Monday, May 28, 2007

It's Summer at Last

The BT's mom decided she didn't like Clematis last year after several years of growing them on the lattice outside the family room! She dug them up & gave them to me early last summer. I managed to get a nice show of flowers & then pruned them hard.

These are the first blooms of the summer!! The centre one was first & is the size of a bread & butter plate!! I have two more colors, one is a light purple & one is white with a light green centre. The white one will have to compete with the Scarlet Runner beans this year for trellis space.
A few years ago I bought one of those hanging half-shell baskets lined with coconut fibre. The only thing that has thrived in it are these rock garden Sedum(in the back) & the Hen & Chicks( in the front). The Hen & Chicks are doing so well that the local squirrel keeps digging them up & carrying them off!! I keep transplanting the babies elsewhere & now have Chicks bigger than the Hen they grew from. This basket hangs beside my front door. I broke down & bought three more Hen & Chicks varieties this year - I have plans to plant them all in an old Strawberry pot.

Not much knitting going on around here with all this lovely sunshine but I have been producing squares for the first afghans - we've decided to make a couple at a time. I bought two huge balls of bright blues to add to the mix. This one is more Turquoise than Teal & the other is a bright shade of Royal blue. But both will add a nice touch to the collection.

I found a couple of balls of Sisu Fantasy in colors I love down in Knitopia in White Rock last Thursday nite. I'd heard Knitopia opens its doors to knitters, spinners & hookers on Thursday evenings from 7 - 9, so I picked up Gail & Lynne(moved from Prince George to Cloverdale) & we headed down to knit for a couple of hours - we also wanted to look for some yarn!! As if we don't have enough . . . . Come one, come all!! Just bring a cushion for your fanny - those wooden chairs get damned hard!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Contest!!!

Well, here I am, shamelessly wooing a prize!! The link is & I want PURPLE fibre!!! Marlene of Wovenflame fame mentioned this contest in her blog so I'm gonna do the same!

My Summer Knitting Wishes

Oh, for a summer of lazy days
1. To finish spinning Arvik so I can knit a light summer sweater
2. To finally knit the Heartbeat sweater
3. To to get Ronn's afghan finished before he moves
4. To get a lace shawl knit this summer
All of that & to get some of the Fibre Fest Purple Passion spun up!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Don't Want to go to Work!

I want to stay home & plant things!! Managed to get the files yesterday - it was just an excuse to cruise in the new van!! On the way back, I stopped at the Port Kells Nursery & bought a whole bunch of bedding plants!! I bought Fuschias, Geraniums, Wave Petunias, Grasses & a whole bunch of little goodies to tuck into hanging baskets. I bought a 4 foot cedar box from a roadside craftsman a couple of weeks ago & decided to put it up on two big blocks at the end of my patio, against the back of the house in the shade. My little table is on the other side & all the shade-loving house plants go outside under the table for the summer. The back wall where the box sits will get sunshine only after 4 in the afternoon so it should be nice for fuschias. I bought every color the nursery had!! And I planted geraniums behind them. The petunias will go into two hanging baskets which will be macramed into a nice long double hanger in the next day or so . . . . I still have macrame cord left over from the early 70s when I was a store rep for Brownfinger who wholesaled craft items to all the big department stores. Woodwards, Sears & Eaton's were my baliwick. I counted all the bags of goodies, wrote up orders & showed all the new stuff to the Managers. The highlight of my career with Brownfinger was a craft fair in the new Eaton's store downtown where I macramed a hanging boudoir table over two days while showing off my company's line of products. Had a ball. Still have beads, books & cord left from those days . . . . . . .

The grasses will fill a bin where my potato vines survived for 5 years till that last cold snap after the rain killed them off. The kitty on the post in the bin looks lonely without its greenery so I'll give kitty some grasses to hide in. I bought some red fountain grass, some tall grass that grows up to 6" with cascading plumey heads & two kinds of twisted corkscrew grasses - actually reeds that should make the basket quite interesting by summer. I want a tub of red or black bamboo too - I love the look & need a sun screen on the south side of my patio. And then I want another Papasan chair to lounge in outside this summer . . . . .

