[knitting] Lodestar Mittens

I haven't posted any knitting since the Tree of Life baby blanket back in mid-May. I've started a new pair of stranded mittens:

Getting back into stranded knitting. Time to get serious about projects to enter into to fair... #knitting #mittenknitting

Pattern is Lodestar Mittens from the Green Mountain Spinnery. The yarn is Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok (4 colors). The needles area Kollage Square DPNs in US 3.

These mittens are coming out very small. Blocking will help even out the stitches out after they're done- I've not knit anything stranded in ages.

TGIF! Looking forward to a relaxing four. day. weekend! Going to stay at the house as much as possible and finish up projects. And start spinning wool tomorrow.


[gardening] Summer Flowers

Some of these have come and gone but I've been enjoying all the flowers of summer.

Dwarf pink lilac, which blooms mid-June for me:


I was able to enjoy this bellflower for about a week before the woodchucks took notice and gobbled it up:


Various Columbine:



Aw aren't you a pretty #columbine.

Hosta corner in the back shade bed:

Hosta corner.

This hen, sending it's chicks very far away from home:


Green wizard coneflower (the only coneflower that the 'chucks don't eat):

Green wizard #echinacea. The only coneflower the woodchucks don't eat.


Pretty purple penstemon

Misc. yarrow:

Misc #yarrow


Peony 'Karl Rosenfield' finally popped open. #peony #karlrosenfield



Evening primrose:

Evening primrose 'Fireworks'. I loving refer to it as Ketchup-Mustard Flower because the red buds pop open yellow.

Blanket flower:

Blanket flower

Succulent mini-garden:

Succulent mini garden

Delphinium- this is taken at eye level. The plants are taller than me!


Always something new to see/enjoy every day.


[travel] Montebello Rockfest, Quebec

Last weekend we went up to Montebello, Quebec for Rockfest. The lineup was too good to miss:


Those are just the big names- there were going to be another 100 metal and punk bands.

Our house for the weekend:

Our house for the weekend.

It rained Thursday night and sporadically through Friday. The festival grounds turned into:


And it was massively crowded. This is the middle of the day Friday, before things got crazy for Rammstein:

Montebello Rockfest

The Rammstein show was excellent (always) and we saw lots of other bands. Jello Biafra was great and he did some Dead Kennedys songs. The Offspring were a pleasant surprise. 

Saturday morning rolls around and we're like, "Should we stay or should we go?" The music had been great, all the people were awesome and friendly... but the rain, mud, sleep deprivation, porta potties (oh god, the porta potties), the traffic and carrying all our supplies a mile away to where the car was parked... the thought of doing that Sunday when everyone was going to be doing it as well? Nightmare.

We saw other people packing up their camp sites. So we shrugged and packed up as well. And I have zero regrets. We were back home in Vermont by 5pm on Saturday. I walked in the house, dropped my flip flops into the garbage and took a 30 minute shower. I made a nice supper (we had been living solely on beer and poutine) and watched a movie. By the time we were getting into bed, I was like, "Just think, we'd STILL be waiting for Iggy to go on right now."

And then we had ALL DAY Sunday to chillax when, if we had stayed, we'd be fighting crowds and traffic to leave. And presumably getting our car stuck in the field where we had parked. From what I've read, tons of vehicles were stuck in the mud and had to be towed out (at $50 a pop). The parking situation was probably the most f'ed up thing of the entire fest.

I don't know that we'll do the fest again. If we do, we'll stay in a hotel or something. If anyone is planning to go and wants some advice, I'm happy to talk your ear off. It was definitely a learning experience since we were first-timers. Yessir, Miller.

On to the Quebec City Summer Festival next month. That will be more civilized. We'll be staying in a hotel (indoor plumbing! air conditioning!) and Quebec City itself is so large with lots to see/do. We've been to this festival a couple times in the past and it's tres bien. The first time was to see Rammstein. The second time was to see The Rolling Stones. This year... Metallica!!


[quilting] Quilt #2 Finished

I picked up my finished quilt a couple weeks ago and I've been using it non-stop ever since:

Finished quilt

Penny has claimed it.

The backing fabric:

Peek at the backing fabric

I love it overall but there are a couple things that I've learned that I would need to specify for the next quilt that I have professionally finished. There is a definite "top" to the quilt (i.e. the edge that goes to the headboard)- the blue panels that hang down either side of the bed are the left and right sides.

