Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eric and Tony knit and garden, didn't you know?

Howdy, Folks!

In knitting news:

I finished the new blanket. Here she is fresh off the needles. This picture is a fairly close representation of the actual color.

Here she is blocking. Somehow the camera picked up a little more blue than is actually there. It's a bit warm now and she will probably be hanging out on the back of a chair for a few months, but I lover her all the same.

The particulars:

Pattern: Feather and Fan Shawl by Eugene Beugler published in A Gathering of Lace.
Yarn: Cascade Eco +; 2 skeins or 956 yards; in color 7009.
Needles: KnitPicks Options US 10 (6.0 mm). I worked up to a 60" cable.
Started March 16, 2008, and finished April 19, 2008.

Mods and Notes: This is the Hemlock Ring Blanket version of the pattern. I love my HRB and really wanted another. But I also wanted some variation. This pattern is similar but a little more complex.

The pattern gives you the option of doing a straight feather-fan throughout or adding an eyelet cable every third repeat. I did the latter version because 1) I’ve already done a feather-fan throughout – see the HRB – and 2) I wanted something more challenging/entertaining to knit. Well I don’t know that it is any more challenging but it did keep the rounds interesting since I got to do something different every three repeats. Plus it was great for marking the sections so if I made a mistake I had a smaller chunk of knitting to inspect.

The Crochet bind off was no big deal. It only took a few hours and my crochet skills have improved!

Otherwise, we are still slowly plugging away on previously started projects.

Most of our time has been spent outdoors, duh.

In Gardening news:

We put in some ornamental grasses between the back porch and the veggies.

Here is pink pompous grass. It is the center plant. We are expecting it to grow upwards of 12 feet -- maybe not this year, but eventually.

It is flanked on either side by purple fountain grass. Hopefully, it will all fill in to provide a screen.

We've trapped the bamboo. First we drove a barrier into the ground to stop its spread -- please, barrier, stop the spread! And we added a decorative border. We don't know that this will be the permanent border, but it works for now.

The bamboo is growing like crazy. You can literally watch the grass grow with this one. In good weather, we've seen some of the new shoots grow more than 6 inches during the day. And there are more than a dozen new shoots growing right now!

Tony has spent everyday this week putting in a path -- the first of several planned. As I'm writing this, he is adding the edging, and he has plans to go buy river rock today. He hopes to have the path finished by the end of the week.

When he's not digging the path, Tony spends time willing the cannas to grow.

The cannas are actually growing pretty fast right now. 10 out of 12 plants have poked one or more stems through the ground and most are 4 -6 inches tall and showing their first leaves.

In the veggie patch, we have corn up to 6" tall. Okra and radishes shot out of the ground with a bang. Baby spinach and salad greens are coming along nicely. The tomatoes, bell peppers, shallots, and marigolds are growing. Green onions, cucumbers, nasturtium, parsley, basil, and carrots have poked through the earth. Recently we panted: more corn, more carrots, brussels sprouts, leaf lettuce, thyme, dill, and cilantro. Still nothing from the eggpant yet.

Several years ago, I planted an Impatiens in a pot. I take it inside every winter and it lives! Then I put it back out in the spring. I've never repotted or added anything to the soil and it hasn't bloomed the last two summers. This year I decided to divide and repot the thing. And it has woody stems. I thought that was pretty neat.

We've stared a fern garden in a shady spot. So far we've planted cinnamon fern, Japanese painted fern, and Autumn fern. We have plans to make that whole area into a shade garden paradise. I see rhododendron and hostas in our future.

In the front garden, we are going with a purple/black, silver, and green theme. We've planted an ornamental pepper called black pearl, Persian shield, and palace purple choral bells. Plus we already have two purple barberrys. For the silver we have some lavender from last year, dusty miller, a silver dollar eucalyptus, and firewitch dianthus that has a blue/silver foliage. As for green, we mostly have foliage plants. There is some lemon balm from last year as well as a mum. We planted a mosquito plant (the gardenia kind), and a Big Twister Rush. Plus some water plants in the pond.

Below is the shrubs in front of the porch. They have been there most all my life -- seriously at least 25 years. In the back is a Nandina which we love love love for it's year round interest. In front are two shrubs that used to be more popular but we don't see enough of them around here anymore. They are abelia x grandiflora. They are semi-evergreen (they lose about half there leaves a month or so before re-leafing) so they give year round color. And by the end of May they are covered in little white/pink bell shaped flowers that are so fragrant you can smell them from the street. They attract tons of butterflies, moths, and bees. They stay in flower into July. In a good year, the ground looks like snow beneath them. This year they are bit wonky because I gave them their first ever prune-job in the fall. But they will bounce right back.

Here is another cat that has adopted us. She mostly sits there and watches. Occasionally she climbs the back door screen to torment my indoor kitty.

Lastly, the pink tulips did really well this year. They are still in flower -- one is still holding a bud. The red and yellow striped tulips didn't fare so well. But pink tulips are my favorite so I'm happy.




Dave said...

Wow, gorgeous blanky. Doily. Boily. Danky. ... Lap covering. :-)

Marianne said...

You already know how I feel about your magnificent blanket, it's a Beauty.

Dudes... I wanna come over for veggies this summer, and the yard is looking wonderful. That walkway, that's SOME job there, it's looking great.

Emma said...

Love the blankie. Congrats on finishing it! Can I have it?

Khebhin said...

The blankket is beautiful!! As is the garden. I have no luck with plants of any kind. I've been known to kill plastic plants!
Give the kitty a kiss for me!

Eikon said...

Oh I like that blanket. Wool blankets are glorious things. Good luck with the bamboo....