Monday, May 28, 2007

Natural Born Color

Today was the first time I saw handpainted wool yarn in nature. The slight color variations and gradations — the pooling only nature and knitting (which IS natural) can do. I was mesmerized. It was hard to look away. The colors I saw today were greens. The greens of trees, different kinds of trees in full canopy in cloud shadow and sunlight.

I've seen that same green in my first pair of handknit socks. It was handpainted Koigu in shades of what I now know to be forest green. I like the tones and shadings in a single color of handpainted yarn. Subtle and different in light and shadow.

I'm not going to dig out the socks because if it's not true I don't want to know right now. For now, I have a pair of handknit socks the color of the forest canopy I saw today.

Here's a photo from launch day last Thursday.

It's been a busy weekend. Not relaxing at all but things have been accomplished. When we were sailing Thursday, we noticed a problem with the outboard — aka the iron jib. We spent Sunday replacing the impeller. It runs great now. While Sweetie was doing that I cleaned out part of the garage. Two trash bags, a couple of boxes of junk, a box for Goodwill and there is more room and order in parts of it. There is still one wall of stuff to clean out and go through but that's for another day.

When we took the outboard back to the lake Sunday afternoon to hang it on the boat we had dinner in the pub. We met up with a fellow sailor for dinner and while we chatted at the table afterwards I did a little KIP on my socks.

We finally got to sail today. It was windy, somewhere around 20 mph with gusts around 25 or so. Clouds chasing sun. It was great.

I'm finding it's very difficult to take a good photo of another boat from a boat. That is going to take some research and some practice. The photos taken of Spray on Spray are good. I guess that's because we're both moving the same way at the same time. Unfortunately, I did not think to grab the camera while we were sailing past all that great green. Anyway, the photo at the very top was taken under sail.

Here are the photos of both sides of the heel. Looking at them now, after they've had a chance to "settle in' they don't look much different. I don't know whether that is good or not.

With all this rain, I've not had to water all my new green grass spots for the past few days.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Dead Man's Touch by Kit Ehrman

Parting Shot: "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." ~ Aristotle
Quote Source

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stubborn — Bloody Stubborn

Stubborn: obstinate, bloody-minded, bull-headed, obdurate, pig-headed, dogged, determined, tenacious, hard-headed, mulish, strong-minded, strong-willed, unyielding

Yep, that about covers it when I get a burr under my saddle. The burr this time was that bloody wrap and turn heel or as Janet with Chocolate and Raspberries suggested the bloody "short row heel". I DID it and I DID it MY WAY. Stick that on your needle and knit it.

If you'll remember, my problem has always been the wraps and turns on the side where I turn the work to purl all the way across the wrong side. This time I did one thing differently and one thing a whole lot better.

I used the same bloody yarn. I didn't start with new yarn so that was easier. And other than being able to replace the heel easier (which I won't do, anyway) it didn't seem to make a whit of difference to the leg, heel or foot knitting.

When I did the first FOUR or FIVE bloody purl stitches, I tugged firmly . . . that's not it, I pulled the bejesus . . . still not right . . . . I YANKED THE HOLY CRAP OUT OF EVERY ONE OF THE FIRST FIVE PURLS EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Because, the thing is, when you're decreasing you MUST get that very FIRST purl stitch on the needle very firmly. Because, if that stitch is loose or wonky or in any way weird it'll be loose and wonky or weird when you slip that stitch onto the "waiting in the wings" needle next time around. You will then put that weird, loose wonkiness back on the main needle when you do the increases.

And the wrap has to be firm, also. And on the problem side I did two wraps like I do on the "better" side. Before I slip the stitch, I move the yarn to the other side (back to front on the purl side and front to back on the knit side) then I slip the stitch and carry on as usual.

I also was VERY patient and quit running the faster-I -knit-the-sooner-I'll-be-done-with-this-bloody-heel race. I think that also made a difference. I tried to get into the Zen of knitting this heel. Which worked OK until I got to the yanking part but overall it was fine. Since I knew the outcome I didn't have to hurry to see the end of this movie.

Also, this sock is just too bloody easy to frog and put back on the needles. Heh.

The thing with this heel is you can't tell how things are going to look until you start to put the stitches back on the needles (the increase part). Even then, it takes six or eight rows before you can really tell. So the whole thing up to that point is a bloody crapshoot.

Going up, doing the increases is definitely more depressing than doing the decreases at the start even though that means you're getting nearer the end. Each needle just gets longer and longer and takes longer and longer and even longer still to knit and it seems like you will never ever get to the last stitch.

Because of the calf decreases I had only 58 stitches on my needles instead of the 82 I started with on the other tries. That meant that instead of 46 heel stitches to deal with I only had 34. And instead of takin' it down to ten stitches, which was a little small for my heel, I decreased down to 12 before I started the increases. So not as daunting as the first 2¼ tries.

I won. Na Na Nah Boo Boo.

Stupid Bloody Sock Heel.

It was a well won, well fought but hollow victory. I've got to do it again. On the mate. CRAP!

No, sorry, no I don't have photos yet. By the time I realized I wanted to do a post about the heel it was too dark to take photos and they always look better in natural light anyway. So next post, you'll get the left side of the heel and right side of the heel. One side does look better, but when I do a heel flap and gussets, one side looks better, too.

And, yes, I will now [Finally] Shut. Up. Already. about this bloody wrap and turn heel (aka short row heel). Thanks for listening. More Cheddar please to go with my Whine.

The other tremendous news is that Spray was splashed on Thursday. We've even taken the maiden 2007 voyage in her. Huzzah!!

Sweetie couldn't make the launch but two marina guys put her in and helped me motor her over to her slip. It was kind of windy and drizzly and cool but not unpleasant. I thanked the guys and sent them on their way. Re-tying all eight dock lines properly in the rain, tuning the mast and pinning all the turnbuckles wasn't as much fun but hey, she's in the water. And I used to do this for a living so not so bad when it's your own boat. Plus, I could go home when I was done instead to back to the shop and work.

When Sweetie and I came back out later (I'd gone home to dry out and warm up) we put the boom on, bent on the mainsail and got her ready for her first sail. The wind was on the light side but it was rather cool so that was OK. We sailed around for about an hour or so until we got cold then came back in.

