Friday, March 29, 2013

About dream knitting

Last night I dreamt about binding off a project. It was a dove gray shell and the yarn was a tweedy wool, silk blend. As it always is in dreams, the knitting was perfect, gauge was spot on and the garment was going to be a perfect fit. I'm talking about knitting dreams here. Dreams where the pattern has no errors and the yarn never tangles. There are such things as knitting nightmares, but those are more likely to happen during waking hours. Like when you leave your knitting within reach of a bored dog who freaks out at the sight of a nicely wound center-pull ball of yarn. I try to not think about those times.

So back to the dream. I was about halfway through binding off a long row of stitches. (I don't know about anyone else, but in my knitting dreams the project is nearly complete.) As I was binding off in the normal fashion as directed by the pattern, it occurred to me that I should be doing the three-needle bind off so I wouldn't have to sew the shoulder seams together. Ah ha! Deviate from the pattern and....and...that was the end. I woke up.

I know! Doesn't that just suck? So many unanswered questions. Did I rip back the bound off stitches and start over with the three-needle bind off? Did I block the sweater? Did it fit? Was it glorious? I don't know...I JUST DON'T KNOW! I tried, but I couldn't get back to sleep. It was like picking up dropped stitches in a complicated yarn over, knit two together pattern. The harder I worked at it, the further the stitches slipped from my needles. I willed my subconscious into picking back up where I left off but to no use. I will never know how it turned out.

Speaking of dropped stitches...I got an e-mail today from a knitting website advertising a new book of patterns. There were several photos of the patterns offered in the book. I don't normally make fun of review patterns, however this one is special. 

What the heck is that (besides super fugly)? Captions anyone?
  • Did someone hear something rip?
  • Does anyone else feel a breeze?
  • I seemed to have snagged my sweater.
  • Duck tape is NOT going to fix this.
  • Did I hear someone say they need dental floss? Just use the back of my sweater.
  • Does anyone know how to pick 45 dropped stitches?
  • Shit, Grandma is going to kill me!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thank you...kind of

March 28, 2013
The Inner Circle
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
102 W Mahoning St
Punxsutawney, PA 15767

Dear Groundhog Club President:

This letter acknowledges your recent attempt to deliver "almost-spring" in answer to my complaint of March 26, 2013. However, the sarcasm of the 23 freshly sprouted dandelions in my yard was not lost on me. Well played, but I have a lawn mower and I'm not afraid to use it.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

About spring +6

March 26, 2013 (6 days into "Spring")
The Inner Circle
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
102 W Mahoning St
Punxsutawney, PA 15767

Dear Groundhog Club President:

I feel compelled to inform you about the negative experience I had this morning at my home in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been ten days since I expected to receive the order Spring that I placed with your company on February 2, 2013. There is only one word that describes how I felt when I looked out the window today and saw a fresh layer of snow. Shit. Please see attached photos.

This is unacceptable. The advertising set forth by your company clearly states that if a certain groundhog does not see its shadow upon emerging from its little hidey hole, spring will come early. As you will recall, February 2, 2013 was quite overcast, and it was even snowing in some locations. It was widely broadcast that the rodent was unable to see a shadow of any kind before he scurried back under ground. This event was documented by several national news agencies and widely reported as fact. As such, people around the country set aside their differences, rejoiced and placed their orders for spring when they heard the rodent's prediction. To the best of my knowledge, everyone who placed their order for spring on or after that day has been royally screwed.

So, I ask, what the in the hell happened? The weather has been for crap lately. The men in top hats and their furry rodent have failed to meet this simple expectation and have failed to perform in accordance with the standard of care exercised by other reputable men in top hats and rodents practicing under similar circumstances. I will concede that there have been a couple of decent days, but we have experienced nothing remotely resembling spring. A serious error has occurred. As such, I demand that the Groundhog Club expedite the delivery of spring to my doorstep and credit my account for the past 6 cold and crappy days. If not, the rodent is going to end up as a coat.

Warmest regards (even though I'm freezing my butt off)
Chris...and the rest of the nation


Monday, March 25, 2013

About turtle sex

Turtle sex is not something I've given much thought, or any thought really...until Randy and I went to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga this past weekend.

I am sad that I didn't get photos or videos to corroborate my discourse of the two counts of turtle sex we witnessed. But in my defense, with all the kids and families about, taking a video of two turtles in the act didn't seem like a very tasteful thing to do. So we openly watched them. Who wouldn't?

The whole thing was pretty funny. Both turtle couples lived in freshwater habitats and were like the turtles you see sunning on logs and rocks along the lakeshore. The first couple we encountered was swimming along the bottom of their habitat. The man turtle was chasing the lady turtle and you could tell she wasn't that into him. He was quite a bit slower and larger than she was, and he kept trying to swim on top of her (wink wink). Just as he would get into position, he extended his front arms and fluttered his claws in her face really fast. (Not a foreplay technique I've ever heard of and probably not the smoothest way to get into a lady's shell!) She'd swim away, he'd swim into position and then flutter in her face. Nothing about the claw fluttering was the least bit sexy. I'm sure turtle sex takes enough concentration as it is, without having claws fluttering in your face.