Blue batik panels down either side

There is also a "top" to the backing fabric- the tops of the owl heads should point toward the headboard. But the backing fabric was turned 90 degrees before being quilted, so it's perpendicular to the headboard. Not a big deal and probably only noticeable by me but it's still incorrect in my mind. This didn't come up with the first quilt I had finished because the backing fabric was solid blue.

The other thing is the size of the quilting pattern:

Penny loves her quilt

It's larger than I would have preferred. There are hundreds of computer patterns to choose from and each pattern is scalable from small to larger. I like smaller, tighter quilting for a puffy/crinkly finished look.

I love the quilt and have been using it every night. The cats love it. But now I know to be specific on a couple particular things for the next one.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface, being the cutest:

Murderface is the cutest! ❤️

Nice to be home after a long weekend away. We went up to Quebec for the Montebello Rockfest. We saw the Friday shows (Rammstein, Offspring, Jello Biafra plus a bunch of metal bands I can't remember). We came home the next day- we'd had enough of rain, mud, portopotties, no sleep, etc. All the people were awesome and friendly it was just kind of crazy crowed. Maybe we're getting too old for festivals like that.

It was nice to return home to the cats and take a shower and be clean. Looking forward to a chill work week before a long, relaxing 4th of July holiday weekend. Tour de Fleece starts Saturday!

[misc] Penny Monday

Penny, hanging out with me Sunday morning:

Penny 🎀

She actually loves wearing that bow. I've gotten her used to wearing stuff (knit and crocheted hats, harness and leash for walks outside, etc) so it's easy to slip the bow on over her head. She purrs the whole time.

Things have been non-stop hectic since my vacation a couple weeks ago. It was nice on Sunday to spend the morning in the craft room, tinkering away on unfinished amigurumi and pulling out all the bundles of fiber that I plan on spinning for Tour de Fleece. Drinking mocha coffee. 

Today is Monday so I have my CSA pickup after work. Dollar has band practice on Monday nights and I usually cook/eat many of the fresh vegetables that I know he won't eat (e.g. mustard greens). 

One thing I made last week was cold Korean soup called mul naengmyun:

Cold noodle soup. #Naengmyun #mulnaengmyeon @jenmac1818

This was my first time making it, so it was a little weird but the basics were good- cold broth, cold chewy noodles, hard-boiled egg, asian pear, radish, cucumber and a hot pepper. I liked it but the banana splits for dessert went over better.


[misc] Kohlrocky

Got a bulb of kohlrabi in the CSA this week. I checked online to see if it's okay to give the leaves to rabbits. Many people said their rabbit loves them, so...

Kohlrabi leaves are a 10/10. 🐰🌿

Rocky's in love. Usually, he'll nibble something and then leave it and come back to graze periodically, especially when it's something common and he's getting tired of it (baby bok choy, broccoli, arugula, cilantro, parsley). This stuff he didn't stop mowing down on until it was gone. I was like, "Huh, I guess I can see now how a rabbit could decimate a garden."


[crochet] New Doily

I'm still crocheting...

Working on a new doily...

I'm still working on my Lost in Time crochet shawl and am three balls of sock yarn in. We were taking a road trip on Sunday and I wanted to bring the shawl to work on in the car- but I can't find the extra balls of yarn. I can't find them anywhere. (I'm assuming one of the cat's hid them... somehow.) So I grabbed a doily book and some crochet thread. 

I know I'm going to run out of the taupe color I'm using now. The only question is how messed-up the doily is going to look when I switch to another color in the middle of the pattern.

Tour de Fleece starts July 1 and I'll be participating again this year. This is pretty much the only time I devote to spinning now, so I'll start digging through the fiber stash. I did spin up a fair amount last year and I miss working on the spinning wheels.


[misc] Penny Monday and Hmart

This is how I humiliate Penny:

Posting the most unflattering pic of Penny because that's what she gets for waking me up before 7am on Sunday.

By posting an unflattering picture of her. She started stomping around my on chest in bed before 7am on Sunday, trying to get me up for (her) breakfast. Usually I'm up with the sun but was rather tired from Saturday.

Saturday I took a trip with my mom to Hmart- we hadn't been in a long time and were in dire need of staples- rice, seaweed, sauces, gochujang, ramen, etc. First, we went to the liquor store next door to buy 17 bottles of makgeolli (so good). Then a couple jjigae's for lunch in the food court:

Lunch! 🍲🍲

Since it's summer, it's naengmyun time and we also split a bowl of cold bi bim naengmyun.

