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Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

I was knitting along on the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater’s sleeve, positive that I had the wrong numbers, when the weather guy on the television said the words “snow” and “5 to 12 inches” (13 to 30.5) cm. I sputtered a little in my knitting, changing to purl stitches on what was clearly a knit row as I glanced at the television sure the guy was talking about the mountains of Colorado or something equally distant and high. But The Skipper wasn’t watching the Weather Channel, he was watching the local news station.

My next two thoughts were almost simultaneous. Damn I have to rip those purl stitches out and why is the local weather guy talking about the Adirondacks? Before I eradicated the purl stitches I once more looked over my notes and again felt sure I had botched the sleeve numbers. Then I went on to speak about a happier topic: the possibility of getting a jump on the planting season and dropping the delphinium seeds into the ground early. I had, after all, already planted the peas and lettuce.

I returned to knitting the knit rows and purling the purl rows when The Skipper said didn’t I just hear snow was coming for the weekend? I instantly began to purl again on a knit row.

For the record I want MoNa (Mother Nature) to know that I plan to fight back. This morning I bought the proper row covers to keep the snow off the lettuce and the peas. I will install them this windy, grey, gloomy afternoon. Also, I am not going to plant my delphinium seeds as planned. As for the hellebore that has promising blooms on it, I am going to construct a cover to save it from your wrath. MoNa can do what she wants this weekend, while I figure out why the numbers on the knitted sleeve seem wonky.

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I’ve successfully gotten the ice floe in the backyard, or Little Antarctica as I call it, down to a manageable size with my new best friend, a sledge-hammer. Hammering the 5″ (13) cm thick ice over the last 7 days or so has been a real workout. I worried about the mastectomy side of me, but the lymphedema never showed. I did intensive yoga stretches for chest and arms before and after each hammering session and they may have helped.

So it was with renewed vigor that I popped out of bed this morning, pulled up the shades only to see it was snowing. A lot. It was snowing a lot. In fact it is still snowing a lot. Is it only me, or has anyone else noticed that s-n-o-w is really just a four letter word?

The socks are progressing. I used a provisional cast on where I knit on the RS and purl on the WS for a few rows with waste yarn, then change to the sock yarn on a knit row. I find it a little more fiddley to pick up stitches from it than from the crocheted provisional cast on I usually do.

While I was messing around with new techniques I also changed the way I picked up wraps and stitches on purl rows. Normally I just purl them together, which forms a right leaning decrease. But I altered it to a half-way SSP left leaning decrease. Rather than slipping two stitches knitwise, I slipped only one. Then I purled the wraps and the stitch through the back loops. It kept the three stitch bulk on the private side of the sock and kept the public side looking smooth. Now I just need to remember to work the second sock the same way. Easier said than done. I am not completely sold on the slip, p3tog technique. So the search continues for a better way of handling purling together wraps and stitches.

Enjoy the weekend.

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Bring It On

How many ways can I describe the weather outside? Let me try. Freezing, icy, snowing, wintery, frosty, frigid, gelid, inhospitable, and glacial. That about sums it up with a temperature that feels like -20 F / -28 C. Nothing is even thinking of melting.

My favorite pine tree is literally groaning from the cold. I have never heard a pine tree groan until this winter, but that’s how cold it is.

Yarn Rascal can’t go out without his boots, otherwise his feet hurt so bad he just falls where he’s standing. With his boots on, he walks like a cross between a penguin and a bucking horse. His front feet move like a penguin’s, while his back feet buck out like a horse trying to shake off a rider. Not conducive to quickly managing business and scooting back indoors.

Yesterday I had a brief moment smugness. Congratulating myself on having had the foresight of getting everything we could possible need this winter out of the barn and putting it within a fingertip reach. No long treks through hip deep frozen snow this year. I should know better by now. The universe doesn’t like conceitedness.

