Tuesday, June 19, 2018

If You Knit It...

... it grows.  Yeah, yeah, I know I said that I was going to be monogamous with this
Montparnasse Eco Cardi but I got lured into casting on that Blues Anklet the other night and then knitted the heel flap last night, but today when I got my chores done I plonked myself down on the couch, picked up the left front of the cardi and got knitting.  The great thing about this piece is that on every right side row you decrease one stitch.  That's what makes the nice even slant on the left side.  Unlike the sleeves which get wider by two stitches every four rows so the rows get longer and longer, these get shorter and shorter.  I like rows that get shorter.  The first time I made a triangular shawl I dug around until I found a crochet pattern that started with the long edge and decreased down to the point.  In my book shrinking is preferable to expanding--at least in yarn circles.

A gray bird has been visiting lately and I finally got a (blurry) picture of it this afternoon.  It's a gray catbird so called because one of its calls sounds like a cat's meow.  No, really.  And I swear that I caught sight of a hummingbird that whizzed to the nectar feeder, didn't really stop, and then zoomed off toward the honeysuckle but when I got up to see if it was buzzing around the flowers I didn't see it.



I planted pots of red, tubular flowers for them.  These on the old park bench in the corner are looking especially alluring, I think.  (And the mints that I pulled out of the garden edge to make room for herbs seem to like it just fine here.  Hopefully the mint will thrive, spread, and make like ground cover.) The rectangular planters on the edge of the patio are filling up with zinnias which the seed packet said that hummingbirds like although there're no flowers yet, and the pots on the other side of the patio by the fountain are all red and white and tubular too.  Hummingbirds, where are you?



I planted some snapdragons this year too and look at the color of this plant--deep red-violet with yellow.  Pretty.





 


The garden is growing well.  Look how tall the red-skinned potato plants are,

the butternut squash has gotten long enough for me to weave the end of the vine into the fence,




 



and the scallions and carrots are doing just fine.  Not as many scallion seeds germinated as I'd hoped but there are some so I'm happy.  The cherry tomato plant has some tiny tomatoes and the other plants have blossoms on them so Durwood should have some tomatoes in maybe a month and OJ will have tomatoes to pick for Baba.  He's looking forward to it.


June 19--Japan, Late 19th Century, Mail Runner or Postman with Irizumi Tattooing.  The substitute mailman had the whole town's tongues wagging.  He was tall, dark, and silent which wasn't a problem.  People in Streamwood were used to quiet people, especially men.  The mailman wore the summer uniform of shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.  It was the parts of him that showed below the shirt sleeves and the shorts that got the town talking.  He had tattoos.  Not just an anchor like Ed Wayne who'd been in the navy in WWII, not a heart with "Mom" across it on a ribbon like Marcus Greeley who everyone agreed had "mother issues" but tattoos that covered him like clothing.  "How long did something like that take?" people wondered aloud.  A few of them asked, "How much did it cost?" but no one had the nerve to ask.

Look at me, getting this blog post typed by 9 o'clock.  I guess getting over 9 hours of sleep last night was a good thing.  It probably helped that I didn't run myself ragged today either.  Maybe I'm turning into a grown-up after all.  Nah, probably not, probably just an aberration.
--Barbara

Monday, June 18, 2018

Dreary, Gray, and Humid

 





Not so hot today but the definition of oppressive.  It rained off and on but didn't storm like it did in other parts of the state.  When I swam out to get the newspaper this morning I was thrilled to see that two of Dad's rosebuds were opening and the yellow Asiatic lilies looked like a golden coronet.  Beautiful.








 
There's a pair of Downy Woodpeckers (this is the Mr.) that have claimed the double suet feeder.  They take turns coming for a snack and then fly off with a chunk in their beak for, I assume, their nestlings.





In the afternoon I witnessed a never-before-seen cooperative effort by our backyard denizens.  There was a sparrow on the feeder eating and dropping seeds and cracked corn onto the ground where a rabbit and a chipmunk coexisted in the process of cleaning up what got dropped.  Usually one chases the other away, they seem to take turns, but evidently they were all hungry enough that they just ate.



After supper I finished knitting the cuff of the Blues Anklet and then knitted an Eye of Partridge heel flap.  I tried to turn the heel once and ended up all cockeyed so I carefully tinked it back to the flap and will give it another go tomorrow.





