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My new obsession is Carbeth by Kate Davies. I love the interesting construction, the shape, the utilitarianism of the sweater. Best of all, it will give me a chance to work with her Buachaille yarn.  From descriptions I’ve read, the yarn is really sheepy. It has the natural lanolin of the fleece still in it and it smells sheepy. I can’t wait to work with something other than merino. I am also very interested in what Yarn Rascal’s reaction will be. Again, from the descriptions, this will be way different that any yarn he’s seen so far.

As with all sweater patterns, I purchased it and studied it before I bought the yarn and needles. I don’t have a waist like Ms. Davies, so I will be making adjustments to the length. Since I plan to wear this with turtlenecks underneath I also decided to go up 4 inches (10 cm) larger than my bust size.

There are very sane mathematical ways to figure out how much extra yarn will be needed when altering a pattern. I’d like to say I employed them before I ordered a whole batch of yarn in the Haar colorway, but I didn’t. I winged it. But that will be alright. Haar is one of the natural colors of the sheep so if I need more it will most likely blend in. Haar is a silver grey. I ordered the color because it will go with all my turtlenecks. I also ordered it because I’ve gotten so use to the grey skies and days (we haven’t seen the sun since I don’t know when) that I was afraid when the outdoors finally became sunny and colorful I would go into some sort of detox craving and needing to see grey.

What I can be sure of now that I ordered the yarn is that the day it arrives and I start the project the temperature outside will shoot up from 50 F (10 C) to 90 F (32 C) along with oppressive humidity. Yes, now that I’ve bought this sheepy yarn the entire east coast of the United States is sure to get hot, humid weather with plenty of searing sunshine. What better weather to knit a winter sweater in?

 

 

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It’s April 6 and it is snowing. This is the latest I ever recall having snow in this area. I am doing my best to ignore what it is doing outside but the animals, birds, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, etc. are not happy.

Mom had a slight stroke last week. It hasn’t affected her physical abilities though she seems somewhat weaker and very tired. She is sleeping a lot. Meanwhile I am running her small real estate business, getting one of the houses she owns prepared for showing and rental. Just when I think I am done and can turn it over to the real estate agent, something else pops up that needs doing.

At the moment I have a fiber related dilemma. A couple of weeks back Nothingbut2knit had a picture on her blog of a woman looking so relaxed and at peace while spinning with a supported spindle. I know nothing about spinning, but I haven’t been able to get the picture out of my head and desire to purchase all that is required and give it a go. I envision myself sitting as peacefully as that woman.

Quite a while ago now, I made myself a drop spindle with the whorl at the bottom. Bought some roving to practice on and proceeded on to disaster. At the time I had a bichon named Sport who couldn’t have cared less about yarn, knitting, or spinning. I also had a Labrador Retriever, Dakota, who loved to retrieve things including skeins of yarn. The drop spindle was to Dakota like candy is to a child, irresistible. Every time I would roll the spindle down my thigh and drop it to spin Dakota was right there to catch it. Finally I gave up and the spindle became a fetch and retrieve toy for Dakota. She was very proud of her spindle.

Back to the present day dilemma. Yarn Rascal is interested in all things to do with yarn. He recently began chewing on my knitting needles again after I had thought we’d gotten past that habit when he stopped teething. He loves things he can put in his mouth and hold, especially if they are not suppose to be in his mouth in the first place.

So the questions I am debating are these: Do I spend close to $100 on acquiring the materials needed to do supported spinning knowing that: 1) the spindle may become a plaything for Yarn Rascal; 2) Yarn Rascal might go crazy when he sees roving for the first time and may render it unspinnable in his joy?

I bought Fleegles’ book in pdf form about all one needs to know about supported spinning. I haven’t had time to read through it, but some of the other questions I am debating are: How do you know how much yarn you are making when you spin? Answer: I don’t have to worry about that because I won’t be able to spin. I’ll never get the knack. What does one do with the yarn once it’s spun? (See answer above). Can you ply with a supported spindle? (See answer above. Also read the book you bought).

Last question. How do I hide explain my new playthings from to The Skipper until I am proficient at it? (See answer above).

 

I was sitting in my oncologist’s waiting room knitting. I just started a toe-up sock so not much of it was done. The waiting room was quite crowded.