And just a little surprise from Gail who found a tiny nest in her flowering bush next to the house!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another Cold Wet Day on the Coast

I had intended to work this weekend & leave the roads to all the folks who like to spend time in traffic jams or line-ups on holidays such as this. I started out with good intentions but the best laid plans & all that . . . . I traded my little white car for the Safari van yesterday after the mechanic finished up fixing all the bits & pieces that needed doing. So nice to cruise home in comfort after driving a noisy, fume belching, beater!!! It made the day better after beating my brains out trying to get into an accounting package on a computer with only about 5% memory left to run the thing. No go. Tried to email the saved files to my home computer - files corrupted! Couldn't save the files to disk - too big! Can't back them up - program won't open!! Grrrrr. At least I got the van! Figured I'd go back & rip the files out of that damned computer on Sunday - I have several more tricks up my sleeve!! Just couldn't get it in gear. I don't want to go out in the rain. The cat wouldn't even go outside, she curled up in my log cabin afghan instead & purred. Ya think she knows something I don't???

I finished the Opal 'Ladybugish' socks. The color is very similar to my other 'Ladybug' socks but the black/white patterned area in this colorway is even & regular, unlike that of the Rainforest 'Ladybug' colorway - but I love them anyway! I'm thinking I may just combine the leftovers from the two pairs & knit a pair of 'Ladybug' Frankensocks with red toes for the winter to come. Yes Virginia, that's the Queen's heel again.

I promptly started the new 'Father's Day' socks for the BoyToy's dad. Hey, I'm giving myself more than the three days I gave myself for the Mother's Day ones!! I'm knitting these ones up on my bamboo skewer needles so they're just a little looser. The Bamboos work out to a 2.5mm size while my usual ones are 2mm. These are for a Diabetic with ankles that swell so I want to make sure he has NO binding at the ankle at all.

And I made four more squares for the charity blankets this week in the fun color I found in the stash. I have one more big ball of it left in the bag & two HUGE balls of different shades of blue - bought in the bargain bin at Walmart!! Both of the blue balls match one of the colors in the square. I think the next blanket will be a Log Cabin blanket, with each square knit on top of the one before, so we don't have to sew anything together! I'm trying very hard to knit one square per day while watching tv before I go onto any other project so I get a big supply of them. My sock knitting buddies are also knitting squares so, that with any luck, we'll have a couple of blankets ready to donate by the end of the summer!! They'll go to a local Transition House.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Everybody's doin' it

So I went to the Fibre Fest along with everyone else that's writing a blog 'cept for poor Ev, stuck in the Okanagan. I see everyone's bragging about what they snagged, so I thought I might as well join in too. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to park close to the door on Saturday - considering I was hauling a granny cart, knitting bag, six pack of flavored cold water & my Mud Valley clone.(spinner) I had saved up my Toonies for months so I could buy whatever my little heart desired!! Its my secret stash - I save all my Toonies in a can & then whenever a fiber event or trip happens, it's like FREE money!!

And, I came with some definite purchases in mind. I wanted more silk hankies.
I wanted Hibiscus merino.

I wanted to take another look at the Triangle loom I saw last year. Well, I got the silk hankies - 3 bags full!!! at Twist of Fate. I got the Hibiscus Merino - 2 big bags at Aurelia!!! And I was seduced by the Purple Passion - merino & silk blend(top pic) - also at Aurelia. And I found my favorite but elusive dyes in Magenta(menopause purple) & Cyan(Flaming Turquoise) in a kit called Mother
MacKenzie's dye kit. BONUS!!

, I DID go see the Triangle Loom & watch a demo of the same technique in a little Lap Loom. I'm now mulling over what I should do - get the Lap Loom which would be ever so portable but I have to put all those squares together, get the 4' Triangle Loom which would let me do it faster but its not adjustable or hold out for the big adjustable 7' Triangle Loom which will fold down to 4' . Decisions, decisions . . . one thing I do know, I love the technique & am NOT interested in any loom that takes days to warp!! I did get cards though, so when I DO make up my mind, I can get what I want.

Didn't do ANY spinning at Fibre Fest although I dragged along the spinner. My thumbs were just too darned sore - OMG, is this a warning of things to come???? Hope not. I did finish the Mother's Day socks. She has her black outfits, her blue outfits, her pink & her brown outfits. I figure she can wear these with at least two of them!! This is Opal which looked rather interesting in the ball. The BT's mom likes short socks so I can usually get two pairs out of a 100gm ball if I put on solid or contrasting toes. I'm not particularly fond of this color or pattern so I knit the whole pair out of Opal. I have enough left to turn the heels on another pair & some Kroy in the same shade of dark yellow to finish the foot if she likes the color. I suspect she will since she'll take anything I knit . . .

