Finished up the sleeves (I maintain that steeked sleeves look like crotchless leggings until you cut them apart), finished my travel knitting (the scarf) and cast on for the body. Also, because I love to torture myself, I did some simple math. See that teeny tiny little bit of ribbing that is the bottom band? Just the ribbing part is over 7000 stitches, on size 0 needles. Check me out *not* discouraging myself by doing the rest of the math, lest I fall upon my needles and knit no more.
So, yeah. This is a weekly status of the sweater, and if I finish anything else, it gets screen time, too.
Got a little distracted, and didn't get much done on the sweater this week. Without the impromptu "must do this now!" project, I should get more accomplished on the sweater.
(A little girl had a Curious George themed birthday party today, which is who the monkey was for; I came up with the idea of it on Tuesday, so it was a bit of a rush. I also included a card with $20 to "Cover a little bit of her therapy if the monkey is creepy instead of cute." Happily, she hugged it, so, it apparently is cute and not terrifying. It is a fine line between these two options in handmade toys.)
Making reasonable progress, considering I haven't worked it much the last couple of days. The biggest problem was with the pattern; the charting is done in tones similar to that of the yarn, which is damn near impossible to discern unless you are in daylight. I don't know about you, but most of my knitting (at least of this type) happens on the couch, where the lighting is not as strong at the sun. This led to a few errors and tear backs, but I've got the two naughty colours marked differently now, so here's hoping the rest will go more smoothly.
Oh, give me a home Where the yaks they do roam and the chickens they cluck in their coop. Where the doggie does dance The cat sleeps on your pants and they all produce far too much poop. Home! Home on the range! Where the mountains loom nearby all day! Where oft it is heard An ill-rhyming word and the puns they flow thickly, Oy Vey.
Daven was up at stupid-o-clock, bribing yaks. They had settled in pretty well on our neighbour's land. ("Hey! A hill! We like hills!" "Please stop playing king of the hill and come home.") Because he is fantastic and patient (as evidenced by how he took Kai from a spaz-machine to a cuddle-monster), he had them home before 0700, and repaired all of our neighbour's fences.
The yaks. You remember the yaks? They have escaped.
They are currently next door, and are non-responsive to coming home.
We are not having a good night.
On the upside, we have the most understanding neighbours ever, who volunteered "Well, it is dark, just leave 'em be for the night and you can try again in the morning." Thank goodness for good neighbours.
Mr Kai is the only non-escaped yak. As an update (since I haven't posted about him in forever), he has weaned himself and is now eating Calf Manna instead of milk, and has discovered cookies. Cookies have made him decide we are not evil demons, and now he will scamper up to us for pets and skritches.
I hope the rest of the yaks are OK. Daven said they looked dehydrated (not surprising with all of the running they've done since they hopped both the 4 strand barbed wire fence and electric fence), and I'm hoping they'll follow the fence down to the big gate we left open for them to come home through. I left a very very bright light on in their paddock for them to follow, if they have the urge.
Last night, Daven and I (mostly Daven; I distracted Kate with tasty treats) yoinked Kai to start trying to bottle feed him. We should have done this at 3 days old, but were unsure of ourselves. Mea culpa. Now we know for next time.
Bottle feeding a baby who is used to mama and does not want to drink is a frustrating business. Patience is key, but we haven't had much success yet.
I do have a new definition of "too early". If you've been up and messing with livestock at least 2 hours before the feed store opens (needed a new halter), it is too early. ;)
So, he is now haltered (Twice; Daven got his ass roundly kicked by him both times and is now sporting a limp, several head wounds and a crushed hand. Yaks are feisty.) and tied up to get used to the idea of staying still. Water left nearby him, which he of course has already splashed out, mostly. That's OK, I'll keep refilling it. This is a process, and he will come around. Even before we haltered him the second time, I was able to pet his face and neck, but he just got too skittish to let me put the halter on him without being restrained, yet. It will come.
Re-posted to The Silly Yaks blog, for ease of sharing.
For the "Awww!" factor, here are pictures of Kai Yak (this name is my father's fault), from birth on 5/12 to 10 days old on 5/22. For a more verbose version of all of these pictures, go here. Also, if you are on the LJ feed, if you come back to the blog, you can get bigger pictures.
30 minutes old, and on his feet!
