Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's growing!

All of it... my yarn stash, my forest canopy shawl, my mileage, and the garden.

Even though I just posted yesterday, I have lots of pictures to share again today. Why don't we work chronologically?

The yarn stash

So as I've mentioned in my last couple of post, I'm working towards starting another project. I have cast on a pair of socks in Trekking but wanted to start something else as well. Yesterday was a day to go yarn shopping!

My stich and b*tch meets at several different locations. Once a month it meets at a LYS called Unravelled which is in Monrovia. Now in the big scheme of things, Monrovia isn't really all that far from where I live. But compared to the other places I shop for yarn and the other places the SnB meets, it's far (about a 30 minute drive).

Nevertheless, I decided to take the trip as I knew they carried the yarn called for in the Somewhat Cowl sweater pattern and I wanted to see it in person. To my delight, S agreed to come with me for the drive and we found a neighborhood cafe for him to sit in and have coffee while I loitered shopped.

Don't you just love looking at different yarns? Unravelled is a great little store (actually large by the standards of many stores I've seen). It's in the old downtown part of Monrovia in a building with exposed brick walls which, imho, just adds character. They have a good selection of different yarns, a number of which I hadn't seen in person before.

One that I saw I just had to purchase: Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool, worsted weight, in this beautiful color called Sunset.

I really got the concept of buying yarn just to keep it in the skein and look at it when I saw this yarn. It has great subtle shade shifts and is soft. With no purpose in mind, I decided I needed to splurge.

I was also able to pick up a skein of Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk, the yarn that spurred the trip (in slate here). Given the somewhat odd combination of alpaca and a summer sweater, I also explored alternative fibers. I didn't see anything perfect, but I did pick up some Tahki Cotton Classic to give a spin (it's a rich chocolate brown that didn't photograph very well).

These purchases satisfied my need to explore new yarns and I came home with needles in hand ready to try, try again.

Of course, when we arrived home we couldn't help but notice that it was another phenomenal day in Southern California. Since you can't let good weather go to waste, we decided to go sit outside for awhile.

As we did so, I was pleased to see that we have a recent bloomer in the yard.

The fragrance outside was also just amazing... the citrus is in bloom right now. We have a teeny, tiny valencia orange in our yard, but the majority of the perfume came from the tangerine tree in our neighbor's yard. See....

While you don't normally have fruit and flowers on the tree together (I think), most of the tangerines didn't get harvested this year. The freeze didn't do them good and they are just still hanging on the tree. Still, the contrast between the orange fruit and the white blossoms is just breathtaking.

The forest canopy shawl

After a lovely time outdoors, we eventually returned to the indoors. This gave me a chance to plot and swatch. It occurs to me that I could knit my Forest Canopy shawl out of the new malabrigo I just purchased. It's definitely thicker than the sport weight recommended in the pattern but, hey, aren't patterns just a jumping off point? Maybe I'll just get a bigger shawl. Won't know til we try, right? So off to swatch land I went again.

After selecting a needle to start with I cast on for the shawl. I've only completed the starter rows so far.

I'm going to knit through at least the first repeat to see how the lace pattern does with this yarn and then decide if I should stick with this or go back to the koigu I initially purchased for this project. So far, so good. By the way, can I tell you how much easier this pattern is than swallowtail? I know the comparison's not even fair... worsted weight versus lace weight... still. This should be E.A.S.Y. by comparison.

My mileage

This morning was again beautiful. Today's April 1st, no fooling, really! That means that it's time to take stock on my Runagogo 100 miles by April 1st goal and set new goals. I'm pleased to report that over the 3 months I covered just over 115 miles. Yeah!

Now S thinks I should set my goal for the next three months at 150 miles. Hmm... that would definitely be a goal wouldn't it? His logic, "it just means walking an extra mile once every three days" [laugh]. After consideration, I think I've settled on 125. That's 25% more than last time but still seems to be within the do-able camp.

Of course S and I are hoping to expand our healthy behaviors even beyond the walking goal. This morning S got out his weights, which are set up outside to take advantage of the weather and the views, and started to exercise. You'll never guess, but I actually joined him. It's been some time since I've lifted weights. Probably 3 years! For quite some time I went through a very healthy phase... gym at least every day, sometimes every other day, but a walk daily (and on my crazy days sometimes I'd walk twice in a day). Of course, then I met S and I turned into a slug.

Laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh!

OK, that's a total exaggeration. A number of things happened to coincide around the same time as I met S which resulted in a decline in gym attendance. Recently though both he and I have been talking about increasing our exercise and eating more healthy foods. Which leads to...

How the garden grows

Having put in the garden yesterday, this morning S and I had to go around and tidy things up and putter in the garden. Look how pretty she looks.

We've planted six tomato plants this year, almost all heirloom varieties. You might be able to make them out in a circle around the pot (which is filled with sage and dill). This year we have Black from Tula, Omar's Lebonese, Juliette, and Aunt Gennie's Purple. We had the Aunt Gennie's Purple last year and they were phenomenal!

In the raised rows we've planted artichokes (the pointy looking guys in the front row), japanese eggplants and red bell peppers (middle row), and broccoli and pole beans (in the back, beans to grow on the green trellis).

If you look really hard (or just squint and pretend) you can also see that in front of the tomatoes we've got basil and chives. What you can't see yet is the lettuce and spinach. Give us a couple of weeks and I'll show you some lovelies once they sprout.

My other joy, the strawberry patch we planted last year. See those little red spots near the bottom of the photo... yep those are early strawberries! Non-organic strawberries are a bit scary so I'm hoping we are going to get a good crop this year.

So surely with all this bounty to come, we will eat healthier, right?

1 comment:

ernie said...

S'Gran says thanks for the inspiration. Tomatoes in a pot are going in her garden. We will look for heirlooms. I say give me a few months and I will catch up.
Great gardening.
Keep up the exercise. S'Gran and I have pedometers and we are walking.
We will keep a running total.