Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ARTISTIC VISION Today Mr. UPS brought me some lovely gauze fabric from "Gorgeous Things" a website my girlfriend Suzy (hereafter known as "The Enabler") turned me on to. It's a delicate peach-pink color with embroidered flowers. I was thinking I might make this somewhat vintage looking dress with it. I've made this dress before and it suits me well. The gauze, as you might suspect, is rather sheer so I'm thinking that my lining skills might have to actually be born - forget about improving or sharpening.

Things got a little odd in my pursuit of creativity.

Tomorrow morning we head over to Nevada to the Fish Lake Valley hot spring. We'll do some motorcycle riding and I'll knit on the way there, on the way back and probably in between. I have bags of projects and two audio books to keep me amused. After three attempts I am moving along with the picovoli top. I am loving the Debbie Bliss Cathay yarn. It splits just a little but overall it's a delight to work with, springy and soft with a lovely sheen.

I won't be back until late Friday so I thought I'd post a few garden photos. I'm hoping to get some great desert pictures over the next few days.
This coreopsis has started to bloom. There are so many variations to be found. I get a lot of pleasure knowing that I grew this from seed. Seed picked off while visiting a nursery. My mother would be proud.
There is a new episode of TrueYarns up for your listening pleasure. EE says to "check it out".

A picot version of amaryllis. Also a flower with many variations.

A version in red.

A verbascum also grown from seed. This guy took two years to bloom. There were three but only one survived. They are tough plants that need little water. This one is over six feet tall. I plan to grow several more. You just have to be patient.

Friday, May 25, 2007

AND FOR THE WEEKEND... Mz. Grumpy hasn't had time to work out the inverted "V" in her pursuit of knitting lace or get her seaming skills "just right". So, what could I knit over the weekend that would be fun yet take little brainpower? I settled on a design from Grumperina that I found at NonaKnits. She calls it "Tivoil" but in Magknits it's called "Picovoli". I've bought the suggested yarn, Debbie Bliss Cathay and I am liking it a lot. It has a nice sheen and is very soft. The mail also brought me one skein of laceweight yarn from Sundara. My yarn diet has been pretty successful but going over "just to take a look" at her website is deadly. Resistance is futile.

EYE CANDY FRIDAY AND GENERAL GARDEN NEWS The first of the cherries are starting to turn red. This has been noted by every bird in the area. We have netted (talk about a project to make one grumpy!) and hope for the best.

The very first English cuke has appeared looking for all the world like a small, spiny whanker complete with the appropriate curve.

The first of what will likely be many, many zukes.

We try to be as organic as possible at Chez Earin's. Notice the holes on the volunteer hollyhock. It has been a big year for caterpillars. The beetles are pretty happy too.

A white clematis. I have hopes that someday it will flourish and help cover the hideous fence surrounding our house. The fence that keeps things like coyote out and NOT eating our pets and the deer who would only eat the plants.
Doing its part to hide the fence is a purple clematis.

A not so great photo but it gives you an idea of the size.

I don't recall the name of the vine but "It grows in either shade or sun!!" "Up to 15 feet a year!!" This is the last of six plants three or so years down the line. I've put it in a pot and given it a lot of TLC. A month later it looks about the same.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I am in a grumpy mood. We have company coming this weekend and I don't feel like having company. It's been bothering me all day. I understand that this is a good time for them and blah, blah, blah. I don't feel like having company. Normally, I'm the Hostess With The Most-est. What I want to be doing right now is to be wrapping up Claude (so close, yet so far) and getting a few things finished in the garden before the summer heat kicks in. After many attempts with sewing on the neckband I am finally satisfied. The "slightly stretching" that the pattern calls for resulted in four extra inches but it was easy to frog back and re cast off. Except for that teeny bit in the back it looks pretty good. I think my seaming skills have taken a step up with all this practice.

I continue to explore the world of lace knitting. So far, so-so. I've "cracked the code" up through row 8. The inverted "V" has me in a tizzy. I think I've worked out the first one but the one that is followed by a YO has me stumped. Over sushi my friend Sabrina and I traded the sample back and forth. Alas by the time we reached the dreaded row 9 we had to get back to real life. Oh, and a really honest look at the herringbone sock shows that I got off pattern a few inches back. Oh, the pain of being a perfectionist. I really want my first two color project to be right. Ribbit!
Today is hubby's birthday. Hurry for Hubby! As per his request I have made him an angel food cake. Yes, it leans a little - get over it. Nor is it a HIGH cake but it is delicious and the chocolate ganache flavored with dark rum is very tasty. Add a few strawberries, some bubbly beverage and you've got a reasonable birthday dessert.

Omar does not understand why a small dog can't have a bit of cake. Chocolate is not for doggies. No way. No how. He'll get a nice beef bone instead.

Hands down, it goes to Mason-Dixon.
"If a handknit falls in the forest, and nobody photographs it, did it have correct row gauge? "

Friday, May 18, 2007


Wed. afternoon I traveled to Auburn to meet up with my friend Sharon. She then drove us down to Roseville so we could knit up a storm with the Chicks with Sticks. The group started out as a monthly knit group but quickly evolved into once a week. I can certainly see why. These ladies were a hoot plus they were more than kind when yours truly just couldn't grasp the yo concept at all. So simple yet so hard. I've been trying to do a simple little leaf panel from a Lavold pattern and failing miserably. By Jove! I think I've got it!

