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Suburban Hen House

Dear Kay,
Early this morning I opened the back door to bring in the milk,* and about thirty feet back, there he was: a dingy orange brown, the size of a medium dog but not a dog. Pointy nose and a bushy tail. A fox. It was the damndest thing. He froze, looked straight at me, then loped off into the bushes.
It’s not like we live in the country. It’s pure old suburbia here, so seeing a FOX is purely weird. A couple of miles from here there was a recent coyote scare–coyotes!–in an old neighborhood with sidewalks and bungalows. There were rumors of vicious pet attacks, and vigilante groups of uptight homeowners were agitating to hunt down the marauders. Nothing came of it, of course–some people said the whole thing was a case of coyote hysteria.
Not sure what to make of all this misplaced wildlife.
Monday Weigh-In
keava5.jpg
Just in case anybody thought I was off on a permanent voyage into furniture-related knitting, here’s the weigh-in on ye olde Keava. Almost done with the second repeat. The tension is starting to even out, which is a relief. I was beginning to think this was going to be the only three-dimensional Fair Isle sweater in the world. You should see me, pokily making my way: even with my crummy memory, I’ve got the hang of the 18-stitch repeat.
My question for the moment: what do I do about the ends? Eek!
Love,
Ann
*Kay, I know there is a history of milk deliverers in your family, so I have to tell you: the milk man has saved Hubbo and me from serious marital strife. Early in our marriage, before we had kids and didn’t know HOW EASY LIFE WAS, we had constant skirmishes over milk. We were both certain that the other should be the one to buy the milk, with the result that nobody bought the milk. A friend (bless her) said, “Why don’t you get it delivered?” Well, I had no idea such an antique service still existed, but sure enough, the Purity Dairy had a fleet of milk trucks painted like spotted cows, and they’d bring you milk and butter and whatever dairy things you needed. I’ve seen the milk man only a couple of times, around four a.m., but when I do it’s with the tenderest affection. I wonder if he knows how many customers appreciate the miraculous appearance of milk at their back doors.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. The sweater looks great. I have had some puckering with Roscalie but I have blocked sections here and there and it seems to flatten out just fine. I am fretting about all of my ends as well!

  2. The new Interweave Knits has chair covers: http://iwpshopinfo.interweave.com/Knits/2004newsletters/summer04projects.htm Yours look more complex and interesting, though.
    Keava is looking wonderful.

  3. I think you need to take some security measures vis a vis the Guinea pig, if you have what Beatrix Potter would call a ‘sandy-whiskered gentleman’ lurking about.
    Keava is looking so great.
    Boggled that you have a milkman. You are living in a dream world, girl. xox Kay

  4. The kazillion end problem : spit splice ! I used to studiously sew in all my ends,then The Famous Wendy started just tying overhand knots & trimming the ends to about 1/2 – 1 inch.Shetland yarn strands velcro themselves together,increasingly so with washing,steaming,wearing etc.Then…Lisa of ”BlogdogBlog” wrote that she had started split splicing her ends.The colour transitions don’t look wierd 7 it works a treat with the Shetland yarn.So,I’ve started doing that and would highly recommend it.It’s revolutionised my St*rmore knitting and I just wish I’d told you earlier.
    Sorry.
    I’ll go get links.

  5. I’m back ! Here you go :
    http://www.exit109.com/~lsyoung/blog/archives/week_2004_04_18.html#000263
    It’s the April 21st entry.
    This revelation constitutes one of those ”pass it on to all your knitting friends” techniques.
    x

  6. Completely forgot to say that Keeva looks stunning !

  7. What my husband and I used to have power plays over (before we, too, had kids and realized how easy we’d had it!) was washing clothes. The key to winning *that* battle is to be sure you own one more pair of underwear than your opponent. Then you can act innocent: “Oh, did you do laundry? Gosh, thanks!”
    With two teenaged boys we go through five gallons of milk a week, so there’s little chance for turf battles: if you’re in (or near) a grocery store, just buy milk.
    Is it against the rules to carry yarn up the side of Keava? I think I’d be tempted….

  8. Hi Ann
    Re foxes,
    I live in NW London and a couple of years ago we had a family of foxes living at the bottom of our garden. Still hear foxes at night, trying to raid rubbish bins and we are definitely not Country. Maybe a bit Rock’n’Roll though.
    BTW. The fairisle is, to borrow an American phrase
    “AWESOME”!

  9. Wonderful that you have your own Mr. Fox! They’re such wonderful animals, and sooooo beautiful. I’m jealous of your sighting!

  10. My Roscalie is a cardigan, so for the body I got to ignore all the loose ends clustered around the front steek. They’ll be magically dealt with when I do the border.
    When I started a sleeve — in the round, no steek — I decided there was no way in h*ll I’d work in all those loose ends, so I’ve been carrying all the colours as I go (in a ziploc sandwich bag pinned within the sleeve). So far, so good. I’m nearly done the first sleeve! I will pay anyone a million dollars to do the second one for me.
    I live in Toronto and we have wildlife galore, including coyotes, deer, and beavers.
    Way to go on Keava! It’s growing like a weed!

