Wednesday, 8 August 2012

not getting anywhere?

do you know that feeling, when you're working your butt off - but don't seem to get anywhere? right now I am busy on all fronts, but nothing ever gets finished! the building work goes on, the garden work goes on as long as the weather allows me to work outside. but it doesn't look like a lot of progress on the shed and the garden is still the overgrown jungle it was 2 months ago! add to this the damage this cursed rabbit is doing - and it leaves me with a desperate wish for late autumn/winter! the veggie plot looks rather odd now, nearly everything has to be covered with nets, old curtains, fleece etc.... funnily enough the rabbit doesn't like the japanese indigo, which isn't covered. not that it's putting on much growth, I think it dreams of warmer places and more sun.... but maybe it will do a bit more now that we have a week of more summery temperatures? the measly plants are on the left, right beside the healthy looking late batch of potatoes. the only plants that don't seem to care about the weather:)
this is our wine, which has set grapes for the first time ever! we haven't had any luck with plants outside, and in the greenhouse I had to play bee and pollinated a bit with a q-tip, but at least we won't need to thin out the fruit bunches:) it's a red wine supposedly, but we're still early in the season for grapes, so we'll wait and see what happens....

the only plant I'll be fully self-sufficient with will be chillies. we don't really eat very hot food, so I only need them sparingly, but the 6 plants I have are full of chillies, which started to ripen during the last few days. at least I think they're fully ripe now, because the first orange one has been on the plant for a long time and it didn't change to red, purple etc. anyway, I am not sure I'll be able to dry them properly, so maybe I should either freeze them or pulp them up into a paste?              the green leaves on the left are from a cedronella plant, which grows away nicely and dries quite well, even in our humid climate. it gives off a slightly camphorous scent, fresh and clean somehow. I'll collect some and maybe use it as a moth repellent between my woolly stuff....

 I also took a few pix of my fuchsias, dahlias etc. they are all in full swing now! the fuchsias just because they're pretty (don't they look like frilly dresses with petticoats underneath?:) - the dahlias for dyeing. I have three of the red pompons and was able to collect one big bag full of frozen flowers so far. but the plants are full of buds, more to come for my dyepot!
 a "coral" fuchsia, totally different shape - and no frills at all.

 this is one of the many crocosmia "luzifer" plants. they look a bit like a fiery freesia, but they are pretty hardy and survived even the two very cold winters a few years back. and they multiply nicely, too! I wonder - the colour is so much like the red dahlias - would they dye orange and yellow as well? another one I have to try out...
this little flower is a dahlia, too! dahlia merckii, one of the original species, which surprisingly survived the winter cold after all. I had several of the clumps in the garden, but only this one made it through. I am happy that it did, because they are easily grown from seeds, so that I can add to my collection again for next year....

of course it's not only flowers around here, but when the weather is this good I have to work on the outside most of the time. I did finish the green to go with the two other colours though. I am planning on knitting a "fletta" cardie, the cardinal is the main colour, green and pink (softer and a bit lighter than the photo shows) are accent colours.

and I started to spin up the leftovers of my "sock orgy" - this is the wool/silk blend I dyed for the sky area. very soft and cushy....

I also tried a few small bits to knit on the side. my first set of wrist warmers (saw them here) was shorter, tighter and had "steps" that looked nicer somehow. I think I should have added more rows into each step with the longer one - or less stitches to make them more pronounced? anyway, they're nice and warm - once it's colder again:) off into the giveaway box with them...

I've had an idea about my fairy-tale yarns. I think I'll start a big shawl, more or less rectangular, or rather "free-form". I plan to follow the tale a bit and add and take away the yarns just as if the story unfolds and the character come into play. I am going to spin either a dark brown or dark green (forest colours) for this, to keep the yarns separated a bit, not too close to each other and I'll use freeform knitting (and maybe crochet) in the project. maybe (thanks for the idea, Andrea:) I'll also assign certain stitches and patterns to each character - but I have a feeling that it will take some time and effort to work that one out into a usable garment:)
to keep my hands busy I am also working on a baby cardie from fine sea island cotton that I still had in stash, in a natural white, with a little frill at the bottom. not much to show yet, but I am rather glad that I managed to change over from the frill with 225 sts in each row (just for the back!) to a much quicker knit of 75 sts for the rest of it! not sure if I'll take it for the train ride tomorrow, but I think I'd be better of with a sock - several need finishing anyway!
now I am back into the garden - getting more plants out for the rabbit to finish off..... and btw - I am back with my normal email address, all sorted, but you can reach me on eircom, too.


