Brought to You By the Letter "S"

S is for Sock

This is the latest test knit for Anastasia and Kollage. It's a herringbone rib sock knit in Luscious. Again, I am loving this yarn. It is super soft, has no wool (a blessing in Tucson), and it great to work with. The pattern is simple and guy-friendly -- gotta love that.

S is for SSGTSKI

That was the license plate number on this gas guzzler we found parked right in front of our house Sunday evening. Now, our HOA has very strict rules about vehicles parked in the street -- in fact I wouldn't be surprised if our landlords have already received a citation for this. But look a little closer:

Have I mentioned before that M is a MINISTER?! Fortunately, none of the church members are likely to be in our neighborhood or stopping by on a Sunday evening, but still. Don't know who among our neighbors was having the party, but I wonder if they just didn't want the thing parked in front of their house.

S is for Summer Knitting

Isabella is coming along, though she's been set aside to work on the test socks. I'm liking the pattern, and I think the simplicity of the stockinette was exactly what I needed after my failure with the lace earlier this month.

S is for Scorpion

They're endemic to the area, and we were bound to run into one (or more) eventually. But did it have to be him. You see, of all the species of scorpion in these here United States, there is only one which is capable of killing a human being with its venom alone (some people die from other scorpion stings due to anaphalactic shock rather than the toxicity of the venom). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Centruroides sculpturatus, the Arizona bark scorpion. This one found lounging in our hallway Saturday evening. Now, even this one isn't going to kill a healthy adult human, but it can kill children and by extension my animals (reports that cats are immune to scorpion venom are probably unfounded). And its sting is PAINful, or so I've heard. This one was removed without incident, and we haven't seen any others. (Though there is a certain someone out there, BRUCE, who insists on telling us horror stories about scorpions in an attempt to get us to call the exterminator now.)

S is for Sunset

We are treated to a beautiful one nearly every evening here in the desert. This was Sunday's.

Perhaps that S should be for "skybluepink" -- that lovely color the sky turns briefly at sunset.

And finally....

S is for Sedona

Where M and I are going this weekend to relax and recharge. And probably hike and shop some, too. The socks and Isabella are going with me.

More Desert

Okay, I realize that this isn't supposed to be a desert blog, but indulge me -- it's my sandbox.

Ina asked in the comments to "Spring is Springing" if the ferny foliage behind the bird of paradise is from the bird itself. Here's the pic:
Yes, indeed, the ferny foliage belongs to the bird of paradise. It's a woody shrub or tree, and like many trees native to the Sonoran (I've never lived in any other desert, so I don't know about them) it has tiny leaves in these fern-like configurations which make the trees look very airy. So there must be some advantage in this climate to having lots of small leaves rather than a few large ones. Another thing I'm sure must have some adaptive advantage is the bearing of leguminous (?) seeds. The bird of paradise, mesquite, palo verde, ironwood and a number of other viney/shrubby things all bear seeds in pods like beans or peas.

In knitting news, I have about 8" of the back of Isabella done. No pics, sorry. I also received a shipment from Kollage to start test knitting another pair of socks for Anastasia. This one is a ribbed pattern rather than lace (probably good given my recent issues with lace). No pics there, either.

Until I have something more exciting to say....


A Tale of Two Swatches

Alligator scarf being finished (hang on 'til the end, there are photos), I went looking for my next project. Determined that it would be something practical that we can actually use here in Tucson (where daytime highs are reliably above the mid-80s and climbing steadily), I kinda became enamoured with the Leaf Kimono Top from the Summer Interweave Knits. It thought it would be perfect for over a tank top with a little skirt, just to dress it up a bit. And I knew just the yarn to make it with.

So, I made a swatch:

Gauge was perfect; I really liked the lace pattern; I suspected a potential problem. You see, there are four repeats of the lace pattern on the swatch, and not a single one of them was accomplished without some swearing and some tearing. I wasn't to be dissuaded, so on I went.

But it's really not to be right now. I managed the first row of the lace pattern fine, but when it came to row 3, nothing doing. It is evidence of how stressed/exhausted/fed up I am after the IL visit that I actually threw the thing and swore. Needless to say, it's been frogged. I haven't given up on the pattern, but I think I need more sleep or more distance from THE VISIT before tackling the first non-sock lace I've knit in a while.

What to do, what to do. Enter my Ravelry queue. Isabella has been on my wish list since it came out, and the yarn I was planning to use for the lace top will also work for it.

