Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meet me in the middle

Philosopher's Wool kit
Originally uploaded by littlekidd
This is one of about six sweaters I have "in process." They draw me in with their allure of learning a new technique, or puzzling through a complicated pattern or structure. Somewhere between 30 and 80 percent of the way through I get bored and the unfinished sweater ends up like Woody from Toy Story, shoved in a cubby and replaced by some bright shiny new thing.

This project is a perfect example. It's a kit I bought at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival last February, made by the super cool folks from Philosopher's Wool. The wool has that wonderful scratchy, oily quality I love. Occasionally you have to pick bits of hay out of it. It practically cries "baa!"

The construction is crazy -- two pieces, each starting at the cuff. You knit the arm in the round, then cast on a mess of stitches at both sides the armpit, and then immediately join them together and knit the front and back simultaneously as one back and forth panel. It's weird and the directions are vague. But that makes it more fun, right?

Anyway I've realized that maybe the reason I don't finish sweaters is because there was no reason to wear them in Portland. It didn't get cold enough. Now that I'm in Jackson Hole I'm in a race with mother nature to get those babies finished. Already we're waking up to hard frosts and temps in the 20s. This one will be great for walking Zack to the bus stop. Hoping I have enough left over for a hat to match.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahoy there, mateys!

Shiver me timbers!
Originally uploaded by littlekidd
Yup, you thought I forgot about you. But like the dust speck said to Horton, "We are here! We are here!"

"Here" is our new home in the Jackson Hole Valley of Wyoming. For those of you not familiar, this is one of our nation's most spectacularly beautiful places. We're about 80 miles from Yellowstone National Park, and pretty far away from just about everything else. We moved here about three weeks ago, just in time for the boy inside that hat to start first grade. We live in Wilson, where the elevation is about 6,000 feet and the population is about 1,200 people.

The hat, by the way, is the wonderful We Call them Pirates hat, available for free download. I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in brown and cream, which I bought at my new LYS, Knit on Pearl.

Here's a side view:
Pirate Hat

This will certainly be only the first of many hats I knit here. We have had a hard frost on the ground just about every morning since we've been here. This will be a marked contrast with Portland, where the mere threat of a hard frost ANY time of the year leads the local news.

In addition to our daily frost, here are some other notable differences between where we are now and "the big city."

1. We had to drive 40 miles, over a mountain pass the other day to buy a simple glass fish tank. But within an hour of returning Zack caught a fish for the tank in the irrigation ditch behind our yard. In lieu of driving back over the mountain pass to buy fish food, we have been feeding him Frosted Mini Wheats.

2. Some little critter -- a raccoon or a fox -- keeps pooping on my front porch. And the other day he stole one of Zack's shoes when I left them out to dry.

3. We see hot air balloons in the sky every morning on our way to the school bus stop.

4. We can hear coyotes howling and elk bugling in our yard at night.

5. There is no Starbuck's, Target or Wal-Mart here. The closest ones are at least an hour away by car. (over aforementioned mountain pass) Costco is even farther.

6. We live 10 minutes from the best skiing in the United States.

7. Zack catches frogs on the playground at recess.

8. People knit -- and WEAR -- gloves with fingers here.

9. People pick up their kids from school on horseback.

10. You only have to dial seven digits to make a local call.

Remains to be seen how we'll weather the cold here. I'm sure I'll get a LOT more knitting done!