Sunday, February 3, 2008

Knitting and SoCal Winters

OK, so SoCal (short for Southern California) doesn't have winter as most of the US and all of Canada define it. Last year we had several days when the temps dipped below freezing for a couple of nights , and we lost a lot of plants, including my beautiful plumerias (also called frangipani). So far this year we've not q-u-i-t-e dipped that low, but we've had a lot of rain all in the last month, nearly 10 inches officially; compared to last year's 3 inches, we're flooding. Our fountain has a basin that's about a foot or so deep, and it's full. It was in the low 50s (F) this afternoon, and everything was washed clean from last night's rain. So DH and I took my new shawl outdoors to photograph it.

This is the Wool Peddler's Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. My friends told me about possible bad luck with any color other than red, but the knitting and blocking of this went beautifully well and quickly. My LYS got in a few skeins of yarn from a new source, Lonesome Stone Fibers, and I was immediately captivated by the colors of this beautiful 100% alpaca, colorway Forever Evergreen. A few days' struggle with myself later, I was the proud owner of 2 big skeins, 1330 yards of yummy alpaca goodness. I wasn't sure which shawl I wanted to knit, so I got 2 skeins, but my Wool Peddler's took only one skein, with a little bit left over. So I have another shawl waiting for its time in the knitting Queue. Unblocked, this was 60in x 30in; gently blocked, it's 78in x 39in. The knitting took just a bit over a week, including having to frog and re-knit the first 25 rows of the lace, since I didn't find a fundamental error at the beginning of the lace section until I tried to add the first horizontal increases. The close-up photos are fairly true in color.

My knitting timing was coincidentally great, since the Lonesome Stone yarn rep put on a yarn tasting at my LYS last Sunday, and I think I helped them sell several skeins of this buttery-soft yarn. ;-D You should check out the selections of yarn and colorways - all 48 colors are available in all of their yarns. The 50/50 merino/alpaca and the 55/45 mohair/merino yarns are especially yummy.

I LOVE this shawl!! It is so lightweight and just warm enough for wearing right now, outdoors as well as in the house, where we keep it at about 68-70F this time of year.

While we were outdoors, we took a few pictures of our winter garden. I've often written about our 'overbearing' Bearss lime tree, and right now it is nearly weighed down by fruits. We'll never use a small fraction of this year's bumper crop. But you can see that it's a substantial tree, overhanging the corner of the garage and providing us with lovely shade on the patio.

A couple of years ago, DH and I visited my uncle in Ft Myers, Florida, and managed a meet-up with one of my friends from the Elann chat group. I had looked forward to getting some local citrus while we were there, especially grapefruits. Apparently it had been a poor year for them, so when we got home, we got a lovely gift from my Elann friend, a dwarf grapefruit tree. It managed to survive last winter's freeze, though it dropped its buds. This year the Stanback Grapefruit Tree is larger than ever, and I'm hoping for some flowers, which will mean fruit in about a year. Yeah. It takes that long for a grapefruit.

And for an even more delicate sign of spring to come, we found the first blossoms on our peach tree. We just planted it last spring, and we have great hopes for it.


Grace Yaskovic said...

breathtakingly beautiful shawl, I must look into that yarn (like I need more) it looks stunning on you and thanks for the shots of spring!! One year for a grapefuit huh? Learn something new everyday!

Sandra said...

so jealous! (she says from Canada). My Mom has a grapefruit tree in her Florida yard, and we reaped the benefits when we were there in November.
COme back in the summer, and I'll show off a Canadian flower and veg garden.

TracyKM said...

Beautiful shawl! I can't imagine what you could do with all the limes. Can you make lime juice and can it? Freeze it? And a peach tree! I love peaches!

sk said...

Happy spring and beautiful shawl! You look good! We are still in deep freeze.

GoldenTracks said...

The shawl is beautiful. I just love the color on you.
How nice to be able to get citrus fruit on your own trees. You taught me something....I had no idea grapefruit take so long to mature.

Anonymous said...

The color is beautiful on you! I can't wait to make a WP shawl.

Joan said...

Spectacular shawl! What weight is the alpaca? Will check ravelry.

All those limes can only mean one thing: mojitos!

smariek said...

Beautiful shawl. I love the colors in your Leaf Lace shawl above too, will we see another photo of it spread out?

I have one of those cats too, although I'm not sure where it is.