Our Little Devil!

DSCN0645 The Knight and I both thought it was the perfect costume. The Prince had other ideas. (Maybe next year, I’ll make a felted crown instead?) Yep, that is Pop’s hand you see on the right, helping Mugsy pose for the ding dang photo.

Okay, it’s too small. We were pretty sure our boy needed a large, but there were none to be found in the costumes we liked. The extra large looked huge. (Note to self: Mugsy ain’t skin ‘n bones.) So, it wasn’t comfortable, and the head piece fit not at all, really. That didn’t stop my mother inlaw (let’s call her MJ since everyone else has some sort of name) and Pop from TRYING to cram Mugsy’s thick neck and swelled head into the bit o’ fabric. DSCN0644

DSCN0647 It COULD have been a cute costume. See the potential?!

We did have one “treater.” It’s hard to even threaten a trick or treat when you’re about a pound and move from one human’s hands to another. DSCN0649_edited-1 Abby’s sweater fits perfectly! I’m tickled pink, as I had to really fudge the pattern to attempt to make it small enough for the bitty gal. The fact that she moves comfortably in this sweater makes me happier than you can imagine. There’s room for a bit of growth, but a slightly larger wool version in self-striping sock yarn is in my queue.

Facts:

Pattern – Dandy Dog Sweaters, Mocked Cable by Fiber Trends
Needles – size 6 straights, size 5 dpns
Yarn – TLC Baby in White Sparkle
Modifications – Too many to list. Everything was shorter.

An exceptionally quick knit, and truly, probably the most gratifying yet. Abby is content, her owners are stupid-happy, enough so that they brought her up to our house (gee, a whopping 1/2 mile away!) for me to see. DSCN0648_edited-1

Now, back to packing. The laptops are going, as is the never-ending Tofutsie sock (I love this yarn and pattern, and I hate that it keeps getting shuffled aside!), Fred’s Yarn for the Knight’s sock, and a certain blue alpaca lace. MJ’s birthday socks might go too, because I plan on lots of down time, which means lots of knitting. Transit to and from alone will afford me 8 hours of knitting!

PS – If I settle on a yarn for the cabled headband, that’s going too.

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More Sad News

October is really testing me. I’ve noted it as my favorite month several different times, but October, 2007, will go down in history as a rough one.

Please, PLEASE pop over to Michelle’s blog right away and wish her whole family well. They’ve known since before the move that Chewy was terminally ill, but the end still came suddenly. Keep Murphy (their other dog) in your prayers too; like poor Mugsy, the older “sibling” is left behind, so we have to hope and pray that they live unreasonably long, healthy lives, so their humans don’t face such extreme grief too soon again. (Selfish, I know.)
I’m so sorry I missed meeting you, Chewy. You were a beautiful, well-loved girl, who loved well in return.
And October? I won’t be sorry to see you go this year. Bring on November, the beach and the celebration of thanks. I do have so much for which to be thankful, and hopefully, it will be easier to see those blessings with the black shadow of October behind us.

Hello? Hello??

We’re bored. We – that’s me, plus Pop (the Knight’s 86 year old grandfather), Mugsy and Shadow – have resorted to reading old trade magazines (Pop), napping in the sun (the dogs) and that leaves me REALLY bored. Pop is always my entertainment when no one else is around, but with his nose in a magazine, it falls to YOU to keep me awake, amused and otherwise engaged.

So, since I’m finally realizing November is RIGHT HERE and that means Thanksgiving and a confirmed visit from Anne (coming for two Thanksgivings in a row makes it a sustainable tradition, right?), I’ll share some of my favorite photos from my favorite holiday.

LakeM_003 That’s my all-time favorite photo of Pop. It captures his best personality. There’s also a very cranky, demanding old man personae, but you don’t care to meet that one.

Deep Fried Turkey My apologies to my vegan pals, but that’s about the only way I like turkey. The Knight and Dae (aka: my father inlaw) can deep-fry a turkey with the best of ’em. The Knight is the resident carver, but here, one of the ladies preps it for the carving.

