Having blabbed about knitting all winter, now that spring is here I find myself wanting to blab about landscaping!  You all remember the city put in retaining walls for us last summer.  Somewhere in the blog archives you can see pictures of them.  Well, in the last few weeks we’ve completed our new plantings.  This included putting a disease-resistant climbing rose variety ‘Amadeus’ all along the upper fence, with netting supports to help it climb; a crabapple tree in the northwest corner (Everest Crabapple, reminded me of the one from 47th Street), four viburnums and three euonymus in the ‘neighbor fence planting bed,’ and a big weeping Katsura tree in the northeast corner.  Of course nothing is blooming yet.  Things are barely budding.  But they ARE budding, and they are looking good!  Please note the stitched picture of the back fence continues to contain a lot of swooping curves and things that don’t exist.  But you get the idea.  Click ’em to see ’em bigger.  I tried using a new feature here called “Picture Gallery” which allows me to publish all the photos with just one click.  Hadn’t realized they’d be so tiny.

Round Shawls

After beginning and ending that Radiance Shawl I decided to learn about the construction and math behind round shawls.  Most of the real “patterns” around are lace jobs, and I don’t like to mess with lace much, so I opted instead to use the so-called “Pi Shawl” from Elizabeth Zimmerman (don’t get me started), which is simple and round with prescribed increases.  I used up all the oddballs of Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver that were lying around (and did not dip into my store stash), and ended up with a shawl about 36″ across.  Which means it’s really going to be more of a cat mat, or a silly mantilla for Carneval.  I would have kept going and made it much larger, except that (a) the dark yarn was one of my early dye jobs and bled all over my hands while knitting, and (b), didn’t have any more Kraemer that went with this type of color scheme.  I have denim blue, bubblegum pink, chestnut and tomato.  So this was a good little experiment.  I’ve made notes in a .pdf which will go onto my cell phone in case (for example on vacation this summer) I find myself bored with no knitting, reading, sightseeing, visiting, shopping or sleeping to do!

This is half the shawl; it's hanging over the banister. It's much brighter in person.

Finishing Things

This week I also finished a sweater I’d started around last Thanksgiving.  For years – ever since we got Max – I’ve loved the play of different colors in his fur, and have been trying to think of a way to knit a sweater that would evoke his fur colors.  After a lot of thinking last summer (and seeing new types of yarns in the stores), it finally crystallized.  I knew I wanted a plain boxy silhouette,  something to throw on as a jacket in the mild winters around here.

The sweater is knit with three strands of yarn held together. 

  • Madelinetosh “Tosh Lace” in Fig was used as the first strand, throughout the entire garment.
  • Filatura di Crosa “Superior” in Black was used as the second strand, everywhere except the front center panel, where I used the camel color of this same yarn.
  • The third strand changed colors periodically to give the striped look.  Third strands alternated between Little Knits’ “Indie” in beige, Little Knits’ “Indie II” in black, and BijouSpun Laceweight (yak down!) in natural brown.

In person it is almost difficult to see the difference between the narrower dark stripes (done with the BijouSpun) and the wider dark stripes (done with Indie II).  In the picture they look much more distinct.

Superior is a very fine, fluffy cashmere/silk yarn.  Like a kid mohair yarn, but with cashmere instead of mohair.  It’s absolutely my most favorite yarn in the world, and I only wish Filatura di Crosa would let me be a supplier!  But they won’t, because we have no brick-and-mortar store.  But by carrying the strand of Superior along with the others, it gave the whole garment a more fluffy, cat-like texture.  Yes, I pet my sleeves when I’m wearing it.

I love Max – Max loves me.  The really funny part about this sweater is that Bickie loved to sit with me while I was working on it, so it is not only a Max sweater, but covered in little sheds of Bickie fur.

The front hem is actually ribbed, but I hadn’t steamed it flat yet when C took this pic.
This is knit a bit differently to show the solid black stripe down Max’s spine.

Ack.  Are my shoulders REALLY that droopy?