Pupper Pulls Through

Ukranian EggsSo, Pupper came through is surgery yesterday just fine. I'd put a picture of him at the head of this post, but I don't want to scare any small children who might be watching. He's still a bit bloody and swollen, and then there's the matter of that cone around his neck.

Speaking of scared, much to our surprise and delight, Mr. Skittish himself (aka K-man) didn't freak out and run away when Cone-Pupper came home last night. No, he was instead incredibly curious. As Pupper was lying on the floor, K-man walked over and completely investigated the cone, the dog, and all the strange smells. He wasn't at all frightened, thank goodness.

Pupper himself is nearly back to his old self. In fact, aside from sleeping a little more (and a little more deeply) than usual, he has been his old self since we picked him up last night. Because of how our schedules all worked out,Mommy Dove on the Nest we had to take him to our last Education for Ministry class at church last night. Rather than simply curling up and sleeping on the floor (as I would have done just a couple hours after anesthesia), Pupper was alert and greeting everyone and keeping his one eye on all the happenings.

Today, he's been a little whiny and a little more clingy than usual (and he's a velcro dog on the best of days), and he's still not a pro at navigating life with a cone on his head. [Note: one thing we did not consider is that he probably can't turn around in his crate with the cone on his head, and since he has to be in his crate when he's home alone (unless he's outside, and I'm not leaving him outside with a cone on his head, even when the temps aren't above 100) ....] He has figured out how to eat and drink, and he can even get the crumbs he spilled on the floor without choking himself on the collar, so I consider that progress.

Ummmmm.On the knitting front, well, there's progress, and aside from letting you know that I've finished the fourth square on my log cabin blanket, I can't share. And just to prove that I'm not just the knitting lady, but the crazy knitting lady, I've just agreed to a few other sample/test knits that will probably consume all of my knitting time for the next few weeks. But how can I say no? I mean, to be in at the beginning of the process; to see something take shape; to knit something no-one (or nearly no-one) else has ever knit; to (in some cases) use yarn I couldn't or wouldn't buy for myself.... But, let's face it, the real fun is that I get paid to knit! Just how cool is that?

Photo information: Ukranian Eggs (black is mine; red is M's) we decorated in a workshop at church this spring; a mommy dove sitting on her nest in our bougainvillea; Queen B inside the wing chair in the living room (you may need to see the full-size version at Flickr to get that).

In Which Sandy Worries, and Knits

King of the WorldPupper just left with M to go to the vet so his left eye (please, God, make sure they take the left one) can be removed. Me, I'm not quite a nervous wreck, but my fragile baby is having surgery, so I'm a little distracted. And last night I dreamed that they took the wrong eye, leaving him both deaf AND blind.

It is time for the surgery (he's been blind in that eye as long as we've had him, and he's so unaware of it these days that he doesn't even close it when he sleeps -- exacerbating his dry eye and causing chronic infections), and life will be easier for all of us when it's over. Funny, one of the things I'm most worried about is what seeing "his" dog in an Elizabethan collar will do to our rather skittish K-Man, whose life motto is "Panic first, ask questions later."

But, now to knitting (the best tonic for almost any situation).

The Magenta thing is done. I love it when a plan comes together, and this one did. The finished object is just perfect for wearing over a tank top to keep the A/C chill off.

When I got there, I decided to go with feather and fan for the skirt. I tried a few other things, but the classics are the classics for a reason, and I think f & f was just perfect for this application. So, after I made the eyelets and bound off the center 3 stitches (the seed stitch placket), A Magenta ThingI increased to some multiple of 18 and worked the feather and fan until it was about mid-butt length.

For the edgings, I picked up stitches along the edges of the lace section and around the neck, worked two garter ridges, an eyelet row (K2tog, YO), then another garter ridge before binding off. If I were to do this again, I would probably knit the edging along with the skirt, picking up three extra stitches at the bottom of the placket rather than casting them off.

I then picked up the sleeve stitches and knit just 6 stockinette rounds before edging them like the neck and skirt. Right now, the tie is just a long crochet chain, and I haven't added buttons to the placket -- a trip to the fabric store is probably coming soon to pick out some ribbon and buttons.

All together, this sweater used almost a whole 1-lb cone of Valley Yarns Hampshire Brights (a 6/2/2 mercerized cotton they no longer carry, though their Valley Cotton comes in a 3/2 which is the same weight). Because of the extra twist in this double-plied yarn, I am glad I chose a project for it knit in the round. I got the feeling that this yarn might have a biasing issue if it were knit flat in stockinette (the lace is okay, partly because it's garter-ish). A good thing to keep in mind, since I have a few more cones of this in the stash.

Sock Blankie
And finally, another new blanket project. I succumbed to the allure of making something useful out of all my sock yarn scraps and so I've begun my own sock yarn blankie. I have 17 foundation squares done, and have started to join them. I am knitting on size 3 double pointed needles (bigger than I would use for socks, but softness and floppiness -- rather than hard-wearingness -- are the aim here), and starting with 31 stitches for each square. I am randomly (or not-so-randomly in some cases) adding sections of stockinette to each square to add some interest. In some cases, I'm using the stockinette, too, to lessen that garter-stripe effect.

I don't plan on finishing this one anytime soon. In fact, unless I decide to sacrifice some of my wool sock yarn (which, let's face it, makes socks I can wear for about 2 months if I'm lucky here in Tucson), I don't have enough yarn to finish the blankie anyway. So, if anyone wants to send sock yarn scraps my way....

