Thursday, February 21, 2019

So Here's Where We're At

First, a little catch up...

Sweet basket of spun singles.

The singles, paired up for plying.  If you notice, there are numbers on each.  That was the order I spun them.  The first five ended up too thin I thought, so for the second five I tried to spin them just a hair thicker.  I'm still not sure I did the right thing, but we are not going to dwell on that.

I'm sure they're fine.  I will re-swatch to make sure I'm still getting the gauge I thought I was getting and all will be fine.  All will be fine...all will be fine...all will be fine...

...until I hit the next problem.  The pattern I've picked (so far...all will be fine, all will be fine...) has a beautiful patterned yoke.  The designer's version was a black sweater with two grays transitioning into white.  It was like a custom Muffin and Pepperpot sweater!

I knew I was going to be tight on the gray/white portion of the project, so I did some sampling with PPPP rather than chance wasting any of Mrs. P.  I had an idea of how little black I'd need to add in to get my two grays, but when I started actually blending I was shocked.

From left to right the ratios are 1 part white to 1 part black, 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 and 10-1.  Yeah...  My hopes that where I was tight on having enough Mrs. Pepperpot, Muffin would make up the difference were dashed.  There will be very little Muffin in the grays.

I ended up choosing the 2-1 and 10-1 for my two grays.  The trick now was how to pull that off with the small amount of white I have.  Sit down...think...what are my options...  

I did the thing I always do in these situations...and called kbdoolin ;-D.  I'm surprised she still answers the phone when she sees my number.  We discussed the design, the amounts of dark gray versus the light gray and white and how much I'd actually need of each...and in the end decided not to chance running short.  

The seven ounces of Mrs. P. might be enough, but the mathematical odds were really not in my favor.  Yarn Chicken is fun in certain situations, but once Mrs. P. is gone, it's gone, and in the middle of the Iknitarod you don't want to have to rip it all out and pick a different design using less yardage.

The solution was actually quite simple...and sweet.  

Biscuit to the rescue!

I'd been feeling bad about not including him anyway and I'd bet Mrs. Pepperpot would have wanted him in there as well.  Biscuit and Muffin blended side by side into yarn?  We've sure seen that before :-).

January 2018

The bundle of white on the right will be my white and it will be straight Mrs. Pepperpot.  I'm going to spin that first and check my yardage.  If I'm not sure I have enough then I'll pull some more from the middle pile.  If I think I'm good than I'll blend some Biscuit in with the middle bundle and add little bits of Muffin to start working on my two grays.

So...that's where we're at :-).

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Play Quietly Amongst Yourselves

I have the ten bundles of Muffin spun.  Today is plying day.  Well, I've plied a couple little bits of it as I went along because I was having my usual issues of not keeping consistent with my swatch yarn for various reasons and have had to adjust along the way.  You know, the usual issues I have that no one wants to listen to...again ;-).

In the meantime, here is a new puzzle.  I wish the entire foreground wasn't mud, but the scene behind it is nice.  Frankie sleeps laying down more than any horse I've even had or even known.  Usually he goes up into one of his stalls (Hank gave up his stall and relocated into the Del Boca Vista shed), but if it's a nice sunny day, he likes to sleep near his friends.

Hank is okay with Frankie as long as Frankie stays away from his sheep.  He's not happy about them sharing piles of hay occasionally, but if I'm there to monitor the playground he tolerates it.  While Frankie would love to be able to live right in with the sheep, he does normal horse stuff and, especially if it's cold and windy, will rip around the field like a thunderbolt and someone would end up getting hurt, even if just by accident.  

Okay, go work the puzzle and enjoy seeing the sun temporarily.  Wish me luck on the plying.  I'll try to get back with a yarn update...maybe tomorrow.  

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Don't Wake The Baba

Everyone enjoyed the sun today.  Even Blossom (aka Baba) even if she didn't enjoy the chickens bothering her ;-).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Assembling The Team

I made this needle felted Muffin and Mrs. Pepperpot before Mrs. P was gone.  I knew I would not be able to afterwards...and I still think that's probably right.  I'm crying now as I try to type this.  

