Random Wednesday

1.  I am seriously excited about knitting things that are not a baby blanket. 

2. Not that knitting the baby blanket wasn’t fun,  it was super fun.  It just wore on a little towards the end.  I blame the edging. The first few peaks were fun, but there’s 80 on that blanket. Towards the end it took a certain fortitude of spirit that I usually reserve for cleaning out closets.

3. Just about the minute I finished that blanket, I looked around for something to knit that was totally and completely different and not at all like a baby blanket.

4. That was easy.

Thrummed mittens.  Mine are a kit from Liberty Fibers, bought at the Squam Art Fair last year.  I’m a little helpless in the face of thrummed things. Natalie was here this morning and we were looking at the mitten and she was asking me why I was knitting thrummed mittens in March (when winter is almost over) who they were for…. and I had no answers for her.  None.  I have no intentions for these at all.  I’m just knitting these because they’re fun, fast – and because they’re not a white baby blanket.

I also knit them because even though I’ve been knitting thrummed stuff forever, turning them inside out to reveal their Muppetesque innards always cracks me up.

5.  I’m also knitting socks, but you probably guessed that.  Ken’s birthday was a few days ago, and he always gets Birthday Socks.  This year I was a little bogged down with the Great White, and so he didn’t get them.  As compensation, he got to pick any yarn from the stash, and any pattern he could find. 

6.  The yarn part was pretty easy for him. He picked Dream in Color Everlasting in Congo.  I love that sock yarn.  I think it’s fabulous. Strong, bouncy – super cushy. 

7. Ken choose Francie as his pattern, which I’ve knit for him before, but I made them out of Alpaca Sox, and as beautiful as they were, they got felted. (I got them back. My feet are smaller than his.) He said he misses them.

8.  Yesterday was Tuesday, and I spun.  I’m still trying to finish the cream  BFL (there’s a lot of it) and I admit that I’m feeling a loss of momentum on it.  Maybe  having finished a big white thing I can’t face another big white thing, but this morning found me with a big chunk of CVM that I got from Judith MacKenzie at Madrona – all spread out on the living room floor like a buffet.

9.  I’m trying to get it into my head that if I just finish the BFL, then I can have the CVM.

10.  I’m also trying to convince myself that washing up that fleece so that I’m ready when I finish the BFL doesn’t count.  I think I’m buying it.

11.  BFL is Blue Faced Leicester.  CVM is California Variegated Mutant.  They are kinds of sheep. 

12. I love the mutant part.

99 thoughts on “Random Wednesday

  1. Those mittens look so cushy and warm. I may have to investigate these ‘thrums’ of which you speak…

  2. My mom gave me thrummed mittens when I was a teenager (a long long time ago). Whenever I wear them I play around with the thrummy bits inside. Kids love them, but apparently adults do too!
    On recent twitter talk: just for the record, breasts and vagina are not foul language. So says my mom and I agree!

  3. I love the ‘mutant’ part too – and it is not often a word that is paired with knitting.

  4. I just ordered a set of chicks for our first little chicken coup experiment and had to take a pass on the breed “black sex link.” I think it might be a bit too much for our g-rated home with four kids six and under… although it was fun to giggle at! Can you imagine the note the teacher may have had to send home??

  5. Those are beautiful mittens. I know what you mean on the color requirement. I’m knitting a grey scarf that is going on forever and last weekend — just to get a color fix — I had to break for a baby sweater. Ah well, back to the grey…

  6. I can’t really tell for sure, but in the pics are you wearing white, cotton socks?? That would make me really sad…

  7. So often when reading your blog, I wisely nod my head over your insights. Thanks for being around so long and for being such a good knitter, writer, mum, friend, etc. Well you get the picture!

  8. Steph, You and your mittens. I’ve made 3 sets of Cloisonee and will make at least 2 more, and probably 3. However, it IS March and although it was 18 degrees this am, I just don’t think any of my intended recipients will get much use out of them. Maybe just make them and have them ready for next year? Also maybe start some fun thrummed ones too? Decisions, decision.

  9. I have two really beautiful “mutant” CVM crosses on my farm. Very shimmery. Have fun!

  10. Definitely wash. That SO doesn’t count… I’m working on a never-ending sweater which was featured on the cover of the Fall issue of Cast-On, the Knitting Guild quarterly magazine. I’m fighting the urge to put it down again…. Fortitude….I keep finding lovely things to knit “when I’m done” with this lifetime project..

