Thursday, August 30, 2007

Craft-y Stuff

I got far enough on Jacey's sweater that I can make it my take-to-work project: now it's just "work even for a zillion rows"--or 23 inches, whichever comes first.

I worked on the needlepoint stocking for Lydia and came to a sad decision: My eyesight is forcing a change to a different stocking. Her stocking was 14-mesh canvas, which I can do, but it's tiny stitches. But that stocking was stitched in embroidery floss, which is harder to handle than tapestry wool. And quite a few of the stitches had floss paired with a metallic thread about the consistency of a human hair. Try keeping two of those threads linked up with four strands of embroidery floss--and get it all to lie flat in the right places. It was a nightmare, even in daylight, with my glasses on, and with the day-light lamp.

I had purchased another stocking kit before I found the angel one that has proved to be so difficult. The stocking I'm going to do is a snowman--worked in tapestry wool on 12-mesh canvas. Yes! This I can do. It's not as devastatingly lovely a design as the angel--although the angel was going to look more devastated than devastating--but it's a perfectly good snowman. I may pick up some pearly blending filament to highlight the snow (which is not done in French knots, thank you very much). The tapestry wool is worked with two strands at once--not six--and since it covers on 12-mesh canvas as well as embroidery floss does on 14-mesh canvas, logic tells me that one strand of tapestry wool is at least as large as three strands of embroidery floss. And since 12-mesh canvas is only 144 stitches per square inch--while 14-mesh canvas is 196 stitches per square inch--you can see that this will work up faster, even if you disregard the floss-vs-wool issue. I'm no longer absolutely dreading the stitching. I have the canvas mounted on stretcher bars and the yarn sorted. I'll start stitching as soon as I finish this post.

Tomorrow I still need to get to the recycler's and the grocery store. (And the lottery ticket people.) The grocery store will be critical since I'm heading into a 5-day stretch of 10-hour work days. Once I drag myself to the car after work, I haven't got the energy to go shopping. I can barely crawl in the house. But I'm running low on bread, peanut butter, Diet Coke, and Lean Cuisines--all the major food groups.

Jacey's sweater: Gauge swatch

The gauge for the half-double crochet section is 20 stitches/10 rows equals 5 inches with an H hook. I'm hitting 15 stitches/12.5 rows in 5 inches with an H hook. I'll live with the width (the sweater can be loose), and I'll work extra rows as necessary to get the length.

And the extra width might help when I have to enlarge the pattern to fit Sam.
Nice, relaxing day off today. I've puttered on Ravelry. I wove the ends in on the shawl I was making for myself. (Pictures later.) I started two new projects. One is a dishcloth--something I can work on at lunchtime since it doesn't require a lot of counting and pattern-following. (The shawl I finished was my old lunchtime project.) The other is a sweater for Jacey.

Dog Sweaters
The picture is the frogged coats...

I started making one last year--a sweater for her and one for Sam. After lots of hours on both (his was nearly finished), I called it quits. I really liked the stitch pattern (and the colors), but I didn't like anything else--like the fit, the way the sweater hung, the coverage on Sam, etc. But I found a new pattern--one that really is a sweater rather than a crocheted, blanket-style coat that just hangs over the dog's back. The pattern comes in sizes from small to extra-large. According to the published dimensions, the extra-large will just fit Jacey (if I add 2 inches to the back length); Sam's will have to be 5 inches bigger in the chest and 8 inches longer down the back. I figure I need to make her sweater first, and measure it against Sam before I seam it. That should help me see how much--and where--I need to change the pattern for Sam.

