With summer winding down, I am going to start up my monthly posts of featured patterns. I’ll do 2 or 3 each time, depending on whether I have any new releases. Things have gotten quiet enough for me to get back to my work routine. 😀 This months featured patterns are going to be things that will help with gearing up for winter. They all will make great gifts, but will also be great to keep for yourself to keep your warm as the summer temperatures give way to the colder nights of fall.
First up is my Leaf Slouchy. This hat is a great slouchy for the fall. It’s a thicker yarn, but is a lacy design which will keep your warm, but not as warm as a winter hat. You can also make the hat as slouchy as you would like. It is also available in 3 sizes (19″, 21″ and 23″ head circumference), to allow you to make a comfortable fitting hat. The leaf motif makes them great for anyone in your life. I went with a large leaf motif on this hat to make it a simple pattern where the leaf pops, as opposed to being too busy with a plethora of leaves.
Next up is my Ripple Socks. These socks have a cable feature that gives a ripple like effect. These also have 3 sizes (7.5″, 8.5″, 9.5″ foot circumference), to get as good a fit as possible. I love the texture that these socks have. It gives a lovely movement to the socks without making a super busy pattern. It makes them great for anyone.
Lastly, is a pair of fingerless mittens. These are my Rhombus Rhuckus Mittens. The fabric of these is a bit thicker than a normal knit pattern, because of all the leaning stitches. But, they are knit in a fingering weight yarn, so they are still light enough for fall evenings or cool days. I love that this pattern is not gender specific. It can be made for yourself or anyone in your personal circle for a gift. As with the other two patterns above, these also have three sizes available (7″, 8″, 9″ hand circumference).
I hope you enjoyed taking a look through these patterns!
It’s amazing to think that summer is winding down. We have gone through the whole first planting of the garden. The only things left from the first planting are the tomatoes and peppers. We are now prepping for the fall. But, first let me tell you what I have learned from this first part of our garden.
Turns out bush beans are cold hardy and heat tolerant. We planted the beans after what should have been the last frost date, but got a late frost, and the beans were totally okay. They still thrived. I also had them planted in an area that gets about 5 hours of sun, and the rest of the day is shaded. That made it very nice for when the summer heated up. The beans still did great back there. The peas did great when planted in the spring. The summer planting however failed. They didn’t grow big enough to support pods. We are going to pull them all this week and replant. The Sugar Snap variety however grew up no problem. I’ll keep those plants going for now.
Carrots hate the heat here. They have yet to really do much. We got some carrots from our spring planting, but the summer ones in the shaded area have done nothing. I’m going to pull them and replant to try a fall harvest. Swiss chard is a huge hit here all year. I planted the first round in the spring, and they tolerated the heat and are still going strong. They seem to be approaching the end of their production, but I’m not sure. I do have a second planting for the fall that are doing great. I planted them in July and they have happily grown.
The zucchini quit very early, but had a fantastic yield. I did plant 4 more for the fall as an experiment. We’re going to attempt a vertical climb for them. I also don’t know if it’ll get too cold for them to produce well, but we shall see.
I have also discovered the idea of pea shoots. Turns out pea plants are delicious! Who knew! So, I purchased some Dundale Pea seeds. They should arrive next week. I plan on sowing them for the shoots. I might also plant some for the pods. The peas and their pods are both edible and are apparently very good for you. So I think I will do both methods.
Also, I have learned of the benefits of ground cover. One problem with letting your garden just lay fallow over the winter is that you can lose some of your soil. Also, you have a great opportunity over the winter to replenish nutrients in your soil. Even in a raised planter, you should be able to replenish your soil every year without having to replace it. If your soil has been depleted of nutrients, then a ground cover crop is your best option. There are a ton of options that you can plant. For this year I have decided to do a mix that is offered by True Leaf Market. They have a blend called Garden Cover Crop Seed Mix. What they have done is prepare a mix that covers a variety of needs. If you don’t want to test your soil to find out exactly what you are missing, a blend like this is fantastic. You can grow it in your garden or your planters to help replenish a lot of the nutrients that your veggies have sucked out. One important key is to not let any of it go to seed and fall. You will need to remove anything seed related before it drops, otherwise it will come up again in the spring. If you want to have it in the spring than that might be alright, but you never know when a seed will activate. I prefer to have full control of what is growing, so I will pick the seeds. In the spring you will cut it all down and you can either leave it in place to decompose, or you can work it into the soil by mixing or tilling. We plan on mixing it in to spread the leaf and plant matter through the soil. They loving call this Green Manure. The other great thing about the ground cover is that it also helps to loosen your soil. We have a couple old planters that are almost completely clay. I’m going to plant the ground cover mix there to really get that soil loosened enough so that in the spring we can get it out and mix it with peat moss and other compost to bring it back to life.
