Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hopalong update

I've seen very little of Hopalong after his TNR, so I was quite relieved to see him late last night. I don't see Mamacat every morning for breakfast, but she usually shows up 2-3 starting in the late afternoon. Since I usually am the one to let Sassy out before we all go to bed, I see Mama late most nights. Last night I looked across the street and saw Hopalong lurking too. As I took Sassy back inside, he came over. I went back out to give them some more food, and he didn't run off too far. Just enough to make sure I wasn't going to get too close and trap him again. I do feel much better seeing him last night. I can't help but worry about them after TNR.

Another finished pair of socks

Last night I finished my socks in Bearfoot by Mountain Colors. I think the color is Red Tail Hawk. I thought it was Sierra, but later I remembered that I used the Sierra for a pair of gift socks.

Whatever the color is, they are now finished, and my model had to check them out. Of course she's not very cooperative on a cool morning when there are other things going on, and she moved as the shutter snapped.

I have one other pair of socks on the needles right now, but I may concentrate on my Green Basil. Summer of Socks 2009 starts on June 21, and last year I dedicated myself to knitting nothing but socks all summer. I plan to do it again this year as I enjoy knitting socks, and it was nice to get several pairs finished more quickly than I normally do. I was a monogamous knitter for the most part last summer, and when I do that, I can get a pair of socks knitted up pretty quickly.

It's lovely here right now. The temperatures dropped more than the weather people predicted, and it's bright and sunny. I've got all the windows open, and I don't plan to sit here in front of the computer all morning. Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The promised pictures

Let's start off with another pair of finished mittens for Macuwita sni. Depending on the size of mitten and the size of yarn, I can easily finish 1 in an evening. That makes them a very quick knit. They don't take too much wool, so I'm able to use up some of those single balls of yarn. They are also small enough that I'll be able to practice stranded colorwork, of which I've done no more than a swatch until now. I really do love being able to provide something that is so needed to people who will really use them.

Next up, Keith's finished Wollmeise socks. Yes, I know this is redundant for you non-knitters, but here are the stats. I did start with 2 separate balls of Maria's Deepest Purple in order to have enough yarn to make a pair for his size 12-13 feet. I have a fair amount of yarn left over, maybe even enough to make a pair of socks for myself. When I'm ready to tackle this yarn again I'll weigh what's left and see. The yarn photographs so much more red that it is in real life. It has a lot of blue in it, more so than it looks here.

These two yarns are for Keith's next pair of socks. I think I blogged about the yarns in the last post, so I won't bore you with the details again. I do love how the Malabrigo sock yarn is almost the same blue as the blue in the Yarnsmith yarn. I've got a couple of projects in progress that I'd like to finish up before I get started on these. I find my comfort zone for works in progress is about around 5-7. I like to have a variety of things to work on, but not so many that I get anxious about how many are unfinished. I like it to be reasonable that I will actually be able to finish them all.

And finally, I found this potato while scrubbing taters for dogfood yesterday. I thought it was somewhat funny. Not good for a belly laugh, but for a chuckle or two. Do you think I should offer it for sale on ebay? Would a slightly phallic looking potato sell as well as a potato chip that looks like the Virgin Mary? Who knows?

Well, I've got some pots and pans to scrub up after yesterday's marathon cooking session, then I'm sewing today. I've got to get a few more things onto etsy as well as playing with some knit bag ideas that I've had. Taking the ideas and working out how to actually do them is something I need some time to do.
The sun is finally shining again. There is a slight breeze, and it's just plain lovely outside. While I do hate to be stuck inside on such a nice morning, I'll admit to being fearful of working in my yard. I've got poison ivy on both ankles, and it hasn't been fun at all. I haven't figured out how I got it this time, but I think with all the digging with the new drain field that I probably just brushed up against a bare root or something. I know it's silly to be scared to do yardwork, but the last bout of poison ivy before this one was just misery inducing, and this bout only stopped spreading a day or two ago. I think my fear is justified.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I see pictures in the near future.

