Sunday, November 18, 2007

Midnight Visits from Ozzy Osbourne

It’s been three days in the last week, now, that we’ve gone out to the barn and found a dead bird. These are our beautiful white homing pigeons, which, although we hadn’t planned on having any, have become part of our family. The heads are gone, but the bodies are pretty much intact.

It just so happened that today that I ran into the former owner of our house - the one who has the remainder of the flock of pigeons at her home in town. Those pigeons were the ones who opted to stay with Karen, at her newly constructed Pigeon Paradise. Perhaps *those* were the wise ones, the ones less likely to be predated by either minks or weasels that Karen said occasionally visit our neighborhood, and would have been responsible for these attacks. We haven’t quite figured out how to deal with these critters. Suggestions are welcome. And No, I’m Not Getting a Snake.

Happier Matters

On the knitting front, today I took a class at NW Handspun Yarns, from Cat Bordhi on sock knitting. Really, I think I could knit a (conventional) sock even if I were in a persistent vegitative state. It’s just that ingrained in my being. (My family has strict instructions that if I were in an accident and injured to the point at which I became unable to knit socks, to go ahead & pull the plug.) But Cat Bordhi’s method???? It opens up all new horizons to sock knitting, so I guess I’d better update my Advance Directives. These really challenge my fuzz brain.

One of the things I like about her new book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, is that almost all of her sock patterns have a mini (baby) version to practice on, before committing vast amounts of time and/or yarn to a pattern that is beyond me at any particular moment. (I’ve already discussed my migraine vs. knitting issues in previous posts. . . the itty bitty stroke that I had last summer hasn’t helped my memory or focus, either.) So, I was very pleased to try out the basic sock - the Little Sky Sock - and I had moderate success. I can hardly wait to do the Coriolus, which has a very interesting diagonal stripe running through it. Many options for the enlarging size of the instep are offered. Also, some new (to me) methods of doing increases and wrapping for short rows are given, with very clearly written instructions & diagrams. It is an awesome book. And I might even go buy her novel, Treasure Forest.

Sorry for the lack of photos today, folks. Here’s one we took on a recent trip - hanging moss, which I’m using to experiment with for a natural dye.

Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lace Binge and Other Things

I’ve been on a lace knitting binge for a few years now. I’m hoping to finish up these last three projects and then move on to cables and fair isle. The lavender Flower Basket shawl (Interweave Knits, Fall 2004 issue) is finished but not blocked. This is the second one of this pattern I’ve made. The previous one was a rich milk-chocolate brown color, very scrumptious. I used Crystal Palace Kid Merino this time, and have to say that it’s *not* my favorite lace knitting yarn. With its blend of 28% kid mohair, 28% merino wool & 44% micro nylon, it just doesn’t have the luxury feel of some other yarns. I guess it must be the nylon content.

The white is the ongoing Tina Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I’m using Knitpicks laceweight Merino for this one. It’s been living in a bag for awhile because I just could not face the remaining 1.7 sides of the border lace pattern, a 16-row repeat done over and over and over and over and over. . . you get the picture. I’ll pull it out again (promise) and do hope to finish it before it is found by those four-letter-word creatures beginning with the letter “M”.

The blue is my favorite yarn so far - Madil’s Kid Seta. It weighs *nothing*. It’s like knitting with air. The yarn flows through my fingers and over the needles effortlessly, and practically knits itself (as long as I’m not riding in the car on a bumpy road). I have decided that using a headlamp is a great help, especially in the car or for those late-night-knitting-in-bed endeavors. I can watch Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman and still see my stitches. Oh Joy! I should mention that this is the Oregon Shawl, by Knit One Crochet Too. I have just started it.

On to Other Things

This is a recent sunrise here on our little hobby farm. This is Mount Baker, and for those of you who don’t understand about real mountains, well, this is one. It’s a Washington thing, I guess, but we don’t consider it to be a real mountain unless it’s covered with snow and/or periodically erupts.

And this is my hubby, Doug, milking a goat. Not our goat, but belongs to one of his co-workers. It’s an Oberhasli and the milk is truly rich & creamy. As I am lactose-intolerant, I still need to take lactaid or some other enzyme to drink it, but it is sooooooo good. I also must be allergic to the casein in cow’s milk, as even with lactaid, I experience significant gastrointestinal pyrotechnics. Goat milk contains different proteins! They don’t bother me! Will we get a couple of goats? Well, it’s under consideration. We’d need to further work out fencing issues, as goats are more challenging to keep in. We’ll keep you posted.

And here is Angus the Gray, enjoying the back of my vest project which is still in the works (combination of Lamb’s Pride Worsted & handspun, in a free-form modular design that I’m making up as I go.)