A Reason to Hope

Photo: Dr. Arthur A. Allen It is easy to feel cynical, bitter and jaded with regard to the condition of our environment these days especially in view of the abysmal record of our present administration, but today there is cause for a celebration.  It must be true because I heard it on NPR and it’s being published in the journal, Science today.  The Ivory-billed woodpecker has been sited in Arkansas on the White River.  At least 7 people have seen or heard it and there is even a video.  I cried at the news.  The last confirmed siting was in the mid-1940′s and it was believed to have gone extinct since that time, though scientists were loathe to actually list it officially.  Perhaps there is hope for the rest of us.

From the Land of Ahhh

Stockaveng Stockinette is my friend.  StockinetteI pushed everything aside for the Everyday Cardy.  Even though I had begun the neck shaping for Vanilla Freeze and it is mere inches from completion, I still dumped it (for now).  Even though Avignon is a very nice cotton, it is after all, still cotton and friends, I will knit with cotton and silk and blends but I don’t have to like it.  But for the Everyday Cardy, I am using Artful Yarns Jazz, 50% Alpaca and 50% wool and almost entirely stockinette stitch save for the 2/2 ribs.  After the Must Have, the Flower Basket Shawl and my foray into entrelac, the whole concept of rows and rows of stockinette are so satisfying.  Margene is right, it is so smooth and rhythmic and the yarn is just heaven to hold.  It is moving along so fast that I am in danger of breaking my record for sweater production.  And, it is not boring!  Really.  It isn’t.  I think that is because of the yarn.  This much cotton would be just plain tedious.  I just love this stuff!

Happy San Jacinto Day!

Texasflag I have not done a survey, but I suspect Texas has more official state holidays (the ones granted as paid days off for state employees) than any other state.  So, why do we celebrate San Jacinto Day?  Well, it was the concluding military event of the Texas Revolution in 1836 which won us our indepenence from Mexico.  Shortly after the battle ended, Santa Ana, el Presidente and military leader of the Mexican army was found by a search team, hiding in the grass and dressed as a common soldier. 

Earlier the same year, the more famous battles of the Alamo and Goliad had really pissed off the Texicans and San Jacinto was they’re answer.  It was an overwhelming victory where we were out numbered, and it was very interesting so if you want to read about it, check out the Handbook of Texas.  There is also a San Jacinto Museum where they will be staging a re-enactment of the battle Saturday.

That concludes our Texas history lesson.

Now, about other things.  Boy has it been busy!  Things are really getting hectic at work with looming deadlines and I am just glad I am off today.

Kclap I have been knitting some.  Still working on the Clapotis for my oldest daughter.  Since she won’t be able to use it right away, I haven’t really picked it up unless I needed a mindless knit.  It’s moving along.  I am using the Blue-faced Leicester space dyed wool from Paradise Fibers.  The camera did not capture the color well in the shade – it’s very bright pink with purples.

Freeze This is the back for Vanilla Freeze from Knitter’s Magazine, Summer, 2003 ( I never get rid of good knitting mags).  Of course, I am not using anything that looks like vanilla at all.  I’m using Classic Elite Avignon, 85% Pima cotton and 15% tussah silk.  They do make nice cotton.  I got this one on Ebay and I may actually have a skein left when I am done. Here is the pattern shot and a closeup of the pattern stitch:

Freezefoto

Freeze_closeup_1 The pattern repeat is easy to memorize and I haven’t had to rip once.  I have a wedding to attend in May – outdoors, so I thought I might wear this.  I need something to wear besides tshirts in the summer.  I am not sure I am brave enough to wear a cami, but some of them are really cute.  Did you see Margene’s?

Brownsock And then there’s this sock.  It’s mate is almost done – past the heel and headed for the toe.  I wish I had used a lace pattern with this yarn, because it’s kind of a boring sock, but it’s a nice Meilenweit sock wool and it fits perfectly.  I may never be able to fit anyone in socks as well as I fit myself.  Oh well.

I want to make the Nothing But a T-shirt so bad, just cannot justify $90 plus for a t-shirt no matter how cute and custom fit it is.  I wonder if there is anything out there that will sub for the Rowan Calmer?  Does anybody know?  I know they are saying nice things about the yarn, but I just can’t see it.

Now, I am so far behind in knitblog reading that I may have to spend the evening catching up with everyone. 

I got nothin’

Well, nothin’ about knittin’.  Yes, I did some knitting this weekend, but honestly, warm weather and springtime draw me outdoors.  I don’t knit much outdoors mostly because I don’t have a comfortable seat.  I am usually out walking around looking at stuff.  We have 4 1/2 acres and some of it is fairly remote – if the creeks up – I can’t get to it. 

Bbchicks2 For those following the nestcam, the babies are starting to beef up and fluff up. 

I found another nest this weekend and I really wish I could show it to you.  I spied a fence post with a hollowed out hole and knowing from past experience that some birds like these spots, I peeked inside.  It was hard to seePosthole, but down about 6 inches were 4 white eggs, speckled brown.  Really small eggs.  By the  time I fetched the camera from the house and tried to take a photo, mama bird was sitting on it and hissed at me when I tried to get a shot.  I couldn’t see her well enough for i.d. either.  So I leave you with a shot of the entrance to the nest – I will try to get a better shot.

