Monday, August 1, 2011

Knitting on the Front Porch

My Parents' Front Porch
Eric, Poco and I just spent a long weekend visiting friends and family at my parents' home in Ithaca, NY.  Their wonderful front porch was the scene of much socializing during our stay.  The rocking chairs my sister recently gave them are a big hit.  They have great back and leg support, they're just the right height for tall gals like me, and the seat cushions make them soooo comfortable!
View from the Porch
The giant shag-bark hickory trees in the front lawn provide abundant shade and secluded perches for the many songbirds who visit the feeders.  The house is set back far from the road (which is along the telephone poles toward the top of the photo), so it is quite serene.
Poco, Rose of Sharon, and Pergola

Gardens and Deck at Back of House
My mother invests much of her energy in flower gardening and watercolor, her creative passions.  The many beds and plantings on the property keep her busy, and she thrives on this form of self expression, eagerly anticipating every growing season.  It's not unusual for her to spend hours a day outdoors, tending her gardens.  I snapped a quick photo of her at work Monday morning:


View from the Deck
In case one tires of the view from the front of the house, the deck view is equally beautiful.  The views are expansive, and the setting is quite private and peaceful.  Wild turkeys roam the adjacent fields and woods, and a day without a deer sighting is unusual.  (Unfortunately, they love Mom's flowers as much as she does.)

That's a pond behind the trees on the left.  It is swimable and stocked with fish.  This home was built in the late 1990's, in a field that was part of our family farm.  Any hints that my father still loves to drive his tractors?  Mowing the grass is his favorite passtime around home.
Dad, Dressed for a Trip to the Dump
Children are never bored here.  The pond is great for the older ones, while the toddlers love to climb and play in this fabulous tree house:

These lovely grounds were the perfect locale for a knitting weekend.  Imagine how wonderful it was for me to have lots of free time to while away the hours on the porch and the deck, with needles and yarn in my hands!  Sitting in view of colorful flowers, with birdsong in the air and cooling breezes passing by was simply divine.  The experience reminded me of how much I am nourished by being outdoors!

I purchased some yarn and a cool pattern just for this trip, and made quite a bit of progress on my new project:

Trillian Scarf
This quietly colorful self-striping yarn is Noro Taiyo Sock, a cotton/wool/nylon/silk blend from Japan.  I love knitting with Noro yarns.  Eisaku Noro's color sense is quite acute, and I can always count on creating a stunning garment from his yarn.  The thick/thin quality adds texture, and the fiber blend gives it an organic (as in "natural") flavor. 
Noro Taiyo Sock, Color No. 01
Such luscious color!  Rather than dying the yarn after it is spun, the folks at Noro begin with several different colored rovings (unspun fiber).  As the rovings are spun, the colors are gradually switched.  One long section of color blends into the next, which results in gradual color changes as the yarn is knit.  The colors are repeated in the same order, in about the same lengths, but since it is not a fully mechanized process, there is some pleasing variability. 

Gradual Color Changes and Rich Texture
I haven't yet reached the blue and brown in the yarn, so just imagine how rich the combination will be!  This is the fun of knitting with Noro - watching the colors appear in the knitted piece.

This pattern is quite simple, and a joy to knit in a striping yarn such as this.  The pattern is named Trillian, after a female character in the Douglas Adams classic, The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Martina Behm designed it, and it can be purchased on  The scarf is about a foot long now, but when finished, it will be very long, so that I can wrap it around my neck a couple of times and let the ends fall long in front.  It has a simple lace edge, and an asymmetrial triangular shape.  The pointed end where I began knitting forms the narrowest angle in the triangle.

Asymmetry, texture, rich coloration, and stripes - four of my favorite design elements!  Knitting this scarf will continue to be a rewarding, relaxing experience.  Stay tuned for more photos as the scarf grows!

Poco Surveys His Domain Away from Home

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