Koivua Days in my Garden

What a wonderful week it has been. I’ve been out in the yard for a couple of hours every day with MacKenzie and a book or my knitting. The buzz of cicadas echo in the trees over my head, the squirrels frolic along the fence, and the flowers are starting to bloom again after the blazing heat of July. Life is good, I’ve raced through two books and last week started a couple of new knitting projects that are keeping my interest and making me happy. Let me show off my current knitting love, Koivua.

How beautiful is this!! I’ve just separated the arms from the body of the sweater and it is time for me to attach the rose yarn again to start the next colorwork chart for the body. Here are my project notes if you want more info about the yarns. The flowering plant is lantana, and it just burst back into bloom this week. This is what happens when you give plants some Miracle Gro… I’m wondering if this plant will survive the winter if I plant it at the end of the season. It will be a plant experiment!
Sweater in progress.
Sturgill sweater.
Original yarn choices… NOPE!

I had some issues with the planning of this sweater. The pink is left over from this sweater that I knitted last winter, Sturgill by Caitlin Hunter. I really liked the contrast of the rose variegated yarn with the grey, so I ran right out and bought some grey tweed yarn to use with  my leftover rose yarn to make a Koivua. Good plan, right? Then I thought about things a little more. Looking at my Sturgill you can see that the variegated nature of the two yarns made it hard to see the colorwork pattern in the sweater. I liked that effect in Sturgill, but maybe I shouldn’t make another sweater that had the same fuzzy pattern effect going on with the same colorways. I snuck out to the yarn store and bought some yarn that would give me more contrast with the variegated rose yarn. I was on the hunt for a nice neutral cream yarn.

Bingo! Look at what I found at the yarn store that opened just a few miles away from me. This Kelbourne Scout is a new yarn for me, but this won’t be the last time I buy it! It isn’t superwash, but it is really bouncy and soft. Just what I needed to show off the pattern.

Buying 5 skeins of yarn puts me back a little on my yarn destash project, so I need to really start knitting fast now. I casted right on and after a couple of days I had this:

The cream yarn knitted up wonderfully: it is bouncy, has a slight halo, and shows off the pattern well. I’m happier than ever about the yarn color switch as this cream really brightens up the rose yarn.

I’m much happier with the cream colored yarn than I thought I would be. I tend to avoid light colors in yarns, but this time it was the right decision as the colors in the rose yarn are just shining. The yarn is such a joy to handle I’ve been working outside in my garden swing in the late mornings with little gardening breaks.

Butterflybush bloom
My butterfly bush is finally getting its act together and producing some blooms. Okay, I had to baby it a little bit; I sprayed all the baby blooms with Neem oil to protect them from insects and then started deep soaking the bush a couple times a week using a big bucket and a drip line. Success! Doesn’t this bloom remind you of the yarn in my new sweater?  I probably should give this bush some Miracle Gro too.

I am on fire to get the sweater done by the end of the month, but that probably won’t happen since I need to keep on babying my wrists (which are much better), and life keeps on getting in the way. Still, I am hopeful that the next report on my destash project will be a good one. 50 skeins… I can do it… must stay out of the yarn stores…

It feels like the height of summer with the flowers and the buzz of insects, but there are a lot of crickets and some of the leaves on the trees are starting to turn yellow. The kids in the neighborhood have all returned to school, and it is only a few weeks away from the colors of fall. Yep. Must knit faster!!

Update on the Suburban Wrap:

The wrap arrived safely in California earlier this week and it has already gone to school!

My knitworthy niece is a music teacher, and the wrap traveled to school with her as she met her students this week.
Where it also looks pretty good on my grandniece, who is a student at the school where my niece teaches. How fitting that this wrap should be in a classroom devoted to artistic expression and worn by such knitworthies!

The Pinks of September

I love this time of the year. It is cool overnight and then heats right up during the day. The leaves of the trees are just starting to turn and there are birds flocking in their branches. Something is happening with the light: it is bright, but coming in at a lower angle that is the first hint of the southern winter sun to come. Mostly my garden is done blooming and this is when I decide which plants I want to save and bring inside for the winter.

One thing is for sure. The indoor plants this year will be pink bloomers. I did plant some other colors. I was rocking the orange and yellow in June, but those guys have quit for the year. There was a lot of lavender and purple for awhile, but now there is mostly pink.

Pink daisy.
I have four pots of flowers blooming on my deck by the lounger. The one that is doing the best is that pink daisy. Hmm… I’ve never kept a plant like this inside over the winter. I wonder how it will do?
This lantana is actually three years old. It hangs out with the orchids by a window under a grow light all winter. The leaves drop when it goes back outside in the spring, but it always recovers. It sure is blooming now, so it’s coming back inside for another winter. Look how cheerful it is! Perfect for the gloomy days to come.
I also have four of these pink lantana plants in pots in my front yard. I’m torn about trying to save all of them. It doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of money for grow lights, but they sure are nice plants… I really miss the greenhouse that I used to have connected to my classroom in situations like this.
This geranium is coming to live in my bedroom over the winter for sure. The plant is actually 5 years old and had grown leggy and over 3 feet tall while living inside. I took it back out this year, laid the long branches across the table and let nature take its course. The old leaves all bleached and died in the sun while the plant sprouted lots of new leaves down low on the stems; I cut all the long upper stems off and this is what was left. It started blooming late last month and really looks healthy now.
Baby geranium plants.
Out of curiosity I dipped sections of the cut-back stems in rooting hormone to see if I could start some cuttings. It worked!! Gosh, I really need that greenhouse again. I guess I’ll check the price of grow lights that I can add to the shelves in the craft room. These plants will look great along the front walk next spring.
Even the pink roses are outdoing themselves. My orange roses haven’t a bloom anywhere on them. These Home Run roses, however…

I also have a pot of tea roses that will move indoors. Guess what color they are? Everything that is coming inside is pink. Not exactly the color that I had planned for my winter-time flowers, but these are the ones that will be making the big move. It is just too hard to let the garden go over the winter; I always cling to as much as I can for those months of snow shoveling and gloomy afternoons.

Wait what am I talking about? Winter is the months of spinning yarn, knitting like crazy and baking yummy breads and indoor blooms. Instead of knitting outside in my garden I will be working among my garden plants inside.

Gosh, I really like this time of year. Maybe I can get a deal on the grow lights. 🙂