it’s a mashup today

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, projects

it’s that time of year when you could just sit and watch the plants grow—last week’s rain coupled with the weekend heat instigated a explosion of growth and bloom out there. now it’s raining again and cooler—good thing too, because i’ve had a lot of catching up to do this week.

we even have live plants springing from cracks between the rocks. awesome.
david spent the whole weekend reconfiguring our vegetable plot so it would be ready for planting in a couple of weeks. last year he dug trenches in our very hard and compacted soil (that area used to be a gravel parking lot, if that gives you any idea of the soil conditions) to make rows for planting

we filled them with friable soil and that worked pretty well. but this year when it was time to start tilling some amending compounds into the soil, he realized that we had a LOT of wasted space and that the old system restricted us to planting in rows.

so he decided to dig the whole plot up (no small feat; our in-between dirt is like soft concrete and fraught with stones and roots) so that now, it looks like this

and consists of 100% plantable earth. we can have so many more things now. and watering will be easier, too. we need to let it settle, but i’m already collecting plants—my friend kris gave me some tomatoes already that are hardening on the sun porch. i do have leeks and celeriac planted in one of the lettuce boxes. there will be squash, peppers, eggplant, herbs, beets—and the asparagus is coming up (we kept that bed as it was).

we really can’t plant til at least mother’s day, when the danger of frost is mostly past. til then though, plenty of other offerings are on show

the hostas have tripled in size during the last week—that rock in the center is the “boulder” you can see in earlier photos

soon it’ll be completely obscured. nearby is my all-time spring favorite—the much-anticipated emergence of the fiddleheads is underway

like fuzzy little chicks popping up from the nest—i just love them.

david’s double tulips are about to pop; it was very hot over the weekend but has cooled down to normal temps (50°) so the blooming is slowed enough to get some beautiful shots of semi-open flowers

which reminds me—this is a knitting blog, heh. and i have a tulip-y sock underway so maybe this is a good time to talk about it. i finished up the first sock the other day

i think i should have made it a tad longer though; i may have to fix that. this knit up so fast i can’t help but be pleased and that’s not the only thing i like about it. the yarn and pattern together make a good marriage, i think—the springy, peachy-pink colors with a dash of bright green make me think of sweet peas, tulips, and all those wonderful blooms of the season.

i’m torn about the name; i’ve got two great suggestions from readers that i like equally-well:
cynthis A suggested laleh, the persian word for tulip (and so feminine)—which would honor the flower’s origins in the persian empire.

and claire offered Keukenhof, which refers to a large public garden in lisse, netherlands that features vast tulip displays. this appealed to me because the stitch pattern sort of looks like row upon row of tulips—so much so that i was even thinking at first of naming it tulip ribbons or something similar.

which one do you like?

while i’m thinking that over, i have the second sock to knit; it’s already on the needles, ready to go wherever i go (more on that later).

have i mentioned how yummy this woolen rabbit bambino yarn is?? gosh, this stuff is just perfect for transitioning weather—it’s comfortably squishy without having any weight whatsoever. the fabric is dense and silky at the same time. and it slides right into my shoe without bunching or snagging at all. nice.

the climbing hydrangea is just covered with buds this year—hopefully we’ll see plump white flowers all over it before long. last year for the first time, we had three “blooms” on it that really looked more like dillweed flowers; i don’t know what’s normal for this plant so i’m anxious to find out if the flowers get better as time goes on.

the apple tree is blooming too, but not as effusively as last year; i wonder what’s up with that? usually it’s completely covered with flowers, but not so this spring, hmm. it sems healthy otherwise; maybe i’m just missing something.

that reminds me of an FO that actually came off my needles a week ago, just before i left for spring fling. i finally got around to blocking it tuesday morning

i love the shadowing in the stitch pattern—it’s made even more apparent by the glow of the yarn itself.

several people have written me over the last few months, asking how i thread blocking wires at the edges. the answer is, very patiently (i love blocking tasks; i don’t mind this).

if the piece has a garter edge, even just one stitch, i can pick up the ladder that lays on top of the fabric. i like to pick up every other ladder. this gives me a nice straight edge. my garter is sorta tight at the row ends so it holds pretty firm, but if yours is loose, you can pick up a couple of sts from the edge, where it’s more stable.

