Friday, July 28, 2006

So. The internet is a dangerous thing. I was surfing around a couple days ago, and came across an "For Sale" ad. This ad led to a phone call, which led to an agreement. This agreement involves a loom, a spinning wheel, and a trip to Portland, Oregon on August 5.

Dangerous. Stay tuned for pictures next weekend.

Oh, and I'm up to Row 210 on the urchin shawl! I'm a row ahead of schedule!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Just for giggles...

I am nerdier than 88% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

(This wasn't really a surprise. I'm proud to be a nerd, though I usually prefer "geek.")

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I'm up to Row 200 on the shawl! No picture, though, since it still looks like a lace blob. I did a test-stretch the other night, and I think it's about 45" in diameter so far. I finished the first skein of yarn two days ago, and have joined in the second. (That's 1375 yards of yarn knitted up so far!)

I'm still having serious doubts whether I will finish in time, though. I have 20 days to do 90 rows. Let's do a little math, shall we?

90 rows/20 days=4.5 rows per day.

I've been getting about three rows on a good day. Four to five rows really is doable in one day, though, if I didn't have all these other things going on. And if I could stay awake later. I actually fell asleep while knitting on Monday night. Mid stitch! (And it was only 11:00.)

My spreadsheet that I keep masochistically looking at tells me that I am 49.8% finished with the body of the shawl. I need to stop looking at that spreadsheet....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In a stunning display of unlucky timing, our septic tank pump broke and had to be replaced last Friday. Exactly 14 days before closing. Lovely.

When I got home last night, the alarm was going off again. Lovely.

The septic repair guy still hasn't called me back yet. Lovely.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The good news is that the volunteer sunflowers are blooming.

The bad news is that the feeling of being on the Tilt-A-Whirl has not subsided. The packing is going along, slowly because I need to get more boxes. I've been working on bookcases and closets, and made a really good dent this morning. It's such a hideous job.

Fiber-wise, progress has been mixed. The urchin shawl may not be finished in time for the Fair. I'm on Row 194 of 290. Then there's the edging. It just takes so long to go around each row now. I did have a potential solution, though. If I can get the body of the shawl done, I may just do a loopy crocheted chain edging to finish it off to show it at the Fair. Then I can go back later and take out the crocheted edging and do the wide knitted one.

The daffodil filet piece, though, is done, done, done! It took two complete evenings to pin it out, and over a thousand pins...

I'm quite pleased with the way this turned out.

I also spent some time this weekend putting the finishing touches on several smaller projects that were almost done. First, I sewed up a hardanger closet sachet. I've had the hardanger done for a while, it just needed to have the backing sewed on and the hanger added. I filled this completely full of dried lavender buds (no fiberfill this time) and made the hanger long enough to go over the clothes rod in a closet. This is an original design. Yay me!

I also lined and backed another hardanger piece, this time as a wall hanging. There will be a dowel through the tabs on the top, with a ribbon hanger. I was going to frame this, but I think I like it better like this. The backing fabric is the same purple-flowered print as the tabs.

This is a commercial sampler pattern, and it's very versatile. I've used the line of five fancy motifs through the center as a bookmark, and the heart motif at the top as a sachet topper.

I also finished the fulled and needlefelted purse that I started last November. All that was left was to sew in the lining and put on the strap. I haven't decided yet if I will add some sort of closure. I think it would have to be a magnetic catch, because I don't want to have a button or anything on the front of the bag.

The design on the front of this just makes me smile. It was such a serendipidous accident, the way my random needlefelted swirls made a face when the fabric was folded.

The last fibery thing I did over the past week was to fix my Chevron Shawl. I took out the i-cord along the top edge, knit six rows of garter stitch and knit the i-cord again. It looked fine the way it was while it was blocking, but the top edge had quite a curl when I took the pins out. Stockinette shawls are prone to that. Adding just those few rows of garter stitch completely cured the curling, and now I'm perfectly happy with the shawl.

So my Fair entries are shaping up well, the packing is progressing, the house is sold, we have temporary quarters to go to between closing day and moving day, and Emma is thriving.

I really have nothing to complain about.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ever feel like you're on the Tilt-A-Whirl with no safety bar, no seat belt, and no notion of when the ride will stop? Yep, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

The house is sold. We had to come down a bit on price, but it's still more than we bought it for. One thing that I'm extremely not happy with, though, is the closing date. We close August 4. As in THREE WEEKS. We are not moving to Oregon until September.

