the painted iris

I've started a simple lace mohair scarf for my mother for Christmas. I did a few test swatches and settled on a garter stitch border of 4 rows by 3 stitches at each side. I chose a colorway of Crystal Palace Yarns Kid Merino called 'Painted Iris' to use. I love the name, and a beautiful yarn to match! It brings about romanticism of the iris works of VanGogh and Monet.

My only criticism of the project is that my aluminum needles are too slippery for the mohair, so I really have to stay alert. This may take a few weeks to complete as I currently have an attention span of only one repeat. I'm OK with that, I have until Christmas.


entry garden plantings

I picked up a few things at the local garden club plant sale this morning to add to the garden beds in the front. The beds upon moving in already were established with 'Goldmound' spirea, a Star Magnolia tree, and a Pyramidal Arborvitae. Last fall next to the door I added a Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis), 3 Anenome 'Queen Charlotte', 2 Liriope 'Variegata', and a Hosta 'Patriot'. Today I added 2 Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Plum Pudding') for color. You'll note that my neighbor has added the new mulch that was recommended by the townhome association this year. I have yet to get said mulch as it is only sold in bulk and I don't drive a pick-up. Please also note that these plantings have yet to be established, so they are still sparse. Don't judge me! (Just kidding :))

At the end of the garden near the driveway I planted an old fashioned purple Iris (Iris sp.), Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum), Roman Wormwood (Artemisia pontica), and 2 Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantia). I also transplanted a Rudbeckia species that was there but certainly not flourishing.

I also planted a Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) in the back garden bed. That garden is yet to be planned and established. It is currently a receptacle for run-off water from the roof and is pure clay. In fact the entry garden is mostly clay as well (another disadvantage to living in a developed subdivision) , so I added quite a bit of composted cow manure.

In addition to finishing the garden bed, I will also be adding some planters for color. More to come... (It's okay, you can be excited!)


the fiber addiction deepens

So, while I was out and about today getting some yarn for upcoming projects I also bought this:

Yes, I am going to try my hand at spinning. We'll see how this turns out. So far I have sections that resemble bailing twine and others that more closely mimic sewing thread. This should be interesting.


not-so-rugged finish

I finished my Not-So-Rugged scarf. I love it! It really is a great manly way to wear mohair. It adds a touch of class to the cool weather ensemble :)
I knit the scarf on size 8 needles using Louisa Harding Cinnabar and Crystal Palace Yarns Kid Merino 'Espresso'. I noticed as I was nearing the end that the mohair was running low. I stopped at 31 rows in the middle section where there was to be 36, and I ran out at 5 rows in the top border where there was to be 6. In the future, I would knit 30 rows in the middle and 6 on the top edge, to match the bottom. I would also choose a different cast on technique as I wasn't happy with the long tail cast-on once I had cas
t off. The cast on was much tighter and created an overall funnel effect. However, when worn this isn't noticeable.
I will definitely make more of these. It's a very easy pattern (all done in stockinette) yet creates a beautifully elegant mohair fabric. These scarfs
will make great gifts!


it's really not-so-rugged

My latest knitting project is the Not-So-Rugged scarf from the book Knitting With Balls. I'm using Kid Merino mohair 'Espresso' from Crystal Palace yarns as well as Cinnabar from Louisa Harding yarns. I'm loving how this is turning out! I've already decided to make another one for a friend. This is also my first time working with mohair, and I'm really enjoying it. I think I'll have to make a mohair lace scarf for my mom for Christmas. You really can't start to early :)


more planting fun

I planted the seeds and bulbs that I bought yesterday. I planted 4 Stargazer lilies in 1 gallon nursery pots, so that I could start growing them and decide where I'm planting them later. I also thought they would be easy to move if we had a frost. I planted a flat of Jewel Mix nasturtium in fiber pots and a 6" pot of Sequoia beans. These are the purple beans which turn green when you cook them. I planted similar ones before and grew them up a tee pee stick trellis in a pot, however after I planted these ones I noticed that they are a bush bean. A little change of plans, but I'll make it work.

Last weekend Dan and I visited the Morton Arboretum. It was beautiful and very tranquil as we hiked through the preserve. We were able to snap a few nice photos too!

Oh, here's my bleeding heart that just awoke a few weeks ago. I'm so proud!


first plantings

Today I planted some 'Straight Eight' cucumber seeds and Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia Alata) seeds in peat pots. I plan to transplant these together into planters on the back patio and train them to crawl up a trellis. Because I have so little gardening space I'm trying to combine veggies into my potted plants. I have a couple of beds that I'm allowed to plant in, but I'm afraid of all of the fertilizers that the lawn people use and the run-off from the roof. So, no vegetables or herbs in those beds. I also planted 5 Harvest Yellow Cannas. There were supposed to be 4 in the bag, but I got a bonus! I'll transplant these into the flower beds once they mature some.

I stopped by the hardware store to get a rake and ended up with more seeds and bulbs. Well, I had to walk right past them to get to the rakes! Seriously, who designed that store? Anyway, I'll be planting those in the next day or so. I love spring!