That’s a lot of what we have learned and discovered so far. It’s a bit of a learning curve for me because I am so used to Canadian growing seasons. I have to change a lot of my plantings to coincide with cooler seasons. I think the Spring plantings I am used to are more of a fall planting here. For example, peas don’t grow well when the temperature is above 70F. That means spring gives very little time for the peas, unless we plant super early. We might get lucky if we plant in September though. It should cool down just enough. Hopefully I will have some good pictures of the fall plantings in a month or two. Fingers crossed for a good fall growing season!
I know I said I was taking the summer off. But, sometimes as soon as you slow down to breathe the brain is able to kick into creative mode. That means I have a few things in progress that I wasn’t expecting. In addition to those, I am back on to a couple sweaters that I started ages ago. I had issues with them during editing, and have had to do a lot of work to try and get them fixed. That has meant a lot of work to create a spreadsheet to be able to plug in all my numbers and have my spreadsheet do all my figure checking/calculating for me. The garden is still taking a lot of my time, but now it’s just waiting for things to grow and then harvesting. We actually just started doing our fall planting. Today we are getting a big storm, so the garden is getting a really nice drink, and I’m getting the day off. Sort of. haha!
One of the things I have started is a sweater. I have a sweater that was already knit, but I was having some issues with it. I’ve now re-written the entire pattern and now have to knit it again to see if it’s going to fit as intended. I chose to use an acrylic yarn for this one. I went with Knit Picks Brava worsted weight. Sometimes I will use really nice yarn for a sweater, but being outside a lot and just busy doing a lot of cooking and everything else, I spill things on myself all the time. So, for sweaters around the house that I want to keep looking nice, acrylic is my favorite. I love being able to just throw them in the washer and dryer, without thinking twice. I’ve had nice sweaters accidentally end up in the hamper, and as you can imagine the result was heartbreaking.
As you can see I’m not very far into this re-knit, but hopefully I’ll be able to start getting some projects finished.
One of the projects I should be able to finish soon is a pair of socks. These are my Not So Plaid Socks. The pattern is a knit and purl stitch that creates a plaid look, without the colorwork. This gives the opportunity for someone that is more of a beginner knitter when it comes to socks to have a lovely pattern without having to worry about delving into colorwork. I know many people that are really put off by colorwork. I always say that you should just go for anything and give it a try, but if you aren’t ready then there is no reason to not have a fun pattern that gives you a pattern and some texture. I chose to use Chroma Fingering. This gave a color change with no work on my part. The Chroma has a nice long color change, which gives more of a fade type of look.
Next I have a pair of fingerless mittens. These are a great quick project. I still need to find some time to work on them, but when I do they should fly off my needles. These have a lovely texture, which is simply a type of bobble. I have called them Tied In Knots. I have a bit of pattern work to do on these, to make sure my numbers are all sound. I’m planning to have 3 or 4 sizes available on these. Because they are a unisex pattern, I want to have sizes from small female to large male. For these ones I am using Cloudborn Highland Superwash Sock yarn. It’s a nice yarn that is giving me some nice stitch definition. It also comes in smaller skeins. Most of these sizes will only require about 200 yards, so the smaller skeins are perfect. This one is difficult to get right now, but I bought a bunch of it on clearance, so it’s a great one for me to use.
Lastly, I have a shawl started. This will be a triangular shawl in a Freia Shawl, fingering weight yarn. I haven’t decided on the size yet, though. I think that is going to depend on when I run out of yarn. I am contemplating something that can be wrapped around the neck like a scarf, as opposed to a big full shawl.
I think that is pretty much everything for now. Hopefully soon I will have some of these finished and off for both testing and editing. At this rate it’ll likely be more into September before this happens. This summer is flying by, and it’s hard to believe it’s already August! That means it’s almost time for me to buckle down and get things done. Thanks so much for reading!
Even though I have been very busy in the garden and outside, I managed to get this pattern finished and tested. These fingerless mittens have an interesting design. The leaning stitches create a fluffy texture that gives more texture and a warmer mitt. Even with the increased warmth, they are still fantastic for an air conditioned office, or for cold spring and fall evenings. It’s also a texture that will keep you interested, but is a simple enough pattern that you can start to see what is coming next and can be somewhat easy to remember. Unfortunately, these mittens would not be a candidate for TAAT (two at a time) knitting. There are many sections where the stitches have to be shifted, which makes for an awkward knit if you knit TAAT. Thankfully fingerless mittens can be a faster knit, so hopefully won’t cause too many issues for getting around to the second one. 😀
I have had the pattern fully tested and tech edited. The pattern works best with a solid yarn, but my testers were able to get a good looking mitt even in variegated yarn. The texture will slightly disappear, but it still make the same fluffy mitten.
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