Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Pet Food Recall

A friend of mine forwarded these lists of new products recalled due to the wheat gluten or salmonella problems. I am just so glad that our Midnight's extra-special $$ Royal Canin low-protein food isn't a problem. Though she's beginning to get to be really tired of just the one food, to the point that she's eating the dry food instead of the pouches. Finicky cat, indeed! It's worrisome that some of the dry versions of Royal Canin veterinary "prescription foods" have recently been added to the lists.

All the foods listed so far
Natural Balance

When I first heard about these food problems, killing our loving companions, I immediately remembered a Ron Howard film from 25 years ago. Bitter Harvest was a difficult movie to watch and very thought-provoking, but it didn't seem to register with many.

Dear gods, we are destroying the planet and making our food dangerous to eat. I'm not particularly religious, though I learned a lot about the Christian Bible as a kid; this is the beginning of a nasty 'reaping what we have sown.'

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Great Book

While I'm in the mood for touting books, I want to praise another author's work. Margaret Radcliffe of Maggie's Rags has written a terrific 'how-to' for knitters of all skill levels. I came across this book at The Mannings booth at Stitches West 2006, and was privileged to meet the author and get my copy signed. The Knitting Answer Book (link to Amazon)has become my chairside companion for any questions I come up with.

This has completely replaced the Knitter's Companion; my copy of that is circa 2004, and even as a newly-returned knitter after 20 years, I found it pretty much useless. I've been told the currently-available edition has improved, but I don't have any interest in it. I have the Vogue Knitting Book, but I find it limited in some areas and besides, it's so honkin' *big*! I do own Montse Stanley's invaluable reference, and I use it frequently. But the Knitting Answer Book is just a bit larger than 4in x 6in, so it will fit into nearly any knitting bag.

The line drawings in the Knitting Answer Book are very clear and the working yarn is in a different color to make it easier to follow. I've added tabs to mine to make it easier to find the items I look up most often. The sections are cross-referenced to any other information about the same topic, there's a detailed table of contents and a 12-page index. I am amazed that Ms Radcliffe was able to squeeze so much into a little book, though there are 400 pages. The binding is very sturdy, the pages are on substantial paper and the book opens pretty flat.

OK, what else can I tell you? I love this book; I think everyone should have it. I have found copies at my local Michael's, so if yours carries it, the weekly 40% off coupon will make this cost you only $9. And the link to Amazon will get it for you for $9.42 plus s/h.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Socks Book!

I just got a small order from KnitPicks, and I am jazzed! My online friend Cindy Guggemos, whom I've 'known' for about 3 years via the Knitting Forum and lately via her blog BaxterKnits has written a book. It's called "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks" and is published by Leisure Arts. So I expect it will be showing up at Michaels and JoAnn's soon, joining their "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting" book. The first link is to the KnitPicks site, and you can also get it at Amazon.

The 'how-to' information in the book is very good, with clear photographs and large print, good for those of us who are 50-mumble. She explains how to adapt a pattern written for dpns to the Magic Loop or 2-circs method. And there is information about the simplest alternatives for heels and toes. The one surprise I have is that the main toe shaping is done as a gathered toe. I haven't seen that method before, but then I haven't made all that many socks. There is information about how to make the slanted-decrease toes that I'm most familiar with. The pictures of grafting/Kitchenering are absolutely wonderful, taking up 2 entire pages.

There are 8 patterns in total, showing a plain sock and 7 variations on a leg pattern, and they are written for 3 different sizes, with information about how to measure for a sock. All of the socks are knitted in yarns that are generally available in craft stores - Moda Dea 'Sassy Stripes', Lion Brand 'Magic Stripes', Patons 'Kroy' and 'Astra'. The colors and layout are cheerful and help to make sock knitting seem very achievable by fairly inexperienced knitters.

If you haven't yet tried knitting socks, at $13 this will be a terrific purchase. It isn't Sensational Knitted Socks or Knitting on the Road, but it's a great way to start on the 'footpath' to those more-complicated patterns. (pun intended, lol!)