I liked this group. I liked them a lot. They're a bit far for me to travel but maybe now and again...

Sharon showed off her fuzzy slipper for all to see. She tells me the extra fuzzy yarn (the make/type I did not catch) was "impossible to frog and pick back up" Just too darn fuzzy.

I continue to work on my herringbone sock and Claude, well, we won't talk about Claude at the moment. I bought some light knit fabric to make shells to wear under Claude and the basketweave shell. I left my pincushion out and Otis had fun pulling all the pins out. Not good. Soon all my sewing will be done in another room with a way cool sewing center built for me by hubby (who arrived home after 12 days of riding his Harley around). He and Omar are bonding by taking a nap together.

My amaryllis have started to bloom. I've had very good luck with getting them to rebloom year after year.

Hosta with fuchsia. Gardening is not for the impatient. It seems to take at least three years before anything is really established and you can have a reasonable idea of things like:
Is the plant happy in this location?
Is the plant's size anywhere near what you expected? (I have a sage plant that is supposed to be 3' x 3'. It grew to over 15'. I whack it back periodically but I seem to be only encouraging it.)
Does it blend well with surrounding plants? Would it look better in front/in back/with something else?
Needless to say, things keep being shifted around at Chez Earin's.

One end of our pond with various succulents and a red CA poppy.

A Shirley poppy. They reseed themselves in some of the oddest places.

New growth on a fern.

Another Hosta. They come in a huge selection of sizes and patterns.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

(Not!) I have been holding off blogging because I wanted to present Claude in all his glory. I am so near yet.... I am not an experience sewer-upper of things so I am taking my time. While not entirely happy with my shoulder seams they will do. The neckband however is supposed to sewn on "slightly stretched or it will not lie flat". We are not lying flat. No, we are all wiggly so back we go - again. I spent a lot of time practicing buttonholes until I found a technique that I rather like.
I have buttons and a very small amount of yarn left. There is only the sewing up to do so I'm near the finish line. I thought I was in trouble when I ran out of yarn about a third of the way through the neckband but I dug out the swatch and frogged that. Whew.

I bit the bullet and frogged my herringbone sock back. Eventually I'll get the two handed technique to work but for now consistent gauge is what I need.
Tonight is something special. I'm having dinner with my friend Sharon and going to her new knit group in Rocklin, Chicks with Sticks. It's really too far for me to go on a regular basis but I'm looking forward to it. Sharon has spoken highly of it.
Hopefully, hubby will be home by Friday. We are eager. He has been missed

Thursday, May 10, 2007

MISSING YOU The house continues to miss hubby. I came home yesterday to find that the main pole in my closet had broken. I find myself wondering what will break next. Hubby is having a wonderful time. He says that he 'thinks of me as he rides his motorcycle". I find that incredibly romantic. We are all missing him though having the whole bed to myself is rather nice. Not that I get much of it with all the animals snuggled up so close that turning over is an exercise in negotiation.

Almost beating the heat Omar and I headed down to Bridgeport and the Pt. Defiance loop trail for our daily walk. Bridgeport is known for having the world's longest covered bridge. I have no idea if this is true but it's pretty long. Most people take the part of the trail that runs along the South Yuba river and into Lake Englebright.

I like to go up the steep side which is a series of switchbacks that take you up rapidly to a lovely meadow. As you can see there is still some green grass and wildflowers. They'll be gone in a week or so. We saw not a soul. The yellow flowers are called "Pretty Face".

I knitted the last few inches of my herringbone sock the "right" way holding a color in each hand. Obviously, my gauge is a lot looser and I think I may have to frog back and do it holding both strands in my right hand. This is most annoying.

EYE CANDY FRIDAY (just a little early)

Gazania. They come in a lovely variety of colors.

Dear old Mrs Bradshaw, a geum.

Mint and dianthus.

A rose cropped or photographed whole will still smell as sweet.

It is being a very good year for peonies.

A hardy geranium.

Monday, May 07, 2007

LOVE AND LUST The last of Sundara's sock yarn from her petal collection (this one was "Dahlia" with a very cool pattern) came the other day. I was stunned. Sundara always does wonderful yarn, great yarn, amazing colors but this... this skein is something else. I may never actually knit with it. I'm thinking I may just carry it around in my purse and stroke it periodically.
This morning I was sad for several reason. Hubby has ridden off for a long motorcycle trip with friends. (The garbage disposal unit took this opportunity to break. This house just knows when he's gone.) I miss him already. I also took Otis to the vet. He has seemed thinner to me and a bit lethargic of late. He weighed the same as last visit back in Nov. He's just turned a year old so I would think he would be heavier. He's certainly become longer. All his vitals were normal so now it's the waiting for the blood work to come back. He was tested last year for all the bad things a cat can get (and was negative) and had all his shots so chances are he is just fine but I worry.
I've been sewing pajamas for the Shriner's Hospital. They're fast and easy and except for my sewing area being rather hot rather fun to sew. I ran the A/C for the first time. It's early May for goodness sake. I shudder to think what summer will be like if May 7th is 92F. Time to get the window shades up for summer and the covers over the skylights.

We've started evicting the rest of the frogs and tadpoles from the pool. I have been scooping tadpoles out and transferring them to our pond. The fish think this is really cool. One lone frog croaks at night still hoping to get lucky. I wish him all the best.

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