Friday, September 26, 2008

Jacey copies her mom.

I'm on the sofa, knitting a baby sweater. Jacey is lying on the dog bed at my feet. (Sam is asleep next to me.)

As I try to pull out more yarn from the skein, there's a snag. Literally. The yarn doesn't move freely.

I look down and find Jacey, chin and forefoot resting on my ball of yarn.

When I ask her to move, she looks up, then rolls over on her side...and clutches my ball of yarn between her front feet.

Wonder if she wants to go to the LYS with me on my next trip. Clutching yarn, squeezing yarn, petting yarn...

She'd probably enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's been quiet.

DSC00670 Vintage Rose

It's been very quiet. I've been knitting my fingers off--and sent two items (a crocheted doily and a knitted feather-and-fan scarf) off to SEGA to sell in the silent auction at Greyfest. I'm working on two baby sweaters, and I'm playing with the pattern, frogging, and reknitting to get decreases I like. (I've gotten the kinks out of the increases--that part's fine.)

SSK K2tog front
I like this one. Tidy and unobtrusive.

SSK K1 K2tog and purl front
Less happy with this one. Too "look-at-me" obvious.

I've bought yarn for a third baby sweater and for two me-sweaters (a Wonderful Wallaby and a February Lady Sweater), and I'm still working on Sam's sweater, although it hasn't gone well. (I frogged back three inches of gacked up ribbing. Sam wouldn't care, but I would. And I can knit better than that--usually.)

I have vacation time coming up and no money to go anywhere. I'm planning to stay home and knit and listen to audio books. The first day of vacation is Greyfest, so that will be busy and hectic. Day 2 of vacation is the condo association board meeting (blech!), and I may give my proxy to someone else and let them be bored witless; I think we're not expecting any fights this year. There's also the Cobb County Library sale, held on the second weekend of my vacation. And I have to run a bunch of errands: get grooming tools sharpened (ack! $$$!), get paperwork signed so I can file insurance claims on the expensive Sam, and I'll early-vote.

Let's see: the third baby sweater, two me-sweaters, Sam's sweater, a doily for a friend who's just moved to a new place, and a full queue of other things on Ravelry. Oh, and the Molly Weasley sweater to knit and crochet. And only 16 days off. I think I'm gonna need a time warp.

The dogs are fine. Things are very slow at work, so I came home at lunchtime, grabbed the dogs, and took them back with me for baths. The clean dogs are sulking a bit--but they smell very nice, and have clean ears and Dremeled-short nails.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Elephants never forget...

...or so they say.

Neither do greyhounds.

Sam is sprawled on his back here on the sofa, sound asleep. He's got his front legs stretched out, with his feet in my face. I can touch his right foot--wiggle his toenails, poke his toes, play with the joints--and he continues to sleep soundly.

Touch the scar on his left foot? His eyes snap open and he looks at me, all offended-like. He gives a big, huffy sigh, and rolls onto his side, with his feet safely out of my reach.

Oh, well. It's one way to get his feet out of my face. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunday's weather...

I was looking at the forecast on of ragweed here. Sunday's weather--aside from the ragweed issue--looks like it'll be a problem:

Pollen-dot-com forecast for Sunday

Dewpoint: 819F ??

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kissing Cousins--Not!

Greys Robin Hood is a greyhound in foster care here in Georgia. He's a very tall, very long, 80-pound white-with-black 3-year-old greyhound. With a high prey-drive.

I saw his photo on a friend's blog and thought he looked a lot like my 5-year-old Jacey, so I went to the Greyhound Racing and Breeding Database and entered Robin and Jacey (fka Pinerun Torri) so that both dogs would show up on the same screen. It turns out they're cousins (that's first cousins once removed). Jacey's grandpa and Robin's great-grandpa are the same, a dog named Greys Statesman. (Greys Statesman is Jacey's only US-registered grandparent; the other three were all registered in Ireland.)

Robin's markings are very distinctive. The boy's got a patch of white that looks like a Texas Longhorn. You can see his interesting logomark--and hear a bit more about him--on my friend's blog here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Monday was my day off. I was up late Sunday night working on a proofreading job. Then I got up early Monday to work on files for the greyhound group (premium lists for upcoming lure coursing events...I've got one page of forms left to create). I worked on the files all day, but by evening I was itching to get my hands on some yarn.

