Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On the front porch

Sorry to be rushing in so late.  I guess everyone else has been here awhile.

I had a dentist appointment - no work, just lookin'.  I'm so happy to see that Patrice's house and porch are still here after hurricane Irene passed through their countryside.  Anyway, I'm here to chat - and knit...

1.  What was your biggest fear as a child?  I guess I had a pretty fearless childhood.  My biggest worry was falling.  I hated falling and yet I did it all the time.  I think it was related to my need for glasses but nobody thought of that at the time.  I'd even have dreams about falling - from greater heights, of course.  Even now, falling is probably my biggest worry.  Only now I think about stairs and broken hips and old stuff like that.

2.  How old were you when you learned to cook?  Or how old will you be when you learn to cook?  Ha, ha!  Well said.  I remember cooking oatmeal porridge for a Brownie test when I was about 7.  My mother taught me to make baking powder biscuits when I was around 9 and I've been making them ever since.  One of my all-time best comfort foods.  When you're a Mom, you just cook the best you can.  Now that my kids are grown, I can play more and learn new skills.  Those cooking shows on TV?  Great teachers. 

3.  Did you have a favorite book as a child?  What was it?  My favorite when I was 5 was Honeybunch.  I read it over and over.  I especially remember learning how to pronounce 'nasturtiums' at that time.  Then I got hooked on the Bobbsey Twins.  That went on for years.

4.  What's the busiest time of year for you?  I guess gardening season - spring and fall - is the busiest.  I don't have kids at home and I have no job to go to anymore.  But my volunteer stuff usually slows down in the summer.  

5.  Have you ever won a contest?  Not since I won best Hallowe'en costume as a very young kid.  I don't really enter too many contests.  I'm too competitive and hate to lose.  Not pretty, but there it is.  Truth.   

  Come on over and meet everyone on the porch today.  Just visit Everyday Rurality and pull up a chair.  You have to meet Isabel - she's the most adorable Bearnese puppy! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

Gardens are full of mellow yellows at this time of year.

The grass seeds are ripening, ready to be carried on the next breeze.  My grandaughter (age 7) took this photo with our camera.  She has an eye, I think.

For all kinds of yellow, hop over to visit Drowsey Monkey who hosts this meme.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday wonder - Q

Q is for Quinoa. 
This ancient food was one of the staples of the Inca diet.  It's as easy to cook as rice but not as heavy. It's delicious hot or cold, especially in salads.   For some reason, I never think of anyone actually growing it in their garden.  But come with me...

Look through the deer fence.  See those tall plants on the left - just beside the shovel handle?

These are quinoa plants.  Apparently, the leaves are edible, too, but I don't know anyone who has tried them.

And this is what will become the part we usually eat.  My daughter is growing this crop just to see if it works where she lives.  So far as I can see, I'd say it does. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Stash

It's that day again!  This week I concentrated on the little things.  I have a new grandbaby arriving very soon.  I wonder if Grammies get the same nesting instinct that moms do?  Or did I just realize that I hadn't made many little knitted things?  In any case,we have a selection of smalls:

A pair of purple Mary Janes with their own white socks attached...

And, for those sporty occasions, a pair of high-tops in anyone-can-wear-blue.

I love this little sweater pattern.  I have made it before and will probably do it again.  It's very easy and looks like it's hard.  A win-win. This is the end of my rainbow yarn so I have a success on the stash front, too.  This is supposed to be about crossing off the inventory, right? 

The Fall 2011 edition of Knitcircus, arrived in my inbox the other day and I was thrilled with all the patterns.  There were a lot that will make good use of that stash.  I don't usually have enough to do a larger item like a sweater.  A whole lot of queueing went on that day. 

This is one of the first patterns that I chose to knit up.  Allow me to introduce Rosie.  She's a socktopus (made with sock yarn on dpns) and is busy growing her tentacles - a very fiddly process which must be repeated for all eight legs.  And she needs a couple of eyes embroidered on.  Rosie will come back next week when she's a bit bigger.  I think this falls into the 'because I can' category. But, really, I think it will be a cute kid's toy.

