Monday, April 30, 2012

Wha? Monday?

Man, the weekend went fast. Between yard work and bracelet stuff, there wasn't much down time. Do I need down time? The thought crossed my mind that it might not be good to be too busy on the weekends. On the other hand, I feel better when I feel like I've gotten stuff accomplished.

Anyway, a dog park friend was nice enough to share some of the compost he bought, and I turned in a couple of wheelbarrow-fuls into my two bookcase raised beds. I think maybe one more year after this and they might need to be replaced. I should have (and will do this in the future) reinforced the book cases with straps or screws or something at the beginning. I did put some screws into the corners last year, but missed on one corner of one bed, and it gave out during the winter, so one long side of one box is loose. I've put 3' pieces of rebar in along that side, so it will hold, but I think its days are numbered.

In other news, I made both lemon squares (yum! More lemon next time) and pumpkin bread, so we're set for lunch and snack stuff for the week. I played games with the gamer group from church yesterday, and it was fun. We got a late start, and I felt like I needed to leave about 2/3 of the way through so I could take Sally to the dog park, so I was a little antsy. It took probably 45 minutes to explain the rules of the game, and then we played for a couple of hours. Next time, I'll just plan for it to take three hours, which is fine, and won't worry about the dog. With it staying light later (and getting light earlier - wow), it shouldn't be a problem. Nevertheless, I've really enjoyed playing board games with these folks.

I had lunch with good friend D, who has a son graduating from high school. I've got two more friends with high school grads, so it looks like it's going to be a busy graduation party few weeks. That's good. It's such a huge accomplishment, both for kids and parents, it should be celebrated bigly (yes, that's bigly).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Longer, shorter, less, more

I started playing around with making necklaces out of the same bits I use to make the bracelets, and this is my very first attempt. I bought some inexpensive chain from Michael's, and had the rest of the parts on hand (which was kind of cool). 

I'll eventually order some nicer chain, but it went together pretty easily. I need to fiddle with the length of the chain and the number of bits to make it lay as flat as possible. Longer, shorter, less pieces, more pieces, I think I just need to make several and see which ones lay the best. 

In other news, it looks to be a perfect weekend to get my garden beds prepped. We have gotten a smudge of rain over the last few weeks, but not that dump of snow that we'd consider perfectly normal for this time of year. 

In other other news, a dog park friend is recently retired and likes to fish. Yesterday he gave me a salmon fillet, and I don't think I will ever buy salmon in the store. Might not even get it in a restaurant because this stuff was so amazing, it'd be a disappointment any other way. Even with my clumsy cooking of it pan fried and I think I over-cooked it a little. It was fabulous. Wow. I need to make some cookies or something to return the favor, gotta keep the good food flowing...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

For your viewing pleasure

I don't got much today, but saw this yesterday on Pinterest and did actually laugh out loud.  Some artists have combed thrift stores for those mundane landscape paintings that seem to end up in thrift stores and have added a little, um, pizazz to them.

This is the link to the post. I love this kind of stuff. So darn clever and fun. The link takes you to see several more examples. Tee hee.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Historical value

A couple of weeks ago, I got a flier in my door saying that there was a group of neighbors concerned about the plans to demolish a house on the next block and build a large house that was in a different style than the existing houses in the area.

I live in the old part of town, and the houses are all about 100 years old. My little house, as I think I've mentioned before is nothing special architectural-wise. The first flier asked if I would attend a meeting of the city department that hears people's concerns when their neighbors are potentially changing the character of a group of older houses.

This has been an interesting thing for me to share with Mr W, as I don't know how I feel about it. The neighbor who is organizing the effort clearly does not want the existing plans to proceed. I received a second flyer in my box a couple of days ago saying that she wants to explore the possibility of seeking "historical neighborhood district" status for the two blocks that would include this proposed project (and my house too).

When the flier mentioned that we would be meeting as well to discuss "compromises with the new owners" over the property, I felt more conflicted. The words "reasonable design compromise" were used.