But I've just worked a swatch in the pattern stitch, and I'm way off in every direction. I'm re-swatching to see if it was a fluke...and to see if I can force something to give. (My stitches are too loose for the width: 15 stitches in a space that should be 20. My rows are too tight for the length: what should have been 5 inches was only about 4. Yeah, I can stretch the piece longer, which will correct both problems--but only if I keep stretching the piece, and Jacey isn't going to put up with mom yanking on her sweater all day.) If I have to, I can live with it, though. The extra stitches in the width will make it easier to make the adjustment for Sam, and I don't mind if hers is loose around the chest. And I can get the length I need for the body by stitching more rows (I have plenty of yarn); I just have to make sure I have enough length in the front section, so the "armholes" fall at the right spot. The pattern shows the "neck length" (from the neck/throat edge of the pattern to the point where the armholes begin), so I just have to match that length (for her--exceed it for him), no matter how many rows it takes.

This evening, after lots of promising thunder and lightning, we got a tiny bit of rain--a nice, gentle shower that lasted about 30 minutes or so. I took two dog beds out to the carport, and the dogs and I sat out there and watched the rain, and the people coming home late from work. I'm off Thursday and Friday, and hope to have nice weather and a relaxing time both days--although, on one day I have to haul recycling and do some grocery shopping. Oh, and I need to get my Mega Millions ticket. The last drawing paid off for me: $3. That's not quite enough to finance my early retirement.

(Maybe you noticed that none of this is the needlepoint stocking I'm supposed to be working on. I need to do something about that...)

Friday, August 24, 2007


I finished the doily.


Blocking this was a beast. The squares are each 3.25 inches, so they don't fall on the line on the blocking board. I had to keep measuring and shifting pins (at least 200 of them, all total), and I'm still not happy with the result. I think I'll re-pin the piece to the board, concentrating on keeping the outside border straight and letting the inside squares fall where they want. Then I can mist it and let it dry again.

The pattern was fine. I figured out, though, that there are 300(!) cluster stitches in this thing (60 of them in the next-to-last round). And, of course, there are the dreaded picots and treble picots.

Next to work on is the needlepoint Christmas stocking to have in reserve in case Thomas springs a fiancee on me at the last minute. I also have some other doilies in my queue on Ravelry, and a few other projects.

(Yes, my Internet connection is back. It came back on its own about 11 this morning. My living room is much cleaner than it was...)

Friday, August 17, 2007

The week in review...

I spent much of my Thursday-off editing pattern info on the Ravelry site. Today I got the last two squares finished on the Rosalinda doily and wove in the ends. Tomorrow I'll start the borders, and I'm hoping I can get the whole thing finished and start blocking it tomorrow. On the errand-front: I did the grocery shopping today, and I've washed one load of clothes. I need to get them in the dryer and start another load before bedtime. The second load can dry tomorrow. Nothing will wrinkle if it sits in the dryer overnight.

Jacey has been on the thyroid meds for a week, now, and hasn't gone nuts. Since this is the girl who licked herself nearly bald after about three days on PPA (aka Proin), this is significant news. Sam is...Sam. He's moving a bit slower--has a bit of a limp first thing in the morning--and is making me aware of his age. He's only seven, which isn't a lot in greyhound terms, but he's much whiter in the face than Oreo ever was, and occasionally he's less limber than he used to be. Of course, if there's food at stake, he can move just fine. Tonight, there was an episode where he barked at Jacey--something he never does. I realized the problem, though. She was lying across the area where he needed to walk to get to the water dish, and he was afraid he'd step on her. He never worried about stepping on Oreo; she'd just growl but never do anything about it. But Sam is afraid Jacey will do more than growl, and he may be right. Anyway, I called her to the living room; she got up and left Sam a clear walkway.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oooh, pretty!

On Ravelry, I just stumbled across a link to the world's largest yarn stash. (I no longer feel guilty about six cardboard boxes of crochet thread.) And I love the comments from the woman's husband...

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Atlanta's weather hit or topped 100 F for the fourth straight day. It's only done that one other time (in 1980). It's never done it five straight days...but tomorrow is forecast to be cooler, so it looks like we won't set a new record for consecutive 100F days.