And, of course, there is always a sock.  This is another 'old-school' lace pattern which I'm making up in white cotton.  I've never made plain white socks in an adult size and wasn't sure I'd like it.  But I had some sock-weight in white and no sock on the needles.  What's a knitter to do?  I call it White Lightening because of the pattern, yes, and because it's a really quick knit.  Super easy lace pattern. Good thing with the other half still to make.

So, a couple of packs of yarn crossed off and a few more pieces in the gift box.  Say, did anyone notice a gender bias in my work this week? That was just a coincidence.  Honest.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chatting on the front porch again...

I'm walking up the road a ways to have a chat with Patrice on her front porch at Everyday Rurality.  Come and join us, if you like.

Today, we're talking about soup and birthdays among other things.  Patrice has a  few questions to get us going:

1.  What's your favorite kind of soup?    Vegetable, vegetable and more vegetable.  I love it thick and full of as many veg as I can find in the fridge.  Homemade is best, of course.

2.  Do you prefer movies or a play?  Oh, I like plays better than movies.  have to admit I haven't been to either in a long time.  But if you were to offer me tickets to both, I'd choose the play.  Or maybe the movie if it was one I really wanted to see.  Oh, see?  Tough question.

3.  What was your most unusual birthday celebration?  Hmmm.  I gues I've always had pretty rdinary celebrations.  Nothing unusual that was memorable.

4.  What position were you in your family?  Eldest.  Still am.  And like all eldest children, I was the experimental child.   Parents seem to get the hang of it better after that first one.  I know this is true because my eldest has told me so.

5.  Please finish this: "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight".   I wish that kindness wasn't such a rarity in our world.  

We're talkin'...I've got my knitting and I'm ready to stay awhile.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I did it!  I have my first published pattern available on ravelry.  This is the first pattern I've ever written up in a complicated proper format.  It's a lot harder than I expected.  And this was just a sock.  I have nothing but jaw-dropping admiration for those who can create and write up those beautiful sweater patterns in different sizes.  Way too much math for me.

Back to the's taken me most of the morning but I've finally got it up there.  Click here for the link  to download the PDF pattern for Windwalker Socks.  Please let me know if you find any errors or if something doesn't make sense.  Happy knitting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dinner Guest?

Dinner's on the grill and this fellow has invited himself to the party.

Isn't he a handsome hopper?  To me he looks like a crayfish or a lobster. Look at those eyes and the sweeping antennae.   Perhaps he's a tiny, distant cousin...what do you think?

Today we have rain but I'm not unhappy.  The garden really needed to have a good soak.  Of course, I feel much better about it because I know it won't last for more than a day.  It's easy to be tolerant when I know summer will be back.  And this is so good for the winter garden of spinach and beet sprouts trying to grow up.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday wonders - P

P is for Pepper.  I love sweet peppers and they find themselves chopped up into a wide variety of dishes.  One of the prettier veg, I have discovered that they are also very photogenic.

The other day, I cut into one and found a strange stemlike part that didn't seem to know what it was either.  It was just there, asking the question...

As I was turning it and shooting from various angles...

I got this shot.  I'm thinking Dali-esque.  Or maybe Georgia O'Keefe. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Stash

It's Saturday again!  Funny, as the week creeps towards its end, I find myself thinking about this report.  It motivates me to put a little more speed on so I have something to show and tell about.

So, in the finished pile:  the Windwalker socks.  I'll be working on writing up the pattern for ravelry over the weekend so maybe by Monday?  I was hoping to just put it up and let folks try it out on their own.  Any feedback would be welcome but I didn't want to put time pressure on anyone to test knit before publication.  The summer is too short for stress. 

Also finished is my Wingbeats Shawl.  I was inspired by Rudee who knit this up last week. The pattern is Summer Flies by Donna Griffin.  Have to say that her pattern title isn't giving me the same vision I'm sure she imagined.  But can you see the butterflies?  It's a very quick knit, actually.  And the way the pattern is written , in sections, keeps you wanting to get to the next section.  It would be very easy to adapt this pattern to a much larger project but then you'd have to do thousands of stitches for the picot edging.