There's a good chance of rain all weekend and the wind's supposed to be 15-20 mph most of the weekend. Temps are to be mild, high 70's, low 80's. I'll take it!! I always take my knitting and book along when we head out for the lake. Whether we're sailing or at the dock in the cabin knitting or reading while it rains, it's going to be a great weekend! We have pillows and blankets on board so naps in the cabin are a very good probability, too.

listening to: jazz on the radio

reading: Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard

Parting Shot:


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Day at the Beach???

After knitting 2¼ wrap and turn heels I'm dropping out of the wrap and turn club for the Drop Stitch socks. I like the way the stockinette heel looks but I can't get around the looseness on the end that when I turn the work is all purling. The two garter stitches that I put in on both sides look weird. I could do the heels in garter stitch which is how Lucy Neatby wrote the pattern but trying to tink garter stitch on 2mm needles is a task I dislike — a lot. The way my luck is going with both of these socks (Drop Stitch and Mermaid socks) I would end up tinking at least a full needle (or three!?!) on each sock. I DO plan to do the garter stitch heel on the Mermaid sock and just suck it up. So There!

I did accomplish my goal, however. I wanted to learn how to do the heel and I did. I still like the way the finished heel looks — even in garter stitch. But for me, the hassle with an entire set of 2mm dpns (two (most of the time) for holding the heel stitches, two to hold the wrapped stitches on either side of the heel stitches and one to knit with) is not worth it to me. It takes a lot more time to do this heel. It's very fiddlely at both ends. And (for me) it requires a LOT of concentration. I'm going to frog the heel one last time and revert to my standard heel flap heel. I do reserve the right, however, to revisit it in a future sock. For me the wrap and turn heel is no day at the beach.

And what a nice segue to my "beach" photos. It DOES look like an ocean beach, doesn't it. That is one of the boat ramp parking lots on a inland lake. The water is still up in the parking lot. It was VERY windy today
— winds 20-30 mph with gusts over 40 mph. I've rarely seen it this windy except when a big storm is imminent.

Needless to say, there were NO sailboats and not even any fishing boats out. There was one lone windsurfer. Notice the "bathtub ring" behind him. The live foliage above and the dead just above the water. You may need to click for big to see it better. That's where the water was a week ago. That bathtub ring will be there around the whole lake a long time. The last time this happened was in 1993. I don't remember how long it took for the bathtub ring to go away. I don't know if it was the next spring or longer.

blogging to: the sound of the birds and the wind

reading: Hard Time by Sara Paretsky

Parting Shot: "A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because
it has a song." ~ Chinese Proverb
Quote Source

Monday, May 21, 2007

Clean as a Boat Whistle

This is the last Monday the marina will be closed. This coming weekend they'll be open every day until after Labor Day weekend. And the pub / restaurant, too. Since there was NO chance of Spray being splashed today we went out this morning to clean the cabin. It's sat with cushions stacked up in the main saloon so they won't get wet when it rains as we still have a couple of stubborn leaks to find and fix.

The cabin wasn't that dirty, mainly a couple of water trails from the leaks and the general detritus that gets tracked in when she's up in the boat yard. We're in and out of the cabin a lot more when Spray's in the water but the cabin stays cleaner. By the time we walk to our slip from shore any flotsum stuck to the bottoms of our shoes has pretty much been walked off on the wood planking of the docks. When I get on Spray the first thing I do is to take off my shoes. If it's warm enough, I'm a barefoot sailor. The cabin sole (floor) is a finished textured (non-skid) fiberglass. The rest of the fiberglass that isn't covered by carpet (such as the ceiling) is a smooth finished fiberglass. That makes it super easy to clean.

A few weeks ago I tried Febreze The allergen one. I sprayed our bedding at home and it's made a difference allergy-wise. We decided to spray the cabin cushions and the carpet. The boat didn't have an odor but after spraying the cushions twice, leaving them out in the sun to dry both times and the carpet once she smells somehow fresher. I wish this stuff was around when I worked for the boat dealer.

Anyway, Spray is fresh and clean on the inside. We'll wait until she's in the water to scrub her deck and cockpit. It's supposed to be rainy and windy the next two days so that probably scrubs launch until Thursday. There's a joke or pun in there somewhere. Sometime during those two days, when it's not raining, we're going to take all the sails and some of the other things we stored at home during the winter.

I'm been knitting away on the Drop Stitch Sock. I'm still on the leg that I frogged and I'm up to round 56 now. I AM remembering to do the decreases. Only about 25 rounds until I have to make the heel decision. At this point I'm leaning toward trying the wrap and turn heel again with the garter stitch modifications. If I have to frog it, I'll only have to frog the heel portion.

One good thing if it rains the next two days. No watering for me. Even if it doesn't rain much, we'll have the cloud cover so I'll only have to water once a day . . . maybe.

Some bloggers have cat or dog or rabbit photos. I have bird photos. The tall bird is a blue heron. The beady-eyed bird is a purple martin atop the martin house in our yard. No more mosquitoes for us.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Hard Time by Sara Paretsky

Parting Shot: "No one likes an ugly boat, however cheap or fast." ~ Roger Duncan
Quote Source

Sunday, May 20, 2007

300th Post

WoW! I knew #300 was coming up I didn't realize that it would be TODAY!

Why is it easier (for me) to write a blog post Live! on Blogger than using my word processor? While it's actually easier to write a post in a word processor (better spell checker and thesaurus) for some reason being on Blogger sparks some kind of creative fire. Maybe it's the cool way I can add photos. I can do that on my word processor (Open Office, if you're interested) but to get them on Blogger I've got to do it Blogger's way.

