Virtual Travel and a YOP Update

I’ve started signing up for virtual travel events. I guess cabin fever is finally getting to me. Last night I attended a Barn Chat with Wing and a Prayer Farm that featured Gudrun Johnson and MJ Mucklestone sharing information on their knitting trips to Shetland. I missed this at Knit City Virtual, so was glad to get a second chance.

Today I attended a Spring Skye Woolly Meander. This was a warm and welcoming group that gathered for a virtual trip of the Isle of Skye. I was very unsocial, which I felt bad about, but I didn’t expect to be on camera as I was still in my pjs! But it was a beautiful event and Bob and I are looking forward to visiting Scotland in real life someday. I also learned about Shilasdair Yarns, so that’s on my yarn wishlist now.

Speaking of yarn, I purchased new yarn from Wing and a Prayer Farm for my Vintersoll (Rav link). My gauge swatch worked out. This yarn is a treat to knit with. It’s called Thelma and Louise and is naturally dyed and toothy but soft. I can’t wait to cast on. I love this golden color called Dawn achieved with onion skins and madder root,which will be the main color of the sweater.

But first I want to finish my Anker’s Summer Shirt (Rav link) in Blacker Lyonesse, which is also a very nice yarn to work with in wool and linen. The color is Serpentine.

I finished knitting my Water shawl (Rav link). It’s a lovely pattern and an enjoyable knit once you get the rhythm of it. Yarn is Quince and Co Finch in Bird’s Egg.

Gardening news: the peas are up!

Garden is Ready, Overalls Not

Bob finished adding the rest of the soil to the garden and also finished my snaky path for me.

We’ve really come a long way on the garden. We left the far end as is because there are trees down there and Bob wants to try to pull them out. I can’t wait for seeds to start popping up. Then I’ll have a better idea of where the rest of the herbs and veggies should go.

I made progress on my overalls today. Why is it so tough to get a decent sewing WIP photo? I’m going to have to follow more sewists on Instagram for inspiration.

I haven’t clipped the crotch seam yet, which is why it’s a little bunchy. I hate clipping seams. I may trim it with the serger instead. I still need to add the bib and straps.

Isn’t my orchid pretty? I have no idea how I’ve kept it alive and happy for so long. Benign neglect, I guess.

Dirt and Mud

Bob and I worked in the garden all weekend. On Saturday, Bob moved 1 cubic yard of gravel while I turned over (more of) the soil to try to level it out. The gravel went over the drainage pipe after Bob added more drainage holes, so hopefully we’ll have good drainage and not too much erosion.

Today, Sunday, we moved 4 cubic yards of garden soil. We moved it in a wheelbarrow. We dragged it on a tarp. We moved it one bucket at a time. We finally started moving it in the back of the car. We live on a hill, so using the car as a wheelbarrow was tricky. Even Freya helped. We have 1 more cubic yard of soil to move. We need it on the ends. But it’s raining and we’re exhausted.

I built up a snake pathway with the clay subsoil, and am placing rocks on the clay bank. We still have some clay soil along the back wall, with just a couple of inches of topsoil. So I will plant herbs and flowers back there that don’t mind the clay.

I planted peas again. I put the kale and cabbage and lettuce in the ground. Everything else can wait until we finish the soil. It’s not completely level but hopefully that will be okay as it’s close.

My wool and nettle beanie was perfect today.
I’m looking forward to my garden!

We got our second Pfizer vaccines on Thursday. I felt so bad I only worked half days on Thursday and Friday. I have a rash and swelling around the injection site. Is that a reaction I should report?

I did get about a half an hour sewing time on my overalls on Saturday.

Now I want some comfort knitting. For me that means wool and stockinette in the round or garter stitch flat. It also means I need to cast on something new.

What’s your comfort knitting go to?

Garden Obsessions

My summer seedlings are starting to grow. They are quite happy in the sunny window, but I’m thinking I will have to put them in bigger pots before setting them out in May. They are getting big fast!

We are still waiting on our gravel and soil. Hopefully that will be delivered in a couple of weeks. Even if I don’t get peas this year, I can plant more pea seeds and eat the shoots. I learned that while watching my new favorite show, “Edible Garden”. I’m watching on BritBox, but it looks like you can watch the full series on this site. Also, she has a book! I’m totally getting the book.

In the meantime, I’m digging up daffodils and separating and replanting the bulbs around. Bob has finished pruning the apple trees. And I’ve been foraging wild spring onions in the woods. I’d like to plant some native wildflowers in our woods, but we have so many walnuts, they discourage other plants from growing. So that’s something to figure out.

I’m so excited for our garden! Now I’m thinking I should plant potatoes and leeks if there is room!

Gardening and a YOP Update

This pretty yellow flowering shrub is not Forsythia! I thought it was, but I was told it’s Spice Bush, a native understory shrub, Lindera benzoin. (Someone commented on my Instagram photo and corrected me, thankfully.) We do seem to have a Forsythia on the other side of our property, though. Once everything is in full bloom I’ll do some pruning and take a photo so we can compare them.

