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!

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?