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After talking about going to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival with #1 grandson for over a month, the day we ended up going was at best, a gray day, but more often, beyond silly to ridiculous downpours. I looked into a couple other things we could do instead of the Sheep & Wool Festival, but he was wearing a t-shirt with sheep on it in honor of our trip and I decided not to even bring other options up. If he was game, so was I. In the end, his rubber boots got a great work out (almost totally dry socks!)! So did the umbrella he insisted on bringing that I didn’t want but was so glad he had!

We experimented with wet felting.

We hardly needed the pan of water. Except for the squirt of mild dishsoap, I had more than enough liquid in my pants and shoes. Limp wool, little plastic beads, and fluffy roving became something so much more.

He was on a mission to buy a small stuffed puppy for his brothers upcoming birthday, so I was able to browse a lot of the (inside – yeah!) vendors. We saw spinning, weaving, roving, and freshly shorn fleece. We followed a quartet of lambs, two black and two white, through the 4-H building. Liam says one yelled “mmbaaah!” at him. How he could be sure with all the sheep and lamb vocalizing going on, I have no idea!

None of the cute puppies or other small stuffed animals fit his small budget, although we did enjoy looking. I saw a felted mermaid I would love to have given my sister but it was out of both of our budgets! Worth every penny, I am sure.

We were trying to hang in until the sheepdog trials, but the sky truly opened at that point and it was cancelled. As we slowly trudged back to the car with Liam walking, skipping, and jumping in the ever-larger puddles and streams, I realized that while I was well and truly sopping wet, I was not freezing. Good thing. Liam had a complete change of clothes in the car (thanks, Jess!) but I did not.

We agreed to try this Sheep and Wool thing again in the fall or next spring, hoping for better weather.

It is finished, she sighed.

This project was over three years in the making. Granted, for 2 1/2 of those years it was in time-out, but still! Here is is, modeled by Blue:

I used a plain cotton worsted yarn from The Hub Mills in Lowell. Easy wash and dry fabric that might shrink slightly at first, but not enough to worry about. There was no fancy fair isle color work, or complicated assembly (according to the directions). It was a devil in the details, however.

Clarity in directions is so important, but rarely found. Remember the last time you tried to read a user manual or an assembly instruction? (Ikea seems to manage it well, but they don’t do knitting patterns—others follow their style with humorous instructions for science fiction assemblies) But I digress… )

In real life, people reading patterns are not able to ask questions on things they think are obvious. Why would they, anyway? It’s obvious! Then again, what you think is obvious and what others think is obvious are *so* different! I once worked on a newsletter where the admin was horrified at the finished peice. I agreed. It was awful. The printer substituted fonts, causing text reflow, messy rags, and an almost ransom-publishing look. It was not the file I sent them. The admin continuted her rant. “The pages have wrinkles and creases in the wrong places!” “But what about the text?” I asked. “What? That’s fine. I can read it okay.”

So when I read the instruction for the Tree of Life Afghan, I remembered to read them all the way through for the main portion before beginning, because I know this can alleviate frustration later on. The directions clearly said to take into account that there was a 4-stitch garter edging on the sides of the afghan and that these were not included in the stitch count of the main pattern areas.

So I added them to the left and right of the afghan as I knit it up.

I really should have read the edging instructions along with the body pattern notes.

By the time I got the to the third section (which was a repeat of the first section), it was very obvious that my count was off by 8 stitches too many. No errata is given for this several-years-old and made-hundreds-of-times afghan. Therefore, I must have (oh crap! not again!) made a mistake.

Remember those four stitches I added to the left and right of the afghan? They were supposed to be part of the edging, which is done last. The edging included a leaf and four garter stitches that would go all around the edges of the afghan, not just the left and right of it.

Now, I *could* have frogged the 2/3 already done and start over (I really didn’t like that option). I *could* have continued and left the leaf edging off (it would forever look unfinished). Or I could figure out how to meld on the leaf border once the main part was done (howzat???). I *could* put it in time-out until I could decide/come up with an option I could live with. Yup. Done deal. Time out, back of the closet. I wouldn’t bring it out until it behaved better for me (read: until I figured out how to handle the edging).

Ditto (grandchild #4) is arriving at the end of the month. I have made baby afghans for his older 3 siblings. He deserves a special blanket as well. I looked at my stash. I thought about the afghan in time-out. I pored through patterns. I looked at the afghan in time-out.

I got out the offending afghan, determined to figure out how to meld the garter and leaf edging. Being a a stubborn sort, I did manage it. I reused to allow myself any other knitting until the afghan was done.

See? You can’t tell I futzed with the edging.

*FO=finished object

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