Carnival of Fun—and Knitting, Too!

Driving up to Melissa’s this afternoon, I passed a small, parking-lot style carnival at the local community college. It brought back all sorts of memories: going to the county fair with my family when I was a kid; my first time on various rides; the time I wanted to ride the ferris wheel and stood in line by myself only to be told I was too short when I got to the front, and the young couple on a date who invited me to sit between them so I could go; the evening at the high school carnival with a boy I had a crush on who offered to let me choose a ride, and I was too shy and too afraid of making the wrong choice and couldn’t pick anything, leaving him bewildered and with a handful of unused tickets.

I mentioned the carnival to Melissa, and she responded, “I saw it too the other night. The lights were on, and the freeway traffic was slowing down while people drove past it. Want to go?” Having long ago recovered from my high school shyness (the worst of it, at least), I was all for going.

We paid $3 each to get in the gate, then strolled the little bit of a midway and checked out the rides. I suggested we go on the Yo-Yo. Melissa countered with the Himalaya, noting that we’d be able to sit together. That convinced me.
Whee! The Himalaya, ride of champions!
(Note that this is not the Himalaya we rode on. We downloaded this picture from a web site that features used carnival rides for sale. Now that’s something interesting one could do with a few extra hundred grand.)

We had a lovely wild ride. We sat in a pink car and squealed and shouted “Himalaya!” over and over again, as if that explained everything. Melissa had been gallant and took the outside seat, so I was smashed up against her the whole while—I won’t be surprised if her hip is bruised in the morning.

After that, Melissa treated me to pink popcorn from the “Big Bopper” food trailer.
Pink Popcorn: the favorite radioactive food of children everywhere!
We did take it home with us to save for after dinner, but I confess I ended my Lenten no-desserts vow a day early in order to indulge.

Afterwards, we contented ourselve with walking another, slower lap, watching the little kids and families.

I’ve finished sock number two, and I’m working on a shawl now, while I wait for the additiomal sock yarn I’ve ordered to arrive. (The Trampoline Stretch is so nice to work with, given its bounce, that I want to do another pair or two in it before I try anything else.) The shawl pattern is from Lion Brand Yarns and was recommended by CatBookMom as a pattern she’s used multiple times.
The shawl in progress.
I’m knitting mine in my favorite acrylic—Soft Delight Extremes. I’m using size 9 needles, so will have to work more repeats than called for in the pattern, but that’s no problem, since my wonderful sister sent me (at my request) a whole box of that yarn this past winter. (I know, I know… it’s cheap acrylic, but I love the colors, and it is wonderfully soft. This is going to be a very cozy shawl.) This is a great pattern for self-striping yarns with long runs of colors, the pattern is simple to follow, and working it is giving me a solid, practical understanding of how shawls knit out from the top-center work. Once this shawl is done, I’ll be able to go to my stitch dictionaries and develop my own, more elaborate patterns.

Yarn in a Box!

Up until a month or two ago, I hadn’t given cotton dishrag yarn a thought. But then Joann had a sale right about the same time that I picked up my copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting again, and suddenly the universe seemed to want me to start thinking about just this fiber. The Joann sale was Sugar ‘n Cream; Mason-Dixon touts Peaches & Creme. The debate over the relative merits of these two yarns had a file folder in full flame at Knitter’s Review. I had questions! I don’t know if it’s a west-coast thing, but suddenly I was seeing Sugar ‘n Cream everywhere—and realizing that no-one seemed to carry Peaches & Creme.

I bought a few balls of the Sugar ‘n Cream while it was on sale, and you’ve seen my work with that yarn. Well, I gave in to temptation a little while ago and ordered five one-pound cones of Peaches & Creme from the manufacturer. (Even with the shipping, the price is unbeatable when you order by the cone.) So, last week I came home to this on my doorstep—
Peaches and Cream on the doorstep.
Moving clockwise from the far left, these colors are Sunrise (137), Pink Lemonade (171), Sea Mist (201), Mexicali (185), and Daisy Ombre (165).

