Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rainy day

The rain has finally arrived. Or at least, it arrived late last night, gave us a little break this morning, and appears to be on its way back. Rick (who really wants to be a meteorologist when he grows up) has been heralding this rain for days, so yesterday we made the most of the non-wet weather and spent the day outdoors.

Oh, wait, before I talk about that, you want to hear about the knitting, right? Well, I stayed up late on Friday to finish the zigzag mitts, with which I have been completely obsessed. In fact, in spite of the fact that I officially gave up project monogamy after finishing my project for the Loopy Swap, I did not actually cast on for more than one new project, because I so very much wanted these mitts for myself. Mitts have to be the ultimate in instant-gratification knitting. I cast on for the second one around 7 on Friday evening, and was weaving in the ends by 11. During that time, I also played a game of Life (still officially the oddest game I can think of), got the kids to bed, and watched Monk (which flat-out makes me laugh out loud). Here they are:
Aren't they just the happiest thing you ever saw? (Don't I ask that about every project I knit? Clearly I am easily pleased.) I love this pattern. Love love love it. It was clear and simple, and it turned out so well. While it's true that the zigzags show up much better in a non-variegated yarn, these colors make me happy, so no complaining here.

To recap. These are the Zigzag Mitts, by Anne Hanson. I knit them in Fearless Fibers 55% mohair/45% wool yarn, in the Inspiration colorway, which has some of my very favorite colors in it (purples and sagey greens), and goes with all of the grays and greens and heathery browns I own. I started each mitt in size two dpns for the first pattern repeat, then sized up to 3s. While I was worried that they might be too tight, it turns out that I'm happy with them (thanks, btw, to all of you for weighing in on the issue; those of you who suggested wearing them around for a while were dead-on; the give in the pattern was plenty to keep them from feeling too tight).

So, yesterday's outdoors time gave me plenty of opportunities to wear them. First, I got up early to go for a nice long walk with a friend of mine. We try to go every Saturday, kids and weather and life in general permitting (read: we don't make it every Saturday, alas). Since it was early, it was chilly, so I got to wear my mitts, right up until our first full-speed uphill climb when mitts and sweater all came off.

Then we headed for the Wild Animal Park with Rick's cousin and her three kids; they've just moved into the area, and we know of nothing better to introduce a parent to than the WAP (as we affectionately call it) and the Zoo. We've had memberships there since we moved here (thanks to Rick's parents, who gave them to us the first year; as they are often travelling and generally busy, we immediately suggested to them that if they wanted to renew the memberships each year for Christmas and call it good, we'd be happy -- as this made them happy too, we've been members ever since). It was perfect weather for it, very unsettled and cool, which meant that the animals were out and about. The vultures were circling, and a docent told us that this is called a "kettle", when the vultures swirl about (like a boiling kettle), looking for the best place to wait out a storm. It's my new very favorite phrase: a kettle of vultures, how cool is that? The lions had just been given bones to chew on:
And there was a warthog meeting and greeting visitors.
Zoos in general inspire in me a batch of very mixed emotions. It bothers me to see animals locked up; it bothers me quite a bit, in fact. It really bothers me when people assume that just because an animal is locked up, it deserves to be tormented (we could talk about the tiger at the SF Zoo here, but we won't). Recently, the girls and I were at the SD Zoo, at the orangutan enclosure, and there was a woman standing there, "offering" an orang her sandwich through the fence, and then pulling it back. The orang finally reached down, picked up a piece of poop, and flung it almost straight up in the air, in a trajectory finely gauged to go over the fence and come down on our side. It only missed the woman by inches (ask me how bummed I was that it missed), and she was extremely upset. I so hope she heard me say, "You deserved that." I rarely opine at strangers, but really.

On the other hand, zoos to me are places of wonder. They seem to me to be the ultimate evidence of a world of infinite possibility. Any planet that can produce the armadillo (have you ever seen one walk?), the okapi, and the flamingo is a place that I want to live. Oh, wait, I do live there! How lucky is that? Any planet that can produce a talking ape is pretty impressive, too; what I love about zoos is that they are clear reminders, if we know how to look, that we are only one of an infinite variety of wonders, kin to them, and that they are as worthy of respect and vital to the future as we are.

