Have Ewe Any Wool?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Knitting Progress and More Birthday Goodies

This week, I was able to get together with friends at both Reston SnB on Wednesday and again with a group of friends on Sunday afternoon. As as result, I got quite a bit of knitting accomplished. I even have a finished object!

I made the face cloth called "Bobbles the Sheep". It's a free pattern on Ravelry. I did it in Glaciar Del Cielo by Aslan Trends. It's my current favorite for face clothes - nice and soft with a wonderful drape. Unfortunately, this yarn is a bit thin for this project plus, the needle I used was a bit too big. I also got in a "rush" to finish and totally forgot that I'd done the first edge in seed stitch instead of garter stitch. The net of all this is that I'm not really pleased with how this turned out, but it provided a great deal in return as a learning project. It's a very cute face cloth and I definitely will make it again. However, next time I'll use a worsted weight yarn - a better choice for this project.

I also finished one of the Austermann socks. Now that it's done, it's starting to "grow" on my. I'm beginning to like the way it stripes. They are definitely going to be interesting socks! One sock done...one to go!

I managed to start, rip out, and restart my Magic Arrow Lace Scarf at least 4 times this week. I LOVE how it feels and drapes, but I found that I kept splitting the yarn, which is very frustrating. Catherine is having the same issue, but we struggle on because the resulting fabric is awesome! In my case, I would only get about 10 rows done before I'd have such a mess that I'd rip it out and restart. Fortunately for me, I decided to go up a needle size (from a US 4 to a US 5) and that seemed to "fix" the problem - the tear backs are MUCH less frequent. I was in good company for the last bit of "tearing back" - Jill had started and restarted her scarf out of Alchemy Silk several times as well. I took comfort in knowing "I was not alone"!

On Saturday, I started one of my KuKu dolls...and it's really coming along! These knit up so quickly - and the pattern is very easy. I'd definitely recommend these for anyone looking to make a cute, quick doll for a "special little somebody"! These photos show the progress through the point where I need to stuff them. After that, I just need to add the hair, add the skirt, and felt it!

Ready to stuff!

I also got yet another birthday gift on Sunday. Elizabeth gave me an organizer that will fit perfectly into any knitting bag or sit on the tabletop while you knit to keep all your stitch markers, tape measures, scissors, etc. nice and handy. It's fabulous and has pockets on both the inside and the outside. Thanks Elizabeth! (She found this hand item at Walmart....just in case anyone else is "needing" one! It comes in Red, Blue, and Pink w/Brown.)

Sunday morning was beautiful! I managed capture some of the local colors while walking my dog. The wild black raspberries are nearly ripe. They always bring back fond memories of childhood - taking a pail, walking up the street to the meadow, then picking and eating berries until our faces and hands were purple with berry juice. Ah....those were the days!

There were several flowers that caught my eye as well. Miniature daisies, Queen Anne's Lace, and cornflowers. In the second cornflower photo, you can see a bee sipping nectar (double click on the photo to enlarge it).

There were several patches of a very small purple flower. These were teeny tiny purple flowers that were less than 1/2 inch in diameter - just adorable! (This photo is a bit grainy because I'd enlarged it to the max on my camera...and tried to hold it very still while I took the photo.)

And then, there are the thistles. I'm fascinated by thistles. Their color is fabulous...plus, they attract all kinds of insects and butterflies.

We seem to have at least two varieties of thistle in my neighborhood. One has a more oblong thistle and smooth leaves on the plant while the other has round thistles and rather ruffly leaves. (You can see the differences in the thistles and their leaves by viewing enlarged versions of the photos by double clicking on each).

The leaves of the round thistles remind me the most of the Scottish variety. Unfortunately, I'm not a botanist, so I have no clue what either type of these thistles are. The oblong thistles appear to be the most prevalent here...nearly all of the thistles I see on my walks are the oblong variety.

The bees were busy sipping the nectar from the purple thistles as were various butterflies. One bee even shared a thistle with a butterfly (or is it a moth....I forget how to tell the difference!). (Double click on the photos nestled in this paragraph for a closer look at the bee and the butterfly.)

I've noticed that there are several "styles" of flowering for the bigger thistles. The larger ones seem to get their "flowers" in bands rather than covering the top like the little round one.

The bees "pull" these little tufts of flowers out as they drink. I was intrigued as I watched several bees "at work". They would land on a thistle and begin drinking. As they drank, they'd pull a little tuft of the purple flower out and let it drop to the ground and then quickly grab another. This caused what looked like a little "snow shower" beneath the thistle as the bee pulled more and more of the floral tufts from the thistle and let them drift to the ground. It was fascinating!


  • At 9:37 AM, Blogger Lizardknits said…

    somewhere that thistles are used as a fiber source. Same type of thing as linen, has to be retted. Are you game?

  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger Lanea said…

    I remember those tiny little fuschia flowers from when I was a kid and I've always wanted to know what they're called. Maybe I'll look again.

    Yep, thistle and nettle fibers need retting but can be used. They're just not fun to handle.

  • At 2:41 PM, Blogger Jinann said…

    Elizabeth - Ouch...I sure wouldn't want to touch the stalk or the leaves!

    Lanea - hmmm....I wonder how one would handle those prickly stems?


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