Sunday, September 25, 2011

one sock down ...

Konnichiwa was a quick finish - it's twin is on the needles.  It wanted to pose - showing off its girly side ...
as well as the masculine nature of the knit - sturdy and strong!
Such instant gratification - who knew that a sock could be completed in one evening!  I'll confess that I cast on the second knit from Knitted Socks East and West - ' Chouwa' which could loosely translate into something close to harmony.  I'm using Lorna's Laces 'Solemate'.  Merino and Nylon and something called 'Outlast'.  Harmony for sure.
Total sucker for this, or any yarn that hints of the pond-scum green that I so dearly love.
Here it is, resting on my last pumpkin of the summer garden.  If you look closely, you will see the green mold that is coating the steps.  Dangerous stuff - what great falls are made of!  Really, this is the only time that I'm not thrilled to see my color. We need to replace these steps entirely.  There's been some talk about a deck with a hot tub.  Be still my heart!
And of course the Halloween fun continues!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

saturday shuffle

There were wild turkeys on the lawn this morning.  MANY turkeys.  Harley nearly lost his mind.  I couldn't capture any images, but believe me when I tell you that one unnamed golden retriever ran the entire flock out of town!  Turkeys scattered to four corners when I let him out- to the roof, the pergola, the trees and the garden.  He did not know which direction to turn to!  Mad funny stuff.

I have made the decision to knit my way through this exceptionally gorgeous book - actually my hand (or foot) was forced after seeing my physician this week.  My foot has not healed properly from the bad fall that I took this past summer.  For the moment, sensible shoes are mandatory.  (yuck)  Sensible shoes require gorgeous socks.
It seemed fitting to begin at the beginning, and so I give you Konnichiwa, which, according to this book, is the Japanese greeting translating into 'good day'.  I remember hearing this expression as a child when my father, who served in Japan during the war, would practice his Japanese expressions at the dinner table!
I am deeply in love with this book.  I chose Blue Sky Alpaca for my Konnichiwa socks and I made them one repeat shorter than the original pattern required.

I've never used size 6 dpn's for socks - what a speedy experience!  I imagine that I will be reaching for these 'house' socks quite often this winter.   I've also pulled out my Anne Hanson Caterpillar Socks.  They've been languishing long enough!  
This was a collaboration yarn/sock design that I purchased as a kit a few years ago.  The yarn came from Adam who was known as Yarn Nerd.  I cannot find him anymore!  I wonder where he disappeared to.
The late pole beans are arriving - the last of the garden bounty.
It's a brave woman who goes out there, whether she is walking the dog or picking the beans.  It's a fight trying to avoid the marauding blood-sucking clouds of mosquitos that materialize the very moment that one leaves the safety of the house.  We have had such rain soaked weeks that the blood-sucker population has exploded.  I am praying for a cold snap and blessing the army of bats that congregate each evening at dusk.  They are magnificent to watch - a symphony in the sky!  I know that my sister would not agree, but one can hardly blame her.  She once startled a sleeping bat in her clothespin basket and was forced to have the series of rabies shots.  Not nice.  Still, my bats are not aggressive, simply hungry.  I welcome them and watch from a safe distance.

The hummingbirds are still with us and feasting on what is left in the gardens - nicotiana, canna, buddleia.  I have tried endlessly to capture them on film.  I think that a zoom lens might be called for.  I have the fragrance of fresh dill and zinnia to knit by - and small signs of the upcoming season are beginning to appear around mi casa.
My first week back to work was hard, but I survived!  Now it's time to go upstairs and poke around in fabric.  Happy Weekend All!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

garden clips and knitting at work (sssshhh)

One remaining melon - Scott picked the others.  They were not ready!  I'm still chapped about that.
This big guy is safe since neither of us can even lift it!
It's been a prolific season for all of the tomato varieties.  We never grow tired of them, consumed in any form!
The swiss chard seems more flavorful in late summer.  And there HAS been knitting, of course.  Knitting at work.  If I show you, I'll have to kill you.
We'll pretend we didn't see that Monday Morning Cardigan.  
Orange cardigans, black cats.  It's coming- my favorite season ...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

these golden days

Quiet time here - working on projects and enjoying these lovely golden days of september.  My linen vest turned out well.  I love the kimono silk lining and I made a special tab for the back.
When I hold this piece up to the light I can see the two different shades of red silk and am reminded of the long hours spent disassembling the kimono.  Some sewers might think it silly to take a seam ripper to an old piece when silk is easily purchased.  But I disagree.
Time stood still while I worked on this project.
And as always, my faithful friend was nearby. . . practically sitting on my feet!
He and I will miss one another when I return to work next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


