One Done!

Slinky One sock pal sock to go.  I’m gonna make it, but I am thinking of adding more to the slinky part.   This is the first time I did an afterthought heel.  With this design I didn’t think I could get away with my standard heels.  This is definitely a FUN sock.

Wearing your Art on your sleeve…or leg

Staci_tat A week ago or so I got a nice email from Staci.  Staci lives in Houston and she knits.  She came across my blog entry about my new tattoo and wanted to tell me how much she liked it and that she had been considering getting another one and would I mind if she got one similar to it, you know, ripping off my design.  I explained to her how it was a team effort to come up with the design and i didn’t feel like I owned it since it’s not an uncommon graphic symbol (well, except for the flames maybe) so I gave her my blessing.  Low and behold she emailed me this morning including an image of her "shiny new tattoo" and it’s a real beauty!  She went with Pink yarn (duh, and I think it turned out quite well. Very feminine. I can’t tell the size of hers, maybe she’ll comment or something – mine is about 3X5.

Now I have never considered myself a trendsetter, but I was very flattered when she approached me. So, who else is in?  Shall we form a tribe?  Initiation is getting a knitting related tattoo that can be seen without compromising one’s modesty.  Come on, you know you want one.

Now for some real knitting

Parasol I got Ann McCauleys book The Pleasures of Knitting because my mom saw a sweater in it she liked.  I ordered some Shine from KnitPicks and now I discover that the largest size for the Peri’s Parasol Pullover is 38 and that won’t cut it.  I am functionally retarded in math and I have no idea how to upsize the pattern, but it could be tricky since it’s knit in the round to the armholes and features a shell/feather and fan pattern on the bottom portion of the sweater.  Any help out there?  I need at least a 40 or perhaps a 42 bust size for this one.

Note to designers: Real women have curves – and measurements that easily exceed 38 inches at the bust.  And some us can’t do math – that’s what we count on you for.

Easter Eggcitement!

I must have been affected by the season, but I was having such misgivings about the Sockapaloooza socks I was attempting.  Neither pattern that I had started was working out size-wise.  I realize that I could have produced a more intricate and fitting sock, but not with that yarn.  But I was delighted with the Slinky Socks pattern and just happened to have some wide striping Trekking in just the right springy colors.  Will this do for my sock pal?  I think they are cute and fun and I am hoping my sock pal will like them too.  Without giving too much away, my sock pal is really good at knitting socks.  Beautiful complicated socks.  I am now wondering if these will be good enough for her. Argh, the angst!  I didn’t have this much difficulty with the last Sock exchange.  I am running out of time.  I must commit to one design and yarn.  Would you be insulted to receive these socks?

Happy Easter Egg!

Friday Cat Blogging

2kitties Inside kitty (Katrina) and Outside kitty (Gypsy).  Gypsy was a pregnant feral cat when we first met her.  She used to hang out with my neutered male cats that lived outside and ate from their bowl.  After she had her kittens I captured her and kept them hostage in the unused bathroom until the 2 babies were old enough to wean.  We found one a good home with a stranger and one went to my daughter Kandis, Mo is huge now and beautiful, he inherited his mother’s coat.  Then we had Gypsy spayed and she was turned back outside to come or go, but no more babies.  She decided to stay and that was almost 8 years ago.  She still gets nervous if we try to bring her inside, and she won’t let anyone pick her up, but she likes to be stroked like any respectable feline. 

Katrina lives inside and always has since we adopted her in November.  She will sit on the shelf and watch for Gypsy to come eat and box at the window as if she was defending a heavyweight title.  She is neutered, but not de-clawed, which is an issue lately with some of the furniture, but I am holding out.  I miss having a dog, but I do love my kitties.  Have a great weekend!

“G” is for …

Gardening on a budget.  How much could it cost to have a garden, you ask?  Well, more than one would think.  I garden on the cheap.  This is the first year in 6 that I managed to get a garden planted in time to actually harvest something.  Because there is also a cost in TIME to garden, I have been unable to pay that price since Abby was born.  This year I was determined to have a garden and since Abby is now 5, I think it’s a good time for her to get involved too.

