Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Craft-y stuff? I finished the doily for my sister's mother-in-law. That thing is huge! It's blocking right now, and I ran out of blocking board before I ran out of doily. (About 17" x 28".) Bits are hanging off both ends of the blocking board. I've started a color doily (Caro's doily was ecru--pretty, but borrrrr-ring) and it's going quickly. It'll be about 16"...or probably smaller, since I'm way under the gauge. This doily uses a solid medium blue and a variegated aqua/light blue/medium-blue. This is one of the few patterns I've seen where a variegated thread might not battle the stitch pattern to a mutual loss. I've also had an idea for another doily, this one in two solid colors...

I've postponed work on Sam's sweater. I have a coat he can wear if he thinks he needs it (he'll let me know, the fuss budget). That can wait until I need some mindless knitting for Christmas day, while we're sitting around and talking after the presents are opened and before lunch.

In reading, I've finished the sixth Harry Potter. At lunch I'm reading Chocolat, and I'll start the last Harry Potter at bedtime. I got the fifth Harry Potter on DVD last Tuesday, and I've enjoyed it. (I don't go to theaters, so I hadn't seen it before last Tuesday.) I got the Kenneth Branagh Hamlet for my birthday (along with three doily pattern books; Caro's doily came from one of the books). And I just got the Charlotte's Web DVD from Netflix.

Most of my Christmas shopping is done. Mother discovered something I can get my father: flannel pajamas. His current set is getting threadbare, and the elastic is shot. Just think: flannel jammies for my father. I think I'm not allowed to buy him jammies with animals on them or with feet in them. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007


Unfortunately, I said that really loudly at the front door when I saw who the package was from. The dogs don't know the difference between "I haz" and "We haz." They're learning the hard way. (Jacey is sitting next to me on the sofa, with her head by my shoulder. Sam is standing in front of me with his head on my knee. Ah! Togetherness!)

Thank you very much, florafloraflora. The cookies are wonderful.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Craft-y stuff

Sam has a leash burn on one thigh. He did it to himself a week ago. Saturday, he licked and worried at it and made it bleed. He's muzzled when I'm not home, so he can't mess with the sore place while I'm at away. But I'm making him wear his muzzle when I'm home, since that's the only way to get him to leave the thing alone. I'll try to get him to leave it alone tonight; I don't relish the idea of sleeping with a dog wearing a hard, plastic muzzle.

The custom-dyed yarn I ordered arrive, as did my new ball winder. The results:

LS Pumpkin Fingering 2 LS Pumpkin Fingering 4

I even managed to tame the purple tumbleweed. Before and after:

Tumbleweed Tumbleweed Remains

I didn't much like the doily I made my sister's mother-in-law. So Thursday I suddenly decided to make her a different one. This one is 17" x 28", 34 rounds, and is the biggest doily I've ever done. In two days of work, I've done 18 of the 34 rounds (each round gets bigger than the previous one). This one is going so well it's a bit scary...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's a sweater!

As I was wrestling with DPNs to knit the armbands, it suddenly occurred to me: Why am I fighting with these stupid things when I KNOW HOW TO CROCHET!?

IMAG0001 < My "berry" good girl.

I crocheted the armbands.

On Sam's sweater, I'll crochet the whole band around the body of the sweater, too. It's starting to curl on Jacey's sweater (because I knitted it instead of ribbing, it), but I'm okay with that.

Also, make a dog's sweater longer than you think is necessary. Dogs are horizontal, not vertical, and sweaters don't "hang" on them. You can smooth the sweater down, but the second the dog moves, the sweater's gonna inch back up the spine.

Some pig!

Jacey's sweater is going well, although the tumbleweed reared up and bit me. (Actually, it just snarled-up beyond belief and I had to cut and rejoin the yarn.) I just have the bands around the armholes left to do. I'm thinking I might try to work Sam's sweater from the outside of the ball rather than the inside...although that would mean voluntarily removing the ballband and creating another tumbleweed; but working from the outside probably would eliminate those monstrously big, snarled up bits, which grow more frequent as you go. Maybe I'll hold off on starting his sweater until the ball winder arrives (it's been shipped). My custom-dyed yarn has been shipped, too. I'm excited about it.

Purple Tumbleweed

And I've found new patterns on Ravelry, including a clever Charlotte A. Cavatica scarf I'm tempted to try.

My latest Netflix movie has been Amazing Grace. It's a nice costume-drama of the sort the British do so well, and it stars Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Toby Peters, Ciaran Hinds, Michael Gambon, and Nicholas Farrell. It's based on the life of William Wilberforce, crony of William Pitt the Younger and architect of the abolition of the slave trade (and, eventually, slavery itself) in His Majesty's empire. It's nice to see the good guys win one. Eventually.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I wanted to buy a ball winder. I'm finally moving beyond Red Heart and similarly mass-produced acrylic yarns that come in pull skeins, and I'm going to need to wind yarn. (And there are all those collapsed, partially used pull-skeins of Red Heart that could benefit from rewinding.) There was a ball winder on Jo-Ann's two days ago, and today a 20%-off coupon from Jo-Ann's arrived in my e-mail. So I went to order and...yeah, Jo-Ann's is out of ball winders.

So I checked out Herrschners, which has more expensive ball winders. And bigger shipping charges. Winder-plus-shipping was going to be close to $50. So I went to KnitPicks. Ball winder for $39.95, and free shipping for orders over $45. So I ordered a 440-yard ball of laceweight Shimmer (alpaca/silk) yarn for $5.99. (I got the Turquoise Splendor.) I'll get ball winder and yarn for $45.98.

