Tuesday, July 31, 2007

So it Grows

I'm nearing the end of my Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl. I've only got one more repeat to do and I can start on the edging. I timed myself today and it takes me 45 minutes to do one row. With sixteen rows remaining I have over 12 hours of knitting to do before the edging (remember that I am increasing 8 stitches every 2 rows).

Can you see how the circulars are confining it now? It's going to be huge. I'm getting excited about the blocking to come.

Today, we took the family to the beach in the morning. Those two specks in the distance are Jim and Alex.

Sunbeam socks on a sunny day. Won't they be warm on the feet in the cheerless winter?

This was the longest we've left Dexter home alone and he did just fine in the crate. But he was really happy to see us when we got back.

Won't you play ball with me?

Fine. I'll do it myself.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Yesterday the whole family went to doggie obedience class at Pets Plus school here in London. Dexter did great! The rest of us have some learning to do. After supper I took Dexter for a walk and it was very pleasant. I needed to praise his good behavior more and correct him with a gentle hand. His loose leash walking and heeling improved a hundred percent.

We were cruising through a local park and there were a few dogs barking from the fences, and running through the field. They got him distracted, and me too I guess because a big shepherd passed within 20 feet of us and he just lunged. He pulled me off my feet, but I kept my grip. I put him into a down stay until the other dog went past.

By the time we got home, I noticed how badly my hand was hurting and it started to swell. I've called Teleheath Ontario and the RN advised me that it was likely a sprain. So I'm taking Advil and using ice and trying to rest it. Typing isn't too bad, but knitting requires me to curl my hand, so that bothers me more. We took Dexter to the dog park to exercise him this morning. He does great with other dogs when he's not on the lead.

I'm sorry if you've come here for knitting content. All I have these days is dog content. But at least he's a danged cute dog!

Aw shoot. I don't know how to rotate movies.... Bear with me people.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Taking it Easy, yah Right!

I've been really busy for someone who's been taking it easy. A new dog will do that. I had a dark day of doubt because of how badly Dexter behaves on the leash with other dogs. We took him to the dog park though, and he did okay there. He seems very protective of us already, and it seems another dog trying to approach me or the kids triggers his aggression. I've signed us up for doggie obedience classes that start this weekend. I see no purpose to waiting, because I don't want this behaviour to escalate.

The other thing keeping me busy, but in a fun and happy way, is cooking for Dexter. I've done some reading, and I've decided that this is the best option for us. For the most part, he'll just get a specially prepared portion of what we're eating. Right now though, I've been having fun creating my own recipes for him. Such has a hamburger hash that I did up in the crockpot. It was oatmeal, low-sodium beef broth, hamburger, carrots, frozen green beans and some thyme from my garden. He gobbled it up. Most of my reading came from the Natural Dog Food website and I've ordered Carol Boyle's book. It just makes good sense to me that healthy ingredients make for a healthy animal.

Of course, I've been busily knitting along. I'm still loving the Frost Flowers and leaves shawl, but I don't have much to show you. It's bigger. Woop-de-doo. I've turned the heel on the sunbeam socks. Hoo-rah.

I started scanning in some pictures of my old Paton's patterns, but it's just too much like work. I did a few before I copped out though. This book has directions for side-ways socks and some other neat designs that I'd like to try one day. I scanned in the back cover because it shows you all the designs that are in the book (plus, the front is missing).

click for bigger

I remember my mother using this book to create mittens for us, but never socks.

My mother once said she'd make me mittens or gloves, just the way I wanted them. She told me gloves would be harder though, so of course I wanted those. Then she asked if I preferred moss-stitch backs or plain, and of course, I wanted moss stitch. Plain sounds so, well, plain. I wanted the special ones. They were done in a pastel, variegated, acrylic. I can't imagine that they kept me warm, but I relished those mittens because I knew my mother had put the extra effort into them for me.

You know, now that I think about it, I'm glad that I'm putting the extra effort to go all the way, and do all the repeats in Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl. It's huge, but I'm sure I'll relish it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And now for some Knitting.... Eventually.

Dexter gave me a rough day yesterday. It's a good thing I've had kids. I remember what it was like with them when they were little and we had a bad day. I know now, that these days pass. That bad days are part of the process.