3 hours old, and lookin' fuzzy.
3 days old, with mama Kate.
Soggy boy at 8 days old. (It would not stop raining for days, thus the lack of pictures between 3 days old and 8 days old. Also, sometimes you just have to pet the yak, and not take pictures of him.) At this point, he also has started growing in his horns, though you can't see them here.
10 days old, and being a bad influence on Mama. He showed her how to escape, and they had a little adventure in our side yard until I spotted them and Daven led them back into the paddock.
Yeah, that's the brief summary. I didn't buy nearly as much as I did in previous years, but this is also the first year that I had to be concerned with fitting it all into my suitcase to get it home again. Not picture: 8 oz of Jacob roving, 10 oz of carded silk, and some spiffy hair-on leather samples that my sister in law hooked Daven up with. Above are 2 skeins of sock yarn from Creatively Dyed, 3 Bugga from The Sanguine Gryphon and one from the stall next to Tess Yarns after I got irritated with the stupid crowd and lack of pricing at the Tess booth and wandered off. Really. Prices are awesome. They apparently had little handouts, but they didn't post them anywhere. We didn't have prices on the corsets, but that was because they were bloody expensive and we also didn't have a hundred people trying to buy stuff from us all at the same time. Post your damn yarn price lists. I don't care if you take those handouts and frame them and put them around the booth, just have them out. Sheesh. /rant off (Also, apparently most of their yarn was soaking wet. Ew.)
Now for the long version of the trip. Daven and I were going to be flying out to DCA on Thursday, May 5th, and flying back Tuesday, May 10th. Due to Daven getting ill, I ended up going on this little journey without him. :( I missed his company, but illness + 4 hour flight = worlds of suck. I was very pleased with Frontier, as they gave him a credit for the flight, which he can use anytime in the next year. That, and the long leg room and free cookies on the flight really make them my favourite airline.
So, after determining that Daven could drive me to the airport, but go no further, I checked in and got to the gate, to find a delayed flight. Of course it was. At least that gave me plenty of time to call the airline and get the above credit. I'd not eaten much that morning since I knew that the terminal I was going to had a sandwich shop I really liked...and when I went to it, it seemed to be closed for renovations. 3 strikes against the day; I was pretty grumpy by this point. As if the world could tell that I was about ready to smack someone, this really awesome little old couple came and sat next to me, and I ended up chatting with the husband a bit. (This was a recurring theme: I've gotten a lot friendlier and better at random interactions than I was before I moved out here.) Later, when finally boarding the plane, the husband waved cheerfully and held out his hand for a hand bump, which amused me a great deal and perked me up. Also, I had acquired pretzels to eat 9 at a time on the advice of HappyGoth in the effort of generating better luck. I took it as a good sign when the plane had a bison as the mascot critter, and that he was named Thunder. Just smile and nod and accept that it made me happy. :)
Aside from the pretzels and the free cookie, I had some dried fruit and nuts...this became relevant when the flight finally landed and I eventually made it to my friend's end of the Metro system at 19:30...when I'd last had a meal at about 07:30 and was super loopy. Food was found, I discovered that I've become a beer snob, and after a lunch with D, I got to see H after she got home from an audition. Giggling and chatting went late into the night.
At this point, my body lost its damn mind and started waking me up at ridiculous o'clock every day of my visit. There wasn't a day that I was out there that I wasn't awake by 06:30 or earlier, even if I could convince my body to stay in bed until 08:30 a couple of times. This is relevant when you take into account the fact that I was suddenly 2 hours ahead of my normal schedule, and I do not have the habit of waking up at 04:30. So, that was exciting.
Friday, we went to Trousseau, my favourite bra shop, with a gaggle of girls. H and I met Jennie and HappyGoth there, who had driven up from Georgia for the weekend, as well as meeting up with Eva and Vail for bra shopping shenanigans. Jennie and HappyGoth ended up in one fitting room, and H & I ended up in another, with the other ladies in their own rooms. The store had prepared and ordered bras in the correct size for our group members, so there was a pretty good selection. I think I tried on every bra in the store in my (varied) size, and everyone came away with at least 1 bra, if not more. Since we are Good Customers (TM), we then got free truffles and toddled off to a tasty lunch at the dive Mexican joint just down the road, where they serve the best mango daquiris ever.