Enter swatch #2:

Stockinette at just 27 sts to 4", perfect for Isabella. So, she's been cast on, and I've finished about 10 rows. I think a little stockinette with just a bit of shaping and a few eyelet rows is just the speed I need now.

Oh, the yarn? It's Valley Yarns Hampshire Brights, a long discontinued 6/2/2 mercerized cotton that I've got a couple of cones of sitting around here.

And the FO. For your inspection, one alligator scarf:
Here stretched out on Gnash, the alligator who lives on our bed.

Pattern: Moorehouse Farms Alligator Scarf (finally available as a pattern only!)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport #522, just over 1 ball (62 grams, to be exact)
Needles: Brittany Walnut #5
Mods: Aside from knitting it in a different yarn, none.

I like it. It is definitely kid-sized, which is fine with me. Some child in the extended family will be happy to have it. Interesting: I actually have enough of every color in the Dr. Who scarf to make one like it. Perhaps I will someday. For now, on to other things for US this time.

But one last shot of the 'gator:
Here modelled by Baloo, M's bear.

And another, totally typical of Tucson, picture:
That's a bucket of grapefruit given to M by one of the church members. It's not unusual for her to come home with grapefruit at least once a week. Sometime it's oranges; once it was a whole boatload of something called a limequat (?).

In some parts of the country, you need to fend off the zucchini; here, it's citrus. Which I don't mind one bit. Most of the grapefruit are destined for juicing as they are sooooo ripe and juicy as to be difficult to eat without needing a bath after.

Just one of the things I love about our new home.


The in-laws are gone, and Tucson is once again ours. Goodness what a trying week. I have debated with myself whether or not I wanted to post about it, and I've decided I would rather my blog stay a (mostly) positive place. So, suffice it to say that we're glad they're back in Rhode Island, and that Tucson was sufficiently "different" (and therefore, in FIL's mind, BAD) that they will likely NOT be considering it as a new retirement destination.

To distract you from the fact that there's no real knitting to report on (alligator scarf IS done, but I haven't photo'd it yet), I'll just share yet more pictures of the desert.

The morning of day 1 of the visit was spent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, one of our favorite places in Tucson (well, it, like us, is actually in Marana, I think). It's not really a museum, not really a zoo, not really a botanical garden, not really a wild animal park, but it has aspects of all of them and is internationally renowned in those circles. Anyhoo, some views of the day (oh, since all these are on Flickr, clicking on them will get you to the larger version):
Crown Saguaro at Desert Museum
A crown(ed?) saguaro that sits outside the entrance of the Museum. This is a small and not very spectacular specimen (for a great one, see here), but it is an interesting view of an odd mutation.

Century Plant Flowering
A "century plant" (agave) -- well, two really -- sending up its one flower. Agaves grow for many years (though probably not the 100 that gives them their nickname), storing up large quantities of sugar in their hearts; then, in one spectacular season, they send up these enormous blooms and then die. This one (on the left) is near or over 10' tall, but was only a nubbin when we moved here last October. The one on the right probably bloomed last year.

This little guy came out to say hi while we were sitting in the shade outside the hummingbird enclosure. I especially like how he was kind enough to sit in a spot of sunshine for his closeup.

I am especially proud of this photo, snapped just as the parrot turned his head. The museum (in addition to a hummingbird enclosure) has a walk-in aviary where you can get up close and personal with a lot of birds (and mice, and tarantulas). That's where this guy lives.

Daddy bighorn is always willing to pose for photos. By the time we got to this enclosure, the rest of the family was hiding in the shade -- hard to photograph.

This little squirrel just appeared at our feet as we were investigating the agave garden:
More agaves doing their once-in-a-lifetime blooming.

I call this guy "Buddha Prairie Dog". He was sharing his enclosure with the rest of the prairie dog family and this guy:
That's a roadrunner (beep! beep!).

Back at home now -- a couple days before the ILs arrived. This is one agitated Mommy and Daddy quail. Why?

Some horrible human was taking pictures of their babies. This one you might want to click on to go to Flickr where I've added notes showing where the (very well camouflaged) babies are (there are 5 of them).

Just a few pics, eh? I promise that now that life is somewhat back to normal, I will try to post regularly again. First up, finished photos of the alligator scarf.

Oh, and in exciting news, I've picked up some more sample/test knitting assignments. M's senior pastor thinks it's quite cool that I can get paid to knit.