Tag Archive | puppies

I Like My Dog Again

Every time I get a new dog, I forget what it’s like to have a young dog that is so much like a toddler. They aren’t potty-trained, they need lots of attention, they need lots of toys, they destroy things, and they often don’t sleep well. Duncan was or is all of these. Thankfully we’ve gotten past the potty-training issue, but everything else is still relevant. Sleep has been bad since Grace started her meds for Addison’s; the steroids make her eat more and drink more and thus need more potty breaks. Also, either they’re giving her more energy or she’s just feeling better, because she’s been sort of bonkers at times. So for the last couple of weeks especially, they’ve been restless between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes they barked so that we’d get up and let them out. Friends, that is not a good time for me to wake up.

Last week was an especially bad week. The girl was out of town for a band event. She was gone three nights. Duncan and Grace usually sleep in her room. We didn’t want three dogs in our bedroom so Jack slept in our room and we left the other two downstairs, assuming Duncan would behave because he’d be SLEEPING.

Oh, how foolish we were.

That very first night/morning, there was barking at 4 am. I got up, went downstairs, let them outside, and saw paper all over the floor of the dining room.

It was books, guys. BOOKS. Not just any books. Oh no, MY dog of course likes OLD books. Old, valuable books that smell and taste interesting! When all was said and done, there were eight books that weren’t salvageable. Two of the eight were literally in pieces. It was a BAD day. I was sad, exhausted, frustrated, discouraged. I was kicking myself for leaving him out unattended, kicking myself for not giving him the exercise I thought he needed. I wasn’t sure if we were the right home for him, or if I had it in me to get past this stage. I was sure I was a bad dog-mom. He went to daycare that day and the next, and I slept in the girl’s room in the attic the second night to catch up on sleep, and those things helped.

Once I’d gotten a little more sleep, and gotten past the fresh wound of seeing my books torn apart, I was feeling more optimistic. Duncan really is a sweet dog, funny and charming and lovable. I do like having three dogs, most of the time. I like the way they play together and snuggle together. And really, I have to believe Duncan will grow out of this stage eventually. So, if Duncan is like a toddler, and maybe Grace is like a preschooler, I decided there was a possibility that having them together was the problem, and resolved to try separating them at night. For the last two nights, Grace has slept upstairs with the girl, and Duncan sleeps in the kitchen. And guys? I think it’s working! (I’m gonna knock knock knock on wood!) This morning, I didn’t hear a peep out of any of the dogs! I am greatly encouraged and really hoping this makes a difference in our sleep patterns. I need my sleep. Seriously.

So because I like my dogs today, I’m going to share some of the fun photos I took this weekend. I pulled out the good Canon to play with settings, and dogs make good subjects. They’re all very photogenic, in my humble opinion.

They were having a marvelous time romping around the yard, taking turns chasing each other and of course chomping on each other. I tried to get some individual shots as well. Jack was not interested in being cute. He’s a very serious old-man pupper. He’s here for the work, not the media.

Grace doesn’t mind the paparazzi, but you have to move fast to get the really good shots. I’m rather pleased with what I got. There were others, but when you’ve got one like this, who needs more?

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And then there’s Duncan, the fresh new star who wants all the attention. He can do anything from playful to serious to tough. He’s very versatile, you know.

So yeah. I think I can do this whole three-dog thing. It might take every last bit of my patience, and we may never own anything nice ever again, but at least I’ll have my puppers.

Not a Good Day

Today didn’t start out so great. I snoozed a bit too long and got up to a puddle outside the bedroom door (Duncan isn’t great about going very long stretches without a potty break). I confess I cursed a bit as I let the dogs out.

Then when I came down for breakfast, I spotted a knitting needle on the floor. A thin size 1 DPN that should have been in a zipped project bag holding a sock WIP. Oh, that bag? Yeah, it was on the floor, says the husband. Sure enough, the bag had suspicious dog hair on it. I unzipped it and pulled out the sock, and discovered that the rogue needle had been on live stitches. This bag was my Yarn Pop bag, the one with the handy grommet in the side you can pull the yarn through. Apparently, you can also pull a needle through.

