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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.

buachaille

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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carbeth_04_copy_medium2

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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Spinning Dilemma

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).

 

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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.

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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?

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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…..

 

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