Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hose problem solved

Well, sort of.

Still not the most attractive of all, but at least the hose is off the ground.

I think I need to get a shorter hose. I really don't need a 100-footer. Maybe a 50-footer will be more manageable....

The flower boxes are in.

Nice, huh?

I need to get some knitting in, but wait, I need to show you the zucchini plants:

This is week 2:

It's growing!

Happy gardening.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

From Burke to Blacksburg

With love.


and angels...

are forever watching over the Hokies.

To all the Hokies past and present.

From Burke to Blacksburg with love.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Summer Tweed

Rowan Summer Tweed has to be one of my all-time-favorite yarn.

In between re-doing the landscape, planning and planting the vegetable, running the household, and working full-time at the Voice of America, I managed to finish two summer tops, thanks to Summer Tweed. Here is a top I (sort of) designed.

The original pattern is one that Penny uses in her beginner knitting class. Yes, at the Yarn Barn, you knit a sweater, with cable, in your beginner's class! I used the Rowan Summer Tweed, turned it into a sleeveless vest/shell, did it in stripes and changed the original horseshoe cable to braided cables. It was a quick knit.

Another quick knit is the Sunshine sweater from the Kasbah Collection everybody is knitting.

I started early last week:

And here is the finished product:

I am very happy with it!

Lastly, the mailman delivered my Socks that Rock! that I wasn't able to get at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. The color way is Lunasea. I got three skeins of the medium weight. No I am not knitting three pairs of socks in the same colorway. This is going to be my first Charlotte's Web shawl.

Keep knitting!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Zucchini dream

I just love my yard!

I'll need to do something about the hose, though. Right now it is just an eyesore. Gotta find a way to either hide it or tastefully incorporate it into the landscape somehow. We shall see.

See what I mean about the hose?

The vegetable gardens are planted. Tomatoes, basil, hot peppers, and cucumbers are in. Bean seeds will go in next.

And of course zucchini.

I have a love-hate relationship with zucchini cultivation. There was no zucchini in Thailand where I grew up. I had my first zucchini in 1984 when I came here and have heard how easy it is to grow zucchini and how you would have "zucchini coming out of your ears" ever since. In fact, one of the reasons we bought this house was that there was plenty of room in the backyard to plant zucchini.

I have been dreaming of zucchini plants growing in my garden with loads of zucchini forever. I wanted zucchini more than home-grown tomatoes.

The truth is I have never had a zucchini plant that produced more than two puny zucchini! No zucchini coming out of my ears, no searching for new zucchini recipes, piling your neighbors with surplus zucchini, no zucchini big as your thigh hiding under the leaves.... My zucchini plants would grow, produced two fruits at the most, then succumbed to some sort of zucchini-eating bugs. I kept dreaming of boatloads of zucchini....

This year. This year it will be different. I have a new bed, new soil dedicated to zucchini. This year I will have tons of zucchini. I am dreaming of zucchini.

This is going to be the most documented and blogged zucchini plant in northern Virginia.

In the meantime I dressed up my front door.

And placed the welcoming cat.

And more cats.

I'd better get some knitting done. The truth is it is hard to stay inside when it's so lovely outside.

Happy gardening and happy knitting.

Monday, May 21, 2007

One stitch at a time

We are stitching up the Hokie Healing blocks.

First Kim steam-blocked all the squares.

We laid out the blocks.

Then we stitched. The lady in red is Penny Sandford, the owner of the Yarn Barn. On the floor is one of the forces behind the blanket project, Phyllis.

Lee Ann stitched.

And then showed off our work!

We're getting there! Stay tuned for more pix of the blanket and the garden (the veggie gardens are in and planted! Yeah!! Tale of the zucchini later).

Happy knitting.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Is this beautiful or what

The landscape is taking shape and it is absolutely beautiful.

First I got the Sweet Williams.

The dwarf Japanese maple went in out front and we will move the peonies once the blooms are finished.

The walls are done and the shady plants went in.

Here is the other side of the yard. This will be my English cottage garden with some cut flowers. Once the plants are established and fill out the space it will be gorgeous.

Then we attacked the back yard where the vegetable garden will be. Here is the "before" picture:

Weeds galore.

How many men and women does it take to cut a piece of two by four?

Omar forgot his saw so we were cutting the lumber with my hand saw. It worked, albeit slowly.


This weekend the tomato plants and the zucchini go in. I can't wait!

In the meantime I think I'll get more Sweet Williams.

Off to work and then to the Barn.

