Not much news on this end, although the long wait for spring seems to be nearly at an end. As I write this, we have a storm watch, with snow predicted for the mountains and tornados for the Plains, but I got in a whole day of work on the garden yesterday, marking the slow and hesitant greening up, and preparing beds for some new plants.
The apple tree is in blossom, but a chilly day has prevented it from blooming. I’m hoping I’ll get a good crop, suitable for rental of a largish cider press, and a little help from my postman, Alex, who is a wizard with making cider.
There are daffodils and tulips and mounds of grape hyacinths; the irises and peonies are rising; a few brave pansies have lifted their frilly heads in purples and yellows; the red and black currants and gooseberries are unfurling their leaves and some of the currants have tiny clusters that will become tiny blooms and then the berries, from which I make something called Hedgerow Jam.
Chewbacca, as you can see, is in the middle of his spring haircut. The lawn is brave with dandelions, and needs mowing. I was digging and amending and planting yesterday, and more or less ran out of steam before I could manage that chore. He is not only the knitting supervisor, but the squirrel patrol.
Fresh color in the garden makes one think of color schemes, of course. I’ve made some cheerful hats from stash, and put them in this month's Tips & Tricks as a kind of free pattern (or recipe) for adventurous knitters. I like the color combinations in these, especially the trick of using a larger yarn for a cuff, and a smaller one for the hat proper.
Most of these went to Denver’s collection of hats for the homeless when Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was in town for an appearance. She got a cowboy hat from me, a couple of bottles magnificent chocolate porter, home brewed, from Shannon Hake, and socks from Cathy White. Chocolate and beer! What a concept!
And I’m doing something completely different, at the urging of my friend Liz—soon to be moving to Colorado. She’s a wizard at crochet, made one of the patterns I’d adapted from traditional sources, and urged me to put them up. They are filet crochet shawls and baby blankets. The picture on the pattern is of Liz, wearing the music-themed shawl, on her vacation cruise through the Panama Canal, with lots of wildlife-watching, ending up in Key West, where it’s the nightlife that’s wild.
I’ve put a great deal of time in on these patterns, and hope those of you who crochet will give them a try.
Thank you, Liz, for doing yours so beautifully and sending a picture.
In work is the pattern for this sweater, based on the French fisherman’s ones that one sees there. Probably ancestral to the English and Scottish ganseys, they feature snug, close-to-the-body construction accomplished with a gusset that runs up the body and about a third of the way down the arm. The virtue of this sweater the traditional gansey? It isn’t 8 to 12 stitches to the inch, but more like 4.5 in worsted.
The construction makes them ideal for work sweaters, since there’s not much to catch on anything. I made mine with a handwarmer pocket, simply because I like it, and a boat neck, and I made the matching turtleneck dickey to use when the weather’s really cold. With a split hem, it’s a little longer in back than in front, with nothing that can ride up.
If I can ever get the pattern written, it will make a great sweater for outdoors sports, construction work, gardening. It also fits well under a coat or jacket, or foul weather gear. I’m working on it. I love this sweater, and am trying to do it as a “recipe” pattern.
Also in work, a coat sweater Rowan Tweed Bulky, now discontinued, from Jannette’s Rare Yarns. I can resist anything but temptation; a bag of ten 100 gram balls for $40 is a little more than mere temptation.