Of Sheep & Swords

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rams & Yowes by Kate Davis
Look what's arrived! I'm very excited about this 'gift' my husband bought me.

You see, no sooner had I hit 'publish' after deciding to knit from stash this entire calendar year then I found Rams & Yowes. I thought the Universe was being incredibly unfair testing my resolve so soon. Seriously seconds after I made the deal with myself, bragged to Mr. A about how my knitting wasn't going to cost him a cent this year and blogged about it, Rams & Yowes was prominently displayed on Ravelry's Top 10 Patterns page. To add insult to injury, we've recently painted our main living area - where I usually spend most of my 18 waking hours - a lovely grey colour. It's called White Rabbit and there's a darker wall of Urban Grey. I've not let anyone hang anything on the walls or buy any household accessory unless it meets the strict decorating standards I've set. And guess what?! Rams & Yowes qualifies!!

Mr. A, being the upstanding kinda guy that he is, jumped in and spent his own money on the pattern. We printed it. We spent a Saturday morning in the basement filling printer colour cartridges with toner. We printed the pattern again. It was my bedtime reading for a couple of days. The fact that Rams & Yowes is a small lapblanket (3'x3'), contains stranded colourwork, a giant steek (in which you take a pair of scissors to your lovely knitting and cut the finished product straight up the middle) and a border in which you have to pick up close to 1000 stitches on one needle (most knitters have trouble counting to 8) I'm still going to do it.

Shortly after I was stalking the yarn the pattern called for at a lovely Scottish shop where they work very hard to preserve the traditional yarn making process. The pattern is written to be knit with Shetland yarn from sheep that run about on the very islands they were named after. It is undyed yarn gathered from sheep that are various shades of brown, grey, black and white. In fact, they come in 9 various shades. All of which appear in the blanket. For a short time, I considered picking out some KnitPicks.com yarn so that I could tweak the colour scheme to include a purplish tone that would match the warm tones of the hardwood floor and the leather couches.  Mr. A said that was a stupid idea. The pattern should obviously be knit with the yarn that it called for especially since the Shetland yarn was in the same ballpark price-range of the KnitPicks yarn (about a $16CDN difference). So I was enlisted to load up an online shopping cart at Jamieson & Smith or risk Mr. A doing it himself. And 11 days later, a lovely squishy package arrived for me. I'm calling it an early birthday present.

I'm a little scared to start knitting it as I'm woefully inexperienced with stranded colourwork. So my February stash-busting project is a pair of stranded colourwork mittens I started last November. That knitting should give me enough practice to be up to the job of the blanket. In the meantime, my Shetland yarn sits in its basket at the end of my bed. Well away from the Skittish White Dog who, apparently, would like to eat Shetland Sheep. Or at least snuffle them to death.

In other, more exciting news, The Girl Child has been up to something new since September. On Saturday, she had the opportunity to attend her first tournament. Three local girls who are all learning the same sword (sabre, in particular, which is one of 3 swords that are used in fencing) went to this tournament. The group of 19 competitors were women aged 12 to 34. Many were university students and just my Girl Child and another of the local girls we travelled up with were rookies. The 3rd girl of our group has been fencing for 4 years. She placed  5th in the Under17 group and 3rd in the Under15. Not that she mentioned it, I had to look up the results this morning!

It was a day of ups and downs for The Girl Child. In her own words, she placed 'dead last'. But I keep reminding her that she didn't go to win. It's all her coach had been telling her for weeks. I think she's proud of herself. At least she's saying that she's happy she went. As she's not wanted to be involved in group sports before, this is really huge for her. To be willing to put herself out there to be scored and evaluated is quite a big deal for her perfectionist, self-conscience tendencies. I'm looking forward to her continuing to develop as a fencer as I think it will really help to boost her confidence and self image much better than anything I could say.

Onward to a new week! Up this week is schoolwork and more schoolwork. There's fencing and art class for The Girl and soccer and hockey for The Boy. Both have a drama clinc all day Friday - they're preforming in a homeschoolers' production of A Midsummer's Night Dream in May - and then we'll wrap up the week with a birthday party for me on Saturday.

Mrs. A.


Rudee February 6, 2012 at 12:22 PM  

In a word? GORGEOUS! In another? JEALOUS!

I absolutely cannot wait to follow your progress. You should be swatching!

jugglingpaynes February 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM  

Kudos to The Girl Child for putting herself out there! That is not an easy thing. I hope she keeps up with the fencing. I took classes in stage combat in my twenties and loved it. It's so much fun to wield a sword!

Peace and Laughter,

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