In between my little bursts of sock knitting (yesterday I took care of the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset shaping on sock number two), I’ve been working up a simple washcloth in each of the yarns, just to see what the colors do as they’re knit. I’m on the last one now, and will post a photo this weekend.

If I had to weigh in on the great Sugar ‘n Cream v. Peaches & Creme debate, I would probably go with Peaches & Creme. I think it’s the softer of the two yarns, so a bit more comfortable to work with. However, I actually don’t think the difference is big enough to be significant—I’ll be choosing whichever one a) is on sale and/or b) has the color I’m looking for. (And, given that I have to mail-order Peaches & Creme by the pound, I may buy it less often, even though I like it a bit better.)

Here’s my big question that I’m hoping one of you can answer: What does the Sunflower (196) colorway of Peaches & Creme really look like? In the on-line color samples it’s a hideous peach and blue-green blend that looks like third-rate, faux-southwestern architecture. But in the print catalogue that came with my order, it’s a lovely orange-yellow-bright green mix that really does remind me of a field of sunflowers. Do you see my dilemma? If it’s the former, I don’t want any of it—certainly not a full pound, and not a full pound plus shipping. On the other hand, if it’s the latter, my life could be unbearably tragic without a full, one-pound cone smiling at me from my stash. If you live where Peaches & Creme can be found on store shelves, will you please give it a good look for me when you have a chance and let me know what you think of the Sunflower colorway? I’ve posted this question on Knitter’s Review, but no-one’s answered—and being the obsessive knitter I am, I actually find myself wondering about this in the middle of the night.

First Sock

Thanks to all of you for your kind words about Woody. It still doesn’t quite feel real, and it certainly doesn’t make sense. Sparky has been sticking close by, and we are comforting each other. I think he’s a little uncertain what to do without his sidekick.

Here’s a photo of my first sock.
My first sock! A thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Number two is on the sticks. I’ve finished the leg and need to get going on the heel. I love the amount of texture in this pattern (Retro Rib Socks from Favorite Knitted Socks)—and, wow!, is that rib ever elastic. I could fit Sparky in that sock with room to spare, if he were willing to sit still through the indignity of it all.

As I’ve noted before, I’m just wild about this particular yarn and this particular colorway. Skacel is discontinuing it, and Little Knits is selling it for half price. So, I went all knitter-looney and ordered a dozen skeins (but at least I’m paying directly for it and not charging).

Remembering Woody

On Saturday night, Woody was hit by a car and killed.
The brothers snuggle up cheek to cheek.
Sparky and Woody

Melissa took this picture of the boys napping together on Saturday afternoon. She and I spent the day at home, doing a bit of spring cleaning, listening to the ballgame, and just relaxing. When we took a quick nap, the boys were right there with us. We finished the cleaning late and went out around eight to get some dinner.

When we came back, there was a message on the phone. We picked up his (not so) little body and drove out to the emergency vet, where we had a chance to say goodbye in a quiet, private room. There was a lot of blood on him, but no obvious external injuries and his claws were intact, so I think death must have come very quickly. I’m having him cremated, which seems excessive and first-world in a way, but I want that little box of ashes to keep with me.

I’d known in the back of my mind that this was a possibility: he’d become such a wanderer and, while I live on a quiet street, some of the nearby streets are busier (and it’s on one of those streets that he died). But I still hadn’t really expected to lose him. He was just a year old, bursting with energy and life, switching back and forth between full-throttle play and rock-like sleep the way young cats do.

I’m deeply grateful that I was home this weekend and that Melissa was with me. I’m also grateful for that phone call, hard as it was to receive. I know what happened; I didn’t have to spend nights awake worrying about him; I didn’t have to wander the neighborhood calling for him and posting signs.

I miss him like crazy.