I was off today, and I've mostly spent the day inside. Outside, I've tried breathing our ozone-alert (orange) and particulate-matter-alert (yellow) air, and I've concentrated on trying to keep dumb animals from standing on black asphalt when they could move six inches onto the grass (or pine straw). Sam doesn't understand why I keep moving him over, but at one point today he was standing on three feet, holding the fourth one in the air, when I gave him a push toward the grass. He looked at me as if I were just making his problem worse. I just checked his feet, and I think he stepped on something sharp; it looks like there's a small puncture. So maybe I was making his problem worse, poor boy.

My brief trips outside have triggered bad breathing and sinus problems. (Our pollen count is up with grass and ragweed, and those always give me a hard time.) Tomorrow I go back to work. My four-footed clients will be coming in with coats full of pollen, and I'm not looking forward to it. (On the other hand, I sincerely hope I get some dogs. We've been really slow, and I need money.) I work Sunday through Wednesday, 10-hour shifts. There's no rain in the forecast for the next week (well, there's 20% chance of rain in the evening, but we've had that for more than a week, and the rain never materializes here); we get a break in temps, though: low nineties before the temps start to climb again. Whoopee.

I've worked on the Rosalinda doily, but with my sinuses bothering me, I've opted to sleep more than work. I only have 10 of the 12 squares done, and I probably won't get another one done tonight.

This may be the last doily I work on for a while. I need to work on a needlepoint Christmas stocking. I've sorted the thread and mounted the canvas on stretcher bars. (I did that week before last.) This one is stitched with thread rather than yarn (last year's stocking for Ashley was tapestry yarn), and it's 14-mesh canvas. That's 196 stitches per square inch--and the stocking is about 16 inches long and maybe 10 inches at the widest point. I've swiped a picture off Jo-Ann's Web site (where I ordered the kit from).

 Lydia's Stocking

There is beading and metallic thread and lots of fiddly little stitches, but at least it doesn't have French Knots as snowflakes! But if stitching it gets to be too much, I'll take a sanity break and work on a doily.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Free vintage patterns (as downloadable PDFs) of cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, tatting...all kinds of needlework. The files are scans of old publications now in the public domain. (Think: Project Gutenberg for crafters. Some of the publications actually are available through Project Gutenberg.)

Just imagine:

Beeton, Isabella. Beeton’s Book of Needlework Consisting of Descriptions and Instructions, Illustrated by Six Hundred Engravings, of Tatting Patterns, Crochet Patterns, Knitting Patterns, Netting Patterns, Embroidery Patterns, Point Lace Patterns, Guipure D’Art, Berlin Work, Monograms, Initials and Names, Pillow Lace, and Lace Stitches. London: Ward, Lock and Tyler, 1870, 592 pgs. Project Gutenberg e-book, converted to pdf format jac apr2006. An enormous and wonderful book, essential for understanding late Victorian needlework.

Dillmont, Th. de, ed. Bibliotheque DMC Alphabet de la Brodeuse, Lettres, Chiffres, Monogrammes et Ornements points comptés suivis d’une série de modèles avec calques pour Broderie de blanc [DMC Library Embroiderer’s Alphabet, Letters, Figures, Monograms and Ornaments in counted stitches followed by a series of patterns with tracings for white work]. Mulhouse, France: Dollfus-Mieg & Cie, [c.1890], 149 pgs., in French. Scans donated by Digital Archive, reedited jac sep2006 Dazzling patterns for cross-stitch and other charted embroidery – alphabets, borders, medallions, monograms, naval and heraldic symbols, hunting motifs, winter scenes, white work monograms.

Dillmont, Th. de. L'Art Chrétien en Égypte: Motifs de Broderie copte, Première Partie [Egyptian Christian Art: Coptic Embroidery Motifs, part 1] Mulhouse, France: Dollfus Mieg & Cie, [c.1895, approx 60 pgs.]. Scans donated by Sytske Wijnsma, photo edited by Judith Combs may2007. Clear illustrations of simple embroidery stitches that quickly progress to patterns of dazzling complexity. 30 plates, many with thread count notes. French text.

