Archive for May, 2018

Before I started on the Carbeth sweater I had to finish these:

madelinetosh sock yarn knitted sock 2

They’re for The Skipper. The pattern is called Tracks and Hurdles. In high school he was a track person so I thought the pattern appropriate.

madelinetosh sock yarn knitted sock

The pattern is a multiple of 10, so it would only work with 20, 40, 60, or 80 stitches. Luckily, I was using a superwash merino, MadelineTosh Sock in Nassau Blue colorway, and I could drop down from the usual amount of stitches I’d need to 60 knowing that the stretch in both the pattern and the yarn would give The Skipper enough room to make the socks comfortable. They work perfectly.

Usually I Kitchener stitch the toes together, but this time I did a 3 needle bind off instead. So much easier! No counting. No trying to remember whether the needle goes in purlwise or knitwise or whether I just worked the same stitch twice.

So I am on to my Carbeth and as predicted, the temperature rose from 60 F / 15 C the day before I began the sweater to 90 F / 32 C on the day I cast on the sweater. Life never misses an opportunity to mess with me. Thus, for two days we’ve had 90 F / 32 C weather and I have had the beginnings of a wooly sweater in my lap along with a furry Yarn Rascal draped around my neck so he can slither down my front like a semi-solid bowl of Jell-O, ooze into my lap and land on top of my knitting. Today, surprisingly, we’re back to the 60 F / 15 C. I don’t usually catch breaks like this.

It appears we are, nonetheless, moving toward something called Summer, however hesitatingly. Dilly-Dilly and King George (a pair of robins) have nested again this summer just outside our kitchen window in the Mountain Laurel. Last year I fretted the whole time Dilly-Dilly and KG gave birth to then raised 3 baby robins. By the time the babies fledged I was ready to have a nervous breakdown in celebration. I was so sure she wasn’t feeding them enough, covering them enough, or in other words just worrying over every little thing.

This year I am trying to accept that Dilly-Dilly and KG know what they are doing. We have two antique bird baths in the Serenity Garden and KG has claimed one for himself and his lady. No other birds allowed. So the other day I decided to drive the one and one-half hours to the salvage store where I get my antique bird baths and pick up a third one so the rest of the birds don’t have to crowd into the one bird bath KG allows them. By the time I arrived home the eggs had hatched and we were seeing two bald little heads with large mouths poking up out of the nest to feed. Robins usually have 3 babies but I am working hard not to dwell on this because I will make myself crazy and I have two 88 year old parents to take care of who drive me round the bend on a regular basis. My default mode is anxiety.

New to the zoo this year is Chippy. He’s a chipmunk who does chipmunk yoga stretches in the morning on the pedestal of the sundial in the garden. Chippy had captured my heart which means I buy him organic almonds and feed him an handful or so daily. The Skipper says Chippy and his friends have dug tunnels around the house and one of these days the house is just going to sink from sight. He would like me to stop feeding Chippy. I don’t believe that a little chipmunk who does yoga will be the cause of the house sinking into the ground, but heaven knows I’ve been wrong before. Unbeknownst to The Skipper Chippy is going to be fed all summer and autumn. If the house sinks it sinks.

Also new to the zoo are two mallards, male and female who are inhabiting our pond. Hank the heron flew in the other day. When he saw the mallards he became quite indignant and flew off. Haven’t seen him since. So for all those with a heron problem forget the alligators and the 3 foot high string get a pair of mallards.



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The weather remains rainy, grey and only in the 50s F / 10 C. Never fear, in my state of denial regarding the weather I bought two hibiscus plants for the hummingbird we have hanging around. Hibiscus is a plant that does very well in Hawaii, so why not give it a go in a cold, gloomy climate? I hope the weather warms up before the hibiscus die.

I swatched for the Carbeth sweater.


The sock on the right is what I am trying to finish before I throw myself into this sweater. The swatch on the left is the Carbeth on size US 10.5 (6.5 mm). After working on the sock with US 1 (2.25mm) needles it was like going from playing with a butterfly to wrestling a bear on the US 10. By the way, that’s the inside of the sock you’re seeing.

Unlike superwash merino, the Buachaille doesn’t grow when bathed and blocked. I got perfect row gauge but my stitch count was off. I needed 3.5 stitches per inch ( 2.5 cm) and I got 4. I went back to the pattern and recalculated the numbers for the 4 gauge. I didn’t really like the results. I had to jump up two sizes beyond what I would have normally knit and still the results would have yielded only 2 inches (5 cm) of ease where I want 4 inches (10 cm).

So I went to Webs yarn store online and ordered US 11 (8 mm) needles hoping to get the 3.5 sts I need. When they arrive I will swatch. But I have doubts about this working out nicely. Having had so much interaction with the gods of knitting I know what lies ahead. I will have to use the US 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles and recalculate the entire sweater decrease shaping and all. That means it will turn into a masochistic knitting adventure. By the time I am knitting and have the sweater and Yarn Rascal in my lap, the weather will have turned very hot and very humid. The hibiscus, should they make it through until then, will be very happy.

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I wasn’t far off. I’d said the day the yarn arrived would probable reach 90 F / 32 C. The day the Buachaille yarn arrived from Scotland the temperature was 88 F / 31 C. The previous day had been 56 F / 13 C. Who knew that the way to finally bring spring/summer to the area was simply to order yarn one would normally work with in the autumn/winter? The knitting gods have such a sense of humor.

I was anxious for the package to arrive since this would be a very different yarn than Yarn Rascal  was used to mangling  handling and I wanted to see his reaction. We walked down to the mailbox and about 5 feet / 1.5 meters from it Yarn Rascal started going crazy. Yipping, jumping, walking on his back legs while his front legs did the frantic begging motion he usually saves for when he wants a treat. What with the yarn coming from Scotland and knowing how slow mail within the US can be I really doubted that his reaction was a signal the Scottish wool had arrived.

Was I surprised when I opened the mailbox. Yarn Rascal was right. The wool had arrived. He was so wound up that if he could have he would have jumped right into the mailbox. I pulled the package out. Yarn Rascal immediately knocked it out of my hands, digging to open the package all the while he whining and yipping. He had lost what little control over himself he possessed.

The only way to get back up the hill and to the house was to hold a squiggling, yipping Yarn Rascal under one arm and the package of yarn under the other. It was a struggle making it back up the hill in the heat and twice I had to stop.

When we got in the house I immediately opened the package so Yarn Rascal could get at the goodies. To say Yarn Rascal has found a new yarn he likes much more than merino is an understatement. He wiggled his whole body around in the yarn trying to transfer the sheep smell onto himself. He was in Yarn Rascal heaven. As The Skipper and I watched him enjoy the yarn, I said, “I think we need to buy him a sheep or two for his next birthday or move to Scotland where he can be near them.” The Skipper, always the diplomat, totally ignored the comment.

I have a sock for The Skipper I need to finish as the pattern is in my head and not written down before I can begin work on the sweater. In the meantime, I am deciding on the length and whether I want to do a regular swatch or work on one sleeve first and use that as a swatch. Never having worked with this yarn before I don’t know it’s characteristics after blocking.

Yarn Rascal is looking forward to the beginning of the project. I have a feeling this will be one of those projects where Yarn Rascal will be draped all over me and the yarn as I knit. The warm, furry little body combined with the wool should make for perfect summer knitting.


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