After The Adventure (TM) of going from one end of the beltway to the other in the beginnings of Friday rush hour traffic, we regrouped at H&D's place before heading out to see Jonathon Coulton, with the opening band Paul and Storm at the Birchmere. We ran into our friend Greyloch there, along with his herd of ladies, and I was thrilled to find my friends Alicia and Sean were also at the show. I drew them into our group, and we cheerfully drank too much and laughed too loud at the show. I must admit that Paul and Storm were a bit more fun than Mr Coulton, but it was still a damn find show. My favourite moment: Paul and Storm were performing "The Captain's Wife's Lament", which involves a lot of audience participation in the form of shouting ARRRR! when prompted (or when not prompted, as it turned out). Well, after one too many impromptu ARRRR, one of them (can't remember which one) looked pained and was trying to remember his place and said "Please...shut the fuck up." For whatever reason, having a musician telling a crowd to STFU cracked me up. After the show, we got back to H&D's without incident and all crashed hard.
Saturday, I woke up at my new "the sun is up, and so am I and I have no idea why this is happening to me" wake up time. The GA girls had brought a few bags of bagels, so rather than messing with going out for breakfast, those were consumed, and we were off to Sheep and Wool! Amazingly, we missed the worst of the traffic (aside from a bit where a bus managed to get really badly stuck, but we were nearly at the parking lot by then) and started collecting people. To recap, we came with H&D, myself, Jennie and HappyGoth. At the entrance we ran into my friend M, who I hadn't met in person before, but had chatted with online and via text a lot whilst she was deployed. Further additions over the course of the day were Dave and Britt, who I was the best man in their wedding last May, Greyloch, his wife and Sarah their NZ friend. Then there was Bald Scott, Kendra, and much later in the day, Alicia and Sean again. Also, HappyGoth met an online friend of her's at the show, so we were a jolly little amoeba. When approaching the main vendor hall, most of our raiding group got frightened off, and we went in with 6. Then somewhere along the way, we lost half of them, and I dragged Britt and Kendra down one side of the hall before we got overwhelmed by the TEEMING MASSES and fled to the outside world.
Whilst going off to meet up with the larger group under a tree (this is not the best description, btw), I had a very cheerful short woman bounce up to me and proclaim "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!" "Oh?" "You're Dragon*con Goddess from The Devil's Panties!" "That'd be me." Jennie had posted a comic the week before mentioning that we were going to be at the show, so this lovely young lady had printed said comic out and was running around looking for us. Since Jennie had forgotten her Flamey Boots of Doom (TM), and I was wearing those, along with a Utilikilt, I was acting as Jennie's stunt double. Her very large stunt double. I managed to attract at least 5 people who asked if I was Jennie, and were varying degrees of disappointed that I was not. Anyway! Beth, the fan, followed us to Jennie, despite the fact that I was confused by the directions I was given, so was being fearless leader going the wrong way. Enh. We found them eventually. Beth was very nice, and as we related a bit of the bra adventure, I referred her to Trousseau's, since she was busty and displeased with her normal bra shopping experience. I spread the good word of pretty bras for busty chicks. :)
Once more, we split up, and via text message it was relayed that the group as a whole was going to meet up down at the sheep dog show...except I had no idea where that was, got lost, hadn't eaten enough (again) and lost my damn temper by the time I found them. As a note, honesty is the best policy, but when you respond to "Are you OK?" with "Not really, no.", people get a little upset. Water was taken in, as was some more food, and by the time I no longer wanted to kill people, the herding dogs were done. Oops. More shopping happened, then the new tradition that we started last year of heading off to the Mongolian Grill for much food. A quick stop for some booze after that, then when we got back to H&D's with Dave and Britt in tow, Jennie and HappyGoth headed off to Baltimore to visit their respective families for the evening. The rest of us sat around and drank and chatted until there was a general face planting from exhaustion.
Sunday had been full of plans...but we scrapped 'em and just sat around the house chatting. This was a nice downtime after the "scheduled to the gills" of the prior days. Eventually, once both Jennie and HappyGoth had returned from their trip north, we headed off to our dinner reservation at Marrakesh in downtown DC, meeting Eva and her boy there. It was a fantastic dinner, with incredible food and fun company. Yay!