Today's knitting was mostly un-knitting. The wrap and turn heel on the Drop Stitch sock and over half of the leg of the Drop Stitch sock is no more. All the little things wrong with the sock finally added up today. In no particular order we have:

  • I tried the sock on with the heel and the heel is too narrow for my heel. It would work but . . . if I do this again I won't go down to ten stitches before I start back up. More like fourteen.
  • The wonky left side (with the right side of the work facing you) where the wraps and turns are. Oddly, that's the side where I would finish knitting on the RS, slip, wrap and turn as per Lucy Neatby's directions. The WS I would purl. When I do the slip, wrap and turn from the purl side is where I expected the wonkiness. The only thing I can figure is that I can't get that first stitch tight enough on the left side because I'm purling. The right side was picture perfect.
  • I wanted to do some back of the calf decreases as I worked down the leg but I forgot. Since the sock leg has no ribbing the stockinette just sits there and there is a lot of loose fabric just hunched around my ankle. I could have lived with that (almost) and called these slouch socks as the dropped stitch rounds poof out. They would slouch / sag around the ankle nicely if I pushed the leg down there. That would be fine in the spring, summer and fall when I'm wearing shorts. When I'm in jeans, it's usually for warmth and I want more of my leg covered with a sock then. With the more tailored calf I can still push the sock down around my ankles to make slouch socks. They would just fit better when they're pulled up.

It's such a relief not having to deal with five itty bitty 2mm bendy birch dpns. My ebony dpns feel so sturdy. I frogged back to round 35 of the leg and put the dropped stitch round back on the needles. That was the easiest I've ever put stitches back on needles. I'm using the decreases that Nancy Bush use for the Conwy socks in
Knitting on the Road as a guide. The Drop Stitch pattern is a six round repeat. Round one of every repeat will be my decrease round. At the beginning of the round, k1, then k2tog. The rest of the round is knit even until the last three stitches. The second and third stitch from the end will be k2tog then k1 on the last stitch. I plan to eliminate 12 stitches at which point I'll try them on and go from there.

I honestly can't tell you if I'm going to try the wrap and turn stockinette heel on this go around. I kind of want to see if my idea of 2 garter stitches on the edges will fix the wonkiness or if that would just look weird. All this stockinette and then BANGO! Garter Stitch!

Sweetie and I actually got the canoe out for her 2007 maiden paddle this morning. Since we tumped the canoe last fall on one of our last outings I don't dare take the camera on board. We put in on the cove side of the marina. We paddled back into the marina cove and quite a ways up one of the creeks that feeds the lake. We'd been up this creek before without a paddle. We took
Relentless, our 22' Laguna sailboat, several yards up this same creek maybe 17 or so years ago. Far enough up and around a couple of bends so that you couldn't see the marina. Motoring very slowly, everyone on board watching overhead and to the side for tree branches that could hit the mast or one of the cables holding the mast up. It was exciting times.

The lake is going down very quickly — over a foot a day. I'm pretty sure the marina will put us in by the weekend. Otherwise, on Friday, PLAN B: rent a U-Haul and launch it ourselves. It's much easier to launch than to retrieve.

This is a new bird to our bird bath. We think this is a Brown Thrasher. It's in the same family as Bo's favorite bird, the mockingbird. You should all go and check out the cool photos that Bo has been risking her life to take. She has a pair of mockingbirds that have built a nest in a hanging flower basket on her balcony.

blogging to:
White Stones by Secret Garden

Hard Time by Sara Paretsky

Parting Shot: "A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I'm damned if I see how the helican."
~ Dixon Lanier Merritt
Quote Source

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My First Time

I do believe that my last post had no knitting content whatsoever. I'm in about the same place I was (about done with the wrap and turn heel) a few days ago but on a completely different sock.

Sometimes, when I learn a new skill, especially a complex one, the results are mixed. That was the case with the wrap and turn heel on my Mermaid sock. It was done. It was workable and wearable but I knew it could be better. So I frogged it. One of the great things about this heel since it's knit with a completely new piece of yarn is that it had an automatic stopping point. I kinda wanted to make the leg of the sock longer on the first go-around but I was so anxious to get cracking on this new heel that I knit a shorter leg than I wanted.

I'd already decided about mid-way through the the heel on the Mermaid sock that I was going to do that same heel on my Stockinette Drop Stitch sock but with a variation. Lucy Neatby has you do a garter stitch heel. That's great and it looks cool but it's very annoying when you drop a stitch on those tiny 2mm dpns. I'm doing the heel for the Drop Stitch sock in sockinette. Except for the 1x1 ribbing on the cuff, the entire sock is stockinette. I have to do an extra wrap when I'm on the purl side (WS) to bring the yarn to the RS so I can do the wrap correctly. The "seam" up the side of the heel isn't as neat on one side as I can't pull the purl stitches as tight as I can the knit stitches.

Since it's not that noticeable and these socks are for me when I do the mate I'm going to experiment with knitting that first stitch or two on that loose side to see if that helps and what it looks like. To make it match the other side and make it a "design element" I'll do the other side in one or garter stitches. We'll see.

Due to circumstances well within our control we didn't go canoing this morning. Staying up late surfing and knitting then oversleeping and a wonderful breakfast picnic in the backyard convinced us we were content where we were. Plus by the time we wanted to be movin' around it was time for another sailboat race on TV.

A wonderfully relaxing day, admiring the yard, knitting and reading.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Hard Time by Sara Paretsky

Parting Shot: ""Kindness and honesty can only be expected from the strong." ~ Unknown
Quote Source

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sitting and Waiting

Spray is pretty much done. She can launch ANYTIME! Oh, we could dink around on her another MONTH and STILL not be DONE. But we are ready to LAUNCH! NOW! This is one of those times where not being independent is not serving us well. We like to be self-sufficient. Not depend on anyone. There comes a time now and then when you make a decision NOT to be independent in a particular matter.

When we purchased our first sailboat Relentless, a Laguna 22, back in October 1985 we bought a ½ ton full size Dodge pick-up that could tow her anywhere. The two of us could put the mast up and down all day by ourselves. We had a really neat roller trailer and we could launch and retrieve Relentless from practically anywhere.

When we purchased Spray two years ago we chose not to buy a vehicle that could tow her. We would depend on the marina to launch her in the spring and pull her out in the fall. In the eight years we owned Relentless we only towed her to another lake three times. We did our own launch and pull-out every year but that was about it. For the cost of even an older, used vehicle having the marina haul the boat is a bargain. Of course you give up some flexibility. Last fall the marina wanted to pull Spray about the middle of October where we would have preferred to stay in until after Thanksgiving. We want the boat in NOW and so we sit and wait until the water goes down some more. Sigh.

I'm just ranting. The weather's been fantastic and we want to go sailing. We have a new sail we're so anxious to try. This week we've been watching the Louis Vuitton cup races on Versus (VS). These match races determine the challenger leading up to the America's Cup in June. Alinghi, a Swiss boat, won The America's Cup last time. They are they the Cup defender. All this is helping and not helping.

