Friday, March 31, 2006

The Big Box of Crayons

I was feeling kind of sad yesterday, a little let down, and a little unmotivated and sad in my poor heart. So I got myself a big box of crayons.

Aren't they just lovely?? And on sale at Webs for $4.79 a skein during the Annual Anniversary Sale?? Who could resist? And what is better for any occasion than Cascade 220? Bags, hats, mittens, you name it. I have no specific plans as yet, beyond staring at it, touching it, and possibly rolling in it. If I could find a way to hang it on the wall I think I would. A Wool Color Wheel. Bit tough to spin, but still worthy.

And about this sale - anyone close enough should drop by and just have a little look-see. There's an awful lot of really good stuff for really good money. AND we have the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee coming on April 22nd...very cool. Unfortunately, MelissaKnits will be teaching Knitting 1 and 2 in the back of the store while she's speaking, but hey, we can't have everything, and maybe some dear kind soul (anybody? Katy? Kristen? I'll make it worth your while...I'll bring something decadent to drop-in that week...) will take pity on me and get one of my books signed for me.

Nothing else to show today - who wants to see a sleeveless sweater and 2" of a pair of socks? By the way, I totally adore Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. All other sock yarns now feel like sandpaper. I may be ruined for life. Considering the amount of Non-Lorna's Laces sock yarn present in this house, we may have to make some sort of new rule. Three pair of Non-Lorna's from stash only must be completed before we can touch the Lorna's Laces...something like that. Should work. Should. Of course, so should my rule - which you can see I adhere to religiously - "We must empty a bin of current stash before adding enough to fill a new bin". Riiight...I knit up 30 balls of yarn out of stash this week to make room for the Cascade...sure I did!

It's a scary day to be a chicken mom...this is the second day the "babies" are out on range. They are guarded by a six year old rooster. This is a little scary. At 6, he's on the far side of the hill and heading down. He's a little...geriatric. Some days his mind is a little fuzzy. You can see him thinking "Plane? Hawk? Plane?? Hawk??" and then just in time he yells "HAWK!! DEFINATELY HAWK!!" and everyone runs for cover. From a plane. Sigh. But he's still got enough of "it" to keep them safe. I hope. And he has a loyal sidekick who's name is either Plush or Softy, I forget which, who is my NewRoo In Training. This is them six months ago. About half now live in New Hampshire. Today they are a bit bigger...and for those of you who wanted to see Girl's Tut-A-Roo, whom we believed was a rooster but isn't, here she is. This is not your average chicken. She comes when called (they all come to "chick-ens, chick-ens, chick-ens", but Tut comes to her name). She also jumps onto Girl's shoulder and sit there while Girl wanders around the yard. She's not what we'd call a "normal" chicken. But she's very lovable. Amazing what six months is to a chicken. When they came in the fall they were 1 day old, and fluffy and tiny, and their sole goals in life were 'eat, drink, sleep'. Mostly they slept. Weeks move forward and there was more eating and drinking and less sleeping. At about 12 weeks they have all their grown-up feathers, and can sleep in the hen house if the temperature is not too cold. At six months they start (well, the hens start) spitting out eggs, which they'll do if allowed just about once a day for as many as ten years. Natural Chickens will lay until they die. Factory Chickens lay for 18 months and are slaughtered. This process is referred to as "culling" and is supposed to be necessary to maintain production and profit margins in the acceptable range. But I have a six year old hen who lays an egg a day all spring and summer, and one every other day all winter. She's the human equivalent of a 60 year old women giving birth every nine months without the use of fertility drugs which is not a natural function for us, but is for chickens. If she were in a factory farm - and this includes most of the "natural" eggs currently on the market - she'd have been dead long ago, when she hit 18 months. It's not enough to buy vegetarian cage free eggs...most of those farms cull at 18 months, and "free range" as defined by the USDA isn't. If you can, find a small farm and get to know the owner a little, find out their management practices, and get your eggs from them. You'll be serving two greater goods - the good of the gentic pool, and the good of the birds themselves. Not to mention you'll be supporting local agriculture. And getting more Omega-3's in your eggs, and less cholesterol and fat. Small farms often allow their birds to breed naturally, and chose hardy, thrifty stock. Many let their hens sit eggs themselves so successive generations are hen-raised. The birds have more disease resistance, natural instinct and intelligence. End Chicken Rant!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I Got Class...