I did it! I finished Keith's size 13 Wollmeise socks last night. I feel like I can tackle anything now! Like the next pair which are going to be a yarn from Yarnsmith that I got at SAFF two years ago with Malabrigo heels and toes. (At the time I hadn't actually finished a pair of socks for Keith, and I didn't buy nearly enough yarn. I've got to divide the Yarnsmith yarn into two equal balls before I get started. I can always use some of the Malabrigo on the cuffs too if I need to.) Anyway, I'll get pictures of the finished socks and the ingredients for the next pair tomorrow, weather permitting.

Let's talk about the weather. While I know we need the rain, I'm getting rather tired of these dim, gray days. I did see the sun for a few short minutes towards the end of the day, during which time it converted the outdoors into a gigantic steam bath. I felt like I was vacationing on the sci-fi visions of Venus from my youth.

Also, I've only seen Hopalong twice since his surgery last week. I admit to being worried about him, but I also understand that cats don't like to be in the rain (except for Lily), and he may be lurking in a dry spot. I saw him last Thursday, then again yesterday. I ran like mad to get some food out for him. I'm going to check outside again in a little while to see if he's around and hungry.

As for Scooter, while he seems perky when he's awake, his tumor is definitely growing. I find I'm pondering a lot what to do about him. I wonder how long he'll feel okay with this growth on his neck even though we are using compresses on it daily. This is the razor's edge. As long as Scooter is greedy for food, I still think that means he wants to continue his life. The moment he seems to fade and not want his food will be that final trip. At least that's what I'm thinking right now. I so hate watching our pets wither away. It doesn't get any easier, no matter how many times you live through it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Acting locally (more shopping)

This was brought to my attention by a LYS. This is such a great and easy idea.

The 3/50 Project. This is a way to support your local stores. Of course, you can support more than 3 locally owned small businesses, but this is a wonderful start.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sally Melville is amazing

I thought I'd divide today's post into two. That way you can read all about knitting in one.

I took two classes from Sally Melville at Knitch yesterday. When I started knitting a few years ago, some of the first books I purchased where Sally's The Knit Stitch and The Purl Stitch. I had been reading reviews and suggested knitting book lists, and these were highly recommended.

Sally came to the Atlanta Knitting Guild a few years ago where she gave a presentation and taught some classes. At the time I was unable to attend her classes, but she rocked that presentation.

So, when I got the news from Knitch that Sally would be teaching some classes there, I did hesitate briefly having recently quit my job, but there was still some cash, and I signed up for two. One was Knitting to Flatter and Fit, and the other was Pattern Drafting.

Can I say mindblowingly excellent classes? Why yes, I think I will. I thought she was an amazing teacher. Very knowledgeable and practical. One thing she said that I think will stick with me is that there is a disconnect between knitters and their closets. A lot of people where pretty simple clothing (as in classic, without a lot of frou-frou), but we tend to knit more interesting things. So we end up with something lacy that's totally inappropriate for our body shape and never wear it.

Luckily, I'm old enough and honest enough with myself to know that while I may love that lacy sweater, what I'm going to where is a longer, V-neck sweater done all in boring stockinette. I'll get my kicks knitting wild socks, but I do wear pretty simple stuff. In fact, I've made two Barcelona skirts, which are very easy, basic A-line skirts. Sally was saying that's a shape that's flattering to most women. All I knew before was that I loved those two skirts, and I've been acquiring sales fabrics to make a few more. I'd wear them every day, so I need to make more of them pronto.

Another thing she said that I absolutely loved was that most knitters just follow the pattern without taking into consideration their size or shape. Now, if you've read my blog for any length of time, you've noticed that while I'll follow a pattern, I'll also tweak a lot of them. The Barcelona skirt definitely needed to be altered to fit me better. The Basil Sweater by Kim Hargreaves, a basic, shaped V-neck sweater didn't fit me quite right. I'm making changes on the second one. What I loved most about this class was the validation that many of the things I'm trying and doing are actually correct and will most likely work out! That is a huge relief to know that before I tackle the sleeves on the current Basil since I'm changing them too.

To finish this off, if you get the chance to take a class from Sally Melville, do it. I found her to be informative, entertaining, more than generous with her knowledge, amazingly patient and just plain fun.

