Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ribbed Socks Are Done

I finished the ribbed socks for my husband. I was disappointed that there wasn't enough yarn in the skein for calf-length socks but he's happy with them! He says they are VERY WARM!

Now I am working on the Razorbacks lapghan.

Page for Free Patterns



Lots of sirens today. Hopefully, people aren't being idiots. Hopefully, their health hasn't put them in jeopardy. Hopefully, it's just the constabulary being bored on-shift and are just making for a bit of excitement to break the monotony of Sunday duty.

The curtains are luffing in the wind and the leaves are chasing each other around in the street. The train whistles are screaming their way through the city, warning traffic of their imminent arrival and departure.

I also keep hearing the sounds of tortured metal. Is someone in the midst of construction?

Bloomin' Idiots!

Although the calendar date for spring is a month away, I must report that the signs of spring are in FULL bloom here in northern Louisiana. While driving out to pick up a friend, I observed the Jonquils are in full bloom and so are the crab apple trees. This is still actually too early, at least for the apple trees. Here in north Louisiana, we usually experience one more cold snap that will denude the trees of their blooms. This is good in one respect: The crab apples won't be leaving a big mess for us to clean up in the fall. The bad news is: If the crab apples are blooming, what other fruiting crops are already blooming as well? Bloomin' idiots!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Max passed away today. I am at a loss for words.

Max was part of our family for less than a year but it feels as if an entire lifetime has been stolen from us. The house feels emptier without him. He is survived by his fur family which includes "Racoon", Midnight aka Junior and Buddha aka "The Pig".

Buddha and Max were not litter-mates but acted as if they were twins. They played together all the time. After Max was hit by the car last month, it was not uncommon to see Buddha cleaning Max where Max could not reach.

I really miss Max a lot.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Husband's Socks and Window Treatments

My Husband's Socks:
I actually started back up on my husband's socks. I have a tad over 5" knitted from the toe up. The top of the foot is ribbed and the rib will extend around the entire foot after I turn the heel. I double-checked his foot measurement as I can't find my notes from January. Ah, well.

Project Materials List: Knitpicks Stroll Sport in Black on Knitpicks Options NP circular needle 47" Sz2/2.75mm.

Window Treatments:
Well, the fabric is in the dryer. I am using a floral 100% cotton fabric that I picked up from an estate sale, along with a lightweight muslin. I also picked up "lace" to overlay the floral fabric to soften the colors further. I washed the floral and muslin fabrics to remove the sizing and will be ironing them before I make my first cut. After this washing. future cleansings will involve gentle washing in cool water so as to not harm the "lace" fabric. I've remeasured all the windows and hope like crazy that I have enough of the floral fabric to create the effect that I am visualizing. If not, only three of the windows will receive the color panel/lace insets. I'll see if I can create a rough picture of my plans....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

There's Always Next Winter

Today, I finished The Viking's watch cap. Of course, now the weather is not suitable for warm wear. When it snowed two weeks ago, that was a different story. But it wasn't done two weeks ago. It was finished today, when our temperature actually began to feel uncomfortably warm. Inside our house, with the windows open, the temperature actually climbed to 75°F (24°C). Ah well. There's always next winter.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

42,250 or Thereabouts

Have you ever calculated how many stitches a project will take? I did.

For the sake of knowing how much yarn I would need to complete the decreases and cast off (DCO), I took the time to calculate how many stitches would be needed and how many yards those stitches equaled (or vice versa). Since I would have four rounds of decreases followed by a calculated number of rounds between each decrease, I was able to work out that I would need enough yarn to complete 3896 stitches over the course of the total decreases and rounds. Wow! Well, I measured a yard, knitted the stitches and counted the number of stitches I created with that yard. 92 stitches. I divided the total 3896 stitches by the 92 to get the number of yards for the decrease and cast off rounds. It worked out to about 42.34 yards. My nominal arm span is 60 inches. I converted the yards to inches and divided that by my arm span and found that I needed 25 and some odd number of arm spans of yarn for the DCO rounds. I rounded up to ensure that I would not underestimate the final rounds. To make the project I used two skeins of Regia sock yarn which is 420 meters. If I manage to minimize waste, it turns out that there may be about 42,250 stitches in this project. This is the hat for The Viking. wow...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Com(pli)ments Received Today!

Today, while at the book store, I was asked by a couple if I would make them a Ring Pillow for their wedding next year, because "your work looks very professional." Later, after the couple left, another woman I had met a couple months ago, came into the store and saw my knitting and she commented that my work "looks like it's machine-knit". So, not once but TWICE in less than an hour, I received what I perceived as high praise-type compliments for my knitting skills! Yay! There's hope for me yet. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today is Valentine's Day....