June 18--Mary Cassatt, Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt and His Son, Robert Kelso Cassatt.  They sat together looking like Before and After examples of what life does to a man.  The son was rosy-cheeked, the father pale.  The son's hair lifted from his part and sprang up here and there while the father's hair lay limp on his scalp.  The father's body melted into the chair but the son could barely contain his energy long enough to pose.

I hope the sun shines tomorrow.  That is all.
--Barbara

Sunday, June 17, 2018

So Hot I Hid in the Basement

Hot and humid.  OMG, those two words barely cover how today felt and still feels for that matter.  I went out to unplug the fountain about half an hour ago and when I opened the patio door the outside air felt like a slap in the face with a wet heating pad.  Ack.  I ended up having to go out this morning for bananas, OJ, and jugs of Durwood's drinking water (he doesn't like the taste of our tap water) but I hurried home to cool off.

After lunch I went downstairs to almost finish cutting out the patterns I'd planned.  "Almost" because I forgot to cut out another placemat so if both LC and OJ are here they'll each have one.  I can get that cut out in a jiffy tomorrow, I have the fabric out and ready to be cut.  As long as I was down there I sorted dirty clothes and got the laundry done.

I cut out the map fabric/gray suiting Shirt no. 1, the natural heavy linen Pants no. 1 with side seam pockets, and the white and red print upholstery fabric Tunic no. 1.  Now I have a lovely pile of projects just waiting to be sewn up.  Which one to sew first?  Hmm, I'll have to see... a couple of them are clamoring in my mind to be first.



Once I had the cutting done and the last load in the dryer I gave in to temptation and cast on another cotton and elastic ankle sock.  I wore some on Thursday night and remembered why I like them so I had to cast one on.  Besides the Montparnasse Eco Cardi was the only thing I had On The Needles and it just felt wrong having only one thing going.  

June 17--Banasa, Morocco, Roman Period,  Head of Juno.  I ran my fingers ever so lightly across her cheek.  It felt cool to my touch but so smooth, like silk.  Her hair flowed away from her face like waves away from shore.  Her lips curved in a small smile and I expected her to speak but she kept her counsel.  Her steady gaze asked questions the answers to which made me squirm, but she never blinked, never spoke.  Her cold marble never warmed with the heat of life and I stood before her sorry that she would be forever silent.

Holy bejeebers it's hot.  I stayed up too late last night and got up too early this morning so I'm going to slap a couple photos on here, run spellcheck, post this, and go to bed.  *yawn*  G'night.
--Barbara

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Cut It Out

That's what I did all afternoon.  This morning I made Grand Errand Rounds -- Pick 'n Save for Kingsford charcoal (15# bags for $3.77 x 5; there was a coupon), Meijer for grapes, sweet corn, & hazelnut decaf, Shopko for potting soil, and ALDI for a fresh pineapple and 3-8 oz. packages of mushrooms. (and I barely got a mile from home in any direction; I love my neighborhood)  Got the charcoal because I'm addicted to grilling, got the grapes and corn because Durwood loves them, the decaf is for me as is the pineapple, potting soil to transplant the lantana into a hanging pot brought to Friday Night Knitting by N&GS because she read it in my blog post (thanks a million, NS!), and the mushrooms to slice, saute, and freeze.  Durwood started doing that years ago and it's the most convenient thing you could imagine.  We go all the way and cook each 8 oz. package in its very own Tablespoon of butter, freeze each half-pound in a square plastic box, and then vacuum seal each one for the freezer.  It's so handy to nip down to the freezer for some mushrooms to doctor up a bland recipe.  While I was downstairs cutting fabric after lunch, Durwood's job was to wash and slice the 'shrooms.  After supper I sauteed them and got them into the freezer.  We're a team like that.

Oh, and sweet corn.  Mmm.




