Sunday, July 31, 2005

The "Eloquent" W

My friend Mari sent me this : The Shrub's Speech Writer

I'm normally not an Andy Dick fan, but I almost spit my iced tea on my monitor!

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Gracie just came home! The vet is calling her the miracle puppy - on Wednesday, they really didn't think she'd make it. Now my problem am I going to keep her quiet for 2 weeks???

First things first - she had to get her squeaky toy!

On the knitting front, I made another tam from my own pattern - I used yarn that I Kool-Aid dyed last week. I used 3 flavors of Kool-Aid, and got about 9 different colors in the yarn!

It's drying on a Corelle plate right now...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My fighting girl!!!

Hard to believe that Gracie just had a major organ removed yesterday!!! (They have a pain patch on her neck, and they're holding it on with an ace bandage)

Unbelievable as it seemed yesterday, Gracie will be coming home in the next 2 days!! We went to visit her at the hospital today! She was very, very happy to see us! She wouldn't eat for them, so they asked us to come visit and see if we could get her to eat. She ate every bit of the "baby food" that they gave her and looked at me for more.

She barked at the dog on the other side of the door

And checked out the furniture in the visitation room

And tried to give me kisses!!!

The Hand to Hand is done!!!

And just in time for the Medina County Fair, too!

I borrowed my MIL's dressmaking dummy for a model - I haven't been getting enough sleep in the last 4 days to allow a picture to be taken. :-) It's blocking now.

I'm still up in the air about adding a pocket - maybe in time for the Lorain County Fair...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Prayers for Gracie...

I haven't posted about the health problems that Gracie has been having... but it's been going on for over a month now.

She just got out of surgery at the emergency vet clinic, after spending the last 2 days at my local vet's office. They had to remove a kidney, and they think it's because the original vet (not the one who's been treating her this week) put a suture in her ureter when they spayed her nearly 6 weeks ago. She had an episode of fever, vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea a month ago, the vet put her on antiobiotics and subcutaneous fluids, and sent her home. All seemed well until Sunday, when she went downhill fast.

According to the surgeon today, the kidney was completely dead, and infection had backed up into her system and she had full-blown peritonitis. Her intestines had started to telescope into themselves, which can be fatal on its own.

Right now, they're having a hard time stabilizing her blood pressure, and she has a 60%-70% chance of coming home.

Please, if you're the praying type, send prayers. If you're not, send zen, good thoughts, anything. She's only a 6 month old puppy, but I've never had any dog - in my entire life - worm her way into my heart the way she has.

Friday, July 22, 2005

It's getting there...

My Hand-to-Hand sweater is now a cardigan, and it's getting close to completion - I think.

This is what happens when crocheted steeks go bad:

Complete and total fraying. I had to run a line of machine stitching down each side of the border to contain the mess. Of course, that left stitching lines and and unsightly mess on the inside of the sweater, so I ordered matching wool in 2-ply shetland from Schoolhouse Press , picked up stitches along the whole front and made a facing.

The problem was, this left tell-tale marks on the front of the sweater; it was a little bit lumpy and bumpy - and you could still see the machine stitch lines (well, at least I could; nobody else in this house could see anything wrong. You know how that is...)

Sooo, I cast on two 3 stitch I-Cords on the side of the button band, and did this:

I made an I-Cord braid in the shetland, and ran it all the way up the front (an adaptation of an I-Cord technique from Joyce Williams!) It's a combination of attached and free I-Cord.

As soon as I finish the other side, I'll be just about done. I need to sew on the buttons (right now they're tacked on) and block. However, it will not be truly finished until I fix this:

Now that's a big old honkin' cable boo-boo! I'm going to have to snip stitches, reroute the cable, and weave everything back together. At least I saw it before I take it to the fair next week!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Nut cases abound

We have a new neighbor. She's a single mother with 3 kids, and she moved in about 3 months ago. She seemed like a reasonably nice person; she works part-time on weekends while the 3 kids are with their respective fathers. Now I'm starting to wonder.

She told us about a month ago that she was thinking about putting a fence around her yard so she could work outside without worrying about the toddlers running around and getting into the street.