But the ball winder is an imperative. The ballband for the yarn I'm using on Jacey's sweater has torn off. Without that restraint, that pull-skein of boucle yarn has blown up to something the size of a basketball. It's now impossible to take this project with me when I go out. I'm hoping the ball winder arrives soon, before this plum-colored tumbleweed rolls around my living room and scoops up both dogs. Frankly, I'm a little afraid to finish this sweater and tackle Sam's, for fear that ballband will break and I'll have warring tumbleweeds...

I spent a small fortune today on "necessaries": A new tire, oil change, emission inspection (which my 14-year-old car passed with flying colors), and tag-fee/ad-valorem tax for my car. The inspection costs more than the ad-valorem tax. And one tire cost more than both of them. And I shopped at Costco to stock up on Diet Coke and get a few Christmas presents for those people you don't know how to shop for. (Chocolate-covered Belgium cookies for the brother-in-law's brother. Stuff like that.)

While I was sitting in the Pep Boys' waiting room--since I couldn't take Jacey's sweater-plus-tumbleweed with me--I worked on the socks I started knitting back in October, then put aside. After the frustrations of working with boucle yarn that hides all your stitches, it actually was satisfying to work on the socks, where I can see what I'm doing. I'm hating those socks a lot less, now. I'll probably use them as my take-to-work project for a while. I'm on the cuffs--they're a top-down pattern--and I can work on them at lunchtime as long as the pattern stays easy.

In other news: I've reread Harry Potter 1-4, and now I've finished #5. (The fifth movie comes out here on DVD in less than two weeks.) I also watched Macbeth--the Sean Pertwee version--from Netflix. And I've watched Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren; I have to look away from the execution scenes.

I'm going to sit up tonight and work on Jacey's sweater while watching DVDs--maybe Monsters Inc., Shrek, Howl's Moving Castle. Non-bloody, non-nightmare movies. Between Elizabeth I and that babycake video I just posted, I've got a brainful of gore and icky images.
I just ordered some hand-dyed yarn from Lisa Souza. It's a lot of yarn for about $30...a fingering-weight wool to be used for a scarf, and other things. It's nearly 1800 yards (8 ounces) in a color called Pumpkin (center of the third row), a sort of milky orange. The scarf only requires about 350 yards, so there'll be enough yarn left for socks...and other things. I'm also going to order an inexpensive ball winder. The idea of winding that much yarn without a winder is daunting, and I have all kinds of partial skeins--collapsed Red Heart pull skeins--that could benefit from being wound into sensible, compact little balls/cakes.

I've been working on Jacey's sweater. The yarn is frustrating--lovely color and texture, but boucle yarns are hard to knit on. There's no stitch definition: you can accidentally knit a purl row (or vice versa) and not even be able to tell. (When you're knitting in stockinette stitch and can't tell the difference between the front and the back: that's "no stitch definition.") I need to do about 6 more inches on the "tail" of the sweater, then the border band and the arm bands. (The bands were supposed to be ribbing, but there's no point in ribbing when you can't see the stitches.) Then it's on to Sam's sweater. I'm going to experiment with doing his sweater on larger needles. (I dropped two needle sizes from the pattern recommendation to get gauge on Jacey's sweater.) Sam's sweater--knit at the same gauge at Jacey's--would require another 33 stitches in the chest area (153 stitches on his vs 120 stitches on hers), and since he's so much longer, too, I'd be knitting forever. If I use larger needles, I can work fewer stitches per inch, and get his sweater done in about as many stitches as her sweater. I hope. Since I have to invent a pattern for Sam's sweater (the pattern book doesn't have a size large enough for a dog with a 31.5" chest), I might as well invent one with fewer stitches.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Craft-y Stuff

I finished the red booties for Havefaith1's godson's baby. (The red is less orange than what you see in the photo.) The baby will be a Christmas baby, so there are two sets of ribbons in the booties. After the holidays, the parents can pull out the green ribbons and have red booties with white ribbons.

Red Booties

I finished the doily for Caro (my sister's mother-in-law). I've got to remember that certain doilies are not recommended for the spatially challenged--10-point doilies, just for starters. The doily is in cream-colored thread and measures just over 12 inches.

Spring Petals

I've bought a bit of yarn lately. First, there's the yarn I bought for dog sweaters. Here are the dogs--with their sweaters-to-be.

Sam and Yarn Jacey and Yarn

Here's the Misti International "Pretty in Pink" and the Kraemer Silk and Sterling.

Misti Pretty in Pink Sterling Black 2

And I got some garnet DMC Cebelia for a fancy doily for my sister and her husband's next anniversary (their 30th in June). The pattern specified two balls of white, 400 yards per ball. I doubt the doily will use all that; it'll just need something more than 400 yards. But since the Cebelia balls are 282 yards each, I ordered three balls. (The color is off in these photographs.) The pattern is a really unsual design, and I'm looking forward to that one.

Garnet Cebelia 10 3

And I bought some yarn for my Secret Santa on Ravelry, and made a doily for her, too. The yarn is Malabrigo Merino Kettle-Dyed Worsted Weight in the Verde colorway. The doily pattern is "Audrey." The doily measures nearly 20 inches.

Malabrigo Audrey

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wake up, mom!

Nothing like a nice jolt of adrenaline right before bedtime...

I was sitting on the sofa, watching TV, Sam next to me, Jacey on a bed behind the sofa. Jacey suddenly woke up screaming, and got up limping...not putting weight on her front right leg. Talk about shades of Oreo...

