Monday, June 12, 2006

Productive Weekend (sorta)

(I was on the fence as to whether to post this to my knitting or my gardening blog, but since there is knitting content, sorta, the knitting blog won out). ;-)


This past weekend was the first one in a long time where I wasn’t out of town, I didn’t travel at all, and I had no one to see and no place to be. Ah, bliss! Perhaps I might finally get to do some of those things on my list!

First off, I finally was able to plant all the plants, seeds and bulbs I bought over a month ago. Shame on me for waiting so long, but as I get older, I’m finding that everything in the universe must align perfectly for me to be able to do any gardening:
  • The weather can't be too hot, or I'll give up quickly.
  • There must be rain in the forecast, either before or after planting day, or even better, before AND after planting day.
  • I must not have anything else to do on said planting day.
So, because I waited so long, two of the plants bit the dust when they didn’t get watered (ahem) as often as they needed. (That’s why I hate container plants – too demanding of water.)

Gardening for me is like house-cleaning; (ha! – when does that ever happen around here?! But, bear with me and you’ll understand the metaphor.) You know how when you’re cleaning your house and you take something from one room to another and then you start cleaning that other room and never get back to the first room? Gardening is like that for me. I start by trying to find spots to put in the new plants, and decide that there’s a heck of a lot of weeds in there that need to come out first.

So all weekend I did a lot of:
  • dig a hole
  • water the hole
  • plant the plant
  • fill the hole
  • water the plant
  • look for a new spot for next plant
  • see a ton of weeds
  • pull or clip weeds
  • this shrub needs pruning
  • I meant to get rid of that
  • this plant might do better over here
  • where was I? oh, right - find spot for next plant
  • dig a hole
  • etc.
Planting twelve plants, a handful of bulbs and some seeds shouldn’t take two days, but when you throw in basic grooming of a long-neglected garden, it actually does take me that long.

And so, Sunday early afternoon, I was feeling pleased and proud (and a little sore) after I got everything planted, including some tall red cannas rhizomes, some Sporaxis and Freesia bulbs, some poppy, zinnia, cornflower, alyssum and other wildflower seeds, and was doing a final watering of everything when a couple of neighborhood kids showed up and asked if they could wash my car. Lord knows my car needed it, as it was covered with it’s annual black honeydew goo from the trees that overhang my driveway, so I told them, “go ahead”. They actually did a decent job, so after they left I was even more pleased that another chore was off my mental list. It was only 1:30 in the afternoon and hey, I hadn’t done laundry in over a week – let’s do that, too. First load went fine. Second load…. Hey, the washer has been awful quiet – what’s up? Hmmm. Just sitting there. No spin or drain. Wonder if I blew the breaker. This house has horrible wiring. So I troop out to the shed and flip the breaker. Back inside, still nothing. The machine will agitate, but will not drain or spin. Great, just great. I had just been thinking that it was old and could die any day. I guess today is the day. Get on the computer, Google “washing machine won’t drain”, and get a diagnostic website that says either the drain tube is kinked or clogged or the pump is broken. “Call a professional” it says. I emailed my brothers to see if they had any experience with this problem. In the meantime, I start calling appliance repair places – one of the guys answers the phone on a Sunday afternoon! We set up an appointment for Monday morning.

It is now Monday afternoon, a day I had earmarked to work on finances, and instead I’m sitting around waiting for the repair guy. What a shock. Most likely, he’s going to tell me that it’s costs a bazillion dollars to fix and I’ll say, see ya! -- I’ll be buying a new one from Lowe’s before the week is out! But, on the off chance he can fix it cheap and easy, I’m willing to spend a little for the diagnosis. After all, it’s still full up with clothes and water. Don’t want to try and wrestle with that, if I don’t have to.

[UPDATE: Repair guy showed up at 12:10 pm. Diagnosed problem at 12:11 pm. Had it fixed by 12:20 pm and was out of my house by 12:25. Talk about efficient! And it wasn’t that expensive a repair, either. And if it gets me another year with the machine, it's well worth it.]

