Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Loved Having Whoopie For Breakfast

I had two big Wicked Whoopies for breakfast this morning; well actually, I shared them with DH since neither of us had ever partaken of Whoopie before. It was wonderful! The Wicked Whoopie were a hostess gifts from one of the ladies in my TNKG. She is originally from Main and still has family there that she visits often. WIcked Whoopies are made in Main and shipped all over America. Oprah Winfrey once featured them on her show thus stepping up their popularity. The cake is very tender and there's as much filling inside the two layers, as one side of the cake is thick however, it isn't overly sweet. The Whoopies we had were a deep dark chocolate and a banana, both delicious with me leaning toward the chocolate for a change. Normally I'm not a chocolate person and I love banana muffins and breads, but this chocolate reminds me of when I was a kid and more people baked with cocoa than with baking chocolate. I still prefer cocoa made fudge, pies, cakes, and icing over baking chocolate. Thank you, dear Glen, for this delicious treat.

Our holiday season has been full of joy, and touched by sadness. Amongst all the wonderful parties and gifts and visiting we've been a part of this year, I also lost my eldest sister (87 years old). She has been very ill for a long time and her death was not unexpected. Still, losing someone you love is always hard and I don't know that you are ever prepared for it. This now makes three of us ten siblings, no longer on this earth; each loss happening in December, near the Christmas holidays.

I've started the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf using some yarn from my stash given to me by my sister, Glyness, from her stash. It had no label on it so the yardage and fiber content are a guess. The fiber feels like a cotton and acrylic blend but that's just a guess. After winding it into balls, I think it would be over 400 yards. It is knitting up nicely and the colors are nice and bright. I'll have to make a photo for this blog next time I have it out and remember to do it.

With all the snow and cold weather throughout the US, we've had just the opposite. We had to turn the heat off completed several days recently, with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day being two of them. Can you imagine having Christmas without needing the heat on? Actually we had to open a couple of windows on Christmas Eve night in order to get to sleep and again on Christmas night. It doesn't seem right, it isn't seasonal, we don't live in Florida. What's going on?

Today I plan to clear out some more boxes of 'stuff'. I've been on a 'getting rid of stuff' kick these lasts couple of weeks. Its a job I hate tackling, but a necessary one. Never again do I want all the 'stuff' to accumulate that I had to deal with when we moved here. It's not easy discarding all those memories but it doesn't make sense to me to hold on to them. My children are making, their own memories and I've already given them the items they wanted from their childhood memories and family keepsakes. It isn't fair to leave all 'my stuff' for someone else to to deal with should something happened to me and/or DH. After our move ant then having to deal with helping my sister pack up and move, then watching my niece's deal with their mother's life-time accumulation of 'stuff', I will try to keep things gone through and discarded to prevent this from happening to my loved ones.
Yarn and knitting supplies seems to be a bit of a different story. I can't seem to bring myself to throw these things away. I'm going to try and persuade myself to give at least some of the stash away. I've suggested our TNKG work on squares for one another this next year and thought some of the yarn could be used for that. I have been more careful about buying yarn this past year and am pleased that I've done as well as I have. Still, once in awhile that little something in my brain seems to go haywire and I find myself with a bag of gorgeous yarn in my hand before I have thought about what can be knit with it. I'm trying to train myself to only buy yarn when I need it for a project. Actually I'm doing pretty good with this part, the bad part is, I'm buying the yarn for each project instead of using my stash. New Years resolution this year is going to be "to cut my stash".

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mrs Santa Came To My House To Party

Monday night I had all my MNKG in from the city and invited their husbands (or significant other) to come also. It was such a nice group and we really had a grand time. We had put aside one of our knitting nights earlier this year to meet for dinner bringing our husbands along to meet each other. It is surprising how a common thread of interest seems to be between us, while we wife's love to knit, our husband love to hike and camp. We all enjoy a nice glass of wine and lots of laughs, what more could one ask for? Topping off our gathering on Monday night was a couple of local ladies that use to knit with the Richmond group (remember this Monday night group is made up mostly of ladies that learned to knit when I taught a class while still working for the Commonwealth and my other knitting friends from when I worked). I invited these ladies as a surprise for the rest of the group; it really was a welcomed surprise for everyone. One of the ladies dressed as Mrs. Santa (she and her husband do this for charity each year) and brought a basketful of candies.

What a wonderful time we had.Tuesday night my LYS had our Christmas gathering. We draw names and exchange gifts around the knitting table which we fill with food and drink instead of yarn and needles on this one night each year. This extending family of knitting ladies are so dear to me. I watch as someone goes through a trying time with a husband, child, or parent and how someone in the group seems to always step up and offers help in one way or another. It is so touching to see this happen.

On Wednesday DH and I went to see our precious Dariana in her nursery school program. The children were terrific. We loved seeing how hard they have worked and how smart they are, singing in both English and Spanish. (That's Dari on the left with her polished nails.) Afterwards we took Dari to lunch at the 'fish store' (Long John Silver's) her favorite place to eat, and then brought her home with us for the afternoon. Dari loves seafood; she and I always go to the 'fish store' for fish and shrimp when we have our 'girls day' together.

My Christmas shopping is completed and the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. Stocking stuffers are ready for the stockings except for grafting the toes on three pairs of socks. I've started another pair using Opal yarn and a patterned stitch. They will probably be for DD although mom would love to keep them for herself. The Just Enough Ruffles scarf has not gotten made, just not enough time.

DS is home for the holidays (oh, joy) and today DH and I have another open house party to attend. Sometime during the next week, DS and I will find a spot of time for just the two of us to spend together and to do some baking. I always look forward to baking with my children, and now Dari too, at Christmastime. We have certain recipes that we want to make every year and we always try to add a new one or two. Tonight we will make Ding Bats, a date and nut ball filled with crisp cereal and coated in coconut. Yum!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just Enough Ruffles

I just returned from my LYS a few minutes ago and went on Ravelry to down-load the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf by Laura Chan. Today my LYS had their Christmas sale and I had intended to run in and out quickly so I could get back home and work on some of my projects. That plan went astray; I was there more like three hours instead of a few minutes. I went in I chose my yarn and a set of Bryson's Rosewood DP needles right away, then got in line to pay for them. The Universal's Classic Tapestry yarn I had in my hands led to a discussion of the Just Enough Ruffles scarf pattern. Another lady in the shop had a bag full of the scarfs knitted up to show. She is a school teacher and she is knitting each of her female students a scarf for Christmas (that's all the details I was given). Anyway she had it knitted in several different yarns and colors and Universal Tapestry was one of them. This scarf is a really pretty and it's actually wide enough to be a shoulder wrap. The yarn I bought wasn't for the scarf but I wanted the pattern right away and will use yarn from my stash to knit it with, hopefully before Christmas. I also bought some Filatura Di Crosa 127 Print Yarn in red for knitting a hat. I had paid for my purchases but friends kept coming in and another conversation would get started. Before I knew it, half the day had been spent at the shop. What a fun way to spend a cold Saturday in December.