The Skipper’s truck had a wee bit of a challenge getting started yesterday. To be more precise, I turned the key and nothing happened. Silence. Not even a cough. I took the key out, gazed at the vast frozen tundra of blinding white that lay between me sitting in the truck and the barn where the battery charger resided. When reality, in its initial phase, egregiously deviates from what I want it to be, I have a hard time immediately accepting it. Thus, I reinserted the key in the ignition throwing all my strength behind turning that baby as far as it could go while ramming the gas pedal to the floor saying, “Come on, come on, come on.” Not a sound beyond my own voice and the wind slamming into the vehicle.

I removed the key. Within seconds a gasoline smell seeped into the truck. Not only was the battery dead, but I had flooded the carburetor. I banged my forehead on the steering wheel, saying, “No, no, no.” Not another winter where I have to trudge 98 steps up to the barn in snow above my knees and a biting wind that belongs only in the Arctic region. And, in a strange way, I was right about this. From the truck to the barn was 125 steps. Last year’s 98 was from the kitchen door to the barn.

When I reached the barn, the door which normally lifts so easily was frozen to the ground. A blast of wind slammed stinging little snowflakes into my face and I turned, whereupon I saw my trusty ice breaker standing 98 steps away outside the kitchen door. To get that ice breaker meant a round trip total of 196 steps. At least 100 steps too far.

So I did what any formerly sane, now desperate person would do. I kicked the heck out of that door while trying to lift it at the same time. I pounded on it with my fists, I beat it with a plastic chair from last summer—do you know that plastic, when it gets below a certain temperature, becomes brittle? but I digress—all to no avail. That door was stuck to that ground better than if I had used Gorilla Glue on it.

For now, the battery charger remains in the barn. But they are predicting more snow during which (oh yes!) the temperature will briefly rise. I plan to use this brief rise to my advantage. With ice breaker in hand I will enthusiastically stumble the 98 steps to the barn where I will get that door open and retrieve the battery charger. Bring on the next storm!

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A new month, a Monday and the result is nothing short of a disaster in the making. I’m like the Titanic as the iceberg is ripping a hole in its side. The band is playing and I’m running around rearranging deck chairs, as if it will matter.

First up the computer crashed. I am trying to repair it, but I’m having only minimal success. A pox on all those who purposely write malicious code. If I can step away from this instrument of torture and just do some meditation and deep breathing for 15 minutes I might hold off the migraine and come back with better ideas on how to fix this thing. But it looks like I am going to be down and off line for most of the week. Computer issues drive me crazy.

Second, it is snowing. I know, it snows in winter, so what is the big deal. We had about 4 hours of ice before it turned over to snow. I’ve had a rocky relationship with ice, most of which has ended up in me going down. Bring up the sound on the Titanic music.

Third, while Yarn Rascal has food, The Skipper just informed me that we don’t. If the man stopped eating everything that didn’t move, we’d have enough so I wouldn’t have to try and get to the store. A little louder with the Titanic music, please.

Fourth, I saw my oncologist on Friday. We agreed that I am having some difficult side effects from the cancer medication I need to take for possibly the rest of my life. But just to be sure they are side effects and not something else, I need to see another doctor post haste and undergo a difficult, uncomfortable and perfectly horrid test. Just the thought sends my blood pressure and heart rate soaring. Then after that test I need two more, one of which is almost as horrid as the first. My doctor would like all these tests done this week. So I will be dealing with scheduling doctor appointments, test appointments and arguing with my health insurance company over all this. And the band plays on.

Bring the Titanic music up to a crescendo for this next one. I don’t have a knitting project. Nothing. Totally empty needles. It’s been this way since I finished the latest shawl two days ago. Yarn that I was expecting hasn’t arrived. Knitting books I ordered are floating around somewhere in postal service limbo. I knit to stay sane. What more can I say?

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Yarn Rascal’s Birthday

Yesterday was Yarn Rascal’s birthday. He is officially into his adorable twos. In addition to being yarn loving, he is also into snow, especially the kind momma has to shovel before his short legged little self goes out. Mother Nature celebrated his birthday with a very, very late evening snowfall. 3 am to be exact and he was just wiggling to get out there and rip around in it. (Yarn Rascal, by the way, is nocturnal. Midnight to 5 am is prime time for him.)

