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Monday, February 28, 2011

Down to the wire

Spirit Trail Fiberworks Club Yarn
If I want to cast on my STF Club yarn with a clear conscience I don't want any HCJs whining in the background. The club yarn will be a speed effort on my part, since another club yarn will show up in the mailbox next month (April).  That's why I've been in such a swivit about not finishing those sleeves. I did work on them. And discovered that the second sleeve was 4 rounds too short so I'll have to rip out the seed stitch cuffs and add them. I hate jacket sleeves that look - and feel - skimpy. But now I'm glad about that because I have decided that ... to be absolutely sure I don't end up with flaring cuffs, I'm going to decrease 2 stitches (or maybe 3) on the last knit round as well as switch to a smaller needle to knit those wider seed stitch cuffs.

So. 17 more hours to finish up. Oh. No! 16. Better get goin'!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not Fear of Finishing, but Grief about Frogging

It struck me last night, as once again I failed to pick up my HCJ and rip that tight sleeve out, that if I could only start tugging on the dangling bit of yarn ... if I would just get started, everything would be alright. Sigh. No. I didn't tug the yarn. The sleeve is still attached. I just hate the thought of undoing all that knitting when I'm that close to being done. It feels like grief, not procrastination. weird.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm not close to being done. I won't be close to it till the sleeve is something I'd be comfortable in. But boy am I dragging my feet over this.

Okay. Off I go to tug on some yarn

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fear of Finishing

Just wanted you to know that it's almost finished. It sort of looks finished, but it's no t. That left sleeve has to come out and get reknit. and of course, there are those ends to darn in. And some buttons. After all, it is a Jacket. I want it to be warm. But I'm close to being finished. I WILL be finished by March 1. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whole Grains

Whole grains. We're always hearing about how important they are for us. Lots of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. All that good stuff. And then, if you live out in the sticks, you're given your options. Dry cereal or factory baked bread.  Mind now - I totally love bread. If I had to pick a single Desert Island Food it would be bread. But I have yet to find a store bought whole grain bread that meets my picky standards. Something in the recipe, possibly whatever it is that gives these breads any shelf life at all, just ruins it for me: Gummy, sugary, just disappointing all around.  Even the fancy bakeries in the city have let me down.  I'm looking for a bread that's hearty, fragrant, rich, full bodied, fun to chew and that means, like the little red hen, I have to bake it myself. Fortunately,  I like to bake bread and often do, but I can't always bake it and to get me to light up my oven in the summertime requires a visit from the queen.

Dry cereals don't appeal to me. A filling size portion of dry cereal needs to be a cup and a half.  I love me some hot oatmeal - and I like grits well enough. I like all good tasting grain products. But I'm tired of what is available locally - which is whatever you can get from Walmart or Food Lion: Some interesting flours but only a few and besides - flour means baking and I am curious about what these grains taste like just plain.

And so, my 2011 food quest is to sample Whole Grains in as many ways as I can. I started with what's already in my house which was Quinoa flour and pearled barley. I already knew I liked barley and I was curious about what the cookbook authors meant by quinoa's earthy taste.

Duh. Earthy means it tastes like dirt.

LOL well, no. It just had that hint of dirt - earth - scent and taste when I dipped my finger into the flour and tasted it. And the authors (dang. I don't have the book near me) did warn me that the earthy tasting flour does well cut with something sweet in the bread, like pine nuts. I didn't have any pine nuts and I really didn't want to make a sweet bread.

I used their recipe which is a pretty basic bread recipe ... 3 cups liquid to 6 cups dry. I used 3 cups whole wheat, 2 cups all purpose and 1 cup quinoa and, as per the recipe, double the yeast. which is good since I had to quit making the bread mid-way and put  it in the refrigerator after the first rise. As such, it came out a little denser than I think it would have been if I'd been able to stick with the normal time schedule. Happily, I like dense bread.

Unhappily, the quinoa gives a slight bite or tang to my bread. It fades quickly and can be completely masked by a nut butter - almond or peanut worked. Interestingly, jelly and blueberry butter did NOT mask the tang.

I don't call it good bread unless it's good with nothing on it - so I would give quinoa a go-by  as a flour product. I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of this bag of flour either, since I'm really not tempted to bake anything more with it ... but I am still researching recipes. I may change my mind.

As for the barley - oh. well. YUM.

