March Garden Update

April 24, 2013

 

I am a bit behind on my posts. In preparing to do an April garden update, I realized I missed March!

March came in like a lamb that hung around for about a day, then immediately turned lion-like. We had several strange snow events, where it snowed for 12 and 15 hours but accumulated next to nothing. As it snowed, the daffodils began to appear.

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The witch hazels kept on blooming, right through until almost the end of March. We had almost two full months of blooms from this!

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And the daffodils began to appear in force:

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Sometimes they were mixed in with the crocus:

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In some places, there were more crocus than daffodils:

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The hellabore by the front step began to open up:

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By the end of the month, more daffodils, a foreshadowing of what was coming:

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We varied all that yellow with some pansies:

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And hiding in the back near the new raised rock wall was this demure clump of crocus:

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By the beginning of April, the bulbs had completely taken over the gardens! We had a bumper crop this year, but that will wait until April’s garden update!

 


Spring Daffodils

April 24, 2013

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;”

daffodil 10

We had a  bumper crop of daffodils this year. At one point, the front garden was a perfect Disneyland of Daffodils and I sent e-mail messages to local friends, telling them to stop at the house and see the blooms before they vanished. The ones in the photo here are the little Tete-a-tete minis, which I love.

And in honor of the daffodils, what could be better than Daffodil Socks?

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These were based on a pair of baby socks I found featured on the Web. I e-mailed the designer to see if it was okay to link to her post, but did not get an answer. However, they turn up readily enough if you google “daffodil socks.”

I made some substantial changes to the original, other than the size. After casting on 60 stitches with a picot cast on, I knitted the leg in a knit two, purl one rib to give it more definition. I made the purl rolls at the ankle 4 rows, three of all knit, and then 5 purl rows. I think I would do these slightly broader next time, as they did not roll quite large enough. I also did the heel flap and the top of the foot in knit 2, purl 1 because I like a snug fitting sock.

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They suited the day perfectly.

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I love the picot cast on. I have now starting using this quite a bit, for both cast on and cast off.

daffodil 01

The yarn is Sirdar’s Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk in “Litte Chick.” Two balls; there is 184 yards per ball.

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“For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

 


Wisterial Arbor Shawl

April 1, 2013

 

I am, admittedly, somewhat an indifferent knitter. I don’t do swatches. I go through spurts of what interests me. I admired lace knitting but never thought I would try it. Needles too small, too fiddly. Learning disability, can’t read charts and a narrative pattern was too complicated to follow.

Then I knit the little Forester cap discussed in an earlier post. It was an easy chart to follow and I was pleased with the results, so I was emboldened to embark on something a step up. After sorting through patterns that made my head whirl with their apparent complexity, I found the Wisteria Arbor Shawl in the “Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders” book. The fact that it used U.S. #9 needles was a huge plus!

I had a skein of my own hand-dyed, handspun Romney set aside, waiting for the perfect pattern to come along and so launched into the world of lace knitting on a grander scale than the Forester cap. I must say that I am most happy with the results, given the occasional dropped stitch or other error:

WISTERIA SHAWL 01

This is an easy enough pattern, based on the Foaming Waves lace stitch. Four rows of knit stitch, then 8 more total — 4 of the pattern and 4 purl rows. Every 13th and 14th row, you cast on another 13 stitches and keep growing every level.

WISTERIA SHAWL 02

It came out a bit longer than taller and, as I’m short, makes the ends a bit flappy. I plan to make this pattern again and might add a couple of rows to each level to make it a bit longer. Or get to a certain length and just go up from there and not add the additional length.

WISTERIA SHAWL 03

In any event, I was pleased with the results, given my lack of experience with lace. I was pleased with the way the striping of the yarn turned out, as well!

WISTERIA SHAWL 04