Obedience 101.1

Yeah, I think this is just the first of many classes for us…

I wish I could lock up your computers with a post filled with photos of Sissy and her cute classmates.  Heck, I wish I had just ONE shot of Sissy and/or Abby in class.  The Knight hurried home and went along, and even had the camera in hand most of the time, but he spent a lot of time helping me and Best Thing (BT) correctly reproduce the things the instructor demonstrated.  So instead, you get a happy shot of the new student and her first gas station experience.  (No, the Knight wasn’t being rude; I just snapped that photo in the instant where he turned to check on the pump.)

So, the first day of school report…

Sissy and Abby have a class full of cute, young dogs.  Abby was on one edge of the horseshoe, then Sissy, Shamis (shA-mis?) – a beautiful wheaton terrier Sissy is very fond of, then a couple of terrier mixes, a lab mix, and two pitbull mixes.  I’ll try to catch more names and photos as the class goes on, and I hope I didn’t miss anyone.  The instructor is great.  (Scroll to the bottom to see Karen.)  She uses only positive reinforcement – hot dog bits as class treats – and she too had to tell Sissy how cute she is, even though she seems more immune to her wiles than we are.

Everything has a hand signal, and she warned us we might have a silent class or portion thereof.  Last night, we learned “Look”, “Find it” (Sissy’s personal favorite), “Sit” and “Touch” (which Sissy thinks is a waste of her time once the treats stop).   Karen also stopped me on the way out to suggest that we invest in a Gentle Walker harness.  No problem, aside from the fact we prefer harnesses, but your pre-class instructions said flat leash and collar…  So, I’ll be online trying to find a PURPLE version of said harness, which MJ has already announced won’t exist…

We were asked for goals when we introduced ourselves.  The Knight just wants her to stop pulling, which I think the above mentioned harness will do almost on its own.  I want my sweet girl to have manners.  We’ll see how it goes.

Happy Dogs on Thursday  to everyone!  Don’t forget to check out the other blogs and cute dogs.

Oh – and if you’re wondering about that rough-looking spot on her ear, that’s because it’s her binky.  When she’s bored or at all stressed, the ear goes in her mouth and she just gnaws on it.  The vet seems to think that once we get her diet straight and as she finishes maturing, this too shall pass.

Thanks too for all the needle advice.  Stay tuned…  I have something up my sleeve and hope to share it with you soon.

Also, for those local…  Did you know It’s a Stitch has been (or is being?) sold?  Anyone have more information?  That’s really the most convenient LYS for me, so I’m hoping for an infusion of classes, new product lines, and more…

Here’s to a great Little Friday for all of us!

Needled

See that really pretty Confederate Blue cable and those stainless tips?  Sigh.  Those are my new favorite needles.  Susan Bates Velocity.   Ubber flexible cord, and nice, nickle-plated points.  Not too sharp, not too dull.  The drawbacks are that I can’t find them locally (this one was purchased in a Michael’s about 40 miles from here last week) and the smallest size is this #6.  The cord only comes in a strange, 29″ length, but I can overlook that.  It Magic Loops well enough for at hat, and if it doesn’t come smaller than that, it’s no sock needle.

KnitPicks would be in trouble, if not for their stellar customer service.  Last night, while glaring at the topless cable, I emailed them.  I couldn’t find my receipt, couldn’t find the order online (but knew I’d just replaced my 40″ cable in December or January because Sissy ate the original).  I didn’t have much hope, but I felt better for trying. 

Imagine my surprise when this morning, before it was even really dawn on the west coast, KnitPicks had replied and there’s another cable on its way to me!

Good thing, because I wouldn’t be able to stay mad long.   Somewhere on Ravelry, I found a link that took me to a place I can’t find again, but there are some HOT Harmony Straights to be available sometime in August!  I want to order one of each and every single size.  (Who am I kidding?!  I will likely do just that.)

I do still have the HiyaHiyas to try, but socks are on hold for the season of chemo caps.  I’m quite certain they will be my sock needles of choice, as I’ve handled them before.

I still need a good bamboo straight.  I like a  rather sharp point, as lace has become a way of life for me.  I like my Bryspuns, but sometimes they’re too slick too.  I want a pretty (read: not looking and feeling like a compressed manila folder) bamboo needle with a nice point, in a 10″ or so length.  Any suggestions?  We’re talking sizes #3-11 here, and the kicker is I want nice points on the larger sizes too. 

I have an operational plan and a board report to do, but they can wait.  Sissy’s obedience class starts in about three hours.  The Knight doesn’t think he’ll be able to be there because he’s still tied up on a job site.  Argh!  I want him to hear what the trainer says too, so we can both be consistent with Sissy, assuming we’re allowed to go back again.