On the flip side, I've got TONS done in the yard and gardens. Today, I chopped down the Mr Lincoln rose bush that has the propensity to grow over seven feet tall when not reigned in. The hard freeze we had mid-April was not kind to it. What was left was growin' like a weed and showing no signs of ever blooming. I'm going to replace it with non-prickly day-lilies. I also chopped down the forsythia that has not grown over 18" tall in 12 years. The white spirea that I got at the garden center a week or so ago is going in that spot. The BIG job was chopping out a Pink Spirea that that an elm tree that was trying to grow up through the middle of it. It had outgrown where it was planted and
I discovered that it was about half dead. A couple of day lilies for that spot, too. All the foliage has been cut down. Now I just have to dig out the root clump. The rose bush almost pulls out by hand so that prickly mess will be the easiest.

Here's a photo of the Canna (it's going to be red) and the Vinca Minor 1 day after I planted them.

Saturday morning, we're going to go canoing for the first time this year. That should be fun and will ease our sailing woes a bit.

blogging to: jazz on the radio

reading: High Profile by Robert B Parker (a Jesse Stone one)

Parting Shot: "In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation." ~ Louise Beebe Wilder
Quote Source

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Zooma! Zooma! Zoom!

Seem like the last couple of weeks that's what I've been doing. Zooming around. Some but not much knitting is getting done. No where near the level of late fall, winter and early spring. The only complaining I hear are my sore muscles. A couple of asprins, a heating pad when necessary and a restoring Pepsi and Bacardi Limon fix that.

I am so pleased with the yard. I finally got the Maiden grasses planted in the three planters along with some white Vinca Minor around the edge this afternoon. When the white Vinca fills out in a few weeks they'll look grand and I'll take a photo. I picked up a miniature red Canna at the garden center last time we were there (a week ago?? maybe) and that's in the ground surrounded by cool fushia Vinca Minor. Again, photos when the Vinca Minor fills out. Today when I was going back to the hardware store for even more potting soil for the the grasses I saw these plants in the photo. No idea but I think they are some kind of fushia. The ones I picked out had only a few blooms and they're in a hard to photograph spot. They have an upside down hanging flower like a Bleeding Heart. I'll get a photo of the bloom later.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd put out several bags of that shredded paper grass seed. It's coming up gang-busters and filling in nicely. When I went back to the hardware store to get more they were out so I had to resort to regular grass seed. I finished putting that out in the all the dead weed spots this afternoon. I took all my newspapers to the recycling place this morning. Tomorrow after I read it I'm going to tear some of the paper into strips and mulch it around some of the larger places to hold the moisture next to the seeds better.

Spray is mostly done. The motor is on, the refinished tiller is on and the dock lines are on. We're waiting for the marina to put the mast up and launch her. The water is down enough now that it's just on the edge of it could be launched. If it were Sweetie and I, Spray would be floating. We have a couple of minor things to do yet but we can do them when the boat is in the water. We need to finish polishing the cockpit (where we sit), put the teak treatment on the teak and generally do a quick clean on the interior. All in all about a two hour process. If it's not in by the weekend we'll do that Saturday.

Here's a photo of the underside of the boat before we painted with all the bunks intact. The bunks are carpet covered pieces of treated wood (2x4's or 2x6's) on posts (the blue vertical pieces in the photo) that help support the boat when it's on the trailer. The two bunks / rails that bracket the keel (that big thing in the center resting on the wide board) are the ones we removed. As you can see, they don't support the boat. They just guide the keel as you load the boat on the trailer so the boat would be centered on the trailer. If you know what you're doing when you load it, you don't really need those. The two outer ones actually don't support the weight of the boat either. All the weight rests (or should rest) on the keel. The two side bunks just keep the boat from tipping over when it's on the trailer.

The lower photo is a photo of Spray with the guide bunks /rails removed. You can see how it really opens up the bottom the boat. She has a fresh coat of navy blue anti-fouling or bottom paint in that photo, too. We used almost the entire gallon. It's over $200 a gallon. With this new stuff, maybe we won't have to do it next year.

And, yes, we had to crawl around in and around all the support beams on the trailer while we painted the very bottom and the keel of the boat. Now you can see how I got so much paint in my hair. Ideally, you would pick the boat up with a crane or travel lift or hoise and suspend it with a strap around the bottom behind the keel and one in front. The straps would be placed so that the boat would be balanced, level and cradled by the straps a few feet off the ground. You'd move the trailer out of the way so you could paint the bottom with a regular paint roller (short nap) standing up. We'd place a tall That's how boat dealers and big time marina boat yards do it. Here is link (scroll down to the May 30th entry then down the fifth and sixth photo) to see some pictures of a boat (a really big boat) in a sling. We would have the boat higher and place a could of crib blocks under the keel to take some of the weight off the slings. A crib block (I can't find a suitable photo or link, they're all baby-related) is made by nailing short lengths (about 12-15" long) of 2 x 4's to each other so that they form a square. Keep building up the square until it's the height you want. Sorry, not a very good explanation. I'll keep trying to find a photo or a link and post it later.

The paint takes hours to to dry. It has to have 16 hours of dry time before launch. When I worked for a local boat dealer, we'd put a coat on in the morning. By the time we were ready to leave for the day, if the paint wasn't dry to the touch, (if it was real humid it or applied too thick might not be) we'd pull the trailer back underneath the boat and leave the boat hanging in the straps an inch or so above the trailer. That way if it fell during the night, it would just fall onto the trailer. If the paint was dryish to the touch and the boat didn't need any more paint we would cover the bunks the boat sat on with plastic wrap and set the boat back on the trailer.

Even thought I'm not knitting as much I AM making progress. Today running errands, I took the Stockinette Drop Stitch sock along for some stoplight and waiting in line knitting. It was great opening the door to the Post Office, seeing eight or nine folks in line and GLAD I was at the end of the line. I had the yarn in my purse so I took out the needles and in no time at all (only 2½ rounds — DARN!) it was my turn. No one said anything. No comments. Nothing.

