Tag Archives: yarn

Summer’s Bounty and French Heritage

In summer, it’s hard to pick up a crochet hook, no matter how many ideas may be lurking in one’s head. I might manage to work a few rows every couple of days, but there’s just so many pressing activities that can only be done during summer that crocheting gets pushed aside or stacked upon. It’s just the way it is.                           

And this is what consumes most of my time during the summer. Because of the heat, I’m out there by 7 a.m. most mornings. I’m always anxious to see what’s taken place during the night. While I was sleeping, the garden was growing (fyi….a watermelon vine can grow 12″ in the night), and it never ceases to amaze me to see the changes that take place overnight. I work until the sun peaks over the treetops and the temperature feels as if it goes up 10 degrees immediately. Then I pick up my basket and hoe to head for the house to begin processing the daily harvest. I try to do this during the morning while the house stays relatively cool, even with the stove on. Later, in the evening, I’ll be back in the garden, weeding and watering, until it’s too dark to see.

My paternal heritage is French, and while I’ll most probably never set foot on French soil, I can feel the tug of my roots in the earth and the fruit it bears. To the French, eating well is very nearly a religion. I’m reading a book now called The French At Table… which accounts the history & reasons for their love of good food. So far, it’s an enjoyable and funny book that I would recommend to other Francophiles.

Traditionally, the French (as well as other Europeans) take a loooong lunch break, which can be as long a 2 hours or more and can even include a short nap. I can relate to that tradition & have taken to insisting that lunchtime is slow time. As I explained to DD, it’s about taking the time to savor the blessings of the earth and the fruits of our labor. We are thankful to have such abundance.

It pleases me to look upon my garden. It also makes my mouth water, thinking of the sweet, golden corn that will soon share my plate with fresh, juicy tomatoes and crispy fried okra. It comforts me knowing that my pantry & freezer will hold most of the bounty, to be enjoyed long after summer has passed and the crochet begins again in earnest.

No Yarn But Lots of Spring Fever

As you’ll notice, it’s been a month since my last post. I hesitated writing anything as I’m trying to keep this blog focused on crochet as much as possible. But I’ve been in a crochet rut. Actually, more of a crochet gulley, if you want to know the truth. That’s not due to lacking project ideas….I have a bucketful of those. I guess I’m suffering from crochet burnout…….that, and a healthy dose of Spring Fever.

 If you look closely, in the middle of the pic you’ll see a tiny green gem that, someday, will turn into a globe of juicy, red sweetness. The smell of a tomato plant is one of my earliest memories, I daresay as far back as my infancy. I have a picture of my Mother, standing in a garden of tomato plants. I don’t remember her growing other vegetables in her garden, but I do remember the kitchen windowsill lined with ripening tomatoes. I can just barely remember now…I must have been four years old….Mama showing me which ones were ready to eat and letting me eat all I wanted. Her health began to decline a couple years later and she never gardened again, but to this day, the smell of a tomato plant takes me back to those early, carefree days of my childhood.

While the yarn and hook have been sitting neglected, I’ve been outside planting and mowing and pruning. We planted corn, okra, watermelon, canteloupe (Charentais!!!), cukes, squash, snap beans and shell beans. I was beginning to think it would never quit raining long enough to get the crops in before the temps went to 90+, but we managed to get it planted in the last couple of weeks. New to the garden this year are shell beans. I’m trying to get more beans in our diet….did you know beans help lower cholesterol?…..but wanted more variety than our usual pintos. This year, I planted Black Valentine, Jacob’s Cattle and Vermont Cranberry beans. They’re all heirloom varieties, some dating as far back as the 1700s. I’ve learned that, sometimes, old beats new & improved hands-down. In my veggie garden, only the tomatoes are hybrids because they actually do best in my environment. Everything else is open pollinated.

With warmer weather comes home improvement projects. I can’t decide whether to do the bathroom or kitchen first; DH is anxious to redo the kitchen cabinets but the bathroom is in dire need of a facelift. Maybe I’ll just tackle the bathroom while he works on the kitchen. Or maybe I’ll just sit on the bench under the oak tree and watch the chickadees 🙂

 

 

Storybook Moon

crescent-moon.jpg I love the crescent-shaped moon. It reminds me of the illustrations in the books of my childhood and that’s why I call it ‘the storybook moon’. It’s a beautiful end to a beautiful day. In spite of our brutal summers, our winters on the Texas gulf coast are short and relatively mild. But today was downright Spring-like. It was a day for pruning roses and buying tomato plants at the garden center and cleaning winter’s debris from the flower beds and grilling chicken and making potato salad. But I know I mustn’t get too anxious because I’m sure winter isn’t ready to leave completely…..not just yet. Still, it was a day for being outdoors and soaking up some Vitamin D 🙂

I’m anxiously awaiting an order from Elann for Peruvian Highland Wool in Celadon, Mallard, Chestnut, Spiced Wine and Harvest Heather. The anticipation’s killing me. Like I don’t have piles of yarn already. It’s an addiction I tell ya……a serious addiction.