I've finished another pair of socks and plan to take the week-end off from knitting to get some more baking taken care of. Now that hubby and I have decided on several small gatherings in place of one big blast for the holidays, I can put my plans into action and begin getting things done. My menu for the first group is complete and I have the ingredients in the house ready for the last minute preparations. Its to be a sideboard supper (soups, salads, and Christmas sweets) for a small group of eight. It will be easy, casual, and fun with the tree and lights reflecting in the sun room windows and Christmas music playing softly. I haven't entirely decided on the other two other than they too, will be easy, casual, and fun.

Today the weather has turned really cold. The forecast is for rain in our area with snow to the northwest. Actually I'd like to see a bit of snow just to make the season feel more like Christmas. So far we haven't had anything more than a light flurry. I'm still like a child in wishing for a White Christmas to cozy-up inside and watch the snow falling and the kids outside playing.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Knitting for Christmas

I'm knitting away trying to get everyone a pair of socks knitted before Christmas. Actually, I'm doing quiet well providing nothing unexpected comes up to put a halt on things; I only have two pairs and one-and-a-half socks left to knit.

The next thing on my Christmas agenda is putting together gifts for my MNKG and TNKG. I like to have small, but useful gifts for these ladies just because I love each of them and its a small way to express it. I love being able to spend a couple of hours on Knit Nights talking about what is going on in our lives, laughing, and knitting together. We have a couple of young ladies (teenagers) that joins us sometimes and they too are great fun and great knitters; and, a three-generation family, teen, mother, and grandmother are a part of our Tuesday night group and on occasion are all there on the same night. How neat is that?

An update on my family - Little Dariana is not so little anymore, she turned four last month and we celebrated with a Princess Tea Party. Fifteen little girls dressed up like princesses (which they are) and having a real tea party together was delightful. What fun for the girls as well as the adults.

Son - home for Thanksgiving and we had a grand time baking and decorating the house together for Christmas. It would be wonderful if we could have him closer to home.

Daughter - working so hard and constantly traveling from one dialysis clinic to the next. She does and terrific job as administrator and won several awards last month for her work. She truly deserved each of them but I sometimes wonder, is all this hard work and travel really such a good thing. We support her 100% regardless.

Son-in-law - doing a terrific job of holding down the home-front and caring for our granddaughter while working forty hours and sometimes more each week. We appreciate him more than there are words to express it.

Hubby - happy in his retirement and being able to play in his iris beds everyday, or almost everyday, sometimes the weather prevents it. He is thinking he may register his first iris this year and hopes to find someone to introduce it for retail.

My siblings - a scary situation. Age is taking its toll on the older ones along with heart and cancer running a close race. Still, for the eight of us that remain on this earth, with me the youngest at 63, we're doing great. I still love to knit for each of them and each seems to enjoy the things I make for them.

Tonight is my MNKG gathering and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I can't wait to see how Nora is coming along on her socks. She asked me to teach her on the short circular needles than I mentioned before. We call Nora our rectangular knitter because we haven't been able to convince her she is ready to move forward. This is her first attempt and I'm anxious for it to be a success. Meanwhile, I have a zillion little things to get done but I'm off to get a pedicure before I tackle anything else.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In A Knitting Sulk

It's been almost six months since I've blogged and so much has happen; wonderful, good things, yet I've been in a sulk and couldn't get up the steam to share anything with my knitting community. I won't discuss my sulk other than to say I was put in a position to ask to re-negotiate a contract with a well know knitting author, instructor, and artists whom I had made arrangements with to present a workshop in the area. (The contract was drawn up on this end, but not by me, and had already been signed by the person teaching the workshop.) I refused to re-negotiate at this point and was so embarrassed by the idea of being asked to, that I had to 'sulk' and 'sulk' and 'sulk' some more to get past it. This person did come and present the workshop which I understand was wonderful and I would have loved to have been a part of it but, at the time I couldn't bear to be with a group that I felt wanted me to do 'dirty business'; I'm not that kind of person and I firmly believe in 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.

That said, I'm now ready to move on.

I've been busy as a bee. In June I went to Knitter's Connection in Columbus and what a wonderful week it was. I had classes with Lucy Neatby, Cat Bordhi, and Candace Eisner Strick. Each was very good as instructors and each had a terrific sense of humor. I would love to possess the knowledge of these talented ladies. I was extremely pleased with Lucy Neatby's grafting class, she really knows that 'stuff' and I came away overjoyed with the things I'd learned. My friend and I also did some sight-seeing while we were there and enjoyed some of the wonderful restaurants in the area.

The first week in November another friend and I was fortunate to be able attend Stitches East in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a more exhausting four days than Knitter's Connection for me, thanks in part to the many vendors at the market place. Again I had wonderful instructors and was impressed by the ideas these ladies had to share with us and how much fun they seem to have doing it. This time I had classes with Lorna Miser, Karen Alfke, and Barbara Kerr, all very knowledgeable. Although I didn't win the grand prize, I did win a great one from the Kollage Booth; a sock kit that included a pattern for Chevron Welt Socks and two skeins of Kollage Luscious Yarn in Sunset Strip color. This was a timely prize since I have just started knitting socks this last couple of months.

My New Years resolution was that I would knit a pair of socks in 2008 just to be able to say I had knitted socks. Well, I did, and I have, and I am. I'm hooked.

Speaking of knitting socks, I have been knitting them on 9 inch circular needles and love knitting them this way. I also bought some 11 inch needles and they work well also. With the 11 inch needles I have to switch to dp's a couple of rounds earlier than if I'm using the 9 inch one. Although I don't mind knitting with dp's when necessary, I find the circulars work well for me. A friend of mine knitted a pair on the 11 inch needles and hated it saying they made her hands cramp too much. Here's a photo of my first pair of socks.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Knitters Connection Coming Up Next Week

I have really gotten lazy about posting, however, lazy I am not. I've been working in the gardens, putting in plants and a few trees in the landscape and tending the vegetables. I've been picking and enjoying fresh strawberries and sharing them with Dari and our neighbors. I've been harvesting and freezing fresh broccoli and turnips and greens and now I have enough in the freezer to last until fall when I'll plant those cool-weather crops again. The butter beans, Crowder peas, green beans and okra are up and growing. We've constructed a fence for them to run on and for the tomatoes to grow against. The tomatoes are full of blooms but I'm not sure we'll have a ripe one by the 4th of July. That's the date Richmonder's shoot for their first ripe tomato of the season. (Oh, I can just taste that first BLT!). The squash and cucumbers are blooming and the herbs are doing wonderful in this heat we're having now that summer is just around the corner. The potatoes are ready to scratch new one's from underneath the vine and the cabbages are huge. Early this week I cut the last of the broccoli and planted another crop of butter beans after I pulled the stalks up and deposited them in the compost pile. I freshened the soil before I planted the seeds, then watered them in good. They should be up in a few more days. I also picked all the greens left in the garden (two sink fulls to wash) and pulled up the turnips to cook in the greens and be frozen. This garden spot I also freshened and another crop of peas was planted. Cabbages will be next vegetable to come out and in that spot I will plant another crop of beans, a combination of wax, black, and green beans. I really enjoy the work that it takes to put in a garden and to harvest and preserve it and Mr. Rō is enjoying helping me.

