Knitting Notes

So May is apparently the month of the frog. I was all proud of myself last night when I reached the end of the last half pattern repeat on the Embossed Leaves socks before I could start the toe. And then I checked the measurement, and it was a full inch shorter then it should have been. Because I’m an idiot, and when the earlier measurements lined up with sock number 1, I stopped checking. So, I couldn’t even pull the dang thing up over my heel, and when I put the two two next to each other, the gauge was quite clearly different. Needless to say, that sock is now frogged (and I was almost done, sob!!). At this point, I’m disgusted with myself enough that I may have to work on another pair of socks before going back to this one.

I really need this month to be over, because it clearly isn’ t good for my knitting.



Summer is here to far as I’m concerned. My iris are blooming! The top one is a Harvest King bearded iris, the bottom two are old fashioned iris that were already in the garden (though buried within the rampaging rose bush).

I have two other colors of the large bearded iris that are budding, but not yet blooming, and I also have a small clump of Siberian iris in the front of the house that will probably get moved this year as it’s being overrun by the azalea.

Knitting Notes

So I finally sucked it up and took the Sitcom Chic sweater out of my work bag last night. My theory of what had gone wrong was that in my haste to line up the raglan decreases on the top of the eyelet rows, I’d gotten them off at that point, and not noticed. And I was correct. However, last night, I also saw that I’d shifted the row over one stitch in one of the raglan sets below the eyelet, so I ended up having to rip out to about five rows below the eyelet. Then, once I’d gotten everything back on the needles and done the next row just to get all the stitches lined up correctly (I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the stitches on oriented correctly when I put them back on the needles. They’re generally about half and half each way, and I have no idea why), I realized that the spacing was actually off below the eyelet. So, I did some quick fixing on the next row, and then plowed my way up through the eyelet rows. I was much more careful with the counting this time, and realized that only one stitch marker was off. Unfortunately, I appear to have moved it two stitches in the opposite direction from where it needed to go. So, I need to pull back that row, and pay much better attention this time, but once I get this row done, I think I’ll be ok (cross all fingers and toes). At least I’m pretty close to the end still. If I’d had to rip it back any farther than what I did yesterday, I’m not sure I would have been able to motivate myself to finish it.

I’m also past the heel turn and decreases on the Embossed Leaves socks, and into the regular tubey part of the foot. I think I’ll concentrate on finishing those first (once I at least get the stitch markers to where they should be on the sweater), since they’re so close, and I want something done by the end of the month!

Garden Part Tres

It’s hot out today. I did probably the least amount of work of any of the days this weekend, but came in the stickiest.

The zinnias are now planted in the side garden. I also potted an Italian parsley seedling I got a couple weeks back from my mother. So, the outside garden is done.

Mainly what I did this morning was house plant maintainence. I should first note that my father sent me home last week with a cold loving orchid, so that’s the most recent addition to my collection. Today, I gave some pretty careful thought about some of the other plants I have, and decide to get rid of three of them. Gone are a bromelaid that stopped blooming eons ago, a planter of three angel plants that were just looking bad, and my wandering jew.

With the wandering jew, I actually took a few cuttings and placed them in a vase in a sunny window, so I should be able to reroot those in a better pot at some point. The bromelaid pot and other pot are now home to the calla lily outside and the snake plant that burst its former home. (I’d like to see it get out of the new pot.) I also repotted my foliage begonia. It’s been in the same pot for nearly five years, so I took it out, cut off some of the excess, and put it back in the same pot with fresh soil.

Everything’s currently outside drying off, but by tonight, I should be able to put everything back and see if I need to move anything around. I might actually be able to get the aloe out of exile in the dining room and put it over with all the other plants in the living room.

And thus concludes my Memorial Day Gardening marathon. I’m pretty happy with the work, even if my thighs are currently a little irritated with me.

A Quick Substitution Note

I’d originally chosen Patricia A. McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld for the Mythopoeic Award Reading Challenge, and then added it to the Once Upon a Time II reading challenge. I’d planned on getting it out of the library, but this has proven impossible if I want to read it within the timeframe of the Once Upon a Time II Challenge.

