FIRE: 1. Caliente Weft-Faced, 2. Red Lentils, 3. Star Still Life, 4. Cardigan-Bodice Detail, EARTH: 5. Seedlings Overnight, 6. Inca Earth Mitts, 7. Color Pencils – Green and Brown, 8. Cork Trivet, AIR: 9. Pebbles for PS, 10. Pubnico Wind Farm, 11. If you want a good FO photo…, 12. Pintuck Tank, WATER: 13. Moldova: Sideview, 14. Blue Dragonfly, 15. Slip Stitch + Pin, 16. Passion Flowers —
Looking over my photos from this Project Spectrum cycle, I realize that the one element that I thought would be the most difficult for me (AIR with white, gray, and yellow) was actually the one that I enjoyed the most. I was greatly inspired by my lovely surrounding in Nova Scotia, and the elements (earth and air) inspired me to actually write up my first knit designs for the Lichen Cowl and the Sherbrooke Cowl.
So, as we draw this third cycle of Project Spectrum to a close, would you be so kind as to leave me with some feedback? I would love to know what you thought of this round, and what you would like to see in the future. Please feel free to leave comments here with suggestions or ideas. I have posted the same questions on the Project Spectrum Ravelry group. There is no pressure to answer them all, but I greatly welcome any feedback. You can email me too!
As always, I want to thank you for being a part of Project Spectrum! It brings me so much happiness and inspiration to see your creations~~]]>
I want to give Moldova the benefit of a doubt: is it really that bad? The way the author describes it, it sure sounds like the nation has had a rocky time since the Collapse. I guess that is one of the main reasons that the people at Peace Fleece yarns wanted to reach out to Moldova – naming one of their lovely yarns after the country. “Warm Wool from a Cold War” it says right on the label.
So, it is because of the yarn name that I call this coat “Moldova”, not because I am unhappy with it.
Pattern: Crotona from Berroco #281 (pamphlet)
Yarn: Peace Fleece Worsted in Moldova Burgundy
Source: Maryland Sheep and Wool, 2007
Needles: Size US 6 and US 9
I made a few modifications on this coat; the most obvious being a cropped version. Mine skims the hips while the model version goes to the knee. I probably had enough yarn to do the longer version, but the longer it was, the less likely I was to wear it… so, I cut off about 9 inches of seed stitch.
In order to do this, I started with less stitches – if my memory serves me, it was about 40 less, and I cut out 3 sets of decreases. The coat still has a flare to it at the bottom, and it suits me fine this way.
Instead of knitting the coat piece by piece, I cast on the full number of stitches for the back and the left and right panels. With markers at the sides to indicate where to decrease, I worked the garment back and forth. It seemed to save a lot of time, but most importantly, it saved me the seaming headache! Once I got to the armhole decreases up top, I then put the panels on waste yarn and worked each piece separately. The sleeves are short, and only took a few hours to knit. Once they were complete, I was able to sew the raglan seams and attach at the underarm. In the end, I picked up stitches around the neckline and worked 8 rows of stockinette in a smaller needle. This gathered the top, and created the little roll. I did the same for the sleeves. Very simple construction!
Once I put it on, I could tell that it was a little bigger than I would have liked – it’s not a dealbreaker per se, but if I were to do it again, I would have chosen the smaller size or played around with needle size to get a smaller gauge. I chose the 40″ because it is a coat and ideally, I would wear things underneath. However, the seed stitch stretches quite a bit.
Considering the wool, it is not as heavy as I would have thought. It is comfortable to wear. The only challenge is finding clothes to wear with it, specifically tops. The scoop neckline is lovely, but it seems disruptive to wear a top with a higher neckline. V-necks are out. So, that leave more scoop necks or camisoles, like I am wearing here. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to plan how to wear it.
Up until the last minute, I had my mind made up on the wooden buttons I picked up in California.
I thought that they would be a perfect complement. THEN, I remembered the beautiful antler buttons from Nova Scotia… and once I put them alongside the seed stitch and the yarn color, I liked that combination even better. I attached the buttons and made small crochet loops for the button holes. I have to say, my crochet is getting better! The button placement was a little difficult. I didn’t want the garment to pull across the bust too much. I settled on this, and it is satisfactory, although I am not exactly thrilled about how it looks.
So, I am considering how to “shrink” the coat a little bit. Should I take in some of the seams inside to create more of an hourglass shape? should I throw it in some hot water and ever-so-slightly felt it? (I don’t want to lose seed stitch definition!) or should I just leave it alone all together and wear it as is? Any ideas you have would be very welcome!
