That’s my thoughts these days. My brain is all over the place. I’ve written so many posts in my head but none of them came out my fingers. Sorry about that, my faithful readers. Please bear with me.
I’ll just grab a Thought Leaf as it drops then, shall I? First off, I finally was able to give the new parents, our nephew and his wife, the gift I made for their new baby who is now 2 months old. Yes, it’s been sitting around waiting for awhile. At least he hasn’t started school yet!
Baby Raglan Cardi
Begun: May 13, 2009
Completed: May 28, 2009
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly DK, nylon/acrylic baby yarn, colour 0265 (natural with rust and brown tweedy bits), dyelot 36763, 193 yds = 50 g., 2.25 balls (including hat).
Needles: Clover bamboo 24” circs in 3.25mm (rib) and 3.75mm (body), Clover bamboo 7” dpns in 3.25mm (rib) and 3.75mm (sleeves and hat).
Pattern: Sweater – Top Down Seamless Raglan Baby Sweater (garter ridge version) by Carole Barenys, six-month size.
Mods – my sleeves were a bit shorter (7 ridges past armhole). Also had to work 9 garter ridges after last buttonhole (instead of 8) before beginning bottom rib for it all to come out right.
Hat – On smaller dpns CO 80sts. 2/2 rib for 8 rounds, switch to larger dpns and garter rib pattern. Work until 7 garter ridges completed. Switch to st st and begin dec rounds: [k 6, k2tog], k 1 rnd plain, [k5, k2tog], k1 rnd plain etc. until 10 sts rem. K2tog around (5 sts), then work i-cord on those 5 sts for 1”. Finish off.
Comments: There were a few glitches in following the pattern. Could just be my interpretation of her instructions though rather than a problem with the pattern itself. I didn’t especially like knitting with the totally synthetic yarn. It felt squeaky on the needles. Very soft however and hopefully will hold up to wash and wear. Turned out really cute anyway and perhaps big enough to fit all this coming fall and winter. He’s a big guy - like his daddy!
Next Leaf: I went to my first of this year’s Maiwa Symposium lectures featuring Michel Garcia of France’s Jardin Conservatoire de Plantes Tinctoriales. He gave a delightful talk on the garden begun in 2002 on the grounds of an ancient castle in Lauris, Provence. Interspersed with humourous asides, he told how they had a very short time to produce a garden featuring the world’s dye plants and eventually including information and experiences for visitors, a dye supply shop and laboratory, informational/educational booklets and a newsletter. It must have taken a phenomenal amount of work and included a lot of volunteer hours. I found it very exciting to hear about some of the information shared and innovations discovered in using natural/botanical dye plants and the challenges of growing them with so many diverse needs in their dry sandy calcareous soil with hot summers and cold winters. Unfortunately, Michel ended his lecture with the statement that the garden has now been discontinued and their support and funding has dried up along with the plants. He was very sad that many plants didn’t survive this summer’s neglect after all the staff (including himself) were dismissed and no seeds were collected. However he seems to hold out hope still that the government bureaucracy will eventually find a way to re-establish the garden. It is – or was – unique in the world. I wish him success.
Next in my Maiwa experiences this year will be Thursday and Friday’s workshop on using woad with Henri Lambert of Bleu de Lectoure also from France. I’m looking forward to learning more about this plant which fascinates me. I hope I can figure out how to get more out of my own plants, which may or may not have accessible colour left in them right now. I’ll be starting some new plants again next year anyway. I have seeds and I know how to use them! Wish I knew where to get some other dye plant seeds though. I’d love to try growing weld and maybe some other things as space might allow. I could always start digging up the public boulevard right beside our property!
Another Leaf: And speaking of my garden, we’ve been getting buckets of chestnuts this year. The squirrels won’t eat them but the neighbours and passersby have helped themselves and we still have more than we can eat. I try to give the excess away but get funny looks, even when I tell the potential recipient our foolproof way to process the nuts: cut an X on the shell (a serrated knife works best), put them separated and X-side-up on a cookie sheet in a 425 F. oven for 20 minutes, cool enough to handle and peel while they’re still warm. With a little salt they’re delicious right away or use them in recipes like chicken (or turkey) salad, as an addition to mashed potatoes (can be used on their own but very rich), or whatever way you can think of. Chestnuts are less fatty and more starchy than many other nuts. Now if only we can get the Hunter-Gatherers to help rake up the devilishly prickly husks off the lane after they’re done gathering our nuts. Do they think the mess just magically disappears by itself? Kind of like how the blackberries, which they also gather from our back fence, get magically pruned, right?
Off to wash some of the Rocky Mountains worth of dirty dishes after having our kids, their kids, the nephew, niece-in-law and their new baby over yesterday to help finish up the Thanksgiving leftovers. Have rubber gloves, will scrub. Oh, plus I have to mention how cute the grandbeasties were giving their little second-cousin gentle kisses goodbye. Awwww…. Stargazer asked me how come the baby couldn’t walk yet. Soon, hon’! All too soon. Just like you grew to be almost 3 in the blink of an eye.