BTW, this is my 100th post, and I'm happy to have such a nice reason for a post as Cindy's book. Whee!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

SoCal Excitement - Goodbye, Palm Tree!!

Yesterday was a very big day Chez CBM. We got rid of our Mexican Fan Palm tree. It was here when we bought the house in 1991, and it was about 40-45 feet tall. These trees grow a foot or so per year, according to one arborist, so she estimated the height at about 60 feet. As we have had more years in SoCal and as homeowners with one of these, we lost our enchantment with having a palm tree. I've included a couple of pictures of SoCal streets, lined with these palms at different heights, just so you know what ours looked like before.

They drop LOTS of seeds every year, and the seeds sprout easily. This involves pulling a zillion seedlings. The fronds die and hang down and should be cut away every couple of years, though many people don't do this. Having them trimmed is expensive; we've paid as much as $400. The picture here of the very tall trees shows how the dead fronds look; these are just a year or two past a trim.

When there are high winds, as we had last fall and in the last week or so, the dead fronds blow off and land in the neighbors' yards, which isn't neighborly of us. These dead fronds are nearly 5 feet long, they're rather heavy and have sharp stickers along the stems. You have to haul them to the dump or slowly chop them into pieces small enough to go into the green recycling barrels, which can take weeks and weeks. Last fall, with a pile of them 4 feet wide and 4 feet tall, I was fortunate to be able to talk one of the city tree-trimming crews into taking them away. (Smirk.)

DH had decided he wanted to plant several fruit trees, and the dratted palm tree, bigger in diameter at the base than the two of us could reach around, was smack in the way. So - away it went. These pictures show it going away, courtesy of some hard-working guys, one of whom was up there in a rope harness, sawing away 2-3 foot chunks. The trunks are very dense and moist, so the thuds were pretty loud. Looking out there today, our yard looks so much bigger, and there are a lot of very confused squirrels, wondering where their play tree went.

Here's our tree, with all the fronds cut off, ready for the first bits of trunk to go.

Here you see Ernesto has cut away all the bare part of the trunk and is working his way down, with the telephone pole finally into the picture.

Then he's at 'normal' extension-ladder height.

Here's a photo of the chunks that they had to haul away, with the plywood 'tee-pee' over our fountain. Roman did most of the hauling.

And then it's gone, with the stump dug out to about 6in below ground. Ernesto and Roman were taking a break, looking at the result of a long, hard day's work.

I provided a bit of money for a cool beer or two, in thanks for the great job they did. We won't be able to plant trees over the underground stump, but we can plant them close to the edges and put flowers in the middle.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Totally OT - I'm Furious!

High Court Upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban
I generally don't include much, if any, political content here; this is a knitting blog, about me and my adventures with yarn and knitting and my friends who are like-minded about knitting. But I just heard about this newest Supreme Court decision (here and here), and I'm frustrated and angry.

I have been pro-choice about women's rights to sex education, contraceptives, and as a last resort, abortion, since I was 18. It was incomprehensible to me that women did not have free choice in these matters, that some felt they should not have free choice. When I was in my freshman college AP English class I wrote an essay in which I stated that IMO it was preferable for the student health service to provide contraceptives and birth control information than for women students to get pregnant. It happened that I was called upon to read my essay that day, and I was subsequently so verbally abused by the other students that I quit going to class. My professor approved this, with regret; since I finished all the assigned papers, I got an A, including his written thanks for getting the other students talking about current issues.

When I was in my late 20s, I volunteered for 3 years at the Planned Parenthood clinic near my workplace. No abortions were performed at that particular clinic, but I helped to counsel young women about contraceptives and their general reproductive health. The situations of the girls and women I encountered there made me even more pro-choice.

I am outraged that the 'George W. Bush' majority on the US Supreme Court has removed another part of women's rights to choose to bear children or not. I hope that all of you who read this will at least think about the Supreme Court's action. About how it may affect you or your daughters or friends. Mr Bush has also dictated that any state which wishes to have federal funds for sex education must teach ONLY abstinence, which doesn't work, as the news article at the link points out. California is one of a handful of states, Ohio being the most recent, to reject any of this federal funding, since it ignores the reality of humans and their sexuality.

