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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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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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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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What a difference a few weeks of temperatures of below 0 F / -17 C have had on The Skipper’s opinion of my yarn stash.

The man is a warm weather person. The hotter it is the more he likes it. 70 F / 21 C is what he considers cool. On the other hand, hot starts at those temps for me. I truly enjoy the cold, cold weather of winter.

So in the middle of the cold, cold spell he asked for some new socks. The man’s feet eat socks at a fast rate. Yarn Rascal and I went to the yarn vault and looked over what we had. The only yarn that seems to have endurance with the rough treatment The Skipper gives his socks is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Yarn Rascal picked out a nice deep blue/black from the left overs in the Shepherd Sock horde. I’m pretty sure the name of the colorway is Peacock. I didn’t have enough to make two socks without inserting a contrasting yarn for the heel flap, heel and toe.

The contrasting yarn is Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply in Oyster.

knitted sock lorna laces yarn

No sooner did they come off the needles than The Skipper whipped them onto his feet. I wanted to block them to allow the stitches and the fiber to relax. But no, he couldn’t wait.

He’s asked me for no less than four more pairs of socks. Preferably in colors that match new turtlenecks he bought. I told him I didn’t have those colors in my stash and that I would need to order them. “Order as much as you like” was his comment! Yarn Rascal and I just gaped at him. After all, this was the man who just a few months ago complained that the stash was too big and I should think of selling some of it off.

I’d like to thank winter for restoring the man to sanity.

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What I Am Knitting

First, it’s wonderfully cold here. 19 F / -7 C. With the wind chill it is 6 F / -14 C. I love the way it makes my bare skin sting. I am probably alone in this appreciation, but it is so much better than hot and humid. I’m sure I was a penguin in another life.

The other day The Skipper came out of his man cave to show me a pair of socks I had knit for him a few years ago. He was shy at first. Holding the pair up and looking like a six year old boy who did something really bad. At first I didn’t recognize what he was holding. Then I looked closer and realized it was socks.

“What did you do to them”, I asked. They were so misshapen and large, too large even for the Jolly Green Giant.

“They were always a bit large”, he said. To which I pulled out my laptop, booted it up, and showed him the pictures of the perfect fitting socks when they were first made and on his feet. “No they weren’t”, I said.

He looked chastened.

“I’ll have to look in the stash for some yarn,” I said, remembering all the complaints he had about the size of my stash. “Maybe Yarn Rascal and I can find something.”

It was at that moment I realized that I now thought of the stash as “ours”: mine and Yarn Rascal’s. It felt right. After all, Yarn Rascal is in the stash every night, making sure everything gets rotated.

Yarn Rascal came up with a dark, dark blue partially used skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Of the various sock yarns I’ve tried with The Skipper, Shepherd Sock holds up the best to the beating he gives them. The Skipper’s feet are rather large. I only used about 100 yards of the skein for a hat project which roughly leaves me with 300 yards. I wonder if it will be enough to make a pair of sock for him.

So I have interrupted knitting the scarf I was so enjoying to play yarn chicken while knitting a pair of socks. If my luck goes as it usually does, I’ll get one complete sock and two-thirds of the second done then run out of yarn. The yarn was bought years ago. I think the colorway was Peacock. I don’t know if they still produce the colorway or not. If they do the chances of it matching unobtrusively are minimal. I have that feeling this is a doomed project, which makes knitting on it less than enjoyable. Additionally, I like working toe-up socks, but The Skipper’s need to be worked cuff down because he needs the heel flap and gusset for it to fit him properly. Yes, I can knit a toe-up sock with gusset and heel flap, but for some reason it doesn’t fit as well as the cuff down.

If this works I hope The Skipper will show the proper appreciating for the stash in the future. I don’t ask him to love it the way Yarn Rascal and I do, but I would like him to realize it’s importance. Especially now that so much yarn is on sale everywhere and there will be packages and packages of yarn arriving in the mail for the New Year.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

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