Shaun doesn't seem to think this is a problem. I know we will find someplace to stay for the intervening month, but I greatly dislike this uncertainty and disruption. The only good thing is that it saves us paying a month of the mortgage. A friend offered us her barn to store all our stuff, and I think another friend may let us stay in her cottage for at least part of the time. It'll work out, I guess, but it will involve living out of a suitcase for a month.

Three weeks. Even aside from the task of getting the house packed, what is this going to do to my schedule for the urchin shawl??!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Monday, July 10, 2006

It's lavender time!!!

This is the harvest from one of the big lavender bushes in the back yard. I got six big bunches, and there's still the second bush to harvest. I found that I didn't cut the bushes back hard enough last year, and they went all sprawly and floppy this summer. I whacked them severely (cut back by about half, this time) and they should be much happier next year.

Friday, July 07, 2006

OK, so I may be in trouble with this urchin shawl and my self-imposed deadline. Here's how much of the charts I have done so far:

And here's what I have left:

If I think I can get this done in slightly over a month, it's possible that I've finally lost it. The last round I did had 800 stitches, and every fourth round adds 20.

I did four rounds last night, and it took two hours. I have 142 rounds left. Plus 40 repeats of the 40 stitch wide/ 35 row tall edging.

I have 39 days remaining until the Fair.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My sister and her boyfriend were here last week, and we had such fun! (Hence the lack of posting all last week.) One of the things we did was go camping, the first time I’ve been camping in several years, and Emma’s first time ever. It was a huge success, and I think we’ll be going more this summer and fall.

We left Thursday morning, and drove over the Cascades on Rt. 20, toward Winthrop. This is the same route Shaun and Emma and I took last October to look at the leaves, and it was just as beautiful this time.

We drove to Winthrop again, to admire the mountains and have lunch and get dinner fixings, then went back a little ways along Rt. 20 to the Lone Fir campground in the Okanogan National Forest. It was so beautiful!!! We camped alongside a lovely stream, Early Winters Creek, which was sparkly and clear and noisy and cold.

Before dinner, we went hiking on a trail that left from the campground, which was quite convenient. It went in a loop along Early Winters Creek, crossing several tributaries and the main stream along the way. Such a pretty area! The trail was only about two miles long, and the first part is paved for wheelchair access, so it was a nice walk.

Emma thought the tent was super fun, and spent quite a while that evening (after she was supposed to be in bed) walking around and around inside, singing to herself and rearranging the sleeping bags.

Unfortunately, this also continued after Shaun and I went to bed. Luckily, after it got really dark, around 10:30 or so, she settled down.

Emma and I were up bright and early at 6:00 the next morning, and took ourselves on a bird and flower walk around the campground so the rest could sleep some more. It’s so much easier to get up early when you’re camping and there are lots of things to look at! I got a great close up look at a McGillivray’s warbler and some evening grosbeaks, and heard three kinds of thrushes, several sparrow species, chickadees, goldfinches, ravens, etc.

There were some gorgeous wildflowers out, too, most of which I had never seen before! Woot! The Life List expands!

Most spectacular, and spotted from the moving car as well as in the campground, were the lilies and lupines.

Columbia tiger lily (Lilium columbiana).

Not quite as big as hybrid garden lilies, but just as orange and more beautiful because they’re wild.

Broadleaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius)

There were lots of other flowers scattered all over the campground:

Crimson columbine (Aquilegia formosa)

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Queen cup (Clintonia uniflora)

And an orchid!

Slender bog orchid (Platanthera stricta)

This was growing near the stream, in a small boggy depression. A good-sized population; I saw at least a dozen plants in about 50 square feet of that particular boggy spot.

The next day we headed home, stopping along the way a couple times. The first time was to hike the Blue Lake Trail, but we couldn’t because after about a hundred yards, it was snowed in! I did get to see some marsh marigolds in a streambed where the snow had already melted.

Marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala)

Emma enjoyed playing in the snow and throwing snowballs at Daddy for a while, and then we moved on in search of a trail that was open.

We ended up at the Thunder Creek Nature Hike, which is a shortish loop hike (though it has some steep sections!) in the woods upstream of the Colonial Creek Campground. There’s also the main Thunder Creek Trail that goes along the river, and we did a bit of this trail, intending to turn around when we got to the bridge over Thunder Creek, but we never did find the bridge. Either the map distances were a bit misleading and we didn’t go far enough or we missed the turnoff.

