Lace shawl knitting patterns and peach pie

September 11, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Posted in food, health, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, travel, women, yarn | 2 Comments
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20140911-135240-49960652.jpgThat’s what I’ve been up to lately. I have designed seven knitted shawl patterns, published five of them (see photos of all,of the shawls at the bottom of this blog) and put up five peach pies in the freezer.

Okay, I have been doing plenty more than just this but these are highlights.

Living here in small farm and orchard country in Upstate New York is an amazing blessing during harvest season in particular. Everywhere you turn there is a farm stand, farm market or green thumbed neighbor brimming over with fresh berries, fruits, and vegetables beginning in June and continuing far into the fall.

Everything is fresh and fantastically delicious, it just makes you feel healthy and prosperous looking around at all the bounty. My biggest problem is that I’ll get home with bunches of goodies I procured at a very economical price and then often I have so much going on that I have a hard time getting around to making preserves, pies, and so forth.

Such was the case this week when we brought home eight quarts of the most wonderful plump peaches you could ever hope to come by. I had intended to make peach preserves and a each pie but I couldn’t get around to doing either.

Then yesterday, worried the peaches would go bad, I quickly peeled and sliced them up and did this very cool thing … I packaged them in five pound lots in ziplock freezer bags, tossed them with the sugar, cornstarch and spices necessary for peach pies and then I frozen them in pie dishes.

This morning I took the frozen bags out of the pie dishes, and they are shaped like pies now they just don’t have crusts yet. But I put them in a large 2.5 gallon freezer bag, all stacked up.

Now, when we want a peach pie I’ll just put a crust in a pie dish, put one these frozen pie-shaped peach pie things on the crust, add my top crust and bake.

None of the peaches were wasted, and now we have five mostly ready peach pies waiting to be enjoyed anytime we wish.

I’m going to do this with apples also. :)

As for the shawls, I started designing and knitting them back in early spring. Writing the patterns up and getting them published and marketed is very time consuming, but I have managed to get five published recently in my Ravelry store and at Etsy. The others will be ready in October.

The five I have already published are available individually, but then I also published a collection of all five for those who want it all at an economical price.

The collection is titled “The Livin’ is Easy”, a line from my most favorite song of all time, “Summertime” from the musical Porgy and Bess. The others in the collection are also named from lines in the song. One, “Abbie” is named for the actress who first sang the song on stage.

Three are top down triangular shawls, and one (Take to the Sky) is a rectangle; they range in difficulty from easy to moderately difficult.

Three have written directions as well as charts (Rise up Singing, Abbie, and Take to the Sky), while the other two (One of These Mornings and Summertime) are charted.

Take to the Sky is perfect for anyone new to lace knitting or wanting an easy project to use for learning how to follow a chart. I wrote the pattern up to be very clear and easy to follow and I include instructions as to how to follow the charts.

If you learn about this pattern here on my blog and want to give it a try, you can get it for half price at Ravelry by using the coupon code: PEACHPIE at checkout. (The pattern is priced at $4.00, so you will get it for $2.00).

Today is a chilly, windy day and autumn is clearly on the way, but we still have flowers blooming outdoors and we are enjoying of the last vestiges of summer we can find because this has been our most perfect summer so far.

Hope you are having a beautiful day.

~firefly

Abbie

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One of These Mornings

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Take to the Sky

Remember, you can get Take to,the Sky for half price at Ravelry by using the coupon code: PEACHPIE at checkout. (The pattern is priced at $4.00, so you will get it for $2.00).

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Summertime

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The Livin’ is Easy (5 Patterns) eBook

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like … autumn

August 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Posted in country life, family, flowers, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, summer, Vintage, women | 2 Comments
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20140821-114620-42380639.jpgAugust, so far, has felt much more like early autumn than end of summer. We have hardly used any air conditioning this summer because it has been so very cool even during the day.

We have been going out to Point Breeze by Lake Ontario weekly to enjoy free outdoor concerts in a beautiful park out that way. I most always take some knitting with me, we run into many friends and neighbors, and everyone has a delightful and relaxing time of it.

This week it was so chilly at the concert I was able to wear a light weight wool sweater and one of my new shawls (one I knit mostly while relaxing at the other concerts, pictured here in the second photo down) and I still had to pull a blanket up over my lap to stay warm.

20140821-113953-41993589.jpgThe early chill inspires even more knitting, and these days I am very hooked on knitting shawls and coming up with ideas for more and more of them.

If you didn’t already see it, I published a pattern for one of the shawls a couple of weeks ago. This week I have published a second shawl pattern, one I had promised earlier in the summer (the one pictured in the next paragraph and also in an earlier post.