My name for the shawl comes from a couple of references.  First, I had in my mind that I wanted to dye this white cotton - yes, the same white cotton as my skirt - with beet juice.  Now, I don't dye cotton at all, only wool.  And my mordant is vinegar.  So, I was very prepared for this to rinse out white again.  But it didn't.  Of course, it was a fabulous dark magenta color in the pot.  Too good to last as the color started disappearing down the drain with the rinse water.  I was left with a not-ecru, not-peach, yet with a hint of pink,  kind of shade.  I don't hate it and it is NOT white.  So a nod to the beets in the name.  And when it's stretched out, it looks exactly like the big Firebird we used to have on the hood of our car. 

I am still working on the 1953 stockings.  I picked them up again last night and figured I'd give them a longer span of attention.  It was kind of nice getting into their rhythm again.  But, don't worry, I need lots of variety so this devotion won't last.

Last item- not knitting.  My new glasses arrived Friday morning and I remembered that I promised to share.  Since I had a hairdresser appointment that very day, I got a new style to go with them.  All in the first shawl photo.  And now back to the stash.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I was looking at the garden from the deck the other day and this is what I could see...

They look like predatory birds guarding the lesser garden residents.

These tall garlic plants have such interesting shapes.  Not to mention delicious bulbs for cooking. 

But, really, I want to get out my Sharpie and draw some googly eyes on them.  Don't they remind you of Big Bird?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The whole house smells absolutely delicious this morning.

The slow cooker is full of onions caramelizing.  Is there any aroma more mouth-watering than cooking onions?  These will be eaten with pulled pork sandwiches and home-made coleslaw.  Even more yum factor.

Smell-o-vision would be great to have for this post. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just a chat

I've discovered a relaxing way to spend a summer morning.  You might want to visit Patrice at Everyday Rurality for her

What could be nicer than sitting on the front porch with friends, watching the world go by and having a bit of chat?  I'm bringing my knitting.  Of course, we have to have some stuff to talk about.  So, there are some starter questions. 

1.  Have you ever colored your hair?  If so, what colors have you tried?
I experimented a couple of times when I was at university.  Being a natural 'dirty' blonde which is a more glam way of saying light brown, I thought my hair needed something.  I was a platinum blonde, then an ash blonde, and finally dark brown before I let it all grow out.  That was many years ago.  I'm quite happy with the gray and don't plan to change it. 

2. What's your favorite kind of music?
All kinds.  My very favorite is jazz.  Then comes classical.  Rock from the 50's and 60's is great when I feel like singing and dancing.  I'm a little bit country and will tolerate the occasional show tune.  Not big on Broadway or movie musicals but I do enjoy opera.  Don't ask me what the difference just is.

3. What are the last three movies you watched?
Music and Lyrics, The History Boys and Rio.  I'm not a big movie fan.

4.  Do you remember your first pet? 
No.  I've heard lots about cat we had when I was a little girl but I don't remember him at all. 

5.  What was the best or most interesting 'back to school' thing from your childhood?
I think that it was the going back part that I liked best.  I loved school and, for the most part, had great teachers.  Going back to school meant shopping and new stuff:  pencils, erasers, notebooks, clothes and shoes.  This was a pretty exciting thing for us kids.  I think my mother was pretty excited, too. 

Want to sit on the porch with us?  Head on over - it's a nice day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

This is the flower of August for me...

a beautiful red hollyhock.  I think my granddaughter was the artist behind the camera in her auntie's garden last week. 

If you have more red to share, or just want to see some great photos, visit Mary T right here for Ruby Tuesday.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday wonder - O

O is for Oregano - our garden's superhero.

I know it really shouldn't go to seed but see how the bees love the flowers?

They work so hard all day buzzing in the sweet little blossoms.

This is good for our tomatoes which were looking kind of hopeless during the cooler, wet weather of July.