I don't know. On the one hand, the immediate neighbors certainly have cause to complain if their views will be blocked, or their house shaded, or their houses' foundations potentially compromised as a result of the work done on this new house. I think that building houses out to the very edges of the property line is an un-neighborly thing to do.

On the other hand, if someone builds a (I'm guessing) $500,000 house, that's not going to negatively impact my property values. I can't see the house from my house, though, so I don't have a horse in this race to the extent that the neighbor who is organizing does.

The historical neighborhood designation seems like too much control for me. People who live in this part of town like old houses to begin with. Putting restrictions on what people can do seems like it might be overreaching.

The meeting is tomorrow night, and I'm thinking of taking Mr W so he can see this kind of neighborhood thing in action. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Must. Get. Away. From. Computer.

I have spent a lot of time on the computer this weekend, updating the Etsy shop, mostly. I'm happy with how it looks. I retook pictures so everything kind of goes together. Here's some examples:

Oy. During this process I received a creative little burst in the form of how to make earrings and necklaces that will have the same feel as the bracelets. I bought some supplies today, and the fiddling will commence at some point. It's a really nice day out, so Mr W and I need to get out and ride our bikes here shortly. 

I still need to pay some attention to my yard, but there's time for that, too. OK, I'm off. More later.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yea! The weekend

Well the rest of the week at work ended up being productive. I met yesterday with the person that was on my graduate committee at school and as I expected, he had a bunch of good ideas for me to try. Always good to know that I didn't do it wrong...

And today is Saturday!! The weather is going to be splendid, and we're going for a hike with the single parent group today. There's also the Earth Day hoo-ha downtown that we may check out, and lots of yard work, bracelet work and laundry folding to do. Yes, the laundry was gracious enough to wait for me. At least the pile of clothes that was on my hamper is now in the queue and being washed and dried.

We got  Mr W a new computer yesterday, funded with part of my tax refund. He kicked in 25%, and I'll have him work off some of his debt as well. I had to explain what "sweat equity" meant. So far so good; it's a much better computer than the first one I bought anyway, and wasn't much more expensive. What really hurt was the "juice box" warranty, which was about 40% of the purchase price of the computer. But this way, if something gets spilled on it, we're covered. *sigh* I always doubt myself at these big expenditures, but I could think of lots of practical reasons for the kid to have his own computer.

OK, off to fold laundry before the fun stuff. Hope your weekend rocks!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I had a nice outing with friend D the other night, and we were talking about her son, who is graduating from high school and is going away to school next fall. This has brought on some melancholy. These people that we raise, or are raising, that we pour so much of our hopes and dreams and efforts into, are going to leave us. Like they are supposed to. Like we are preparing them to do.

This made me realize that the pace at which Mr W is separating from me and growing up is accelerating. I can feel it. D says she felt it start about this age with her son as well. It's all on track, I mean this is how it's supposed to happen. A normal part of growing up.

I was driving from work to pick him up from school yesterday and got all teary thinking about this, and how grateful I am to be here doing it. I'll have to think of this moment the next time he acts like a bratty tween and questions or want to change everything I ask him to do around the house...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


All of the sudden, my Etsy shop looks a little sparse. I'm planning on finishing several pieces, and making a few more. The photography is an important part of it, and I'm still looking for something simple that makes all of the pictures on the page "go together". For now, it's using a rough linen napkin near a bright window.

Here's my works in progress:

The wine education thingy last night was fun. I ended up being 45 minutes late because of a piece of equipment at work malfunctioned and I had to start from the beginning of the run. Erg.

I'm going to send the company an email on this, because with the older version of the equipment, we could stop the protocol and jump ahead to another step, easy peasy. With the new one, there is no provision for that and I think that's bogus. So when the little mechanical grabber grabbed my sample plate and couldn't put it down level where it was supposed to go, it just stopped. I opened the grabber and put the plate where it was supposed to go, but then the machine didn't know where the plate was.