But apparently it was just a cramp. After a few steps, she was willing to put her weight on the leg, and a couple of steps further and she stopped limping. Sam came over to give her a sympathy sniff. (He's done the screaming-cramp thing once or twice--one time at 2 am.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

From the Ravelry (knitters and crocheters) database...

From the designer who brought us knitable Daleks comes Hobbit baby booties.

For my Secret Santa...

Yarn or crochet thread of any kind, any color. Surprise me! Challenge me! (I'll find a pattern to make.) My favorite colors are khakis, greenish-greys, mossy greens, etc. Or tomato reds. But I can always make something in a non-favorite color as a present for someone else. (But, you gotta know: socks aren't likely to happen soon.)

Books! My Amazon Wish List is up-to-date. My sister and family shop from the list for my birthday and for Christmas, and my sister probably already has raided the list to shop for the whole family's gifts to me. (My birthday is at the end of November). If you get me something from there, please mark it as purchased. I promise not to peek at the list.

Oh, and chocolate is always good. ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I've been busy...

On my days off, I've been spending time on Ravelry's Help! Chat room or on the Ravelry site itself. I'm editing patterns, talking new users through signing in, and answering questions on forums. Another Raveler with more craft books than she knew what to do with has sent me a huge box of pattern books, mostly crochet--lots of afghans and baby stuff. I've been trying to put together an inventory of the books I have now. Oh, and there's a group of BookCrossers on Ravelry, too. (BCJennyO is there, GreedyReader, Inkognitoh, Tzurriz, Elhamisabel, and a bunch of others.)

And I'm doing craft stuff. I finished a doily last night (I'll block it Monday night and post pictures, Tuesday, I hope). I found a lovely scarf pattern that I want to make after Christmas, and I need to shop for yarn to make it. (Want to express an opinion on colors? I'm looking at this yarn. I sort of like the Melange Moss Grey, which looks much better in the close-up. Or the Tomato on the second page. But I'm planning to shop at a local yarn store, so I can see the colors for real, rather than on-line.) I have a couple of other projects due by Christmas, including that perpetual needlepoint stocking.

The dogs are fine. The increased dosage of thyroid meds is finally helping Jacey. She's dropped some weight--the way she's supposed to on the meds--so I can increase her food quantity back to what it used to be. And her hair is growing back nicely. Sam is--Sam. Still sweet, still goofy, still destructive if you give him half a chance. Now that the weather is a bit colder, both dogs are snuggling with me in my bed all night. They're going in to work with me on Thursday; they need baths.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Baby booties

Another set of booties for the baby of my friend Libby:

Cream Booties

I'm hoping to get a better picture of them tomorrow, in better light. The flash flared back from them, so the stitches are hard to see. The booties are a pale, creamy yellow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dog stuff

Jacey started thyroid pills 9 August: .4 mg morning and night. I had both dogs at the vet last week (for bordatella vaccinations) and had blood drawn from Jacey to check the thyroid levels: barely any change at all, which is what I expected. She hasn't lost any weight on the pills (although weight loss is common, mostly because dogs needing thyroxine usually have put on weight--and she did); and the situation with the hair on her back legs wasn't any better.

So the vet wants to go up 50% on her dose. She'll be getting .4 mg in the morning, but .8 mg at night. I have a supply of .8 mg pills for her and Sam, so this way I don't have to go get pills with a different dosage level. (Sam currently gets .8 mg in the morning, 1.2 mg at night.) About Thanksgiving, I need to remember to compare her condition now with her condition then to see if I think another vet visit and blood test is warranted. (The blood work is $40; I'd like to not have to do it again.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Yellow Sneakers

I've finished one set of baby booties for my friend Libby.

Yellow Sneakers

On to the second pair...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Greymates Calendar


I'm not in the calendar, but friends of mine are. The calendar is a fund-raiser for the local adoption group.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sock yarn!

The yarn I ordered Monday arrived today.

Elann Espirit Indigo Gold 1 Elann Espirit Berry Garden

I'll keep using my cheap stuff for now--my first pair of socks is bound to be wonky, so we'll save the new yarn for after I've had more practice.

Sweet Dreams

I finished the doily I was making. It's called "Sweet Dreams," and it was made for a friend who will be getting it as a surprise.

Sweet Dreams

The doily is about 19" x 14", size 10 thread, worked with a size 7 hook.

I've started knitting socks. Not fun, so far. I'm used to working with two hands and one hook. Now I'm working with two hands and four needles. I don't like those odds. ;

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Alas, poor Yorick...

Yesterday, I went to two local yarn shops looking for good sport-weight sock yarn (I don't want wool, but 100% cotton hasn't got enough stretch. So I was looking for cotton with a bit of Lycra.) One shop has very little yarn--lots of "fabric embellishment" stuff, though--paints and trim. The other shop had lots of yarn--but most of their cotton was 100%. I'd been told Cascade Fixation had what I needed, but I haven't found a local store that carries it. Someone online in a chat room recommended Elann Espirit or their Espirit Print. I ordered yarn in their Print version--Berry Garden and Indigo Gold. I don't know if I'm going to love making socks, but I really like looking at the yarn.

Last night I finished the vest for my sister. It's okay, but I'm not in love with it. ("In love with it" generally means I want to turn around and make another one right away.)

