Guest FO


It’s finally Friday!  It’s been a long week around here.   I do have a finished cloth I need to photograph and review for you, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the clever little towel set-up my sister made.  In an effort to promote full disclosure, she did see a similar design at a craft show, and then went home and created her own.



That’s two dish towels, sewn with right sides out, attached to a hot pad in a coordinating color.  I actually have two different colors/towels, so I can keep one in use at all times.  I believe the center loop was already on the pad and she just added a button.   I love the TWO towels, and thought some of the sewing readers might need/want a cute/quick gift idea.

So, the weekend.  Obviously, I won’t be bothering with the pet Howl-o-ween parade downtown this evening.  It’s a cool, misty day here, and I have spaghetti sauce simmering in the crockpot for lunch.  Tonight, I plan to teach myself to Navajo ply.

I don’t know what else the weekend will hold.  We’re due for a rather quiet weekend at home.  How ’bout you?

Clear Understanding

Happy Dogs on Thursday!   Are you and your pack gearing up for Howl-o-ween?  We had our dry run yesterday, and I’m glad we did.  Sissy had a message for me… but pictures are worth a thousand words.


It's okay Sissy. Mommy doesn't like cows either.

First of all, DIVA needs a XXL or bigger in this particular line of dogwear.  However, an ill-fitting costume was only part of the problem.


I'll "stand", but you can't make me smile.

I’ve said before that while Gretchen LOVES clothes, Sissy doesn’t.  (Hats, yes.  Clothes, no.)  


The cuteness that could have been...

The dog I affectionately call “My Mooo” just broke my heart as she slunk around the deck, pouting and sulking, and doing all she could to make it clear she doesn’t like CLOTHES.


Beauty and the bats

In contrast, she LOVES “hats.”  One would think that a small headband would hurt her head, that those wobbly bats would make her shake her head, but no.


I think she's sticking her tongue out at me!

She proudly posed with her “crown.”


She knows what works and works it

Okay Sis.  I get it.  Crowns yes, gowns no.



Meanwhile, my little honey was happy to be a bee.


Kinda' wearing the head part...

Her tiny ears didn’t work with the head part, but she’s still cute anyway, right?


Sad cow and a happy bee

Actually, that’s probably all the Halloweening we’ll do this year.   We don’t have trick or treaters down in the Woods, and while Gretchen would be happy to dress up for a few hours, clearly, Sissy would not.  She’s more of a pose for the camera and get back to life gal, it seems.

Happy little friday!


Every Everyday?

I was sitting here, trying to ignore the Knight and Neighbor Guy who are in the office today, when I realized I still owed you a finished object report.  Not bad… the object isn’t a week off the needles yet, right?


I'm beautiful and so is my new sweater

Project:  Gretchen’s Everyday Turtleneck


How I love this intense, beautiful girl!

Pattern:  The Everyday Turtleneck (duh?) from Knitting for Dogs.   I did several modifications, so I’m going to list them, rather than sticking with a paragraph, where they’ll all run together.

  • This was my first project with steeks.  I was DELIGHTED to start small, with the leg holes being the steeks.  They were far too big though, so once I got my model to quit flying around the house in her new frock, I single crocheted THREE rounds to get a size that’s good for my girl.  There’s no way I could have picked up and knitted sleeves according to the directions; I would have had to pick up about a third more stitches and then decrease, and the sleeves would have been too big at the shoulder and sloppy.  Not good for a little, active girl.
  • As several other Ravelers noted, I saw no reason to knit this flat and then seam, right up the chest.  So, I knitted it in the round.
  • Again, read those notes other Ravelers write!  Likewise, I knew my bouncy dog wouldn’t want a “flowy” sweater.  I didn’t like the look of the ribbed edge on the back, so I opted for an i-cord bind-off.  It was tedious, but it snugs the bottom edge right up to her belly, which is just what we wanted.
  • NOTE:  I did a regular bind-off and then tried the crab stitch.  It wasn’t “strong” enough to keep the miles of stockinette from rolling, just so you know.
  • I knitted a size small and then knitted to 10 inches before I bound off, because as a little girl-dog, Gretchen needs warmth, not a bare belly.