I did, however, get to see lots more wildflowers, including

Bog wintergreen (Pyrola asarifolia)

And another new orchid!

Western coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana)

These are much more pink and white than any of my books show, with no brown or yellow tones. I feel pretty confident, though, that this is the correct identification, and the University of Washington Herbarium website has some pictures that look almost this pink.

Such a fun trip!
My Fourth of July evening.

All the fireworks I need.
Last Thursday morning, we got the sad news of the death of one of Shaun’s one-month-old twin nieces. She died of SIDS. It’s such a horrible thing to have happen, and I feel just awful for her parents and siblings.

As hard as it was for me to lose my mom, I think it would be even worse to lose a child. Just the though that something might happen to Emma makes me get a panicky, crushing, suffocating feeling in my chest. I would do literally anything to protect her. I would jump into an icy river, I would run into a burning building, I would stand up to a giant mean dog. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but there you go. Anything.

The thought of what my sister-in-law must be going through is terrible. She was the one to find the baby. I’m sure she feels the same way about her kids as I do about Emma, but in this case there was nothing she could do for her little girl. She had already taken all the precautions like laying her on her back to sleep, breastfeeding, not smoking, etc. It’s just so tragic.

Shaun went to California to the funeral, but we couldn’t afford for all of us to go. I wanted to do something for them, more than just sending a store-bought card, so I made this card on Sunday night.

The angel is crocheted with #80 tatting thread, and is removable from the card. I hope it serves as a loving remembrance of their little one who has gone back to the angels.
Has it really been almost two weeks since I posted? Gosh. It’s certainly not for lack of anything to say- there’s been a lot I wanted to post about, but there’s been so much going on and it seems like I could never get a post organized until something else happened that I wanted to talk about as well. The behind-er I got, the harder to catch up! Therefore, I’m going to split up one overwhelmingly long post into four smaller posts, even though I’m writing them all at one sitting.

Anyway, first an update on the garden:

One of the volunteer sunflowers is now almost as tall as I am. The other is much shorter, with a stouter stem. The tall one is starting to lean alarmingly when it’s windy, and I may have to stake it. I did see it leaning against the rosebush today, though, so maybe they will hold each other up.

The rosebush? See for yourself:

I believe I said in a previous post that each spray had 15 or so 3” flowers. What was I thinking? Each has more like 50 flowers!

The volunteer petunias (ten plants at last count) are also blooming full tilt, and so far they all look pretty much like the stripey parents. Yay!

I’m tickled no end that the petunias reseeded themselves and are blooming. It’s like a present! I’m feeling the gardening itch again, and hope that wherever we end up living next year has space for a garden. It’s been six years since I had a veggie garden, and I think I miss it. Of course, seeing pictures of beautiful gardens on people's blogs may have something to do with it.

I’ve also been enjoying the nature-made garden of San Juan Island, and in the past week or so have seen two new orchid species for my Life List.

Alaska rein-orchid (Piperia unalascensis)

This is a three foot tall species with tiny green flowers in a long spike. The individual flowers are unobtrusive (though beautiful close up), but the overall effect of a stand of them is pretty.

Lesser round-leaved orchid (Habenaria orbiculata).

I first saw this in leaf a couple years ago, but this is the first time I’ve seen it blooming. The flower spike is about a foot tall, with many small white and green flowers. Just lovely.

Another update- the aquarium. So far no Corydoras eggs have been spotted. Either all the activity last week was just practice, or they’ve been eating the eggs. Or hiding them really, really well. I did a water change and cleaning today, and didn’t see any babies, so I’m thinking that if there were any, they didn’t make it past the gauntlet of tetras and catfish. I know Corydoras will sometimes eat their own eggs, and I’d bet that the tetras would eat any babies they encountered. I fed the tank frozen brine shrimp Monday for the first time, and apparently brine shrimp, even more than tubifex worms, are “fishy crack.” Quite a spectacular feeding frenzy.

The last miscellaneous update from around the house is that I finished the daffodil filet crochet piece. No picture yet, though. I started blocking it and ran out of T-pins, so it's not ready for its public debut yet. But it's done!!!!! I also finished the first set of charts on the urchin shawl, and am having serious doubts whether I will actually be able to finish it by the Fair. If I do, it will be a serious marathon.