Boo Berries

Welcome to our house

My fabo family purchased this beauty for me for Mother’s Day and I wanted to share how pretty it is with daffs blooming at it’s feet. DH worked very hard to install this, our farm isn’t called Touchstone for nothing, much shoveling and digging and rock moving. I can’t wait for the New Dawn roses I ordered to arrive so I can plant them to grow up and over. DH, however, doesn’t want me to “whore” it up with plants. He thinks morning glories would be just fine. Silly man, doesn’t understand a thing about vertical elements in the landscape. Keep tuned we’ll see who wins this one. I have to admit, it is really beautiful even without the rose.

Th blueberry fields… Last year we purchased the adjoining field to our farm. Included in the sale were 450 blueberry bushes. We were thrilled as we love blueberries and it seemed like a fun operation.

This spring, DH, who is very conscientious, began the arduous task of pruning 450 blueberry bushes. He did a wonderful job and everything looks so clean and orderly. The bushes also need to be mulched with sawdust to reduce the backbreaking job of keeping the weeds and grass from competing with the blueberry bushes for nutrients.

So we had this delivered.

A small mountain of sawdust. (Duncan is in this shot purely for scale, not because he is the cutest Labrador alive.)

DH and I spent all afternoon spreading sawdust under the bushes and ended up with this…

That is one row, folks. So guess what we are doing this afternoon.The fun never ends at Touchstone Farm, aka Embraceable Ewe.

Cleaning house looks like a walk in the park compared to this. Wonder how many points I earned on Weight Watchers.

Girls, this one is for you, the view over the boo berry patch, sorry the horizon faded so much. I took this pretty early this morning.

Thought you might like some pictures of the only Embraceable Ewe left on the farm. We reduced our flock to one old ewe. Hayleigh is a sweetie like her mom. She is now about 8 and can’t have anymore lambs. Last year when our own baby, DD#2 (Boo Bear), aged out of 4-H, DH asked me to sell the flock. I sold everyone but Hayleigh. No one would take her and she adds a certain wooliness that a knitter should have available at all times. Nice to see a sweater on the hoof, don’t you think?

Anyway here she is, “her Hayleighness”.

How proud am I …

This is DD#1(Sweet Pea)’s first sock, purdy ain’t it? She came up with the design all by herself with a little help from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. The yarn is from Candace Eisner Strick’s line of beautiful lightweight wools. Sweet Pea knows where I keep the “good stuff” and headed right there. Since it was for school she knew I would not refuse her. Smart girl, our Sweet Pea. She was knitting it for a design competition in the Architecture school. Unfortunately, she ran out of time and space. Never fear, she has other knitting in the exhibit and I should have pictures of the show for next week.

Thought you might like to see an oldie but a goodie

I made this sweater about 8 years ago and wear it all the time. Actually, I am wearing it out. If you look closely one of the clasps broke right off and the hem of the neck needs to be resown. I wear it often and receive tons of compliments.

Pattern:My Own

Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic.

And before you ask, I did steek it and cut it even though it is cotton. Love Fair Isle in cotton and I have been cutting away at them for years. Just be sure to reinforce with very small machine stitching before you cut.

Update on Caty’s Vest

I have been working a little at night, trying to make up for what happened earlier. I think it will be better this time around. I have some ideas which I like more than the original iteration. Difficult to work on at night because the colors all seem to blend together and I am too busy during the day (see above) to work on it. (Don’t worry, Sweet Pea it will be finished before next fall.)



But this is what happens when I can’t do one project during the day, obviously I have become ADD or maybe ADHD with my knitting. I have started 6 new projects in the last 2 weeks. Focus girl, focus. I think I am coming to believe I am a process knitter and don’t seem to care if anything ever is finished.

I’ll let you know how this all turns out.

Spring has Sprung

Double Daffs, don’t they just make you want to smile…

Hellebores, one of my favorite flowers of spring . It begins blooming for me in February and is gorgeous into May. The flowers are downward facing so you have to slow down to enjoy the bloom. Always lifts my spirit that Spring is really here.

We have had the perfect Spring here in western PA. It has been cold but not bitterly so. The fruit trees and shrubs have been able to set their buds without fear of too warm days followed by freezing temperatures. Last year we had 80 degree days in March followed by the 20’s in April. Ruined much of our apple crop and lots of ornamental shrub blossoms. Looks like it will be a real Spring. The fruit trees and lilacs are ready to burst.

