16 December 2011

be merry

The wall of pictures behind our Christmas tree grows far faster than the presents stacked beneath it, which is very much in balance with how we see the holidays: as a time for family and friends.

Only a few more presentations and exams for me and then I'm off for the holidays to kick up my feet in the glittering snow (if we're lucky enough to get any here in Minnesota) and walk down the aisle at my wedding.

Lots of knitting to do. Lots of crafting, baking and gift-making.

My mother gave Garrett and I this owl ornament last season. She designed and made it herself. Each family got to choose their own ornament off of my parents' tree. I guess I always go for red.

Glass, glitter and candle light - what's on my coffee table at this very moment. Beside it is a steaming mug of mint tea and a soon-to-be finished sock for my soon-to-be husband.

11 December 2011

in the spirit

We put our tree up a few weeks ago, but this is the first chance I've gotten to snap a photo of it. We cut it down ourselves - well, I guess I shouldn't say "we" Garrett did all the work - but I had a hand in selecting which tree to bring home.

I think we were surprised when we got it home and realized how short and squat it was, but it's good to have a tree with personality. (Right, Charlie Brown?)

Somehow, I've also found the time to cast on a few stitches . . . Hopefully this project will show up under the tree . . . that is if I can find enough time to knit in the days leading up to Christmas.

The yarn is Paton's Stripes, something I'd forgotten I had, but I rediscovered it along with our cat when she drug segments of it around the house and got it tangled around the legs of our furniture both upstairs and down. Better to knit it up into something useful.

This year we've got baskets of pine cones all around. Some of them will go for wedding decorations, others will be packed away for next year. I have a hard time tossing away a well-blossomed pine cone.

Hope your holiday is bright!

16 November 2011


The days are getting chilly here in Minnesota. This morning we woke to temperatures in the low 20s. Colder weather is on its way. Today I bundled myself in wool before I walked to my train stop. Wool sweater, wool coat, wool hat.

The cap above is a gift for a newborn cousin. This pattern is simple and snugly, perfect for an infant in November.

07 November 2011

november wind

We went up home this weekend to spend time with family and relax. We did get to spend the time with family, but there wasn't much relaxing that occurred. Not only was my parents' house packed with loved-ones and friends, but this was the weekend I set aside to do our wedding invitations.

Luckily there were lots of helping hands.

The project shown above was knit by my cousin Ashley using some yarn my mother spun. It was hand painted (using the guide of a 6 foot table for color segment length in four primary colors.)

The result is a lovely yarn that strips for hats or socks. This particular hat is for our little niece, Hannah. Nice work Ash and Mom.

31 October 2011

witches instead of flowers

This is what happens when you don't water your plants for the entire month of October. The trick-or-treaters have enjoyed this display.

Happy Halloween everyone!

12 October 2011

lace + wire lanterns

Late last week I went on a field trip that was long overdue for me. I visited the Minnesota Textile Center here in Minneapolis. My fiber buddies have been talking about the center for years, about its classes, its library, its collection of knowledge about Minnesota's textile heritage.

The place was not overrated. On my visit I found a wealth of opportunities for the fiber enthusiast . . . and when I have more time I plan on taking some of them myself.

These images are of an installation in the main gallery of the center by an artist named Kristina Fjellman. Her installation piece was a large orb of wire and lace lit from within. The textures of the fabric and the contrast between the fiber and metal combined to make a tactile and delicate piece that I wanted to hold in my hand and just stare into.

I wanted to study all of the patterns on the tiny ovals of fabric that were hand-stitched into this piece. Very well-crafted.

17 September 2011

a study in stripes

I'm currently finishing up on two projects, both with stripes of vibrant color. One is a felted make-up bag the other is a soft cap for a newborn. Both are going to be gifts. The bag pattern comes from Melanie Falick's Weekend knitting: a stash bag designed by Leigh Radford.

The cap, which, if knit with size one needles and fingering weight yarn, seems to fit perfectly on a newborn baby's head is called Gooseberry cap from Suvi Simola.

The cap especially rewards one with a sense of instant gratification because it knits up so quickly. If you have lots of babies popping up in your life (which I do with all of my cousins) this is the gift to knit them using leftover yarn from your sock stash.

15 September 2011

knitting in the backyard

The season of fall feels like it's upon us, even though it's a week off on the calendar. I've started my final year of studies here at the School of Design, so my life right now is moving fast and I've had to snag moments to knit between classes, catching the train and falling into bed in the evenings.

The night before my first day of class Garrett and I opened a bottle of champagne and had a campfire in the back yard. I wandered around admiring the flowers in the garden and thinking about what I'll do with this space next year.

These ladies have been my favorites, probably because I've never planted them before. Their colors hint at the season to come and their blossoms have attracted several varieties of honeybees to our backyard. I have to be careful when I cut flowers for the house so that I don't take a fuzzy-buzzing stowaway into the house with me, because I don't know how I'd get the unintended guest back outside without injury to either party.

Here's my "wall" of flowers between our yard and the next. It's made up of sunflowers, giant zinnias, borage, cleome and dahlias.

Frost warnings are already out for our area, so I'm going to have to say goodbye to these blossoms soon.

09 September 2011

september flowers

Some of my mother's zinnias in a tiny rocking chair that she had when she was a child. Very sweet.

