I spent a few days playing around with my yarn stash of ordinary kitchen cotton yarn. I thought I’d make something unusual and very cool. Like large roses in wild colors sewn together in a mock Irish Crochet. My prototypes turned out to be ugly and kitchy rather than cool.
Then it occurred to me that most things (& people) look best in their natural environment. In this case, the cotton shall be created in the form of one of its true original roots – the simple Granny Square afghan.
I began last week and the afghan has been anything but simple. What I did not take into account is the complexity of color coordination. The project has manifested itself into an exercise in color logic. These multi-colored squares look great when rendered in alternating color combos but if there is a repeat, for example two consecutive squares where the middle color repeats, the afghan pattern looks horrible.
My afghan will be 5 X 15 squares. I’ll publish the final result.
The cat played with my skein of alpaca lace yarn, which appeared unscathed until I started knitting. That’s when I discovered that the cat’s nails had sliced the skein in various places causing the yarn to break every so many yards. I salvaged about 600 yards of the ~1000.
I used the ~ 600 yards to create this shawl. The upside to using stash yarn is that I am forced to innovate and experiment. I have no other choice. There is not enough yarn to follow a pattern strictly. Here, I knit a rectangle as large as I could with the spliced yarn in the Japanese Feather pattern. I decided to use the remainder of the alpaca lace yarn to crochet a dainty edging. I have a bead stash too so I added some beads to the mix. The dark blue trim is lace marino yarn I bought in NY for a bargain. Except a bargain it was not. The yarn was thread thin and every time I tried to knit, it would break. I doubled it to use here. It worked out well. The shawl can just about wrap around my shoulders but wrapped a little higher around my neck, it feels and looks great.
The trim is a antique victorian lace pattern I found on antiquepatternlibrary.org .
Grandmother Emma, my Italian grandmother from Calabria, started painting late in life. Well, I don’t know that for certain. She may have painted as a child, or may have painted as an adult while raising seven children. I just don’t know. But, I knew her to be a painter in her eighties. She had an easel topped with canvas with lots of tubes of acrylic paint. She would mix the primary colors on an egg-shaped artist’s palette with a hole carved out for the left hand. The paint blobs would be mashed into all sorts of blends and shades. I sat vigil in observance while she swiped the brush across her canvas painting kaleidoscope shapes into pictures.
Grandmother most often painted staged fruit precariously placed in bowls. The display would be left atop her kitchen table draped with thick clothe for weeks while she painted. We were forced to eat around her display until her painting was complete. I thought this very Italian.
My aunts and uncles did not appreciate her art. But I loved it. As a child, I wanted to be an artist. Grandmother Emma’s deliberate lack of self-consciousness seemed the perfect persona of an artist. Critics be damned.
When Grandmother passed away, my mother inherited several of her original paintings. The one I loved the most was her potted geraniums.
Ohh, how does my garden grow
With lima beans
And crochet string
Up the way it goes!
I needed a trellis for my lima bean plant. After pricing several trellises out at the local Home Depot, I decided they were too ugly and too expensive to buy. I bought a ~ 2000 yard cone of cotton twine at Bowen’s Farm Supply store for about thirteen dollars. I used maybe 300 yards to crochet this trellis.
Pattern: I modified the pattern below to create the trellis. I used a 21 chain, 11 stitch combo, with a 5 loop treble instead of a double crochet stitch. Instead of the trebles on rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. I inverted the pattern using the SC for the even rows and the 5 treble stitch for the odd rows.
So, … Look at my modified Row 6: *CH 11, SC st 11, CH 11, SC in 4th st of 5TR 5X, * CH 11 repeat …
Row 7: CH 21, 5 TR 11X into the top of the SC of previous row, CH 21, repeat.
Yes, that is my Skylar with her best friend Stella. You can just imagine what those two girls are a scheming. Or are they dreaming of summer since the snow has finally thawed.
Now that the weather is warming, it is time to pull out from the closet my “As-Large-as-it-Goes” garter stitch cotton blanket. It sleeps during the winter months in my beautiful handmade summer wicker basket I bought at the Maryland Wool and Sheep Festival several years back created by a VA weavers guild. I like to bring the project to the beach. I just knit, knit, knit. It goes perfect with wine and cheese. A tipsy proof knitting project.
Buy cotton yarn of any color on sale during the winter months when it is sold for under 2.00 a skein. Cast on as large as you like. Mine is about 5 feet wide. Knit each skein in a garter stitch. Only change colors when the skein is completely gone. Sometimes I double the same color. Keep knitting until the ratio is about 1:3. This project is foolproof.
My cats’ Kingston and Roxy pee in my plants. I’ve tried to put tin foil, and other irritating materials around the base of my house plants but they still pee in my plants.
I do love having plants in the house but the cat pee smell is horrible. I went without houseplants for awhile until I discovered a book on terrariums at my library. Here is my first attempt at building a terrarium. The bird sculpture is a gift from my brother who is now deceased. I love the idea that I can enjoy his gift in this lovely encased terrarium. I see the gift more often now as this terrarium sits proudly in the kitchen area where I view it many times a day. Before, the bird was stored in a formal room in a china cabinet which was rarely visited. The bird is in a much better place now.
I purchased proper clothing from REI to allow me to walk Skylar during below freezing days. Today was certainly below freezing. I never thought I would see a river freeze over but our Severn River has turned to a solid sheet of ice.
Skylar loves the snow. I let Skylar off her leash when we arrived at the beach to let her run around. You can just see the Husky in her as she gallops through the snow.
Saturday, I shopped the farmer’s market located in the parking lot of the MTA Park and Ride off Route 2 in Severna Park, Maryland. One farm stand offered peas in their pod. I bought a basket and a pint combination and shucked on Sunday. I grow two twelve inch terracotta pots of French Sorrel and small pot of lettuce. These tender greens are due for a trim. Perfect timing to create a quick Garden Pea and Sorrel soup with my garden peas.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of fruity olive oil, 1/2 cup fresh peas, 2 tablespoons Arborio rice, a large bunch of French Sorrel, 1/4 chopped tender lettuces, 1- 3 cloves of garlic or 3 tablespoons of minced Vidalia Onion, 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh mint, 1-1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth.
Simmer the Arborio rice in the olive oil with the garlic (or onion) for approximately 10 minutes on low to low medium heat, add sorrel and saute’ sorrel until it melts, add peas and broth, simmer until rice and peas are just tender (don’t over cook the peas), just before serving, tear the lettuce and add to the soup pot to wilt. Ladle soup in a bowl and top with minced fresh minced mint. Serves 1-2
It is a steamy day in Annapolis, Maryland. My dog, Skylar, and I walked to the Winchester Beach to cool off. The Winchester Beach is located on the North Shore of the Severn River – a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Skylar snacked on discarded Chesapeake crab carcasses in the tall grass. I daydreamed of lace shawls knit of intricate stitches, open and breezy, to shield me from the mosquitoes at dusk.
Thankfully, my yarn stash has a variety of lace yarn; alpaca, cotton, silk and two thousand yards of single strand Wool out of Wales, Lana Dal Galles, Black, Leicester Longwool. The longwool is the color of river rock, flecked with specks pewter with a silver sheen. Its the Leicester Longwool’s excellence, which has me hesitant to knit a stitch. For this reason, I purchased through Ebay, Pitsilised Koekirjad by Leili Reimann stitch dictionary of Estonian lace. I have been experimenting with the stitch patterns, practicing Estonian nups and carefully counting YO’s to master the delicate patterns. I hope to find the pattern my Leicester Longwool is destined to marry.