  11. Ya know…I believe with the mittens you’re just incredibly early on making your Christmas gifts 😉

  12. I’ve never spun with CVM but it’s on my list to try. It will be interesting to see what you come up with for it.

  13. All this spinning randomness made me randomly think of something: Did you ever finish that sweater for Joe?

  14. Teenage Mutant Knitting Sheep!!!!
    And as for the Joe sweater question, I have been reading old posts, and I was wondering the same thing 😉 we never let you off the hook, lol

  15. So excited to see you’re knitting Francie socks. I’ve had that pattern for a while but couln’t decide if it was for real or someone was playing a joke on sock knitters. I’m going to try it now.
    Started thrumming after your last post. Also thrumming mittens.

  16. I had no idea that’s what thrummed meant. Now I want a pair.
    I love those socks! I wish I had your knack for picking yarn to go with sock patterns – I have to try several patterns before something works. Maybe it’s an experience thing?
    Or maybe it means I need to go to sock camp.

  17. My 2nd favorite SS11 memory is of my first ever class with Judith. She’d brought a fleece share. Sat down on the floor with us and pointed out what made it such a nice fleece. She was so excited about the wonder that was this bunch of sheep wool that she was positively glowing. I imagine one only gets very exciting fleece from Judith.
    I’m spinning something less exciting right now. So less exciting, in fact, that I can’t even remember what it is. A nice big beautiful Cormo fleece arrived on my doorstep last week. It’s flirting with me from its spot on the shelf. The less exciting spin is ticking me off. I’m thinking of cheating on it. Maybe even of throwing it’s belongings out on the lawn and changing the locks so I can give bathe, fluff, and fondle the Cormo without having to sneak around behind the boring spin’s back.

  18. Those very pretty thrummed mittens will be a welcome addition to your Christmas Inventory Box. I’ve already started mine to receive the items I knit to avoid the 5 or so baby blankets I need before the end of May. I am not as stalwart as you – I will be crocheting at least three of the blankets because I don’t knit fast enough.

  19. My whole life is spent loving mutants and thrums!! Blanket was gorgeous, but so glad you have moved on …

  20. My CVM sample is white. I was more than a little disappointed about that because we have white sheep here and I was hoping for sky blue pink from mutant sheep.

  21. 1) breasts, vagina, penis, heart, lungs, liver, bowels, etc are not foul language. They are the language people use to accurately communicate….and, of course, vagina\=vulva. Vulva isn’t a foul word, either. We are getting there, slowly!
    2) that is a beautiful baby, who looks great in white!
    3) I love those mittens. But I have frogged thrums without issue…what happened?

  22. The CVM is gorgeous! I can understand how it would be challenging to spin something as luscious, it being white and all, as BFL when confronted with the loveliness of that fleece. Does it help thinking about how lovely BFL feels? Can you spin with you’re eyes closed and pretend it’s colorful? Probably not a good idea.

  23. I love that the mutant is Californian. Can you just picture it hanging out on the beach with its surfboard? Sheepabunga!

  24. So now you MUST design mutant thrummed mittens. (Or maybe commission then from SpillyJane?)

  25. “I’m just knitting these because they’re fun, fast – and because they’re not a white baby blanket.”
    Amen sister!
    Also, love the term ‘mutant sheep’. Makes me get giggly. 😀

  26. I love the thrummed mittens! I made a pair for my husband last fall from wool I bought in Newfoundland (it seemed so appropriate!). He loves them (he picked out the wool himself and they’re black with red thrums) and I have enough wool for a hat/cap for him, but I can’t figure out how many stitches to cast on and I can’t find a pattern in the gauge that the wool knits up to (it’s too big for the patterns I find). So he might get a thrummed hat/cap next winter. Good thing it wasn’t a cold winter this year.

  27. BFL and CVM are 2 of my favorite fibers to spin! Do it spin the mutent sheep fiber!

  28. Beautiful CVM fleece! Now what we need as California Variegated Mutant Ninja sheep.

  29. Every time I see CVM, I think of little green glow-in-the-dark sheep that must come from a farm somewhere near San Onofre. I have to admit, it makes me giggle out loud a little.

