Sunday, March 11

Catching Up

Greetings from the family room.

I usually blog, surf the net, read the news, correspond with family and friends from my computer, situated in a sunny corner of the kitchen. Centrally located, it allows me to monitor meal preparation and offers easy access to the coffee pot. But the wooden chair is not super comfortable. Zach was given an old computer sans peripherals which he set up using our TV as the monitor. I hijacked it for the morning so I could blog in the comfort of a beanbag chair.

Time for some random catching up. Let's get the hard part over first. The sad part. Elaine, maybe you should stop reading now, ok?

My chickens. I haven't really blogged about the chickens in a long while. Well, recall that Amelia had gotten sick, was getting better but moulted and the other girls were picking on her? Well, we may have underestimated how much she was picked on until it was too late. She started escaping from the yard so we sent her to a friend's coop to see if she'd be happier. Alas, she started escaping from their yard and the third time she escaped, she was gone for good. We searched all the neighboring yards, but no signs of anything. We suspect coyotes.

The four remaining birds were doing fine, handled the cold and wet winter fairly well, but alas, more predation a couple weeks ago. Something came into the yard and ate three of them. This time, the carnage was obvious. Sigh. We suspect raccoons. Annie and Lucy were laid to rest in Nancy's pet cemetery aka side yard, and Orpie met her end at a separate event and is at peace in our yard, not far from gerbils Vivek and Rollie.

Tasty has surprised us all and so far avoided the same fate. She has also learned how to get out of the backyard, but not so much escaping as exploring. Fortunately the neighbors are all pretty cool about it, except for one neighbor's downstairs tenant who claims that Tasty scares her cat. They have a bird feeder situated in a tree about 10 feet from the entrance to her garden apartment. And of course right below the feeder is a great spot for Tasty to collect all the dropped food. When Tasty is over there enjoying a snack, her poor cat is too freaked out to come home. Tenant knocks on my door and I grab the tupperware of corn I keep in the fridge and coax Tasty home.

Chickens get lonely and need to be in flocks. (However they also are mean to each other; pecking order is not just a metaphor. go figure) For Tasty's long term health, we've had a note posted in an urban chicken newsletter offering her up for adoption. No takers yet though.

On to other topics.

The Nerd's application to Transition School, an early entrance program at the University of Washington, is in and being considered. We will find out this week whether he advances to the next stage and be invited to an interview. I have no idea what the likelihood of that and they interview about40 candidates for 16 slots, so the odds are still low. His grades and scores are mostly good. His ACT scores are respectable for a 13 year old, but are perhaps not high enough for Transition School. But he is in his first of two years of eligibility so there's a good chance they will say try again next year. That wouldn't be the end of the world, as we've been able to have him skip 8th grade next year so he will be in high school in the fall.

I've got a cold, my throat hurts, my head hurts. It's not too bad though, I've been able to listen to archived This American Life podcasts and knit. Franz offered to make me soup, but I made his volunteer efforts easier by having a craving for Chicken Tom Ka Gai from Marlai Thai. It hit the spot.

I've been knitting way too many projects, for my sake more than others, I will list them below in no particular order. I don't really mind knitting on multiple projects at once, because they all have different size needles --- easier on my hands to switch around --- and they require different levels of concentration.

  • Franz's Cambridge Jacket. while exploring the possibility of reknitting the sleeves, I decided to unseam the sleeve caps and see if reseaming them will help. I suspect it will. Current state: One sleeve is about 5/6th unseamed.
  • Ribbi Cardi. All done except one sleeve. I have started the sleeve but haven't gotten far. The stumbling block is that knitting the sleeve done entirely in k2p2 rib is tiresome and the increases look sloppy, although I have tried many variants on Make1. I'll finish eventually though. If I ever do something like this again, I think I might knit the sleeve cap using a provisional cast on, then pick up the stitches on the bottom and knit the sleeve proper using decreases instead of increases. Can't help but think it would be tidier.
  • Moebius shoulder bag ala Cat Bordhi. Her Moebius Cast-on is fascinatingly clever. The felted bags are constructed by knitting the shoulder strap as a moebius strip with an after-thought opening for the bag. I have almost finished the shoulder strap, using Lamb's Pride bulky. It has an i-cord bind off which is really really slow, given that I had about320 stitches to bind off. I have less than 100 stitches to go. I think the bag part of this will be a fast knit.
  • Tartan Plaid. Yup, the reason I have so much Lamb's Pride lying around ready for a felted bag is because of choosing colors for this jacket. I haven't abandoned it for good, but am unsure about its potential as a wearable FO. I love this jacket, I covet this jacket. I have the back and one front completed and one sleeve halfway finished. They look great. But I am worried that seaming is going to look like crap. The pattern has no specific instructions for how to seam the slip stitch pattern and I just can't see how it can be done in a tidy fashion given the bulkiness of the fabric. I plan to purchase some Lambs Pride worsted in the appropriate color for the seaming. I figure my next step will be to procure this yarn and practice seaming the pieces I have finished. If I can make it look good enough, that will encourage me to finish.
  • Pippa/EZ hybrid. Using my hand-dyed Aurora 6 which is very similar to DB Baby Cashmerino (the recommended yarn for Pippa) but is 100% wool, I've started a pullover using EZ's percentage system and the mock rib detailing from Pippa. Knit in the round from the bottom up, it will probably become a raglan crew neck. Coolest thing about it is the tubular cast-on k1p1 ribbing along the bottom.
  • Vintage bawneen cardigan. I dyed most of the rest of the vintage bawneen in semi-solids and started a striped cardigan. Knit in the round I will steek it where the colors change. I'm sort of copying a store-bought acrylic V-neck cardigan that I have had for years and always (inexplicably) get lots of compliments when I wear it. Seriously, I keep almost throwing it into the Goodwill bag, then every once in a while I find everything else in the laundry so I wear it and everyone notices and says how nice it is.
  • Micro Clapotis. Inspired by Erika's micro clapotis scarf, I started one myself. This is a portable project being knit on bamboo straight needles, which make it a quiet knit --- good for knitting in public during a talk or concert.
That's about it. A few random things in the closet go unmentioned, a Dulaan hat, a warshrag. And the log cabin which is a long term project, I knit on it occasionally when I want completely mindless garter stitch for TV watching. But I don't feel any anxiety about finishing it.


kmkat said...

Gosh, that's a lot of projects! They all sound good, though. But you might want to rethink your re-thinking of the Ribby Cardigan sleeve. When you come back to pick up the stitches of a provisional cast-on, you are always half a stitch off -- it's the nature of the beast. In many patterns that half stitch shift doesn't matter but in ribbing? Try it on a swatch and see how it looks before you actually do a sleeve that way.

Dorothy said...

Kmkat, you are right about that half a stitch shift being an issue in the ribbing. Not that I am likely do knit another one anyway. Maybe if one knits the whole thing neck to wrist, the raglan increases could be kfb, which would look ok for a full fashioned look perhaps, but don't work so well on the inseam of the sleeve. I suppose I will never know, as I have too many other ideas to go back to another one like this.

Dorothy said...

It sounds like you have been very busy with the knitting!

Too bad about the chickens. It can be hard to get them to get along and thrive when there are so many predators out there. Our cats never liked our chickens either.

I hope the Nerd gets into the school.

elaine said...

Once again my romantic notions of life come to a crushing intersection with reality. Poor birds, and poor bird steward.