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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker

Yesterday we were thrilled to find this guy in our snowy backyard:


He's a pileated woodpecker, the bird we always hoped to see feeding on the suet when we spent time at my grandparents' cabin. Bad news: There's a good chance he's feeding on emerald ash borer, which will undoubtedly destroy the ash trees in our backyard. Good news: Woodpeckers will have plenty of food until the trees have to come down.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Portrait of a Saturday Morning

Sometimes I think I knit too many socks.


Then February comes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tractor Repair

In my neverending quest to use up scrap yarn, I made a "My Favourite Things" scarf in 2013. I've never been happy with the way the tractor turned out. Back in 2013 I wrote, "The tractor turned out a bit wonky, but intarsia is of the devil. I was lucky to emerge as unscathed as I did."


After nearly two years of the puckering bothering me, I decided to bite the bullet and do something about it. I threaded a cable into each stitch of the section above the tractor.


Then I pulled out the last/top row of the tractor section.




Then I started to unravel.


It took about an hour just to get the section undone, and then another several hours to get it reknit. I tried to strand as much as I could, and I ended with duplicate stitch.

Then I kitchnered the top row to the row I had on a cable. It was 240 stitches. The only way out is through.


It's better. Not perfect, but better. I can definitely live with it, and I'm happy I redid it. I wear this scarf a lot, and I want to be happy with how it looks.

Own the crazy, my friends. Own the crazy.