And there has been knitting….

Pattern: Merino Lace Socks by Anne Woodbury from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks book.

Yarn: Sundara Sock Yarn, charcoal over evergreen, (I think, sorry Sundara, didn’t think I would ever forget this color, I love it so.)part of the Seasons Yarn Collection from Sundara Yarns

The color is very washed out on this picture, the others are more representative of the wonder that Sundara does so well.

I was bursting at the seams this weekend because Anne from Knitspot mentioned me on her blog. Unfortunately, I don’t think I fully conveyed how much I respect and revere what she does. Her designs are extraordinary and make me weak at the knees. So much talent, I am humbled that she noticed me.

I spend every Monday afternoon tutoring a group of kindergarten students at our local elementary school . They are absolutely the cutest and most endearing bunch of 5 and 6 year olds. I challenge anyone to work with these kids and come away in a bad mood. You get a weeks worth of hugs and adoration. I should be paying them, it’s better than therapy.

Hope you all get a weeks worth of hugs.

Back to the Drawing Board

Something Pretty to distract you …

Yarn: Sea Silk
Needles:#3 Turbos
Pattern: Latifa from Knitty.com

My Life…

My Life On Crack…

I fear I have lost my Fair Isle Mojo, of which I was unreasonably proud, Ahh, the hubris, the shame…I can’t believe Alice Starmore ever does this.

I know there is balance in the universe, while I was ripping this all out DD#2 called to say she received a fabo grade on her Organic Chemistry test, something she was dreading. I will throw myself on my sword if it makes the world a better place for my girls. I am just that kind of mom.

Now back to the regularly schedule birthday party for my 80 year old in laws. Much planning and cooking and cleaning, oh my!

My History Of Knitting

Just to prove we are a long line of knitters in my family…

This is my grandmother, second from the left, circa 1910’s knitting on the top of a roof with her future husband, my grandfather, and a group of friends. We think they were so sedate. I can promise you I have never taken my knitting on to a roof. This woman was a passionate knitter.

Here she is knitting at the beach in the 50’s. Gosh, I could have had a great afternoon sitting in the sun knitting with her.

She also was photographed knitting at her only child’s,(my Dad’s) wedding reception. I can’t imagine what she would have thought of knitting and the internet. And talk about stash. She took 60 crates of yarn to Hawaii with her in the 50’s when she and my grandfather retired to the tropics from New England. I don’t think she ever got used to the warmth and didn’t know what to do with all the wool she took with her.

She was beloved in our hometown in Nantucket,MA for all the people she taught to knit, every class of incoming student nurses to our local hospital, and all the knitted gifts that slipped off her needles at the mere mention of a pretty sweater in a shop window.

Sadly, she died before I was born and I have nothing of her knitting history except these wonderful pictures and the sweet stories of her generosity.

My mother was also an avid knitter. I have a wonderful photo of her in college during WW II I will have to dig up. Sadly, she died when I was only 1 1/2 years old and I have nothing from her knitting history.

Luckily, I was taught to knit by a great babysitter I had, when I was four years old. But with this kind of knitting background I have always thought it was just in my genes. Fortunately, I have passed on this passion to my two daughters. Both are excellent knitters and have a great eye for color and design. Interestingly, I have never taught them to read a pattern. Everything they have ever knit has been self-designed. They tell me what they want, pick a yarn, knit a swatch, we measure and go from there. They are fully engaged in the designing process without any of the “follow the direction” anxieties.

What’s on the needles:

Baby Surprise Jacket
Needles: #3 Turbos
Yarn: Kangaroo Sock Yarn
I-Cord: Socks that Rock. No idea of the color, from stash.

Selbuvotter Inspired Hat
Yarn: Manos Silk Blend Color: 3043 and 3068
Needles;#5 Turbos circulars

I love this yarn and will be using again as soon as I find a local supplier. I purchased this at The Woolgather in Kennett Square, PA. This is a lovely shop and anyone who considers this their local shop is very lucky. They are very warm and welcoming.

My 22 year old daughter loved it sooo much she immediately cast on with the left overs to make a matching scarf. She is having more trouble than she bargained for as she didn’t want a tube scarf and is working this flat. Which as everyone knows who has ever worked stranded knitting flat, it ain’t so fun. She is only doing the stranded design at the beginning and end of the scarf, so not so bad. It is amazing to work with, glossy and wooly all at the same time.

