Thursday, April 19, 2012

Enthralled with Hitchhiker

I am supposed to be finishing the lovely gray alpaca sweater with the big twist in the front. May I just say, in way of excuses, that 38" of plain stockinette can get tedious? There I did say it. I have over 30" of it, though. I was hoping to buckle down and finish it while traveling this weekend, but we may not get to do that. It's hard, though...

...And the reason it's so hard is I am enjoying knitting the Hitchhiker shawlette or scarf I could not resist casting on for. WAY too much. Once I started it, I could not stop. Here it is started.

 It is amazing how many different shades of blue are in this one ball of Zauberball Crazy sock yarn. I have done 30 points on the Hitchhiker, and nothing's repeated yet. Such fun yarn. I don't have a great photo of it, but here is is, posing next to Scrunchy, making it clear that he has exactly one eye now, thank you very much.

Scrunchy complements the white stripe in the Hitchhiker very well.
It's getting pretty long--and it looks to me like there's enough of the yarn left to get twelve more points out of it. In any case, I think it will end up plenty long enough to drape jauntily around my neck.

I want to make about five of these. Beginning knitter? Don't let that stop you--it's pretty darned easy! And everyone who looks at it get a glazed and jealous expression on their faces. Men and women. What a great gift this would be!

However, I'm keeping this. Since I have LOST a bunch of my shawls in the Great Wildfire Scare of 2011, I need some warmth. (I know my shawls are in this house somewhere--just can't find where I put the shopping back full of hand knit and hand spun goodness.)

I must get back to the knitting. I would vow to not work on this blue beauty until the Drape Front sweater is done, but I can't. I do vow to try my best to finish it this weekend.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Instruction Reading & Checking Out the Alpacas

I learned a lesson, or was reminded of a lesson, yesterday. I was all happy to be finished knitting the drape front sweater, and thinking about blocking it. But I laid it out, and twisted the front, and thought to myself, my, how awkward this is. Then I looked at the pattern again. Well, would you look at that? The body width of the back is 19", while the body width of the FRONT is 28". No wonder I'd ended up with almost two full skeins of the yarn left over! What a doofus I am! The pattern is so simple; I just knit the front to match the back and didn't actually read the instructions. Yes, those very instructions would have made it clear that I needed to keep a-going on that endless stockinette section until it was much longer!

I have undone the second sleeve and am back to knitting plain ole stockinette for another long bit.


And Now for Fun

I enjoyed some of that stockinette knitting in the car today, as my knitting friend and I, along with her two young daughters, made the trek out to Old Oaks Ranch to see how the alpacas are doing, and what kind of stuff they have in stock. If you've been reading this blog a really long time, you might recall that I went there with Lee in 2009. Three years later they still have most of the same alpacas. There have been changes there, but everyone is still very friendly, and we had some good conversations.  We took the paid tour, just the four of us. We got to watch two of the boys get shorn. Here is one in progress.
Sorry about the fence, but you can see all the people holding down an alpaca while a very strong woman shears him.
And here is one fellow just after being shorn and spitting in a guy's face. He seems quite pleased with himself.

Look at me! I spit in the face of the guy on the far right!

The girls had a complete blast. They got to pet and feed the females, who had all been shorn earlier in the morning. The alpacas were nervous, but settled down pretty well. So nice to see some of the same ladies as last time!

Getting ready to feed the Big Mama, Mariposa. The little boy is the grandson of the owners, and he was really "helpful" in the tour. The lady is the daughter-in-law of the owners. The is demonstrating proper alpaca handling technique.

I do love looking at and petting alpacas. However, the folks at Old Oaks did remind me that they would prefer to be by themselves, and are only happy in groups of three or more. That can run one up into big bucks!

Luckily, llamas are a different story. Their llama had also just been shorn, and I found him especially fetching, since he was spotted in the same way as my donkey, Oscar, America's Cutest Donkey. They also had a fine donkey, and the girls got to feed her carrots, vaguely successfully.

I admit these are also cute animals.
The donkey and llama serve as guard animals and keep coyotes away from the alpacas and chickens. They also have a big guard dog, who was very friendly (unlike the previous guard dog they had). He is also a Great Pyrenees, so huge and fluffy! The girls want a pet dog, so they began to lobby for one of those, but it will not be happening.

The last stop was at the hen house. I wish I had taken photos of it. They really did a cute job on it, and it was quite the palace, for a chicken abode. Each child got one egg, so that is good (the little boy family member broke his--he was quite enthusiastic).

After the tour, the folks in the family patiently went through a fiber demo with the girls, who really seemed to enjoy it. That gave me time to look at the yarn and other merchandise. I ended up getting this Auracania Huasco yarn, a fingering weight merino. I hope I can make a second Hitchhiker shawl from this. Of course, that would also require me making the first one.  I hope to start one today. And if the shawl only takes one skein, I will make socks.

Araucania Huasco

The lady at Old Oaks send us off to the Leaning Pear restaurant in Wimberley, which was a great place to eat, featuring locally sourced ingredients and interesting flavors. We even managed to have adult conversation during the meal. All in all, it was a fun day, and now I can do more stockinette knitting.

Hope your Easter, Passover or other significant holiday went or goes well! Happiest of greetings from this UU, who will attend the flower communion tomorrow.