Monday, 22 October 2012

forgot those

I nearly forgot to show my mermaids socks! one was knitted  very quickly, because I needed it for a demo on sock knitting a year ago. the other ball.... matured in a shoebox, together with another started pair!:) the dark red I started with a ball of schoppel zauberball is still in there; it's only done to the beginning of the first leg of a toe-up. but the handdyed mermaid was already finished halfway, so I decided to free it - and here it is:

 unfortunately the pumpkins are not home grown; I've never had much success with them, not even in the polytunnel:( the footlasts I bought are too small for my shoesize "violin case", that's why the socks look a bit "empty"... but they fit me very well:) I dyed the flat balls of sockyarn whole in a dyebath with food dyes. when the yarn was dry, I thought there's way too much white (of course, the yarn only took the green on the outside and the inner core. I wound it in the other direction and put it first into some blue and then into some leftover purple, which resulted in this blend of colours. I call them mermaid because of the colours, but the pattern is traveler from Janel Laidman's book "the enchanted sole", one of my favourite sock books. I changed it slightly, because I don't need a pocket on my socks, and the star toe was just to show them at the demo.
the cable pattern is nice to knit and not difficult. I added a glass drop bead in the last cable - the original shows more, but smaller beads!
I missed my chance for sunny pix yesterday - today it was rather grey and a bit hazy, but the asters are out and I couldn't resist them:)            (I would like a few more colours, but didn't find any nice ones at the local garden center:()

this sorbus has lovely autumn colour, too - I forgot to take one of the witch hazel, which has the most brilliant yellow leaves just now, with a rusty tinge along the edges.... apparently the birds prefer my ripe rhamnus berries to those of the sorbus, because those stay on the small tree well into winter! unfortunately they seem to have discovered this source last year - because in the years before they never fed on them, but this is the 2nd year in a row that I can barely pick a bowl full for my dyeing....

Friday, 19 October 2012

a few things do get finished!

I am in the early stages of christmas present production.... which means that I start a lot of different things and don't have much to show for it - yet. today I finally sent off several finished projects - some of which should have been with their recipient weeks ago:( but at least I have slightly less stuff flying all over the place:) and my conscience is clean(er), too!
I did however finish my (until I decide otherwise) revontuli:
 the pattern is slightly more than a half circle and it stays up nicely over the shoulders. it's very soft and warm - the only thing that I don't like so much is the jump from white to grey. I am pretty sure I'll do another one at some stage and when I do I plan to use intuition more than mathematics on the colour blends! with this one it would look better if I had added another grey, mostly white with just a small amount of grey blended it - to smoothen the colour progress a bit. the pattern (free on ravelry, thank you to the designer!) is very simple to knit, though I have to say that close to 600 sts for each row towards the end - tend to be a bit boring to knit. I worked about 80 more rows than the original design shows, because my yarn was much finer and I wanted to use up all my yarn. in the end I had to spin a bit more of the white, for the last back row and the attached i-cord edge (not in the o-pattern either). when I saw a lovely petrol blend here (next to last pic), I decided that I should try this colour flow out myself soon. or maybe some nice purple tones?
this "knubbelchen" (transl. = small knob, not a nice name for a little doll:) pattern is free on ravelry, too - even in english, if you're interested. I liked the simple make-up of it. I was looking for something cuddly for a baby or very small child - always a bit iffy, because things can be chewed off or unraveled - which can be very dangerous at that age! the hands and feet of this doll are just knots in the knitted fabric; nothing can fall off (the only sewn thing is the hat - and I think that is too large to be swallowed), everything but the hat is worked in one piece. no eyes to attach and the cotton/wool sock wool is machine washable and doesn't pill. it went into the mail today, together with the baby cardie, but I'll make some more, because we have more babies in the extended family:)
I can't show you anything else I am working on just now, because all projects are intended gifts... I can show you a find from the garden though:


strawbs gone loony - some are flowering, some are laden with green fruits - and some even ripen, though they just don't get enough sun and warmth to taste like real strawberries. still, it's nice to eat a few at this time of the year; together with some blueberries they made a nice addition to my granola:)
off to do a bit of knitting -or crochet? or maybe some ironing - what a choice:)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

