This week was cold, wet, and gray, surely the kind that lies at the origin of the “April showers bring May flowers” adage – an attempt to see hope in the midst of the blah. And so far, cold or no, the showers seem to be working (and even ahead of schedule). It seems like we have a new flower a day in the front yard right now. On Monday, these little blue stars made an appearance (I forget what they’re called, but I do remember planting them).

And then somewhere around Wednesday, the buds on the earliest tulips burst into color. They’ve only just opened this morning, so I’m hoping they’ll be around for a good while yet.

The daffodils are up and growing by leaps and bounds. Their buds are also starting to swell, so we should have a pretty party by the front fence in a couple of weeks.

The back yard is now home to quite a lot of mud, after a week of rain. We’ve gotten rid of (most of) the astroturf now, and have dug the holes that we’ll fill with a base for the new patio. We made a trip to the landscaping store this morning, and there will be 1.3 tons of gravel in our driveway on Monday, ready for schlepping. By the time the patio is in, it will be time to fill the back yard with flowers, too. I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I’ve also been getting a fair bit of knitting done. Branden’s Blue Eyes sweater made good train knitting for the beginning of the week while it was small, but had outgrown my work bag by Wednesday. Note to self: I need to come up with another train project for next week!

It’s been going steadily along at home in the evenings, though, and I’m now a few inches past the sleeve split.

That section just before the sleeve split is always the slowest part in a top-down raglan. The neck shaping goes so fast, and then you get into those endless, endless rows that go all the way around the widest part of the chest and over the longest part of the sleeve all at the same time. It’s such a relief to get back to the main body section and put a third of the stitches onto holders.

I can’t decide how I feel about the colors. In detail, they are spot on, and from far away I like how they pattern is coming out. At each point in the yarn, I like the way the colors combine. And yet, somehow, the magic isn’t there. This colorway doesn’t move me the way some of my dye experiments do. It’s right in all of the particulars, and yet that technical accuracy doesn’t translate into an aggregate that I love. Needs more gray and less brown, I think. The brown was supposed to be a highlight, but in this combination it turned out to be a pretty strong, dominant color. It could also use a bit more of the darker gray-blue.

I like it well enough, though, and Branden likes the colors, which is what matters. And, if I put some of my unconscious expectations aside, it is a rather nice yarn working up into a pretty good sweater. I think it will grow on me in the end.

I do like how the three different plies kind of fade in and out of the yarn. For a while, green will be dominant, then the blue, then the turquoise and gray. The yarn is constantly shifting and changing, which makes it fun to knit with, and the marled yarn gives the colors a dappled look and a depth that I like a lot.

The fabric itself makes me think of an impressionist painting, with little flecks of color here and there adding up to a sum that is somehow different than all its individual parts.

I’m on skein 3 out of 12, so I should definitely have enough yarn to finish the sweater, and perhaps more besides.

Shockingly, the fact that I am past the sleeve split means that it’s time to start thinking about the next project already (especially considering the note about train knitting, above). I thought I’d have a while before I’d have to think up anything new, and here I find myself already needing to start thinking of the next thing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot lined up and waiting, and with end-of-semester brain it will probably take a while to come up with the next project. I had one plan all worked up, and then there was a snafu with the yarn I was going to spin, and I need to find something else. I’m getting a tiny little tickle in the back of my mind about some baby shetland from Greencastle, but that also needs to be spun before it can be knit.

So we’ll see. I think that there will be some spinning of new yarn, and maybe it’s time for a stash toss to see what’s in there that might stand in for a quick project in the meantime. Only one more month until the end of semester, and then there might be space for the design juices to start flowing again. Soon!