But before my loving bundle of fur could go out, I had to shovel for him. At least 4″ (10) cm had fallen and it was still snowing hard. I shoveled a nice large area, purposely avoiding the melting glacier, which is a field of smooth ice that has taken over a portion of the yard. At its deepest frozen point I believe we could go ice fishing. It’s a little disturbing, in a Stephen King kind of way.

With little one’s area nicely shoveled I put on his retractable leash and out he bounded. He traversed what I thought, and my back muscles agreed, was a large shoveled area in less than a second, diving into the untouched snow. A retractable leash only goes so far. Devil Dog’s is 16 feet (4.87) meters. Not a long length when the little love bug on the end is ripping around so fast he’s a blur of snow and fur.

Trying to stay up with him, I somehow ended up on the ice field and didn’t know it. So when cuddles zoomed past for the umpteenth time and I tried to keep pace I fell, just like I would on an ice hockey rink. I went down on my right wrist, the leash being in my left hand. One minute I was standing, the next I was looking at last year’s leaves and grass frozen beneath the ice field.

Yarn Rascal is a very sensitive little guy. He immediately came rushing toward me, ran over me, then raced in circles around me and the only thing I could think of was RICE: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Rest? Check. I was at rest, albeit face down. Ice? Check. I was icing any possible injury as I was in laying on the ice and snow. Compress? Check. The wrist I had fallen on was pinned under me, that counted as compression as far as I was concerned. Elevate? That was a bit of a problem. But three out of four not bad, I thought.

I finally did manage to ease myself off the ice field without standing. By the time we got back in the house we were both covered in snow. Fur child’s hair was filled with thousands of small and medium snowballs that form when his hair and snow collide. They had to be defrosted and then the hair dried. That was a process.

Surprisingly, I have no problem with the wrist, not even a twinge. Rest, Ice and Compression work well when immediately applied.

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We’re at 8 degrees Farenheit, which is around -13 Celsius, and the polar vortex winds are in full force. Outside the many windowed house, Susie and I watch as the fine snow from yesterday spirals and circles in the wind. The flying snow glittering in the sun, looks like the interior of a snow globe. We watch this from under two down comforters on a big soft couch. Only our eyes show above the comforter unless I have to sneeze and then my entire head is out from underneath.

Yes, in addition to my cat allergy I have managed to catch a head cold. A wicked beast it is along with the allergy. In order to keep a passage way open for breathing I procured a jar of Vicks-Vapo Rub. When I was a kid, I can remember my mother rubbing this on my chest, covering me in flannel, kissing me good night and telling me I’d feel better in the morning. I don’t remember ever feeling better in the morning, though. Still, the smell of it brings a certain comfort and while I don’t rub it on me, just taking the lid off the jar and inhaling its smell opens my airways just a bit. Today my head will only pop out from under the comforter to sneeze, cough, and take a snort of Vicks-Vapo Rub. Oh, and to put allergy drops in my eyes.

Susie has taken to curling up on my chest right under my chin. I can hear and feel her purr, which is pretty neat until I have to sneeze.

On the knitting front I am working on the Canyonette Shawl. But look what else I found on Ravelry.

audrey hepburn shawl 1

The Audrey Hepburn Shawl by Slipper Snatcher and it is a free download.

audrey hepburn shawl 2

audrey hepburn shawl 3

Insanely beautiful, isn’t it? It makes me want to have the lifestyle where I could wear something as elegant and ethereal as this. In truth, my lifestyle never calls for elegant or ethereal. Besides, Yarn Rascal would have it in shreds within 2 seconds of me putting it on. Still, I am in love with this shawl.

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I have ten minutes to write this post so forgive any mistakes. Just thought I’d give an update to show I still live.

Highlights of the past few days:

1) Yarn Rascal was as happy as a miner who found gold when he discovered my cable needle. It fits and hides in his mouth perfectly and he can have hours of quite chewing fun in his little corner, while I think he is being good.

