Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Simple projects

I have been knitting, but it hasn't been anything earth-shattering. It's just been easy projects I can do while reading or watching telly.

knit in Knitpicks' Felici yarn, Goth colorway 
(discontinued, because they are morons)

I did those in my usual 64 stitch rounds with the cuff as 1x1 rib and the leg and top of foot as 3x1 rib. Whenever I had a color change, I did one round of k1, sl1 to make the stripes jagged instead of perfectly straight. I did the short-row heel because I have realized how much I like preserving the stripes. I still hate trying to get the waste yarn out and stitches back on needles for the heel, but it's worth it for self-striping yarn.


Cosmic Ribs (mine ravelled here),
knit in Miss Babs Cosmic Hand Painted Sock, Across the Universe colorway

These are for Andrew, knit in yarn he picked out while high on wool fumes at Simply Sock. I'm not in love with them, but I am in love with Andrew. It's my usual ribbed pattern, but with a heel flap this time 'cause who the fuck can see the heel anyway?

Rosa rubiginosa mitts (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks' Chroma fingering, Morning Mist colorway 

This time it's just the color that's been discontinued, not the entire yarn. (I'm glad I didn't know that before I started knitting.) I used almost all the leftover yarn from Andrew's Ribbed for His Pleasure hat. I feel like it should be documented that I had enough leftover yarn to actually make something useful. I thought being able to find uses for scrap yarn that didn't include "franken" in the title was a myth, like delicious fat free cheese and people not oversharing on Facebook.

These are the third pair of mitts I've made of these pattern (here). A friend's sister-in-law saw one of the green pairs and requested a purple pair for herself, and so I made these for the friend to give to her sister-in-law (a bit convoluted, but hopefully you know what I mean). I didn't feel right charging because a) friend, and b) leftover yarn, so said friend is going to take a pair of my shoes and get them shined by her magic shoe shine guy near her work. The barter system is alive and well.

Besides knitting, I've been doing a lot of reading (fluff) and playing outside in my yard.

And... if I'm honest, there's been some time when I've felt a lot like Nocturne and just wanted to snuggle up in a blanket cave.

That cat's no dummy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Say What? Embroidery

The Universe has been crapping on some of my friends recently, including Emily. I asked her partner what I could send to cheer her up, and he said she wanted stuff for their new house, including a sign for their bathroom:

Please do not do cocaine in my bathroom.

Emily obviously understands that sometimes it's awkward to have to tell your guests in person, and this is a more delicate way to ensure you don't have pesky white powder to clean out of your grout.

Emily had also recently had a moving spiritual experience which needed to be documented in every medium possible. I did my part:

I am calm and floating...

Another friend will get:

I do not spew profanities. I enunciate clearly, like a fucking lady.

I stitched all of these on cotton dishtowels that I cut to size. I found that neither carbon nor transfer pens showed up very well on this material, which was challenging. I ended up with a faint hint of the design to follow on the material itself and used it and the paper pattern beside me to figure out where the letters went and how they were shaped.

Even though my stitches certainly are not perfect, I am happy to be able to make something with my hands. Every stitch is a physical reminder to my friends that I care about them enough to spend hours out of my life making them things.

I might not be able to fix everything that's wrong, but I can make stuff, and that is no small thing.

Make on.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Grandfather's Columbine

Dear Grandfather,

Remember that columbine beside your patio? No, I didn't imagine you would. I don't remember it either. The last day I was at your house, getting the final few things I wanted and wondering how the hell I was supposed to live in a world without you, I saw a beautiful blooming columbine. It wasn't obviously part of a flowerbed, and I don't remember ever seeing it before, but there it was, bright and beautiful, slightly scraggly and wild-looking.

I dug it up, put it in a bucket, and brought it home with me.

This is not its first summer at my house, and it has never bloomed like it is blooming now. Maybe it's happy I moved that boxwood that was crowding it. Maybe the weather's been different in some way from past springs (besides the pollen--you would not believe my allergies this year; it's like nature is trying to kill me). I don't know. I just know that it's full of blooms and it is beautiful and I miss you.

I miss you a lot.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Potential Is Everywhere...

...and I want to play.

Indigodragonfly's "Also, I can kill you with my brain"
It's too soon to plant annuals. It's too soon to plant annuals. It's too soon...

Do I need more embroidery floss? No, I do not. Did I buy this pack yesterday? Yes, I did.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nature Does It Better

I took a walk at lunch today, and there was beauty everywhere. I can't resist the call of the blooming things, even if those blooming things are trying to kill me. I'm living in the land of itchy eyes and Benedryl. 

I was walking in a shady area and found this at the base of a tree. No matter how much landscaping I do in my life, nature is always going to do it better.

Happy spring.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Room to Grow

I took the master gardening course in 2010. One of the things I learned is that you should try to think of your yard in terms of rooms. You have a vegetable garden room, which is separate from the outdoor living room, which may or may not be separate from the outdoor kitchen (in our case, the "kitchen" is just a gas grill on the patio). Separate and hidden from all of this is the utility room. In my case, the utility room has the garden hose, rain barrel, air conditioner, and compost bin.

I also learned that landscaping is personal, and there is no right or wrong. Someone might hate the idea of a yard full of concrete baskets or garden gnomes, but you can't really say it's wrong, not in the same way you can say that it's wrong to spray your azalea with Round-Up to help it grow.

So now our utility room looks like this:

The streaky nature of this photo isn't artfully-captured sunlight; it's a streak on the lens. 
We can pretend it's on purpose if you'd like.

We hired someone (Capehart Landscape and Design, in case someone in Indy is looking for someone) to rototill the area, put in the bluestone path, and spread a bunch of mushroom compost.* I didn't let them plant, because that's the fun part.

We bought a Red Dragon Threadleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon'), which will only get to 5' height and spread. Andrew and I have wanted a Japanese maple for a long time, but I never knew where to put it. I was so excited that I talked to it before I planted it, telling it how beautiful it was. I'm hoping the neighbors didn't hear.

I bought a ton of perennials at the IMA Perennial Premiere** and planted them last night. I still have room for lots of groundcover as well as some steppables between the stones.

This morning, I was contemplating that I feel good leaving lots of space between the plants. It's okay that the bed isn't done. It's more than okay--it's good to leave the plants alone and let them grow. They need time to spread and show me how big they're going to get, whether they like where they are located, and if they can get along with their neighbors. If I stuffed the beds full of plants, there would be no room for growth, no chance to make the space better, and I'd run the very real risk of hurting what I've planted.

All of that got me thinking: If room to grow is a sign of a healthy space, then maybe my incompleteness, my flaws and failings, are also signs of health. I tend to be very hard on myself, expecting myself to be perfect and well on the way to spiritual enlightenment. It is good to try to improve and make myself better, but I need to remember that space and room for improvement are not only omnipresent and therefore unavoidable, but also good.

My current state, right where I am with no qualifications, is beautiful. I have room to grow, and I'm at the exact place I need to be.

So say we all.

*Andrew was slightly horrified by the smell, while I just thought it smelled like Grandfather's farm. Apparently mushroom compost smells an awful lot like cow manure. I found it oddly comforting.

**I can tell you what they are, but does anyone care? I have no idea. I'm going to assume you don't. You can tell me if I'm wrong.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

This is why I keep buying hellebores despite the fact that I repeatedly kill them.

Ivory Prince

Metallic Blue Lady

The top one has survived two years. The bottom one was just planted last spring. I'm not saying the danger has passed, but I'm hopeful my bad luck with hellebores has ended.