I orginally rated this pattern with two stars, because of all the changes I had to make, but Gretchen REALLY loves this sweater and is quite comfortable in it, so evidently, the basic recipe was a great start.


Do note that the girl is guarding *HER* project!

Yarn: Plymouth Encore Colorspun, colorway #7733.  (I know.  Isn’t THAT helpful!?)  I also wasn’t crazy about the yarn, but see above.  Gretchen loves the sweater, loves wearing it, the yarn is easy-care, so it’s a great fit for this project.  That it doesn’t feel like buttah sliding through my fingers while I knit isn’t important here.


Note the button hole at her neck so I can use it when she goes to work, with the leash

Needles:  #8 Bryspun dpns.  After this project, I gave in and bought #8, 16 inch circs. 

Hook:  Boye G.


Verdict:   As much as she likes it, I suppose if ever it wears out, I’ll have to make another.   I still want to make her a stranded sweater, so I’ll be looking for patterns with colorwork AND a turleneck.

So… can anyone tell me if dogs really are colorblind?  I’m wondering, because Gretchen seems to “see” PANK and assumes (generally, correctly) that anything I’m knitting with PANK yarn must be hers.   She did it with her dress, and again (as you can see in the yarn photo) with this project, long before I  tried it on her the first time.

What’s in a name?

Nothing ever goes as planned around here, so we – me, the spreadsheet and random number generator –  had to draw another name for the earrings (which I hear are awesome), because the original winner doesn’t wear “fish hook” style earrings. 

So the new winner for those is Gaylen!   If by chance anyone else has won a prize they won’t use, please let me know.  I assure you it won’t hurt my feelings to find these wonderful prizes the right home.

Now, let’s talk about Saturday, which will make the title to this post clear…


Me, Kathy - photo by the Knight

Note my weather-beaten hair, and that the Knight and Kathy‘s husband were both taking photos at the same time, so we didn’t know where to look and we were all laughing like crazy.

We journeyed to the Shenandoah Fiber Festival to meet Kathy and her husband.  It was the Knight’s first fiber festival, and after the food treats I’d brought home from Montpelier, we were both a little disappointed in the food offerings, but otherwise, it was a great festival.  The vendors are mostly in three “real” buildings, with walls, concrete floors and everything, so even though it poured a time or two, it wasn’t miserable. 


This beauty made me want bunnies again!!

To compare and contrast the two fall festivals, I’d say that Montpelier offers more “festival foods” and more yarn, while Shenandoah offers more animals and fiber, plus those buildings to keep the weather off of the shoppers, the sellers and those beautiful products.

While I didn’t buy much, it was exceptionally educational to walk through with Kathy and her friend Shelly, both of whom know a LOT more about spinning and fiber than I do.  I learned that BFL is my friend (long, strong, soft locks make for easy spinning for a novice), and that I don’t have much of an eye for color.  Specifically, I have to take a bit of fiber in my hands and pre-draft it a bit to get an idea of how the yarn might look, while Kathy can just glance at a massive bag/bucket/whatever of fiber and KNOW which color will dominate the finished handspun product.


Even with my inability to interpret what the fiber I buy will look like as yarn, I knew this Grudy Neopolitan needed to come home with me.  (Yes, the truly observant might have noticed that I bought the 1.5 pounds left!  It’s my first “massive” fiber purchase.)  Personally, I’m already calling it the Gretchen colorway, for very obvious reasons.  I think it will be a shawl or vest for me one of these days. 

In a nice touch of irony, Shelly had purchased some of the very same fiber earlier in the day.  (Kathy might have too, but I can’t recall…)  Shelly was calling the colorway “Bacon” which if not for the PANK mixed with the colors of Gretchen’s own hair, I might be inclined to agree that name is spot-on!  It’s also a mohair blend.


