Thursday, July 24, 2008

My newest passion

Isn't it beautiful - it's an Epiphyllum for those who haven't seen them before. The grower and photographer is Janet Lai, who I bought my start from. Mine won't bloom for a while so I got permission from her to use her photos. I actually bought 4 varieties from her and she gifted me this one! You can see the rest of her pictures at my photobucket album here. In addition to the five varieties from Janet I've purchased a variety called Masada from another seller. You can see a picture of it here. All of my starts except one, Prairie Rose, have new healthy growth on them, and even that one appears to be very healthy, just a bit slower growing. I can't wait for these to bloom, though they say for the healthiest plants if they bud the first year you should nip off the bud so that they concentrate on root growth. So I guess I've got at least a two year wait. It looks like the wait will be worth it to me!

These plants can get amazing sized blooms on them. Eight to ten inch is not unusual, though many varieties get much smaller blooms on them. They can also get a huge number of blooms at one time. There are lots of varieties I'd love to have, but they do take some space so I need to be careful not to crowd them.

Lest you think I've given up knitting, much to the contrary, I'm currently working on a scarf in a pattern of my own design. I still have lots of other ufo's, but in addition to the interest in epies, we've recently spent a few days in Southern California, and we're planning a family reunion which is coming up the second weekend of August in San Diego. There will be lots of wonderful news after that as it will be the first time ever for all five of my children to be together. As a bonus my hubby's two girls will also be present, as will at least 4 of our 8 grandchildren.

The laundry is calling . . . check back later!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Life goes on . . .

Once again a family situation required my attention and I just didn't find the time or energy to come here and post. Slowly our days are regaining some sense of normalcy.

On June 12th my much loved mother-in-law, who was more like a mother to me than an in-law, was placed in a local hospice facility. Just two days later she suffered a stroke that left her unable to communicate, and on June 25 she slipped peacefully into the next life. She lived just 6 months and 2 weeks after her devoted husband of nearly 62 years passed away. Due to previous strokes, being wheelchair bound and suffering severe dementia, the past 3 years she had not enjoyed the quality of life we had hoped for our parents. In October '07 she broke a hip and had hip replacement surgery which never healed properly. This was complicated by a fall about 3 months ago which left her in excruciating pain. She truly is in a better place, and while she is missed every day, we're glad that her suffering is ended and that her transition to the next life was peaceful.

During the time Mom (I've called her Mom for years) was ill, I had no interest in knitting, though I did manage a few rows now and again. What I did find that held my attention was some very tangled yarn that had been given to me many months before. It appears to have been a dye experiment if the pink color it left all over my shirt and pants is any indicator. I'm hoping a 'color grabber sheet' will pull it all out. If not, at least they were older clothes so it won't be a great loss. The yarn is a variegated from deep rose to a very dark magenta. I tried to get pictures, but the color isn't quite accurate. This picture of the single ball is closest in color, but the picture of the others shows how much of it there was. The two stacks on the left are worsted weight and the stack on the right and the cake on the ball winder are lace weight. Next I'll wind it onto my swift, tie it in hanks and rinse it until it stops running - if it ever does! Then I can think about what to make with it. About 2/3 of this amount was in a tangled mess, which I wish I'd thought to take a picture of, but didn't. I spent several evenings untangling it, separating the lace weight from the worsted and balling it all up, then more time putting it onto the ball winder for center pull balls. I probably could have put it straight on the swift, but I thought this would take some of the kinks out, which it seems to have done. According to my 'fairly accurate' kitchen scale I have right at 1 lb of yarn!

Meanwhile, I also have a lot of UFO's

1) a crocheted baby blanket about 65% done for a baby shower that has been delayed.

2) a llama/wool scarf in the lacy V pattern for a friend 75% done

3) a knitted no pattern 'bright idea' Moonlight Mohair scarf 95% done, but I can't remember if I did the y/o's on the right or wrong side so I need to fiddle with it and figure it out.

4) the Branching Out scarf from knitty in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, color 36 at least 50% done.

5) a knitted baby sweater in yellow Pingouin PingoFrance for the above mentioned baby shower which is probably 60% done.

6) a 'barely started' scarf in the mistake rib stitch in Encore Color #7128, again, no pattern other than the stitch pattern. This reminds me of the autumn leaves in Michigan where I was raised. The Stitching For The Seasons group has been asked to make scarves for men for our Fall scarves theme, so this will be my scarf for that group.

Today I picked up more of the Vivace' 100% Bamboo yarn in 4 different colors at Color Me Quilts and More in Niles, CA. I also picked up two skeins of Soy yarn, but didn't pay attention to the yardage and it's only a bit over 100' yds so will either make narrow scarves, or short ones - or go back and buy more yarn (ummm, yep, I would do that!).

The blue and lavender are the Soy yarn and the others are the Bamboo. The soy yarn is a flat narrow ribbon type, and is made by Kollage Yarns. The Bamboo is made by Yarn Place. Best part is, everything was 20% off today!

In one of the antique/collectible stores I couldn't resist this little fellow! She looks like a 2" pot would sit nicely in her, or a small candle - Her tag reads "For Sale: 2 yr old ewe 'Felice' would do best on flat field - has tendency to faint and rolls down most hills. Would prefer to have 2 or 3 hundred companions. Call days: 555-love-ewe". Isn't she adorable? All the stores had 20% off, so at less than $7 including tax she was a bargain. I was wishing I had room a whole flock of her friends!
It's time to knit . . . be back soon!