Monday involved the GA girls heading off back southward whilst H&D headed back to work. The girls ran a little late, so we were able to chat for quite a while before they drove me down to the other end of the beltway so I could have lunch with a few of my former SEC coworkers. That was an interesting lunch, and their stress levels were palpable. Oy vey. After lunch with the guys, I wandered the Metro system down to the National Mall, ended up at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial and continued my tradition of nearly bursting into tears and calling my dad to tell him how glad his name wasn't up there, even if some of his buddies' names were. I still remember the first time we came to DC, when I was 15...when he pointed out their names was the first time I ever saw him cry. Since then, he's told me a lot more of their stories, including a young man who was barely over 18, and who found out when he was deployed that he was a father...but never made it home to meet his daughter. See? Tears. Looking at the names, knowing that every one was a story; a life cut short...It is always an emotional thing for me to head to the monument. Just to lighten the mood, after I'd gotten off the phone with my dad, I was sitting and staring at a half-drained duck pond (the reflecting pool is also drained for work), and a family walked by. Their 3'ish looking daughter looked at me and her eyes lit up..."Look, Mommy! A cowgirl!" As I was wearing my crushable leather cowboy hat (now that I live in CO, I have grown to love hats), I tipped said hat to her and grinned. After that, I chatted on the phone with Daven for a bit, then I met H at the metro, and we did her commute home together. Dinner that night had Dave and Britt join us again for some awesome Indian food. Since I was lamenting that the previous year on my birthday I hadn't had any cake, H&D and I took a little side trip to a Harris Teeter, where we bought the most ridiculous cupcakes ever. The frosting was taller than the cakes, and they just were terribly disappointing. I'd also grabbed a giant truffle, because, wow, giant truffle! That, too, turned out to be not too great, as the chocolate genache inside of it was too rich, so we just ate the shell off of it and called it a night.
My phone, provided for scale. This was silly.
Tuesday, my flight didn't leave until after noon, but I got up at 06:00 and H and I headed to her office. I left my bags there, we hit a diner called "Lincoln's Waffle" that was right across the street from Ford's Theatre for breakfast, and I ended up wandering down to the Mall again to sit and people watch from 09:00-11:00. I was reminded that I was totally not used to cities when I noticed a helicopter that was circling right over my head...28 times. I was fully into the "WTF?" zone, then noticed that 5 minutes after it stopped circling, Marine 1 (the helicopter version of Air Force 1) took off from the White House and it all made sense. I was sitting in front of the Smithsonian Natural History museum, so it was reasonable that the damn copter was going over and over and over my head.
The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful, aside from the TSA agent wishing me a happy birthday, and I was very happy to see my (fully recovered) husband, drink some damn good local beer and go home to a very happy puppy and kitty who had apparently missed me. Then, two days later, my yak had a baby, BUT THAT WILL BE A DIFFERENT POST.
Ta da! Long version. If you got all of the way to the end of this, gold star for you!
This morning, I went in to check on my five 2 week old cheepies. Sometime in the night, they had tipped over their water and it was bone dry. I sighed, cleaned it out and filled it back up. For the next 5-10 minutes, all five crowded around the waterer, making no noise, and just drinking greedily. After a few minutes, I noticed that one of them (my favourite, of course, who has fluffy cheeks) was quietly vomiting the water right back up, with a bunch of bubbles. Basically, they had grown tall enough that the little platform (a candle box) that the waterer was on wasn't high enough, and they were starting to swallow some air along with the water. Since chickens don't burp, the next logical thing to do to get air out of their stomachs is to vomit.
There was exactly nothing I could do (aside from switch to a slightly higher platform for the water) than sit there helplessly, thinking that if that chick died, it would be my fault. It would be my fault for not checking their water before going to bed the night before, so who knows how long the container had been knocked over. It was my fault that they were so desperate for water that they stopped their normal tiny chicken behaviour of running around cheeping and jumping on each other to stand quietly and gorge themselves on said water. And it was my fault for not lifting the waterer up high enough for them not to get air bubbles along with their water.
It was a bad time. Even though they are "just farm animals" and not pets, they are helpless and they are in my care. And that little life would be on my conscience if she died from it.