Because I showed such great restraint she’s just cool like that, Kathy brought me some of her Gypsyknits BFL roving.   She had no way of knowing that Anita had gifted me several sample-sized roving/fleece/fiber bits from different sources, and that just Friday night, I’d grabbed the Gypsyknits BFL and fallen in love…  (Note to my other novice spinner-friends out there… Falkland wool is a dream to spin too.)


We saw some beautiful leaves/trees on Saturday, but these are from Haddon Wood.   It really was a most wonderful day!


Check your tickets…

No?  You don’t have raffle tickets?  Oh well.  I have winners, just the same!   But first, thank you to everyone who participated, both contestants and donors.  I wish I had a prize for everyone, but as it was, I had 13 prizes for about 30 of you.

Please be patient if you won.  I’m not sure when I’ll get all of this boxed up and on its way to you, and in some cases, the donor will be shipping to you directly.  If you won, be sure to leave a comment, and I’ll reply to that comment and get your mailing address.

Some of the gang...

Some of the gang...

But first, we have to wish our friends at The Portuguese Water Blog a very happy birthday!  Today, the pups are three, which means there are proud parents and relations celebrating along with them!

Ready?  (Please forgive the lack of photos and links.   This took forever as it was AND our modem here at work is dying.)

Purple Grand Prize:  SpringValley Yarn donated by Jessi.  Purple Piddleloop notions bag, donated by Jen.  Purple tape measure, donated by Anita.  Purple stitch markers, donated by Nichole.

Winner:  KM

Pink Grand Prize:  Gypsyknits yarn and Sock it Bag, donated by Kathy.  Pink tape measure, Anita.  Pink stitch markers, Nichole.

Winner:  Sandy

Jewelry set, donated by Christina. 

Winner:  Kathy/Gypsyknits

Earrings, donated by Ann. 

Winner:  Jen/Piddleloop

Shawlette, donated by Grace.

Winner:  Darcy

Whale bag, by Jen.

Winner:  Miss Me

Horse bag, by Jen.

Winner:  Dianne/Brit Knitter

Pank bag, by Jen.

Winner:  Ruth

Needle roll, donated by Gaylen.

Winner:  Ann “local”

Needle case, donated by Felicia.

Winner:  Claudia

Pizza kit, donated by Haddon Woods.

Winner:  Krystle

Little Pampered Chef prize pack #1, by HW.

Winner:  Yvonne

Little PC prize pack #2, by HW.

Winner:  Grace

Homemade bread, donated by Barbara.

Winner:  Robin in VA


A big THANK YOU again to all my vendor/donors.  This really has turned into quite a BIG, blessed bash. 

My greatest blessings

My greatest blessings

Of course, I can’t forget my greatest blessings.  I wish I had a better photo of the three of them, because they are the lights of my life, along with all of my friends and family.  I hope you enjoy your prizes, and if you didn’t win, there’s always next time!

Celebration Day

Thanks Lapdog Creations Pack!

Thanks Lapdog Creations Pack!

Yesterday was indeed the Princess’s second birthday.  She was rather tolerant of the fact we left her (and Gretchen) at home while we had a little road trip.   However, instead of a full-blown party, she opted to just call today Celebration Day, and we’re just hanging out together, the four of us that make up Pack Haddon Wood.

Morning-after-birthday breakfast

Morning-after-birthday breakfast

Don’t mind my flannel nightie sleeve there.  It shouldn’t surprise you that getting Celebration Day off on the right tooth was a top priority for me.  Actually, if you must know, I’m still in my jammies.

Doggy Bagles

Doggy Bagles

Nichole and I both just laughed when we realized we’d each sent the other’s dogs bark-type bakery bagles for the birthdays this weekend.   The color schemes were even very similar.  Thanks Nic and pack, and a very happy birthday to Tut today!

I’ll blog later this week about yesterday’s adventures.  Don’t forget to get any last-minute Big Blessed Bash entries in before midnight Eastern time tonight.  I’m planning on posting the winners tomorrow, but work could get in the way, so it could be late tomorrow evening…

Last, but not least, happy anniversary to my Knight.   I really don’t have any photos of us as a couple in Flickr.  I’ll have to try to correct that.

