Hydrengea Shawl

It’s finished! I finished the shawl in what feels like super fast amount of time. This was a really fun knit, Chevron Shenanigans by Stephen West. I love chevrons as a rule and this one with short rows was rather interesting. I also am still crushing on the whole fading of colors still. Did I mention I’m knitting my 3rd Find Your Fade?

This shawl has an I-cord edging and an I-cord bind off which I also really enjoy working.  I-cords give very nice clean edges. I worked the cast off with a size 7 needle which is 2 times larger than what I worked the shawl in. I wanted to be sure there was plenty of length so it wouldn’t pull awkwardly.  Even with this larger needle it is just slightly not loose enough. It’s going to pass but I would’ve liked to create a larger curve than I was able to when I blocked it.

 

I’m very pleased with the way the colors worked out. I generally don’t like purple but this is a bit on the grey side so it works for me. My favorite of the 5 colors is the dark blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll touch on my Hydrangea plants a moment. And they are just plants….All the flowers have been eaten! We have many deer frequenting our front yard and gardens. I don’t really mind as I like to watch them, there’s a bit of a thrill every time I see one. I have moved a few of the more desired plants to the back yard, such as Day-lilies, but I hadn’t realized they would like the Hydrangeas. These were planted by the previous owners so I assumed they were of little interest to the deer. Apparently that is not the case.  I’m pondering whether these should be relocated or not. Maybe the pink blooms aren’t tasty but with the addition of the fertilizer and coffee grounds the blue ones become delicious?  I’ll have to see what my mom thinks about that. She’s coming next Tuesday, which is pretty exciting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend all 6 of our kids and the son in-law will be here visiting. This is very special as we don’t often all get to be together at the same time.

 

It also happens to be Queens Lake Neighborhood’s big weekend. There are so many events and activities going on. I hope to get to see some of them. There will be a Corn Hole Tournament which we do enjoy. Perhaps we will have time to at least watch a bit if not actually participate. Plus there is a Bike Parade and Dinner at the pool with a live band. We probably will have no problem seeing the parade or hearing the band as we aren’t very far off the event location.

So looking forward to this weekend.

Happy knitting.

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Yikes!

This past weekend we drove down to Myrtle Beach to spend the weekend with Chuck’s brother, Pete, and his family. Stevie and Matt drove down with us making the weekend even better.

We spent most of Saturday at the beach. Tim absolutely loved being out in the waves. It was a red flag day at the beach so there were plenty of big waves. Stevie was in need of the extra vitamin C and spent the day with Chuck laying in the sun. Unlike Stevie, Chuck did not apply plenty of sunscreen and as a result was very sunburned.

I, having a broken foot, spent the day hanging out in comfy chairs under an umbrella. Matt and I did a good job of distracting each other from our second choice books. He was reading something important and educational, I was reading a book loosely based on a series of real murders that happened many years ago on the Colonial Parkway right where I live. It’s not that the book isn’t good rather I’m way into the 5th book of the Outlander series and that is what I need to be reading. It’s on my Kindle and I didn’t want to risk sand exposure.

 

The drive to Myrtle Beach is about six hours and with Chuck driving I was able to power right through the dark blue on My Hydrangea Shawl. I am officially on the last color. Two more sections to go then the arduous task of an I-cord bind off.  The bind off will be more than 1500 stitches. It will take awhile. As incentive last week I picked out two more skeins of yarn to go with the 3rd find your fade shawl I started many months ago. I will start working earnestly on that once this shawl is done.

 

Let’s talk about Bird Watch 2018. I’m down to two nests. The 3rd hanging basket nest, that has House finches in it, is coming to a close. Yesterday I noticed all the little birds fluttering around but not completely moved out of the nest. There have been 4 babies testing their wings and at least one adult, maybe two, feeding the babies.  Today when I watered the plant all but one baby flew up into the tree.

 

 

The next bit is sad. I hesitate to even mention this one [because I don’t like it] but I think I need to say it so I can find peace.  Be advised it’s ugly.

Yesterday I saw the 4 House Finch babies looking for mom with food. They were mostly feathered and getting bigger by the day. A couple weeks behind the other babies in the hanging pot. I meant to go out and take a picture but got distracted and never did. This picture is from Friday before we headed to the beach.

 

 

With my foot being broken Chuck is doing a lot of the chores I usually do. This includes watering. We have beautiful pots full of petunias and marigolds and snapdragons. But they require lots of hand watering. Anyway……Last night after dinner Chuck was out watering, he watered the front pots, grabbed the box on the porch from Amazon and reached for the door handle. YIKES! There was a snake climbing up the door’s side windows! CLIMBING UP THE FRONT DOOR!!!! He regrouped his thoughts, took a picture and sent it to me. I’m not proud and therefore will tell you my reaction was probably too dramatic! As I called for “OFF with it’s HEAD!” Max calmly inspected it from inside the house while Chuck did the same from outside. Their goal was not to kill it, regardless of my opinion, but to identify it. They googled, looked it up in my Reptile Book and talked to others.