Sorry for lack of pictures. I sat down in the front row of class and realized my camera was here at home by the computer where I had just uploaded all those pictures of my backyard.

Yard demolished

Here are pictures of our drainfield during installation. We've got a job ahead of us reseeding.

This is the view from the back yard looking towards the house. You can see the new 1000 gallon tank in front of the digger.

These are two of the infiltrator drainage ditches. Instead of gravel nowadays they dig out a ditch and install really tough plastic U- shaped tubing. The tubing has louvered openings on the side that prevent dirt from getting inside. A pvc pipe runs the waste water to a point on the tubing where it fills the tube and percolates into the ground.

This is the new 1000 gallon holding tank. It contains a pump which sends the waste water uphill to the drainage field. So now we have a 1000 gallon septic tank and the 1000 gallon holding tank.

This was the view from our kitchen window.

This was the view from my office window. I'll take some more pictures of the red clay plain that is our back yard, but the weather has been so gray and dim that it won't photograph well. We're planning to get grass seed for shade and a whole lot of straw for the back yard in the next few days.

Since we do live in Stone Mountain, we now have some rather good sized granite chunks that were dug up. While we can probably use them in the landscape, a few look too heavy to easily move. (As in I think it will take more than one man to move them, and I'm talking about men, not me trying to help.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kitten cam

This gal on Ravelry adopted a pregnant stray, and then the mamacat had 8 babies!

Anyway, here's her Kittencam if you want to look at megacuteness.

Drain field installation day 2

The guys were here by 8:50 a.m., and they're out there now arranging the pvc pipe that goes into the infiltrator drain system. Yay! Soon I'll be able to take a nice long hot bath without worrying that the septic will overflow into the house.

We've spotted Hopalong this morning. He was out patrollling his territory and spraying cars. Poor guy! He won't have that distinctive odor for much longer. I will admit that I hate it when I get into my van, turn on the a/c, and get that blast of male cat fragrance because he was spraying my wheels the night before. Mr. Chubbers was very fragrant before he got "fixed". I've put breakfast out for Mr. Hoppy in the secondary feeding area (across the street, under a bush in the neighbors yard). I'm not sure when he's eaten last as he kept turning over his food and water dishes while in the trap. I'll keep food out to make sure he can fill his belly.

I knitted a whole 'nother mitten last night for Macuwita sni. I've decided to make Knit Nite charity knitting only. I can work on small, easy projects that don't need too much attention so I can join in the conversation. I also do want to knit for charity as there are so many worthy causes out there, but one thing I really like about Macuwita sni is that I can use up my extra wool. The rest of the charities I knit for are local, and we don't need that much wool down here in the Deep South.

I'll post a pictures only post later today showing the yard and the mitten.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Drain field progress

Our backyard is a terrible mess! They had to dig a deep hole for the holding tank that will have a pump attached that will pump wastewater to the drain field. They couldn't dig the hole quite as deep as they needed to since they hit granite. Lots of granite. The trenches for water dispersal are all still open, waiting for the pvc pipes that bring the water to the tubing stuff. And the county inspector has to come give it a look too. I'll take some pictures of it all if I have time tomorrow morning.

They'll be back bright and early to finish up tomorrow.

We released Hopalong back into the wilds this evening. Yes, the wilds of our front yard, near where I feed him on a very regular basis. (I don't feed the ferals until I actually see them as I don't want to feed every squirrel, bird and possum holistic cat kibble.) I opened the trap, and he sat there. I turned away for a minute, and he dashed from the trap, raced across the neighbor's yard and disappeared. I'm sure he'll show up again near mealtimes. I know it's been traumatic for a kitty to have surgery and a vaccination, and it was even worse to be stuck in a trap while a curious dog wanted to give you a sniff. Now he won't have to suffer the potential of being snuffled by Sassy, and he can go back to sleep where ever it is that he has his bed.

I'd best be getting to bed since we've got stuff to move before they dig up more of the yard.

Busy day ahead

but I'm already tired.

Last night the spinning urge was too strong to deny. I sat and spun one of Gale's potluck Blueface Leicesters for a couple of hours without much of a break. While I'm a seemingly intelligent person who should know better, watching the colors change and the roving turn into a very lovely single was too hypnotic to stop.

