Monday, March 7, 2011

Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs in Water

From The University of Minnesota  Extension Service, some advice was given here:
Hyacinths, crocus, and narcissus also can be forced in water. Special clear, glass vases are made for hyacinths or crocus. The bulb is placed in the upper portion, water in the lower portion. The vase is then kept in a cool, dark room (preferably under 50 degrees F) for four to eight weeks until the root system has developed and the top elongates. At this point it should be placed in a bright window, where the plant soon will blossom.
On March 4, 2011, I dug up some grape hyacinths from the back yard and put them in small glass jars and placed those vase jars in a box in the garage.  The temperature in the garage averages about 50 degrees F, but is colder at night.  A few more bulbs were placed on the kitchen window sill.  We will do a simple experiment and see what happens in a few days.

...more information about forcing bulbs from The World of Gardens:
Put the bulbs on the vases (one bulb per vase) and refrigerate for 12-14 weeks. During this time make certain that the bulb’s bottom is in contact (barely) with the water. Keep the vases full at all times! During these weeks, the bulbs will develop roots growing into the water. Remember, the bulb must be in contact with water. Just putting a bulb in a bag in the refrigerator doesn’t work (believe me, I tried it once). After the 12-14 weeks (better to error on the long side), remove the vases and place in a sunlit window. Within a few weeks the bulb will sprout and bloom. Crocus blooms are so fun to do this way. Hyacinth smell wonderful.
Update: 3 days later:...

here is a picture of a few of the dozen glass vases on the kitchen window sill, receiving sunlight from the west:

Those vases in the forefront were moved from the garage after 3days without sunlight, and you can see that there is no green growth on the tops.  The hyacinth roots on the left of the picture were in filtered sunlight all weekend, and are looking much healthier.  It is a learning process. 

We'll see if those bulbs actually bloom indoors.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baktus Scarf

This Baktus scarf (free download here)

although unblocked, holds its shape amazingly well.  It is made from hand dyed sock yarn by Jelly Bean in the UK, edged with lace weight yarn in a contrasting color.

Designer Strikkelis says:
This is my version of a scarf that was all over the Norwegian blogs a couple of years ago.  The principle is to take one or a couple of skeins, and knit a triangle using your exact amount of yarn.

A good way to use up one of those single skeins of sock yarn in bright colours.To be able to know when I had used up half of my skein, I used a scale:
I weighed my yarn before casting on. Weighing the skein every now and then, I started decreasing when I had about 50% of the skein left.
This is a clever way to never run out of yarn while knitting up this scarf.

Since the yellow yarn used for the crochet edging was lace weight, I used the navajo plying technique to hold three strand together, thus making a three plied yarn with a more substantial look and feel.

Lucy Neatby gives a YouTube video on the navajo technique of creating 3 strands of yarn from 1:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breast Cancer: One in Eight Women Diagnosed but does it have to be my friend?

Another friend has to have a lumpectomy in the next few days.  Well *&%$#@*  ...darn.

Breaking news on breast cancer can be assessed on the following sites:

Lots of facts here and televised, too  recently on Oprah
More here about less under arm lymph node removal  and also here at the ACS site (2/9/2011) and here on the UK Daily Mail (at 2/9/2011) (Yes!)
Go to Science Daily with news about breast cancer rates NOT declining in the US (at 2/28/2011)
Here is information about smoking and breast cancer (at 3/2/2011)

Enough.  Go get your mammogram, lady friends. 

Stay calm and focused, special friend, as you see your surgeon today.