  30. I’m also knitting thrummed things in March. Mittens are complete and slippers were just started. Enjoy!

  31. I bought the same thrummed mitten kit at Squam and haven’t gotten very far- A spinner told me I was pulling off the thrums too close to my fingers, that I needed to pull long thrums- I am inspired now to do them.
    And what happened to the CHIC vest you were going to make for your daughter??
    And you never told us, how many balls of that white yarn turned up???

  32. Huzzah for colored knits! The thrums look really cozy, but I am a huge fan of the stitch definition on the socks.
    Hmm…I haven’t knit any socks in a while myself…

  33. Those thrums look amazingly fun to wear. Wish I lived somewhere where it got cold enough to justify knitting a pair.

  34. My immediate thought on the mittens was “put them in the Christmas box!”
    I see great minds think alike 🙂
    Those are cool.
    So are mutant sheep.
    And sex-link chickens (in sex links…there are different colors…male and female chicks hatch out different colors so it’s much easier to tell the little roosters from the little hens…did you ever try to sex a chicken??)

  35. I hope you get to wash up your new fleece soon I love seeing that transformation and I’m sure you have lots of great tips! Those mitts are fantastic I must try that technique soon!

  36. Hmmmm – wouldn’t a thrummed hat be cosy?! Will have to mosey on over to Rav to see if a pattern for one exists.
    Time passes……
    Oh boy! You should all go over there and have a look for yourselves – such fun, such cosiness! That might be my Christmas pressie list sorted for the year!

  37. Put those mittens right in the Christmas drawer, then parade about bragging that you’ve already started the Christmas knitting. You can figure out who they’re for later.

  38. For your mittens, you could try an idea I learned about from a fellow knitter last spring. She was tired of knitting things for family/friends that were not worn because of color, size, fit, etc. issues, and then everyone feels bad, knitter and knittee alike. So she started knitting whatever she felt like in whatever yarns, colors, patterns appealed–and put them in “The Box”. Then, on special occasions she invites the special people to choose something from “The Box”. I IMMEDIATELY started a Box of my own, and so have all my knitting buds. I was a little late getting it going for last Christmas, so there was still kind of a Christmas rush, but I’m already underway for this year. I lOVE it. I can knit whatever the heck I want, and since I have a pretty big family, there’s almost always someone who likes any given item! I wish I’d heard about this years ago!

  39. I love BFL, but there’s nothing on earth quite as wonderful as a CVM fleece. The BFL isn’t going anywhere if you put it aside for a while.

  40. I keep wanting to say california ninja mutant turtle!! I have some of the same fleece from Judith!! – just a sample mind you!! Delicious eh? and so fine and lovely

  41. I’m curious as to why the sheep are called Mutant. Do you know why they are named that?

  42. I don’t spin and I find it very difficult to believe that that mass of brown-tufted, multi-shaded fur will ever be anything a person could actually knit. Quite miraculous.

  43. I think you will be glad of an extra pair of warm cozy mittens around Christmas time! I am sure you will find someone that Santa wants to give mittens to.

  44. I, also, have two CVM fleeces that I am sending off to Zellinger’s. I think I’m getting some throwsters silk from Trenways to blend in, some alpace and just to make it special to me I’m throwing in some angora. I love CVM! I am spinning up some BFL/silk now and that is just lovely to spin. Great blog today, mittens are great and so is the sock.

  45. Mutant! That makes me so happy inside.
    Part of me cannot believe that I haven’t knit any thrummed mittens. On the other hand, last year involved cabled colorwork mittens, which are super warm and a bit thinner than thrums.

  46. I made a thrummed hat for my Dad this Christmas using your thrumming instructions. It amused me terribly to play with the thrummed bits. It amused non-knitters too, so I think the Muppetesque qualities resonate with all. Love the sock pattern; I queued it up for when I can buy patterns again.

  47. Oh man, my mom made me a pair of socks from Alpaca Sox for Christmas (they got done in January) and they are DIVINE. You do have to be careful about washing them, true.
    Love the mittens. And I loved the post about the blanket yesterday. It made me teary.

  48. BFL is the most gorgeous yarn in the whole entire world (in my humble opinion). Persevere with it, the yarn is truly beautiful to work with!

  49. Completely springtime colors in your mittens – of course you should be knitting them now.
    If anything ever will tempt me to learn to spin, it will be the thought of working with CVM fleece.

  50. Maybe I’ll do thrummed mittens for the kids next door this year. I haven’t tried doing that yet and it would be fun.
    As far as the CVM, you could always pack it up, pop it in the mail to me for me to process…you’ll love what you get back!