Fortunately, when I was at the used bookstore last weekend, I happened upon a copy of McKillip’s The Sorceress and the Cygnet. Since this meets the rules for the Mythopoeic Challenge, I’m going to substitute it for The Forgotten Beasts of Eld in both challenges, and keep Eld on my list for another day.

Polgara the Sorceress – David and Leigh Eddings

Finally, the cracktastic Belgariad/Mallorean rehash has come to an end! (For those of you really paying attention, I do in fact own the Rivan Codex, but I will not be dragging that out, as I don’t consider world building to be required reading. Mind you, I like the world building, I just have to be in the right mood to read it.)

I don’t even think I was a chapter into this book when I realized that this was actually the only book of this entire saga that I had never reread before. I suppose that makes sense, as by the time it came out, I was out of my regular rereading phase, but it was still surprising. Because of that, I spent more time reading this book, rather than the all in one night marathons I did for most of the others.

This book actually has a rather different tone than the others. I suspect it’s partially because of the emphasis on the fact that Polgara is a woman, and therefore does and even thinks about things differently than the other disciples of Aldur. I also wonder if Leigh has a larger hand in shaping this book (I often wonder exactly what role she plays in the books her name is on, but that’s a side issue.)

This is a good end to the series, and manages to fill in a number of gaps. (Revisionism at its best 😉 I’m a little sorry the cracktasic tour is at its end.

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

fe9512da6e6f597593066765451434f414f4141I don’t recommend The Road for bed-time reading. In fact, it took me about three times as long as it normally does to read a book because I had to stop reading it in my normal before bed reading slot.

This book is set in nuclear winter, and is the story of a father and son journeying to the sea. Starvation is always imminent, and they must hide from roving bands of cannibals and other desperate people on the road. It’s the bleakest story I’ve ever read. If this is what it’s like to live after a nuclear war, I want to no part of it.

The reason to read this book is that it is actually about love, and that love does find a good ending, of sorts.

There’s a movie in production right now, starring Viggo Mortensen, and though I’m very fond of Viggo, I can safely say I have no desire to see the movie. I’m content to have experienced the story once.

Three minor pet peeves: 1. The lack of quotes around the speech – I think it’s actually a pretty smart device, but it drove me crazy. 2. The lack of apostrophes in words like can’t and don’t. I have no idea what possessed the author to do that, and it was very distracting. 3. I just accidentally read an Oprah’s Book Club selection. I feel dirty.

Garden Part Deux

Broadway Gardens was open at 8 this morning, and someone was snoring like a wounded harbor seal at about 8:15 this morning, so since I was awake, I got up, took a shower, grabbed an iced coffee at DD, and arrived at about 8:45. This turned out to be the perfect time. I got a parking space right at the end of the first row, and was still able to snag a relatively small cart. By the time I left, they were directing traffic, and people were stalking the cash registers to grab carts when they became available.

I got: two types of coleus (one large, and a flat of small ones in a complementary color to fill in the feet), white begonias, pink impatiens, and an orangish double impatien (all to fill in the strawberry pot and some holes in other pots), some torena, a cranesbill, a Jacob’s ladder, some English daisies, and some zinnias.

The strawberry pot plants, torena, coleus and Jacob’s ladder ended up in the back shade garden. It’s looking a little spare at the moment, but one things start to fill in, I’m hoping it’ll look as good as it did last year.

The English daisies and cranesbill are in pots in the side garden. The zinnias will end up in the back of this garden, but it was already pretty baked out there by the time I was done with everything else (it’s right on the driveway and gets sun all day), so I’ll plant those either later tonight, or early tomorrow, once it’s cooled off.

At this point, other than the zinnias, all I have left to do is a little clean up in the house plant department, and I should be pretty much set for the year. I think I’ve taken care of the fall flowering department a little better then I did last year, so hopefully, I can carry what I have through to the end of the season.

Garden Part One

The Memorial Day Garden Marathon part one is over! This morning (I’ve gotten smarter about these things, and just go out early before I’ve actually showered), I headed out and planted the six plants I’ve already managed to pick up before my regularly scheduled trip to Broadway Gardens. Above is the back yard shade garden, which houses the new the new hosta, heuchera and calla lily. I also replanted the dregs of the pulmonaria from last year (one leaf came back, and it was a pretty large clump), and well as brought the bedding begonias and oxalis outside for the summer. The begonias don’t look like much right now because I pruned them within an inch of their lives, and the oxalis is looking pretty leggy, but I hope some outside sun will cure that. I also dragged the large coleus pot into position, so I don’t have move all the pots out of the way again.

