Saturday, October 24, 2009

Notes from the past couple of months...

August 9, 2009 My dear friend Naomi (in photo with me at Ray's boathouse last March, before she got her new, short hair), likes to keep up with her many friends on Facebook. Although I was fearful of having one more thing to neglect, I decided to try it out several months ago. Within minutes, my niece, daughter-in-law, and step-son friended me, and over several days, friends found me too. I still don't know how to use all the nuances, so I might read something and I might message. I used a "wall" once, but don't really like to be so... public, I guess.
Sometime in July, a message from junior high appeared in my inbox. Well, it might have been from junior high since that was when I was in a close-knit group of girls with Laurie. Although we knew each other through high school, we had evolved past the intimacy of our early teens, and later, were so caught up in our adult lives, we were sort of at a loss for words when we met at class reunions. Laurie now lives in Boston after living all around the world, and asked about meeting when she was to be in Seattle in early August. I thought seeing her would be nice, and called Stephanie, another friend from that time, to see if she wanted to meet too. She said sure, and mentioned she had just returned from the wedding of the daughter of another friend from junior high / high school days. Laurie ended up arranging a large gathering, and we couldn't work out the logistics to meet (it was Sock Summit weekend, after all!). The entire week of conversations back and forth reminded me of junior high angst: discussion of old rivalries and loyalties, remembering what life was like when we didn't know who we would become, before we knew what our futures would hold. I hope I get to see Laurie on one of her future visits in a one on one or small group rather than large gathering women from our pasts.

August 30, 2009 I've been tussling with a summer cold that will not let go! It began 13 days ago today, and I'm still trying to stop coughing and to get my energy back. My voice sounds so much worse than I'm feeling by now - I'm so happy to have my sense of smell and taste returning. There's not much point in eating good food when I can't smell or taste anything.

Knitwise, Ellen kindly gave me two hours of her time and I relearned her short-row heel! It really goes so much faster than the heel flap, and I wrote it down this time, so am convinced I can do it on my own. I'm also planning to try the short-row heel from Melinda's tutorial just so I can begin to be fully informed on types of heels. In any case, the Gryffindor socks will be done this week. I was planning to do the heel flap on the Baby Cable Rib socks, but went ahead with the heel flap.

September 1, 2009 My Veronique turned out to be lovely! I chose to knit the sleeves in the round and used a purl stitch for a faux seam. I went with a bracelet length on the sleeves - a couple of inches above my wrist bone. My biggest challenge was pulling out the provisional cast-on since I foolishly used a sock wool and it took over an hour to get the edges on the circular needle.. USE SOMETHING SLIPPERY so it doesn't catch the mohair cloud! I looked at all the Veronique projects on ravelry and decided on the eyelet edging without beads - with this variegated yarn, I wanted to give it some style while keeping it simple. I find that while wearing it, the edges still somewhat do the stockinette roll, but it hasn't been a major bother. I'm glad someone else mentioned finding a dropped stitch a few inches back - it happened to me several times so that I got a little crazed and checked for dropped stitches all the time. I was excited to show this one off, and wore it to work and class right away. The first person at work to see me in it came rushing over and began to pull it down on me to smooth it out to see the detail... she stretched the mohair down a couple of inches! I appreciated the admiration even while I worried that I'd have to re-block it back to my size.

September-October - We have enjoyed garden bounty during all of the fall season, including our first-ever grape harvest. Fruit was prolific everywhere this year, and we had bountiful amounts of raspberries, zucchini, yellow squash, pineapple strawberries, and blueberries. We even got two large red Bartlett pears on our espaliered small pear tree (they were delicious too). But we couldn't help being excited about our small bunches of Red Flame grapes. They are delicious, and the vine will only get better with age. I'm taking cuttings in hopes of rooting them to gift to family and friends next spring. I know they take a long time to fruit, but they are absolutely worth the wait! Last, but not least, we tried growing San Marzano tomatoes - plants from seeds from Italy. Anyone who likes to cook Italian food will recognize the name. We think they are a great success, and will grow them again next year - not for slicing and eating, but for cooking in sauces and soups. They were prolific and are still ripening in October.October: I've been working on my next project: Louisa Harding's Bette cabled vest in ivory Silky Wool. I first worked a small swatch to determine the neede size and got pretty excited. The back and fronts are complete, with only the neck and armhole ribbing to add. The pattern is a pleaure, and I'm loving the results! I chose to go up a size in order to try to get a similar fit to the photo in the book. I'll photograph it for next time - and won't be so long between!