Knitting in the garden

Yesterday¬†was a quiet day for me; I was recovering from the long days in the heat at the alpaca ranch last weekend and had entered basic slug mode. What could be better than to take some finishing tasks out to the garden swing to finish off. ūüôā

Mitts without thumbs
Why do I keep doing this? I have 5 pairs of mitts all ready to go except… the thumbs need to be finished. Ugh. Basic boring knitting. Here’s the project page for these mitts at Ravelry that also has the pattern written out in the project notes.¬†

Luckily it was a nice day. All my flowers in pots continue to bloom like champions. Both cats moved out to hang with me. I started the sprinkler on the lawn which always draws birds. There was a lot of wildlife that stopped by to entertain me. OK, since I was bored I snapped some shots. Here they are!

Spider
This orb weaver¬†spider¬†had set up shop between two of my trees! I really like these spiders with their huge elaborate webs and insect catching habits. I had one on the deck last year that spun her web every evening and then took it down in the morning. OK, I’m a geek, but I was a biology teacher so what did you expect?
Squirrel
I ate some pumpkin spice mini-muffins with my latte while I was knitting. This squirrel started barking at me from a branch above the garden swing. I guess he felt that he was entitled to the muffins too!
Cat
Yellow Boy was snoozing in the garden swing with me. When the squirrel came down the tree trunk he finally chased it off. Sometimes he can be brave.
Buterfly
I haven’t seen many of these lately but as the morning warmed up more a Swallowtail stopped by the lantana. I love these guys. Luckily Yellow Boy was busy with the squirrel and left this one alone.

By noon is was getting too hot to stay outside. My mitts were done and the wildlife was disappearing. The cats and I headed inside.

Woohoo! Time to knit the Drachenfels shawl. I’m making progress on it and hope to show it off at the end of the week.

Have a good week everyone.

FO: Garden Swing is Done!!

Cool weather with thunderstorms arrived this week and I headed out to the back yard to finish up the garden swing. I had crocheted the largest part of the seat a couple of weeks ago and gotten it sewn onto the frame of the swing; a good start but still not usable. What I needed to do now was to remove the seat from the rest of the chair so that I could crochet side panels to attach the seat onto the sides of the frame. I attacked the bolts with my handy little tool kit and got the part holding the seat off and onto the lawn where I could work on it in the shade.

Cat on chair seat.
As soon as I got that seat off the rest of the chair frame Mr. Helpful moved right in.
MacKenzie helping.
The help just kept on coming as I crocheted side panels to attached the seat to the sides of the frame. I used my foot to put tension on the twine while I worked which put the working materials too close to MacKenzie the chomper.

Even with all the help and a break for a thunderstorm I got the side panels crocheted and sewn onto the frame after a couple of mornings. Today after lunch I reattached the seat to the swinging frame and then I was back in lawn chair business.

Completed seat.
Here’s the completed seat with the sides attached to the frame.¬†A little on the ugly side, but functional.
Cushions on swing.
Yeah! The swing is done and the cushions are back on it; I pulled the ties for each cushion through the crocheted mesh and then knotted them in the back. My outdoor knitting spot has been restored.

I’m still not completely happy with the tension on the seat of the swing¬†so¬†I’m going to use it for a couple of days and then will take in a tuck or two on the seat fabric to make it more taunt. Still, things are looking up; I am back outside for my morning latte. Happy, happy day!

Cat on the finished swing.
Final product is cat approved. ūüôā

Outdoor knitting, here I come!

FO Tee, a Garden Swing, and an Excited Spinning Wheel.

I know that I have been a little whiny lately. I started methotrexate a little over a month ago and the adjustment to the new medication has been challenging to say the least. This week was better. Much better. ¬†So sorry for the whining. I promise hope that I won’t be doing that again¬†for a long time. Check out all the things that were accomplished this week.

Knitted Tee
I got the Clove HItch Tee finished! Here are the project notes on Ravelry.
Tee Sleeve.
Look at how cute the lace detail is on the sleeve. This yarn is a linen blend and will be cool to wear even though it is a worsted weight knit.

The whole time I was knitting this tee I worried about how big the neck opening was. As soon as it was cast off the needles I tried it on, and yep, too big. I ran a drawstring around the neckline on the inside to draw it up a little and to prevent more stretching. Neckline problem totally fixed: it fits great! The top is loose and a comfy layering piece. I’m thinking that I would like to make a second one with long sleeves using a winter yarn that will be lighter in weight.¬†Maybe in navy blue. I plan¬†to keep that¬†garter stitch band on the sleeve and will¬†continue the sleeves in stockinette below the band.

Crocheted lawn seat.
I have now crocheted the entire back of the lawn swing and am continuing on to make the seat. I draped this over the back of the swing; it’s longer than it looks in the picture.