Vest Front_finished

Also, I was chat-room chatting with another Raveler late one night about the Cephalopodalong while I was watching the Branagh version of Hamlet. I commented that it seemed funny to be chatting about the -along while watching everyone and his brother dying in the movie. The Raveler commented: "Just had a strange vision of Hamlet holding up a fibery mollusk instead of Yorick's skull." I couldn't resist the temptation, and this greeted her in her morning email:

Hamlet and Friend

Off to see if I can finish a doily today...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Craft-y bits

I got invited to participate in two -alongs on Ravelry. One is a Cephalopodalong. Yeah, I'm crocheting an octopus. It's silly. And relaxing. I just picked some yarn from my stash--something I don't have enough of to make something serious. The pattern is here. Here's how far I've gotten:

Cephalopodalong 1

The marker is the point where the increases stopped. The ceph will be ten inches below that before the legs start. This is a nice, no-brainer project I can work on during my lunch break at work.

In an effort to get at least one WIP out of the way before I started the octopus, I finished my socks:

Socks 2

The second -along I've joined is My-First-Sock-Along. It has a community here on LJ as well as a group on Ravelry. It's for encouragement and coaching for knitters attempting their first socks. Since my actual first socks were crocheted, I qualify for this group with my first-knitted-socks attempt. I think I'm using this yarn:

Bernat Jade

It's a very soft yarn. 100% acrylic, which may not be wonderful to wear, but this is in the nature of an experiment, anyway, and if they look nice I may want to frame them rather than wear them. The pattern I'm planning to use has a tiny cable in it, so I think the pattern needs this very plain, one-color yarn.

I finished a simple dishcloth from this pattern. I didn't make it very large. It's an interesting pattern, but I don't think I love the way it works up: there are gaps between the blocks of the stitches that I'm not crazy about:


I got pictures of my sister's vest. It still needs to be seamed, and have the ribbing added at the necks and the armholes. And buttons, of course.

Vest front Vest back

I finally got some pictures of the Amore plum and the Homespun prairie yarns I'm planning to use in the coat pattern I found:

Colette Coat yarn

I still have the doily to work on. No pictures, yet.

Work's been fine. There's a new academy class, but I'm taking my vacation time next week (after Monday) and the week after, so I won't have to struggle to get dogs. I have plans for crocheting, genealogy, cemetery-searching, and greyhound stuff during my time off. (Greyfest is next Saturday.) I've stayed busy on Ravelry in my free time...hanging out in their Help! chat room to coach newbies through problems and chat with other Ravelers while I crochet away, and I've set up several states' worth of local yarn store data for Ravelry's data base. (Ravelry is up to more than 16,000 members, now, with another 17,000+ on the waiting list.)

The post office delivered my latest pick from Netflix today: Hamlet (the Brannagh version) finally is available on DVD. It's lovely. I've got pictures to post on Ravelry, then some needlework to do. Maybe I'll get that vest finished. Or work on the needlepoint stocking. Or something.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Craft-y Bits

I ordered some grab-bags of yarn and thread from Elmore-Pisgah, makers of Peaches & Creme cotton yarn and Grandma's Best crochet thread. The bags had some of the crochet thread, which is pretty awful stuff: it's way too fuzzy. If you stitch with it, there's no stitch definition. I may try unwinding some of the balls to see if they get better further in--they may just be fuzzy on the outside from wear and tear.

There also was some yarn--odd lots of various colors, including five balls of this stuff: a cotton yarn in a discontinued colorway called "Passion" (the colors in the picture). I wasn't impressed with it in the ball. (It's paler than the photo: weathered red, light purple, dusty rose, orange, and light green.)

But I had a pattern for crocheted socks that called for worsted weight yarn. I don't want to make socks in wool that I'll have to handwash to keep them from felting. And socks in acrylic yarn--yech! So I figured I'd try some cotton yarn--and there's enough Passion yarn to make a pair. (And one grab bag contained a solid-color weathered red yarn that goes with the Passion, so I can use it at the heels and toes.) I'm being pleasantly surprised by how the yarn works up. The sock pattern might not be great--the jury's still out on that one--but I like the color combination made up much more than I liked it in the ball. Quite often, my feelings about ombre/variegated yarns and threads go the opposite way. And fat cotton socks should be lovely in cold weather. (They'll fit inside my Crocs, even if they don't fit inside other shoes.)

I'm also working on a doily for a friend: I've done halfway through round 18. It's 21 rounds for the main doily, then 6 rows for the two "wings."

And I got two gorgeous sets of yarn for a coat pattern: TLC Amore's plum for the body of the coat (the solid down the page, not the print near the top) and Lion Brand Homespun in Prairie for the edging. (I can't find a good color swatch of Prairie: it's mostly olive green with bits of brown, red, blue, and plum in it.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

I was at an odd spot on several projects (need to seam the vest or do little add-ons on another project) and not in the mood to work on them, so I started another doily yesterday.

I had looked at the picture and glanced at the pattern info. The pattern included lots of cluster stitches (easy to do), V-stitches (also easy), and picots, but the picture didn't look alarming. But then I got into it. 36 picots per round. For several rounds. And for about half of them, I've forgotten to do the chain stitch needed after the picot, so the stitches looked crammed together. Ouch. So I'm frogging what I've done (about 10 rounds) and going to another pattern. It has picots, but they're kinder picots.* And it's a cool-looking doily.

