Sunday, March 31, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

This week everything in nature has taken advantage of the warm sunshine and burst out in spring-time glory.  All except my two trees.

The maple continues its slow growth.  I can imagine that the bud has become bigger but I'm probably doing just that: imagining.

The chrysalis that will become a copper beech leaf is showing a wider crack...maybe.  Both photos were taken yesterday in the afternoon light.  I did check quickly this morning to see if there were any dramatic changes.  Not. 

However, that doesn't mean that there is no flash in our springtime.  These are my two favorite signs of spring: the dandelion (favorite flower ever);  and my favorite bird:

the red-winged blackbird. This guy is only a year old so he doesn't have the spectacular red and yellow coloring on his wings yet.  But he can sing just like his daddy.  His song is so thrilling to hear as he perches on a reed or a twig.  If I were a lady blackbird I would certainly be impressed. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Stash

Projects on and off the needles this week.  And some are still a-blocking. 

Another of the chunky knit kids' sweaters.  I think this one is a little more girly even if it is actual striping rather than a space-dyed yarn.  Maybe it's the aqua.  The pattern is so easy that I can just save it for my social knitting.

Usually, socks are my social knitting because I don't have to pay a whole lot of attention.  Ahem!  This pattern was diabolical to start.  Once you get into the swing of it, it's fairly easy - as long as you count, count, count.  The row counter is doing its job on this project.  The sock blank looks as though it takes the dye very deeply until you frog it for knitting.  Then you can see where the knitted stitches have resisted the dye.  I'm trying to decide if I should re-dye the socks when they're knit up.  I was horrified at first but now I don't really mind the little white flecks when it's knit.  I'm open to suggestions...what do you think?

And this is the Chelsea Morning Shawl - just off the needles and unblocked.  When I was taking the dyed skeins off the drying rack, a ray of sunshine across the yarn reminded me of a line in Joni Mitchell's  song  Chelsea Morning:  "and the sun poured in like butterscotch..."  Perfect, I thought.  The shawl is a breeze to knit and look at all those gorgeous textures.    Like stripes, they just keep you knitting to see what the next section will look like.  My yarn was a bit on the sturdy side so this shawl is built more for comfort than glamor.  It would be fun to try it in a different fiber and/or weight.  What a lovely gift I received.  Pleasure upon pleasure. 

I'll leave you with Joni.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fifty Fridays #33

Today the weather is warm enough for kids to sit on the grass and play with a puppy.  Maybe it's springtime in today's photo as well. 

This photo was taken around 1920.  These are my three uncles - my mother's big brothers.  Ira on the right would have been about eleven years old; Seymour on the left about nine,  and Howard in the middle about five.

What do you suppose the story is here?  Clearly a wrong has been done to make that boy cry.  Did he want to hold the puppy?  Did the littlest brother do something really naughty?  He does have a  "" expression, doesn't he?  All the stories that I have ever heard about Howard would lend some weight to that theory.  He always seemed the most lively of the three with a quirky sense of humor.  When you're a kid that can definitely get you into trouble.

It speaks to the cost of photos that this one was kept.  I'm glad it was as this is such a natural pose.  And so typical of brothers. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

An interesting week - finally!  More spring-like with some definite warmth that has helped all the plant life.

The maple buds are decidedly fluffy.  The branch I chose is  farther down the tree so that I can photograph the twigs easier.  The buds on the tree top are almost out.  

But, look at what's happened this week.  The copper beech chrysalis has split.  The leaf will be able to grow much better now. 

The warm weather has also brought out the forsythia.

And even the Canada geese are honking their way north this morning.  Although, we did have an hour of snow drifting down on Friday.  Then, the old March lion said:  "OK, I'm leaving; little lamb, it's your turn."  And the clouds blew away, the sun shone and everyone came out to play. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Stash

We've had company this week -a  refugee from the blowing snow in Saskatchewan.  Happily, she brought sunshine to replace the loads of rain that we'd been soaking up. Thanks, Penny.

I have been playing with the dye-pots this week.  I was jealous of inspired by my friend Rudee's beautiful Papal Conclave socks and decided that I must have another pair of red socks.  I mean, really, can you have too many pairs of red socks?  So, I created this rich red dye for one of my sock blanks thinking that I would write a poem on them before I knit. 