And, last but not least, I'm in the process of finishing up the sort of 'ladybug' socks for me. The heels are turned on both socks so there's just the mindless foot knitting left! I like the color even though they aren't nearly as interesting as the Rainforest 'Ladybug' socks with their random thick & thin strips. They are still fun & very reminiscent of the 'Ladybugs' - this may've been the test pattern, who knows. I do have some of both yarns left so I may knit a couple of patchwork 'Frankensocks' of the two just for fun!! And I think I even have some extra red for the toes too . . . . .

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I should be working

Found my Opal socks! this was an accidental discovery because I was actually looking for something else at the time. In my house, any horizontal surface is fair game for books, fibre, project boxes, etc - I was so glad to go spinning at Karen's house yesterday because, apparently, we both have the same decorator!!!
But, as I said, I found my Opal socks. The pattern is very reminiscent of the "Ladybug" pattern from the first 'Rainforest' collection. I guess that's why I pounced on that particular ball. I pounced on a purple ball of Opal too - it's similar to the red one so it may knit up the same but, who knows??? Every sock is an adventure!

Ginny Revisited - I AM determined to get rid of my ratty old Fuschia sweater ASAP. It's really looking baaaaaad but , dammit, it's just so cozy. I love the way it wraps around me in its stretched out, tatty, bodiless way & if it weren't for all the catches, pills & pulls - well, I'd wear it for another year!!! But, Gail is disgusted with me & The Boytoy has threatened to burn it - soooo, I've dug out the multi-toned, purple, Ginny's Sweater by Medrith Glover. I've finished one sleeve, am working down the second & have the body knit almost to the hip. Since this dips to a point in the front & back, I have to fill in the triangular sections from upper hip to the front & back hems & then figure out what kind of finish to use for the front opening & neck edge. I haven't done any I-cord yet so this may be the place to learn. But, maybe, I'll just crochet the edge in single crochet so I can wear it that much sooner . . . . . . And I'll make a shawl to wrap around me when I need something to snuggle in at home. I'm still spinning on my Arvik fleece but I'm also thinking about starting to knit the sweater as well. Arvik deserves something simple & plain to show off the color & texture - hey, this will be my first handspun sweater!!!

Laura sucked me into knitting yet another pair of socks. She found a ball of Sisu Fantasy in a thrift store for 99 cents! The colors were so fantastic that I just wanted to knit it up immediately - so I did. I just love the colors & had to make the toes in this hot pink Sisu that I bought for toes. The toe color is not quite as thick as the other yarn but I think its a perfect match for color so nothing else would do!! Laura is going to have to learn how to knit if she wants any more socks!!! The next pair is going to the BT's mom for Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And the Beat goes on . . .

Well, the tax season is almost over for another year! I say ALMOST because now I have all my self-employed - including Moi - to do. But, these are the real fun part of all this. No, folks, I am NOT smoking funny tobacco. Small business tax is an adventure. It's my favorite because I like a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I'm back working on my Heartbeat sweater from Just One More Row, again. I & the rest of the Knit-Along gang at Ample Knitters discovered to our dismay that this sweater is lovely when knit in a small or medium size but not so lovely when sized up to a much larger size. The sweater can be expanded to any size but the neck & shoulders expand along with it. So?? What's the problem you say?? Well, I don't know about you but I don't want a V-neck to my belly button! I want that part of my anatomy COVERED, thank you!
So, some of us have come up with variations which we hope will salvage the sweater. One gal put so many extra rows of stitching into the neck opening that it now looks like a small yoke. But, it closes it up so she can wear it. I decided to make a smaller sweater resulting in a smaller neck opening & make it larger by increasing the garter panels at each side before picking up the sleeve stitches. Someone else has decided to limit the increases on either side of the neck opening to every fourth row instead of every second. Hopefully we ALL get wearable sweaters!

And I've finished the two pairs of socks for Laura. I used one 100 gm ball of Opal & half a ball of blue & green for the toes.

I started MY Opal socks - the red & white yarn with a little black that looks a lot like the yarn for my Ladybug socks. But, I can't find the bag I put them into . . . !! I'm blaming it on menopause!