Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Pink and Red Day!!

Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics

Note the tail action, adding to the wishes for the day!

The fuchsia scarf is blocking and will be ready for its close-up tomorrow. I've cast on for DH's Entrelac Vest, using Paton's SWS in Natural Slate, and the beginning looks like this:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

An online friend of mine used that for her post today, and I'm copycatting here. I'm not sure this is entirely Chinese, but the good wishes are coming to you all for good fortune in this Year of the Rat.

This is a Maneki Neko - Beckoning Cat and it has been sitting in our home for 20 years; I bought it in Little Tokyo the first year I was here in LA. It is supposed to bring good fortune to the home or shop in which it is displayed.

The cat is sitting surrounded by the Leaf Lace Shawl (Evelyn Clark) that I just finished last night. It's red, fuchsia and dark purple. So, red, which is auspicious for the Chinese New Year. I'll post a better photo of the shawl when it's blocked. The yarn is Hacho, from Mirasol, which I picked up last week from Stitches from the Heart, the sole LYS of the kids' charity. I didn't really need/want any yarn, but I like to support the cause by spending my yarn $$ there from time to time. Pretty, and very nice yarn to work with.

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.