Yesterday was special….my sweetie turned 62. The man at the Social Security office told him ‘Congratulations’ when we’d completed the application process. We’re so looking forward to indulging in the things we enjoy most; traveling & visiting museums (him) and botanical gardens (me), camping & fishing. It’s a nice reward after years of hard work.

As Tasha Tudor would say, ‘Take joy’. Have a great weekend.

Red Lace and the Red Man

Outside my window, the colors of winter have settled upon the land. The sky is grey and threatens more rain, the fields are tan and lifeless from the heavy frost we had last week. January is a restless month; it’s too miserable to  stay outside much longer than to walk the dog and yet, finding things to keep one occupied indoors is a challenge. On this blustery, wintry day, I crochet and watch movies.

burgundy-lace-003-small.jpg Here’s a sneek peek at my latest project. No, not the tomato seed catalog, although there has been ordering and planting of seeds. The project involves Knit Picks ‘Gloss’ fingering weight yarn. I love this yarn. My only complaint is that the color selection of this line is rather minimal. The yarn itself is easy to work with and produces a soft fabric. Oh, and it frogs relatively easy. There has been much frogging until I was finally able to come up with a stitch pattern I was satisfied with.  

Since it made it’s way into the picture, a bit of history about the footstool is in order. One day, my better half brings home the stool and matching rocker  that he’d found curbside in front of someone’s house. The rocker, which was given to our daughter, was of the mission style, with a needlepoint-covered seat. The footstool has the same needlepoint cover. It’s old and rather battered but I cherish it nonetheless and cannot bring myself to part with it or even give it a makeover. It serves me well.

Our local libraries are a treasure-trove for movie hounds like us. One selection in the current batch we brought home is ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’, an HBO TV movie starring Aiden Quinn and Adam Beach. I’ve always been sympathetic to the plight of the Red Man and the unfair treatment they received at the hand of the government and settlers moving onto their lands. I admire the reverence Native Americans had for their land and the wisdom of their chiefs. The brutality with which they were dealt with is shameful and is the theme of this movie. It was a good movie and I recommend it. In spite of the sadness, the history should be remembered.

Now my tummy says it’s suppertime….it looks like baked potato weather and so it shall be, with lots of butter and cheese 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I woke this morning with designs clamoring in my head. “But I don’t want to get up, it’s so snuggly warm here in bed and I was sleeping so good” I fussed at them. “No, you can’t go back to sleep. You must get up and write us down before we get lost in your memory. You must get up, now.” they insisted. So, I slid my feet to the floor, put on my slippers and shuffled into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. Being the internet junkie that I am, I decided to first check my emails while awaiting my caffeine fix. And what awaits me there but the Elann newletter…..with new yarns! At 50% introductory prices! Sock yarn, sport weight yarn…..oh, where’s my checkbook??

Do you suppose these are indications of a prolific new year? Who can say, but I’ll take it as a sign that good things await on the crochet front.

Oh, and my New Year’s Resolutions?

  1. I pledge to build positive character traits; integrity, honesty, patience and compassion.
  2. I resolve to be more aware of my actions and the impact they have on those around me as well as to future generations.
  3. I will live by my own convictions and not be swayed by the majority.
  4. I will appreciate every day and the opportunities it holds.
  5. I will not take my loved ones for granted.

Here’s wishing you a contented and fulfilling New Year. May your hooks be smooth and your yarn be soft. Happy New Year!!

The Basketweave Stitch

One of the fun parts of this here blog is checking the ‘stats’. Another popular search referral term is the basketweave stitch, usually listed as ‘basketweave, stitch, pattern’. For those newbies just learning to crochet or someone who’s trying to add new stitches to their repertoire, there’s really no pattern, per se, for basketweave. It’s simply a technique…a different way of doing double crochet stitches that creates the effect of basketweave. And it’s not as difficult as it looks.

Crochetme has an excellent tutorial on raised double crochet stitches written by the talented designer Annette Petavy. The article includes pictures (yay), showing exactly how to create the basketweave effect as well as different variations of basketweave and more. Go check it out here.

Knitpicks Order

knitpicks-order-003-small.jpg ….has arrived!! This will be my first experience with these yarns. They include from l to r: Swish DK in Hollyberry, Swish DK in Mist (not as blue as showing in pic, actually more gray in reality), Shadow in Lost Lake Heather and Gloss in Burgundy. I’m off to play now……..