Or at least I had class all weekend long, Friday - Sunday, with Maureen Mason-Jamieson at Mecca. Wonderful and I learned a ton. I'd have to say my favorite learning experience was Collar Obedience. On Saturday I was too wracked with guilt at not knitting what I should have been knitting to have fun, but by Sunday I no longer cared and was grateful for the little vacation. Then this morning dawned, and I find myself with an empty fridge, a ton of work to do, and Typhoid probably coming today. AACCK!!

BUT - Here is my obedient collar. This is very cool. My model seems pleased. I have decided that my next dog is going to be like this one. With an on-off switch, and minimal needs (batteries is about all, no food, water, walks, vets, or brushes.) We also learned a double pick up that will revolutionize by buttonbands, and alters my opinion of them significantly. Saturday was Japanese Knitting Technique, and I blew it at buttonholes. Well, no, I did not blow it, I MADE them but was not pleased with them. We also learned a tubular bind off that I need to work on as well. I did it but am not thrilled with my results and need finessing. Then on Sunday we had a color theory workshop that was very good, and provided a good refresher on the basics of color, and a few little tidbits I had not known, like that I can drop a cool color into a warm scheme and punch it up a little, but adding warm to a cool scheme is likely to result in a visual disaster.

This was an odd and long and emotional week. It began with Girl's 18th, then headed into this, a new game invented by (step)Son#1 called "Fishing For Stoned Kitty". First he and Girl inebriate Mel/Wilson/Spaulding with large quantities of catnip, and then Son#1 uses cat toys as lures, and tries to actually lift the cat out of the "water" (meaning his red cathouse and off the landing of my poor stairs). It sort of proves my husbands point. He said when we moved in "Great. I just signed a mortgage for a (explitive deleted) CAT GYM". He should have added "Grown Son Gym". Son#1 and his artist girlfriend whom I love to bits live across the state, and we see them only rarely. He came to deliver a computer and brought birthday booty for girl, including one of Leigh's prints that Girl adores. It was a good year to be Girl. Concert tickets, video games, art pieces, cash, a cell phone, and finally, amid tears and chocolate cake, an antique engagement ring from my father. Poor man, he had two rings, one belonging to my great aunt and the other to my grandmother. They were sisters who married brothers, so the rings are similar and probably bought at the same time. But, he has four daughters. What to do?? Luckily - he has only two grandaughters, and so Girl and Niece#1 are the beneficiaries of the heirlooms. Lucky young ladies, I must say.

The week culminated last evening with dinner at my inlaws. My mother in law, knowing I am a bag harlot, gave me this lovely thing, which has wheels, tons of pockets, and cubic miles of internal space, but means that I no longer have a reasonable excuse for not bringing Scunci to classes. It also, I think, means I need more yarn. I mean, it's got a ton of space, and that space needs to be filled with something, right?? I love bags. I adore bags. My husband is jealous I think...she likes me better than him now... (Hah - ha!! Raspberry in your face, Mr. Wonderful!!! Nyyyaah, nyaaah, mommy loves me beeeesst!!!!) It's his own fault. He's a wonderful man (hence the title) but he is very quiet in most settings. I, on the other hand, have no such scruples, and will update her on his health, both physical and mental, and his opinions and attitudes. Really, I think she just uses me to get info on her son...but it works for me! Now I need to go WORK. My fingers are limber, the day is young and I have much to do. I will complete the fronts of Make Tracks, and then start the sleeves. I want it done (blocked, assembled and written in five sizes) by Friday. No Sweat....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Days of Birth and Waffles

