Saturday, June 30, 2007

Full Strawberry Moon, and a "Fields" Trip

Moon view from my front walk, looking up through the crape myrtle tree. June is definitely strawberry season! Today's field trip was to northern San Diego County, to see the lavender in bloom.
It was definitely blooming, and the scent was heavy in the air.
The lavender fields are at the end of a long and winding dirt road. Let's just say, we brought the right vehicle: my truck is a good off-road vehicle!
But it was all worth it.
The lavender fields are spectacular, and there was enough bloom to satisfy that craving that's been existing since we were in France.
Sister-in-law and traveling companion Linda and I were thrilled to have been in Provence. There was lots of lavender "stuff" there but the fields were not yet in bloom.
So we were glad to have the opportunity to visit these, closer to us than France and thus much more accessible.
The fields are planted with many different varieties of French, English, Spanish and American hybrids of lavender. Some were in full bloom, some had passed their peak. The harvest was in full swing.
The farm is only open for visits during May and June. Today was the last day of this year's season. We caught the tail end of a tour, and learned quite a bit about lavender and its preparation.
There are llamas and Navajo churro sheep in residence on the farm, as well as lots and lots of lavender.
There is yarn for sale in the Wool Shed on the property. Some of it is churro wool, in natural colors and some dyed in lovely natural hues. Churro wool is a bit coarse, and this was spun into a rustic texture that spoke of felting and warm mittens. There was also some very soft and smooth wool dyed in wonderful shades. The guide explained that the dyer will often look outside and match the colors in the natural fields. However she does it, it's gorgeous stuff.
The distillery is where the cut blooms and stems are turned into essential oil and perfumes. The farm is a certified organic grower so all of their products are pure and natural.

Closeup of the lavender plant:
There are lots more photos on my Flickr page--just click the link on my Flickr badge and you can go see!

We finished the day with a visit to La Petite Knitterie in Ladera Ranch. No, this is not really "near" the Lavender Fields--there's a lot of hills and mountains in between--but it was a nice day for a road trip. Traffic was rather heavy going from one freeway to the other, as the area is being developed a little more rapidly than the roads are.
Anyway, LPK was quite wonderful. We *almost* met Lori Lawson, who does the gorgeous Capistrano Fiber Arts hand-dyed rovings and yarns, we got to fondle many of the gorgeous colors (and yes, some of them came home with us) and textures and samples. It's a great store and I for one will probably visit them again whenever I am in the area. Kat told us that they are planning to offer the CFA yarns (and others) on their website, as soon as they can. You can bet I for one will be checking it out!
That's it for tonight. See you in July... I'm off to bed, to watch the moon! (Moon gaze? Moon struck? Whatever!)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just Remembered...

...that this is supposed to be a knitting blog! My bad! So here without further ado, some yarny goodness!
First up, this is what I do when my truck needs servicing. I bring enough knitting to last me for several days, and then the dealership gets really efficient and gets it done quickly!
This is Artyarns Silk Rhapsody, in the Rose Garden colorway. I wound the first skein into a ball at yesterday's knitfest, then cast on and started knitting the shawl today. I did this much worth while they changed my oil and got my "baby" ready for the road trip this weekend. (If it comes off as planned, it will be a great photo op and blog-worthy post.)
Actually there are two events this weekend. Oh good, blog fodder!
Don't have a pattern name for this shawl--it's something I made a working copy of from one of my books, and I've totally forgotten which book it was. I made a dark blue "test" version of this as a prayer shawl last year, out of navy Wool-Ease, and it's a nice simple pattern that still looks quite effective. I think I'll like the way the yarn pools on this--nice to have some solid green leaves and solid pink ones!

Then there is this collection of yumminess: Merino Lace yarn, two skeins in cream, one in pure white, one in wine and one in dark green. From a listmember who is destashing.

Going to swatch with the cream for the Mystery Shawl 3. By the way, I put myself on the Frappr Map for MS3--have you done it yet? Kinda fun to see where everyone is!

What's a post without a gratuitous cat photo?

Actually, Simon was cuddling with the extra yarn for my CPH when I got home today. The boy knows a cozy spot when he finds one! The green bag is what I carried the Rose Garden Shawl around in. (There, I guess it has a name for now! I'd better add it to my WIPs!)

Lastly, some goodies that arrived in a surprise package from D1 and the bugs. Monastery honey, nicely wrapped in little burlap baggies; some caramels (Yum!) and note cards; and a box of Garden Compost Tea.

I need to read the directions better, but I think the tea is for my plants and not for me. At least I certainly hope so!

