Monday, June 27, 2011

green sleeves

Up in Vermont for a weekend. Heavenly. There was a lot of activity going on around me, but all I really wanted to do was sit by the water meditatively.

With yarn and needles, naturally. I've been trying to finish up the sleeves of the green alpaca sweater, knitting them at the same time on the same magic loop from the same ball of yarn (one from inside, one from outside). This way I can use every last yard of the yarn and make sure that the sleeves are precisely the same length.

On another note, I was graced by a beautiful loon sighting during my weekend. We'd had an afternoon thunderstorm, during which time I took a little nap. When I woke up, it was twilight. There was a rainbow in the sky above, and two loons swimming in the cove below.

Such beauty, it almost hurts to be there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

a veritable mess of madder

When I was back home in Phoenix the other weekend, I took my morning cup of coffee out to the garden to see how things are doing. I had a shock to my not-yet-caffeinated system to see this mess of madder!

Back in spring 2009, I'd planted a whole array of natural dye seeds, and a single madder plant was all that made it to maturity. That first year it was touch and go. Last year, it filled out the entire whiskey barrel. Now it's greenery is completely covering two barrels -- outgrowing the mint, even! -- and a few flower pots to boot.

I couldn't even penetrate the plant enough to get a photo of the reddish roots, but they must be doing well. The flowers are out, though, tiny and greenish. Maybe I can collect some seeds this year so that I have some new plants started when I harvest this one next summer.

And here's what the whorls of scratchy leaves look like. Just fifteen minutes of dealing with this plant scraped me up twice as much as the whole weekend of rock climbing! Does anyone know if you can propagate madder from cuttings, by the way? Can I cut stems and root them in water? Or do I need to layer the stems under soil without cutting?

Monday, June 13, 2011


Tahquitz is a spectacular rock climbing area about an hour uphill from Palm Springs. I joined Mountain Man there for a weekend, a magnificent weekend indeed.

We reveled in the gorgeous, forested hikes leading up to the mountains ....

and in the awesome granite climbs, ranging from delicate face climbing to burly crack climbing.

In the evenings, we gathered around the campfire to rest our sore muscles, have a drink, tell a tale, and cook up some yummy dinner.

And, of course, there was knitting all along the way! At every spare moment, I'd get out what looked like a huge, tangled, unpromising mess of alpaca yarn an get in a few stitches.

It's that green sweater, now radically re-engineered. I unraveled it halfway and re-knit it to be a fitted wrap sweater with crocheted trim.

I need to finish knitting the sleeves and crocheting the trim, and then I need to add a tie at the waist (in the photo above, it was just held closed with a stick). And then it'll be finished! A happy salvaging of the project, I'd say!

Though perhaps bit reminiscent of Peter Pan ...

Saturday, June 04, 2011

sweet splash

I made my mommy a shawlette ...

It's little. And as light as air. When I lay it down, it floated atop the blades of grass ...

Does the color look familiar? It's the same yarn as my pink Vermont Shawl, madelinetosh Prairie in "Mulled Wine." Before I gave it as promised to my friend Amy, my mom wore it beautifully to Rhinebeck and let it be known that she quite liked it. That, in fact, she'd like the very same shawl for herself. She said this so sweetly that I couldn't resist!

But, sadly, I couldn't find another skein of the yarn. So I took the rest of that skein of yarn -- every last yard -- and knit up this shawlette for her. It's still based on the Vermont Shawl, except that I did stockinette-with-eyelets instead of the first section of lace, and I only got through a portion of the second section of lace.

I've been knitting this here and there since November. Finally bound off at the end of May. Little by little, things get done.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

storm clouds

Tornadoes swept through Massachusetts last night. Here in Boston we were spared the worst, but we did have an incredible thunderstorm late in the night. And before that, an evening of unsettling skies and strange weather, with wildly, wickedly roiling clouds.

You could say it was a dark and stormy night ....

I was journeying across town to see a friend and snapped the photo with my cell phone camera. I keep trying to discern Voldemort's face in it ...

Speaking of storm clouds, the Storm Cloud Shawlette made it to 1000 Ravelry projects last month. What a milestone! I can hardly believe that this little wisp of a thing that I put out into the world has reached into the lives of so many people. Thank you.