The next turtle encounter seemed to be more consensual for the lady turtle was standing on the sandy floor of the habitat in plain site of everyone else in the aquarium. Man turtle would climb on top of lady turtle and then slide off. Climb on, slide off. Climb on, slide off. Dude, I felt like Mr. Miyagi in  Karate Kid! In an aquarium full of tourists you can bet that we weren't the only ones to witness this reptilian love-making. A couple (human) standing about 4 feet away were just as mesmerized. As they walked away the man sighed and said to the woman, "well, that was unsuccessful." We kept watching. Yes, kind of pervy, but it was nature! Then a woman and her pre-teen daughter noticed the action. Mom tried to be cool and point out the fish but daughter zeroed in on the live sex show (that will net some disappointed Google searchers!) As they were walked away, daughter said to mom, "that turtle accidentally swam on top of the other turtle." Mom muttered, "that was no accident", grabbed her daughter's arm and steered her away from the hard-shell porn. We continued watching as the man turtle kept climbing up and sliding off. Maybe that's their "way"? It just looked more exhausting than enjoyable...but I'm not a turtle.

So, while I didn't get any x-rated turtle photos, I did get some g-rated photos of a couple other creatures.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sheep happens

I know I'm a little behind in posting these photos. Not to whine or anything unattractive, but there have been too many distractions this week.

The rescheduled shearing took place at Three Creeks Farms last Sunday. It was an "all hands on deck" experience. It reminded me about how everyone used to come together to help with building barns, plowing fields, making quilts, etc. Such a rewarding day!

These lovely ladies are in the queue, patiently waiting for their turn. The lady on the left is an Icelandic and the one the right is a Shetland.

Sheep just kind of flop over when the shearing starts. There is no dignity. How could one have dignity when one is being shaved all over with a gigantic electric clipper? And when I say "all over" I mean ALL OVER.

Here are a couple Wensleydales after shearing. They had the most gorgeous curls.
And here is the skirting crew--Anne, Sue, Jan, and Troy (with me behind the camera.) Skirting is not a glamorous job even though we made it look so. What is skirting? Remember me saying that the sheep are shaved "all over"? The skirters pick out the nasty bits and dingleberries. "Ew" was the quote of the day.

Bags and bags of fleeces sans nasty bits and dingleberries.

You can't go to Three Creeks without loving on nearly 300 pounds of mastiff--Rupert and Hugo.


Hugo (thinking that this might be his better side)

There was a surprise waiting for us Sunday morning. PUPPIES! These two cuties are half Great Pyrenees and half some other big dog. These are some seriously solid puppies with gigantic paws. By the end of the day they were pooped.
Molly and Belle

Belle in the flowers (photo taken by Beth)
I'm looking forward to the next farm day. The lambs should be arriving soon!
My other distractions: work, bowling league, weather spotter class, knitting and spinning. (Note that cleaning house, doing dishes and laundry are not mentioned.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

About the shearing that didn't happen

Sunday was supposed to be shearing day at Three Creeks Farm in Charlotte, TN. However, the shearer contracted a stomach bug and had to cancel at the last minute. My friend, Becky, and I were already on the road and decided to continue with the plan to spend some time at the farm.

Shearing is rescheduled for next Sunday (3/17). Check out Three Creeks Farm's Facebook page for more information.


Goat photo attempt 1

Goat photo attempt 2

Becky and Hugo

Just Hugo


Peek again


Friday, March 8, 2013

About Ewe

She set her GPS to 407 North Main, Kingston Springs, TN and anxiously watched the display as it searched for satellites. Precious minutes were ticking by. It was 3:35pm. Would she make it in time?

It boiled down to one simple fact. She just couldn’t get gauge. Her size 1 DPNs were too small, and her size 2 DPNs were too big. The elusive size 1.5 (2.50mm) DPN would solve her problem, but that’s a metric needle and this is a non-metric country. The phone calls she made to two other local yarn shops produced the same discouraging results…no 1.5 DPNs.
The suggested route finally displayed on her GPS. Arrival time 3:48pm. Should she call the yarn shop first to inquire about their stock? She pondered for a moment. The last two phone calls had been so disappointing. Would this be strike three or a charm? Arrival time 3:49pm. She threw the cell phone down on the car seat next to her and hit the gas.
There was little traffic on the interstate that Saturday afternoon, and as soothing voice of the GPS told her to exit at the next ramp, she noticed that she regained the minute she lost while trying to decide whether or not to call. Arrival time 3:48 and only a few miles to go.
She expertly maneuvered her Rav4 into a parallel parking spot on Main Street directly across from the entrance to the shop. With cash in hand, she looked both ways before crossing the street (she’s safety minded like that) and entered the store. A delightful jingle of a bell hanging from the door greeted her. She got all tingly inside--for yarn shops have that effect on her. 
She hesitated. She took a deep breath. The shop was thick with the intoxicating aroma of wool and fiber. As her eyes were adjusting the shop’s proprietor emerged from behind wall of luxurious fiber and said, “Hi, can I help you find anything?”