I had it planned so that I'd have an hour to pick up the dog and get her fed and settled, and then plenty of time to change and get to my destination. This lab stuff is just like that. The samples had to be processed then, or we'd lose them. It all turned out fine, and I enjoyed the wine and catching up with friend D.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Folding laundry

Hmm, have I used this title for a post before? It's a recurring theme in my life. There is no shortage of clean clothing for myself or my child, but it often sits in baskets in the basement. The truth is, I don't like to fold laundry. I guess more accurately, the thought of spending my time folding laundry makes me slightly depressed, as though I must have so many other things to do besides this mundane task.

The folding itself is not a big deal, once I make the time and just do it. The dog schooches up to the head of the bed and I fold on it. Easy peasy to put my stuff away, and the kid's stuff goes in the empty basket, where it is delivered to his room and sits for a week is promptly put away by him.

Lately, I have been basket-raiding for clothing for about a week. I can tell it's getting bad because my dirty clothes hamper is full and I've got clothes piling on top. To what do I owe this semi-slovenly behavior?

Well, I've been out having fun.

I had a friend in for most of the weekend, and Monday is Spin class and late dinner and homework for Mr W. Yesterday I went to the dog park and the music jam, which was a lot of fun and I recognized a few of the songs even. Mr W was with his dad so I stayed for a couple of hours. Lots of fun. Then tonight, there's a social wine-education thing I signed up for, and good friend D is going, so I'm going to take Sal to doggie day care, skip Spin and do this.


No complaints, really. I mean that's been my goal with this social stuff. To have enough options that I can go and do it if I want, and I can stay home and chill if I want, too. So the laundry waits patiently. It'll all get done.

Finally, here's a picture of my tulips last week. They turned out lovely and since the weather's been a little cooler, they've held on for what feels like a long time. It fascinates me that the Anemone, in the upper left corner, blooms in the late summer, yet feels compelled to be one of the first things up in the spring. It gets pretty tall - about 5 feet - and I'll need to stake it better this year to show it off well. Such a treat when everything else is on its way out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A little help?

On the heels of selling not one but two bracelets in the last couple of days (thanks, you know who you are), I was going through my shiny bits of this and that and remembered that I have a bunch of old cuff links like in the photo (which are not mine, and come from this Ebay listing).

Can anyone offer advice as to what's the best way to make these flat on the back side? There are a couple of kinds here, and I've got a few of the snap cuff links as well. As an aside, those snap cuff links continue to be a very hot item on Ebay. They often sell in lots and will go for $2-$3 per face (with four faces per pair of cuff links - some are singles or half of a pair). Anyway, if you've got a drawer full, they'd sell on Ebay in a hurry.

While I'm at it, every time I look on Ebay for this kind of thing, old watches as well, I wonder about the supply. For my purposes, is it practically infinite? It seems that way. One could figure that every adult in the US, during the time people used mechanical watches, had at least one. Even when they stopped working, people (it seems to me) usually put them in a drawer instead of just throwing them away. As for cuff links, men and women would have several pairs.

Anyway, if we call the bottom row Row 1, I've got both kinds shown in Row 2. The kind with the stem, and the kind with the little hinge. Many of the ones with the hinges especially are the right size for use in the bracelets, and I've been sitting on them waiting for them to alter themselves with no luck. I do have a chordless drill that I could attach a cutting wheel to, but I would need to buy a vise, which I could do. Holding the piece with a pair of pliers quickly became NOT the way to do it. No finger slicing, please.

So if you've got two cents to throw in, please do. I'd like to incorporate these shiny bits into the bracelets.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A good weekend

It was a busy and good weekend. A friend (someone I used to date) was in town and it was great to catch up with him. Funny how things were really familiar and comfortable, yet placed into a different context now that we aren't dating. He travels extensively for work, and I worry about the toll it takes on him, despite doing a job that he loves. I'm all "well, you could try this", "take a class" "get an ap to get organized for the writing you have to do" blah, blah, blah. I feel like I'm all advice sometimes. It's more important to accept people for who they are.

