Acquisitions: Daylilies and Yarn for Stripes!

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On a Saturday, M and I can often be found with friends touring around Amador County here in California wine tasting. Many times I drove us (I’m almost always one of the designated drivers) by the Amador Flower Farm with over 1000 (!) varieties of daylilies for sale. One Saturday¬†afternoon last August, knowing we were going to remove a large swath of lawn and replace it with drought tolerant plants, I pulled in and we took a look. The owner told us to come back in September when all the daylilies are on sale, and also wouldn’t curl up and die as soon as we put them in. So we did. And now we have some beautiful drought tolerant daylilies.

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Salvia, daylilies and yarrow play nice together and are all as rugged as pretty flowers can be.

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High noon and these flowers take a beating from the sun, but they are doing well.

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Early morning light, and today’s flowers just opening with yesterday’s spent blooms.

When it’s over 100 outside, the daylilies don’t get a break, but I go into the AC and knit. Recently, I decided I needed some more crochet hooks for fixing mistakes, and then I needed enough merchandise to get free shipping. Hence I purchased some Wool of the Andes sport weight to knit Puck by Boo Knits, a striped crescent-shaped shawl. I need to finish some other things before casting on, but I am pleased with the colors (one never knows when ordering online).

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Green Tea Heather, Fairy Tale, and Cobblestone Heather

I seldom knit multicolored projects, so this will be fun.
Happy Knitting!

What Smart People Don’t Do

Do you know what smart people don’t do? They don’t finish knitting a wool scarf in November and then wait until the first 98 degree day the next June to do a photo shoot.

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The person in this photo is not smart. And she’s now a blonde. Coincidence? She has learned that blondes do have more fun.

The other not so smart thing she did years ago was to buy a multi-colored, thick-and-thin, single ply yarn. What the heck is one supposed to knit with that? Well, a Misty Garden Scarf is about the only thing that fits the bill. Fortunately, years (so many the yarn is discontinued) after buying this yarn, Plymouth Yarn Trabajos del Peru, my mom gave me her Austrian boiled wool coat the exact same green as the green in the yarn. It was Kismet.

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The color variegation works well in the Misty Garden (essentially feather and fan) lace. And the colors brighten the coat, and keep too much of the loden green from being right next to my face.
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This worked out so well, I am ready to put Misty Garden to the test on another variegated yarn I bought long ago:
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At least it’s mohair, one of my faves.
Happy knitting!

A New Landscape

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Landscape Shawl in Green Mountain Madness

In late 2006 I knit a Landscape shawl by Evelyn A. Clark out of fingering weight Cherry Tree Hill Yarn Supersock Merino. It turned out really well, but I didn’t wear it much. I work in a lab not a office, so full size shawls are not really work friendly, and I live in an increasingly warm climate. But I’ve worn it out when in San Francisco, and I almost always get a compliment on it.

So, when I had quite a bit of Classic Elite Classic Silk to make a summer wrap for chilly evenings on the patio, I turned to this pattern again. Classic Silk has great stitch definition, so I thought the different texture stitches of the pattern would work well. So far, I am pleased with the result.

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Lots of picots to knit!

I hustled up and got to the start of the stockinette section today.

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And speaking of landscapes, here’s how our front lawn “landscape” is changing from thirsty grass to more drought tolerant plants. Mom wants to see!

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The vast majority were put in last autumn, which is the perfect time to plant here, but some are blooming at the wrong time, so I think they haven’t quite gotten the hang of the seasons yet.

Well, I am off to knit another row.
Happy knitting!

Back to Blogging!

Well, long time no blog post. Just over two years in fact. I got a new job (still a research scientist) and have been very busy. I’m still super busy, but I miss blogging, so I am going to make. it. work. Fingers crossed!