A Peek Inside

Thought I would show you the inside of my Latvian Garden today.

This is the inside of the front center. This design was fascinating. I began by cutting a steek up the center as you would expect for a cardigan. Then after picking up stitches along the right front edge for the button band I added steek stitches across the neck opening then picked up along the left front band and added more steek stitches to bridge the gap at the hem edge. Clear as mud, right? Then I worked out for the front band inserts and the picot edge and facing. I cut open the steeks at the top and bottom of the sweater, tacked those down and then turned the facing in to cover everything up. Very neat and tidy. Picked up for the neck edge, increasing and decreasing at the corners, picot edge, knit the neck facing and tacked in that cut edge.

At the hem I used a provisional cast on so when I was finished with all the finagelling at the button bands I put the provisional cast on stitches on a needle, picked up the new button band stitches and knit down for a hem and another facing.

There was a lot of detail in this garment.

I wore this sweater in February to the Pittsburgh Knit Conference. I attended with a good friend who wore a simple garter stitch scarf. She was receiving compliments left and right and no one said anything about my sweater. She was very sweet and said she didn’t think anyone believed it was handknit. I think I am going to stick to much simpler knits from now on!

In other news, I am replacing this with the one below.

I made this vest for my oldest daughter when she was a junior in high school. She is currently a 4th year architecture student in college (it is a 5 year program). She has worn her vest for many big events in her life, college interviews, architecture critiques, job interviews. She still loves it but now that she is a little older and will soon be going out into the working world she wants something a little longer. She has long torso. She also asked for some updated colors.

I know she loves chocolate brown and turquoise so I did some stash diving and came up with enough leftovers for a new Fair Isle vest. I think the yarns are a combination of Alice Starmore’s, Jamieson, and Jamieson and Smith shetland weights. Don’t have a clue on the colors because the bands are long gone. Started on size 3 turbo’s but it didn’t have enough negative ease for her so ripped back to the corrugated ribbing (done on #1’s) and began again on #2 turbos. Hope it is done soon. Lots of luxury yarn calling out that wants to be lace. Must finish vest, must finish vest.

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Let the Fun Begin



So today is a gorgeous day and I have too much knitting that I would prefer to do, rather than the cleaning, baking and seed sowing I should do.

As you can see I have finished Latvian Garden and I love it. I wore it today as a jacket. The weather was still cold here in western PA but I am sooo tired of heavy parkas. I was very toasty and warm. Besides it looks a little more springlike on this first day of spring.

I have also included a picture of my office so you all can get a glimpse of my stash or part of it. My husband of 25 years walked into my office the other day looked at the shelves of yarn which have been a part of my life in one form or another our whole marriage and exclaimed, “Wow, you have a lot of yarn.”

This seemed to be a revelation to him. I have never hidden the yarn from him so am not sure why it suddenly seemed so impressive. He is a wonderful man who completely supports my yarn habit so it was funny to see him suddenly so flummoxed by the amount. Maybe now that he is 50 and I am approaching 50 he is afraid he will be stuck with all this fiber if I suddenly kick.

Not to worry, honey, the girls both knit and know where the good stuff is. They have been raiding the stash since they were tweeners and they are now in the 20’s. Actually the baby turns 20 this Saturday. If she make it home for her birthday and Easter she tells me she will be a complete woman. She has very modest expectations and we love her for that.

So Happy Easter, or spring or whatever you feel like celebrating.

Here we go

Feb.5, 2008

Well, Since I think about starting a blog many hours of the day I guess that means I should actually start blogging. I have some interesting knitting to share and may throw in pics of my kids and certainly my puppy Duncan. DH will be mentioned no doubt, as well as various gardening shots.

I am also on Ravelry as embracewe. So gone on over and have a look.

Very wet and gloomy in southwestern PA today and therefore a great day to spend knitting. Unfortunately have done very little of that today.Really need to get at the seed catalogs and start ordering if I want to start this years seeds soon.

Am working on a Harrisville Design called Latvian Garden cardigan which I am loving, loving, loving. It is a very pretty, incredibly interesting and fun design by Donna Kay. I am thoroughly enjoying their New England Shetland wool too. The colors are great and they flow through my fingers, great stuff.

Tell me what you think.

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