He commented at one point that I seem content. I would have to agree, although there is an internal dialog about the partner search that dribbles on, and it sometimes gets kind of loud in my thoughts. It's clearer than ever to me that taking up the banjo and starting to make bracelets were/are an outlet for some of the mental/emotional energy I was devoting to finding Mr. Right-for-me. It's a wise use of free time.

Speaking of the banjo, he was gracious enough to come with me to a special jam that was going on with the usual Tuesday night folks, in honor of a music festival downtown. There were only six of us - three fiddles and three banjos, and it was a lot of fun to play in a little more relaxed (and slightly slower paced) environment. I bought a finger pick for my right index finger, and tried that out. I really like it, I don't have to strum so hard. More importantly, though, because the nail on that finger has never responded well to being used so much when I play banjo, using the pick might let it grow out a bit. I might get a thumb pick while I'm at it, we'll see.

And finally, I sold another bracelet from the Etsy shop. Wahoo! I've been spending some money on Facebook advertising, and someone who saw my ad ended up buying a bracelet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Please curb your enthusiasm

I'm in the process of switching dry dog food for Sally. I did some research, and switched to a Diamond brand for large breeds. It's not that much more expensive than the Iams I was buying, and it got good reviews. Plus I can patronize the local feed store, which I like to do when I can.

I've been mixing about half and half for the last three mornings, and she's tolerating it well. Tolerating it well may be a bit of an understatement. When I was pouring the food into the plastic bin in the kitchen (still have to buy another bin to put the rest of the stuff in to store in the basement), she was right there, trying to gobble it up as it poured.

This morning, I woke up around 4 am to the sounds of her pacing outside my door. She sleeps in the living room because I'm such a light sleeper and she grumbles and shifts a lot. I called out for her to go lay down, which she did. From this I can only conclude that she wasn't in urgent need of going outside for a potty break, and wanted to get more of the yummy new food.

I got up at my regular time, and I'd like to report that at this moment, she is sleeping on my bed with a full tummy. Maybe I should call home a few times today to wake HER up out of a sound sleep...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Passing it along

Have you heard of Pinterest? It's a little hard to explain, but it lets people organize and share images from the web. I like that the link to the original post stays with the image, so it's easy to find out who originally posted the image. One of the measures of success, I think, is to see if anyone shares, or "repins" your images (called pins).

My SIL is on Pinterest, and I thought I'd join to see if I could drum up bracelet business. I saw other images I thought were interesting (I think that's how it's supposed to work...) so I posted those as well. Here's one I found in one of my favorite blogs, from Today's Document, done by the National Archives:

The caption reads: "Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company. View of row of operators. View of chairs showing type of chairs used by telephone company. 04/07/1927"

As of this morning, it's been repinned 86 times. It's so interesting to me what appeals to people. Why this photo? I think vintage and retro are inherently appealing, so maybe that's it. And maybe because it shows women working (all with their cute short hair styles) and that makes us feel good too. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm OK

An appointment yesterday to get one last screening concluded a couple of months of checks, rechecks, biopsies, discomfort and waiting. All done, and I am OK on all fronts. I seem to have scheduled most of my annual checks and screenings to happen in the spring, so it's all lumped together.

A couple of thoughts I have about this are the following. First, I am very thankful that I have health insurance that allows me to get the care and not break the bank. If you're new to reading this blog, my sister and my mom both died young of cancer, and I'd like to beat that trend. You can search "Sister Kris" or "Cancer" in the labels to read about that. I'm trying to eat right, exercise and not hold onto too much stress so that I feel like I'm doing what I can to lower my risk. After that, it's fate and I do rest a little better knowing I've done what I can do.

The other thought is that this is how it's going to be. I'm not a hypochondriac, but when I get a twinge, I often think, "Is that something?" And then it's gone and I forget about it. When I go in for the various screenings appropriate for a mid-40's year old woman, I think to myself, "What if they find something? What will I do?" And so I worry some. I realized that, given my family history, every screen will present some kind of hurdle to cross, some kind of test to pass in order to continue. I have gotten a lot better at realizing that not knowing means that I just don't know. As in, I don't know whether it merits worrying or not, so by golly I'm going to whoop it up while I'm waiting. And if I don't whoop it up, then I'll get on with the business of living.

