Friday, May 30, 2014

Golden Aster, maybe?

I love plants. Recently in a bout of existential crisis, I looked up possible careers in horticulture. Although a career change doesn't appear to be in my immediate future, I enjoy expanding my rather limited plant knowledge.

I keep notes. I have diagrams drawn with plant locations and dates planted detailed. Many of these diagrams also have plants crossed out when I've killed them they've died and new attempts written into the same space.

One of the great things about a love of plants is that there are so many of us with the same interest, and we like to share. I adore receiving little plastic buckets with the start of a flower from someone's yard, accompanied by advice for where to plant it and encouragement that it cannot be killed.

But sometimes I have no idea what sort of flower I'm getting.

This is what happened last year when my cousin handed me two starts of plants that she said did really well in her yard. She didn't know what either of them were. This spring, I have this:

Click to enlarge. It's worth it.

To make matters more confusing, this isn't marked on my diagram where I expected it to be. I assumed I had just switched the placement of two plants when I wrote them down, but now I'm seeing growth where I originally thought I'd planted Mystery Plant #1...

Maybe it's not from my cousin? If not, where did it come from? I wondered if I was growing a very healthy, very beautiful, weed. Then I remembered that weediness is in the eye of the beholder, so it's not a weed unless I decide it is. The plant is huge, probably 3' tall and covered, as you can see, with those little yellow flowers. I spent some time with my friend Google this morning, and it might be a golden aster of some sort.* 

Or not. Whatever it is, it's happy in my flower bed and very beautiful. I can't ask for anything more than that.

*If you have any thoughts about its identity, please let me know.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and a lovely long weekend to all the Americans!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Let Go and Breathe

I'm knitting the Wray, and after the multiple blunders at the beginning, it's been going well. You certainly wouldn't know it by looking at the knitting on the needles though. It doesn't seem to be getting any larger regardless of the time I spend with it.

Wray (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, Smoke colorway

The laceweight yoke has 33 rounds of 367 stitches done in 1x1 ribbing.

I'll pause while you gasp and turn away, squeezing your eyes shut in horror.

Back? Great.

Looking ahead, the majority of the sweater is ribbed, even after the yoke. The ribs do get wider, so it will go faster, but, any way you look at it, this sweater is going to be a slog. Clearly, this is going to require a reframe in the way I think about it.

I go to a Yoga for Flexibility class. My teacher likes us to get into a pose and hang out there for--- well, forever. When she has us in a difficult pose (my hamstrings are like concrete), I try to relax, let go of any expectation that the pose will ever end, and breathe. The act of letting go makes it possible to continue.

This is the strategy I'm employing for this sweater. Just keep knitting and accept it will never end.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Portrait of a Lunch Hour

It's time to cast on a new sweater! Yay!

beginning of lunch hour

Rips out gauge swatch to reuse yarn, noting how sticky this yarn seems. Ripping is not going to be easy.

Ripping complete, happily casts on 90 stitches.

Huh. There's a lot of yarn in that yarn tail. Rips out the cast on.

Casts on 90 stitches again, still happy.

Yarn tail is still longer than expected. Decides to not bother ripping it out again. What difference can that little bit make?

Ooh, m1 in laceweight yarn is slippery.  No problem. Proceeds slowly.

Did I remember to increase on that row? Counts stitches on the next row, knowing an increase can be fudged if necessary.

Counts to 83. Good news: There was an increase on that last row. Bad news: There should be 93. Decides miscounting is to blame. Counts again the next row.


end of lunch hour

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Notes to Self

Dear Self,

I have lots of yarn. I have lots of yarn to make lots of things. I have lots of yarn to make lots of things that I want quite a lot.

Let's review:

Wray (light grayish silver)

I own the yarn for ALL of those projects, and I like all of the projects. 