My recent evenings have been spent knitting the swatches I need to take with me to Knitters Connection next week. A friend from my knitting guild is going with me and I understand the BonAirCat who is also a member of our guild, is going too. I'm excited and looking forward to a wonderful time. We fly on Tuesday and Saturday so that gives us the full three days at the event and a bit of extra time to see some of the city. I'll have photos when I return and hopefully I won't be returning with an additional suitcase.

The iris have finished their bloom for this spring; hopefully we will have more bloom in the fall. Let's hope there is enough rain during the summer to revitalize the re-bloomers. We enjoyed a week-end at the regional meeting in Winchester and visiting Winterberry Gardens. The iris were beautiful and DH enjoyed the additional garden training provided on Friday and Saturday.

Today is my birthday. Tonight hubby is taking me to a local neighborhood restaurant for dinner, well not local in the sense of the village but to our old stomping ground. Helen's is in the Fan District of Richmond and has been there forever. A hole-in-the-wall, not seating more than 25 at most, but with the most wonderful food. We went there for our anniversary a few weeks ago and everything was so good, including the service. We had a table by the window on Main Street allowing us to watch the neighborhood come and go all evening. Anyone familiar with this area of Richmond knows 'watching' can be lots of fun. This morning I awoke and had coffee and was dressed and ready to go outside when I received my first surprise of the day. The 'kids' were all leaving this morning going to the beach for a week and so I was totally surprised when they came in with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and an already cooked breakfast. It was such a surprise since DS had called yesterday and said he wasn't driving down until late morning today and was going directly to the beach. There was a yummy casserole made by DD and a pretty platter of fresh fruits, which she knows I adore, and toasted English muffins along with good jam and jelly. What a way to start my birthday!

Baby Maestro has had another bout with his ear and had to spend the day in the hospital having it drained once more. Poor baby looks so sweet with his one clipped ear full of staples. Maestro loves getting in the pool with me but the Vet said not to let him get his ear wet for fourteen days. Yesterday he cried until I picked him up and held him with the water just under his belly so that he felt he was swimming with me. Spoiled he is and I'd have it no other way.

This afternoon I plan to finish knitting my swatches for Lucy Neatby's class on grafting and get the supplies I'll need at Knitters Connection together. I have to decide what yarn I'm going to use for knitting the mobius scarf in Cat Bordhi's workshop. Wonder if I shouldn't wait and buy my yarn once I get to market.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I've Started Knitting on the Lace Mystery Shawl for RCK

Between the garden and visiting with our visitors, I've managed to start the River City Knitter's Mystery Shawl. I don't remember if I've mentioned it before, most of the members in our guild are participating in a knit-a-long making a lace shawl that we will then model in December during our Christmas luncheon. I'm disappointed in the width of the shawl but I think it is a great project for the guild so I intend to continue with it. Only this week did I realize our May meeting is coming up and we will be given the second clue so I sat down and knitted the first 20 rows in chart 1. It will be unlikely that I'll have chart 1 and chart 2 finished by Saturday but maybe I'll catch up before the June meeting. Well, perhaps July because Knitters Connection is coming up and I'll be going to that in June .

The mitered bag turned out great and is still drying out on the deck - must remember to bring it in before going to bed, rain is predicted and I wouldn't want to dry it twice. It is a large bag, but no huge. Now that it has been shaped and is drying I'm having second thoughts about the handle/straps. I'm thinking I may way to buy leather straps for it, somehow it seems to be screaming I need leather handles. My sister will love it once its completed.

Last night I went to the village shop to knit however this was a peculiar night, no one else showed up. After about an hour I suggested they close and go home early; I'd go home and knit. Wouldn't you know it, as I was leaving I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw another one of our group going into the shop. Being tired and the time already 7:30, I decided I should keep driving.

We had our next door neighbor over for dinner tonight while his wife is visiting her daughter. We grilled steaks bought from a local farm and raised chemical free. The taste was almost as good as Costco's (where we generally buy steaks) but they required a bit more chewing. It makes one realize how adapt we are use to the chemically grown meat. I could get use to the more healthy grown meat without a much effort. For dessert, we had strawberry shortcake, strawberries fresh picked from the garden. They were so good and sweet, plump, and red, and juicy with real whipped cream and a cup of steaming hot coffee.

The vegetable garden is looking wonderful. The potatoes are blooming and the wax beans, butter beans, and peas are coming up. The broccoli is heading nicely and it is ever so good and tender, the turnip greens are producing well and little turnips are already forming underneath the greens. The strawberries are bearing abundantly and tasting wonderful, and the herbs have taken off, along with an ever new crop of weeds.

The iris garden is looking rather sad compared to a week ago. We still have lots of blooms but the old stems need to be cut and put in the compost pile to neaten up the garden. I will try to help DH with that in the morning.
DD is coming at noon to take me for an afternoon at the SPA. Its been a long time since the two of us have had a day at the SPA together so I'm looking forward to it. We use to have lots of fun doing those kinds of things before she became a mother and before I became 'old(?)' and having health problems. We use to spend a whole day shopping or get in the car and take off having a 'Come-What-May Day'. It would always be an adventure and we'd laugh together until our driving would become dangerous. We both miss those good times. Tomorrow is going to be great, just me and my girl. When Dariana is older we'll take her too, she already loves having 'Girl Days'.
Look at some of our late blooming iris.

Tall Bearded Iris 'Prague'

Tall Bearded Iris 'Burn Toffee'

Tall Bearded Iris 'English Charm'

Tall Bearded Iris 'Equestrian'
Historic Tall Bearded Iris 'Wabash" probably my most favorite of all iris new or old. See the thin white rim around the falls? This becomes fluoresce about dusk each evening, I never get tired of looking at it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris & Knitting - A Whopping BIG Bag!

Yes I did, I knitted a whopping big bag, so big it may be useless. Its in the washing machine right now and I'm holding my breath that it will shrink enough to be usable. I forgot to take a picture before putting it in to felt because I was sidetracked by the strap. I sewed the bag together last night and attached the S-cord, that I spent several hours knitting for the strap and did I ever attach it. Once it was in place I realized it wasn't going to work. Not only did I not like the way it looked, it wasn't going to be strong enough for this whopper of a bag. I decided to put it aside for another day and so got up this morning determined I was going to either finish it today or dispose of it. I started by trying to take off the strap and spend the next couple of hours trying to take out the stitching without harming the bag (navy blue on navy blue). Once that was done I stuck the joker in a zipped pillow case cover and into the washer. Only then did I remember I hadn't made a picture. Once it has finished felting I will make some I-cords of a suitable weight and length and place them on the front and back sides rather than on the ends of the bag. I feel pretty confident that its going to work.

