The last week or so it has felt like the only time I get to knit is at lunch at work. At home I'm constantly in motion washing dog stuff and cleaning up dog messes. Between the epic mud in the backyard and the wobbly tummy one dumpster diver has had, the washer is going almost non-stop and the vacuuming is never ending. I'd be grumpier if the pooper wasn't my beloved 15 year-old Sapphire who I adore to distraction and who I can't help but watch closely for those dreaded aging signs. She is getting awfully unsteady but still commands the troops and dominates the toys so I maintain good handmaiden status by cleaning up after her and spoiling her rotten. She is pictured here on a sofa covered in fleece. Fleece is my dog-friendly strategy for maintaining some semblance of control over hair/mud/etc. I have big, blanket-sized pieces of fleece picked up at the "material by the pound" store. Then I cover everything with these. The couch, futon, my bed, dog beds, even the floor gets some since it is easier to pick those up and throw them in the wash then to try to clean the carpet. The stupid, champagne-colored carpet some masochist installed in the house at some point. Someone who clearly never went outside themselves since even if you don't have dogs you still have wet, muddy shoes sometimes here in Oregon.
I have gotten desperate enough about the mud that got the bright idea for putting down straw. I see them do that all the time in newly landscaped yards. I discovered you can't buy straw at the nursery; I had to find a feed store. The feed store sounded like such an exotic establishment I was a little surprised to find one near my house. Turns out straw is cheap! A bale of hay costs $6 so I splurged and bought three bales. Good thing I stopped at three since that is all that will fit in the back of a Subaru Outback. I've been spreading the straw onto all the muddy areas of the yard and it seems to be working really well! Plus it smells wonderful. It smells so much better than the wet soil in my backyard. There are a lot of wetlands in my area so I suspect that my development was likely wetland at some point and the soil retains an organic, bacteria-ish smell to it. Plant decay I believe. Straw is much better. I'm hoping the straw will compost into the soil.
I only had one quick thing I needed to finish (in addition to the March socks) to stay on schedule for Christmas knitting and that is a hat for my brother who has a giant head. If you need to know how long to make a hat for someone, you can simply measure the hand from the base to the tip of the middle finger. Knowing how big my brother's head is, I didn't take any chances and asked him to measure his hand. I had a good giggle when his response included his proud boast that his hand can palm a basketball. It took a lot of fortitude on my part not to respond with something to the effect of "So you're head is the size of a basketball?" It does, however, backup my claim that he has a giant head. This hat was a stash buster. A simple rib pattern from my head that used up the last of some chunky Baby Alpaca (color 638 I believe) and some left-over Patons SWS. The colors are nice and properly manly which is very important to my brother. I work with a lot of engineers and I noticed more than a few went out of their way to walk past the lunch table to check out what I was holding. I chalk this up to engineer curiosity. I think they were just trying to figure out how I was constructing the thing in my hand. But the fact that they didn't run screaming made me confident that it looked "cool."
Finally, from the "you spend too much time with yarn if..." file: I was going to a movie this weekend and noticed this mosaic pillar. The first thought in my head was, "this is a pretty colorway."