I’m really excited about the stack of pumpkin recipes Gaylen sent me too. Pumpkin is a food group in our house, for the next few months anyway. They’ll be going to the beach with us. I’m really hoping the Knight will adore my version of the beach. We’ve always done the beach his way, which is to say, Myrtle Beach. Myrtle’s okay, but when I think beach, I think Outer Banks, and I’m looking forward to having a house to call our own, and having Mugsy with us. Cutting the travel time almost in half won’t hurt either.

I’m thinking it’s about contest time again too. Keep your eyes open; Thanksgiving will mark my one-year of knitting anniversary, and I’m certainly thankful for all that knitting has brought to my life, especially my friendships with so many of you.

Now that I’ve bored you too, we’ll call this post done.

FO, WIP and More

Before the FO-news: Rush over to Robin’s blog and catch her contest. Let’s really shock her with the number of comments!

Well, D-snuggle is finished, and it worked well this morning on the way to work and again on the cold, poured concrete floor in the office. (It works well enough at home that the Prince would rather not be disturbed for posing.)
The vitals:

Yarn: Ella Rae Amity. I liked it well enough for this project, but it doesn’t drape well enough for anything other than blankies and snuggles. It felt good enough sliding through my fingers, but it’s got that acrylic “fuzz” thing going on. There were knotted joins in both skeins, which again, for a snuggle Mugsy is going to dig and scratch in is fine, but I definitely wouldn’t be pleased if I was using it for a sweater for me, which was the reason I wanted to try this yarn.

Needles: The trust KP Options with the metal tips this time, because Anne warned that I’d need to scratch and dig a bit on those P3 combos. I don’t think I split more than a couple of stitches, and they were easily fixed.

Pattern: Mostly Anne’s, but I did cast on 121 stitches and knitted until Mugsy’s rump was covered. I can’t say enough about this cushy daisy stitch, which is wonderfully dense enough to keep a sweet doggy bottom warm on a cold floor or car seat.

Then, I cast on several times, with three different yarns, for little neighbor Abby’s first coat. It’s a Fiber Trends pattern, done with a sport weight yarn instead of worsted, so it should be small enough to fit the wee lass. Of course, the great thing about knitting for little ones is be they human or canine, I’m about halfway on the back portion now. (Not in this photo, but we had a brief DSL not working episode.) It’s very girly, and I wouldn’t want to wear this stuff next to my skin – the flecks of color are rather coarse – but I think Abby will enjoy it.

Then, there are the flowers. The Knight made me move them off the kitchen island, so the photo isn’t as great, because I couldn’t just shove my nose and the camera into the blooms, but what’s a girl to do!? The man wanted room to cook, and who am I to argue!?

Last, but oh so hardly least, my little splurge on more NH Knitting Mama yarn arrived today. You can get your own here. I am looking forward to knitting with the alpaca lace next week, and if that jade is still there, watch out!!

Do a Dollop of Daisy

With respects to the Daisy Sour Cream folks (the brand of choice in our house, if you care), I have been grinding away on Mugsy’s snuggle, and hope to call it finished this evening. I can’t say enough about this cushy, fun little stitch, which Anne introduced me to in yet another Anne-written dishcloth pattern, which you can find here. Of course, mine looks significantly different than hers, because we knit using different styles, and my variegated yarn doesn’t show the pattern so clearly. Still, I am content, Mugsy will be warm, so very little else matters.