Delighted Hands said...

Nice to catch up! I love the flowers in bloom-the colors are lovely. The yarns are pretty-good ideas for knitting ahead!

Leigh said...

I'm back online and trying to get caught up! I love the wrist warmers. I've eyed wrist warmer patterns, but really like what you've done. Love those yarns too, especially the pinks and green. I have to say your garden and flowers are looking pretty happy.

Anonymous said...

bei mir sind rehe aktiv...da hilft nur hoher zaun..

und sonst wächst alles zuviel...einfach lassen nicht ärgern..du hast wunderbar gefärbt,,womit?

Nina said...

Your garden flowers are so beautiful! You've been busy with spinning and knitting too! I do like the Fletta cardie colours. They should make a handsome sweater.

Helen said...

I sympahaise with you feeling of working hard and getting nowahere . I feel like the red queen running hard and trying to catch up with the burgeoning dye pants in the garden!

Helen said...

oops! should have been plants! ( not pants)

Elke Schwarzer said...

Liebe Bettina!
So ein Kaninchen im Garten kann einem wirklich den letzten Nerv rauben.
Ich habe auch seit diesem Jahr so komische Löcher im Beet, und manche Pflanzen vertrocknen so seltsam - Wühlmäuse etwa??
Und wie du sagst - das dankbarste Gemüse überhaupt sind die Chilies, auf die ist Verlass!
Schönen Sonntag!

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - thanks, though I don't have enough time knitting just now, too much to do in the garden:)

Leigh - good to have you back online again! the wristwarmers are really simple to make, yet quite effective, I think. and the flowers - well, they like the rain, but unfortunately the weeds like it even better:)

Wiebke - rehe haben wir hier nicht, wobei die sicher auch nicht ueber die mauern kommen wuerden, im gegensatz zu den hasen, die sich einfach durch die gartentore quetschen:( selbst gefaerbt waren nur die gruenen fasern der handgelenkwaermer, mit schilfblueten. der rest waren fertig gefaerbte fasern.

Nina - thanks, I hope the Fletta will look good, I started a gauge, but didn't get any further - yet!

Helen - yes, I know what you mean. though this year I am taking it easy with the dyeing, because I still have so much to use up! I do get itchy fingers though, when I see dye plants in plentiful supply:) but I suppose they'll be there again next year.

Elke - ja, es ist schon aergerlich, wenn man muehevoll seine pflanzen heranzieht und ein gieriges "monster" sie dann in einer nacht vernichtet:( aber zum glueck - haben wir keine wuehlmaeuse! naja, dafuer treiben hier dickmaulruessler zuhauf ihr unwesen, und die werden wir auch nicht wirklich los draussen. ich kann schlecht meinen ganzen garten mit nematoden begiessen:( so hat wohl jeder gaertner sein leid:)

Elke Schwarzer said...

Hallo Bettina!
Mit dem botanischen Garten von Dublin hast du mich auf eine Idee gebracht, das wäre auch mal eine Reise wert.
Und Gran Canaria im Winter ist eher was für Eisbären, dort ist es dann nicht so warm und vor allem grüner. Mein Mann war da öfter im Januar zum Rennradfahren und sagt, dann wäre es erträglich. Ist es in den Bergen aber immer, nur an der Küste war es jetzt sehr heiß.

Woolly Bits said...

Elke - bestimmt! sie haben auch eine website, wo man ein bisschen rumstoebern kann (www.botanicgardens.ie)... gran canaria wird allerdings nix werden, weil ich schlecht meinen hund allein lassen kann:) und ertraeglich - hm, mir sind eigentlich 20 grad oft schon zu warm, wenn ich mich bewege... wobei es in irland ja fuer gartenfans auch noch ein paar andere leckerbissen zu sehen gibt, nicht unbedingt soviel wie in uk, aber es gibt doch ein paar beruehmte gaerten hier!
irische gruesse