Everyone's So Dull Around Here

Everywhere M and I have lived (with the exception of the 4th floor apartment in Malden) we have had bird feeders. And everywhere we have had bird feeders it has been like there's some message that goes out in the bird world that our house is the place to be. I mean, other people put out bird feeders and they get some birds; we put out bird feeders, and there are times when you think our backyard has been converted to a holding area for extras on an Alfred Hitchcock set.

Northern Cardinal at the ASDMThis provides hours of entertainment for our (indoor) cats -- and probably an ego drain for our dog (he's a hunting dog by breed, after all) whom they mostly ignore (even the game birds among them).

Since we moved to Tucson, this also provides M and I with a bit of a mental challenge. How many times in the first few months we lived here did one of us say something like, "It certainly LOOKS like a sparrow, but not quite right." I mean, this isn't the Galapagos or anything, but in general the species of common birds (like sparrows) look ever-so-slightly different from those we're used to back east.

Northern Cardinal at the ASDMNowhere is this as obvious, however, as when it comes to Cardinals. Here in the southwest, cardinals are predominantly of the Pyrrhuloxia variety -- a duller, more burnt-orange-looking bird. Ask any bird book out there, and it will tell you that we here in SE Arizona are at the outer edge of the range of the more striking northern cardinal (which makes the fact that our football team -- based in Phoenix, technically outside the northern's range -- has a northern cardinal as its logo a bit ironic).

Imagine our delight, then, when this guy pictured here came to visit us while we were sipping our coffee on the patio at the ASDM recently. We could just hear his little brain wondering about the dullness of the other cardinals around.

Knitting -- There Has Been Knitting

A Hot Pink ShetlandPattern: Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style.
Yarn: Some basic hot pink 4/10 wool I got on a cone at WEBS ages ago
Needle: 4.00mm Inox nickel-plated
Mods: Did 150 rows instead of the called-for 100 before starting the edging chart because I wanted a larger, wrappable shawl. If I were to re-do it (which I might as I have other colors in this wool), I would maybe even go up to 200 rows to make it even larger. This one blocked to a just over 65" wing span and 31" from top to tip, so it will wrap and should be great for keeping a chill off on those chilly spring/early summer evenings.

As I said, I may make another in another color of this same yarn or in a different yarn altogether. The pattern is quite simple and easily memorized, even for a novice lace knitter. In fact I'd highly recommend it to an intermediate or experienced beginner knitter who wants an attractive first lace project. [And if you hate charts, there are some folks on Rav who have converted the charts to written instructions and would probably be willing to share.]

My new project is something magenta. I wanted a sweater, so I cast on and started one. This is being designed as I go.

A Magenta TopSo far we have YOs for the raglan increases to give it a lighter look and a very deep V to show off whatever tank is worn underneath. I have decided against a traditional cardigan because I wanted it to fit closely and I hate gaps at the buttons, so there is a false placket in seed stitch down the front of the bodice, and I will add buttons to complete the illusion.

I plan to end the bodice with a line of eyelets to hold either a ribbon or some i-cord about 2" above my natural waist. Below that the current plan is to split it at the front (or the sides, not sure yet) and do some kind of lace to about the hips.

Sleeves, edging, and what that lace pattern is to be are still to be decided. Stay tuned. Oh, the yarn is a discontinued 6/2/2 cotton from Valley Yarns called Hampshire Brights -- when Steve was getting rid of it I picked up a couple of cones of each of the colors they had left.

Guess that's enough for now. Tune in soon to hear about all of the frogging I've been doing lately (none of it bad, I promise).

I Am In Love

As soon as I saw this beauty at Knitty, I knew I HAD to make it. It is absolutely lovely.

That's all for now -- more extensive post later now that I'm back from vacation.

* Image is from Knitty, stored on my server.

PS. This, of course, means the Spring Knitty is up!