Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yeah, My Back Yard!

OK, after all that drought we had all that rain. We haven't had the flooding that's devastated so much of our state (and Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, points south) but from a plain of flat violet leaves gasping on the ground I now have THIS, with every example of foliage restored to uncommon health. The first is my wonderful Damper Bug, a clever sculpture made from a damper cover, shears blades for legs and a great industrial spring tail; it's the work of our own Dr. Evermore, a local hero-artist. The right is my lovely little Council Fire, one of those little ornamental fire pits. I use it for ceremonial purposes (Mr. Dearling means to toast weinies there - I guess that's OK too.)
If it all looks very jungle-y, it is. Solid violets and lots of Creeping Charlie, and I love it. You can't see it here, but there are several large trees at the back protecting my tiny wildflower garden of trillium, jack-in-the-pulpits, lilies-of-the-valley, columbine, ferns....and next to the garage, day lilies. Mr. Dearling approves (he's not fond of mowing, and I don't allow any such acting back there). Uhm...there is one little problem: I have to keep being sure to drain the fire bowl because (and this was just on the news) along with the benefits and problems brought by the deluges of the last days, we are now experiencing the beginning of a mammoth infestation of mosquitos, which have been lying dry and dormant, planning their wicked attacks, observing the comings-and-goings of their targets (that would be ME) and cackling to themselves. All the jokes about mosquitos being our State Bird become very UNfunny after battling them off and staggering in the back door, all but drained bloodless on the 20-foot dash from the garage.
On the knitting front, although it poured rain Monday morning there was sunshine by the time Lovely Daughter and I finished our wonderful smoked-whitefish-wild-rice lunch, so I asked her opinion of my two skeins of French Bleu (same color, different dye lots). She thought they were close enough (for government work) and to go with it. So I thought I'd head to my LYS and get a second, and perhaps professional, opinion.
LYS: The Sow's Ear. WELL! I hadn't been there for a while, and in the interim, they expanded! Also, my favorite former-proprietress was there, so I borrowed her expert eyes. She looked at my two skeins and said "Well.....yeah, there is a slight difference." Her recommendation? Alternate rows between the skeins. (!!!) Or do half from one skein, half from the other; as it's stuffed inside itself, that should be OK. Well, I'm not alternating rows, that sounds like waaaaay too much work to me. I may do the half-and-half, that sounds like a fair idea. She also suggested putting a stripe of another color in the middle, which would separate the blues and the difference wouldn't be evident. HOWEVER! These are "authentic to the 18th century", and the voyageurs didn't have stripes. Might've liked them, but nope. So I think after all that information gathering, I may just do the usual: knit up the toque from one skein, use the other for the last bit (they take just over one skein) and rationalize it.
Of course, I DID look for matching skeins of the blue, new ones, but ironically they had nothing that could be described as "French Bleu", at least not in the Cascade 220. HOWEVER!! Did I enjoy a couple of hours' knitting, a delicious smoothie, and then go home without buying anything? I did NOT. (Could you have? I mean, really?) Remember I said "expanded"?

Well, here's what I did get: 4 skeins of Wisdom Yarns "Poems" in a variegated sand-through-brown; it's deliciously soft, and 2 skeins of Rowan Yarns "Tapestry" in variegated sand-through-sage sort of colorway. The first is 100% wool; the second is 70%wool and 30% soy. "What are you going to make outta those, Dale-Harriet?" (You sound like Mr. Dearling.) Well...hmmm. A neckwarmer, perhaps - small shawl - can't say as I know for sure. But they're so BEAUTIFUL! Oh, and they know have shelves of Noro Kureyon, I'm doomed.
I started the baby throw again - tore it out again - and now I'm working along and think I'll just continue. I'm using the K2 - K in back of next stitch - purl pattern which we were given by the Yarn Harlot a while back. I've made one luscious muffler in that pattern, actually started another, and it makes a nice pattern, nice thickness, and as I'm a simple knitter it's diverse enough to keep me interested bugt simple enough that I don't have to refer to a pattern. The truth is, I do enjoy make simple lace patterns &c but I'm very content knitting my plain ol' knitted toques. "Movie knitting" -- between the increases at one end and decreases at the other, I don't have to watch. And if I'm at home - that is, away from the 18th century, I shamelessly use a circular needle. Recently watched "Bridge to Terabithia" and "The Last Mimsy" and enjoyed both. I like that sort of movie. In fact, we watched "Pan's Labyrinth" last week, and I liked it very much. I hear that they're making a movie of "Golden Compass" - that trilogy is one of my all-time favorite reads, but I don't know if I'll be seeing the movie. I thought "Harry Potter" worked pretty well, but my images of Golden Compass are pretty distinct.
Off to wind the French Bleu. I think Lilliane is still asleep, I should work fast. Nothing like an intrigued cat sitting next to the swift.......

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