Sunday, February 15, 2015

And more knitting, since it's too cold to do anything else...

I've got three finishes for 2015 already!

Dad has an old pair of leather mittens.



Clearly he's had them for a while. The pair of wool mittens that line them have become too worn to serve their function.  RIP old wool mittens.  (I didn't get a picture of them.  Your first thought on seeing them would have been "Oh, the poor little things...")
He requested new mittens.  With temperatures hovering in the single digits, with occasional dips into the negative, leather mitts lined with wool mitts are extremely useful at chore time.

This is actually Pair of Mittens Number Two.  The first pair was knit in black wool; warm enough, but the cuffs were too short.  (Again, no picture.  You can probably picture them yourself.  Black mittens.  See?  No picture necessary, really.)  So Pair of Mittens Number One was downgraded to just regular old mittens, and I made Pair of Mittens Number Two to line the leather gloves.  And despite what it looks like in the picture, they really are the same size.  It's just a crappy picture.  (sigh)

Finish number three is a nice warm cowl for Wicked Good Stepmother, made from yarn spun from alpaca fleeces from her own alpacas.
Though full disclosure here - this is a total cheat.  I'd actually started this project last year, using yarn I'd had left from a scarf I knit her a couple of years ago.   It started out to be a Frost hat, in black, because I'm crazy and knit cables with black yarn.  More than once.  I was afraid I didn't have enough of the black yarn to knit the whole thing, so I'd cast on with the gray and knit the ribbed band, trying to stretch the black.  Turned out I had even less yarn that I'd thought, so I'd put the 'hat' in timeout while I considered options.  For a year.  I came across it recently, along with what was left of the gray alpaca yarn, and a light bulb went off.  So, I turned the hat into a cowl by knitting gray ribbing to match the cast on edge, and casting off.  Ta da!  WGS has enjoyed the warmth (alpaca!) in the aforementioned cold temps.

So, with three finishes under my belt, I figured I was entitled to cast on something new.  (We'll ignore the UFOs in various bags here and there.  (And there, too.)  I'm working from stash, so it's all good.)  I recalled that I had some pretty green yarn that WGS had given me a while back.  I was pretty sure there were two skeins, which might be enough for a hat and/or maybe some fingerless mitts.  (Vancouver Fog has been nibbling on the edge of my brain for a while, thanks to kmkat.)  When I went and hunted it up, I was pleasantly surprised to find I actually had four skeins!  Woohoo!
I totaled up yardage and realized I could really expand my expectations.
What to knit, what to knit?  I thought I might have enough for a vest.  Ravelry to the rescue!  I started pattern-hunting, trying out various criteria.  Yardage.  Yarn weight.  It occured to me that top-down might be a good plan, since the yardage I had was right on the borderline of the smallest sizes of what I was finding.
Yep, Ravelry comes through:  Bramblewood.  There are even cables!

 (Someone stole all the color out of my picture.  It's really a deep forest green.)

So, let's step back for moment and think about how this came about.
1.  I want to knit something.
2. I want to knit something with this yarn.
3. What can I knit with this yarn?
4. I can knit a vest with this yarn.
5. I cast on a vest.


Do you think I might be a process person?


Monday, January 26, 2015

A little catchup of the knitting variety

Catching up, that is.  Not the red stuff.  Though I did knit with some red stuff, come to think of it.
I made four hats in December, knitting on first one, then another, over the course of the day, depending on which recipient might be home at what particular time.  To make it even more interesting, all the hats involved two-color knitting in three different techniques.

There were two of Top of the World,* an easy alternating of two colors.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures.  Yeah...

And a purple and black  Pecan Pie , in two-color brioche.
(It's really a darker purple than the picture, but I can seldom get purple to show up properly.)  I'd never brioched before, so that was an interesting journey.

Last but not least, a red and white Weeping Willow in double-knitting.  (One of my favorite techniques!)
I made this one for my dad, who prefers to wear it folded jauntily like this:  
 

Using three techniques that were so similar, and so so different, all at the same time?  I didn't dare try to knit on autopilot, since my fingers could unexpectedly take off in any of several directions.  I'd start a row in corrugated ribbing and then discover I'd completed it in double knitting, with a couple of brioches in the middle somewhere.  Strict attention had to be paid at all times, no matter how interesting the movie was getting.  But I love the hats I ended up with, and the recipients were all pleased, so it was worth all the tinking.

Of course, not everyone got hats.  Some people got Hot-Chocolate-on-a-Stick and Homemade Truffles.  I learned to make marshmallows for this gig (plain and peppermint!), made caramel, and chocolate blocks, cut them all into squares and poked them with sticks to make choc-peppemint cocoa and choc-caramel cocoa.  Just add hot milk and swizzle away.  The truffles were chocolate-peppermint and chocolate-hazelnut.  Messy but tasty.


All in all, a pleasant but sticky holiday.

* I have to tell ya, I loved knitting this pattern.  My daughter bought it for me at NH S&W last year as a Mother's Day gift, so I knit her and her fella each one for Christmas.  Great pattern, fun to knit!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

So, Reboot

And I'm back.  Things have changed since last we spoke.  Madman and I have parted.
So, I left behind Vermont and my sheep and my gardens, and moved back to my hometown in upstate NY.  My dad found out that you're never too old for your kids to move back in suddenly.  (I'm sure he thought he was safe from that when he hit eighty...)
So now I've got pigs and alpacas instead of sheep and chickens. 
And there was a moment last fall, as I stood in the dark, in the mud, in the rain, waiting for my dad to drive a roaming pig back my way so I could deflect it into its pen, when I paused for a moment and thought:  yeah, some things never change...


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prairie-dogging

Just popping my head up to let y'all know I'm okay.  (For some definitions of 'okay'...)
Right now, my plate is full, my cup runneth over (not necessarily in a good way), and I'm fresh out of spoons.  And that's enough mixed metaphors to make quite a salad.  Please pass the ranch dressing.
I promise to post when things calm down a little.  Say, to less than a mild uproar.
Hang in there.  That's what I'm doing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just to tide us over

Maybe while we're waiting for real chicks, I should make some of these...


Pattern here.
Photo and pattern from Myrtle & Eunice.  Thanks, Myrtle and Eunice!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Sunday, November 17, 2013

As things continue to go pear shaped...

We currently have no chickens.  This feels odd, since we've had chickens for years and years and years.
Something scared away and/or killed all our chickens.  The Prime Suspect is a large dog that appears in our yard occasionally.  We have no idea what irresponsible jackass owns it and doesn't see fit to keep it safely at home.  We've alerted our local Animal Control Officer (a wonderful woman whom we both dearly love and respect) and she's watching for it. 
But that doesn't get us our chickens back.  Our old Rhode Island Reds.  Our not-Buff Orpingtons.  Our Black Australorps.  Our brand-new Barred Rocks.  All gone.
We won't be able to get new chicks until spring.
And they won't start laying until they mature next fall.
We're going to have to buy eggs for the first time in umpteen years.
I'm so depressed...