Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Yarn Along 2016.44: Back in Blue

I'm baaaaaccckkk!  Happily joining Ginny's Yarn Along this week after missing way too many this month.

Just writing this post feels like I've accomplished something. You don't know how I dislike it when life gets in my way and I can't do what seems to me like a simple thing (such as take a picture and write a short post to go along with it).  Honestly, November has brought so many strange (and formerly unacknowledged?) emotions to light for me.  Perhaps I will write about it in December. . . not sure, will have to give that more thought as it is fairly personal but yet probably totally relevant to a lot of readers.  So, hmmm. . .

But today, today is about yarn and knitting!

I've been working slowly on a sock (sock number one) that is supposed to be a pair finished by the middle of December.  That might, at this point, be an unrealistic goal.  I am to the gusset finally, and the slowness is all mine with absolutely nothing to do with the pattern, which is Tendril.  This is a great pattern, easy to memorize, no tricky bits, and it makes such an amazingly cool sock.  I was only two inches into this one when I knew it was probably going to replace Vanilla Latte as my favorite go-to sock pattern.  The spiral ribs are just way too cool.  Unfortunately they also seem to be hard for the camera to pick up.

I chose a skein of Knit Picks Stroll Fingering Tonal in Blue Yonder from my stash for these socks, and I couldn't be happier with the combo of yarn and pattern.  Because although this is not a self-striping yarn, the combo of spiral ribs and the color changes in the yarn is creating a subtle stripe.  I love it so much that I actually went online and ordered another skein of the exact same yarn (because I know DD2 will love these socks, that are actually supposed to be for a college friend of hers--DD2 asked in Oct if she could 'commission' me to make her friend a pair of socks in 'some sort of blue' because the friend so adored DD2's couple of pair of Mom-made socks).  So 2017 will probably find me making an identical pair for DD2's feet.

And, of course, while I was ordering that yarn, Knit Picks was having a big yarn sale, so I just couldn't resist adding a few more skeins of blue-themed yarn to my cart.  What can I say, I like blues too.

From left to right: 2 skeins Comfy fingering in Celestial, the 'replacement' skein of Blue Yonder, Blue Yonder being made into a Tendril sock, a skein of Stroll Fingering Hand Painted in Northern Lights (intended for me or possibly DD1 who likes purples) and a skein of Stroll Fingering Tonal in Cold Stream (most definitely for me).

Friday, November 25, 2016

Been Gone Too Long

I have not traveled at all in the past two weeks.  But, given my lack of posting, my blog kind of looks like I've been gone.

There is so much going on right now, some good, some not so great, some challenging, some requiring deep thought. . . and of course it's hunting season, and the holidays have started, so I feel like a hamster on a wheel going and going and going without ever really getting anywhere.

The computer is (currently) working correctly, and I'm (amazingly) the only person in the house right now, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity (actually, supposed to be checking into a few things online . . .) to do a really quick blog post.  I wouldn't want anyone to think I'd dropped off the face of the earth because of the election results, or been in a coma or something else dramatic for more than two weeks now.

Just a whole lot going on and a computer that sometimes threatens to crash, and a hubby home on his hunting vacation (hogging the computer on crummy weather days between when he's in the tree hunting) and trying to keep up with normal life all while squeezing in my own several hours a day in the tree stand before the regular firearm season ends at the end of the month.  Oh, and one kid who also took a week of hunting vacation and has been here (and brought me some shirts to mend before he goes back home) and another kid home from college on Thanksgiving break who is trying to get three months worth of face to face conversations in before she heads back to school on Sunday morning.

I just can't juggle that much at once.

So the knitting has been very little, the riding has been intermittent, and the blogging has been nil.

I'm looking forward to everyone going back to their normal homes and daytime schedules on Monday, and hoping I'll get back to some regular blog posts.  Because I do have lots of stuff I'm wanting to write about and possibly some things to show off in pictures.

