The Other Horse Gets a Turn

I’ve been concentrating a lot on Apache lately, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten Drew! He won’t let me forget him, anyway, since every time he sees me, he comes up to see what’s going on. That’s really a good sign! He’s doing a good job learning not to crowd me, yet be close enough for affection. That’s got to be hard to learn (they call it staying out of my bubble).

We are in each other’s bubbles on purpose, here.

He continues to learn in the round pen, and I want to try some of the things I’m learning with Apache, but I am not going to step right in front of a cantering colt to get him to pay attention. I’ll figure something out, since I do have the long coach whip. He tends to ignore it, I guess because he hasn’t felt it. The other round pen issue is that he stumbles on his back feet occasionally. I am going to have him checked to see if it is just young horse awkwardness or something else. He does not appear to be ill.

He has put on some weight and is all muscled. It’s fun to watch him run.

But otherwise, we have great fun going for walks and not eating grass, so maybe he won’t form that habit. The idea is if his halter is on, he doesn’t eat, which is a thing I’d been inconsistent with on Apache. I know Kathleen will keep me honest with that. We can all learn new tricks!

I settle down sometimes.

I really enjoy his spirit and ease being around me, the dogs, the chickens, and Fiona. He is just a fun little guy.

Wheee!

His eye is still goopy, but better. Other animals here also have it, and we humans, too, so we are chalking it up to allergies from the very wet year we’ve had. Speaking of the other animals, the other four horses here have had a nice week or so of pasture rest. They spent a lot of it licking a cow mineral block with molasses in it, and had very brown faces. But, they finished it and look more normal now.

Granny’s muzzle is back to normal. She is the friendliest of the bunch, and always comes to see me to get her daily does of scritches and pets. She remains thin, but she’s old.

All the others are looking quite healthy. Mabel especially seems much better since her injuries were addressed. She is filling out and looks like a race horse or something. Her legs are amazing!

Suna just says nice things, because she wants to ride me someday.

The two buckskins stay together all the time. It’s very sweet to watch them out grazing. All in all, they seem to be a happy herd that will be ready to do more work soon. I enjoy watching them!

We are holding a memorial service for the empty cow mineral bucket.

Fiona is a very happy donkey. She gets to wander around the property during the day, eating whatever she wants, wherever she wants to. She actually doesn’t go very far, but it’s nice to just walk up and love on her while I’m dealing with the chickens and such. Things are settling in nicely!

Feeding time for my guys. Everyone gets their own spot. I clean poop while they eat, just as I learned from Kathleen!

Oh, and one more thing! Now that I finished my Friends of La Leche League newsletter I have time to do things I should have done a long time ago, and I finally blocked the shawl I made for Kathleen. It should be dry and looking much more like a shawl by tomorrow! See, I don’t spend all day every day with horses.

This clash of colors is a bit nauseating, but I think the shawl will look cool with its little scallops on the edges.

The Big Blue Shawl Update

I started this shawl when I ran out of yarn for my other project, yarn which is still not here yet, thanks to a combination of me messing up the order and the weather. Who knows if I will EVER get it? The last tracking update was February 13…

So, I kept going on this mostly stockinette pattern, but adding little bits of lattice patterns in it. I added a swath near the edge of the shawl, as well as at the bottom of the triangle. I’m not sure what it will look at when I’m finished, but it was fun to do, at least!

Lumpy main body of the shawl. I can’t stretch it out, because it’s much longer than my knitting needles.

When I realized that the shawl edge was longer than my arm-span, I figured it was about as long as it ought to be, so last night I looked around for a border to put on the edge, as a bind-off. All my books are in Austin, but I found a pattern online on a fun site for free vintage patterns. It’s not too easy and not too hard!

End of shawl without a border.

I got through two repeats yesterday, so it will go pretty quickly. The instructions are a bit old-fashioned, but I figured them out.

Here’s what I’m trying to make as a knitted-on border

Confused about knitted-on borders? Well, they are lace patterns knitted back and forth over a fairly short repeat, like you see above. You can use them to bind off a project by knitting to the end of a wrong-side row of your project then casting on the right number of stitches for the border and following the pattern. The straight edge (top above) connects to the main project (my shawl, for example) by knitting the last stitch of the border together with the next stitch in the main piece of the project, then, turn and go back out. So for every two pattern rows, you have one fewer stitch on the main needle.

There is a little gap between the border stitches and the main shawl stitches. At the end of this row, I’ll knit the two stitches on either side of the gap together, turn, slip that stitch without knitting, and knit back out to the edge.

It is a fun way to end a shawl, scarf, sweater, or any project you want a nice, flowing edge to. Speaking of fun, guess who had fun romping with me, Lee and all the other dogs yesterday? Vlassic! He was so happy it got warmer and he could escape the RV for a while!

He had just licked me on my face.

Shawl for Comfort for Me and Recipient

Sometimes you can give and receive comfort at the same time. I showed you the beginning of my Transition shawl last week. I finished it this afternoon. Here’s the link to the project on Ravelry, if you want details.

Cozy Transition shawl, on top of my previous afghan using the same yarn.

Since I was making the pattern up based on how the yarn’s colors fell, it wasn’t stressful. I just had fun alternating garter stitch and stockinet stitch (bumpy versus smooth). It was quite soothing, which I’ve needed the past few days. This project came at the perfect time!