once it was dry, i played dress up with it on the form and took some photos—i’ll give you a couple of teasers

lean in close and rub your cheek—maybe you can feel it??

just look at how the light washes over that fabric—breathtaking, right? i so wish you could touch it. the cashmere laceweight from fearless fibers is amazing. it bloomed during the soak to offer up an ethereal halo—just enough to gather up and reflect more light. sigh.

i keep detouring to the table where the scarf is sitting, just for an excuse to stroke it.

this pattern will be released in my shop after the club kits go out at the end of may. i was thinking too, that this would be a great pattern for summery silk yarns—the twisted rib makes a nice stable fabric that would encourage stitch definition even in fibers that normally offer little that way.

lilac is blooming—much as we love looking at it, this is one flower that both of us react strongly to. so we’re not exactly gathering armloads of it to bring in the house (been there, done that, heh).

because i need to beef up the fall supply of man socks, i’ve been working away at a new one for david (or whoever). i’ve shown bits and pieces of it but it was hard to get the overall picture from those photos

i’m working on the heel flap now, which i’m knitting in the same rib pattern as the cuff. once again i’m using grandma’s blessing—this one is headed for sock summit in august for sure. i love the colorway—it’s so david. i’m not sure which one it is—maybe this or this.

while i’m somewhat caught up, i still have lots to do—i’m trying to get ahead on pattern writing and trafficking the various stages of the sweater test knitting. lots of people involved means lots of emailing; it’s hectic. and i still need to knit.

in fact, i think today i will try to start knitting in the afternoon because i’ve fallen behind a bit. i have to get a scarf on the needles (or two). and i need to make headway on the next sweater

this is the re-knit of the gray maze sweater (which isn’t finished, but i need to start the new one so i can write a pattern). i cast on last night in this gold briar rose legend—a beautiful yarn i haven’t knit with before that i’m falling in love with. and this color—wow; this is an old favorite for me and one i haven’t used in ages. i knit a gansey in a similar gold-green yarn in the early 90s that i wear still, but i could use an update (the old one has the giant sleeves that were so popular back then).

i’ve also started the pattern for david’s woolrich jacket that i knit for his christmas gift

but just barely—next week i’ll need to concentrate on pulling that together for tana to tech edit and start the search for a test knitter. it’s an easy knit in heavier yarn that’s definitely jacket-weight

all the handsome guys want one.
that’s my nephew james who you might remember from previous posts. he’s graduating later this month and i’m very excited to report that he already landed a great job in his field (graphic design and communications)—in fact he started work on monday and he likes it a lot so far.

it’s incredibly encouraging to hear about graduates that get jobs they like—forecasts of gloom and doom for them are rampant and it can dampen the spirit of the job search. it’s demoralizing when people leave school thinking that four years of hard work is not marketable toward a satisfying job.

it sounds like he has a boss who is generous with encouraging feedback, as well. i’m very impressed by that—it means she is happy in her position, too.
why, she deserves some flowers

ok, well, one flower; it’s all i have left. but it’s so special—the lone checkered fritillaria in my little shade bed.

anyway, because he can’t score enough tickets for all of us to go to the graduation ceremony, david and i are heading off to see him this weekend for just a couple of days. coincidentally, he lives just a stone’s throw from the howard county fairgrounds—site of the maryland sheep and wool festival. imagine that.

he remembered that i talked about coming out for that a few times before, so he invited us to visit now, instead of at graduation, when he will only have about a half day off from work. so, i guess we’re going to be there; if you see me please say hi—i hope i see you first.

i’ll try to post something before i go tomorrow, especially if i have new knitting for you to look at. i feel bad that my posts have been sporadic the last week or so and then i bombard you will all manner of wool and flowers.

oh well, we could do worse than wool and flowers, right?

57 thoughts on “it’s a mashup today

  1. This post made me smile more times than I could count, what with the gorgeous flowers, knitting, and, uh, male models… I’m in a distinct knitting up stash phase, and can’t wait till that tulip sock pattern is released!
    Thanks for the pick-me-up — I always appreciate them.

  2. Congratulations to your nephew on his graduation and finding a job right away!

    I’ll be at MDS&W too. I’ll be sure to say “hello’ if I see you.

  3. On naming the tulip sock pattern, you most certainly know where I stand! Keukenhof can be very appropriate, but that soft spot I have for all things Persian means that laleh wins for me. Good luck making your choice!