Fabric.  Yes, I had a wonderful time cutting this afternoon even though a couple hours spent hunched over the cutting table gives me a lovely backache.  In the photo the brown linens on the top left (dark with dots for the front and the cocoa for the back) and the white cotton pique with orange & red flowers are destined to be Shirts no. 1, a simple shape with small cap sleeves.  The brown & orange stripe and the red with giant fish print are going to be Dresses no. 1, the sleeveless jumper with patch pockets that I've made so many of in the last year.  And the white polyester silk with the watercolor fish is a hybrid of the two.  I wanted something with sleeves but not sleeve sleeves, you know, cut separately and sewn on, and I also thought that the fabric would make a nice summer dress-ish garment so I pinned the Shirt no. 1 pattern piece on and then slid the Dress no. 1 pattern piece around until I thought they fitted together like a dress is supposed to... oh, and I also cut out pockets to sew into the side seams rather than the usual patch pockets.  Tomorrow I plan to cut out a pair of Pants no. 1 and a Tunic no. 1 that I'll adjust the neckline on so it's not too wide, and another Shirt no. 1 since I found this oddball map fabric in a bin downstairs that's probably meant to be lining fabric and some gray polyester suiting that'll be good for the back piece since I don't have enough of the map fabric for a whole garment and the suiting'll give the flimsy front fabric something to hold onto.  I don't know what alchemy Sonya Phillip imbues her 100 Acts of Sewing patterns with but I have never in all my life been this brave cobbling together fabrics and patterns and adjusting things on a whim.  Who am I?  BTW, I thought long and hard about making a dress out of the bright red big fish fabric.  It's outdoor fabric so it's a little stiff for a garment and I suspect I might look like I escaped from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta but I can't resist making it and wearing it.  If people don't like it, they can look away.

June 16--Robert Delaunay, The Cardiff Team.  The Ferris wheel was in flames.  It still turned, bright against the night sky like a baton twirler's trick.  Caleb stood staring, wondering how something made mostly of metal could burn.  The amusement park was quiet except for the hum of the wheel's engine and the laughter of the fire as it consumed the circular metal ride.

Hm, kinda creepy but I like it.  Too bad I fell asleep before the story got any further.  One of these days when I'm resting I'll have to gather up all these interesting story starts and see if I can't do something with them.  Time to hit the sack.
--Barbara

Friday, June 15, 2018

Rain, Rain...

It rained most of the day, light rain in the morning, heavier rain in the afternoon, and a real thunderstorm tonight.  Naturally I watered all my flowers this morning so they got extra drinks all day.  I don't mind.  I've noticed that no matter how much "hose water" I pour on plants they grow better with rain water.

I noticed this morning that the spiderwort is blooming.  I found this perennial years ago and was instantly smitten when I read on the tag "thrives with poor soil and neglect."  My kind of plant.







I am entranced by the red-skinned potato plants.  Every day they're a bit bigger and have more leaves.  The sweet potato that's sharing the bale has opened a few new leaves but doesn't seem to be growing by leaps and bounds.










 


The peony buds opened and probably got beaten to a pulp by tonight's hard rain.


At Friday Night Knitting I cast on for the left front of the Montparnasse Eco Cardi.  I know this looks like nothing more than a black worm but it's about 1 1/2 inches of sweater front in a lovely dark brown.  Really.

I didn't write the prompt last night.  I was too tired from spending the evening out on the river in the sun and wind so I just turned off the light and went to sleep.  I think I might do the same tonight.  It's supposed to be in the 90s this weekend.  Makes me think that my plan to spend the weekend downstairs cutting out fabric is genius.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cruising Down the River...

... only we cruised up the river tonight.  The Bay Lakes Knitting Guild's annual picnic morphed into a dinner cruise on the River Tyme riverboat that docks in DePere, about 5 miles south of Green Bay.  It was the perfect evening, warm and sunny without a lot of wind.  A local restaurant catered the meal.  I ordered the chicken breast and penne with red pepper cream sauce; it was very good.  There were 3 choices and everyone seemed to enjoy their meal.  After finishing dinner some of us went up onto the top deck to watch the houses where the rich folk live go by and enjoy the glorious evening.  I could do that again.








 

I took my cardi sleeve along and knitted the last five rows while watching the shore go by.  All I had to do once I got home was cast off.  I'll cast on a front tomorrow night at Friday Night Knitting.



This afternoon I finished the pumpkin linen Dress no. 2 and instead of putting self pockets on I dug out a remnant of print linen that has orange and purple flower blobs on it and used that.  I like it.  I'm very sad that I didn't buy more than a yard of any of the print linen fabrics I have in the bin.  I bought them intending to make project bags, not garments so I guess I can't berate myself too much.  I miss Hancock Fabrics.  They had better clothing fabrics to choose from but it's no use crying over long-closed stores.  I'll just have to be content with my stockpile of fabric and get on with cutting and sewing.  This dress was the last of my last cutting weekend so this weekend I get to cut more.  Goodie.  Besides it's got 3/4 length sleeves so it's too warm to wear now.  I need something summery.



Eagle-eyed Durwood spotted this hummingbird at the feeder today.  It's a female and she didn't stay long but I managed to snap this one picture.