I already knew I loved barley. I love it in soup and BD insists it be put in pot roast - and sometimes I comply. The down side to barley and most of the whole grains is it takes a long time to cook them. With barley, though, you can cook up a big batch - it swells to three times its size so 1 cup uncooked will give you 3 cups cooked - and refrigerate it. I like it hot with a few raisins, cinnamon, a dot of butter and a little milk. Yum. In fact - I will have some for breakfast today. And it's yummy in salads. But we had it with a shrimp stir fry made up of a pound of shrimp, a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables, sliced mushrooms, some garlic, a pinch of pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon of powdered mustard  and maybe 1/4 cup soy sauce. a little water, a teaspoon of corn starch for thickening .. even my picky eater husband loved it.

I love how long you can chew barley - it makes a half a cup of breakfast cereal last a long time and it lasts a long time in my tummy. Three days now I've had it for breakfast at 8 and wasn't hungry at all even when noon rolled around. That alone is enough to make barley my new favorite grain ... but there are So Many Others out there - and I plan to try them all.

Happy Hump Day

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still No FO Photos

I bound of that second sleeve and tried on the sweater last night ... and realized I hated the skimpier first sleeve. When I was knitting it I kept checking it against my bare arm, completely forgetting that this is a HCJ, not an HCSweater.  So with a sigh, I've decided to rip it out and reknit that first forearm. I don't want to be always ticked off at something called a Happy Chanel Jacket. Otherwise I would be photographing a finished object. Instead I'm just talking about it. I wouldn't have a photo today anyway, because it's as gloomy and grey as a day can be. There was sleet in the night, not much, just a thin coating, and it's colder than blue blazes.  Well, no. It's not. It's just cold - with the promise of 60 degrees later in the week. And Rain and Thunder (Oh please please please please please)  on Friday. We desperately need water in the ground. We don't need More Wildfires.

In the mean time, I'm pouring over Barbara Walker stitch books for inspiration to use with my STF club yarn. I wish I were more experienced about judging how much yarn a knitted on border takes. But this is a tone on tone  worsted weight yarn, so I am thinking texture more than edging anyway. Ahh well. This is part of the fun of knitting - deciding what you're going to do next!

Oh. Right. Next I'm going to get ready for work. Here's another blast from the past photo I unearthed over the weekend.  Sweet Sixteen.  Gad - that awful haircut. Everyone at my high school wore it at sometime or other. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long long ago

 When we emptied my parents house, I became keeper of the photos (and old letters and other such paperphernalia) I've had them quite some time now and have gone through the photos several times, making piles for each sister and shipping them off. But there are still mountains of them. I thought I'd put a few up here for archival sake ... and because I still haven't finished my HCJ

As second daughter, I always felt there were never any photos of me, compared to the mountains of pictures of #1 daughter. After sorting through all the boxes, though, I find there are more than enough of the Virgo daughter. This one is not of me but it is my Dad and it's (obviously) Christmas 1952 - in the old Laburnam Manor apartments. The little girl is the same-age daughter of their friends.  As I look at this I can just barely remember the couch, mostly because I remember when they bought a better one about 1957. Once that couch came in the house, Daddy forbid any of us to ever chew gum. I, being the fastidious Virgo I am, never could understand why he thought anybody would put chewed up gum on furniture. Ick. Gross.

Here is BabyTheQueen a little later, in warmer weather, still in the old neighborhood. There are lots of summertime photos of the mothers sitting around wading pools with their toddlers. Very post-war modern. This photo reminds me most of  LD when he was about that age.

 About 6 months later we went to Florida for Christmas. That is where my first memories come from, but I don't remember anything about being there. All I remember is crying for 1,000 miles in the back seat because I'd burned my leg on a floor heating grate and opening up the pink cellophane windowed box with Tiny Tears inside.

Classic photography by Mama - somebody is always cropped out of the image. 

Babies and puppies are a lot alike. Here I am making a pest of myself around my big sister. Antipathy begins early.

A family group. My love affair with oceans began early.

This has the look of Easter to me and since the sidewalks are so broad and the opposite side of the street is visible. I am guessing it's in Washington DC, at my grandmother's house. That hat was a trademark of mine for years. I suppose I out grew it by the time I was about 3 or 4 but I loved that hat and a pair of red punched out sandals more than anything I owned (Tiny Tears being a real live baby so I didn't actually "own" her. I understood these fine distinctions very early on.)