  4. “Laleh” is very nice. Although, while I usually really go for names that are a single non-English word, there’s something about “Tulip Ribbons” that really captures what’s lovely about that piece.

  5. Wool and flowers are two of my favorite things!!! (along with music and merlot…..)

    I like “laleh” for the socks; at least, the way it sounds in my head which may or may not be the correct pronunciation!

  6. Hmmm. I’m torn between Keukenhof (just LOVE how that sounds) and, like Sasha said in the comment above, Tulip Ribbons. For some reason, not so much behind Laleh. Maybe because I don’t know how it is pronounced. Whichever way you decide it is a gorgeous pattern.

    Also a gorgeous pattern? The scarf. Eagerly awaiting that pattern!

  7. I love your gardening posts and I think that manly sweater is fantastic, my boy doesn’t wear sweaters, in fact the only one he owns is ruined because he used it to clean up thermal paste before he even removed its tags. Too bad, because he would look so handsome in something like this sweater.

  8. You can send all your lilacs to me if you want to. I miss them so much…California is not a lilac friendly place. 🙁

    For the sock, I like laleh. Feminine and strong at the same time.

  9. Love love love the Lace scarf and the way the curves of the pattern dance around each other – it reminds me of Hypoteneuse but with curves- where can I stand in line for the pattern?

    I’m hoping to be at MD S&W on Sat. – I’ll be on the lookout for you! (My hair is red!)

  10. I can’t believe how much more in bloom you are than we are. I love that fritillaria plant, and the fiddleheads are so cool!!
    I am counting the days until I have lilacs.

  11. Oh Anne I adore your newest pattern! It is fabulous and gorgeous and amazing all in one! I will DEFINITELY be knitting this as soon as available! WOW WOW WOW!

  12. Again, I LOVE your newest pattern. And tulips! They are my absolute favorite (truth be told double tulips are #1).

    I think Laleh is an absolutely wonderful name for the tulip pattern. It sounds so feminine. So springish.

  13. All manner of wool and flowers, indeed! The scarf is gorgeous – that stitch motif is just stunning, and so organic and structured at the same time. And the tulip socks are great! I think I lean toward Laleh myself 🙂 Have a fabulous time this weekend with your nephew and at the festival!

  14. Your garden looks wonderful! And you’re projects are gorgeous as always, but I really want to make that sweater jacket for my youngest…can I be your test knitter? 🙂

    I’ll be looking for you at MDS&W!

  15. Wow what a post! Our tulips exploded yesterday. And the bleeding hearts too. Our lilacs aren’t yet though.

    Love the sock, I like Laleh best. Easier to say, and spell.

    Congrats to the nephew!

  16. Love the flowers and the wool! I’m anxious to start on that scarf; I love the texture of it. Have fun at MDS&W!

  17. Hello, Anne, and greetings from the North of the UK where we’ve had good weather also in the last few weeks, but our lilac is not blooming yet here. Your remark about the apple blossom reminded me that I heard somewhere that the apple tree yields its best fruit pnly every other year. So I’m guessing that yours may be in its “rest year”. Just a thought.
    Best wishes, MelindaJ

  18. I like Laleh! And I hope you will not mind when I say that I smiled at the typo in the first sentence, because I am eight.

  19. Loved the typo and need to know where I can go to watch them! Seriously, I love Tulip Ribbons too. Lovely knits, lovely garden!!

  20. LOL…the fritillaria is actually the flower I originally thought of as a sock name suggestion, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of it, so plan B was the orchid suggestion. I love your May Apples–we have those and they are just so darn charming. Our ferns are opening too and the bleeding heart is showing its flowers now. I love that Woolen Rabbit yarn-that color isn’t listed though. I’ll have to keep checking. I like Tulip Ribbons too.

  21. Gosh, Anne, your garden is light years ahead of ours. I love your bleeding heart and the tulip socks~tulip ribbons does it for me! That’s a great color! Have a fun weekend!

  22. Me, I like the “man sock” which I would definitely make for myself. I hope you publish that pattern soon!

  23. wow, it looks like david’s been busy! that’ll be fun to garden in this year.

    i must be skimming blogs too much lately – i feel like i don’t remember seeing the lace before…although, then again, i seem to remember talk of cashmere laceweight. very pretty.

