Thursday, April 30, 2015

The mystery slowly unfolds...

Work is going slowly on Sherlock. Much slower than I expected. But, then I have to remind myself, it's over 300 stitches, and it's colourwork... it was never going to be speedy.
I try to put at least two rows on it each day (though I try for four). As a result, I'm almost halfway through the yoke chart. After that - it's just going to be plain ol' stockknit... and I'll probably be looking back wistfully at all that slow colourwork...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

First bloom

Finally - a day of warm weather and everything starts to unfold!
A wee Turkistan tulip is the first to bloom, but there will be lots more to follow! They are calling for warmth and sunshine all week! At last!

Out back things are looking just as good, though nothing will bloom here for at least another month.
The Alpine Aster is just going wild. It's doubled in size from what it was last year. I definitely think I'll get blooms on it this year. They come in shades of white, pink, purple and blue - and I have no idea what mine will be.
 The Columbine is growing in leaps and bounds. There's also a mystery plant beside it that for the life of me, I can't remember what I planted there. I guess I'll find out eventually.
I'm going to have a bumper crop of Black-Eyed Susans this year. Hopefully they won't all be mutants like the ones that managed to bloom last year.  There are several clumps - I forsee having to break them up and move them around in a year or two.
I think the Creeping Mazu is going to take things over too... It's coming up in all kinds of places.
And look - one of the leftover sunflower stumps is sprouting up.

But there are still several mysteries... like this plant. This is one of the perennials I bought last year. But I don't remember what it was... (and looking back at my list I made, I'm starting to think some of my clearance plants were mis-labelled).
And there are several patches of these little leaves coming up. After conferring with Google... I'm hoping against hope that these are the Echinacea that never made an appearance last year. I guess time will tell....

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

More furmination

 Determined to get my money's worth out of my Furminator, I took it up to Mom's on the weekend.

Ladydog didn't need much, but she enjoyed the attention. Mr. Tibbs took off pretty quick (the girls were visiting too and making too much noise.) But Deuce...
Deuce ate it up! He rolled and purred and made sure I got all the right spots (except for his belly). I was done long before he was. Mom said he looked about 5 pounds lighter by the time we were done.

And as for Miss Peno
She's slowly warming up to it. We've managed a few more passes, and most of her mats are gone. I think she's starting to realize that it makes her feel better.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Back to work, back to socks

It's Monday again - and that means a new pair of socks for lunch time knitting since the Broken Seed Stitch are off the needles.

For my next pair, I dug deep in the stash and pulled out a skein of dark and mysterious Alley Cat.
Dark beauty
The colour is "Blackened" but it's really a super dark bluey-purple. If I remember correctly, it was an overdye of a truly hideous skein.

For the pattern, I chose my Sagittarius sock. My original pair wore out a few years ago and I've wanted to re-kit for a long time. This yarn seemed perfect for it.
Little arrowheads
I modded the cuff and did a 1-1 rib (pattern calls for 2-2), but other than that, I'm knitting it as is. (I'm even going to do a long leg!)

I forgot how much I love this pattern. It's one of those that goes really quickly because you want to complete a whole pattern repeat before setting it down.  And before you know it - your socks are done!
Pattern stretched out - just a touch of lace
I should be able to get a whole repeat done each lunch hour, so these will seem to just fly off the needles!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Walmart wins

Walmart isn't my favourite place to shop, but I have to admit, sometimes you can find some great scores.

Like this little Heather plant.
It was the last one left, and it's in need some some TLC, but for the price I just couldn't walk by it. I think the bees are going to love it.

And down the craft aisle...
Fun fabric packs. A full yard of each fabric for just $12. That's enough for two Kitten Kaboodles. I see some return trips in my future...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

FO: Broken Seed Stitch Socks

Sorry for the lack of posting. The end of the week just sorta got away from me. But in that time, I did managed to finish up the Broken Seed Stitch socks.
This is definitely a cool - but very easy stitch pattern. It's the perfect use for those skeins of yarn that just don't want to play nice with any pattern. Just pair them with a coordinating solid and bam!
Problem solved. I can see these working in so many colours. (There are some great examples on Ravelry). I've already considered making another pair. And can I just say... there's just something about a plain while heel and toe
It just makes these just so.... darling! Definitely my new favourite spring socks!

And with these off the needles, it means I need a new pair for travel knitting. Stay tuned to see what I chose...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Butterfly wings and kitty whiskers

Although I've only worked on it on Sundays, my new Game of Thrones shawl design is growing quickly
It's one of the things I love about a top down shawl - the first part grows so quickly. I'm already through two full repeats of the buttterfly chart. It will soon be too big to shawl decent pictures...
But I've always got a handsome model ready to help out with some creative photos!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beauty abounds

The weekend was so warm and bright, Stella got a nice bath and her first run of the season with the top down.
 Since this is probably her last summer, I've decided to document our travels together over the next few months.
The park we stopped at is only a few minutes drive from Mom's (the destination of her first top down run this year). It's perched on the edge of the escarpment in Grimsby, and as soon as you get out of the car, you know this park is special.

For, just beyond that fence you can see in the background of the first picture
A gorge with a large creek. Forty Creek to be exact.

And where there's a creek and an escarpment...
 There are waterfalls. This is the lower half of Beamer Falls.

A mini hike and a few minutes later...
The upper falls. It's hard to tell, but I'm actually about 100 feet up a cliff from the falls. The flow is nice and strong because it's spring, but Beamer is one of the falls where it's pretty steady all year round.
And look what's under foot
and then these...
I have no idea what either of them are - but they are tiny, tiny, tiny! So easy to miss if you're not looking!

