Stress? What stress?

Yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m., we woke up to the sound of Katja barfing…on our new white chair! (Don’t even ask why we didn’t put a cover on it before then). At 8 a.m. we woke again, to find Katja limping across the bed, her little paw held delicately in the air. So I took a look: Her dewclaw (“thumb nail”) had GROWN INTO her paw pad…WAY in! OUCH!

So…back to the emergency vet clinic, after calling a friend to borrow her car and picking up my paycheck so I could pay for the visit. I sat in the clinic for three hours (more urgent emergencies had come in) before they could treat her. She was a real trooper. They removed the nail (OUCH again) and sent me home with antibiotics and a special solution to soak her paw in for 10 minutes twice a day.

Now, I’m great at giving pills to animals, and Katja’s not at all afraid of water, but she’s pretty pissed off about being held (“restrained”) for 10 minutes with her little foot in a cup of smelly blue water. Needless to say, she’s not the only one who gets soaked.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s breathing problems seem to be limited to her purr-box. When she purrs, it sounds rattle-y and she starts mouth breathing. So now SHE needs to go back to the vet to have her throat examined (with sedation). Honest to God…they’re not only going to break my heart, they’re going to break the BANK!

Ugh.

Now I’m so exhausted I’m physically ill–losing my voice, weakness, sweating, headache, etc.–and I’m trying to get things together for our vacation. Picking up prescriptions, etc.

Speaking of prescriptions, did I tell you that CVS gave me the wrong pills in one of my prescription bottles? Like my usual med, they were white pills, but I could tell the difference right off. Mine aren’t supposed to be scored, and these were also a bit smaller than they should have been.

Of course, the CVS pharmacist decided to argue with me and had NO idea what the other pills were–even though I’d done research and told him the exact name and dosage of the wrong pills!!! It took me 45 minutes to get them to hand over my correct prescription. Horrible experience.

Buyer beware. NEVER assume your pharmacist always gives you the right stuff. Check your pills carefully. It could save your life.

Just Fiddling Around…

Inspired by this, I decided to knit a little “camera cozy” for my Olympus Stylus point-and-shoot, which I like to just toss in my purse sans case, to keep things light. The yarn is Neighborhood Fiber Co. fingering weight in Brightwood. Really gorgeous colors: chocolate, cream, duck’s egg blue, and vivid turquoise.

(Here it is without the camera inside, photographed on Nancy Crow’sbeautiful book)

The pattern is my own, from start to finish, designed on the needles. I’ll post it one of these days. But just so you know, I cast on 44 stitches for the ribbing using US# 0 DPNs, then increased to 48 stitches for the body. Fits like a glove! And it only took two days to complete.

Also, here’s a preview of the gorgeous laceweight Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarn Karida’s bringing to The Knitter’s Connection next week.

The fiery color is Capitol Hill, and the Purple/Teal color is called Brookland. It’s the softest mohair/silk laceweight yarn I’ve felt…no itchiness at all! If you’re planning on going to TKC, do be sure to stop by the Neighborhood Fiber Co. booth and say “Hi” to Karida!

Inspiration is in the details…

How many details do you see? When I took this photo, I didn’t even notice the little checkerboard pattern beside the window. So when I downloaded the photos into my Mac, seeing it was a lovely surprise. Isn’t it funny, how we “see” or fail to “see” things, and simply imagine others?

Being an artist–of any kind–is about Seeing. Because artists are human beings, and therefore individuals, I imagine each has his or her own “tricks” or philosophies or practices to help improve and enhance their ability to See. On the other hand, I know some people who look at the world every day and seldom really See anything. How about you? What have you done that’s helped you learn to See?


By the way, I have a legitimate excuse for not posting much this week…SPRING FEVER!

We’ve had the weirdest spring in D.C. Wonderful weather early on, then snow in April. Then wonderful, then days and days of gray, damp, and windy. But this week has been glorious. Everywhere I turn gardens are lush, trees form thick canopies over the streets, and people are soaking it all in at outdoor cafes and restaurants with sidewalk seating. This weekend, thankfully, is expected to give us more of the same. Yay!

By the way, don’t forget to spend a little time on Monday remembering those for whom Memorial Day was created. From World War I to World War II, from Korea to Vietnam, from Bosnia to Iraq…Regardless of politics, they’ve given us the gift of their service and, often, their lives. A few quiet moments to say thank you is worth more than you can imagine. Then…

Bust out the BBQ!!! Hope you all have a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend, filled with fun, friends, and fiber :-)

Back to Tahoe

This weekend I got back in the mood to work on my Tahoe cardigan…
The sweater’s back and right front are complete, and I cast on last night for the left front. After this, it’s just sleeves and finishing–and I’m going to make a few changes at this point. First, the sleeves will be knit from top down, circularly. Seaming is OK, but not my favorite way to spend an evening.