Something I try to do when I know I'm going to be KIP is to wear a pair of my handknit socks
a wave the flag, kind of thing. Particularly if the SIP don't looks especially sock-like. I'm still on the leg so it just looks like a tube. A socknitter would know (I hope) but not a muggle.

blogging to: Thinking of You by Kitaro

reading: Step to the Graveyard Easy by Bill Pronzini

Parting Shot: "A garden is not made in a year; indeed it is never made in the sense of finality. It grows, and with the labour of love should go on growing." ~ Frederick Eden
Quote Source

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Strange and Unusual

The heel on the Mermaid sock is very weird. How did someone come up with this? I still like the way it looks but it is very strange to knit and doesn't even LOOK like it's going to be a heel when it grows up. I'm on garter stitch row 13 and so when you look at it it's six rows.

When I try the sock on, there is no "heel" to speak of yet, just six rows of garter stitch with 2 needles hanging off the sides holding six slipped stitches that don't confirm to my heel because they're hanging off the side of my heel. Somehow this will all turn out. If not, it's only knitting (as Stephanie says) and the yarn can live to be something else one day.

This wrapping and turning thing that I see folks asking for help on all the time on Knitters Review and the Socknitters list is pretty simply once you get the hang of it. But it IS difficult to get the concept across in writing. At least I was familiar with short rows from the heel flap heel I've always done. I thought that was odd when I first starting knitting socks. Now that I've knit over 40 socks it's "normal."

And keep in mind that on that wrapping and turning thing, I'm still on the "decreases". I haven't come to the increase section (according to the pattern, anyway). And that may be a whole 'nother thing. It looks even more confusing than this first part did. I'm trusting that I'll be able to figure it out, too.

I have done what I said I'd never do — and it's not really ALL my fault. All the batteries for my camera are dead. And there are no extra regular AA batteries in the house. We got two sets of rechargeable batteries and a charger when we bought the camera. When the set in the camera dies it goes into the charger and the charged set (which travels in a battery-shaped case in the camera case) is put into the camera. Sweetie and I were at the lake and I was taking photos of the water flowing out of the outlet below the dam (in the rain, mind you) when the batteries in the camera died. No problem. I put the fresh set in from the bag and they were almost dead. Either the charger didn't really charge them even though the lights on the charger "said" they were charged or they somehow discharged in their special case. When the newly charged batteries come out of the charger I'm going to test them on a voltmeter to make sure they're really charged.

So that's why I don't have any live and up close photos of what our trailer guide rails and bunks look like (on and off the trailer) to show you and those folks who don't schedule their non-winter lives around boating. But I DO have them trapped in the camera along with some other photos.

No real news on the Stockinette Drop Stitch sock. I haven't come up with a snappy name yet but I'm still knittin' away. This photo was taken the same day as the one in the Burr Oak a few days ago. It shows how the drop stitches pooch out. This was taken about 20 minutes before sunset with the sun at a very low angle in the sky.

I'm still on the leg but drawing close to the heel and the heel decision. I was thinking about doing this Mermaid heel on this sock, too, to sort of Lock In the directions in my mind but the color runs with that yarn are so short (as you can see in the photo), only a couple of stitches, that I don't know if it would look decent. But then since when has THAT ever stopped me!!?? And, it IS only knitting! I have several more rounds to go and maybe by that time I will have fought through to the end of this first strange and unusual Mermaid Heel. Stay tuned.

edited to add: OK I can't wait until tomorrow or the next time I post. On the Mermaid Heel. It. Is. So. Cool. I knit all the way down to 9 stitches on my needle as per the pattern. Then I figured out, again, almost word by word but a lot quicker this time what to do next. And it is amazing. It works. I've even tried it on with it half done and it even kind makes sense, now. How do folks figure amazing stuff like this out. That Lucy Neatby is a genius. And maybe I'm kind of clever, too to knit such cool stuff.

blogging to: classical (and now jazz) music on the radio

reading: The Lost Gardens by Anthony Eglin
I am really enjoying this book. I love mysteries but sometimes I get tired of someone dying violently every time I turn a page. A good mystery doesn't always have to be about that. This one may end up like that but so far only a long dead corpse.

Parting Shot: "Did you hear about the magic tractor? It was driving down the road and then suddenly turned into a field."
Quote Source
Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now

I am on the heel of my first Mermaid Sock. What a trip! I got ready to "DO" the heel and, of course, didn't read ahead. I discovered that I had to switch to smaller needles and knit the 23 stitches prior to the center of the heel is. So in tinking back 23 stitches I royally mess up and drop stitches and ended up tinking back about four rounds (the same two rounds, twice. Don't ask).

After reading and re-reading and some more reading and then breaking down the components of the heel pattern into almost word by word sections and then reading those more than a few times, it FINALLY sunk in. I'm not a read the directions person. I'm a visual / audio person. Show me the way.

Somehow this heel, which is the only reason I'm doing this sock, is like the heel on a heel flap sock only backwards and maybe a little sideways. On a heel flap heel, you begin with three or four or five stitches and it expands from there. On this heel, which is the heel and the heel flap all in once step, you begin with 46 (for me) stitches and go down to . . . . well, I don't know yet. I'm only on row three of this new heel. But I'll let ya know. Anyway, it doesn't much look like the cool heel in the photos yet but we'll see. The heel cup from the heel flap heel you can feel almost immediately but this is a different heel so . . . .

We worked on Spray a bit Sunday. The lake is so high that we didn't push since we can't launch until the water level goes down. We sail on a flood control Corps of Engineers Lake. They're letting water out slowly and it's slowly going down so maybe by week's end. We dropped the mast and attached the new halyard fittings. We'll get one of the marina kids to help us put it up when the marina opens Tuesday. About a quarter of the cockpit has been polished and we'll finish that up in the next day or so. Sp close to launching now.

I don't usually do meme's but I saw this on Roxie's blog aka Sanna's Bag and it appealed to me as it's all about the knitting. Since I don't think that Blogger's Bold works I'm changin' the rules a bit.