An older woman who had been watching me walked across the waiting room and took the seat next to me. I wasn’t alarmed as she didn’t look like a serial killer. The low chatter that was going on in the room gave way to silence when she sat down. As I said, I was knitting toe-up, had just completed the short-row toe and joined for working in the round on small US 1 (2.25 mm) 9 inch (22 cm) circular needles. The woman leaned over to me in the hushed waiting room and said, “Are you knitting a penis cover?” I could feel everyone’s eyes slide toward me. My heart started palpating funny and my breathing sort of stopped. When I realized the floor was not going to open up and swallow me I replied “No” loud enough for everyone to hear. “It’s a sock. See, like the ones I’m wearing.” I always wear a pair of hand knitted socks to the oncologist’s office. They are my good luck charm and armor.

The woman looked at me curiously and said she had never seen anyone knit a sock like this. I explained to her, and the rest of the waiting room, she was used to seeing cuff-down construction and this was toe-up. I don’t really know if anyone in that room believed me.

These are the penis cover socks I was knitting.

corridale knit socks

The socks are the Corriedale yarn from Bumblebee Acres Farm. I love it. The Corriedale has nice stitch definition. It is not as silky as Merino but it is sturdy. The best part is that unlike Merino which tends to grow when you wash it, Corriedale does not. It maintains it’s shape and size. So if you are having problems with socks that come out of the bath bigger than when they went in, try Corriedale.

As for knitting in public, I think I will always keep a pair of The Skipper’s socks on the needles as they are worked cuff-down and can’t be mistaken for anything other than a sock.

Snow and Yarn

nor'easter 2018This is dawn over a part of our front yard after last week’s nor’easter that cut power, cable, and internet for six days. Today we are lucky to have missed most of the nor’easter that is hammering New England. Not much snow and roads are clear. The generator remains set-up and ready to go if needed. We lost a number of beautiful trees because of the storm pictured above. It always grieves me to lose trees.

But onto some sunshine.

lorna's laces shepherd sock yarn island madelinetosh sock nassau blue

The discerning yarnie among us (aka Yarn Rascal) was wriggling with utter delight when not one but two skeins of merino wool showed up in the mail this week. The closest to the camera is MadelineTosh Sock yarn in Nassau Blue. The other is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Island Blue. Both are destined to become socks for The Skipper as soon as I can get them away from Yarn Rascal. I am trying to move The Skipper out of his comfort zone of dark blue or grey socks and into something more lively and easier on my eyes to work with. What better color than turquoise?

Out of Power

Eventually it was going to happen.: a storm churn up and knock out power. That’s what happened when the nor’easter (mostly bad winds) hit at 9:26 pm Thursday night. At 9:32 pm on Thursday the power went kaput. The Skipper and I set up the generator in wind gusts that almost knocked us over. We didn’t get much snow or rain, just wind.

Today is Saturday morning and true to form we are still without power. A trip around our wood filled neighborhood made me realize that we are going to be without power for some time. Perhaps weeks. Massive trees are down along with power lines that are still alive in some places and not a power crew or wood chopper in sight. (I hate our power company, it’s been a long war between it and me, lot’s of bad blood going back almost a full 40 years. I blame them for the death of my husband and their general ineptitude is jaw dropping.)

Since the road I need to travel to get out is blocked by fallen trees in both directions I called the Town and asked when they planned on cutting up the trees so we could have ingress and egress. Right now not even police, fire, or EMT can reach us. They couldn’t tell me. This is not the first time the Town has been derelict in their duty to the area in which we live. Among other things, they routinely leave our streets unplowed and untreated during snow storms. I live 5 miles from the nearest main road and you take your life in your hands to reach it after a snow storm or big windstorm.

Three years ago I started to fight back. For every service the Town does not provide us I deduct the expense from the tax bill they have the audacity to send us. I document their dereliction on video so come tax bill time I get together with them and show them my little movies, go through the itemized costs of the services they didn’t provide and adjust my tax bill accordingly. They don’t like it, but as I have explained to them time and again, it is the cost of their ineptitude.

I have errands I need to run today. So I plan on taking my video camera and chain saw and documenting how I had to cut my own way through the downed trees in order to gain a way in and out. The cost will come off the bloody tax bill.

Once I am done with my errands. I am going to repeatedly call the power company until I get some response. At the moment, the power company is not answering its phones. It does this little trick every time there is a large storm and everyone is out of power.

