We have had a wet and windy Memorial Day weekend but that didn't stop our little Mr. Green Jeans from taking on his gardening chores! His new hat is the super fantastic new pattern, Shiftalong by the adorable Andrea Mowry. She hosted a KAL during this holiday weekend and I jumped right in when I saw her pictures. I was so lucky that my local knit shop, Uncommon Threads, had the model colors in stock. While I was purchasing the two skeins another knitter was in there with the same idea. I think this is going to be one popular hat. It's knit in Spincycle Yarns Dyed In The Wool using two skeins; one of Melancholia, the blue, and one of Stay Out Of The Forest, an orange multi. The yarn looks homespun (it's not), has gorgeous colorways and is surprisingly soft when knitted up. It gets even softer after a bath. The yarn is pricey but since I've always wanted to try it, I thought this hat pattern was a good way to give it a try without too big of an investment. If you want to splurge on a fun yarn and pattern, I think you will love knitting this. Of course you could use any fingering or sport weight stash yarn that makes gauge--my next one is from stash yarn. The pattern comes in 3 sizes--I made the smallest for Carter. Isn't is gorgeous? I love it so much. Links are at the end of the post.

Today is Memorial Day. Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes and we are thinking of them today. I hope you are able to spend this holiday with those you love doing the things you love. 
xo Kristen

I asked Carter to hold up the colors next to his face to see if they looked good on him. They did!
I love it so much I decided to knit one for my 18 year old granddaughter. 

My Ravelry project page with all the details

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Alaskan Pullover

This is one of my favorite baby sweaters to date. It's easy and fun to knit made even nicer with Rowan Softyak DK. If you are looking for something to knit for baby, I think you would love making this. Young moms like this one because it's trendy modern and not so baby-baby. The colorwork is super easy mosaic knitting which only uses one color per row and slipped stitches. I made this little red one for a baby gift. I met this new mama and her mama 35 plus years ago at a Gymboree class when she and my son were 3 months old. It's nice that the parents and grown children have remained friends ever since. I've paired it with a pair of tiny jeans and it was a hit at the baby shower.

The pattern, Alaska Pullover by Anir Berkimbayeva.
(The pattern is currently undergoing an update and will be active again by the end of April.)
(Softyak is to die for, so lovely to knit up. I put it in the wash machine on cool gentle and while the ball band does not recommend it, I have put it in a dryer on low with no problems.)

Below are pictures from last year of the pullover I knit for my grandson. I used the same yarn and colors, but reversed. He looked so cute in it and it was his daddy's favorite sweater for his son. I think it's time to knit him another for fall!

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Happy May Day

I remember May Days as a young girl. As children we would invite our mothers to school to see the classroom dance around the maypole. Long ribbons were tied to the top of the tether ball pole and each child would hold a ribbon end. We would circle around, weaving in and out of each other, raising arms, lowering arms, moving forward then going back, all the while singing songs. I remember it being very choreographed and having to watch the teacher as she clapped her hands and directed us. We took it very seriously and were so proud when at the end we had covered the gray metal with pretty ribbons.

When my son was little, we would poke holes into paper plates and push rose stems through and then tie a ribbon to the top of the plate. We would sneak up to a neighbors house and hang them on the doorknob, ring the bell and run away. My son would get the biggest kick out of that and when my grandson is older, we will continue that tradition. One year we decorated our 110 pound German Shepherd's collar with flowers. She was gorgeous anyway, but the flowers made her look like a queen. She was well behaved and we walked her through our downtown and everyone made the biggest fuss. I don't even like to think about how May Day has changed. I do hope little children still get to have fun and that we all can rejoice in the beauty of the season!

My wisteria is at its peak and the roses are nearing their peak. Please, take a peek! The first two pictures are  of Red Simplicity by Jackson Perkins. This is a very reliable rose and very easy to grow. We have five red bushes outside our bedroom patio and two dozen pink bushes along our front. They are a variety that is never without a bloom from now through fall.

Along our tree rose border we have two prolifically blooming yellow roses. I wish I knew the name! The last two pictures are David Austin's Abraham Darby. That bush is along the fence of our vegetable garden and grows to seven feet tall.

Carter is helping with the watering.

The next two are Abraham Darby, another David Austin and also along our veg garden fence.

Below is a bicolor David Austin, also along the veg garden fence.

Over the years I have lost the names of many of the roses. Below is another David Austin English rose. This rose showcases what David Austin roses mean to me: heavy, seductive old-rose fragrance, healthy, prolific bloomer, and heavily petaled. It is outside our bedroom patio and when we have the door open, the old rose fragrance is powerful and beautiful. Sweet dreams!

We are nearing the end of our orange production. When it's good and done, I don't know what Carter will make of that! Every time he comes over he wants to pick a few oranges to juice. He is very proud that he knows how to put together our juicer. It's his job after all! The kids have a new dog, a very well behaved French Bulldog. He's a puppy and likes to come over too. Their older dog is delighted to stay home where it's quiet and he can get a good rest.

Next is my favorite rose in the garden. It's Pierre De Ronsard, aka, Eden. I'll take another picture next week when it will be smothered in blooms. It stands at the entrance to the vegetable garden and is off our family room patio. 

This next one is my husband's favorite; Climbing First Prize, with blossoms the size of dinner plates. 

Next year we will give our grandson his own little plot in the garden. I think he will be ready. This year he helped plant a few seeds and we talked about what is going to happen, but he doesn't understand what it's all about yet.

This picture makes me laugh. He was helping his papa see if the water was coming out of the sprinkler they had just installed in the rosemary pot. My husband was at the other end of the garden shouting, "Is it on yet?" and Carter would say, "No". Then when the water did come on, he had a big smile and shouted, "The water is on now, Papa!". He loves to help so much. At 20 months he is quite a talker. 

We've planted 18 tomato plants which is less than we have in the past. It's plenty!

Carter has a keen desire to know how things work and carefully watches things click and rotate.
In the house he loves dismantling baby proof devices.

Knock Out, above and below.

We have two Japanese wisterias in the back growing up a large wooden lath structure. This year one bloomed, one didn't. The racemes of this variety get very long, about 4 feet or more. They will continue to grow until the blooms fade and drop. I'll take a picture when they are at their longest. It's really pretty amazing.

Seventy five years ago our property, which was an apricot orchard, was subdivided and our house was built. We still have some of the old tools that were left behind. Here is a tall fruit picking ladder that is too rickety for use these days. You can see the racemes of the wisteria are close to 3 feet now and they will grow longer.

I've transplanted all the zinnias that I started in the greenhouse.
I planted some different varieties that you might like to know about. I'll make a post soon.

I hope this spring day finds you happy and healthy.
Happy Spring.
Happy May Day.
xo Kristen

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