Saturday, June 24, 2023

What is goin on

That is not a typo in the heading! I have other things to share besides darning this week but it's always best if we open with a knit, even if it's a knit with an inexplicable hole in it:

And just in case you were wondering, yes. This is the exact sock I darned last week. I totally missed that this bit needed doing.

In related news (by which I mean, news related to this picture) Pete scored not one but two varieties of lemon thyme for me this spring! plus some very healthy rosemary and a boisterous basil, none of which we have yet planted. 


It's been a busy week for me. There was a lot of organizing around a dishwasher leak at our condo, bad enough to have me looking up flooring and on-site contractors to install same, and there were more Tiny Home developments, mainly to do with it being nearly ready and the permit to install it on site, not. 

I wrote up my thoughts on the awesomeness of Daphne du Maurier's writing, because my current crime novel is a finalist for this year's Daphne du Maurier award in the unpublished mainstream category, and the organizers were organizing fun copy to celebrate the impressive 25th anniversary of this contest.

I thought about Instagram and whether or not I should give it a go. 

I gave my new pale pink running shoes a lot of road time - walking pace only, though I am sorely tempted to pick up running again - and I went to the dentist because c'mon guys, you know I know how to have a good time. 

I also had two requests for the Strawberry Sundae hat I designed lo these many years ago for Biscotte Yarns. I'm not sure now why I don't have that pattern available. I think I must not have written it up to share here because it went into a pattern book there. Either way, it's nice to know people still want to knit it even if finding that out is a prelude to disappointing them.

Okay, back to the darning problem, a subject which is completely beneath Ricardo, our resident rooster.

Of course I fixed the hole.

It looked just as shabby and botched as last time, but unlike last time, when I turned it inside out it was neither subtle nor sufficient.

Those big loose threads look guaranteed to wear down fast, so I had to get back in there and try again. 

Better now, right? Ugly on both sides, but all stopped up!

I was still admiring my entirely amateurish handiwork when I noticed something else.

It's not a hole. But it's going to be a hole. So I mended that too.

And now I am done with darning, at least for today.

Hope you had a fun week! Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you next Saturday.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Darned if I do

I was too lazy to go upstairs for socks when my feet got cold watching WWII documentaries yesterday (do I know how to spend a Friday night, or what) so I grabbed a pair from the very small Just Darned pile nearby and saw this:

a big hole on the right, in the red stripe

Seriously, this was a sock I had already patched up. I really hope I do not have to blame moths, because the rest of the to-do darning is in a giant yellow Pyrex mixing bowl, and I can't help but feel moths would see that as an invitation to dinner.

Anyway, I decided to make lemonade and bring you along for some darning in a sunny patch on the back deck for today's Hug. 

(I didn't literally make lemonade. I made tea in fact, and then forgot it on the counter until it was very cold and murky looking. I will make another round after I finish telling you all about my darning adventure.)

First step: find red yarn. I didn't have any in my bowl full of darning yarn, which thankfully appears to be unattractive to moths, so I raided some from a ball I'd been saving for stripey fingerless mitts:

Note the protective plastic bag in which this yarn is stored. No moths here, baby.

Next up: gathering tools and heading outside.

See how healthy and bunchy our boxwood looks? This time last year it was nearly dead from a very much non-native caterpillar infestation. I spent about a week picking off tiny caterpillars and dramatically pruning away branches, and then had to do it all again later in the summer when the next round hatched, but boy was it worth it. 

And now, back to the task at hand.

I like to make a sneaky sideways approach to a hole in a sock, so as not to startle the hole into getting bigger, and also to ensure the starting end doesn't pull out of the sock and make everything open up again once I'm done. 

Lots of back and forth.

And crissing and crossing. 'Dog's Breakfast' is a term that springs to mind. At this point I was thinking, the other side is going to look beyond awful, and also, I don't care. But you know what? When I finished and flipped the sock right side out again, it took me a minute to figure out where the hole was.

Let's try again.


I mean, it's there. You can probably see it. But it's not obvious, is it. I even took another picture inside, away from glare, and it's still pretty subtle.

