Celtic Cable

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is NOT the same post as WIP Wednesday....

Actually, yes it is. I added a picture, otherwise I'm shamelessly re-using Wednesday's WIP post for Fiber Arts Friday .... 

My sock mania continues!

Button-up Socks from "Think Outside the Sox." Counting the anklets, this is my fourth pair in a row.

Do you all suffer SSS, or Sock Fatigue? I did. I've found that if I knit one sock to a stopping point, such as turning the heel, then stop and cast on the second sock, I enjoy it much more. If it's a highly patterned sock such as this one or the butterfly socks, it helps me remember the pattern if I switch back and forth.  With the butterfly socks (last post) I knitted the entire foot on one, then switched to the second one and knitted the foot on that one. That way, that part of the pattern stayed fresh in my mind and I didn't have to re-learn it.

With this one, I knit the leg of one sock, then stopped and cast on the second one. If I don't have enough knitting needles in the correct size, I put the resting sock on stitch holders. This way really helps me to enjoy the whole knitting experience, and I don't feel the SSS so badly!

And yes, I can knit two-at-a-time, but I don't enjoy that so much. It takes too much time for me to keep the yarn balls straight. 

Happy Fiber Arts Friday! I leave you with a photo of some bounty from my garden:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finished Socks!

I seem to have gone from an anklet craze to a sock craze ... finished the red Butterfly Garden Socks:

I actually went out yesterday looking for a pair of shoes that would best show these lovelies off, but -- as usual -- none of the shoe stores had any cute shoes in a wide width, so I wound up where I always wind up after a trip to the shoe store. Drowning my sorrows in the yarn aisle, cursing the idiot shoe designers who discriminate against women with curvy feet.

The butterfly turned out great:

The first picture is the true color of the socks. The picot edging isn't very smooth, but the butterfly is so pretty it doesn't matter. The motif is front and back.

I immediately cast on another pair of socks, from "Think Outside the Sox." These are the Button-up Socks. The top part wraps around the leg, so I'm knitting flat. And I get to go to Joanne's and pick out some pretty buttons, which always makes me happy.

I got some new alpaca from Wonder Why Girl, for the Tour de Fleece, for Team of Wonder. It's for the TOUR De FLEECE. Honestly. I won't touch it until 2 July ... it's for the TdF,  I tell you!

Everything else has been gardening, and wow is it going well! As usual, I made myself the same promise I make every blasted year. I WILL keep the tomatoes in check. I will keep them trimmed, caged, separated, and they will not take over the garden like every other year.

Yeah. And I won't touch the Wonder Alpaca until 2 July, either.

These are only TWO tomato plants, a Juliet and a Sweet 100s. You can see a 12" fence panel at the bottom of the photo, for scale. It's black wire. See it under there? I'm 5'6, and these plants are at least 5' tall.

Between the hot spells, my generous watering habits, and the warm nights, the plants just seem to double  in size every few days!

These are Gretel eggplant, or Little Fingers. Three of them formed, and dozens more blooms.

8-Ball squash. For dinner tomorrow, in a Mediterranean style pasta, with feta, olives, basil, and whatever else I throw in.

And the melon, which I wasn't sure was a melon, but now I am pretty sure it is. The heirloom tomato and two squash plants are sort of shading it, but I think it will be okay. It's got lots of blooms on it.

The heirloom tomato in the back left isn't looking good. The leaves are all curled and I don't know what's wrong. I hope I don't have to pull it up, but if I do, I am sure I'll have enough tomatoes without it. I just hate to lose plants.

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tour de Fleece Goals

My first Tour de Fleece! I'm so excited!

I don't seem to have any pictures of excited cats. Sorry.

Anyway, I am excited, because Tour de Fleece means setting goals, and I have been a little lax in that area since finishing my college degree this past December. And since that degree took a ... well, a few years ... okay, I'm a bit of a procrastinator. This blog and the Ravelry group will keep me on track!

Oh--for my muggle friends who are still reading (heh), Tour de Fleece is exactly like Tour de France, only without the sweating, tiny Lycra shorts, and bicycles. And no France. Well, unless you LIVE in France. Anyway, here are two of the five guidelines from the Ravelry page, directly copy-pasted:

Guidelines (NOT RULES):
  1. Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 2nd through Sunday July 24th. Days of rest: Monday July 11th, Monday July 18st. (Just like the actual tour)
  2. Spin something challenging Friday July 22nd. (The Tour’s toughest mountain stage over the Col du Galibier for the second time, and finishing up on Alpe d’Huez.)

I have joined five groups, and here are my plans for each.

Team of Wonder: From the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm, where I get alpaca. I don't have any WW alpaca at home, so I felt obligated to go on Etsy and purchase some ... what a tough struggle I had with myself over that one.

Team Kromski: My spinning wheel is a Kromski Prelude. I plan on finishing up some blue merino and yellow merino. I have 6 oz of yellow and .... maybe 4 oz. of blue.

Team Spindle: An any-kind-of-spindle team. Since this picture was taken, I have added two spindles.

I plan on spinning this gorgeous orange-ness on spindles. I doubt I will finish it, I have 6 oz.!

Team Trindle: My Trindle, and some alpaca from Pacific Wool and Fiber. 

 And, for Team Bring Me a Shrubbery (chuckle) the Meriboo I bought at MD S&W. Or is it Bamberino ... I figure it's silly enough for this team.

So I am looking forward to this, but I don't want to spin everything I have. Then I'd just have to buy more and for goodness sake what I really need is a project to USE UP my handspun, not just create more!

