Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Beauty of Growing Things

In a bit of a funk today, so I took a few minutes to take some pictures of some great things happening on the grounds of my work.

This seems like an azalea. It's a really spindly, almost tree shape. Glorious flowers.

You can never go wrong with daffodils. Never, ever.

The ginger is a favorite of mine. I love the shape of the leaves.

Weeping trees are gorgeous for a second before the petals fall, 
but wow--that second is something glorious to behold.

Happy spring, everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Geek Socks of Sanity

 The Geek Socks are done!

Geek Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Felici, Blackberry Jam colorway (discontinued)

These are really simple. When the color changes, regardless of where in the round that happens, you begin two rounds of slipped stitches. Then you knit in stockinette until the color changes the next time.

I did the bottom of the foot in plain stockinette so I wouldn't have to step on floats. 

It uses an afterthought heel, which is worth the trouble because it preserves the stripes. I was determined to be able to knit these while at Andrew's parents' house for Easter, so I did the heel before finishing the foot so I'd be set for easy knitting. Also, this helps me justify having more than one set of needles in the same size!

I really like this pattern. My love for self-striping yarn is immense, and this is a great stitch pattern to have in the library for this sort of yarn. This pattern also convinced me that afterthought heels are worth the hassle. It really makes the stripes look nicer.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Now I Remember

Saturday was a nice, quiet day, and I decided to take advantage of it. I went back to the sewing machine, sitting idle since last July when I sewed the first block for the gray quilt.

Here's the first block:

I sewed the second block, then laid it on top of the first.

They were completely different sizes.

I had sewn the seams using the wrong line on the foot as the guide. Every seam on the second block was too wide.

The real kicker? I've done this before.

Maybe I shouldn't allow quite so much time to pass without using my sewing machine...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Knitting Therapy

I've been feeling blue, and a friend suggested I should drop what I'm currently knitting* and start something simple and soothing.

Naturally, I head for self-striping yarn and sock needles. In this case, my favorite sock yarn and my new set of needles from Signature Needle Arts that I was given for my birthday. 

Knitpicks' Felici yarn in Blackberry Jam (discontinued)

Thew newest issue of Knitty has a pattern, Geek Socks, that are written for self-striping yarn. They're pretty easy--we'll see if I still say that at the end of the sock--and they're fun. They use a simple slipped stitch pattern to make the stripes wiggle, and you start the slipped stitches at the moment you get to a new color as opposed to when you get to the end of a round. It's enjoyable to watch for the next color, and yet it's easy enough that I knit last night while reading an ebook and serving as a napping spot for Nocturne the cat.

mine ravelled here

I think this is just the break I need. Happy Friday, everyone!

*I'm currently knitting this cowl (no clicking, Holly!), which is quite pretty. However, it's now long enough that after every round I need to unwind it and/or the colored yarn, which gets old. It's also at that awkward stage where it doesn't get any longer despite adding rows. In other words, it's being a jerk and needs a time out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Fever

We’ve really only had one warm day, and I wish we hadn’t had it at all. It is currently 44 in the middle of the afternoon, and it was in the 20s when I walked Dexter this morning.  That one day of warmth has created a fit of Spring Fever, and I’m nearly mad with it. 

I always have goals for the garden—“This year will be different. I will…fill in the blank.”

This year will be different. I will make big, sturdy tomato cages.*

This year will be different. I will not ignore the flowers on the front porch and then wonder why they don’t thrive.

This year will be different. I will stake the peony so it will thrive during a gentle spring rain instead of lying devastated on the ground.

And so on.

In this spirit, I decided to grow lettuce this year. The great thing about this, besides the hope that I'll actually harvest a few leaves and not just feed the rabbits in the backyard, is that I can plant those seeds now, even though the ground is still cold, the grass is still brown, and only the daffodils and an occasional daring tulip have started to sprout. I planted baby kale and three varieties of lettuce seeds in the garden and garlic chives in a large pot.**

I stopped at the garden center to look at seeds, and ended up with six pansies as well. The garden center employee and I had the same wild look in our eye, the one born of a desire to get out and dig in the dirt but being unable to do so. He asked me if I knew how busy they are in the spring, a wistfulness in his voice that told me he, too, was at the end of a very long winter and, quite possibly, his rope.

And now we wait.

In the cold.

Right now, he is probably arranging the pansies in various ways, trying to find the one that will please the gods. I alternate between gazing out the window dejectedly and trying (and failing) to keep myself from looking up tomatoes. And coneflowers. And clematis.

I try to take heart in the cyclical nature of the seasons. Winter always leads to Spring. I know this in my head, but my heart is afraid that this will be the year that the cold that doesn't end and I am forced to buy tasteless tomatoes from the grocery. I look forward to being wrong.

*Using this video, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWsA80jfIyc

**My cousin gave me a start of garlic chives several years ago after making me promise to plant them in a pot. She had them in an herb bed, which rapidly became a garlic chive bed. I believe it took herbicide, flamethrowers, and some creative cursing to finally get rid of it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Postage Stamp DIY Bangle Bracelet

I've been enamored by diy bangle bracelets for awhile. I'm a sucker for quirky jewelry (clearly). First, I searched the internet for pictures of postage stamps. I stuck with nature-themed ones, primarily flowers and birds. 

Click to enlarge.

I printed that sheet and cut them out.

Then began using Modge Podge to attach them to a wooden bangle bracelet.

I used several layers of Modge Podge, which makes it shiny and slightly textured and helps seal the piece so the paper doesn't get wet.

Plant for more beautiful streets, yo.

I'm highly amused by the end result.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Answer to Life

This is the best necklace ever.
I own the most fantastic piece of jewelry that ever existed.
I've just made the most excellent purchase in the history of etsy.
All true, but your words rub salt in the wounds you're about to inflict.

Guys, LOOK!

I don't even remember how I found Coryographies, but it was immediately clear that this was the shop of a genius. A friend gave me an etsy gift certificate for my birthday, and I used it to ask Cory to make me a custom bookcase necklace based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Cory came up with the paint job for the bookcase itself, which, as you can see, is fantastic.

I asked her to include "Don't Panic," 42, a teapot, a half lemon, a pot of petunias, and, of course, a towel.* She was able to squeeze it all in, and it's glorious and perfect. She seems to be taking a short break at the moment, but I highly recommend checking out her jewelry once she's back. She has some great necklaces in stock (Sherlock Holmes!) as well as being open to custom orders.

*Those of you who are getting ready to blast me for using an image from the movie and not the book, calm down. Both the books and the movie are fantastic. It's a rare thing in the world, but I maintain that the movie is a good addition to the Hitchhiker universe and not a Hollywood piece of crap.