This past Saturday I went to the Quechee Games/Scottish Festival. They have sheepdog trials every year, which are always fun to watch:
That's a kelpie herding. Most of the dogs are border collies but any breed is allowed to compete, as long as they know how to herd. It was fun to watch- it was just hot and exhausting. Note: Next year bring a wide-brimmed hat and an umbrella. Salt Hill was providing the food and I was able to score a scotch egg before the lunch rush got crazy. Then the main clan and bagpipe presentation/procession took place at noon. I love the sound of a mass of bagpipers.
Then I scooted down to Claremont for Dollar's band playing the last Summerfest show of the season. I was early so I had a drink on the patio at The Common Man:
I could hear soundcheck from across the water. Blabpipe played for about an hour:
Then I headed home- I had gotten so much sun that day, I was burned to a crisp.
And a Saturday afternoon. And a Sunday. Seriously, all he does is sleep.
Hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend. I spent Saturday morning at the Quechee Scottish Festival and then the afternoon at Claremont Summerfest. I got way, way, way too much sun. Sunday I stayed at the house, rehydrating and working on the aran afghan.
All the afghan squares are joined and ends sewn in:
I went back and checked my Ravelry notebook- I started the first square in October 2012. [nervous laughter] Here's my blog post of it. Wanted to do a block a month and submit it to the Tunbridge Fair in 2013. Well... better late than never.
I started the cabled border last night and I am knitting it on, rather than knitting separately and then sewing on. The weather has started to cool off just in time because this is a lot of wool to be piled on my lap while I'm adding the border.
Completed at about noon on Sunday. I made the two-color garter border around the top only 6 stitches wide, because I was quickly running out of yellow yarn and I needed enough for two straps. Once the straps were attached and the ends woven in, I took the bag around the house and started inserting boxes of various sizes, to see what I could use to block it. Turns out two tall, brick-shaped coffee canisters worked.
I used leftover fingering-weight yarn and US 1 and US 2 needles. The bag is roughly 10 inches square in the front, about 2 inches deep.
The pattern was great and the knitting was fun. Took pretty much one week to knit, even with a couple evenings off. Never a dull moment with this pattern- once you start to get bored with one thing, there's a new stitch/technique to do. Would definitely make this pattern again with a more colorful worsted-weight yarn.
Still trying to get all my ducks in a row for the fair. All the squares are joined for my aran afghan. Just need to figure out how to knit on the cabled border, rather than knitting it separate and sewing it on. I feel like I've woven in 2000 ends just to join the 16 squares. I'm done sewing.
Saturday was absolutely gorgeous weather. Murderface enjoys an open window:
I spent the weekend inside, frantically finishing up my Fiesta Bag before the Olympics ended. And Sunday was literally 8 hours of CLEANING ALL MOST OF THE THINGS. It's so satisfying to have everything vacuumed, sink scrubbed, linens laundered, windowpanes dusted, car cleaned, cooking range wiped down, no-knead bread dough started for the week, clothes folded and hung, mail sorted and recycled, etc.
Now that my Ravellenics knitting is done, I'm going to try to wrap up some WIPs (I'm down to just 5 WIPs in my Ravelry notebook). I've gone back to sewing squares together for my Great American Aran Afghan. I want to enter this into the fair and I need to join everything before I knit the border.
I planted this Birdhouse Gourd plant in the spring and it's done well in a corner of the garden with lots of compost and a fence to grow up. Apparently it's best to just leave them on the vine until they're dry. So... I'll harvest them next spring and hopefully they'll be nice and hard and dry.
I purchased Lucy Neatby's Fiesta Bag pattern earlier this year in support of the Albert Fire Relief fund-raiser. I saved the pattern for the Ravellenic Games Bag Backstoke event. Here it is about half-way complete:
I was a little weary of the pattern in that it looked long (that's just Lucy being thorough) and complicated (it isn't). I'm using fingering weight leftovers from the stash and knitting the smallest size. I've made a couple mistakes so far: I knit the two-color garter border around the base wrong (should only be one row knit of contrasting color, not a knit and purl row- no biggie) and I think I'm carrying the contrasting yarn in the wrong (read: right- my right) hand so it's not coming to the forefront of the fabric as much as I would like.