2) Yarn Rascal is delighted that the Spring Sweater is done and the merino wool sock yarn is back out and in use. He got to spend a few moments with it in his mouth last night as he ran around dragging the sock on the dpns with him. Today I rip the socks back to a place where no stitches are dropped or mangled.

3) The snow may be thawing outside. While everything is still mostly ice covered and we can’t get to the garden yet, patches of brown yard are starting to appear. The Skipper, who likes an even all green lawn (poor thing), keeps wondering why the patches look so brown. I keep telling him that’s just the grass, it will green right up with a little sun. The truth is, when I look out at the patches from the windows of the rooms at the top of the house with binoculars the brown patches are pure mud. It seems the snow has decided to melt in the places I dug for Yarn Rascal earlier this winter. The binoculars now live in my sock drawer. The Skipper doesn’t need to know what the brown patches really are until I find some grass seed.

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Need I say it? Yes, it’s snowing. It seems as if it’s never really stopped. I managed to make the rounds to hardware stores in the area looking for a roof rake, to get at least some of the snow and the 4″ /(10) cm of ice off. I am seriously worried about roof damage at this point. My search was an adventure, vexing at times, but an adventure nonetheless. In short, it was like looking for a unicorn.

In some stores when I asked for a roof rake, the workers just stared at me as if I no longer was speaking English. For them, I just turned and walked away. No sense in explaining, they were not going to understand. In other stores, the workers were happy to yell to each other in their grating New York accent only lifelong New Yorkers have “Hey Louie, you got rakes? The lady wants a rake!” And then the worker inevitably looks back at me with a look on his face that says he so wants to ask “Hey Lady, you gonna rake leaves?” Yuk, Yuk, Yuk. For them, I roll my eyes, turn and walk away.

The snow is thigh deep. It is impossible to walk the yard save where we shoveled for Yarn Rascal. The piles made from snow that has been plowed almost reach the lower branches on our trees. Driving is a crap shoot. Every intersection is blind. You can’t see if cars are coming or not because the snow piles are so wide and high that they block your view until you’ve eased out enough to get hit. “Hey lady, you gonna rake leaves?”

Last night the local news channel had a segment on how to remove the snow and ice from roofs. It was worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit. At first, I really thought they were kidding. According to the segment the solution was taking a regular ball peen hammer, climbing up a ladder and hammering the ice and snow off the roof without hitting or destroying the roof shingles. The snow that is wrapped around the house comes up to my chest because of drifting. Where, pray tell, am I going to get close enough to safely plant a ladder without digging out the entire perimeter of the house? By the time I finish digging out the perimeter I will: A) be dead of a heart attack; B) if I’m not dead, I certainly will be too exhausted to climb a ladder to hammer my roof; C) have gone insane.

This, ladies and gentlemen is why I knit, especially while watching TV. The movement of my hands, wrapping the yarn around the needle, adjusting the knitted fabric, knitting some more, adjusting some more, is soothing to my soul. I feel it’s comfort and relaxation in my heart and soul first, and then my mind has no other place to go but to follow. It’s why I won’t be out there with a ball peen hammer and ladder. It’s why I can embark on a journey to find a unicorn and return with mind intact. My knitting is there for me. No matter what, my knitting is there.

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Mother Nature’s Anger

The people who name winter storms for The Weather Channel have a strange sense of humor. The latest one to blow through here, Pax, the Latin word for peace, was the exact opposite of its name.

Gentle, peaceful, orderly, none of these words apply to this latest angry rant from Mother Nature. In fact, only the completely brain-dead could miss this latest message from Nature: she’s really angry.

When I was younger, there was a commercial that ran incessantly on US television for a margarine that came in a tub. The point was the tub of chemicals tasted exactly like butter. In the commercial they had Mother Nature dressed in her soft Spring finery tasting the margarine and agreeing it was butter. Then the snide voice over came in with the name of the product. The next shot contained a bolt of lightning, thunder, wind and rain with Mother Nature saying “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” I couldn’t get that tag line out of my head yesterday as I watched the weather deteriorate.