I haven't felt well today--upset stomach. I was lying on the couch, and Sam wanted his dinner. He stood and barked at me for a while, finally decided I wasn't budging, and got up on the couch with me and slept. But I've fed the dogs, and Jacey's on the couch with me now. Yesterday, I went out to pick up the mail. There was a piece of junk mail and on the way to the trash can I tapped Jacey on the head with the envelope. You'd have thought I'd whacked her with a two-by-four. In the 16 months she's lived here, I've never popped her with rolled up paper or anything like that, so her flinching and looking for someplace to run from an envelope has to be something leftover from her previous life. Well, she's going to get tapped on the head by an envelope every day from now on until she understands that it's nothing to be afraid of. Sam's getting tapped, too, by way of a demonstration. He just blinks and looks at me like I'm nuts. Maybe I am, but I hate that Jacey flinches from so much stuff, and I want her to learn that loud noises or pieces of paper tapping her head are not--in themselves--things she needs to fear.

*Picots are worked however the instructions for a piece say. The ones I was doing were chain 4, slip stitch in the third chain from the hook; doing a slip stitch into a little chain is a pain. But the new doily calls for chain 3, slip stitch in the stitch just made, and slip stitching into a real stitch is a lot easier; it's a bigger target. And the picots are only on the last round.

Monday, September 10, 2007


There's a reason that boy's muzzled when I leave the house.

My company has an employee shopping day (double the employee discount) twice a year, so I tend to stock up. The last one was in June, and I bought big. We're still working our way through the goodies, and when I went to work this morning, the front room of the house contained four 40-pound bags of dog kibble and five 60-ounce boxes of Nutro Lamb & Rice treats.

Sam knows this stuff is there. When we're about to go outside, he dashes into this room and lovingly sniffs the bags and paws the boxes, then hustles back to the front door when I snap, "Sam!" Ordinarily, the foyer and the front room are blocked off from the rest of the house by an ex-pen--a sort of doggy playpen made of metal--that's propped in the doorway of the living room. It stands on end, accordion-folded, and I just pull it open to block the doorway, or fold it back out of the way when we go outside. In four years and eleven months in this condo, Sam's never gotten to the other side of the ex-pen on his own. He easily could leap the thing--and never has.

Tonight I got home about 9:45 pm (I left for work at 10 this morning). My first step through the door--something crunched underfoot, and Sam greeted me at the door--on the wrong side of the ex-pen!

Happily, there are still four 40-pound bags of dog kibble in the front room. However, there are only four 60-ounce boxes of dog treats; the fifth box fell victim to Sam.

Sam pushed the ex-pen to the side--got it to slide on the carpet--and got into the front room. (The front room also leads to the pantry-area, which he explored. But he didn't find anything he liked, so, aside from leaving claw marks in the paper towel rolls, he didn't do any harm there.) The Nutro treat boxes are glued very, very well. Then they're shrink wrapped. I've had to take scissors and a knife to hack my way into the box. Poor muzzled Sam couldn't even use his teeth. He did it all with his front feet. Once he got into the box, he spread the treats on the floor of the foyer and on the carpet in the living room. He pushed them under the bathroom door and into the closet where the heater resides. He finally managed to trap a few of the treats against the baseboards in the foyer, and he battered those treats to powder and crumbs with his muzzle.

Clean-up from this incident was much easier than some of the other Sam-episode clean-ups have been. Except for the pulverized treats, the treats were easy to pick up, and there's now a full-to-the-top treat container in the kitchen. (This container is in Sam's reach, he knows the treats are in it, and it would be much easier to open--just flick the latch. He hasn't figured it out...yet.) The pulverized treats were vacuumed easily, while a muzzled Sam watched sadly. (Jacey, still upstairs in her crate, couldn't figure out why mom wouldn't come let her out.)

An exhausted Sam is now asleep on the sofa--on his back with his feet in the air. The poor boy worked very hard today...and didn't get to reap the reward.

But what will happen tomorrow? Will he try to get past the ex-pen again? And if I secure the pen so it won't move, will he just jump over the thing? (He did that when he was penned outside one time and he just decided he didn't want to stay in the pen.) And if he gets over the ex-pen, will he attack the kibble? Or another box of treats? Either way, I'm running out of storage containers. And the only room downstairs that has a door is the bathroom--which isn't big enough to store 160 pounds of kibble and 15 pounds of dog treats. If I have to haul these 40-pound bags upstairs to store them in a spare bedroom, I'm going to be pissed.

Maybe I need to buy another dog crate. Not for Sam--who destroyed a crate (and hurt his feet) in his first foster home--but for the dog food!

An old photo...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Craft-y Bits

Sam and Jacey went to work with me today. This means they missed lots of nap time. They're both sleeping like the dead now. But they're clean, and they smell good. I'm pooped and about to turn in.

I'm going to rip out what I've done on Jacey's sweater. This patten probably would work on a big, round dog. It isn't going to work on a long, skinny dog who's just got a big chest. (That's right: a sweater pattern that doesn't look terrific on a busty girl!) Both dogs have fleece coats. If they need extra warmth, I can put one of my tee-shirts on each dog before I put the coats on them. But this is the second time I've tried to make sweaters for the dogs, and I think I'm going to find something else to do with this yarn. (I already have plans...) Enough! already.

I finished the front-right of the vest I'm making my sister. It works up very quickly, although there are some glitches in the pattern. For one thing, following the pattern would have resulted in armhole shaping at the waist rather than at the shoulders. (Details, details...) Nothing like having a pattern that keeps you awake. The yarn is a lovely cornmeal color, and my red-headed sister is one of the few people I know who can wear yellow without looking jaundiced.