This special quilt square was made for someone I don't know who lost her father in January. I actually completed the square on th 14th of January (the day I actually typed up this post) but was asked not to reveal it yet. Anyway, this is my first ever quilt square. Simply named Pinwheel Heart. Being a novice, I failed to make it the right size so I trimmed it with additional fabric that matched the heart. It surprises me how pretty it is. Even the back!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Ultimatum To My Neighbor (Who's Also My Son)

I have a newish neighbor. He moved in next door in September 2010. This is all fine and good especially since I know and trust him implicitly. I mean, I gave birth to him in 1986! There's only one problem... He's an unremitting slob!

Now, normally this would not be a problem... if his messes remained in his own house. However, his trash is spreading out from his property and is making my yard look like the city reclamation center. See, even though he has his own property now, he thinks he has a right to use our yard as if it is part of his property. Sure I raised him in this house and this yard. BUT he has his own house and his own yard now! I'm actually expecting the city to issue me a citation to clean up soon. Once issued, the city can come in and clean up my property and they would then bill me. Last year's fine was $150.00. I didn't have to pay it because I cleaned up the mess (HIS MESS! He was on the road so I couldn't make him clean it up or I would have.)

Oh, and he borrows things all the time. I don't think I would have had a problem with this either. Except, everything he borrows ends up being left out where anyone could walk off with it or the weather turns the item into useless junk. He NEVER puts things back where he got them from! ARGH! And worse! He makes sure his personal items are put away out of harm's way but feels that our possessions are not sacrosanct. This week I found my shovel, my ax and my utility cart sitting out in the weather in publicly accessible areas alongside his house instead of back where he borrowed them from... in my yard, inside my storage shed.

I am doing what I can to reclaim my yard and my stuff but it's going to be a long road. Today, I gave him the ultimatum that he needs to get his crap out of my back yard by the end of March 2011 or I will be sending it to the dump.

Max's Amazing Recovery (From my posts on Ravelry)

I realize that even though I've been sharing Max's recovery with my regularly visited forums, I haven't been updating the blog on his status. Here's a timeline of posts from those forums:

Friday, January 28

Doc just called! Max has feeling back in his legs! He’ll give us the rest of the details when we’re allowed to go visit at two this afternoon. He did say he wants to wait two weeks to surgically remove, thankfully, JUST THE BALL FROM THE FEMUR! He says over time that it will grow a false joint. I had never heard of this but it is better than an amputation. He will only amputate if he has to. The two weeks is to allow time for the pelvis and back breaks to heal before he does the surgery.

I don’t know if Max gets to come home today. Doc says he doesn’t need to stay in hospital during the two weeks. I will have to help clean him up since he won’t be able to use a litter box. But that is a small price to pay knowing that he has an excellent chance at a good recovery; not full, never will be with his injuries, since he won’t be able to climb the side of the house anymore. I’m okay with that.


He’s home now. I have him in the isolation cage for now because I have to go shopping. I hate doing this to him. He really wants down to drag himself… I don’t know where. He’s already been up and used the litter box. The problem is he doesn’t want to settle. Doc says too much moving around won’t allow the hips and pelvis to heal. Oh, it turns out what the doc meant by broken back was the severance of the hips from the sciatic(?) vertebra.

Saturday, January 29

He actually got his first home dose this morning. Doc said he was relatively active because of the original steroid shot that he gave him on Thursday. The medication is an anti-inflammatory (NSAID) called Metacam and I am to give him 1 cc a day for only a total of five days. Four days to go. After his dose this morning, he has stayed quite calm today. He finally ate some food but the only way he’ll take fluids is if I use a syringe. Doc says not to worry too much. He says since I’m feeding him wet food that he is getting fluids that way and that he is probably still bloated from the IV.

Max will be getting the ball of his femur removed in about two weeks. Doc wanted to wait to give the fractures time to heal before doing the surgery so his leg will not be amputated after all.

We’ve already been covering his cage and yes he calmed right down after I covered all but the front. Before I did this, any motion or noise would make him startle and ping off the sides of the cage. He’s doing WAY BETTER and staying calm now. He’s even been grooming himself today. He is sleeping a lot.

I spend about 30 minutes every couple of hours petting and massaging him, scrunching his ears, rubbing his belly. He actually rolls over to allow his belly to be rubbed. Even when I’m not petting him, I tied some spirit bells into his cage for him to play with and he does. They are hanging down low enough for him to bat at but not get tangled in the cord. Not much but it’s better than no play toys at all.

When I take Max out of the cage to see if he needs to relieve himself (every 2 to 4 hours) he always tries to jump out of my arms. Silly boy, I really don’t know if he realizes just how bad his injuries are. I keep a firm but gentle grip on him.

