The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival-A Color Fiend’s Dream

Neutral and I don’t jive.  Beige makes me bonkers. Saturated colors please me.  They permeate my knitting and quilting, gardening and home decor choices.

Yesterday I took a day-trip adventure.  I visited some familiar quilting shops in  Anacortes and planned a couple hikes on Fidalgo Island. A 35 minute ferry ride from Port Townsend to Coupeville and a 1 hour and change drive delivered me to fields of blooms for the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

I chose Roozengarde, a family owned, HUGE bulb grower. They plant over 1,000,000 bulbs each year.  In the fall, planned beds of bulbs are planted with 100+ types of tulips and 45+ other bulb types (iris, hyacinth, crocus, daffodil).  The Spring Tulip Festival showcases them to the public.


Swathes of planned color fill manicured grounds.


You’ll see a trend in my photos, having a sweet spot for orange, purple and blue placed together.


Next to the fields, behind the “authentic Dutch windmill” who’s photo did not turn out, drifts of plantings soften the contrasting foothills horizon.




Fields of mass plantings are open for public perusal.  An early, warm spring means I missed the daffodils.  Bummer.

It’s striking. Mount Baker peeks up.



A chance to familiarize myself with different tulip varietals, I found I like the doubles as well as the single blooms.  I think this one is called Angelique. Lovely!


The classic Singles are classified into early vs late blooming with heights specified in the catalog.

Queen of the Night. I think.  Stunning!

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Roman Empire – These remind me of the red and white tulips from my grandma’s garden. I loved ’em.  They reminded me of peppermint candy.


These are called Fringed because the petals are, you guessed it, fringed.


Here, Ballerina is a lily flowering variety, the pointed petals point outward. They are on my order wish-list.




Muscari is the purple, short flower on the right.  Scented so sweetly, it will be planted by the tulips I order for the fall.


I’ve circled daffodils, crocus, tulips and hyacinth in my catalog. The ordering deadline, for best selection, is August 31 for fall delivery or pick-up.  Having some time to plan I’d ,like to map out some spots to naturalize with bulbs.  The gardening bug’s bitten me, folks.

The festival is huge, many towns have special events, art fairs, runs. I saw a mere sliver.  Next year I’d like to bike around it.  It’s worth a trip if you’re in the area.

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2015 Knitting Goals – Let’s call ’em goals from now on.

Why do I write this post yearly?  [Why am I writing this 3 months into the year?  Ha Ha!]

I don’t believe in personal new years resolutions.  If I need to get my act together or work on something personal I just do it.  I may be rather Virgo-pragmatic-organized-stubborn but I don’t map out my actions for the entire year. For knitting I benefit from a bit of structure.  I get startitis, becoming overwhelmed by the prospect of casting on a new project, sifting and sorting through the stash in a glazed-in-the-eyes sort of way, far from monogamous to the project on the needles.  I’m also distracted from knitting by now having a great sewing room set up, a yard and garden to play in, and the urge to hike for hours whenever I can.

So much to do!

2015 will be the year of just letting the knitting be what it is – with just a bit of structure.  ;  )

2015 Knitting Goals 

  1. Knit 3/7 days per week, even if its just a few rows or 5 minutes in a day.  Bring knitting to work with me and retreat to it on a break, even for just a couple minutes. Keep something with me always.  Don’t record the days.  Just self-monitor.
  2. Use Afghans for Afghans projects as portable projects, simple projects that require little focus/attention.  Use them to experiment with new stitch patterns.  Use up those odds n ends of worsted weight partial skeins I have.
  3. Have all Christmas gifts completed by December 15, 2015.  Get a stash of birthday knitting together.  (All sisters have fall birthdays which makes for a crunch if I’m not prepared.)  Focus on simpler, smaller gifts.
  4. Make two sweaters for myself this year. This is totally attainable.  One is nearly done.
  5. Document my stash in Ravelry.  There’s a small fortune there.  And it’s not recorded. Being a new homeowner, I need to check with my insurance company and see how to document belongings in case of catastrophe.  Cull the stash.  Really look at it and bid farewell to what I am not using.  Fingering weight, sorry but that means you.
  6. Keep the knit it out/add to stash ratio at 4 skeins used to 1 added.  Track it. Otherwise it’s a lost cause. And damn you WEBS for the Anniversary sale preview video in my email this AM.  I really need to unsubscribe from such emails.  But I won’t.
  7. Knit some home decorating items this year such as cabled or colorwork pillow covers, an afghan (that may be a bit lofty a goal).

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2014 Knitting Resolutions – How Did I do? – Oops a bit late on this post.

Coolish, grey, threatening to rain today.  Way too much gardening (that’s code for rocky boilerplate removal in the front yard) yesterday, in tandem with some volunteer tree planting, is keeping me inside, warm, and nursing a some right arm tendonitis ouchiness.  What’s a gal to do?

