There’s a flutter of activity around here.  The fur-girls are wrapping up a week at the office.  Sissy still jumps up on the door, and Gretchen has actually gotten yappier  decided she’s a very aware watchdog, but as always, they’ve been a pleasure to have in the office. 

12-08 but Gretchen STILL assumes this pose every chance she gets

Tomorrow, we have a special celebration for what would have been my maternal grandmother’s 100th birthday.  She really wanted to live long enough to hear Willard Scott wish her a happy birthday, but it wasn’t meant to be.

My grandmother, playing with a Scottie

In honor of Sadie’s big win, there’s a photo of my grandmother playing with my mother’s Scottish Terrier, Wallace.  My grandmother is actually the one who got us all hooked on terriers in the 1970s with her terrier mix named Pepper.

No Black Friday shopping here.  I might need to run buy enough CDs to burn six discs with a single photo, but I have to re-read the application requirements; surely, they just want one digital copy of the photo?  

What do you have planned for this post-holiday weekend?

Oh Happy Day!

Just a quick Thanksgiving greeting from our corner of the Woods…  The girls have either been bouncing off the walls or curled up snoozing.  Can you believe Sis lets that brat sleep on top of her?!

We’ve had a great, quiet day.  There’s a Cottage Cheese Pie in the refrigerator and the Knight has been cooking his crockpot pot roast feast for ages.  We’ll get around to eating sooner or later.  I’m deep into book #10 of the Melanie Travis Mysteries.  I found it highly ironic that I was reading a dog show mystery while watching the National Dog Show earlier today. 

I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving are having just as nice a day as we are.  I have so much for which to be thankful, including your friendships!

Wild Pear Gem

An afternoon with no rain, Flickr playing well with others, and some mail that piled up makes for a yarn-crawlish post.   Grab a cuppa’ (it’s chilly here), your favorite snack, and settle in!

We’ll start with the long-neglected last Loopy Sock Club package that arrived a couple of weeks ago.  This is the last of this season’s sock club, but it’s also my last after two years in the club.  To the best of my recollection, I’ve not knitted with the first yarn from ANY of the packages, so there’s little point in putting my name in for the lottery for next year.  I’ve gifted some of the yarn, sold one offering, and I really do like some of it, but…

The yarn is a rich color that reminds me of the fur-girls.  It’s Numa Numa’s The Usual in Red Bartlett Pear.   I’m thinking that eventually I will knit these socks with this yarn, but once it swims into my stash, who knows?!

Then there’s my first Creatively Dyed Sock Club kit!   This is a sneak peek at a new technique Dianne is doing.   I’m quite certain this “Wild Thing” yarn will get knitted up in that pattern, right after 2010 becomes the current year.   I’m leaving the pattern tamers right there with the yarn and the pattern too, so there will be no excuses!

Now, I know spinners like a WIP (wraps per inch) tool, but do other knitters really use them?  I definitely didn’t, not before I started spinning.  I mean…  There’s swatching and there’s a label around the yarn, right?!  Karat Stix made these little cuties.  Obviously, they were part of my Loopy kit.

Still with me?  Moving right along…  Next up, we have some beautiful Gypsyknits BFL roving in Gem-Spin that grew up to be yarn.

I wanted to make the most of this beautiful yarn, but in the end, I decided to navajo ply it because I didn’t have enough of any solid that would work with it.

I love how muted the colors are.  It reminds me of the beach, where the sky and earth and ocean seem to just slip together at some point out on the horizon…

A little larger than life, and those aren’t wrapped, but draped across the WIP tool, so it’s really about sport weight.  I’m pretty pleased with myself…  Three-ply, sport weight, with about 214 yards.  I’m thinking I’m going to do Anita‘s Mermaid scarf.

Ready for Thanksgiving, if you live in the States?   We are!  We’re going to have a not so traditional pot roast tomorrow, because that’s what the Knight wanted, and he’s cooking, so what’s not to love?  I’ll add a couple of pies – because the extras can always go to the firehouse – and we’ll have a quiet day at home.

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating!


Round … what number?