20140821-113601-41761638.jpgThis new pattern is presented in charted format, not written directions. I do plan to create written directions as well, but that takes a bit longer. I also have in the works a tutorial on how to knit a top-down triangular shawl from a chart because what I have found is that, once you understand how to doit, it is actually much easier than following text directions. So, I would like to teach any of my readers who are not yet familiar with following charts in general and how to knit a top-down triangular shawl specifically, how to do both.

Well, summer beckons … and today it does feel a bit more like summer. We have an adventure to get on with, so I will “talk” to you soon.

Have a beautiful day.

~ firefly

Oh, P.S. The newest pattern is available in my Etsy store and in my Ravelry pattern shop. Get 30% off at either store with this coupon code: GRATITUDE now through Saturday Aug 23rd.

Summer time and the living is easy

August 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Posted in country life, faith, family, flowers, gardening, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, photography | 2 Comments
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20140805-143208-52328702.jpgThat line from the old song is very appropriate for the summer we have been having on our old farm in Upstate New York.

The weather has been amazing, the flower gardens have been resplendent, and the farms seem to be thriving.

Of course there is always much work to be done, both inside and out, but even with the normal day-to-day chores of living that must be attended to and the inevitable difficulties and problems life poses on a daily basis, we have managed to enjoy the past couple of months as if we were partially on vacation and that has been magical.

This spring and summer I have been enjoying two new love affairs … hold on now, it isn’t what it sounds like.

20140805-143514-52514273.jpgThe first love affair is with designing and knitting lace shawls. I have created four designs over the summer, and am releasing the first pattern this week, “Rise Up Singing” (featured in today’s photos) is already available in both my Etsy and Ravelry stores for instant download.

I wrote text directions as well as charted diagrams; both styles are included in the one download so you can knit it either way. I specifically designed this piece to be easy and quick to knit, even if you use the text rather than charted directions.

I will start working right away on patterns for,the other three shawls and will share photos of them as I make the patterns available.

There is something about knitting and blocking a lace shawl that is a special kind of magic, and I hope with my patterns I will be able to help many others learn and experience that magic.

Speaking of magic, last summer we visited a nearby farm where a lady raises Daylilies. Until I moved to Upstate New York I had never heard of Daylilies. Perhaps they are grown in California, but if so I never heard them mentioned. Here they are grown and treasured by everyone it seems.

There is another daylily farm somewhat near our place that everyone refers to reverently as “the daylily place”. Oh my … it is the most magical, enchanting garden I have ever seen in my life. From the road you would never suspect that such a veritable Garden of Eden thrives just beyond the drive. Then, you walk in and … well, you just feel like fainting or something because of the sheer aesthetic magnificence you are suddenly surrounded by.

As it turns out there are something like 1,000 or 5,000 varieties of Daylilies (I can’t remember exactly because I was too delirious from beauty overload when they told us) and the couple who created the garden seem to have each variety in their collection along with myriad other luscious plants mixed amongst them. There are pathways to stroll along and benches placed here and there creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

They even have a spectacular oversized cactus and succulent garden that surpasses any such garden I ever saw in Southern California. How, I ask you, did they manage that?

I was actually so overwhelmed by all of the floral eye candy that I didn’t shoot much photography while we were visiting, and the shots I did manage to click off didn’t even approach doing justice to what I had witnessed.

That was two or three years ago. Last summer we visited the other lady I mentioned above during a Garden Path Tour and she was selling some of her varieties at economical prices, so we bought nine varieties and planted our own little daylily garden right next to our pergola.

After nearly one year of waiting, they started blooming in early July and are still producing a few more flowers. Starting on the morning of the first blossom, I began each day visiting with “the ladies” as I came to think of my dear Daylilies and checking out their latest blossoms.

If you are unfamiliar with this species of flower, as the name infers, the blossoms last only one day. But of course each plant may have many blossoms, so as some fade away one morning, others are just opening up. Some of my plants have just bloomed profusely for about three weeks. They bloom in July and then you wait another eleven months before you get to see them again.

A20140805-145848-53928045.jpgs I photographed them, I did what I love to do … zoomed right inside the flower as close as I could. And, I made a wonderful discovery about this special flower. The way they are constructed at the base allows light to come right in and light everything up inside. I shot some of the most beautiful floral photographs ever, and this one actually brought tears to my eyes because it was so extraordinary.

Another thing I about them is that some varieties have petals lined with incredible ruffles.

Well, the long and the short of it is that I fell in love with these flowers this summer, in my own little garden with only about nine varieties.

By the way, if you have not visited my son’s Etsy store lately, he has some very awesome neighborhood typography maps now as well as two,or three styles of vintage eye charts. That’s Flying Junction at Etsy or visit his company website.

There are so many more things I could write about from this sweet summer we are having, but now life is calling me again and I have to end off. It was quite nice visiting with you a bit, and I hope to see you here again very soon.

~firefly

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