Monday

[knitting] No Place Like Home pullover

June's almost over and I test knit a little sweater this month:

No Place Like Home pullover

It is a 5-year-old size. The pattern is No Place Like Home and it's by The Autumn Acorn.

No Place Like Home pullover

It came out a little on the small size (I think my gauge was about half a stitch finer than recommended) so I think my niece will get one season out of it.

No Place Like Home pullover

If I were to knit this again, I would add a little sleeve shaping. And beads to the front lace panel.

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We had a spate of hot days the moment I was done knitting this 100% wool sweater, so I switched to crocheting little cotton doilies. 

Tour de Fleece started this past Saturday. I'm working my way through 8oz of some colorful cheviot from Into the Whirled.

Wednesday

[misc] Too busy

I haven't posted for a week. Sheesh. Too busy. Went with my mom to Hmart on Sunday for Korean food supplies (and have been having the best meals since).

Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly on the lilac bush:

Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly

Murderface had an emergency visit to the vet Monday afternoon. We've been so good about giving him arthritis and kidney disease medicine that we haven't been making sure he's having healthy poopies. It was a visit about poopies but he's doing better (and is on miralax now).

What else... tending the vegetable garden. It's so dry here and will be for days. I wasn't watering enough and I've doubled the amount I'm lugging around. Sigh.

I attended a Composting 101 zoom presentation last night. Very informative- I think I'm going to build different bins than the kind I originally had in mind. I'm ready to start doing something better with all my kitchen waste- esp now that it's summer and we're producing so much more.

[cooking] Zhoug sauce

A friend brought over two bundles of cilantro- I googled recipes and saw zhoug sauce, which sounded good. I happened to have three large jalapenos and ramp bulbs.

Zhoug sauce

The ramps were from the Chelsea Farmer's Market and the bulbs are SO huge. I used these instead of garlic cloves. I whirred it all up in a little food processor with salt, red pepper flakes, cumin, cardamom and olive oil, following this recipe.

Zhoug sauce


Mine isn't as verdant green but it's very good (but too spicy hot for Dollar). I've never had this sauce in the real world, so I don't really know what it's authentically meant to taste like but it's good mixed into rice and into an omelet. I'm going to keep mixing it into everything.

Tuesday

[baking] Strawberry rhubarb bars

Made some strawberry rhubarb bars this weekend:

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

The recipe is from Cooking Classy: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars. I've done these bars with just rhubarb, wild black raspberries, peach/blackberry. It's always good.

I happened to have some store-bought strawberries and I picked a couple stalks of rhubarb in the yard.

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Mixed with some sugar and instant clearjel (instead of cornstarch- good for acidic fillings that will be baked).

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
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Before baking:

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

After baking:

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

These bars are so good- a nice thick base, non-runny fruit, crispy crumb topping. I like that it's the same crumb topping for the base and the topping.

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

I want to make these again and again but with a few modifications to make them healthier.

1.5 sticks of butter for a 9" square pan? I want to reduce this to 1 stick. Still not "healthy" but... better.
Try with whole wheat flour- with some flax meal mixed in. 
Mix in seeds? Toasted sesame seeds? Flax seeds?

I feel like the next one I bake will be a cocoa crumb with a raspberry filling. I need to use up frozen berries picked last year; the farm just posted that picking will open back up in July!

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Since we've been teleworking, we let the cats outside during our lunch break for supervised recess. They're good about staying on the porch. Penny's too scared to venture further, Murderface is too old. He likes to amble down into the front flowerbed and flop in the sun. He found a little spot of shade on Friday:

Murderface


Murderface

Murderface

Went to the Chelsea Farmer's Market on Friday afternoon and bought something from most of the vendors: maple shortbread cookies, two maple-glazed donuts, a couple grilled cheese on sourdough to bring home, two bunches of ramps (with the biggest bulbs I've ever seen), radishes, a dehydrated wild mushroom blend, a four-pack of Japanese eggplant starts and new pottery (planter). Very successful excursion. Then I came home had some hammock time.

Saturday I took care of the recycling. We had a couple really nice, short downpours (no watering for me). I ironed and cut some custom fabric for more face masks. Made some strawberry rhubarb bars.

