20 May 2006

Another Snail Hat & the Wick Story

I finished another snail hat for Dulaan tonight. I had started this one, oh, quite some time ago, then forgot it at work, and it ended up in the staff lounge room (where I rarely go, because I so rarely nap when I'm at work). Tonight I finally remembered to go in and pick it up and finished in fairly short order. If you have seen my first snail hat, you will notice that this one does not pull in nearly as much as the first one. In EZ's original pattern, she has the garter band at the bottom done before joining into the round for the spiral pattern. I did not do this on this hat, and I believe that is preventing it from closing into the spiral as much. The effect is nice, nonetheless, and it should keep someone's head quite warm. To make it I used a strand of Paton's UpCountry (sadly discontinued, as it's very plush and soft) and a strand of Elann's Peruvian Collection Highland Wool, which I think created a very nice effect.

So I had mentioned a few weeks back that I had plans to pay a visit to the Knit One Crochet Too retail storefront, as they are headquartered less than 14 miles from my work, and there had been some buzz about their soy/polypropylene yarn, Wick and a couple people on the glbt-knit listserv had asked if anyone had used it. According to the corporate website, their business hours are 9-5. Since I finish work around 8AM, I thought it would be nice and relatively convenient to pop up there and get the yarn before going home.

As I'm usually fairly tired at the end of my 15 hour shifts and was faced with a bit of extra driving, not to mention a few errands that had to be run closer to home, I downed a big mug of tea near the end of my shift to help me stay awake. I had no last minute emergencies to detain me and was able to hand off all my hospitalized patients to the next shift without trouble and stayed around and chatted a while so that I wouldn't have to wait outside the shop. Shortly before 9AM I set off on the road.

I found the address without trouble and pulled into the parking lot at 9:20 to see a big "Closed" sign in the window. I got out of the car so that I could read their store hours posted in the door, and they weren't opening until 11:00! Apparently the hours on their website only referred to the wholesale business.

At about this time, I was also feeling the effects of the mug of tea that I had had earlier. I should point out that when I say mug, I mean a large mug. The coffee mug I keep at work holds about a third of a pot of coffee - somewhere around 2.5 cups (a bit over 550mL, for you metrically-minded folks). I use two tea bags when preparing tea in that mug, so when I say that I was feeling the effects I mean that I really, really had to pee. Really.

Waiting around for another hour and a forty minutes was not an option. Neither was having a discreet in the bushes, as there was just a bit too much activity in the general vicinity. So, I walked shuffled back to my car, with legs crossed, and drove back to the clinic. And let me just say that it is not easy to drive with crossed legs. Nonetheless, I was able to arrive safely at the clinic, give my bladder some much needed relief, and start considering my options.

I could easily and understandably have given up at that point, but I live an hour away, so there are no other convenient times for me to visit the store. Besides, this was for very important research, damn it. So I decided to wait it out and drive back up and downed a mug of coffee with hot chocolate for yet more caffeine, as I was clearly going to be up well past my bedtime.

Upon my return to the store, it was indeed open, and I walked into a nice enough little yarn shop, considering it's in a cinderblock industrial building. The older (70ish, maybe?) shopkeeper was very pleasant. She didn't know whether Wick might be overdyed successfully (one of the questions that had been asked on the listserv) or whether it had been tried, but the suspicion is that the polypropylene would likely not take up dye well. The soy silk, of course, probably would, but it would likely result in a mottled effect, which may or may not be a good thing. I learned that the Wick is manufactured in China, and the other brands in their line are made in various places around the world, then shipped here to Maine in bulk, where they are wound into skeins and labeled.

So I bought two test skeins in the blue green space-dyed colorway, which I am now making into slipper socks as a test. As you can see, I cast on with two circs using the Tukish cast on, the instructions for which are I found here thanks to a link from JoVE's blog.

While there, I also had a great bargain find - 9 balls of their Paint Box yarn in the blackberry colorway for only $1.50 each. This particular yarn is one that they market especially for its felting ability, but the shopkeeper told me that this particular dyelot wouldn't felt. They discovered this when a customer bought some to make a felted bag which, of course, ended in disaster (It seems more over-dramatic to call it disaster when it doesn't felt vs. when it's not supposed to and it does, but I'm sure that particular customer wasn't too happy). It's no bother to me, as I'm sure I can find a nonfelted project for it - perhaps a toddler's sweater for Dulaan?

So after all the waiting, I was able to drive home a happy customer, and I had enough caffeine in me to make sure that I was able to run all my errands without falling asleep at the wheel. It was also enough to make sure that I wouldn't sleep all day, which ended up being just as well.

As I was driving home, the sky got progressively darker and the wind really began to pick up. Not long after I got home, the rain started. It was the beginning of the Nor'easter that was to soak us for the next 7 days, turn NHSW into such a mudfest, and have the county I live in declared a disaster area.

The landladies had left for a camping trip Downeast the day before, and Paula had mentioned to me before I left for work that Chebeague, one of the weanlings, had broken with very bad diarrhea. I had promised to keep an eye on her, so with the rain coming down hard and cold I ventured out to the weanling pen to see how she was faring.

Most of them were in one of the calf hutches the landladies have for 'paca shelters and refer to as the "teletubby huts" because of their domed shape. Chebeague and another recent weanling, however, had not learned to take shelter without mom's lead and were kushed in the mud and shivering badly. The fact that they had just been sheared 3 days earlier only made things worse.

So I got David and we got towels and a cria coat for Chebeague, as she had been sheared particularly close and already had enough problems with the diarrhea, caught both of them up, and led them to the teletubby hut with the rest of the group.I got them toweled dry and put the coat on Chebeague, which freaked her out a bit at first. We closed them into a smaller pen to keep them all near the hut, but by then nobody was going to venture outside again unless they had to. I went back out closer to nightfall to check on them and they hadn't even come out to eat their grain, which by then had turned to mush so that I had to get them more and feed to them in the hut.

Fortunately, there was no further excitement that day or until Wendy & Paula returned home, but I was so caffeinated that I couldn't sleep until about 10PM that night, by which point I had been awake for about 32 hours. And that is the Wick saga.


Anonymous said...

So what's your thinking on the Wick, Mel? How does it handle? How does it feel in your hands? (This being written before I'm had my coffee, and without wearing my glasses...)

Elemmaciltur said...

Hey, just added you to my knit-blogroll!

BTW, got any tips about 2 socks on 2 circs? The yarn keep tangling like hell!