Later we moved to a new little starter house in what was then the West End (really Henrico County) - a geographical delineation that is constantly moving towards the sunset. Before we moved in the yard was full of pine trees, because the neighborhood was carved out of a tidewater Virginia pine forest. My parents had ours all taken down, a great tragedy for me, but mother said that pine trees were dirty trees that dropped sap on everything. Which is funny since later we had a different big yard full of them and nothing was ever done about them except, when we were bad and then our punishment was to rake up the pine tags. Pine tags fall year 'round, you know.

This neighborhood was chock full of boomer babies. They couldn't build schools fast enough to hold us all, so 1st and 2nd grade only went half day. Now, there's a new elementary school right at the end of the block I lived on.

Here is another Christmas Photo and you can be sure that from age 5 through age about 11 I was mortified by it, with me squatting there, showing my underpants.

I looked and looked at this photo trying to figure out where it was taken. It looks a lot like my grandmother's living room, only smaller. Finally I realized it was the StepUp Home we moved to in Bon Air - or really, just over the Chesterfield County line on the south side. That's SlightlyOlderTheQueen in the red dress and I'm doing something with my youngest sister - probably making her face the camera. The little boy is one of my mother's nephew's; Uncle Billy's kids.

Yeah yeah yeah. I know. I thought I'd be done with that sweater by now, too. Guess I frittered away too much of this weekend on the Internets. I want to take my car in for a wash this afternoon so I'd best get back to those needles. Maybe a FO photo tomorrow.

It's seriously windy again today. We had awful brush fires on Saturday - let us hope there won't be a repeat today. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spirit Trail Fiberworks Yarn of the Month Club

I've known J, of STF for a long time - probably centuries or even millennia, because we knew the day we met that we were kindred souls. One spring day we met at Stony Mountain Fibers for a class in fiber dyeing and both of us were enchanted with the whole process. When we left, true to our individual personalities, I drove away thinking "Man! I can't wait to teach this to all my friends" and J drove away thinking "I want to start a fiber dyeing business". Well, I did teach a dozen or two friends everything I had learned and J created Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It wasn't long before she was selling at the major wool festivals, wholesaling to a few select shops across the country and retailing via her website.

In January, TheQueen, who has so way too much beyond anything reasonable tons of yarn in her stash, succumbed to the lure of J's Yarn of the Month club. I am blaming it on a visit to her place where she had a skein of yarn left over from the '10 clubs which she graciously offered me in exchange for some contract knitting I'd done. Wicked. I was lost. When the eFlyer showed up in my emailbox I succumbed. The lure of luxury, beauty and exclusivity was too much for me to resist. At the time I was knitting the last rounds of my Soho Smocked Dress and feeling invincible - as if I could match myself to Lily Chin in speed knitting or maybe tie my friend JP in productivity. I joined up.

But with the proviso that no skein will linger in my stash longer than 2 months. It must be on needles by then, no matter what else I'm making and it must all be knit up by December 31, 2011.

Now, I am not much of a one for speed knitting to a deadline. It's one reason I do so little contract knitting. Put a mandate on my knitting and I will drag my feet worse than a 3 year old at bedtime. I'll come to hate the project, pursue a different artistic outlet, start to learn a foreign language, do my taxes - anything to not have to knit something with a deadline on it. But this year I really have done a lot of productive knitting and hey - the skeins are all 400-700 yards. These are accessory sized amounts - not whole sweater's worth of yarn. Besides - I would like to see if I can really crank out a Bunch-0-Stuff this year.


I came home Friday to a mailbox full of fibery goodness.

I actually waited till Saturday before opening the package, so I could have good light for photographing everything. My house turns most stuff a little yellow. Inside I found this:P1030581

The yarn is Lyra, a light worsted weight blend of 50% alpaca, 30% merino and 20% silk. The color is a tone on tone blue that makes me think of the sea in autumn. There are approximately 525 yards of it - so I am thinking there's enough to do a deep shawl-like scarf in lace - or one heck of a gorgeous scarf with texture. Whatever it becomes, though, it must be on the needles by April 18.

So. Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Turtle Spring day

Around here, as soon as the sun comes out and the temperatures get into the high 50's or 60's, these guys come out to sun themselves. More than a blossom, an unfurling green leaf or even fragrant breeze, sunning turtles on damp swampy logs are proof that winter is on its way out. 

I've been looking out for them for a few days but even though we've had warm weather, it's been overcast. No solar heat in a cloudy sky - and it's those extra powerful sunbeams that will tempt a turtle. Tuesday was one of those days. It wasn't even all that warm and the breeze was brisk, but down here in the dip, along Farmer's Hall Creek, you can duck out of the wind and get a sense of the greening of the earth. 

