The Saturday Update: Week 14

It’s been a scary, sad week, hasn’t it? I’m still home in lockdown, sewing masks and missing MacKenzie something awful. The number of Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing in the US, especially in New York. I find myself fighting tears at least once a day now. There’s nothing for it but to keep checking in on loved ones and to stay busy. Luckily I have lots to do, and I have been busy. Before I show off the week let’s just start out with something happy.

The Monster Orchid now has 13 blooms and everyone of them is still going strong. The plant responded to having its blooms staked up by turning them for maximum visual impact. Beautiful plant!! I think that it likes the light in the front room.
Knitting

I completed the knitting of the Pebble Tunic! It fits and feels wonderful. It is also not finished or blocked. Still, you can now see the sweater!

This is a wonderful, long tunic that will be a fabulous light weight and warm layering piece in the fall. I need to sew the pockets into place and to weave in the ends. I think that I will steam block it in the end.
I hate to sew pocket liners into place. They intimidate me and I struggle with the outer edges. 
I’m thinking of sewing a button into the corners to cover the inevitable mess that will be at each pocket edge as I do the finishing. I think that it will look kind of cute with the floppy pocket. What do you think about this button?

I have to be honest, though. Now that I am at the finishing part of the sweater I am in a rush to get started on my next sweater. I want to wind that yarn and cast on immediately. I have three little projects (socks and mitts) that should be finished, but last night I dug through the stash and found the yarn to cast on ANOTHER pair of socks. I don’t want to sew pockets… I want to knit, knit, knit!! Today I packed up the Pebble Tunic to hibernate for a few days while I get the yarn wound for my next project, another V-Neck Boxy.  Eventually I’ll get it done. Besides, I need feedback from all of you about those buttons!

Garden

You already saw the orchid. Seriously, the orchid is the star of the indoor gardening at the moment, but I have been attending to some of the other plants.

For reasons that I don’t understand this jade plant has been growing like a weed, much faster than the other jade plants that I have. They are all clones from one single original plant, so I really don’t quite know what is going on here. The top growth has gotten so heavy that the two largest stems have flopped over. I staked and tied one, and I’m now considering cutting most of the downed section off. I should probably repot this hot jade plant mess, don’t you think? In the meantime I’ve moved the plant under a flood (grow) light by the window to see what happens in better light.

Tomorrow I think that I’ll dig around in the garage to find a nice clay pot for this guy. Since the plant is a super grower I’m considering starting a new plant with the downed stem to see if it will grow really fast, too.

Talking about rapid growth… do you see what this weeping fig has been up to? 

My weeping fig that I have growing in in the light of the front window really put out a lot of growth over the last year. When I repotted the plant a few weeks ago I discovered that the root system was pretty small and I worried that I had damaged the plant when I pulled it out of the old pot. Nope. The plant didn’t drop any leaves and is still putting out new ones so I fertilized it this week,  pruned off a lot of lower growth, and then staked and tied up branches to encourage the two plants to take on a more tree like shape. Here’s hoping it all works out. It’s another experiment!

Books

Maybe I’ve been messing with the plants this week because of the spring sunshine. Or maybe I’ve been looking at the plants with new eyes because I read this book this week.

I read another book about science and plants this week.

I loved this book. One of the things that I learned in the few years I worked in a research lab is that science people, really memorable people who do science, are originals. They think out of the box, they have wicked senses of humor, they listen to a singular internal muse as they work, and they have a casual relationship with rules and conventional schedules. I learned to write well while working in the lab. I learned to never take anything for granted in that lab, became endlessly creative as we designed original experiments, built our equipment, and collected the data. Science follows a timetable of its own sometimes… if the data arrived at 10pm I was in the lab ready to get it. I did some crazy stuff, and some of the best, most intense relationships of my life were developed in that time. This book captures the science behind plants and Hope Jehren’s work, the craziness of securing funding, the work of building a lab, and the unique and enduring relationships that are formed in collaborative research teams. A friend recommended this book to me, and I am so glad that I read it.

Jade plant, prepare to become an experiment!

Quilting

Look! A new category. Early in the winter on impulse I bought a huge roll of batting to make quilts. I have several quilt tops all pieced together waiting for the final quilting, and I have more quilt kits that need to be sewn. Now that I am trapped in the house I have this work to keep me busy. Behold. The first quilt got done this week.

Here’s the whole quilt.
and a close-up of the cats in the focus panel.

Next up: a green quilt with roses on it.

Well, that’s all for the week.

Please, please, everyone, be safe!