After yesterday's recheck that ended with, "Come back in a year", I walked out to my car, and thought, "I'm OK. I am OK". It was a big relief, although the bar wasn't set very high. It is as thought I've been granted permission to continue and I want to make the most of that.

In other news, it's raining! This actually is news around here. March was so very dry. It's kind of novel, and it's that warm spring rain that smells good and will green things up even more than they were before.

Lastly, here's my tulips yesterday. They weren't all white (that's good) and I really like the pink one in the upper right corner.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Roots and wings

Well, it doesn't look like Mr W's computer is going to be easily fixable. I took it to Best Buy and they said these kinds of repairs start at about $150 and then there's no guarantee that the motherboard and rest of it still work. $150 is halfway to a new computer, so I'm going to budget money to buy a new one, and Mr W is going to kick in a third.


Oh, you were asking about the warranty. I did buy a warranty, one with a fancy-sounding name like Square Trade Warranty, I think. That lulled me into thinking (it really did, my mistake on this) that it was a full coverage warranty for things like accidents, which I had with my first computer. The juice box warranty. I'll be sure to get the juice box warranty for the next one, and Mr W won't be having beverages near the computer any more. It was an accident, so we'll press on.

We've had a long-standing tradition of me reading stories to Mr W as part of our bedtime routine. It's been one of my favorite mom duties. Yesterday, Mr W asked, "If we don't do stories, can I go to bed a little later?" (Sniff) "Um, sure. You don't want to do stories anymore?" I knew this was coming, and he sees it as part of growing up. "No, not anymore. I'm eleven, you know." Yes, I know. So just like that we've left a vestige of childhood behind. I still tuck him in, though. I think he's letting me do that to make me feel better about the stories thing. He said, "You're still my favorite person ever, Mom." "Back atcha" I said. As the saying goes, as parents we give them roots and wings, right?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Highs and lows

We had a lot of fun yesterday. Mr W liked having to hunt around for his Easter candy. We went to church, and then, as is our Sunday tradition, went to get bagels. The bagel store has a gum ball machine and if you get a green gum ball, you get a free half dozen bagels. We try every week with one quarter to get a green gum ball, but it's been a while since Mr's W's gotten one. Yesterday, I had already given him one quarter and he got a gum ball (blue) and we were waiting for the bagels and talking about how long it had been. A couple near us was also waiting, and the woman walked over, put her quarter in and got a green one. We applauded, and chatted about how long it had been since Mr W had gotten one. The guy of the couple walks over with a few quarters, puts in two, gets another green gum ball, and gives it to Mr W. "Wow, that was lucky, Mom".

We had a really nice time at the gaming group get together. I played Dominion, which I had played before  but now feel more competent at. Mr W played a game called Munchkins, which was a card game and he loved it. I think it was the right combination of swords, mythical creatures and fart jokes that was right up his alley.

And the weather was perfect yesterday. Classic spring. We took Sally to the dog park after the gaming thing, and that was fun. Mr W runs around as much as the dog it seems.

Then Mr W was playing on his computer and spilled a glass of water on his laptop keyboard. He was distraught. I freaked out, and he did the right thing by tipping it so the water would run off, we powered it down, toweled it off, but the keyboard is wonky this morning. I'll take it in to see if someone at Best Buy can fix it, but it might be toast. Actually, it boots up fine, but the keyboard is the problem. Arggg. As I keep telling myself and him, it's not like anyone's sick. The computer is a thing that can be replaced. As a mom, though, I wish I could take some of his anguish away.

In other news, the person I was in the long distance relationship with a couple of years ago is working in CO this week and we're getting together for a visit this weekend. There's a music festival downtown to go to, and it'll be nice to catch up with him.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hey! Is that the Easter bunny?

Sometimes, when Sally's excitedly barking at another dog being walked and I go out there, say, to take a picture of my third raised bed, she tears around the yard a bit. Or maybe that's the Easter bunny, it's hard to tell.