OK, enough of the soapbox. Suffice it to say that we spent the rest of the day at the WAP, even after Rick's cousin headed home so her kids (younger than ours) could have a nap. It was some wonderful family time, a nice antidote to going back to classes and feeling a bit overwhelmed (more about that another day). And when we got home, having picked up the third Harry Potter movie for movie night, there were two packages waiting for me! Since the first was from the Socks That Rock sock club, I won't post about it just yet (and I'll warn you when I do; no spoilers here). But the second was a lovely surprise from Wanda.
That green square there is her new DVD on spinning; a perfect gift for the rainy day that today is turning into. And on top of it? Silk, people. Silk. It's gorgeous. I can't wait to try it out. I'm so glad that I didn't start spinning this on my turkish spindle:
Because my high-whorl spindle is already taken up with this (now I know why I bought two!):
Yes, that is the Lovely Linguistics colorway from Janice. Do spinners usually have more than one thing going at once? Is this another frightening opportunity to be promiscuous with fiber? Because while I still only have one project on the needles at this moment, I'm looking to cast on the STR socks very soon. Oh, the one on my needles? Anne's first Little Nothings scarf, in laceweight Malabrigo. Life is good.


Lynne said...

And a good day was had by all - especially you because you had the bonus of the packages!

Anne said...

wow, what an embarrassment of riches! I agree with you about zoos (of course) and the fact that the poop missed--too bad!; I also think you're not going to have any time to teach or grade papers or serve on committees with the fiber extravaganza going on at your house ... you need some more spindles, I think.

BTW, I LOVE the zig zag mitts! I don't see any mention of the P-R mitts for Rick in that list of projects, though. Hm.

Helen said...

I hear you about zoos and I was telling a friend only today about how funny armadillos are when they walk; I remember being quite helpless with laughter watching them once, in Amsterdam Zoo I think. They walk like mechanical toys that have just been wound up. And when I was watching the tiger programme yesterday I reminded myself that whatever abominations human beings get up to, they're the only species that makes wildlife documentaries, which makes up for a lot.

Bea said...

Oh my so much to talk about. The mitts turned out really well. I like that colorway. I have mixed emotions about the zoo too, but I totally think the orang should have hit her with the poop. The spinning is lovely, but it sounds like its trying to lead you down a dangerous path!

Willow said...

My! You have been busy this weekend. I heard that your weather was as wet and gray as ours, alas. Good for knitting, or, as we did, good for taking a son business clothes shopping.

Marianne said...

You have some of the most amazing weekends!
I'm with you 100% on the zoo issues... and I have never ever understood the 'people' who get their joy from taunting animals, in my book that's criminal.
Wanda is a precious soul,eh? I know just how beautiful that silk is, seriously.

Rachael said...

I love the color pooling on the mitts, very pretty!

twinsetellen said...

A kettle of vultures is almost as cool as your mitts!

twinsetjan said...

Rachael stole my comment about the cool pooling of the mitts, so I'll just say, she sure did deserve it!

mehitabel said...

Every spinner I know (and I know several!) is promiscuous with fiber! Most have two or three wheels as well as the spindles. So far, I've been resisting--I keep reminding myself that I have lots of "fiber in my diet" already, what with the yarn stash, the fabric stash, and the floss stash(es). I've been told resistance is futile...

Courtney said...

Those mitts are so cute! I love Anne's patterns and her blog.

The zoo looks like it was a lot of fun. That was always my favorite field trip when I was a kid. Animals are just awe-inspiring.

Your spinning looks like it's coming along. The lovely linguistics colorway is just too gorgeous. Is that available for purchase?

I hope you had a good Monday! Are you scaring students out of your class yet? :)

Courtney said...

PS - I agree with you that people like that woman with the sandwich are deplorable. I wish the zoo would have banned her. It would serve her right. I agree with you that zoos can inspire mixed emotions, especially for real animal lovers. It's such a hard thing to feel okay with enjoying sometimes.