Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Knitting Up VK Live 2012: Silver Optima

Mocha's Fiber Silver Optima "Peacock"

There are more and more places to get awesome limited-edition yarns these days. Sheep and Wool festivals, Stitches events, and Vogue Knitting Live all feature amazing stuff you can't get at most local yarn shops or from most big discount yarn retailers. You can get most of them online, but then you can't experience them before buying. And the experiencing is definitely part of the fun.

I went to VK Live in New York in January, wanting a yarn fix. O did I ever get a yarn fix. And this was one of the first things I found:

Mocha's Fiber Silver Optima "Peacock"

Silver Optima "Peacock." 63% Merino, 20% Silk,15% Nylon, with a fine silver thread. Smooshy fluffy shiny sparkly yarn heaven.

I partook of but one skein. I've been doing lots of one-skein things lately. What to make of this one skein? I'm in cowl/neckwarmer mode so that seemed logical. The Enormous Ravelry Queue I've developed yielded many fine project ideas.

The Smoke Ring Cowl won the beauty contest. The flat areas show off the colors of the yarn nicely, the raised cables show off the sparkle, and knitting it in the round was tons of fun because of the cable and lace combo. Alas I have yarn left over! Nearly 1/3 the skein. I guess I'll save it along with all the other leftover handpaints for the future Missoni Scarf project...

Smoke Ring Cowl

Habenaria medusa: Year 2!

Habenaria medusa

Deciduous terrestrial orchids are not for the anxious nor the impatient. They grow...they flower...and then they decline, collapse and vanish. Their proud green leaves yellow and wither. They look sad. But rather than  immediately nurture them  back to health, you have to be cruel: you have to neglect them for their own good, until they are once again ready to face the light and air.
(Not every terrestrial does this; a few are happy to bounce back and form new growths within weeks or even days of losing their previous growth. Two of my Stenoglottis sceptrodes hardly go dormant at all, forming new rosettes before the old ones are even yellow; a third one however decided to take a nice long rest before re-sprouting a couple of weeks ago.)
Habenarias cause much nail-biting and consternation. H. rhodochila is apparently notorious for being short-lived indoors, though friends of mine grow theirs into happy clumps loaded with flowers year after year. I expected H. medusa to be a drama queen too -- but no!
Last year, I planted two tubers and delighted in watching one grow to full-blooming magnificence. The second one grew leaves, and then the leaves rotted off at the base. Dooooomed! BUT NO. After many months of keeping both pots under close watch, watering sparingly every 10 days to prevent total dessication of the tubers (which is extremely necessary in my VERY DRY indoor conditions in winter), I was rewarded with both pots re-sprouting in March! I learned a lesson from last year, and moved both plants a bit closer to the lights, which resulted in good compact growth of the leaves. In April the stronger plant in the clay pot developed a spike, and in early June IT BLOOMED!
The flowers are now withered, having lasted about 10 days each (and surviving a trip to the MOS meeting). I shall soon cut the spike and allow the leaves to finish their job of strengthening the tuber for next year. The second plant, meanwhile, has budded and should be in bloom by the 1st week of July, I figure.
Silly me, I have no idea which one of the two was the one that rotted last year! Probably the one in plastic, that took a bit longer to sprout. Both have been watered and fed regularly (with MSU), and seem equally strong now. And so the cycle continues.