I don't think I was really that attached to Pepperpot herself.  I think I was attached to her relationship with Muffin.  Her relationship with me as she watched as we cared for her tiny lamb, continuing as her lamb grew up.  As I cared for her as she grew so feeble, while she continued to care for her little girl to the very end.

In the beginning I had big plans to knit a fancy cabled cardigan from her upcoming spring shearing.  Something very Mrs. P.  We talked about it all that first summer and into fall.  I feel she would have "got it" when it was finished and we had our picture taken "dressed alike". I truly believe some sheep know there's a connection.

In the end, I sheared her myself after Dr. Bridge left and I salvaged what I could. I carefully washed it, combed out all the mess and fiber breaks and then carded it all into batts which I piled up and set on the coffee table and just enjoyed like that all summer. 

It was a less than stellar summer all around and seeing a few of Muffin's tiny black face hairs still mixed in (click to biggify), still laying across her momma's back, was comforting.  I knew our special project was now going to be a blend of both sheep.  Muffin could help her mom still make a sweater.

I really didn't want to take on a huge Iknitarod project this year.  I miss out on a lot of the fun Iditarod coverage when I'm in a big race as well, so I planned to find an easier project for this year.  

However, once stupid spring and summer comes I have very limited time to knit.  Fall is usually a scramble as well.  If I wanted to knit this sweater yet this was going to have to be during the Iknitarod, my last bit of free not quite as busy time.  

I was still hedging on taking on such a big challenge...and then a ravatar popped into my head.  I enjoy creating those badges (scroll down the right side of the blog to see the past years) as much as the final project.  Once seen, it couldn't be unseen...and Muffin, Mrs. Pepperpot and I are off to the Iknitarod.  

I have 16 days to spin a sweater's amount of yarn.  The pattern I picked has four colors, so there will be some fiber blending as well before the last 6 ounces of white and gray are spun.  I'm starting with Muffin.  Pictured here are ten two ounce bundles.  I'm going to try to spin two of those per day, although typing this blog post has probably eaten up one of the bundles for today.  

That's okay.  I'm not panicking...yet.

And it never hurts to have 20 on the team as well ;-).

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The leaves in the basket of Mrs. Pepperpot are bay leaves, which I scatter around open wool baskets to help protect from they smell nice :-).

I'll announce the pattern and ravatar nearer the start of the race.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Thursday, February 7, 2019

An Accidental Experiment

Most sheep and/or wool folks have heard the statistic that wool can absorb 30% of it's weight in water and still feel warm, but if you are like me, you might not fully understand what that actually means.  I accidentally conducted a very scientific study last weekend.

We'd gone to eat dinner at our local Mexican restaurant.  Without opening a can of worms, there are still places in Kentucky (historically a tobacco raising state) where people can still smoke indoors.  Yes, I hate it.  Some nights are worse than others.  This was a bad night.

When we got home, I took my shirt and sweater and hung them over the porch swing to air out over night.  The next morning I picked up the sweater and noticed it felt a little damp from the foggy night air, but I would have still felt comfortable putting it on. 

When I reached for the cotton turtleneck, I quickly pulled my hand away.  It was sopping wet and COLD.  Amazingly cold.  Cold and wet enough that I no longer have any confusion about which fiber could put you in the ground and which could save your life.

One other note - the wool sweater aired out completely with no residual smoke smell.  The cotton turtleneck headed for the washer.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my cotton turtlenecks.  I'm just going to continue to pair them up with a wool sweater :-).

Monday, February 4, 2019

Good Company

The sunshine this morning was lovely. Everyone stayed out (and laid out) and enjoyed it for a good while.  It's gone now and guess what?  We have 2-4" of rain predicted for this week, starting this afternoon.  Unbelievable.  

Being locked out of the front field has created a "desperate situation" with the "hungry" flock.  Luckily the old timers have Rocky and Jared to lead them back to greener pastures.  It's great to see them grazing less trafficked areas.

I have some more good Hank pictures for tomorrow and there are two new puzzles from this group :-).  Enjoy!

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Oops - I missed my blog anniversary on the 2nd.  Twelve years!  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Snow Graze

I won't get to work this until tonight, but it looks like it should be a fun one

Enjoy :-).


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