Dexter is a well behaved dog in the house, with the kids and on the leash. He's just not well behaved around other dogs. And I, in my ignorance, exposed him to other dogs a bit more than he was able to tolerate.

As for knitting, I managed to start my last repeat of frost flowers pattern in my shawl. I've still got a couple more weeks to go on it I estimate. And here's the promised sock picture:

It's so bright, I think I'll call it my sunbeam sock. The yarn is Hill Country Yarns, Sweet Feet that I won in the Bitchin' Mittens contest last year. The pattern is from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks and it uses a variation of shetland lace to make those scallops. It's a funny pattern. You decrease for four rounds, increase a round, then do two rounds in reverse stockinette.

Have I mentioned we're on vacation? We're just staying home, playing with the dog, knitting and reading Harry Potter. I just finished it this morning. I think this book was the best one of all. I yelled out loud, cried and laughed, Now my husband is reading it. I'm looking forward to him finishing it so we can discuss it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Needless to say, there's not much knitting getting done these days. Last week, the poison ivy rash got in my way so I was reading more than knitting. Harry Potter, of course. I just picked up volume 7 today, and I'm about one fifth of the way in. I'm trying to savour it a bit.

While the rash isn't gone, it is mostly better, but now Dexter is keeping me busy. I'm not sure about him around the knitting just now, so I started a sock that is easily picked up, put down, and fixed should a stitch or two be dropped. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture while the light was good.

But at least I'm not the only tired one.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dexter's First Day

I'm so tired after my first day with Dexter. We met him half way, took him for a walk before putting him in the car to head home. After 3 hours of driving, I then took him for another long walk that lasted about an hour and a half. The idea is that this way Dexter will learn he is a long way from home.

The walk was also a good way for us to learn about each other. Dexter was trained to be a service dog for a little girl with Autism. When Boxer Rescue Ontario learned that Luke has Tourette's they decided that this made us an ideal match for Dexter. Because of his service training, Dexter knows more commands than most dogs. However, Dexter's owner has Fibromyalgia which prevented her from exercising him and keeping up his training. As a result he has a few bad habits that will need to be unlearned, but we've made excellent progress right on the first day.

Luke's reaction to Dexter has been very interesting. He's been running hot and cold. He's both excited about a new pet, and apprehensive about slobber and licking. We bought Dexter a crate, which we found to be very useful when he became anxious. He has a blankie from home, and his favourite toys in the crate. He was whining and pacing, so I put him in the crate and he settled right down. Which was when Luke decided to sit about 2 feet away and just talk to Dexter.

I think we all have a lot to learn, but so far, so good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nothing to Show

I'm sorry, but I have no eye candy for you today. My life is full to bursting though.

Dexter's adoption is proceeding nicely. Last night I spoke with his owner, a lovely lady who has been carefully packing a doggy-care bag for him. Tonight I spoke with a BRO representative who will be giving us our home inspection tomorrow. Once we get past that, we will be looking into arranging for transportation this weekend.

As I go about my day, I feel like I have a ghost dog trailing me. My thoughts are full of what it will be like to have a dog in my life. I'm also trying to learn as much as I can so that I can make Dexter's transition a happy one.

We're trying to arrange this so quickly because Jim, the kids and I will be on summer vacation starting next week. We will have two weeks off, plus the long weekend for a total of 17 days. Of course, this means that work is just that little bit extra busy with tying up loose ends before leaving and ensuring for full coverage during my absence.

As for knitting, I've been working my shawl. I'm 2 and 1/2 repeats away from the finish. It's not much to look at though.

And lastly, I've had a brush with poison ivy! I've never had it before and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's very distracting. I've got my medication and some natural remedies, so I'm not suffering any more. But it is fascinatingly disgusting.

Aren't you glad I'm not showing any pictures?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Puppy Love

I've heard from Boxer Rescue of Ontario (BRO) and they may just have the perfect dog for us. He's young, well trained, but his original owners have an illness that prevents them from giving him the care he needs. His name is Dexter.

A volunteer from BRO has met Dexter and found him to be healthy, friendly, and very good with people.

For the next step, a volunteer from BRO is going to visit our home to make sure everything is okay for the dog.

I've fallen into puppy love with these pictures. I hope everything works out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Obsession is Normal

Another project is off the needles!