Waffles first. This is the back, or a bit of the back, unblocked, of the Men's Waffle (needsnewname)Zip Front Sweater. I like this much more than my original intention of waffling all the way from beginning to end. The fronts will be similar, with waffle panels instead of entirely waffled. The yarn is Berkshire Bulky, color 33 Olive. It's a stable knit, neither super fast nor super slow. I like the Berkshires. They're my buddies. Soft and warm all over, and my daughter's favorite yarns to stock - so if you buy any, remember - you're not just buying yarn, you're giving a kid a job! The waffle prevents boredom, but the overall shape and assembly is quite simple.
Yesterday was my daughter's 18th birthday. She is 'the baby' of the family. I had the weirdest dream last night that I was running after her, yelling at her to slow down, wait, listen to me for just one more minute. She ran off, blithe and smiling and laughing. I could not catch her, and I finally sat and cried, but not a horrible painful cry, more like the crying I did when she nursed for the last time. She latched on, took a little sip, let go and gave me this look that so clearly said "I don't need you any more." and ran off to play. I sat there knowing in my gut as clearly as I know my own name that she was done and would never nurse again, and I was right. 18 is not 35, and I know there will be times when she comes to me for support, advice, etc, and I hope she listens to the wisdom of age and experience. But generally speaking my time in control is really ending, and hers is just beginning. I just pray I did ok enough in the first 18 years to ease her transition into full womanhood. OK. More knitting. Phew. Brutal stuff this childrearing nonsense.
This is partial progress on Stockbridge Socks (208 camel) - they're just a simple cable rib, a small project for the amusement of sock knitters. This is not a sock yarn. These will not be daily wear socks. These are comfy weekend socks, warm and squashy. I want to finish them but am so totally distracted by the waffling thing that I can't take half a day to finish a pair of socks. ***sigh***. Maybe this weekend. They're a fast knit and a great car project becasue they are so delightfully small. I adore socks for on the road or in the doctors office etc.
Last night we gave Girl her gifts from us - tonight we have a family thing that will yield her slightly more booty. But I did a good thing - purely by accident I found a concert that I thought she might like. "Might like". Kind of an understatement. The tickets have not arrived, so I made this and taped it to the front of the new Jaime Cullum CD, and was rewarded by great joyous uproar from Girl. Interesting - her other gift was a video game. Harvest Moon Magical Melody. Straddling two worlds she is, with video games and jazz concerts.
Then, yesterday, because it was for me a celebration of sorts, having suffered through a million hours of horrible labor...sigh...ok, totally lying here. It was actually about five hours of unmedicated, uncomplicated peace and love, and was so easy that I was making quiche and doing laundry right up till we left for the birthplace five minutes away, whereupon I labored for a whopping hour and ten minutes more before pushing her out in about three pushes...not a lot of suffering there, but still enough to entitle me to a small gift. Or three. So I bought myself some books. I actually have none of these, as amazing as that may sound, and considering I did win the Jordana Paige bag thanks to the Yarn Harlot's Olympic Endeavors, the least I can do is buy a book or two (rationalization and denial being the keys to success). I LOVE Knitting Rules. So far I have determined that I am indeed obsessed, I am a sensei with a smattering of organic, and I am not the only psycho in the world who tried to combine knitting with the treadmill, and ended safely on the bike. Loaded with humor and amazing insight, this book contains nearly every basic concept you need to know about knitting. I was especially pleased to see discussion of the often neglected issues of needle selection, the model knitting bag, and items every knitter should have on hand at all times. Perfect for beginners with no-nonsense straight talk on issues like the importance of gauge, and realistic dicussions about why knitting that item for that kid may not be a great idea. I may read excerpts of the gauge chapter at the beginning of every class I teach from now on.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

While We Wait

for Melissa to knit something stellar and interesting...we will discuss boring socks and light fixture selection difficulties. We have today the Finally Finished Rose Leaf Socks That Took Forever Because of Flutter. I like them, but wish I had not allowed myself to stop on the top rib quite so soon. Sometimes my impatience causes me trouble. Other than that, I like them - they are knit in Artyarns Ultramerino 4, color 105. There is no pattern, I just started, went till they were long enough, turned the heel, went on some more, and then finished them, using an allover lacy pattern that fit my cast on (which I don't remember) This was pure recreational knitting, as a distraction on days when Flutter overpowered me.