RHSS Cornmeal

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Errors in the vest pattern

The crocheted vest pattern I'm working from is not for beginners. There are some errors in the pattern that you can figure out or work around if you're experienced, but they'll bite you if you aren't experienced. And they're silly, pointless errors. (If you make the small size and work as instructed, your armhole spacing will be on the wrong part of the front; it's a matter of the pattern wrongly giving the same instruction whether you're on an even-numbered row or an odd in a spot that makes a difference.)

Button, button, who's got the...

Does anyone know the reasoning behind the traditional "worthless" button on a vest--the bottom button (or buttonhole, at least) that doesn't get used?

I'm crocheting a vest for my sister. The instructions quite clearly tell you to buy six buttons. And make seven buttonholes. Sure enough, if you look at the picture of the vest: six buttons, and--if you know where to look--one lonely, unused buttonhole at the bottom.

I've made the seven buttonholes. But I may buy seven buttons and give my sister the option of buttoning the last button or not--as she chooses. At least she won't be left wondering why there's a hole in the bottom of the front band on her vest.

I felt awful this morning--sore throat and allergy trouble. I went to work anyway, but I came home after a couple of hours. I only had two dogs on the books (for a 10-hour day), and this way someone else can get the dogs and I'll actually make more in sick-pay than I would have made in commissions.

I had worked a couple of rows in Jacey's sweater while I was sitting in the parking lot, waiting until it was time to go inside. After I came home, I worked some on the needlepoint stocking. Then I finished up a crocheted dishcloth (experimenting with a strange pattern--it works okay, but it's unusual). So now I'm working on the vest for my sister, which means I've worked on four out of five works-in-progress today. If I work on the fifth one this evening, it'll be to rip out what I've done: I'm so far over gauge on the width, that I need to rework the piece and leave out at least one set of shell-repeats for either front (which I haven't gotten to) and two sets of shell-repeats from the back (which I've started and worked about 4 inches' worth--of 25 inches). I don't mind redoing what I've done since (a) I'll have fewer stitches to work on the redo and (b) I botched the edges in this crocheting-from-a-chart business, but I think I know how it's supposed to go now.

I'm working tomorrow. I expect we'll be dead all day. Sam and Jacey are going with me to get baths.

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 crochetville.com. 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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Windflower doily

It's going smoothly on my test of the doily pattern...going much more smoothly than the previous one did. I'm working this in Cebelia's Horizon Blue:

10 Cebelia 799

I'm on round 22 (of 32), and I'll probably get another round (or two) done tonight. Work tomorrow, then off on Thursday, when I hope to finish the doily.

Okay, I jinxed it. The pattern got goofy at the end of round 22--a section was missing. At least I know enough to know there's a problem. I've e-mailed the designer, and I should get a reply before I get back to work on the doily Wednesday night.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Testing, testing...

I just e-mailed off an offer to test another doily for that designer...

Edited to add: She's sending me the pattern tonight or tomorrow, and I'll get started tomorrow (Monday) night. I'm thinking this Delft blue: 

10 Royale 0480 Delft 

But I'm open to suggestions. Take a look over here to see if there's something you like better. Pick any of the solid colors (so not the metallics and not the shaded); pick something with a name that starts with "10" (that's the thread size and almost everything is a 10). Make comments there on Flickr or over here. (Hers was done in cream--a pale, pale yellow. I want to do something different...)

Friday, July 27, 2007

A well-mannered little girl

Jacey has such good manners...even when her mom is forgetful.

The procedure around here is that I eat my Lean Cuisine, then let Jacey take a few licks at the tray, then let Sam polish it and lick until the embossed recycle logo vanishes from the bottom of the tray.

Tonight, I was engrossed in my LJ Friends page. I finished my Lean Cuisine and put the tray down, out of reach of the dogs. Jacey, lying quietly at my feet, just gave one of those little moans. You know. The kind you give when you see a chocolate dessert carried past you in a restaurant when you're on a diet.

She got her licks at the tray, and Sam is polishing now.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Shawl

I've frogged the shrug I hated so much, and I've started a shawl for me. This is a no-brainer: 30 sc across each row, repeat until you reach the desired length. It's a perfect project to take to the store to work on at my lunch break.

The shrug was awful (Can you say, "fuzzy strait-jacket"?), but the yarn was very nice: Lion Brand Homespun in Colonial:
Homespun Colonial

Baby Afghan...

The baby afghan I made for a friend's grandbaby-to-be has arrived safely at her house (thank you, USPS).

The fancy doily I made back in May was from a pineapple-pattern called "Exquisite," and I made the doily in cream-colored thread. I had already picked a cream-colored yarn for the baby afghan, and I stumbled on a pineapple-pattern for an afghan named "Exquisite"--it seemed meant-to-be:

Baby afghan

Update explanation

I have a blog on LiveJournal that has included craft-related posts. But that blog is locked as Friends-only, and those posts and comments are not visible to casual viewers such as the ones who visit me on www.ravelry.com. So I'm copying my old craft posts from LJ to my journal here on Bloglines, editing out personal/friends-only information, and backdating the entries here to match the entries on LiveJournal. From today on, I'll be posting craft-related posts simultaneously to my two blogs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This project is cursed...

In the past few days, I've finished up a baby afghan and a shawl (pictures later). I've gone back to working on the accursed greyhound table runner. I have 12 rows to go (plus the edging), and I haven't omitted any of the border checkerboard blocks. And, near as I can tell, I haven't misplaced any of the blocks, either. Fingers crossed, but it looks like third time might be the charm.