DS was home for Mothers Day weekend and it was so great to have him with us for a few days. On Friday night DD came out and brought beautiful Dariana; how nice to have them all here at one time. Yesterday DD and myself were taken to the village for a special Mother's Day brunch. We have a wonderful little bakery and sandwich shop in the village that is only open weekdays and Saturdays until around 3 PM. If you are there around 8:30 AM on any of these mornings, you can enjoy fresh hot-out-of-the-oven croissants and their scones are the best ever, especially the cranberry ones with white chocolate and nuts. Yesterdays brunch was beautiful and delicious. They only took 100 reservations for the entire day and everything was done to perfection. DD and I felt like special moms, but then I think the men felt special too, it was such a nice day.

Today I've shed my shorts and tank top for long pants and a sweatshirt. The temperature has finally gotten above 50 degrees and the sun keeps trying to peek out, although the wind has not let up. Needless to say, with all the rain the gardens are struggling, especially the iris gardens. We had fresh broccoli from the garden today at lunch and it was ever so tender and tasty. I've already put a few containers of turnip greens in the freezer and they should have been picked again on Sunday. Dariana was able to pick about a quart of fresh strawberries on Friday evening and she made a big dent in them before she went home. Of course she took the remaining berries home with her. She loves washing the berries and drying them, then taking the 'caps' off before popping them in her mouth and giggling. So sweet, she is. DD had to go to Washington DC for a business meeting on Thursday and 'I was so happy', not because she had to go, but because I got to take her place at the 'Mother's Day Breakfast' at Dariann's school. It was so special - I felt so special to be a part of it.

On Sat. DH and I went to a Garden Party at a friend's home and to see the irises in bloom. What a lovely afternoon with lots of wonderful friends and the delightful iris fragrance whiffing throughout the garden. Spring is such a enjoyable time of the year for me. We've had drop-in and call-before-I-come guest for the last few weeks to see our iris. Iris blooming time makes a good time to see some friends that we haven't seen since bloom-time last year.

As I mentioned in an earlier post our garden is scheduled to be open on the 17th but unfortunately it will not be because of the early bloom this year and so much rain. The garden was at peak bloom early last week and although we still have a lots of bloom, it is scruffy looking now. We have let as many people as possible know to come early for there won't be anything much to see on the 17th however, it is impossible to reach everyone and I'm afraid someone will drive a long distance to see the irises then be disappointed when they get here. Let me share a few more pictures with you.
One of our front iris beds.
Can you see the black iris in the group?
Before the Storm (Tall bearded, considered being a good black iris)
Goldkist (Tall bearded iris, reminds me of a bright sunny morn)
Dr Moody (historic tall bearded iris, I love the vivid colors) Yaquina Blue (A tall bearded iris called a Space-age iris, see the flounces on the beards and a substantial amount of ruffling on the falls)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Have A Look At DH's Iris Seedlings

As I promised in my last post, here are four of the seedlings my hubby is developing to register, and hopefully introduce to the Iris world in the next couple of years. These iris were produced by him cross pollinating two different iris. They are all siblings but look how different they are in colors, beards, ruffling, and even structure. I think the second one is my favorite, I love the butter color standards and the red of the rim on the falls.

The third one, with the bright red beard has the most fragrance, makes me want to stick my nose right into it.

The fourth one may have the best structure, tall stright stems, good branching, and seven buds to a stem. Almost everything desirable in a new introduction. These iris will have to be tended, watched and records kept for another couple of years to see if they maintain all the desirable points and continue to reproduce well. If so, he may apply to have one or more of them named and registered . After that, should he decide to put them on the market he would have to find one of the larger mail order nurseries to 'introduce' the iris in their catalog.
Which one do you like best?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Knitting Mystery Shawl and Ripe Strawberries

Tonight I plan to cast on for the mystery shawl that has been designed for our knitting guild. At our last meeting the first part of the pattern was passed out and it is a chart with no written instructions. Since I detest knitting from a chart I mentioned that I planned to write the pattern out before starting, it save me lots of time and keeps me from becoming frustrated over something that I can prevent. Charts are a lazy designer's way out as far as I'm concerned but I know there are many people that love working from charts. I'm not one of them. Before I had time to go to the library and have the chart blown up and then translate it, the person I was speaking with posted a plea for written instructions on our yahoo site. Needles to say that allowed others to admit their frustration over charts also and the results is someone went ahead and translated it. Now I won't have to, I can just knit – how wonderful. I'm not sure I want to knit the shawl, well that's not entirely true, I don't want to knit it (lace) but I do want to be a part of the guild's knit-along-project. The lady who designed the pattern for our guild was asked to design a shawl but what we actually got is a scarf. Most members appear to be extremely disappointed in the width of it and so instead of knitting with the size 6 needles called for in the pattern, most are using a size 9 to get a bit more width. I am disappointed; not being a tiny, petite lady to begin with I won't be able to wear it as a shawl. I love wearing shawls and wear them often but I'm not much of a scarf person. Still, it will be fun knitting along with the other members, everyone knitting the same pattern but using different colors of yarn. The yarn is Jagger Spun Maine Line 2/8. We order it as a group and by the cone saving quiet a bit on both the yarn and the postage.

Today I was out early and deadheaded the irises then planted two row of okra. That filled my vegetable plot until some of the cool weather vegetables are finished and I can pull them out and plant more summer vegetables. Yesterday I was out really early to weed and plant. I planted wax beans, purple hull peas, speckled butterbeans, and set out my tomato plants. The potatoes are up to about ten inches now and the broccoli and cauliflower are beginning to form heads. I thinned the purple-top turnip greens and picked enough to make a mess as I was thinning them. They are already developing little turnips which I love to cook in with the greens. The cabbages leaves are huge but so far they haven't begin to form heads. DGD was out yesterday afternoon and found a few ripe strawberries. I took a little glass of water and paper towel to the strawberry patch with us and as she picked the berries I washed and dried them off for her to pop in her mouth. She loved picking and eating them. Grand babies are wonderful!

After I finished in the garden this morning I decided to take a day off and run some errands. While I was out I 'just happened' to go by a couple of plant nurseries and so I came home with the back of my wagon filled with plants. Tomorrow will find me out planting and putting in some brick paths. It is really wonderful to be working on my gardens once again. At the end of the day I'm so exhausted that all I want is a bath and the bed. My energies are so slow about returning, or perhaps I'm just getting old, who knows?

I wish everyone could see our iris garden this week. It is bursting with color; orange, yellow, pink, blue, purple, black, white, brown, burgundy, puce, and in every combination. Some have yellow beards and some have white, others may have an orange or purple or even blue beard. All these little differences are what makes the flowers so beautiful and so interesting. Some are old and dog eared (floppy), but none the less still beautiful and some are ruffled, some lacey, and some are the new space-agers with protruding beards and flounces. The weather has really hurt them this year and DH and I are frequently discussing whether it was the hot/cold temperature that hit us while the blossoms were forming or if it is from the abundance of rain we've had this spring. None the less, they are beautiful as you can see here.