I got the stitches back on a needle, a different needle because the first had a splinter and few tiny tooth marks, and it seems to be fine. But OMG this dog. I know, I know. It was my idea, and I found this dog, and blah blah blah. I had clearly forgotten what it’s like to have a young dog in the house, and we got really spoiled with the first two dogs, who never had accidents in the house even at under a year old. So it’s a new problem for us to deal with. Like I said, not so great.

So in the hopes of turning that frown upside down, let’s look at yarn, shall we? I have marvelous friends who give me marvelous yarn. First up is my birthday yarn from a couple of work friends. It’s Madelinetosh Euro Sock in the color Daenerys. I think it might grow up to be a Miso shawl, a simple, versatile staple for my wardrobe.

Second, I have a new skein from an indie dyer, Canon Hand Dyes, in Portland. This was a gift from another friend at work, a thank-you for covering while she was on vacation. The yarn is Oscar Sparkle Fingering and the color is called Isobel Crawley (Downton Abbey inspired, as I’m sure some of you could guess). Isn’t it beautiful? I do love sparkly things, especially sparkly purple things! I haven’t decided yet what it wants to be, but I’m pretty sure it will be another shawl/scarf, something I can pet and admire while I wear it.

There. I feel better now, don’t you? I mean, I’d feel even better if I was at home playing with my new yarn, but we can’t have it all, I suppose. Here’s hoping your day is brighter than mine has been!

Jack’s Gotcha Day

No knitting photos today: I didn’t make enough progress on anything yesterday. So instead I’ll share some dog photos, because dogs. Yesterday was Jack’s Gotcha day: two years since we adopted him from Wayside Waifs, one of the local animal shelters. He’s been a treat since day one.

He is my baby, my constant companion, my protector. He is absolutely the perfect dog for me. I could add a ton more cute photos but you’ve seen most of them.

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If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, PLEASE check your local animals shelters first! You’ll adopt a pet that’s already spayed or neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and assessed for behavioral issues. There are truly amazing animals there, both mixed-breed and full-breed, and they’re all looking for their forever family. Here are a few choices for the KCMO metro area:

Weekend Adventure, With Yarn

We took a baby road trip this weekend. We’re gearing up to start painting our house this summer and found some used scaffolding on Craigslist. The listings nearby kept getting snatched up quickly, so we drove about three hours to the southwest part of Missouri, near Springfield. It was gorgeous, green and hilly and lush. I do love it down there. Our destination was pretty rural, and I was delighted to find they had a nice menagerie for me to play with while the guys messed with the scaffolding. They had four dogs, three cats (that I saw; he said there were around 18), a bunch of chickens, a horse, and five goats. Molly, a “smaller” Great Pyrenees, was my favorite. She was so sweet and mellow, and I ended up sitting on the ground cuddling with her for much of the time. IMG_5851I really wish I could have taken her home with me, and they would have let me too! They said they got her to be a guard dog but she ended up being the runt of the litter. But for some reason my hubby thinks two dogs is enough. I know, what’s wrong with him, right? I did get him to agree that once he retires, if we move out to the country with a bit of land, I could have more puppies. Hooray! I might actually like that. I mean, I’m not very social and don’t like many people. I spend most of my time in silence and love it. I love the wide expanse of open land. Would I like it long-term? Not sure. I’d definitely have to be relatively close to civilization. So yeah, we have that to ponder for the next several years. Think about it: more puppies! Yay!

Okay, enough about puppies. How about kitties? We stopped at a few antique malls and one of them had this little beauty. She was a miniature version of a cat I used to have.IMG_5859Bonus: the hubby agreed that IF we moved to a country-ish location, I could have outdoor cats! (He claims to be “allergic”. Whatever.)