We had some company today.  I was upstairs sewing when Harley started his barking-that-turns-into-wailing song.  This particular sound alerts me to the fact that we have company.  And not just 'people' company.  DOG company.  Aaahhh...
John Patrick Reilly (known as Reilly) and Ollie.  Such good dogs, but faster than greased pigs.  Every attempt that I made to capture a group photo turned into a disaster.  I finally gave up and held the damn dogs in place!  You can see how successful this idea was.
So I did what any self-respecting amateur photographer would do - I brought out the treats!
Reilly has his treat where he likes it - and apparently there is no question about sharing.  He's a lovely chap.  We had a long talk about adoption and what kind of dog would be happiest here with Harley.
BOSTON. TERRIER.  That's all, folks!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Raining again.  No gardening yesterday or today.
Cooking, when all else fails.  My gorgeous plum tomatoes are lending themselves to a flavorful sauce.  This is a noodle-less lasagna recipe where eggplant is substituted for pasta.  The secret is in the slicing of the eggplants - they must be cut lengthwise and paper-thin.  Sharpen your best knives!
Everything is coming up tomatoes!  These are my tomato breads and even though the one on the left is kind of wonky, trust me when I tell you that the flavor is magnificent!  The recipe is labor intensive, but well worth the trouble.  I also made a pot of our favorite chowder because the local corn is so delicious this month.  This one freezes well and is  a special treat deep in December when the flavors of summer are only distant memories.
Fresh corn, crab and shrimp.  Oh, and some poblano chilies.  Speaking of food, I had the happiest discovery recently.  About 15 years ago I lost my favorite cookbook.  This was a traumatic event!  Everything that I'd cut my teeth on, every great recipe that I'd gathered and had success with when newly married, was in this small volume.  I looked for it in every bookstore I visited for years.  Last week I went on ebay.  EUREKA!
Well-worn, a bit shabby and fragile, (parts of the plastic binding actually collapsed as it came out of the box) but all mine!  Leafing through - there it was - the recipe that I had wowed the family with one memorable Christmas celebration in Millbrook.  Even after all of these years I can call up in detail the white linen on our Charles Webb dining table, the black woven placemats, Waterford crystal and sterling, fresh sorbet, my little baby nephew Matthew - the first grandchild to arrive on the scene!  It's amazing how one small book can stir the imagination and trigger happier times.
Can you believe that this one actually called for monosodium glutamate!  Times have changed.  Mary Anne, if you are reading this - what would one substitute for MSG?  (LOL)

While waiting for breads to rise and soup to simmer, I sat with a vintage silk kimono that my cousin had given to me long ago.  Taught by Pauline how to disassemble a kimono (and there IS a proper way to approach this, believe me), I gave over my afternoon.
These kimono are stitched entirely by hand.  One finds silk thread as well as a sturdier cotton thread throughout the construction, impeccably placed stitches - the kind of work rarely seen in this country, truly mind boggling.  Sometimes you'll find a piece of paper or a twig in a pocket which begs the questions ... who wore this garment?  What were their dreams and hopes? 
 My plan is to line a navy linen vest with some of this scarlet silk.  Just staying busy on a rainy day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

belated birthday

A few weeks ago we went to wish my father a happy birthday .  And Hilary brought balloons which we released into a splendidly blue sky.  Mom, my lovely daughter and I stood for the longest time, watching the balloons bob and float, growing smaller and smaller, until they were nothing more than tiny specks in a vast heaven.  Then gone.

The balloons were entirely Hilly's idea - one to represent each of us - a collective happy birthday salutation.  I was so touched by this that I wanted to share it - a bittersweet memory.  Thank you Hilary -  your thoughtfulness made your Nana's day so much brighter.  Your light never ceases to amaze me. xoxox

Thursday, September 1, 2011

the calm after the storm

My Harley dog is sick.  He has some unspeakable problems that involve his nether region.  Our vet is out of town, so we went to the stand-in guy and unfortunately came away with ZIP for answers - even after intensive tests.  It will be a very good thing when our vet returns.  He is a Prince.  He explains everything.  And there is nothing that he will not do to make a difference, to ensure that our beloved animals are being treated and assisted.  So, we have been taking it very easy this week.  Antibiotics, special food, rest.

I have to say this - Harley is a gentle sweet soul.  But he was MUZZLED at the request of the stand-in vet.  His eyes went dark, he growled and carried on.  What was THAT about?  It was heartbreaking.  He attempted to climb into my lap (all 94 pounds of himself!) and he tried to scale the wall.  It made me ponder ...

When we returned from having Jack euthanized last month, Harley spent a lot of time sniffing our clothing as well as the blanket that had last encased our little terrier.  When we arrived at the vet hospital yesterday, Harley put on the brakes!  He tried to slip his collar - he wailed - he was not going inside!  I wondered if he was being informed in some special way - a voice from the grave reminding him that THIS could be a one way ticket!  I know.  I NEED  to get a life.  But it was so ODD for Harley to behave in such a fashion.  Anyway.

Since my dog needs to be kept quiet, I made bread.  It's one of those activities that does not seem to incite the sensitive olfactory glands of my boy - unlike hamburgers on the grill or a roasting chicken.  Bread does not move the dog!
These are my Oatmeal Honey loaves, preparing to slip into their long bake.
Gorgeously delicious.  If Scott doesn't get home soon he will find a kitchen full of bread chards and a 300 pound partner!  I also made a kettle full of butternut squash soup - straight from the vines!
Waiting for this to cool down enough to whip it into a saffron-colored, thyme and cumin scented feast!  I have nearly a dozen squash in the garden awaiting their turn!  The roma tomatoes are out of control -
I keep picking, washing and giving them away!  I'll make some sauce for the winter months this weekend.  I've been sewing and quilting - this is a nice light weight shirt for the fall.

I have grandiose plans for a new raincoat and a velveteen tunic as well as others - this is a rayon challis two piece that is almost finished!
I am working on a tutorial for my friend who wants to learn how to paper piece.  It's exciting to go back to the basics to attempt to present this method in a way that will be understandable.
I plan to begin with a maple leaf.  My friend is a genius and I know that she will be on the floor laughing when she realizes the simplicity of this method!  It will throw open the doors and windows for her - I fully expect to see some astonishing results!
And Lori - I am working to get this witch to you FINALLY!
And Amy - thank you for tracking me down to make certain that the hurricane didn't annihilate us!  We are all safe and semi-sound.  I'll call you this weekend!
Here's a shot of Harley and his beloved Andrew -
Life is good.