Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Knitting with 5 bored Border Collies (Jen)

Well, I made the tough decision to deconstruct the sweater I’d been knitting out of Roark’s fleece. Roark is my chocolate BFL/BL ram that sired all those beautiful lambs last spring. He has stunning fleece and lots of it. I’ve been painstakingly washing it, careful to maintain lock formation and then flick carding the tips and spinning it into a fine (fine for me anyway) 2 ply yarn.

I’d started knitting a nice waffle knit sweater out of it but things went horribly wrong. For starters, I’m a self taught knitter, I guess a lot of us are. When it comes to shaping though, I have difficulties. But I like to challenge myself so I tend to take on patterns that do just that. Because this is handspun, it wasn’t the yarn weight recommended for the pattern, at least I don’t think so. So I tried to knit a gauge swatch (this still baffles me) and changed to what I thought were appropriate size needles to adjust for the difference in yarn weight. It was supposed to be a medium sized sweater. Lets just say the way it was going I could have fit the Hulk in this thing…well, a very short hulk. Such a shame. The pattern was looking nice but it was obvious it wasn’t going to work and why waste such beautiful fiber? So unravel it I did. Wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. Actually, it was liberating. That sweater had been eating away at my subconscious for far too long, nagging at me to finish it. I knew I could finish it but who, what would it fit when I was done?? So, its gone, I don’t have to worry about it ANYMORE!

So I balled up the yarn and decided I was going to knit up a wrap. I’d seen a pattern on knitty.com that I really liked and Caryn (Miller) had put the idea in my head to knit a shawl, this was a nice compromise. The one thing I should have taken into consideration is that knitty.com is the same place I got the sweater pattern from...hmm. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with the patterns there. They have some amazing stuff, I LOVE knitty.com. Might not be for the beginning knitter though, at least not the “tangy” ones I keep choosing anyway.

I took the bull by the horns, how hard could it be?? It’s a rectangle for heavens sake! No shaping, just good ole fashioned knitting. Oy VEY! Whats that they say, exercise the mind and it will keep it young? Well, my mind will be around 12 when I get done with this project. I had to back out 3 rows while watching Storm Chasers on TLC and Downunder Horsemanship on RFDTV. I’m trying to learn how to train a horse and at the same time I’m high on adrenaline from watching people chasing tornadoes (or being chased rather) and knit a difficult pattern with 6 bored Border collies in the house (I’m dog sitting Bridget’s 3). Now how stupid am I?? Finally on one row, I ended up chanting the pattern as I knitted it (knit one, yarn over, knit one, yarn over, slip stitch…knit 2 togeetheerrrr…pass slipped stitch ooovvveerrr and start all over again “to end”. That worked great kept me focused. I’ve no idea, however, how to end the lunging session with the unmannered 2 yr old thoroughbred or if they got the coveted shot inside the tornado for the IMax film.

At one point I glanced up to make sure Jack, the 1 yr old (Border collie) wasn't chewing thru an electrical cord or dismantling the computer (again) to find them all quietly staring at me. I’d just hypnotized 6 dogs with my pattern chant. Way to go Fitz! Alas, the spell was broken when a doorbell rang on some stupid commercial. Good grief, you’d think burglars were trying to break down the door. Dogs go flying off the sofa, someone’s freshly clipped claw caught on the ball of yarn ripping the newly started knitting out of my hands and into the air it goes looking like a bird in flight. Thankfully the house is small so they couldn’t go far. Heavy sigh. Oh well, I’m sure that last row needed to be ripped out anyway.

I actually got about 20 rows done before my sleepy eyes came on (more like dead to the world eyes) and I finally forced myself to stop knitting. I’m like one of those kids in a high chair trying to shovel spaghetti in my mouth and falling asleep in my plate, which in my case is when the knitting needle goes up my nose and I awake abruptly to several Border collies staring at me…again. Of course when they see the eyes open, they start jumping up and down, screeching with joy “she’s ALIVE! SHE’S ALIVE!!”. Yes. I am alive (rolling eyes).

So as you can imagine, I simply can’t wait to get back to knitting this evening (lol). Actually I’m in that “conquer it” mode. By George I will not let this pattern win!! I keep unconsciously going over the pattern in my head, like having an annoying tune that you can’t quit humming. Knit 2 together thru the back loop, yarn over, knit one, yarn over, knit one, knit 2 together…

Happy New Year everyone! Happy spinning, knitting, weaving and felting! And guess what?? 2009 is the International Year of Natural Fiber!! How cool is that?!

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