Honey Bee and Goodwin Creek Lavender

Honey Bee and Goodwin Creek Lavender

I’d like to show you all the few things I’ve knit, but I gave most of them away and without photos. But I have a new macro lens for our camera, and I have been taking photos in our garden. We are in stages moving to a lawn-free garden since green lawns in California make little sense even when we don’t have a drought. With our garden we are trying to attract bees and hummingbirds, and they seem to like it!

I am not afraid of bees, so I just sit still with my camera, and snap away. We have several different species visiting our flowers as soon as the sun is up.

I am knitting too! I have about 70 zillion WIPs right now, but I am nearing the finish on one that is turning out quite well. I saw a sample of Aranami by olgajazzy at Yarns on First in Napa last summer, and I was smitten. The sample was knit in Cascade 220 fingering, and the store had all the shades from white to black to knit the shawl.

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Aranami in progress

I am almost done with the darkest grey, and then I have the black to knit. I like grey so much that for once I actually went with the color scheme on the pattern. This is a fun, easy modular project, but it is not for the knitter who hates weaving in ends.

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And I’ve been weaving in ends every row or so of triangles!

Well, I hear the call of the needles and string, so I am off to knit a few rows.

Happy Knitting!

 

Green Hat, Greens, and Spring Flowers

I have so many things I could blog about, but really time to do one (maybe two) post(s) a week, that I can’t decide what to blog about first, and then I don’t blog about anything. So, I’m throwing themed posts out the window, and I blog what I blog–it’s how Popeye would blog (I loved Popeye when I was a kid; I have no idea why).

Anyway, for Christmas Valentine’s Day I knit M a hat.
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That’s the Jacques Cousteau pattern knit in Knitpicks Gloss DK because all manly men like 30% silk fiber in their hats. Doesn’t M look like he’s ready to head out to sea?
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I like the decrease pattern on this hat, which almost made it worth the 8 inches of 3×2 ribbing. I changed the decreases to those of ker2’s on Ravelry. They worked well.
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My raised bed for greens did really well this winter! At the very left is mache, which I would not grow again. It was supposed to be nutty tasting. It tasted like leaves and didn’t grow that well. From right to left: arugula, oakleaf and salad bowl leaf lettuce, romaine, watercress (did not do well) and the mache. I am definitely growing the arugula, oakleaf and romaine again next year.
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And we have had a small harvest of broccoli rabe. It’s OK, but next year I think I’ll go with snow peas and sugar snap peas. The Felco harvesting shears are fantastic. My parents gave them to me for my birthday (Thanks, Mom and Dad!), and I love them for cutting flowers and the lettuces and such.

And speaking of flowers, it’s spring here in Northern California! February is a very good reason for living in California, unless of course you are a native Californian, and then February is still winter because the calendar says so, and high temperatures are often only in the 50s. But the flowers are starting to bloom, and that means Spring!
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Not our daffodils, but I plan to put some in this coming autumn. Tulips don’t do well here (they need weeks of cold) but daffodils are fine.
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Flowering quince in a neighbor’s yard. I may have to look into this.Beautiful flowers–plant, not so much.
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Calendula from my own backyard. I have these in a pot, but I may move some of them around, although I hear they will “naturalize.” That may or may not be a good thing. M kind of likes a tidy garden.

All New WIPs and a Plan

First, WordPress offered an update to my theme, so M had me install it, and then I couldn’t find the yarn picture, so I put in the pretty photo of blooming Ceanothus¬†you see above, as it is one of my favorite native California plants. It’s called California lilac, but it isn’t related to real lilacs at all; the flowers are just blue and purple. We put a small shrub of Ceanothus in our yard. It’s about 10 inches tall and wide. It’ll be a while until I get blooms like the photo.

