Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thanksgiving Kinsale Sweater

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend! One of the many highlights for me was that my entire family, three generations worth, was able to get together and celebrate. I was knitting and finishing a little sweater at break-neck speed on the way to the celebration. Nephew #7 still needed a little something, since Nephew #8 had already gotten a special hand-knit.
I chose the pattern Kinsale in size 12 months and decided to use up sundry leftover yarns for this project. I should have knit the 18 month size, since this 9 month old child will probably only fit into this sweater for about a month. Good thing I gifted it for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas... Started: Monday, November 19, 2012; Finished: Friday, November 23, 2012.
My only complaint about the pattern is that the sleeves are really tight. The sweater length turned out perfect, but wearing a long-sleeve shirt underneath would not be comfortable. I would possibly even add additional stitches to the arm, or not decrease the next time I make this sweater.
There's nothing like a cute little nephew in a hand-knit sweater!
Choosing a pattern with a large opening for the head was a really good move. His brain must be growing a mile a minute along with his body! The pattern was really fun to knit, with the twisted stitch providing interest and the top-down construction reducing the finishing. I should have remembered that stripes make a lot of ends to weave in, so the finishing was not quite as quick as it could have been.
Till next time, best wishes for Holiday Knitting!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And there is knitting... Yarn Along

There is A LOT of knitting happening right now! But since the wrong set of eyes may fall upon these virtual pages, a mass reveal is scheduled post holiday gift-giving. This lovely little sweater is Kinsale by Terri Kruse and also destined as a gift. A gift that I intend to present tomorrow... Nothing like a little rush knitting around the holidays! I like this pattern a lot: the twisted stitch for interest, top-down construction for ease of finishing, and the extra large opening for the head. On several occasions a young recipient has not been able to get his or her head through a neck opening, creating a lot more work for me reopening shoulder seams and installing buttons. The stripes are not part of the pattern, but I am using up all sorts of remnants to try and reduce some stash.
In my reading, I am still working on The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It has been, ahem, a very busy month. If you would like to see what other people are working on this week, check out Ginny's page. And for my American friends: Happy Thanksgiving! Joyful preparing and safe travels to you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Barn Expansion

It's amazing how quickly one outgrows space when the population doubles. And how the population seems to need an exponential amount of space when it doubles.
So a mere two years into the alpaca operation, our contractor added a third space, removing part of the side wall of the barn for another opening into another paddock area.
It's always fun to come home to see the building progress, whether it is large or small.
One of the reasons we had to get more agri-lime (yesterday's post), was to raise the area on this side of the barn and create a new run for the alpacas.
Since our septic area extends fairly close to the barn, we decided to use the moveable fencing for this section. The risk of ruining the septic field by digging post holes for permanent fencing seemed too risky.
Bella and Cassidy now live in the new pen. The unhappiest (most vocal?) alpaca protesting this move was 'Greta. She loves her herdmates!
We are all set for Spring weaning and having male alpacas as part of the operation here at Shady Grove. It's nice to have an extra bedroom! Speaking of which, we have some of those extra bedrooms for human visitors if you are in the area. Stop by. We'll spoil you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Following Directions is NOT Optional

The Directions were clear: 1.) Do not take the big, heavy truck. The driveway may not be able to handle it, and you may not be able to turn around. 2.) Do not drive onto the pasture. Back the truck in to the agri-lime pile spot before dumping.
Clearly, these directions were too difficult to follow...
On top of getting stuck in the pasture - it had rained 1.5 inches and the truck was at the bottom of the hill where the water collects... - the driver thought lightening the load by dumping half of the agri-lime would help him get out. Indeed, the truck could not move forward due to the presence of the septic field in front of the truck, and could not move backward due to the pile behind his tires.
To add insult to injury, the driver started shoveling the pile into a new pile on the pasture, instead of taking it 5 feet - FIVE FEET - further to where the pile was actually supposed to be located. Three seasons of pasture development, during which we had two droughts, down the toilet.
Three of us spent two hours clearing the back of the truck while waiting for another driver to arrive to tow the driver out.
We got another set of truck tracks in random spots around the yard, but the second truck was able to tow out truck in the pasture. Five hours after the agri-lime arrived, the drivers finally left.
All ends well, fortunately. Our contractor was extremely gracious and helpful in correcting the problem. His son is a budding landscape artist and did all the work to even out the ruts and plant new grass.
Just add water and wait a few seasons...
So please, ladies and gentlemen, follow those directions precisely. They are probably given for a very good reason.