Well......a few days ago, I came home to find the *beautiful* 8-foot lilac bush off of the corner of our garage cut to the ground. It was a gorgeous plant, and it was the only color in the spring. Granted, it was on her property, but still. When she told me "it's only a plant, and I don't "do" plants," I should've known.

For the last week, trees have been falling everywhere. We have a swail that runs between our two houses, and it drains to the large swail in the back. I should say we DID have a swail; it's now a series of large holes, with beer-bellied, crack-exposing men standing over them going "Huh. They sure filled up with water. I wonder why?" They also dug the holes right through the root systems of the remaining pine trees. Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob's Fence Service, the finest around. I give those trees about 6 months before they die off.

It turns out, she's not putting up a simple chain link fence (which her neighbors on the other side already have for their dogs). She's putting up a solid wood, 6 foot tall fence. ALL the way around the nearly 1/2 acre back yard. It's going to be hideous.

Now, I don't know about you, but where I grew up, you didn't put up a fence like that unless you were feuding with the neighbors on both sides, or you were doing something illegal. The only person on the entire street who has a fence like that is Crazy Esther, and she put it up because she thought the neighbors were stealing her grass.

As far as I know, we're not feuding. That leaves the other option, which might actually explain how a person who only works 8 hours a week as an emergency room nurse can afford a new house, a new minivan, and a 6 foot tall solid wood fence.

Vent, vent, vent. I'm just waiting for the next big storm after this monstrosity goes up. Either she's going to have an enormous flood in her back yard (did I tell you they're putting the fence THROUGH her back swail?) or we are. It had better not be the latter, because as far as I can tell, she never had the property surveyed.


Friday, July 15, 2005

one more picture from Knitting Camp

Nancy from Pittsburgh (Hi, Nancy!) just emailed me with a shot that she took of me playing with my new toy

That's my brand-new Turkish spindle from Mielke's (on Saturday afternoon, vendors from the area set up in one of the conference rooms).

I bought a yarn ball holder from Schoolhouse Press, and it makes a great wrist distaff! I am relatively spindle-challenged, but this one spins like dream!!

That reminds me - Nadine, I still owe you a spindling lesson! :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

All Knitting, All the Time!

I've been home for a day and a half, and I'm still having a hard time putting the words together to describe my experience at Knitting Camp. I can't believe how much information my brain was able to absorb! I have so many ideas swirling through my head, I don't even know where to begin. Well, I *should* begin by writing all of these ideas down before I forget them!

I got in to Marshfield, WI about 12:30 on Thursday. When I pulled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn (the nicest one I've ever seen, btw), this was the first thing I saw:

I knew I was in the right place when I saw the license plate. Yep, it's a *purple* Saab with "Knit On" license plates, and it belongs to none other than Amy Detjen.
Amy possesses an unequivocal love of knitting, and she is not afraid to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with anybody who is smart enough to take the time to listen!

I checked into my room, and I wandered around the hotel for a bit. I walked over to the Pick 'N Save across the street and loaded up on junk food for the weekend. Nothing started until 6:00...this was the only time in the entire weekend that I was bored. At 6:00, everybody gathered in the conference rooms for dinner, and then it was on to the knitting room!! Everything that Schoolhouse Press sells was there...and nearly every sweater that has ever been in a Wool Gathering or a Elizabeth/Meg/Joyce book was there! Talk about systems overload!!
The people at Schoolhouse Press are absolutely amazing - I've never met anyone like them!

Friday morning I went to breakfast the The Kitchen Table, a wonderful restaurant in Marshfield that is owned by Meg's sister, Lloie. Great food, fast service, and I had the most wonderful waitress! I ate there every morning, (except Sunday, when they're closed... and I ate at the Country Kitchen - blech), and when I went in Monday morning, the waitress actually asked me "do you want the usual?" Of course, not very many people ask for horseradish for their fried eggs... And then it was on to class...

Meg taught at a table in the front (I had a front seat!!) and had a video camera over her shoulder that transmitted to televisions all around the room.
Here she is showing us how to "explode" a bun of unspun icelandic:

Class ended at 3:00, and the room stayed open until the last person went to bed (the last person to leave was supposed to lock the door). As a result, there were knitters everywhere until all hours of the night! I never made it past 11:00, though...

