Tuesday, February 25, 2014

this and that

The sky can be a phenomenal blue in New England winters. So deep. When I was little, I used to have one particular marble that was like a cloud-streaked, deep blue sky. It was my favorite "shooter." It looked a lot like this sky:


Of course even with a brilliant blue sky it's still February, offering all the weather-weariness that February typically entails. Snow, trudge. Ice, creep. Wind, duck. But what the heck, that's to be expected in this neck of the woods. I know it's coming, and that's why I try very hard not to start grumbling in December or January.
Got to pace myself!
~~~

Mail! 
I got mail today for the first time since the most recent storm, when some rather thoughtless person plowed a huge snowberg next to the end of my driveway. No one could get within six horizontal feet or four vertical feet of my letterbox. I had to call the Post Office and ask to have my mail held, because the intrepid and lovely rural carrier could not be expected to put on crampons and hoist an ice pick every day just to deliver my 99% Instant Recycling. 

But today, as you see, there are packages!
Oh, I do love packages in the letterbox.
~~~

Getting ready:


With the bitter weather I've been advising the goats to hang onto their cashmere for as long as they can this year, but soon I'll be spending a couple of hours every day just combing goats. Cashmere fiber is their winter undercoat - their "long johns" so to speak - and once they start to shed, it has to be combed or it will be gone with the wind.

About ten days ago, Acer began to show tufts of cashmere sticking through his topcoat, so I started spending an extra ten, then fifteen, now twenty minutes every morning, lightly combing while he eats his breakfast. Acer, like his mom, is a predominantly black goat, and in this picture, the black hairs are topcoat and the lighter "fluff" is the cashmere:

Mmmmmm. Cashmere.
I don't know why Acer is so much earlier than the others this year. I'm going to keep an eye on him, in case he needs a jacket!
~~~

Speaking of winter garments, here is the rather surprising result of my first foray into knitted hat reconstruction:


I know, it's okay, you can say it...nothing like the Harriet Vane hat, right? 

Lifelines still in the hat at this point,
just in case I decided to rip it back again!

I first went off trail when I realized there would not be enough blue yarn to finish the tam, so I inserted the brown stripes. Then I got kind of fascinated by the way the gathers were forming, and instead of continuing to make a flat platter that would become a big tam, I decided to make a loose, gathered cap on top, and make a second, solid-color tam next time.


The process of experimenting with shaping taught me quite a bit, I think. For the next Harriet Vane Tam Reconstruction attempt, I will have a better idea of how much yarn is needed, which type of increase and decrease stitches to use, and so on. I ripped out and reknit these increases twice - and the decreases three times - before I was satisfied. Although it was fun and educational...maybe next time I can do it all in one go? Place your bets!
~~~

And now it's night time. Chores done.
Piper curled up and talking in her sleep.
Time for a nice beverage and an audiobook.
Last night I was chilled to the bone and experimented: a mug of hot milk with a bit of brown sugar and a good splash of rum. I'm not absolutely sure it was good, so tonight I'd better make it again but in a much bigger mug, don't you think?
~~~~~

17 comments:

  1. Yes, you definitely need to continue with the experiment. With the nourishing beverage. Also with the tam, though I must say I like your version better than the one Harriet was wearing.

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    1. Ha! Thanks for the good advice, and also the comment on the hat.:)

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  2. Quinn, I like the hat, is the white line a life line? As to the mug of milk, brown sugar and splash...works for me. especially with an 800 mg Ibuprofen.

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    1. Yes, in these pictures there are still a couple of lifelines in the hat. I actually like the unplanned topstitch effect, and I'm going to experiment with this as a decorative element in another project, but using stretchy yarn instead of dental floss!

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  3. p. s. I just finished Gaudy Night and ordered the DVD...am going to enjoy the LPW and HV series.

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  4. Maybe Acer should be the Groundhog instead of the Groundhog...maybe he knows something we don't about Spring! I kinda' like the way the hat turned out...bet it's slouchy in the back, which is so IN right now...I also vote for the bigger mug. Hope Piper has sweet dreams...hope your week ROCKS!

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    1. Thanks, Tanya - I now have a much larger mug set aside for evening beverages ;)

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  5. I think a bigger mug is essential for your experiment - you need to take these things seriously!
    I can really picture your blue marble - that made me smile. And your hat is lovely xx

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  6. Lovely hat, and your pics are alwyas wonderful. Have a nice day !!!

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  7. Absolutely a bigger mug!

    Hat's looking good, even if not what you planned :)

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  8. What a wonderful post filled with news and fun. I love your hat and the way it came out. Love the gathers and all. Great job.

    I can remember the Februarys when we lived in NH. The always seemed to be so long after snow, ice, mud, sleet, rain and freezing rain for months on end. Not to forget the salt on the roads that would kill some of the flowers along the edges of gardens. I would sit in my kitchen window and look out over the yard all white with snow.

    I'm expecting two packages in the mail, and I know how you feel. Even though I know what's in the packages, I'm still excited. Love getting packages.

    You have a wonderful week.

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    1. Your memories of New England winters are vividly accurate! I imagine if I ever relocate (which I do think of) my own memories will be pretty similar.
      Thank you for the kind comments on my hat! :)

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  9. The plows do that to our driveway too! But since we have a long driveway, we have mechanized stuff to clear it... thank goodness.

    If Acer is shedding, then spring must almost be here. That will be my mantra for the coming days :)

    Enjoy your big mug - you earned it. I cannot knit so I think your hat is fabulous!!!!

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    1. Thanks, KB...I hope you're right! I remember many times grooming horses that were already shedding like crazy in this kind of weather, and repeating to myself, "the ponies don't lie, the ponies don't lie." I'll tell Acer ;)

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