Bi bim naengmyun

Then it's time to shop. There was a nice display of rambutan:


Which I've never had. I bought 8 to try. As well as a guava and baby bananas. And a box of Asian pears. The fruit and vegetables at Hmart are so good.

I didn't get these but I thought about it:

Oh man, I feel more mellow just thinking about getting these.

I think I'm mellow enough in general. And I'm not sure a hit of chocolate and marshmallow would be calming for me.

The trip was good- got everything I was looking for- especially all the fixings to make naengmyun all summer. Dinner at home was ssam:

Dinner at home right after an Hmart visit is always the best. Ssam with spicy pork, greens from my CSA, banchan and rambutan for dessert.

Spicy pork, homemade ssam sauce, red leaf lettuce and arugula from the CSA, and a few banchan (black beans, peanuts, spicy dried anchovies). Rambutan for dessert. They were good but I don't know that I'll get them again. Fun to hold, easy to cut and pop out of the shell, tastes like grape but kind of hard to eat around the seed inside.


[cooking] Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Oat Crumb Topping

It's rhubarb season here and I made a sweet tart while on vacation:

What I'm doing now: strawberry rhubarb tart with oat crumb topping. #widn @stormcoast

No recipe, per se. Single pie crust into a tart pan, pricked allover with a fork, refrigerated for 30 min and then blind baked with weights. I mixed some strawberries and rhubarb with a bit of sugar and cornstarch. I melted some butter and mixed in brown sugar and oats. Into the prebaked shell when the fruit, topped with the oat crumbs. Finish baking until the topping is nicely browned.

Tastes. Like. Summer.

A couple coworkers have given me more rhubarb, so I think I'll boil it all with sugar and then strain it into a simple syrup. 


[gardening] Early June Flowers

A good portion of my week off last week was spent gardening- dividing perennials, planting all the new things that were starting to pile up, and just appreciating everything in bloom.

Lily of the Valley are just finishing up new:

Lily of the valley

My mom had a nice little cache of them in a semi-shady, unattended spot. She had no idea they were so wonderfully fragrant. I dug up a bunch last year and put them under the deck (morning sun only) and in the semi-shade bed. Was so happy to see them come up and multiply this year. I had to pick a few to bring a little bouquet into the house:

First bouquet of the year- lily of the valley. So fragrant!

Lamium is blooming in the back shade bed:

#lamium blooming in the shade bed.

Love this low, spreading shade ground cover. Found a container of lamium with white flowers at a local library plant sale and divided it into three bits and planted it in a different flower bed. Something has come through and eaten a lot of it (curse you, woodchucks!) and I can't figure out why they would eat the white and not the pink. Siiigh.

Hens are starting to send out chicks:

Hen sending out chicks.

Allium, blubs planted last fall, are blooming now:


I bought a couple little pots of irises marked "White" at a little road-side plant sale. (Someday I'll plant an all-white garden that will be the envy of Martha Stewart). I was happy to see that one popped open truly white:

White iris added this year.

I could eventually see that the other was going to be purple, which kind of made me sad. Until this popped open:

Well this is a nice surprise. Bought some irises marked "white" at a roadside sale. One is truly white but saw that this was going to be purple. Popped open white and purple. I love it!

Purple AND white? I love it!

Speaking of irises, these are a couple different types of bearded irises outside of my work building:

Irises at work. I'm going to dig one up in the fall. Sshhhhhh, don't tell anyone.

Another work iris. Love this color combo.

I'm going to dig up one of each this fall to bring home. Shhhhhh.

The Siberian irises are just starting to bloom at home and are so violet this year:

Siberian irises starting at home. 💜

Dianthus firewitch started are are oh so fragrant:

Dianthus firewitch. Wonderfully fragrant.

Mountain sandwort, planted last year (another option for the future white garden):


There's something new to see every day!


[cooking] Egg Pizza

My favorite weekend brunch:

Lunch today was pizza and eggs. Trying to use chives on everything.

Homemade pizza, using no-knead dough. Little bit of sauce and cheese, baked on a pizza stone at 500 F for 5 min, crack a couple eggs on top, bake another 5 min, top with fresh chives.

The only time consuming part is letting the dough rise and heating the pizza stone for a good, long while. Then the pizza itself is done in 10 min. The egg yolks are still ooey gooey and perfect for dipping bits of crust in to. And I'm trying to top as much stuff as I can with chives since they are abundant in the garden now.

Speaking of chives, I might have to find some fun stuff to do with all the flower heads that are popping open now.