Alien Mist Abbey Road Concentina Autumn Apricot
Nest post I want to tell you and show you some of DH's seedlings. Iris he has crossed and hybridized making yet another color, another twist to their parents.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Knitting Bags and Blooming Irises

Busy, Busy, Busy -
I took off to VA Beach last week to visit my sister. I drove down from Richmond by the scenic route keeping my eyes open for interesting things I might want to stop at on the way home. I spotted a couple of feed-and-seed stores and a hardware store that appeared to have a nice sized plant nursery at the side, and a couple of concrete places having gardening accents out front. I spent three days visiting my sister and was able to see her two daughters, a grand-daughter, and a great grand-son, Cody. The girls, Cody, and I went to pick strawberries on Thursday afternoon. There were several fields open for picking, or pre-picked strawberries and we found one field open with pre-picked fresh asparagus. The asparagus looked good enough to eat right there, long tender shoots with tight tips that were so beautiful they would make a gorgeous floral arrangement. Bet you can't guess what desert was at dinner that night…and the next, and the next and, for breakfast too.

On the way home I stopped at the places I'd sighted on the way down. I bought a large healthy looking Astilbe to go in amongst other plants so they will offer it a bit of shade. They get morning sun but only in the early morning. At the next stop I purchased a beautiful new bird-bath to replace the old one. Over the years the old one had developed a hairline crack causing the water to seep from it daily. This one has a glaze applied and providing we remember to turn the top over to prevent water from freezing in it this winter, we should be able to enjoy it for a long-long time.

The irises are really popping now so I'll share a few more pictures with you. I wish I could post one of each however that isn't practical so I'll do a random thing using some of my favorites, both historic and modern day iris. The vegetable garden is popping too, with weeds. I have to get out and weed providing the rain lets up long enough. The broccoli is getting tall and the cauliflower is already showing the signs of a head. The Purple Top turnip greens need to be thinned and picked, and potatoes need feeding.
Daughter of Stars (2000) - A modern Space-Age Iris
Rajah (1942) - Historic Iris
Dear little Dari spent most of the weekend with Papa Rō and me. We had such a good time; she's growing up so fast. On Sunday when I wanted to knit for a bit, I asked if she wanted some yarn and needles to play with while I was knitting. Certainly, I had already bought needles (for when she is five and I teach her to knit) and so I took out a pair and found a ball of heavy weight, colorful yarn for her to use. It was so much fun watching her little hands and fingers wrapping and twisting the yarn around the needle. I'm sure in her little 'three year old mind' that her project looked just as beautiful as Grand-mama's.

My niece loved the bag I made for her. I forgot to make a photo after I finished felting, lining, and adding the snap on the inside. It turned out nice and I loved the lime green and cream colors together. I liked just a bit having the mitered bag for my sister finished so I took it with me to complete while I was there. As luck would have it, I failed to pick up the additional yarn and so had to bring it back home to complete. It is ready to felt once I devise a gusset for the sides and bottom and some straps to go over the shoulder. I'm thinking once I have the gusset knitted and in place that I should be able to pick up stitches on each side and knit an S-strap using the navy yarn. I'll try to remember to snap a couple of photos of it.

Today I must work on the newsletter for our Iris Society and get it in the post tomorrow after I go for my PET scan. (Yes, its that time again, four months since the last one. I'm looking forward to having it and being given another clear report.) Garden tours are to start next week-end and the news must go out. Our garden is scheduled for the 17th this year but I'm very much afraid our bloom will be on the down-side by then. This has been an early bloom season and that along with the rain, I fear our garden will not be much to look at this year. Meanwhile just look at some that are blooming now.
Up to Snuff(1998)
Jessie's Song (1979)

Friday, April 18, 2008

What's Blooming in the Iris Gardens Today

Let me show you some more irises. They are opening right now at a rate of one or two a day but the closer we get to Mother's Day, the faster they will begin to open; too many to post. The Mother's Day thing is iffy, but our garden usually peaks bloom during the first two weeks of May therefore I use that as a timeline for talking about the iris. Yesterday we had one of my favorite to open and I love the name of it, 'Let's Elope'.
Look at the beautiful colors in the blossom, doesn't it make you want to snatch it away from the garden, elope with it. This is an intermediate bearded iris and it blooms on and on in our garden; we have several clumps because I love it so. DH keeps commenting that most of it has to go, he needs the room for other irises that are in pots waiting for a place to be planted in the ground. At the time we moved here, three years ago, we moved over five-hundred. They have grown into large clumps and have to be divided but we've also added a large number of iris to the garden that have been given to us by dear friends as well as from the Presby Historical Iris Gardens in New Jersey. Here's a picture of 'Can-Can', hybridized in the 50's and reminding me very much of the modern day 'Can-Can Dancer' which will bloom later in the season and I'll try to remember and post a photo of that particular one when it blooms. 'Can-Can Dancer' is one of my favorite iris because of it's unique coloring and just enough ruffling to make it stand out. Although the two have similar names and similar colors, they are not closely related.

I knitted a few rows last night while I was making dinner on the second half of the mitered bag and again after our game of Scrabble. What a pitiful game that was, not a fun at all because we played the entire game having to make three-lettered words. It isn't too unusual for one or the other of us to have all vowels or all consonants throughout most of the game, but it was unusual for both of us to play the first half of the game with barely any vowels and the last part without any consonants; our combined score was less than 450 points (pitiful). Jazz was playing on the radio and we had a glass of wine so it was still an enjoyable evening being together.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tencel & Cotton Fiber Yarn Ever So Soft and Bearded Iris Bloom

Wo unto our garden; we had a 29° temperature last night and frost this morning. DH is fearful the iris got 'cold hurt'. The plants are just putting up bloom stalks and they are ever so tender. This, on top of the rain we've just had causing some 'rot', and the 'leaf spot' is setting in. Work, work, and more work. Worry, worry, and more worry. But just you wait, in a few weeks it will be beauty, joy, and happiness as we walk out and see an array of beautiful purples, blues, yellows, orange, pink, white, lavender, black, deep, deep red and everything in-between; about two more weeks and we should have a good showing. Right now the intermediate iris are beginning to blossom. Lilac Point and Bottled Sunshine are both beauties and are both blooming as well as Blessed Again.

Our first tall bearded historic iris, Purissima (1924), is in bloom and is ever so white against the brick of the house. Purissima is a very important specimen in the iris world for it was one of the first true white iris recognized for breeding and is still being used to breed our modern day white iris. To me, this old, somewhat dog eared iris is just as beautiful as our modern day ruffled ones.

The iris beds are weeded, some new plants have been added to the perennial beds we put in last year, and yesterday DH tilled a new bed for me. Today I will purchase edging for the bed, then we'll add some compost, top soil and fertilizer, and then add the plants. I can't wait to get it planted and know I'll have something in bloom next year when the irises are showing.

