Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy Zone 5a Average Last Frost Date!

No worries about a frost today. It's going to be 85 degrees! I planted a few beans this weekend. I dug out the space by hand, and even built my own tepee. Those better be some good beans, as that was very hard work. They are Chinese Red Noodle beans that a friend sent me. She also sent me some Principe Borghese tomato and Jelly Melon cucumber seeds, but those seedlings aren't ready to be planted outside yet. (I finally looked up pictures of the cucumbers-- they are really scary-looking fruits!). I am so very ready for fresh vegetables: one of the worst things about living in the Midwest is the lack of real tomatoes eleven months of the year.

In the new little plot I created last week, the raspberry bush seems to be dead. I don't know why I even attempt bare-root plants. I have about a 10% success rate with them. I need to go ahead and learn my lesson: it is worth the extra money to buy regular plants. I planted some lettuce and spinach in the same plot. I have a couple dozen little lettuce seedlings out there, but no sign of the spinach. I know you are all on the edge of your seats, waiting for news of my spinach; I promise to keep everyone posted.

In knitting news, I have not picked up needles in three days. (I know!) I plan on making a rectangular lace shawl next, but won't have the yarn for another week at least. I hope it is as pretty in person as it looked online. We don't have a whole lot in the way of local yarn shops here, so I am learning the "joys" of internet yarn shopping. One of those joys is not knowing if the seller's photo accurately shows the color of the yarn. Oh, the drama!

And now for a joke. My mother sends me jokes in her regular emails, and I admit to not reading the long ones. But this one was short, funny, and knit-related. So here it is:

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, "PULL OVER! "

"NO!" the blonde yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"

Monday, April 23, 2007

What is going on here?

First, it was the horrible burned thumb and fingers. Then the other thumb got slammed in a door. Then I reached into the dishwasher and bruised thumb took a fork up under the fingernail. (I really understand why torturers used to do the thing with the bamboo under the nails. yeeowch!) The other day, while trying to reach a water bottle on the top cupboard shelf, I managed to fling the other cupboard door open onto my cheekbone, leaving a cheek bruise. (luckily it is more pain than visible bruise, so no one has called the domestic abuse line on my behalf yet).

Then last night, my son decided to hop into my lap just as I was sitting down. His head and my nose made contact. The crack sound was sickening. DH heard it from across the room. Yes, my 2.5 year old broke my nose. I felt like Marcia Brady, with my hand over my nose, doubled over in pain. There is a huge red spot on the bridge of my nose and some swelling. Thankfully, the break is pretty minor and my eyes aren't blackened, but the usually dark circles are a little darker than usual today. And it farking hurts. I took some tylenol, but it didn't help even a little. every time I try to blow my nose (which is a lot during allergy season), or scratch an itch, or even bend down, it hurts. And the pain is referred to my forehead and teeth.

What the hell is wrong with me? Why is it that nearly every day some harm befalls my body? is the Universe pissed at me? What did I ever do to deserve all this??????

And to add insult to injury, we later watched Celebrity Fit Club, on which Maureen McCormick is a participant. And they showed the "Ow my nose!" clip. DH laughed out loud. At least I don't look as bad as she did after her football incident.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

An FO and a new bed

I've finished the little scarf that I started a few weeks ago. I made it long enough to tie at the back of my head instead of being just a headband. In fact, if push came to shove, I could use it as a belt. I might have gotten a little carried away. It's made from Omega Sinfonia cotton from Hobby Lobby. Since my previous cotton knitting experiences were all with dishcloth cotton, this sport weight mercerized cotton was really nice. But I do wish it were a little narrower.
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In outdoor news, I created a new flower bed yesterday. This had previously been a weedy patch of weeds, with weeds growing all over it. But now, after a whole bunch of time getting my fingers dirty, it is home to a new raspberry bush, and some spinach and lettuce. I 'm thinking about extending it along the fence and putting in a bunch of asparagus and rhubarb. I still need to figure out how to edge it. I don't like those little plastic flower bed edge thingys, but I need to do something to keep the weeds (and my husband's lawnmower) out of there. My poor trillium were decapitated last weekend in a horrible lawnmower accident. I'm still not over it.