I support the pro-choice groups in their attempts to provide a permanent legislative solution for those women who choose not to bear a child, whatever their reason. If you choose to support the pro-choice groups, you can send money to NARAL or any of the other national or local groups. You don't have to be pro-abortion to be pro-choice.

The next post will return you to the regularly-scheduled knitting content. Assuming I get anything knitted. I'm swatching my 4th - or maybe 5th? - yarn for Wren. And I haven't found the right one yet.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Visual DNA - Is It Me?

Not from Venus???
I have curlerchik to thank for the link to this; she's Jupiter, too. Quite a bit of this is really me.

You Are From Jupiter

You are exuberantly curious - and you love to explore newness.
Enthusiastic and optimistic, you get a kick out of stimulating intellectual discussions.
Foreign cultures and languages fascinate you. You love the outdoors, animals, and freedom.
Chances are you tend to exaggerate, so try to keep a lid on that.
If you do, you'll continue to be known for your confidence, generosity, and sense of justice.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yesterday's LYS Goodies

I didn't post any pictures of my goodies from Stitches from the Heart's LYS visit yesterday. So here are the yummy new items in my monster stash.

First, we have my free Customer Appreciation gift, a big zipped canvas tote with the STFH logo and one outside pocket. I was persuaded to pick up a matching blue notions bag, since at least two I know I used to have are missing in the stash somewhere. And another tape measure, to replace the one I broke. I like having special totes for the different places I go regularly, like my seniors' group and the Friday Night Unwinders. That way, as I come across things I want to take to share with the group, I can add them to the tote and not have to search for them at the last minute. And of course that means I need a small set of notions for each one. This may become my seniors' group tote. Since I only do scarves, hats and shawls these days, I don't need the giant bag I've used for several years which will hold an entire afghan.

And then here is the fiber haul, all of which fits with room left over in the SFTH tote. At the top is 2 skeins of Universal Yarn's Classic Worsted LP (long-print) in a sunny apricot/off-white mix. This will be something like the baby vest I made back in January, in a deep green color. I can easily get a vest and hat or even a small cardi out of the 2 skeins. Moving clockwise, there are 2 skeins of a new Italian wool, Martifil Stripe. I couldn't get anything useful at the website, but here's a blogger who has used this lovely bright yarn (11/20/06 post). These will become a winter gift scarf. There are 2 skeins of Regia Stretch Color in a denimy teal color (which I just now found I could have bought at half-price at WEBS. OK, OK, it's a charity shop. Justification here.). And then there are 2 skeins of Mondial Merino Plus, a superwash merino/acrylic blend, that will probably become a kids' garment. The lovely variegated blend of corals, pinks, sage green and lavender just jumped right off the shelf. The color runs are just an inch or so, so this should become a mottled-looking fabric. Pretty!!

On actual knitting news, I reached Row 17 of the Horcrux sock last night and had to quit due to tired eyes. Row 17, with the little trick of taking a stitch from the next row to finish the pattern, came out OK, but Row 19 didn't, so I've missed a stitch somewhere. And the baby jacket I've been knitting in the pinks/greens James Brett Marble will have to be frogged back to before the arm increases. My gauge has loosened up so much that I've gone from one size across to a different size in length. I don't mind the longer length, but the width across the lower back is now very much disproportionate. So I'll frog and switch to a smaller needle. And I was at the point of splitting for the collar. Argghhh!! It's OK, I need a simple stockinette and garter stitch project in worsted gauge to give my hands a rest from the socks.

My Wren yarn STILL isn't here from WEBS. I checked out the UPS site yesterday, and found that their UPS ground shipments travel by tortoise. They shipped the yarn last Thursday and the site says scheduled delivery would really be today. Note to self: next time, check the additional cost for Priority Mail, especially when it's for a I-wanna-do-it-NOW project. Elann spoils us with 3-day PM delivery at nearly no markup.

If the roses don't blow away today - 25-30mph winds - I'll have some Eye Candy Friday shots of roses you haven't seen yet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I am SUCH a Soft-hearted Sucker!

