Progress is Being Made.
I've been putting in serious time with both my sock
and my garden
. See all those weeds?
Imagine that you can see me on my hands and knees ripping, digging, pulling – and this is just a small section. Then imagine my surprise when at the end of the day I go sit on the couch and pick up the latest issue of "Fine Gardening". There, in full color, it tells you how Mexican Evening Primrose is a wonderful thing to grow. (A careful reading of the article does mention to be careful to contain it - ha! It will jump your borders with ease!) MEP the very thing I have been ripping out for the last several years. Can you say or spell INVASIVE? Grumble. Mumble. Gritting of teeth. Unless you want your entire garden covered in it Do Not PLANT this monster!! (Also notice the yellow tennis ball to the left bottom. That thing tried to KILL me the other morning - stepped on it and went flying. Wheeeeee!!!!)
I’ve noticed that when knitting into the small hours of the morning I tend to do things like pull out one dpn thinking it’s my knitting dpn. Then I get my stitches all twisted so I have to spend a lot of time going back, getting things on my needle and doing knitting surgery with my crochet hook.
Just so I can claim to be a BusyBee of a Girl I've also been doing this. Opie has been helping. If you can't quite tell he's sitting on one of the two sleeves of my sweater jacket that I am blocking. The second picture is one of the front panels. The pictures are dark because the flash is still not working.
It’s not that I have insomnia
, I just can’t sleep. Seems to be a common problem with women but when you’re watching the sky lighten up at dawn It’s A Very Personal Thing
. I have been experimenting with two color techniques since I want to do my socks according to the pattern. My 1963 "900 Stitches Dictionary" has been a good friend over the years and it didn’t let me down when I researched how to knit with two colors. This book covers pretty much everything. I tried a few rounds working the held color and just didn’t like it. One of the problems is that the non Koigu yarn just isn’t well, Koigu
. It’s too heavy and just doesn’t have the same sort of look or feel.
After tossing and turning and thinking of how I could get another couple of skeins (I have good and willing friends – call the store, figure out what color(s), pay by credit card, have friend go in and pick up and mail etc. Heck, I'm sure the store would mail it to me.) it occurred to me: Just use what you have
girl. It will look just fine; it will be a good sock to learn on blah, blah, blah. Instead of starting yet another project I could wrap up a few of my ongoing projects – now that would be something. And you know? I’m right.
So climb out of bed again (I think this was my third time at attempting to fall asleep) and back to the couch. Built a little fire in the wood burning stove because it’s in the 40’s outside (don’t get me started on the weather – just go see Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth"
and decide for yourself). I cast on and here is my very early stages effort.
It will grow. I get a lot of knitting done during tennis season. I did find that all the practicing of casting on and knitting translated into my sort of knowing what was going on and it felt smooth. An illusion
I am sure.
I frogged my sock because of 1) too many mistakes and 2) because I thought the solid color along with the variegated would be a nicer look after all (what me follow the pattern?). So, off I went to Meadow Farm looking for a solid colored Koigu (does it come in solid colors?). Seems they want to carry it but can’t get it. Have called several times, no one calls them back. Hmmmm. I had no idea that the stuff was so special. I know that it’s wonderful stuff but I assumed you could buy it at any good yarn shop. According to MF they select only special stores to carry it. There was nothing really matching it other than somewhat heavier baby cashmere, which I am trying without much luck. I tried casting on 20 of the solid, 14 of the variegated then 20 again of the solid. I was unable to figure our how to connect, cast on etc. using the first and third – well, I am confused. I have little wads of cast on yarn that I've literally ripped off my needles. It didn’t help that I was trying to knit holding everything up high and over to the side to try and clear the phalanx of critters draped across me. I shall try again. Maybe hiding in a closet. (Note: I'm not jealous of DancesWithWool - honest. How does she whip out stunningly beautiful items within a couple of days? Oh and toss in a little exquisite embroidery to boot.) I hope her daughters are taking advantage of her skill and talent and are learning A Lot. Me? I could learn a little Finnish and hang around for a bit and learn how to really knit. I like snow. I even have snowshoes.
