Sunday, April 13, 2008


Cyndy asked me about kale varieties. We reserve part of our garden for "greens." We buy lettuce and green mixes and toss down seeds there in regular intervals. Hence, I get some kale. (what kinds? gosh knows!) I also grow arugula, mache, dandelions, and a variety of lettuces and herbs. I'm flexible about greens. I eat a lot of them. So many, in fact, that our small garden doesn't keep up with me in any way; we buy most of our lettuce, kale, swiss chard and collards from local farmers.

Also from Cyndy's questions, about the nettle yarn and the hemp yarn, she asks: Is it tough on the hands?

The answer is, No. Well, I don't think so. This yarn is wiry and stiff, textured and strong, but my hands don't hurt from knitting it. I believe there are a large variety of fibers out there to spin and use because we need them all. There's nothing cooler to wear in the summertime than a loose linen shift, and any plant fiber is strong and sturdy, for tying up one's tomato plants. Merino, Cormo, or Rambouillet wools? Perfect for a baby or a next to the skin garment that won't see much wear... and not that hard wearing when it comes to socks. I knit a pair of Merino superwash socks and wore them for only this winter...they are already looking alarmingly worn. I'll likely go back to less delicate wools with nylon or mohair blends for my handknit socks in the future.

Coarse is ok in my book. Karakul wool is ideal for a rug. Coarse Romney wool lasts a long time as a winter coat like mine, worn every day. The only fibers I've had trouble with over the long haul have been cottons and bamboos that aren't blends, are not spun in a way that offers any "give" and then I try to knit them with needles without "give" into densely stitched items like a camisole or napkin. That gives me some soreness as I knit, which is often relieved by taking breaks, wood, bamboo, or plastic needles, and thinking consciously about "loosening up."

I may be the wrong person to ask. A little while back, I made this for an art show. I knit with electric fence wire. I have this piece hanging in my office; I love it and look at it every day. I'd definitely knit fence wire again...a struggle but worth it. Everything has its use!

We didn't start many seeds this year...well, the peas, favas, lettuces, garlic, onions and radishes aside! Instead we went to the opening day of the farmer's market, and toted home our first plants. They weren't quite hardened off and ready to be put right into the cold earth, especially as drizzly rain and lows in the 30's were predicted. We made use of an old washtub planter...and a big plastic fleece bag. Spinners often buy their raw fleeces in these gigantic clear plastic bags, so you can see what you're buying. I wash my fleeces and store them in pillowcases after they're clean, so there's better sweating in plastic in our hot humid weather. Then, I'm left with these huge plastic bags, slightly used. They make...instant greenhouses!

Harry the dog is suffering with spring time allergies. He is itchy, and has a "hot spot" on his arm where he's licked off his fur. Home remedies of anthistamines, anti-itch cream, and even a bandage have done no good. Harry only wears the bandage to play dress up with me. As soon as I turn my back, he is back to the licking. He leaves the bandage carefully unwrapped in a pile for me. We may have to see the vet soon about this one. Darn greenery! It makes him so uncomfortable...

In the meanwhile, just as I'm learning and thinking about your comments, questions and music, the dogs are learning too. We had a toddler who loves dogs and her mom visit for dinner on Friday. Harry and Sally had never seen such a little human. Harry delighted in licking her up and down. There were a lot of giggles from the little human. Sally growled...until we started feeding her small bits of carrots, pre-tasted or touched by the toddler. By the end of our visit, Sally was beginning to warm to this. Toddlers?=Treats. Good learning experience for everyone involved.
Having any good green encounters? For example, Garden, Salad, Green Knitting or Re-Use of fleece plastic? Do tell!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You knitted. electric. fence. wire. I am SO going to tell on you to the next person who cracks that my knitting is in any way an oddball thing!

April 13, 2008 at 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find working with hemp yarn like that is really rough on my hands...but I do like the look.

April 13, 2008 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Love the fence wire with embellishments!

My garden is the one green thing(s)I cannot take my eyes off. The peonies are coming up, the clematis are leafing out - and the weather should be in the 60s.

April 14, 2008 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Sarah Jean said...

Knitting witch fence wire? Wicked cool.

I have to take Samuel the Dog to the doctor for allergy meds nearly every year around this time. The downside is that the doctor gives him steroids which have the side effect of a LOT of puppy pee. Ew. I hope Harry is a good dog and keeps his bandage on for you. :) (Sam says ‘Woof!’, which translates to hello.)

I have an auntie who wants me to knit her something using organic yarn, preferably plant fiber. Do you have any good suggestions?

In regards to your comment, Gov School is the only school of its kind in the country and is located in New Jersey. For the past few years, however, it’s been privately funded because it got cut from the state budget. Also, to update: I will be setting up an appointment with my school’s principal soon in regards to financial aid as well.

April 14, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Renaissance Wednesday:
Hurray for financial aid! We asked about governor's school because actually,many states have some version. (just google "Governor's School" and you'll see quite a number of them.) Here are some suggestions regarding organic plant oriented yarn:
Nepalese handspun hemp or nettle
Lanaknits hemp
organic cotton (lots of varieties out there now)
There are other options too, but that's a start. The cotton starts out soft, all the others will soften over time, but are not soft to begin with. Hope this helps!

April 14, 2008 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger CP Warner said...

Hi, Joanne.

THANK YOU for the info on Cushendale Mills! I have knitted with Black Water Abbey yarns and love them, but lately they are a tad out of my price range. I'll look at the website, though.

The trouble with me going to Ireland is, I'm usually traveling with a New York based Irish rock band, as one of many fans. Wool drinking whiskey and working on my scarf. One fan, who had had one too many, kept saying, "You're knitting in a bar! That's so rock 'n roll!" Well, he's a Wexford lad, so perhaps he knows what he's talking about?

Anyhoo, methinks I'd best get to Ireland again soon, sans band. I love their music, but I see all these sheep out grazing in the countryside, and I wonder, WHERE, o WHERE is the yarn???

And what a good excuse to dive back into my Gaelic study. :-)

Paula Warner,
a fellow reader of Alison's blog

April 14, 2008 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Joy of Living said...

The kale in the photo looks like Red Russian to me - it's my favorite!

April 14, 2008 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

Poor Harry! Maybe that's what's been wrong with Robbie. He's been chewing at his feet and licking them like crazy these last few days. And he seems to do it more in the evenings after we've been for a walk in the park. Hmmmm.

April 15, 2008 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Karen Johnson said...

I LOVE your electric wire knit sculpture. Looks like something I'd hang and enjoy too. I don't know about having the patience to knit it though.

April 15, 2008 at 10:06 PM  

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