Monday, January 31

He’s finally drinking water and he’s used the restroom and is eating when he gets hungry. When he was scratching in the litter box, he threw the litter everywhere! He’s doing really great. I just feel bad for him that I can’t let him roam the house. I am actually stunned at how calm and laid back he is about the whole mess. When he stands up to stretch he is steadier than he has been. He is one amazing boy!

Thursday, February 3

He’s grown stronger. So much so that it is becoming difficult to keep him isolated. He wants OUT of the cage. When we hold him, he wants OUT of our arms. It’s been a week and he’s now going stir crazy, is my poor (not so) little guy. This weekend, we’re going to block the front 1/3 of the house off so he can wander around on the floor. We’ll be with him the whole time to make sure the other kitties don’t decide to rough-house with him. He needs more exercise that what we can give him. I do give him lots of scritches and rubs and that seems to help. He can’t scratch right now because of his pelvis and I’m fairly certain it annoys the heck out of him, much like a man having both legs and arms in casts at the same time.

He’s getting totally spoiled. Heck, the poor guy goes back next week for the surgery. So I and my husband are doing everything we can to help keep him sane.


Cats are phenomenal! Our cat “Racoon” has been through most of his 9 lives and is still going strong. I’ve got some horror stories about his life that would make everyone cringe. He’s 17 this year and is only now starting to slow down.

Sunday, February 13

Max’s surgery has been delayed for two weeks. Two reasons: 1) Max needs a little more time for his hips to heal before the doctor does his surgery. 2) Max has been phenomenally mobile. Since Max’s mobility is an excellent sign of health, the doctor feels that Max isn’t suffering any real discomfort and will heal faster after the surgery. I think giving Max full scritches and massages helped him.

Max has been out of confinement since Monday and is doing fabulous. He tried earlier in the week to cuddle with his buddy Buddha but Buddha didn’t want anything to do with him at the time. Since yesterday, however, Max and Buddha are playing again. What’s truly amazing is it seems that Buddha can smell Max’s injuries and avoids roughhousing too much.

I am thoroughly amazed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Still Ribbing

I'm still working on the watch cap. I've got just over six inches knit up and working on the last skein of yarn. It's kind of cool that two skeins of Regia sock-weight yarn can make such an awesome, stretchy cap!

I have the socks on a temporary hiatus until I finish the cap.

I did start the Razorbacks lapghan for two reasons: 1) so I can get it done before Christmas! and 2) so I can calculate how much material my class will need to make their own lapghans of LSU Tigers and NO Saints. The class is in March and I need to provide the facilitator with the information before class so everyone can come prepared.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ribbed Goodness

I cast on plain, ribbed socks for my husband on the evening of February 3rd,after I had cleaned up my mess from balling up the RSC yarns and playing around with the skein of homespun yarn that I am calling the Venus Of Willendorf Wannabe. I managed to get a few of the increases done before I put it down and started working on the nightmare-inducing Elk Watch Cap that I was making for The Viking. The Elk Watch Cap has plunged into the frog pond. I really wanted to make this thing using intarsia but the join for "in the round" just wasn't working out. I'll have to think on this more later... In the meantime, it is now turning into a plain, ribbed watch cap.

**SPOILER ALERT!!!** Rockin' Sock Club

I joined the Rockin' Sock Club on January 23rd, 2011. I received my first kit on January 29th. I balled the skeins on February 2nd. I finally cast on my first RSC kit sock on February 3rd. Here's a peek at the floats:

I can only work on the socks while my husband is at work so it is slow going. Some of the members have already finished their first sock.

The Principles of Knitting

I finally broke down and ordered a copy of The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt. It truly saddens me that Ms. Hiatt has not yet published the new, updated version. I've waited four years. I wait no more. I am paying dearly for the privilege of having access to a (alleged) superb resource. But I can finally afford it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Venus Of Willendorf Wannabe

One of the most beautiful Venus statuary has got to be the Venus of Willendorf sculpted circa 25,000 BCE. Through a surprising twist, this, my first spun fiber, looks a lot like the Venus (squint your eyes....) The yarn is only 83 grams and approximately 96 yards and is scratchy but I totally love it. Hey! Give me a break! It's my first!

I first spun this yarn last year. I even plied it then. But between then and now I learned that I made a lot of mistakes. So I meticulously un-plied the yarn, reduced the twist and re-plied the yarn. Yesterday, I set the twist and let the yarn dry overnight. On the balanced portions I actually achieved about 5.5 to 6 TPI. I was able to understand my mistakes from reading the tutorials at Spindle and Wheel. It will be awhile before I get a spinning wheel (sob, they are so expensive that I have to option to buy good yarn or go on a yarn diet and buy one at Christmas next year! The torture!) so I will have lots of time with my training spindle to improve my technique and recognizing well-spun fiber!

Romney wool spun to approximately 96 yards and weighing in at 83 grams. So what should I make with it?