Faking It

Remember when I said that Tangled Yoke was on track? Yeah, well, Tangled Yoke jumped the track. After tinking 800 stitches, including crossovers and 1-to-5 increases, we needed some time apart, and you know how friendly that old Startitis can be. He’s a real hoot.

So out came the dpns (I’m a huge fan of the dpns), a ball of SWS in ‘Natural Denim,’ and Fake Isle-ing it, that is....an old ball of Red Heart Soft that’s been in the stash forever…and out came Fake Isle!

Now say what you want about Red Heart; I’ll be the first to agree that Super Saver is no fun. In fact, I have a few skiens left over from that knitted-toy-making phase I went through there for a while, and I think that’s about all I’d ever use Super Saver for. It does make nice, durable, washable toys…if you can stand to knit with it, that is.

But Soft is a totally different animal. While it’s still acrylic, it’s buttery acrylic. It is a bit splitty, but I honestly can’t complain too much about it. Plus, no itchies for me. I dig it.

I’ve used SWS before too. I made a drop stitch scarf for Sweetie’s sister for the holiday last year in the ‘Natural Plum’ colorway. She loved it, but it made my neck itch! Plus, the ladders had no interest in dropping on their own, so all 6 feet of dropped stitches had to be individually unraveled. It was lovely, though, and the yarn is very nice to work with.

But hats are different, especially when you have hair. A wool blend isn’t so itchy, at least for me, when it’s on my head. And, given that next week I’ll be a bit farther from the equator than I am right now, and it’s notably chillier up in those parts closer to the pole, I decided that the best way for Startitis and I to bond was with a hat.

The problem: I’ve never been all that grand at sizing hats, anyways. Throw Startitis into the mix and, well, we committed a cardinal error: no swatch.

 Fake Isle

She’s a bit snug. Who knew I had such a tremendous head?!?

This is also only my second attempt at Fair Isle (the first being a set of Endpaper Mitts that may, someday, be photographed); and the floats around the crown, while tidy, are probably a tad snugger than desirable. Hence the always funky ‘nipple effect’ going on, too.

So, this Fake Isle is destined for the gifting, to someone with a noggin less bulbous than my own. Wow, at the rate I’m going in this quest to learn proper sizing, The Shrimp, my little niece, will have mountains of handknit castoffs. There have been some other mishaps…and chances are pretty good that more will come.

Maybe I’ll grab that other ball of SWS and craft some brilliant something else, or maybe I’ll find a pattern for that gorgeous tweedy bamboo blend and make Sweetie’s brother’s scarf.

Just maybe I’ll grab the Tangled Yoke and attempt to make friends again. I did have the goal of finishing it before the trip up north. I had some daydream of walking into a faraway yarn shop for some exotic fiber not commonly found in New England wearing a handknit beauty like Tangled Yoke. But, I’m down to 7 whole days before take-off, and I haven’t even found a set of buttons that I love yet.

Getting ready for angry poochie looksI did get my happy flying pills yesterday, which is at least one thing done for this trip, since I am not a happy flyer. I still need to stock the ferret supplies for the weaselsitter, and find a winter coat.

Madori will not be happy that I’m gone, but she’ll have to deal with a week alone with her Grammie. She’ll be mad at me when I get back, though. She always is.

Tragic

 Preface:Ancient digitalThis artifact is, in fact, my digital camera. Circa 2000, this one-megapixel monster was cutting edge. Now…not so much.

While I guess she serves her purpose, if you’re looking for image quality you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking for a zoom function or a detail shot, you’re also looking in the wrong place. Purchasing a new, modern camera has, unfortunately,  taken a backseat to yarn shoes weasel food student loan bills other things.

Because of this lack of quality digital photographic equipment (I’m rocking the film cameras, mind you; I was all old school when minoring in photography), I haven’t photographed a quarter of the projects that have flown off my needles since I first picked them up little more than 2 years ago. This truly tragic circumstance, however, brings an old FO to the artifact camera lens finally.

The Somewhat Cowl was my first sweater. I never thought I’d be a sweater knitter, but the Sweater Bug bit me and I fell in love with this one. I’m a fan of the cowls, and I own many a cowl-neck top. Once officially diagnosed with Sweater Fever, nothing could keep me from the LYS. I bought my very first Addis Turbos (thus igniting my obsession with Addis Turbos) and seven gorgeous black hanks of Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk. I exercised admirable project dedication, swatching, casting on and working continuously until I finished. It took about a month. I was so excited to wash and block it; the stitches evened so beautifully and the yarn had such lovely drape and sheen. And then, finally, I tried it on.

Only to find that it itched worse than anything had ever itched before. An itch that no conditioner would ease.

Oh, the itch...So now, for the sake of posterity, here it is. The Somewhat Cowl, in all it’s crummily photographed glory, ready and waiting to be frogged for lack of a better home. I have some plans for the yarn…obviously that project won’t be for me, though.

It’s kind of tragic to frog your first sweater, but I can’t see keeping such beautiful yarn, yarn that can be knit into a project that will bring a loved one of mine such joy and warmth, stitched into a sweater destined to sit in my dresser forever. While a nicer picture would be wonderful, I don’t think I could bear to put the thing on again. Besides, I’ve taken some very important things away from this sweater: the knowledge that my skin won’t tolerate most animal fibers and that sweaters are really rewarding knits for me.

Which brings me to the Tangled Yoke. While they, too, are crummily photographed and barely even visible here, the loopy little cables are starting to take form.Tangling the Yoke I’ve never knit an Interweave pattern before, let alone deciphered an Interweave chart, so the first couple cable rows were tinked multiple times to the chorus of many a frustrated curse word from these Italian lips. But, no crises to speak of, and it’s on track now.