05 September 2011

apples + cinnamon

I spent the weekend at my mom and dad's where thousands of apples are ripening on their apple trees. My dad tied beer cans with a mixture of beer and molasses in them to the tree branches this past spring and the result: no worms!

My sister and I walked down to the tiny orchard at the end of their garden in our colorful skirts and picked apples in the sunshine on Saturday afternoon. We then carried the buckets up to the kitchen and started the process of peeling, chopping, simmering and seasoning that would result in a winter's worth of applesauce.

I only managed a few rounds of knitting this weekend, the rest of the time I was either up to my elbows in applesauce or tomatoes. My grandmother was over for most of the weekend helping us. We made an apple pie on Saturday evening. One person rolled out the dough, another peeled and cut the apples and yet another mixed the seasoning for the pie.

No one wanted to roll out the top crust. Finally grandma took over and rolled out what was left of the dough. She said it didn't need to be pretty, it just needed to fit on a day like today when we were all exhausted from working in the kitchen.

The results were delicious.

02 September 2011

flowers on friday

Here's what's blooming in the garden today: dahlias, zinnias and asters.

31 August 2011

knitting by the calendar

I usually don't fret too much about a project. Most of my endeavors are open-ended. I start something and know it will get finished when I get around to it. These mittens don't have to be done until the snow flies, but they've been taking a fair amount of time.

It's hard to imagine cold weather when we're about to be hit with another round of heat here in the Midwest.

Soon enough it will be below zero and I'll wish I had the thumbs knitted on these.

30 August 2011

she can grow carrots

I think any gardener would agree that the month of August brings highs and lows. The lows: the weeds have taken over, the tomato plants are toppling over, the corn only got knee high, the cilantro has gone to seed.

The highs: tomatoes are coming in at around ten pounds a day, the squash survived the squash borer (and is now clinging to the fence between our property and the next), the sunflowers are blooming and the carrots are finally ready to be pulled.

Each morning I step out in the back yard and at first I panic, but then I celebrate. A lot went (and is continuously going) wrong here. But so much is going right.

After last year I didn't think I could grow carrots. Last year's lot were small and puny, but some of this year's actually look respectable. (Like I wouldn't be scoffed at if I had a stand at the farmers' market respectable.)

But I won't be setting up a stand there any time soon. This garden is just for me and mine. A visit there yesterday afternoon provided most of the ingredients needed for a beef and barley stew. It came out fantastic and if you're looking to try it out here's a link.

20 August 2011

late summer knitting

It's been awhile since I posted a blog about something I'm working on. These mittens are my current project and I have to say they are taking quite a bit of effort. The needles are tiny, I have to read a chart to knit the pattern and progress has been slow.

The results are stunning, so I guess I'll keep knitting.

At this point I'm just past the thumb and it feels like I'm at the home stretch . . . for this first mitten at least.

News from the kitchen: I've been making the same cabbage salad over and over. I just can't get enough of it. This past winter I was hooked on a chinese cabbage salad (with the toasted ramen noodles and the sesame seeds) this one is just as good, but with a fresh twist on the ingredients for summer.

It calls for green onions, cilantro, beets and sugar peas. Here's a link to the recipe.

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon here. I'm going to go and work in the garden. There are tomato plants that need stabilizing, weeds to pull and flowers to pick.

Here's what's gracing our kitchen table at the moment.

15 August 2011

flowers for a bride

These past two weeks I've been so busy I haven't had time to write about what's been going on around here. My cousin Ashley got married at the end of the July and everyone in the family pitched in a hand to help.

My sister and I did the flowers for the ceremony.

The special thing about this bouquet is the embroidered handkerchief that our grandma gave her. It's monogrammed with the letter "K", which corresponds with the bride's maiden name.

We also did up some corsages and boutonnieres for the event. The bride's colors were all shades of purple. We hit a lot of them with this flower selection.

What a beautiful, wonderful event.

25 July 2011

soon there will be mountains

The first tomatoes from the garden. All of my plants are loaded with fruit. I guess I'd better figure out how I'm going to process all of this produce. I want to stew some tomatoes and can some salsa.

What was blooming in the garden on Sunday: hot papaya cone flowers, daisies and some purple spikes that I'm not sure of the name of that were leaning over from the neighbor's side of the fence.

I made a cheesecake yesterday, but I over-cooked it. I was out working in the garden and discovered that my one and only squash plant had a squash plant borer (I will spare you the image in this post) and I had to perform "surgery" to get the bug out of the inside of my squash vine.

So . . . the dessert came out a bit brown, but there was also something more that was "off" with it. I think the graham crackers that I used for the crust had lost their flavor. I guess that's what I get for scrounging around in the cupboard for my ingredients.

Next time I bake a cheesecake, I'll really take care.

20 July 2011

trying to stay cool

Surviving a heat wave with no air conditioning is a challenge. Just sitting on my sofa causes me to break into a full body sweat. It's hard to be motivated to do anything - except stand in front of the open fridge.

At least the pictures on it are good.

14 July 2011

rainy days are for blogging about the garden



grapette daylily.

canna lily leaf.

tomatoes are towering.

willow tomato cages.

urban raspberry patch next door.

nifty attachment for picking berries
(you wear it around your neck.)

the funniest book I've read in quite awhile.
Home to Woefield, by Susan Juby

hillbilly harvest hand spun
(that's the name of this colorway.)

before I spun it.

when I dyed it.
now . . . what will I make out of it?
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