Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Last Push

Even someone who is able to delude herself regularly regarding knitting could not pretend that there was any way to increase the "yarn used" total by midnight tonight, so.....I started working on Christmas presents for 2009. Yes, with this totally uncharacteristic burst of planning ahead it does make one wonder if I have been possessed by aliens or something, but as they are obviously highly organized and productive aliens, so I am leaving well enough alone.

I found this fleece yesterday and thought it would make delightful fleece throws--especially with a decorative stitch hem and embroidered names--so I bought enough for 6 blankets. I finished one tonight:and got to add one and two-thirds yard to my fabric tally. Do you know, that was more exciting to me than the prospect of going out for New Year's Eve--who needs crowds and noise when one has fiber?

I also found some flannel for new pajamas for Andyand myself
In reality, I'm sure I have purchased more fabric than I used in 2008--I'm afraid to do the math--but at least I have used 74 and a half yards.

Theo got his first outings on a leash today, which he didn't enjoy in the slightest. If he wouldn't try to jump onto the fence (5 feet) or dash for the hole under the gate, he would still be allowed in the backyard without the leash, but it's too dangerous for him outside the yard while he's injured. Obviously, it's dangerous out there without the injury as he received an injury in the first place, but we'll deal with that at a future point.

And the most exciting news of the evening:

I can buy yarn in just a few short hours!!!!!

I'm not sure I'll even be able to sleep tonight!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're Friends Again

My trusty sidekick and I have made upand we neither confirm nor deny the rumors that there was catnip involved. There will, however, be no more outdoor adventures without a leash. And a little word of advice:

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HOW FAST A CAT IN A CAST CAN MOVE WHEN PROPERLY MOTIVATED

We did have a good crafting day, though. We sorted Christmas fabricswove in the ends for the lace scarf so it is completely finished:
worked on the new sweaterand swatched, measured, calculated, figured and cast on for the January Aran for the EZ Fans Yahoo Group I'm in:As I'm supposed to be leading this project, I thought it would be a good idea to get a few steps ahead. In true Elizabeth Zimmermann spirit, I have changed the pattern slightly. I believe she used a garter stitch border, and I created a K1, P2 ribbing. It isn't the stretchiest of ribbings, but I like the way it looks.

Only one day left in the year, and my stash-busting totals are currently:
Yards of fabric used: 72.847
Balls of yarn used: 118
Yards of yarn used: 19,183
Miles of yarn used: 10.897

Wow! More than 10 miles of yarn knit this year! My hands are suddenly very tired.....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Someone Has Been a Pill Today

Now, I'm not going to name any names, but it wasn't a biped.....
One week of casts left to go......

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Done!!!!

We have scarf!
It still needs to be blocked & the yarn tails dealt with, but it is done and...............................

18,986 yards of yarn used this year!!!

Whew, that's a lot of yarn!

And of course I celebrated by casting on this:which will eventually be a sweater, but most importantly, it's on size 9 needles and it's a bulky weight yarn with 87-yard skeins. Hey, with 2 days left in the year, I have my priorities....

Some close-up shots of the lace pattern:

I used a size 5 needle, and using a cable cast on for a little more stability, I cast on 50 stitches with Knitpicks Gossamer laceweight. Then, starting on row one and repeating on every single row, I did (YO, K2tog) across each row. It's a faggoting stitch (every stitch either being a yarn over or two stitches worked together). Since I was essentially "knitting" every row, I didn't add an edging as I didn't think it would curl, but oddly enough, it has a bit of a corkscrew effect.

If I were to do it over again, I'd probably add 3 stitches of seed stitch on each side as I did for this one:
I love the openness of the pattern and it's perfect for scarves because both sides are identical.

My trusty sidekick spent the morning with me
His big excitement this weekend: Outings to the back yard! They're short and thoroughly supervised, and we keep him out of the snow, but after 6 days of that horrible cherry medicine--and 4 still to go--I thought he needed a little treat. We've kept this cast for almost an entire week now, so I think the vets might finally have outsmarted him. Then again, we still have 7 days to go...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I May Be In Trouble

For Christmas, my very thoughtful brother and sister-in-law sent me this:
A drop spindle! I was going to turn the picture so it was vertical, but then it occurred to me that I know so little about spinning that I didn't know which way was up, and this
an alpaca fleece in a marvelous hot chocolate-y brown! The alpacas are raised near their home in Colorado, which made me finally resort to looking up what an alpaca actually is. I know the yarn and everything--I'm on my third alpaca sweater--but aside from knowing that whatever the animal was it was darn warm, I had no idea. It turns out that they're a bit like a llama only smaller. I am quite excited--and not just about finally knowing what an alpaca is. I don't know if it's the idea of learning more about fiber or just my need to do everything the hard way, but I have already requested several books on spinning from the library! Could this be a new stash about to be born......?