Even if I do nothing to it, I will wear it. As autumn creeps up – the crisp breeze this morning! – it seems like a perfect addition to the wardrobe.
I must admit, I was completely shocked by the number of comments on yesterday’s post! Thank you for your overwhelming response! Because of the response, I decided that one prize was really not enough… and truthfully, two prizes isn’t either, but that is what I offer. I have a hank of Peace Fleece from this coat that I would love to give away too. Hopefully the winner will like working with it as much as I did – it will be perfect for winter accessories or for felting.
Winner #1 (Malabrigo and River John DPNs) is Wendy at Musings from a Knucklehead
Winner #2 (Peace Fleece hank in Moldova Burgundy) is Rachel at RachelKnits
If you are a winner, please email me with your address!
As things often come to pass, one of our best garden successes this season has been the eggplant. When we pick one (or three!) they are almost instantly replaced. Because of this glut of eggplants, we have had to get creative with recipes. We were adding them to kabobs on the grill, dicing them into chili – basically places where it took on the flavor of the things around them.
With the advice of Jenna, I decided to try an eggplant dish at one of our favorite Indian places. And SURPRISE! I really liked it! In true form, when we like something, we try to recreate it at home. So, while I was in San Francisco last week, Kris perfected a Baingain Bharta recipe and modified it a bit to fit in with my diet (vegan with no sugars and gluten – in this case, it was as simple as subbing silken tofu for the yogurt). So delicious and highly recommended!
…and the eggplants continue to grow at a rapid pace. Today, we tried our hand at Baba Ghanoush. Yep, we will definitely be making this one again!
- 1 large eggplant / 2 medium
- 1/4 cup tahini, more as needed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice, more as needed
- 1 pinch ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup brine-cured olives, such as kalamata
It is simple to prepare the eggplants on a grill or in the oven. With respect to time, we decided to use the broiler. We placed 2 medium eggplants (with skins) on a baking sheet and put them in the broiler. We turned them over after 5-6 minutes, and again after another 5-6 minutes and punctured their skin to test the softness. Continue to turn until eggplant can easily be punctured and/or mashed with a fork.
Prepare a small bowl of tepid water and put eggplant directly from oven into the bowl (enough water to submerge fruit). Wait for 1-2 minutes, cut off the stem, and the purple/black skin should easily strip away. Once you have removed the skin, cut into medium slices and place in blender. (If you prefer a thicker consistency, you can also mash the eggplant with a fork.) Blend on low speed for 10 seconds and check consistency. You can decide how creamy or thick you would like it. If blender needs liquid to churn properly, you can add the lemon juice and/or olive oil.
Scoop mixture into a mixing bowl and add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and minced garlic. Mix well and season with salt to taste. If garlic is overwhelming, you can add more lemon or tahini to tone it down. Transfer to a serving dish and smooth with the back of a spoon. Add olives and parsley as garnish, and drizzle with olive oil. Serves 6 to 8.
*Adapted and modified from this Baba Ghanoush recipe
Kris took most of the dip to a football party at his brother’s house, but he left some for me to eat too – it was so delicious on top of the fresh garden salad. Eggplant, cucumber, and tomatoes all from my own backyard!
So, yes, I think I have finally come around to eggplants]]>
I chose the lovely purple/red Peace Fleece that I got at the festival in 2007. (The colorway is “Moldova Burgundy”, and while it does have a burgundy cast to it, I see it more as purple – perhaps it is more red in the sun?) For the pattern, I chose the Crotona Coat, from the Berroco #281 collection.
I really like the asymmetry of this piece. I haven’t picked up the buttons yet, which are a key element of the garment for me. My heart is kind of set on wooden buttons to make this a more “rustic” piece. It would sort of match the heathery wool…
I give you about 9 inches of seed stitch – knit exclusively this week during my Olympic viewing. (Yes, I have been watching a lot of Olympic coverage…) I decided to make the coat shorter than the pattern – probably skimming the hips. I adjusted some of the pattern to work with this, but I think I may have a slightly more flared edition. To avoid seaming seed stitch later, I am knitting the front panels and the back in one piece – 200+ stitches for the 40″ size. Surprisingly, the seed stitch is going along quite well, and I haven’t felt that it is a slog at all. In fact, it is quite relaxing – the rhythm of the stitches in and out.
…Now back to the Olympics and to endless seed stitch!
