Little miracle

Blogging in the middle of the day? Day off today! No experiments to do, so I’m staying home and TCB – taking care of business.

I really want to blog about my plant, and I feel it’s most appropriate to do so in this blog. For those of you strictly interested in knitting content, scroll down.

My little palm-tree plant came into my life in the summer of 2001 when a friend brought it to me from Hawaii. I don’t remember the name of the plant, unfortunately. It looked like a dried up ginger root, and the instructions (and photo) claimed that if you stick it into some soil (vertically) and water regularly, leaves would sprout and even a flower might appear. And so it happened within a few months. It was a happy palm tree-like plant for several years until I brought it to my lab and left it there for some time (1.5 years… time flies!) while moving from one apartment to another. Then all the leaves dried up and started falling off while the stem kept elongating, making the whole thing very cumbersome, crooked, and phallic-looking. A few months ago I confiscated my plant and brought it back home. This is what it looked like:

Pathetic. Pretty much dead, I thought. Not even worth my trouble. But hey, if it’s going to die anyway, let me try something drastic. Remembering that the leaves sprouted just from a shriveled up stem, I thought I could repeat this miracle by cutting the stem and placing it back into soil. I got out my gardening gloves (Martha Stewart brand) (Did you even have to ask?), took a pair of old scissors, and cut the plant here:

I stuck the top part of the stem into a new pot with some fresh soil. For a while things weren’t looking so good – all the leaves had fallen off. But look at my baby plant now:


It’s a miracle! I think I’ll have a little palm-tree plant in no time!

I’ve been working on my friend’s scarf, the one with the most interesting texture. I got a lot of feedback from you (thank you!) and decided to bind off when I had worked a few inches without cutting the yarn, block that segment, and think about what to do next. The blocked texture of the scarf is very different from the unblocked (no surprise):


Blocked: open, lacy, drapey (CatBookMom made this word up).

Unblocked: spongy, thick, nubby, textured, earthy.

I’m going with the blocked version for a few reasons: first, even in its unblocked form this scarf won’t be warm enough for Pennsylvania winters; I think this yarn is meant for a fall or spring scarf. Second, blocking increases scarf length by 36% and scarf width by 24%. I’m working with fingering weight yarn, and as much as I love the pattern, I don’t want this scarf to become a Christmas present. Third, I just think it looks better, and so did everyone at my Sunday Stitch ‘n Bitch. After blocking and taking measurements, I undid the temporary bind-off and continued knitting. Here’s my progress:

Working on this scarf has proved to be a lifesaver. It gives my fingers the dexterous exercises they crave, and it has allowed me to forgive my Adrienne Vittadini stockinette-in-the-round sweater. Yes, it’s seen the light of day once again. I’m starting to think that this working on more than one project at the same time isn’t a bad idea!

P.S. Happy birthday, Mom! Mom didn’t teach me to knit, but she taught me everything else in life.

12 thoughts on “Little miracle

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  1. Colleen

    I think that your plant just likes its new pot.

    Would the stitch pattern that you’re using work well on a thicker yarn? Summer Tweed, perhaps?

  2. Megan

    Wow! It’s like night and day. This is a great example for anyone who’s ever questioned the power of blocking. I’ve questioned it myself from time to time, but clearly, it works. And I agree – the scarf is nicer post-blocking.

  3. Carolyn

    Wow…I have never thought of bringing plants back to life! Mine just die…I have no luck…or gardening talent whatsoever.

    Scarf looks great. I know what you mean about st st…boring.

    Happy Birthday Grumperina’s Mom!

  4. Mary Tess

    Welcome to the dark side! I firmly believe in working on more than one project at a time, although sometimes I take this to an extreme.

  5. Stephanie

    I like the scarf post-blocking – very pretty and springy. I am a little leary of the 2 projects at once, but I know it works for a lot of people. Not me, as I have recently proven, but a lot of people swear it’s the only way to go. I hope this next attempt at the AV sweater will be smooth sailing.

  6. Mel

    Kathy, thought I would let you know that the plant you are growing, is a plumeria plant. I just brought some back from Hawaii too.

  7. Agnes

    I love plants in soil … including flowers. Therefore, I seldom have cut flowers in vase in my house. I love the fact that they are still alive.

    I like the blocked version too. The unblocked version looks too bulky to me for a scarf.

  8. Tara

    I suck when it comes to plants, so props to you for the gardening miracle! Maybe I should just start cutting up my dead plants to see what happens…

    Loving the scarf, by the way. And I’m glad you’re finally coming over to the dark side (aka The Land of Multiple Projects)!

  9. andrea

    on an earlier post, i was in favor of not blocking but seeing that one picture of it before and after blocked makes the after blocked look so much more elegant and lacey indeed. great pics — and i agree with the other comment about how this clearly shows the power of blocking! ;)

  10. nimrodel70

    A plumeria plant (as I see someone else said). If you can ever get it to bloom you will see some beautiful flowers. These are the flowers often used to make leis in Hawaii. It’s actually a tree and can get very large. I had four of them until I got sick of them and let them die.

  11. Laura Neal

    Nice to see a fellow garden saving those plants. I have some that I have had to nurse after my sister has gotten ahold of. She kills!

    Is your stitch a blackberry stitch or is it trinity stitch?

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