I’ve already started the not-so-subtle hint dropping…perhaps the next major holiday will manifest a shiny new digital camera with my name on it!

Rainy Day

Normally, I can’t say I’m a fan of rainy days. Especially a rainy day like today. It’s downright gloomy and drizzly. Plus, it’s that kind of icky damp that really gets into your bones and makes you all achy. However, we are so rain-starved that I’m not minding it all that much. The river, which I drive by every day, is so dried up that the sand bars have broken the surface. The only house on the street that doesn’t have a brown lawn is the house owned by the recently dubbed Green Lawn Jerk, who is obviously using a ton of water to keep his lawn that lush and green. And, the riding arena was a veritable dust bowl on Saturday. We won’t speak of the orfices that were full of dust.

Rain-loving basil

My basil is loving the rain, too. It’s been a twice-a-day chore to keep the bushy basil from wilting. The basil is lovely…and tasty…but it takes a ton of water to keep it happy, and it’s gotten to the point where we just use the sprayer on the kitchen sink and hose it off through the window to keep it watered. So, the basil is definatly grateful for some rain as well.

I’ve reached that pivotal moment with the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. You know, that moment where the reality of a project comes into full effect. At first it was a rectangle with a few increases and decreases thrown in, a bit of patterning, and inches upon inches of stockinette. Then it grew to three seperate pieces, almost discernable as a garment, but not quite there yet. Tangled Yoke Cardigan, sans tangled yokeNow, we’ve reached that moment, the moment where it’s definately a sweater. The shape is coming together. It’s practically ready to be tried on.

I’ve made a few adjustments to the pattern, mainly because I’m no petite cheri. While this is the smallest size, I’m almost six feet tall, and I like my sweaters to rest at the hip. When your torso’s as long as mine is, with legs as long as mine are, cropped anything tends to 1) always bare your midriff (something I don’t do), and 2) make you look even longer than you actually are. If you’re in need of some added length, hey, by all means rock out that cropped sweater. Personally, I have plenty of length already. No additional length required.

So, the body is about 2 inches longer than the pattern called for, and the sleeves are a good three inches longer, because, let’s face it, you only want 3/4 sleeves on a 3/4 sleeve shirt. A long-sleeve cardigan needs to be long sleeved.

And this one surely appears to be a cardigan now.Oh, the weaselie snugglieness!

And about those rainy days? I keep telling the weasels that they’ve got it made. When they’re feeling damp and chilly, they get to curl up in a snuggly tangle of warm ferret bodies. When I’m feeling damp and chilly, I just have a little dog to curl up with.

Sometimes, I wish I were ferret-sized just so that I could crawl into a sleepy weasel pile with them and cuddle up. They always look so comfortable together.

Down with the Stiffness

The knitting took second place yesterday. An old passion resurfaced for the day.Natalie 

When the chance to play around with pretty horses arises, how could I really say no?

While I used to ride constantly, and I started riding when I was 7 years old, it had been a while since I’d taken a shot at it. My saddle was…in less than desirable condition. After a good scrubbing, though, it was ready to go.

Lovely clean tack

This also required pulling out the old boots. Which did result in some lovely new blisters. But I’ll take blisters over broken toes any day, and these boots have saved mine on more than a few occassions. They may get a nice polishing before the next ride, though. They’re looking a little rough.

Can we say, 'yee haw!

But while blisters are not fun, severe head injuries are even less fun. The lovely ladies, Marquile and Natalie, were slightly rusty as well. It has been months since either had worn a saddle and carried a rider, and even longer since either had any kind of serious workout. Retired show horses, Marquile is Arabian, while Natalie is 1/2 Arabian, 1/2 Saddlebred. MarquileThey were rambunctious to say the least, thus no on-horseback photography. Big Sis, who rode Natalie, and I had our hands full, and both horses and humans were quite sweaty at the conclusion. Marquile resembled a saddle bronc there for a while, but by the end of the ride her head was set, she was nicely collected, and if not for her amply overweight belly, she was almost reminiscent of the blue-ribbon western pleasure show horse that she once was.

I was expecting horrible saddle soreness today, but it’s not terrible. Just a general stiffness in my legs and shoulders. Guess I’m not in as horrid shape as I thought! It was rough getting up this morning, though. Luckily, Sweetie took me to breakfast at the Lafeyette Cafe. Ummmm, belgian waffle….with strawberries…and coffee….what a guy!

Breakfast

So, today there’ll be some knitting. My fingers are itching to get those needles going.Almost a sweater

So far, I’m liking the pattern. It’s pretty straightforward and easy to follow. The yarn’s a touch scratchy…on my hyper-sensitive skin…but I’ve a good feeling that it’ll soften nicely with a good washing.

So…

…here I am. Not much, huh? Were you expecting fireworks right off the bat? Well, I do what I can.

And where better to start than Pip, because, as you’ll see, Pip is to blame for all of this.

Look! A weasel!

Long before knitting needles and stst and any of that, there was Pip, a sad little sick baby ferret in need of some care and a place to live. Pip’s going to be 6 in a few months, and we’re not sure how much longer Pip will be dooking around, but we’re enjoying however long we’ve got left.

After Pip came Min, then Lea. Then Leroy and Otto. Then Buddha and Spazz, Miranda, Whyatt. And, finally, Lizzy. And there you have it…ten weasels and a boatload of ferrety goodness.

Now the knitting….

Razorshell Lace Scarf of Doom

…that came later.