Also, instead of the turned under picot edges knit with Koigu, I may knit or crochet a less bulky alternative. Sundara’s Bittersweet remains my yarn of choice for the edging…the colors just work so well with my mauvey-violet Heirloom Breeze from OzeYarn (a GREAT and affordable site to order from, no matter where you live!).

I haven’t used my spinning wheel or wrote about spinning in a while, so I thought I’d show you my latest. Actually, I spun this hank in February or March (I don’t remember!), and then it sat…and sat…and sat on the spool. But this weekend my yarn was liberated! I wound it onto the two-yard niddy-noddy and set the spin by soaking and hanging to dry.

I am very pleased with this, as I’m still a beginner and am totally self-taught. What you’re looking at is a 300-yard skein of sport-weight yarn spun from Finn top.

Best of all, to a newbie like me, is that I managed to spin a soft yarn that doesn’t twist back on itself or kink up…This was my goal. I tried really hard not to overspin, but to spin enough so it won’t fall to pieces when knitted.

So…what’s this yarn’s destiny? Well, last fall I began a VERY simple shawl for my husband’s grandma–who’s been like a grandma to me, too. She’s so sweet and smart and beautiful. I really do love her. Unfortunately, she has Parkinson’s disease and is in a nursing home in Pennsylvania, so we don’t see her too often :-(

Anyway, I knew I’d run out of yarn in the midst of the shawl, and when I did I had the wonderful luxury of sitting down at my Kromski Sonata (Yay!!! Love it!!!) and spinning up the rest of the Finn so I can complete the project. The first batch of yarn I used was spun when I was even more of a beginner, so it’s a bit slubby. This yarn is much, much nicer. But I know that grandma will love it all the same…perhaps even more…because it’s made from scratch, just for her.

I know some of you are spinners, too. Tell me, what kind of wheels do you use? What fibers do you like to spin? I’d LOVE to see some of your yarn! Nothing’s more exciting than making something from yarn and needles EXCEPT making something from a pile of hair that you spin yourself, then knit or crochet into a lovely piece that comes from the heart.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Cheers!

One sock, two sock…

I promised photos of waving lace, sock #1…

As I’ve said, I finished this sock, then needed to cast on for a gift (which you’ll see below). These are made with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Watercolor. Overall impressions after my first sock with this yarn: I miss the glossiness of most other sock yarns–LL is very “matte.” But it’s also incredibly comfortable because it’s stretchier…kind of hugs your feet.

As for color, all the LL colorways are delicious, but the striping and pooling drives me mad. I know, I know, I’m supposed to switch from one ball to another every couple of rows to prevent that, but this is a “purse project,” one I’ll knit on the bus, in the park, during spare minutes here and there. Not only would switching balls be inconvenient, I just don’t have the patience to fiddle around like that. I’ll definitely use LL again, but probably in a solid or semi-solid colorway.

Here’s a top-down view next to the little invalid.

To be honest, I’m really concerned about Maggie. The vet said that if she continues to have these “attacks” of rasping open-mouthed breathing, the next step would be to sedate her and go down into her throat for a look. Antihistamines seem to have helped, as does running the A/C to clean the air (we don’t have an air cleaner yet), so I was hopeful that it was all allergy related. But early this morning, at 3:30 a.m., she came up to my pillow purring loudly and breathing through her mouth again.

The purring might seem to be a good sign, but it’s not. Cats purr for many reasons, including when they’re sick or injured. And I know Maggie well enough to tell one purr from another. Also, the look in her eyes isn’t right. I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll probably have to take her back to the vet. OK, if I keep writing about this I’m going to cry, so I’ll just change the subject and keep you posted.

So. Let’s get back to socks. As promised, here’s the Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern I cast on last weekend for my step-dad…

The yarn is Schaefer “Anne,” and I love it! The transluscent color, depth of shades, mohair and nylon content (for strength), washability (it’s superwash wool!), delicate weight, and generous yardage (560 yards in each skein). Anne does have a tendency to split if you’re not careful, but I love it, so it’s worth a bit of vigilance.