Therefore I do not need to be swayed by a new pattern for which I have no yarn. Fire Opal Tee, I am looking at you.*


*That second picture is what is tempting me. I'm besotted with the idea of having a black Fire Opal Tee with either elbow length or long sleeves. In my head, I look a little rock and roll in it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Socks on a Softball Outing

Last night I went to my niece's softball game. She did really well--three doubles and a well-caught ball in left field. 

My mom went with me, and we sat and watched and knit, me on replacement socks for a friend and Mom on a washcloth. I briefly considered how weird we must look to the other spectators.

Nine-to-Five Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Felici, Minty colorway (discontinued)

I quickly decided I didn't care. Everyone who goes to these sorts of events should knit. I don't know how they keep their sanity without it. Softball is pretty fun to watch, but not all sports are, regardless of the delightful child playing.

I was able to finish the heel flap, turn the heel, AND complete the gusset before the game was over. All the other adults had to show for their time were sore bums from the bleachers.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


When Webs had its April sale (the same sale at which I bought the pillow yarn), I bought a cone of laceweight yarn in a slate blue color. When I was searching for patterns for it, I found one with a lot of movement. The gentle waves and lace that looked a bit like air bubbles reminded me of water, and it worked well with the blueish color. 

As always, the lace looked like a wad of crap (scroll down in this post to see for yourself) until I blocked it.

But once I did...

Utsukushii (mine ravelled here),

The pattern says that its name, Utsukushii, means "lovely" or "beautiful" in Japanese. I agree. It is lovely.

It's a 28 row repeat. Each of the narrow ends are supposed to have one repeat of the chart. I did two repeats after seeing a project on Ravelry that had done the same thing. The long edges maintain that pattern from the ends, but the center is done in a stockinette section with a couple purls thrown in to break it up. I love the way the pattern causes the edges to gently undulate.

I used my lace blocking wires on this, catching each wave in a couple of places and gently stretching and pinning it. Blocking isn't fast, but it certainly is worth it.

The finished project blocked to 23" x 64" or so. I'm hoping that's a good size to throw over a dress when I'm pretending to be an adult.

I heartily recommend this pattern. There is a purl stitch between each pattern repeat on each row, and the repeat itself is only ten stitches long. That meant that I quickly identified any mistakes. It was so much nicer to pick back in groups of ten rather than ripping back entire lace rows as I've done with other patterns. It did take a bit to get used to the chart, which looked different than I expected--Japanese style difference, maybe?--but the rows were also written out so I could check to see if the way I was interpreting the chart was correct. I think the finished result is pretty without being too prissy, and it has great movement. Lovely!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gardening 2014: Tragedy #1

I've been watching the progress of my east perennial bed with great amusement this year. I am easily entertained by plants. I'm still waiting to see what plants ended as victims to our freakishly cold winter.*

Yesterday, I saw from a distance that the columbine looked like it had bloomed. I gleefully skipped over to look more closely and saw this:

Something's eaten over half the plant.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart.

*Because I have limited knowledge about plants, there's also always a chance I'm carefully weeding around and composting an actual weed that I think is a flower. There are at least 2 plants currently in this plant/weed limbo.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ravine Garden @ the IMA

Yesterday at lunch I went back to the Indianapolis Museum of Art with a plan to buy a trellis from their greenhouse. That didn't work out.* However, since I was there, I took a walk to one of my very, very favorite places in the world, the ravine garden at the IMA.

Look at this! A MASS of hellebores happily growing and blooming along a rock wall. Is it any wonder I keep buying these plants even though I've killed all but two? They're stunning.

Anybody know what this blue-flowered plant is? I have no idea, but it's lovely.

I said hello to the fish. We chatted about the winter. Turns out, they're more excited about Spring than I am.

There's a peacefulness here that I can't describe.

This is my favorite picture. When I see it, I can imagine myself there, and it's a beautiful place to be.

Happy May Day, everyone. We made it to Spring.

*I now have been searching the Internet for the perfect trellis. So far, it doesn't exist. I'm trying very hard not to slip into crazy about this. File that under First World Problems.