Wilke, Harriet Cushman, ed. Priscilla Cross Stitch Book, A Collection of Useful Patterns with Suggestions for Their Use in Various Styles of Work. Boston: Priscilla Publishing, 1899, 48 pgs (cover missing). Scans donated by Judith Combs aug2006. A classic. Detailed descriptions of the many embroidery stitches used in charted patterns, as well as charts for alphabets, historic, formal and floral borders, church and heraldic motifs, intricate birds, butterflies, flowers. Many of these patterns work for filet crochet, beading, charted knitting, etc.

Okay, I'm going off to drool a while... You'll find the goodies over here.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ravelry vs. Rosalinda

I spent a bunch of time playing on Ravelry today: entering the new thread and yarn into inventory, entering and approving a bunch of pattern information (I got 8 pattern books in the mail today--6 vintage books from an eBay purchase), entering some other projects I've done. That means I spent not-enough time crocheting today. I got through just two more squares on the Rosalinda doily. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to double that output. Then I can work on the last four squares of the doily Saturday. (I'll still have borders to do after the 12 squares are done.)


Finally heard from the vet today. Sam's thyroid meds will stay at the current dosage unless we see more significant weight gain or hair loss.

Jacey starts pills tonight: .4 mg with meals, twice a day. We'll check her status in six weeks (20 September) and decide then if she needs further blood work or a dosage adjustment.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stop me before I shop again!

Michael's is getting rid of some of its crochet thread line. The stuff leaving (DMC Cebelia in anything but white size 10, 20, and 30, I think) is all on sale. Balls of thread that normally go for $4.49 each for $3. Royale size 20 and size 30 thread for $1.50. (I resisted the size 30.) A few colors of discontinued Cameo thread for $1.50 a ball. Two 12-ounce skeins of Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in Faded Denim for $2 each.

And three pattern books...'cause I really don't have enough of those. *eep!*

I'm heading over to the Ravelry site to enter my stash into my inventory there. Maybe if I see the list in front of me I'll embarrass myself.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Today/tonight on Rosalinda: two square motifs are finished and joined; ten to go.

Running Greyhound Table Runner

Last night, instead of working on the new doily, I spent my time finishing and blocking this:

Table Runner

Runner Close-up

The table runner will go to Southeast Greyhound Adoption (SEGA) as a fundraiser for the silent auction in October.

Today, the dogs had vet visits. Ouch! $190+ later, the dogs are pissed (they had blood drawn) and their mom's much poorer. (Heartworm preventatives have gone up substantially.) Blood test results are due tomorrow. It's just to see if Sam needs his thyroid meds adjusted; Jacey needs to start taking meds, and the vet wants to see what the lab results are to start with so he'll have something to gauge against after she's been on the pills for a while. Both dogs are having weight issues they shouldn't be having (no one has changed food or [non]exercise habits), and Jacey's suffering some severe hair loss on her thighs and butt. Thyroid meds usually work wonders. (And at least those pills aren't outrageously expensive.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Singing Dog

I've always thought the theme from The Godfather sounded quite sad and mournful, but this is a new twist.

(Sometimes, Sam whines along with this dog when I play this video.)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Windflower doily

The doily is blocked and finished. The final measured a bit over 16 inches (specs said 17 inches); I think I might have crocheted a bit tight since I used considerably less thread than was spec'd.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Hallelujah! I can count!

My ability to handle numbers was in question after I repeatedly flubbed the running greyhound table runner I'm making for the rescue group to auction off. Tonight, though, I've passed the screw-up point. I've worked the first row of the checkerboard border pattern, and the squares came out right--nothing left over or running short. There are two more rows to work: one where I work the other part of the checkerboard effect, and one where I work all "empty" filet blocks. Then there's a border to work.

But I've passed the danger zone.

(Of course, I stacked the deck in my favor: I'm not watching Gimli and Legolas count bodies as I try to count stitches.)

It's done!

Ouch! The last two rounds were killers. The last round was loaded with picots. Yuck! (She's posted a new design on I'm not volunteering for the new one--it's all picots!)

Windflower Blocking

There'll be a final picture once it's dry. But no large pictures will be posted.