Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


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Garden and a little knitting

Lots of things in bloom now, with more to come. The peonies are right on time for Memorial Day. I’m wishing I’d put supports around them earlier, especially Festiva Maxima, which is so loaded it’s drooping badly, but it’s gorgeous!

Peony White Sands

Peony White Sands

Pink Peony

Pink Peony

Peony Festiva Maxima

Peony Festiva Maxima

I’ve made progress in the vegetable garden. There’s now a tomato plant next to each of the stakes but 1 – I’m still chasing a black/purple tomato plant for that spot. I had a Black Krim last year, but haven’t had any luck finding a plant this year. The asparagus (extreme right; planted last year) is doing nicely, and we should be able to pick more from it next year. There’s 1 row of okra in (blue tag, left) and a couple of rows of beans yet to plant – I get hungry just thinking about them πŸ˜‰garden0525

And here’s the gratuitous knitting picture – I finished a pair of socks in Lang JaWolle from stash (!); there’s another pair already on the needles. socks 0526Hope everyone has a lovely holiday!

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Some knitting and stash enhancement …

Last weekend, Cindy and I met and went to the World’s Smallest Craft show, which included Rachel’s Dyeabolical Yarn. Of course we each came away with some yarn, need you ask?

New yarn

Since I had recently (Friday night) finished a pair of socks to wear on Saturday,

I had a set of lonesome sock needles, so it didn’t take long for me to wind a skein of yarn and start a new sock. Due to time in the car, it’s coming along quite quickly.

Dyeabolical Merino Sock; color, Themyscira.

Some very nice alpaca also followed me home, and I’ve been playing with a different shaping. I’m not sure yet if this is going to do what I want it to, but time will tell. I have found that I need to pay attention each time the pattern gets wider.

After our yarn stops, we had lunch and did a few more things, before we had to head for home (sadly much too soon!), but with plans for more fun at a later date.

So far we’ve escaped the frost, and things are still growing. Since it cooled off a bit and rained, there are new tomatoes on the plants, and I’m hoping that at least some of them will ripen. The flowers are also still blooming.

Nasturtiums & marigolds.

Toby’s usually pretty camera-shy, but I caught him in mid-run the other day (he may have 1 foot on the ground). πŸ™‚

High-speed Toby.


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Friends & fibers …

As Cindy mentioned, after many emails and several tries (between schedule conflicts and her ailing car) we finally had the chance to get together last Saturday, and what a great day – we could barely stop talking long enough to eat! It was such fun, and I simply cannot wait to do it again πŸ™‚

If you haven’t checked out Cupcake Fiber Co’s goodies, you really should! I was lost when Joan put up some gorgeous blue/green fluff (ask Cindy – I’m magnetically attracted to blue/teal/green) and found this in my mailbox when I got home on Saturday. The packaging alone is so clever and the fluff inside is beautifully prepared and wonderful! (At least on my screen, the color in the first picture is more accurate.)

The box.

Blue-faced Leicester/nylon blend.

After several unsuccessful tries to find a particular color of Zauberball Crazy locally, I ordered from Webs, who had not only the one I wanted but another blue/green as well, so these also came on Saturday. I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to get these all spun/knit, but at least I won’t run out any time soon πŸ˜‰ The Zauberball colors will probably become shawls/stoles, the fluff hasn’t yet told me what it wants to be.

Zauberball Crazy #2133

Zauberball Crazy #2085


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Surprise!

There are a few plants under a light in the basement, and I’ve had a bad habit lately of forgetting that the poor things are down there. I was really surprised the other day when I went down for something else and found this (and there’s a 2nd bud stalk on it that’s just starting to show some color):

I mentioned that some stash enhancement happened on Saturday at the fiber gathering – here are the goodies I got from Rachel. The blues are the same colorway as the BFL top I’ve been spinning. She said Cindy & I picked the exact same BFL/silk top – I can’t wait to see what we each decide to do with it. πŸ™‚

Sock yarn

Blue-faced Leicester/tussah silk top

And the 2nd sock of my current pair is coming along nicely. I’d like to finish it so I can play with my new sock yarn, besides there seems to be a wearing-out epidemic happening in my sock supply!

Berroco Sock, color #1453.


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When the knitting gets tough …

the tough cast on another project. My sweater was suffering from neckius ΓΌber-loosius (since ripped and reknitted with a smaller needle), the shawl is over 100 sts per quadrant now, and I really wanted something smaller to play with. I’ve been looking at all the neat projects on Seasons of Lace, and just had to start a new scarf, using sock weight yarn from my stash.Β  The pattern is adapted from one of the Japanese knitting books, and I changed little bobbles to nupps, which I think look much nicer. I used a crochet cast-on, and the lace point needles are great for completing the nuppsβ€”it would be really hard to get into all the loops on the wrong side row without the tapered points.