Of course I also found a yarn store while we were out and about, though we had to drive a bit out of our way to get there. It’s in Rogersville, MO, near Springfield, and it’s called One City Market. It’s in a cute little house and I walked in and there was a small room full of gorgeous worsted and bulky wools, like Lorna’s Laces and Vice Yarns and Baah! and Malabrigo and so much more. It connected to another room which had the wool fingering/DK weights, also yummy colors and brands, including some small indie dyers. I picked out two skeins, only two skeins, trying to be very very good and went to the counter…then I spotted another room. Oh, yes, she said, that’s the cotton blends, and some closeout yarns. Oh well. Crap. I descended into the rabbit hole of her closeouts. I mean, good grief, it was crazy good. Brands like Rowan and Cascade, and wool and cotton and more and more. It was all packaged together in ziplock bags, some with multiple skeins of one yarn, some with multiple skeins of the same yarn in different colors. And the prices? 65% off retail! So much for being good!

What did I bring home? Well, let me show you some pictures! And I’ll preface it by saying I’ve been playing with a new technique called the flatlay. I got the idea from Jem Arrowsmith Knits, who has been taking an Instagram photography course with Makelight and producing truly gorgeous photos. I’d love to do the course at some point but right now the budget says I can just play with a few of the ideas. I have TONS of scrapbooking paper for interesting backgrounds, and like Jem, I had a marvelous time collecting trinkets to jazz up my photos. Unfortunately, when I actually had time to take photos, it was so stinking dark from a severe thunderstorm that I had no natural light. So these are very rough beginning-stage photos.

I started with some Dream in Color Classy in Cashmere in color Charged Cherry, and it’s the hottest hot pink you ever saw. And soft, so soft and squishy. IMG_5871I got some Manos del Uruguay Alegria, a merino blend in a vivid neon rainbow. Yes, it’s fingering, but it will make a stunning Hitchhiker. IMG_5889It really is much brighter than it looks here. I kept this photo because I like the pieces together, but I’d love to re-take it in natural light.

Now for my clearance finds. I got six skeins of Cascade Sierra, a bouncy blend of cotton and merino, three pink and three orange. I can’t wait to knit the two colors together; I just haven’t decided whether they want to be a shawl or a lightweight scarf. IMG_5893

Pink is my color right now, apparently, because I also got a bag of SMC Select Juliette, six skeins in a dark raspberry hue. It’s 100% cotton and labeled bulky but looks more like Aran weight. IMG_5894

My favorite deal was a bag of 9 balls of Rowan RYC Cashsoft Aran. It’s mostly merino with a bit of microfiber and 10% cashmere. Soft? You betcha! And it’s a gorgeous red that will be fantastic for holiday knitting. I got all of it, 855 yards, for $28! WHEE! I mean, that could be a really sweater vest…if I had the patience to knit a sweater. (Spoiler: I don’t.) IMG_5895

I could have bought so much more but managed to stop the damage at that, and even that was more than I should have bought. Still, I’m delighted with my finds and can’t wait to cast on with all of it. And speaking of actually knitting, I did some of that too, and I bound off the Citron shawl last night! IMG_5888I was all “Meh” about it until it came off the needles, and then I realized how lovely it actually is! I love the ruffled edge, even if it is shorter than it’s supposed to be because I ran out of yarn. Again, the color isn’t true but I had to share it. Once I get the ends woven in and a day that’s not so gray, I’ll post a better photo.

Whew, this was a big post, wasn’t it? That’s what happens when I save it all up instead of doling it out in small daily doses. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around!