So wish me luck. I think I’ve selected the smallest of the largest trees and the one where the electrical wires don’t seem to be alive as they are not sparking and dancing across the road like snakes on cocaine. Until then…..

 

Of course the name of the shawl is not really the Forever Shawl. I just named it that because I started it back in summertime and here we are in February and it’s finally knit, blocked and photographed.

The real name is Carol’s Frequency. Knit in 2 balls of Schoppel-Woole Zauberball Crazy.

knit shawl schoppel yarn short rows full

The entire shawl is worked in short-rows and while there are no wraps there are floats. I am quite comfortable with knitting short-rows but I have to say this was a challenge. It upped my short-row knitting times 10. A life-line and stitch markers saved my sanity.

knit shawl schoppel yarn short rows cu2

The shawl was ripped back to the starting gate many times before I got the knack of where to place the life-line and how to count up to seven properly. The secret about the life-line is its placed only through the stitches forming the leaf shape currently being worked, not through the whole shawl.

knit shawl schoppel yarn short rows cu4

I am totally in love with the texture of the stitches and the graceful forms of the leaves as well as the way the yarn worked so well with the pattern. In short I am in love with this shawl and feel that I have accomplished something in my knitting it.

knit shawl schoppel yarn short rows cu3

knit shawl schoppel yarn short rows cu

The pattern is well-written. The only problem occurs in certain places where the short-rows form holes. I fixed this by simply picking up a stitch from the row below and knitting it together with the float and its stitch—3 stitches in all. It was easy to see when a hole would occur and I just made the adjustment.

Now that this is finished I am at sixes and sevens about what to knit next. I don’t really have anything that is calling to me so I’ve begun “knitting around” like a tart. Some socks, two scarves, but nothing that is really satisfying like the shawl. I’d also like another project that works gradient yarn into interesting shapes as this shawl did. In fact, I am thinking of starting another one in Spring colors. The Skipper, who watched me rip back, cry, and moan over this shawl says I’d be crazy to knit another one again.

Oh, mon petit cheri of course I am.

yarn bumblebee acres farm corriedale sock yarn

The Skipper’s sock yarns are on the way. In the meantime my little treats for myself have arrived.

These little darlings are from Bumble Bee Acres Fiber and are Corriedale wool.

I’ve always wanted to try Corriedale. It has a nice long staple, it’s suppose to be a bit more sturdy than merino, and it is still relatively soft—though not as soft as merino.

The Corriedale breed is the oldest. It is a cross between Lincoln and Merino breeds.

When they arrived, Yarn Rascal was bemused by them. Before they were out of the package he knew it wasn’t his merino, or merino with cashmere, or Shetland yarn. He sniffed them all over. Poked them with his nose, this is the real acid test of whether he likes a yarn or not, and then stepped back from them and looked at me as much to say “What the heck did you buy?” I explained Corriedale to him, emphasizing that merino was one of the breeds that made up the yarn. He was having none of it.

When I put them away in the Yarn Vault I put them in the bin with the straight merino wool. Yarn Rascal, who is nocturnal, plays in the Yarn Vault and the bins all night long. When I awoke the next morning I saw the three Corriedales deposited in the hallway, far away from the merino yarns he had been playing with during the night. I picked everything up, as usual, and put them all back in the same bin. At that point I didn’t realize Yarn Rascal was sending me a message about the way he felt about the Corriedales.

Next night Yarn Rascal was in the Yarn Vault again. In the morning I found the Corriedales left on the stairs going from the hallway to the living room. Still being dense, I picked everything up, put them in the same bin with the merino and back into the Vault.

The following night Yarn Rascal was clearly busy and unhappy in the Yarn Vault. There was much moving around of bins, little yips and grunts and a lot of running up and down the stairs. In the morning I found the Corriedales partially buried under the fleece blanket draped over the sofa. I got the message: he wanted the Corriedales to have their own separate bin away from his precious merino.

That night I put the Corriedales in their own bin. Yarn Rascal spent an evening of bliss in the Yarn Vault, ending with him rocking himself to sleep in the rocking chair with his merino wool around him. He never touched the Corriedale bin.

Not to worry Yarn Rascal! The Skipper’s yarns that are due to arrive are pure merino. Who knew a dog could be this fussy about yarn?

By the way, the colorways in the picture above from left to right are: Luncheon In London, Ladies Tea, and Winterberry in Coquette Sock.

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