What I did on My Summer Vacation

The several hundred photos I took over the summer bear out my impression we had a really great time! I'll go on about some of our adventures eventually, but today, I'll stick to knitting!

The end of June saw the conclusion of 6 months of knitting monogamy. "Elmont" and I needed some time apart. I needed some knitting fun and I managed to find quite a bit of it.

Hands down, most fun, is the project pictured below - the start of a BT "Slade" cardigan designed by Michelle Wang that I am making for My Beloved. I ordered some untreated Blue Faced Leicester from Georgian Bay Fibre in this inky colourway "Grondine Swell". 

'Much, much more to say about this later. I couldn't be happier with this one.

These are Briggs and Little "Tuffy" intended for dog walking mittens for me this coming winter. In high contrast to the purchase of the sweater yarn above, 'minimal in expense and consideration. 'Bought on a whim! Current plan - make a pair of these.

The skeins are sitting on my new mini blocking board. I can't imagine why it took me so long to put one of these together for blocking swatches without pulling a huge blocking board out for a 6" square!

The handsome fella pictured below is hemp and many hours over the summer saw me knitting then ripping then reknitting this stuff (and a slew of other lightweight cotton remnants often held triple just to keep up) on 15 mm wooden needles. I wanted the whole works to become a bag of some description and slowly but surely I am getting there.

While the summer yarn remnants sat about the cottage awaiting inclusion in the Big Bag project I was inspired one day to stitch a couple of hostess gifts to accompany locally made soap.

First a little wash cloth in soft, summery, bleached green garter stripes.

Then a rough and tough, monogrammed loofah envelope in garter stitched jute twine.

And I also knit up an FO! Another spontaneous undertaking, its "Quick Sand" by Heidi Kirrmaier in Berocco Maya's "Aqua" colourway. (Despite the reflected rosy glow in the photo below, its a cool watery blue chainette cotton with 15% alpaca.)

This became a real go-to piece to keep the sun off bare arms in the heat or the chill away on cool evenings. Several great modelled shots of it are currently "trapped" in a tablet and zipped in an email to myself from said tablet so more on this one later for sure.

I hope you had a great summer too and I hope you are as keen about the Autumn knitting season ahead as I am!

Happy September!


Mustn't/Must Mantra

I have a lot of diverse projects on the go.

I started drafting this post with a list of those things and honestly my heart started to race with anxiety at the enormity of it so obviously I mustn't focus on barriers, or on the dim prospects of finishing anything...
I mustn't. I mustn't. I mustn't.

No I need to just take one little piece at a time and move some part of any of it forward every day and then give myself credit for doing so.

I must. I must. I must.

'Must start by recognizing successful completions ('Mustn't think how each of these was on its way to being a blog post in real time - mustn't, mustn't, mustn't)...

I organized/hosted/cleaned up after a spring-time get together for my group of friends known as "The Coffee Ladies"...

(I was originally aiming to make this an "Autumn" then "Christmas" then "Winter" get together - obviously missed those targets but I got it done before the end of the school year. Go Me!)

A couple of family dinners were also "produced" including a celebration for My Beloved's Birthday with a cake that demanded the full brunt of my baking experience and resulted in quite possibly the most amazing fire-bearing cake ever "sung" into our dining room.

This thing was a magical combination of eggs, sugar, chocolate, butter and air served beneath a wash of kir-laced, warm, fresh cherry sauce and topped with softly whipped cream. There've been fancier looking, iced cakes around here but nothing more magically delicious and delectable. Beating and baking to just the right moment were uber tricky with this one (As ever its a Martha recipe if you want to try it for yourself !)

I've also been making the effort/taking the time to dig out/integrate things I love from storage and put them to use rather than just racing to cross finish lines with what's handy. Like these awesome ceramic berry baskets my sister gave me a few years ago...

The gorgeous table cloth that reminds me of a wonderful trip My Beloved and I took to Paris...

Assembling colour blocked stacks of well worn vintage and current cook books...

"Styling" these (and other) open kitchen shelves with colour rather than the all-white look I've used the past couple of summers...

I also put myself and attending outfits together for two successful business dinners in two nights last weekend.  The first "black tie" whereof I had less than 24 hours notice and the second that demanded creative purchasing and wrapping of a gift of wine for a young engaged couple (aka the boss's son and his fiance).

We adopted a "Candle Light and Wine" theme using an oversized vase as a "champagne bucket - style holder for the wine and tucked in a big round cande with jars of decorative gravel to put beneath it.
Added wood burned tags we made

And  a card using one of my photographs
All presented in a seasonally-appropriate beachy basket at the pool-side party near the lake.
This was super fun to do, especially since My Beloved worked on it with me and possibly also because we had some Sauvignon Blanc in frosty wine glasses as we "worked". No doubt it helped to fully release our creative energy resulting in something I was happy to see on the gift table.

We got a replacement for the outdoor porch carpet after a hot lawn mower burned a series of holes into the previous one. Lack of a new rug had been delaying the porch up set up for the summer, moving the indoor plants outside to their summer homes bla, bla, bla...its done now though!

I also need to acknowledge that last week's Peony parade  did not remain an idea in my head but actually happened and has been filling the house with the most heavenly scent for nigh on two weeks. Despite peony-knocking rains every couple of days I also continue to successfully manage the "show" both inside and out for the first time ever.

Intellectual "progress" on my attempt to build a Gallery Wall as part of my Living Room upgrades. In other words through much trial and error I am starting to get an idea of what it will take to do this successfully. This is soooooo much more difficult than I had imagined.

(Just realizing how far I've come on this as I compare this photo of the assembly from a couple of weeks ago to what's spread out on the floor this morning!)
So there are successes and progress. I must use it to spur me on to find, somewhere in this knitter's brain, affection for this knit...

I must. I must. I must. There is no reason I shouldn't. It is on gauge, on plan and has already seen many, many hours of effort.

I've also wet blocked the first sleeve as well as the body which is finished to the underarms. So I'm certain of the ultimate size and shape. The thing is, I have a feeling the sleeve could use more ease. It does fit and it is knit to gauge and my original plan so I'm hesitant to rip it out for the sake of a minimal possible improvement.

Resenting that its not done already is only further delaying its completion, turning it into a barrier to planning and getting excited about the summer knitting ahead rather than the gratifying and enjoyable project it should be right now.

Unable to make up my mind as to what to do and distracted by a billionty other things (see above) I've been dealing with the question by not dealing with the question.

I must move on this! I must I must I must!

 'Have to say writing this mantra down is adding clarity and energy and releasing the blocking anxiety already.Thanks so much for dropping by - 'feels like this little "chat" has been a big help!