I wrote yesterday about the possum event Chez CBM. Well, stay tuned.

Tuesday afternoon I had a sock-knitting lesson with my good friend Madge over in Montrose, and imagine my surprise when I went out to the garage to find yet another baby possum, #5. I grabbed a handy empty coffee can and popped it over the critter. Conveniently, one of the cat carriers was still in the ever-shaky pile by the door in the garage, and I put the critter in it. Later I took the carrier and baby possum over to the Animal Shelter, where they asked me to chauffeur the little critter to James, the same care-giver who was fostering the 4 siblings. OK, it's on the way home. They rented me a humane trap for Mother Possum, along with teaching me how to work it. Deposit $50 here. Is this address on your driver's license current? TYVM, I don't think.

James is a fascinating guy. He's fostering all sorts of lost, rescued and injured creatures. He showed me a screech owl that's lost most of its sight from a traffic encounter, a mockingbird that has lost all its wing feathers and needs care until they grow back, and even a baby raven. That's 'baby' in a relative way; it's a nestling, but it's as big as most pigeons and has an amazingly big mouth. James made a heck of a try at convincing me that possums are good to have in the successful garden, eating snails, slugs, and all sorts of garden pests. No cats, unless they're really small kittens. Right. Not happening here. Thank you, James, for taking the possum off my hands.

Hello, Wednesday! I'm off to take Midnight to the vet's for a check on her kidney function, and hey, we've got something different: Another baby possum! No handy coffee can, but the carrier from yesterday was within arms' length, so I scruffed the little guy and into the carrier. Told the vet about my possum-y week, and he offered the not-comforting news that the average possum has a DOZEN babies that survive to walk around on their own feet (more die in the pouch; marsupials, right?) Oy!! Back from the vet's, open the big door: There's baby possum number 7, and it went into the carrier with sibling #6. See that picture? Those are #6 and #7

I delivered them to James, who found them a bit dehydrated and thin. I contributed a bit to his food fund, and left feeling good, if a bit sappy. So what did I do when I got home? Found a plant saucer, filled it with water, opened a little can of regular cat food (now on the shelf since Middy eats an up-price kidney-care diet), and put them out. In the garage. Behind the people door. I don't want them in my garage, but I don't want to kill them, either. I especially don't want to run over one with the car.

Now, there's the question: Catch Mother Possum or not? Leave the garage door open so she can retrieve the little ones? Sigh. Sorry, all you possum lovers, I KNOW they're not rats, I just can't get past the butt-ugly factor.

I am SUCH a Sucker!! One of my friends (you know who you are!!) is calling me the Possum Whisperer. Oy. Vey.

Oh, Yeah? About the knitting?

Well, Madge got around the gusset pick-up and has started on the decreases, working toward the ordinary around-and-around of the foot. She has Sock #2 to practice the gusset stuff on, and we'll have lesson #3 next week: Toes. It's so rewarding to have such a good student for my first knitting class!

And I stopped in at Stitches from the Heart's LYS on the way back from the vet. They have a brand new supply of gorgeous new yarns, upscale and not. They have the most amazing way of finding yarns and yarn brands I don't see elsewhere. They have skeins of North American-bred alpaca, undyed. Oh, yummy!! They have a Trendsetter version of Rowan's Tapestry that's wool and acrylic; lovely, but I got Rowan's yarn at Elann, at a great price. There are some gorgeous new wools in long-run colorways. And so forth. I try to stop in and buy a bit every time I'm in the area. They have a wide selection of baby yarns, including the best stock I know of TLC's Cotton Plus. All their profits go to baby clothes for needy kids.

I came out with yarn for a pair of socks, yarn for a baby jacket, and some of the new wool for a scarf for a northern-climate friend, a gift for the fall or winter. Plus I hit my $200 mark, and received one of their lovely big pale-blue SFTH tote bags. The last time I filled my loyalty card, I got a pair of Lantern Moon single-point needles, 10.5US size, perfect for wintery scarves. If you live in the LA area, you are missing a bet if you don't visit this LYS. It's right next to the SM Freeway overpass at Centinela and Pico.

