Sunday, May 31, 2009

The sweet little baby sweater is finished.As I was knitting it I listened to the KnitPicks podcast about knitting for babies and one of the ladies (a new mommie) said never to use the cutesy buttons because they are too hard to do up with a squirming baby. Since I already had the buttons, I chose to ignore this advice. They do seem to slip through the button holes easily enough. And they are just so cute!

I'm still happily knitting away on the summer sweater and shawl, but there's not a lot of visible progress, so no pictures.

We had a week of showers and the garden is doing wonderful as a result. So are the weeds, unfortunately. I hate weeding, with a passion. But I did try to get the majority of the big ones out while the ground was soft. It looks like we are losing the cherry tomatoes I planted to replace the first cherry tomato plants that died. I'm really wondering if I'm just not supposed to have them this year. I picked up another plant at the flea market today, my last ditch effort.

My latest gardening experiment is to try to propagate some lavender and mums for a bed that runs along side my house. This bed gets full south sun all day and tends on the dry side. Lavender seems to thrive there and I'm hoping to get enough plants to root to go the length of the bed. I'm also trying to propagate mums for the fall. The instructions I found said you could either start them in water or in soil with rooting compound. The water method did not work for me...they just rotted. So I took a bunch of new cuttings today and am trying them with rooting compound. Fingers crossed it works. Could save a good bit of money in plants if it does.

It is absolutely gorgeous here today. The sun is shining, its in the mid 70s with a light breeze. The plan for the afternoon is knitting and catching up with my podcasts out on the porch. I recently got a new Zen Mozaic after getting tired of fighting with my Zen V+ and it's sticky play button . I love the Zen MP3 players. If you like audiobooks they are a dream since they allow you to set bookmarks. The new Mozaic even has a built in speaker so I can listen wirefree.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ok, prepare yourself for an extremely photo-heavy post. Lots to show you this week.

Check out how well the garden is coming along! This is just 3 weeks after my last photos.The tomatoes have doubled in size. You can't see it, but we lost one of the eggplants so I'll be picking up another plant this week to replace it.
The main bed is much changed as well. We put up a make-shift fence to keep the bunnies out (and it's actually working!) The onions are all thriving. The snow peas are up 5-6 inches. The limas are just starting to come up (dad says it's still a bit cool for them to sprout yet). The pumpkins are up and I saw today the first acorn squash has also sprouted. The cucumbers are looking a little sad, but I think they'll pull through if we get some sunshine. And the peppers are doing excellently. On the left side of the wall you might be able to barely perceive the soda bottles lining the bed. I've planted okra in that bed and have them capped with 2 liter soda bottles to deter the rabbits from eatting them up. In the very back of the picture is my garlic and onion bed (yes, I know, we've got a lot of onions planted. But we love them, they keep well and are uber-cheap to plant.) The garlic and egyptian onions were planted in the fall. It was so much fun to see something go dormant for a few months then spring to life when the weather warmed up.

The Topsy Turveys were a complete bust. The plants died within a week. I didn't even bother replanting them. Instead I purchased some more cherry tomatoes and planted them in a regular hanging basket. So far, they are surviving much better.

I've been inspired to sew again lately. I got this cute little book from the library, Sew Pretty Homestyle. Chock full of easy and adorable shabby chic sewing projects. This weekend I undertook sewing cushions for our patio chairs (the ubiquitous plastic stacking chairs). The fabric is sweet and looks very nice on our green chairs. I had some trouble with sizing...the first one was a little too small. The second one I mis-measured. By the third I think I got it down. One more to go.

Also on the sewing front, I picked up Lexi Barnes new book Sew What! Bags. My mom sews lovely fabric purses and I would like to try my hand at it too. I muddle around and can make a decent tote bag, but I want to learn more. So I thought this might be a good jumping off point. Boy was I right! This book provides excellent instructions for sewing simple, functional and very attractive bags in several styles. She also includes a very good section for beginning sewers (something I am not, but it never hurts to refresh your mind on the basics). Now I'm on the look out for kitchy fabrics to turn into glorious bags!

Knitting has not been forgotten, not in the least. I'm still rocking the laceweight wrap. I just adore this yarn. It's like knitting with air. I'm a little concerned it's not going to be as wide as I would have liked. I know it will block out some...I'm figuring 20" wide blocked, but it's so hard to judge on the needles. Still, I just want something to throw over my shoulders and I am confident this will fit the bill. The pattern is super easy...20 rows stockinette, 6 row lace pattern, repeat ad nauseum (I'm throwing in a purl ridge every so often to break up the pattern).

And since I'm loving this laceweight so much, I bought some more. This time from handpaintedyarn.com. I've purchased their worsted weight yarns in the past and have loved them so I was confident I wouldn't be disappointed with their lace weight
2 skeins of Cedro Dulce and 1 of Rocas De Mar. I love the Rocas and would have bought more, but this was their last skein. The yarn is very nice although not as soft as 100purewool. This yarn also comes from Uruguay, however, they have a US distribution center so the shipping is much less and much faster (a few days rather than a few weeks.)

A friend of hubby's is expecting a child so I jumped at the opportunity to knit a baby sweater. I'm knitting the Lion Brand Garter Ridge Baby Cardigan. The yarn is Plymouth Dreambaby DK which is a different gauge than the pattern calls for. But the adaptation is simple enough. I'm hoping the pale sage green will be appropriate for a boy or girl since we don't know what the sex will be. And the little teddy bear buttons are sweet as can be.

I don't recall if I mentioned wanting to knit a summer sweater or not, but I've had the desire to do so for some time. As always, it was my deep seated hatred of cotton that kept me from doing so. But, as I've said before, I very much want to grow as a knitter and stop letting things hold me back. So I'm giving cotton another try. This is the Sally's Summer Sweater from The Knit Stitch, knit in Valley Yarns Longmeadow.I'm knitting the sweater much shorter than the tunic length called for (who wants a big tunic in the summer?!) The yarn is a dream. Yes, a dream! So soft and drapey. I'm sure it's the microfiber content that tames the cotton into submission. Finally, a cotton I may be able to love.

Not much progress on the socks, only because I've been knitting mostly on the shawl and sweater. I do really like the Red Heart Yarn. I'd venture to say (so far) it's my favorite of the craft store brand sock yarns. Can you believe it? RED HEART! It is really nice. Soft but sturdy and the colors are classy.