Wild Violet Echo Flower

This morning I finally took the Echo Flower off the blocking wires.  Chris was a good sport and we tromped out in the snow for some photos.  Silk and wellies – that’s how we do it in the country.

This is the same pattern I used for Mom’s Pink Champagne shawl but this time with 7-stitch nupps (rhymes with soups) which are a standard stitch used in Estonian lace designs.  It’s similar to a bobble but much more fun.  Beads were placed on the odd (right side) row after the nupp was purled together on the (even side) row. The tricky part of executing the nupp is getting the stitch lose enough.  
Here’s the how-to on making a nupp.  It takes practice.  
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Knit into the stitch on your left needle without removing it from the needle, then yarn-over and knit into it again, then yarn-over and knit into it again. Usually I’ve seen this repeated until either seven or nine loops are created in the one stitch.  When you have the desired amount (7 in my case)  you move the stitch (which now is 7) onto the right needle just as you normally would.  When you finish your row and are purling back and come to the nupp you purl ALL of those 7 stitches as one.  
Like I said – keeping those loops lose makes all the difference in the world in purling them together.  Also your yarn choice plays an important factor. I’ve done nupps in an alpaca with heavy halo and it was wicked hard to purl.  Silk is a dream for making nupps as I discovered on this project.  
The yarn is one of my Lost City Silk yarns, about 450yds worth.  Seven repeats of the star flower chart, and seven stitch nupps.  Funny thing about this particular skein – it’s a one-off.  I tossed it into the dye pot  to soak up some excess dye after getting the color I wanted on some wool several months back.  It turned out very pretty I thought and so I had the skein for sale at several of our last fall shows.  No takers.  Go figure.  
An additional thank you to Paul for buying the hat for Chris in a slightly smaller size than his head.  
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
Echo Flower Shawl - wild violet silk
For anyone who would like to know more about the nupp, here is a YouTube clip of knitting historian Nancy Bush.  I also recommend her book Knitted Lace of Estonia, and the fantastic book Haapsalu Sall which has recently been translated from Estonian to English.  It’s a truly beautiful book.

The purity of white beckons me.

The purity of white beckons me.  I want to walk into the woods in solitude – deep into the forest, find a quiet shelter and sit.  Sit until Nature resumes.  Sit huddled in my coat and hat until the birds ignore me, the rabbits and maybe even the field mice accept me.  Sit until the voices in my mind settle and all I hear is the wind, the water, and the chatter of animals.  

For now though…

January snowstorm
January snowstorm
January snowstorm
January snowstorm

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Saying Thank You

We stayed up late last night – waiting for the doom.  One big crack from a nearby tree was all we heard.  Nothing like the constant bombardment of breaking limbs from previous ice storms.  I’m sure it’s not over yet but I thought I’d take the time today to offer thanks. 
Usually when I sit down to write a blog post I think one or two of my knitting or farmer buddies will read the post.  Maybe my parents.  With this as my general state of mind I was gobsmacked when I was told that my humble knitting blog has been nominated in the Okie Blog Awards this year.  I’m still a little shocked.  But a big thank you to Tasha Does Tulsa for this nomination!  I’m honored with the nomination and am grinning like a loon here in the Rabbit Hole. 
Since I’m assuming it’s in the Craft category – I’ll show you my knitting progress from last night.  You can get six rows and a bind off completed when you’re waiting for the next Ice Age to happen.
The Echo Flower Shawl – soaking before blocking.  Just a big puddle of purple huh?  Wait till you see how great it’s going to look!  Blocking is magic!
I also want to send a big thank you to my big sister.  She’s the daughter with the big house, extra bed, the generator, and Larry the Cable Guy on TV.  My parent’s power went out last night and they skedaddled over to Sis’s house for warmth and shelter.  My sister is a good daughter.  I’m the one with the little house, an extra couch, and The Real Dirt About Farmer John on Netflix.  I don’t think my folks would care for Farmer John.
However – if you are interested in a documentary about a kid growing up on a family farm in the mid-west who balances his quirky creative life and farming, loses the majority of the farm land in the 1980’s and then rebuilds it into one of the biggest CSA’s around  The Real Dirt About Farmer John might just be something you should Netflix. 
While we still have power and internet I’ll post this puppy then go out to de-ice and refill our feeders.  The jays, cardinals, and red breasted woodpeckers have bumped the titmice and chickadees away enough times to empty the feeders.  