And, btw, decision made: I just went out and baited the trap for MP

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Knitting Again

Friday I finally got some knitting interest going. Worked on a garter stitch shawl at my seniors' group, using some bright red acrylic 'mohair' we received as a donation. This is a perfect project for our seniors' meetings: it's nearly mindless, and with markers for the increase points, I can manage the 'pattern' in the midst of all the chat, lol!

My 'grrls' have been pretty excited lately, since I've been the happy source of some great new yarns. Not my yarns, but yarns donated by 3 of my knitting friends, Knitdevil, mehitabel and one of the members of our 'Friday Unwinders' SnB. I am so glad I bought one of those folding milk-crates-on-wheels, since I've been the Bag Lady the last few weeks, stuffing it full and piling on more big sacks of lovely yarn. mehitabel in particular provided a lot of excitement, donating lots of lovely baby yarns and lapghans'-worth of other good acrylics all in one color. Our group doesn't usually get more than a couple of skeins of any one yarn, so we're experts at making up pretty designs from leftovers. I still have 2 bags of her yarns to take in, mostly the so-useful Lion Brand Jiffy in the very hard-to-find off-white. I'm keeping a few skeins to make into shawls, using the LB pattern I wrote about a few days ago.

I pulled out the neglected pink and purple socks and got a couple of inches done Friday night at the 'Unwinders' group, and then I managed to stick with it over the weekend and finish it Sunday night. The looser-gauge phenomenon I've experienced over the last few months is really being a problem for sock knitting. I knitted the first sock with US1s, and switched to US0s for the second sock. But there's still a definite difference in the final sock, including a bit of a bulge where I started again, before I figured out how to tighten up as much as I can. This tension problem is going to limit the sock patterns I'm going to be able to knit, since I don't know of any circular needles smaller than US0.

I joined the Six Sox KAL Yahoo Group, and I started the current Harry Potter-related pattern, Horcrux. I was going to use some lovely sport-weight yarn I got from See Jayne Knit, but even on US0s the 60-st cast-on was huge. I got to thinking that the lovely Coral Glow color really needs to be something other than socks, perhaps a small shawl (I have 400yds). So I dug around the sock stash and found some nice dark red solid sock yarn from KnitPicks, which seems appropriate for a HP design. I'll start again today and see how that goes. If this combination still doesn't work, I'll try using a 50-st cast-on. The KAL pattern has a 70-st version, and there's a free version for worsted yarn here using a 40-st cast-on, so 50 sts would seem likely to work.

In non-knitting events, we discovered we were the home of some opossums. I saw an adult on Sunday, and DH and I started being better about closing the walk-in door to our free-standing garage. Yesterday our gardener came in laughing that we'd been too late closing the door: she'd found 4 little possums clustered at the door. So Animal Control came and took them away from their garage home. They'll be fostered and then released, somewhere else, TYVM. This morning I was up early and saw the adult, Mom of course, hanging around the door. After the Animal Control people arrived at their office at nearly 8am, they called to say they'd rent us a humane trap. Thanks so much, I don't think. If they'd come at 6:45 when I left a message, they could have caught her, no problem. Grump. Possums are just b*tt-ugly, and little ones aren't any cuter, IMO.

Midnight's been unusually quiet the last few days, so she's getting a trip to the vet's tomorrow. It's been 3 months or so since we checked her blood levels, and I want to keep a close eye on her kidney function.

And, hey! I'm a Gryffindor! Thanks, T! T has joined the Blogspot world, and I snared this from her new blog, Wandless Knitting today.

Want to Get Sorted?

a Gryffindor!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

No Knitting, Just More Roses

I can't seem to settle to any knitting this week. I've gotten through 4 Nora Roberts novels and I'm heading for another. But here are some more roses, including the burgeoning of a couple of the views from Tuesday. It smells wonderful around here.

This is Gold Medal showing the stages of color as the buds open and the bloom ages. For the single blossom photo, I've put my hand in for size; these grow big and especially in this first flush.

