Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yarn Lust

Today marks the end of my 11th month of knitting only from stash and the end of my 5th month of the WIP marathon, and I am experiencing SERIOUS yarn lust.
The good news is, I'm lusting after my own yarn. I have either one more project or one more month to go before casting on something new--depending on when I crack. 13 down--13 to go. It would have been 14, but the lovely Hibiscus for Hope sock had an incident involving dropped stitches and needles pulled out by another project (proving my secret theory that WIPs really can get vicious if neglected long enough), and I wasn't far enough along to justify trying to pick the stitches versus just starting over--which I will indeed do at some point--but the delightful feeling of having one less WIP kept me from starting over immediately.

I've done a lot of WIP Wrestling this year. The WIP pile in April:
looking massive and frightening. There are actually 6 projects visible that have been finished by now, which is an amazing feeling. Tomorrow I'll take a picture of the WIP pile as it is now. Hopefully, it will be a very noticable different. I promise not to squash it down just to make it look good--especially since there are some rosewood needles involved.

Our patient is feeling better today and is down to only two medications, but that also means that he sees no reason at all to not try to jump into windows or onto furniture, which meant much of the morning was spent in kitty confinement:
I did make it a bit larger now that he's stopped flinging himself around. 35 days left to go in the cast!

The sleeves for WIP #14 (baby aran) have been started:
Considering the child hasn't actually been conceived yet, I'm quite on top of things this time. Still, I know that as soon as these particular friends announce a pregnancy, it will spark at least 4-5 other friends to announce pregnancies, so it's best to stay on top of these things. I think it's contagious.

And as soon as these sleeves are attached to that sweater, I am having a serious fling with a scarf, or a pair of socks, or anything new!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Think We're On The Mend

Thursday night Theo had to return to the vet with a bladder infection & kitty constipation. As if a kitty enema wasn't enough, this time he came home as a kitty satellite dish:
This time his normal good humor had finally run out. I'd saved the blocking of WIP 13 for his return,
but he was having none of it
and I have finally blocked a sweater without any cat hair on it. Not that I blame him for being angry--I think the last round at the vet justified a seriously bad mood, but it also made him very restless, so he had to spend most of the day in kitty confinement:He has another appointment in 5 days to have the leg checked and get the cast replaced, and we're hoping to be able to give him a little more freedom soon.

Today he's been in much better spirits, and enjoyed several long snoozes on our bed:while Andy & I took turns supervising him. He's not allowed to jump up or down, so someone has to be around to stop all jumping attempts. My supervisory time that wasn't spent rubbing Theo's tummy or brushing the knots out of his fur was spent with the baby aran sweater:
The front & back pieces are done & sewn together at the shoulders, and I'm just binding off on the collar. I'm going to cast on for the sleeves tonight if I have time--could this be WIP #14?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day One - Kitty Rehab

The vet's instructions: Keep the cat confined and quiet

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Remember my brilliant cat-confinement idea?
Well, it does keep Theo confined, but it stresses him out and he spent the night howling, pacing, and flinging himself around. I know he has a cast on, but I think the "quiet" part is probably the more important goal, so we finally let him out of the cage in sheer desperation & I spent the day keeping Theo from jumping onto the bed and the sink.

The cast is quite festive:
but in the relative scale of things, it stretches out his back leg entirely, making the leg just about the length of the rest of the body:
He's a pretty sorry-looking camper all the way around, because he also has this horrible new poodle-do:
where they attached his I.V.s. To add insult to injury, I have to saran-wrap his cast before he can use the litter box, and then I have to hold him up or else he just keeps turning somersaults in the litter box. I don't know--maybe I should just knit him a little elf suit and complete the total cat humiliation program we have going on here.

He did find a spot in my clothes closet where he could curl up
and another on the bathroom mat:
but he really isn't as groggy as I had hoped he would be. We have 10 days of this cast, then I really hope we get something a bit smaller. He'll be in casts for 6 weeks. Heaven help us.

During his nap time I did finish WIP # 13:
And you can tell how my week has been when I say that finishing the sweater was a bit anti-climactic after figuring out a way to help Theo remain upright long enough to pee.