There was obviously no plan other than cheerful stripes.

I took a chance and decided to do a ruffle cast off, rather that doing it plain. It’s a version of a simple picot cast-off. Just Google it; there are plenty of instructions out there. I like how it added a feminine touch, which is perfect for the recipient!

Little bumps!

All went well as I proceeded along the edge of the shawl, until I felt a strange lightness in the yarn. Oh no, I was out of yarn. There was not any more whatsoever. I completely finished both skeins. Poop.

So, it’s not perfect. Just like me.

I did have enough to finish if I just bound off normally. So, I regretfully did so. There were other options, but none would result in the pretty white edge. The shawl isn’t for wearing in public, just to sit around the house, so maybe it’s okay. I may look for a skein of super bulky yarn that is a similar white, though. Having the edge a slightly different white might be okay.

Any knitters out there have another suggestion?

Here’s the next yarn. Noro Kureopatora (that’s Cleopatra in Japanese) 100% wool.

Comfort Walking and Knitting

Another crazy day in the US, but I’m feeling a little better, because I took my own advice and got outside more. It helped that the weather was a bit better. Even just taking a walk around the office brought me delight. I picked these pretty pecans (which I will take home and eat!).

Such pretty nuts

I also enjoyed stopping at one of the least-attractive parts of my walk to enjoy the Carolina snailseed vine in its winter glory.

The seeds look like little jewels.

The vine really grew over the summer as no one’s maintained the properties this fence supposedly demarcates.

Note the little strip of leftover snow!

When I got home, I enjoyed walking to see the horses. They’re all fine. I keep having to fix Lakota’s blanket, but it’s gonna get cold again, so he needs his comfort blanket.

Speaking of comfort, my knitting has really provided a lot for me this week. I knit hugs into every stitch. Look how big it is now!

I’ve gone through all the colors.

I hit a snag last night, though. My knitting needle tip came out! That caused stitches to go BOING. Oops. Thank goodness I have two sets of this size needle tip, and I can switch them out. I’m sad, because I love the set I’d been using, but I realized they are at least ten years old!

This is an original KnitPicks interchangeable needle set.

I like the clear ones, too. They are a little more “sticky” so I like them for lace. They’re working fine on this shawl. Thank goodness I have so much knitting stuff I hardly ever have to buy anything.

See through needle tip. It’s pretty.

Nowadays there are much fancier sets, but these work. And my old friend needles bring me comfort. I’ll take it wherever I can get it.

What’s comforting you?

Cozy Transition Shawl

I’ve interrupted my planned cadence of knitting projects to finish with the leftover yarn from the afghan. I have a long-time friend who’s transitioning from male to female, and I wanted to make her something to feel cozy and loved in while recovering from surgery at the end of the month. The yarn happens to have colors pretty close to the trans flag, which is a nice coincidence.

The only image on my stock image site that has the trans flag on it. Plus a Harvey dog! Image by @arty_kat via Twenty20

I figured a shawl would do the trick, and that it would work up quickly in the bulky yarn. Ha ha, that WOULD have been true if I hadn’t started the darned thing three times. That’s to be expected if you’re making something up, of course. The first time, didn’t like my cast-on, so I ripped out a few inches.

The second time, I set off to make a stockinette stitch (smooth on one side, bumpy on the other, for those non-knitters who made it to the third paragraph) triangular shawl. I got into the third stripe, but started doubting myself, and thought maybe I was increasing wrong, because the straight side didn’t look like it was straight. I ripped that all out (it’s called “frogging” because you rip-it, rip-it).

All annoyed at myself, I looked for a pattern on Ravelry for a simple, triangular shawl, so I’d be sure to make the right shape. Of course, when I found them, I realized I hadn’t screwed up before. Sigh. But the good news is that I found a pattern with a little texture in it that might look good with the stripes, called LaLa’s Simple Shawl. I knew I’d have to adjust the pattern, since as the shawl gets bigger, the stripes will get more narrow. Here’s what it looks like so far:

Bonus Carlton head! You can see it has some garter stitch and eyelets (that look like lumps right now).

Sure enough, by the time I got to the white stripe, I was having to add more yarn from the other ball. That’s just fine, because I have the yarn. Once I finish the next color, the purply-pink, I will switch it out and do one stripe in stockinette and one in garter until it’s the right size.

Stitches in extreme close-up

I am hoping to have enough yarn left by the time it’s long enough to bind off in a cute picot (little sawtooth kind of shapes), which will look nice and make sure the shawl is flowy. We’ll see.

This is a picot bind-off. Image from this article in Knitty 2006.

My goal is to get finished by next weekend, which is plenty of time. I hope to see the recipient in a few weeks. If not, I can mail it to her.

I hope this description of trial and error gives any of you who are not very confident knitters the courage to just give things a try and start over again if they don’t work out. Sometimes you get something a lot better than what you started out trying to do!

Snow Update

This isn’t enough for a whole blog post, but I wanted to share that the roads in Milam County were fine, and I made it to work. We lost a big tree limb at the office, but it didn’t hit any cars or the building, so that’s good. The power was out at the Bobcat Lair house for 7 hours, but Anita and Pickle survived.

The sun is now busy melting the snow!

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