This reminds me just how lucky I am to live where I do. A coworker was recently lamenting that she couldn't afford to go away for a vacation. But as much as I like to travel... there's really no reason to go away. There's so much around us - sometimes just a short drive away - that we take for granted.

Stella and I will be back to these falls this summer... and many other places just as beautiful!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The skull just attracts attention

Work on Sherlock is going slowly... but it is going
As you can see -the skull are finished. In fact, I'm almost finished the increasing, so things should pick up a little bit, speedwise too.

I'm hoping to finish the yoke this week. Then I can try it on and make sure my mods are actually working. If not, there's going to be a whole lot of frogging and swearing this weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Inch by inch

I love this time of year - the gardens seem to grow right before my eyes!
Just look at the front garden now! Lilies and tulips and daffies, oh my!
And the Turkistan tulips are almost ready to bloom.

Yesterday, the boys and I spent about an hour outside cleaning out the leaves and dead bits. That combined with the sun really has things perking up!
There are six of these Dianthan bunches in the tree garden.... they were suppose to be annuals. Sadly, there's no sign of the English Daisies or Violas that I planted that were suppose to be perennials... but I've not given up hope just yet.

Out back, the Bee garden is nice and green and tidy
I think I'm going to have a bumper crop of Columbine
There are three or four little bunches that seem to get bigger by the day. But I just realized... I have no idea what colour they will be - it was a pack of mixed seeds!

The pink rose seemed to weather winter well
She's starting to green up and sprout... but the white rose...
I'm worried I may have lost her. But we'll give her another week or two. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I don't normally review products, but I had to share this one with my fellow cat-lovers.

As you know, I have three lovely, short-haired cats. But one of them....
 ...hides a secret. She has extremely thick, dense fur... and it mats. Badly.

I've tried all of Mopar's old grooming tools on her. The wide tooth comb, the mat cutter... she hates them all. I've tried just brushing her on a regular basis, but the matts have gotten so bad, she won't even let me use the regular slicker brush on her.

So, I did a little research and came across the Furminator.

In addition to promising to reduce shedding up to 90%, it says it gets to the loose undercoat - the main cause of matting. After getting over the sticker shock (almost $60 for a cat brush!!!) I decided to get one and give it a try.

I knew I wasn't going to get to try it on Peno right away, given how wary she's become of brushing. So I grabbed Rocky. He tolerates it for a while, and next to Peno, he's the worst for loose hair.

Well... Rocky thought it was just fantastic. He got a full 20 minutes of Furmination (that's about 10 minutes longer than we get with the slicker brush....) and while I still wasn't allowed to use it on his belly...
That's a lot of hair from just one cat. He also purred through the whole thing.

Next up was Tux. Tux LOVES to be brushed (he use to hate it when I first got him, put persistence on my part changed his tune.) Tux got about 10 minutes. Because of the diabetes, he has lots of little blemishes on his skin. I think the Furminator irritates it little because it gets right down to the skin. He was sure to tell me when he'd had enough.
We still got a respectable pile of fur!

Then it was time for Peno. I had to coax her over with treats. Her Furminating lasted about 2 minutes. And I had to hold her the whole time. No pictures of her with her pile, I'm afraid. I decided it was better to let her go than traumatize her further that night.
 From left to right... Rocky's, Tux's and Peno's...

There's a visible difference in the look of Rocky's coat
And definitely less fur shed when they come for a snuggle.

I'm still not sure $60 is a fair price... but it definitely does the job.... and bit by bit... we are going to get Peno Furminated too...
... whether she wants it or not!

Friday, April 17, 2015


This time of year is really hard for me. I want to do so much with the gardens, but there's not much I can do as there's still a chance of frost (and will be right up until mid-may).

All the stores have icicle pansies out, to tempt those like me who just want something in bloom! And of course, they are ridiculously over-priced.

I managed to resist the $15 pots outside the grocery store the other day.... but I just couldn't seem to walk by the bulb display....
 A few of these beautiful lilies jumped into my cart....
Along with these beauties...
And who could resist this funky purple plant?

I can't plant any of these yet either... but I can dream about how they will look in the garden this summer....

And since I just had to have something blooming

I have a terrible track record with African Violets, but hopefully I can keep this one going this time. Afterall... my Poinsettia is still alive!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The game is on!

I've finally cast on for my Sherlock cardigan
 It's slow going. Not only am I modding it up a size or two, but I've also rejigged it so I can work it top-down (pattern is written bottom-up) so I can try it on as I go and make sure my mods are working. That, combined with increases in the colourwork mean things are going to move a little slowly - at least until I get past the yoke.

I am enjoying it so far. I think they type of yarn you use in colourwork can make all the difference - and the Stray Cat is definitely up to the job. It's soft and squishy, and so lovely to knit with  - it's not hard to keep the tension even on the floats.

It's going to be fun watching this one develop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let me out!!!!

Sitting in the office this week has been absolutely unbearable. It's been sunny and warm all week and I just want to get outside....
just like Tux... just get out there and soak up the sun!

And the break in the weather means things are really picking up in the gardens...
That's just one corner of the front garden. And it's the garden that gets the least amount of sun. In a week or two, it's going to be bloom city!

The tree garden is still going slow
There's just a couple of tulips coming up, but I'm holding out hope that the Spring Snowflake may yet make an appearance. (The sprout that came up has since gone missing - damn squirrels!)

Out back, I cleaned out some of the leaves and I think bee garden is going to be even better than last year
The Columbine should go tall and strong this year. (Which makes me especially please since this was started from seed last year)
Hopefully I'll get blooms on the Alpine Aster
And the Black-Eyed Susan's should provide some nice colour come September.

I'm already itching for some new plants and have big plans to expand the garden areas... I think this year will be irises and peonies....