Remember to read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and an exceptionally spoiled kitten.

47 thoughts on “The Saturday Update: Week 14”

  1. your tunic is absolutely beautiful and your plants are so lovely and green! I so enjoy having live plants in the house. You meantioned you are sewing masks, are you using a specific pattern? God bless you……..sending you love.

    1. Thank you for the tunic comment… I am hoping for another spell of cold weather so I can wear it. 🙂 There are lots of patterns online for the masks right now. The one that I am using is https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/ although I am looking to try another pattern that works with a filter insert today https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/. I https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/
      I have some batik quilting fabric in my stash and washed it/put through a hot dryer before using it for the masks. I saw an article in the NY Times yesterday that it was a good fabric choice so I feel validated in my choice of material.
      Sending love back… stay safe!!

      1. Thank you so very much for sharing this! I really hope you get to wear the tunic, it is my favorite of all your projects that I have seen.
        I so enjoy seeing all of your projects…….be well! 🙂

  2. Wow so many pretty things this week. Your pebble tunic looks great so far and I think those cat paw buttons will be just perfect for it. Your Orchid is clearly very happy, you definitely have green fingers. The blooms are stunning. I’ve never seen a jade plant before. Looks a little like a plant we’d call a money plant…if they are the same thing then looks like you’ll be a millionaire. My least favourite subject at school was science, except biology which I liked because you could do drawings of organs etc and my mum wouldn’t let me pick art as a subject. It sounds like you’ve got lots of memories of the lab to be joyful about. Now as for your quilt…wow…that is definitely one of the nicest I’ve seen. I like quilts with geometric patterns, but love this one with the cat themed material. Do you still have pitta pat (spelt wrong I think) your hamster? I think letting out the tears when you need to is probably best, no good bottle up your anxiety, so let them fall and then do something calming. I’m definitely eating with my anxiety and will be a sumo wrestler size when it’s over! Stay safe xx

    1. I’m pretty sure I’m going to go for the buttons. I have some concerns about the weight so I’ll just tack them on at first so I can try them out. The money plant is different from jade plants; I had a money plant but I killed it! So much for the green thumb… Jade plants are succulents that can grow to be quite big in the right climate. In the part of California where I grew up they were an outdoor plant that could be several feet high. The plant that is growing really quickly obviously thinks that this is San Diego… Biology was my favorite, of course, which is how I eventually ended teaching it. Lab days were always the best by far for both me and the students. I saw the quilt in a shop and thought it was so cute I bought it as a kit. I thought that perhaps my grandson would like it, but he is almost 10 now so I’m giving it to my son who will hang it on a wall for Jonesy the kitten to play with. I do still have Pitty-Pat, and it makes me happy to hear her run in her wheel at night. Poor lonely hamster… we’re both missing the cat. She now squeaks at me to feed her! She has hamster food but she really likes apple slices and fresh veggies so she puts in a request when she can. I’ve started baking again and last night hunted down a recipe for brownies, but I’m being careful to not gain weight because of my bad boy hip. I don’t know when I will be able to get my steroid injection as things are just getting worse here in the States. As everyone know now our virus response is just horrible and things will be going out of control here; it’s hard to be philosophical when faced with such willful neglect that will result in dreadful harm. I luckily live in a state with a good governor and am hoping that we can stay on top of the surge in cases. What a time to be alive. Hugs, and stay safe!!

  3. I have been wondering how you were and hope you keep well. Here in Adelaide we are not in lockdown but very strict protocols are in place. Your jade tree is very unusual but quite contemporary looking. Mine has ‘leaves’ that are tiny. I think the pussy cat paw buttons are very sweet. MacKenzie would approve I’m sure. He would appropriate that lovely quilt with cats in a flash. Wasn’t he a trick making himself at home on any of your knitting that took his fancy. Your plants are something to celebrate aren’t they. My second flush of yellow graham Thomas roses is keeping me sane, just! The pink jumper looks so soft and comfy. We certainly need comfort now. Is ‘Lab girl’ a mix of fact and fiction? I usually tend towards non fiction but this book sounds fascinating and I may well be converted. I have just noticed that your monster orchid almost looks as if there are pearls in the centre of each flower, so pretty. Stay well and safe.