Later today I am going to visit two on my wonderful gardening club friends. They are older ladies and no longer able to drive and do the things they used to do. Both have been mentors to me over the years and I love them dearly. While I'm there I plan to dig Vinca Major to use as a ground cover on the bank in front or our house. I love Vinca Major as a ground cover; it spreads quickly, is evergreen, blooms beautiful blue flowers and will allow the lawn mower to keep it intact without becoming un-attractive.

Last night I went to 'knit night' in the village and worked on the mitered bag I'm knitting for a sister. When I got home I decided to finish up the one side and be ready to start on the other side this morning. I cast on 128 stitches for this square. It is so big, larger than I actually would like it to be. Probably 100 stitches would have been more the size I'm looking for once it has been felted. Tonight I want to pull out my patterns and find a summer shell that I can use Classic Elite Premier yarn for knitting it. Premier is a 50 % cotton and 50 % tencel yarn and is ever so soft. It was one of the yarns I tasted at the Yarn Tasting on Sunday then when I saw all the colors at Holly Springs last night I decided I had to knit a shell with it. Tencel is made from wood pulp cellulose and it said to be as soft as silk, as strong as polyester, cool as linen, warm as wool and as absorbent as cotton. That’s hitting near perfect for a fiber isn't it? I plan to choose a beautiful mocha brown color.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Yarn Tasting, Needle Flicking, & A Great Weekend At The Graves

I spent a great weekend at Graves Mountain Lodge with a group ladies belonging to the River City Knitting Guild; what fun it was. We arrived at the lodge for an early breakfast on Saturday morning, followed by a few hours of free knitting time. It's only fair to say, we didn't get a lots of knitting accomplished because it was so great to be with friends sharing chatter and giggles. Our quarters for the outing were set high on the side of the mountain with a breath taking view below. PHOTO Everything was so green and lush from the recent rains and the apple trees were in full blossom, what beauty to behold. It was a warm and beautiful day and so many of us spent our time on the long front porches in our rocking chairs knitting while others chose to sit inside away from the many bumble bees that were taking flight. I actually enjoy watching the bees since there was so much nature food available and they were not interested in people. PHOTO I understand the importance of bumble bee pollination since we, the people, have more or less destroyed the honey bees with our chemicals and poisons. I love knowing I have bees and worms and even some bugs in my gardens. I also have birds, lots of them, and rabbits and an occasional deer; all are good things to my way of thinking.

Saturday noon, only four hours after our big and heavy breakfast, we were tracking down the mountain for lunch and another home-cooked meal ending with apple cobbler à la mode - yum –yum. We then had to make an effort to get back up the mountain to our lodging and work-room. I was totally exhausted and wobbled into a chair and didn't move for a couple of hours. During the afternoon many of us participated in a short workshop on Intarsia Knitting offered by Pat Kirkland from The Yarn Barn in Andersonville, VA ( Pat brought lots and lots of goodies with her from her shop including a ton of gorgeous sweaters and jackets she has knitted. Pat designs patterns for the larger woman so anyone needing a large size like 2,3,4 X, this is a place you should be able to find something you will just love. Pat brought yarn (loads of all lines of Nora) and patterns, books, and needles and best of all, her knowledge of knitting. There was also a few other vendors with everything from wonderful lotion and skin care to handmade soaps, unusual jewelry, and stitch markers.
Again there was free time for knitting so most of us brought the rocking chairs from our rooms out on the porch and rocked, knitted and sipped a glass of wine or some other spirit until dinner time. At the bottom of the mountain flows the Rose River and up the opposite side of the mountain are beautiful farms with lots of cattle and apple orchids; I could have sat there the entire day and evening giving up lunch and dinner just to enjoy the fresh air and beauty of a warm spring day in the mountains.
DH and I have hiked the Rose River trails before in our younger days and we've hiked the Old Rag Mountain in this area several times.

After another big meal on Saturday night, all us women put on our jimmies and met in the common room reserved for us for a pajama party. We knitted as we got to know one another better. There was loads of food (I didn't touch it after all the food I'd already eaten throughout the day) and drink. I had another glass of wine and went to bed leaving my roommate at the party. DH and I had tickets for the opera on Friday night and it was near mid-night time we drove home from the city. I had everything packed and ready to go but still had to get up at five o'clock to get to the lodge in time for breakfast. Sleep was ever so good Saturday night.

After breakfast on Sunday morning the weather begin to turn cold. We went back to our building to have a Yarn Tasting. Doesn't it look yummy? The yarn was from MFYS and Sharon did a fantastic job of presenting it. There were silks, linens, and cottons, yarns made from milk products, corn, bamboo, and from shrimp and crab shells. Sharon was introducing us to Spring and Green (Organic) yarns. Isn't it amazing what things are sometimes made of?
After lunch it was time to travel home. I think everyone had a wonderful time although most of us didn't accomplish much knitting. We learned to put names and faces together and made new friends. We relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of nature's surroundings and everyone forgot about their diets. How often will you find twenty-five women together at one time and every one of them has forgotten the word 'diet'? But – I bet all twenty-five of us haven't had it to far away from our minds today, I haven't.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Airline Out Of Business...And It Rains.....I Need Something Pleasant To Happen!

I finished the shoulder shawl I was knitting using the Carat yarn; just need to bind off and weave in the ends. I love the drape of the shawl and I'm going to enjoy wearing it around my shoulders. I love the golden thread that goes throughout it, just enough to make it interesting yet not flashy.

And another bag made for a niece except for adding the lining. I love this lime green don't you?

And here is the Fidget I've been enjoying.
Yesterday I woke, made coffee and turned on the TV to catch the morning news. The first item on was another airline has gone under, the third in a week. What stuck me was, it was the airline my friend and I have tickets to fly to Knitters Connection in June. It is the only non-stop flight out of Richmond and the only flight that don't go around-the-world to get you there. Now searching for a 'cheap' flight has begun and with the price of gas I don't think we are going to find a really 'cheap' fare. There is one good thing about the situation and that is, I can choose a later return flight. I have signed up to take Cat Brodhis' Magic of Moebius class on Friday and was going to have to miss most of the afternoon session in order to catch the flight back to Richmond. My traveling companion didn't realize the close time schedule when she booked our flight and made the hotel arrangements. I was really disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to attend the entire afternoon session. This is the first big knitting function I've attended and want to get as much from it as I can. I may yet decide to attend the entire Stitches East this fall.

We've had rain, rain, rain, for most of last week and its still raining. We are less than an inch catching up from last summers drought; for that we can be thankful. On the other side, if we continue to get rain our iris will begin to rot in the ground, especially in this Powhatan hard clay. We have amended the soil and amended it again and continue to amend but it takes a long time to turn poor soil into something rich and beautiful. A few years ago when the National Iris Convention was held in the Northern VA area there was a year with lots of rain in the spring. I remember driving up to take a load of home baked goodies to one of the homes to be on tour. The goodies were to be used to help feed several bus loads of people over several days. After placing the bake goods inside we were invited to see the gardens. The lady who's home we were at was sick at heart and once we walked into her beautiful gardens I could understand why. As we entered her gardens, the smell of iris rot touched your nostrils. Iris were rotting in the ground and the foliage falling over at ground level where the rot had taken its toll. It was a sad thing to see and heartbreaking for this lady who had spent two years preparing for this event.