Almost immediately, a poem sprang into my head: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats  I have loved this poem ever since I had to learn it in high school.  It has never not spoken to me no matter where I have been in my life.  I was enchanted by the specific number of bean-rows to be planted in the garden and it still makes me smile.  The last line: " I hear it in the deep heart's core." worked well with the deep red of my socks.  Several times yesterday and today, I have taken up my pen to write on the yarn.  But I am unable to do so. The socks will still be called 'Innisfree' and I will know the words that could have been there.  But I can't mark on the beautiful clean red. 

I will be using this pattern.  I wanted cables and began to think of a design when I saw these in the latest Knitty e-mag.  They are designed by Stephanie McIntosh (something about the name?) and the difficulty level is 'piquant'.  That goes well with red, too.

There was more dyeing to be done this morning.  When I finished the Kissing the Frog sweater there was some yarn left.  I wondered what would become of it as I put the skeins away.  Now I know.  Rudee gave me a lovely gift of this shawl pattern.  I thought very hard about colors and came up with butterscotch.  I hope when the yarn dries that it does look the way my imagination thinks it will.  This is not my usual part of the rainbow to play in but I think it will work for this shawl.  I have just enough was meant to be.

And, for the curious: I have finished the sloggy part of knitting my BFL Forever cardi and can get down to the finishing.  This is the part where I get to use the contrast yarn in the  stripes on the sleeves and the collar.  I also love the very tidy button band.  Love it.  Almost done.  It looks much more like something wearable now. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fifty Fridays #32

Remember the lady, my great-grandmother,  riding in the buggy last week?  Today, I want you to meet her aunt.

This is one of my favorite photos.  There are a lot of reasons but the obvious one is that she is spinning under what I am thinking must be the only tree around.  It might even be an apple tree.   I can't imagine a nicer place to sit and spin than outside on a summer day.  She seems to have accomplished quite a bit already.

She is my great-great-aunt  and the younger sister of  my great-great-grandmother.  She came into the family as an aunt and she stayed as my great-great grandfather's wife when he became a widower.  She lived to be 89 and passed away in 1941.  I think this photo was probably taken sometime in the 1920's in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.  I can't be more specific since there's not much to identify the location. 

What makes this photo doubly interesting today is that I am reading a wonderful novel at the moment by Ami McKay (The Birth House) which is set on the shore of the Bay of Fundy near Cape Split.  The names of the people who live in this remote community include many of my ancestral family names.  These were hardy folks who fished, hunted and farmed according to the seasons.  It's a fascinating look back for me and adds so much color to these old photos. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Modern times

Ah,  my mother loved to take pictures.  She had a lovely old bellows camera with a nifty viewing window that totally fascinated me when I was little.  Of course, we were never allowed to touch her camera.  I think my dad was - but only just for a shot she wanted to be in.  Otherwise, hands off.

This morning, the sun rose brilliant and the world was incredibly glittery after a night of rain.  I was entranced by the way the sun's rays caught the raindrops stuck in the trees.  I went out with the camera. It's not so easy to capture, is it? But I love the shape of the tree branches.

 I kept trying because I could - that's the joy of digital.  My mother always was very careful when taking a photo because the film and the developing were not cheap.  You always planned ahead.  I decided to move and try a different angle.  This is better. 

I am so lucky that  I can just click off many shots and then just discard what doesn't work.  The last is the best - in my opinion - as the drops are shaken off the branch by a little breeze.  I think mom would have liked this morning.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

Well, this has been another week of warm rain and LOTS of it.  As the weather person would say: It's one system after another coming at us.  No sooner has the sky cleared and a ray of sunshine begun to peek through than the clouds gather again and the sky opens. Very strange but never boring.

Not like some trees I could mention.  You'd think that they'd have made tremebdous progress with all the warmth and the drenching.  I don't see any difference at all.

For either one.  This week is a bust.

But there is some beauty when the sun shines after a shower.  Look at these spangled columbine leaves. There is one huge raindrop in the middle attended by many tiny ones.  Some times the photo is even better than what you can see. 

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Stash

It was shaping up to be a pretty uneventful week on the knitting front. 

I felt like I was really scooting along with the first of the sweater fronts.  Since it was only half the width, there were only half the stitches added in for that dolman sleeve.   I'll start the other side this morning.  The rib has the same number of stitches as most of my socks and uses the same size needles.  So, tell me why it seems to take forever.