So, unless I get an unexpected chunk of free time this weekend, I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Yarn Along 2016.43: Being Froggy

I am joining Ginny late on this Yarn Along Wednesday.

I didn't do much knitting in the past week.  My picture shows even less knitting than what was actually attempted.

Dad's Striped Socks are done, with tails woven in and everything!  (But I have not gotten a final picture of them yet; maybe next week?)

After finishing the weaving in of all those tails on the socks--at the moment I can't even accurately guess at how many tails, more than a dozen stripes per sock, probably, with two tails each-- I took a break for a few days.  Then I decided to work on a new dish cloth, but quickly realized that the pattern was 'written' incorrectly.  Actually, it wasn't written at all, just charted. 

The chart, however, did not read your typical knitting pattern chart way of right to left from bottom to top.  Nope, it didn't take me long to realize the author (maker?  writer?) charted the pattern to actually go from the bottom to the top but from right to left on odd rows and left to right on even rows. Slightly confusing.

Well, I thought I could make the mental adjustment to deal with that, and things would work out fine.  But after getting about 26 rows or so into the project, I saw several rows of my knitting had glaring mistakes.  Since I was trying to do easy, fun knitting while relaxing with a favorite movie (8 Seconds, what can I say?  I love of rodeo and this is a great movie), having that many mistakes in a piece that should have been simple (had it been charted right, or just written row by row) rather turned me off to the pattern.

So I ripped the whole thing out.

I chose a new pattern and started again late last night, while watching the election coverage.  But, being late and me not hardly being a night owl, I didn't get far before I put my knitting down and went to bed.  It was a better option than doing the head bob on the couch with knitting needles falling out of my hands every few minutes.  Or making a ton of mistakes on a well written pattern and having to get froggy (rip it, rip it).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Yarn Along 2016.42: Game Day Knitting

It's a rainy Wednesday again for this week's Yarn Along (actually, not just rainy, but thunderstormy).  Joining with Ginny to see what everyone is knitting and reading currently.

I did a lot of knitting over the weekend.  First was Saturday, the big rivalry football game between Michigan State and University of Michigan.  DH and I went to the local brewpub to watch the game (he just couldn't miss it, and since we don't have cable or satellite TV, he needed to go somewhere that had ESPN. . .)  Locally, there are a whole lot of State fans.  Which makes sense, I guess, as the college is pretty much just down the road.  DH is a die hard U of M fan.  Me, it makes no difference to me one way or another.  I'd have to actually care about sports before I could pick a side.  I was really there for the meal out, the beer (this brew pub has really great micro brews), and the fact that if I wasn't home I didn't have to spend three hours doing chores and other household projects while DH was away watching the game and having fun (and beer!).

Of course, I brought my knitting along.  If you are ever in a brew pub and see some lady with long brown hair sitting at a table knitting, it just might be me.  ;0)  But only if she's drinking a dark beer.  No pale stuff for me!

Anyway, I happened to be knitting on Dad's striped sock, which is being knit in the colors of Michigan State.  So, totally appropriate for that particular day.  And, I was obviously in the company of DH, who is not a particularly quiet U of M fan.  The rest of the occupants of the brew pub, with the exception of another couple sitting very quietly at the bar in their maize and blue attire, were undoubtedly State fans.  Why else would grown men wear bright green pants in public?  My green and white striped sock ensured I was treated kindly in that room of State fans, while DH was at times given the evil eye (U of M had the lead the whole game, and ended up the winner).

The next day I got in about three more hours of knitting while the Detroit Lions played football (on my TV).  Now I'm so close to the end of this sock I can almost picture myself grafting the toe.  Just two more skinny stripes to go, then it's time to do the toe decrease. I'll be glad to be finished, and get all the tails woven in.

I'm actually reading a book this week!  One that I had requested from inter-library loan finally came in.  It is When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics: Attain Remarkable Riding Rapport with Your Horse, by Beth Baumert who has been the long time technical editor for Dressage Today magazine. I've barely started the book.  Some of what I've read is a refresher of things I have known for years, and some echoes what I have recently learned from my trainer.  I think it will be a perfect companion and resource as I continue to take lessons and improve my dressage skills (so, I'll be putting it on my Christmas wish list).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Forget Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Try finding a lost horse shoe in a pasture!

