Sweater, Interrupted; Or, How My Search for a Needle Made Me Finish a Sweater

My wayward US 6 Addi Lace is to blame for what happened last weekend.

When in doubt, blame the needle.

See, I caught the lace bug a few days ago, and decided to pick up a long neglected project.

This makes total sense, I assure you…

That incoherent jumble happens to be the starting strip of Jared Flood’s Rock Island, worked up in some superwash merino/bamboo blend handspun. While Jared Flood’s Rock Island is, of course, spectacular, my personal Rock Island and I had a series of misunderstandings last year that led to a big ‘ole time out.

But we were on our way to a tentative reconciliation last week when I realized I couldn’t find that all-important US 6 Addi Lace.

Serious. Problem.

I looked high, I looked low….all to no avail. I began to suspect sabotage…

“I was framed…”

…when genius struck. Into the closet, hanging in a tote bag,  entangled in a mass of red, organic merino cables…

I promise, it’s actually red, not pink.

…was the wayward US 6. And my Military Cardigan, just waiting for a collar and placket and some finishing work.

I then found myself faced with another dilemma: Steal the needle back — forfeiting the many, many, many stitches I had picked up for the collar on this almost-finished sweater — so that I could knit on the lace. Or just finish the damn sweater.

With a sigh, with determination to just be done with it, with stash reduction in mind, I decided to finish the damn sweater.

I knit on Thursday, staying up way too late to knock out just another row of baby cables.

I knit on Friday, all through the London opening ceremonies while hanging out with Emilee.

I knit on Saturday, while hanging out with The Dude.

I knit on Sunday, before and after a trip to the farmer’s market for lunch and fresh produce.

On Monday, I set in and seamed the sleeves.

And today, I washed.

Voila

And that’s how my search for a needle led to a shiny new finished sweater!

The end :)

TDF 2012: The Finish Line

Here’s what they don’t tell you about the Tour de Fleece (and what I forget every year): It is really time consuming!

Fin!

And I don’t just mean the spinning. That’s time consuming enough.

Stick a fork in ‘er!

I mean the daily photographing and photo downloading and uploading and Rav posting. It takes a butt-load of time! Which may account for the…ahem…complete and utter lack of TDF blogging…yeah…

I’m a skein on the wind…

Even so, I had a really successful Tour.

At the start, I set two goals for myself: To finish spinning and then ply the Corgi Hill Farm merino/cashmere/bombyx top in “Emo”….

Boom.

…and to spin and ply two matching gradient skeins of Corgi Hill Farm 80/20 merino/tussah in “Hawk Brother.”

Boom. Again.

I’m pretty happy with what I was able to get done. My goals were reasonable on purpose, and it feels good to have a few new finished skeins in the stash. And my spinning mojo is stronger than its been in a long, long time.

Of course, I had help along the Tour, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my helpful helper…

Such a helpful helper!

…she sacrificed many, many bellyrubs in order to make this Tour a success. Such a little team player!

The 2012 Tour: Day One

The Tour de France kicked off today, and with it, this year’s Tour de Fleece. General life craziness meant that I had to sit last year’s Tour out, so I’m psyched to jump back in this year…though I am setting some reasonable goals.

I’m riding with Team Corgi Hill Farm again because AnnaMarie is my absolute fave…

In honor of the occasion, I whipped up a little ravatar!

…and the Corgi Hill groupies always make it extra fun. And I may have a massive stash little bit of Corgi Hill fiber hanging around…can we say Operation Stash Containment? I think so!

Anywho, today I worked on the merino/cashmere/bombyx that I’ve been working on for the better part of the past two years.

“Emo”

I’m finally almost done with the first ounce, spinning it into laceweight singles.

It’ll be nice to free up my pretty sumac-whorl Bosworth Midi.

If I can get the second ounce spun and the whole she-bang two-plied by the end of the Tour, I’ll be a very happy camper.

I also started spinning this Corgi Hill gradient on Evelyn.

5 ounces of 80/20 merino/tussah in “Hawk Brother,” photo shameless ganked from AnnaMarie (because my photos of this were total junk)

I’m really stoked about this one. I split the top in half down the middle, making two matching strips, then split those strips again, for a total of four gradient pieces. The goal is two fingering-weight skeins, each with that same long gradient, to knit into Stephen West’s Daybreak.

If I can pull off the spin as I see it in my brain, I think it’s going to be pretty brilliant.

Saying Good-bye

In the end, we didn’t have six months.

How can you ever really be ready to say good-bye?

Folks keep mentioning how much we gave her, how at least she got to live the good life for a little while, how she got to know love and warmth and comfort. And its all true.

But it still sucks. It sucks so bad.

She had such a fiery spirit, and it was heartbreaking to watch the cancer wear her down so quickly. When the time came, she passed at home, in the early morning hours, surrounded by everyone who loved her…she just finally stopped fighting for probably the first time in her life, as The Dude pet her and told her how much we love her and that it was okay to let go. It’s a moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

She was lucky to be walking down the same street as me earlier this year, lucky to have come upon a home where dogs are “our kids” and bacon gets cooked (and shared) nearly every weekend. But we were also just as lucky to have this sweet soul in our lives, even if it wasn’t for nearly long enough.

We miss you already, Gypsy-doodle, and love you forever, with all our hearts.

This past weekend…

…I bought three quarts of beautiful, sweet, local strawberries at the farmer’s market.

There’s only one left…

They even smell ripe and sweet!

…because the rest got made into THE MOST AMAZING strawberry streusel pie EVER.

And that pie got itself all ‘et up before any pic could ever be taken.

Awesome.

* * * * * * * * * *

…I worked on my newest knitting project, Jared Flood’s Chinook.

I do love me some colorwork.

Three colors of my delicious Malabrigo Finito make for dreamy soft and pretty mitts.

Such a pretty little pattern.

So far, I dig ‘um. But…it is Malabrigo…and Jared Flood…so, really, no surprise there.

* * * * * * * * * *

…I realized that someone will turn two years old in a month!

OMG, Simon is two!

Seriously! Two years! Where did they go?!?

I remember Tilly’s baby contest and her birth like it was yesterday. I remember falling in love with the cutest little puff of fluff I’d ever held in the palm of my hand.

Remember when….awwww….

And now he’s two and 15 pounds of grown-up kitty and just as sweet and wonderful as ever.

My handsome boy will be two! Maybe he’ll want some strawberry pie to celebrate….humm…