Preparing for the National tour is not an easy task. It involves planting a few hundred iris from all over the country, some old, some new, and some seedlings that have yet to be named. The rhizomes are sent to the Iris Society Chapter hosting the convention two years prior to the event. Members who have agreed to 'Host' for the convention then plant the rhizomes in the their garden and are responsible for taking care of the plants and maintaining their beds for the next two years. Generally it takes two years for an iris to have good bloom. This lady put hour upon hour into reworking her gardens and planting the display beds. She had nursed the iris that first fall and through the first winter, through the spring rains, summer droughts, and then through another fall and winter to have the best show possible when the buses arrived. She had worried about disease, insects, too little rain, too much rain, and keeping wandering animals out of the gardens. Everything was looking beautiful until the 'ROT' struck, what a disappointment for her. But the show had to go on, and it did, and although there was lots of rot there were still hundreds of beautiful blooms to enjoy in her garden.

Today our plants are looking healthy and growing quickly. We've agreed to open our gardens for our local chapter this year and so we are already holding our breath that the weather will cooperate with us and that we will have a 'rainbow' of color to offer when the garden is opened.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Vegetables, Iris, and Lots of Knitting

What a wonderful week I've had. On Monday night I met with my Monday night knit group and we actually accomplished a good bit of knitting. Donna is still working on the afghan for her niece and Nora was working on a new afghan for a granddaughter. Pat and Bonnie were each working on an intarsia bag and I begin knitting the Widget using some Lily Chin yarn that I bought especially for that pattern. On Tuesday night I knitted at my LYS and again I worked on the Widget, finishing it off while there. We had a variety of project going at this knit night. Dolores and Glen were both working on their Nicky Epstein Bags (mine is still 'in the bag'), Cindy was working on a new lace shawl pattern, Kathy was designing and knitting a hat using 'Scarlet Fleece', a line of yarn that she's launching. We had a few new ladies in the group, one a teenager. She was knitting on her first sweater and it really looked good, nice straight rows and tight neat stitches, she is going to become a good knitter I think. One of the other ladies was also knitting a sweaters and one a child's sweater, the other was working on a beautiful afghan.

I bought some Marks & Kattens Carat yarn, a gorgeous ribbon yarn with yellow and soft blue/green ribbons and a gold thread running through them. I've already started a should shawl with it that I can tuck around my neck and wear with a pair of jeans. Next weekend my Knitting Guild is having a weekend at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, VA; a wonderful place to go for a quiet and restful weekend. I'm afraid that won't apply to our group; I'm expecting lots of talk, giggling, and knitting to be taking place. I'm not sure what I will be taking to knit on but know it has to be a no-brainer since I need to have quiet to knit anything with a detailed stitch pattern. My memory doesn't serve me as well as it use to. I have a mitered purse started for a sister and I bought some of Iris Scheriere's hand-painted silk Artyarn to knit one of her modular scarf's. She has created some of the most beautiful colors and the silk has a really nice feel to it, good for spring wear.

Our dwarf bearded iris bloom is in progress and we're busy weeding, digging, and planting in the iris and the vegetable gardens. This weeks rain has slowed us down but we've still be able to manage at least an hour or so outside each day. Look at this beautiful little iris. It's name is Pilgrims Choice and was hybridized by a wonderful man, Mr. Anthony Willott, whom we met at the National Convention a few years ago. It is one of my very favorite of the dwarf bearded iris because of its unique grey color. Next to bloom will be the intermediate iris and then the tall bearded. That’s when our gardens are alive with the 'Rainbow Flower'; all the colors of the rainbow can be found in an iris garden when it is in bloom. The tall bearded generally peak about Mother's Day then we will have some bloom on into mid-June.

In the vegetable garden the strawberries are blooming and the purple top turnips are up. Seed potatoes are in the ground and cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, and a few herbs. By mid-month I hope it will be warm enough to plant beans, green, string, or snap, what ever you choose to call them in your part of the county. To me they are green beans, having strings that should be removed, and you snap them into small pieces to cook. I can't wait to have them fresh from the garden and perhaps as early as July I'll have some new potatoes to cook on top of them and a fresh tomato too.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Freeform Knitting and Playing School

The floors are finished and they are beautiful. The entire house looks so much brighter and the rooms look larger than before. I'm so glad we decided to go ahead with the expense of real wood, it has made such a difference and DH and I both are so pleased with the entire project. Of course there was lots of work to do. Once the floors were completed and all the furniture back in place I decided it was a good time to wash everything and get rid of all the left-over dust. Out comes the Murphy's Oil Soap, a bucket and clothes and everything in the house was washed inside, out, top to bottom, back and front. Lots of work but how good it is to have everything cleaned at one time

Remember a while back me joking about our local post office and it being open on Saturday mornings for only two hours? Well, yesterday I had another surprise (which shouldn't have been if I'd was as aware as I should be). I needed to mail the bi-monthly newsletter for our iris society and was rushing to get it finished, addressed and in the mail. With all I had going on with the floors and knowing my daughter and her family were coming for dinner last night, it was getting late. I thought if I rushed I could make it to the post office and be able to squeeze just before 5 o'clock, which I was but, – this little post office closes at 4:30. Can you believe it, four thirty - doors shut. That meant I had to track back home and return to the post office this morning to get the newsletter in the mail. Will I ever get use to living outside the city?

On the way back home I stopped by the LYS and bought two beautiful balls of Lily Chin's Manhattan yarn. It’s a cotton and bamboo blend than knits up to about 3 ½ stitches per inch, bulky weight, which I needed to make the widget. I chose a periwinkle blue thinking it would be nice with a pair of jeans or jean skirt. I can't wait to start it; wanted to last night but little Dari stayed the night with us and I played school instead of knitting I haven't had time to pick up my knitting needles for knitting in about two weeks. Notice I said for knitting because I did have them all in my lap last night. Dari is fascinated with the yarn and needles and the other knitting supplies I keep in my basket. I can't wait until she is old enough for me to teach to knit. I've already bought her needles and I ask her each time she visits "when is grandmamma going to teach you to knit?" She responds with "When I'm five". Last night she was the teacher and papa and I were the students. The 'sticks' were used to teach us an art class, and a music class. She wanted some yarn so I made her a little ball of red and she wore stitch markers on her fingers as rings. What fun we had!

Saturday is our knitting guild meeting and the program is going to be on machine knitting. I've never watched anyone doing machine knitting but have been interested in seeing how it works, what advantages, other than speed, it has over hand knitting, etcetera. I'm looking forward to picking up lots of information from the program. Then, Saturday afternoon, Colleen Davis is teaching her class on Introduction to Freeform Knitting for the guild members. This is going to be so much fun, I can't wait to see how she puts her gorgeous pieces together. I've seen a bit of her work first hand from her daughter who is a member of our guild. She wears some of her mother's pieces occasionally to our guild meetings and they are always vibrant and always surprisingly different. I know I'm going to enjoy the afternoon.