We never really stopped looking for another vehicle for me, but I did stop obsessing about it.  At the moment, we’re in negotiations.  You see, we both love the Knight’s personal truck.  Scratch that; all four of us love the truck.  The girls have more room in his back seat than mine, although they still wad up in the middle.  (Can you believe I don’t have a photo of them sleeping together in the car?!)

OBX 2-09 ... pretend it's the backseat of my car

Anyway, what with the chiefmobile and his work truck, his personal truck sits undercover, unloved, so we’ve declared it our travel vehicle, at least until gasoline prices top $4 again.  That opens up a new world of car shopping for me, because it means I don’t have to give a second thought to cargo room.   

Mugsy and the Knight on the big green tractor ~ 2005

Now, I could be really practical and go sedan, as the Knight would like, but I don’t like cars.  I’m a country girl, born and raised, and since I can’t toodle around on a big ol’ tractor, and since I do have enough decorum to realize dresses, heels and pick-ups don’t mix well, that still leaves me with SUVs, or preferably, a cross-over.

Now…  here’s where I need your input.  We’re having a premium fuel debate in The Woods.   The Knight says it’s not a big deal, especially since many manufacturers “recommend” premium fuel but don’t require it.  I say if they think we should use it, we should, and it gripes me to pay more for premium fuel if I’m not getting something out of it.   (And we’re not looking for performance.  I would rather have better fuel mileage.)

Am I being hard to get along with?  I know a few of you have Subarus, which I think of as wonderful, practical cars, and they take premium fuel, so educate me here!

(Now, since it’s taken two hours to type this much, I’m going to publish.  Some of it is because the girls wanted to go walk in the sunshine, and some of it is because of a customer, so I’m not REALLY complaining…)

Welcome Back Flickr

Thank you, Flickr ghosts in the machine, for allowing me to see my own photos again, even in the larger sizes.   I maintain it was Flickr’s problem, not mine…

Girls, meet Poppet

Just a little catch-up here, now that harmony has been restored in my bloggy world.  

I had the BEST weekend.  I read a bunch of books; I’m now on #6 of the Melanie Travis Mysteries.   I didn’t knit the first stitch, although I did carry my hooded scarf around with me, just in case.  I did ply and soak my Gypsyknits BFL, and I started spinning my Gnomespun.   (That Polwarth is a DREAM, I tell you…)

How was your weekend?  What’s your week look like? 

From July, but still...

My week looks like that.  The cat’s away, so the mice will play!  Gretchen bounced right up in the car this morning like she’s always loved a ride.  Hopefully, that means she’ll weather the beach commute without incident.

Please pop over to Dogs n MoreSue has a series of holiday ideas for pets going.   Don’t tell the Knight, but the girls have winter all-weather coats on the way, thanks to a gentle nudge from Sue!

Who says you can’t go shopping with online friends?


Meet the Siren

No, this isn’t a firehouse post.  Keep reading!  However, Flickr has washed their hands of my problem, so I’ve forwarded their last email to IT Auntie, and hopefully she can figure out what is going on.  Sigh.

Almost two years ago, I got talked into my first spinning classes.  I earnestly believed they really were just to give me a working knowledge of fibers.  Several of you laughed knowingly.  I hated the drop spindle, but bought one anyway.  Long story short, I eventually bought a sweet little Bellus wheel from Heavenly Handspinning.

I called him Bellus for over a year, knowing that he needed a name of his own.  I’ve never cared for the practice of calling people by their last names, which I guess is how my crazy mind categorized the name Bellus.

Why yes, that is the wee one, wondering why the Siren is on top of the hot tub…  She’s turned out to be no trouble at all when I spin.  I do have to put my fiber up when I step away, even for a second, but she’s content to snugle at my side, sit in my lap (not my favorite spot for her while I’m spinning!), or she’ll go play, all without ever jarring the wheel.

Perhaps this would be a better post if I’d cropped the photos, but deal with it, okay?  Y’all can pop over to Flickr and look at any of the photos in whatever size suits you, and yes… that was typed with some bitterness.

Double treadle and a free wheel inspection

At any rate,  here’s a photo of the treadles.    That’s a must for me – two peddles, to keep me centered while I spin.  That’s also why I love a castle-style wheel, meaning one that doesn’t look like the spinning wheel most of you think of when you hear the words.

