Friday, June 03, 2005

Inauguration day

So…my first blog entry!

It’s always a good idea to check out new technology, right? I mean, I have a dedicated DSL line, a digital camera, and an Internet phone. Blogging is the next frontier for me. Also, I really don’t feel like working today. *grin*

It’s a grey day and I’m still not recovered from the cold I got last week, so I’m not in the perkiest of moods. My full and aching sinuses make me feel sort of like I’m existing in a surreal world. When the sinuses are messed up, the equilibrium is messed up, too, so I have this sort of floaty, nebulous feeling where terra firma ain’t so firm and fixed.

Anyhoo, if I can work up the energy I need to do some potting today or tomorrow. According to the moon chart, today and tomorrow are semi-fruitful days and therefore good for potting and planting. I bought three lovely heliotropes last weekend just “because” and I think they will do nicely in a pot on the upper porch deck. I wish I could put them on the little side table next to the comfy chairs and loveseat on the first floor porch so I could enjoy their fragrance while relaxing, but heliotropes need full sun and they just won’t get it there. I also need to cut down the zonal geraniums I over-wintered and pot up the cuttings. They’re getting way too leggy and awkward looking.

...On the needles…

I started Soleil this week in a lovely lavender shade of Adrienne Vittadini Marissa (cotton/silk blend) that I picked up about 2 months ago from Arcadia’s bargain bin. They were clearancing all the Marissa yarn they had on hand as it was discontinued, and I snatched up all the lavender, pistachio, and most of the black they had on hand. I figured I could make a few nice tanks out of it, and was glad to see Soleil show up in Knitty shortly after I bought the yarn.

I’ve also been doing a gauge swatch for the Lily (Louet) camisole pattern in cream-colored Euroflax Linen. Doing this gauge swatch is a PITA. Lily is knit in the round on 2.0 and 2.5 mm [small, teeny!] needles. I tried swatching on a circular needle using Magic Loop, but that wasn’t working out for me. So, I’ve switched to swatching on DPNs. I could only get the shortie, 5-inch DPNs, and I’ve found that I really don’t like working on such short needles. I need more length on my needles to feel secure that my knitting won’t slip off.

Yesterday I got a call from my friend Eve’s husband, David, about a dinner outing this Saturday night to celebrate her b-day. Yeah, I knew it was her b-day yesterday, but I’m so terrible about remembering to buy and send cards or even pick up gifts. So, I had this hare-brained idea that I’d just whip her up a little hand-knit gift. And, since they’re off to Greece in a few weeks, I thought a nice little shawl she could wear with a sundress would be fitting.

I didn’t have time to run to the yarn shop, but I’ve got a pretty sizable stash here at home, so I zeroed in one some Lion Brand Microspun that I had picked up last month on a whim. It’s a nice blue color, soft and cozy feeling, and is machine-washable, which I know is important to Eve, a working mom with two kids. I pulled out Lion’s Easy Ripple Shawl pattern written with Microspun in mind, and got to work last night.

What the hell was I thinking??? Knit a shawl in 2 days, while still going to work and while suffering a sinus-related disconnection with the solid world? Of course I’m never going to finish this thing! After 16 rows, I switched from the size 6 needles recommended by the pattern to size 8 needles, hoping this make things go a little bit faster. I still have only about 4 inches done on a shawl that is supposed to be 60 inches long. If I pull this off, it’ll be a miracle.

I hate to sound like a yarn snob, but there is nothing like working with wool or a good wool blend. The Microspun may be soft, washable, and fairly low cost, but it takes a bit of concentration for me to work with it. Its not very tightly plyed and so I have to be careful not to split when I'm working. I like Lion's Woolease, but so far anything else I've worked with from Lion has been pretty disappointing. I tried some Homespun a few weeks ago and that was just an...icky...experience.

...In the garden…

The irises are kaput now, but the columbine is still looking pretty fresh. Peonies are blooming like crazy, and the roses are looking fabulous. The climbing roses, and the shrub and mini roses are all blooming now, and most of them appear very healthy.

I sure hope that Zepherine Drouhin climbing rose I planted last week takes off. It was the last one at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Bloomin’ Sale a couple weeks ago, and it looked like it was the last one, too, but I really, really wanted that variety. Although it pained me, I pulled out one of the two ‘Fourth of July’ climbing roses that has been doing so poorly and put the Zepherine Drouhin in its place. I think the ‘Fourth of July’ wasn’t doing so well in that spot because it didn’t get enough sun, and Zepherine Drouhin is supposed to do well in part-shade. I lavished the planting hole with bone meal, kelp meal, and dehydrated cow manure, so hopefully Miss Drouhin will take off.

The raspberries are looking incredibly lush. It’s like a thicket out there behind the garage! I’m keeping my eye on them to make sure they don’t burst out of the semi-confines of their new trellising. Although there are plenty of fruits set, I’m still several weeks away from harvesting oodles of tasty berries. *sigh*

Oh, and what a surprise, the water lily in my little tub water garden is blooming!
One of my mini roses.
Mini rose
'Texas Dawn' hardy water lily.
Texas Dawn water lily bloom
Peonies in full bloom.

Peonies in full bloom
My wall o' roses: climbing roses 'Ramblin Red' and 'Fourth of July.'

Climbing roses Ramblin Red and Fourth of July
Shrub roses at the corner of the parkway: 'Nearly Wild' (pink) and 'Carefree Sunshine' (yellow).
Shrub roses Nearly Wild (pink) and Carefree Sunshine (yellow)


101Aether101 said...

Good luck on your new blog! I also knitted for a while, to try to quit smoking! I failed. I got good at knitting, but not smoking. Oh well.

I had a question about some ivy. Possibly you might have some experience with this. I live south of Chicago and we have this ivy that grows on the side of the house. It's nice, the leaves look like maple leaves. They grow over the windows and make natural shades. Well due to a drunk husband and hedge clippers, they were massacered. Gone. Just patches are left and those are dying too. I cried.

Anyway do you think they'll grow back, or are they a lost cause. And if so, is there anything I can to to make the side of my house presentable again?

Thanks! And again good luck!

Linda said...

I'm a Master Gardener drop out, so I should know this, but I can't place the name of that plant. I recall that our next door neighbor had what sounds like that growing on their house when I was a kid living in the south suburbs. As I recall, it was pretty hardy stuff.

It's been stressed, so pamper it a bit if you want to save it. Make sure it gets a light sprinkling of water at least every other day, and a total of 1 inch of water a week, and it may rebound.

Ivy usually leaves icky stuff on the side of a house that is very difficult to remove. If you like the look of the ivy and can't save what you have now, I'd plant more!