I'm paying for it today. Arms and legs are slightly sore. I'm in dire need of hot bath and massage, but neither is in the very near future.

We had an awful night's sleep last night. Grey and Scooter slept with us, and Grey kept waking up to groom. This woke Keith up, which inevitably woke me also. So when the phone rang at 7:40 am this morning, I was more than a bit groggy. However, there was a cancellation, and our new drainfield will be installed today. That's great news. I think I'll celebrate tonight with a muscle soothing mineral salts bath.

And let's not forget to talk cats. Hopalong apparently went crazy sometime last night. Keith could hear the trap banging around. When I went to check on him this morning, both the food and water dish were totally turned upside down. The newspapers lining the trap are wet, and he's one angry cat. I need to keep him inside for another 12 or so hours, and I'm quite frankly scared to go change his papers. It's going to take both of us. Hopalong was growling and hissing like mad when I checked on him. I know he's going to be one happy cat to be released this evening.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trapping is complete!

Just a little while ago Hopalong showed up for some dinner. I took out the trap, baited with sardines, and put it near where he normally eats. I learned you put in a trail of sardines with the largest pieces where the pressure pad for the trap is. He pulled out a couple of pieces near the trap entrance and on his third piece, he was caught!

So tomorrow, bright and early, off he and I go to Lifelife Animal Project. He'll get neutered, get his ear clipped to show he is a neutered feral, and his rabies vaccination. After some recovery time, he'll get released again. I know he won't get near me for a short time after he's released, but when food is involved, kitties have short memories of the unpleasantness.

Scooter is still with us and seems to be happy. We've been feeding him yummy moist food, liver or baby food meats every time he starts looking around for something, and I've think he's even gained a little weight. I guess he has just gotten picky and had been eating less of the kibble than I thought. Yes, I know he won't actually get better, but we'd like to keep him with us as long as possible and as long as he seems happy.

It was odd, when I think about it now. I told the vet on Friday that Scooter spent most of his time sleeping, but he did like to eat. She said that wasn't much of a life, and I'm not sure what stopped me from saying, but that's what any cat likes to do! Let's face it - what do cats do? They eat, hunt a little, but sleep some incredible amount of time. Something like 20 hours a day. So I'm thinking Scooter is still acting pretty normal for a cat. Yes, we'll have to see if he'll behave and let us do some sub-q at home. He still comes out from his kitty cube and demands petting too, so he's not ready to go yet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday knitting pictures

Last night I found myself doing something I didn't think I'd ever do again.

I knitted with novelty yarn. I just couldn't face any of my other projects right now. I've got 3 socks, 1 sweater and 2 lace shawls on the needles right now, but none of them offered the easy, mindless solace I required from knitting. (The 2 lace shawls are actually in hibernation as it turns out lace yarn + cats + being a perfectionist doesn't work well at all.)

So the fluffy thing that Grey is sniffing is Lucky yarn by Muench. I've noticed olive green just doesn't photograph so well on my stone bench, so the base eyelash yarn is not quite that color.

I'm starting to love the Saucy yarn, and it's liking me better now that I've bent to its will. The color is just wonderful. It makes me think of melted Neapolitan ice cream that's heavy on the strawberry.

As you can see, the sock is coming along nicely.

Next are the mittens I've knitted for charity. I took a pattern for bulky mittens and just knitted it up in worsted to make child size mittens. Yes, I did change the needles to make it all work out correctly.

I made one rather glaring mistake in the first one. I left out several rounds of stockinette before starting the thumb gusset, and I didn't even notice it until I was working on the second mitten! I made the second one to match, and I'm hoping they will still work. At least next time I'll remember not to make such a silly mistake. (Yes, I WILL read the pattern.)