Turtles, like all the rest of the wild kingdom, are notoriously camera shy. So long as I am whizzing by in the car, they'll lay still on their logs, considering me nothing but white noise. But if I even slow down, they'll lift their heads. If I roll the window down, I imagine their soft little shoulders stiffening beneath their shells. 

I don't often get such good pictures of them, they can slip off a log in the blink of an eye - and I don't really like to disturb them when they're warming up after the long cold winter. This bit of swamp was frozen for almost 3 months. But I did get lucky - have a peek at the guy on the right - see how his tail is reflected in the water so that it looks really long?

And the fella in the center of this photo .... Yertle the Turtle?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The One Armed Sweater

That's where I am right now - one arm done, one to go. In fact, I've already picked up stitches for the second sleeve. I have never yet gotten a picture that reflects the true colors of this sweater but once it's done, I'll be sure to photograph it outside.  It's truly a vibrant thing. I see all the purple in it the most, because that's a color that I'm not used to looking at in my wardrobe, but it's got lots of orange, gold and warm red in it too.It's a very Happy HCJ.

As is so common with the things I make - there are small items of dissatisfaction with this sweater. I feel as if I narrowed the sleeve too much. I went from 56 stitches down to 36 and now I am wishing I'd decreased only to 40 stitches. I kept trying it against my wrist - but didn't think about how tight the forearm might be with a t-shirt underneath. I am going to delay the decreases by an 2 inches on this next sleeve and decrease only down to 40 stitches and if it's that much better, I'll rip out the forearm of that first sleeve and reknit it at 40.

Yes yes - it is Valentines Day. Yes. There will be celebration. I believe there is a present up in my closet. Yes. May love find you and hold you in its embrace. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

C'mon Maaaa - let's take a walk!

We're supposed to be in for a spate of outstanding weather - clear sunny days with mild temperatures. Of course, the sweetest day of all will be Valentine's Day - when it should get into the 60's - and that, of course, is a Monday. But not for me. I have that day off. It's a doctor day but it's still a day when I'll be driving and walking out doors and also when I'll be with BD all day.

Daffodils are up all over the place now and I'll keep my eyes open for Other Sighs of Spring. There will be knitting - there will be photos - but tomorrow - at Tara.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Poplar Moon

It was such a beautiful blue day yesterday I took the camera (and the dogs) for a walk. This tree is my spring harbinger tree - because, no matter what sort of weather we've had so far - it's not really spring till this poplar tree turns green. First it's the mistiest of pale greens, but soon those little leaf bits unfurl into soft pliant, silky spring green leaves. And then come the blossoms - sherbet colored cups that dry, in the autumn, into arboreal candelabra. 

As I snapped the photo above I realized the daytime moon was up. I wondered if I could frame it against this magnificent blue with the white and pale grey of the poplar limbs.
And what do you know - I could! Here it is cupped by the limbs.

And  here it is surrounded by a poplar wreath.

And here is a closeup.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spattering of Snow

That's all we got last night - and I can't really tell if it's going to be a clear day or a cloudy one with this bit of sunrise. I am guessing .... cloudy. I've to drive north today, about an hour - but the forecast is only AM flurries so I am still going to give it a try. 

There has been knitting progress, but not enough to justify a photo. I'm still doing short rows on the first sleeve cap - I think there are maybe 2 or 3 pair still to do and then I can begin merrily zipping around the circle on 56 stitches - almost like a sock in thick'n'thin yarn. I'll keep the sleeve wide for a good while and taper it down to maybe 9 inches at the cuff because this is a jacket type sweater. There will usually be something underneath those sleeves and they have to be wide enough to accommodate.

Looking forward to Saturday, though when, I just learned yesterday, my gym will be offering a Zumba class! Now... can't you just see TheQueen dancing zumba? 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yes Virginia - there IS knitting at Chesituxent

Whenever I'm knitting something and it stumps me, even for a little while, I first have to send it to time-out and then, after suitable "Think about it" time I pick it up and we fiddle I mean figure out a solution. That was how things were with the neckline of my HCJ. I knew I wanted i-cord but wasn't sure if I wanted to pick up stitches or just knit the i-cord to the bound off stitches along the front - and if I just knit up the stitches did I want to use just the back leg of the stitch or both. I knew it was going to take fiddly knitting so I waited till I had a stretch of boring time and fiddled.