For the challenge part of the tour, I will either spin Icelandic on my new Russian -- a spindle I have not had any luck with so far -- or spin some camel from last year's MD S&W, which was difficult, so I set it aside.

Oh, and here are some gratuitous garden shots:

I finally mowed and weeded and tidied, so I'm not embarrassed to take pictures of it now.

What was I thinking, planting THREE cucumbers. This is just one part of one plant!

And the raspberries. The birds get a lot of these ... they're not quite as flavorful and juicy as they should be, so I probably need to repot them. I had them in the ground, but raspberries are so invasive, I pulled them up a couple years ago to keep them contained.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"We're Havin' a Heat Wave..."

....a miserable heat wave ....

     I feel really really bad for all the people in this region without air conditioning. I know there are a lot of un-airconditioned rowhouses in Baltimore City, and I can't imagine how people cope with 100 degree weather and no A/C. It's nearly impossible to make the temperature bearable in a home that doesn't have windows on all four sides, especially when the humidity is so high. There's little relief to be had, unless someone opens a fire hydrant. Do people still do that? When I was a little, I remember seeing pictures of happy kids in grimy New York neighborhoods playing in open hydrants.

     I remember going to the World War II memorial in D.C. when it opened up in 2004, and seeing scores of local children playing in the big pool. It wasn't what the designers had in mind, I'm sure, but I liked to think the ghosts of all those veterans would have smiled to see all the children splashing and swimming there, enjoying a hot day. I wonder if they still allow that, or if that was just something they allowed on the opening weekend? It sure wasn't a sober, reflective atmosphere, but it was a joyous one. (Stock footage below)

    I am fortunate enough to have air conditioning, even though it's set on a miserly 81. I don't think I could pick up a skein of wool if it were any hotter.

    I finished the Thursday socks:

I actually wore them one morning, but they're put up now until it cools off again. This pattern was super easy; eight repeating rows, four of which were knit all the way across. I still have four pairs of socks to knit from the kit.

And I immediately cast on another pair (not from the Knit Picks kit, though!) Butterfly garden socks, from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders (I cannot love this book enough!) They're just above the (c)ankle, and have a lovely butterfly pattern front and back. I pulled it back several rows, twice, because I messed up while watching Bones and trying to follow a pattern.

Okay, I wasn't watching Bones. I don't like her character, I think she's snotty and mean. I was watching the handsome FBI guy ;-)

I have been spinning this lovely orange Corriedale on spindles, but gave up and put it on the wheel. Corriedale just zooms along!I hope to have this knitted into something special by the time cold weather comes back around.

On another note: Who is participating in the Tour de Fleece? I'm seriously considering it this year. I've never done so before. How do I get on a team?

And now, the garden, which is thriving in the heat:

I've got an heirloom tomato coming along nicely...

I know it's silly to post pictures like this, but I always get SO EXCITED to see my plants producing, especially if I raised them from seedlings. That first bloom, then the fruit ... it's like magic every time.
Juliet tomatoes, which are my favorite of all...I grow these every year. I love them. They're salad tomatoes, about the size of a small roma, but brighter red.

The first 8-Ball squash -- see it there? Not even as big as a golf ball. They're just like zucchini, only round. I've got another squash but I knocked off the label from the seedling container and I don't remember what it is. Probably a pattypan. Fun to grow, but a head-scratcher when time to cook.

And, ripening raspberries. I'll bet one is ready to eat today. I better get out there and look.

 I have to show this off -- my elephant ears are finally coming up!

I have a fondness for this plant. When I was growing up, my grandmother lived in southwestern Louisiana  and she had huge elephant ears growing around the culvert in the front yard. Those things were bigger than I was. I grow them every year now, even though they don't come back after winter. I have such fond memories of grandma's house!

Time to go do some spinning!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

That Darn Cat

Since Edgar Allen Poe Cat's massive dental surgery, he's been very kittenish. He never used to bother me while I spindled.

But while we're looking at spindles ...

The lovely orange Corriedale from MD S&W, purchased from Misty Mountain. It spins wonderfully. I bought 8 ounces, I think. I have some on the Turkish spindle, but -- as much as I like center pull balls -- it is so tedious to line up the yarn while winding it. So I switched to my workhorse spindle, and it goes much faster. Since it's almost summer, I feel no urge to hurry my spinning along. Just a little, every night.

My Knit Picks Anklet obsession continues. Thursday's socks, nearly done! I added a bit more to the pattern, just to make them snugger. I would model them, but I've been in the garden for the last three hours. In flip-flops.

And, the shawl. I *did* mess up the pattern, but I think I will just live with it, rather than pull back twenty rows. See on the top, in the middle? Two of the leaves are side by side with no yarn-over divider between them. I missed something somewhere, obviously. I will try to fix it for the upcoming rows, but I dunno ... I'm barely comprehending what I'm doing as it is! This will be a very clumsy shawl, but I will just keep it for myself, so as not to embarrass anyone by giving them a badly knitted shawl ;-)

 Just a little garden blogging ...

Tomatoes Gone Wild! Juliets and Sweet 100s. There are a lot of green Sweet 100s already. These plants seem to have doubled in size every day.

A bell pepper ...  basil plants, three cucumbers. Two eggplants. Two or three squash ...  I crowded way too much into this little plot!

My front porch. I'm trying to screen myself in completely so I can sit around in my nightie. Almost there!

It's a happy porch. Coraline and Georgie Girl are BFFs!

Happy FAF!