(Actually, it took three tries before I worked out a shawl I liked: this one isn't triangular, but is just a nice, long rectangle. But it seems to be taking multiple tries before I can get things to work out, lately.)

Oh, honestly! Talk about an accursed project: I took a break in typing this to take Sam and Jacey outside. When we came back in, Sam darted ahead to sniff around where I'd been working to see if I'd left anything for him to eat. (I hadn't.) When I came back into the living room, he jumped down from where he'd been on the sofa (he knows better than to sniff around at that end of the sofa) and ran back across the room so he could look all innocent...and he hooked the damned crochet thread with his collar and unraveled nearly half of the most recent, carefully counted row.

Originally posted: 24th-Jul-2007 12:12 am

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dog hazard...

I'm on the sofa, crocheting away while I watch Pride and Prejudice (Garson & Olivier) and now The Importance of Being Earnest. Sam, after sleeping on the floor for a while, decided to get up on the sofa to sleep. I went to unwind some more yarn and discovered that Sam was sleeping on it--and he refused to move. So I had to slide my hand around under him, then peel his 65 pounds off the sofa so I could retrieve my yarn.

In other news: I got my invitation to www.ravelry.com, where I'm KathyInGeorgia. (They don't allow hyphens or underscores in screen names, and KFInGeorgia or KFinGeorgia looks a bit strange to me.) I'll be having fun over there...

Originally posted: 21st-Jul-2007 10:18 pm

The dwarf and the elf are killing me!

I'm sitting here, carefully counting my stitches as I crochet while The Return of the King plays in the DVD player. But as I'm counting, Gimli and Legolas are in the background, counting their enemies as they dispatch them. 

There's one too many sets of numbers in the air...

Originally posted: 21st-Jul-2007 12:49 pm

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gorgeous doilies, a shawl

I'm envious as all-get-out. Go here and click on any one of those five sets. Just look at those gorgeous things! Yeah, they're pretty when you click on the individual photos, but the array in thumbnail view is stunning! I wish I had (a) her courage where color use is concerned, and (b) enough time to produce work like that. And talent, too. Some of these feature very difficult techniques.

I haven't yet ripped out the filet-crochet-gone-wrong. I'll probably give it another try, when I will rip out rows 5 and 6 and redo and hope for better results. Meanwhile, I'm working on a shawl, making up the pattern as I go. (It's more-or-less a triangle. As long as it has more-or-less three points, how wrong can I go?)

Originally posted: 19th-Jul-2007 09:06 pm

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Crochet rant redux

And if it goes wrong again, I'm just going to make a donation to SEGA and call it done. Some things aren't worth the trouble...

Working my way back across the table runner, got to the end of row 6...and spotted an error at the beginning of row 5: I skipped the filled block in the checkerboard-type border. This is exactly the same error I made before, and it's fake-able, but it's infuriating; fixing it properly means ripping out rows 6 and 5--with no guarantee that I won't make exactly the same error again. What's really infuriating is that I've been carefully checking my rows to make sure all the blocks were present--and they have been--but haven't spotted when a block is present but not properly filled.

Where's my damned checkbook...?

Originally posted: 18th-Jul-2007 12:20 pm

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A crochet rant*

My life is relatively stress-free right now (I refuse to think about work on my day off), and my biggest problem today is crochet-related. So welcome to my complaint about something that holds no major ranking in the problems of the universe. Sometimes it's nice to have trivial problems.

I'm working on a table runner that I plan to donate to SEGA for sale at their fall festival. (I'm not doing another life-sized greyhound--I'm not that crazy.) I'm making the table runner using a thread that is cotton with a metallic accent. This stuff is tricky to work with: just the pressure of your fingers as you hold the thread to work can force the thread to untwist a bit; the longer you work, the more you untwist, and the more you force one section to untwist the more another section of the thread twists back to compensate. Thus, you wind up with a handful of twisty thread, and every stitch makes it worse...unless, of course, you can force yourself to hold the thread loosely--which is not as easy as it sounds.

The table runner is in what's known as filet crochet (both those -et endings are pronounced -ay: filay crochay). In filet crochet, you have a grid, and the design is caused by filling in some of the squares on the grid. When you work a long series of filled-in squares, it's easy to get off track a bit, since every square on your grid actually is three stitches, and if you get off by just one stitch, you can screw up how many open squares ought to grow back out of the solid patch. This isn't necessarily a problem, unless your design has a border that consists of alternating open and filled squares like a checkerboard--yeah, a border like this pattern has.

So I fought the twisting threads. I compensated quite neatly for a mistake I made (and noticed two rows later): I left a square open when it should have been filled, but I was able to fill it in with a bit of thread I attached especially for the purpose (and the "fix" was perfect and unnoticeable). But I came out of the solid greyhound part with one fewer squares than I was supposed to have, and I had no neat way to grow a new square. And when I unraveled back to where I had made the open-square error--figuring if I had to rip stuff out, I might as well fix that error, too--I still didn't have the right number of stitches. And I wasn't really happy with the beginning chain of the piece (sometimes the chain is really loose; often your border will cover the foundation chain, but not in this piece). And while the overall piece was the right width, it was too short--stitches weren't standing tall enough. (That probably would have been corrected by blocking, but still, that was just one more thing wrong with the piece...)

So I ripped out back to the beginning: 25 of 29 rows were done, and it was close to 18 hours of work (some work Sunday, and I've worked at least 12 hours today). I'm going to give this one more try--keeping a really loose grip on the thread, and using tons of stitch markers (every tenth grid square, for crying out loud) and moving the stitch markers on every row so I can make sure from row to row that I have the proper number of stitches.