Also, Mr Wonderful and I went shopping at Home Depot (I know, I know, but they're open on Sunday.) We were looking for something specific, which - of course - they did not have. We got distracted and started loking at light fixtures for the dining room. I found two that I love, both for completely different reasons, and now have to choose. Very difficult. One I could become irriated with, the other may bore me to tears in a while. It's really not as easy as I thought it would be.
The two nearest fixtures are this, and this.
Both we've put in since we moved in as the old fixtures in these locations were very 80's, dated, and could not take energy efficient light bulbs. And I hated them. One was a country-cutesy lantern thing and the other was a very inexpensive wall sconce that had been hidden behind a cabinet that I removed.
The current chandelier is this:
Note that it becomes invisible in daylight. It also takes only a 40 watt bulb, which - while saving energy - casts little or no light. It is also pre-2000 and does not respond well to the compact flourescents I have put in it (I am a flourescent freak.)This fixture says nothing. It makes no statement. It does not say "MelissaKnits Lives Here." It does not even say "people live here." I want something that makes a statement, even a quite one. I also want something that keeps the cribbage board visible on game night.
The choices are this:

Or this:

Now, one of theses babies makes a serious statement. But...will I still be able to live with it in six months when the novely wears off? Contrariwise, will I be bored to tears and misery by the second when after six months it becomes as invisible as it's predecessor, or I discover that the black shows too much dust? Working strongly against the black candle-y looking one is the fact that it is currently backordered. This means that a lot of people have ordered it. Melissa rarely does what a lot of people do (aside from the temporary insanity surrounding the Lady B bag. Oh, and the Lorna's Laces. But other than that...).
It is a good thing that I have time to reflect. Because this is actually a difficult decision. I won't have to decide officially for about 8 weeks, maybe a bit more.
back to Stockbridge Socks. Since they're so quick, I am starting with them and moving on tomorrow from there by writing at least one pattern, possibly two. Then I can begin knitting in earnest by Tuesday. Every second counts.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Temptation, and the Clap Trap

I yield. I give up. I quit. I have resisted for as long as I can, and I must now give myself wholly up to Clapotis. OK, well, not wholly, because I've got some stuff for the store that needs to be done by May 1, and that's only six weeks, and while like Cirilia I am doing backflips, I am also questioning my sanity in the light of noonday sun...but about the Clap. It's Artyarns Silk Rhapsody, on size 6's, color is 119, mother in law's choice. I actually am kinda digging it. Yes, I know, the mohair and I will come to battle when it's time to drop, but I think the end justifies the means. I'll need more though. More yarn, and more time. I think Clap Knitting may be at an end for the next six weeks. My own SR I exchanged for color after staring at it for weeks. I had selected 111, but exchanged it last night for 141 which I adore beyond reason.

I swatched some Olive Berkshire for a men's waffle weave jacket, although we need to remove the word waffle from that title, because waffles and men don't go well except at breakfast. It will have a zip front and possibly slash pockets, though we're nowhere near that yet. Later I will swatch some other stuff, and we'll see what comes of it. Swatching is fun. However, making skeins into balls is not nearly as much fun, and is currently holding me back from five swatching projects - in fact, I was so opposed to going downstairs and using the swift that I decided to blog instead.

I also sucumbed to the ultimate temptation last night, something I have been waiting for for a very very long time...(honey...remember when I said I didn't buy ANY of that yarn I brought in last night? Well...I kinda forgot to mention these three little hanks. But it's totally worth it I swear, and if you are very, very kind about it, I will work on your Dale pullover maybe. a little. maybe a row.) LORNA'S LACES!! We're carrying LORNA'S LACES!! I had to have some. It is luscious, to die for soft, and my feet will be so happy. But not this week, becaue for the next six weeks my brain will be focused on one thing and one thing only, and that's Valley Yarns, designing, knitting, and completing stuff by May 1. I doubt I will even have time to shower for the next six weeks, let alone make selfish socks. I got one hank of worsted and two of fingering. It was really hard not to just buy the whole case, and every colorway.

