Friday, March 24, 2023

The Jared Sweater

If you disregard the fact that I started this very simple raglan sleeve sweater with basically only one technical element all the way back in September, it appears as if I've been very productive lately.  Alas...

I really don't know what to say about why it took so long to get this one right.  It truly should not have been a difficult journey.  I wanted a bulky sweater that looked like bulky Jared, knit from a big squishy yarn spun to resemble big squishy Jared.  Both the heavier weight yarn and the basic design should have equaled a fairly quick knit.

I picked the pattern mostly because I liked the zipper, hence the name Zipper Sweater.  The folded over collar was also interesting and although I didn't know it at the time, the Italian bind off around the cuffs and the bottom has become a new favorite.

I know I posted several IG updates as I knit (and unknit and knit and unknit...), but I just don't have it in me to scroll back through nearly five months of posts to pick them out.  I will share two near the end though.  One because it shows said zipper (with, of course, a mistake I needed to take out and reknit) and the other because of the option to make whatever size yarn you want/need if you spin it yourself.

The zipper is sewn in by hand.  I'm not a great hand stitcher, but I felt that would give me the best control over exact placement and also between the very close color match of the thread to the yarn and the texture of the yarn, it would be hard for anyone to even see any of the wonky stitches.

I used double sided basting tape instead of straight pins or sewn basting stitches and that was very helpful.  I was a little intimidated at the start of the zipper installation, but would now willingly do a zipper again.  

I was hoping to recreate my Ravatar artwork, but they were both too focused on the cookies to settle down and pose exactly the same.  Still, I love them standing side by side.  Such good buddies.  Both are 13 this spring and I'm glad Tim got this picture.

This is the best view of sweater.

And here I just look like a crazy old woman who never combs her hair, but I love Jared looking at me...or probably just smelling my mouth to see if I have cookie breath.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The 2023 Iknitarod Warp Is A Wrap

Sweet little Maggie, once again demonstrating her wool worthiness.  She has shown a significant interest in everything I've brought out to the barn or barn lot and she's equally interested in WIPs (works in progress) and finished items.  I think I'll be making something from her wool this year!

Aside from the interesting structure, the beauty of a V shawl is how easy it is to wear.  No shawl pin needed.  It will stay put on your shoulders even as you are carried outside on a breezy afternoon :-).

This is where the two pieces are woven together after the front panels are finished.  The pattern I used is a representation of the Fibonacci sequence.  I used five warp threads for each "one" so instead of 1,1,2,3,5,8 I threaded 5,5,10,15,25,40.

I was prepared to really only focus on the back pattern, but I'm equally happy with the simple stripes on the front as well.  I think it's a nice, clean look.

I really enjoyed working with this yarn - the Lamb Camp Legacy blend from all the sons and daughters of Rocky and Jared when they were working over at Tring Farm.  It was easy to warp and weave and it held up well to all my weaving and unweaving and weaving and unweaving and weaving and...  It fulled really well and is surprisingly soft, even up next to my face.

I waffled on what to do with my fringe.  I am not a huge fan of twisted fringe.  I just don't love the look or the feel.  Being a Cotswold cross yarn I was concerned about the fringe felting together into a big mess so I sampled a couple of ways to keep it under control.  

I had the best luck putting big pieces of shipping tape over all the loose yarn before I washed it.  The knots still got a bit fuzzy though so I'm going to keep thinking on it as I get ready to warp up another version.  I think my next V project is going to be a mobius scarf.

All in all I, now that I'm a few days out from the fiddly joining work, I can say I really enjoyed this project and another successful Iknitarod is in the books :-).

"I somehow thought there'd be more knitting."


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Thank You, Eleanor

I am not the original "crazy sheep lady".  I laughingly introduced my friend Eleanor that way to some friends years ago and she fired back "Oh, you ain't far from me, sister!" When I decided to start using social media and found punkinsmom already taken, I became thecrazysheeplady.  Eleanor's husband is Saint Thom and Tim became Saint Tim.  They have both earned those names.

I would love to tell you a bunch of great Eleanor stories about bottle lambs we've enjoyed sharing and old sheep and good horses and great dogs and how she gave me Ewen McTeagle all those years ago...but I just can't.  It still stings too much.  Eleanor passed away fairly unexpectedly at the beginning of the year.

We traditionally shear sheep in the middle of March.  It usually works out okay.  This year, after so many weeks of way too hot winter weather, many days well up in the 70s and even one 80 degree day, the forecast for this weekend tanked. 

If it would have been possible to reschedule to a less frozen weekend, I sure would have, but shearing dates are hard to get and there was no way the sheep could have made it until much later in the spring.  I knew it was going to be rough, but I also knew we have a good set up and the experience to manage everyone as best we could.

Still...after a day of wind and rain on Friday (the pre-shearing fasting day) and the temps falling down into the 20s, I felt awful.  I hated sending my sheep to a cold bed on pretty much empty stomachs and I was so unhappy about them having to deal with a low of 19 just after being shorn the next day and 20 the following night that I sat in the kitchen and cried.

I want to stress again that if there had been any way to reschedule, I would have.  It would be almost impossible for me to shear 27 sheep myself and just 24 hours before they had been so hot that they were trying to shear themselves.  I knew that a couple of cold nights would be much easier and healthier than weeks of too hot, no matter how sad it made me.  

Just before the last night check I turned on my computer and saw a message from Eleanor's daughter.  

"Are there any coats or anything you need for any of your old sleep? I didn’t realize how much extras of things mom had and I’m not sure she did either lol"

She did not know we were shearing in the morning.  She did not know how upset I was.

What would possess Little E to send me a message about sheep coats for my old sheep at 10:13 at night on the night before a shearing I was dreading like no other.

Out of the blue.
Out of the blue.

I know where these coats came from.  

Thank you, Eleanor.

The younger sheep were all tucked into the middle stall together.  I'd added some extra wind breaks and we'd bedded them deep with fluffy straw over the warm straw pack.  I fed extra hay at midnight and while they weren't warm, they weren't miserable.  Everyone in Easy Breezy was happy with their jackets.

This morning the young sheep were all unsettled, up moving around looking pretty cold.  The coated sheep were still tucked in comfortably and sound asleep or happily chewing cud.  

We did not shear Rocky yesterday because I felt that at his age and after the rough winter he'd managed to make it through, that it would be safer to shear him myself once it warmed back up.  I can handle shearing a couple of sheep ;-).

Once the sun came out, everyone was much happier and the afternoon has been in the upper 30s and "warm".  I pulled the coats off of Maisie, Blossom and Short Round for a few minutes because I figured out a way to put two coats together to make them longer.  Maisie will still probably "show her butt"...but not because her jacket is too short ;-).


Both Maisie and Blossom walked over to me to get their coats back on when I finished.  Short Round was already settled into a hay bed on top of the compost pile, but I bet she'll be happy to get her coat back on his afternoon, too.  She didn't even question it last night.  

I'm so grateful that you can enjoy some sweet dreams, Maisie.


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