 

Chuck, Max, Stevie and Alvin (Chuck’s BBF) all agreed it was a Rat Snake and “They are a good snake to have around.” Max relocated the snake from the door to the yard. Knowing the snake would have a one track mind and a guaranteed meal waiting in plain sight this probably wouldn’t be enough to save my baby birds. Chuck did offer to move the wreath to a hanging hook. I didn’t think the nest wouldn’t withstand the move as most of its architecture was supported by the door so I said to leave it.

This morning I went out and checked. All the little babies are gone. No proof of what caused their disappearance. Maybe it was fairies that took the birds to go live in a charming glen somewhere. But most likely it was a Rat Snake. Should I have let Chuck risk the nest falling apart to move it? Perhaps. Should I have put the babies into a box and fed them myself with smashed chicken feed until they were strong enough to fly off? Perhaps. But neither of things things happened. And I’m sure the Rat Snake is very satisfied with his evenings result.

Mean while I am contemplating why I moved to a place that not only has Rattle snakes but also Cotton Mouth snakes just to name a few.  We’ve already had ticks on the dogs and myself and Chuck seems to be popular with the Chiggers. I never felt as in danger living in the desert as I do now in Virginia……..

I think I’ll stay inside and knit.

Happy Knitting.

 

 

 

 

 

Extra time to Knit

Around here there seems to be an abundance of yard work. Having an acre of land can be rather daunting. Especially having spent the last 8 years in the desert. Though we made plenty of garden space with raised beds and lots of flower pots we did have rocks instead of grass. Not cutting grass for so long has significantly skewed my perspective on the amount of time it takes for this task.

No grass gives you more leisure time for sure. This is our yard in NM. You cannot believe the difference of dry heat vs humid heat if you haven’t actually experienced it.

I told Max, whose responsibility it is to weed whack, that it would take me around an hour to cut the front yard. Here’s where my skewing comes in. It took me about three hours in reality! And mind you I have a riding lawnmower. Previously, Chuck or Max have taken turns at doing this job. I was relegated to this task as it’s currently one of the few I’m “allowed” to do.

A calming view of my grassless NM yard. I was probably knitting while not cutting grass here.

 

What do I mean “allowed?” Well, apparently, I’ve broken my foot bones in three places. I wasn’t even aware I broke anything.  I knew it hurt, particularly when walking on uneven ground or up and down hills and such. Some days it really hurt and others it wasn’t noticeable.

 

 

Until one day at Tim’s therapy, where I was sitting waiting for him, I dropped my kindle. I leaned forward to pick it up and I guess I put weight on my foot just right and had such a sharp pain for a second I thought I might pass out! I definitely saw stars. I set up a Podiatrist appointment that day.

After seeing the dr, and getting X-rays, it was clear I had two very significant fractures in the bone second from the left with a hairline crack in another. It was concluded that between the pain meds I’m on for Fibromyalgia and not having any initial swelling or bruising I didn’t realize it had happened.  [It’s most likely happened when I stepped wrong on a tree root raised above the ground. Probably the very one I asked Chuck to cut off that was by the chicken coop, since I always was tripping on it.] The powers that be must have decided to give me a wake up call. Saving the bones from actually breaking off by the continued stress of walking on them and therefore preventing the need for a surgery.

Our front yard in VA is  actually larger than our backyard.(The backyard has been assigned as such only because it’s the fenced in part of our acre)

So, now I have a ugly, heavy, hot, robotic-like boot I have to wear for at least 6 weeks. And orders to stay off my foot whenever possible. Which as it turns out has been a real challenge for me, I’m not a very good patient.

But it is not so bad if I look at it from the point of how much time this leaves for knitting. And Chuck, being a great support, is doing a lot of the work I usually do and both boys are helping out, too.

And I have been doing lots of knitting. With each row I knit on my shawl I gain more and more stitches. Thus, each row requires more and more time to knit. I think that I’m winning. I’ve been powering through the Hydrangea Shawl like a beast. I’m now fully into color 4 of 5. While my shawl is clearly getting more blue as I switch through the colors I think my Hydrangeas are also getting bluer with the addition of fertilizer and the rusty things I’ve added around it. (Plus I’m saving all the coffee grounds in order to spread around the roots on my SIL, Carolyn’s, recommendation.)

What do you think? Are the flowers turning blue? Right at the centers I think.

 

Happy knitting.

An unnecessary chicken picture, Ida and Gertie.