The snow fell at a blinding rate. Visibility went down to pretty near zero. On top of the snow and ice already here, it quickly piled up, covering the bottom third of the first floor windows. Let me repeat that. The snow fall was so great that it reached and covered the bottom third of the first floor windows. It wasn’t a light fluffy snow either. It was heavy and wet, the kind they call heart attack snow. It’s impossible to shovel. The Skipper and I took turns keeping a small area open for Yarn Rascal. The storm was so bad, even Yarn Rascal got the message. Yesterday was the first time in his whole 1 year existence that he had fast and short business transactions.

At dinner time it grew uncomfortably warm outside. After spending most of the winter in below freezing temperatures 34 degrees (1.1 celsius) feels like 70 (21 celsius), positively balmy. Enter lightning and thunder.

The thunderstorm was quite a show. The lightning was like watching a light show put on by someone strung out on speed. Even the thunder couldn’t keep up. Though the thunder was exceptional in itself. The rolling sound never seemed to stop and the concussive blasts shook the walls, rattled the plates in the cupboards, and was felt through the floor. The lights flickered, threatening to go out. Yarn Rascal was a model of good behavior because he was so scared. The rain poured down, then sleet and then white out snow. It was awesome to watch.

Today, the sun is out. Tomorrow another storm is coming. More snow. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

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Between swatching for two baby sweaters and working on the test knit for the Spring Sweater I’ve had little time to register weather reports. So imagine my surprise at 10 pm last night when my brain selected the following words from the local weather report to highlight: “historic storm”…”starting in 2 hours”… “ending Friday.” When my head jerked up to look at the television in hope that the weather guy was talking about North Dakota the screen had gone to a commercial, and my hands kept knitting. A mistake that I compounded by continuing to knit away while flailing around searching for information on what the guy just said. In the end, it would have been easier to have waited the 2 hours, looked outside and all would become clear. Yes, he meant my area. Instead, I have about 4 rows that need ripping back.

Today it is snowing so hard that visibility is measured in yards, not miles. The Skipper and I are taking turns shoveling, trying to keep a few paths open for Yarn Rascal. We shovel once every two hours, that’s how hard it’s snowing. It’s full blown Nor’easter Blizzard conditions, blowing snow, the complete orchestra is playing in this little number. While I thought about keeping a path to the car viable in case of an emergency, that would mean clearing the car too of snow, and really where the heck do I think I could get to in case of an emergency? We live on back roads. Nary a plow has been seen. You can’t get there from here is a reality. Also you can’t get here from there is true too.

But the best is yet to come. Ice and strong winds. After that, if the temperatures rise enough, heavy rains and strong winds.

So I thought it appropriate at this moment in time to show you the back of the Spring Sweater in it’s “I’m knitted but awaiting adjustments” state.

blouse

The adjustments will occur near the top on the garter st lines. When I knitted the back and came to the top area, I realized that the designer had garter st lines going across the sweater effectively ending the lace and balancing the garter st lines at the bottom. Well I panicked. I didn’t want the garter st lines to call attention to any part of my chest and mastectomy. My strong reaction surprised me. It’s a beautifully designed sweater and part of what I like about it are the garter st lines.

I wanted the back in some state of finish so I moved the garter st lines too far up. I need to rip the top of the back and adjust the garter st lines to the ones on the fronts. I haven’t reached the line area on the fronts yet, but when I do, I am going to take a deep breath and put them where the designer has them. I need to take this one step away from my fear and shame about having a mastectomy.

This is why I like knitting. It is life’s problems in microcosm. Until I knit this sweater I never realized that I had stopped wearing all shirts that are my regular size. Since my mastectomy I have been wearing men’s XXL shirts instead of my usual size which is medium to large, depending on the cut of the shirt. Most of The Skippers turtlenecks and long sleeve shirts, sweat shirts, tees are hanging in my closet now. My shirts are relegated to the side of the closet that houses things I rarely wear. Don’t get me wrong, I like roomy shirts, but this hiding beneath my clothing has got to stop and it’s going to start with this Spring Sweater.

To all who live on the East Coast. Happy Shoveling.

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