The adventures of a knitting grandmother

My Photo
Location: United States

She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

September 007

September has always brought with it a sense of harvest, of gathering in. It is the beginning of fall, which is my favorite season. I didn't take the name Pumpkinknitter for this blog for any other reason. Although I love my home in Arizona, this is the time of year when I start to become homesick for autumn in Michigan and any other place where the leaves change color and the air becomes crisp and cold. But even here in the high desert I can set an autumn table for a family Sunday dinner later this evening.

It's time to bring in all the peppers off the two no-longer-little pepper plants. What shall I make with these beauties? Chillis rellenos comes to mind, a casserole with peppers, eggs, milk and cheese, served with red enchilada sauce.

The end of summer and September has always been county and state fair time. The Arizona State Fair is always in October; our county fair in September. This is the first year in a while that I have sat out the fairs; there just isn't the time this year with every thing else on my plate to participate.

Many years ago, competition among the Detroit ladies for ribbons in the home arts was overwhelming. I can remember as a child being fascinated and impressed by the amount of work done by the ladies entering the Michigan State Fair. There were dozens and dozens of entries in those days, and the work was superb. There was a time when the home arts seemed to fall into disfavor. I've watched the number of entries dwindle at the county fair over the last few years, especially among the junior entries. It's a shame, really. But there is hope that someday the home arts will regain their proper place in the world. Certainly knitters are doing their best!

At any rate, my fascination as a child with what I saw at the Fair certainly played it's part in spurring me on to improve my home arts skills. I wanted to be one of the ladies whose needlework and bread and cookies consistently won the top prizes. So I kept trying, and kept entering. I won my first ribbons at age seventeen in the junior divisions; I won my first adult blue ribbons a few years later. Nowadays I enter, not only knitting and needlework, but baking and food preserving, herbs and pears, vegetables and flowers. My ribbon collection is now over a hundred ribbons, most of them for some form of needlework.

My goals for the future? To keep entering competitions, and to continue to raise the level of my skills higher and higher.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two Gray Socks

I've been working on the second Welsh Country Stocking. Progress is slow. The yarn, Schoeller-Esslinger Hit, which is sport weight, knits up very firm in this stocking. The firmness is good, but it's hard on the hands and wrists. So, despite the fact that I really want to get these finished, I'm being forced to take my time and not do any more than a dozen rounds a day.

The new pair of socks is Ann Budd's On-Your-Toes Socks from IK Summer 2007. I am making these with the gray/black Regia Spirit Color that Maria gave me for Christmas. These are my first toe up socks and I found the Eastern cast-on to be a real nightmare. I kept trying and trying, but each time ended up totally knotted up and twisted every which way. I searched Google and anything else I could think of for tutorials. The same results, knotted up and twisted and ripped out. I was at rope's end. And then, staring at it again for the umpteenth time, the stitches suddenly made perfect sense. Once more I ripped out and started over, and this time it worked beautifully. And I'm in love with toe up socks.

I've found a new use for Ravelry. Now when I am surfing yarns and patterns, I hit the queue button when I see something I like. Then when I want to find it again later, I will only have to scroll through the queue until I see it. No more racking my brains trying to remember a few months later where I saw something! So my queue will probably be larger than I will ever manage in this lifetime, but at least I'll know where to find everything!

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 21, 2007

House in the Flowers

It's time once again for Friday's Flowers.

The marigolds are blooming with autumn colors.

The oregano is blooming and perhaps I will let it go to seed.

The lantana bush is also decorated in autumn colors. The butterflies and hummingbirds love this bush.

The pyracantha berries are still green. Soon they will begin to turn orange and red. The brown thrashers love these.
Look, a very ripe pepper is hiding beneath all the green foliage.
The Brick House Monkey Socks are finished!
Perhaps I should have called them the Marigold Monkey Socks.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Walk With Me Wednesday

Brought to you a day early. As someone once said, it's now or never.

Fall arrived on Monday. How do I know? It's hard to say. On Sunday we had some heavy thunderstorms, not too unusual in September. On Monday morning I was hanging out the wash, when I felt that something had changed. The breeze did not have the same heat to it. The sky was a lighter shade of blue. The clouds were puffy and the shadows were different. How does one know? One simply feels it in the bone. Fall is here.

How can I explain how suddenly the shadows and the light are different? Yes, the sun is further south in the sky, but it's more than that. The quality of the light changes, somehow. And the seed pods are rattling in the mimosa trees. That is certainly a sound of autumn winds.
There is no time to waste now. If anything, this is my favorite time of year. Time to break out the pumpkins and the gourds.

On Tuesday morning I had some business across the valley. It was a beautiful drive. Clear and sunny, the mountains still green. The grasses growing tall in the valley remind one that this used to be prime grazing land for cattle, and still is in some places. The grass was still green, but beginning to take on that soft gray green haze that precedes the brown of winter. I wish I had brought the camera with me. When my business was concluded, I stopped in at a small organic/natural foods store that I had never been in before. Of course I could not resist getting some of the local produce!
Best of all is coming home and sitting on the porch, watching the clouds and the shadows, listening to the seed pods rattle, and knitting something with wonderful fall colors.
And now that it has gotten cooler, Buddy and I will be able to take some much longer walks than we have been lately!