And if it goes wrong again, I'm just going to make a cash donation to SEGA and call it done. Some things aren't worth the trouble...

*I know I called this a rant, but I can't work up the energy--or anger--for a proper rant. Let's just call this a complaint.

Originally posted: 17th-Jul-2007 10:05 pm

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where have we seen this before?

The recent picture, taken in Augusta, Georgia:

Look familiar?


Where will Mom sleep?

Yes, we've arrived safely. Some of us are sleeping off the ride.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Need some good kitchen help?

Jacey is available.

When she hears your microwave timer go off, she will run to the kitchen to supervise you as you remove your dinner (not hers!) from the microwave.

If, by chance, you've gone stone deaf--or if you're just a bit busy and don't immediately leap to your feet when the timer goes off--Jacey will come back from the kitchen and stand over you--whining and fussing--until you go to the kitchen to get your dinner (not hers!). Then she will follow you back to wherever you sit to eat dinner (me, in the living room), and watch you eat every bite. And then she'll follow you back to the kitchen when you take the empty dish.

And if you should be so uncoordinated as to spill the tiniest drop of your dinner (not hers!), she'll clean it up, even if it means licking every square inch of carpet within four or five feet of the spill.

And she'll do all this while absent-mindedly burping her own dinner...

Monday, July 9, 2007

The blocked, finished doily

Summer's Blush

I need to practice my blocking skills. It's hard to block round--and especially oval--doilies and keep them symmetrical. (I do have a blocking board marked in circles, but the circles wouldn't have been a huge help...and the board was too small for this piece, which wound up measuring about 15 by 13.) Also, I probably should reblock the leafy insides of this and stretch the clusters properly.

That will have to wait for another time. I was working on a baby afghan when this testing opportunity arose, and I want to get back to the afghan. (I'd like to get it finished this week...then take something else--something smaller--with me to Augusta for the weekend.)

Originally posted: 9th-Jul-2007 10:02 am

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Summer's Blush doily

I'm all kinds of excited here. I get to test a new pattern for a terrific doily designer over on Crochetville. Woo hoo!

Originally posted: 5th-Jul-2007 09:56 am

Monday, July 2, 2007


The afghans are finished.

That's Big

They measure about 50 by 77 inches. Precisely folded, one will just fit inside an office file-storage box. So now I just need to wrap the two boxes.

It just fits

The camera wouldn't cooperate on the large picture of Daniel's afghan, but it was the same stripe pattern as Ashley's:


The colors are still (perpetually) off in the photos: the blue in Daniel's afghan is darker, and the teal in Ashley's afghan is greener.

And, just because I like doing the numbers: each afghan was something in excess of 29396 stitches.

Originally posted: 2nd-Jul-2007 03:32 pm

An announcement...


Pictures, measurements, details, etc., should be posted later today. I'm going to bed now.

Originally posted: 2nd-Jul-2007 01:17 am

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm flying...

12 days to go. I've done three of the seven border rounds on both afghans; eight rounds (total) to go. And I'm off work on Friday.

The pattern runs thus:

Daniel's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border: BBBAAAA
Ashley's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border: BBBAAAA

What's underscored is completed.

Originally posted: 28th-Jun-2007 09:59 pm

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's a new countdown...

14 days to go. I'm through the body for both afghans: 172 rows each. I've woven in all the loose ends; that had to be done so the border could be worked over those ends.

So I'm left with the border rounds to work. I'm planning 7 rounds per afghan (if there's enough yarn). So that's 14 rounds--in 14 days. One round probably will take 90 minutes or so to work.

The pattern runs thus:

Daniel's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border: BBBAAAA
Ashley's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border: BBBAAAA

What's underscored is completed.

Originally posted: 26th-Jun-2007 09:20 pm

Monday, June 25, 2007

Afghan countdown...

15 days to go. Daniel's afghan: 148 of 207 rows--59 rows to go. Ashley's afghan: 160 172 of 207 rows--35 rows to go (the border). Need to average 6.3 rows a day.

The pattern runs thus:

Daniel's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border*: BBBAAAA
Ashley's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border*: BBBAAAA

What's underscored is completed.

*One border round has been figured as the equivalent of 5 rows.

I'm off from work on Tuesday, so I'm hoping to get a bunch done. My next day off after Tuesday is Friday.

Originally posted: 25th-Jun-2007 11:51 pm

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Flying along...

17 days to go. Daniel's afghan: 148 of 207 rows--59 rows to go. Ashley's afghan: 140 160 of 207 rows--47 rows to go. Need to average 6.2 rows a day.

The pattern runs thus:

Daniel's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border*: BBBAAAA
Ashley's: 12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A 8B 4A 8B  12A--then the border*: BBBAAAA

What's underscored is completed.

*One border round has been figured as equal to 5 rows.

Originally posted: 23rd-Jun-2007 10:56 pm

Friday, June 22, 2007

Afghan countdown...

18 days to go. Daniel's afghan: 138 148 of 207 rows--59 rows to go. Ashley's afghan: 128 140 of 207 rows--67 rows to go. Need to average 7 rows a day.

The pattern runs thus:

Daniel's: 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A--then the border: BBBAAAA
Ashley's: 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A 8B 4A 8B 12A--then the border: BBBAAAA

What's underscored is completed.

It's still bad color...

Originally posted: 22nd-Jun-2007 08:13 pm