A sunset photo

Gorgeous loveliness at the end of the street, courtesy of Kevin and his digital camera…

Oooh! I love all of the clouds on the horizon, pretending to be mountains. It kept looking like the Olympics were poking through, and then you’d look again only to realize the clouds had shifted into new positions.

The New Sometimes Commute

I love this picture. Seattle’s winter weather starts to grate, sometimes. The clouds are so deep, the light is so grey — it’s just a leaden landscape. The mountains are hidden, and it’s dark too early to see the huge pine trees on the side of the road on the way home. But then they moved daylight savings time up this year, and I’ve been able to see the summer coming a few wonderful weeks early — we have warm weather and light evenings, so I’ve started ditching the car and walking home from work. The way home is easy and lovely — four miles, nearly all downhill. Reversing in the morning is a little tougher. 🙂

It figures, though that the day I bring the camera, the typical thick winter gray would return. Here’s the view from the 405 pedestrian overpass at eight in the morning. It’s a straight uphill walk from the lake, and then you climb up a two- or three-storey ramp to get to this point, so it’s just way, way above everything. The clouds are practically at eye-level. You can just barely see the Olympic mountains peeking through at the horizon to the right of the pine trees. Gorgeous. The favour of a glimpse of the mountains is worth the gray to me.

From way up high on the ramp, I also got to see the upper limbs of the massive tree alongside it. The branches were budding, but the impressive sight was that they are covered with a thick moss. When you consider that this tree is totally open to the sky in four directions, it really throws into relief what a dark, wet climate this is during the winter months.

The walk is interesting. Rather than 520 or the back way that’s recently been slow due to construction, the “road” looked like this.

The public trail cuts in between backyard fences, and for a long portion, it cuts past all of the horse pastures in Bridle Trails. The path is a bit muddy, and so the hoof prints are very easy to pick out. I haven’t come across any riders yet, just the tracks.

A pretty pink project

Ages ago in Boston, I bought three colors of cotton classic. At the time I was thinking a scarf, but with only 324 yards, and my preference for wide scarves, it just didn’t seem like enough. By the time I’d done the math, I could no longer find the colors, and so they’ve been sitting, wound and waiting for new ideas.

After seeing some lovely entrelac, I decided to give fingerless gloves a shot. I’ve been playing all weekend. My first try was torn out because I hadn’t understood the need for even numbers of stitches in the squares. (If the squares are odd, you’d have to cut the yarn at the end of each square instead of at the end of each row. Got it.) My second try was way too large. And my third try, while lovely, will be ripped after pictures because these would be gloves for monster hands. They’re about 9″ in diameter, and they need to be 7″. While I’m starting over anyway, I’m mulling over casting on in the round. I would still have to have knit and purl sides, I think, but it would eliminate the side triangles and the seam.

Here’s take three, nestled in amidst the blooming periwinkle. 🙂

And while I love that picture, the colors weren’t accurate, so here’s a sunny closeup. The medium pink is a dusty rose (not lavendar), and the light color is a pearly pink.

The yarn clashes

I’d been all excited about using the extra ball of Rowan Cotton Glace from the baby sweater to make a pair of Fetching gloves. I showed up at knitting on Wednesday with the pattern, the yarn, and the needles (a minor victory in organization). But, I was promptly foiled when I tried to find the end of the yarn to cast on. Someone had snipped off about ten sections, each between a few inches and a few feet long, and then painstakingly re-wrapped the snipped bits and tucked the ends back into the middle. So aggravating.

So, since the pattern appears to call for just about every inch (and since I felt sort of ripped off), I went back to the yarn store to exchange the ball for new yarn. I was expecting a battle despite the receipt, but they were great about the exchange — sweet!

So here’s the new ball, basking in the sun (yay!!), next to my frilly tulips.


All of a sudden, on Saint Patricks day, I realized that I’d hit the decreases for my second sock. Crazy! Here’s (finally!) a good shot of the color, with one row to go.

And a shot of the picot edge, lace ribbing, and the interlocking double diamond lace:

So, I finished, sewed in the ends, and dunked them. Since I don’t have sock blockers, here they are blocking on a towel:

I’m convinced that I should have used size 0 needles instead of 2s. I’d gone down a size from the recommended 3s, but it really wasn’t enough. Not only is the fabric loose, but they are quite large. They look like they would fit well over my slippers, instead of under them. I’ll have to assess once they’re dry. Is it possible to shrink things knit with sock yarn?