The lawn seat is coming right along. The¬†fabric will stretch when I sew it into place so it will be more open looking when it is done. I haven’t completely decided how to attach it to the side pieces of the frame. I’m afraid that the attachment solution¬†won’t be very elegant, but hopefully it will be functional.

Wednesday¬†I went out to visit a friend’s alpaca ranch (she has sheep too!!). I am consumed with jealousy. Such cool animals¬†wearing fabulously¬†cool fiber; she has a whole dyeing and processing operation going.¬†I didn’t take any pictures because next¬†week there will be a summer camp there and I get to teach kids how to spin! Ha! Stay tuned for the summer camp report. ūüôā

Today I took the car to get its oil changed and battery replaced. I know that this sounds like a small thing, but I am rocking my good week and getting a lot of things done. After I got home I cleaned out the garage and packed my spinning wheel into the car because tomorrow we go to a class to learn how to spin camelid fibers.

Spinning Wheel
Look! The wheel is already strapped into the car and ready to go. It is so excited! This is its first trip out in almost a year; no more sulking in the corner for this little guy.

That’s right. I still have a bag of paco-vicuna that I am nervous about spinning. The spinning class is taught by¬†Chris Switzer who has quite a reputation as a master spinner of these fibers in this part of the world. I am taking the paco-vicuna bag and a chunk of my alpaca fleece with me to the class to get feedback on spinning techniques for the yarn that I dream of creating. Not that I’m intimidated, but the class registration says to bring some things that I’ve made from my homespun yarn with me. I have spent an hour finding things that I’ve made; I’ve decided to only take two three things. Maybe three is too many? If I take two substandard items she might think it’s a fluke. If I have three, it’s pretty sure that’s the type of spinner I am. Whatever. It’s best to not overthink this. I’ll take three that I like and that will be that. I’m taking the class with a friend who likes to spin crazy lace weight yarn and it is going to be wonderful!!

I finished reading all of the bee books this week too. I feel another post coming on. Some of the books were a little bit of a chore to finish, others were just amazing. Hmmm….

Friday Update: Knitted Tee and a Lawn Swing Seat

I’ve been gardening and reading more lately (I have finished three of the “Bee Books”¬†and am pondering what I should write about them…) so my knitting projects have been languishing a little bit. Nothing is finished. Nothing. Not even halfway done. I have been busy enough to get some things started, however!

Tee
I have made some progress on my Clover HItch Tee by Courtney Cedarholm. The very wide neck keeps worrying me, but when I check the picture with the pattern I am reassured to see that the original has a large neck opening too. 
Close-up of sweater.
The yarn is one that I found in my stash that is a rayon/linen blend knitted tape. It’s a little crisp and is working up “heavy”. I continue to be hopeful that all will be well as I knit. Here are my project notes on Ravelry.

I finally got started on an outdoor project this week too. Check out my very bare and exceedingly lonely garden swing.

Frame for lawn swing
Look at this. So sad. Poor naked swinging lawn chair. The original fabric seat rotted away and I just hate to give up on this perfectly good frame. Time to make a new seat!
Jute garden twine.
The local hardware store had some jute garden twine in this nice green. I looked at it and thought… crocheted seat for the garden swing! I bought the entire box.
Crochet hook.
Off I headed to Hobby Lobby to find the largest crochet hook that they had. OK, this is the second largest, but it’s pretty big. ūüôā You can see the fabric of the seat that I am making in the picture. I decided on single crochet using two of the twines held together as I was worried about weak spots in the twine. The width of the piece of fabric that I’m making is¬†a few inches narrower than the actual chair.
Tension of the yarn.
I had some issues with handling the stiff jute and keeping enough tension on the yarn so it wouldn’t twist and flip around. This is why we have toes, right?
Cat attacking yarn.
The other difficulty with the project is fending off helping cats. Sigh. I’m trying to work on the seat each morning in the cool outdoors while drinking my morning latte. That’s also the prime time for cat friskiness and general misbehavior.

I’m working steadily on both projects at the same time. The crocheted swing seat is making progress in the mornings as that is a good time to work outside with it, and the Clover HItch Tee is growing every evening while I indulge in a little binge television. Right now I’m watching the series Fargo on DVD. Wow! What a good production. A little dark (OK, really dark at times…), but still excellent. And the way those people talk? I’m Swedish-American, and the social norms and speech of the Fargo¬†characters¬†is¬†the language of my childhood.¬†By the time these projects are done and I’m finished¬†with Fargo I’ll be in my swing¬†in the garden and talking in the language I used to hear while sitting in my Grandmother’s kitchen learning how to crochet. The circle is unbroken after all. How cool is that?

Way cool! You betcha!