Homecoming Queen!

I mentioned it yesterday, but one year ago today, we brought home our sweet Gretchen Greer. 

There’s so much to love in that tiny package, but if I had to pick just one thing, it would be her courage.  She’s not fearless, as most Jack Russells are, but my heart swells when I watch her suck it up and “just do it.”  I’m sure that and her deep love for and her tremendous devotion to her pack sustained her on that dark, long night when she was separated from us.

My beautiful fur-girls

My beautiful fur-girls

I could spend all day talking about Gretchen, but there’s more ground to cover!  Felicia has donated another prize to the pool, but you’ll just have to wait to see what it is.  Please do enter as many different ways as you can, because there are a host of great prizes.  This really is a big blessed bash!


Grace bestowed this award on me, and I am truly honored.  Now, to set forth the rules of said award, and follow them…

The Neno’s Award Rules and Regulations:

1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

2. To seek the reasons why we all love


3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.

4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.

5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.

6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people

as you like.

7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

Here we go!  Why do I love blogging?  Well, I’ve kept a journal almost since I learned to write.  Seriously…  I think my first diary dates back to age six or so.   Blogging has replaced my journal-keeping, mainly due to time constraints.  They’re not the same thing, by any means.  When I scribbled in my journal, I was generally trying to sort things out on paper that I couldn’t work through in my heart and/or mind.  Here, I just share rather randomly, although I do try to protect a few details, just because the web casts a wide net.

Me & Wendy, 2-2008

Me & Wendy, 2-2008

I’ve been lucky enough to meet several of you, and honestly, I count a few of my blogging pals as “best friends.”  I don’t go to a knit night, but I don’t feel I’m missing out too much, because I have a great community of knitting friends right here in whichever computer I’m using.

I’m going to tag Gaylen and Marjie (yesterday’s birthday girl and tomorrow’s), because through them, I’ve met several new friends this year.  They also blog regularly and always have nice photos too! 

I had more planned for today’s post, but that’s long enough.  I don’t want your eyes to glaze over.  I’m very excited about my rainy weekend, which I’ve already covered ad nausem, so just skip right ahead and tell me about your weekend plans!

Happy Everything

Today’s your birthday… Gmarie!  Have a very happy one, my friend. 

The DIVA wishes Gmarie a happy birthday

The DIVA wishes Gmarie a happy birthday

Of course, it’s always Happy Dogs on Thursday and a joyous little friday, just because tomorrow’s Friday.

Sissy, Gretchen.  Gretchen... the DIVA.

Sissy, Gretchen. Gretchen... the DIVA.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Gretchen’s homecoming.   There just aren’t words to cover how thoroughly we lucked out with our wee one.  She’s truly the best Jack Russell EVER, and I’ve known an awful lot of JRTs. 

Baby Sissy 12-2007

Baby Sissy 12-2007

Saturday is the day of days.  This year, the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival which will provide for the meet-up with Kathy and her husband, is the highlight, but it’s also Sissy’s second birthday, Marjie‘s birthday, Tut‘s birthday and Anne‘s birthday.  (If I’ve left anyone out, I’m sorry!)

A rare photo of both of us 12-2005 (and no, hes not ours!)

A rare photo of both of us 12-2005 (and no, he's not ours!)

Sunday is our 12th anniversary, and the last chance to enter the BBB.   We’ll also be celebrating Sissy’s birthday that day.  Which reminds me…  I need to find some purple frocks for the party…

There are several posts that relate to the contest, so for maximum entries, you’ll have to scroll and read.  If you’re donating something, you’ll need to let me know before 10-25, 11:59 PM Eastern Time, which is the deadline for ALL entries.

Also, Grace is donating her Fennelivore.  (Thanks again, to ALL the donors!)  That gives you some kind of link to just about all of the  awesome prizes.