  51. just when i could really use a small smile in my day, you came through with MUTANT SHEEP! hahaha! bless you…

  52. I too made Francie in DIC Smooshy. It’s one of my favorite patterns and my favorite yarns! Great choice!

  53. Thanks for explaining CVM. I was trying to figure it out — never would have guessed.
    I love the innards of the thrummed mittens, too!

  54. I am working on my first thrummed mittens (bought a kit from Fleece Artist-Nova Scotia) when I was in Alberta this summer. I had to search online for technique help and there it was, in your blog from years ago! So thanks! They are wonderfully lovely and fun to make.

  55. Re: The interior of the thrummed mitten — who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks tie dyed the poodle?!?
    See your point on the big white thing. Every time I’ve knitted something big that was all or mostly one color, I couldn’t wait to get on with something completely different.
    And I think I’ve dated a few California Variegated Mutants over the years — usually a problem of wearing swimwear in different cuts while on the beach, in the tanning parlor, &/or getting one of those ungodly orange spray-on tans!

  56. I’ve never seen thrummed mittens. Love them. They would warm hands on even the coldest nights. How about thrummed socks to wear around the house? Toasty!

  57. The mitten thing… FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!! I’ve gotta figure out how to knit mittens like that. (I can knit regular ones just fine, but yours would be SO MUCH BETTER for the bitter Maine winters!)

  58. So knitting that baby blanket was like child birth. You are justly remembering the good parts the most.
    Your last post – the letter – was really special.

  59. I think I must be the only person who gets squicked out by thrums. The fuzziness is just weird to me. But I have no problem with other people liking them. I can see how they would be very warm. And I find the technique intriguing. But I do not want to put my hand in there. I might wear a themed thrummed mitten if it had a liner to keep the thrums from touching me.

  60. So glad that you’re working on CVM! My favorite! I hope you get along well with it.
    My thrummed mittens are at a standstill. I seriously think it’s because the alpaca roving I was using for thrums (purchased years ago) is full of VM. I really need to finish them – we have snow again & all my mittens are getting holes.

  61. I think I have to pick up some of that sock yarn – seems wonderful. The mittens are pretty funny inside.

  62. I knitted Francie a while back. I loved the feet, but just didn’t like the leg at all, so frogged them and knitted a Cookie A pattern with a similar foot.
    Hope Ken likes them.

  63. @Mary 5:40 p.m. I LOVE your idea about the knitting gift box! I have two daughters, one in college and one in high school, and trying to anticipate their “likes” in project, colors, fit, etc can get frustrating. Sometimes they change their minds even when they have approved the yarn in advance. So everything is going to go into the gift box and before Christmas I will let them try on and pick what they want!
    I just finished the hugest pair of socks for my dad, size 12 on size 1 needles, in a lovely but very subdued and subtle stripe. Took me forever, so my next project is YH’s Daisy Sweater and an Umbilical Cord hat in an absolutely crazy Filatura Di Crosa baby pom pom (bright orange with colored bits). Yarn was discontinued so I got it for 50% off. I finished the hat in a day and it makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it! Such a great break!

  64. OMGosh you just reminded me that I have a 75% finished pr of thrummed with angora fingerless mitts to finish. I guess I’m a bad knitter lol

  65. Oh, and Melissa Lemons, I’m totally with you on the thrums. They freak me out too. Not sure why. The outside of the mittens is so lovely but the inside out view makes me want to stick my hands in my pockets and run away.

  66. Mutant sheep. Makes me think they produce Muppetesqeu fleece.
    Would be great. or…
    self-bobbling yarn
    self-weaving in ends yarn
    or self-seaming yarn
    or self-winding into balls yarn

  67. “The Great White” – I love it!
    And you’d probably be happy knitting ANYTHING that WASN’T white at this point…
    I think I’d run from anything all black too. I once did a needlepoint, kind of a psychedelic cat face (years ago) on a painted canvas with a black background. The background drove me crazy – solid black on black painted canvas – couldn’t see where I’d missed a hole. Drove me buggy.

  68. Can anyone tell me what happens to the thrums when your hand gets hot and sweaty or the mittens get wet from snow? Don’t the thrums felt into lumpiness or a lumpy mess? I have always wondered….

