Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to Spend a Friday Afternoon

This is what can happen on a mild winter day with no obligations, a pony and a long driveway. Let this be a lesson in foolishness and just plain fun -- or whatever you want.

Riding our well-fed pony, PepperJack, is our trainer, Barb Anderson. (The hay is tasty at Caille Farm -- we may have to rename him PlumperJack)

Falling out of the sled is Barb Taylor, our favorite Texas ex-patriate. I told her to half-halt, but did she listen? At least she only fell an inch ... Angus is worried. As always.

Good thing she got the hang of it -- it's a long driveway!

In the home stretch ...

... and laughing so hard, the geldings woke up.

Where's the knitting? I made the hat:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Let this be a lesson to me

OK. I am a yarn snob. If this were a recovery program, that would be the first step, if I felt so inclined. But I don't.

That said, I must remember that I can get altitude sickness from looking down my nose at some yarns -- and some publications. The latest 'gotcha'? The fall issue of KnitSimple, which is published by Vogue Knitting. Check out the vest on page 36 -- it's lovely! And will very likely find itself in my ever-growing queue of projects-in-waiting.

I've been having lots of fun poking around Ravelry. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, gone down the rabbit hole! I thought I was the only horse person who also knits ... Silly Mommy.

The Plaid Hatter

Here it is:

the 10th of the 10 hats, finished on Christmas night while watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Charlie Brown's Christmas" -- the closest thing to a tradition at our house! And, yes, Mr. DeMille, it's ready for its closeup. The colors in this Malabrigo Chunky are way fun:

They're drying at my fancy blocking station in the basement: propped against the deep freeze, stuffed with plastic and stuck on wrapping paper tubes like little tiki lights.

As for the Rowan Plaid, we're not speaking right now. There were knots in nearly every skein. grrrrr. No wonder it's been discontinued. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to returning to my regularly scheduled knitting:

At left, the slightly wrinkled Jo Sharp vest, out of Rowan's Felted Tweed -- oceans and oceans of stockinette (thank the flash for the washed-out color ...). This is the back, nearly finished.

Below is WIP No. 2 -- also wrinkled. It's the sweater from Rowan book/magazine 30, out of Jo Sharp's Silkroad Aran Tweed:

Making noise in the yarn garage is the Pine Cone sweater, which I started, um, nearly two years ago. I believe it's adapted from a Vogue Knitting magazine -- it's a popular pattern at the Sisu Design shop in Ely. I'm making mine out of Cestari, kinda itchy to the touch right now, yes. But I've seen it washed and it will be nice. Definitely an outdoor sweater, however.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Notice the Little Charms

It's been one of those weeks -- we all have them from time to time. As I was looking for something a couple days ago, I found this clipping tucked in a knitting notebook. I do not know where I found it, but I am glad I kept it:

"The best reason to take your time is that this time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it, or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase 'take your time' is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest that we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically supercharged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters most first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane into the extraordinary.
"-- Excerpted from Crazybusy, by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., copyright 2006"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sometimes no help at all is the very best kind

I believe that whooshing sound was Friday and Saturday racing past. A day at the shop was followed by an enjoyable evening at the barn -- dinner, yakking and laughing, not necessarily in that order. It is a fun bunch of people. The trainer liked the portraits of the show gang, so that's good. And, the girls all seemed to like their hats. Whew!

Come Saturday, there was the usually no-brainer decision: Knit or be a Responsible Grownup. After teetering on the brink of yarndom, the Presbyterian in me prevailed and I dragged the holiday tubs out of the basement. (David was working, so he was excused from the heavy lifting) Several hours later, voila -- Christmas!

We decided a couple weeks ago against getting a big tree, what with the puppy and all that energy. Nevertheless, I hung a few small ornaments on our Norfolk island pine, but it took only a moment for that folly to become clear. Here is Gunnar, the ornament gobbler:

And this is Riley, the dismayed and innocent witness:

Three ornaments and half of a beaded garland. Gone. In about a minute. So far, BabyDog is just fine. The two surviving ornaments went back in the box and my 'helpers' went to jail while I set out the Santas, which as of yet are out of reach.

