Month: February 2017

Garden Dreams

We had some very warm days last week; it melted the snow that arrived in early December. The bare patches of ground, even in February, are a catalyst for dreams of green plants and home grown produce. In South Dakota, our growing season is on the short side. Our average last frost is in mid May, and the average first frost is mid September. It varies quite a bit each year; I remember putting carrots and spinach in the ground as early as late March, and also scraping my car windows on June 3! 

Over the years we have tried to start tomatoes early, but have found that the sunlight we get through our windows is lacking, resulting in some tall and spindly seedlings. Last year, some late cold rains prevented us from getting them out until mid June, and they looked terrible all summer, with not much produce. Granted, it was a bad tomato year, but it was still disheartening!

We do try to grow herbs indoors, and have got a healthy sage and parsley pot, and have restarted some more basil. We have some rosemary and marjoram too, but they are still iffy. The big surprise has been the turmeric! DH Planted the root six weeks ago or more and it finally sprouted!

The Citrus Farm is progressing well, we now have 3 lemon trees and 3 grapefruit trees. No luck with the mandarin oranges or limes yet, but someone gave me some pomegranate seeds, so we may try those!

This year, I want to really work on the garden, and make it really productive, and maybe even beautiful. I think the physical work will be good for me, and the plants will be good therapy for my wounded heart. By fall, I’ll  have a great sense of accomplishment, food to eat for the coming year, and a renewed spirit. Of course, DH will be working along side, and that will provide us a fresh and new task to do together. 

On my list of what to plant:

Spinach, carrots, beets, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes, buttercup squash, pumpkins and onions

Other possibilities might be: summer squash, cucumbers, kale, broccoli and maybe cauliflower

We already have some asparagus established, and our grape vines produced for the first time this last year. The cherry tree is producing, and hopefully we will get some apples this year. We lost the pollinator for our plum trees last year so will need to fix that this spring. 

What are you growing this year? Most of you likely have started already! We don’t even have crocus shoots up yet, so we continue to dream!


Friday Free Motion

In spite of a rather crotchety Ms. Necchi, I decided to load up a spool and give Splendid A a go. Ms. Necchi agreed because the tension issues I’ve been grinding my teeth over didn’t appear! Three blocks done, so I quit while I was ahead! Quilting is the hardest part for me, so I have to think about it a bit, and go visit some other friends for inspiration!

My three blocks have now become nine, and I even tried some leaf type things, so I may yet do a real feather! (Don’t give up on me Doreen!) Happy Friday all!

Book Review–Shift

I recall saying that I was going to give the sequel to Wool a try, and then decide…I decided. I have to read the third one just to see how this all turns out. Probably more action than character development, but I want to know what happens!!!!! Again, not my usual read, but hey, it’s winter in South Dakota. 

I must say that Hugh Howey does have an incredible imagination. This was a plot twist that I would never have imagined!

I’ve decided to balance myself out with a classic after this, however I’ve decided to do the audio book so I can keep knitting or stitching as I listen.😉

Peace Sweater # 4

I didn’t post last week, though I did knit. I was accompanying the 7th graders from a local middle school for their solo contest on Wednesday, so had some early mornings for practices at the school. That, and last week’s stress crimped my evening mojo a bit!

As I study my work so far, I am pretty pleased. There’s only a slight amount of wrinkling across the body, so I think that it will steam up/ block very easily. 

I was here:

Now I am here:

The big news is that I have completed Diagram B and have a solid start on Diagram C. I  celebrated with a new color of highlighter. I must say making a copy of the diagram and using the highlighter has eliminated all those “Where am I now?” Moments, and helped me a BUNCH! Isn’t is funny how a very simple thing can really make a difference?

Pattern: Dale of Norway Peace Sweater DG 1501

Yarn: Stroll fingering in white and wonderland heather by Knitpicks 

Fitting Alone…

I’m working on Simplicity 1541, which has a yoke and contoured waistband. I’m seeing it Ina cotton twill, which is a tester for some wool I plan to use later.

Because this pattern comes with 1 inch seam allowances, I just cut out the straight hip version, but alas it doesn’t fit like my pants from the same series! So I started basting out in 1/8 increments, and we are finally almost there. How very annoying, but I was actually treating this like the muslin for the wool I plan to use, so I’ll just keep after it. I may to take out another 1/4″ of ease.

I have a high hip (nearly an inch) and kick pleats are never 100% successful! but I never stand still for long, so I don’t get too excited about trying to make them hang perfectly. Once the adjustment is made, they look better, but they are always a little off. These photos have no adjustment yet because of the yoke; I wanted to see which seam would work better, and I’m thinking the bottom of the yoke. I’ll start by taking 1/2-3/4″ out of the skirt at the yoke seam, possibly anothe 1/8″ on top, and then pin the hem straight from the floor. 

This is looking pretty good. I think I can pin out the hip now, and do a final check with the finished waistband, before pinning the hem….I hope!

Fitting is so much easier with a helper. Had a girl been home, I would have pinned the skirt on, and saved some time. Next time, I will double check those ease measurements and not assume; I just wanted to get started sewing, and it obviously wasn’t the most efficient idea…I’ll blame it on all the chaos this week.😆

I’ve spent much of my weekend fiddling with Ms Necchi. She is unhappy, likely due to all the quilts and flannel, in spite of a thorough cleaning. She really prefers the metal bobbins from my Gran’s ’56 Necchi, and I don’t have very many of those. She hated the zipper foot, so I did a hand picked one…not the norm for twill, but I was done trying to cajole her into sewing a decent seam on something other than the two layers of twill. She is sopersnickety, I may have to give up doing it myself and send her in to the shop. 

Sew what?

Hmmm….yes, I have the Splendid sampler  quilts in the works, and a coat for Girl#1 on the books, but now it is time to do some more  sewing for me! No occasions coming up, so it will be something I can wear to work…I think I’ll give this pattern a whirl. It needs a test run before I use it on some lovely brocade wool I found at the Fabric Warehouse in Mitchell, SD;  I’m sure it’s the fabric mecca of the US!!!! Haha!

I have two options for my trial run, a plain slate gray twill, or a mini  houndstooth check in gray and charcoal. I have enough of each to do a skirt or pants…hmmm. While doing the pre wash, I discovered or rediscovered that the mini houndstooth has a bit of stretch…perfect for pants, so the skirt will be the twill.

So not the most exciting project, but I envision this being a wardrobe staple. I have plenty of wool skirts, but not much in the mid season category, so this will be a welcome addition. 

A great project for this weekend!