I planted my butterfly weed and lantana today.  I put the 3 butterfly weed plants (one of which is that rosemary looking plant in the lower left next to the recovering blueberry) in the fenced enclosure with the blueberries and put the lantana in a pot.  I wanted to put it in a hanging pot but don't have one so I'll have to see if I can't pick one up over the weekend and I need some more potting soil too.  I know you don't need to know that last part but if I type it here I have a better chance of remembering to get some.

We have baby tomatoes!  Look!  These are on the thank-you plant my knitting friend FW sent after I bequeathed her my tomato cages.  Durwood can't wait.


June 14--John Singer Sargent, Two Girls with Parasols.  Jesamin and Avery walked along with their arms linked, each of them carrying a frilly parasol in their other hand.  Neither of them wanted to open her parasol because the other girl would get poked by the ribs or get her hair disarranged or her hat knocked askew.  So they walked along talking, totally unaware of the disapproving looks of the matrons they passed because the sun touched their faces.

Not one of my best efforts but I'm just glad that I write at all.  Time to hit the hay.  I've had a busy day.
--Barbara

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Get Thee Behind Me, Stein's

On Wednesday morning the newspaper has a full complement of ads.  All the food stores but one start their weekly specials on Wednesday.  A few of the random furniture stores join in, maybe Ace Hardware, a Dollar General, and, most dangerous of all for me, Stein's Garden & Gifts.  In the lower right corner of the front page of the Stein's ad are two coupons for two different plants for less than $3 each.  When the weather was crummy in early May I could easily ignore them because it was too chilly to plant tender annuals outside.  Now that it's warm and sunny and not down to freezing at night I can't resist.  Two weeks ago the coupons were for a geranium and Shasta daisy.  They were out of geraniums but I got a daisy plant that I put on the west side of the house.  Last week the plants were chrysanthemums and a perennial purple salvia.  I planted the mum against the front of the house where all the other mums are and I gouged out a place in the mixed gravel and dirt up on the retaining wall for the perennial salvia.  This morning when I saw the coupons I knew I was a goner--lantana and butterfly weed.  I love lantana.  My Grandma Angermeier planted lantana and I've always loved the clusters of tiny flowers in red, orange, and yellow and, better yet, hummingbirds love them too.  And one of the reasons I won't let the lawn service put pesticide or herbicide on the lawn (all weeds are thriving, thanks) is so that the caterpillars and butterflies come--so butterfly weed was a no-brainer.  I left early for my haircut appointment so I could stop at Stein's to redeem my coupons, then I was way early so I went a mile or so farther to the east side Stein's and bought two more butterfly weed plants.  Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow.  Now I just have to figure out where to plant them.



Yesterday I spent a few minutes packaging up the rest of the chicken burrito parts into nine happy little burritos that I wrapped (in clear plastic wrap so as not to confuse them with the pink-wrapped breakfast burritos), froze, and bagged to have on hand for days when I want something different for lunch.  





Poppies.  What can I say?  They bloom for such a short time and who knew that red-orange and deep purple went together in such a compelling way.







I'm happy to see that the sole remaining Asiatic Lily is blooming.  I'd like to have words with the rabbit or rabbits that dined on the rest of them.  *taps toe angrily*  And there are at least 20 buds on Dad's rose.  Pretty soon there'll be a raft of deep red roses that smell like all roses wish they do.  Can't wait.







 
Tonight I tried to lure back my knitting mojo.  I got the last stitches increased on sleeve #2 and have five more rows to add before binding off and deciding whether to start the back or one of the fronts.  Maybe a front...  It might be more productive to knit all of the smaller pieces so that knitting the largest piece, the back piece feels like it's the home stretch instead of the start of a long slog.

June 13--Edward Hicks, Peaceable Kingdom.  The children lay among the animals, tucked against the leopard with one eye and the toothless lion.  Their parents never worried about them.  They knew that the stock treated Matthew and Emilia like they were their own and, in a sense, they were.  While their parents were performing they left the children in the menagerie.  Emilia lay between Leo's great paws playing with her doll and sometimes she painted the lion's claws a pale pink.  She had trained him to extend his claws so she could give him a manicure.

I got a haircut this morning and I feel like every tiny hair schnipple is digging its way under the skin of my back.  It's too late to take a shower and I'm running the dishwasher so there isn't enough hot water anyway but you'd better bet I'll be in that shower nice and early tomorrow.  Sayonara.
--Barbara