Wednesday, May 14, 2014

About that not-so-brief intermission...

Dear Mom,
Those who are keeping up with your Holton House blog will have guessed at some of the reason for the lack of blogging here. You've happily sold your house and the packing, storing, transplanting and relocating may have given us lots to talk about, but little time to actually post anything here. And that wasn't all that has been happening.
Now that I have time to sit and have a "chat", I don't even know where to begin, or if I should even try telling it all in one great big catch up session or try cutting things down into smaller bites. I think I will start where we left off back in March(!) and see how far I get.

As part of YOUR move, a few things have come to live new lives here, and other things are just living here until they can live with you again- like your computer and some plants. One of the things I get to keep is the workbench from the garage. Our garage is bursting at the seams, but this workbench is now a coveted potting bench on my back patio. It nestles perfectly under the window and I can see it doing double duty as an outside buffet for all that entertaining I do. as if. I have a rich fantasy life.

I will gloss over the adventure that was getting this workbench and the one from your basement relocated. It wasn't pretty. But My Hero and I both live to forgive and forget. I have both feet still attached to my ankles and he was not found crushed dead at the bottom of your basement steps.
 We chose an exterior stain an My Hero set to work painting my soon-to-be potting bench.
This photo was taken shortly after we placed it under the window. We removed the aging flower box that once hung beneath that window. And just in time as the flower box fell apart and split in two as we lifted it off the supports. My new potting bench is now holding flats of vegetables, herbs and marigolds that are waiting to be planted in the garden. FYI- the garden was tilled yesterday, just in time for a nice rain. Once it dries up enough that I don't get mired in compost and mud, I will plant! I have 3 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, green bean seeds, red potatoes and cabbage. I'll surround it all with zinnias and marigolds.

I believe the beautiful display of crocus in my front yard this spring was a payback for our winter. Each autumn, for the past 3-4 years, I've added 100 crocus bulbs to the front lawn. I think the squirrels eat most of them. But this year, that heavy blanket of snow protected those bulbs and I had blooms much as I imagine each year when I plant. These photos were taken hurriedly, but maybe you can get the idea. I'd like to think the whole lawn will be filled with blooms one day. I'll keep adding more bulbs every fall. If anyone knows of a way to discourage the squirrels from digging them up, please let me know!

A bonus addition to my backyard came one afternoon when we were transplanting some of your perennials to the wooded area of your new lot that will be untouched by landscaping and construction. I am so happy you will be able to leave an area in its natural state, with wildflowers in abundance! Turning around to gaze over the portion that was soon to be cleared revealed Trillium, what I hope will be Dutchman's Breeches, and some Spring Beauty. I rescued some of those and transplanted them to the shady  places in my backyard. The Trillium seems very happy already and I've been rewarded with blooms.

The ice and snow permanently damaged some of our trees last winter and we've removed what we could manage. We are now waiting for the professionals to remove two big spruce and some stumps before we re-plant. I was grieving the loss of that landscaping and the privacy it offers, but am excited about freshening things up and the new things waiting to take their place. It really has been busy here. I thought we would NEVER get all those sticks and twigs cleared up! I believe that Olive thought the purpose of all that chopping was to provide her with a lifetime supply of sticks. She would select a stick, drag it out of the pile and chew on it awhile. While we were at it, we removed the tetherball pole since Olive's elbow is not allowed to jump and twist anymore and relocated our fire pit to the former tetherball site. The original fire pit was a family project years ago. When a nearby field was being cleared to make way for a new subdivision, we all put our boots on and filled the back of the station wagon with field stones. We picked a spot in the back yard and handed a shovel to the Young Man (I think he was about 11 years old at the time), thinking it would take him most of the afternoon to dig. Thank heavens we looked out a short time later to check his progress, because he dug the pit in no time flat! My Hero ran out to tell him to stop digging! We lined the hole with pea gravel and field stones and had a beautiful fire pit. When we discussed moving the fire pit, I couldn't bear to bury all those stones and do something different in the new spot. We dug up every rock, hosed them off and My Hero placed them into the new pit. I do think ours is a much prettier and natural looking fire pit than those made from landscape pavers.

Painting, moving and digging aren't all I've been up to. There is always knitting. Lots of it.
These next two sweaters were knit as class samples for my knitting classes at Village Yarn Shop.
Zephirine Cardigan

Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece

Buttons from Fastenation Studio

Mr, Greenjeans
Cascade Venezia Worsted yarn
And this next sweater ……evolved. I started spinning this yarn with the thought of knitting a shawl or sweater with an ombre sort of effect. Plying the yarn in hopes that I could create a subtle transition in color. I think I did okay at that part, but finding something I was happy with when it was knitted was a challenge. I started and stopped a few different projects- nothing was just right. Then I saw something on ravelry that was really far out (especially for me), but it made me rethink exactly how I was using the yarn. Thankfully my dearest knitting friends talked some sense into me before I started knitting the odd sweater that eventually acted as my inspiration. ( I'd even gone so far as to purchase the pattern!) I am intentionally not sharing the link to the sweater because I am not saying the most flattering things about it. My friends gave me the sort of quietly sympathetic look that I quickly interpreted as them trying to figure out how to talk me out of a Big Mistake without hurting my feelings or squashing my creativity. Can I tell you that I have some REALLY ESPECIALLY GOOD FRIENDS? 
I let the Idea of that weird sweater simmer, and realized I could use what attracted me to that sweater in a traditional sweater construction. And this is what happened:

An almost entirely short-rowed, round yoke constructed sweater, of entirely hand spun yarn. I couldn't be happier with the look or the fit of this sweater. I used the formula for the shaping of the round yoke sweater found in The Knitter's Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters by Ann Budd and then German Short Rowed my  way from top to bottom, switching colors at random. There will never be another sweater like it. It was actually a liberating experience/experiment- the closest I will ever come to free form knitting. 

Okay. Enough catching up for now. I still have lots of stuff I want to share with you, but should really save that for another blog post on another day. It feels good to be back here and I don't want to spill it all at once and have nothing left to say!