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Archive for April, 2009

Lace Shawl

Yarnbirds offered a beginning lace shawl class this March, and my friend Eileen and I signed up for it.  I was giddy with anticipation in learning to finally knit lace into something other than a scarf.  I chose Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a pretty green.  We are knitting the pattern from Victorian Lace Today.  The book is very nice, and has many other patterns that I want to do as well. 

We went to class.  Frustration started within the first 10 minutes.  Casting on is not fun.  Then attempting to knit the appropriate stitches into what we cast on…forget it for me.  I don’t know if it was the yarn, me, the fact my head hurt or what, but I struggled to get through 4 rows at class that night.

Weekend comes along.  I attempt to tackle it again.  Things are moving along pretty well.  Then I drop a stitch.  Oh shit.  Look, look, look….I can’t figure out where the F*** to pick it up at.  Screw this…frogged it and started it again.  I’ll be a bugger, drop another stitch into row 3.  Frog again.  Start again.  Don’t have the right number of stitches at the end of the row.  Frog again.  Then stuff yarn into bag and throw into knitting bag to try again tomorrow.

Go to bed.  Dream of that damn lace pattern.  Get out of my head.  Can’t sleep…get up.  Try again.  Perfection at 4am…4 rows knit appropriately and correctly.  ROCK ON!  Am I getting the hang of this at 4am?  Go back to bed content that I have succeeded at something.

We have another class and suddenly the light comes on for me with the pattern.  Call it an epiphany if you will.  I understand now where my stitches should fall with the pattern! 

It is now the end of April and the knitting of this shawl has been going well.  I think  understanding what each stitch is doing in the pattern has made it much easier for me.  This improves my overall knitting and my ability to read my stitches.  Unfortunately, when I work on this shawl I cannot watch baseball or a movie because I need to concentrate.  I also still need to complete the edge once the body of the scarf is completed.  For certain, that cannot be as hard as the knitting of these “spiders” has been!  I don’t think the picture does it justice, but once it is blocked you will be able to see the “spiders”!

Lace Shawl

Lace Shawl

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So, I came home from work this afternoon, got changed and went to take the boys out.  I wanted to check on my garden, as I had noticed the arugula was coming up.  After I planted the seeds on Sunday, we covered it with lightweight plastic fencing, about 1/4 in squares.

Lo and behold, who should be in my bed?  But a BIG BLACK RAT Snake!  The bugger was caught in the fencing!  He was about 4 feet plus long and in one hell of predicament.  Ok, now I cannot stand snakes.  It all goes back to the summer I was home visiting my parents and a black rat snake, much longer than this one, found it’s way into my room.  (I still get shivers thinking about it).  DH to the rescue and he removed it from my parents house.  This though, was a very sad picture.  Obviously the poor thing had been there all day.  If it had been a ninety degree day the thing would have been dead.  But no, that snake was still alive.  Back up to the house I run to get scissors and a pair of gloves.

With his head caught, I started in the area toward his tail.  I was able to cut away a significant portion of the netting.  The thing was really wrapped tightly.  And he smelled bad.  I kept cutting, being careful to not injury him.  Yeah, I know a snake is still a snake, but he eats rats and mice.  I managed to get him halfway untangled from the netting, and then he gets his head loose.  NO way am I getting bit by a snake, esp. a black rat snake.  Those suckers clamp on and do not let go.  

Leave the thing there with still netting wrapped around the middle of his body.  Run up to the house and call the DH to see where he is at on his way home.  He finally gets home and asks me “What is the problem?”  I tell him and here he comes out of the garage with a hoe.  I tell him he isnt going to kill it, he has to hold its head so I can get the rest of the netting cut from its body.  We somehow manage to hold his body firm without injuring him or getting bit, and get the rest of the net away from the middle of his body.  Then off he slithered into the grass, quick as a lick.