Pattern: Austrian Diamond Socks, Knitter's, Fall 2006
Yarn: Scheepjes
Needles: 2.25mm
Modifications: diamond toes

I just had a thing on for these socks. I HAD to finish them. I needed it. I don't understand it, but it's done. It's seems that I have knit a lovely Christmas present because they don't fit me. Jim is my foot model in these shots, and they fit him tightly.

Some days I feel like I could just knit socks the rest of my days. Some days it seems like that's all I knit.

This represents my sock knitting effort since April. That's eight pairs in four months. And you know, I'm itching to cast on another pair.

But no, there are other needles that must be set free!

Bonus pic: sock salad!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Mary Jane is back! She's the Monday night knit buddy who went to Scotland on a yarn tour and sent me the lovely postcard. She brought over a few things last night to show and tell.

The label in the neck of the poncho says that it was knit on a frame. I don't know what that means, but I wonder if it was something like this.

She also went to the Island of North Ronaldsay to see the seaweed eating sheep. They are a fascinating breed that graze on seaweed and produce a remarkably soft wool. This hat and scarf were knit from their wool. The drape and feel of the fabric is luscious and Mary Jane says the cap kept her ears very warm in the wind.

Mary Jane brought plenty of other inspirational things to show:

These pieces are all so light! It's really incredible. They were all hand knit. I noticed that the decreases on the top of the mitten were all done with a k2tog. It's so simple to mirror the decreases with SSK, I'm thinking that the knitter just must not know about it. I'm betting she or he doesn't get on the internet, or download sock patterns from Knitty.

As if this wasn't enough inspiration, Mary directed me to her Flickr set for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for 2007. I really enjoyed browsing through the images and getting inspired.

Right now I'm committed to clearing a couple more things off the needles and then it is time for fair knitting!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

This Changes Everything!

I've had some kind inquiries after the Bookmark socks and as I was walking this evening I was trying to decide if they are worth the trouble. I think that one I could face, it's having to do it the second time that's wearing me down! Regardless, I decided that I'd best look at the prize book from the Western Fair to see how long I had before I had to make my entry.

First I checked the categories.

KNITTING (hand knitted unless stated otherwise)
(1st($20) and 2nd($10) place winners in sections 13, 14, & 20 will receive a Lens Mill Store Gift Certificate, 360
Exeter Rd., London, ON.
Section & Description
12. Knitted Garment, adult sweater or vest.
13. Knitted afghan, yarn,
14. Knitted bag or purse
15. Knitted set, infant
16. Knitted Garment, child 2-6x size key hole scarf
17. Knitted Garment child 8-14 size funky hat
18. Knitted any article
19. Knitted article - Funky mittens
20. Doll Clothes - Knitted.

Do you see that?! No funky socks in sight! Dagnabit!

And what about category 19? Funky mittens? Really. Where the heck was that category last year!

The future looks bleak for the Bookmark socks. I wonder if I can knit the panel into a purse, or something.....

Think. Think, think, THINK!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Regaining Some Focus

I've had a very productive day today. I went shopping in the morning and bought a tankini top that I really like. Just the top, I already had a bottom. Swim suits are so expensive and usually don't last long, so I hate to pay full price for one. I always wait for the end of season sales to buy one.

We cleaned up the computer room, or "Men's Den" since that is the main place Jim and the boys hang out. There's still another bit to be done, but I've learned my lessons from the Fly Lady. Just clean a bit at a time and, if you are persistent, you will eventually get it done. I figure that when my kids are grown and out of the house I will enjoy a really clean house. For now, a clean enough house will do.

While working at everything a bit at a time will get you there eventually, sometimes it's really nice to focus on just one thing and get it done. Like a pair of socks:

The pattern is based on Judy Gibson's You're Putting Me On pattern. I call them my Random Rib socks because I created a random rib pattern for the foot and leg. Like I said last time, why not?

I can tell you why not, because there's no rhythm! I never realized how my hands would memorize a pattern so I could knit without looking too much. I kept messing up the stitches on these. It got so that I could only knit them while watching the whole time, which means I couldn't get distracted by TV, or company. After I finished the first one, I found I'd switched a knit to a purl all the way down near the ankle! I decided to leave it. It's just more randomness.