here, there and everywhere

I used to think that spring is my busiest time, with all the gardening jobs etc. but it seems that bit by bit autumn becomes busier as well! or maybe it's just me getting older?:) anyway, I am trying my best to keep up with it all, but it means that there's little time left for blogging about it.
I have been picking stuff all over the veggie plot, but on the fruity side our harvest will be miserable this year. a tiny bowl of plums, a few elderberries and the usual rosehips. plus some raspberries... the only thing I can still pick and quite regularly (even though not in huge amounts) are the blueberries. we eat some and I freeze some... and look forward to repot a new addition to my blueberry selection, which I received a few days ago:) the measly harvest doesn't surprise me - that's what you get when the weather has been cool and wet since spring!
the only plants in the vegetable area, which grew exceedingly well were the kales, nero di toscana. I prefer the smoother leaves to the more curly kales, because they are so much easier to wash (I am not a vegetarian, but I don't like creepy crawlies in my meals:)) the chillies are a bit of a surprise, because they were red in the photo on the label - but stayed yellow with me. I think I am going to turn most of them into a paste, "diluted" with tomatoes, because we don't really eat very hot food. should be enough to last us a whole year:)
 this is another first for us - grapes! we tried for years to grow them, but it never worked until we tried this variety (black hamburg? not sure....) inside our dome. outside they make a lot of leaves, but nothing in the way of flowers, never mind grapes. they are small, but they do taste nice! we have to share them out evenly, because there are so few to go around:)
the small pinkish berries are berberis berries! this breed has white berries that turn pink when ripe. they have a very clean lemony sour taste - maybe I should juice some and use it instead of lemon juice? not sure they would do well in a jelly....
I did pick a small bowl of blackberries (wild, they grow everywhere, but aren't exactly plentiful either this year) and decided to make a berry cake. I made a sponge base and covered it generously with (bought) strawberries and our own raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. then I covered it all in a fruity jelly, made from fruit juice, some sugar and gelatine. (forgot to take a photo of the finished cake!). which tasted nice, but was a bit of an effort, because I started rather late and it took ages to set. and of course eventually I didn't have quite enough, so I had to start again with an instant job in a bag - close to two in the morning:) which had to be added hot - and started to melt the gelatine at the bottom, so part of it all seeped out at the bottom.... I could write a book about cake "stories" like that!
this is a mini lemon! I got my hands on one and gave it to my husband for his birthday. it was small, but covered in buds. it has flowered quite generously, but the first lemons were tiny, about the size of a generous blueberry! the second set though is much bigger now! I wonder if they treated the plant with growth stunt, so that it will slowly turn into a normal lemon producing tree? wouldn't mind that, because I think those small lemons are difficult to squeeze... at least they are untreated "bio" lemons and we're checking every day if one of them has turned yellow yet:))
a few days ago we had a mighty hailstorm out of nowhere. no plants were damaged but after a while we found this dragonfly dead in a large puddle:( I think it must have been too fragile to withstand hailstones like that, but we were too late to save it from drowning:( they are so very beautiful with their huge, fragile wings - the pattern in them looks like smoky lead glass pieces!
and from this angle you can see why they served as inspiration for the first helicopters. the wings look just like the blades of a heli before take-off.
I do bits and pieces on the side, during tea breaks etc. I dug out another bag ful of old cotton yarns and started to make wash mitts. I can use only so many dishcloths, but wash mitts are nice for small gifts! stuff a nice piece of soap inside (handmade, if you can find one), pack 2 or 3 nicely and you'll have a secret santa or a small something, when you visit someone.
for tv knitting I started the revontuli with my "black to white" handspun merino. this photo was taken about 10 days ago, the start in deep black (sorry, the flash doesn't like to show deep black:). it is a very simple pattern, after the first few rows it really is more or less mindless knitting.
this photo is from today and you can see that I am nearly done. I am going to reach the white part soon - though I have to say that by now the whole thing is a bit boring to knit. no wonder, with close to 500 stitches per row and nothing much to do but knit stockinette, with an increase every 50 sts or so. I know - it looks like a bag, but with so many stitches on the needle, I cannot even open the knitting up on my longest one! another two or three tv evenings - and I should be ready to block!
this is the dark blue silk (handspun) again, for which I couldn't find the right knitting pattern. I tried quite a few, but didn't like any of them. when I checked one of my crochet mags (crochet accessories 2011) I stumbled across a very open pattern, adorned with some beads. I would like to make a scarf for myself, silky and not too warm, more decoration than garment, and I quite like the open effect so far. the beads are matte silver-lined glass, only blues and turquoise plus some clear glass, also silver-lined for a bit of sparkle. they remind me of sea glass, so maybe I should call the scarf mermaid's net with sea glass?:) I did discover something weird though, when I took the pic - I must have gone senile this morning, because I turned after doing only half a row - and now have a funny step in the middle. nothing for it but to frog, but luckily it's only half a row.
now off for kitchen duty - right now I wouldn't mind a holiday, preferably with lots of knitting time - and no gardening jobs whatsover:)