She suddenly forgot her quest. Like a deer caught in the glaring headlights of an oncoming car, all she could do was stare blankly—longing to jump headlong into the path of destruction. She spewed one very long word, “I need double pointed needles and you probably don’t have them but it’s a size two point five, I mean it’s a size one point five that’s actually a two point five millimeter, and nobody has them because of the whole metric deal, why didn't the US convert when Thomas Jefferson suggested it, and this is a long shot but I know that Crystal Palace makes them in bamboo and Knitpicks makes them in laminated birch or nickel but I really don’t like birch or nickel for socks because birch breaks and nickel feels cold and I can order them online but I’d rather buy locally.”

The shop owner nodded in understanding as she wound her way to the front corner of the shop. “Like these?” as she handed over a lovely set of size 1.5/2.5mm 6” Chiao Goo bamboo double-pointed needles. It was a moment of magical clarity and she was for once speechless. She couldn’t believe her good fortune. She was wrapped in the warm cloak of victory, and it felt damn good. 
The purchase was tallied and paid for with a crisp new ten dollar bill. Change was pocketed, and as she was turning to head for the door, a tabletop display of silk-cashmere yarn caught her eye. Her heart stuttered as it waited for her brain to tell it to continue beating. She could feel the softness of the fiber without even touching it, but touch it she did. She had never felt angels' wings but knew that if she ever got the chance, they would feel as luxurious as this fiber. A quick glance at the dangling price tag jolted her back to earth. She reached into her pocket and felt the soft dollar bill, a quarter, dime and two pennies. Her other hand gripped the prized size 2.5mm bamboo needles a little too tightly. Now was not the time. It was special yarn that deserved more thought than an impulse buy, and truth be told, she just couldn't afford it.
Gathering her wits about her and with squared shoulders, she held her head high as she exited the shop. Again, she looked both ways before crossing the street and walked purposefully to her Rav4. She settled into the driver's seat, adjusted the mirror (even though she was the only driver of the vehicle), turned on her audio book and steered the car towards Nashville.
She arrived home a few minutes before 5pm. She opened the packet of needles and was treated to an extra bonus. Chiao Goo packs their needles in sets of 6 in case one gets lost or broken. She began casting on...
(To be continued) 
Author's note:
Thanks Ewe & Company for your awesome selection of needles! What a beautiful store. The next time I won't show up moments before you close so I have more time to shop. What a treat that will be!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

About March 3rd

What makes March 3rd so special that I would write a blog about it?

I had a particularly rotten night last night. My dog, Sophie, who I've mentioned before, is declining rapidly. She's blind and nearly deaf. She's always been selective deaf (there must be some cat DNA in her bloodline) but this is not faked. I have to put blankets and towels on the edges of furniture so when she does bump into a sharp corner, it will be dulled somewhat. I have ribbons hanging from my spinning wheels so she feels them with her nose before she's ablt to get tangled up...which happened a couple weeks ago. So, last night she paced. And paced. She asked to go out at 2am and again at 4am. This is highly unusual, but when a dog asks to go out, there is a reason.

When I got up this morning, I opened the blinds in the living room to let the morning sunshine warm the room and almost stepped in the reason. Actually she left three reasons....and I'm not talking puddles. Luckily I have hardwood floors, so cleanup was not terribly difficult, but GAG. This is the first time Sophie as EVER done that in the house. Even when she was a puppy she politely asked to go outside to take care of her personal stuff. I guess this is just another sign. Poor old dog. I'm not going to prolong her life for selfish reasons. Her quality of life will determine my actions.

Once I cleaned up the living room and sanitized the floor, I was able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine streaming through my large windows. My living room on a cold, sunny morning is a wonderful place to be.


Zack gave me the little glass sheep for Christmas. Of course, my favorite is the black sheep. He is mischievious. The orchid is my botanic (botanical?) pride and joy. It sends up a flower shoot around Christmas every year and blooms from Valentine's Day well past St. Patrick's Day. I don't do anything special to it except for praise the daylights out of it when it blooms. It has been doing this faithfully for about 15 years. I water it now and then.

I'm sure you're thinking that all this still doesn't make March 3rd all that special. Ah, here's where I get to the point. (About time.) Today is Liana's birthday! Liana is a special friend--one who listens, offers just the right amount of advice, is encouraging, sympathetic, patient, courageous, funny (as hell), creative, and has never met a stranger. I'm so envious of her ability to walk up to people she has never met and engage in conversation. I'm not like that, but I'm so glad Liana is...because otherwise we would never have met. She was the one who started our Wednesday knitting group by posting it on Ravelry. I thought she was nuts and the day of the first meeting all my friends strongly cautioned me about meeting people I had only met online. But I showed up on that very first Wednesday and was a regular for quite a while. Then for various reasons I stopped going but Liana never gave up on me and kept on inviting me. I've started attending again and now I'm unsure why I quit going. Liana and that group of Wednesday knitters are just what I needed to get my creativity flowing again.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LIANA! I'm so glad today is beautiful and sunny...just like you. Thanks for being such a terrific friend. I miss you and hope you get back downtown soon!