As for Scooter, I had made the decision to help him cross the bridge without consulting Keith as I should have. I'm the one who's taken him to the vet 3 times in the past month and heard what the vets have said, so I had that in mind when I made all the arrangements. I figured out I had totally screwed up when Keith barely spoke to me at all last night or this morning. So tomorrow morning I'll call the vet and postpone the inevitable for a couple more days. The balance is difficult. The vet wanted to put Scooter down on Friday, but Keith needs a few more days to say good-bye. As for how Scooter is, that's the most difficult of all. The tumor on his neck is growing. It's larger than it was just a few weeks ago. Yes, he's very fragile looking, has arthritis and can't sit well, needs fluids (apparently more often than he's been getting them), is hard of hearing, can't see well at all, and he's still very greedy for food.

It's the greedy for food bit that makes this so difficult. We can tell Scooter still has his wits about him, and he enjoys eating. Those two things tell us that he's not ready to go yet. However, I don't want to wait until he's totally decrepit and in so much pain that he can't eat. It's the fact that he still wants to eat (and he demonstrated to the vet by devouring some treats she gave him) that makes me pause. It's inevitable we'll have to give him mercy, yet when is the time right?

That's really the question, isn't it?

Friday, May 15, 2009

End of days.

The vet I saw today told me that we needed to make the final decision about Scooter soon. She thinks he's suffering.

In the past, I could tell for sure they were suffering. I knew it was time with both April and Ripper. I knew it was time for Brownie and Pixel. I haven't known it was time for Scooter.

Have I been blinded by my own needs? I'm not ready to let him go, even though I tell myself I am.

No matter what, I couldn't make that decision today at a time when Keith couldn't be there. Except for Ripper, we've both been there for our pets at the end. I knew Keith would have to be there with him.

I've made the decision. I just need to give Keith a little time for it too. I'll call the vet tomorrow to make the appointment for early next week. That gives us some time to say good-bye, and spoil him even more rotten, if that's possible.

Trapping to commence

The target? Hopalong, seen here lurking in the neighbor's yard.
The goal? Rabies vaccination and neutering. He's an aggressive little devil who needs snipping. He has disrupted the precarious balance of territories and kitty serenity. Hopefully after surgery he will mellow out.
Anyway, trapping can only occur between Sunday and Wednesday as Lifeline's clinic is open Monday through Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed that we'll be successful this weekend in catching the wily menace.
For any of you who are new, I do TNR - trap, neuter and return. It works very well at reducing feral cat populations. Cats are spayed or neutered, one of their ears gets clipped, they get a rabies vaccination, and then are released back where they were caught. Of course they have to stay in the trap after surgery for a day or two.
Meanwhile, I've got the trap sitting out where it can lose some of the new smell and start to smell like all of us. And sardines have an irresistable aroma that cats find quite enticing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sock yarn agony

I started a sock on Monday night right after I finished the Spring Forward Socks.
I will admit that I do have 2 other socks in progress right now - Keith's second Wollmeise sock and my second Bearfoot sock. Nonetheless, I wanted a sock with some lace or texture to it.
And, I've bought a lot of pink sock yarn here and there over the past year, so I wanted to use some of it.
I had wound the Saucy by numma numma into a ball sometime over the holidays with the thought of making a multidirectional scarf for someone with it. I didn't like the way it looked, which is just as well as I wanted to keep the yarn for me.
However, I've been wondering if the yarn hates me.
On Monday night, who knows what I was thinking, I used the needles that had just come off the Spring Forward socks and cast on the Saucy. I had completed maybe half of the toe when I noticed the stitch gauge was much looser than I liked. I ripped out the work and fetched my handy needle gauge. Huh. I was using US size 2 1/2 needles. No wonder it was so big.
Next, I looked at the yarn and decided to use size 1 needles. (When will I learn to check Ravelry first?) I completed the toe, and now it was too small. OK. If I don't check Ravelry first, maybe I should have just read Goldilocks. I ripped it all out again, and went to see what most people used on this yarn.
Turns out they used 1 1/2 needles, which actually is the needle size I use 90% of the time. I started the socks again, the toe looked just right, and then I looked at the patterns.
I had decided not to do the knit along for Wendy's new book on Ravelry. It seemed every time I looked at the group, the moderator (not Wendy) had tweaked or flat out changed the rules. I don't have much patience for bullshit, and this was, in my not so humble opinion, exceeding my tolerance. Bull poop is great for the garden, but wading through it while she thrashed out her rules for the KAL is another subject. Besides, I know this makes me sound odd, but I don't care if I win prizes or not. Honestly, I'd rather pick out my own yarn. I had wanted to do the KAL for the challenge of it, but screw that. I'll just start knitting the socks from the book.
So I did. I thought the Dead Simple Lace socks would be an easy lace sock that would work well with the colors of the Saucy. At least that's what I thought until last night when I wondered how the Butterfly socks would look. Let me state here and now that while the Butterfly Lace looked very easy to do, it was not a good choice for the season finale of Fringe, complete with alternate realities and Leonard Nimoy. I had messed it up somewhere along the way, so I ripped out the lace, but left the toe.
Apparently, this ball of Saucy wants to be Dead Simple Lace socks, and I will bow to its will.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Purple handspun pictures

