Monday, April 12, 2010

Satisfaction by Humiliation

I have been part of the Chihuahua Mix lovers group on Ravelry for a short while now and thought it would be nice to start a KAL (Knit-A-Long) for this group. 

I put a message up on the board telling the members that I wanted the group to knit something for our furry friends.  The moderator thought that was a good idea as well.  I picked a nubmer of patterns and we decided on the pattern called To Humiliate the Dog.  If you are not a member of Ravelry you can find this pattern on The Yarn Loving Couples Blog (see blogs I read), its in the free pattern section. 

This is what I ended up with:

Becca really loves it I tell you, and by love I mean HATE.  She trys to rip it off after about 3 seconds.

I think the only reason she let me cram the thing on her head and take photos was that she was feeling a bit under the weather.  We found out on Saturday that Miss Becca has an infection. Shes on some antibiotics that make her belly upset. 
She has been lounging around on the back of the couch in her favorite spot minding her own buisness and I sort of ambushed her. 

But seriously, she looks so CUTE! 

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Since I am a "city dweller" and don't have a yard of my own I have been helping my dad with his garden's.  My parents have a huge yard and there is nothing I love more than spending time out there digging around and planting things.  We have been totally spoiled up here in Maine this Spring. The year started off with a nice mild winter and then before we knew it, it was 60 in February. This has made me really eager to get outside and get my hands dirty.

I have to give you a short history of the Plourde gardening effort before I can talk about this year.   My dad has always had a garden of some sort for as long as I can remember, but I never remember really having a lot of fresh veggies around that he/we grew on our own.  Things start off in the Spring moving along with a lot of gusto and then as the season progresses everyone seems to lose interest. 

There are four of us in my family and it seems that Dad and I are the only two who can manage to keep up with the task eventhough the other two people love to reap the benefits of it.  I compared this to the story of chicken little.  You go around and try to get them to help out but they don't really want to, and then at the end of the summer when there are beautiful veggies to be had everyone wants to eat them but never bothered to help with the growing process.  I digress....

Last year was the first year that we really put in a hard core effort to grow some things.  After much deliberation Dad told me that he was game for anything when it comes to planting.  I searched around the internet for gardening ideas and came across the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) technique.  I bought the book by Mel Bartholomew and brought it out to my parents place.  I could tell that dad was not convinced that it would work, but we went for it anyway.  Dad built (3) 4'x4' raised beds, and (1) 4'x8' bed.  Next we positioned them in the yard (mom actually helped me cut up the sod and remove it bfore putting the bed frames down) and filled them with Mel's Mix (a soil recipe from the SFG book).

(These are the raised beds, the big bed in the back has a fence for climbing veggies, and a number of strawberry plants.)

We planted seedlings and waited to see what would happen. I spent a lot of time at my parents house last summer checking on the veggies, pulling out weeds, and watching things grow.  The result was AMAZING, we ended up with HUGE cherry tomatoe plants, a ton of summer squash, strawberries, carrots, beans, peppers, etc.  Dad is a believer now, and he tells everyone about the SFG technique and how well it worked. 

Now for this year.... 
For the past 2 weekends we have had beautiful weather with temperatures into the 70's.  I have had the gardening itch like crazy but I have to keep telling myself that its still really early and to not get my hopes up. 

For the first weekend Dad and I spent a whole Saturday cleaning up the yard and getting things ready.  I raked out all of the flower beds and gave all the perennials room to sprout out of the ground.  Last fall I planted some garlic and I also added some Crocus bulbs to our front flower garden, both are coming up nicely. 
Garlic (all but 2 bulbs sprouted)

I thought these purple Crocus would be bigger but it turns out they are of the tiny version. The flowers are only about the size of a quarter, so cute!
The white crocus are normal size and also beautiful.
We also decided that we would like to try to fix up the original garden that was in place when my parents bought their house.  Dad has tried to plant things in it every year but the soil is TERRIBLE, its mostly clay and rock hard.  We planted potatoes and zucchini in there last year and they grew well but we decided that there needed to be a change. 
This past weekend we measured off the garden and gave it a more uniform shape. We will be amending the soil with some vermiculite, compost, and loam to make it more airy and much easier for things to grow in.  We also added in another big fence, partially to block the view of the neighbors (and to keep thier/our dogs from spending the day barking at eachother) but mostly so that we can grow pole beans and other tasty climbing things.
(There is my dad putting the staples in the last pole. The garden is 20'x16' which is a nice size that should be easy to manage.) 
That is pretty much all for now, not bad for 2 Saturdays worth of work.  I think we will be building another raised bed this year so that I can have a little Salsa Garden.

I will leave you with a couple of photos of the flower gardens. 
This is a crop of paperwhites that come up every spring, they are all over the yard, but particulalry like to grow around this tree, these are some of my favorite flowers to cut and put into a vase.   This photo isn't great but its our large flower bed that you drive past when you come up the driveway.  Its filled with tulips, iris, crocus, daffodils, peonies, tiger lily, and my favorite Black Hollyhock's. 

I am going to try to keep you updated with my gardening efforts since this is my second favortie hobby next to knitting. 

HAPPY SPRING!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finally...Photos

I managed to get around to taking some photos of the things I have been knitting. 

I have had this yarn forever, I bought it during an Eat.Sleep.Knit binge.  It is Fleece Artist Sea Wool in the colorway Peacock.  The pattern is Clapotis, which appears to be one of the most knitted patterns on Ravelry. I am about half done and I am really proud of this scarf so far. Stay tuned for the finished product.

These socks are my most recent FO.  The pattern is from a book that I recieved for my birthday.  The book is Knitting in The Round, which I mentioned in a previous post.  The yarn I used is left over from one of my Six Kingdoms Yarn Club shipments.  Its really lovely but a bit slipery.  Also, as promised, a photo of the finished Kathy's Socks, which I have been calling Laugh Socks since that is the name of the colorway. 

Now for some Monster action.  Here is Sammie, Daphne and Delilah. 
I made Sammie to keep Francis company in my office, but he got so caught up in all the books on my book shelf that he is still currently living at home.  Technically he is supposed to be wearing socks to cover up those cutie monster feet but since its getting warmer outside he decided that he didn't need socks right now and that he wouldn't mind if I waited a while to make them for him. 
Daphne and Delilah were made as a gift for my friends daughter on her 2nd birthday. They now reside in Marshfield Mass. 
All the monsters I have made are from patterns designed by Rebecca Danger, the yarn I use for them is Vannas Choice.


Happy Knitting!