And now, the bean flowers which live right next to the oregano are also happy. The bees take frequent side trips to all the surrounding flowers.  I guess variety is good for them, too. 

And we shall have beans very soon.  Thank you, oregano - and bees!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Stash

Here I am with the stash report again.  That week sure rolled away quick!  I guess that's what happens when you're on the road for half of it.  Since I was travelling, I took along some little, quick-to-finish projects. 

So, in the drawer marked 'done' we have Sunshine + Raindrops = Rainbows.  Two little baby hats that I put together with elements from here and there.  I like the spiral y/o's on the crown.  I did the beanie with the ruffled brim first and decided that I didn't want to have to knit so many stitches next time. 

So, we have a picot edging that I think looks like raindrops all around.  Those who have done a picot bind-off, you know it's not that many fewer stitches.  Gotta keep it interesting, you see.  Made with an acrylic worsted, these would be warm enough for winter.

I've been having a bit of a sock-knitting withdrawal and I went down the inventory trying to decide on one of the yarns.  I chose the one with greens and pastels  because it looked so pretty.  Hey!  That's why I bought it in the first place.  But it turned out to be a self-striping yarn. Sigh.  I'm a little tired of the stripes (except for kids' socks) and have to search for patterns that work with the stripes.  Nothing on ravelry tickled my toes, so you know that means off to the stitch dictionary.

I have several wonderful books with lots of neat lace patterns but most either don't work for socks or are impossible difficult to knit in the round.  A few swatches later and I was happily knitting my sock.  Before it's stretched out, it looks like a hot air balloon to me. 

But when it's on, the pattern and the yarn  remind me of wind-surfing sails, waves and surf .  So, these are the Windwalker Socks.  I plan to make this a free pattern on ravelry.  Good thing there are two socks to make.  Tweaking the pattern is easier when you have an excuse to do it all over again.  The pattern has a natural bias as you knit in the round but can be controlled when knitting straight along the foot.  I kind of like the duality there. 

Also finished is the dark pink cable and seed stitch scarf.  Into the gift box it goes,.  And Charlie has chosen the finishing for his blue cardi.  He will have a hood - almost completed - and a zip front.  It should be ready for its fifteen minutes of fame next week.

That's this week's progress.  Oh, and I've crossed four items off the stash list completely. Gone from the chest and transformed into something useful and beautiful.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Magical Island

This is Newcastle Island. For the First People it was a place of healing and training in the spiritual arts.  I could easily imagine this being a place for the spirit.  While we were biking along the trails we saw no one at all. 

But we knew they were here.  Can you imagine waking up here?  To this peace and quiet and this view?

We biked along the shoreline trail and the city seemed so far away. 

Soon we headed into the woods.  There are many trails here but bikes are restricted to just a few. 

The bones of a tree bleaching in the sun.  Surrounded by a field of bright yellow yarrow. 

We cycled past a small but perfect lake.  Depending on the map you were looking at it was named Mallard Lake or Beaver Lake.  It's not hard to see why either name would be appropriate. 

Deep in the woods, a piece of the sun lights up an arbutus.  It has had to climb high above the other trees to find enough light.  I love the graceful shapes of these trees. 

The end of the trail.  We sit under the dappled shade of a huge Garry oak and just rest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

72 hours

There was supposed to be free wi-fi everywhere!  The intent was to post every day but it didn't work as planned.  Besides, this was a sort of visiting vacation rather than a tourist trip.  On Sunday we escorted two of the grandkids to spend a few days with their aunt.  We also were treated to our regular eye exams with our friendly eye care professional.  And new glasses frames...that's the best part for me!  After the family time, we took off to play.  So, in the past three days we have...

Ridden on a ferry three times...

Collected shells...

Gone swimming...

Watched deer munch on discarded pea-vines from the living room window...

Helped in the garden....

Hopped on a little harbor ferry (not one of the three)...

With our bikes...

And headed off to a magical island.  I'll show you more from the island tomorrow. 
It's very hard to catch up all at once, isn't it? 


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