Shoes, Shawls, and Cowls

Do you know that old song, Three Coins in the Fountain? For some reason I thought of that this morning, only my version would be Two Shoes in the Trashcan. (I really hope you sang that in your head.) Yes, Grace is feeling some serious spring fever or something, and has returned to shoe theft with a vengeance. She got one of mine yesterday (my fault: I left them downstairs, went to put them on, and only found one. The second? Outside in the backyard.) This morning the girl came down with a destroyed black flat. For the record, this is the THIRD black flat the dog has eaten, and this one was actually MINE. The girl and I wear the same size shoes and she loved these flats too and borrowed them often. She kept them under her bed, and it worked for quite a while. But apparently Grace figured it out. Oy. This dog. I’d let her run away but she’s chipped and they’d find us. (KIDDING. I wouldn’t really do that, as tempting as it is on some days.) Maybe she needs a new toy to distract her for a while.

Let’s move on to more fun stuff, shall we? After finishing the Hitchhiker, I needed a new project. Not content with just one, I decided to cast on two new projects yesterday. One is a shawl that’s been in my Ravelry queue for ages, the Citron. I saw one on Instagram the other day and it reminded me of it, and the grass green yarn I have is perfect for spring. It’s going pretty quickly so far. IMG_5747I’m using DK weight instead of lace, so it’s definitely going to be a full shawl rather than a shawlette. The yarn is Lachiwa by Mirasol Yarn, a 60/40 cotton linen blend. I think it will become a fabulous spring shawl. So far the pattern is fun, with just the right mix of plain stockinette and increase/decrease rows. I don’t think this one will take long to finish.

Second is the Kerr Diamond Cowl with some of my yarn from Knitting in the Heartland. The yarn is from Show Me Yarn, the booth that talked me into three skeins, and it’s the Cyclone base in a gorgeous purple called All Dressed Up. I got the pattern, which is a paid pattern, free with the purchase of the yarn. It was written specifically for this yarn; I don’t think I’ve ever made a pattern with the original yarn! I have to confess, I was a tiny bit disappointed when I opened the pattern and saw that it was knit flat and seamed. One of my favorite things about cowls is that I get to knit in the round. BUT. I love the look of the pattern, and it’s got a neat ribbed section that intrigues me, so I’m giving it a go. IMG_5746The turquoise is for the provisional cast on, not part of the finished piece. I guess it’s good I got to practice that. It’ll give me good practice on my Kitchener stitch too. I mean, it’s fine. I’m not afraid of it. I guess I’m just a lazy knitter who would rather knit in the round than seam things!

One more knitting thing: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted a blog entry about her time at Knitting in the Heartland, and at the top she included two photos of the audience at her keynote. Well, if you look at the first photo, in the second row on the left, right next to the wall, you’ll see me! I couldn’t figure out how to share her photo, and honestly I didn’t think it was a good idea anyway, so here’s a link to the post. There you have it, I made it to the Yarn Harlot’s blog.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy a second cup of tea, last night’s Grey’s Anatomy, some knitting, and a couple of puppies that aren’t really puppies anymore but will always be puppies. IMG_5742Happy Friday, friends!

Sunshine after Clouds

This is the hole Grace made in the couch cushion. Last night we came home from a choir concert and found stuffing scattered across the couch. ARGH. We can’t afford a new couch at this point. Any suggestions on patching or sewing it closed? I have some bitter spray that I guess I need to apply more frequently. And I’m also considering our options for containing her while we’re gone. IMG_5712Here’s the current state of the Hitchhiker. I knit on it all day long I think, including at the concert, and it still seems rather short. I have 31 teeth. We’ll see how far I get with this skein. But this is my first Hitchhiker with fingering weight, and I think it will be my last. It takes FOREVER. This, my friends, is why I like worsted and bulky weight yarns!IMG_5713Now let’s move on to happier things, shall we? Here’s the blocked Take the Crown Cowl. IMG_5714IMG_5715IMG_5716IMG_5717Yep, the pattern kind of gets lost when it’s worn, but I don’t care. I know it’s there, and I love the look regardless.