This week is flying by!

Brillante!

Claudia thinks I’m brilliant!  Wow.  I’m quite honored!  If you haven’t visited Claudia’s blog, you should.  She’s a skilled knitter, and Mr Puffy is not to be missed.  (Her current post has a lovely picture of the distinguished fellow.)  Thank you, Claudia!

Here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog;
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you;
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs;
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog; and
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

Now, if you’re a regular reader, you know I don’t generally “tag” people, but this is a little different.  Claudia pointed out that these awards are a great way to discover new blogs, so I’m going to be a good sport and play along.  (And as soon as I finish this post, I’m off to check out the other blogs Claudia noted.)

Since I know a lot of my readers follow each other’s blogs, I’m going to try to pick some different folks so that we can all experience something new!

1.  Mary at Virgin Wool has a new electric spinner.  She also has quite the collection of spindles, and never fails to inspire me.  While I’ve yet to cultivate more than a visual appreciation for spindles, Mary is a tremendous resource for hand spinning, and like me, likes to do her research on a new interest.  She moderates a few groups on Ravelry and Yahoo on spinning, the Outerbanks and probably more I’ve missed!

2.  Alison of SpinDyeKnit is always an uplifting read.  Yesterday’s slice of heaven included her special recipe for a chocolate torte.  (See her comments for the actual recipe.)  She’s a talented writer, designer, knitter, spinner, dyer and it has been my pleasure to get to know her.  She never fails to see the beauty in life, and is quick to point it out and share it with her readers.  (The fact that she gives me one-on-one pattern support is a plus too!)

3.  Robin of For the Love of Fiber is another jill of all trades.  Her blog has it all – touches of history, knitting, cute pets – and she always has the greatest photos.  She just finished a rug hooking “camp” so scroll back and check out the lovely rugs too.  I suppose I can even claim Robin as a “real life” friend, as we’re members of the same knitting guild and see each other just about monthly.  She’s a great resource for lace, spinning, and I give her the credit for convincing me to go Magic Loop.

4.  Ruth at The Scrabblequeen Knits, Too is another grand lady I hope to meet rather soon.  Like the rest of this group, her talents know no bounds.  She knits, sews, reads, does tea…  If you have some time to spare, sit down and enjoy her posts about her trip to Ireland.  The photos are such that you almost feel you’re there.  Ruth and I are going to have tea together one of these days too! 

5.  Nichole at Lapdog Creations has a fantastic product review going on regularly on her blog.  I can’t tell her secrets, but she has more great stuff to review.  She’s already done needles, a couple of books and some pet items.  She’s also one of my doggy diet advisors, thanks to her canine quartet at home.  All of my bloggy friends are super-creative, and Nic is no exception.  Follow the link on her blog to her Etsy store for  pretty stitch markers, thread cutters and more.

6.  Rosanne at Firefly Nights is a friend beyond measure.  You know you’re truly a great blogger when a close friend still learns a few things with just about every post.  I like recipes, and Rosanne sprinkles those in amid stories about her precious pups, her knitting and crocheting, her travels and more.  I’d gush over her photos too, but since I know cameras have been part of her working life, it’s honestly nothing unexpected.

7.  Lacey at Creating Lace also has some spectacular photos from her travels, most recently to Scotland.  This gal can SEW!  If you scroll down past all the incredible pictures from her trip, you’ll see a cute sweater (knitted by Lacey) paired with a skirt she just whipped out too.   (I’m going to have to learn to sew, at least well enough to line a felted bag, at some point…)

Thank you again, Claudia.  I hope perhaps some of these blogs are new to some of you and you’ll find a new read!

And Another Thing…

I’m in a mood.  Not sure what kind, but it’s a rather perky, scattered, shopping, joining mood.  (Gee, I think I just described high school me…)

I’ve given in and joined Secret of the Stole iii.  (I still say you’ll live to regret this, G.)  I have some lovely lilac yarn on hand, so now, to find beads and microscopic crochet hooks…  Mind you, I’m two clues behind on my guild‘s lace stole KAL, and five clues behind on the same designer’s anniversary shawl (round), but what the hey?!  Holly talked me into trying beads at some point, so here I go…

Speaking of…

Friday was Holly’s birthday.  She’s busy enjoying summer with her precious boys, so don’t worry about the silences!

Anita and her hubby celebrated 12 years of wedded bliss over the weekend too.  I’m still pouting out loud, because if Virginia hadn’t changed their laws, we would have “had” to be in Myrtle Beach RIGHT NOW getting our continuing ed hours and hanging out with those two! 

In case I forget later, Jessi’s birthday is this coming Saturday!