This is First Prize, showing the big quantity of buds that are opening; this is from about the same view as Tuesday's picture. Again, my palm is for indication of size; it's a bit over 5 inches from the base of my palm to the tip of my pinky.

And then these are others that have opened. First there's the ruffly-petticoats look of the heritage climbing rose, Sombreuil.

I like this shot; the light playing shadows with the petals of David Austen's Glamis Castle, a nearly-but-not-quite white.

And to end the flower show, there's Diana, Princess of Wales. This lovely pink and white rose is a fund-raiser, available through Jackson & Perkins.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

About the LB Triangle Shawl

Several knitters have commented that they would never have looked at this pattern if they hadn't seen my pictures. Thanks for the compliments, friends! This is fast and easy and you will have the pattern memorized by the end of the first repeat. So I thought I'd write down some useful stuff about this so-versatile pattern.

Ya gotta love Lion Brand! Well, their efforts at helping to fund knitting as a great hobby and as something to contribute to folks in need are pretty good, even if they do make that gods-awful Homespun yarn I hate and some really fugly free patterns. They continue to support Warm Up America, collecting blanket squares, and they are a big supporter of the Prayer Shawl ministries, as I understand it. (Using Homespun yarn, of course!)

These two different URLs take you to different pattern pages, even though they are both the same pattern.

This ugly gray version is the one I've been using all this time, so I was surprised to see the purplish one.

This purplish one looks different, though it is EXACTLY the same pattern, because the model is wearing the shawl with the purl (private or wrong) side out. It is much easier to see the eyelet pattern, though!

Yardage and Acrylic Yarn Lore
This pattern calls for 2 skeins of Homespun, worked on size 13US needles. I've done this with 2-3 skeins of Jiffy (a fuzzy acrylic), worked with variegated acrylic or not, and about 2.5 skeins of Caron's Simply Soft. The Simply Soft took more since it is a smaller-gauge yarn. I think I used size 9 or 10US needles for all the shawls I've made.

For knitters, the yarn requirements as stated don't mean as much as it does to people who are also crocheters, since, for reasons completely unknown to me, most of the craft-store acrylic yarns are usually sold by ounces and the crochet patterns are written as needing X ounces of Y yarn. Also, variegated and other multi-colored yarns are sold in lower-weight/lower-yardage skeins, though usually at the same price. Paton's is leading a s-l-o-w movement to adding yardage to skein bands. In the meantime, you can always check the yardage info at the companies' websites or which carries most of the craft-store yarns at nice discounts.

OK, Homespun generally comes in 6oz/185yd skeins, so 2 are 370yds. Jiffy skeins are between 2.5 and 3.0oz/115 and 135 yards each. Simply Soft is the big switch-artist; those skeins come in as little as 4oz/208yds and as much as 6oz/330yds. Big merchants like JoAnn's often have 'proprietary' put-ups, at different weights and therefore different yardages than the 'standard'.

And you who knit with 'LYS' type yarns thought figuring out the yardage in patterns calling for discontinued yarn was a PITA! Off the top of my head, I can tell you that you're going to need at least 24 oz of worsted-weight acrylic to make a 30x40in lapghan, just in case you were interested, lol!! When my seniors are pawing through our stash of donated, no-name, no-label skeins of acrylic yarns, finding enough of any one or two or three coordinating colors to make a lapghan can be a major challenge!!! LOL!

BTW, if you know a new knitter who wants beginning-to-knit info online, the stuff at Lion Brand is not too shabby. They have a downloadable PDF with 60 pages of info, including close-up line drawings.

Favorite Patterns?

Someone started a discussion at the Elann Chat about favorite patterns. One of my often-repeated designs is a Lion Brand pattern, one they cleverly call 'Easy Triangle Shawl'. Lion Brand have cleverly put the same knitting pattern up with 2 different pictures; this one is the best view. I love the crocheted-loop edging which is also the cast-off. These pictures show the five shawls I've made with this pattern; the pale blue/darker blue one I made for my mom, the rest have been for my charity group. I've made these with Lion Brand's Jiffy yarn, rather than the Homespun the pattern calls for(Homespun is not allowed Chez CBM) and trimmed it with variegated acrylic. For my mother's shawl, I varied the width of the pattern repeats, and used Caron's Simply Soft yarn.