Yesterday I got to take my dad to the dentist and was there an hour and a half. Plenty of time to fiddle. I ended up doing the i-cord on the #10 needless, knitting up from the bound off stitches and just using the back leg of the B.O. stitches. I-cord done with think'n'thin yarn is a trip! Or might I say ... a bumpy ride?

okay. sorry. love me some puns.

P1030530Last night I had a bit of a chance to work on the sleeve cap. I picked up the stitches around the armhole opening using the #8 needle I'd used to work the seed stitch border and even did the first short row before I remembered about that #10 needle. I'm okay with this, though, because a little tightness at the join of sleeve and body is a good thing and again - that thick'n'thin yarn covers a multitude of sloppy knitting.

P1030531I didn't get much of the cap knit - but here's a long view of the garment with this bit of cap.

I have till March 1 to finish this sweater up but I hope I get it done a little sooner - because I'd like to wear it this winter and sometimes, March 1 is the end of winter. (One can always hope, right?)

I got in a quick visit with Mama yesterday too but I was on the way home well before the end of the day. I'd arranged with BD to call on my seldom used cell phone and let him know when I'd be home. We met up at White Oak Swamp around 3:45 and had the most glorious walk through our national park. Cold had rolled in and the wind had kicked up as well. My goodness, that wind in the bare treetops made a chorus to serenade us while we slowly ambled up and down soft brown paths. It was like going to church. There is nothing like strolling through the forest for making you feel loved by God.

Monday, February 7, 2011

White Oak Swamp - a study in winter greys

Throughout the 19th century our farm was part of a larger quarter section called "Rennolds Quarters". In the early part of the 20th century BD's grandfather surveyed the whole thing preparatory to the owners selling it off as farms. He picked the nicest farm land for himself and gave it to his daughter as a dowry. At the time, though, the entire place was open cropland except for a small piece of timber on the southern end. That was divided into 4 pieces so that each new landowner would have a woodlot. This is ours and we call it White Oak Swamp. It was cut in 1988 and we used the proceeds to finish the house - especially the kitchen, which was still just bare studs and plumbing! Somewhere there's a photograph of me washing dishes in that kitchen against that awful background. It was the catalyst that pushed me into insisting Something Be Done!

When it came time to reseed the forest, BD couldn't bear to put in More Loblolly Pines. Instead, he planted cypress trees because, after all, it's White Oak Swamp, not White Oak Fields or Meadow or whatever. It's grown up over the past 22 years into something of a bramble and certainly a marvelous stand of cypress trees. But so much greenbrier crowds this place that walking here is not much fun. Or at least, it hasn't been till recently. This year we rented the piece out to 4 of the nicest hunters and boy have they opened this place up!

I've known they were transforming it, but I had no idea it had been turned into a national park! Here are Socks and Jack showing me how much more fun it is to walk through here now.

This ain't called a swamp for nothin'! We had one of the worst droughts in decades summer of 2010 and it hasn't rained all that much during the fall and winter either but there's still plenty of water standing around - perfect for cypress trees and for reflecting the sky with its still surface.

P1030511One of the things I love about these wild tangled woods are the tree sculptures you stumble upon walking about. Here, the muscular hornbeam thrusts it's sinewy arms up to the sky. each trunk and most of the branches of this tree looks like it's strung with tendons, arching, straining upward. They're the Kali of the Virginia forests.

I was struck with the flowing curves of this tree's bark but what you can't see is the squirrel up there, chittering down at those pesky dogs. He knew he was safe from them. He just didn't like having to deal with their rough intrusions.

How's this for some twisted sculpture? Two views of this what? Cherry tree? Ack! Now I am embarrassed I can't remember what it was and I don't know the bark well enough to feel confident.

P1030515From this side that bottom loop looks like it's grown back into the trunk. It hasn't of course, but it could fool you if you came to it from this direction. 
P1030516Now here is something really special. This is a line tree - and it's been marked by three generations of my guys. The blue line was painted by LD - who used to have a boundary marking service when he lived here in VA.  if you look down from that blue line along the left side of the tree you see three dark slashes. They were put in by BD when he was a land surveyor and marked the property just before we had the timber cut in 1988. The deep gash you see on the bottom right, just up from the base of the tree was put there by B.J.Saunders in 1913 when he did the original survey that broke up Rennolds Quarters. 
Proof that life is a circle - here is a young holly tree sprouted inside the stump of a dead oak. 