Some giant yew bushes to the left of the picture will be removed in the next few weeks, thus allowing much more sunlight to the area. That is going to be a humongous task. But the bushes are huge, and serve no purpose except to steal valuable sunny real estate in my mostly shady property.
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Fong f- fong fong fong!

I just knit a fong, a 'socklet' with a thong strap, to facilitate wearing flip flops without injury. I learned of this pattern on Knitty's Message board, and knew immediately that my skinny, flip-flop-averse feet needed a pair. So I got to work. Since I've yet to knit a pair of socks (although it's on my to-do list), I have no stash of sock yarn. I'd heard a rumor that Lion Brand Microspun might work, so I tried it. (Anything to save a trip to the yarn store with two kids in tow, right?) I made a few tweaks to the pattern (some suggested in the original pattern's comments, and a few of my own), and even figured out kitchener stitch. Here is how I did it:

* I cast on 42 stitches in Microspun, size 3 needles. (I know that 42 is not the right number for a pattern containing k2p2 rib, but there was beer involved during this knitting session.) 42 is still too big, however, so I'll re-make them with 38 stitches (my feet really are that skinny!).
* I used k2p2 rib on this, but in my remake, I'll probably go with k1p1, mostly for aesthetic reasons.
* I used reverse stockinette for the little thong part, and really like that. I got the idea from the comments section on the original pattern.

I have only made one so far, though; it's a little big, so I'll make a smaller pair. But the idea translates to a real, usable product, and I'll be able to purchase thong sandals for this summer without the fear of them flying off my feet when I dare to walk a pace quicker than "chain gang shuffle." Here's my bony foot and its need for a fresh pedicure.
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P.S. I now have that horrible Cisqo song stuck in my head.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fear me, thrift store sweaters!

I'm on an unraveling rampage. Really, I'm too cheap to buy really great yarn. The idea of spending a hundred buckaroos on one garment's worth of yarn just boggles my mind. But for just a couple of bucks and a whole bunch of time and work, I can have heaps of good wool at my disposal. I have started with a men's XL sweater. It's a pretty heathered dark green.
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The yarn seems to be completely untwisted when I frog it, which makes it fairly weak. I hope it is all worth it. According to my (rather inexact calculations, I have about 300 yards from just the left sleeve.
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I'll probably go find a scale after I frog the whole thing to really figure out how much I have here. This had better be worth it. It's sorta a lot of work.

In other news, I really need to get better at photographing this stuff. It's maddening to have a hundred pictures of project that don't end up resembling the real thing. I've vowed to get better at it. And to create a picture-taking space on my front porch. It has windows on three sides and gets great morning sun. So expect upcoming yarn pr0n from me.

But don't hold your breath for it. I'm a horrible procrastinator.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Song of the Lace Siren

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a lace person. I have never been a lace person. Nor have I even been a fan of pink. Or ruffles. Or overly feminine clothing. So why have I become obsessed with knitted lace? And dream of making something like the Pacific Northwest Shawl or Scheherazade?

I spend too much time browsing the internet, looking at the beautiful shawls women have made for themselves, wondering if I could possibly master the art of knitting laceweight yarn in a huge complicated pattern. And could I master knitting from a chart? In my first attempts at chart-reading, I kept getting confused and knitting random rows backward. Have I mentioned that my fingers have a tendency to knit willy nilly, not paying attention to pattern or number of rows? (I'm working on that, though).

Whatever the reason, I keep imagining myself with a huge beautiful shawl wrapped around me, looking horribly elegant in spite of my my t-shirt and jeans. I don't know, but it is a strong pull. I just need to practice a little more before I go tackling the Peacock Feathers Shawl.

In the meantime, I'm practicing on sport weight yarn and a small pattern. This is the Kendal insertion, and I plan to make it long enough to tie back my ever-longer hair. It's not perfect, but it is progress.

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P.S. I also need to learn the art of photographing lace. I promise to get good at that soon, too.