Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FO: Magpie

Lily's Graduation Magpie is done. Being a yarn dyer, and having access to literally hundreds of shades of colours, it's easy to forget how simple and elegant basic black can be.
I knit this one with a little more than one skein of Barn Cat (the Barn Cat has a smaller yardage with only 400 yards - the rest of the second skein is being used for my Tux socks). And it uses about 20 grams of size 6 beads. It doesn't photograph well, but the beads have a lovely pearl finish that sparkle nicely against the black yarn.
Magpie is fairly easy, as lace shawls go. It starts with garter short rows, and finishes with some easily memorized lace - the beads are totally optional, but I love the look, and the weight they add to a shawl, so I think they are worth the extra time.
Magpie is wide and shallow, making it the perfect little shoulder warmer. It also wraps nicely as a decadent scarf.
 And - I got it done well ahead of schedule (it's going in the mail this week). To celebrate, I'm going to offer you 50% off the pattern until June 23rd (Lily's graduation day). Just use the code Lily at checkout!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy feet

For all my love of shoes, there's nothing I love more than running around barefoot - especially in the dirt. Those happy, dirty feet are the result of an afternoon spend expanding the front garden.

When we moved in, there was already a little garden space at the front of the house, beside the front step. I filled it with orange day lilies as well as spring bulbs.
 While the day lilies have done well, the bulbs don't get much sun. They grow quite nicely, but just don't seem to bloom much. Which is a shame, because it's a mix of tulips, regular and mini daffodils, big hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and crocuses. If it all bloomed, it would be just lovely in the early spring.

A few weeks back, when Mom was visiting, I was lamenting the fact that I barely got any blooms once again.  I was talking about digging something closer to the end of the driveway. It was mid afternoon, and the sun was shining on the lawn just a few feet in front of the garden. "Why not just bring this garden out a few more feet..?" Mom suggested. And since she's such a smart woman, I decided to take her advice.
It's a tough area, because there's all kinds of tree roots running through it . But I managed to dig out enough to triple my area. I used one of the larger tree roots as a border on the one side, and had just enough beach rocks to border the front. While I was in there, I dug up as many spring bulbs as I could. They'll be replanted in the fall. When the lilies start to die back, I'll be able to get in and get some of the rest that are closer to the back.
All the new day lilies got planted (Stella de Oro already has buds), as well as the white Bleeding Heart. I relocated my double-bloom Campanula, the Jacob's Ladder, a couple pieces of Sedum and my Toad Lilies (so happy they survived!). It looks a little sparse now, but it won't take long to fill out. I may grab a few annuals to add some colour this year - next year I won't need it at all.

And if you're wondering about that strange salmon-coloured plant...
That's Mom's fault. It's a Begonia. Normally, I'm not really a fan of Begonias - but I have to admit, this one was kind of neat looking. I bought it for a hanging pot (along with a few other things) but once I got everything else in the pot, the Begonia just wasn't really working... so into the front garden it went.

The garden expansion was a lot of work... but it was well worth it - I'm so pleased with the final result. And I may still dig another one at the end of the drive... but I think we'll wait until fall.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A special sock for my special boy

We just recently passed the anniversaries of Rocky and Tux's deaths. I debated on bringing it up, because I try to  keep this blog a happy place. But naturally, I've been thinking about both of them a lot lately. I've long had a yarny tribute to Rocky planned (a special colourway), but I've been struggling with something special for Tux.

But finally, the other night it came to me....
... a new sock design in the perfect Tuxedo cat colours. Stay tuned for the pattern release!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Little Ru causes a stir

Friday, Mom and I had plans to do a little more garden shopping (I was in dire need of soil, and it's just too heavy to haul in my granny cart.)

The plan was to pick me up as soon as she was done work, and we'd get it done before the crowds started hitting the roads (it's a long weekend here). But while we were settling the details on Thursday, I noticed something...
This poor little guy's mouth was full of goopy drool, and it did not smell good. I got him cleaned up, and tried to get a look in his mouth. His gums looked a touch red, but other than that, I couldn't see much. I called the vet, and told Mom plans had changed - we'd need a drive to the vet for 4 p.m. instead.

So Mom, ever the great cat Grandma, dutifully picked us up Friday afternoon and off we went to the vet's. And little Ru was an absolute angel. He wasn't happy about it, but he didn't make a peep during the drive (the vet is half and hour from my house), and he let the vet poke and prod with nary a complaint (other than a tucked tail and flat ears.)

She noted that his gums were inflamed, and she found what was causing the smelly drool - the poor boy has a small ulcer on his tongue. Given that he's young to have gingivitis, and is a mostly indoor cat  and there's no apparent cause for the ulcer), she wanted to rule out FIV. So we left little Ru there for an hour so they could run some tests.  Thankfully, they came back negative and we were sent home with a prescription for two weeks of twice daily oral antibiotics.
And can you just imagine how he feels about that! (Can't say I blame him - I accidentally got some in my mouth and it tastes horrible!)
He's already doing (and smelling) better, though he has to go back for a recheck in two weeks... but we're not going to tell him that just yet.