Happy gardening!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blanket update

I was supposed to post this yesterday but was running around too much.

We tried out all the blocks on the floor of the Yarn Barn and moved them around to check out the best combination.

Phyllis was thinking really, really hard.

We finally decided on the placement of the blocks.

The four corners will be an angel, a star and two VT squares. Phyllis took the squares home to block and steam while I will crochet the edge onto the angel block to make her an eight-inch squares. We will get together this Friday to assemble the blocks. Leftover squares will be sent directly to Gina.

Then I tried to sew up a sweater, with some help from the green-eyed rascal named Runty. Why would you want to sew up my new blankie, he asked.

Here, Kitty, go play with my tape measure...

Naah... I'd rather snooze on silk...

Well, you guys have a happy knitting while I try to forcibly remove the beast!

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Knitting Today

What?!? No knitting?!?

I have been spinning for only a year and only have one wheel. A knitting friend has been spinning for eight years and has eight wheels. I don't plan to accumulate spinning wheels though. I like my Majacraft Rose and will stick with it. I took a three-day comprehensive spinning class with Judith Mackenzie-Mc Cuin at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival last week which got my interest and enthusiasm in spinning up again. As a result I bought more roving and fleece than yarn at the festival, and have been spending time carding, combing, dying and spinning.

Here is a Corriedale roving I bought at the festival and dyed at home.

Various shades of cranberry red. This is an experiment/practice yarn.

Spun and plied.

Washed, set and skeined.

It is overspun. I should have streched it out while it was still wet to balance it out. I forgot about that part! Anyway, this is a practice skein and it didn't turn out too badly. I still have more of the same roving and hope to do better next time. I will save this for Runty's felted cat bed.

Speaking of Runty, the little (well, maybe not so little) guy was snoozing the whole time.

While Runty likes to bat the needles when I knit, he is not so keen on the spinning wheel. He stuck his paw in the wheel once and didn't like it so didn't try again. Good.

Outside the yard is taking on new shapes.

The old tired shrubs and the much-hated Roses of Sharon are gone. Yippee! I really like the meandering line. Lee Ann (my knitting buddy and landscape designer) is having low retaining walls built on the sloping side of the house to help hold the soil together. They are shaping out beautifully.

Now that the Yew is gone, the Rhododendron is getting more light. Maybe next year it will flower.
We put a temporary trellis for the Clematis since the old tree trunk on which it was climbing is now gone. We will figure out what to do with it later.
And here are the plants waiting patiently: Astilbe, Columbine and Bleeding Hearts for the shady spots; Yarrow, Coreopsis, and Delphinium for the sunny side...

And Sweet Williams everywhere. Sweet Williams for Bill. Gotta go get Sweet Williams.

Okay. Back to work now. I am going to the Barn after work today. We will try to put together our first Hokie Healing Blanket. I have my camera so stay tuned for update tomorrow.

Happy spinning and gardening.

And of course happy knitting.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Not a very exciting title, but this is truly about updates!

I finished two Prism projects:

A vest/tank top in Wild Stuff Ginger colorway. The trim is Rowan Bamboo tape. A quick and simple knit. It turned out nicer than I thought. At first I was afraid it was going to be to fru-fru for my taste, but it turned out nicely.
And the sleeves on the denim vest:

This is Cool Stuff in Mojave. The vest is a Michael Kors that I got on EBay for $9.99! It was brand new with a tag of $89.99 still attached!

That was only the finished projects during the past two weeks.

I got back to spinning some more and took the comprehensive spinning class at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival last week. The three-day class was full of information and useful tips. Definitely worth the two-hour-each-way commute.

This is the infamous Capital Beltway from my dashboard:

The Sheep and Wool was fun and full of dazzling merchandise as usual.

I bought more fleece and roving than yarn this time. I bought some supersoft Cormo roving (Merino-Corriedale cross) on Saturday and after test-spinning it Saturday night went back Sunday and bought a fleece! Will show you the pictures later.

What else have I been doing? Oh, the yard is getting a makeover. It looked so old and tired despite some blooming shrubs:

I decided to have to whole yard redone. Stay tuned for more on the work in progress reports. The work is being done by a knitting friend at the Yarn Barn who happens to be a landscape designer. Let me tell you, that Yarn Barn if shock full of resources! Knitting advice, nutrition and diet advice, gardening tips, home remedies, name it, the Yarn Barn's got it!

Last but not least, here are some Hokie squares we have done! We are moving right along and hope to have at least one Hokie Healing blanket from the Yarn Barn knitters.

Happy knitting!