A POLITICAL ASIDE (Stop reading here if you’re easily offended.)
Speaking of vigilance…You know, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, that guy in the White House says Amerrkins need to “be vigilant.” (Oh, how I wish I could WRITE the inflection he uses when he says “vigilant.” But I’ll have to trust that to your imagination.) As does the Dept. of Homeland Security (ugh!) and every other official administration under the sun. Vigilance, vigilance, vigilance.

The administration is trying to make us feel “empowered,” so we’ll believe that, as individuals, we have any measurable control over maniacal attacks (key word: measurable…I know we’re not entirely powerless). Well, in my opinion, we don’t. Somewhere, sometime, something is going to happen, and there’s probably not a whole hell of a lot the person like me, sitting on a Metro bus to Georgetown, can do about it, unless I spot a suspicious package that turns out to be more than someone’s discarded water bottle.

Well…Ever since I met Chris, he’s always said, “I love you. Be careful,” when I go out. Now that I’m working from home, he’s the one leaving the house early in the morning, and if I can drag myself out of bed, I’ll lock the door behind him so I can give him a kiss goodbye. But these days, our exchange is a little different: “I love you. Be vigilant.”

Strange how that came to mind while describing sock yarn! But maybe there’s an important lesson in there somewhere…I may not be able to stop some crazy person from doing the unthinkable, but by being vigilant I can sure as hell control whether or not my size 0 needles split my sock yarn. Suddenly, I feel so empowered.

PINK

These six-inch beauties startled me when I was walking to work last Thursday…I looked to my left and there they were, in all their glory. So the next day, I tossed my camera into my bag before leaving the house, so I could share their raspberry-ice deliciousness with you.

CAT EMERGENCY O’ THE MONTH
We came home last night to find Maggie breathing through her open mouth, making a horrible rasping sound, and we both thought her lips looked blue-ish. So I turned on the A/C–the District is an allergy diaster zone–and called the city’s one and only animal emergency room. When they heard what was going on, they said to bring her in immediately. You see, Maggie has a heart murmur, so heart failure is always a scary possibility.

Without hesitation, as soon as I asked, our wonderful, wonderful friends Erika and Karida were on their way to drive us up to the vet, then they stayed to drive us home. True friendship, in my book. After x-rays and exam, the vet couldn’t find a reason for M’s symptoms. (Of course, M ceased all odd behavior as soon as we walked in the hospital door.)

Because the A/C seemed to have helped a little, probably by filtering the air, she could only assume M’s “attack” was due to allergies, which she’s had before, but not seriously. So home we went, with antihistamines in hand. By the time we got home, it was after 9 p.m., and we were both absolutely wiped out.

I swear, sometimes I think this cat is going to be the death of me.

BACK TO KNITTING…
Since this is a knitting blog, I thought I’d also mention that I finished Waving Lace sock #1, and really love it. Last Saturday I went to Stitch DC and picked up a really beautiful skein of Schaeffer “Anne” sock yarn for my step-dad’s socks. Chris’ final pattern choice was Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern, from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks.

Between work, my sprained knee, M’s emergency-of-the-month, and an overall sense of exhaustion, I haven’t been very good about writing or taking and posting photos lately. To those of you who keep coming back anyway, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU for bearing with me. I love sharing ideas and experiences, and hearing about yours, too, so I’ll try to be more consistent from now on.

For now, though, I’ll just say: I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful weekend with lots of sun, fun, and time for knitting!

A Perfect Day

Need I say more?

Well, perhaps I do, considering my absence lately. You see, I sprained my knee…

I went to the ER with excrutiating pain and numbness(!) after a bad fall. X-rays and a sonogram ruled out broken bones and deep vein thrombosis (DVT, a dangerous blood clot condition that can happen to anyone after any leg injury–be aware!). Final diagnosis: sprain. I opted for the cane over crutches, which I absolutely detest (ever since I had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee two years ago). So lots of rest for me and my leg.

Oddly, with more time to slow down, elevate knee, and rest, I haven’t felt much like knitting! But when the mood strikes, I work on my Waving Lace sock. Almost done with this one:

I’ll have to take a break between sock #1 and sock #2 to make a pair of socks for my step-dad’s Christmas present…Yes, that’s right. I still owe him a Christmas present for 2006! It’s a long story–involving an online seller who failed to deliver a lovely gift we ordered in December. We finally got him to issue a refund.

Since it’s now May, I thought it would be nice to offer Walter the hand-made gift of his choice. He loved the socks I made for my mom’s birthday, so I told him I’d make a special pair for him. The saga continues: I’ll show you the patterns I’m considering in my next post.

Meanwhile, to all of you, find a place in the sun or shade, a cool drink, and enjoy the weekend. Happy Monther’s Day!