Lace ‘n Loot

Anitas Grace Shawl

Anita's Grace Shawl

Actually, we’ll start with the loot.  Grace, the  sweet, speedy, wonder lace knitter, has added one of her glorious shawlettes to the prize pool.  (NOT the shawl pictured above – that’s just so you can see her lovely lace!) Thank you, Grace for your continued generosity! 

Glass jewels by TG Designs

Glass jewels by TG Designs

But wait!  There’s more!  Christina donated another special prize.   T G Designs is another pair of talented sisters cranking out beautiful, functional art.  In fact, I have my earrings in at the moment…  The pendant will feature a gold bail, so add your own gold necklace, and you’ll have a snazzy fall look!

I think that covers all of the prizes now.  You’ll have to peruse a few posts to find everything, but wowza!   I really do have some talented, generous friends.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, the vendor/donors are also eligible to win prizes other than their own.    There’s plenty here for non-knitters, so rest assured, I’ll assign prizes according to your interests, with a lot of help from Excel and the random  number generator.

Now, how ’bout that finished object report?

This is the shawl I made for Hope and her parents.   No, it’s not pink, as I’m sure Hope will note, but the Knight lobbied hard for a not too light (for easier care) and not too girly (out of respect for the dad, who would hunker down under a baby pink wrap to make his daughter happy) wrap, so… 

Pattern:  Homespun Shawl is a VERY simple feather and fan stole/rectangle.  It’s just four simple rows, and while I don’t memorize patterns as quickly as some, truly, one look was all it took for this one.  It’s as straight-forward as they come, and I think it would be a great first lace project, as long as you have the will to slog through miles of the same four rows. 

My final measurements, without any real blocking, were 19″ x 53″, right in line with what’s listed on the pattern.

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky.  My only complaint is that the yarn doesn’t have a colorway name on it.  (Don’t bother telling me if there’s a website that lists the numbers and gives an actual name; it’s one of my hang-ups.  I’d like my yarn to have a colorway name, not a number, right there on the band.)  It’s a shame it’s so pricey, because it’s a great machine wash, dry flat yarn.  Thank goodness for Little Knits and their sales, because that’s where all of my Debbie Bliss yarn has come from. 

I’m calling the colorway Mermaid, because Hope likes mermaids.  Take that DB and your nameless ball bands!  I used 8 balls, with just enough of the last one left over to save for repairs.

Needles:  Knitpicks Options, US #11, 24″ cord, metal tips.  No failure here, I’m happy to say.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but maybe I’ve finally gotten all of the early edition cords that come apart out of my kit.

Crab stitch border

Crab stitch border

Hook:  “What?!” you say?  Yep.  Lookie!  I successfully crab stitched on both short ends.  I might go back and do that on Fredfoot too, since the bottom edge rolls just the tiniest bit…

Anyway, if you don’t know by now, I use nothing but Boye hooks, and this was size J.

The crab stitch is also called reverse single crochet.   While I learned it at a Guild meeting this summer, I did find a nice You Tube video to refresh my memory.  I think that if you can single crochet, you can do this lovely, twistedropelooking edge.

Verdict:  Oh yeah.  I’ll be cranking out more of these, especially if I can find more of this Cashmerino Chunky on sale.   It’s a great prayer shawl, because I don’t think I swore once while I was knitting it, or even while I was crab stitchin’.  There’s nothing but love, hope and prayers in there, aside from the ever-present dog hair that is my signature touch to everything that comes from my hands, heart and home.

Bread and Bars

… of soap, that is.

Wolfe Farms - Herbal Soaps and More!

Dawn has some incredible soaps and is having a give-away.  Be sure to check out her Etsy shop too.  She sent me some of her strawberry herbal soap a while back, and truly, it smells good enough to eat, and feels even better!

Also, in Big Blessed Bash news, CoffeeYarn has offered some of her incredible homemade bread as a prize.  I’d like to show you photos, but flickr and my desktop aren’t talking to each other at the moment…

Since I can’t post photos, please settle for this slim post today, and tomorrow – flickr and everything else cooperating – I’ll give that FO report I owe.