Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frog in Snow

I had to laugh this morning when I looked out the bedroom window into the back yard and saw this.
This little guy is sitting on a bird bath that used to sit in my garden.  It got knocked down during one of the storms but he's patiently waiting for spring.

Monday, January 20, 2014


I love it when projects go like this one did. 
Way back last year, early last year, I bought some fiber.  It was a special deal from Ashland Bay that had a variety of unusual wool fibers, including "Portuguese" wool and Masham (a breed of sheep).  I had some dark chocolate Shetland (another breed of sheep) in my stash already so that gave me a natural white (Portuguese), medium grayish brown (Masham), and dark brown (Shetland).  Several years ago I'd used the Ashland Bay Apple Green to spin some yarn for mittens and a scarf and I loved the color.  I thought that would be a great pop of color to go with the natural colors so I got some of that as well.  Late last year on my trip to Maine, I got to go to Halcyon Yarns (one of my absolute favorite places in the universe) and while I was there I found a Merino (yet another sheep breed) mix of 3 shades of natural colors that you spin together and get a medium brown with good depth to it.
 I started spinning a nice fluffy 2-ply yarn that after washing ended up much thicker than I expected.  But I had a picture in my mind of what a Fair Isle sweater would look like using these yarns.  Just a picture.  But I realized that the yarn was really too chunky for a sweater and I spent much of my drive to my Mom's mulling over what to do.  Lo and behold, I came across a knitting book in an antique mall that showed a cabled poncho using thick yarn and it hit me.  That would be a perfect use for my lovely yarn.
 I chose my needles and number of stitches to cast on (based on the cabled poncho pattern) and started out.  Actually first of all, knit a swatch using all the colors and decided that was how I wanted to start off.  And then I carried on.  I decided that, because of the chunky yarn, I should use smaller motif designs.  With my handy pattern dictionary at my side, I looked through, found a few that I liked, decided the order of them and I knit.  Once I got to the next section and it seemed like it was time for another one, I chose and knit another one and so on.
Once I got to the shoulders, I wasn't really sure how to do the decreases so I just winged it and it came out perfectly.  So how does one finish it off?  With a wide fold-over pivot edged collar.  The collar done like that made room for the button bands and finished it off just right (as did the heavy shell vintage buttons that I already had on hand - just right).