Thursday, May 10, 2007


It's official. Two weeks ago we were shoveling snow, today it's 70 and everyone is in shorts. Welcome to spring in Maine. These miniature irises ("iri" is just too pretentious, I'm sorry) came and went a while ago but aren't they pretty?

Now we're on to the daffodils. I began planting this bed about five years ago. I love the sight of huge masses of daffodils that have been allowed to naturalize and take over a spot in the garden. They seem to yell "hello spring!" to the world. I put this patch under a healthy group of maple trees that turn spectacular shades of red in the fall--but right now they are still bare, and the daffs reign supreme. So we have a patch of yellow in spring, healthy greens in summer, and then we go out in fall with a glorious red "ka-pow!" Nice.

Last weekend I put in the onions, which is one of my very favorite garden rituals. They're like little soil-based savings accounts that I can watch grow and fatten and fill with sugar throughout the summer, until they're plump and ready for harvest. The harvest itself is a challenge--when the tops have dried and tipped over, will there be 10 days in which there's no rain but also no hard frost? They become vulnerable once I pluck them from their beds and lay them out to cure. And then there's the real agonizing question--will this new variety keep as well as the Copras did last year? Or will I be forced to find a use for 72 onions within a matter of two months? (Mind you I'm ready to accept the challenge. Julia has a fantastic recipe for French Onion Soup...)

My knitting seems to mimick the startitis that's going on in nature right now. A newly arrived and oh-so-tantalizing skein of Sea Wool from Fleece Artist begged to be worked immediately, so I thought I'd try out the pattern on the label. It's a fitting way to exploit the waves of color that you get with this hand-dyed yarn, and I'm enjoying it.

The only problem is that I seem constitutionally incapable of accepting the fact that my feet aren't small. So this pair will not fit. (Sorry, a recipient has already been determined, but I will take a waiting list.) So after I turned the first heel on this sock, I decided to pull out another pair of needles and tap into a hank of Yarntini that I've been hoarding for easily a year now. These pups are for me.

Needless to say, progress wasn't so swift. This yarn is pure deliciousness, very succulent and stretchy. But it kinks up on itself a little, and it doesn't cling to my hands very readily. I keep having to stop and re-tension it on my left hand. But the bigger problem are those sharp-tipped KnitPicks DPNs, which are simply too sharp for this yarn. They are, and it pains me to say this, injuring the yarn. So I'll move this off to a pair of duller-tipped bamboos and see how it does. (J, does this pattern look at all familiar?)

The startitis is bound to continue as I head down to the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend. I hear it's the perfect antidote to the Maryland and Rhinebeck insanity, and I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps I'll see some of you there?


PURLEWE said...

There is a list? How do I get on it? I'll swap you mine if you swap me yours...

have fun with spring, dear. I feel it is too short lived this yr. I look forward to more posts about planting and flowers.

Also ahve fun at NHSW. I just got off the phone with J and S and I am JEALOUS that you guys will be in good company together.


CPAKnit said...

Clara- thank you for the gorgeous photos! The iris shot is especially beautiful.

Bess said...

weep weep. I wish I were going to NH too. I've had Festival Nostalgia all week!

Beautiful flowers - wouldn't it be fun to knit something the color of that iris.

Martheme said...

Clara, how did you manage to get Iris blossoms up there in ME so long before we will have them here in MA? did you put a spell on them?

Oh, if you find yourself neck deep in Onions we've got a great recipe for Pizza with carlemized onions and sweet italian saugages. Its our "house speciality. ;)

Laura said...

I just love gazing out over the horizon in Maine (vicariously, through you, of course). Your pictures are so lifelike, Clara, I almost feel as though I'm standing there. A girl can dream, can't she?

Abby said...

Oh, so startitis is a spring thing? That explains a lot! A few months ago I was making progress on finishing and now I am making a new pile of UFO's.

Your iris are gorgeous! Those colors would make lovely socks.