Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Lavender is Waking Up!

We had beautiful weather this past weekend and I spent a lot of it out in my lavender field.  I have over 300 plants in our little lavender farm.  This will be our third harvest.  The plants will be ready to harvest in July.  I did a LOT of blogging about lavender last July and my readers seemed to enjoy it.  This year, I thought it would be fun if I took photos in the field every weekend and posted them on the blog.  Over on the sidebar, I'll have the most recent view. You can watch it grow and bloom along with me... but you don't have to do any of the work- just enjoy the view!
The black stuff is landscape fabric.  It's a mesh that allows water and air to circulate but won't let the weeds come up.  It doesn't look great, but it saves me a bazillion hours of weeding.  It also allows me to keep a weed-free field without chemicals.

This past weekend, I pulled the weeds that were around the base of the plants, and I gave them a little haircut.  I just trimmed a little- shaping them and removing any stray sprigs.  It's important to keep lavender in a nicely shaped ball.  One of the most common questions about lavender is why it gets "leggy" and woody.  You have to harvest the lavender (either while it's in bloom or after it's done), and keep the plant groomed into a nice "ball".  If you don't, it will send off woody shoots that can't be neatly trimmed.  If you cut that woody growth, you just get a hole, and if you don't cut it, the plant takes on a weird shape.  And on top of that, you don't get as many blooms.  Some people prune in the spring, some in the fall.  Actually, I like to do it a little earlier but we've had a chilly spring.  If you have a scruffy-looking, leggy lavender plant, just tell it you're sorry, dig it up and toss it.  This is a great time to plant a nice new little lavender plant.  For tips on planting, look back at my posts from last July.

I'll be shipping fresh bundles anywhere in the US in July (sorry no international sales of fresh lavender).  I sell fresh lavender in July and dried lavender buds and other lavender products all year on the Alderwood Quilts website.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cirque du Solei

We went to see Kooza, the Cirque du Solei traveling French circus show last night.  How amazing!  No animal acts- all comedy, clowns, contortion, acrobatics, and music.  We've never seen anything like this.  It's not what I normally think of as a circus.  It's much more of a show.  In fact, I know they do a lot of this in Vegas.

High wire act.  The men on the bottom were on bicycles on a high wire.... supporting the man on the chair above them.

And the crowd favorite- the Wheel of Death.  These guys are beyond belief... spinning and running and flipping inside and out of the rings. 

The show is in Portland for a month.  Our son called us yesterday and said he had tickets for us.  What a surprise! We had an evening to remember.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Social Butterfly Socks Finished

These socks were a KAL with the Knitters Brewing Company on Ravelry.  I started them in March and had the first one done and second one half done by the end of March... but it took me a while to get up the enthusiasm to finish the second sock.  I'm glad I did because they turned out cute.
This is the first time I ever knitted beads into a project.  The butterflies on the leg and top of foot have beads in the design.  Don't look too closely.... the are far from perfect!  But if they're on my foot, and my foot is on the floor, and if other people are looking at them from about 5 feet off the floor- they look pretty close to perfect.  :-)
Here's a picture of the back of the leg and the heel.

I love this yarn.  It looks solid from a distance, but close up, it is variegated with the colors very close.  It's a nice soft yarn, too.

I have another challenging sock in progress- one down, one to go.  I think I'll take a little break and make a simple sock- no fancy stuff.  After I finish the basic sock, I'll go back and finish the second challenging one.

I've mentioned Ravelry a few times before, but here I go again.  If you like to knit or crochet and haven't checked out Ravelry, you're missing a LOT.  They have tons of free patterns and inspiration, not to mention a fun community of yarn-lovers.  My Ravelry user name is SueHauser.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Giveaway

The May giveaway is an adorable Mary Engelbreit pincushion.

To enter, just reply to this post and ask to be included.  You get a second entry if you let me know that you are a follower (long time follower or a newbie!).  And for a third entry, mention my giveaway on your blog and let me know.

I'll select a winner at random on June 1st.  Good luck!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Winner Is......

(drum roll, please.....)..... GERRY!  She won the April blog giveaway, which is the tiny little iron and two sparkly fat quarters.   Gerry's blog is GerryArt.  I'll send you an email, Gerry.

I have the May giveaway ready- just need to take a photo of it and get it on the blog.  Look for it to show up this coming week.

Congrats, Gerry!