Anyway, washer saga aside, I was still feeling productive later in the evening because while I was watching the Tony Awards I was also able to finally upload my long, picture-heavy post about last weekend, (see below). Phew! – that took HOURS! Blogger is still problematic and picture upload is iffy, so I had to do a lot more fiddling with HTML, which I don’t enjoy because it’s just inefficient and time-consuming. But I got the darn thing done, and am hoping that’s the last of the long picture-heavy posts for awhile! No fiber events in my future until this fall.

I saw on the news that we were slated for a thunderstorm overnight and was congratulating myself for getting everything planted to take full benefit of the wet weather, which has been quite rare this season. And sure enough, the rain, thunder and lightning came sometime in the middle of the night. Normally I’ll sleep right through that stuff – in fact, it usually helps me sleep better, but this time it woke me up and kept me awake for hours, for some reason. It didn’t help to have a spooked cat hopping on me every five seconds. She finally settled down, and I did too, with thoughts of sock knitting in my head.

(See, I told you there was knitting content in this post! Aren't you glad you stayed?) So anyway, who knew? Sock knitting thoughts work better than counting sheep! And since much of sock yarn has wool content, well, how appropriate! So, somewhere halfway between sleep and wakefulness, with thoughts of socks on my brain, I had a brilliant idea. Since I’m enjoying knitting these baby socks so much, I think I might knit some as stocking ornaments for each of my twelve nieces and nephews for Christmas this year. I'll call it "Mary's Twelve Stocking Ornaments of Christmas". And a partridge in a pear tree. Every year I give each kid an ornament, so it would be cool to knit them an ornament this year. I love the tiny sweaters that Alison knits for her family, but I know enough about myself and my skill level to know I'd not finish twelve of them in time for this Christmas, and there ain't no way I'm doin' intarsia on twelve tiny anythings this year!

I've found a couple of mini-stocking ornament patterns on the internet, but so far none match what's in my head, which is a red stocking with a white fold-over cuff. I think I could knit the cuff first in plain stockinette, and about twice the length of a normal cuff, and then turn it inside out, so that the purl bumps are on the outside. That way, when it's folded over, the knit stitches will be on the outside. Then I could pick up stitches from the wrong side and knit the rest of the little sock in red yarn. But here are some design details I haven't quite worked out yet:
  1. What type of yarn? Smooth for both the white and the red? Fuzzy for the white, smooth for the red? Fuzzy for both? And what fiber content?
  2. How can I personalize the stockings for each kid without having to do anything fancy like intarsia? Maybe I could try embroidering their initial on the cuff? I'd really need to practice that, having never done it. Or maybe I can find some fantastic crafty person to make me pins with each of their names on them that I can just pin directly on the cuff. Hmmmm.

Suggestions are welcomed!

(And if you've read down to the bottom of this entire rambling post, then you deserve a prize!)


Robin said...

WOW! What else can one say? I need you to give me a swift kick in the pants so I'll get all my planting done! Congratulations...
The storm kept my kitty up too--he was not a happy camper, he'll sleep all day to make up for what he lost.
About the ornaments...on Friday I stopped in Ben Franklins before leaving town and they had a great selection of buttons; sports, girly things would that be enough to personalize each personality?

Melanie said...

Whoa! Who is your repair guy? I need to put him on speed dial...seriously, email me...( :-)

Bess said...

Why not make your own pins out of sculpy or fimo. :D This is just a tee tiny little 'nother craft.

Seriously - if you want to go with pins, sculpy is soooo easy to work with. No fancy ovens - no fancy tools - very fancy effect.

Also embroidery is easy on your knitting - either duplicate stitches or something more like crewel work stitches.

But the nice thing about fimo or sculpy pins is you can bake them all at once and then their done!

Hmmm. Im' reminded how much I like playing with sculpy. thanks!

jane said...

I love the idea of the mini-stockings! Jane