Priss says that it's never too cold to take a dip ... if you have the right kind of fur.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sloppy Seed Stitch and Stash Enhancements

Let's start with the knitting stuff. Actually - only the corners are sloppy and I'm somewhat of the opinion that it won't matter. Here they are, unblocked. Once blocked they'll make nice straight corners, but the angled stitches are all over the place and now that I look at it - the right corner's "center stitch" isn't in the center. it doesn't go to the corner.

 I am only going to do an i-cord around the neckline because it's already high enough at the back and has a lovely graceful curve around the front. It doesn't need height or width. I could carry the i-cord all the way around the perimeter but I'm not sure if that would draw attention to the sloppy stitches or disguise them. I do think that anyone who peers at the bottom corners of this sweater ought to be a Knitting Contest Judge. I think I am okay with this.

What I am going to do is leave it as is and pick up stitches for the sleeves. I've knit the sweater body on a #10 needle but the seed stitch on a #8. I'll pick up stitches with that same #8 and then switch to #10's when I start knitting the sleeve. I'd like to have this done by next weekend but I am sure it will take 2 weeks to finish this. For sure it must be done by the end of February because I've joined Spirit Trail Fiberworks'  Yarn of the Month club and once they start coming in I intend to concentrate on those yarns. To have allowed myself to bring into my stash-cluttered house So Much More (albeit) Delicious Yarn was an indulgence of monumental proportions. I had to promise myself (and my stash) that it would linger there no more than 2 months from the time it arrives. ALL club yarn must be knit into garments in 8 weeks. Period.

Here's what I'm expecting:
March 1: One skein of "Lyra" (50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 25% Bombyx Silk Light Worsted), 226g, approx. 500 yards
April 1: One skein of "Orihime" (80% Merino, 20% Cashmere Fingering) approx. 430 yards
May 1: One skein of "Elysium" (4 Ply 100% Cashmere DK Weight) approx. 200 yards
June 1: Two skeins of "Neith" (55% Bombyx Silk, 45% Cashmere DK) approx. 200 yards
July 1: Two skeins of "Sunna" (70% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Bombyx Silk Fingering) approx. 356 yards
August1: One skein of "Nona" (50% Merino, 25% Cashmere, 25% Bombyx Silk Heavy Laceweight) approx. 630 yards

So even while I am knitting on my HCJ, I'm thinking about what I want to make from each of these yarns. I want the projects as planned out as possible - even though I'm a firm believer in letting the yarn tell me what it wants to be. So what do you think about Merino and Cashmere socks?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Frustrated Friday

Who knew that knitting seed stitch in bulky thick'n'thin variegated yarn around two corners would be soooo tricky?!? There aren't that many stitches - maybe 300? There aren't that many rows - 9 at most. There are only 2 corners. But it is taking forever and I am afraid I've screwed up both corners. It seems to take a year to get one row done. Ugh.  I'm even reluctant to take a photo because right now it looks like a big spotted sack. I thought for sure I'd be finishing up the sleeves by now. (insert frowney face)

But nope. and if I were a real knitter, I'd rip it all out and make sure I do those corners right. Which I might still do, since there is a streak of real knitter in me - though there is also such a vein of pragmatism that if, when I bind off the first one, you can't really see that I've screwed up the corners without getting entirely too close to the front of my hips - I may just let it be all sloppy. We shall just have to see. At least, I'll have to see, and I promise to post a photo so you real knitters out there can opine. That's the nice thing about TheInternets. Nobody can make you obey.

It's been a very demanding week, with way early mornings every day - including today - but we've also had the gift one a glorious warm day - harbinger of things to come. And Sunday is supposed to bring us 50 and sunshine. So we know what I shall be doing on Sunday! Can't wait!

Happy Friday to you all!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How do you defeat winter?

It's been a long time since I even wanted to defeat winter. The past few years we've had winter, but we haven't had WINTER!!!  This year it's been almost nothing but winter. I tried to call 2 vendors yesterday, major vendors - Scholastic and Penworthy books - and both of them were closed due to inclement weather. Since early December we have had only 3 warm and sunny days. All the rest have required the heavy coat, gloves, mittens, or perhaps, just staying in doors all together. Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of it. 

So. How do you defeat winter? Sleep it away? Work on some massive indoor project? Disappear into a book?  How about planning next summer's vacation? How about wallowing among the seed catalogs?

Burkwood Viburnum
Actually - I am doing them all. And taking a stroll through the photo albums to look at the triumph of past springs. Won't you join me for some April Blossoms?

Snow drops

Can't you hear them singing?

Close up
Native violets


There. That ought to have cheered you up.