uprising, uplifting

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, projects

happy spring holiday everyone!

i’ve been looking forward to a quiet weekend, thinking that this would be a day when everyone would be otherwise occupied, but wow, it’s a busy day in the neighborhood. lots of people are working in their yards, including david. he’s been getting the garden ready for planting. it’s too early for most of what we put in, but i do have some onion sets and shallots i want to put in place before i go away on thursday.

i wasn’t able to get a photo of this, but i discovered that the robins have at last set up house in the nest on our front porch. haha, the UPS guy let me know when he tried to deliver a package the other day and nearly got his eye pecked out by a swooping bird. they can be a little overzealous until they get used to the comings and goings around here. but fair warning to those who might be stopping by the place . . .

i’m finding more new awakenings in the garden beds every day. in addition to our bulb flowers, the hostas have finally come to life and the lily of the valley has sprouted all at once—in fact, the LOV are budding out heavily. i can’t wait to see them bloom, but hopefully they’ll wait a couple of weeks til i’m back home from my teaching trip.

even if you don’t have flowers yet in your neck of the woods, it’s not too early (or a bad idea) to start a quick spring sweater. in fact, our always-fun-and-filled-with-laughs ravelry group is casting on today for a blümchen knitalong. many of our members had this sweater on the back burner, since it was released when they were busy with christmas preparations. but now that spring is upon us, they are ready to cast on. as with all of our KALs, it’s never to late to join; we don’t do deadlines—just fun.

this lighter weight, openwork sweater is a breeze to knit and works with a wide variety of fingering/sport weight yarns and the pattern has a short-sleeved option, too. it is especially nice in briar rose sea pearl (the yarn used in my sample), which is dressy enough to wear to work or dinner out, but practical to wear with jeans, too. but don’t take my word for it—check out the ravelry project page to see it in more colors and yarn types.

speaking of blümchen, i found fiddleheads popping open already in my back yard. i managed to catch these japanese painted ferns just before they are fully unfurled.

the large green ferns are still tightly crouched in a mound; i’m hoping that these too will move much more slowly and wait til i get home to unfold. it’s a yearly tradition with me that i photograph them at just the right moment. i’m doubtful that this year my luck will hold; i’m going to be away a good ten days or so and it’s been awfully warm . . .

surprisingly, i also found the may apple popping up—good thing i looked, or i might have missed it entirely. i find this little, gnomely sprout so amusing—and i know you will too

how could we not? this is actually the female plant—note the fruit at the top, which is the flower bud. the leaves are tucked underneath as it comes up out of the ground, folded against the stem like an umbrella.

(this is the male version). as it grows upward and unfolds it tips forward, allowing the bud to drop underneath so that the  umbrella of leaves shades it.

(last year, the plants came up near the end of april)

and then later in may, a pretty flower opens in its cool shelter and from that, a fruit forms, usually sometime in june. i never saw this plant before i lived here and apparently, it’s not that easy to grow, but for some reason, it likes the peculiar microclimate of our shady back yard.

i have been knitting my brains out on secret projects and trying like mad to get some pattern work done before i leave. so that of course limits what i have to show you today.

however, i did go to debby’s house yesterday to knit, so i brought one of my very few public knitting projects along to work on.

and look—i added about six inches to my holda sweater in just a few hours. ahh, the joys of working with DK yarn on size 7 needles. you can see a lot better what’s going on with the design now. this is the left front piece; the fabric will be much smoother and flatter once it’s blocked, but still have a luxurious, velvety texture (have i mentioned before how much i love this yarn??).

the wide center front band is incorporated right into the piece;it will mostly lay flat when it’s blocked but it will readily pleat up as it shapes to the contours of the collarbone while traveling up and around the neck.

i have to decide very soon if mine will have a few buttonholes or not. i think so—i’m a person that likes to button my sweaters. in fact, it’s a nervous habit with me—i tend to button and unbutton them compulsively when i’m thinking or talking or when my hands are otherwise unoccupied.

i have some very cool, funky cedar buttons that would be great for this—very irregular sizing and shapes—just a few up near the middle of the torso. i’ll get those out to show you next time (with such a lack of public knitting, i gotta save something for next time!).

this project will see a lot of ariplay during my upcoming trip—it’s a great stitch pattern for working while on the move; simple enough not to need a chart, engaging enough not to put me to sleep. plus, it’s something i can knit in front of others; i’ll need to keep my secret knitting in my room.

i’m hoping to have this last plain jhayne mitt finished before i leave, so i can tuck them in my pocket for traveling. i’ve been wearing the green ones at my desk and wow, are they ever exactly what i needed.

so yeah, i’m headed to the DC area in a few days—first to a retreat in the solomons. afterward, i’ll hang out with my nephew james and his wife diana for a few days.  david will join me later that week and we’ll make a stop at shalimar yarns. then it’s on to fibre space in alexandria for two days of classes.

erica is arriving today so we can work on some things until i leave. i’m hoping ot be back to blog before i go but if not, please don’t take it personally! i’ll make every effort to blog about my travels; spring on the eastern seaboard is lovely.


15 thoughts on “uprising, uplifting

  1. Love the garden pics, the kids and I just planted some seeds mcdonalds handed out of all places… radishes and lettuce lol. Who knows if they’ll grow but they had fun.

  2. Goodness, is it time for Mayflowers again already? I feel like we just saw pictures of them unfolding.

    Love the Holda sweater – such an interesting approach .

    Have a great DC trip!

  3. Another Ann—
    It’s all good. The botany lesson is fascinating, and I should get hopping on my garden too. Can’t wait to see the great secret stuff, and I’m still in love with Blumchen. (I hope I spelled it correctly.)

    Have a great trip. We are headed for Omaha on Thursday. Hope they have a great yarn shop!

  4. I’m loving your spring pictures it seem to be coming slow here. No blooms yet but we had snow again yesterday(nothing that stuck around it’s still that cold though).

  5. We have those May apples right here in Upstate Manhattan (near the Cloisters) I missed them at their most amusing point but even the early rounded leaves are funny if not so anatomical. They look like Dr. Seuss designed them. Your Blumchen is beautiful if maybe a trifle short glad you are doing a KAL . I am hopelessly over-committed but someday…

  6. HA HA HA!!!! No WAY is that the female plant Anne. . . .

    Okay, I love your Holda sweater. . .. can’t wait to see its’ progress!

    Hope your East Coast trip is a good one!

  7. Oddly, my hostas are just coming up here too in Scotland, we must have a similar climate just now (certainly our tiny front garden is very shade too!). Have a great trip, looking forwards to reading about it.

  8. Oh, I do wish I had the capacity to join the Blümchen KAL! I could really use a sort-sleeved version of that sweater. Alas, I’m overstretched with what I already have on my plate. Look forward to drooling over all of the KALers sweaters.

    That May Apple plant is cool. You especially peaked my interest when you mentioned the shady garden. My back garden is in almost total shade and I’m always looking for plant material that will thrive in its environment. You’ve given me a new species to explore. Thanks!

  9. I’ve seen those May apples growing all around the Appalachian trail here in Virginia and I always wondered what they were called. Thanks for the botany lesson!

  10. Thanks for this post. I saw some plants in a garden recently and had no idea what they were. May Apples! Love!

  11. Fancy having to knit by subterfuge at a knitting event! I see how the subtle cable works on the Holda; would you consider putting another pair of cables above and in so you get an inverted V shape? Perhaps it’s impertinent to suggest such a thing.

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