Mr W helped me shovel the soil out of the truck and later commented that he felt pleased (or the 11 year old equivalent) to have helped build it. The design is an experiment. I had the landscape timbers from a year or two ago, and have just stacked them in three courses. I then had 3' pieces of rebar that we pounded in to hold the timbers in place. Using the longer pieces of rebar helps make an easy dog fence, we'll see how good that holds when there's strawberries in there. Sally may not be able to contain herself. 

I still have to cut the soaker hose and attach the fittings so the irrigation goes from the bed on the right to the new bed. Probably today, but still not a huge hurry here on April 8th. 

Happy Easter, all. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Getting it right

Being that some holidays are celebrated with just Mr W and myself, I think it's understandable that I have shifted (a lot) from the traditional ways we celebrated when I was a kid. Of course, if we're traveling and are with family, we do go old school on the holiday. There are some holidays when I'm (sniff) by myself, but have always had the opportunity to attend someone else's celebration as a holiday orphan. I think taking someone in like that shows the best of holiday spirit.

Last year I had Mr W for Easter. I imagine I posted about it, but can't remember what I'd file it under, so I'm not giving the link. Since we didn't talk about it, neither of us knew that I assumed he didn't want to have an Easter basket, and he assumed that of course I'd make him an Easter basket. Oops. He was truly upset, in the way that a kid who puts up with a lot of untraditional holiday stuff but for cryin' out loud some things are just a GIVEN, could reasonably feel.

So this year, I'm on it. Now, I COULD have just bought candy and placed it in a basket, and put it on the table for Mr W to find. How boring. In the spirit of.... of...., well, in the spirit of us both having a little bit of fun with it, I saved a bunch of those plastic eggs from some previous Easter. I'm glad I saved them and will get to reuse them. I've filled about 20 with a couple of kinds of candy and will hide them in dog-proof places around the house. One of the eggs will contain instructions for him to find the one item he specifically requested, a big chocolate bunny, which will also be hidden somewhere. Yea! I've been excited about this for about a week. I'll be redeemed as a holiday provider.

In the afternoon, we're getting together with a gaming group made up of folks from church. How cool is this: the other day I emailed my former advisor from school, who is also a good friend and goes to my church, and asked if she wanted to go out for a cocktail after work. She couldn't because her daughter had a friend over, but invited me over there and I went. It was great to catch up with her and her husband, and they mentioned they were in this gaming group. I got an invite, and they do something most Sundays, so we're heading over there for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I've wanted to socialize more with people from church, but the family stuff seems to be couply stuff, so I haven't done much there. This will be a little different setting and I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Since when

I really enjoyed the concert last night. Bela Fleck played with the original lineup of the Flecktones and I was very impressed at how strong each musician was. All of them went all over the place with their instruments.

I went by myself to this, because I bought the ticket last minute and didn't bother making arrangements to find someone to go with. That's all well and good; I don't mind going to stuff by myself. But it seems people these days don't just go to a concert, sit down and enjoy the show.

The announcer came out right when the show was scheduled to start to introduce the band. Then another 10 minutes or so passed before they started. No big deal. What I was amazed at was the number of people who didn't take their seats by the time the band started. So it's dark and then people have to get up to let the late people in to get to their seats. Not to mention just being a distraction for the rest of the audience. Since when did it become OK to do this?

"No flash photography and no videos, please". Well, the two tipsy gals that sat next to me didn't hear that announcement because they were late getting to their seats. Of course they had to text or otherwise announce to the world that they have reached their destination, so they've got their cell phones out. Then she shoots some video. At another point, she wanted to take a picture, and the phone's camera loads up its flash. You know how that is, a bright light shining in the darkness. She gasps and hides the camera in her skirt, giggling. I later heard her say, "I'm not sure I'm going to be able to drive home". Ah, that explains a lot.

I felt like such a curmudgeon. Am I too easily distracted? Is it too much to ask that people who attend a concert sit down and listen to the concert? Sheesh. As a friend used to say, "You're not in your living room" meaning, there's (rightfully) different rules when you're out at a public venue. This wasn't enough to make me stop going to these kinds of things, but I feel like I need to start working on a polite way to say "Shut up and settle down!".