Lace Scarf

Lace Scarf

Nupps

Scarf detail: Nupps

I’ve been meaning to mention my new favorite hat – I noticed it at Lowe’s, but only saw it in camo the first time, which didn’t really appeal, but on the next trip I saw just 1 navy 2-LED verson, and it came home with me. It’s absolutely great for walking Toby at night – no need to juggle a flashlight. With the cold weather, I’ve had to come up with creative additions so I don’t freeze, but combined with a heavy hoodie jacket, a neck gaiter and a muffler a few times, it’s working out very well.

year-of-ox-2009

Happy Chinese New Year!


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Brrr!

As Cindy mentioned, it’s been pretty cold here (unless you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, in which case not so much so) – but colder than it’s been for at least 8 years. Even so, the ice crystals are pretty as long as I’m inside looking out.

(ETA: And we had a very rude awakeningthis morning to a 5:15am power outage at something like -1 – sheesh!)

frost_1

frost_2

I just received a copy of Creative Knitting, March 2009, with my “Diamond Lace Stole” in it – I’m pleased with the photo, but could definitely use the sample to wrap up in right now. It’s about 11th down in the gallery, which is alphabetized by the first letter of the designer’s first name.

When we went to St. Louis last Saturday, some yarn might have followed me home, maybe enough for a sweater, but it’s not cooperating with having its photo taken, at least not as far as the color is concerned. The color is wine, which describes it well – it’s darker and more – well, winey/burgundy than this, but it’s very soft and nice to pet! πŸ™‚

MerinoBold in Wine

MerinoGold in Wine


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I’m reading …

and really enjoying An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor. I’m having to read it in bits and pieces here and there, though I’d love to sit down and just read it right through. There was a scene early in the story where the cat, Lady MacBeth, knocked over a pitcher of milk, then jumped up to the top of the drapes – the mayhem that ensued when she came down gave new meaning to ROFL – I had tears in my eyes, I was laughing so hard. Then another, where the doctor’s black lab (Arthur Guiness) ran out on the rugby field during a game and made off with the ball … I love the characters (and some of them are really characters!), and plan to find the previous 2 books as soon as I can.

I’m nearly done with the green Trekking socks, and have a serious yen to start something else for trip and visiting knitting, but I’m not sure there’s anything suitable in the stash – gee, I wonder if I can fit in a little stash enhancement on Saturday? I’ve been seeing several yarns that looked really good …

Yu Shiang (yuxiang) Eggplant

Yu Shiang (yuxiang) Eggplant

Last Saturday, we had lunch in Kirkwood (St. Louis County) at a little place we like called Steak & Rice. We shared an order of potstickers, then Himself had Duck with 8 Precious (shrimp, krab and a bunch of other ingredients) and I had Yu Shiang Eggplant with Pork – it’s so good, I hardly ever get anything else there. I would really love to figure out what’s in the sauce, because that’s what pulls the whole dish together. I’ve found a recipe in Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook by Ellen Schrecker (Β©1976; a gift from a friend years ago) that sounds like it could be in the right neighborhood, but I suppose some research may be necessary πŸ˜‰

As an antidote to the really icky weather outside, here are a couple more orchid pictures. I’m so glad it decided to bloom now, instead of while we’re gone to Kansas City over Christmas!

blooms are about 1" across

Mini Cattleya: blooms are about 1" across

orchid2


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Warning …

clicking on Ravelry links can lead to impulse stash enhancement! I saw lovely yarn and I should have known better, but I clicked anyway.

Angel Blue

Leprechaun Lace: Angel Blue

Very quickly (great service!), this beautiful skein of laceweight alpaca/silk/cashmere (~1300 yds/100g) and a nice set of stitch markers appeared in the mailbox from Ellie at Crazy4Dyeing.com. So far I’m still just petting it and waiting for it to tell me (more specifically than just lace) what it wants to be, as simply winding it will be a long-term commitment.

Since I finished the Regia socks, I dug another ball of Trekking (it’s a little darker than it looks here) out of the stash and started another pair of socks. They’ll probably end up as a gift πŸ˜‰

Trekking #175

Trekking #175

We had pretty good progress on the construction yesterday, at least until it started raining. The guys gave up after a while, and since today was the beginning of deer season, I really didn’t expect them to be back today. Maybe Monday … at least we’re getting closer.

Today was cloudy all day, with bits of sleet/snow/yuck during the afternoon, but Thursday evening, the sky was gorgeous!

sunset11 sunset2 sunset3