Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer Flowers


Monday I had a massage at Bella, a local spa. Two young women created the business in a charming older house. Customers and passersby walk through a small front yard converted to a perennial flower garden that includes a small fountain and rocks. Tulips, daffodils, and a small flowering tree greet customers in the Spring. This month glorious coneflowers, lilies, and bright campanula bloom. As I walked down the steps through this sweet little garden, three honeybees buzzed around the bright purple campanula and a large yellow swallowtail flitted among the coneflowers. At that moment, all seemed right with the world.

This small space with its shelter for honeybees and butterflies reminded me of an Emily Dickinson poem.

                     In the name of the Bee -
                     And of the Butterfly -
                     And of the Breeze - Amen!

That Emily, she had a playful way with words.



These exuberant mismatched flowers also make me happy. Last evening I worked out modifications for the rose colored shawl. I took the shape and motif from the pattern and gave the shawl a simpler look. I plan to knit two rows of flowers on all three outer edges of the triangle. I think the stitch counts will allow for two rows across the top edge. Three times, I tried to begin the edge pattern by counting backwards from the end of the row. Finally I created a chart on paper and the stitch pattern became clear. Hopefully the flower motif is more visible after the shawl is finished and blocked. If not, the lace edges will stay as a design element. As we say, knitting is a process. 




I am near the end of Anything is Possible. Strout writes well. Her characters are very human and the theme of forgiveness and reconcilation is good food for thought. I am listening to I Was Anastasia: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon. The readers, one as young Anastasia and the other as Anna Anderson, the woman trying to prove her identity, are excellent. The story of the younger Anastasia moves forward in time while that of Anna begins at the end of her life and moves backward. Chapter headings with the narrator's name and dates orient the reader/listener. I haven't found it difficult to follow but did turn it off while I charted the knitted flowers. I couldn't count opposite directions on a chart and keep track of a story moving in opposite directions at the same time. Imagine. I find the book entertaining and intriguing. When and how will the two storylines meet? I also look forward to hearing the author's note at the end of the story. 

One other note: Thank you to all who read these posts. I have had trouble responding to the comments and some have not been able to comment. I had two helpful notes from readers so maybe I have this fixed. At any rate, thank you. You make the world a friendlier, better place.

Linking with Kat and the Unravelers today. Lots of interesting knitting, reading, and gardening going on these days. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Tomato Growing Weather

My Granddad often said corn should be knee high by the 4th of July. Born in 1899 on a Nebraska farm, he knew about hot summer work. After he served in World War One, he came home and found a job selling construction materials for a company called Door and Sash. He never became a farmer but loved working in his garden with an old straw hat on his head. I followed that hat around and learned to love gardening. He taught me that heat and humidity extending overnight is prime tomato growing weather. When he finished working in his garden, he sat down in an old white metal lawn chair in the shade. Dewey (as we called him) was a quiet gentle man with a quick wit. I often think of him as I garden and wonder what he thought about when he rested in that chair.

During this tomato growing weather, my handwork feels as flighty as a butterfly. I reclaimed the rose colored yarn and am currently trying a new shawl pattern. I don't swatch for shawls but just cast on and knit to see the pattern/yarn combination. I completed a bit more of the knitting but am letting it rest to see if I want to continue. In the meantime I cast on a hat that I'll donate somewhere.

Last winter I wore my favorite old walking hat inside out because it was so faded. This seems like a sad state of affairs for a knitter, so I knit a new walking hat from three strands of yarn. As per pattern suggestion, I divided a skein of fingering weight in two and then added a strand of light mohair. Both skeins came from stash. Three strands meant I knit a little more slowly but it wasn't terribly fiddly and turned out to be a good way to cope with constant turmoil of the news.

I am stitching on Christmas quilt blocks for the new grandchild arriving late in September. I cut the blocks, leaving a margin for squaring up later. To date I have finished five of twenty blocks. Quilting, like knitting, is a process - one stitch at a time. The baby won't need this twin sized quilt in his/her crib this Christmas. I just wanted to get started as I think about this new little one. The handwork is a nice break from knitting. 

I am reading Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. This book fills in the back stories from Lucy Barton's (My Name is Lucy Barton) home town. As usual, Strout's writing is excellent and I am enjoying these stories. I have just begun but am wondering how the theme "anything is possible" will play out during the book. 

Linking up today with Kat and the Unravelers.

Happy 4th of July and Happy Tomato Growing Weather.