You copy the list, color the stuff you've done, italicize the things you want to do and leave the rest ordinary.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk ~
unless knitting with Sari Silk counts
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn ~ unless knitting with Sari Silk counts
Slip stitch pattern
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (= modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting ~ not sure what this is but I MAY be doing it with my Mermaid socks
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn ~ have knit with soy silk
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments ~ the hat really doesn't count
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns ~ the Mermaid sock doesn't really count but the Child's First sock could
Publishing a knitting book
Participate in an exchange
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton ~ socks
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Fulling/felting ~ just a purse ~ not my thing
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting ~ as in cables??
Kitchener stitch
Knitted flowers
Purses/bags ~ just the one
Knitting with beads
Swatching ~ some
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backward
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn ~ gotta love the eye lash scarves
Writing a pattern ~ the cabled hat doesn't count
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Free-form knitting
Short rows ~ sock heels
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Rug ~ cotton bath mat ala Mason Dixon Knitting
Knitting on a loom ~ I want to learn to weave, too
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift ~ socks (who da guessed?)
Knitting for pets
Shrug/bolero/poncho ~ the shrug
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories headbands and scrunchies
Knitting in public

That's my meme and I'm stickin' to it.

Back to my Mermaid Sock heel.

blogging to: An Ancient Muse by Loreena McKinnitt

reading: The Lost Gardens by Anthony Eglin

Parting Shot: 'Here odoriferous herbs and flowers grow . . . Useful to those who do their virtues know." ~ unknown

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Who Do I Think I Am?

Last night after I signed off on my last post and picked up the Mermaid sock I thought, "What makes me think I can knit lace?" If your definition of lace is a Yarn Over (YO) paired with a k2tog then I'm doing lace on the Mermaid sock. Very simple, basic lace, but lace. I was having all sorts of issues with this sock. I would be having issues now except that in a six stitch repeat I found a fail safe that I can check before I knit the next six stitches and so on.

What in tarnation makes me think I can knit the lace in the Child's First Sock (scroll down — it's the red sock near the bottom of Exercise Before Knitting's post) from Nancy's Bush's book Vintage Socks. At least it's not a chart. I hate charts. I am not a chart person. Some folks are — more power to ya but I am not a chart person. This pattern has YO's and PSSO's and TEN lines to the pattern. TEN not ONE as the Mermaid sock has.

Yeah, yeah, I've done complicated patterns in the past. I did the Conway — twice. I've even did Nancy's Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern which had to be absolutely correct and no fudging or it would show up in the white Cascade Fixation I chose for the pattern. And those were long legged socks for Sweetie.

Despite all that I'm still drawn to that pattern for my Silver Sage Anne Schaeffer yarn. After all it's only one stitch, one multiple of eight stitches, one round,
one pattern repeat at at time.

I'm within, say 10-15 (maybe 20?) rounds of the heel on my Mermaid sock. I'm not going to wuss out and do my regular heel flap. What drew me to these socks in the first place was the heel. It looks so cool. I still don't understand it but I will.

We spent this morning painting the bottom on Spray. We kinda half-assed threw some paint on last weekend. This morning we came well prepared with surgical gloves and old clothes and LOTS of water and ice and a tarp to spread on the ground so we didn't have to lie or crawl around on the weeds and rocks and dirt under the trailer.

One of the things we didn't bring was a paper painter's hat for me. I got so much paint in my hair I thought we were going to have to cut it out. It's out now, but the ends of the hair in that area feels very rough, like it has paint flakes still adhering but you can't see them. At least it doesn't stick up or out . . . there . . . yet.

We took off the guide rails on either side of the keel so we could paint easier. Most boat trailers of this size don't have them and we're NEVER going to trailer this boat anywhere so we took them off. It made it soo much easier as we could get to the entire length of the keel. The entire bottom is painted with almost a gallon of the new blue Interlux Biolux paint. The little paint we have left (a couple of inches in a regular-size gallon paint can) we're going to apply around the water-line as that's where most of the algae growth takes place.

Once Spray has been launched and before she gets pulled for the season in the fall, we're going to move the bunks that she sits on in one width of the bunks so we can paint that space next year. We'll just move the bunks in and out every year so every other year, the space under the bunks will get a coat of antifouling paint.

We don't have much left.

  • Polish the cockpit. This will take a couple of hours with both of us working on it
  • Drop the mast then attach the hardware for the new spinnaker halyard (the line that raises the sail
  • Get one of the marina kids to help us get the mast back up
  • Put the boom back on and the mainsail and the NEW navy blue sailcover
The only thing hindering the last item is that the lake is up so high that there are NO boats ramps anymore. The good thing about Spray is that she only draws 18" and the trailer has a loong extension to enable her to be launched and retreived in shallow water. We may be sailing by THIS Tuesday!! WOOT!

We're going out shortly to take some photos of the high water so more water photos.

listening to: birds outside

reading: The Lost Gardens by Anthony Eglin

Parting Shot: "Let us respect gray hairs, especially our own." ~ J P Senn
taken from Good Advice, compiled by William Safire & Leonard Safir, page 357
(notice it says NOTHING about navy blue bottom paint hairs)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Two SIP's

This new sock I'm knitting is fun. The stockinette drop stitch is fun. It's easy. It's not boring (yet). It's fun seeing how the colors pool and how the the round of drop stitches pooches out. I'm on round 32 of the leg and there are 15 1x1 ribbing rounds. The sock is just over 4" long.

I had fun posing the SIP (Sock-In-Progress) all over the yard. I love this camera. It takes GREAT photos. Believe me. That is the camera you see. OK, I'll take some credit for where I take the photos and how they are staged — even the strange ones. I finally have the manual white balance set to where when I look through the view finder the colors look right. Now I will have to figure out how to adjust the "automatic" white balance.

The Mermaid sock. You never really know a knit until you've frogged and tinked it many times. I should know this lesson from the Cabled Cashmere hat I just finished. When you tink a couple of rounds you get to know what happens in the previous rounds and how it relates to the rounds to come. I have a much better handle on how to fix things that go wrong with this sock but I also have a solid benchmark to make sure that I don't have a problem.

In the 6 stitch pattern, stitch 5 and stitch 6 are knit together. They form a ridge that spirals around the sock. As long as I can feel that ridge, that I'm knitting those two together on the ridge I'm OK. If it's off, I know it immediately and can fix it immediately. Any bets on how long it is before this, too, falls by the wayside and I'm froggin' and tinkin'. AGAIN!!! We can only cross our fingers but then we can't knit. Ah, well.

