So, ever since her fussy cousin, the groundhog, saw his shadow back in February, Betty Lou the Woodchuck has been impatiently waiting for spring. Coming all the way from Massachusetts up to snowy Ontario didn’t help matters much, I am sad to report. Since her arrival in Toronto last week, Betty Lou has been looking out the window impatiently, waiting for a nice day to go outside and explore her new home.

Finally deciding that it wasn’t going to get much better than today, Betty Lou gave me the nod. She took a deep breath, and we went out into the backyard.

“I guess it’s not so bad up here, near the house” she said cautiously. “I mean, it’s nothing great, but it could be worse. Look over there!”

“Where?” I asked, squinting down the lawn. I’d left my glasses inside, and I was afraid that if I went back in for them, Betty Lou would chicken out altogether. We were all going a bit stir-crazy as it was, and her constant whinging about how much sooner spring came laaaaaaaast year was getting on my nerves a bit.

“Down there,” she gestured impatiently. Exasperated, she hopped down and scampered to the end of the garden.

“See?” she asked triumphantly. “There’s still some bloody snow down here!”

“Oh, don’t be such a n00b,” scoffed Andre from the rhododendrons.

“You’re embarrassing me. She’ll think we have no manners if you carry on like this!”

Betty Lou, abashed, picked her way carefully over to where Andre was, gingerly avoiding the little puddles of snow. “I guess it’s kind of fun,” she ventured, “to be outside in the warm sun and have snow around at the same time.”

“That’s the spirit!” Andre returned wryly, rolling his eyes slightly.

Betty Lou paused, and then, hesitating only a little…

…threw the fingerguns of woodchuck approval!

Andre grinned for real this time. “We’re going to have some good times this summer, Butty Poo! C’mere and let’s get a nice group shot to send to the folks back home. Good times, indeed!”

Although she looked a bit puzzled (I’m not sure she knew whether to try and nip the “Butty Poo” thing in the bud, or just to ignore it and hope it went away on its own), she edged over to the MiniMantis and smiled nicely.

“Say cheese!” I told them, and snapped the picture.

“Hey,” I said, lowering the camera, “Are you guys related, by any chance?”

“As if!” the woodchuck immediately scoffed. “Arthropoda and chordata?? I mean, no offence, Andre, but the idea of a praying mantis and a woodchuck getting it on is just…kind of gross. I mean, maybe things are different in the human world, but it is just not on. At least, not in MY family.” Her disgust was evident.

“Haha, yeah, gross,” echoed Andre a bit lamely…

…but I noticed he wouldn’t look me right in the eye as he said it.

Oh, Andre!

Betty Lou hoofed it back inside shortly after this last picture was taken, but I stayed out a few more minutes. In a happy accident, I came across Kate Gilbert’s very cute short-sleeved pullover pattern Camellia a few days ago, and since I am of course not using the recommended yarn (or even yarn in a similar weight…sometimes I think I am a knitting masochist) I have been happily knitting and re-knitting sleeves as gauge swatches, just to see what I like best.

The smaller ones are a bit cuter, but I think I actually prefer the gargantuan one on the right; it comes down about as far as a girlie tshirt’s sleeves, and flutters tolerably. Like many girls with bigger boobs, I’ve got the arms to match, so the adorable little sleeves in the pattern act a bit more as showcase frames: “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s the ARMFAT!!” Ah well. We’ll see when it comes to the sewing up part which one I like best. If I ever get to it! After three days of casting on and knitting a bit and ripping back and redoing math and squinting, I think I’ve finally cast on a hem I’m happy with (in the round, of course) and am about an inch into the endless stockinette trek to the boobs, where some short-rows should make things (temporarily) a bit more exciting.

I toyed with the idea of changing the neckline a bit, but in the end I think I really quite like it, and will probably leave it as it is. Imagine, me not altering anything substantial in a pattern! Kate Gilbert, you may have bested me…!

Oh, and the yarn? It’s the hundred dollars I spent in Lettuce Yarn during the Yarn Harlot’s Sock Scavenger Hunt last week: Dream In Color Smooshy sock yarn in Blue Lagoon. I’ve got three skeins, which I think will be enough for this project. DiC yarn has FANTASTIC yardage, and is totally worth every cent (imo). The only downside to this yarn (besides how very thin it is, which will be great in a FO but means lots and lots and lots of little teensy titchy little stitches) is that it is making my hands blue. After a couple of hours of knitting with the stuff, my hands look a bit like I’ve been strangling a Smurf! Luckily, rinsing the yarn seems to get rid of most of the excess dye, yet the colour of the rinsed and blocked swatches are just as vivid and breathtaking as it was in the skeins that seduced me at LK (I’d been doing SO SO well up until that point!!)

It’s much more ‘solid’ than the Dusky Aurora, which I appreciate. I am such a sucker for semisolids/varigates in the skein, although I find that I often don’t like them so much when I’m doing the knitting up. This is something I’ve been struggling with for awhile now, and I think the answer is to get more into colourwork. If I am gobsmacked by a sock yarn’s colourway, it would probably be more useful for me to translate that colourway into a group of yarns, and knit something using those colours. Especially since I am slowly coming to the realization that I am not a sock knitter or knitted sock wearer, even though I am an avid coveter/collector of sock yarns! I will have to think about this some more…

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