And look, Marguerite’s got working bluebird boxes too! And the other Julia got some wild turkeys in her yard!  Spring’s just bustin’ out all over!

The Miracle of Blocking

Musthave_front Miracle indeed. I had forgotten just how much cables draw in a pattern while knitting.  I could not have worn it before the blocking process.  I knitted the large size.

Yarn: Stormy Ridge Station, Triple Knit 12 Ply 100% wool, unknown number of skeins because I didn’t keep track – I had so much I wasn’t worried about it.

Deviations from the pattern:  A couple; first I could not for the life of me get the Irish Moss to work inside the diamond cables so I gave up and went with seed stitch.  Second, The armhole was simply too small for me to imagine being able to wear it that way, so I lengthened the arhole opening by 2 inches making the entire sweater 2 inches longer.

Musthave_back What I will do differently next time: Yes, I will make this sweater again, I wish I had more of the wool in another color, but perhaps I will use the recommended Classic Merino next time.  I will start the armholes 1 inch sooner and otherwise not change the body dimensions.  That means I will adust the sleeve cap to correspond.  If you think I am wrong, please weigh in.

The sweater is wearable even if it isn’t the cropped perky little thing on me that it is on the model.  No amount of adjustment to the pattern is going to render me cute and perky.  Still, I love the feel and it’s a color that can be worn with almost any other color.  I am done and can now start all new projects.  This one took too long because I put it down and stopped working on it because of my quandry with the sleeve opening. 

I ordered the pattern for the Everyday Cardigan and am looking for ward to whipping out a couple of summer tops.  And since it’s 80 degrees today, this sweater is now going in the cedar chest till next fall.

Bbchicks Nest Update: Alas, the other two eggs did not hatch and probably won’t.  After doing a bit of research, I learned that 65% of eggs hatch.  But, it is highly likely that they will attempt a second nesting after these babies fledge, so I will keep an eye open for "freedom day" for these little guys and clean out the house in prep for the second shift.  These guys were a little dissappointed that I didn’t bring any tasty treats for them, but I am sure mom was nearby.

Txcloth Knitting Finds: Every new Texas homeowner needs a Texas dish cloth, don’t you think?  I ran across this link in several blogs and it’s just too cute.  And I just happen to know a couple of new Texas homeowners and maybe they they won’t mind if the cloth is in baby colors, cuz that’s the cotton yarn that I have.  There are designs for every state.  Quick, go knit one!

Oh, and did you see this cute bagNorma stayed up way too late to share that with us.  It’s gonna be a hit.

I’m waiting for the Must Have to dry.  Considering my button options.  Working on a pink Clapotis and started the second sock of a pair so I have something to knit in a gruelling multi-hour meeting of scientists tomorrow.  Hmm, I may need more sock yarn.

Babies!

Bbhatch_1 Three of the five bluebird eggs have hatched and I’m hoping the others will have hatched by this afternoon.  I took this really quickly because I didn’t want mama bluebird freaking out too much.  This camera seems to prefer nature shots to yarn shots – it must be a lighting thing.

I finished seaming the Must Have Cardi and will block it tonight.  I am putting a lot of faith in this blocking process.  I tried the sweater on and the length is perfect on body and sleeves.  It is a bit snug and if I can’t coax a couple of inches out of the width through blocking, well, it will be going to some lucky, skinny family member. 
Musthave_1  I love the feel of the fabric, it was a generic econo-wool 12-ply from Australia that I got from Elann a couple of years ago.  I am not looking forward to the copious ends which will have to be woven in before this sweater is officially completed.  Wish me luck.

Jazz This is Artful Yarns Jazz.  I have 5 skeins – 50% Alpaca/50% wool and I got it for 50% off.  I love it!  I am thinking Everyday Cardigan.  It’s a funky marl, and I don’t know if this is a good color for me, but I don’t know if I care anymore.  It’s pretty and it’s soft and it is bound to be warm.  After the ordeal of the Must Have, the idea of a whole sweater knitted in stockinette seems downright peaceful.  I hope the yarn keeps it from being boring.

Kith, Kin and Knitting

Chris A trip to Dallas this weekend netted me a long delayed visit with my family, an unusally good yarn haul and a new knitblogger friend that I met up with at the Woolie Ewe in Plano.  Chris showed me all the best spots in the store (I still missed some areas I will have to go back to see) including the hidden 50% off section.  How exciting and what fun to sit down in a knit shop and visit with other knitters.  I haven’t done that in a very long time. 

Family time was fun and Abby is getting easier to travel with so we might get to do it more often. 

On Thursday night we had a really big storm roll over us and dump torrential rain and hail.  I feared the bluebird house was knocked down but it is safe.  The van however that we were taking to Dallas got stuck in the resulting mud and it was a comedy of errors trying to get it unstuck and getting 2 other vehicles stuck in the process.  With the help of a neighbor, we managed to get everybody unstuck and headed towards their Crawdad_1 destinations and noticed this guy walking across the property.  He was huge!  At least a whole lot bigger than the ones I see in the seafood section of the grocery store.  He must have gotten swept down our creek and decided to take a break from the currents.  In case you don’t recognize him, he is a crawfish (crawdad, mudbug, whatever).

Photos of my weekend yarn haul and Must Have Cardi progress coming soon.