Not exactly what we had in mind…

We’ve been all stymied trying to find a wedding band for Kevin — everything in the stores is very, for lack of a better word, complicated. Mixes of metals, braids, leopard-print, diamonds… The “just a plain ring” concept turns out to be hard to find. Anyone have Seattle-area recommendations?

Because otherwise, we’re resorting to this: the internet, and post-it notes cut down to size…

More Tank Adventures

Something has been irritating our purple zoos for about two months now. They haven’t opened at all since then, and I have no idea what might be wrong. It doesn’t look like anything’s eating them, and they’re getting good current and light. So, chemical warfare with another coral? (Like maybe the amazing blue acro right up top? It’s been growing like mad recently. Or maybe the torch coral? We moved the leather away, but that didn’t seem to make any difference.) It’s so frustrating not to have the slightest idea what the problem is, especially where all of the other zoos are all happy and open.

In other tank mysteries, we’ve been finding bits of mystery crabs in our tank all week. The tally had been two pincers and a leg, and then I found a whole crab! Geez!

The last time anything new was added to our tank was over a year ago — the ricordia was a “new job” purchase in January 2006, but it didn’t come on a rock. Best guess, this crab has been in our tank for at least a year and a half. How crazy.

The front view is even more ridiculous. How enormous is that claw?

My question is how many more of these guys we have in there. Given the multiple claws pulled out in the last week, it seems like we’re not in the clear.

The red-speckled leg is another mystery, as it doesn’t match any of the known inhabitants. I’m hoping that maybe it was a blue hermit crab, and all of the blue faded? If not, we have another huge dude in there somewhere, running around on seven legs.

So little

I hadn’t posted the finished sweater because I wanted to gift it first. The recipient put on a growth spurt, and passed four pounds, so I was pretty certain it would no longer fit. I almost didn’t even both to gift it, assuming it would now be too small, so I was a bit shocked when the parents exclaimed that it would still be so big on her. Seems pretty teeny to me!

Given a do-over, I would have used acrylic instead of cotton, or found a floppier cotton. This is more structured than cuddly — not quite what I was hoping for. The yarn is Rowan’s Cotton Glace (color #747), and while it was great to knit with, it’s just too sturdy for an item this teeny. Good to know.

I’m also pretty iffy on the button. My original thought was to use velcro, but I felt like it would destroy the sweater in the wash. I had a hard time finding guidance for knitting preemie clothes online, but one recommendation that seemed to recur was to use 1/2″ round buttons, since they’re easiest for the NICU nurses to quickly manipulate. The same site advised against metal closures, since they can get hot under the lights. This button fits those guidelines, matches the ribbon, and is a bit cute with the flowers, but it just isn’t growing on me. Such an “almost-but-not-quite” ending.

A bright note: Since this only took 4/5ths of the first ball of yarn I bought, I’m thinking of making a pretty, spring pair of these dudes with the leftovers!

Crocus watch

On the way to the airport for my Boston/Providence trip, I put Kevin on crocus watch. The flowers hadn’t opened yet, and I just knew that they were yellow inside, and I didn’t want *both* of us to miss them.

He had been out on the back deck dutifully taking pictures every morning before work, and they still hadn’t opened. Then on Wednesday morning there was pelting rain, and by the time I got home from the airport at 4:00, this was the sight that met me.

Oh, no! The exciting news is that apparently I had more than one set of bulbs in there! I have no idea where the while pair came from (though I have vague recollections of an unsuccessful attempt at forcing crocuses in year one. Perhaps they got good growing vibes this year? Kevin said that they hadn’t been there seven hours earlier, and his photos confirm it. I love crocuses.

In other outdoor plant news, the mini daffodils are still blooming like mad, and keep shooting up more buds. They’re wonderful.

And of the birthday plants that Kevin gave me last year (they got lost a bit in the excitement of the ring that showed up five minutes later), several of them made it through our unusually harsh winter and have been sending up shoots. One of the most exciting to me is the periwinkle. (aka Vinca Minor, and I’ve also heard it called myrtle. I’ve been reading more about it — doesn’t the Variegata sound gorgeous? And the Sterling Silver?) We had a bunch on the edge of the woods by our house when I was growing up that would bloom around Mothers Day. It’s very popular here, and blooms just as the clouds are starting to lose their intensity. And not only did mine come back, but there are buds everywhere!