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.

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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…

I forgot to mention…

…that I got a swift and a ball winder this past Xmas.

Pretty little yarn cakes!

I gotta say: Not having to hand-wind everything is pretty sweet…and far more efficient.

That’s my whole stash of Malabrigo Finito, BTW, all rolled in about 45 minutes. It’s about to get all sorts of colorwork-ey up in here.

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I knit a giant blanket a few months ago.

Warm and wooly!

It completely covers a queen-size bed. The pattern is Jared Flood’s Bridgewater, just supersized from laceweight shawl to worsted weight blanket. I dig it.

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I finally took pics of the socks I made for The Dude.

The Dude’s socks…not, however, modeled by The Dude

I couldn’t be happier with them…but I’ll never knit 2X2 ribbed men’s socks on US 0 needles every again!

Yay for Malabrigo socks!

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I decided it was a good idea to knit a fingering-weight fair isle baby blanket in the round…

Call me crazy…

…and it turns out that it totally was!

…but it was loads of fun to cut this thing in half!

I set the steeks with crochet using leftover BFL handspun from the Sunshiney socks, followed by two lines of machine sewing. Worked like a charm!

Just need to do the finishing work, and she’s done.

I’ve recruited Jenni to help me with the sewing (because she’s a sewing rockstar and I am decidedly not…) after I block this out. The pattern, Latvian Garden, is so much freaking fun to knit. Most of the yarn is Corgi Hill’s now-discontinued Fiona (the purple, the only exception, is Claudia’s Handpainted Fingering), a buttery superwash merino-cashmere-nylon blend.

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I fell off the Operation Stash Containment wagon for a little while, but I’m officially hopping back on. Yay for stashbusting!

Keeping On

Official Gypsy-doodle diagnosis: Stage 3 Lymphoma. Multiple peripheral nodes effected.

Treatment: 20 mg of prednisone twice daily.

Prognosis: Six months.

:::sigh:::

In happier news, I finished a pair of happy socks.

“Bright Sunshiney Socks”

They’re my Fiber Optic BFL handspun, with Spud & Chloe Fine for the cuffs, toes and heels, using my Plain Jane recipe.

Big ‘ole Simon photobomb in this one…he’s so high maintenance…

It took me a whole year to knit these socks. Seriously! A whole year for a pair of stockinette socks! In my defense, it’s been a hell of a year…

By contrast, it only took me two months to knit a fair isle baby blanket in the round in fingering weight on US 2 needles…

Inside out, setting the bright sunshiney steeks, getting ready for the big cut!

…and now it just needs to be steeked! I’m itching to cut this thing apart…just a little more crocheting to go…