In knitting news, after months of mostly monogamous knitting, I finished the Manaan cowl (still waiting to be blocked and photographed), and then I went a little berserk casting on. Back in November, Kym, of Stepping Away from the Edge, showed off her progress on her Tinder cardigan, and I was smitten. Jared Flood designed Tinder, and I’ve knit a couple of his other patterns with great enjoyment and success, so I took a look at it on Ravelry. When I saw it had a stand-up collar (my hair is very short, so my neck is bare), I knew I had to knit it. Much as I want to do some knitting with Shelter, Jared’s yarn and the yarn the pattern calls for, I want even more to use up some of my stash. So I cast on in some midnight blue Cascade 220 heather, after getting gauge, and I’m almost done with the back.
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Part of my plan, to keep the WIPs from getting out of hand, is to have this sweater, at least the knitting of the five main pieces, done by the end of April. That sounds like a long time, but I seldom have time to get more than three large projects done a year, so 4 months is about right.

Another part of my plan is to knit quite a few hats this year for myself, my brother Thomas and M. I thought I had 1-2 skeins of Lamb’s Pride Bulky left over in raspberry from knitting a vest. So I thought I’d knit a hat. I have 8 skeins left. More than a hat. A chill in the room, a determination to use up some yarn that has been sitting around for ages, and the opportunity to start right in without a swatch, had me casting on for a Unique Melody wrap by Rose Beck.
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It’s knit on the bias, and I stopped expanding the candle flame motif at four. Now I can knit until I have a little over one skein left and then decrease back down to a point. It’s an easy knit, the single ply yarn works well in the candle flame pattern, and it will be snuggly. We’ll see how long it gets, but I should at least be able to wrap it around my shoulders and pin it in front.

Then, when going out, I put on a loden green Geiger (Austrian boiled wool) jacket my mom had given me. Her mom had given it to her years ago, and my mom didn’t really wear it. It appears new. For our winter climate here, it is the perfect weight for a sunny, winter day. And I happened to have some very old, beautiful, but hard to knit with, multi-colored, single-ply, thick-and-thin yarn (basically all the characteristics of yarn that attract a newbie knitter but drive an experienced knitter crazy). The green in the yarn was a good match with the jacket, being just a shade lighter “on the paint chip.” I cast on a feather and fan scarf using the recipe by Jo Sharp in Scarf Style for Misty Garden. It’s going to be a keeper because I refuse to rip this yarn ever again. I have 300 yd, and then I’m done. And I shall never buy a multi-colored, thick-and-thin, single-ply yarn again. You can quote me on that.
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Finally, I cast on a failure. I love the Pinctada cowl by Angela Button of stringkitty, but it absolutely does not work in this Wagtail 100% mohair yarn (the green is part of a provisional cast-on).
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The yarn has NO bounce or elasticity–not surprising being mohair. It’s so soft and pretty-shiny even-but hell to knit with. But I’m determined I’ll find a way to use it. I have an idea, but that will be another post.
So there you have it. Three new WIPs to become FOs, and one to be ripped. But I do plan to knit at least three large projects this year, AND to use up some of my smaller amounts of stashed yarn, especially knitting hats.

Stay tuned and happy knitting.

Before and After with Steps

When M and I bought our home this summer, there was a nook off one side of the kitchen (the kitchen is in the center of the house and open on three sides).
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The area on the left would really only hold a small bistro table and two chairs, and since the kitchen has a bar-eating area and there is a dining room, we thought more cabinets and counter space would be the way to go. On the right we have the glass-fronted cabinets full of all our barware, and I do mean full.
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When we moved in, we used some super cheap cabinets and counter I had in my craft room at the old place to provide more storage in the nook. Even the periodic table of wine grapes on the wall, which we love, couldn’t make this temporary solution look good. So, we hired a cabinet maker, and he designed and built us some lovely cabinets. Follow the installation progress below:
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This is one of the two guys who did the installation. I thought M knew his name, but he doesn’t. But he was a very nice guy, and he and his partner did a great job.
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All set up in the morning sunshine (the Gaggia espresso machine is a must in this house). There is even bread rising in the bowl on the counter. And I love the butcher block counter top.
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I really like these open shelves to keep dry goods accessible but up off the counter. It’s also nice to display the tea sets.
We’re very happy all round with this project! And there is even still some room in the cabinets.