Fibery goodness postponed

I'm so excited about my spinning. On Friday night I wound my two bobbins of singles onto the niddy noddy, joining the 2 bobbins with a spit splice since one had much more yarn than then other. Then I put it on my swift and wound it into a ball. I wasn't thinking at all. I should have taken a picture of the singles yarn cake, but I just didn't think of it then.

Last night I took the yarn cake out, gave it a couple of squeezes (hey! it was too beautiful not to squeeze), then start plying. I used both ends of the single and plied it all together. It turned out to be almost perfectly balanced when I was finished with it. I do have a photo, but it was taken late last night in a hurry. I was rushing to soak it and set twist before I went to bed. So here's the crappy picture, but I'll take some better ones today or tomorrow. Anyway, this awful picture is after I've taken it off the bobbin right after plying. I amazed myself with the balance of the yarn. I really couldn't believe how good it looked. (I may be a very good knitter, but I'm feel much more like a novice spinner.)

So, better pictures and a longer post in the near future.

In case you're wondering, I have started letting Scooter eat basically whatever he wants. Boy, has his appetite improved. I hit Pet Supermarket yesterday and stocked up on all the Wellness Grainfree canned varieties, and he's so happy eating his food now. Honestly, the others are quite happily eating it too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the whole gunky ears thing is food related, and now I won't be wrestling cats to clean ears as often. (Or not cleaning as often as I should since sometimes it involves a lot of wriggling and biting, with me being on the receiving end. Luckily, I think my immune system has been acclimated to cat bites. Kind of like those guys who inject themselves with tiny doses of snake venom over the years to become immune to snake bites.)

I'm in a finish project mode. I did finish some gift knitting last night. I can't post a picture since it is a gift, but as soon as it's delivered I'll show it here. I'm nearly finished with the second Spring Forward sock. It's been on hold while the first sock went to Stitches South and Maryland Sheep and Wool. Now that the travelling sock is back, I can finish the second and make sure they match. I'm on the cuff on both Keith's second Wollmeise sock and my second Bearfoot sock, so I'm feeling an urgency to get all these finished before I start new projects. I'm not one of those knitters who has to work on one project at a time, but I'm also uncomfortable having too many works in progress. Finishing some of these up will feel great!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Scooter decision

Ever since I took Scooter back to the vet a few weeks ago to see if that really was the cancer back in horribleness, I've been wondering about feeding him.

His kidneys aren't in great shape, which happens with very old cats, and the vet I saw that day said that letting him eat whatever he wanted wouldn't take that much time off his life. The vet was trying to dance around the fact that Scooter's life expectancy isn't that long. We don't know how long it will be, and I know they can't make any real predictions, so I didn't ask. What the vet did say was that is was more important for Scooter to eat as older kitties will very quickly lose strength and go downhill rapidly. Unfortunately, I've gotten to experience that with Pixel.

I've found, however, that I've been reluctant to just feed him whatever he wants to eat. I've still been offering him the food specifically formulated for his kidney condition, but he gets bored with it and won't eat it. I realize my reluctance is that I'm still not ready to let him go. Keith has said feed him whatever he wants. A group of cat-owned knitters I've spoken to say to let him eat whatever he wants. I'm still caught between making his last days a happy food feast or having him here with me as long as I possibly can. It's a very difficult transition to make. I decided that I would start cooking homemade cat food again, and even if it's not the best for his kidneys, I know he enjoys it, and I love him enough to do this.