 I did kind of get seduced away from it, too.  On Tuesday, I was given a mountain several large bags of yarn which had been donated to the seniors.  After sorting it out and putting some aside for other folks' projects.  I realized that this was mostly chunky and bulky yarns.  Not something I usually work with but there's a place for all yarns.  The donation box was empty and I hadn't knit anything for little people in a while.  Here was my chance.

On Thursday, I cast on for my Not-My-Grampa's Cardi.  The pattern is this one by Ned Renfield.  Really, really simple.  It would have been even easier had I had the right size dpn's for the sleeves.  I had to knit them flat and seam them later.  Those small amounts of yarn were all that I had left.  I even had to fudge the collar by a couple of rows. 

I'm just going to go and sew on the buttons and seam the sleeves now.  Then I'll look in the bag and see what else I can make.  There's a little baby blanket I'd like to make up.  Have you noticed that the seniors buy a lot of baby stuff?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fifty Fridays #31

In honor of St Patrick's Day, I'll bring out another bit of my Irish heritage.

This is my father's maternal grandfather and grandmother.  He was second-generation Irish-Canadian (from County Kerry) and she was the granddaughter of German immigrants.  Both their families came to Nova Scotia looking for a new and more prosperous life for their children.  I think these grown-up children certainly were prospering.

I can't tell what year it is - not even with that wonderful hat she's wearing.  Fashions changed very slowly in rural areas and so the range of years is uncertain.  I am not even sure if this is a child or grandchild they have between them.  Their last daughter was born in 1907 so it is possible that that is who the rather nicely dressed little girl is.  A youngest would be a bit spoiled for clothes, I think.  The adults both look relatively young so I don't think this is a grandchild.

This great-grandmother was always known to me as Grammy Nick.  I never met her but I heard stories about her from my dad.  My favorite one was of her, in old age and blind, sitting in the kitchen by the stove knitting mittens for the kids.  I have a mental image of this rather stout lady hunkered down in a rocking chair with needles flying and mittens dropping off at regular intervals.  That picture was formed when I was a little girl and hasn't changed at all over the years. 

I have other photos of her - like this one - which show her as a younger woman.  She looks strong and capable and very serious in all of them.  This is the only one where she is so dressed up.  I wonder where they were going?  And who took the photo?  Was the horse the true subject?  The men of this family were all rather keen on good horses, I'm told.  They seem to have driven off the road into a field for the picture.  And it's not a very formal picture for the times.  Just another mystery.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

I should have taken these photos yesterday while the sun was shining and the air felt like spring had actually arrived.  Today, I had to wait until the shower stopped.

But, those lovely two days of warmth have brought the maple buds a little further along.  It's a slow process, isn't it?  It reminds me of that last month before the baby arrives...I just wanted to see the new life.  On with the show, already!

Nothing seems to hurry the copper beech, though.  Heck, it's still sporting last year's leaves.   When it's time, something will happen, I'm sure.  I wonder if it'll be really dramatic and sudden?  Of course,  that's why I'm doing this project: so I'll know.

Even though we've had a couple of spring-like days, most of the week was awash with rain.  The trees are definitely getting their fair share.  I'll leave you with our heather which is always beautiful no matter what the weather. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Stash

I'm going to press my luck and say that spring is here - again!  Even when you don't live through horrible winter storms with snow and freezing temperatures, winter is still a dreary seson.  Here, it is endless gray days, often with rain.  So, I have been happy to knit through the rain with this happy reminder of - not just spring - but actual summer. 

The yarn is such a happy color that I'm not even complaining about having to slog through rows and rows of 285 stitches to get to the top.  I'm calling this cardi - and don't they all need names? - Waiting for Nelly.  And here is the reason...

This is Nelly Moser and she is my favorite clematis.  I love her spunk as well as her beauty.  This clematis was a tiny vine that only who struggled just to push out some leaves for several years.  Then I transplanted her and this is how she repays me for the kindness.  I can't wait to have these flowers in my sweater wardrobe.  Head down...keep knitting.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fifty Fridays #30

Spring is coming.  And we will be able to sit out under the trees again.  Well, when the grass dries out.  A family outing is always welcome when the sun is shining.  We might even find it so warm that we need to seek shade as this family did almost a hundred years ago. 