    1. I hope that things stay calmer in Adelaide. We remain under a “stay-at-home” order and now have to wear masks if we go outside. I am staying safe indoors and am having groceries delivered later today. It is nice having all of the other neighbors home with me… the neighborhood is more alive then usual even though I’m not out visiting with people. MacKenzie would have been all over the quilt while I was working with it and then demanding it for a new bed. Now the quilt is going to my son’s kitten Jonesy who is much of the same personality as MacKenzie’s. My neighbors are replacing our fence this month and then I will be planting some Graham Thomas roses along it for sure!! Thank you for letting me know about them. Lab Girl is an autobiography. I don’t usually read them, but this one was very interesting with the combination of information about plants and the world along with her life. Be well and stay safe!!

  4. I’m not much into quilts but your feline quilt is so beautiful! Did you do the pattern yourself or where the motifs already prepared? I would definitely buy one such quilt. Well done!!!!
    Keep on knitting (and quilting) ❤
    PS I just had my first e-visit with a rheumatologist (auto-immune specialist) yesterday – he seemed a nice and "human" doctor, let's see what will come out of this. I intend to do more tests once it's possible again. I thought of you and your many posts about your health issues. A huge thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom – it helped me a lot!

    1. Oh, that quilt was a kit that I picked up in a shop; it was so cute I just had to have it! I am not that clever to make a quilt like that on my own. 🙂 The very cute cats were a printed panel; I quilted around the cats and the details to make them stand out.
      I’m glad that the e-visit when well, but sad that you are also dealing with auto-immune issues. I totally understand about the testing issue. I’m determined to not walk into the waiting room of a clinic until things are more back to normal. I hope that things continue to go well with this doctor. 🙂 Hugs and stay safe!!

      1. Wow, that quilt is really nice and great that it was a “ready” kit!!!!! Do you perhaps recall the name of the kit? I’m mildly tempted… not that I really need one…. 😉
        I’m not sure about the autoimmune issue, but as I had various issues and one history in the family, I’m determined to establish in a scientific way whether this might be a cause… We shall see. It might be something else entirely.
        I’m wanting to make some face masks (knitted or sewn) but haven’t started yet… got distracted by buying books on 18th century… Will I get to actually read them? I get so easily distracted 😦
        Virtual hugs back to you and good that you keep busy ❤

      2. The kit was put together by Holly’s Quilt Cabin and the pattern is Picture This. They have a website at http://www.mountainpeekcreations.com. I think that this fabric is all gone now, but you never know, there might be some other fabulous thing that you want.
        I just bought 4 more books to read on my Kindle and am I reading them? No! I’m just too wound up and nervous to settle down and read. Hopefully I will knit my way through this on eventually I’ll be able to settle down and read. 🙂 Right now I’m going to sew a couple of masks while I have brownies baking in the oven!!

      3. Many thanks for the link and the details!!
        Enjoy the brownies when they are done 🙂 Knitting and other nice activities help us keep sane….

      4. It seems that due to the current restrictions they’re not taking any orders. Probably better so… I shouldn’t add another thing to my queue 😉

  5. I wish I had your energy and concentration! You are a whirlwind:) The quilt and sweater are beautiful. I vote two thumbs up for the buttons!
    Your green thumbs amaze me. My crown of thorns has leaves that are turning brown and dropping off. I’ve got no idea why it is suddenly unhappy. Nothing has changed.

    1. Oh, I just keep making lists and working my way though them. One of the advantages of having several projects going at once is that if you complete several in one week it looks like you are amazingly productive when actually each one took a few weeks to get done. 🙂
      I spend time doing searches on the internet to try to figure out what is up with my plants. Maybe it is getting too much water or sunlight? I forgot to move some plants as the light coming in windows changed and they got burnt. Mostly it is a mystery to me too when things go wrong with a plant. It’s like natural selection… the losers go into the trash and the winners make me look like a good gardener. 🙂
      Stay safe!!

  6. I really like the buttons. I am all about casting on things that make you happy at this time, so if you want to wait to finish your tunic I fully support you. Anything that keeps the mind from dwelling on COVID-19 is a good thing.

    1. That’s what I thought. I’m winding that yarn today so that I can get back to endless knitting. It’s too warm to wear the tunic right now anyway, and it will be waiting for me with I have a surge of confidence and feel up to sewing down those pocket liners. It is just so stressful now. I realized this week that the government is just not going to be able to handle things and depending on where you live and your governor’s ability to secure resources, things could get really dicey. Such a sad time for everyone. Stay safe!

    1. I think that I thought about it because of the pocket shape. I was wishing I could reinforce the corners like they do with the rivets in jeans. Then I thought of buttons, and ta-daa! I had some cat paw buttons in the button box. 🙂

  7. Your tunic and quilt are gorgeous – you do such beautiful work! And your plants are doing so well – I am envious 🙂 Glad you’ve got lots to keep you busy!