That's it for today. Unless, of course, something else presents itself as a wonderful opportunity to share with you. Hmmm... is having a sale on their Rowan yarns. And Interweave is having a sale on their magazine back issues. And the Yarn Girls have some super specials, including Louet yarns!

Now quick, go buy up all that stuff and save me from ET!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some News!

Back a little while ago, at the urging of Knit Devil, I joined her in entering Morrighana's Desert Island contest. Well, guess what? Hey, prizes are good, but Honorable Mention is good too! Congrats to KD for coming in as First Honorable Mention!

The new chair and ottoman have the Feline Seal of Approval.
Yes, that's a big cat. A BIG cat. Not a small chair!

Too bad the lamp doesn't show up very well--it's a floor lamp version of an Ott light ( sale) and this looks as if it might become my new knitting corner.
You can't see the basket of knitting next to the chair, but it's there. Right now it's got a lot of odds and ends in it, and I really need a little table to hold the cold drinks. but it's definitely got possibilities in the relaxing-nook department!
This is the desk I mentioned previously:
And open.
Yes, I know the flag is a nice touch. We have to put the bracket back up on the new pergola, and then we can fly our flag.
(We actually have two of them--those aluminum rods are the pole for the second flag. )
Anyway, the desk is here and as you can see, the new furniture fits its styling quite nicely.

I think the desk looks pretty good for its age, and I've watched enough Antique Roadshows to know that it would not be a kindness to try to refinish it. It's got some scuffs but that's all part of its character.
Like my grey hairs and wrinkles and lines are all part of mine, I keep telling myself.
Yeah, I don't really believe it, but I try!

View of the Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library, scene of Sunday's invasion by a horde of tea-drinking, pinky-lifting, knitting-in-public OOPSers.

And finally, my quilting classes have resumed in the new venue. Like all new endeavors, it will take a little while to ease ourselves all into the different routines.
But some of the things don't change. Tonight my Dynamic Overachieving Duo made not one, but two Christmas tree skirts. Harry is modeling one. I don't know if all retired pediatricians have a secret wish to be a Christmas tree. I do know Harry is one of a kind!
There were a lot of quilts being worked on. I will post a some of these, and put the rest on Flickr if you're interested in seeing them all. You can also visit Anne's blog to see hers. She's going to post it as soon as she recovers from Water Heater Shock.

More tomorrow. It's turning out to be a very knitty week!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Funnies, and a Contest

Melanie is having a contest! I read about it on Madgik's blog, so of course I have to play along! She wants to see pictures of either your first project or your next, not-yet-cast-on project. My first project was a pink scarf, done probably umpty-many years ago--I was 7. So here's my next thing: it's 3 skeins of Noro Cash Island, destined to be a ripple scarf.
I will probably use Feather and Fan
because I love it, it's easy to do in all sorts of circumstances, and the result is pretty and soft. I'm going to experiment a bit though, since I have 3 hanks of this yarn and 2 made a nice long scarf.

See, here's the first one. Two skeins of Noro Cash Island, one repeat of Feather and Fan, yarn wound off my knees in the car on the way to Shelburne, cast on and knit that day, frogged the next--it was two repeats, and it would have made a short wide scarf. Very short. As in, maybe a dickey? Wouldn't have gone around the neck even once! Finished it on the plane on the way home.
If you are going to have to spend a couple of hours on the tarmac while a lightning storm rages around your plane, it helps to have knitting and an iPod to keep your cool.

This is what's been keeping me from doing much knitting lately--I came home to a living room full of boxes. Very very large boxes.
And a partially-assembled sofa, which apparently was delivered into the back yard in a box that was so trashed and so heavy that D4 couldn't move it. So she hauled the sofa parts inside and began assembling.
Simon is decorating the box that contains the two-seater sofa. You can tell it also arrived in not great shape.
I was concerned about the condition of the parts inside, but not to worry.
Everything came in great shape. The quality of the pieces is exceptional.

Here's the assembly person hard at work. Behind her is the completed 2-seater.
Nothing like getting up close and personal with your work!
Yes, she assembled all five pieces by herself, with a hammer, screwdriver, and the tools provided.
The finished pieces get the feline seal of approval. We have a living room again! The color on the upholstery is an olive green--not quite as brown as it appears in these pictures. I love the Mission lines, the ultrasuede-y texture, and the whole room has picked up a flair it hasn't had for a long time. I will try to get a picture of "the desk" and post that too--it's an old family piece, and it's the real thing. Came across from Virginia to Illinois on the Immigrant Train when my husband's great-grands were traveling West.
But that's a story for another day. Now to go let Melanie know that I'm in her contest! Why don't you join us? And tell her Madge and I sent you!