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 16, 2007


It's been a busy week. Nana has come home from the care center. There has been much traveling to pharmacies, medical supply stores, and the grocery. Furniture has been significantly rearranged. There are discharge instructions and physical therapy routines. But she is considered to be in good shape and totally ready to resume normal activities.

The busy week fortunately did not extend to the office. It was quite slow this week; probably a good thing as everything else was somewhat demanding. I got a good bit done on the Brick House socks while trying not to fall asleep at my desk. The stripe pattern in the KnitPicks Felici yarn is matching up rather nicely so far. (This picture was taken between massive thunderstorms today.)

There have been library acquisitions. I read through all of these at work this past week. (As I said, it was slow. Mind-numbingly slow. I imagine that it will turn around soon and become impossibly busy soon.) I'm beginning to grasp the principles of construction that EZ used. And it makes perfect sense, especially the percentage system for sweaters. Amazing.

And there was sock yarn acquisition as well. This is all Wildfoote sock yarn. I want to knit some solid color socks with intricate patterning as well as some multiple color socks, Folk Socks style. But I'm making myself wait until I've finished up the Welsh Country Stockings.

In between knitting and reading some fall housecleaning is going on. Amazing what stuff accumulates in the back of the kitchen cupboards. And no, I don't keep any yarn there. But I could with the space I've cleared out so far. Hmmmmm.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

O'er the Land of the Free

Friday, September 07, 2007

Much Clouds

What does a hurricane in Arizona look like?

Much clouds.

Little rain.

Knitting on the Brick House sock continues, a few rows at a time. Now I am spending time waiting for labs, med techs, etc., window shopping in yarn catalogues. This could be a mistake. Now I am thinking that I'm gearing up for a major stash enhancement. Some solid color sock yarn for lace and cable pattern socks. Some organic cotton for baby things. Some Noro Silk Garden. What am I saying? LOTS of Noro Silk Garden. For scarves. For -- let's be honest -- a Lady Eleanor entrelac scarf (Scarf Style). We're talking major yarn investment here. I've been looking - again - at the projects in Ravelry. I want a Silk Garden Lady Eleanor. Maybe. In a bit. It's September, after all. I've got all the major school bills clamoring to be paid. Those of you with college students know exactly what I mean. I also know all you enablers out there. All of you were so encouraging of my leanings towards doing Thermal. I don't think there is any doubt now that I'm going to be ordering yarn for that soon. The rest? We'll see.

There may be much clouds around, but the local organic apple growers are still out at the farmer's markets. Some very crisp and tasty Mcintosh apples this week:

And what would Friday be without Friday's Flowers? They love the little sprinkles and showers that we are getting off and on.

Much clouds this week. To have two bright lights leave this world this week. Luciano Pavarotti -- I saw him in "The Daughter of the Regiment" many, many years ago. I think I was nineteen at the time. He was just becoming a household name at the time. He was electrifying. He has always been one of my favorite singers. And now Madeleine L'Engle. I think that I have more of her books than I do of any other single author. She has been one of my most favorite authors since childhood. In many ways her writings have been and will continue to be a guiding, illuminating light for me.

They don't make many like these two any more.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Keep Getting Lost

Lately I seem to be having trouble keeping my resolves together. I told myself that I was going to start posting more regularly, and here it's a week since I've done anything besides reading my bloglines. At least I've kept that up! But the energy to put a post together just seems to have been eluding me, no doubt due to the current stress issues.

I've been lax, as well, doing as much in the garden as I should. For a while there we were still getting some afternoon showers, but not for the last couple days. Can you see the rain falling in the picture? And the rainbow? Now I've had to be diligent about watering. But we expect to get some rain later in the week from the hurricanes in Mexico, which should help keep my garden blooming.
I've promised myself to be diligent about knitting and spinning as well. But I haven't touched the wheel or the spindle in over a week now, and I haven't actually done much this summer in the spinning department. The last couple days I've been neglecting the cherry leaf shawl in favor of some simple garter stitch with the Moderne Baby Blanket. And several more rows have gotten done on the Brick House socks while sitting in various medical offices. It may not be much knitting, but it certainly is necessary knitting!

With all the medical issues that have cropped up this summer, I've found myself really thinking about health issues. Things like taking care of myself with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep. And I can certainly use improvement in all those areas! But I've also been thinking about other aspects of health as well, such as spiritual health and other life issues such as giving myself permission to be more creative, to spend more time enjoying nature, to quit worrying about things that I can't change, and to let go of needless expectations. (Little Cat could possibly give me some pointers on some of these things!)

Anyways, I've been thinking about doing some sweater knitting. I haven't made myself a sweater in many years. So, being the good Raveler that I am, I checked out the pullover patterns to see what catches my eye. And to see how patterns look on real people! It seems that every time I go on Ravelry, I get lost for a good while just looking at what people are knitting with different yarns and patterns. So what jumped out at me? This. Fingering yarn and tiny needles. Am I nuts???

Labels: , , , ,