P.S. And we also learned just how little little Ru is....only 6lbs, 6oz. He truly is our perma-kitten.

P.P.S And because Mom is so wonderful, after we got Ru settled back home, she still took me out for garden stuff... but more on that later.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Did someone say day lilies????

I'm sorry... I will have knitting for you soon.... but right now.... I'm just all about the garden.

The other day after work, I decided to get off the bus several stops early. Another grocery store had opened their garden centre and I wanted to see what they had. Last year they were a little cheaper than my usual garden centre and had some different plants. In fact, my pink oriental lily, blanket flower, sweet william, bleeding heart, speedwell and pink and white delphinium were from there.

So I got off the bus and went and had a little looksie... and well...

This one came home with me...
 ...and this one...
... and then I saw this one, I couldn't leave it behind.
Nor this one...
Or this one...
I absolutely love day lilies. I love all lilies, really, but Day Lilies are a fave. Of course, I have the common orange ones... but some of the fancier ones are hard to find, and can be quite expensive. This is the first time I've ever seen anything other than Stella de Oro at a garden centre.

I have plans to expand the front garden, and since it only gets sun in the afternoon, day lilies are a perfect choice. Not only will they fill it out nicely, they will bloom and bloom. I guess it's a good thing I'm on vacation this week... I've got some digging to do!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Felines

As mentioned earlier this week, despite the door being open, Rupert seems more than content to be a house cat. When I'm out in the garden, he come, poke his head out - maybe walk across the ledge  or the plant pot...
but almost always...
He settles down on the inside of the door frame and watches from the safety of the house. That is of course, if Peno doesn't wander out...
While she was never as adventurous as the boys, she did like to go out and nibble on the grass or roll on the warm patio stones. Last year, she didn't get much opportunity. She won't go out if you won't leave the door open, and we weren't ready to give Rupert that much freedom. But, she's realized now that the door is open, and staying open.
But Rupert has to be EVERYWHERE that Peno is. 
So the minute she wanders out, he'll be right behind. Of course, there's really no better cat to show him the ropes of the yard... because the first scary thing, and she runs right back inside. With Rupert on her tail.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Get in the ground

Now that the warm weather is truly here and appears to be sticking around, it was time to get the patio table cleared up so we can sit outside.

That meant the last of the winter so stuff needed to get in the garden. My plan was to dig a new garden for the Hollyhocks. But the Crocosmia bulbs I got from Dollarama didn't seem to be doing much.... so I decided the Hollyhocks could have their spot.
(I did find a few Crocosmia bulbs as I dug - they had itty bitty roots, so I tossed them in another spot - we'll see if they like that better). The Zebra Mallow are still too small to transplant, but they will go here as well, when they are ready.
There were three Mammoth sunflowers, so I planted them around the double blooming Oriental Lily. I had a sunflower her last year - they are about the same height, but the Lily blooms earlier, so they co-exist nicely.
The TeddyBear sunflowers got planted to the right of the Hollyhocks.
And since the Indian Blanket sunflowers don't get too tall (just a couple feet) theywent in the new garden with the black lilies. I've only got two of them, and it looks like someone already nibbled on one of them.... I do have more seeds though - just incase (I REALLY like these ones)

So... as long as the squirrels leave them alone (always a gamble) we'll have a nice mix of sunflowers this year. The only thing left on the table is the chives. They are small, but still alive, so I figure they can stay for a while. I think Chives may be something to grow directly in the garden though... the sprouts seem just too delicate for transplanting.

And just to keep you up-to-date on the state of the gardens...
The lilac is starting to bloom! Every once in a while, the wind blows in the right direction and it just smells heavenly!
I don't think I've mentioned it... but it looks like only one of my Dianthans survived (there were seven). I'm not complaining - they were bought three years ago, and they were supposed to be annuals. The one that's left is looking a little rough around the edges, and as you can see... the blooms are too.
The Pasque Flower is showing off. I wish this came in other colours, becuase it's a great spring performer.
I thought I'd lost the Alpine Aster... but as you can see - it's still trying. I'm not sure it's going to make it - normally by now it'd be fully leafed out - but we'll see.
 Everything in the Winter Sow Butterfly Mix still looks largely the same (though its healthy and green). But I'm pretty sure I've at least got some Forget-me-nots staring to bloom there. I love Forget-me-nots, though I don't usually have too much luck with them.
My black/purple irses have started to bloom. The red on isn't far behind. There's no sign on buds on my Siberian Irises yet, but apparently, they bloom later that the Bearded Irises, so we're playing wait-and-see still.
The Alium is the slowest blooming plant I've ever seen! It's been looking like this for days now!
The Lily-of-the-Valley is enjoying the warmer weather
And so are the strawberries.
And, as mentioned - the Bleeding Heart has taken over the Little Bee Garden. After it's done blooming, I'm going to have to trim it back!

Any new bloomers in your world...