Gypsyknits found some cute show your knitted socks shoes on sale, so I had to get some.  She says they’re even comfortable, so here’s the link, just in case…  (Follow the Gypsyknits link and scroll down for the photo of the shoes and knitted socks together.)

The Feet Have It

Dear Socks –

I miss you!  No, really, I do.  It’s just that with cancer stomping through so many lives of those I know, chemo caps have to be the travel project for now.  If you’re feeling insecure and unloved, just look at my yarn collection.  At least 90% of it is all about you.

Then, there are new books on the horizon that promise we’ll be spending time together soon enough.  THIS is just the latest of my advance orders.  (Click on the photo for Wendy‘s own review of what’s to come.)  Don’t forget about the others that are going to be here even sooner.  Just wait for me, and be patient, please my dear socks to be knitted?

Even if I can’t work socks into my WIP pile, I’m still thinking socks and buying sock yarns, patterns and books.  I was so excited about Happy Choices (see here) when I found it, and even when it arrived.  I got sucked into how soft and pretty it is, until a friend started asking questions. 

Sigh. 

See the white waste yarn on the right?  Yeah.  That’s what you unravel to get to the working end of the yarn.  See the NOT white yarn end on the left?  There’s the rub.  This stuff is not built for two at a time socks, which personally, I think is part of the appeal of flat yarn.  It’s easier than carrying to balls of yarn, or heaven forbid, winding one large skein into two balls.  But the good folks at Plymouth don’t seem to care than some of us have zero interest in knitting our socks one at a time.  Short of something like steeking, I don’t know how I’ll do it with this yarn.   (Suggestions welcomed.)

In contrast, we have Flat Feet, built for the 2-at-a-time crowd.  A little more tugging or cutting on that waste yarn, and I’ll have two flat pieces, reasonably matched, read to become socks at the same time. 

There are other differences too, but the one you can’t see is that the Plymouth does feel a bit better to the touch, although at this point, not enough to matter!

They’re very different sizes.   Plymouth notes that one of your “happy choices” is to use the yarn as is, as a scarf.  Whatever.  I don’t know which I’ll prefer while knitting, if it matters at all, but I thought I’d show you the big difference in presentation. 

That’s just a gratuitous shot so you can investigate whatever you want to know that I might not have told you.  As I kinda’ mentioned above, as much as I’d like to knit socks, chemo caps are calling.  If you like to knit hats, Nichole  is collecting them for her mom to share at the cancer center where BOTH of Nic’s parents have had/are having treatments.  Ann   is also collecting them here in Virginia.  River City Knitters collects for From the Heart, an almost local group for me.  I’ve committed to supporting each of them, as well as my own personal, purple and other bright colors collection for my aunt, just in case. 

She’s still battling the meningitis, so surgery for the colon blockage remains in limbo, but it’s maybe a month away.  If you’re keeping score at home, that’s about 7 weeks after the significant, malignant polyp was found, which from what I understand is a rather lengthy (but in this case, necessary) delay.  Heck, I can’t even see her wearing a chemo cap, but she’s going to need something to keep her head warm, right?

I do have two new WIPs I cast on yesterday.  Maybe I’ll get photos this evening before the sun goes down, but if you’re on Ravelry and really curious, just  peek into my projects.  No photos, but there are links to the patterns and yarn names.  I’m using a new Susan Bates circular needle on the hat, and I think Knitpicks might have lost me for good, between this and Hiya Hiya (which I stupidly only bought in sock sizes).  (They aren’t Quicksilvers; I hated those as much as I love whatever this is.  I’ll add it to the WIP post tomorrow??)

Wishing you a not so Monday Monday!

Look!

Because you can this time…

Another FO report, but this time, there are photos.  This is the Virginia Shawl, by Abbott Yarns.  For more information, you can either go to the KAL link at Ravelry, or if you’re not Ravelized, I’m sure Joanne or Nichole will help you out. 

So, this is just the most awesome instant gratification project ever.  Short of learning that knitting outside at dusk, in a meeting isn’t a smart move, this project was knitted up in a matter of a single day.  The trim took almost as long as the whole shawl, only because I did something I thought was beyond me and did my own!  I couldn’t find anything I liked (there’s a new crochet edging/border book out – must buy it with my birthday Barnes & Noble card that is burning a hole in my pocket!), so I looked at one, thought about what I’d done in my crochet motif class, grabbed a hook, and away I went!

Pattern:  It’s a “personal” pattern the Purling Petals selected for their KAL.  Since it is called Virginia’s Shawl, how could the honorary VA member of the NH group NOT join in?!  It’s amazing how basically the same two stitches done every row produces such a pretty shawl.  I will, without a doubt, be doing more, in as many different fibers and such as I can, just to see how it turns out.  (If you’re on Ravelry, check out what the rest of the group is doing.  Each one is rather different, and so very lovely!) 