I'm really trying not to cry as I write this.

To end on a happier note, I can't stop thinking about spinning. I've got some more fiber to try now, so in the near future look for my finished purple yarn. I've told myself I must ply it together before using up newer roving.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pondering life with Scooter

Today I noticed that I'm wondering if I left my job at the end of 2008 because the universe decided that I needed to be available to better serve Scooter in his final days. Just thinking this since he wants to eat tiny meals pretty often, and if no one were home to indulge him, how would this have changed his life - both quality and length. (Written by someone who watched him turn his nose up at cat food, and consequently opened a jar of baby food meat for him.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Phat Fiber Contest

Hi everybody!

(In my head I always hear a crowd yelling back "Hi Dr. Nick!")

Anyway, to get back on task here, a friend of mine has entered the Phat Fiber Contest. This is posted on Ravelry. Her entries are Felting Entry #34, Knitting Entry # 33 and Handspun Entry #32. Everyone can look at the flickr group, but only Ravelrers can go vote here.

I'm feeling a bit tired today. I filled in at Needle Nook, and when you're not on your feet all day in awhile, you sure get tired more quickly. I think I'm staying up only through Fringe, although I have been reading Inspector Lynley again, and I may end up reading late into the night.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stitches swag

For those of you who have been waiting for me to show my Stitches swag, your wait is over.

I did forget to take a picture of my Trindle, a really cool drop spindle made by a local physics teacher. I'll take a pic and post it on a day when I need some eye candy.

This is Dragon Sock Select from Dragonfly Fibers. I'll admit that I just could not pass by this wild color combo. I've been on a pink kick for some time now, and I just loved how "Preppy Handbook" these are.

Next up is Bugga by the Sanguine Gryphon. I'll admit to getting it since this is one of those yarns that is a little difficult to get, and I do like being able to have some boasting rights. (I didn't know I could be such a yarn jackass, but there ya go.) It really is a lovely yarn, as you can see in the photo. Bugga is named after different bugs, which appeals to the entomologist side of me. (Let's face it, if Gil Grissom was a sock knitter, this is what he would use.)

Next is Lisa Souza's Sock! You may think this is an odd color choice for me, but there is a method to my non-color madness. There is a knit-a-long on Ravelry for Wendy's new book, Socks from the Toe-up, and her Nanner pattern, based on bananas, is one of the first ones to knit. I wanted a sock yarn that made me think of the inside of bananas, not the obnoxious yellow of the outside, and this was the closest one I found, at first. Anyway, it's a pleasant enough colorway that I can use for something else.

This Anzula yarn is the one I found for the Nanners. I love the way it looks like the inside of a banana, but it also has some wonderful color variations. I can't wait to get finished with my current socks and get started with this.

I don't buy a whole lot of worsted weight yarns, especially in hand dyes since they can be so expensive for project quantities, but I just had to have this one. I may just keep it and pet it for awhile, but it will most likely become a hat.

Ok, how could I possibly pass up a sock yarn in a color called Pansy? Well, I've probably never mentioned it here, but pansies and violets are some of my favorite flowers. I just love them. Anyway, this comes from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm. I've got to find just the perfect pattern for this yarn. I think it's fantastic.
So there you go. Swag from Stitches South, and I didn't go too crazy. I suppose I'm rather jaded by a couple of things. 1. I spent a little over 3 years working in a local yarn shop. 2. We are very spoiled and fortunate here in Atlanta to have so many wonderful yarn shops from which to choose. I didn't feel the need to purchase massive quantities of sale yarns from Webs or the other large stores. I did want to support the small businesses and indie dyers as they are the ones with the interesting yarns.
Now, get out there and go knit socks. I see the end of Keith's socks in sight, and I'm ready to start my next pair.
By the way, did you notice I had help taking those photos? Look for the paw.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kitty care rant

For almost a year now I've been struggling with kitty ear problems. Grimy ears with waxy buildup and sometimes inflammation. We've gone to the vet where they usually find no bacteria or fungus in their ears. I'm sent home with ear cleaner and drops, and we get to wrestle with kitties who don't want wet ears or to have their humans digging in their ears with Q-tips.

