It may still be winter, but signs of spring have begun – crocuses are blooming and hummingbirds chitter in the lilac. Birds of all sizes have been enjoying the bird feeder, so I made some nut, seed, and fruit suet cakes for them.
I also got the bee house filled. Hopefully the bees find it attractive!
What does one do, when faced with the goal of Knitting From Stash (specifically: rotate the stock / use up old yarn) and one quickly finds that the stash contains an alarming quantity of small skeins, early purchases of sock yarn that did not take into account that most people have two feet, and would thus like two socks roughly similar in appearance and size?
One gets inventive, that’s what. One also dismisses such theories as matching colors, and instead goes with the ever-popular notion that if a little is good, more is better.
Enter two, 50-gram skeins of sock yarn, both the same brand but wildly different in colorways. One self striping, one is variegated. Add a fearless knitter who figures socks and hats can be as quirky as one wants. Ignore initial misgivings that one has made a terrible mistake. Knit on. Pay no attention to skeptical glances from lap cat.
And be pleasantly surprised that once one gets over the searing brightness of clown puke and unicorn farts, somehow the two skeins have begun to work with each other. A pattern develops, a harmony of sorts. One might still require sunglasses to gaze upon the Sock of Many Colors, but one needs some new sunglasses anyway.
Friday evening I finished my Eco Vest. It’s blocking right now, and a picture just wouldn’t do it justice so you’ll have to wait until it’s dried and I can get an “action shot”. I did modify the pattern slightly, after much browsing of the Ravelry; I did the garter stitch bottom edge last instead of first so that it would go under the front band as well, I reduced a couple stitches at the underarms, and I did no further knitting on the armhole openings (the pattern has you add a few rounds).
And yesterday was a finishing extravaganza fest. I had a stack of knit items that needed ends woven in, and a friend hosted a crafting day at her house so I packed them all up and took care of those pesky yarn ends.
Those came from a stack of scrap squares and three pairs of fingerless mitts.
AND I finished Hermione’s Everyday socks!
I am pleased to announce that I am making marvelous progress on the second Hermione’s Everyday sock; I finished the heel flap on the train this morning and now it’s just smooth sailing up the leg.
I made sure to get the first, fully-knit sock in the picture as well, lest you think I’m just recycling photos from the first sock and not working on its mate.
Lookie what we saw in the yard on Sunday!
There, on the fence. Can you see it? With the yellow legs? That’s not a chicken, and I apologize for the craptastic photo (I was on the other side of the yard and just had my iPhone with me, and I didn’t want to scare it off by getting any closer). We encourage birds, butterflies, and bees to visit our yard by providing them with reliable food and water supplies (and by keeping our cats indoors), and it’s always fun to get new visitors.
We believe this guy is a Common Kestrel – a predatory bird about the size of a crow. He had lovely coppery feathers on his breast that ruffled up in the wind, a blue-grey head with a small beak, and those yellow legs. When he took flight, I could see strong stripes on his tail and small spots over most of his body. Practically silent, too. He rousted a couple of chickadees from some shrubbery (they got away) and then perched there on the fence for a few minutes checking out the yard. I’d rather he eat the moles; perhaps he’ll come back and help us with those pesky little garden-wreckers.
With all the crazy weather going on the rest of the country, I know I shouldn’t complain about our winter. It’s been vacillating between freezing and balmy, which is irritating but doesn’t seem to be doing the plants any harm. We had snow last weekend for one entire day, and then it warmed back up and rained it away. Today has been a mix of gusty winds and rain showers, but much better than yesterday’s weather so I took advantage of the almost-spring to get outside and do a bit of garden maintenance.
Top of my list was to weed the veggie gardens and add some compost. Here’s one of the boxes, all neat and tidy and ready for planting (which will have to wait a couple more months). On the right hand side is garlic, left over from last year. I thinned out the ones that had multiplied and left the singles alone. The other veggie box (not pictured) looks pretty much the same except it’s got a line of onions instead of garlic.
Here’s a closer look at the little garlic plants. That larger one might be an onion.
I weeded one of the flower beds as well, and was delighted to see my favorite sign of impending spring: the daffodils are awake!
Last weekend I bought some sleepy mason bees, and today I made them a place to live. Here’s the five tubes I bought; each should have about 5 bees inside.
And here’s their new home, made with scrap lumber and a piece of old fence board:
We’ll find a good place to hang the box and then I’ll put a bunch of empty tubes in along with the five full ones and some sticks and whatnot to make it look more ‘natural’ and not too symmetrical. I’m excited to have the early pollinators in the garden and I hope they like the area enough to stay.
I’ve decided that I am going to focus on these two projects until they are done. This goes against my usual MO, and it’s a bit of a struggle. I have a stack of projects queued up that I want to make, but I’m forcing myself to stay on track. This means lots of update posts but decent progress is being made on each project. Without further ado:
Hermione’s Everyday Sock – now in the cuff on the first sock. I panicked about the remaining yarn and did just thirteen repeats at the leg (the pattern calls for eighteen) because nobody likes a skimpy ribbed cuff. I now see I could have eked out another repeat or two, but that’s just the way it goes. This sock has already exceeded its allotment of re-dos. Maybe I’ll just knit a few extra cuff rounds; I’ve got about twelve rounds done now out of twenty and like a tube of toothpaste that wee ball of yarn just seems to always have a bit more yarn than I expected.
The Eco Vest. I have knit both side fronts and am working on the center back; it’s folded in half in this picture. After the back is knit and the shoulders connected, a wide band gets knitted for the center front & collar, and then a band gets added to the bottom edge. Right now the proportions looks a little funny but I keep reminding myself that there is still a fair amount of knitting to do. I just added the third ball of yarn; at this rate I will use four of the eight balls I have. This is such lovely yarn, I’m excited to have more of it to use for another project – I think a thick cowl & matching hat would be just wonderful.