Last but by no means least...I finished this puppy, pattern and all, and she's off to the store tomorrow. Her name is Flutter, which was suggested by Cirilia, and when I woke this morning I just started saying it, and decided it must be right.
OK. So. My youngest child will be 18 on Tuesday. I have a bunch of designs due for the store for May 1. Chickens are beginning to bore me (just a little, sorry clucks). My house has more than one bathroom. My life is in no way where I ever thought it would be at this particular point in my life. In 1995 I would have told you that by now I'd be working in a hospital somewhere, possibly as a nurse manager, possibly going back to school to be a midwife, but "knitting designer and teacher" was totally not on the list. If your 30's are about finding yourself and your spirituality, then your 40's must be about finding out that everything you thought you knew about you may not be right after all. There's somethings that don't change. I believe in Jesus. I love my husband. The sky is still blue, and dogs walk on four paws. Other than that? Don't ask me, cause I have not got a single clue.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


First, let me say how gratifying it is when a former student takes the ball and runs with it. Amy was in one of my early sock classes, and she's been up to something of late...I think we should press her for a pattern, personally. This is what I wish every student did - walked away from class, and either knit a ton of socks, or designed their own, or even just fell in love with sock knitting. It warms my little heart!!
Second, Persnickety Knitter queried about the contents of the Jordana Paige that it is on it's way to being filled (there's still more room in it!!)
let's take a look. All of this stuff was in my former teaching bag, my AC Moore $4.99 tapestry tote, so cheap I bought three - cherry blosoms, strawberries, and old roses. The disaster was harder to see and get to than it is now. The squared bottom and sides of the JP bag make life significantly simpler! As a rule I carry this bag to all classes, taken or taught. It contains all my notions, calculator, pens, post-its and usually a notebook, crochet hooks and eventually there will be knitting needles, but they're kept in my chairside bin until I get ready to leave home. My notions are kept in two $2.00 pencil cases bought at Staples on "Back To School" clearance. The notebook is not in the bag today. It is currently in front of me because I am writing the pattern (right this very minute - yes I am - right this second I am writing a pattern, I swear it) for the lilac sweater. Oh, by the by, we still love the lilac sweater. I am not going to post a picture again until it's finalized - blocked and with buttons.

The exterior back pocket of the messenger is perfect for my course outlines and patterns. I keep them in very handy plastic holders from Staples. Intended for shop tickets or invoices at, say, the local muffler shop or warehouse, I find them invaluable for holding patterns, outlines etc. The clear plastic allows me to view patterns without damaging them. When I did the Rogue, I had the written directions visible on one side and the current cable chart on the other. I was able to flip back and forth easily, without shuffling 19 pages around every time I had a question.

Also in attendance is the Lady B with current personal projects, date book, cell, and lunch. So there it is - now you know not only what the Jordana Paige Tweed Messenger can hold, but also what sort of total chaos MelissaKnits drags with her from place to place.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How to Convert Chicken Farmer to Diva:

Give her one of these....

TOTALLY awesome bag! Now, I love my Lady B Pink Parfait bag that my beloved daughter got me for my birthday and I will cherish it always. But I love (Nay, adore. Revere. Dare I say worship?) this bag too, for different reasons and in a different way (sort of like the kids - I love you all, but not all exactly the same. Equal, but different!). This bag is PERFECT for teaching. I drag a lot of notions, patterns, general knitting crap, tea bags, water bottles, and lunch around with me to classes, usually in a very disorganized $4.99 AC Moore tote. All that's gonna change folks. Check this out - it comes with a MAP - my daughter found this very intriguing. It also came with a personal note of congratulations from Jordana herself! I love the depth, the the little yarn holders on the inside to prevent tangling, adore the pattern holder on the inside flap (where the map is now), the little removable zipper pouch, and all the slots for needles, scissors, and all those other miscellaneous notions. And check this out - storage for the essentials, cell phone and credit cards. I love it love it love it. Most and best of all, I love the pink. I adore the herringbone, very chic. I may have to buy a new wardrobe. I just don't know how this will go with jeans and birkenstocks. I feel my head turning toward black dress pants, blazers, and heels. And a blackberry. And a new cell phone, and possibly a BMW Z3....