Speaking of ribbits as I was peeking at my seedlings this morning I came across this little guy. He and a couple of his
friends have been hanging around our pond looking for love. They are pretty darn loud for such small fellows. I place him at an inch maybe one and a half at most. Most of the frogs are gone wherever frogs go in the summer time so their chances of getting lucky are pretty low.
More gardening photos.
Finally the roses and the clemantis blooming together as planned
along with the hollyhocks which want to take over the world. Oh, and I did finally finish up the knitted hat and the three caul caps and
managed to get them mailed off. I do finish things. I do.
We are back from a quick trip to Reno. What a dull and overblown place. Despite all the neon lights, the games that make lots of noise, the glitter, the gambling I must confess - I find the place incredibly boring. I must be out of step with the general population of America. Circus Circus was packed with many, many not very happy (or healthy) looking people - most of them amazingly fat. We were greeted with a wall of cigarette smoke as we entered the building. Living in CA you just forget what it's like "out there
". To me a person smoking looks like someone with a SERIOUS DRUG HABIT. I suspect that because smoking brings in lots and lots of $$$
Our trip to Reno was to meet up with my husbands' extended family - his late wife's mother and father and family connected to them. (Sadly, Dick's wife died about 9 years ago after a very long struggle with breast cancer.) One couple had originally eloped to Reno 25 years ago so that explained the venue.
This was my first time meeting everyone and they were all very gracious and kind to me. People kept telling me how happy they were that I had married Dick. It felt just a little odd that so many people had been thinking of me and wishing me well and I wasn't even aware of them! It finally occured to me that my stepson might have actually said nice things about me when he spent the winter with them. Hmmmmm.
Once we hit the buffet my diet was destroyed. I have consumed a tremendous amount of sugar, fat etc. and will now have to wrest my diet back into my life lest I become one of the obese zombies wandering the endless corridors of a casino somewhere.
The trip was literally 26 hours but it seems like so much longer. After all the heat we have started having rain again. The blanket that I had just removed from the bed is now back on and shorts have given way to light flannels and a sweater. On our way home back over the mountains it poured and we saw some beautiuful lightening. At the higher elevations the dogwoods have just started to bloom. The cats were happy to have us come back and let them out and Omar is very glad to be out of the RV. He does not travel as well as I had hoped.
I spent most of my time while riding in the RV either holding the dog or knitting a sock. It has enough mistakes that I will frog it out but I liked it enough to try again. I didn't have any solid color to add so it's back to the yarn store. The yarn is Koigue hand painted. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Socks Two, the Rib and Panel.
Later in the day I finally got the elastic put into the hat and finished two of the caul caps. One more and I'm done. The elastic really helps. I also made the second caul a little deeper in the crown so it can be pulled down more.
Dick is snoring on the couch, the animals are running around outside and I think I'll see what to make for dinner and get some things put away.
Home is such a nice place.
At the Movies
I went to see the Da Vinci Code this afternoon. In a word (three actually): I loved it. My husband loved it. After reading several reviews by critics who seem more interested in sounding clever and trashing it (maybe it wouldn’t be cool to actually like something?) I wondered if we had all been to the same movie. It won’t go down as one of the world’s most fantastic films but it was entertaining, well acted, nicely paced without being didactic and overbearing concerning the matter of religion. No one seemed miscast to me. There are changes from the book. A film cannot be a book but they were nicely done and some downright clever. The book was well, you know it’s cataloged as fiction after all
. Go see it, see for yourself.
