I just talked to Sam and sang Happy Birthday (both versions) to him. He's one year old today! Valerie called just minutes before guests started to arrive. Even though Sam's and my conversation was mostly one-sided, he didn't give me the raspberries and push the phone away this time :-) He kept pulling the phone back to himself when Valerie would think he was done and start to move it to her ear. I'm so glad I got to wish him a happy birthday and I wish I could be there to celebrate with him as I was there right after his birth.
I didn't do very well in keeping my blog updated this week. It was a busy week, none the less. I finished the cotton ribbed lace tank top I was knitting on Thursday last week:
It is finished except for determining the length of the shoulder straps and grafting the strap ends together. I think it's the cutest top. I tried it on - it doesn't seem to be my type. I had a great time knitting it, though, and I'm sure it will find a good home in the end.
This is the first project where I've used a mercerized cotton. It has a totally different feel than other cotton yarn. And the six very thin strands that make up the yarn are easily split with the point of a lace needle. It took awhile to get my stitch work fluid when I started working with it. I haven't blocked it yet. I expect the lace will really pop when it's lightly blocked.
As I said, I finished the tank top on Thursday a week ago. It was a tough evening - no knitting project! I'm not used to that experience. I was awaiting delivery of the yarn for my next project and it had been delivered when I got home from work on Friday. Yippee!! I quickly opened the box and reveled in the 55 skeins of grass green soft worsted weight cotton yarn that awaited my manipulations. This yarn is very special. The color was selected by Valerie and is being worked into a house-warming gift for her, Amol, and Sam for their arrival back in the states later this summer. I'm making them an Yggdrasil pattern blanket. Here's a photo of the blanket as it will look when completed (from the pattern image - on right) and a photo of the center of the blanket showing the roots of the tree - on left)
The yarn is SO soft - it should make for a comfy, comforting blanket when it is done.
I also put my tomato seeds on notice that spring is here on Thursday of last week. I soaked the seeds for two hours, then put them to rest on damp paper towels in an open plastic bag to encourage them to germinate and sprout. I haven't used this technique before but got it from the tips provided by Lisa Von Saunder at amishlandseeds.com where I purchased my heirloom seeds. Each day I checked the seeds to see if any had sprouted. It took until the following Tuesday before they were ready to go into the potting soil. I'm using a sterile soilless seedling mix (at Lisa's recommendation.) I also set up an area with a fluorescent light to help them get started. The light fixture didn't come with bulbs so I purchased the plant/aquarium bulbs that use the red spectrum loved by plants. I left the light on full-time for the first 2 days but am now turning it off at night. My sister is also starting seedlings with lighting and I asked her what she thought about the duration of the lights. She said she was letting them grow the way God lets them grow and turns the light off at night. It makes sense. I was able to suspend the light from the back side of the stairs going up to the loft in the craft room. Note the snazzy spacers used to raise the plant tray closer to the light. These are audio book cases from the books on tape that I purchased last spring at the Jeffco Library sale. Who knew they would come in so handy this spring in a non-bookish way?
I got the peat pots that came in the plant tray with the lid because it was a mere $2.50 more in price and I know my own faults at keeping plants sufficiently watered. This is helping to keep the humidity in the tray and the plants are not getting dry on the top. Here's a close-up of the little seedlings that are getting going. Just imagine the promise they hold for wonderful summer sustenance!
I planted 18 seeds and there are two that may not make it. The rest have developed a set of leaves and look very happy. I hope the stalks aren't growing too tall. Since the light is just inches away from them, I'm trusting that they're growing just the way God programmed them, to be healthy, robust plants.
Today I'm planning to attend a class on high-altitude gardening at a local shop - All Season Gardener. I met the owner last week, Juliane, and she's delightful. I'm hoping to pick up a few tips that will give my tomatoes an even better chance at a fruitful life. My mind keeps wandering east, as in "to Pennsylvania," where I've grown successful gardens full of all sorts of vegetables in the past. I know I can't recreate the same garden here but I do know I can grow more than I've been believing I can grow in the mountains at altitude. I just have to learn the ropes.