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Think I'm in Love....

Things are going better - the dog is well, and we're deciding to watch and wait for a bit. My cold eases, though a little icky this morning after working last night. I will rest today in preparation for sock classes tomorrow. OK, here's the lilac Longmeadow garment moving along. So there's no sleeves as yet, I will start them after I blog this, but I just wanted to amazing as it is, we're entering the final phases of construction and...and...I'm still in love. How odd. Usually by now I am experiencing great dislike, or at least some minimal distaste. Maybe I have crossed some sort of design bridge. Be a nice change!
I began a pair of socks using some Artyarns Ultra 4 color 105, and was bored by the rib after a whole 2/3 inch, and decided I wanted a little open work for summer, so I found a pattern to superimpose on them. I am liking them as well. Sort of "Rose Leaf" looking things. Mayhap I shall name them thus and write them down on paper instead of just in my head. I worked on them yesterday while waiting for Visual Field Reference testing, which was not a lot of fun. Not painful, just if you're feeling under the weather it's a rather tiring twenty minutes in a dark room with your head on a chin rest being moved about by a tech, trying to click once for every little flash of blue light inside a giant golf-ball shaped device, while staring intently at a spot of yellow light at the back of said golf ball - with one eye. I got kind of competitive about the whole thing (VFR as an Olympic event??), and disgusted with myself for blinking and "missing" flashes. A lot of mental pressure, sitting there thinking "If I miss the flashes, will they take away my driver's license? Will I need eye drops? Laser surgery? AARRGGHH!!!" The good news: there's nothing wrong with my eyes, my pressures are unchanged since the fall. The bad? I have to go back every six months "just in case."

Now it is time to return to knit, perchance to complete the sleeves of the lilac garment by days end...that would be lovely!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


**Update with Question: Is there any other cat in North America who does this?? Or is he the only one?
In vain have I struggled. Swallowed a gallon of Airborne and three bottles of Elderberry over the winter...apparently I let my guard down for one day too many and Young Typhoid visited sick with a respiratory "bug" of some kind. After my stomach illness I was not really up to taking my insane herbal concoctions, and during that time he visited, sick, and I acquired a cold. Colds and I are never friendly. They make a bee line for my chest and torment me with barking hoarse coughing which interferes with my sleep. I can barely even knit...

But I have gotten something done. Girl and I made three squares for Project Comforting Jef , an activity I highly recommend. All three are made from Valley Yarns Sugarloaf, colors 33115, 14111, and 34168. The stuff comes in a LOT of colors. The patterns for the two patterned squares were chosen at random; one is a slip stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's third treasury, pg 222, Crown of Candles, and the cable is from The New Knitting Stitch Library, pg80. I like this book for portability and variety. It felt very good to focus on someone besides myself!

Yesterday was a day for whining, complaining (I was just really tired and worn out) and getting the Longmeadow cardigan to the point where we can divide for front and back. Soon it will be done, and it and the pattern at the store where they belong. It will be perfect for tossing on over jeans or khakis on cool evenings, but dressy enough to go out over a cute little dress. It will also cost about $35 - $50 to knit up depending on size, which is marvelous, and part of why I LOVE Valley Yarns. (The quality of the yarn doesn't hurt either!) Very few of us can knit and not think about cost. The yarn is very soft and nice to work with, cotton and microfiber. The pattern will be available in five sizes...and so far it is so cute that I want one for myself, in black I think, or possibly 07 melon, or 05 fuschia. I may later change my mind. The closer they come to completion the more I dislike them, and once they are in the store I can't look at them without finding every minute flaw. It's a good thing I was not this hard on my biological children. My yarn children would suffer horribly if they had self esteem - they'd cry endlessly, "Mommy doesn't love me...."!!

I found this unfinished rattle in my grandmother's things and decided it must be duplicated for the Petite Born-Early. To that end I have begun recreation and pattern drafting. The initial phase is rather frustrating as you're crocheting a fairly small tube to make the handle bit, with a fairly small hook. But the product is worth the labor. It has a jingle bell under the hat which I think is probably prohibited by today's concerns for safety and choking risk, and I have been at pains to figure a way to get a bell or other noise maker into the thing "safely" as it really makes the thing come to life. It's so cuuuutte!!!