In the side garden, I did some weeding and mulch refresh, and potted up the trailing campanula and felicia. The bed’s still pretty well overrun by bulbs right now, but the summer perennials are definitely coming along. The iris and chives are budding, and a whole lot of other things are sending out shoots left and right. I actually tried doing a panoramic picture, but I have to remember to take them lengthwise rather than width-wise, or PhotoStitch cuts out around half the picture when it’s merging them. So I may try that again tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, I’m hoping to get to Broadway Gardens when it opens, in hopes of securing a parking space and getting out before it gets too crazy. The only two things I definitely want are white bedding begonias (to fill in a spot in the pot in back) and a coleus or two. Other than that, we’ll see what they have that looks good. I seem to be tending toward a cool color palette with what I’ve picked up before, but president has never stopped me before 😉

I also have a few house plants that need repotting, but if I don’t get to those tomorrow, Monday will be just fine too.

Weekend – Ellsworth

This past weekend, we headed up to Ellsworth to visit my father and C. As you can see, it’s taken me three days to recover from the trip enough to post about it.

Item #1 to love about Ellsworth:

The greenhouse in Dad and C’s house. We actually got there just in time for this picture. I took this picture on Saturday, while it was raining. The next day, Dad dragged everything outside for a spring cleaning and watering. I love this greenhouse. It’s one thing I’d love my own of if we ever manage to buy a house.

Item #2:

The Big Chicken Barn. The best used book store in Maine. Perfect for rainy Saturday wandering.

Item #3:

We actually went up to see a play that C was in, and my father built the sets for. The play is called Art, and was an interesting commentary on the way art effects different people. It was done up in Winter Harbor, and we got there a little early so we could have dinner at the local diner (best Reuben sandwich I’ve had in a while). The below picture is a sculpture in the actual harbor, done by an artist in residence last summer. It’s actually pretty cool to see when the tide is in as well.

Item #4:

After dinner, we had enough time, and the weather had cleared enough for us to head over to Schoodic Point. Schoodic is the part of Acadia NP that’s actually on the mainland. Which is great in the summer, because it’s a bit less congested than the island. It’s a really lovely spot, which some cool geologic features for rock buffs. It also had an interesting section of marshy areas right on the shoreline rocks. We don’t get those down here in the south. Our rocks are good for sealife and pretty much nothing else.

Item #5:

On Sunday, the rain cleared out, and I got to go out in my dad’s garden. It’s a lovely garden, with more of a woodland setting then I’ll ever manage here, and much more room then I have to play with. He and C have been molding it a bit more every year, and it’s looking really lovely. There are a ton more flowers than I showed here, but this is at least a sample of the springtime bounty.

I also saw a hummingbird and a veritable flock of woodpeckers feeding in the garden. I will say, that’s a definite advantage of living out in the country. (Ok, ok, Ellsworth is technically a city, but a city by Maine standards isn’t quite like a city by most other standards.)

On our way out of town, we stopped at Surry Gardens, which is the garden center in the next town that Dad and C use. Though an exercise of gargantuan willpower, I managed to walk out of there with only four plants: a hosta, an Amber Waves heuchera, a felicia and a trailing campanula. I love that place. I wish it was down here.

Item #6:

The fantastic drive home.

Blue Hill

Stonington Village

We took the extremely long way home, by way of Blue Hill, Deer Isle/Stonington and Castine. (If you want a laugh, check out Route 1 from Ellsworth to Bucksport, and then notice the loop where 15 and 175 take you.) It was lovely driving weather. The blueberry fields are freshly burned, which is always an interesting sight, and we saw beehives out in a number of the unburned barrens. (I think they burn about a third of the barrens at a time. It’s actually good for the blueberry bushes.) We saw several wild turkeys, and some sort of hawk, right by the roadside while we driving.

About the only slightly weird bit was how quiet it was everywhere. I mean, it was the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. I don’t expect summer hours, but I expect to see places open to prep for tourists. It was pretty quiet around. Enough that I have a somewhat bad feeling about the coming summer, tourism-wise.