The Challenges:

  • No budget to speak of
  • Very little time (March is late to start a garden here)
  • Soil is crappy
  • Neighbors goats visit regularly and think my yard is their dinner table
  • No family help but for the 5 year old
  • Non-native, invasive burmuda grass is a constant problem

Composter Cheap Gardener’s Secret

Norma got me going with her post and showing off her fancy composting gadgets.  I only have one and it’s round.  We don’t really  need one here, but it was free when I attended a composting propaganda presentation.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for composting, I love it, but honestly, they were preaching to the choir.  I normally just make a cylinder out of about 15 feet in circumference of chicken wire or other cheap fencing material and wire the ends together or clip them so they can be undone easily for pile turning.  We can compost year round here since it never gets too cold to "cook" your compost.  The actual cooking is a chemical action that occurs when you combine the right amount of the right ingredients.  I dont’ mean to be vague, but it’s pretty simple stuff; it’s the ratio of materials that cause the actual heating of the pile and the microbes do all the work.  Composting is a great way to have the best natural fertilizer without having to buy anything extra.

The Poop on Soil

I have difficult soil.  Now that means I either spend a lot of time and money to amend that soil (don’t have much of either) or I create raised beds.  The cost of raised beds depends on the means of construction and what you use to fill them.  Landscape timbers are out since they are pressure treated and unsafe around food crops.  I had an old unused bridge over my creek that I dissassembled and used the boards to construct a crude box and supported it with wooden stakes.  Because of the Bermuda brass which overtakes everything, I opted to buy some landscape fabric to line the bottom of the raised bed.  Moisture goes through, but not grass and weeds.  Now to fill the bed.  Purchasing soil can be expensive and topsoil is not good garden soil (lots of weed seeds and other contaminants can be found in it).  A friend saw an ad in Craigslist for free horse manure from a stable.  If they load it in your truck or trailer, it’s 10 bucks.  What a deal!  I borrowed a truck and drove over to get some and the price was right.  I emptied the entire load off the truck with a shovel and rake.  It filled it up fine.  I will add kitchen compost or composted manure from the neighbors, but I won’t need any more soil this season.  Horse manure is not hot like cow, goat, chicken, bat, or almost anything else.  So it’s okay to use it fresh, however, this stuff isn’t exatly fresh, it’s so dry it’s almost like a powder. 

DIY fenceRaised_bed

Because of the neighbors goats, I had to put a fence around the garden, or there would be no point in having a garden.  Fences can be expensive.  I visited our local Tractor Supply and bought a roll of 48 In. X 100 Ft. Welded Wire and 6 T-posts.  I borrowed a T-post driver from my friend and marked out the placement.  This is the easiest way to set up a fence especially if it may be a temporary one as it isn’t that hard to pull up the T-posts and move them.  I made enough room so that I can walk completely around my 5X15 raised bed inside the fence.  This better work or else we’ll be having cabrito often.

The Main Thing is to keep the main thing the main thing

I spent $20 on seeds and bedding plants.  I may not have much time with the spinach since it bolts very quickly in the heat, but I should be okay on the other things.

  • radishes – because they are ready in 22 days and that will be a short attention span payoff for Abby.
  • spinach
  • Celebrity Tomatoes
  • Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes – a family favorite – candy on a vine
  • eggplant
  • squash – calabasa
  • green peppers
  • green beans
  • sweet basil
  • epizote – Mexican cooking herb

That’s a lot for a tiny garden and I wanted to add okra, but it’s too early, maybe when the spinach tanks.  Anyway, we are watering with cans until I can repair the hose bib that I ran over with the riding mower last summer.  That’s a trip to the Home Depot.  Once that’s fixed, we have virtually free well water for irrigation.  I found legacy tomato cages on the property from the previous owners and they were in fine shape so they will be employed when the plants get up a bit. 

So much for my cheap gardening.  So how does your garden grow?

Sockapaloooza Take Two

Welt Okay, is this any better?  Scout suggested the pattern (Welt Fantastic from Sensational Knitted Socks) and I think it was an excellent suggestion.  And then PoorMary suggested I start another from the other end of the skein and see which I like better.  Duh.  How brilliant you people are!  I like the pattern, though it is slower knitting than the Pretty Petals.  I may have to rip it to do a different size, the Welt Fantastic seems to be a bit less stretchy.  Is that what anyone else is experiencing?  What is it about a texture pattern that makes socks knit up so much faster than plain st st?  It’s a mystery to me.