  11. The local rabbits and hares use the railway bridge and dam just outside my window as a short-cut across the fjord. And in the fjord we get the occasional seal. Other than that only urban birds, though when I visit the Dean I can see cows grazing from his office.
    Keava looks great, so what were you worrying about? As for the ends, weave them in.

  12. What can I say,other than SPIT-SPLICE ? !!!
    Why on earth would you tangle yourself up in yarn by carrying it up the side?

  13. I’m spitting! I’m splicing! I’ll tie knots–I’ll do anything to get rid of this mess!
    Thanks so much, Emma, for the links. A revelation, really. A big virtual hug to you! I was figuring I’d be sewing in the ends until eternity. Do you think I can knot the ends I have already done, the start spit-splicing from here on out? I want to go ahead and do this nasty business before it gets out of hand.
    As for carrying yarns up the side, I think having eight shades of yarn trailing out of my sweater would make me daffy. I’m amazed at how relatively tangle-free this project has been, what with the two-handed method keeping the yarns in good order. And using just two shades per row is another clever little thing those Shetlanders figured out.
    Lydia–Thanks so much for the Interweave link–I can’t believe I don’t subscribe, but now I will. Those chair covers look a WHOLE LOT like mine, even down to the yarn choice. I need to see the whole pattern to see how I can improve this little project. (Nervous without a pattern, I am . . . )
    Marnie–Beavers? I’d love to have a beav wandering around here. Like a giant guinea pig or something. And re the sleeves, I had not until this moment considered what lies ahead. Euw. Must go have an ice cold Knitting Water.
    Thomas–Fjords with seals? I love hearing about your exotic world. Wow.
    Thanks, everybody! It takes a village to knit a Starmore . . .

  14. We had a fox sighting in my back yard a couple of nights ago. I opened the door to go out to feed the dog…yes, our 80 lb. chocolate lab is banished to a backyard kennel…and I saw the tail-end of something strangely catlike leaping over the five foot fence. However, it was too big to be a cat, unless those Chernobyl beasties have migrated over, more doglike, but jumping a five foot fence??? An inquiry to my dad, a former timber surveyor and wise in ways of all wildlife, confirmed that yes, foxes can live in and among the suburbs. Like coyotes, they are wiley creatures. Or Wile E. creatures rather. I was worried for our feline, but Dad says foxes don’t eat cats. I still don’t know what the little beast was after, but that joker was fast!
    Your keava is beautiful. I hope one day to be able to knit something so complex and lovely. Right now, I aim merely to finish a thought without finding myself mindlessly picking at my cuticles. I think my students are considering some kind of drug share plan for their ADD meds–“But, Mom, my teacher NEEDS it!?”

  15. Last summer, while I was out walking in the woods near my house (I walk for fitness. It does not make me thinner, just firmer. *sigh*), I got the following snapshot…(file approx 110k)
    http://www.bedford.net/teep/foxpic.jpg
    I am sorry about the fuzzy kwalidy, but I only had approximately 3.2 seconds to deploy the digital camera from the waist carrying pouch, boot it up, aim it, and take the picture. At least you can tell it’s supposed to be a fox…

  16. Ann,sweetheart,knot the ends you have,spit on the rest ! That’s what I’ve done.First few inches are knotted ,waiting to be cut.The only ones I’ll be weaving are those closest to the cast on edge,as I don’t want any peaking.
    If knotting is good enough for Wendy…
    I think the spit-splicing puts us one ahead though.Thinking outside the box,and all that.That Lisa’s a clever girl. :0)

  17. Hey my Fair Isle friends: here’s a link to a comprehensive article entitled “Saliva and Textile Arts from th 16th Century to the Present”:
    http://www.spit.com/germs/nasty?disgusting?/this is a fake link/week_2004_04_18.html#000263. I don’t quite get how you spit felt with fair isle. I guess similar to spit felting stripes; there may be a bit of ‘overlap’ of the old color on the new at the beginning of a row? Carry on. Whatever makes it easier for you, I’m all for. Not that I have a vote, but I think Wendy’s method sounds neater. xox Kay

  18. Congratulations on having your own fox ! They are wonderful garden visitors and with a bit of training will come when you call- of course you have to master the “chi-chi-chi” sound only Alan can make in our family … or maybe it’s the way he smells or something ?? Foxes are also very handy I find for disposing overnight of the half-eaten evidence of the family cats’ days of fun (!)Not sure you’ll have that problem with a family guinea pig, though …
    Keava is wonderful – did you know it’s also an Estonian hillfort of some archaelogical interest ? Means “Hand of the Sun” apparently .. I’m just a mine of useless information you know !
    Lucky you to still have a milkman – do you also have a picket fence, or is that just a fantasy of mine ?
    Heather x

  19. RE: furniture and knitting. Did anyone else get the new Pottery Barn catalog over the weekend? It has furniture covered in *knitted sea grass*. See page 48.
    Stupid questions displaying my total ignorance. Can someone please explain using small words of just one part what spit has to do with all those ends? And why are there all those ends? Why doesn’t one (a) carry the ends up to be used next time? or (b) knit the whole thing in the round and cut it open?
    See how ignorant I am?
    But I can feel the Fair Isle thing coming on, like a communicable disease. Help! I’m becoming infected!