You'd think this successful surgery on a much-loved sock would motivate me to spend the rest of the day darning socks, wouldn't you? Or maybe you wouldn't... I mean, you can see yourself it is very sunshiney and nice outside. And I do have snaily tendencies when it comes to this sort of thing. Best intentions, worst follow through.

Not like a real snail, such as the one I saw on a walk with a friend this week:

I mean that snail is GOIN for it. Those eyes are as far out as they can be, like they're willing the rest of that body to catch up, and talk about tire marks as it speeds out of the grass to get to wherever it's headed.

Where I'm headed, on my way to do more darning or just to read a book before supper: the kettle! I really do want that tea. I hope you a have a wonderful weekend - see you here next Saturday, okay?

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Baby bird

We had an extremely cute visitor this week and I got the best photos I could manage, which is to say, they are not great, but you'll get the idea.

resting birdface

I had no idea what this bird was. Pete thought 'robin' but it was way too big, and all the wrong shape, plus all the wrong colours, so I looked it up and he was right - only it's a baby!

baby bird caught us staring

I have never, ever seen a baby robin in feathers, and it was super exciting that this one stayed on our deck for about half an hour - on the arm of a chair, and later in the shrub that borders the south side. The mother bird eventually turned up on the grass below, with a second baby bird hopping along after her for worm treats, which she sourced and delivered. SO. CUTE. 

(I did not get pictures of the sib.)

(I also did not get a picture of our bird when it saw us staring and opened its beak RIGHT up in case we were going to give it something. I have never seen anything so yellow.)

The mother bird was much smaller than her babies, because boy those baby feathers are fluffy.

resting birdface after discovering
the humans in the window were not worm delivery


The other nice thing that happened this week was the cover reveal for the second anthology I am in this year. Isn't it a beaut?

I really, really love this cover...
especially the blues, and the watery red ring!

 It's even got watercolour on it, how perfect is that? This anthology is part of this year's Bouchercon mystery convention, so it features the event's special guests - C.J. Box, Ann Cleeves, and Naomi Hirahara - as well as other writers like me, with story ideas to set in or around San Diego.

It won't be released till August 30th this year but is available for pre-order directly from the publisher, Down & Out Books, or from Amazon. I'm putting a link to that on to the sidebar as well.

I had knitting plans for this week, but my hands were too busy on the keyboard, so I didn't get to a photograph-able place. Maybe next week? A girl can hope.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a wonderful week after a fantastic weekend - see you again next Saturday!

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Come and watch some paint dry

After all the excitement of the last few weeks, I don't have much to offer you today. Let's start our nothing time with a look at the darning threads malingering on my desk, instead of magically fixing holes in socks for me while I sleep:

By contrast, our tiny home is coming along super fast. By the time I post this it will probably have interior wall finishes up, but let's make do with this earlier-in-the-week photo of the exterior insulation and windows.

The double window toward the left side will be over the sink!

It's amazing to think that this place, which has existed in my head as a fully finished kind of clubhouse, will be something I can step into, on site, in just a few more weeks. 

We're not likely to have water at that point, however. We haven't been able to get a call back from anybody who does wells.

Also we now realize we have to have the site graded into a level surface. This is where I'm really happy you need the same equipment for foundations, septic beds, and grading and retaining walls: one contractor can do it all, and our contractor is good at it to boot.


Meanwhile, things at home are green and leafy - bucolic even:

The leafy bower in the corner of the yard,
where one might lie in a hammock to read a novel
if one wasn't busy sitting in a chair writing one

 Pete's current round of grass seed has been no match for the clover and wild violets, but I'm happy for Not Mud.

By contrast, there's been shrinkage in the stack of stone in the driveway (a local landscaping business puts its overage out on the curb for neighbours' use, always a thrill)... 


Pete takes a little with him every time he goes to the property where the tiny home will go, because we're going to use it to make a patio or maybe even paths around a kitchen garden. I have a terrible feeling it's going to be me doing this job, so I'm trying to stretch out my leg muscles now. Every time I set out a stone path it's like they retract by fifty percent or more.

And the white flowers on our neighbours' rosehip-like shrub are in full bloom, which means they are also dropping their adorable heart-shaped petals:

Warm feelings and happy thoughts among the debris, is how I see them.

I hope you've had a wonderful week since last time - see you next Saturday!