Finally, I have to share a story on why knitters are so fantastic: last week I got an email from a knitter who’d found one of my felted bags on Ravelry and then she found this blog, and she took the time to email me and tell me how much she liked them both. That’s always a boost, right? Well, then, she ordered the bag! That’s right, a knitter bought one of my knitted bags. How cool is that? When someone could have easily said, “Oh, I could make that myself” but instead thinks your piece is good enough to buy, well, I can’t tell you how good it made me feel. And when she got the bag, she emailed me again to tell me how much she loves it, and now we’ve got this lovely conversation going and I feel like I have a new friend. It’s a lovely reminder to me that compliments are free and easy to give, and often mean so much to the recipient. If you think something is beautiful, say it out loud!

A Couple of Cowls

I have two cowls to share today, one older and one brand-new. Let’s start with the older one. A while back, I used my one and only skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted to make a Boomerang Cowl (pattern by MollyGirl Yarn). Here’s my Berry Cowl unblocked. IMG_5340I finally got around to blocking it yesterday. I blocked it pretty aggressively for a few reasons: the bind-off was really loose and I wanted both edges to be the same, I wanted it to be wider, and most importantly: I wanted to show off the pattern. I like the results! IMG_5706IMG_5707

I should be able to get a couple of wears out of it before it gets too warm. And now I need to do the same for my Take the Crown cowl, which I finished yesterday thanks to a few hours of outside knitting time.

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The puppies kept me company, one by my side and one in the sun.

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I decided to trust the pattern and finish it rather than frog it, and I think I made the right choice. IMG_5704Blocking should get it to a good width for a closer-fitting cowl. I found it fascinating to see how the colors pooled in the ribbing at the beginning (the bottom ribbing) but not at the end. This will be wonderful if I make it to any Royals night games this season!IMG_5705The pattern, which is a zigzag, does get a bit lost in the yarn, but I like it because in my mind, it represents the points of a crown. And again, blocking should open it up nicely. Details: the yarn is Nerd Girl Yarns Clever in color Take the Crown and it was heavenly to knit with. Soft but not limp, not splitty at all, just flowed wonderfully over the needles. This pattern is River Deep, Mountain High by MollyGirl Yarn and this makes my fourth.

What about you? What are your go-to patterns, the ones you knit over and over?

Kindness Helps

I have to start by thanking you for the encouragement you gave me yesterday (and have given me in the past)! Each comment made me smile and bolstered my spirit, and I appreciate the thoughtful support so much. It’s things like this that make me think the world is made up of mostly good people, and we’re just the quiet ones most of the time. But look at the knitting community, the writing community, heck, look at Jenny Lawson’s (The Bloggess) wonderful tribe supporting those who suffer with mental health illnesses. I’ve come across so many truly kind, generous, caring people. It pleases me. Let’s keep it up. It doesn’t cost a thing to be kind, right?

Okay, so, what did I do with my peaceful day yesterday? I did revise my query letter, and I’m quite pleased with it, and I sent it off to four more agents! Once that was done, I felt I had earned some knitting time, so I settled in with the puppies and my Color Block Wrap. It works up FAST! IMG_5616I sped through the second color and onto the third in one evening. I’m not convinced the stripes are as big as the ones in the pattern so I might measure it this morning and make sure it’ll end up a wearable length. Just in case I need to frog, I haven’t trimmed my long yarn tails yet. However it ends up, it will be the coziest scarf/wrap ever.

IMG_5613For now, the puppies and I would like to wish a happy Easter weekend to those who celebrate, and a happy regular weekend to those who don’t!

Two Hats Done, One Begun

As expected, the kids’ spring break has interrupted my knitting/writing/blogging processes, but at least there is a little bit of knitting going on. And today our calendar is empty so both children are still asleep at 9 a.m. and I am stealing the time to catch up with all of you. Of the four projects I started last weekend, two are now complete! First up is the Hot Pink Waffles. IMG_5594The pattern was written for DK, so I lowered the number of stitches to cast on with this worsted weight, but not enough. It’s a little looser than I would like, but it will do. It fits well enough on my noggin.IMG_5578The girl and I went to watch Room with my mom yesterday, and I got this hat up to the decreases while watching. It was a good movie, grim but moving, definitely wonderful performances. I still liked the book better.