Sunday I visited my sister and mom to drop off a couple things and run errands. Did a lot more cooking (turned the ramps into zhoug sauce, baked up some cheddar scallion scones for the band, started some egg yolks to cure) and finished hemming a large piece of map fabric to be a wall hanging. It's ready to hang but our stud finder is dead and I need to get a new one.

Lots of garden chores to do this week- weeding (veg and flowerbeds), putting in the eggplant and pepper starters, adding more weed fabric to the veg garden, maybe some mulching.

I'm knitting a little sweater for my niece now (it's a test knit). I have a cross-stitch project I started- but it's on 18 count aida cloth and it's feeling a little... much. At least I'm getting the hardest part out of the way first. Also, plenty of masks cut and ready to be sewed.

We have the supplies to build a basic compost bin- which I'd like to do this week. Now that the CSA shares have started (and one of the band members runs a farm and brings over extra stuff AND we have a veg garden this year), there is so much veg waste that should be composted rather than pitched over the bank.

Friday

[knitting] Pride Socks

Finished rainbow socks:

Matchy matchy. 🌈🌈 #knitting #sockknitting #rainbowsocks


Just in time for Pride month. The yarn is Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect Rainbow Color in 1736 Neon. I had to rip and reknit the leg of the second sock (I didn't cast on enough stitches) but other than that it was a relaxing knit. Working with stripey yarn makes me think, "Okay, just one more color... Okay, I'll knit just one more color and then go to bed... okay, just one more color..."

I did a massive wash of all my handknit socks over vacation. All washed and dried and put away until the fall:

Sock Drawer

I added five sachets of homegrown lavender to try and keep moths away. 

Sock Drawer

Sock Drawer

Sock Drawer

It was really nice to take inventory of all the socks- I was flooded with memories. One pair won Best In Show at the Tunbridge Fair. The pair I knit during a work trip to Korea or on a road trip with my sister, driving a U-Haul to Florida. My first pair. A handspun pair. All the Sock Madness socks. So many techniques- lace and cables and beads. 

32.5 pairs (one sock will never get a mate). Half a dozen slippers. And this doesn't include all the worsted weight socks I've knit for Dollar over the years. 

Thursday

[crochet] Happy Project Basket and Bowls

The other crochet project I worked on last week was a small basket:

Happy Project Basket

The pattern is Happy Project Basket by Stitch 'n Paste Designs and it's free on Ravelry. 

It is simply sock yarn knit over clothesline. It starts with a spiral and increases, then you work without increasing to create the straight sides.

Happy Project Basket

Some notes: 

The beginning/end of the project are a little fiddley. The clothesline really kind of poofs and frays when you cut it. I tried burning it a little but it didn't work well and was unsightly. I ended up cutting out the core of the clothesline, twisting the exterior nylon and crocheting over that, progressively cutting away a strand every cm or so to make it smaller to crochet over.

Because of the fraying, I dabbed some Fray Check (I use this for my cross-stitching along the edges of aida cloth) over the start and end of the clothesline

Remember to stop every half round to adjust the cord, to evenly spread or cinch the crochet stitches over it, to ensure that the tension is consistent.

Double-check handle placement to make sure that they are across from one another and that they're the same(ish) length.

Happy Project Basket

I really think this such a cute basket and I the color pooling works well with this project. It's fast because it's small (roughly the diameter of a new roll of toilet paper and a little taller).

I wanted to make more- but shallower blows. I followed the pattern as written but stopped after 5 or 6 even rounds.

Little Bowls

These bowls are so fast and a good use for leftover sock yarn.

Little Bowls

This white yarn is some that I dyed at the Green Mountain Knitting Guild retreat last fall.

Happy Project Basket

Pretty small- big enough for keys or change. These would be nice to have on a dresser or nightstand.

Little Bowls

Or the end table next to where you sit on the couch and things pile up like darning needles, stitch markers, small scissors, yarn ends, lip balm, hand lotion, needle gauge, more stitch markers... These bowls would be perfect to catch small stuff like that... Hang on, I have to go move one of these blows to my end table.