Surf Ravelry. And blog.  Maybe quilt later.

It dawned on me I never posted a 2014 knitting year in review or 2015 knitting resolutions post.

Here’s the wrap up from 2014.


  1. Knit 4 out of 7 days per week.  Track it. – Didn’t track. Tracking this is just not practical. It is realistic to aim for the quantity of time, though.  
  2. Limit all projects to stash yarn ONLY with the exception of add’l skeins needed to finish a project or one or two to supplement what’s already in the stash.  This is going to be difficult.  I’ll allow new yarn purchases at the rate of one skein ONLY per 6 used. (Slapping forehead with hand and muttering.) – Didn’t track all purchases but I think I did pretty well with this.  I ordered from Little Knits and Webs once in 2014, both had huge sales.  A few souvenir yarns (from visiting shops while traveling) made it into my stash. 
  3. Finish a minimum one item per month EVERY month. – Near Success!  Excepting January, April and October I finished al least one project a month.  
  4. Make a minimum 6 pairs of mittens for  Afghans for Afghans. – Tally:  One hat, one pair socks.  
  5. Knit two sweaters for myself. – Not even close.  
  6. Finish all 2014 Christmas gifts by December 15, 2013.  I’d like to knit for 5 people. That’s one project every two months with due dates of: April 1, June 1, August 1, October 1, December 1  – Success!  I had it together this year.  Not all were completed every other month but I did not leave anything to the last minute.  I’m quite proud of this success as I did not stress out last year. Although I did not schedule the projects out over the year,  most all were completed from July-November.  





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Gardening, Knitting, Nesting – An Update

As usual, I’m way behind on posting stuff. I’ve a hike and a road trip to share.  For now, a mini-update on what’s new.

Knitting:  Baby shower in April for sis Karen is coming up. I’ve made this little Leaf Lace set before.  It’s so stinkin’ cute!  Hope she likes it and isn’t peeking.  Yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash in a juicy berry color.  Also getting near the finish of my Mina Cardigan, which has been on the needles 2 days shy of two years.  Thank you,  Ravelry, for the reminder to the date.  Second sleeve is nearly done. A bit of seaming, a shawl collar and it shall be done.  The Lopi stash wants me to make a Riddari. I resist. Must finish Mina first.


Been busy outside.  Yard’s never been gardened or landscaped. It’s a blank slate. It makes me want to get going and have it all done yesterday.  Arrrgh!

A path’s going in to the front door and around the side yard.



The soil’s compacted glacial till, hard as a rock.  A pick-axe is needed to bust through.  I forsee a trip to an equipment rental shop to get something that digs.  My goal is to get rid of most of the grass and replace it with fruit trees, plantings (shrubs, veggies, flowers) and maybe a dry river bed sort of feature in front.  It’s going to take a lot of time, work and patience.  Pete’s building flower boxes that will dress up the windows.

The front steps are getting a makeover until they can be rebuilt out wider and more gracious-looking. A coat of dark brown, non-slip paint and a painted front door are planned for when it dries out a bit.

I’ve ALWAYS wanted a door the color of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Sherwin Williams makes a red called Fireweed that is supposed to be a close match.  The middle red, below, is it.  It’s a bit more orange than the photo shows. I just love it!


On to the back yard. Oh the back yard.  One corner is very low. Drainage from the hillside above me and the downspouts pools in quite a depression.  The vision is to turn it into a native plant-woodsy-garden. I’d like to get more bird and frog habitat in there. This will require trenching out a more defined “moat” of sorts to facillitate drainage. We’ll  put in some drain culvert, and raise up the back end and middle with fill to allow a path through. Fortunately, we have a huge pile of sand from digging up the front yard that will work well.

The brush pile mid-photo is now about twice that height.  A thicket of completely overgrown holly, himalayan raspberry,  and some other sort of thorn-covered nastiness, We’ve left in some wild roses, snowberry, ferns and salal. The trees are willows and now sport lovely, pale green baby leaves.  I’d like to put some rhododendrons in. I’ve planted huckleberry, red elderberry, a white pine and flowering currants. This project will be a lengthy one.

A raised bed is planted with cool weather greens (rabe, spinach, lettuce and miners lettuce) and chives.



Huckleberry from the native plant sale.



My awesome neighbors contributed three spring bearing and three fall bearing raspberry canes as well as some rhubarb to the cause. I just love that gardening can be an act of sharing. There’s a seed and plant swap at the Grange coming up I’d like to go to.


Wee little spinach plants. Come on sun!  Get these guys going.


I get impatient.  Last year I learned a lesson that all the planting will erupt into a mad explosion of color. In the mean time, I’ve been slowing myself to enjoy the little pleasures like these crocus I planted shortly after moving in.






And this Bleeding Heart Pete found bravely sprouting up in a yard waste pile he unearthed. Pretty little thing!


There will be much more to share!



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