Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pics, plants and yarn

Let's start with the garden. Yup, that's me sitting on the boulder in the middle of my garden. This is the garden I dug out with a hawser axe last year. Each foot of sod painfully hacked with the axe and the sod tossed.

I'd just finished weeding the top half (the bottom is still painfully green in places). That big bush to my left is our forsythia. I have some shaping to do to keep it from encroaching on the rest of the garden. The little purplish growths are my purple smoke trees. They're very happy, but they're slow growing, so it'll take quite a few years for them to bush out. Surrounding them are the strawberries 'n' cream grasses. I'd just topped the grasses to encourage root growth because I'd divided them a few weeks back. Below the forsythia are six diamond grasses that will top out around 4' tall and spread about 3' in diameter. They won't bloom this year, but when they do, it's a very feathery bloom that catches the morning dew and sparkles in the early light. Hence the name - diamond grass. Just to my right are black-eyed susans with blue balloon flowers next to them. Behind them are supposed to be my Alaskan shasta daisies, but they're not looking too good this year. (Read last post and my usual problem with bare root plants... /sigh/) In front of them and barely visible are about 20 red yarrow (Achillea) plants. I grew those from seed and I'm watering every other day. They're tiny and feathery right now, but if they survive the winter, they should be brilliant next year. Lastly, behind me, those fluffy little things are my wonderful lavendar plants. 21 in all and they'll be great erosion control on the steepest part of the hill. They'll fill in to create a blanket of lavendar. I love watering them because their scent is just too sweet. You don't even need to crush the leaves. Just stick your nose in the plant and you can smell that gorgeous scent.

Anyway, there it is in all its sad glory. I still have to re-edge the border. The grass is trying to encroach as you can see all the way around. And it's gotten a bit late to mulch. All the weeds have definitely established themselves this year. I knew a late start was going to put me behind the eight-ball, but I've played catch up before. This year will be about damage control with my garden. Next year, though, early attack and I'll get it back on track.

Next topic is I have actual yarn!!!!!

This was my first yarn in months. It's a marled red w/ a maple variegated. The red is 100% merino. The maple is a blend of merino/tencel. The sun wasn't on the deck yet, so the picture isn't as bright as I'd like, but I'm thrilled. I have about 400 yds of handspun goodness of this one. I'm thinking my mother-in-law for Christmas. Like me, she has a thing about red. She wears lots of it, so it should work well with her wardrobe.

This yarn is maybe sportweight or DK. I haven't checked the wpi yet, but when I get to knitting it into a Moebius for my MIL, that will be one of the first things I check. I'll probably end up with a size 8 or 10 needle as I want the Moebius to drape. But the whole point of this is the first actual yarn is ready to go.

Now, for the next yarn.....

Isn't this one just lovely? Another marled yarn. The green is a merino/tencel blend. The yellow is also a variegated, though. It has small bands of green and red that ran through the roving so it adds a blush of color every now and again.

Add to that the fact that my spinning has gotten finer, I'm really pleased with this. Youngest daughter thinks I ought to use this to enter in the Durham Fair in the fall. I do take her opinion because she's a sometimes knitter, so she's worked with yarn before. She thinks it's good enough to stand against commercial. I think she's optimistic on that one... LOL!

But I'm very happy with the end product. I'd completed the bulk of the red a few weeks ago and just wanted a change, so I'd switched to the yellow. But once I got the yellow spun and plied, I wanted to get them both done. So I quickly spun up the small balance of the red, plied it and then got out my trusty niddy noddy. Skeined them up, washed with a squirt of shampoo, rinsed and then (here's the part I really enjoyed), whacked the heck out of them against the deck railing. Then I hung the skeins from the braces on my canopy to dry overnight. Luckily, the yarn balanced out beautifully and I was able to coil them up and take pics.

I'm now spinning up some gorgeous Blueberries N Cream roving from Again, I have 6 oz of this gorgeous stuff and I'm going to spin, ply and then make it into a Moebius for older daughter. Who knows? If I can get it fine enough, I might be able to turn it into a pair of mittens, but that might be ambitious yet for me.

But, either way, I'm going to save a bit of the fiber in case I want to enter this one into the Durham Fair in their fiber category. They have fiber categories as well as categories for articles made from handspun.

And, boy, have things changed since I last entered the Durham Fair. I remember winning a blue ribbon for a sweater years ago and the prize was the ribbon and $10. Now they're paying upwards of $35 for first prize. Yeah, I've been out of the loop... LOL! Regardless of whether I have anything to enter in the Fair, my goal is to take a vacation day from work on Friday and see if I can join their little "spin in" demonstration in the fiber barn. That would be a LOT of fun.

Okay, off for more spinning... er, if I can keep the fiber from sticking to me more than it sticks to itself with all this heat and humidity we've had lately. All I want to do is crawl in my AC'd bedroom and watch old DVDs. Unfortunately, too much work to do before I can afford myself that pleasure. (Course, if I could fit my wheel into my bedroom, I'd have more success justifying my time in the AC... LOL!)

Have a wonderful week and now that I've figured out how to take the pics, upload them to the computer and actually put them where I want them on the page, I can update more often. I definitely need to add a pic of my yarn drying on my deck and hanging on the frame of the canopy. What's worse is that I actually liked the way it looked. the DH? He looked at me and asked when he can expect to come home and find a sheep grazing behind the garage... /wink/