Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?  Not very quickly, I can tell you that! Saturday morning I picked up a couple of my prints from the studio to work on here at the house and I got caught up by a sign that said Plant Sale, so like Hansel and Gretel, I followed the signs until I arrived at this residence about a mile from our house.  I put up no resistance.
The plants are hearty and local and sold for $6 per gallon plants.  I bought six and came home to plant them.
They sure look a lot smaller when they're in the ground.  It's been overcast and in the mid-60s for most of June, with yesterday being the first nice day.  It's now in the 80s as though someone turned a temperature knob.  I said I was done planting, but this time I mean it.
This is my favorite outside sitting area and where I like to drink my morning coffee.
My work is beginning to pay off though most of the summer color is from annuals.  The perennials have some more growing to do before they'll flash their pretty colors.  I'm hoping for a showy display next summer.

We have a lot of overgrown junipers that I've decided to turn my attention to now.  They dominate four areas and I've going to just focus on one at time, this being the first.
This is all the further I got after about an hour of hand trimming this morning. Ian is going to have to make quite a few dump runs and it's a good thing it's only a mile from here.  I think if I work a bit each morning that I can make this an attractive plant.
This is what I don't want to have happen.  Our subdivision was built and planted about 1990 and we're not the only house struggling with overgrown junipers.  This is ugly!
I was anxious to finish these two scarves and in my hurry gave no thought to beat.  Never has "haste makes waste" but more appropriate.  I beat these much to hard, and while they're pretty to look at, they're stiff.  I've decided to take a break from weaving for a couple months this summer.  I'm feeling pulled in too many directions.
I think rather I'll focus on printmaking for a while, especially since I can do my relief block carving at home.  The right is a wood block I did a couple of months ago and I did it again in linoleum last week, so Friday took both blocks into the studio to print and proof.  Linocut is much easier to cut but I clearly don't have a feel yet for removing background chatter.  I'll clean up the block and print again.

I've been experimenting with my monoprints and at the present I prefer nonrepresentational abstractionism.  I'm spending about eight hours a week at the studio between my volunteer shift and studio time and feel a lot of relief from my decision to take a weaving break.  I had gotten into a mindset that I "should" weave instead of I "want" to weave.  I have enough inventory that picking back up at the end of summer I'll still have time to weave for the holiday sales.  Weaving pays for my arts supplies on top of the yarn!  I'll be back.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Getting in the Summer Groove

I made a momentous decision this week.  I've put my spinning wheel into it's carrying bag, not to go somewhere but to be stored in the closet.  I've spun almost every day for the past 20 years, that is, until we moved here and there's just not enough time in the day.  Maybe later.
This Wednesday was the first day of the downtown farmers market and we were eager to shop.
The only thing we got this time was salad greens and this $5 bouquet of flowers.  Later in the summer we will need two bags to carry all our haul, especially when the melons are in season.
And this week is also kickoff for the Bend Elks, a college summer league.  Wednesday night is Seniors night so we got in for a buck each.  The kids met up with us after work and it was great - lots of laughter, stadium food and beer, and the game was good too.  This year one of the players is from Bend, a hometown boy which makes it extra special.  Cal played in Little League with grandson Logan and his dad was the team coach.  We happened to sit next to his parents so it was fun for Missy and Josh, visiting with their friends.  It's fun for me to "know" someone on the team.
The planting of the hostas was the easiest part.  Last year Ian pulled up two huge root systems from the Frankenplant that is still vexing us with residual runners.  Think twice before planting Honeysuckle Bush Copper!  The last unwanted plant to come out of this shady bed was a spindly forsythia.  Ian finished that on Monday so Tuesday I bought two bags of compost to replace the missing roots and finished pulling out the weeds and native yarrow.  It's been rainy for the past two days and these guys are loving it.  The timing is perfect to help them get established before the heat hits.  The work was worth it!
I'm still weaving, just not as often as I was during the winter months.  This is from the third of the workshop painted warps and looks like a sunset to me.
I used red weft on the second scarf.  I really like it, but I'm concerned that the curious color combination will be a tough sell.  I'd like to weave the last warp soon, as my granddaughter Alexia is coming in July to stay for a month.  She says she wants to come weave and knit with me and I'd like this loom to be for her use while she's here.
I'm knitting Heidi Kirrmaier's Quick Sand pattern again, but this time in Malabrigos Rios, colorway Bobby Blue.  I had one skein left after Owen's cardigan and when Diane Soucy visited last summer, she offered to send me the two extras she had so I ordered two more from Yarn Barn, for a total of five skeins.  The problem is that one of the skeins from Diane is substantially darker than the rest.  I've spent months trying to figure out how to make this work and finally decided to knit the sleeves first and knit the last 3" in the dark yarn.  I'll do the same with the body and also knit the bands with it.  The gauge isn't right for the pattern so I've done a little fudging but my math-challenged brain believes that it will fit in the end.  So that's what I do in the mornings instead of spinning.  I knit on the patio and have my coffee.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Another day in Bend

Spring just doesn't want to let go this year.  I had to wear a sweatshirt on my walk this morning though there's a rumor that summer-like weather is coming tomorrow.
I put the cucumber seedlings in yesterday and should have waited a couple more days.  It's supposed to be close to freezing tonight.  Grrrrr.

Ian planted the tomato seedlings a week ago and probably should have left the cover on for a while.  This is my first try with planting my own seeds.  As in everything I learned how to do it better next time.
I pruned and cleaned the lilacs last year and am excited to have cut flowers in the house!  They smell as pretty as they look.
Yardwork is a huge priority right now.  Last year was our first summer here and while we planted some flowers, we mostly performed maintenance, cutting back overgrown shrubs and removing dead ones.  This year is much more rewarding.  We're still pulling up grasses and native yarrow but we're starting establish beds.  It's still early so there's not much to see.  This trip to the nursery we bought hosta which I have wanted to grow forever but have never had the conditions for them.  I naively thought we'd go home and pop them into the ground.  Wrong!  We're pulling up root systems and cleaning up years of neglect.
About the time I get discouraged with our progress, I have a moment like this.  Poor guy.  He was taking a nap under the tree and I woke him up to take his picture.  He saundered off but a couple hours later was back with a couple of friends.  We welcome their grazing on all the native plants in our front yard.
Or I have a moment like this morning.  I heard the scrub jay squawking like mad and it took me a while to figure out why he continued his tirade outside our door.  The bird feeder is empty and I think he's figured out that Ian comes out of the door and fills it up.  He even jumped up on the fence outside our kitchen window and continued his tantrum there.  Maddie was very amused.
I finished three scarves this week, all disappointing.  I need to get back to dishtowels which are far more rewarding.  Ian and I met up with friends for lunch downtown on Friday.  This sticker was on a car that we passed on our way out of the parking garage where parking is free.  Oh wait, Bend sucks.