After watching over them for another 15 minutes, they seemed to perk up a little bit, and resumed tearing around their little enclosure, though "Cheeks" wasn't as active. When we got home tonight from hiking, I sent my husband in to check on them, because I just couldn't bear the thought of finding that little fluff ball dead. I lost several chicks last year and they all were upsetting, but none of their deaths were directly related to anything I'd done.
Thankfully, they are all alive. They have all gone back to eating and drinking and playing "Chicken kamikaze"; a delightful game of climbing to the highest perch they can get to and jumping on their neighbour. Since there are so few of them, they are currently living in a very very large Rubbermaid container in my downstairs bathroom, right next to where I sit with my computer. I know when they are playing this game when the consistent cheep cheep cheeps are interrupted with a most indigent "CHRRP!" as one of the chicks gets landed on.
That which we nurture binds us to it. Neglect that attachment at your peril.
I was following the instructions provided by a well-known knitting resource, and when I looked at my knitting, it didn't look like theirs...but mine actually followed the directions, whereas their swatch was messed up. Nice catch, guys.
So, for those of you who may or may not still read my updates who aren't on other lists, I started yet another blog. This one is specifically for yakky updates; with Yak-A-Day photos and yak factiods on a daily basis. Or, at least the photos, if I can't think of anything clever. It is still new, so not very fleshed out, but more pictures will be forthcoming. Maybe I'll do another video, if we can get the yaks to do something interesting.
Daven and I were discussing the flock, and how we are going to cull another 4 roosters. (We have an UNREASONABLE amount of roosters, still.) Sadly, somewhere in there will be Henry, who stopped being friendly and started being a bit of a bastard. I honestly can no longer identify him, but I still feel sad since he was so friendly before. This will finally allow the girls to outnumber the boys, and hopefully stop looking so beaten up, since the barred rock boys are the worst of the remaining flock in terms of jumpin' the girls. (They are no where near as bad as the first ones we culled, who had managed to kill our two best layers. Roosters are jerks.)
In the midst of this, we were talking about the roosters we are going to leave behind. 2 light brahmas (they of fluffy bellbottom feet, one of whom is named Raptor), the golden rooster who is at the very bottom of the pecking order (I have uncreatively been calling him "Goldie", which isn't a very masculine name), and the 4 fluffy silkies. It turned out that all four of the buggers are boys, much to my frustration. Not only are they roosters, but they are LOUD roosters...or at least one of the black ones is. So, since they will be sticking around, they needed names. Because, hey, this is us, we've gone with the following:
Loudest black silkie: Ozzy Other black silkie: Sabbath Two white silkies: Dio and Zakk.
After posting on FaceBook about the pleasure I gleaned from seeing Daven wearing three knitted items at the same time (it was cold in the house), one of my cousins requested a hat. The one she chose is a fun knit, though the colours requested weren't in my stash in acceptable weights, so I got to do a little run to my LYS. When I came up to the counter with 7 100g balls of worsted weight yarn, the lovely lady behind the counter asked if I was knitting a lap blanket.
"...That will be a very large hat."
The problem being that I needed approximately 2 oz of the most prevalent colour in the hat, and the rest needed about an ounce each, but funnily, super wash worsted weight yarns don't come in "snippets", so I've got a whooole lotta yarn now. On the upside (as I said to the woman, later, when we were resolving a charging issue), I've now got lots of yarn for socks for my dad, since his feet are too big for sock yarn. Worsted weight is the way to go with size 12s.
Once said cousin got me her head measurement last night, I was off and running. The swatch I had done lied like a lying thing, so after tearing back the hat band, I switched to a size smaller, cast onto DPNs (which I apparently knit more tightly on than circular needles) and started over. I just finished it, and now all I have to hope is that she likes it and that it fits.
The coolest thing for me (and I may be really late to the game for this) is that some weird little switch in my head finally went and now I can cheerfully do stranded knitting with an active thread in each hand, so I'm knitting both Continental and English styles at the same time. Much quicker than my previous "Drop yarn, pick up other yarn, do a stitch. Repeat forever." strategy. Enh, I don't care if it took a long time to arrive, this is fun. Also, for straight knitting or purling, I find that I kind of prefer Continental, suddenly, after knitting English for my entire life. *shrug* I just do what my fingers tell me to do. :)
Photo of the hat will come either after she says she wants to see it before I mail it, or after she has received it.