The Last of the Red Curtains

Goodbye red floral curtains. You will not be missed.

I still have 2 more panels to sew of the sheer curtains, but I couldn’t wait a moment longer. It was with glee that I took the old red curtains down and cut into them with my sewing sheers. I hope to reuse the fabric when I make Noodlehead’s Go Anywhere bag. Perhaps I’ll make some pillows too just to remember the curtains by.

With Dan’s help and perhaps Elly’s help too, the new sheer curtains were hung.

Now as much as I love the new sheer curtains and I especially adore all the light they let in, I am on the hunt for new home decorator fabric that can layer overtop. Our front room faces south and gets blasted by the sun all day long. By noon, it’s like an inferno in the living room. The old shades provided much needed protection from the sun by blocking it out. The sooner I can find new fabric and line such fabric with flannel – for that is the key to weather protecting curtains – the less often we will have to run our AC.

This post was added to TDC’s June Before and After Party.

TDC Before and After

Yard Sale Find

Check out my find at the local yard sale!

Curtains for the guest bedroom.

Long have I hated the old curtains, especially after I repainted the room in a cream color a few years ago. The old curtains were just too dark and too formal and so not me.

These curtains are a touch fancy what with all the embroidery, but for $2 I’m not complaining. They save me from having to sew yet more curtains for this house at a time when I want to focus on our party dresses.

I bought 3 panels, but have only hung 2; 1 per window. I figure I can use the 3rd panel to make pillows or to make a valance. In the meantime, I’ll add it to my stash. It’ll come in handy eventually.

Learning How to Knit Again

In an effort to ease the soreness in my hands after a knitting session, I am learning how to knit in the continental style.

Last year at the Pottstown Knit Out, I had taken a class on how to knit continental. By the end of the class, I could make both a knit stitch and a purl stitch.

Yet when I got home and picked up my current knitting project, I reverted back to the way I had always knit. The habit was too great.

At first I rationalized that I didn’t want to potentially alter my gauge halfway through a project. When I cast on for the next project, I would switch to knitting in continental. But, I didn’t. Nor did I do it for the project after that or for the huge hexagon blanket I just finished.

So here I am having to consult my Knitting Without Tears book to remember what I learned in the Knit Out class.

I feel like a beginner knitter. Part of me is happy to be learning something new and expanding my knitting knowledge. The other part of me is frustrated to be relegated to knitting dishcloths when what I really want to do is test out my new lace pattern.

After just a few rows of the dishcloth, I understand why the continental style of knitting is as beloved as it is. It requires a whole lot less hand movement. I can make a new stitch with just a flick of my wrist. It’s nice. It might even correct my gauge issues. You see, I’m a loose knitter. I tend to use needles 2-3 sizes smaller than what is recommended by yarn companies. I didn’t start out that way. In fact, I knitted extremely tight when I was first starting to knit. Well one day, my MIL saw me struggling to knit. “Why are you knitting so tight?” she asked. Before I could even answer, she took the needles out of my hand and showed me how to knit loosely. I never knit a tight stitch again. But, I went to the other spectrum and began to knit extremely loosely. Now that I’m learning to knit again, maybe I can knit just so and not be too loose or too tight. Just so.

Knitting in the Hot Weather

Jared Flood, who blogs over at Brooklyn Tweed, offered some great advice on how to knit with wool in the  hot and humid summers of the Northeast in his guest post on Knitbot. He mentions his great love of wool and how he tried to knit other fibers but always came back to his first love. Yet, how does Jared knit in the hot summers? Well, he swatches. The knit never gets too heavy or hot in his hands since he’ s knitting such small samples. Brilliant!

Long have I had a cabled stole idea brewing that I would love to knit in this merino lace yarn by Yarn Chef.

Plus, I bought this hand-spun wool yarn two years ago from the Pottstown Knit Out with the intention of knitting Mommy and Me vests.

I think I shall knit this summer after all while I test out the patterns for these projects.

Gardened Out

After spending the afternoon in the garden digging up the last of the Lily of the Valley and transplanting all the purple coneflowers, I am worn out. So for the next few months, I am just going to sit underneath our pin oak tree and enjoy it all.

Like knitting, I would rather not garden once the weather turns hot. I sweated like a pig pulling out the lilies. It was too much like work and not a lot like a relaxing hobby.