Say a prayer, light a candle, send good thoughts to the Universe for my baby and his surgeon.

Log Cabin Love

Since about halfway through the last of my recent stealth knitting projects I have been obsessed for some reason with the idea of log cabin squares and a log cabin blanket.Log Cabin Love (Contrary to popular belief, blankets -- especially lap-sized blankets -- are useful here in the desert for chilly winter evenings.) Just the project for Tucson as summer approaches (we're expecting our first triple-digit temps today, in fact) -- yep, seasonal knitting, gotta love it (thank goodness for the A/C).

So, as soon as I had that project on its way to its rightful owner, I hit the stash and pulled out three cones of Brora Softspun. For those unfamiliar (and unfortunate), this was a HUGE millend WEBS had a few years ago -- a 2-ply worsted weight Shetland in a whole bunch of yummy colors (about 40 of them shades of brown/tan). It is greasy and sheepy (though it doesn't have a lot of vegetable matter) and reminds me a lot of the Bartlett yarns that I grew up with. I love working with it, and it washes up into the softest, yummiest, warmest fabric that would just kill me if I had to wear it in a sweater (my original intent for the embarrassing number of 2.5-lb cones of the stuff I bought) down here.

Log Cabin LoveI decided to use Cara's basic recipe from her Blue Moon log cabin blanket. I will use the same 12 square configurations she used and assemble them randomly (or as randomly as I am able). Right now I am planning to then pick up a monster number of stitches around the edge and put some kind of border on the thing.

My squares are blocking to 14", so the finished blanket (with border) will be about 4'x5' -- a great lap warmer size. Of course, with 2.5 pounds of each color at my disposal and a nearly endless supply of log cabin configuration options, I could always decide to make it more blanket- than throw-sized. Stay tuned.

I am totally in love with this project -- the knitting, the finished squares, the colors -- all of it is just a joy. Unfortunately, I will shortly have to put these squares aside because the yarn arrived this week for yet another stealth project (still waiting for the pattern which is probably being written as I write this).

One final thought: with the weather here in the desert turning to the triple digits in early May, the boys would like you to know it's just not fair.

It's Hot, Mommy!
It's Hot, Mommy!

Purse Karma, We Haz It

Hello there. Yeah, it's me, the Prodigal Blogger. I found my way back to the blog, and believe me,Dooney & Bourke Satchel I'm thrilled to be back. What's kept me? Mostly it was those allergies from someplace-even-hotter-than-Tucson-in-July that kicked my behind for a few weeks. I was at the point where I just wanted to lock myself in a hermetically sealed room with quadruple HEPA filtration and not come out until everything in the world had ceased pollinating. I even cried. It has been an unbelievably nasty allergy season here in the SW. Then M found this homeopathic allergy spray, Southwest formula, and I've been a changed woman ever since.

And there has been knitting -- lots and lots of knitting to keep me busy and/or feeling guilty while I've been "sick", and I can't share it -- sorry. In time perhaps some will be revealed.

Chris Bubany BowlsBut I did want to reveal the lucky score we made last Friday on a crawl through secondhand stores. First we found a pair of brand new Birkenstocks -- in my size -- in black -- for $8.

Next, we found two bowls by a Tucson artist whose work we have been drooling over since we moved here. [In fact, if anyone needs a gift suggestion, the 16" platter in her Tree of Life pattern would look fabulous on the lazy susan in the middle of our dining room table.]

But the best? The best came at our favorite second hand haunt when I did what I always do and headed for the place where they keep "the good stuff". Only this wasn't with the good stuff. There in a shopping cart, where it was waiting for someone to put it away, was the unmistakableDooney & Bourke Drawstring pebbled leather of a Dooney & Bourke handbag. I pulled it out to reveal, well, what you see above there, priced at $4. That wasn't to be all, though. Digging through the cart revealed yet another D&B handbag, this one priced at $6 -- and brand new -- with the plastic still on the shoulder strap.

But that wasn't even the end. After we had snatched up these two bags and headed to the checkout with them before someone could change their mind about the prices, we found yet ANOTHER D&B handbag. This time an Essex -- in bone -- in very good condition -- for $8. I don't have a picture of that last one because it has already gone to a friend with a love of Dooney & Bourke and no budget to match. She was thrilled -- or perhaps stunned is a better word for it. And researching her new handbag has given her a bit of a passion for vintage handbags -- we may have created a monster.

We're guessing that someone either died or had to be moved into a nursing home, and the family just donated all her stuff. Then someone priced it without really knowing what it was (side note: in the same cart was a like new leather Prada handbag for $10 which we didn't buy). The Essex was clearly its previous owner's everyday bag for a while. Among the things I cleaned out of it: two Advil, one Alleve, one Imitrex, two Zoloft (who carries loose anti-depressant pills around with them?), a fortune cookie fortune, 12 cents, and a grocery receipt from 2003.

Vintage Coach HandbagSo, M has a new everyday bag (the drawstring bag); I have a new (and it's green!) fun handbag; and Lorraine is tickled pink with her new baby.

Oh, my everyday handbag? Another fantastic secondhand find. A vintage Coach we got for a buck (yes $1) at a rummage sale.

And since I finished all the stealth knitting I can't share, I have been working on a couple of fun projects which I can share, and I promise I will, let's hope tomorrow.