This is the first year the peonies have really made a lot of blossoms. Hey, I only moved them twice in the last five years! Of course, now our 95F heat is keeping the flowers from lasting very long. The iris are about done but there in the background, can you see it? Our pool
. It isn’t quite ready yet though. Dick is balancing the ph and killing everything imaginable with the chlorine; then there is the sweeping out of debris and waiting for the new cover to be delivered then, then, we get to get in and get wet
Olympic sized it is not, but you can paddle around and cool off anytime you please. 95F is pretty average for around here in the summer (please note that it is the middle of May - which is NOT summertime). One year we registered 102 for several days. Just a little toasty. Nevada county has a lot of rocks so pools are generally above ground and ugly. We’ve talked for the last five years of putting lattice around it but it other things have higher priority.
A question you might ask yourself is where does a 17 lb. cat sit?
The answer is sometimes in our hammock. Both cats jump up and swing themselves periodically. Ollie is looking just a little on the heavy side though in this picture. He loves to nestle like a baby over your shoulder then flip over so he can lie back in your arms stroking him. Yeah, you try that with 17 lbs. Eventually you arm falls off and you’re covered in fur. I’ve been perfecting my pet the cat with one hand while I comb with the other. Both cats have pelts that would keep them comfy come December in Alaska. Think massive
shedding. I think if you removed all animal fur from my life I would sicken and die. It has become necessary for my existence. To all my allergic friends: I am so sorry but they are just so cute.
Wine and Flowers
One of the things I like to do is make fruit wine. Our property came complete with several established fruit trees. (No, that didn’t stop me from purchasing A Whole Lot More – I like to knit but I’ve never met a nursery I didn’t just love.) Several of the plum trees are heavy producers of not that great for just eating fruit so I had the bright idea of making wine and jam. Last night I filled 22 wine bottles. I use bottles that my friends save for me. No use spending a lot of money. The cost of sugar alone is tremendous (we also have a serious relationship with a zillion hummingbirds). I tried to capture the color of the wine. It's a lovely deep red and pretty tasty stuff too.Over the last few years I’ve worked out a technique for cleaning, removing the labels and sterilizing them. I have to tell you though – if you ever find yourself at a bar and a fight erupts and you have a choice of grabbing either an American wine bottle or an Australian one - go for the Australian. We Americans, at least the big business types, know how to squeeze every penny. American bottles are much, much thinner and the labels literally soak off. Now the Aussies on the other hand glue their labels on tight and nothing short of a good scraping with a razor blade will get them off. Their bottles are heavy. The most petite lassie could easily conk someone out wielding a nice Australian merlot. Just something to think about.
Sadly, this spring the trees were in full bloom when we had some late snow and there will be no fruit this year and no wine (due to popular demand I concentrate on wine and not jam). I’ve become somewhat addicted to the smell of having a mini winery in my art studio (the bathroom is the winery). My friend Sharon, who is a fantastic artist, did the label for last year's wine but I can’t find the file on my exquisitely organized hard drive.
Some of my greenhouse seedlings are about to go live out in the sun. I try something new each year and one of those things is this.
It’s Cocopah/Zea mays sweet corn. The seeds were originally collected in 1868-1869 from the Colorado River Indians and saved by prospectors in northern Arizona. The kernels are red, white and some blue. They may be too pretty to eat.
I found my needle gauge in my yarn stash drawer of all places. I also located four of my five size six dpn's. I seem to remember finding a chewed up dpn hanging out of the mouth of some adorable puppy who has "what are you looking at me like that for" eyes. This photo was taken some time ago when Omar was still quite young. He had discovered our ash pile and decided to dig his way to China.
There’s nothing like a profile shot to make you realize that the Sixties were a long time ago
. Oh well. The hat is finished! Okay, so it didn’t quite follow the pattern and it looks a little strange just by itself but it feels great, is a little Rastafarian, and doesn’t look half bad. It’s done; a little late for a birthday in early May and the weather has become a little warm but maybe for the early morning walk she takes daily or for next fall. I have also decided that the caul caps will work out after all. All I need to do is put a little elastic in
the headband. The hat also needs elastic in the roll up band. Since my friend will not have hair for three more months this will be the perfect bridging cap and a nice change from just scarves. Thus ends my foray into massive hat/scarf/cap making. Now back to the sweater jacket and then my summer dresses.