For a baby jacket, I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Daisy pattern, which is available from Knitty. Yeah, THAT Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot herself. When I first found the pattern, I had no idea how talented or well-known the Yarn Harlot is. I've made this one, a top-down raglan, a couple of times, and I find it is very easy to make and modify to your own yarn and ideas. The hooded version was a gift for a grandchild-by-love in 2005 and was done with a combination of baby acrylic yarns, especially Sirdar's Tiny Tots yarn. The striped version was just a combination of oddments of baby yarns and went to Stitches from the Heart, a babies' clothing charity.

I haven't made enough adult clothing to have a favorite pattern for a top or a cardi. One thing I am clear about, though; I like top-down raglans and other designs knit in one piece! I'm learning to be OK about mattress stitching, but if I can avoid seams, I'm gonna!!

PS - I've spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get the pictures to line up, and I quit. They are where they are.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Eye Candy Tuesday

Here in SoCal we are well into Spring. The roses are bursting out, the deciduous trees (yep, we have some of those!) are leafing out in a hurry, and we've planted tomatoes. Here are a few roses from the yarden Chez CBM. I'm not a great flower photographer, but the pictures are pretty good if you click on them for a larger view.

This is "Audrey Hepburn," a big, beautiful and fragrant tea rose.

This rose was here when we bought the house . We don't know the name, but it makes lovely masses of deep coral flowers, though sadly it has nearly no scent. I'd call it a grandiflora, since these flowers are head-high to me (5ft 2in) We call it Keystone Coral, after the street we live on.

This is "First Prize", an 'old' tea rose or floribunda, in that it won awards many years ago; I googled for the year but didn't find it. The blossoms of this one can be 5in or more wide. They're awesome when it forms a cluster of buds and they all open into huge blooms.

This yellow grandiflora rose is Gold Medal, and it did indeed win prizes, in the 1990s, I think. Like many yellow roses, or so I understand, this one opens as a deep golden yellow and grows more pale as the flower opens and ages.

This is the Stanback Grapefruit Tree. It was a gift last year from a very good friend. It survived the deep frost we had this year. I was so pleased that it didn't die as our year-old avocado tree did. It's blooming, but I don't know if we'll actually have fruit from it. BTW, it takes as much as a year for grapefruit to ripen.

Yesterday Knitdevil and mehitabel and I met for coffee, lunch and SnB and had a great time. I'm teaching Knitdevil to knit socks, and she's picking it up at a fast rate. Yesterday we knitted the heel flap and turned the heel, but we didn't have enough time to work on the gusset. Next time. I'm knitting an ankle sock so I can show her how the stitches go. That's about all the knitting I've done in the last couple of days. Otherwise, I've swatched unsuccessfully, looking for the 'right' yarn for Berroco's Wren; there's a KAL started at 'The Knitting Channel' knitblog, but I haven't found the yarn.

After seeing some of the goodies that Knitdevil and mehitabel got at a local LYS's 50%-off-everything sale, I zipped over to look for Wren yarn and to pick up a Louisa Harding pattern book; I also grabbed some sock-sized dpns. The yarn in the photo is for a small shawl for a friend of mine just starting chemo.

I may have found the 'right' yarn for Wren, Classic Elite's Provence cotton in basil but I had to order it; they didn't have enough in any color I liked. As it happens, WEBS has just started their 33rd Anniversary sale, and the yarn is on sale there, though only at 30% off; follow the link to the yarn and then to the sale. I hope it gets here sooner than May; WEBS gets pretty far behind with their shipping at their big sales.

Mehitabel gave me all this wonderful yarn for my seniors' charity knitting group. There must be a couple of dozen skeins of Lion Brand's Jiffy yarn, plus variegated acrylics of all sorts, including a large bunch of lovely mint green, which will make a terrific laprobe or two.