Sewing and Quilt Notes

So my original plan on Sunday was to work on the shirt I cut out about two weeks ago.    I got all the way through step 2 (see, there are pre-gathers!), and saw that I hadn’t read the notions list, and therefore didn’t have single fold bias tape.     So that didn’t last very long.


Since I’d gone through all the trouble of dragging the sewing machine out, I figured I had to try to do something else.    So I assembled the branch template I’d made from a picture online (had to blow it up fairly large), and cut that out, and sewed it to the quilt back I’d made ages ago.     I even got the backing and batting pinned on.    So now I just have figure out how I’m going to quilt it.     But it’s nice to have it so much further along.


The Dalemark Quartet – Diana Wynne Jones

Read for the Once Upon a Time VII Reading Challenge.

The four books in this omnibus are all tales of the land of Dalemark.    It’s long been divided into a North and South.      When the last king died, the Earls took over the rule of the land.     Those in the North are kind to their subjects, while those in the South are oppressive.

Cart and Cwidder is the tale of Moril – he’s the youngest in a family of Singers – the only people allowed to pass freely between the North and South.     They often take passengers with them, and young Kialan has signed up for the latest ride.     Unfortunately, it’s quickly clear that Kialan is more than he appears, and Moril’s father dies trying to keep him safe.     Moril inherits his father’s cwidder, an instrument that came from the Undying, the gods of Dalemark, and Moril may be the only only one that can save Kialan.

Drowned Ammet is the story of Mitt.    He’s from the southern land of Holand, which is ruled by the tyrant Earl Hadd.      Mitt joins some freedom fighters, but has to escape a plot gone horribly wrong – and finds himself stranded on a boat with two of Hadd’s grandchildren.     Hildrida, Ynen and Mitt have much to learn from each other in their journey North.

The Spellcoats takes place in prehistoric Dalemark, before there was even a king.    Tanaqui and her family have always been different than the other villagers, and when a great flood comes, they’re driven from the village.     Tanaqui must weave the story of their flight to the sea when it becomes clear that that journey will determine the fate of Dalemark.

The Crown of Dalemark brings together Moril, Mitt, and a girl named Maewen, who has been brought out of the future of Dalemark.    An evil mage from the past is trying to destroy Dalemark, and they must work together to stop him.

What I really liked about these books was the spread of history – from prehistory to the future, and the surprisingly rich mythology in those stories (seriously – there’s actually not much detail to the mythology, but it still seems quite expansive).    My favorite character is probably Mitt – for a pessimist, he has a remarkably optimistic view of the world, and his journey is the most interesting.     These are young adult books, but they’re well rounded, fun fantasy.     Definitely worth a read.

Garden Notes



Some of the non-bulb and later bulb flowers are starting to appear.     Thank goodness it seems to have finally warmed up for good!

Today’s project was to finally get the peas planted.    I meant to do it last weekend, but it just never happened.    I was also able to get the trellis in for the clematis, which is just in time, as they’re up about six inches this week alone.

Ended up tooling around in the garage on Sunday, mostly to neaten up the pots.   (Got rid of the old vegetation that I hadn’t already cleared, and threw out some potting soil that was too far gone to use again.)    While I was at that, I planted radishes, cilantro and nasturiums.

Knitting Notes

My birthday seemed like a fitting day to start on Susan Pandorf’s Evenstar shawl.   I purchased the yarn for it (Anzula Cloud’s Dusty Rose) back in the fall of 2011.     I’ve been sitting on it, feeling like I should be working through more my scrap yarn before tackling this pattern, but I’m pretty much done waiting.    I do have little bit of Berroco Ultra Alpaca to work through before I can start the shawl proper, but that should be set soon.

I don’t normally swatch shawls, but she recommended it in this case because there are three variant ways to do the Evenstar stitch, and there are three convenient repeats of that stitch in the swatch.    I am glad I did it, as I did like one of the variants better.

Knitting Notes

Pattern:  Loria Mitts by Ashley Knowlton
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in the Oceanic colorway
Needles: Size 2.5 DPNs

Almost done with the Ultra Alpaca yarn!    I have a fair amount left, even after these mitts, but it’s an amount I’m comfortable finishing off as hexipuffs – I’ll be interested to see how many I get out of it.

These are going in the cache – still like the pattern – it’s interesting enough without being overly complicated.

Garden Notes

The daffodils are in full bloom – showing just how warm that side garden is, as there aren’t many other daffodils out this far locally.

So this weekend’s project was Operation Remove that Blasted Woodier than Hell Hosta from the Front of the Side Garden.      The above is the glorious free space after I was done yesterday.    One of my coworkers is taking the pieces to put on a slope that she’s trying to avoid mowing, so I have ten bags of hosta pieces hanging out in the garage until Tuesday.

This morning, I worked in some compost (the first batch from the back yard composter), and transplanted a lupin and some Siberian iris out of pots into the back of that area (where the peas and Swiss chard were last year).  For the front, I want to move the iris (you can see the edge of them on the right of the picture) into that corner of the bed, but I don’t want to do that until after they bloom.    So, that’s where I’m going to put the peas this year.    By the time they’re done, the iris should be ready to move.    I took tomorrow off (because everyone should be able to sleep late on their birthday), so I’ll hopefully get those in then.


The last thing I did was move the strawberry and herb pots (two lavenders, three thymes, mint, and lemon balm) into the side garden so they can get the proper amount of sun.    As you can see, the strawberries are leafing, and the rest hopefully won’t be too far behind.

Garden Notes



When I think back to this time last year, I already had peas in the ground.   It’s been a little colder this year  (you can see last remnants of a snow bank  in the middle picture above), but it’s finally starting to turn around, so I did some yard maintenance today.

Last week (in the midst of a nasty cold), I did manage to get all of my pots out of the garage, but I just had them all out near the back garden.     The actual back yard was full of sticks and some roof material from some of the fun weather we had over the winter, and all the garden beds were at least partially covered in leaves.



For the back yard, I got the pots moved over near the stairs (this is all of the pots, so some will eventually go to the side garden), and I got the yard de-sticked and de-trashed.    I also took about two bags of leaves and other plant material out of the back bed.     I’m happy to report the lungwort is sprouting (as well as the muscari, the primrose, and the hosta).


In the side garden, I got another two bags of leaves and other detritus, which included a good chunk of the ivy from the back end of the garden.    I’m sure that’ll be back soon enough, but it looks better there as well.

The iris are sprouting, as well as the crocus, chives, daffodils and tulips.

Sewing Notes

The other crafty thing I did this weekend was start on a shirt.    I went on a buying binge of both patterns and fabrics right around Christmas (when Joann’s tends to do the buck a pattern sales), and it occurred to me I should really try to use something that I’d bought.    So I’m attempting a shirt.

I’m using Simplicity 2892, and doing version D, which is the version the model is wearing on the package.   The fabric is a sheer polyester fabric I got for an insanely good price in the clearance bin at Joann’s.   I normally avoid polyester, but for the price I paid, I can afford to treat this as a muslin, and if it turns out to be wearable, that’ll be an added bonus.  

I’m a little nervous about the sewing – this is the sheerest fabric I’ve ever worked with – but if nothing else, it should be a good learning experience.