Saturday was Joyce Williams' birthday, so we had a cake. Joyce is an astounding knitter, and a very intriguing person! I've never known anybody who has visited every single continent! Her book, Latvian Dreams, is an absolute work of art. In fact, she had every sweater from the book there, and you could try them on anytime you wanted!

In fact, here's the sweater that I'm going to make from her book:

The pattern is absolutely beautiful, and the astounding thing, to me, is that this was not knit in the round, but was done as a knit back back (in colorwork!!) instead of purling. I will be making mine in the round, however... :-)

Ths picture on the right is Joyce modeling her lily sweater...which is 2-color knitting, not intarsia!! The entire sweater is done with 2 strands and trapping, which allowed little peeks of the contrasting color to show through. It is beyond stunning.

This is Joyce's Knit/Purl sweater, done in the same technique.

Note the garter stitch pattern running under the sleeve!

Each day ended with Show and Tell (I had to go first!! Yikes!) Nearly everybody brought items that they have knit to show to the group - talk about a humbling experience!! Beautiful shawls and sweaters abounded:

Sweaters were everywhere! The air conditioning system seemed to be set on "Arctic" for part of each day, and we were allowed to grab a sweater and wear it when we got cold! I wore Meg's "Pools in the River" sweater quite often - it is one of my favorite cardigan patterns. I also tried on several sweaters, such as my next sweater project, which is from the current Wool Gathering. I'm going to make mine in natural on the bottom and forest brown in the top.

I also tried on the ORIGINAL Hand to Hand sweater, knit by Elizabeth! I will never look at mine the same way again!

For a better picture of this sweater,(and on a much better model!) see Caryn's blog at Fuzzy Noodle Knits.

I mean, look at the sweaters!! They're everywhere!!

The knitters who attended camp were amazing. I've never seen so many creative, talented people in one place.

Meg is a lovely, lovely person, and she is not afraid to share her knowledge and insight! She helped me work through several ideas for my own hand to hand sweater, which has now morphed itself into a cardigan instead of a coat, and I'm pretty sure I know how I'm going to finish it now.

Unfortunately, knitting camp had to end - much too quickly, although I was absolutely exhausted from the long days (I averaged 4 hours of sleep per night, but I didn't feel it until I got home!) When I got to the airport, this is what greeted me in the terminal:

As it turns out, several of the campers were on my flight to O'Hare, so we had our own mini-camp right there in the airport! Terry was flying out of the same gate that I was (a few hours later - she was going to California, and I was going to Cleveland), so I had somebody to talk knitting with while I waited! My flights were all on time (both ways), and I got into Hopkins at about 9:20. Kevin and the boys were waiting for me in baggage claim.

I've decided that all of my test-knitting money is now going into a Knitting Camp fund for next year! Hats off to Meg, Amy, Joyce, Christie, Eleanor, Tammy and Michelle for making this an extraordinary experience!! I can't wait for Camp 2006!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I got home about 10:15 last night - I'm still tired!

Knitting Camp was amazing, amazing, amazing. I'll have details and pictures tomorrow - I spent today playing "catch-up" around the house. The testosterone crew actually did a pretty good job while I was gone!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane...

In 24 hours, I will be in the middle of Wisconsin, renting a car to drive myself to KNITTING CAMP!!! My boarding pass is printed, and my bags are (mostly) packed.

I will *not* have this

done in time for the fair,

but I should have this coat finished - I'm creating as I go. Right now I'm knitting a bottom border that mirrors the top part of the sweater, and I'm trying to decide how exactly if/where I should put the pockets after it's finished.

I've opened up the top steek stitches - I'll cut the whole thing down the middle of the front and knit some kind of a border. I also haven't decided if I'm going to do buttons or clasps....but I have 3 weeks to figure it out. :-)

Friday, July 01, 2005

The socks are done, too!

left to right:

Zinnia, Pansy (Sock Garden), Redwood Forest (Sock Landscape) and Hydrangea (Sock Garden).

These are drying on a screen on the back porch, so I can send them off this afternoon to KnitPicks for their next catalog. :-)