So, where's the knitting? I am back in the hat business for a couple of days. Yes, more Rowan Plaid. Meredith said she wants to make one, so we dashed to the shop that is near our house this afternoon and picked out some Malabrigo Chunky. It will be a totally different look, but it will be fun. I'm tickled that she wants to knit again. If she takes after me in any way, it's that she is way too busy, too. And she's only 15!

While we were there, two skeins of Louisa Harding jumped off the shelf and followed me all over the store. It was embarrassing, so I picked them up and promised to bring them home. "You can be mittens," I whispered, just to stop the whining.

Oh. Maybe that was me.

I was a brave soldier, however, and resisted the mermaid song of the bird's nest and eggs by Marie Mayhew. I suspect Santa might bring it. One of his elves perked right up when she saw me looking at the kit.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two for two!

Mere hours after finishing the last of the hats, I dragged out of bed and drove to the barn. After, um, socializing for an hour or so, I even got on a horse! Wasn't anything worth watching, but I walked, trotted and cantered, with a couple of poorly executed leg yields for good measure. Even with a loose girth -- amazing what a person can do when they have no idea. I will be stiff tomorrow.

As for the hats,

they are one tick above bank robber hats, but they should be warm. The pattern was written by Susan Saari, who runs Sisu Designs up in Ely, one of the coolest towns on the planet. As I mentioned earlier, I used Rowan Plaid, which I understand has been discontinued. I hope the girls all like them. I hope their moms don't put them in the dryer.

Tomorrow is my day at the shop. With a week or so left before Christmas, it could be busy with panicked husbands and other significant others streaming in for gift certificates. I'm glad to help them out, but sometimes I secretly prefer the quiet days when our small group of Friday afternoon regulars can settle in for some knitting, coffee and yarn enabling. We'll miss our one snowbird, who has left for Alabama and days of breezes and rounds of bridge.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hey, Mom!

Two words any mom cringes upon hearing. "Can you make more hats? Like, four?"

Like, OK. But not by Friday.

Over the last few weeks, much knitting have been rescued from the teething jaws of this little guy, who even when not caught in flagrante delicto, is my No. 1 suspect. He might look cute and innocent -- OK, he IS cute and innocent -- but he strikes with lightning efficiency.

A few double points have become no points over the last few weeks, and it appears that one of my cable needles has also made the ultimate sacrifice. The clerks at the LYS are quite happy to see me coming these days. "Oh, we go through alot of needles when our customers get a new puppy!" they said the last time I came in.

But we love him: Gunnar, a k a BabyDog and needle-eater extraordinaire. This boy can hunt -- the picture was taken last month during his first trip to South Dakota. Our English Setter, a rescue dog, is terrified of noise, so his job is to stay home and be handsome. I will have to find a picture of him, too.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Quiet, but not for long

This is one of the few times I will be at a loss for what to say, so enjoy it while it lasts. My husband, David, says I should just come clean about my yarn -- I assume that means tell everyone how much I have.

Oh, please.

Some of my best friends don't know how much I have and there are days when I don't, either. I will say that the bookcase in the basement contains all the yarn that is ... in the basement.

But I am not a hoarder. I am a knitter. Currently in the works:

• A Norwegian sweater that stalled out last spring -- a couple of the colors are bugging me.
• A bag that is ready for felting.
• Hats for my daughters' friends at the barn. Three down, two to go, all to be blocked by this Friday evening. All using different colors of Rowan's Plaid, a lovely, lovely yarn.
• A vest from the latest Jo Sharp book, out of Rowan's Felted Tweed.
• A sweater from Rowan Book 30, out of Jo Sharp's Silkroad Aran Tweed. A bit of cross-pollinating, you might say.

This week, after eight weeks of too much busy-ness at work, I hope to be able to go to the barn and ride a bit. I hope I still know how.
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