All the gardening projects on my to-do list ( most of which involve cutting down bushes and flowers that no longer fit into my landscape design) will just have to wait. Maybe by the time Fall rolls around, I’ll get my energy back.

It is a Flower Blanket

Said Elly after I stitched the six outer hexagons together.

I stitched the hexagons together on the picnic table outside while Elly played in her water table and her sandbox.

It was a wonderful day.

So wonderful in fact that we took a ride on the tandem bike to Coventry Ice Cream Parlor. Elly repeatedly told us how much she liked ice cream.

The next few days should be rainy so the center of the flower will sit and wait on the dining room chair. By the end of the month though, the hexagon blanket will be finished. My current plan is to devote all my energy to the party dresses, but it may prove hard to stay away from my yarn stash. Maybe I’ll spin the alpaca fiber. Oh dear, I think I’m smitten already.

My Biggest Garden Yet

After 2 years of neglecting my garden (pregnancy and Elly’s 1st year kept me busy), I made up for lost time this year.

Not only did I fill the 3 raised garden beds, purchased from Garden Supply Co, with the following vegetables and herbs:
But I also made a herb bed.

The herbs I chose to plant are all perennials (the annuals went in the raised beds).
Rather than start from seed as I did in the raised beds, I purchased saplings from my local nursery, Achin Back. The following herbs were planted:
The chives were originally in the raised beds, but I moved them over to allow more room for vegetables.

Then, because I lost my mind, I made a strawberry patch and a pumpkin patch.

OK. So, this patch looks nothing more than cleared land with some flowers and mulch, but trust me there are at least 70 seeds just under the soil. If they all take, I’ll be doing a bunch of thinning. Goodness knows, I don’t need 70 pumpkins.

And this doesn’t look like a strawberry patch either, but you have to trust me on this one too. The green plants under the lilac bushes are wild strawberries. The itty bitty strawberries that do ripen are disgusting. So, my goal is to let the strawberry plants that I picked up from my local nursery to take over this bit of land.

Here’s hoping.

Even more exciting, I’ve already reaped what I sowed. On Mother’s Day, I made a spinach and strawberry salad with spinach from my garden. It was delicious.

Tomorrow I plan to make a pesto from the spinach.

A Day in Pictures

Occasionally, a blog I read would do “a day in pictures” post. They would take pictures of their daily life and post it. It was always so neat to see a snapshot of their daily life. I had thought about doing it myself, but forgot with all the knitting, gardinging and painting projects. When Mercury staff announced to the Town Square bloggers, which I am a member of, that was hosting a project to collect pictures from all over the world of people’s daily life on May 15th, it was just the motivation I needed to create a “Day in Pictures” post. So, without further ado, here is a little glimpse into Elly’s and my daily life.

My submission to the can be found here.

Finished Knitting

I was going to write a post about how I ran out of yarn on the final section of the 7th and last hexagon. It was comical because when I made the trip to my LYS last month, I had picked up an extra skein of the Wool Clasica by Manos del Uruguay. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t need it, but got it anyway for insurance purposes. Besides, it would be nice to have some in my stash, I reasoned. Yeah, that is the skein I used up completely while knitting the last hexagon.

I ordered more yarn, but no longer need it. I found a small ball of Wool Clasica in my project bag. It was so small that I didn’t think there was any chance that it would be enough to knit the last few rows.

But, it was.

Dance of joy followed by a huge sigh of relief.
The blanket is finished (except for the finishing) before my May 15th deadline and before the summer weather arrived.

Yesterday morning, I seamed up all the hexagons.

Now, I just have to sew the pieces together. Unfortunately, it’s a bit fiddly since the stripes need to line up. It’s going to take a lot of patience and a glass or two of port, I think.

Pool Weather

Today was in the 80’s, so I decided it was time to bring out the pool.

I helped Elly into her new birthday suit that she received as an Easter present.

I blew up the pool.

Elly did the rest. She filled up the pool with water.

She climbed in as soon as there was an inch of water in the pool.

She played with her pool toys.

Even our neighbor stopped by to see Elly in her pool.

The water was a bit cold, but that didn’t faze Elly. Eventually, she asked to get out, but I think it was more hunger than cold.

I anticipate us getting a lot of use out of this little pool this summer.