I knit these toe up so that I could use every bit of this lusciously colored and silky soft yarn from Apple Laine. I put in some calf shaping and finished the whole thing off with some nice, regular 1x1 ribbing.

I needed the regular ribbing so I could do a sewn tubular bind off. I love the rounded edge it creates. This picture is a good representation of the richness of the color in this yarn.

Tomorrow is supposed to be really hot. Here's what is planned for Sunday. We'll start with a big family breakfast of ham, eggs and toast. We also do appreciations at Sunday breakfast, where each member of the family tells the others something they appreciated about each person over the past week. After breakfast there may be some gardening, before it gets too hot, or some grocery shopping for the next week. And after lunch, we plan to go to the Aquatic Centre for a swim (hence the need for a swim suit).

Of course, there will be knitting interspersed amongst all this activity. I'll be cleaning my needles of the small projects. It's either going to be another sock or a mitten. I'm not casting on another new thing until I've cleared off two more projects. Hats are calling to me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This certificate says that Luke received the highest score in the Gauss Math Contest for his grade at Emily Carr. My boy, who once thought he couldn't do school, is talking about how many career options he has. We're just thrilled.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sharing the Sock Love

I'm such a smart @ss. I just had to meddle with the toe on the Austrian Diamond socks. I really enjoyed the way the pattern is incorporated into the cuff of these socks, and so I wanted to see if I could continue it on down into the toe. The original uses blocks of stockinette:

I wanted to put patterning right down to the toes.

click for bigger

The sock is still a little short, so I'll put these aside as a gift. I've cast on the second sock already, but I really don't want to fiddle with the first one any longer.

The sharing part of today's post is to spread a little link love to Doug the Soxophone Player. Go check out his spanking new blog. You'll love his socks and the way he makes them will have you thinking twice about your DPNs and circulars.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Break Out

I'm the kind of person who usually has at least two projects on the needles at any given point in time. A simple sock for traveling, socializing or soothing me, and a complicated project that fires my imagination and challenges me. Usually that is sufficient, but these days, I haven't seemed to be able to settle on two.

My traveling sock is the Random Rib pattern that is now into the leg portion on both socks. I still love the yarn and the sock, but because of it's status it progresses slowly. One day, I will feel like I want a finished object and then they will get a few evenings worth of attention to finish them off.

My original complicated project was to be the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl. But because I've knit the pattern before, I easily memorized it the second time around and now I find it is my comfort knitting. I love the big long rows of patterning. I love that I can pick it up at any time and just knit, no decisions to make, no charts to follow, just interesting knitting that lasts a good long while. I think I've put another two repeats on it since I've shown it last.

Isn't it getting big? I love that! I'm going to work the full pattern, or until the yarn runs out, which ever comes first. Since the shawl is now comfort knitting, I've been casting about (little pun there) for complicated knitting, but I've been tripping over my own feet, so to speak.

First there was the bookmark sock:

I haven't touched it in weeks. I'm questioning my motivation on this one. Creating something extremely complex just to impress the judges at the Western Fair doesn't seem like such a smart idea. And yet.... there's something intriguing about this project.

But still I haven't been working on it. Perhaps the idea of knitting a second sock is scaring me off. Also, how do you display such a piece of art? You can't put it on a sock blocker, it needs a real foot to show it off. But I don't really plan on wearing it. I'd NEVER shove it into a shoe. So what am I going to do with it afterwards? All that work, for one competition, just to shove it into a closet afterwards? I can't decided what to do, so I've just been ignoring it.

Then there was the Austrian Diamond socks which I just blitzed through in a week. After I took the pictures to show you, I started thinking they are a bit too tight for me. However, I often find that my socks fit perfectly after they are just made, but get sloppy as I wear them. So I decided to keep them for myself, but that means that I have to lengthen the toe. My first try didn't turn out right.

It's okay. I know what I need to do now. I want the decreases to happen over the purl, and I need still more length. If I do it right, it will all flow together beautifully.

Since it was a long weekend, I decided I deserved a new project. I know! Another one!

This is a mitten from Selbuvotter, but I've added this years date and my initials in place of the original date and initials. I'm not sure I like it. It actually is that shiny. But the fit is good, which is nice.

So once again, I have issues with my knitting. But this is what happens when you push yourself outside your comfort zone. Things get uncomfortable.