  69. Thrummed mittens are just the best! They totally keep my fingers from freezing when digging out the car, shoveling snow, etc. Super warm! I thought that the thrums would end up felting. (Heaven knows that everything that I *don’t* want to felt – does!) But they haven’t very much, even though my hands get sweaty. Don’t know why. I used BFL for the thrums ’cause it’s what I had on hand. Stil, I love love love them!

  70. Note to Nathalie: are you sure you looked wanting enough when you asked “who are those for”?
    Note to Stephanie: maybe Nathalie was wish-asking? You must have mentally decided what you would knit next when you were searching for that last ball for the blanket and putting other yarn aside. You know, those mittens will be finished long before next winter comes and with two knitterlies being late: the blanket and the socks, you do not want to start a new tradition, right? About words like balls etc. that make some peoplegrin, come to the Netherlands and say: doing it , with teens around, once they are grinning every word becomes at least suspicious and a reason to gaggle. And tooth is a bad word when you have toothache, all is in the eye eh in this case ear of the beholder.
    I finally figured out about Joe’s gansey: you do not want to admit the squirrels got you out knitting on a sunny day and made away with all those lovely yet unknit balls of yarn for the gansey.

  71. CVM is absolutely my favorite wool to spin. The texture is so nice it should be regulated! And the array of colors it comes in…..

  72. Hooray! Mittens! They are so wonderful and cuddly looking that I might just start making some for Christmas presents.

  73. The Harlot’s knitting mittens, all’s right with the world. But wait–you mean you’re never going to tell us how the blanket story ended? Where did you get the last ball of yarn? Who came through for you? How big was it (the blanket, not the ball) in the end? Please don’t confine the details to your Twitter feed!

  74. Sometimes lambs will be born that are genetic “throwbacks’. Most modern breeds are combinations of other breeds, many of them ancient feral ones – many ancient breeds have the “badger” markings. When the DNA is just right, weird and wonderful things happen! This is where the mutant thing comes in.
    This is also happening within many existing breeds ie: “Blue”Texel, “Badger-faced” Cheviot etc. I have a nice little fullblood British Romney who gave birth to twins, one of them black…alas it was male. I kept him anyhow despite my farmer’s rolling eyes. Appears I’m not in this business for the money!!

  75. CVM is one my favorite wools, too…though I always have to remind myself to spin it thinner than I might spin another variety, because it always seems to plump up when the yarn gets its first bath.

  76. I agree that women should have rights equal to men. I must correct your mis-understanding of contraceptives, however. There is a SMALL minority that believes what you stated…ALL contraceptives are wrong. Most pro-lifers, however, believe that contraceptives are FINE as long as they PREVENT conception, defined as The implantation of the fertlized egg.Preventing fertilization or implantation is accepted.

  77. I love the “mutant” part too, knowing how docile they are I get a picture in my head of crazed, zombie sheep…or super hero sheep:)

  78. There really isn’t anything like some good recovery knitting after a big knitting project. :p
    Beautiful work on the baby blanket, btw! Very touching and awesome!

  79. Ooh, I envy your fleeces. I miss working with fleeces, so much. Am waiting until the baby is old enough to help. Or at least old enough to entertain himself for more than 5 minutes at a time. Hah.
    It gives me warm fuzzies that Ken wants another pair of Francies. Thanks for mentioning my pattern again. I love your yarn choice.

  80. HA! I love your blog but don’t usually reply since by the time I get a chance to read it you usually have several hundred comments. But today I couldn’t help myself (and you only had 96….) because when you referred to the baby blanket as a Great White, I suddenly had this vision of you lashed by strands of yarn to the back of a monstrous white Moby-like creature (a la Gregory Peck) trying to prevail in vanquishing it. (Mercifully, unlike Mr. Peck, you did!)

  81. The only CVM I had got processed badly and was extremely crappy to spin… which was too bad, because it was wonderful in the grease. I love BFL.
    Right now I’m spinning some “mixed” roving I got. It’s all the natural colors of Shetland sheep, put together. It looks a lot like my little calico cat. I was thinking sweater, when I started, but sometimes beauty just is and doesn’t need to be something else 🙂
    My friend, who raises corriedale/merino sheep has decided to “get out of the business”. He has told me I’m more than welcome to raid his barn and I can have as much fleece as I want to carry away. He raises them for meat, so there’s a lot of crap in them, but once they’re cleaned, they’re beautiful… (I know, who raises merino for meat? But that’s the ram he has.)
    I need to spin faster!

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