day socks because the one had been sitting on the floor by his closet when E was born. We brought it out early on in active labor so I could do something to keep calm and my blood pressure down but I never really got to knit it because my contractions were too regular and strong to think about knitting.

Then I resurrected another pair I had started while pregnant. These were for myself out of leftover yarn I had used to knit my mom a pair of socks. Word to the wise- don't knit a second pair of socks out of yarn unless you really love it.

The yarn is OK, but the colors don't thrill me and I find the yarn split and difficult sometimes. I had finished that first sock awhile ago. Amelia had made a huge mess of the yarn one night. I stuffed it all in a bag to worry about later.

So then I got that finishing bug. I must have spend AT LEAST two hours untangling that damned yarn, but I did it, only to find that I couldn't find the first sock which I had to use to figure out how many stitches I had used. Of course once I finally found it I also found it was the very rare 64 stitches on size 1 needles. Arrgh. I blame the pregnancy for making me do something silly like that. I have now cast on that second sock and am chugging away at it. I only have about another inch until I can turn the heel. At least they are short socks, so once I do that it won't be too long before I'll be done with those too. Once I am done I am sure I'll appreciate the socks, but they are definitely a bit tedious.

When I finished my last pair of lace socks I decided to cast on another pair. This pair will be out of a silk/wool blend I bought two years ago from Creatively Dyed. Last summer I tried to knit a shawl out of it (my original intention for the yarn) but it just wasn't working out so I frogged it.

Well now the toe of sock #1 is finished and that is it. This is mostly because I need the chart for the lace on this sock and didn't get it printed out until today. I'll come back to this eventually or it will be frogged. At this point, who knows.

The big reason: I distracted myself with a new pair of socks.

We were at Chatauqua this past weekend with M's family for father's day and probably the closest store to us was a craft store advertising knitting supplies. I wasn't sure exactly what I was in store for, but when I walked up the steps and saw a sign on the door advertising them as an authorized Addi dealer, I figured it had to be decent!

It was. The selection wasn't too big, but what they had was nice. This was perfect for me because I'm not really a t-shirt/mug/etc. souvenir sort of person. My idea of a perfect souvenir is yarn. I picked out a couple of balls of Mini Mochi. I have heard a lot of praise for this yarn so I wanted to try it out. I like the long Noro-like repeats and the colorway I chose is kind of similar to some Noro I once used to knit a felted bag. I am a little concerned about how it is going to wear, the yarn is so soft and not tightly spun, but it is 20% nylon so I guess I'll take my chances.

Anyway, I couldn't resist casting on yesterday before we left. I should have knit the other socks on the way back, but I have a hard time doing heels on two circs and didn't have the right DPNs with me to do the heel and really I can only work on those socks so long, so I knit for awhile on the old socks and then went into knitting the new ones.

If I keep up at this rate I am going to have a nice hand knit sock selection this winter!


Well not only am I knitting socks lately, I'm apparently back on mittens.

It all started about 6 months ago when the weather got cold enough that I needed mittens again. A few years back I had knit a pair of Icelandic mittens from Folk Mittens. Not only was the pattern Icelandic, the wool was too. I used Lopi yarn. At first I was really taken back by how rough it was. I knit on, figuring I could line the mittens if needed. Once I was done, however, I found I didn't really need the lining. They were a bit scratchy, particularly at the cuffs, but it wasn't that bad and wow, they were WARM and very waterproof. Plus they were white and red and black so they went with a lot of my red hats. I like red. Anyway...

They had been in my car since the previous winter. I knew they were there, but when I looked I could only find the one. I checked under seats and in pockets, I checked in the closet that housed most of my knitted outwear. Nothing.

I wasn't willing to go without the mittens, so I did the only thing reasonable. I knit another pair exactly like the first. Fortunately I had ordered two skeins of the white way back when )the first pair used just under 1 skein) and had enough black and red for another pair.

Or more accurately, I started the first pair, knit until a few rows above the thumb, set it down, and didn't return to it. For various reasons. mostly I was busy and I kind of forgot.

In the meantime, right as winter was letting up we did some carseat switching and low and behold, the missing mitten had been underneath the carseat the whole time.

So then I had a decision to make. Did I rip out what I had begun (keeping in mind that a) colorwork is always kind of a pain to rip out and b) ripping out Lopi is sort of like ripping out mohair) or did I continue and make the second pair anyway. I couldn't really decide what to do so I put off making a decision until the other week.

I got the finishing bug (I really love it when that happens!) and decided there was no reason not to finish them. I was never going to make a matching hat from the yarn like I originally planned. It hadn't happened in 5 years, it probably wasn't going to. If I lost the mittens again I would be in the same situation. Why not have a backup pair? Or a pair to give as a gift if I could find someone who could appreciate the scratchy wool?

I finished the first mitten on our way to visit family the other weekend. I cast on the second right away and got the thumb started by the time we got home. Last week I pulled it back out when I remembered it and finished up that thumb.

Then I cast on another pair. I debated awhile. I thought maybe I would use the yarn I bought at the fiber show and a pattern from one of my newer mitten pattern books.

Instead I opted for another pattern from the Folk Mittens book. I decided to knit Mittens from Turkey- Anatolian Mittens in red and white like they are shown in the book.

Normally I change yarn colors around a lot, but for some reason I really like to use a lot of the colors that are shown in the Folk Mittens book. Perhaps because I like to keep them a little more authentic? I'm not really sure. Anyway, I did change one thing.

The pattern calls for worsted weight wool. It ends up being 62 stitches. Normally I used between 54-60 stitches in fingering weight and small needles for socks, so I thought that at that stitch count I was going to end up with too-large mittens. I pulled some Dale of Norway Baby Ull out of my stash (conveniently red and white) and cast on. I finished the first mitten this weekend and have started the second. I've enjoyed knitting it, but I do have to admit this a pattern I really need to used the chart for. That makes it a bit more difficult, but not too difficult.