  8. Hello,
    Love your new sweater and the cat paw buttons will finish it off . I am glad to hear you are doing well and keeping safe. I believe everyone is having those moments when you just want life to go back before… I am in Canada and things here are shut down tight. I am waiting to hear about my first grandchild due in 2 weeks. I will not be able to see her because the border is shut down. I try to count my blessings and know that I will be able to see her when all this crazy dies down. I keep busy knitting, reading and walking.
    Keep busy it keeps the tears away.

    1. Oh, no. This is such a stressful time for you and your family. Hugs to you and I hope that all will be safe and that you get to see your granddaughter soon. I have a grandson myself; he is tons of fun, but I do wish from time to time that I had a granddaughter too. Here’s hoping that the border opens not long after she arrive in the world safely.

      Keep walking and knitting, it helps. Hugs and stay safe.

  9. Hello, Love your new sweater and the cat paw buttons will finish it off . I am glad to hear you are doing well and keeping safe. I believe everyone is having those moments when you just want life to go back before… I am in Canada and things here are shut down tight. I am waiting to hear about my first grandchild due in 2 weeks. I will not be able to see her because the border is shut down. I try to count my blessings and know that I will be able to see her when all this crazy dies down. I keep busy knitting, reading and walking. Keep busy it keeps the tears away.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  10. Your monster orchid is fabulous! I’m SO impressed that you are able to get them to bloom. I have had pots and pots of orchid leaves that I’ve never managed to get to produce blooms a second time. I haven’t really put my mind to it, so I guess I can’t complain too much, but it’s lovely to see your baby blooming like a champ. Wonderful quilt! And ohhh, MacKenzie!!!! I know your heart must be aching. Sending lots and lots of love your way. Please take care!

    1. I have no idea how I got that orchid to bloom, seriously. I have been told that they need big temperature swings in the fall to make them bloom, and this year I kept the furnace shut down and ran the window fan in the orchid room overnight (it does have a thermostat so it doesn’t get horrible cold) to bring in cold air. That room gets great sun in the day and warms up well. That must be it. I’ll try again next year. The only other thing I’ve got is that I feed the orchids every month on the 1st weekend. Maybe the regular fertilizer makes them happy. You know, MacKenzie just ruled the roost here an could be a big pain from time to time, but I do miss him something horrible. Sweet boy. He is missed.
      Be safe!

  11. Paw buttons definitely and infinite thanks for posting projects as I broke my right arm last week, meaning no knitting, no pottery, no nothing. I am, however, crafting vicariously via my fave bloggers – the next best thing!

    1. Oh no, you broke your arm! So sorry, what terrible timing! 😦 I had carpal tunnel surgery followed by tendonitis and couldn’t knit for months… I just about went nuts, and that was in normal times! I hope that you heal well and quickly. I think that the paw buttons are a definite add to the sweater. Take care and stay safe!

    1. I just love the kitty quilt too. I boxed it up and took it to my son’s house last night so that the new kitten Jonesy could play on it. Thanks for the tunic feedback; as soon as I finish it I’ll post the final pics with the buttons on the pockets.

  12. Hi hon! I am sorry you are weepy. Does it help to know that many of us feel your fear? I will be with you in spirit.
    That orchid is CRAZY!! My favorite houseplant is the jade. Mine loves being out on the deck in the summer.
    To be honest, I don’t think my heart could live without a garden.
    Love ya!!

    1. This week is better… I got a grocery shipment and I can have my morning latte again. 🙂 My jade plants love it outside in the summer, too! The palm will be heading out to the front porch as soon as it warms up enough for it… it looks great out there and it hides all Amazon deliveries perfectly!! Hurry up, summer!!

      1. That is so funny about your palm! It must grow very tall knowing it is providing such a valuable service to you! A very proud plant it must be!

      2. It first ended up on the front porch because it had SPIDER MITES!! on it. I hauled it out and hosed it down regularly throughout the summer whenever I watered the flower beds. It really liked it out front and looked good at the end of the summer, so I hauled it back inside and put a grow light on it for the winter. In just a few weeks it goes back out looking almost as good as it did when it came in last fall. It is a proud plant!!

      3. Can’t stand spider mites or mealy bugs. If you make a weak soapy solution and spritz them, it helps. Also, something with neem oil or tea tree is a deterrent.

      4. I have done the soap bubble treatment on the roses with great success, and I couldn’t indoor garden successfully without Neem oil! I have to say, spraying down the entire plant a couple times a week with the garden soaker really took care of those spider mites too!!

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