Nesting

Birdwatch 2018 is still ongoing. All this bird nesting has me thinking about how we’ve settled into our new home. I still love this house and all the ways it’s so different from our New Mexico house.  We are individually finding our way into our Virginian lives. Meeting new people, hitting the local Farmers Markets, finding our favorite spots. We have a long way to go, but in time this place will feel like we’ve lived here forever.

I’ll tell you about our master bedroom, our nest if you will. I chose to keep this room very neutral going with the same “Floating Feather” by Edwards and Dunn that I painted the main areas of our house. As well as the color I chose for all of the New Mexico house actually.

This is our living room. It’s one of my favorite views. I love how this couch end is angled. It makes the really large couch feel intimate and cozy. I picked up that Majestic Palm at Harris Teeter for $20.I love it in this corner. But really the point of this shot was to show you the paint color.

 

 

Our Master Bedroom has a small bathroom which you get to via a dressing room.  Hollywood style? Maybe. The dressing room is a prime example of one of the best features in this house. The built-ins. This space has enabled us to eliminate the need for dressers in the bedroom and expanded the closet storage. As a bonus it even has a makeup table, definitely old school style if not Hollywood.

 

I picked up this painted mirror at a second hand store which has made the space function as a make up place. The table has good storage with 3 side drawers and one large shallow drawer where the chair goes. The chair is a second hand needle point chair. You may remember I have a need  to re-home every needle point chair I find, I suppose in remembrance of my grandma.

 

These built-ins house my stuff on one side and Chuck’s on the other. It’s surprisingly a lot of space. Having the three-way mirror is really nice for bouncing around light.

 

The closet is just to the right. While it would be nice to have it a bit bigger, the addition of the shelves Chuck added in works nicely to put my hand knit sweaters folded in there. I really cut back on the amount of clothes I have, that was probably really over due. I still had clothes I wore before Hanna was born, and she’s 21. Yikes.

 

The bathroom has been previously updated in a way that feels authentic to the house. I like the style but will probably someday make changes so we can enlarge the room.  It’s so small there really is not any good storage. There is the medicine cabinet and I added a little shelf from Target to hold extra stuff like washcloths and shampoo. There is no counter space or a place too hang a hand towel. It was actually pretty hard to get a photo that didn’t include the toilet. Now that is a small bathroom!

I’m obviously a fan a repurposing things. One of my favorite repurposes ever is in the master bedroom.  When we moved in there were shutters on a pallet behind the cottage. After my mom paired them with their windows, we ended up with one lonely shutter.  This shutter having no mate, no window, no destiny. It needed a new identity. So I helped it find one. It was already hinting at my favorite color combo, red, white and blue. I knew I couldn’t change that. So, I simply sprayed it with the hose on the highest setting, gave it a good scrub with some bleach water and let it dry. I then covered the entire shutter in a coat of polyurethane to prevent further peeling.

 

See those chippy colors. It had my heart. And needed a place of honor in our home, too. I new exactly where it would go. Right above the headboard in our master bedroom! I could picture it in my mind. I could see it there with the perfect focal point being a wreath. I set out on a wreath hunt the very day I hung the shutter.

 

 

I found the exact wreath size and style at Home Goods. I used heavy duty picture hangers screwed into the back side of the shutter and then added heavy gauge picture wire. It is really heavy so I used two anchored hooks rated for 50lbs each secured into the wall at the precisely measured height. Added a command hook to hold the wreath.

 

 

Voila! It is magic. I love it there. I have the beautiful afghan my grandma crocheted for me forever ago. I think it is charming and pairs nicely with the shutter, bringing the outdoors in, just the way I like it.

 

 

My reading corner is in this room, I’ve mentioned this corner here before.
This  is one of my favorites in the house. I love the way it feels and the way it looks.

 

 

Back to nesting and Bird Watch 2018. The bird houses in the back yard with the Winter Wrens are a flutter of activity. Mom constantly bringing food to hungry babies. They can’t be to far away from flying the coop. Of course I can’t see inside the houses so I’m just guessing. The Wren sitting in the paper box by the mail boxes is still in there, sitting all day and night. I steer clear of her getting the mail. I have noticed there is a lone teeny egg sitting just outside of the nest. I may try to collect it after this nest has been abandoned.

 

I did collect the Robin’s nest, there are the two unhatched eggs still inside. I placed it carefully inside this decorative wire nest I picked up a long time ago at Hobby Lobby. It will live here on my entry table for awhile. I can’t bring myself to give it up, but my hanging basket needed to breath, my plants can now flourish.

 

 

The sparrows have to be about too fly their coop as well. The two nests of finch eggs are still being sat upon. One nest should be hatching any day now. I can’t wait to see these birds out on their own!

 

Until next time. Happy Knitting.