Oak + Acorn Socks - in Sockupied

I've been sitting on these ones for a long time, but finally I can show you - the Fall 2011 issue of Sockupied has been released, and my Oak + Acorn Socks are in it!For those of you not familiar with Sockupied, it's Interweave's interactive e-magazine exclusively devoted to handknit socks. If you'd like to learn more about how it works, right this way, please! If you'd like to pick up a copy, you can get yours right over here - it's available both for PC and for Mac.

But back to the socks, for a moment. These might be the only socks that have been dedicated to a single tree - a tree that is especially dear to my heart. Allow me to explain.For a child like me, growing up in a house that was not that much older than I was – a house that held no secrets – was nearly unbearable. The house's one saving grace was the massive oak tree that anchored it out back. I was told that it was planted long ago to mark the boundary of a long-lost farmer's field. Throughout my entire childhood that oak tree always provided me with an immediate and necessary connection to the past in a place where the past seemed nearly non-existent. I loved that tree dearly then and continue to do so today. These socks are my ode to my tree.Complete with branch, leaf and acorn motif, the Oak + Acorn socks are ideal for the nature enthusiast in your life. The colourwork on the leg will keep you engaged and the plain heel and foot ensure a peaceful, calm journey all the way to the toe-tips.

All of which makes the Oak + Acorn Socks the perfect project for this time of year as we prepare to turn that inevitable corner into Autumn. Enjoy.

Not the heat

I've lived up and down SW Ontario's peninsula my entire life, so I'm no stranger to humidity. In these parts hot, soupy days at the end of July are the norm; if they don't happen each year people start grumbling things about us not having had a "proper Summer," myself included. Do not, however, mistake me for a fan of this sort of thing. Sun and heat are one thing - air one can swim in? That's another matter entirely.My friend Matt recently returned from a trip to the Southwestern United States - somewhere I've never been. He described the dry heat of the desert as being almost sneaky - perspiration wicks away from one's body so quickly that one doesn't even realize that they've been sweating - until it's too late. Dangerous if one's not used to it or ill-prepared for it, or both. "I almost missed the humidity," he said.Well, that makes one of us - though I don't hear the garden complaining. Humidity means happy plants and happy plants mean lots of happy bugs. And I know all too well that lots of happy bugs means lots of plump feathery birds which means lots of sleek happy raptors - all of which makes me happy, so I suppose I should, in the words of Joy Turner, just "quit my bitchin'."

In the garden, this morning

The first of the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen,
the pimpernel puts in an appearance,
and the cupid's dart pierces my heart.

Blooms + sprouts

I was out late last night but was up early again, as usual. Visiting the poppies first thing in the morning has turned into something of a daily ritual for me.

And what a delightful one it is - it is always a surprise to see who opened during the course of the previous night.

These days, though, the garden isn't the only place where things are sprouting.

Pookie currently has no less than three new tailfeathers coming in all at the same time. I can't ever recall this happening before, and it is terribly exciting - well, to me at least. It takes a good couple of weeks for a Pookie-tailfeather to finish growing so I'll be able to admire his "sprouts" for quite some time. They really are very cute.

I'm sure Pookie would be horrified by the knowledge that I've just posted a detail shot of his feathery behind - oh! the indignity! - so please - don't tell him.

Naughty Green Socks Abroad

Freshly finished, the Naughty Green Socks soak up the sun amid the poppies in my William Blake garden.Not that there will be any lack of sun (or Papaver rhoeas) where they are headed - which is France - to live (and travel) with Tom. I expect that they'll feel perfectly at home there in no time.

As it stands, these socks are no strangers to travel - they actually joined me on my recent sojourn to Chicago.
They were with me when I met Gauguin's chickens,...and the Leader of the Monkey Band.
We breakfasted together at Elly's (which looks a little different than it did last time,)...and later boarded a boat to admire architectural genius from the River.The first sock was finished, long before I made it back home.
Home, in this case, being where the poppies are - and shall continue to be, if I have anything to say about it.

After my own heart

My Manor is in the process of getting a New Roof, which has been a long time coming. This is Good, since it means one less Housey-thing to worry about and it is Even Better because I've managed to acquire the most garden-friendly roofing team in the enitre county.If you know anything about me (and I trust that at this point - for good or for ill - you do,) you realize the importance of that last statement. Before I met these Roofers, I had always believed that "getting a new roof" was code for "rampant garden destruction." To say that I was a touch concerned about this was something of an understatement.Today is Day Three of the Roofstravaganza, not because my Roofers are slow or lazy but because they are taking an extra long time on this job in order to protect my garden. These Roofers are clearly after my own heart.The past few days have found me somewhat cooped-up (but working) in the Studio, Roofers happily banging away mere feet above my head. I waft towards a window and look down on the back garden - and there are tarps draped over my back deck, with my borage and parsley and lavender tucked beneath. There is plywood cunningly angled to guard the juvenile Weirdo Herbs in my Strewing Garden. Roofers tiptoe down the flagstone pathways, shovels heaped with discarded shingles, deftly avoiding my sunflowers.I am awestruck. I look on in horror as a piece of the old roof drifts down and lands directly atop my patch of Lady's Bedstraw. I barely have time to gasp before a Roofer appears - as if by magic - and rescues her. It's like there's some kind of mindlink - or perhaps my Roofers moonlight as botanists.I wonder if they know how to make a proper cup of tea.

Naughty Green Socks

From the cast on edge and all the way down the leg to the beginning of the heel flap, the Naughty Green Socks have 3,864 stitches*. Each.Maybe I didn't need to know that.

*I had the numbers wrong - they actually have 4,416 stitches. EACH.

The thick of it

I stuck my head outside the door this morning to check on Daisy + the Tea Tin Team and I was shocked by how humid it was out there.Just standing there on the porch, taking in the spectacle of my cottage garden was trying - I felt like I should have been treading water.So today is a day for staying in and working inside. My dislike of the artificiality of air conditioning is tempered by the fact that I despise humidity even more; I am thankful that my Manor's former residents took the time to install a powerful and efficient unit. It's reaching Savannah-like levels of hot and humid out there - though minus the hauntingly lovely Spanish Moss.

At present I am up in my Studio, attempting to wrangle this mass of yarn and the creative process into some semblance of order (which is not as easy as it sounds, as I am vastly outnumbered.) I shall continue to enjoy the woozy swoon of Summer from in here until this heatwave passes. In fact, I've been promised a proper thunderstorm today, so that might do the trick - or make things worse. I'll just have to wait and see.

Until then, I'll be thinking cooler, greener thoughts - and working.

Al fresco

Today is Canada Day - and a gorgeously torrid one at that.We hastened outside to take it all in......which is how the morning found me enjoying its bounty al fresco. I am always happiest when in the presence of white pines - this one was kind enough to shade me while I worked.I am making remarkable progress on the current pair of socks for Tom, which are a couple of glorious, random, fraternally-twinned beauties. I laid them in the grass to soak up as much good Canadian energy as possible. They're going to need it - they'll be off to live in France before too long.

Sock number one, nearly complete...
...and sock number two, just begun - basking next to my beloved citrine, sodalite and moss agate. We are inseparable......as I am with these socks. It's going to be difficult to part with these ones - but they will be loved, so maybe it won't be that hard after all. Oh yes, and there will be a pattern on the way, should you like to make your own.

I leave you with a fine slice of summery sound by a fellow Canadian - Caribou.

Happy Canada Day - go hug a goose or a beaver, but watch out - those things bite.