Now, you may ask why did you save a snake?  I guess it is because I just couldn’t kill it because it was caught in the netting.  My husband says it is mateing season, and he probably saw the irrigation hose sticking out of the ground and thought it was a girl or boy.  And I hate killing things unless it is absolutely necessary.  I think more than enough people kill things for stupid reasons, and I am not one of those.  He really didn’t cause me any harm either.  Unfortunately, we now know we have to grease our bird box poles…..those black rat snakes with climb into a bird box quicker than all get out.   Sorry I don’t have any pictures.  I was too caught up in the saving of the snake to think about the camera.  Will try to get some next time……

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So, I have wanted to learn to knit lace for a VERY LONG time. This is a lace

Lace Scarf

Lace Scarf

scarf kit that was purchased at Yarnbirds.  I started this back in early February, and have been slowly plogging away at it.  It is very neat in that the yarn is specially dyed so that there is a graduation of colors.  You start with one color, switch to another, then another.  The very cool thing is that you can’t “see” where the changeover really is because you are blending it as you go along.  Here it is with one color and six inches to go.

Lace Scarf

Lace Scarf

I also have a mindless scarf that I am working on.  I am going to save this as a Christmas gift.   It is out of Mission Falls Superwash Merino.  I just LOVE this yarn.  Very easy to work with and knit with.  I am probably going to work on two or three more of these for Christmas gifts as well.  It really isn’t too early to start thinking about Christmas you know.

Christmas Scarf

Christmas Scarf

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I could not begin to imagine being asked to do a project such as this.  I am not a scrapbooker, just like some people are not knitters or spinners or whatever.  Everyone has their own crafty niche and medium.  This though, is incredible.  My DH and I have a mutual friend whose sister is a photographer.  Not only does she do photography, she is also a scrapbooker.  She was chosed to create an album to be presented to the President of the United States.  Go here and check it out.  I am in total awe of her creativity.

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Ta da!  Here is the Chocolate Roses Clapotis all finished.  Sorry I don’t have any pics with modeling.  Maybe in the next couple of weeks now that the weather is warm.   I actually completed it about a month ago, and did some gentle blocking.  It really made the scarf “bloom” so to speak.yarn-004

This was a very easy knit.  I was a little nervous abou the dropped stitches, but held my mouth right and they turned out fine.  I also started another one in Wine Barrel from Miss Babs.  It is again Superwash Merino, purchased from Woolgirl, who is just awesome.  I don’t know if I just love Miss Babs yarn or just getting yarn from Woolgirl.  The yarn always comes wrapped in tissue with ribbon.  Just makes me feel so special.

Wine Barrell Clap

Wine Barrell Clap

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I have mentioned before that the DH and I live in suburbia, on a small

Tomato

Tomato

postage stamp of land.  As per a previous post, we live on an electric line easement that gives us the illusion we have more than that.  The area surrounding our home is partially wooded, which keeps our house cool in the summer and lowers our electric bill.  Thus, there is no where to put a small garden on our property.  BUT, the electric line easement is very sunny…the perfect location for a raised garden box!

The DH built this very nice box in one weekend.  We were able to fill it with composted dirt from out back.  I planted beans and cucumbers in it this weekend, and then plan to have lettuce and swiss chard for the fall/winter months.  Since our winters are so mild, we should be more than able to keep some lettuce going.  I also recycled the some buckets for tomato plants.  I have six of those going.   Two zucchini plants are in a sunny front flower bed and growing like bad weeds.  I am going to go get us a rain barrell this week as well.

Fillin' the box

Fillin' the box

I enjoy being outside in the yard and digging in the dirt with my hands.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time in my scheldule to do it.  I am very excited about the garden box, already bugging the DH about 1 or 2 more.  Our landscaping has changed since we moved into this house 11 years ago.  We used to have a very sunny yard, and I had hollyhocks all along the front of my house.  Since our maple tree has gotten larger, I have lost that sunny area.  I now have some astilbe, coral bells and ferns planted in these shady areas.  I lean more toward perenniels, as I think you get more bang for your buck as they can be split in two or three years into more plants.   I do all my planting by the Farmers’ Almanac and according to what sign the moon is in.  If the moon is in sign of Taurus, Virgo or Pisces, planting commences.  If not, we find something else to do in the yard that day.  I have always had my plants grow if I follow the almanac.  Yeah, I know there are skeptics out there…but don’t knock it until you try it!

Ready for planting!

Ready for planting!

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Happy Birthday!

 
My strength is as the strength of ten,
   Because my heart is pure.- Alfred Lord Tennyson

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions. – Alfred Lord Tennyson
Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.- Eleanor Roosevelt
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
                  -Robert Frost
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. – J.R.R. Tolkien

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