So the Mermaid sock is back — really back on track this time. I've even knit a couple of rounds on it. Seem's like I unraveled a lot trying to get back to good rounds. According to my notes, I stopped knitting on round 47 lo those many months ago. Counting the spiral rounds, I get 40 rounds (three times in a row) and it seems like a lot more than 7 rounds of kinky yarn. Well, with as fine Koigu is and knitting with 2.5mm dpns a couple of rounds more or less between socks is OK. When I do the 2nd sock, I usually match up the leg and cuff to the first sock before I do the heel to make sure they aren't off so I can fix any differences then. The sock now is just under 5".

So now I have two SIP to haul around with me. My easy knitting sock and my concentrate sock.

blogging to: 60's music on XM Satellite radio

reading: Hundred-Dollar Baby by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "Your mind is your best camera . . . Go out and take some beautiful pictures." ~ Daryl Ryman
Quote Source

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Not a lot going on here. I finally got the unkempt mess of our lawn mowed between rain showers. It was dry and windy for a day and a half and I still squished through parts of the yard. And it rained again this morning. Ah, well.

Cue Carly Simon: I decided to savor the Anticipation of winding and knitting with my Silver Sage Schaeffer yarn a while. Now that I know it's going to be knit up soon, I can relish the thought of all that luscious wool sliding across my 2.5mm ebony dpns. And because I even have the pattern picked out, no bother there, either.

I got the Mermaid sock back on the needles which is why the Silver Sage project is on hold. Now I just have to figure out what round I'm on and I can knit away. That pattern is complex enough so that when I tire of the NON-Garter Drop Stitch sock I have a meatier project to work and visa-versa.

Sometime in the next few weeks I have to get my drivers license renewed. Won't be such a hassle this time as I have my knitting. Maybe I'll meet another knitter.

That's a lilac up there. Unfortunately, it's not in my yard. But the fragrance is wonderful.

blogging to: A Posteriori by Enigma

reading: Out Cold by William G Tapply

Parting Shot: "With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy." ~ Lope de Vega
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Monday, May 7, 2007

The "Real" Post

Yep, that last post was just a pattern. My first, in fact. Anyone can figure it out but sometimes you're newish to this knitting thing or you use your creativity in other ways. Anyway, it's there. Enjoy. I love funky disclaimers and you can see I have several. If I've missed your favorite, let me know and I'll stick it in there. With a credit to you, of course.

I've added a couple of new categories in the side bar just above Past Imperfect. One is the Free Pattern Link of which there is just one, so far. Another is a link is to the post with all of the socks I knit in 2006. Soon I'll add the rest of my FO's. And the other link is going to be a list of my favorite posts. So far it's just the one comparing Sailing and Knitting or if you prefer, Knitting and Sailing.

I've been knitting on the Garter Drop Stitch sock. I've got to think of a more clever name. Garter Drop Stitch sock just doesn't roll off the tongue or the keyboard with any flair. I'm still on the k1, p1 cuff. I figure about 2" for the cuff so it won't sag or droop since the rest of the sock is just plain knitting. So, in the round, even the name of the sock is wrong. Hmmmm.

Today I'm wanting to knit a really neat sock with some really neat yarn. I'm thinking of using the yarn I got when I ordered the Panda Cotton for CIL's sock. Scroll down to the photo of the Silver Sage Anne Schaeffer hank. I am thinking of using the Child's First Sock pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I already have a pattern change in mind. I'm going to make them mirror images so they will either curve in or out depending on which foot has which sock on. Again this pattern has been in the back of my mind for some time. I'm going to keep the
Garter Drop Stitch sock as my "sanity sock".

Up top is our normally placid river today after all the rain we've had.

This is what it usually looks like. This was taken in February.

blogging to: the sound of birds and the neighbors lawn mower. Our lawn is still too squishy to mow or I would be out there already. Really! I would!!

reading: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Parting Shot: "You can't turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again." ~ Bonnie Prudden
Taken from Good Advice, compiled by William Safire & Leonard Safir, page 255

Cabled Cashmere Hat Pattern

This hat is based on the Woven Cables in Relief stitch pattern on August 22 from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year calendar.

I used a 5mm dpn for the cast on edge and knit with a 4mm dpn.

I used Artful Yarns Virtue which is a 5 ply 100% cashmere yarn.

I cast on 150 stitches with 5mm needles using the cable cast on. If you use the extra stitch cast on like I do be sure and cast on an extra stitch. My head is 21½" around. The hat fits snugly but not tightly. The cables draw it in a lot. With a conventionally ribbed hat, I would cast on 96 (or so) stitches. Your mileage may vary.

Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist stitches and place a marker after the first stitch to denote the beginning of the round. Switch to 4mm needles.

This pattern is a multiple of 15 stitches.

Set Up Rounds 1 & 2: *k4, p1* (This will prevent some rolling of the edge.)

Round 3: *slip 5 stitches onto cable needle held in front, knit 5 stitches, then knit the stitches from the cable needle, knit 5 stitches*

Rounds 4-8: Knit

Round: 9: *knit 5 stitches, slip 5 stitches onto cable needle held in back, knit 5 stitches, then knit the stitches from the cable needle*

Rounds 10-14: Knit

Repeat rounds 3-14 until you have 6 complete cables. End the final cable on round 10.

Decrease Rounds

Round 1: k6, k2tog all the way around
Round 2: knit
Round 3: k5, k2tog all the way around
Round 4: knit
Round 5: knit 4, k2tog all the way around
Round 6: knit
Round 7: k3, k2tog all the way around
Round 8: knit
Round 9: k2, k2tog all the way around
Round 10: knit
Round 11: k1, k2tog all the way around
Round 12: k2tog all the way around
Round 13: k2tog all the way around

I ended up with 10 stitches on the needles. Cut yarn leaving about a 12" tail. Using a tapestry needle, thread the yarn though the remaining stitches twice, remove needles, and pull up tight.

Weave in the ends and you're done.

Disclaimers: Some assembly required. * Batteries not included. * May be too intense for some viewers. * Subject to change without notice. * Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. * All rights reserved. * You may distribute this pattern freely but you may not make a profit from it. * Reader assumes full responsibility. * Read at your own risk.* Not liable for damages arising from use or misuse. * For external use only. * If rash, irritation, redness, or swelling develops, discontinue reading. * Read only with proper ventilation. * Smoking this article could be hazardous to your health.