  24. Oh man…that scarf is so gorgeous…I think that may be my favorite of all your scarves. At least,,,today it is!

    So you’ll be at S&W?! I’ll keep my eyes open but you know…it tends to be a leetle bit crowded.

  25. I love all the native plants – just gorgeous! I enjoy seeing the knitting – keeping me motivated – I’m in a spot where I just can’t get the gauge with the yarn I want for the pattern I want….. I guess many have been there. Be sure and check out Green Mountain Spinnery’s booth – a wonderful small company in VT. And what are the chances of any of us running into you in the hordes of people that flock to the sheep and wool??!! Enjoy and have fun!

  26. I vote for Lelah, too…that pattern is gorgeous! Oh my.

    And I’ve been thinking of you as I spotted my first fiddlehead last weekend!! The checkered fritillaria is too cool!! Do you think they would grow in Oregon?

    Happy Spring almost Summer!!

  27. The scarf is very pretty with all those curving lines and details…the first thing that came to mind when I saw it was “snowshoes”! Silly, I know.

  28. Ooooh, fiddleheads *and* mayapples!

    And Lelah is a very good name.

    I will definitely say hello if I see you at MDSW. I’m hoping the potential rain will mean it’ll be less mobbed. 🙂

  29. The cashmere lace pattern is just beautiful.

    Lovely flowers too — I can’t seem to get a bleeding heart to survive in my yard (love them to bits) but out here in CA the first baby tomatoes have appeared on my plant so I can’t complain too much!

  30. I’m so glad you’ll be able to come to MDSW! I’m going to be taking my Maplewing work-in-progress wiith me so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you . . .

  31. With the warmer weather and all the rain our bleeding hearts are grown so big so fast… we may not be able to get in the front door soon!

    Big congrats to your nephew… landing a job in the field he wants and so soon… excellent!

    I hope you’ll still be at the festival on Sunday… I will certainly look for you. Maybe you’ll be at the Ravelry meet and greets?

  32. I love the woolrich jacket pattern – my boyfriend starting knitting 6 months ago and has been looking for a great men’s sweater pattern. I think i might even knit one for myself. I cannot wait for that pattern to come out on your site!

  33. Anne, I think I prefer Keukenhof. I’ve been there and the rows and rows and beds and beds of tulips are incredible. Now, back to reading the blog so that I can continue to sigh over the flowers and yarny things!

  34. i prefer ‘Keukenhof’ too. i grew up ‘just around the corner’ (but hey, everything in holland is ‘just around the corner’. it’s even some kind of orange colour, and what is more dutch than that colour? especially since you posted this on our national ‘koninginnedag’ (queensday)!

  35. I like Tulip Ribbons myself.

    Melinda is right. Most fruit trees alternate between heavy years and light years. The most dedicated gardeners will hand-pick blossoms off one side of the tree to force that side to “rest”. Then, the next year, that side will be heavy and the other side will “rest”. That way, you have a more even crop year to year. Of course, severe weather could remove all the blossoms for you which would require the manual adjustment the following year again.

    Beautiful post that filled my heart with joy. Enjoy your weekend.

  36. I love hostas, and we found a variety that the slugs did not seem to eat too much – until we moved house. These new slugs devoured the hostas in hours.

    I’ve never tried them since, but they leave the ferns alone, and I love them as they unzip, ours here in the uk are just starting to open.

  37. I vote for Keukenhof. I grew up in the Netherlands and remember fondly going to Keukenhof every spring. The experience of standing on a rise and looking out onto carpets of color.

  38. Such a great newsy blog! The pictures were great and that scarf absolutely charming. As for the tulip sock, I’m for Keukenhof.
    You inspire me ! How do you get so much done?!?

  39. I like Kukenhof.

    Love that scarf – the stitch pattern is mesmerizing!

    Hope to see you at MDSW. BTW – If you are driving, there’s a really nice plant vendor right inside the gates. Gorgeous herbs – I have several varieties of lavendar I have picked up from them over the years. They will let you stash your plant buys behind the booth, so that you don’t have to schlep them around all day.

  40. The lace scarf in cashmere is beautiful. I would like to try it in lace weight alpaca. Do you know or anyone know how these two yarns differ for a lace project like this?

  41. I like both names, but Laleh sounds more like the name for a shawl or scarf. Have fun in MD – it’s so pretty there this time of year.

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