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Much of D-Snuggle’s progress (Mugsy’s a boy, and doesn’t care to have a Daisy Blankie, thanks much) was made during Saturday’s gadding around the Commonwealth. (Virginia isn’t really a state, if you care. I mean, it’s one of THE States, but…) On our way to the rest of our adventures, we stopped by to say farewell to Lola and Paula at Limerick Fibres. Pout. Sniff. I did secure a few items for my stash, including a bulky alpaca for Monica’s Eyelet Capelet, some sock yarn (I’m buying in green these days, if anyone is taking notes), and some acrylic blends for more snuggles. I also picked up a Fiber Trends dog coat pattern, because as soon as D-Snuggle comes off the needles, Abby’s snuggle goes on, then, a wee, bitty coat for the tiny gal.
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The Knight never flinched, never asked what I spent, NOTHING, which is a clue. Next stop was Sheetz, where the Knight earned his title yet again. I sat in the truck knitting of course, but he brought out a Starbucks Frappacino Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha. OH.MY.GOODNESS. If I didn’t know better, I’d drink nothing else until the limited edition disappeared from store shelves. (Yo! Blogger! Frappacino is *SO* a word…)
At the NEXT stop, Gander Mountain, I found out why the Knight was non-pulsed by my big bag of yarn. He just chuckled and kept walking when I picked up a Camelbak and noted that I would never be bitchy again if I could wear one filled with the above-mentioned nectar every day, but we did pick up some things he needed and a couple of gifts.
From there, we had an early dinner with my beloved aunt and uncle. Sigh. Everyone needs a favorite aunt and/or uncle, and the Knight and I are blessed to have his set and mine. We’d want to hang out with them even if they weren’t family. My aunt handed the Knight a card, and within was the key to their beach house, which is where we’ll be for a week, beginning next weekend. I wasn’t planning on taking my laptop, but hem, hem… My aunt did mention that there’s wireless, so I think TWO laptops will go to the beach, so you’ll get to be jealous sooner, rather than after I get home.
Of course, that meant we had to swing into PetsMart for some responsible petpoopsinpublicbags, and while we were there, much goodness jumped into our cart. Like any kid, Mugsy selected the $1.99 squeaker ball as his toy of the evening. All was good until he fell asleep with it in his mouth, which meant every time he breathed, it squeaked. Do I need to tell you that after about three minutes the Knight awoke the Prince, popped the ball out, hid it, and sound sleep was had by all? I also nabbed a Halloween costume for Mugsy, but you’ll have to wait to see that… (Nothing like waiting until the Pedigree age calculator thingee says my boy is 64 to begin the Halloween costume thing, but hey!)
We also hit AC Moore’s. This might surprise you, but all I picked up was a free pattern, the Knit n Style mag (you need it too for the super-cute Tofutsies pattern within!), and a scrappin’ related birthday haul for my mother inlaw. Yeah, I was done shopping for her last week, but the very die cut die she wanted was on one of those “buy me” end caps, and the rest is history. The Knight picked out a handful of Jolie goodies, and who am I to tell him his momma and I don’t need more scrappin’ stuff?
That’s about all of the adventures I think will interest you, so we’ll wrap it up here. Here’s the garden flag the Knight purchased, and the holder, which was part of his anniversary present. (I know, exciting, right?!)

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Anne’s Sleeping Bag

DSCN0620After weeks of photoless whining and teasing, I can finally share Anne’s Felted Bag with you. She knew I was her spoiler as she was the lone hostess for this swap , and it feels as though a lot of October has been devoted to this project. I had hoped to have it done so it would arrive in her hands on her birthday, but such is life, and lucky, the Bag Lady knows how these things go.

Firstly, I must apologize to my friend. The bag did look better when it left here, but the photo on Anne’s blog just turns my stomach. chan1 Pout. I hope she knows I honestly wouldn’t have sent her such a train wreck of a bag, and I hope her Bag Lady skills will allow her to restore it to something more akin to what left here. Obviously, my concerns about it still being damp within somewhere were well-founded.

We’ll start at the end and work our way back. DSCN0621 There’s the finished product, which pleases me more than I thought it would. This is the Plymouth blah blah pattern, and let me be clear; I CANNOT recommend this pattern to anyone. Awful ain’t the word. There are errors in the chart and no errata to be found, although I think I was able to figure out how to make the assorted cables mirror each other, within the rows and top to bottom.