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Tulsans –

  1. August: Osage County is the best thing I’ve ever seen at the PAC.  There are numerous reasons this play is winning awards and accolades.  
  2. Quoting Christopher – “Elote is the new Halim & Mimi’s“.  The puffy taco is great but the sweet corn tamales rock my world.
  3. Stay safe and warm.
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Impending Doom Preparedness

The weather forecast is calling for ice and snow.  Impending doom and gloom (for some – I kind of like this kind of weather myself) jump starts Okies into grocery store runs.  The shelves will be empty of bread, bottled water, and probably peanut butter by nightfall.  var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
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We have tickets tonight for August:Osage County at the PAC so all disaster preparation must be done today.  At breakfast Chris went so far as to make a list.  He even broke into columns, DP (disaster prep) and an titled electronic list.  I usually wing such things.
  • raised beds covered – check
  • buckets for toilet water filled – check
  • coolers for drinking water filled – check
  • wood moved from pile to porch – half check
  • move vehicles out into pasture away from trees – check
  • charge flashlight – check
  • distribute candles – 
  • bake ham – in the oven
  • ( I was vetoed when I tried to add bake cupcakes to this list)
  • photo yarn
  • photo patchouli soap
  • food coop producer notes 
  • add yarn & soap to food coop
Isn’t he organized?  These lists were for both of us but of course I had my own list.
  • print clue #4 of mystery shawl (people it’s a luna moth – I just know it!) – check
  • have Wild Violet Echo Flower shawl at the ready (only 6 rows to go)- check
  • set out both single socks that need mates knitted – check
  • wind Saffron Threads yarn for Trach B shawl (just in case all other projects get completed or bore me) – next thing to do
  • charge ipod – check
  • check ink cartridges for newly reclaimed fountain pen (found in a box of old journals and datebooks) – check
  • White Witch is almost 1/2 finished so line up next book to read (oh hell just pick one from the big stack)
And since last night I noticed my favorite funky socks have holes in both heels I’ll pull out another ball of Tempted sock yarn just in case.
Have I forgotten anything?
edited to add: wash hair – check, shave legs – check
I don’t know why but these seemed important
cupcakes were vetoed but I think I’ve got time to bake biscotti!

Mid-winter lavender

As I scooped malt-o-meal at breakfast I was writing a blog post about design problems with the Equinox Yoke Pullover.  It’s been simmering for days and needs to be composed in a clear manner.  But morning chores came first and when I took the no-longer-warm wood ash out to the lavender field I knew the sweater warning was going to be delayed.

Wood ash is alkaline and lavender prefers a high level of alkalinity opposed to acidity so we let our wood ash cool – completely– and spread it (that’s using the term very loosely) in the lavender field.  It’s organic – it’s sustainable.  It solves the question of what to safely do with the wood ash from the stove.  
What I saw in the field plays directly into one of the reasons I love growing lavender.  These plants want to grow and give it everything they’ve got to thrive.  It’s been a cold winter here in NE Oklahoma. We’ve had a few days of warmth and sunshine lately but a strong winter storm is forecasted to hit us – again.  
The lavender in the field – both the angustifolias and the intermedias have been basking in the sun and are greening up as if spring were just around the corner.  Now they look straggly and woody for the most part just as they normally do during their dormant state.  As I looked closer though I could see green within the gray and new little starts of leaves on the woody stalks.  
Mature Grosso lavender

That photo is from plants out in the field, mature plants.  But out in the pasture that serves as our front yard we’ve built six raised beds as part of a lavender experiment.  They have primarily gravel from our creek, layered with a bit of top soil in the middle which as dusted with lime from the quarry.  The plants have done quite well in these raised beds and we’re hopeful that they’ll be a nice addition that holds less drainage problems and uses less weeding time.  Because raised beds have less adjacent ground to help keep it warm we’ve experimented with row covers this winter.  So far so good there too.  We pulled the row covers ( a light fabric that allows sunlight and rain to reach the plants – yet helps protect them from low temps) off the plants in the past week to allow maximum sunlight.  Again with these plants I’m seeing bits of green and small leaf shoots on the stalks.  I’m nearly giddy but that joy is tempered with the knowledge of Oklahoma’s temperature fluctuations.  
Young Grosso Lavender
Raised beds with row covering pulled aside
Tomorrow the row covers will go back across the raised beds – and I’ll go back to blogging about knitting, yarn, cupcakes and maybe chickens.  
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The wind is blowing fierce and cold this morning and I need to put the row covers back on the raised beds of lavender because winter will be returning with another blast this week.  But instead I stood in my warm little studio stirring what will become lavender-patchouli soap, glancing at the yarn that has finally dried in exactly the shades I was intending and generally feeling pretty happy with my world.  Then out the dutch door I saw an incredibly handsome man put air in the tires of the car parked outside the barn.  And once again I wonder why he fell in love with me – simple plain me.  I could feel the blood drain from my face and tears well up.  I do not deserve this man.

I blinked. I stirred some more.  I breathed deep. Then I flicked my ipod on and did a little crazy ecstatic dance as Willie Nile sang You Gotta Be a Buddha in a Place Like This.
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