Last week we were doing this: ripping up a carpet where the dog had been incontinent for days before we noticed. She smells, the room smells, it took a few for the dog smell and ruined carpet smell to seperate. By the time Mr. Wonderful got home we'd done about a third. In the evening Typhus (he's the small one bent over my tool bag) and Opie (the bigger one, hiding behind the desk) went to work removing carpet tack strips while Omie (the kid is finally saying it - I am now "MeeMee"!!) and Girl focused on ripping up the remainder of the carpet. The kid works harder at two than his father did at 15, I swear. He hauled bits of carpet and underlay (the clean bits...) out onto the front porch and ordered "Bo-Pee" to take them to the garage with all the seriousness of a contractor. Here you can see him ably assisting Opie by removing all the tools from the tool bag one at a time, and delivering them to Opie, who then sneaks them back into the bag behind his little back, causing great concern - "I just took that to BoPee...How did it get HERE??". Oh to be two again...

Anyway - once we'd removed the carpet the dog got much sicker in a big hurry. Addisonians respond to stress by trying to croak. For three days I cleaned up endless nameless foul things. She saw the vet Saturday, who pronounced her healthy, with irritable bowel syndrome, not Addison's as the other vet had said previously. I was in disbelief as her clinical picture is that of an Addisonian. The vet did some bloodwork anyway, at my request. She called Monday to tell me that, based on the labs, perhaps Kioshi does have Addison's (well, Dr. M___ and Mommy were right after all!), and we can schedule a test to find out for certain. If she is proven to have Addison's the treatment appears to cost between $11-$30 a DAY. That's $4000 a year minimally, not including needed follow up labs and office visits, and a possible crisis which would run into the thousands for one incident. And Kioshi is too old to get Pet Insurance. I wish the meds were cheaper. But they're not. So - we'll skip the upsetting ACTH stim test that she'd hate, we'll keep her life as calm and stable as possible. If she were a young dog, and weighed significantly less, it might be a different story. My next dog, if there is a next dog, will weigh 10lbs, I swear. A ten pound dog would cost about $1.69 - $3.00 a day to treat for the same disease.

I love Lumber Liquidators! We've put in laminate flooring before, in our old home and my mother's home. One came from L.L. the other from Home Depot. My mother's I did by myself, much to her consternation - I think she was convinced that I was incompetent as a carpenter, and I really enjoyed the whole process of torturing her by using the radial arm saw while she stood by panicking. I also threw in an occasional "Ooopps...there's not supposed to be blood is there?" for my own amusement. Laminates are used extensively in Europe as floating floors where everything goes with you when you move but the plumbing. It goes in quickly, stands up to dog-abuse and kid-abuse, and this new stuff we got is made with a blueboard waterproof backing AND already has the underlay attached for ever faster and simpler installation. Home Depot had a lovely version for $3.77 a square foot. Lumber Liquidators had a comparable product...but for $1.69 a square foot!! I like the expensive stuff, and were it for a more public room I would probably be willing to spend the extra money. But we call this room "The Dog Room" for a reason, and I really don't think the dogs will notice that the L.L. version has less texturing, and 2mm less of the laminate surface. Well, Kioshi might...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Six months ago....

I did not even know what a blog WAS, and now this!! I won a Jordana Paige bag from Yarn Harlot's Post-Olympic Give-away! All this and heaven too!

Really I owe it all to Persnickety Knitter who got me doing the blog thing in the first place, and my two drop-in knitting regulars and collegues from Webs, Katy and Kristen, who blog-educated me during 'quiet' nights. (sniff, sniff...) Thanks guys, without you I'd never know the joys of a Jordana Paige bag all my own. (sniff, sniff...)

I am THIS happy:

Who Could Resist?

OK, fine, so I am supposed to be working on the lavender cardigan for the store...but really... find me a knitter who could resist the lure of a five pound 14 ounce infant?? It's just ONE little outfit and a spare hat. A mere trifle.