Wednesday

[crochet] Baking Party

I printed off several crochet patterns to work on over vacation. Friday at noon (while we waited on a VT Air National Guard flyover), I started a hot pad:

Sat outside and started a new project while waiting for the VT Air National Guard flyover. We heard it but couldnt see them :(

The yarn is regular old Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton. Size H hook. The pattern is 0-1444 Baking Party by Drops- it's free on Ravelry. I've never done tapestry crochet before but it looks like an easy way to do colorwork.

Tapestry Crochet

And it was easy!

I tried brighter colors for the next one:

Tapestry Crochet

It's a clever pattern- the color changed are designed in such a way that is lines up well with where the increases occur. That's kind of what made the pattern so addicting for me. 

Tapestry Crochet

A few days later...

Aaaand I’m done with this pattern. Moving on to a crocheted basket next. #crochet #mandala

I was a little tired of the pattern at this point. I think it was originally written to be a double-thick hot pad. With the Sugar 'n Cream yarn, these ended up rather large (about 12 inches in diameter), so I kept it as a single trivet to use under dutch ovens on a storage cart. With some DK-weight yarn, a smaller hook, a tighter gauge and double-thick-  a trio of these be a wonderful gift.

Monday

[gardening] Vacation

And just like that, it's June.

I took last week off- my annual week to work in all the flowerbeds. This year the week was mostly devoted to the vegetable (victory) garden.

It went from:

Garden


Garden


To this:

Added leeks, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, cucumbers, yellow squash, carrot (seeds).      I can’t find any more 1/2” 3 foot fencing and I’m worried about woodchucks sneaking in.


Radishes were coming up quickly:

One week and the radishes are sprouting! Loads of veg plants going in tomorrow.


I started adding weed fabric:

Veg garden


Which I ran out of and I started using cardboard:

Veg garden


I added some shorter, finer mesh fencing around the perimeter, to keep out woodchucks:

Veg Garden


Veg Garden


The radishes had to be thinned:

Radishes - before thinning


Radishes After Thinning


I washed the microgreens and had them with my lunch. I was happy to already be eating from the garden.

I'm still a little nervous about the woodchucks- esp since I've seen three little babies running around with their mama...

  I’ve seen at least three little baby bastards.   As long as they stay in the rock walls around the flowerbeds...


I think there are a couple more fence spots I can reinforce.

I planted: radishes, scallions, leeks, strawberries, tomatoes (orange, green and red zebra, purple), Asian eggplant, watermelon, yellow squash, carrots, cucumbers, jalapeno and poblano peppers. I have a few areas that I'm covering up to keep weed free- I want to do some diakon radish and kimchi cabbage from seed in a while.

The flowerbed bed did get planted:

Flowerbed Bed


90% marigolds this year. There is a perennial poppy in there that looks nice and healthy this year.

The wash tub was planted, as well:

Washtub planter


And as I was walking the perimeter of the lawn, looking for mushrooms, I saw another matching washtub over the bank by the brook. I should see if we can drag it up so I can use it!

The days were sunny and hot, which meant lugging around lots of watering cans, but I made time to relax- it was a vacation, of course.

Hammock daze...


We ordered a chicken coop and a chicken run. We're going to try raising a few chickens. Got supplies to build a couple composting bins, as well.

I did a lot of crocheting. Not a lot of cooking/baking- was too busy working outside.

I'm already planning for the next vacation. Is one week off every month too much?

Friday

[gardening] First Iris

The first iris of the year has popped open:

First iris! 💜

I received this from one of my coworkers. I love the dark color.

I checked on the phoebe nest under the desk. A week or so ago there were no eggs. Now:

Phoebe nest under the deck. Guess I’ll avoid this corner of the deck for a while. 🐥🐥🐥🐥🐥

I planted some bulbs of anemone blanda many years ago. There's really only one spot that took hold and flowers.

#anemoneblanda #grecianwindflower

I love that this is one of my earliest spring flowers and I have another type of anemone that is my latest late-summer flower.

My sage always looks so sad in the spring and I'm always sure that the winter killed it. But I see new leaves:

Sage is coming back. Hardy to Zone 4!

So far chives, oregano, sage and mint are my hardy herbs that come back every year.

Vacation starts this afternoon!