In other knitting-gift news, Andy gave me this for Christmas
which I read in one sitting and laughed my head off. I actually don't read Franklin's blog, but I do love his cartoons. LOVED the book!!!!

And....
if I can just finish it by Wednesday I'll have used 116 balls and just under 19,000 yards of yarn for 2008! Is it a bit strange that I find the tally more exciting than having the actual scarf?????

Friday, December 26, 2008

Number 7 is Holding!!!!

We made it through Christmas without any visits to West Vet! (And you know they were placing side bets on that one after the Thanksgiving incident) We think the cast will come off on January 5. Theo continues to try for sooner, but this one is tight enough that I have to keep checking his little kitty toes for circulation issues.

Theo continues to take things in stride, though I think all the attention is going to his head. Christmas morning he joined me on the settee for a little Yuletide bonding:
and had soon forgotten the concept of "sharing"
We might need larger furniture.

The last few days have been mostly about cooking and entertaining, but the scarf did get a few rows here & there and I think is a little over half finished.
And as my window for yarn purchases nears, I thought it advisable to fess up to a little more of the stash on Ravelry, so my feltable yarns were added:I think it's a good idea to line up witnesses when a moment of weakness approaches......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cast Number 7

That's right--as of 7:00 AM on December 23, we're on cast number 7. What happened to cast number 6 you might ask? That one was put on yesterday at Theo's checkup and was off by the time I got Theo home. He is a legend at West Vet now.
Ah well, the blue wasn't nearly as festive.

So at least I had knitting with me. That's the good part:And that Theo has 2 more weeks of a cast and that the vet thinks everything looks good.

Since nothing about this can be simple, Theo has a staph infection and it's a fairly resistant bacteria, so we have another 10 days of antibiotics to go and it's a VERY large dose. When they gave me the bottle, they said "At least it's cherry flavored." ???????????????????????? Do you know any cats who each cherries? And to give him medications, I hold his head, pry his little mouth open, and shoot the medication into the back of his mouth with a syringe. Do you really think flavoring of any sort is going to make it better???

The strange thing is that I'm the one who gives him his medications, hauls him to the vet, puts Bitter Yuck on his cast so he won't chew on it--or the kitty cone when things get really serious--and Theo is more attached to me than ever. He's not a clingy cat, but he must now be within sight of me. Poor little guy--thankfully he doesn't seem to carry a grudge.

Before the whole kitty drama started yesterday, I put these together:I borrowed the idea from a "Personal Sock Club" idea on Ravelry. There are 12 bags and they each contain a project. I mixed knitting, sewing, machine embroidery, and one hand embroidery (obviously I was feeling that knitting was just too darn speedy and needed something even slower to work on). Each month, I open the bag and complete the project. Some of the projects have been waiting for a while, so I thought this might give them a better chance. And now that I've publicly admitted to this project, it has a much better chance of happening. When sheer willpower won't get me results, I go straight for public humiliation. It got MS3 done, didn't it?

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're Getting There!!!

Today is the 4-week anniversary of the Cat-in-a-Cast-Ordeal! We have a vet appointment at 11:30 today, and I'm hoping he'll get a smaller cast, or that we'll hear that we only have two more weeks of this to go!

In the meantime, the three of us attended a Christmas party on Saturday night. Since Theo has started removing casts, Andy and I have been taking turns going to parties so one of us could stay home with Houdini. The lovely people hosting Saturday's party are animal lovers themselves, so they invited Theo as well. He actually did pretty well--we had borrowed a dog crate from some friends, and I put his fleece in there, and he basically was pretty quiet during the party. He's getting a little bored, so it might have been a nice change for him.

We've given him a bit more freedom over the last couple days, and instead of needing some time without us, Theo has become my shadow. He doesn't have to be on my lap or anything, but he does need to be in the same room. Here he is now:where he alternates napping & beating the daylights out of Godzilla. He still wants to go outside in spite ofWe will be having a white Christmas, but we will also be having a really cold Christmas.

Last night I made some napkinswhich will match the Christmas placemats I made about 5 years ago.It has taken this long to find a material that matched. Fabric companies really have it figured out--they only produce fabrics for a short period of time, and if you don't buy it then you'll never find it again. This is my current excuse for the size of the fabric stash. It's all THEIR fault. And chocolate doesn't make people fat....

The new scarf is progressing nicelyand now with just 9 days left of the year, it's sort of a race to see how much yarn & fabric I can use up before the end of the year. Could I reach 19,000 yards by the end of the year??????

Friday, December 19, 2008

We Still Have Cast!