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Impulse purchase

Banjo legend Bela Fleck is playing in Fort Collins tonight. We were talking about this when I was over at my banjo instructor's house last Saturday playing music. I confess I'm not familiar with his work, but I know that he is an innovator and has been around for a while. I downloaded their current album this morning. :-)

When I got home that night, I went to the website to see if there were tickets left and it looked to me like there was but one left. Taking that as a sign, I bought it. Impulse purchase. Money's always a little tight for this kind of thing, but I figure it'll be worth it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

These are not my tulips

Spring's pretty far along here, as everywhere in the country it seems. I cleaned out this bed on Saturday, and am still very happy with what's in there. I'll have to divide the iris again next year. They're so hardy, it's too bad I can't replace my grass with them. In this bed, different plants are dominant at different times of the season, just like in a real garden bed. It just sort of worked out that way, I can't really take much credit for it. But I do like the look. This bed is right outside my back door, so I see its progress daily.

Anyway, the tulips. Those aren't my tulips.

I have this thing against white flowers. At first it wasn't conscious, but after a few years of gardening and not considering white a color, I see that I don't have any white flowers in my garden. Seems to me that if a flower comes in a color, I'll favor that instead of white. There's a house up the street that had a nice little bunch of tulips in red, orange and purple, and I think that's what I was going for when I bought bulbs last year.

As you can see, the first ones to pop are white. They're a little washed out in this picture, as they are really a cream color, but they still count as white in my gardening mindset. I cannot believe that I chose these. Anything's possible, of course, but especially in the spring, I want a vibrant pop of color. The best I can figure is that they got mixed up at the nursery where I bought them. I don't have the time or energy to dig them up and return them, and will enjoy them just about as much as ones with bright colors. I'll take another picture when the rest pop to see what color scheme is actually planted there.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wingin' it

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my search for a short sleeved summer sweater with an open stitch pattern. It's one of those things that I thought there must be a bunch of patterns out there on Ravelry. But nothing was quite right. The ones I thought I could adapt were written to start from the bottom up. I don't like the inflexibility of doing it that way. I want to be able to try the thing on and see how it drapes and add more to the length if necessary, so I like to make my sweaters top-down.

For that matter, that whole seaming thing doesn't work for me either. :-) Making the thing in pieces, and then mattress-stitching them together at the end. Forget it! I think it's a matter of how people were taught, but the top-down raglan sleeve increase make sense to me. You cast on a number of stitches, place eight markers, and do regular increases at those markers. Eventually you have enough stitches and the thing is long enough that you put the live stitches for the sleeves on scrap yarn and continue to knit the body of the thing.

I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so I am winging this one and we'll see how this goes. I cast on 72 stitches after I found a sort of similar pattern (The Loose Knit Cardi from Classic Elite), and am working a six row repeat pattern of :

1. Knit with triple wrapped stitches
2. Knit, picking up one of the wraps and letting the others fall (this creates the drop stitch look)
3. Knit, increasing one at markers (knit f/b)
4. Knit
5. Knit, increasing one at markers (knit f/b)*
6. Knit

After I divide off for the sleeves, I won't do any more increases. This makes it so I am doing the increases at the same side of the marker each time (I think - with the garter stitch, it's not easy to see the increases, which I guess is a good thing). I'm not going to have the same number of stitches as the pattern, but am hoping that once the thing is long enough, there will be enough stitches to have real sleeves. As I said, I'm winging it, so it's an experiment. I've already ripped back a couple of times, as the drop stitch pattern leaves a gap if I want to put a button band or attached I-cord in later. So I'm knitting the first stitch of the triple-wrapped rows with a regular (single wrapped) stitch. It'll go fast enough that if it doesn't work, it's not a big deal, but if it does I'll have a nice sweater for summer.

Edit: 4-3-12. I am increasing on either side of each marker for the second increase after the first two rounds. I should also mention that I K three rows to start before doing the dropped stitch row.