Steek

I have discovered the single most compelling reason to knit large, flat, multi-colored objects in the round and then cut them apart with scissors. It’s that right before you assault those thousands of precious stitches with sharpened steel you can make a comically adorable Shetland burrito.

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Seriously, I think these are my favorite work-in-progress photos ever. And do you want to know what I did next, soft in the head as the terminal cuteness had rendered me?

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First time using scissors. “I’m doing it, Mama! I’m doing it!” Two years, nine months, twenty-four days old and she cut a real steek. Bursting my buttons here.

If you don’t instantly recognize this pattern, it’s the inimitable Kate Davies again: Rams and Yowes. Katrin and I tag-teamed this one for our dear friend Martha’s baby Mateo, who will be arriving in the next few weeks. Actually, we had to gift it on the needles at the shower yesterday. We really should have read ahead to discover that the edging is self-faced and therefore twice as long as it looks. And a word to Americans queuing up this pattern: we ran really short of yarn. The three lightest colors all ran out during the edging; I think Katrin may have fudged it with the fourth as well, and that’s before we even got to the turning round to begin the facing, which repeats all the colors. So we’re something like 4,000 stitches short with each of the pale colors. I was baffled as to how other knitters were finishing the blanket with the recommended quantities of wool until I did some research and realized that Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift 2-Ply Jumper Weight DOES NOT EQUAL Jamieson’s Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, formerly known as Natural Shetland, which is apparently unavailable in the United States. They are both fingering weight, but Supreme is a 4-ply yarn and there’s also a difference of 63 yards in the put-up. So if you’re substituting Spindrift, buy extra!

Grow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew in the garden, such as it is: a bean tepee! A bean-cucumber tepee, to be exact. My friend Betsy once trellised some pumpkins; why not cucumbers, I thought? Nothing growing on the ground stands a chance against the gamboling dog, after all, and we do love cucumbers around here. (Hendrick’s gin and tonic with mine, thanks.) Ada and I did the planting together.

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“Kentucky Wonder” pole beans and “Muncher” cucumbers, to join the bush beans and carrots growing in pots. They’d probably like it if the sun decided to come out some week soon. And may fortune protect them from squirrels and snails. I have high hopes of a leafy bower with a tiny seat beneath for my girl to enjoy in a few months. My girl. She is growing tall of stature and of tale.

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“Mama, last weekend I had FIVE ARMS so I could hold a lot of bird feeders with toast inside and the chickadees came and ate it ALL UP and they flew up my shirt and their tickly feet was SO TICKLY!”

I like her so much.

 

 

Cut

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One of my goals for this summer is to make some strides as a seamstress. I’ve been practicing on my kids, turning out tiny trousers for both of them (love: Made by Rae Big Butt Baby Pants and Lotta Jansdotter’s absurdly simple but perfect baby pants from Simple Sewing for Baby) and a little hooded jacket for Jolyon. But moving up to garments for me, garments with actual shaping, feels like moving up to varsity. Woven fabric ┬áis so much less forgiving than knit fabric. But there’s only one way to get better. So I’m starting with the Wiksten Tova Top. Umpteen squillion people have made this blouse and an image search reveals that most of them look pretty great. I think the pattern is a good level of challenge for me right now. I’m going to take a stab at it in a voile, a lighter fabric than the quilting cotton I’ve mostly sewn with; if that turns out okay I’ll be ready to take the plunge and cut into the precious Liberty lawn to which I treated myself last summer. Any other quasi-beginners want to join me in a sew-along? Any seasoned pros want to offer words of wisdom?