Besides, my dog is sick, and she's taking huge amounts of my energy. She's going outside about every hour now, which is better than it was at 6am when it was every fifteen minutes. I think we're getting closer to the end, and it's upsetting me. Tiny socks make me feel better. AND it is effective use of stash.
Yarn: Artyarns something that did not have a tag (If I had to guess I'd say Ultra6, color 108) and Berroco Plush color 1952
Gauge: 6 sts per inch on the purple variegated set, and I think 4 on the Plush Hat.Needles: US 6's for the plush hat and US3's for the rest.
Pattern: None for the hats or socks. The sweater is a pattern called Preemie-ums A Labor of Love which features four sizes - Teeny (4-5lb), Tiny (5-6lbs), newborn (7-10lb) and infant(11-14lb). This is Tiny, although a Teeny has been started and is waiting for more yarn. Unfortunately the kid may have outgrown it by then...

Not much else here other than cleaning up after the dog and taking her in and out endlessly, although I did photograph most of my stash after Cirilia said hers was bad...this is about 3/4 of it, the rest is scattered in small bins through the house.

Firstly, this is the area where I spend most of my time, right before I did a complete organize and sort. It was getting over my head, as evidenced by the plethora of Webs bags. Never a good sign. There's a lot of leftovers from finished projects in those bins that had to be moved into regular stash to make room for current projects. My books and magazines are all here and my design notebooks, sketches and etc, also grocery lists, doctors bills, notes to myself like "do laundry!! TODAY!!"

These are the bad boys. On the left is my knitting yarn sorted by weight or type in bins. There's a bin for non-animal, novelty, and then bins by weight, UFO's, and really small bits good only for afghans and pillows or baby socks. Also in this stack are some art supplies (gesso, acrylic spray matte and glossy, really liquid stuff for making finer nails and tear drops on dolls, antique buttons, and four old snap and grommet guns, as well as a big bag of my grandmother's handmade wallpaper beads.) The wooden box on the bottom is a Grey Goose vodka box that contains swatches. When it gets full, it is replaced with a new one. Eventually I will do something with them. On the very top shelf is Girl's hooking stuff to make an image of my dog Owen (not the sick one) someday when she learns how to shade. This is all amazingly well organized for me. I am really scattered and fractured beyond belief.

On the right, directly opposite my yarn, we have my husband's stash, enough coned yarn to clothe a small nation. He has not woven more than in inch since we moved. But we still have two looms and all of this because...well...what are we going to do with it? Get rid of it?? BAD PLAN! It's like this - if I sell or barter all of this away, he'll start weaving and we'll have to replace it all. If we keep it, he may never weave and I'll feel bad. I really can't win either way. So we err on the side of keeping it for now, because he goes in spurts of activity - right now it's stamps and his bike, and next year it could be golf and weaving, or tennis and needlepoint, who knows? Try to ignore the drying racks, I don't like to use my dryer so we hang clothes in front of the stove all winter. Why pay twice, one for the pellet stove and one for the dryer? Makes no sense! There's a few other big bins scattered around the house - on just of Berkshire in various colors and odd bits of leftover. One is just Wensleydale, in a ton of colors, and I still am not sure what possessed me to buy it all. It works well for Girl's Debbie Bliss Farm Project though.

I am SO glad I went to work last night. It was a nice break from this house and the dog thing which is much on my mind and depressing me no end. This is she, in better days...when she was young and vigorous and visiting the ocean for the first time. She made a striking figure, and was such a good girl, well socialized, and good natured. She went everywhere with us; fireworks, balloon fests, hiking...anyplace we could legally take her and some (like the beach) where it wasn't so very legal. Such a noble and majestic beast. She is an Akita, her name is Kioshi, and she is currently 10 years old. Last year they thought she had lymphoma as we'd ruled everything else out, but she never developed a tumor or a node, just continued on with lethargy and a high white count. She also has Addison's disease, which I think is her current problem - and her last lab worked showed some signs of kidney failure. Kinda sad. But she's an amazing companion and friend, and loyal to a fault.