The pattern actually calls for fringe, but I’m not a fringe girl.  So, I flipped through my knitted borders book to no avail, Googled crocheted borders, and finally, picked up my hook, took a deep breath and did my own thing.  I wanted something simple.  So, here’s what I did:

Around the two non-neck line edges, single crochet (SC) each stitch.  Repeat.  (Don’t forget to chain in transition between rows!) On the third row, SC, chain 6, skip over two stitches, SC and repeat, ending on a SC.  Then, SC across all stitches again and you’re done.

If you want the wide-open, flat holes to have a more scalloped shape, either only skip one, or try chaining 8. 

Yarn:  Two skeins of Cascade Sierra Quatro.  Love it.  I must say, I like Sierra better than Cotton Fleece.  It’s plied tighter, I think, and at least with this colorway, it felt softer.  It took right at one skein for the shawl itself and about a third of a skein for the border. 

Needles:  My now black-listed Knitpicks Options, #15 tips on the 40″ cord.  The cord pulled out of the little metal part where the tip screws in THREE times.  The first time, was while I was casting on again after the Ican’tknitinthedark fiasco, and the Knight just shoved them back together and told me to be careful.  That worked until about a dozen rows to go, when I suddenly had a lapfull of loose stitches.  Somehow, I picked them all up without incident, repaired the cord again (we were still on the road) and VERY cautiously continued.  The third time was on the next-to-last row, and thank goodness all stitches were jammed up on a fat tip.  This is NOT the first time I’ve had this problem, and as most of my KPO set is about 14 months old, I don’t look for warranty.  As the Knight told Sissy when it happened the third time, “Leave her alone.  Mama ain’t happy.” 

Hooks – My trusty pink Boye “H” hook.  I have no fewer than three of them, and might start carrying one in my hair or something.  (Seriously.  I’m very much a novice, but there’s something about the design of Boye’s head and throat that really make it the best.)  I did use a progressively smaller series of hooks on the last row, as it seems that I chain rather tightly, and part of the beauty of crochet is the speed, so slowing down isn’t an option… 

Verdict:  I’ve already said it; I’ll be making this one again.  To the left, it’s borderless, but you can see the soft shape.  I’m sure I could block it into submission, but I think this is a very casual, relaxed shawl, and it doesn’t want to be pulled and stretched into a perfect triangle.  It’s the type of thing you can toss in your purse, car, wherever, and it will be ready to go when you want a little something across your shoulders.  Even with the border, it wears more in the soft shape you see here – READ:  look ma, no point zeroing in on my butt!  Miss Virginia of Abbott Yarns, this is a little bit of knitting genius, a true testament to how pretty some intentionally knotted up string can be.

Birthmonth

My cousin and I are trying to promote the birthmonth concept.  Instead of a meager birthDAY, one should get well-wishes, cards, gifts, cakes, dinners and parties throughout the entire month of her birth.  And ladies, it’s more important to celebrate long and often as you get older!  MJ says silly things on her birthday like “It’s just another day.”  No way!  I’m being reminded very regularly how precious life is…

Luckily, my friends embrace the concept.  More birthday goodness arrived on Thursday, from Gaylen!

Since she blogged in detail about one bag, I’ll blog about the other.  (Do click and go look at the perfect little bag she created for me!  It’s small, but it’s perfect for a little project, my cell phone, spare keys and a lip butter, which is all I take with me when I’m with the Knight.)  It’s another HAPPY, well-designed bag!  That pocket on the outside will tote papers and patterns with ease, and the straps are a great length too.  This might become my work bag, since it picks up everything Laguna lacks.

Inside, there’s a loop to hold my water bottle (generally filled with tea, but so what?!), a cell phone pocket and a key fob.  All the things I need to take into the office will fit in there perfectly, I do believe!  As you can see, it also opens wide to hold whatever else I might want to drop in there.  Another great bag.  I’ve gone from having nothing I like to having several options, from small to large.  While I can say I’m set on bags, I also suspect I’m going to add more Namaste to my collection.  I just have to actually live with it a while longer, or so I keep telling myself…

As usual, my weekend isn’t going as planned.  No wheel shopping, but geeze we had another great day yesterday.  The Knight’s cousin has the CUTEST little three year old boy in the whole world, and he and the Knight are becoming big buddies.  Add in that the dear woman sent me home with enough kinds of TWO different cakes that I can’t justify baking today, and all I can do is tell you again how blessed I am.  We also had a great dinner with one of the two couples we hang out with just about every weekend, so they’re going to need names I can use here…

I figured this would be long enough without the FO report, but that will follow shortly.  This time, I even have pictures.  What a concept, huh?!