This is a rare photo of my father's grand-father and his family.  It was taken about 1920 and probably was taken by the baby's mother since she is not in the photo.  So, let me present: my great-grandfather and mother, Jonathan and Sarah Jane.  Between them is their daughter,  Frances.  The young man is my grandfather, Charles, and his son, Frank.  His wife Lavinia is off behind the camera, I think. 

My grandfather had two families and we are looking at his first.  And this is his first child - he seems rather shy yet proud of this young son. This is my German heritage.   I look at this family and see where I get my features.  It's true, I have my father's nose!  And my grandfather's...and my great-grandfather's.  Yikes!  Those are strong genes.

I'm not sure of the setting but I'm guessing it's the cemetery.  We did a lot of touring of Nova Scotia cemeteries while studying the family history and this setting looks familiar. May of the cemeteries are smaller with extended families or sometimes just the immediate family.  But there are several that are quite large and they are as good as parks.  I can see making a Sunday family day visiting the relatives.  I love to walk around in cemeteries and look at the old stones and wonder about the lives lived.  Or just plain make up stories to go with the words on the stones. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

All right...we're finally getting a result here in tree world.  Look how it's changed this week -

The maple is beginning to be very fluffed out. 

The copper beech seems to have a divided leaf trying to emerge.  The process reminds me of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. 

The weather has been squally and stormy with one day of monsoon-like rain.  They call it the Pineapple Express and it brings warm temperatures and whole bucket load of rain across the ocean from Hawaii.  But today, the clouds have blown away and the sun is shining.  Maybe March's lion-like entry is over.

Could it be the start of some lamb-ish weather for our pretty rhubarb with its rosy buds and crinkly leaves?   That's a hairy buttercup stalk in the foreground.  They need no spring weather to be a nuisance. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday Stash

This has been a white week.  No, no, we had none of that wintery white stuff.  I have just had my head down working to the finish line again.

And finished it is.  I mentioned before the way I knit faster when I fear I may run out of yarn.  Sort of like I can outrun the dwindling ball.  But there is another thing, too.  When I can see the end of a big project, I just get tunnel vision.  Nothing else matters but to finish.  I hope Wendy likes it as much as I do.  It will be perfect for walking those dogs.  Or taking photos of dogs.  Or playing with the dogs.  Whatever.  And I think I have a blue sweater in the cupboard that needs frogging.  If I kiss it enough, maybe I can turn it into another princess. It's a nice pattern.

Then, of course, when you're finished you get a reward.  Starting a new project is probably the best reward going.  After finishing the KAL mitts, I had some of the BFL sport yarn left in that beautiful magenta color.  I still had a sweater's worth of undyed BFL left.  So, I dyed it.  I intended it to come out a bit lighter but the first bath was way too light.  So, I tried again and was pleasantly surprised.  There are all kinds of tonal variations which I think is one of the real attractions of hand-dyeing. For a change the camera captured the lilac - this is pretty true to the color.

I had been eyeing the Dolman Cardigan above which is in the new Debbie Bliss magazine.  OK, OK, yes, I bought the magazine but there was LOTS more in it.  I really do enjoy her designs and find myself turning to them often.  This one is so vintage-inspired that I can remember when everyone wore a cardi like this.  My stripes will be the darker pink that was left over.  Now, I can hardly wait for the yarn to dry and get those needles going.  I've never had a pink sweater before.  I can hardly wait. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fifty Fridays #29

Today's photo looks as though it has traveled a bit.  Maybe carried in a purse or wallet as a reminder of home.  I don't know who had this photo or who took it.

It was taken about 1920.  This is my great-aunt Lulu as a young teenager with her grandmother, Olivia, who would have been about 70 at the the time.  She would be my father's great-great grandmother.  I know very little about her.  She married an Irish sailor who emigrated to Nova Scotia where she was born..

I think she must have been a small woman since a teenager is almost as tall as she is.  I wonder where they were going?  Lulu looks a bit dressed up and maybe Grandma is, too.  It's so hard to tell but she does have a white collar and cuffs which I doubt would be work clothes.  

She had seven children - another of her granddaughters married my Father's father. I try to see likenesses but I really can't find much.  There are a lot of generations in between us and many gene pools to mix it up. 


Blog Widget by LinkWithin