It's been driving me crazy.

When I took Sassy in yesterday, I happened to mention in passing to Dr. Pat about the ears. She looked puzzled for a minute (you know that expression you get when you're processing data and thinking?), then she asked, "What are you feeding them?"

She went on to say that sometimes it's something in their food, especially when it's more than one cat.

At this point you could have knocked me over with a feather. I feel like I should have thought of that. I was just too close to the problem that it never occured to me, but I've read the very same thing on some of the cat pages I've looked at online.

I asked if I could feed them all, except for Scooter, something that would help Monster with her weight and potential for diabetes. I was told as long as everyone was healthy that it would be ok. Since Miss Grey and Mr. Chubbers could stand to lose a few ounces, I am glad to know they can eat a lower calorie food too. Now all I have to do is find something that everyone likes well enough to eat that won't break the bank.

I think that I'll actually cook for them. Now that I know everyone can eat the same food, I can make the special food for Monster and just give it to everyone except Scooter.

As for Scooter, I took him to get some fluids since he'll behave at the vet. To me he seems just a little slower this past day or two. I know the end of his physical existence is near, and while that pains me to think about life without him, I don't want him to suffer any. I find myself thinking more and more that I hope he just crosses the bridge in his sleep. Last night Keith was saying that for the most part the Scooter that we've loved for all these years isn't there anymore. That's true. It pains me so to look at his thin, wobbly self tottering around the kitchen, and I find I'm still not quite ready to let him go.

I purchased a kitty kube at Wal-mart the other day, and he's been sleeping in it a lot. I find myself peering at him carefully to make sure he's still breathing and only sleeping, but I don't want to wake him. It takes him awhile to wake up now. He seems groggy for a little longer, yet when he's awake he's still perky and alert. At least he's like Pixel in that he seems to have his wits about him still, unlike Brownie who was kitty senile the last year or so of her life.

Didn't mean to bring you down any. Go look at last night's post of yarn and Lily sleeping on the counter again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What I did tonight

Somehow I ended up spinning tonight. You see a single ply of yarn that is fairly consistent with some "designer" (lumpy and not wellspun) areas.

Next, scroll down to see something you really don't want to see wallowing or sleeping on your counters and clean dishes.

Apparently I disturbed her snooze. And yes, all the dishes are either re-washed or sitting in the sink to get washed again.


The awful time of year

Springtime is kitten time. Today at the vet they have 3 bundles of mega cuteness waiting to be adopted.

Apparently my aura that says "Sucker" in huge letters that only animals can see works on the young ones too. One in particular had to come get as close as possible to look at me.

They were so adorable. Keith always says they grow up into big varmints, but I just love kitties in all sizes. Young and old.

The reason this time of year is so awful is because there are kittens at the vets waiting to be adopted, at Petsmart waiting to be adopted, and you get my drift. I go places where they have kittens looking cute and begging for me to come cuddle them, get bitten by them and rub their tiny tummies until they doze off.

Well, I have not done any sewing today. I took Sassy back to the vet for a follow up to whole losing hair thing. Scooter went with us for some rehydration. They were running late, which is pretty usual. I was gone from home a little over 2 hours, maybe 2 1/2. Unfortunately, while I was gone, the dishes didn't get washed, nor did the laundry. Everything is getting caught up right now, and hopefully I'll get some sewing done tomorrow. At least I got a wee bit of knitting done on Keith's sock. I'm looking forward to working on my tiny little socks again. (OK, my feet aren't that dainty, but my socks seem to go a lot more quickly.)

ETA: In my kitten madness, I forgot to say that Sassy is doing much better. Her fur has been growing back nicely, and she seems less itchy. I still may have to add even more essential fatty acids to her diet, but I'm to see how she does over the next month or so.

As for the kittens, I was so taken since two of them are silvery grey and look like Grey (aka Princess Plumeria) did when she was teeny tiny. I'll have to see if I have any pictures from when she was young. I didn't take very many since I was supposed to find a home for her and not keep her or Monster. See how well that worked?