I've been asked to test a dog sweater pattern. The pattern is for a crocheted sweater. The pattern comes in 16 sizes (or something like that). I've looked at the pattern, and I don't like it. Crocheting to the gauge given is going to create a very stiff sweater that nearly could stand up on its own (armor-plated winter wear, anyone?). Crochet doesn't stretch the way knitted fabrics do, and this pattern is going to require you to haul the dog's feet through armholes, something that's do-able on a knitted sweater, but not-so-much on a crocheted one. And because greyhounds are such big dogs, making the sweater would take a lot of time. I don't want to invest that kind of time on a sweater I'll never force Sam into. So I think I'm going to bail on testing the pattern. I know the designer will be disappointed, but I'm not going to feel guilty about this.

So, of course, having been all-kinds-of-disappointed with this crocheted sweater project, I started a new sweater for Sam--a knitted one. I got some lovely Lion Brand Wool-Ease (80% acrylic, 20% wool, and machine washable and dryable) in a blue heather:


There's forest green heather for Jacey:


The pattern is a side-buttoning sweater designed specifically for greyhounds. It has a turtleneck that can be folded down or left unfolded for better protection for the dog's ears. Rather than forcing the dog's legs through armholes, there's a chest-flap that goes under the dog's chest and buttons at the side (no fumbling for buttons under the dog, where you can't see them). It's a very simple rib-stitch pattern, but there are nice finishing features that make this a very professional pattern. The pattern is available as a free PDF.

At this point, I now have three sweaters on needles: a tank top and an adult BSJ for me, and the sweater for Sam. I don't have any crochet projects in the works right now, although I need to make a Kitty Squid for a coworker's cats. I finally got photos of the Square Flair doily once the blocking was finished:

Square Flair

That's 21" square, in ecru thread.

Wednesday night I'll try to finish the greyhound files so I can email the PDFs to the event field chairman. I work an early shift on Thursday, and after work I want to go to the Hobby Lobby in Austell. (I've never shopped at that one; among other things, I want to get aluminum size 8 DPNs if I can find them.) I'm off work on Friday, and I hope to get some knitting done. The weather forecast this week calls for thunderstorms, and I hope we'll get some nice rain. But, in the usual way of forecasts, today's "60% chance of thunderstorms" translated into overcast skies--and no rain.

The dogs are fine. And lazy. Jacey's weight may finally be starting to the right direction.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Three days off.

Three consecutive days off. That doesn't happen often.

But I worked on Labor Day, and I've been off Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Back to work for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's been lovely.

* * *

Sam's foot is healing very well. The staples came out a week ago today. The scab is all gone. There's scar tissue, some of which may be hidden once his shaved hair grows back. He's been a very good patient. Well, good except for the screaming part. ;)


* * *

I spent most of my time off working on a doily that got out of hand. I finished the stitching today, and the doily is blocking now.


The doily pattern is called Square Flair, and it was designed by the legendary Elizabeth Hiddleson. The pattern was published in the June 1987 issue of Magic Crochet. The directions specified "US Size 7" for the hook size to produce a doily that was 17" square; the directions didn't specify hook size in mm. I used a Boye size 7, 1.65 mm, but I now think the magazine meant a Bates size 7, 1.50 mm. My finished doily is 21" square, and I had to buy additional thread since the 310 yards specified in the magazine didn't get me even close. I generally hit gauge or, on patterns with tall stitches like this one's treble-crochet, I fall short of gauge. This one is so much larger than specified that I think the hook size has to be the cause. I've left warning notes on the pattern entry on Ravelry, so future stitchers can be warned about the size. Size and gauge in a doily generally aren't critical...unless you're making something to fit a specific space. The doily blocks out just fine, and I'll post better photos once I get this off the blocking board.

* * *

One stitcher on Ravelry has made herself a woman's-medium-sized "baby surprise jacket" using three skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, size 13 needles, and the original BSJ pattern. I had three skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, I bought a size 13 circular needle, and I'm knitting away to see what I get. I like the colors in the yarn (they don't photograph well): there's green, purple, blue, and red.

Homespun Prairie

The other Raveler modified the pattern in a way I'm not crazy about, but it used less yarn that way, and I might need to do something like that. We'll see.

* * *

I haven't used any of my vacation time this year. I have 10 vacation days and 2 discretionary days to use, and I've signed up to take off from 4 October through 19 October. That will have me off for Greyfest (the 4th), then the next two weeks...three weekends in total. I can't afford to go anywhere, but I'm looking forward to two weeks of knitting and crocheting while I listen to audio books, hanging out quietly with the dogs, and doing a bit of cleaning around here. It'll be days* like the last three have been, and I'm going to enjoy it.

*These last three days, I've listened to Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and A Morbid Taste for Bones on audio books.