Monday, September 27, 2010

harvest season

Late September is an exquisite time to be back in New England. It's so rich with earthy aromas, deep colors, heartier food and drink, and soft air. It triggers all kinds of memory and nostalgia for me. Yet I'm happy to be discovering new experiences here too -- like the grape harvest.

I went back to Connecticut to visit family and friends last weekend, and one of our adventures was a jaunt out to the splendid Jerram Winery to help with their harvest. It was an overcast day, but really so lovely. The foliage is already beginning to turn, but the air was still warm enough to have bare arms.

It was a wonderfully fun and casual affair. We each grabbed a pair of orange-handled clippers from the bucket on the porch

and walked out to the grapevines, heavy with fruit. We'd set up on either side of a vine, place the cartons below, clip off the grape clusters there, and then move along down the row.

The hours went by quickly, with laughter and conversation and sticky fingers. And before long, the end of the afternoon was upon us. The grapes went into the crusher ...

and we retired to the front porch for a celebratory tasting!

The wine was delicious, and the Jerram family was super warm, welcoming, and just plain fun. Who ever knew that the Connecticut grape harvest could be so amazing?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Industrial Revolution

I had a secret this summer, a secret project that I can exuberantly share with you at long last! It's a circular shawl, designed to look like a fanciful, fantastical, brass gear.

The pattern -- "Industrial Revolution" -- is part of The Sanguine Gryphon's brilliant Steampunk pattern line for Fall 2010. It's knit in her Sappho II yarn in "Gold Crowned Aphrodite," which is a gorgeously soft fingering-weight merino yarn in a deep, brassy color.

My favorite way to wear the shawl is slightly folded, wrapped around my shoulders, and fastened with a vintage kilt pin.

You can also fold it in half and wear it draped over your shoulders ....

or as more of a shrug, with the ends secured in back (I was able to tie it in back, but you could also secure it with a length of ribbon or that kilt pin again) ...

Doesn't it positively glow in the sun?

In terms of construction, it's cast on at the center and increased like a pi-shawl, with a variety of simple lace and bobble stitches. The turreted garter stitch edging is knit around the edge of the shawl at the end (the garter stitch makes it a good introduction to knitted-on edgings, I think).

You can get the pattern, which has both charted and written-out directions, from The Sanguine Gryphon. And even if you're not interested in this particular pattern, you should check out their Steampunk line -- the cool styling and photography definitely makes it worth a visit.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

quick cali jaunt

This past weekend, I made a quick jaunt out to California for a fabulous family wedding. The setting was gorgeous: overlooking the Pacific ocean on a high bluff, with a lighthouse in the backdrop and the late afternoon sun setting everything aglow. I brought my own wedding shawl out for the occasion:

And naturally, I had a new knitting project tucked into my purse so that I could get in a few rows while the post-wedding pictures were being taken. Can you guess what it is?

It's mighty hard to believe, but I am FINALLY getting myself around to knitting another Vermont shawl. I tried to go for warm, autumnal colors, since the first one was in cool greens. I chose the color poorly, though, so I am afraid that I will have to knit yet another one after this to really get it right. If this shawl pattern ever gets written and released, it will be a miracle!

Monday, September 13, 2010

back east

The last two weeks disappeared in the blink on an eye. I moved back east, set up my own apartment, started a fellowship, and dove back into the urban, scholarly life.

Then I went back to my beloved Vermont, where I dove back into something decidedly more refreshing.

My energy had been sapped by all this life-transitioning, but I think it's coming back now. I did just cast on for a new shawl, after all.