Cruelest Journey: Six Hundred Miles To Timbuktu by Kira Salak
Following in the footsteps of Scottish explorer Mungo Park, who traversed the land and the river in the eighteenth century, Salak sets out to kayak down the Niger River in the west African country of Mali. Unlike Park’s ill-fated -and ultimately fatal- journey, Salak makes it to Timbuktu, the ancient “city of gold” right below the Saharan desert. Her journey was funded by the National Geographic Society, and she often runs into the hired photographer who is documenting her travels at stops along the river. (His photographs of Salak’s journey can be seen on her website) She sets out from Old Segou with only a few vocabulary words of local tribal languages and a working knowledge of French. She has her inflatable red canoe, and a backpack of supplies.
Salak’s writing style is very engaging – her strength and her fortitude come across in her writing, though never with a tone of arrogance. Each trial or trouble she encounters (and they are many: ripping a bicep muscle on the first day, hostile tribes, hippopatomi, dysentery) is documented clearly and unbiased. Any other person would have called it quits – but Salak finds courage and prevails in all of the circumstances.
(My review continues on my Good Reads page…)
Salak is coming to the National Geographic Society next month, and I am planning to see her speak. She has definitely had some amazing adventures in many remote and “dangerous” parts of the world – all the more notable as she goes to these places by herself. Her newest book is her first work of fiction, The White Mary, and I already have it on hold at the library.
I wanted to read Salak’s account of the Niger River expedition during the Project Spectrum Water month to see and understand the power of this river. While the river was a large “character” in the book, I felt that Salak could have talked much more about it. She describes aspects of the river, but really only how they relate to her – when her kayak overturns and she must dredge through the river gathering her belongings, etc. I would have loved more explanation about the river and the ecology itself…
Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures
by Wade Davis
Due to the dimensions of this book, many would simply think of it as a coffee table photography book. While the photos are quite stunning, all captured by Davis himself over the last 25 years in the field, it is the text that is the real gem. Davis currently researches as a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, but his career has led him to very remote areas of the world to learn about the distinct “ethnosphere”, and the modern phenomenon of these vanishing cultures. With amazing detail, gathered first-hand and through interviews, he discusses his research in British Columbia, the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, the Amazon basin (Peru, Brazil, Ecuador), lowland Orinoco settlements in Venezuela and Colombia, Haiti, Malaysia, Kenya, Tibet, Australia, and Nunavut (among others with less detail). He notes that great effort has been put towards protecting biodiversity, while cultural diversity, as well as language is being lost everyday. With nods to many of the great anthropologists and scientists of the 19th and 20th century, he recognizes that modern nations can enrich themselves by accepting and encouraging the inherent diversity, “not as failed attempts at modernity”, but as new opportunities to see the human experience in full color.
I have had the great opportunity to see Dr. Davis speak twice at the National Geographic Society, both times sharing stories and his research in Peru. His insights have enriched my own travels, and reading this book made me long for Peru even more! We were there nearly a year ago (as you may recall…) and I do plan to go again very soon. I think the country has a way of calling you back to experience more. It was in this amazing book that I found one of my favorite quotes – one that any fiber enthusiast can love. Davis is describing the mythology of the Andean peoples…“The surface of the Earth itself is an immense loom upon which the sun weaves the fabric of existence.”
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
I made my way through this book slowly, and I am glad I did, because each short story felt like it needed reflection time. The stories weren’t what you would call “uppers” as many had sad/melancholy themes. Like Lahiri’s other works [Interpreter of Maladies & The Namesake] the protagonists of the stories are usually second-generation (sometimes first-generation) Bengali immigrants to the US. Many of her stories in this book focus on Bengalis that settle in the Boston/Cambridge area of Massachusetts. In an interesting twist, Lahiri uses a white male as the protagonist in one of the stories, telling about his attraction and need to protect his Bengali housemate from heartbreak.
The last trilogy of tales entitled “Hema and Kaushik” was the stand-out story of the book, weaving together a tale spanning thirty years of loss, love, and tragedy. Lahiri uses real world events to add depth to the characters. A very moving book – I give it 4.5 stars.
I often measure a good fiction book on my emotional response after reading it. It isn’t uncommon to hear me say, “Yes, it was amazing. It made me cry.” I feel that this response is one of the strongest things an author can do, however; whether it is crying or laughing hysterically, or feel some other emotion so deeply. When I pick up a book, I want to be “moved” in some way. I want to learn something about the world and something about myself. These books that bring on the emotions tend to do both.
Many many more of my book reviews over at Good Reads – there are a few recent reads that I have not talked about here, but if you are interested to see what I am up to, please check that page out. It is such a great tool (almost like a Ravelry for book, I dare say!)
For Project Spectrum ~Water~, I have several themed books lined up to read. If you are interested in doing the same, please feel free to share some titles over on this Ravelry thread…]]>
Water is a destination.