I also finished the bulky ivory hat, and there’s more of a story to that one. There’s a book out called Weekend by Jen Geigley with fabulous bulky-weight patterns. I love them all. She had a sale on it recently so I splurged and bought the book, and decided the hat Sliver would be my first project. But I didn’t really like the dropped stitch “run” so I just omitted it. I had some super bulky yarn and the right size needles, and no, I didn’t test for gauge because it’s a HAT and it will fit someone and I almost always knit to gauge anyway.

Not this time. I cast for the size medium and knit away, and it looked small but I ignored it. When I picked it up yesterday to finish it, I decided to face the truth and put it on my head. It was definitely NOT a size adult medium. It was easily a child-size hat, but long. I thought about frogging and starting over with the XL, but realized I didn’t have enough yarn. So I frogged back about an inch of the body and finished off a cute little kid hat, and added a pompom because pompoms are adorable and I had exactly enough yarn left. IMG_5583Maybe I knit more tightly than Jen, maybe my “super bulky” yarn wasn’t as bulky as hers, I don’t know. But I still love the hat, and I still want to make an adult version at some point. But for now, I’m going through the book to decide which pattern I want to try next! Until I decide, I cast on for another lacy cotton slouch hat, this time in a peachy pink. IMG_5592Yesterday was National Puppy Day but I didn’t have the time to blog, so Grace and Jack will send you belated happy puppy wishes! IMG_5586IMG_5589

Yarn Store Trickery

Funny story: so you know I went to my LYS recently, twice in two days actually. The first time, I noticed a gorgeous gradient wrap. They had two samples knit up in different colors. The second time, I asked about it, wanting the pattern. The owner said oh yes, it’s a free pattern with the purchase of the yarn…four colors at $30 a skein! Um, wow. I said that was out of my price range for now and thanked her, and she said, “Sure, and you know it’s here later.” Sure, okay. I almost asked if she’d sell me just the pattern, but figured she would have offered if it was an option.

I’m glad I didn’t, too: I went home and out of curiosity did a search on Ravelry. I found the exact same pattern…AND IT’S FREE. It’s a FREE PATTERN. I’m a little irritated. I understand kits, I understand paid patterns, and I’ve even bought yarn to get the pattern and be able to replicate a shop’s sample. (In that instance, the pattern was written by one of the shop’s employee and isn’t even available on Ravelry.) But when it’s distributed for free on Ravelry, it irks me that they’d want me to shell out $120 for it. And for the record, I spent $30 the first day and $50 the second, so it’s not like she wasn’t getting any money out of me.

So if you’re interested, check out the Pradera Wrap by Jocelyn Tunney. It’s stunning, and she’s got so many other equally beautiful patterns on her page on Ravelry. I’ve made her Picholine Hat and Springtime Picholine Hat, and I’ve got several others in mind.

In related news, yes, I did get to do some knitting yesterday. Here’s the start of my Moonstone Wrap. I started with size 17 needles and it was too loose, so I frogged and cast on 175 stitches on size 15s. I love it already. Can’t wait until it’s done, and I don’t think it’ll take too long. IMG_5490The party went well, though I did keep Jack on the leash for the first hour or so until he adjusted to having so many strangers around. He did keep my baby nephew happy: the baby laughed every time Jack barked, which was a lot. Once I let him off the leash, he did really well. He and Grace both followed me around, settling in wherever I did. IMG_5485My mom noticed and asked if they loved anyone else as much as they love me. Don’t tell my kids, but I don’t think so. They’re both my babies, even if I do have a favorite!

Now, I’m off to knit my quiet Sunday away. I must take advantage of the time I have, since I lost an hour today!