For starters, we've had a slight improvement in the weather. We do not, for example, look like this:
We do not even look like this:
(certainly we do not look like the marauding deer who were trying to munch on my lawn when this picture was taken)
No, indeed. We look like this:
(a note to those of you inclined to be painfully literal: I do not claim that we look like chickens and you should check right now to make sure that you are keeping your snarky comments to yourselves. Please pay attention instead to the blue skies, the emerald green grass, and the total absence of snow. The very fact that the chickens were out of the coop proves that the day was so beautiful that we knew we would be outside all afternoon and would not have to worry as much about the fox making off with the birds)
And we looked like this:
spiraling clockwise from bottom left: happy kids on swing set [note the total absence of leaves on trees, it was late March]; happy kid on swing; happy kids near swing; free range bath tub, complete with interior flora; gratuitous chicken butts; shoes that have been abandoned to allow happy kids to play barefoot; happy kid on slide; free range bath tub hiding from predators; free range chickens not hiding from predators; free range chickens hunting bugs; the "Climbing Tree," which was willing to pose for this one spectacular photo.
See how much fun we are having? The kids played outside, I sat on my duff and did some knitting while surrounded by chickens, and El Husbando cut down many innocent sticker bushes, which is his default activity when the weather picks up.
But wait, that's not all!! I joined a really fun yarn swap. It's a lot like a secret Santa thing, only with yarn and without the trees and tinsel. Everyone answered a few important questions and off we went. My Swapee said that she liked deep rich colors, a variety of candies, bath stuff, and fabric. The original thought behind the swap was that people could paw through their stashes, find some suitable yarn, and mail it off to someone else. This did not work well for me. I have a bunch of yarn, but it turns out that I am emotionally attached to the good stuff, and the not so good stuff isn't really good enough to dump on someone else. So (and please do NOT tell El Husbando about this) I bought some really nice brand new yarn. For a woman I have never met and probably couldn't pick out of a crowd.
I bought her a few other things, too:
I actually bought two bags of these new-fangles Skittles Crazy Cores. My kids are total Skittles hounds and I thought they might like to try them too. They didn't last 24 hours in my house. I totally recommend them to you, unless you are my dentist, in which case we didn't really eat that many of them and we made sure to brush really well as soon as we were done.
The fabric was easier to collect than the yarn; I still have a pretty good collection of totally random bits of quilting fabric and I no longer remember what I was thinking when I bought them, so it was a little easier to send them on their way. Two of them stuck around long enough to become this bag
which I filled with the goodies and mailed out to Seattle.
It was HUGE fun putting together my swap package, so much fun that I almost forgot about part two: the incredibly fun package for me!!!
No sooner had I finished packing my Swapee's stuff into its box, which I super-sealed with plenty of tape, than the local postal employee brought me a shoebox FULL of stuff. Heaps of yarn. So much stuff that I dug through my stash to find some more stuff to jam into the swap package for my Swapee so I wouldn't feel like the cheapest swapper that ever lived. The top prize in my shoebox was some yummy pink malabrigo. I have heard people making a big fat fuss over this stuff and I really wanted to try some, but I'm too damn cheap to buy it for myself. And now here it is.
In addition to my fabulous new yarn, there were heaps of goodies and a sheep card.
Sophie was very suspicious. She supervised the unpacking of the boxes and can be seen in this picture keeping an eye on the ceramic sheep.
There was one last surprise in the box:
I was so inspired by the new yarn that I immediately knit it up into these nifty fingerless mitts (fascinating point of trivia: these are the very mitts that I was knitting while sitting on my duff on the aforementioned beautiful sunny day). As a bonus, they used less than half the skein, so I can knit another pair any time I feel like it. It turns out that the yarn is every bit as soft as people say and I love it.
As if sunny days and yarny gifts were not enough, there is still more fun to be had here. In other knitting news (and really it all ends up being knitting related news, doesn't it?), I finished the Alhambra scarf. The only problem is that I haven't bothered to block it yet, so it is still very crumpled looking, instead of all airy and beautiful.
That leaves me with the three actual current knitting projects. It was supposed to be two (sweater and socks), but I am a little fickle and was suddenly struck by the overwhelming desire to cast on for a beret. This is a truly laughable project for me. Like a lace shawl, which I will almost certainly knit and almost as certainly never have the courage to wear, a beret is a hat for someone with fashion. I have no fashion and therefore no need for a beret. But I had exactly the right yarn for the Tweed Beret and so I am knitting it. Here it is in its infancy:
I promise it will get better looking.
For socks, I recently ordered this yarn from the kind folks and Dizzy Sheep:
It is an Opal hand painted sock yarn. The colorway is called (and I apologize in advance for this) Blatterwald. The manufacturer claims that the color was inspired by an autumn forest, but when I wound the yarn into a spiffy little yarn cake, it became clear that the yarn painter got hungry on her trip through the autumn forest and had begun to think instead of a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
The resemblance wears off only slightly in the knitting. Also, there seems to be a curse on the socks and I had to take them apart--after 4 inches of knitting-- upon discovering that the sock would not fit over my heel. Bad sock! I'm beginning to have reservations about this whole project, which might explain why I was so keen to start knitting fingerless mitts and unnecessary berets.
And finally, as if there has not been enough knitting talk, here is the first picture of my Must Have Cardigan. Now that we are getting to spring, this is not a cardigan that I Must Have soon, which is is just as well because it is S-L-O-W going. Instead of knitting the fronts and back separately, I have linked them together and am knitting them all at once. So far I have knit about 5 inches. This is in addition to the 4 inches that I knit on the back but had to unravel because I put the project down for so long that I forgot what I was doing and the other four inches that I knit on the back the first time I started the project which I also had to unravel because it was so far off gauge that I could have given the sweater to El Husbando, except for its undeniable pink-ness. I think things are going better this time. If not, I'll be forced to conclude that this is not a cardi that I must have after all.
Just so you don't think that it is all fun and games around here, I'll close with a picture of this week's monster laundry pile. I have run out of socks and can no longer put this off.
Here, just for the sake of artistry, is a larger picture of the Climbing Tree. I love this picture, so I had to put it in twice.
And now (this is really the end of the post, I promise) is a little reminder of why small children cannot be trusted with cameras. They inevitably try to take pictures up their noses.
Kind of looks like some bizarre cross between a human and a owl, doesn't it?