This has to be one of the least fun 'games' your horse can come up with.  Because not only is that shoe supposed to be on his foot for a very good reason (in the case of the Quarter Horse, because of his navicular, he is no longer comfortable barefoot), once it comes off, it needs to go back on fairly quickly.  And getting it back on is made faster and easier if the lost shoe can be found.

Yesterday I got to 'play' the very stressful Find My Shoe In My Pasture game with the Quarter Horse.  He surprised me by popping that game on me when I went to retrieve him from said pasture yesterday morning so that I could ride him.  The game began by me noticing his front feet did not look identical.  On the right, I could see clinches on both sides of the foot.  On the left, no clinches.  At least, I didn't think I could see clinches, but with all the mud on that foot it was hard to tell.

So I took him into the barn, where his lack of a shoe was confirmed as soon as he stepped onto the cement of the aisle way.  Right foot: "click".  Left foot: "clump".  My heart rate increased a bit as I walked him up the aisle listening to the dissonant sound of his footfalls.  How badly did he tear his foot up while taking off that shoe, I wondered.

Amazingly, not at all.  When I wiped his muddy left front foot clean and picked it up for inspection, it was a beautiful looking foot, just sans shoe.  It looked as if the shoe had miraculously released it's nails and slid gently off.  No tears, no chips, no missing chunk of hoof. Phew!  One less issue to worry about.

Now all that remained was to find the missing shoe, and contact my farrier to have it put back on the Quarter Horse's foot ASAP.  Since I'm not a newbie at finding lost shoes, I didn't panic too much.  I was mindful of the time--as I was supposed to babysit my grandkids right after lunch--and got right to the search.

I do have to admit, standing at the gate and looking at the expanse of field I potentially had to cross before finding that missing shoe was a little daunting.

Not loving the idea of searching every inch of this.

The pasture isn't particularly wide, but it is several acres in size.  That is a lot of ground to cover.  My method of shoe finding (or anything else 'lost' in a pasture such as a halter, fly mask, dropped cell phone, etc) is to walk back and forth across the short width of the pasture, trying to walk in as straight a line as possible, and scan right to left while walking.  I don't look up, but rather at the ground as I walk.  When I get to the opposite fence line I move down about eight feet (fence posts set at 8 foot distances help greatly in keeping aligned so you don't go crooked and potentially miss an area) and walk to the other fence line.  Back and forth, back and forth, slowly making my way down the length of the pasture.  Keeping an eye out for anything that doesn't look like dirt or grass, and hoping the shoe just might be clean enough and the sun bright enough to create a shine that will draw my eye.

After an hour of searching, with only thirty mintues left before I needed to leave if I were going to eat some lunch and change out of my barn clothes before it was time to meet the grandkids, I was getting rather worried about not finding the shoe.  I had only gone through about half of the pasture, and so far, there was no sign of a horse shoe.  Lots of wet mucky spots, but not one with a shoe sticking out of it.

My anxiety level rose as I kept walking that field, fence post to opposite fence post.  The minutes ticked by.  The horses watched me curiously as I got closer and closer to where they were grazing. I was almost two thirds through the pasture and still no sign of that missing shoe.  My heart was sinking.

And then. . .

I saw it!  I don't know how, because it certainly wasn't shiny, and it was barely sticking up.  In fact, it was nearly half buried in mud near the end of a several foot long skid mark in the grass.

Can you see the shoe?

Relieved, I reached down and pulled it out of the dirt.  Then I immediately texted my farrier to let him know I had a lost shoe that was now found, and a horse with a bare but non damaged hoof.  The hoof and shoe needed to be reunited just as soon as he could squeeze us into his schedule.

Just a wee bit bent, but totally fixable.

Game over.  I won, and all is again right with the world.  ;0)