Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Positive Attitude

In the face of record low temperatures and snowfall predictions for the last week in February I am trying very hard to keep a positive attitude. I saw a robin the other day. Spring can't be far behind I tell myself. Seed catalogs have been showing up in the mailbox for the past month; another sign of preparation for springtime. Then the memory of crocus and daffodils sprouting in the garden last February brings me back to earth. There is nothing like that outside right now and no sign of spring blossoms anytime soon.

And then again, forcing myself to think positively, I have completed several knitting projects this winter. The ice and deep snow in our driveway and on our country back road have so often prevented me from hopping into the car to go shopping or visiting friends that I have spent the inside knitting or spinning. The result of this is a larger than usual output of knitted clothing for me and mine.

Before Christmas, I finished  a pair of socks for each granddaughter:

Olivia's socks are the Froot Loop pattern by Khristi Geraci that I found on I  knit them from Knit Picks Stroll hand painted sock yarn in the legwarmer colorway.

Zaidee's socks are the Maple Leaves pattern from 2-at-a-time Socks book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. I knit these in the same Stroll hand painted sock yarn in the juicebox colorway. Zaidee is nine years old and very tall for her age and has already outgrown her socks which means that my daughter, Susie, has a new pair of hand-knitted socks! I will need to get to work on another pair for Z.

I made a rather intricate shawl in a beautiful Brown Sheep Company turquoise magic Lanaloft worsted wool that I picked up at the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair that was held in Wooster last fall. The shawl is called Braided Glory by Deby Lake and I was taken by the woven panel in the front of the shawl that makes it a slip over rather than a wrap around. I don't usually wear shawls but I made an exception for this one.

The Sand Dunes socks by Phyll Lagerman I made for myself out of another Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn.  This time I chose the Stroll Tweed in North Pole Heather, a beautiful icy light blue. I think that it makes the socks look more like waves than sand dunes. Either way I have a warm, comfy pair of socks.

Our niece just had another beautiful baby girl so of course I had to whip up a pair of baby socks using the left over yarn from Olivia and my socks and send them off to little Brynlee, the newest addition to the family.
This pattern was another from Ravelry. It's called Lise-Loten pikkkuiset sukat by Paula Loukola. This may become my go-to pattern for babies from now on. It was fun to knit.

I only wish that I had my yarns from my own animals but though I sent them to a mill in Pennsylvania last October I still do not have them back! I think that I will try another mill here in Ohio for this year's crop of fleece. Shearing time is coming up on the last weekend in April and that's not very far away really. This will be little Asterius and Brutus's first time on the shearing floor and we need to be working with them at home, haltering them up and leading them around the pasture. It will make it so much easier when it comes time to transport them to a central shearing location not far from here.

Asterius has developed a lush, crimpy and very fine baby fleece that would make lovely fingering yarn. I was a bit worried about Brutus's fleece development when his mama, Firenze, died before he was fully weaned, but I needn't have. He has developed a full, crimpy fine baby fleece in a rich carmel brown color.

All of the animals have spent too much time in the barn and are beginning to feel cooped up. They don't mind the bitter cold weather that has had their human friends running for cover, but the animals don't really like the high winds and so stay inside on those days. Yesterday was a milder day with less wind and they all ventured out into the pasture. The two little boys love to romp and wrestle in the snow.

Yesterday even Leezza was feeling frisky and engaged in a little neck wrestling with Brutus.

Callie lurked about inside the barn and outside while I snapped pictures of the herd. The alpacas aren't afraid of her anymore and while they don't actually like her they tolerate her presence. The two little ones, Brutus and Asterius, are very curious about her and will actually come up to the fence where Callie is poking about. The three animals go nose to nose through the fence sniffing each other out and all is well until Callie barks and sends the little boys running off into the pasture!

All the while that the mamas and babies played in their pasture, our little man, Nikko, laid contentedly in his patch of sun near the gate watching the action next door. Very soon he will have company in the "stud" pasture as first Asterius and later Brutus will be joining him. It is about time to wean Asterius and as soon as Brutus puts on a few more inches in height and a few more pounds he will need to be in with the big boys, too.

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