Spring in Colorado

Two days ago, we were riding our bikes in light jackets. Yesterday afternoon, this started to happen:

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We’re so glad the trees hadn’t started to leaf out or—harder on them—bloom: every leaf or blossom collects additional snow and increases the weight the trees need to stand up under. Evergreens have better shapes for shedding snow than deciduous trees do!

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The fresh snow is beautiful. I can’t see two of the three raised garden beds in the back yard because they’re completely covered, without even a ripple in the white to suggest where they might be. The third, taller one just peeks one corner out of the white.

My daughter shoveled last night when we had just a few inches of accumulation. Nonetheless:

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Mid-morning on Monday, I got an e-mail telling me that The Project’s photo/illustration list will be needed “soon.” When I asked, “When is ‘soon’?” the answer was “before a meeting on Thursday morning.”

So I quit working on tax prep (also due Thursday) and dedicated myself to inventing a photo/illustration list. I knew such a list would be needed and I’ve prepared these things before, so I wasn’t completely unprepared, but I’ve also had a few other tasks on my to-do list (like finishing the samples that will be in the photos . . . no point taking photos if there’s nothing to put in front of the camera). I crammed twenty hours of inventorying image requirements into two days and . . . produced a spreadsheet consisting of 424 lines and something like six columns. Some items will be combined in the final photos, but overall I think The Project is on track to be abundantly illustrated. I transmitted the file just before 9:30 last night. . . .

Now back to the tax prep. . . .

In odd moments of time, the Vivian sweater by Ysolda Teague is coming along rather quickly. I don’t usually knit at this gauge (4.25/inch), so it’s surprising how fast the stitches add up. I’m not a speed-demon knitter (more steady than quick), yet I’ve finished one sleeve, am close to the top on the other, and have set up the patterns for the body, which is knitted in one piece . . . I would have modified the pattern for one-piece construction if it hadn’t been written that way.

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The hardest part of working this design so far is that it’s written for ten sizes (many strings of numbers in parentheses) and involves a lot of different cable panels, with shaping worked around those panels. Instead of picking my way through the line-by-line instructions, which I deemed crazy-making (nearly impossible to decipher on the fly), I spent part of Sunday afternoon making the body plan visual and connecting the components to each other:

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Whew.

I may have an opportunity to knit a few more rows today. AFTER I complete my 2009 mileage records, order a new print run of Knitting in the Old Way, work with tech support on a bug in a piece of tax-prep-necessary software, and spin a fiber set or two for that photo list . . . because the photo shoot itself will be coming up (at a so-far-undetermined time) and I won’t be able to slam-dunk the remaining samples in two days, even if I have to!

Here’s what one of the simple fiber sets looks like when it’s finished:

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Yes, that’s wool. It’s Rough Fell, which I get a huge kick out of. One of the ways it’s used is to stuff mattresses, because it doesn’t felt. It’s really fun to spin. Basketry? Rug?

Here’s one of the more complex sets, not quite complete:

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It’s Romeldale, and Romeldale has been traditionally all-white (except for the CVM, or California Variegated Mutant, branch of the family). Romeldales are now being bred for color, but the Romeldale can’t be considered finished until there’s a white sample in there.

While going through the photo list, I found a few gaps like that (no white Romeldale), which we missed noticing earlier because we’ve been working too fast. I also discovered that while we’d written up Gotland, that piece of text hadn’t gotten into the finished manuscript that was sent to the publisher. I located it in the archives and sent it last night. Never a dull moment around here.

I haven’t counted how many sample sets I have left to do. That’s not information it would be helpful for me to know. I’d end up stopped in my tracks, staring at a wall with a big sign on it saying this whole endeavor is impossible. Here are the useful, productive thoughts: I can only work on one thing at a time, and I need to keep moving.

Maybe it’s good we’re sort of snowed in.

Although with The Project’s current state, I feel greater-than-usual sympathy for those trees. I’ll bet they feel like their limbs could use a massage, too.

Later. The snow will melt. Spring will come back. The Project will get done, whether I’m ready or not.

I’m practicing being shaped like an evergreen, able to drop burdens easily when the time comes, and to bounce back into shape.

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14 Responses

  1. I love that last line, about practicing being shaped like an evergreen so you can drop burdens easily and bounce back into shape. Your deciduous trees can do it too, they just look more hunched under this kind of sticky, wet snow. Keep breathing, keep making progress….

  2. Our deciduous trees often lose limbs in snows like this. Not very neat pruning! But maybe pruning that was needed. . . . I’m watching my neighbor’s cottonwood branches bend into our yard at awkward angles and being glad that I mended the loppers yesterday. I think I’ll need them.

  3. I love the evergreen image – nothing beats dropping the burden and springing back to life! Good luck with all the stuff…

  4. Kris Paige

    What a fantastic image you’ve shared, Deb–of the evergreen! As for the loppers, if you need a pair, I’ve got extra. Will even come merrily lop!
    We lost the top of one of the cottonwoods down by the non-stream in last year’s March storm–I’ve been amazed at it’s strength of recovery.

  5. I would like to order a Romeldale bred for that lovely blue in the complex set, please.

  6. I’m astonished by what you’re plowing through for that book. When can I order my copy?

  7. Marcia, aren’t those Romeldales gorgeous?

    And Ted, the book will be out this fall. It doesn’t have an official title yet, although it will need one in the next few weeks. . . .

  8. “Everything you ever wanted to know about spinning wool from sheep, but were afraid to ask.”

    😉

  9. Linda: "and a few other things, too. . . ." It’s not a technique book, though. And sheep was what I thought it was about. Which is not to say it isn’t about sheep.

  10. Any chance you might consider sharing the paste-up of charts? I have one big sweater project to finish before thinking about it, but have been pretty intimidated by the pattern for Vivian because of the nightmare of wading through text without a clear graphic guide and would probably have to do the same for myself, thus wasting precious knitting time. Could you devise a test, so we can prove we’ve purchased the pattern, before sharing? Someone once did that for a Hanne Falkenberg sweater, we had to answer a question by email that you would only know by having acquired the actual pattern before sending.

  11. Interesting idea, Lynn, especially with the question about having purchased the pattern (without which I would not do it–I'm also aware that one cannot make the sweater, even in the size I selected, from the portions of my chart that I showed).

    I have charted only one size. Regardless, my process might expedite yours. Precious knitting time, indeed! My thought as I was doing it {wry grin}.

  12. What a lovely image! And lucky me, I am pretty much shaped like an evergreen. A 5’3″ evergreen anyway :-}

  13. Well, then. I thought that the color was the major factor in making a Romeldale a CVM so now I need to go back and do some more research since you say Romeldales are being bred for color.
    Puzzling….

  14. Beth, that was true a decade ago–that color was the major distinction between Romeldale and CVM. Having been in this sheepy world a while myself, this shift was one of the surprises that I've come across. And you can either do the research (fun in itself, for those of that inclination) or wait for what I've written up. 

    There have been MANY puzzles in this endeavor, which is why it's taken so much more effort and energy than was predicted when I signed the contract! I have learned so much cool stuff. Which I get to write about!

    The scary part is that sheep are so complicated that there are also bound to be things I've missed. I want the book to be "perfect," and of course it won't be. It'll just be as close as I can get it in the available time.

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