Sunday, April 25, 2010

Knitting and Finishing

Sometimes the change of seasons never seems to come and sometimes it happens so quickly you are caught unawares. This has been a year when we had a relatively mild winter compared to other parts of the eastern US, and we are experiencing the most glorious spring. Which means I have already mowed the lawn twice!

Some years the lawn doesn't get it's first mowing until mid or late May. The forsythias are almost done and the lilacs are opening. So it seems the project I'm working on this month is seriously out of step with the temperatures. I am on the last steps of the Central Park Hoodie and am itching to start work on a summer sweater. As I finished the knitting and began the piecing together, it was a real struggle not to just put it aside and wait for the fall to get this done. But I am determined to adhere to my new resolutions of sketching out a very modest To Do list for the month and sticking to it. This month was finishing the CPH, starting a lace project, another sweater and finishing one pair of socks.

Socks are done. These are the socks for the Toe Up sock class I took this month. I am glad I didn't try these by myself. I have a really good grasp of top down socks and maybe because of that, this was a little bit of a struggle. Quite a different process. It was good to have someone to walk through the steps with me and a nice group of knitters, who were having the same problems as myself. I may not be as proficient with this technique as I am with top down, but now I know I can do it and can make any sock pattern that appeals to me. Before I was automatically eliminating a pattern I liked just because it was toe up.
I started the Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark and the plan was to work on this during the hockey playoffs. The Sabres are flirting with elimination in the first round, so it really has been too intense to work on it during the hockey games (I'm too busy pacing and maybe swearing a little? how can you lead in every game and then lose?)

The sewing together of the CPH is complete and I must say it really is a very well written pattern. I love how well the cap sleeves fit into the armholes. The whole project has been a pleasure. I generally don't get on the bandwagon for the really popular knits on Ravelry, but there is probably a reason so many people have made this cardi.
I know a lot of knitters complain about the finishing of a garment. Sewing up is not something they want to do with their time and they will choose top down sweaters only, to avoid the process.
Me, I love sewing up a garment. I used to do for customers when I worked at the knit shop, many years ago. I understand the reluctance. It is an entirely different process, takes up a good deal of time that you could have been mindlessly knitting, takes patience and skill to do it right. And it can make or break the look of the finished project. Just like learning to knit, it really isn't something you should just jump into, without acquiring some knowledge through a good book on the subject or by taking a class at your local knitting shop. If you have friends who can share the techniques with you, so much the better.
It actually was good for my fingers to stop knitting for the last few days and just sew. My hands were hurting from the weight of the yarn, I think, and the workout I was giving them with the weeding in the garden.
Now I am off to finishing up the button band on my CPH and figure up what I'm going to start next.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Too Many Birds

I haven't been posting because lately, not because I have nothing to say (when has that ever been a problem for me) but because when I am in front of the computer I am completely taken up with the ongoing drama of The Owl Box. Molly and McGee and Carlos Royal and the four little fluff balls have become my obsession. I have the link up all day long and check on them throughout the day. I especially like early morning, because as they are in California, it is still nighttime there and you get to see Molly and McGee flying in with prey for the babies.

I totally have MOD which is code for Molly Obsessive Disorder. The cam was down Wednesday night through Thursday because Carlos was away. I knew it was down and would be until he returned which he did last yesterday, but that didn't stop me from checking dozens of time during the day. I actually was checking as the camera got turned back on and cheered. I must get some help!!!

They are really fascinating to watch. But if that isn't enough, there is the Phoebe Cam which is a hummingbird's nest. This has been a real nail biter as we watched her fight off a lizard, abandon her eggs which were not viable, then have the next clutch of eggs get eaten by crows. Nathan and I caught the lizard attack as it happened, because he checks out the nests as soon as he gets home from school!

There is also the bald eagle nest which has three baby bald eagles being raised in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens by their watchful parents. It was amazing to watch them being taken out of the nest and banded then returned. You could catch glimpses of the parents' shadows as they circled overhead until the babies were returned safely.

The beautiful weather we are having, so unusual for April has brought out multitudes of birds in my own backyard. The finches have their bright gold feathers already and are back at my feeders. There was a big, beautiful red headed woodpecker looking for suet yesterday. There was also drama in the pine trees, as a group of birds attacked a hawk in the back of my yard. He must have been after their eggs or babies.

I don't live in the country. I live in a suburban development at the intersection of two busy streets. With a few well stocked feeders, a bird bath and some trees for shelter, you can have a bird watching treat in your backyard.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Summer's Here

I know it is barely spring, but yesterday the temperature here was 77. 77! In April! In Buffalo!
Today promises more of the same and through the weekend. An Easter where we don't have to wear our winter coats over cotton dresses. Unbelievable. Ducks are back swimming in the pool
which still has the cover on. DH actually is thinking about taking the cover off. In April! Wow!
Of course, it could snow three feet next week but right now we are giddy and doing things like taking out the patio furniture (we actually had dinner on the patio last night), riding our bikes (have almost worked up to our summer time distance) and opening windows to air out the house.
The mail brought me a beautiful bouquet on Wednesday. When I opened the box, Jordyn gasped and said " Nana, it's a rainbow". Yeah, it is. Knit Picks new tonal sock and lace weight yarn. Beautiful.
So how come I feel like knitting with cotton right now?