Friday night at 7:12, we still have the purple cast:It's about an inch lower on his leg, but the vet promises that this is still okay. Theo has eaten some of it as well, which the vet makes no promises about.

This morning I threw all the stocking in the wash, dried them, got them out to iron, and discovered:
You don't see a hanger loop, do you? That would be because AS MADE ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN the hanger loop is 2 inches shorter than the stocking cuff. AARRGHHHHHH!!!

By this point, even knowing that the stockings would be completely useless, I almost sent them anyway. After a couple cups of coffee and the return of my pride, I cut the loops at the point where the cuff & leg meet, then reattached them BY HAND about an inch down on the cuff. 5 have already been finished and boxed up--totally spacing the picture--but I saved the latest three:There are still 3 more to finish, but they don't have to be mailed so I'll finish them tomorrow. Not that I think any of these will make it by Christmas, but to have them ON THEIR WAY before Christmas will be reassuring.

Theo was feeling good enough to join me:
and even condescended to be photographed with the new scarf:We're almost to the 4-week mark!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WE HAVE NOT BEEN TO THE VET TODAY!!!!

A little kitty incarceration apparently works wonders. Theo has been quite good all day, which has left me time to finally finish the Christmas stockings. With 7 days to go--and a little hand sewing still to do tonight--it's unlikely most of them will make it to their destinations by Christmas, but at least they'll be done!

Pictures of the finished projects tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Now Which Cast Did We Leave Off On?

To bring everyone up to speed on Kitty Convalescence, here's a short recap:

* Original blue cast with the festive turkey - lasted 2 whole weeks* Festive red holiday cast - On on Monday, off on Wednesday
* Lime green splint - stayed on, but Theo ate much of it. Vet wanted more protection for the joint--and from Theo. Removed on Monday* Festive red holiday cast - put back on Theo on Monday. Off by 6:00 AM on Wednesday* New not-really-keeping with the holidays purple cast: 8 hours and counting.
Theo actually spent the day at the vet clinic--which was a huge relief to us. Not that he was feeling bad, but his Feline Houdini tricks have made him a bit of a group project for the folks at West Vet, and they wanted to see if they had outsmarted him yet. We were just thrilled with a few hours of kitty daycare.

I took full advantage of the kittyless hours to mail packages, run to the library, do the grocery shopping, do a few miscellaneous errands, and
They aren't done, but they're a whole lot closer.

I had given myself permission to cast on a new project to have something to knit in the vet clinic--where I'm spending a lot of time these days--but didn't have anything on the needles for the 5:30 AM run with the castless Theo. Tonight when I picked him up, though, I was prepared:
It's a lace scarf with Knitpick's Gossamer in "sunrise" and I'm just sort of improvising the pattern. I even used circular needles to make it easier to carry in my purse. I was ready! I was prepared! I went and left the darn thing out in the car!

Severe sleep deprivation does nothing at all for my knitting.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Need Vet Clinic Knitting

So Theo hasn't been able to remove the splint, but he ate a great deal of it. We had a soft collar for him from the vet, which only slowed him down a little, and I tried spreading Tabasco sauce on the bandages, which he seems to have actually enjoyed. I finally called the vet & they said they should check that he hadn't damaged anything with his chewing and that they had a solution for me.
This is our newest addition to the kitty torture device collection we're accumulating this month. As if that weren't enough, he's back on antibiotics for a possible infection from last week's cast removal trick. Three more weeks......

Last night I ran to the pet store and found this:It's a kitty pheromone spray that is supposed to help cats feel calm and relaxed. I think the new kitty satellite dish is perhaps beyond its powers, but Callisto is positively thrilled. She's purring even when there's no one in the room. Of course, that could just be because we've found a new way to torture Theo.....

Last night I learned one should never go to a pet store when feeling guilty about what one's cat is going through. I came home with this:
which is supposed to be a refillable catnip frog. I think it looks a bit like Godzilla myself, and Theo is a bit beyond bribery right now.

With all that is going on and all the endless waiting at the vet clinic--and since I've already read all the cat material they have--I decided last night it is time to put an end to the WIP marathon and cast on a fun, new, portable project. I'm down to 12 WIPS left, finished 14 in a row, and I've reached a point where I'm not knitting when I normally would because I don't have a portable project. I've joined a "One Day A Week For UFOs" group on Ravelry so I'll still work on them, but I decided I deserve a new project.

And this morning--I still don't have a new project. I haven't started anything new in 6 months. I've thought about it, fantasized about it, dreamed about it, but I've stuck to my guns (needles). I've thought of project after project I would love to start, and now that I have that freedom......I can't decide what to do. Scarf? Hat? Socks? Baby Surprise Jacket? It's overwhelming!

Maybe I'll give dem fischer sin fru another row or two......