Where am I going to find all the time to do all the things I want to do? The fact is, I can't but it sure is fun trying to fit it all into a lifetime. When I hear people talk about being bored I wonder "how?"; I never have enough time to do all the things I want to do, and need to do, must less get bored.

Friday, February 29, 2008


I've spent a few minutes this morning over at Ravelry signing up for our Knitting Guild's Group, River City Knitters. Richmond adopted this slogan, River City, a few years back when they decided to use the famous James River to help revitalize the city. Like most inner-cities, Richmond had slid into decay and more crime than we like to admit. I am happy to know this is changing and lots of progress to re-organize and re-build the city is being made and is continuing to be worked on.

I was so anxious to be invited to join Ravelry during its beta period and I planned to get all my knitting and other needle works into one place. Here I am seven months later and still don't have anything accomplished. Lot of my projects, tools, yarns, etc. are documented, but scattered around in different files and different places. Now I need to take the time to organize everything and move it all over to Ravelry. I know it would be easier if everything is in one place. I have to find time soon to get this done; I do, I do.

Our new floors are almost in, probably today and perhaps one day next week and they should be finished. They look beautiful and they make the rooms look so much brighter. It will take me another week to put things back together once the floors are completed and while I'm working at it, lots of more things have to go. I've accumulated so much in my lifetime that things have become a nuisance rather than a pleasure to me. I've always loved beautiful things and enjoyed having them in our home and as part of our lives but it doesn't seem very important to us anymore. Perhaps it is age, perhaps its a different outlook on life after me going through Hodgkin's disease, or perhaps it just gets to be to much for one to take care of after a while. I'm not sure, but I keep boxing it up and giving it away.
Here's a photo of the young men laying our smaller bedroom floor. I've been bribing them with M & M's. I've saved them some Chile Verde that was smelling so good when they left today. I will use it as a bribe on Monday, "lunch on me if you get the second bedroom laid by lunch today". That shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It isn't Spring yet........

The glorious days of warm weather and sunshine have gone and we are again having cloudy and colder days. According to the calendar, we only have 25 days left of winter, let's hope this is true. Even though we had a bit of sleet and ice on Friday, the crocuses are continuing to bloom and add a bright spot of color to the beds out front. DH was out this morning weeding in the iris beds. He has a case of the 'winter jitters', not helped by the fact that I've come down with a sore throat so I'm a bit grumpy today. I begin knitting a cute scarflet pattern last night called the Fidget . I started it regardless of having other projects on the needles right now because I've been wanting to make one for myself, and because I needed something that doesn't require concentration for my Monday night knit group. Any one that participates in a weekly knitting group knows that the laughter and conversation are half the fun of knitting together. I've ripped back many-a-row after letting my mind wonder. Now I try to have something to knit on that doesn't require much concentration. The Fidget is knitted with a twisted moss stitch and bulky weight yarn. I had a couple of skeins of Twilleys of Stamford's freedom wool that I've been wanting to use so that's what I cast on with. After about three or four inches I realized it isn't going to work. The stitch doesn't show through with the color changes in this yarn and 'the stitch is the scarf'; otherwise its just another scarf. I will rip it out and find another use for this soft yarn and on my next trip to the yarn shop I'll find suitable yarn for knitting the Fidget. As it turns out, I won't be joining the knit group tonight anyway, I don't want to spread any germs.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Gardening Knitter - Helleborus, Iris Reticulata

My blogging has really suffered this last couple of months while I've been busy with family matters but my sister has at last been able to make the move to Milwaukee to live with her daughter. I hope it will work out and be as wonderful as she wants it to; and that it will be a lifetime of enjoyment for her. While my knitting has been almost none existent the last several weeks that's okay. I was able to spend time with my sister and I loved every minute of it. I lined the pink Melly bag and gave it to her while I was there (she adores anything pink and I can always make another bag for my niece). I emptied the bag she was using and placed the contents in the new pink bag and she took it with her for her last Doctor's appointment in SC. As of this morning, the bag now resides in Milwaukee.I've done a bit of knitting on the Nashua Theatre sweater but am a long way behind. It is a pretty fast knit so I hope to finish it in time to be able and wear it a few times this season. The Nicky Epstein bag is setting in a project bag with a dozen bobbins hanging from it, waiting to be picked up once more. The Chris Bylsma, Crayon Box jacket is begging to be worked on and Lily Chin's Central Park jacket still has not found gage. Maybe I will ditch it and try to find something else to use that $100.00 worth of yarn for; what a shame and a waste.

I had wonderful notes from almost every member of my Monday and my Tuesday night knitting groups while I was away with my sister. What remarkable and caring people they all are. I am so fortunate to have such fantastic friends and I dearly love each of them. I've also had notes from some of my inter-net swap partners and they too are appreciated. I've found some of my best friends to be knitters and gardeners; both wonderful worlds to be a part of.

The Helleborus have begun blooming out in the wooded area at the rear of our property. I was so pleased when DH called to tell me they were in bloom. I had checked them a few days before I left for SC and was disappointed that they were not yet in bloom. Generally, they began blooming in January and sometimes as early as December at our previous home. This is a clump of a white hybrid and in the middle of the clump is the beautiful pink. It will be interesting to see how this clump developes next season. Another pretty bloom, although with a deep turned down blossom, is this deep rose.
And still another is one of the darker helleborus which is a deeper pink with a tint of purple in the blossom. For some reason I seem to have loss the foetidus (green stinking) helleborus this year, normally the easiest of all helleborus to grow and so far I've not found the 'niger' (almost black in color) ones.

In a front bed, there are snowdrops and crocus blooming and on the south side, the Iberis or Candytuft, is already started to bloom and out by the mailbox is a gorgeous clump of Purple Gem, Iris reticulata. Since this is February, I feel a bit uncomfortable with nature sprouting so early, we're still over a month away from spring, a long time where plants are concerned.

DH and neighbor have been working in the wooded areas at the back of our properties, bush hogging and cleaning up the brush; maybe I will get the garden I've wanted after all. Neighbor has decided it would be nice to have a place to sit and relax with a glass of wine in the afternoons and this, of course, appeals to DH. While I was away, a vegetable garden was build for me to grow vegetables this year. It is a large and nice, deep raised bed that we will add trellis to for beans and other running vegetables. Since our clay soil is so heavy and poor this will be a way to grow decent vegetables. I am looking forward to having a productive vegetable garden this year.


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DH'S Cardigan

Ruffled Shawl

Ruffled Shawl
Knitted Prayer Shawl with Crochet Ruffle

Knitting Class

Knitting Class
Teaching Co-workers to Knit

Wave & Shell Shawl

Wave & Shell Shawl

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat
Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat
Peaches & Cream Yarn

Felted Hats

Felted Hats
Gray Hat Before Felting

Felted Hat

Felted Hat
Gray Hat After Felting

Baby's Hat

Baby's Hat
Dariana's Hat