Disclaimer does not cover misuse, accident, lightning, flood, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake, hurricanes and other Acts of God, neglect, damage from improper reading, incorrect line voltage, improper or unauthorized reading, broken antenna or marred cabinet, missing or altered serial numbers, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts, sonic boom vibrations, customer adjustments that are not covered in this list, and incidents owing to an airplane crash, ship sinking or taking on water, motor vehicle crashing, dropping the item, falling rocks, leaky roof, broken glass, mud slides, forest fire, or projectile (which can include, but not be limited to, arrows, bullets, shot, BB's, shrapnel, lasers, napalm, torpedoes, or emissions of X-rays, Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays, knives, stones, etc.).

Other restrictions may apply. * This supersedes all previous notices.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


The hat is finished but not blocked and now I'm ready for a non-cable and not-a-hat-knit. I just don't feel like going back to the Mermaid socks right now, which are still off the needles, by the way. So I turned to the 365 Knitting Stitches A Day calendar, which was still out from the hat. You know how it is when you find the RIGHT pattern or stitch? That's how I felt when I decided on the Woven Cables in Relief pattern for the hat. Well, that's how I feel about the Garter Drop Stitch pattern on April 11. I think that's going to be my next sock.

Other than the very first pair of socks I knit I've never done garter stitch for the body of the sock. Some folks swear by it, but I've always preferred a more complex knit. We'll see how this one goes. I'm using the Socketta multi colored yarn that was originally intended for SIL's principal's socks. This was the yarn that looked like it changed dye-lots at least twice. As these socks are for me, I don't care. My SIL does want a pair of socks with this colorway but I'm going to knit me a pair first. Maybe the next skein I get will be OK and she'll never know. I've also never had a pair of socks knit with Socketta. I've knit two pair for other folks and I want to see how it wears and washes.

This is the front of our house with the new bushes and mulch and grass seed stuff. You can also see one of the planters (unplanted) with the trellis still in place. That's our garage wall.

And, yes, I know. I still owe you one more Xena post on the fourth season episodes I watched recently.

blogging to: Along the Shores of Acadia by Tim Janis

reading: Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein

Parting Shot: "Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." ~ Plato
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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Dishin' the Dirt

No photos today but there will be photos in the next post. I am one round away from the decrease rounds on the Cabled Cashmere hat from Hades. Or maybe it's the Cabled Cashmere head topper from Tartarus. After way too many unravelings and froggings all the cable rounds are complete. I want to knit one even round before I start the decrease rounds.

This evening I am very sore and tired but we have five well planted St John's Wort bushes. They're about a foot tall now and are evenly spaced across the front of the house. In a couple of years, they will grow and spread and become a solid hedge. Previously, I'd leveled and evened out the space. I'd also laid down 2 layers of some trash-bag like weed barrier. I rolled that back and dug out five holes in very mucky, wet, clay . . . soil. ICK! Whoever said gardening was relaxing wasn't doing it in MY yard. (I typed yarn, initially!) I was dressed for it and the weather was cooperative. I was in the shade and there was a wonderful breeze with temperatures in the low 80's. It would have been a wonderful sailing day . . . if Spray was in the water. Anyway, they're all mulched in with wonderful smelling cedar mulch and looks great.

Now we wait for them to bloom and attract the big yellow and black bumblebees. The plants are right outside our home office window and with the windows open you can hear them buzzing.

While we were at the nursery we also picked up three pots of Maiden Hair grass. These are going to go in the concrete planters that sit in front of a large blank wall (the garage) along the walkway to the front door. We've tried several things in them and this year it's grasses. The narrow spot that the planters sit on tends to hold water and kills off anything planted there. I eventually want to replace all the brown Colorado rock with some soothing smooth gray stones.

My other nursery find was a Bridal Veil Spirea bush. I love the scent. Since I'm taking out the non-performing forsythia I want another bush there that could get large to screen our patio from the neighbors-to-the-south patio. That's what the performing forsythia does on the north side.

I've also got several thin and bare spots in the front yard covered with Scotts PatchMasterTall Fescue Mix. When it fills in it will be grand. Then I'll be moaning about how long it takes to mow . . . again.

Sweetie and I worked a bit on Spray Friday evening. Her bottom is about half painted. It's supposed to rain for the next several days so no more of that for a while.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein

Parting Shot: 'The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." ~ Emile Zola
Quote Source

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Knitting from the . . . .

There is knitting from the heart then there is ------- knitting from the winder. (sigh) Yes, that is what I've been reduced to. Saves time. You don't have to dig the winder out of the closet (quietly because Sweetie's napping) and set it up each time. You don't have to find the end in the mound of curly yarn you just created. The ball doesn't roll under the chair or across the floor or lodge between the cushion and the chair. The ball stays neat.

The last time I re-wound it I just left it and that's how I've been knitting the hat. I have to say that I haven't had to frog since I did this. Hmmmm I must have knit this hat 4 or 5 times already. But THIS time . . . . . .

It's been raining here and everything is green again — mostly. There are branches where the secondary leaves haven't quite caught up yet
— or maybe the branch froze in the freeze. But at least things are green now and now mushy brown-green-black. Nature is amazing.
Normally, I don't like clover and either spay it with Round-Up or the gentler, kinder stuff that doesn't kill the grass around it, but that stuff takes 2-5 treatments to actually kill all the clover. The raindrops and the green looked so good, I couldn't resist. I've got grass seed and that paper grass seed patch stuff spread all around in the front yard.

I planted Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seeds at the base of the humming bird feeder about a week ago and they haven't come up yet. I nicked the seeds and let them soak 24 hours in water before I put them in. I'll give them another couple of days. If I don't see anything, I'll do it again.

I actually saw a humming bird at the feeder the other day so they're back and an oriole at the bird bath. I hope to get some cool photos of the hummers as they aren't afraid of people. Sitting on our patio, within a couple feet of the feeder we've been buzzed quite close. It's neat to hear their chittering as they swoop and play grab-ass with each other.

blogging to: the sound of the birds through the open window

reading: Ring and Die by Stella Whitelaw

Parting Shot: "I've got knitting fever in the worsted way." ~ unknown
Taken from March 10, 2006 Knit Bits calendar