  20. Sis,
    Not sure if you have ever revealed one of your reasons for taking up knitting in the first place, but I’m sure that THIS sweater you are knitting will ward off any chances of ending up with a nursing home alarm bracelet for sure. Maybe my chances will diminish when you teach me to knit this summer, what were we just talking about?
    Lots of love,
    Buffy

  21. Spit splice bay-bee!!! I’m working on an Aran (On the Tab from Knitter’s winter 2003-4) in Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann…very yummy yarn and not an end in sight to be woven!! Me likey!!
    Your Keava looks wonderful, no one would ever guess it’s your madien voyage!
    Last year while taking out my trash one evening I had a visit from Mr. Fox too and I live in Florida! Cool sighting! And GREAT fox pic, Teep!!

  22. Definitive spit splicing :
    fluff slightly ends of yarn to be joined.Daintily lick each yarn end and the palm of one hand.Lay the discreetly damp yarn on palm,overlapping ends by 1-2 inches.Lick,in a most lady like fashion,palm of other hand.Now rub palms together vigorously,but with some decorum,creating friction and heat.Damp+friction+heat+wool = felted together ends = magic !
    I have used this method for years on single colour garments,but never on fair isle change overs.It saves hours of darning in hassle.Even works with superwash sock wool – I did it yesterday with some Opal which had a knot in it.

  23. Sorry for hogging these comments,but…
    Kay,Kay,hurry over here :
    http://iwpshopinfo.interweave.com/Knits/2004newsletters/summer04projects.htm
    Scroll down and swoon at a mitre square rug knitted in Kitchen cotton.Pounce on this issue of Interweave Knits.It’s due out mid May,I think.

  24. Ann
    Keava is looking amazing!
    and on the ends issue… – I say get spitting – Ok, so it’s grossing out Kay, but it’s going to be easier, quicker & far less soul destroying than doing all that darning-in of ends. Besides which, it’s one way to prove to the kids that their mother is unique amongst their peer’s mothers – not only does she knit, but she spits all over the knitting too. Nothing wrong with a little eccentricity (sp?) in the eyes of your kids, I reckon!
    (Ok they might hate you for it now, but they’ll love you for it later!)
    Jo
    xxx

  25. Rachel–It’s a huge relief to the fellas that foxes don’t eat cats. I was kind of worrying about it myself: can a fox fit through our cat door?
    Teep–What a beautiful fox! Can’t believe you caught him on camera–ours was like the abominable snowman or something, vanishing just like that.
    Kay–Scout’s honor I promise to wash any garments I knit for you before sending them to you. 100% Spit-free Knitting, guaranteed. I may soak ‘em in Listerine, of course, for extra antibacterial protection.
    Heather–No, I did not know about Keava being an Estonian hillfort. Who knew? Such a tidbit collector you are.
    Mary Neal–The carrying-up of colors makes Fair Isle into a big freakin’ headache of too many strands dangling. Having just two colors going at once makes it relatively easy to keep yarns from tangling. Now that Emma has talked me through the Art of the Spit, Fair Isle has just become about 40% easier. (And come on! Get a sweater going! You’ve got that scary memory, this would be a piece of cake for you.)
    Sister–Yes, this sweater is keeping me mentally sharp, but it has raised my blood pressure plenty. Net result: no Alzheimer’s, but possible stroke. Can’t wait to teach you to knit.
    Debi–So you can spit splice aran yarns too? Didn’t realize it worked with heavier weights of yarn. Live n learn!
    Jo–Kay is just worrying that I spit-spliced her Sassy sweater but didn’t tell her. She so . . . hygienic, you know.
    As for eccentricity, things are getting dottier by the minute around here.

  26. LOL (but with decorum), Emma!
    Dainty hugs and kisses, Kay

  27. I can’t believe you have a milk man! HOW UTTERLY WONDERFUL!!!

  28. Kay and Emma:
    The mitred square rug is a free download off the magazin’es site already. Thought of you Kay immediately.

  29. Yes! just downloaded directions – I’m hunting for my kitchen cotton right now – I can do this mitred square thing!

  30. Okay, you have a fox, and a milkman, and a perfectly beautiful fair isle in progress? Wow.
    I am in awe.
    Your sweater blows me away every time. I’m still struggling with stockinette stitch sometimes.
    Can’t wait to see more!

  31. Great blog! I love your Keava!
    No need to worry about the ends. Let ‘em felt.

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