Monday, April 27, 2009

I had a code in my node . . .

I missed posting weekend before last because ToolMan and I had the plague. OK, not really the plague, but it might as well have been. ToolMan got a nasty cold, complete with head congestion, a croupy-sounding cough, low fever, and chills. He got antibiotics from the doctor, then he shared with me. The cold, that is, not the antibiotics.

So, we spent a long weekend, from Friday until Monday, in bed with our friends: the hot water bottle for me and the Blanket As Big as Texas for him.

Several years ago, when we were planning a driving vacation back to Missouri to visit family, I decided all those hours in the car would be perfect for a big project; namely an Aran sampler blanket. I wanted 8-inch squares, none the same, set 4 across and 5 down with a narrow border; just the thing to drape artfully across the back of the sofa in the family room.

Now, never mind that it was July, we would be driving across miles of desert, and this is wool. I bought 4 pounds of yarn (because I wanted to make sure I had the same dye lot, you know.), packed up the yarn with my size 8 straights (hadn't converted to circulars yet) and a stitch dictionary into big plastic tote; we kennelled Andy Rooney, packed up the minivan, and off we set. We were barely out of Portland when I cast on for the first square, which was to be 8 inches square, and finished it before we were out of the Gorge. Somehow, that square looked awfully small; hardly bigger than a dishcloth. Hmm, 20 dishcloths sounded like a very small afghan. So, I frogged it off and made it 10 inches; still seemed very small. (Hint: This is where I first went off the rails.) Frogged again and made 12 inches, which seemed just the right size; the larger area would show off the patterns so well. So, all the way to Missouri, nearly 2,000 miles, I happily knit 12-inch squares; replacing the diminished skeins with finished squares in the tote.

By the time we reached my parent's home, I was really enjoying knitting these squares! They were just challenging enough to keep me occupied, but a mistake due to too much landscape viewing was easily ripped out and corrected. And so satisfying to finish 2 or sometimes 3 a day while ToolMan drove and we talked! Pretty soon, I had convinced myself (completely forgetting that I was making them more than twice the size originally planned) that a mere 20 squares would not be nearly big enough for an afghan. So I decided to make it 5 squares across and 6 squares long. (Here's where I veered off the path, again.) So, all the to Missouri and back, nearly 5,000 miles in all, Aran squares were knitted, patted, admired, and stowed.

When we arrived back home, two weeks later, I steamed each one, added a border of half-double crochet to each, and set about sewing them together. It required clearing the living room of furniture in order to lay out these things. When it came time to pick up stitches and knit a border, I finally realized how far off track I'd actually gone. By knitting 12-inch squares and adding a crochet border to each, and adding squares, I had sewn together a blanket that was covered more than 30 square feet and was nearly 25 feet around. Without the border, which I had planned to be 4 inches. Retreat being the better part of valor, I laid aside the knitting needles and grabbed a crochet hook. Thus was born the Blanket the Size of Texas. It does reside on the back of the couch in the family room. Because it's too damn big and heavy for anyone to actually use.

Here's the only thing I actually knitted last week. Isn't it pretty? So sunny and spring-like?

It's a variation of Lala's Simple Shawl, knit with StitchJones merino superwash in "Summer of Love." This skein had been marinating in the stash for quite a while; it had a plain gray label which Sharon used when she first began dying.

It's hard to believe a shawl this size came from one skein; Sharon give good yardage! This one gets wrapped in tissue and gifted tomorrow. Just right for someone who says her favorite color is "all of them"!

I hardly did any spinning, either. I did finish this bobbin, spun from two batts that Barbara left last fall. Can't wait to ply this, the marled colors are so pretty!

Remember the mystery fiber? Roxie was the closest guess, but it's not labradoodle; it's Wheaten Terrier! I did comb a little bit and sample it on the drop spindle. It came out pretty much like the binding twine they used to tie hay bales with!

And here's a sample skein of the fleece from the Cascade Farmstead sheep. It's really coarse and unattractive. I learned a lot from the fleece, but I'm still glad I only paid $5 for it. And I'm still glad it went in the trash.

Last but not least, Andy Rooney went to the groomer's on Sunday for his spring bath and haircut.

Isn't he a handsome fellow?


  1. What a dapper dog that Mr. Rooney is!

    So sorry to hear about the ugly cold. Sounds as if you dealt with it successfully. I love the blanket the size of Texas story!

  2. Great story about the blanket!
    Your shawl really is spring-y and wonderful - what a great gift.

  3. omg, that shawl came out beautifully! I sure hope you and
    Tool Man are both feeling better. Thank you for the well wishes on Ravelry. Memorial service will be held tomorrow, and we can come home Thursday. I can't wait.

  4. Prilosec Drugs fartonast
    Discount Generic Ambien

    Getting a good nights sleep is essential in keeping a healthy body and mind.
    [url=]Ambien Cr[/url]
    It is a generally known rule to not mix and match medications, and with Ambien there is no exception to the rule. - Ambien Medication
    Buy Ambien online without prescription!
    Ambien is intended to help a person fall asleep, so it is generally recommended to only be taken prior to bedtime. - alprazolam online
    But it is just rubbish.
    [url=]xanax pill[/url]
    Some medical authority has certified this drug xanax for the common use of the people.
    xanax no rx
    But it is just rubbish.


Unfortunately, Blogger will not let me track back to you, so if you would like an answer, please include your email address at the bottom of your comment.