But those are my mistakes. The pattern is fun and rather quick. I hope to finish and block it before the Olympics ends Sunday night.
Notes: I made the 6 month size and went up one needle size to made it a little bit bigger. I also made the white body of the sheep with purl stitches to make them look poofy:
The sweater is still drying but I have nice little silver buttons I'll use. This will be entered to the fair- which, by the way, I have to submits the forms for by the end of the month. Gotta keep knitting, gotta keep knitting...
The yarn is Freia Ombre Lace, one ball, in the Flare colorway. I extended the pattern a bit, to use as much of the yarn as possible. I purchased this yarn in Alexandria, VA and it was a rather spendy yarn (for me). I did a LOT of research on Ravelry, searching for shawl projects that were tagged with "ombre" and "gradient".
I settled on this Freya pattern. It seemed like fate- Freia yarn. Freya pattern. The only thing I didn't particularly like is that the pattern is written and I much prefer charts. But once you do a pattern repeat and read your knitting to understand the flow, it was easy.
As for the needles I used, I started with my new Ferrari of needles: Signature Needle Arts in US 6. I feel like a blasphemer here but I had to change out to use Knit Picks Options. I swear. The stitches were snagging on the metal joins of the Signatures as I tried to slide them across from the cable to the needle. The Knit Picks have smoother joins. Knitting literally went from frustrating to a breeze after switching. It's like if someone gives you a can of Russian caviar and you try it, then you're like, "You know what? Imma just go back to my Cheez Doodles."
In this case, the Knit Picks outperformed Signature Needle Arts for me. It's... reassuring and disappointing at the same time. Makes me want to buy a set of KP Options in a different color wood. I could buy an interchangeable set for what one SNA needle (plus one cable) cost me.
Anyway... As for the bind off, I did a super stretchy bind off with one bead for every stitch. I'm not sure how many hundreds of beads I used, bit it's from a tin of never ending, magic beads.
I used these beads in a Swallowtail Shawl. I used this beads for a pair of socks. These beads go with everything. I think I have less than 100 left in the tin and it makes me a little sad.
Overall, great shawl. Happy with how the color progresses with the pattern. Like the added drape/weight from the beads. Not a very deep shawl bit it's long and wraps around the shoulders nicely. Can't wait to wear it this fall!
What a horrifically hot, humid weekend. We finally got some much-needed rain but it didn't cool anything off. It's the kind of weather that makes you want to wash your face every 20 minutes and if you do anything for longer than 3 minutes, you start sweating. Autumn can't come soon enough.
I finished a couple knitting projects and started a new one. Not sure I'll get all my Ravellenic projects done. In fact, I'm sure I won't. But I'll try.
I don't remember planting these but they are an awesome coral color and the flowers are very large. I saw them and thought they were another clump of common orange, so I was very pleased when I saw them.
A couple of the new hybrids I got from Hold'n Heaven. Secret of Contentment:
Shores of Time:
I love their frilly edges!
A small, late summer daylily from Ollallie:
Happy to get a few blossoms from those, considering the woodchucks really devoured them in the late spring/early summer.
I bought a bag of mixed-color gladiolus and panted them in the spring of 2015. I got some flowers and then left everything in the ground over the winter. I read that you need to pull the bulbs in the fall, let them dry and then replant them in the spring. Which is, frankly, too much work for this lazy gardener. Thinking that they wouldn't come back, I ripped up all the stems and bulbs when I cleaned the beds this spring. But. A few bulbs apparently remained and grew. I've been letting them quietly do their thing all summer until finally:
It's going to be white! You can see a couple more stalks behind this one. The blossoms popped open:
The others ended up pink:
So now I think I'll just let the stalks die and then remove the dead vegetation in the spring, rather than pulling up any bulbs.
And finally (FINALLY) my Asiatic lilies:
This is from a sack of bulbs that I planted in spring 2015. I think I only had a couple blossoms last year. This year, there are a couple more. They. Smell. Fabulous. So fragrant. I planted them behind the deck (part shade). When I open a couple living room windows and get a nice cross breeze, the smell wafts inside and it makes me so happy.
We have a lot of rain/storms forecast for the next week, which would be wonderful. This has been such a dry summer- I've never seen the White River as low as this in all my life. My gardens need the rain and I don't mind staying in to watch the Olympics and knit.