Lake Michigan, Illinois
Patapsco River, Maryland
Dead Sea, Israel
Weary and thirsty :: sore and tired
Tambomachay Incan Baths, Peru
Silver Spring, Maryland
Teeming with life :: Providing life
Young fisherman – Amazon River, Peru
Endlers in our backyard pond
Destruction :: creation
Water holds great power.
Volcanic islands – Oahu, Hawaii
Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia
I have been looking forward to this element almost more than any other. I have plans for several fiber projects, both knitting and weaving. I have searched my shelves for water-themed readings. I am planning to explore more nature writing with this element. I am also thinking about the sources of water around me, and the growing politics and culture of this resource; consciously noticing how I use it on a daily basis.
Think about water. Think about the deep hues. Think outside of the box.
Project Spectrum on Ravelry :: Project Spectrum on Flickr
What are you planning for the ~water~ element?
May the 8 weeks of Project Spectrum Water flow by like a lazy brook, rather than rushing rapids!
Pattern: Pintuck Tee [rav link]
Yarn: Schulana Sojabama (bamboo/soy blend)
Source: The Loop in Halifax, NS
Needles: Size US 3 / 3.25mm
You may recall that I purchased this yarn in Nova Scotia. Mimi made a beautiful Wyvern Wrap [rav] out of it, and when I talked to her at the shop in Halifax, I decided to take the plunge and try the 55/45 bamboo soy blend. This pattern had recently come to my attention on Ravelry, and right there in the shop, we did the math, and I walked out with 7 balls of yarn specifically for this project. Beautiful gray with blue and purple flecks. I should have picked up another ball (hindsight is 20/20, don’t you know) so that I could have added sleeves. Honestly, I don’t wear too many tanks because… well, I don’t like my arms. But, this one will get worn. Maybe with a shrug on some occasions
Other than the sleeve, I also omitted the buttons on the little “bib” portion, favoring the open neckline more.
[More photos of Pintuck here]
This pattern was well-written, and the designer, Lien Ngo, incorporates some great techniques to keep the shaping and inserts interesting. I really liked the short rows; they provided a crisp look on the armholes and neckline.
I have a feeling that the yarn is going to grow – I have heard that about bamboo and soy yarns. That is why I chose the 37″ size, hoping that it would relax a little with wear. I think it may get a little longer too. Have you had this experience with these fibers?
It is nice to have such a timely knit – it is soft and cool to the touch and will be perfect for the hot summer days.]]>
Beautiful Cotswold handspun singles – from Sunrise Mercantile in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.
I couldn’t believe that they were on the clearance shelf.
Just looking at these things makes me think of airy lace and summery wraps – both knit and woven.
…and one of the other amazing souvenirs from Nova Scotia…
Moose shed their antlers naturally at certain time of the year. This artisan collects the antlers and turned them in to beautiful buttons!
(Click here to see all of the lovely yarns that I picked up in Nova Scotia)]]>
So, it truly was a bake night. Three batches – six loaves.
First batch (above): Almond/Raisin/Flaxseed
Second: Lemon (low poppyseed count, we were running out!)
Smelling so sweet. And they all turned out quite delicious. I took the second batch into work, and I came back to a completely empty plate (not even a crumb!) so, it must have been a hit (well, that, or those people will eat anything!) The beauty of it? I have more starters on top of my fridge – two are spoken for, but that leaves me with two still! Need to get creative and come up with some other flavours (maybe one of the garden zucchinis will be ready by then? or a carrot?) Ideas?
We have been enjoying the first greens from the garden and the fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmers’ market. Meals around here have been both delicious (if I say so myself) and quite colorful too!
Stuffed pepper (bulgur + carrots) and greens from the garden
Freshly squeezed cherry lemonade
My own variation of rajma and fresh naan
…and while things are simmering or baking in the oven, I can manage to get a few rows completed on a knitting project. My newest project on the needles? The Silk Garden socks – I am absolutely loving this colorway.
The bamboo/soy blend is going to be perfect for this summer tee. I am thinking about modifying the sleeves on this one, but it all depends on how much yarn I have left. The yarn appears to be a great gray, but if you look a little closer in natural light, it is actually quite multi-tonal: lavender, blue, and maybe a little pink too. Quite lovely.
(beaded stitch marker compliments of dear Coleen)
It’s a small gauge knit in the round – worked on size 3 needles with hundreds of stitches per round. Perfect kind of knitting for lazy days at the beach ~ well, at the beach house, as I only venture to the actual beach after the sun sets and there is smaller risk of my skin turning red
Every year, we head over to Assateague Island to see the wild ponies.
This year, we had a pretty close encounter.