One day down--41 more to go!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

He's Fine And He Gets To Come Home!!!!!

The vet called at 10:00 last night to say the surgery had gone well and we could call today to see about picking up our new bionic kitty today.

Thanks to everyone for your good wishes for Theo. We aren't sure how he got hurt, though falling, being attacked by a dog, or getting hit by a car are the most likely candidates. When we first took him in, it seemed like just an injured leg (which it was), but there must be an introductory class in vet school called "Scaring the Patient Means Greater Profits." After we had signed waiver after waiver stating that yes, we would want him resuscitated if he went into cardiac arrest and that no, we wouldn't hold the clinic responsible if they killed our pet, and explaining in enough detail to make me nauseous all the potential complications that could arise, we are so thrilled that he's fixed we will cheerfully pay darn near anything to get him back. Can't argue with a program that works, I guess.

We expected him to be in surgery yesterday afternoon, so I had most of the day to think over all of the vet's dire predictions and imagine the worst. When we finally found out that he wasn't scheduled for surgery until 6:30 that night, I'd had enough and we went down to visit Theo. If I'd been in a funnier mood, I'd have stopped to get a catnip plant to take him, but by 5:00 we'd been expecting to hear results for at least 3 hours and I just wanted to see my cat.

He had torn ligaments, a dislocated ankle, and a broken bone in the joint, but they were able to attach synthetic ligaments & put some pins in (this is where I asked to not receive any more detail because even this makes me woozy), and he will regain full mobility, but it will require physical therapy. God help me, we're really going to do kitty water therapy. Thankfully, that's about 8 weeks out, so we're going to just pretend we've never heard of that right now.

The vet said we can come and get Theo this afternoon, and we're to keep him reasonably still and keep him from jumping on anything...... Do you ever get the feeling that people who only see heavily sedated cats might have forgotten what they're really like??? I moved our mattress onto the floor so he could climb onto the bed instead of jumping, and during the day I can keep an eye on him, but I was really stumped what to do with him at night until I walked into the sewing room and saw:
I'm thinking we could make a little portable cat run with another set of these wire things. It's light enough we can move it, but we can put a top on it so he can't jump. So it's really a good thing that I have such a large stash that I've had to get creative with storage options--it will also be solving some cat mobility problems. (OK, it's weak, but I have to take what I can.) We'll stop and get another set on the way to pick up Theo, and that will be one problem solved. Next up: How a cat with a very large cast on his back leg can use a litter box.

When Theo was transported to the clinic doing the surgery, his blankie got dirty, so they washed it and gave it back to us and Calisto has been warming it up for Theo:
She has been really, really friendly over the last couple days, and we can't decide if she actually misses Theo, is excited that he's gone and she has the house to herself, or she was so freaked out by his screams of pain when we first found him that she's afraid we'll do to her what we did to him, but she certainly has been much more social. She might like Theo better now that he can't pounce on her head.

And in the anxiety of waiting to hear how the surgery went last night:
I'm down to the very last piece of WIP number 13. All I have left to do is finish the sleeve, sew the side & sleeve seams, and add 3 buttons.

Monday, November 24, 2008

He's Headed Into Surgery Now

Either veterinarians live to scare people--which is entirely possible as I once took a cat in with a skin irritation & the vet called me with all these possibilities of diseases & did all sorts of expensive tests, then sent me home with a $500 bill, bottle of shampoo and instructions to give the cat weekly baths until the problem went away--or my little sidekick is much worse off than we first imagined. He's heading into surgery now to either repair ligaments or to fuse the bone. The vet also floated the idea of amputation, but neither of us could stand to do that to poor little Theo. We're not sure yet how much motion he'll get back, but we are supposed to be able to bring him home tomorrow. His days of being able to go outside without supervision are probably over, but we're probably quite lucky that we didn't lose him yesterday. I think I'll be able to take him out for walks on a leash because he generally trots along beside me wherever I go anyway, and at least I've already so thoroughly humiliated myself in front of the neighbors that this won't impair my reputation in any way.

