Can You Keep a Secret?

So, I haven’t had a chance to post this week. There are a couple reasons. The reasons are top secret.

Can you keep a secret?

Yes? Oh, good.

First, this week we welcomed a new addition to our family.

snakeIt took a year of convincing, but my husband finally talked me into agreeing to get our son a snake. Our boy is crazy for snakes. This little guy is an Apricot Pueblan Milksnake — a mimic of the venomous Coral Snake and thus infinitely cool — and he is currently residing in the basement while he adjusts to our house. He will move upstairs permanently on Christmas morning. He doesn’t really do much except sun himself when we aren’t around and then hide when we show up. He is shockingly fast when he wants to be. Shockingly. I don’t blame him — I would hide lickedy-split, too, if I were a foot long and about as wide as a dime and in a new place with weird noises and giant, unpredictable humans and a giant dog running around. Thank goodness for his hidey-rock.

So, yes, please don’t mention it around my son. He’s going to be SO surprised. It’s going to be amazing.

I have also been knitting and spinning a fair bit. I wrapped up knitting on three hats. Whew-hoo!

The first is for my husband. He came with me to my LYS, Firefly Fibers, and decided he’d like a new hat. It took a long time & a fair bit of help from Alisa to find a pattern that didn’t “look like a doily” and yarn that wasn’t “too sparkly” or ” too shiny.” Alisa was very patient. I was beside myself. This is par for the course. In the end we finally settled on Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Ribbed Watch Cap & Beanie in Dream in Color Smooshy in the Black Pearl colorway.

black_pearl_whole_hat_medium2My husband was paranoid it would be too small, so I added an inch to the main body. Of course, now it is too long, but we learned that the brim can be double folded and it still looks great (and is warmer on the ears – perfect!). Now knitting friends, let me just say this pattern takes almost 10″ of 1×1 ribbing in fingering weight yarn. That’s A LOT of ribbing.

black_pearl_close_up_medium2One more photo in honor of the mother of all ribbed projects. I love this hat. Oh my goodness was it a lot of work. I’m so glad I’m done with it.

While I was working on this hat a couple weeks ago, my family & I were at the zoo where is poured rain, had violent thunderstorms, & about an hour’s worth of tornado warnings (I now know what the basement of the primate house is like…). By the end I was soaked and cold, so my husband sent me on an assignment at Cream City Yarn to pick up yarn to make hats for his two assistants at work. I opted for Quince & Co Lark to make a couple of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’s new Boyfriend Watch Cap.

20131206-120711.jpgOne in Peacoat.

20131206-120733.jpgAnd one in Marsh.

This is seriously my new favorite quick hat. Super easy and the pattern switches about mid-way through from ribbing to stockinette, so just when I start to get a little bored, it changes. Perfection. Speaking of perfection, this was my first time working with Quince & Co’s Lark and it is everything I’ve come to expect from Quince & Co. It is an absolute treat to work with — a true wool and yet soft and bouncy. It is an amazing pairing with the Boyfriend Watch Cap, too. If I had more time on my hands (and the need for 49hats), I would knit one up in every single color of Lark.

Having finished these beauties, I moved right on to a pair of socks for my husband.

20131206-104742.jpgRegia is the workhorse of sock yarns — I love it. In sport weight, these fly by. This photo is already outdated — I’m currently working on the foot.

On the wheel, I finally finished up the plying on two skeins of gradient yarns from Fiber Optics — they, too, are destined to be gifts.

20131206-104706.jpgThis is Bitter Lime to Rose.

20131206-104723.jpgI ‘m pleased. Period.

20131206-121658.jpgAnd this is Chocolate to Aqua.

20131206-121708.jpgThis one spun up just a smidge differentlyย  — a bit springier — as I tried a different ratio than the Bitter Lime to Rose. I am really happy with the results of both.

This was my first time using Fiber Optics fiber and the end results of these merino/silk blends are beautiful. I will say that there were a few more slubs in the spinning than I am used to, but nothing unmanageable. Both skeins are 3-ply fingering weight yarns, the Bitter Lime to Rose coming in around 475yards and the Chocolate to Aqua at about 500yards. Now I just need to get them in the bath and drying so they are ready for Christmas morning!

Aside from the handmaking, I’ve been having a load of fun handpicking gifts for my crafty friends. And… I have been lucky enough to have been treated a few goodies for myself as well. I’ll save those for tomorrow though. For now, there is Christmas music to listen to, knitting to be knit, gifts to wrap, and a snake to try to sneak a peek of.

20 responses to “Can You Keep a Secret?

  1. My goodness you’ve been busy! and all so pretty! A snake though…yikes…do you have to feed it live crickets and mice and things? that was always the thing that wierded me out about snakes

    • I have & thank you!

      Yes, indeed. A snake. Yikes. The snake will eat tiny mice. We have a pet store a few blocks from our house where we can buy them frozen. Part of the deal was that my husband promised to handle the care, feeding, and cleaning of the little guy. I’m sure I will end up handling it, too, but it is much easier knowing I am the backup in this show. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thanks for the Churchmouse cap pattern tip! I have a lot of Quince & Co Lark waiting to be knit up into some last minute Christmas caps/gifts. I LOVE Lark. Love probably too much as I cannot stop purchasing new colorways. Such a great company. Hope your son has a blast with his new snake friend! Our 8yo son would love to join your family–we won’t let him get an indoor pet. He tried to sneak a chicken in once he is so desperate to have a pet in his bedroom. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lark is TOTALLY amazing. Can I tell you another secret? I ordered some red last week to make one for my son for Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love it! I can’t wait to do a sweater sometime with it!

      You know, we are lucky enough to have an amazing friend who works at the local wildlife refuge, so up until now we’ve enjoyed handling animals that aren’t ours. Our son has just has an insatiable interest in reptiles to the point that when he talks about his future he dreams about working with them. We figure this is a good way to give him a chance to really get a hands on idea for what it is like. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I missed this comment! Sorry! How is your new reptile friend doing in the new year? Hope you had a lovely holiday! Stay warm!!!! Brrrrrrrr, we sure are in for some crazy cold next week!

      • No worries — it’s the holidays craze! Jack the milk snake is doing just fine. He spends the bulk of his time hiding, but he is eating and even shed once successfully. A little tricky getting the environment stabilized after moving the tank at Christmas, but he seems to be thriving and my son loves him. The snake just LOVES my son’s long-sleeved shirts! LOL!

        You stay warm, too. I tried to run all my errands today so I can hide out until… well, March. Wouldn’t that be nice?!

  3. I cannot imagine having a snake in my cottage. Yuck, no thank you! Your knitting and spinning is lovely and you’ve been so busy. Well done.

  4. Nothing wrong with snakes…I received a 3′ long boa as a wedding present from my sister(a zoologist). My snake was fascinating and a perfect pet. Believe it or not he was ticklish. Your son will love his snake.
    I bought the agua to chocolate gradient at the Sheep & Wool and recently finished plying it really lovely yarn!

    • Oh, I’m pretty intrigued by this snake. At this point, I am still wrapping my head around what ‘personality’ it’ll have and what it means to have a snake as a pet. It’s a bit of a wild adjustment!

    • Oh, and I’m glad you enjoyed the aqua to chocolate fiber! I will admit gradients with these long color changes are challenging for me – I just get bored staring at the same color for too long – lol! These turned out very nice though and weren’t too bad. Did you n-ply yours?

    • Once you get the n-ply, I think it’s the easiest way to maintain a gradient. And it’s pretty fun *and* I think the yarn it makes it pretty lovely. Oh, and that’s what I did so I assumed great minds think alike.

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