The little pop of green at the top? Yeah, well, pictured on the pattern photo, but NOT written into the pattern, so I kinda’ guessed, and made the green wider than I really wanted it, but it’s all good. The straps? Um, yeah. I made them THREE times as long as the pattern called for. Who on earth does a 35 row strap on a felted bag?! Also, a bag this size really should be done in a bulky yarn or two strands of worsted, and I’ll know better in the future, not that I’ll do this pattern again. No way. I hope Anne finds it acceptable and can use it to store yarn in or something, but it’s not even worth trying to modify for future use.

The details:

Yarn: Patons Wool. Six balls of dark grey, and two balls of bottle green, with the last ball of each barely getting used. I did have to buy an extra ball of the grey, as the pattern called for five, and I have this annoying habit of knitting VERY loosely for felted projects. Loved the way this felted up, with more heft than I would have predicted, but DANG this stuff sheds. In desperation, I did run it through the dryer on no heat for a few minutes, which helped tremendously. I also ran one of those shaver muh-bobs over it.

Needles: Knitpicks Options, in both metal and the sweet Harmonys. My knitting did tighten up some with the Harmonys, and I’m liking those very much. Size #10.5, 32 inch circs.

Pattern: Plymouth Celtic Felted Tote, #P635

New skills: You can’t see it in the final product, but I will likely take the time (and it is laborious) to do an i-cord bind-off on all my felted bags in the future. Great little trick, that.

This is also my first cabled project, and I enjoyed cables, but not the way this pattern was written. The bottoms and tops of the diamonds were sloppy, and I don’t know that I did anything wrong. (Really don’t like this pattern, just in case you missed that.) I’m looking forward to doing a cabled headband and other cables very soon.

I also had to do an infinite amount of seaming. DSCN0617 Each corner and each cable, inside and out, had to be drawn together to give it that little bit of texture. I like it, and had the bag not felted from 34″x 24″ to 17″ x 13″ , I think it would have shown up a bit better.

DSCN0615_edited-1 The handles were a neat trick. Each one is two straps, with different yarn-over patterns, so that they easily weave together. The end result is beautiful, I think, and it makes a solid, double-thick handle for this still very large tote.

This monster was truly a labor of love, and I’m sorry to tell any future felted bag pals that I don’t think you should count on a tote. I enjoy smaller bags a lot more. DSCN0614 Mugsy was kinda’ hoping it would be his new bed, and had it not felted better than expected, that was a serious possibility. Some orthopedic foam shoved in there with the top stitched shut, and he would have had labor-intensive dog bed.

Also, can anyone tell me why most of my bags have such a floppy, stretched-out top? We didn’t tug on this one much at all, except to widen it at the center, where the cable drew in so much, but all of my felted bags have this ruffly top, to some degree.

The promised how big is it really shot. DSCN0619_edited-1 Folks, I’m 5’3″ if that helps you wrap your mind around how big this was prior to felting.

Anners, I wish it had turned out more like the photo on the pattern, and I hope again you can restore it to what it looked like when it left here. Pout.

FFBE Final Question and More Again

Have you noticed that it’s feast or famine with my posts? Hope that doesn’t bother anyone. It’s a matter of time, and it’s a rainy, boring day in the working world.

How was your experience in the exchange? Did you enjoy the folks you met? Did you just love the bag you received? Please share any thoughts, criticism, and things you loved!

Well, I just sent out my pal’s package yesterday and haven’t received mine yet, so there’s little to report. My upstream pal has been in touch and has asked questions so I know she’s reading up on me, which will lead to a great bag, I’m sure! My downstream pal has been a royal pain in my rear, trying to solicit information about her bag from mutual friends… Oh yeah. Wait. That’s YOU, isn’t it Miss Question-asker? SNOL!! Seriously though, I had great fun spoiling you, although I do think YOU have more fun when you have a co-host, so I’ll be mindful of that next time I decide at the last minute to be less than helpful.
I will of course, go on and on when my package does arrive. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
And since I keep forgetting, I really need my SNOL button out in plain sight!

Also, if you’re like me (forgetful), you need a reminder that the Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap is open for registration. Get that questionnaire posted though!