The Siren is a great little wheel.   You can read the specs on the link above, but it’s under ten pounds – another requirement for me and my back – and yet it is solid-feeling.  I’d never spun with Irish tension before I ordered Bellus, but I like the simplicity of it. 

For those of you who don’t spin, the left side is where I sit,  and the right side is the “back” of the wheel.  Again, it’s a very simple set-up, and it was great to learn on a wheel with so few parts.

Orafice and the not-inspector

I am half-heartedly shopping for another wheel, but not because there’s anything wrong with The Siren.  The Siren is a great little wheel, and I wish it got more press and respect.  It is less expensive than many wheels on the market, but that doesn’t reflect inferior craftsmanship.  The Fords make a nice wheel, mostly of wood, under 10 pounds and under $250.  Jan spins laceweight regularly on her wheel (a single treadle, I believe).

See Sissy up there?  She and The Siren aren’t friends.  While Gretchen likes the creature that allows her to snort fiber, Sissy finds the spacetakerupper very annoying.   It’s almost always precisely where she’d like to sit, stand, walk, etc. 

Now, about the name.  Ruth gets the credit.  She left a comment about a week ago, cautioning me about “the siren call of Bellus” and it clicked!  Of course a former firefighter, now married to a fire chief, would have a wheel named after something related to the fire service.  I’d considered other variations names siren-related, but nothing else felt right.  I love a siren, and rather demand to operate said noisemaker when I do run a call.

I like an air horn – a real air horn, not some electric or computer-generated knock-off  – but there are no poetic references to an air horn, unless we make the leap to a fog horn on a ship, and I don’t believe those tie in to spinning so well.

So, what’s up for your weekend?  I don’t have a single thing planned, other than getting the fur-girls out for some walks while the weather is nice.  More reading – I’m almost finished with Underdog – and of course, some spinning and knitting.  I do have an FO, but I’m waiting to see if it fits first!

Told ya’ so…

Happy little friday!  We’re about to wash away here, what with some localized flash floods and a bonafied thunderstorm this morning, but life is good.

Flickr, it is YOUR problem.  I’m sure of it.    There are my darling girls, sunning and hunting and being adorable.  I can only show “small” sizes or smaller, but that’s better than no photos, right?

I don’t dare edit the photos, but at this point, I’m giddy with delight.  I figured out how to skirt around this unsolved mystery!

I intend to follow the fur-girls’ lead and take it easy again this weekend.  I’m hoping there will be another pleasant, sunny day or two for nice walks down the lane, but I also need to take a few minutes to figure out what we’re going to do for Thanksgiving Day. 

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?  What does it mean to you?


Doggone Good!

So, we’ll borrow photos from the internet.  Thanks to Nichole, I have upgraded to Internet Explorer v.8, which didn’t help that problem, but things look brighter and happier on my desktop, so…  Nic also found a linkymadoo that allowed me to email someone who MIGHT care at Flickr, so here’s to a prompt response and resolution to this nine day old problem.

Part of the reason there wasn’t as much knitting or spinning over the weekend is because Gmarie has tricked me into reading again.   Clearly, we can all see that the image is courtesy of Amazon, but they are my online book vendor of choice…

Before I get lost talking about this book, author and series, I do want to plug a concept I embraced long before I knew about blogs, Buy Books for the Holidays.    I’ve always enjoyed giving and receiving books as gifts.  My closest cousin – in both senses… we’re not even six months apart in age, and she’d be a dear friend even if there was no common genetic material – and my childhood best friend both sometimes stretch me a bit with their book gifts, but some of my long-term favorite reads have come from their favorites.

Anyway, just keep sharing literature in mind, especially if you send me pressies.  I have let reading slide for a few years while I knitted manically, and I think it’s time to recalibrate, so I plan on cruising through the Melanie Travis Mysteries and all of the other books that have piled up in the last three years!

About that book…  It’s the first in a long series of books about the heroine, Melanie Travis, whom we watch become an amatuer detective in Pedigree.    You can read the teaser at the link, but my quick, no-spoiler summary would say that Melanie’s aunt and uncle are breeder/handlers in the dog show world, and Melanie gets sucked in, trying to sort our her uncle’s death all while looking for a missing poodle.

