Summer is a great time for small projects, anything that won’t become an enormous lump in your lap. I’ve been working on two: the log cabin crib blanket for a grand-niece due in October, and most recently another animal scarf, at the request of Sandra Singh, of sandrasingh.com, near Austin, Texas, who has been doing surprisingly well with the other animal scarves. Especially considering that it is summer in Austin, and, on top of the heat, the city has been undergoing torrential rains and serious flooding.
This scarf is What’s New Pussycat? worked in garter stitch, and not beyond a fairly new knitter as long as she stays with one color. The chart accompanying the instructions, though, is in white, so that you can take markers or pencils, color in your own cat’s markings, and work out whether you want to do, for example, a tortoiseshell that need not be a nightmarish intarsia project, or some other distinctive markings. This might be a fine pattern for handspinners and dyers to try working yarn for something like a tabby, with the color intervals closer on the yarns used for legs and tail, and wider on the yarns being used for the body. It has a number of suggestions for yarn substitution, including a couple for making a tortoiseshell cat in just two colors of intarsia, rather than driving yourself completely crazy.
On other fronts, Susan Pantoja, of Riverside, California, thought the cowboy hats would be more difficult than they are. Pleased to find out they were reasonably easy and quick, she’s made her first two, and is working on a third. I think they’re beautiful, and her photographs, against the lime trees, really show them off. They’re just perfect, aren’t they?
Summer is also gardening time. Weed, water, mulch, cut back, divide, and, when the work is done, enjoy it. The roses have been spectacular in their first bloom, and most of them keep blooming at intervals until the cool weather sets in, if I’m conscientious about cutting them back, though some very old varieties put everything into blooming in June. Color, right now, is coming from hollyhocks, Asiatic lilies, daylilies, Shasta daisies, and bachelor buttons.
The apple tree is loaded. For the first time in three years there was neither a monster hailstorm nor a late had freeze. I’m arranging for rental of a cider press when the crop is ripe, and postman Alex has promised a hand. Herbs flourish here; I’ve dried oregano, sage, and a first crop of lavender, and made a couple of batches of fine tarragon vinegar.
It is pleasant, after the day’s work is done, to get cleaned up and sit out either on the porch or under the apple tree, having a tall glass of iced tea flavored with fresh mint and sliced oranges, and do a little knitting, as the shadow of the Rockies extends itself, and the long twilight slowly deepens to darkness. When the porch, which was a wreck when I got here, was rebuilt, I wired the porch light with a dimmer, so that on such evenings one can knit happily out there with enough light, but not too much.
Lately, I’ve been working on a red scarf, for The Red Scarf Project. If you’d like to donate a scarf to this cause, mine is simple, and quick to work up, and very warm and soft, in Madil’s new Fusion yarn. You can find the new pattern at this month’s Tips and Tricks, and it’s free. And I think it’s handsome and cheerful for either a young man or a young woman. The date has always been February, but this year it’s September, so if you’re going to do one, the right time would be now.