Last Friday someone in a Rav group mentioned Loco Moco, a Hawaiian fusion dish of rice, hamburger patty, gravy, egg. I quickly became obsessed with the idea and bought the necessary ingredient. And so, Sunday night dinner was:
Sticky rice, hamburger patty (was just ground beef, salt, pepper, dashes of Worcestershire sauce), thinly sliced onions sauteed along side the hamburgers, brown gravy, sunny-side-up egg, minced arugula. Stack it all up. It. Was. Fantastic. Definitely heavy, comfort food but it was gone in minutes. We loved it. I wasn't so sure gravy would make sense with rice but... yeah. It does.
My knitting is progressing. Finished the beaded bind-off on the shawl- plan to wash/block it today. Started a little baby sweater last night for my niece.
Missed the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics because I couldn't get NBC reception on my flatwave antenna. I bought a trial membership to Sling TV and downloaded the app to the Xbox. Turns out you don't get local NBC programming unless you live in a select number of cities.
I was ready to scrap the whole thing but starting Sat morning, I was able to watch Rio coverage on other channels on Sling TV: NBC Sports, Bravo and USA. It doesn't matter what's on, it's all interesting to watch. Women's Rugby (first time ever in the games), archery, indoor volleyball, fencing, tennis, basketball... anything. I'm happy to watch any of it.
Trying to wrap up my Freia Freya shawl. The knitting is done. I wanted to give it a special beaded bind-off but it's taking so long. So many stitches, so many beads, so many hours. Hopefully I'll finish it this afternoon, give it a nice wash and block- and move on to the Ravellenic projects I queued for these games!
Ideally, I'd like to finish this before the Olympic games tomorrow night but I'm not sure I can knit that fast. I got zero knitting done last night as I devoted the entire afternoon/evening to pink vodka cocktails, cheese eating and Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise. #dontjudgeme #sorrynotsorry #iregretnothing #ikindofregretnotknitting
I have posted the projects I plan to do during the Olympics to Ravelry and started gathering the yarn. I'll print out all the patterns today and read through them tonight.
Sunday morning I received King Arthur Flour's weekly recipe email and saw one I was interested in: Blueberry Breakfast Cake. I had all the ingredients on hand (with a couple substitutions) and it turned out wonderful.
I used full-fat ricotta and plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) because that's what I had in the fridge. I like that you mix everything one bowl. It's a very rich batter (heavy on the eggs, cheese, yogurt; light on the flour). The resulting texture is kind of custard-y:
It's so good. I ate a slice and went back for another an hour later. This would be an easy and pretty summer dessert to bring to a potluck. I've read reviews that this works with just about any summer fruit- I'd like to try with peaches! Or a peaches/blueberry combo!
Up way too early last Saturday. Was looking out over the back yard with a cup of coffee at 6 am:
A week ago I went out to cut some of the lavender to bundle and dry. Once dry, I sloughed off all the little buds, picked out stems and leaves, and filled up organza drawstring bags:
I was never a fan of lavender until I started growing it. I still don't like the smell of synthetic lavender but this stuff? Awesome. Working on this made the first floor of the house smell wonderful.
I made six little sachets total, one of which I gave to a fellow Raveller and cat lover, whom I met up with at an antique show in Woodstock. The rest I was planning to put into dresser drawers but someone on my Instagram mentioned adding them to my yarn stash! I will do that instead as a moth-prevention measure.
There should be a bit more lavender to harvest by now, so I think I'll do that at some point this week. Trying to wring out as much lavender to preserve as possible. Cooking with lavender is another option. Will have to research recipes.
Had a nice weekend. Mostly stayed home and puttered around.
He knows I'm going to move/scootch him back so I can get back into bed.
Santana, on the pet stairs up to the bed, desperately wanting some attention:
Penny, sleeping downstairs on the couch:
Still working on my Freia Freya shawl. Gotta get my projects ready to start the Ravellenic Games this Friday night. I put my flatwave antenna up in the window yesterday but all we're getting are PBS stations. I was able to get reception for NBC for the Sochi Olympics. I'll keep checking this week and maybe try the antenna in a different location.