Saturday, June 30, 2012

If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay in the AC

 Or, if you're a zinnia or cosmos, suck in the sunshine!  My median garden is going gangbusters right now, though I do confess that I water it about every three days.  Yesterday, it got an extra long soak, because even cheerful flowers need a break from this disgusting heat wave.
  I tell folks I'm from Arizona and this is nothing, but it's still pretty dang hot!  I decided this morning that I would be happier at home in the AC than at LouAnn's and Tina's spinning retreat, and that I would just stay inside and do all those things I hadn't been doing because the lawn needed mowing or the hedge needed trimming or things needed planting or weeds needed pulling.  Today is for none of those things!  I have soaked a couple of trees and bushes I missed yesterday, but now it's time for fun out of the sun.
  I took the Louet S-10 and a big bag of roving to LouAnn's early this morning, to pass onto any new spinner who might emerge from the the Spinning Retreat.  Who am I kidding?  I don't even have time to weave, let alone take up spinning.  And I do have lots of boxes full of lots of fun, already spun yarn.  I also have a bathroom full of rinsed dyed yarn, but that's for Wednesday's Loomy Tunes post.  No peeking early!
  The Lily of the Valley stole is coming along fine, since it's the one thing I do make time for lately when I'm inside.  I love this pattern, and could knit a couple more of these, mindlessly repeating this pattern, enjoying it all the while.  According to the pattern, I have 3 1/2 more repeats to do, but I think I want it longer than that.  I know it'll block out much larger, but I think long enough to wrap around me and hang down gracefully is what I'm going for.

 Two weeks ago, I trimmed the hedge I have left, and found a Rose of Sharon among the weed trees, poison ivy and last few remaining boxwoods.  It's in full bloom, and just gorgeous.  I cut down all the stuff around it, sprayed all the poison ivy, and am contemplating how to stake it up straight.  Right now, it still has its "Let me get to the sunshine from this hideous hedge" lean.
 I know there's a white one in the hedge somewhere, and I keep looking out for it, but the poison ivy killer is indiscriminate, and I might have already killed it.  Wouldn't a hedge of just Rose of Sharon be gorgeous?

 My Magnolia, variety Jane, bloomed very nicely in the spring, so imagine my surprise when I saw new blooms on it this week!  It's covered in buds, and the one on the right is about to burst open.

 And the Limelight Hydrangea needs to show off, too  It's just exploding with new blooms.  They get darker lime green with age, and are beautiful.
Also quite happy are the echinacea and the bees that love them.  My front yard is not quite the cottage garden I want yet, but give me a couple more years!  I'm learning more and more about gardening in east Tennessee every month, and will have things rearranged to their and my liking soon.
  The couch is calling my name!  Stay hydrated and in the AC!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

False Starts

 I should be out mowing the lawn right now before the rain starts, but felt like touching base with the blogosphere first.  I'm in the middle of a long weekend, and have been knitting while trying to get over a little stomach bug.

I promised myself that when I finished something, I could start knitting a lace shawl, so I when I finished the cable socks--all but the binding off-- and finished the top part of the faux isle socks, I pulled out the lovely variegated tencel and the Lace Style book.  I've started this shawl in the tencel a few times, and have had a lot of trouble with it.  I can't see the variations in the stitches, so I constantly lose my way in the pattern.  I've tried blocking it off with stitch markers, but it just hasn't helped, especially where the Lily of the Valley bumps are concerned.  They're made by knitting five stitches in one stitch on the right side, and purling all five stitches together on the wrong side.  After reverse knitting one section five times over last night, I threw the thing in a bag and gave up.
  In the cool light of the morning, I reassessed the situation.  Wouldn't that tencel make something else less complicated still beautiful?  Like a simple lace scarf?  Gloves?  Anything but this shawl?  But I really want to knit a lace shawl.  I have a 2-3 pound cone of angora that's been begging for a project.  It's tightly spun and WHITE!  It's much easier to see patterns in white than in dark colors!
  So, this morning, armed with hot coffee, citronella candles on the front porch and my faithful dog by my side, I started the shawl over, in the angora.  Ah, blissful peace!  Happy knitting is mine!  I am on the third row of the lace pattern, my first row of the Lily of the Valley bumps successfully done.  I love the feel of the angora, and the texture it's creating.
  Tell me faithful readers, especially those of you who spin:  If the yarn says "Angora," is it goat or rabbit?  Just wondering...
  The end of the workweek found another false start.  The dessert pictured started out as honey cheesecake, which was ousted because it wouldn't go with port.  The group was having a port tasting, and wanted something chocolate-y.  I suggested the milk chocolate hazelnut crunch bar, which I think they thought was a candy bar kind of thing and not "fancy" enough.  So I suggested a flight of chocolates, white, milk and dark.  The sommelier said no white chocolate, so this is what I came up with.  The arrow points the direction the diner should eat it in, because the flavors get more intense as he/she moves down the plate.  It's milk chocolate pot de creme with caramel chocolate ganache on a dark chocolate cookie, the unwanted milk chocolate hazelnut crunch and a chunk of flourless chocolate cake dunked in dark ganache.  I hope it was fancy enough!
  The storm approaches and my lawn needs mowing.  Have a lovely weekend!