This may not look like much, but I spent several hours digging up the weeds in the garden so I could plant the peas and cabbage and kale. Unfortunately, there’s a layer of clay under the top soil, and we haven’t had any new garden soil delivered yet. So even though I went ahead and planted them, we may not have any peas, cabbage, and kale this year. I’m really proud of myself for digging this up on my own and I only had a little help from Bob, who worked for 10-15 minutes to dig up a huge root system of some old ground cover. It looked like tree roots, it was so big! He broke the pitchfork handle trying to wrest it from its iron tentacle grip. Once he got it up, he shouted at it, “I beat you, you ol’ stump!” Which is a reference to my favorite scene in “Drag Me to Hell.” I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

Fiber Art

I felted a new piece today. This is a peek at some unfelted fiber since I’m not showing the work until the show starts.


When I started getting excited about knitting again, in 2018 I went to A Wool Gathering with my friend Sara. While we were there I picked up two hanks of this linen and cotton slubby yarn with the intention of making a simple drapey top to throw over tank tops in the summer. I finally cast on yesterday. I’m counting this toward design since I knit a gauge swatch, calculated the width I want, and cast on the number of stitches — even though it’s literally two squares of stockinette seamed at the sides and shoulders. The most basic design ever. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Other than that, I’m knitting away on Water and my Malabrigo Rikke hat.


I don’t have any new sewing to show, but I’ve got Water KAL bags to make and I want to cut out my overalls this week.

This has been a Year of Projects Update. You can read my updated list here. You can find out more about the group here.

Yesterday we met one of our neighbors. He mentioned our lot might have been a cemetery at one time? Which explains the limestone pillars. It’s just a rumor, but hopefully we won’t dig up any old bones! No, our house isn’t haunted. I also got bitten by one of his dogs. This was not his fault, as she was on a leash and I stupidly reached down to pet her. His other dog, though, a bulldog named Hammy, was off leash but friendly and adorable. Have you ever been bitten by a dog? It was my first time. I have a small tooth shaped hole in my arm. I will be more cautious about dogs now!

Alissa and Bob Versus Nature

Alissa 1, Virginia Creeper 0

Bob and I worked in the garden this morning. It was exhausting!


The next steps are to drill holes in the drainage pipe, add gravel over the pipe to facilitate drainage, level out the existing soil, cover it with landscaping fabric to kill as many of the weeds that we can, and add a foot or so of garden soil on the top. Then I can plant baby plants!

Virginia Creeper was not going quietly. It fought back by thwacking us in the face multiple times. I think it spit in my eye once. I obtained great satisfaction digging up and pulling out the long roots. Bob started calling it, “Virginia Creeper versus Oklahoma Alissa.” I think I prefer to be called Tenacious A. I won the battle, but I’m sure Virginia Creeper will win the war. So the plan is to continue to cut it back regularly while weeding and hope it gives in to human perseverance someday. There are also some trees in the garden that we will have to work around, but they aren’t as invasive so we will take a live and let live approach with them.

Have you started any spring gardening yet? Do you have any tenacious weeds that won’t go quietly? Do you have any tips? What are you planting this year?

Wednesday WIPs

Today is a bank holiday and Bob is off, so I took a day off too. We worked in our garden.

It may not look like much, but it’s ours. I don’t have a before shot, but it looked something like this:

This is the other side of the garden we haven’t gotten to yet. Basically we cleaned up trash, dug up weeds, and moved gravel. I also moved the mint, blackberry, and lemon balm from the front of the house.

Our garden architecture is a mishmash of breeze blocks, concrete, and ancient limestone pillars, like these two that have been made into steps. We don’t think they are tombstones, but they may have been gate posts. We have two more hanging out at the top of the garden looking for a new purpose. You can see them in the first pic if you look closely.

My Christmas cactus is blooming. I thought this made a good segue into knitting content.

My Shetland tweed throw is almost done. I need to finish the last repeat and then icord an edge all the way around. I would like to try to squeeze one more repeat in as I still have two full and two partial balls left. That may be cutting it close, though.

I’m enjoying the colors on my Barley Light hat.

Trans Rights Are Human Rights sock is coming along. One more blue stripe and I will start the heel flap.

Top down increasing on Franca. Round and round we go!

And here’s another pic of Barley Light. I couldn’t decide which one to use.

How are your WIPs coming along?


I swing in the hammock chair and watch birds.

Other than work, I’m not doing much. I knit a few rows on Deschain here and I’m knitting a heel flap on my Pride sock there. I did plant a small veg and herb garden, and a few flowers. I’ve had to clean up after deer and what is probably a raccoon digging up my beds and pots. But they left it alone last night. A morning of respite! And a fog rolled in.

One tomato and the pepper are still getting over the trauma of being dug up by critters. Twice! I brought the lemon balm, sage, mint, and blackberry from my old garden.

I’ve enjoyed catching up on your blogs. This weekend I will show you my yarn closet!

Summer Cold

I’ve really been dragging this week and I think I have a summer cold. Not much knitting going on here. But here are some pretty pics of flowers.

I received these orchids as a gift in April and they are still blooming. What’s my secret? Benign neglect. When it warmed up I thought they might enjoy the bright diffused light and humidity of the screened-in porch, and I was right. Also, I don’t pay too much attention to them as I hate heat and humidity so I stand inside in the air conditioning and admire them from afar. It suits us both perfectly.

This Christmas cactus is jealous and attempting to bloom in envy. C’mon. Just one flower. You can do it!

After work today I’m going to come home and watch Time Team until I fall asleep. After Bob and I watch the last episode of Dark, that is.