Now.  This pulled me right in for a host of reasons.  Even if this is your first time visiting my blog, a quick scroll backwards will tell you that I’m more than a little taken with dogs.  What even most of my best bloggy friends don’t know – heck, add my real life friends to that too – is that as a teen, I was a junior handler who lived with an aunt (great aunt, if you must know) not unlike Aunt Peg.

It’s no coincidence that this post comes while Flickr and this desktop aren’t “speaking.”  Even if I had scanned photos from that era of my life, I’m not sure how freely I’d share them.  It was a rather special, sacred time.  I was the very proud owner of the most remarkable black lab pup EVER, and our mutual admiration carried us right through all kinds of puppy conformation show rings. 

My parents took tongue lashings when my pet was spayed, thus ending our conformation career, but that’s when my beloved aunt stepped in.  Let’s call her Aunt Nancy, shall we?  Aunt Nancy had cleaned up in breed classes, and had moved almost exclusively into obedience trials when that poor old maid suddenly came to share her home with of all things, an active teenage girl and her big dog.

Before I get lost in a biographical rambling, I’ll note that MJ also was a sheltie breeder when the Knight was growing up, so dog show rings aren’t unfamiliar grounds for him either. 

These books aren’t the biographies I have reached for in the past, but Ms. Berenson’s characters are people I can care about, which makes it hard to put the books down.   #2 in the series is already half gone, and I suspect I’ll continue to march on through the rest of the series.  I won’t review each one here, but if you like the idea of reading about people whose lives revolve around dogs, give them a try!

What are you reading right now?



Lucky Dog?

Well lookee here!

Evidently, several of us are livin’ right as the saying goes, because I can blog! 

Oh.  Wait.  Never mind.  I’m at home with my trusty laptop, where Flickr works and Comcast and its new commercial modem are removed from the equation.

This is the happy little Post-It Gmarie included in her package.   Silly little things like that make me ridiculously happy.  The dog, which jiblets aside could be a Sissy profile, is cute, but the colors really work for my inner preppy.  (Cue a Barbara Mandrell impostor singing “I was preppy, when preppy wasn’t cool.”)

photo by MJ, 11-2007

So, MJ did come in, after taking Nick to the groomer’s.   That means packages went in the mail, so hopefully in a couple of days, several of you will have your prizes in hand. 

Where were we?!  I honestly have no idea.  This thing with Flickr at work has really thrown my blogging mojo out of whack.   I still owe you a post about my spinning wheel, but that will come one day when I can blog at work and the mojo is back. 

I know yesterday, you missed the Lucky Dog photo I showed earlier, and this lovely pair of earrings from the awesome Ann.   They’re actually a cool, coralesque pink, that looks good with all sorts of shades of pink and red.  I know, because I have a very similar pair, without the rosette.

I have to pause here to again thank all of the very generous vendors who made the Blessed Big Bash possible.   I know not everyone had her donations featured here, but I do believe I mentioned everyone, and if not, correct me and I’ll make it so!

I failed to get a photo of Felicia‘s BEAUTIFUL wooden needle case, so we’ll have to wait for it to arrive at its destination.  I also sent along the business card Felicia sent, so I can’t even send you to look at the beauties.  With a bit of luck, she’ll help me out, because these are TRULY little works of art.  (And think sewing needle case, not knitting needle, okay?)

Last, but hardly least, I need to share the yummy braid Ann brought me from Rhinebeck.  That’s Gnomespun, and it’s my first Polwarth (breed of sheep).  I’m really enjoying spinning with different fibers.  I think it’s going to be next on my bobbins.  Thanks so very much, Ann!

Tomorrow, so I don’t have to rely on Flickr, I’m going to tell you about the new series of books I’m hooked on.   How goes your week?  Any of you work for Yahoo and/or Flickr?

The NOT Post

Well, well!  I’m glad some of you can see my Flickr account 24/7…  I suppose I could pull out my Blackberry and try, but that’s way too complicated for something that I usually consider fun and a little spontaneous.

So, tune in later.  I’ll post from home again, I guess.  It isn’t looking like MJ is coming in today, so that might scrap my plans to ship all the prizes out for another day or two…  I really am sorry for keeping the winners waiting!!