Better late than never

Since February was for fixing, and it’s now late-May, it seemed like it was time to finish off a project. I’d reworked the neck and steeked the front of this sweater months ago, but the zipper that I’d bought for it didn’t quite work out. I had it almost all sewed in when I realized that you need a separating zipper for cardigans. Ouch. So, a-seam-ripping I went. I ordered a new zipper online and got it all sewed in this morning. I’m proud of my handiwork, except at the top. I either need tape to hide it, or I need to shorten the zipper an inch or two (I think I’ll go with the second). I can’t entirely cross this project off the list yet, but getting closer!!

Before:

And after:

While I’m talking about knitting, I might as well do the whole roundup. I’ve mostly been working away on Branching Out. I modified the pattern so that instead of two columns of leaves on each side, there are now three. I’m really happy with the effect, even though it took a fair amount of graph paper and ripping to get the math right. I’m still such a lace novice.

I’m gradually getting quicker at working on this, but I still keep forgetting yarn overs then having to rip back. Thank goodness at least for crochet hooks or I’d spend more time ripping that knitting. I’m flying back to the east coast this week for my sister’s graduation, and I’m thinking that this may just make a perfect airport project. :-)

P.S. also this:

:-)

New zoos!

As has become our wont, we headed over to the fish store this weekend, and came home with new zoos! They’re bright orange, Kevin’s choice, and they grow on me more by the day for their brilliant colors.

I saw an inch long crab in our main tank that must have come in on one of the tiny pieces of rock holding either the yellow zoos or the mushrooms, and since then we’ve decided to be more careful about quarantining our corals. I’ve been diligently hunting for the crab since, without any luck. We have about 70 lbs of live rock in the tank, and I’m guessing he’s found a protected crevice with a decent food supply, and we may never see him again. Hopefully he won’t decide to munch on any of the corals or fish, and we’ll catch anyone else who hitchhikes in. My great fear is that we could get something like an eel, or one of the enormous poisonous worms, and not realize it was there until the clowns disappeared one day. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Fenner.

New Yarn

Angela had the opening sale for her new yarn store yesterday. For now, she’s running an online site out of her apartment, so I headed over to Redmond, and walked away with this fun:

The two balls are Cascade 200, in colors 9450 and 9407. They’re both somewhat speckled, and I just can’t wait to see how they felt up — speckled cascade has amazed me with its brilliance in the past, so keep those fingers crossed. Nice summery tones, too, and a steal for the sale price. :-) The *lovely* All Season’s cotton from Madil is just waiting for #3 needles to be turned into Branching Out.

P.S. Want to see something bizarre? There’s a HUGE tree behind my apartment that has these foot long pods of dandelion-type seeds. They’ve been blowing densely all over the neighborhood, getting caught in all the plants and accumulating on the ground. It looks for all the world like it’s just started snowing when you glance out the window. Here are the drifts in our parking lot:

And the tree looks like none has even fallen yet. Between the leaves it dropped in the fall and our current blizzard conditions, whatever this tree might be is fast taking over oak trees as the winner of the messy category.

Tank update

Another fun trip to the fish store last weekend! It’s taken me a while to post because all of the things are hard to photograph. It’ll be 50 pictures later and this is the best that I’ll have. I’ll keep working at it, but here’s a sample for now.

We have a small colony of 5 red mushrooms, captive bred. I was thinking that they would be pretty, but boring, but it turns out that they’re constantly moving and slowly sucking in and out, so they’re quite interesting to watch. I still don’t think that they have appropriate water flow, but we’re working on that and hopefully the little guys will start looking happier. The largest is about the size of a silver dollar when he’s extended this much.

We also have a new little cleaner shrimp. (“Jacques” — thank you, pixar.) Last night he molted, which was alarming at first (I saw that brightly colored tail floating around in the tank and my heart sank), but interesting once I realize he was alright. We’ve heard that these guys set up cleaning stations for the fish, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It’s hard to picture the gramma getting spa treatment…

The photo above is after it picked up extra food that fell through the xenia (see below for the story), but here are some better options if you want more professional photos of him and his lovely tail. :-)

We’re also the happy owners of new zooanthids (round little tubes with a fringe of antennas that grow in colonies) and yellow polyps (similar, but taller tubes, larger fringe, and a “button” in the middle of the face). Our original three zoos that came attached to our live rock have been thriving, as seen on the left. We have two colonies, and at last count, there were over twenty zoos. These new ones have thus far been impossible to photograph (not enough contrast with the rock they’re on), but you can at least get a sense of the colors, and I’ll keep trying. (You can see one of our blurry bluelegged crabs on the edge — whatever muck was on that rock, they loved it. We had to move it to the gravel after 7 (!) started fighting over a particularly yummy spot and knocked the whole thing down.)

Other than the new guys, the big excitement in the tank concerns the xenia (ever growing and branching off a separate trunk!) and the clowns. About a week and a half ago, the clowns suddenly stopped ignoring everything not man-made, and started very methodically brushing by the xenia. They worked up to swimming through, and even though they still spend the majority of their time in their usual spot in the corner, there’s definitely an ongoing interest in the xenia. We brought it up at the fishstore and were told that this dance is used to gradually accumulate anemone’s proteins so that eventually the anenome recognizes the clown as part of itself and doesn’t sting it. The xenia is tolerating it, but we’re keeping an eye out, since two clowns taking up house could be stressful. I don’t know how we’d discourage them exactly, but…

Then, this week, the clowns started racing over to any food we put in the tank (not atypical, they eat like golden retrievers) then zipping back to the xenia and spitting it out. As funny as this game was, I lost my amusement quickly — the gramma and clowns weren’t getting any, the xenia was getting littered with pieces of food it can’t digest (enter Jacques’ role…) and I was getting worried about leaving the food in the tank, since extra food decomposes and can poison the water. I’ve started reaching into the tank and putting the food closer to the gramma (he hates the hand, but seems hungry enough to ignore it) and the clowns have desisted a bit. Only 55 gallons, but always busy.

P.S. WOW. This is a tank full of zoos, xenia, and other awesome easy corals… Something to aspire to? It’s beautiful. :-)

For the Color Addicts out there…

My books on quilting all came in at the library, and while I was picking them up, I came across one called A New Look at Log Cabin Quilts by Flavin Glover. It’s amazing. Basically, she uses a mix of log cabin blocks and techniques to make these amazing landscape quilts. I took pictures of some of the finished quilts — go find this book, it’s so fun to read:

Isn’t that awesome?? She said that you should work on a scene that inspires you and that’s meaningful. Living in Washington, I’m surrounded by them, but it wasn’t hard to choose the view across Lake Washington overlooking the Olympics and Seattle.

I don’t have any confidence that I’ll be able to even approximate her results, but I got all inspired and went to the fabric store and came home with this:

Isn’t it beautiful?? Best of all, it was all 50% off, so each color only cost $.45 for a quarter yard. My hat goes off to the Joann fabrics woman who did all the cutting — she didn’t seem put out by it at all. So now I have blue for the sky and water, purple for the mountains, green for the hill and trees in the foreground and the opposite shore’s near hills, and pinks and greys for the sun setting behind Seattle.

The picture part of the quilt is going to be about five feet square, and then I took my mother’s excellent advice and bought (cheap and nice-feeling) flat sheets to sew up for the rest of the front and the backing. I bought a light blue king size for the back and a deep blue queen size to frame the front, and here are both of them with the trim: Oooh. :-)