Hot and Sweaty
I am hot and sweaty. It’s 87F and a bit humid. We usually have a dry heat but we’re still recouping from all that rain. The plants have loved it all. Things (and not just the weeds) have grown a lot this spring. Some of it is that anything you plant that is a perennial takes about three full years to get established and look good. It doesn’t help that I tend to dig things up and move them around as I change my mind how things should look. This clemantis has been moved twice. I think it is telling me to please leave it alone.
I’ve done little more than see my chiropractor today (digging and hauling huge wheelbarrow loads of weeds takes it toll), had lunch with a girlfriend, bought enough tea to last me through the summer if I manage to drink 2 gallons a day, and shopped for groceries. Perhaps I can spend the rest of the afternoon finishing up my hat. Then I can move on to making a couple of summer dresses with this stuff. One fabric will be the godets for the other fabric and visa versa. I also just realized that this pattern is lined so back to the fabric store - but not today. Oh, I also can’t find my needle gauge. This is most annoying I’ve had that gauge for many a year. My first thought was that the couch had eaten it. A search turned up several single socks (don’t ask – I haven’t a clue either but I suspect that the puppy is involved) but no gauge. I need coffee, lots of coffee. Now the hunt for the gauge and some dpn size six needles.
If it’s spring it must be time for Snowshoes!
I drove over to Reno on Sat. to see friends run a half marathon Sunday morning. I’m always impressed when people I know do such things. Mostly I’m stunned that anyone would willingly get up at the crack of dawn for any reason at all. I am a creature of the midday to the early hours of the new morning. I start to feel at my peak around 10 pm. Well, I like my friends a lot so we went and it was fun. Omar the dog had a good time meeting strange dogs and their owners (we're hoping for some digital photos to be emailed to us of Omar boxing with a poodle) and getting entangled with leashes wrapped around legs and arms. It was fun. After the race we all met up for a HUGE breakfast which I am still digesting.
On our way back ( it was a caravan - hubby was in the RV - he had been out in the Nevada desert emoting testosterone while riding his dirt bike with other hairy, farting and scratching members of the male side of the human race and I in my pickup truck complete with small dog plastered to my boobs) we stopped in Truckee and hit the after season sales of outdoor gear. I’m only bummed that it will be a WHOLE YEAR before I get to try these babies out.
As usual when I travel I’m impressed and a little worried at how all the small towns are growing. It seems that there are huge tracks of land being built with mega complexes of condos, along with big houses on tiny lots so you can watch your neighbor eat her dinner while you make yours, and shopping malls. I guess it's PROGRESS. People have to live, eat and shop somewhere but does it all have to look the same?
I seem to be inherently incapable of following a pattern. The hat seems a bit large but then it is supposed to be "slouchy". I decided it was long enough and am now decreasing. It's also
hard to take a photo of yourself in a mirror so this is the best I could do even with adjusting it in PhotoShop. My husband laughed so hard when he saw this picture.
Different but the Same
Reading the different blogs is fascinating. People - mostly women from all over writing in different styles about what moves them. None of it is earth shattering yet it is all so important. We’re all so different yet so much the same. I had an anthropology instructor who once said, "Man’s similarities outweigh his differences".
I laugh at the outrageously funny comments made by the Yarn Harlot and pause and think about what DanceswithWool has to say about life with six phases of winter. We’re all marked, shifted, imprinted by where we grew up, how our parents grew up, the age we live in, our birth personalities yet we are the same.
I seem to be getting very little done today. I blame it on my headache. I did take some more pictures of my garden, which has something new blooming every day. I wake up each morning and go out to my greenhouse to see what new seedlings have sprouted and fret about those who haven’t.
Those two models. Notice how they are slender but not super skinny? Why is super skinny now "in". Big heads on a stick body (not to mention the breast implants) is not attractive. How did this come about? Who's in Charge here?