I don't actually have the heart to sew today, but Calisto is hanging out with me today for moral support. She doesn't actually like Theo, but she does seem to be missing him--go figure. She's even doing her best Theo pose:
Sewing really is Theo's favorite thing after all, because cats will often try to hide from pain or injury, and Theo's first hiding place of choice was indeed the sewing room. Softy that I am, I'll probably spend the rest of the day fixing up his favorite sleeping places in here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Theo

The sewing kitty came home today with a broken leg, so the poor little guy is spending the night at the vet clinic--and his fleece is with him.

Looks like he'll ultimately be fine, but there will have to be a little kitty physical therapy, and they suggested kitty water aerobics. Oh. My. God. They'll give me a little harness so I can put him in the bathtub and have him swim. If this occurs, I promise to film it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Groveling With Theo

It seems cats can hold grudges. Yesterday morning while I was unpacking, Theo watched but kept his distance--which is never his style. This is the "interested but aloof" pose--
complete with "alien eye syndrome." Did you know that "red eye" features can't fix green glowing eyes?

After a couple hours of sulking, I got desperate and broke out the fleece, which made things a bit better.
Today I promised Theo that there would be lots of sewing on Saturday and all seems to be forgiven--
And I'm not sure if you can tell from these pictures, but Theo got his winter coat while we were gone and is about twice as poofy as he was before we left. Maybe it was in reaction to our week without heat?

The dem fischer sin fru shawl got a little more action today, but it basically still looks the same. It's a faroese-shaped shawl, so it starts at the top and gets wider as it goes along, so at clue 3 the rows are slowing down and we're entering that not-for-the-faint-of-heart period. I am trying not to think about all those purl rows when I make it down to clue number 7. This is my second--and probably last--knit along, at least for a while. I like this pattern--being so far behind that I've seen dozens of finished shawls--but I would never have picked this pattern out of a book to make and since lace takes so darn long to knit, why wouldn't I pick out something I TRULY want to make? Good question--and one you'd think I might have figured out after the MS3 fiasco. That being said, I really do like the shawl from MS4 this year, but there was grafting involved, and I get really, really whiny about grafting lace, so I'm glad I sat this one out. Honestly, knitting holds enough surprises even when the full pattern is right in front of me--fun games like "where did the other needle go," "how many times will I frog and reknit before I check for errata," "how far can glass beads really fly," and "how much yarn can I stuff into a closet before it becomes a health hazard," and even when it isn't, I can spice it up by mislaying my pattern, which is why no one has seen the alpaca cardigan for a while........

Thursday, November 20, 2008

She Lives!!!

Yes--I do still exist and there has been some knitting, if no blogging. We have been on a marathon trip of visiting friends on the east coast, and I thought about trying to do a few updates while traveling, but we still have the psycho ex-wife stalker (5 YEARS after the divorce, mind you, and 2 years after Andy remarried--talk about pathetic) and we find it best not to announce any plans on the blog as she seems to be a few pom-poms short of a hat.

The only good thing about long flights is the uninterrupted knitting time. At home, I could be doing other things--laundry, cleaning, taking care of the garden, painting the dining room, cleaning out that back room--but in a plane, there is NOTHING else I could be doing except sitting. In fact, those cheerful airline attendants would get quite cranky if I really did try to be up cleaning something, so this is the ultimate guilt-free knitting time. Which is perfect, as Theo chose to inspire some last-minute guilt as we were leaving:Could he possibly look more forelorn?

I finished the front of the aran baby sweater:
which is by far the hardest part & the part that landed it in the Project Time Out Bin in the first place. The back still isn't to the point it was when I had to rip back for the sleeve shaping, but it's getting there. Brace yourselves, this one is going to come as quite a shock: dem fischer sin fru went with me and actually got some attention!!!

I know--how surprising is that? Does anyone even remember that I had started that one?
Clues one and two (out of 7, unfortunately) are done, and I'm even a few rows into clue 3. I realize it's a bit hard to see in this picture, but it's more than doubled since we left. I could take it off the needles to get a better picture, but then it might not ever make it back ON to the needles, and this project has a hard enough time getting attention as it is. I think I might finally be achieving personal growth as a knitter--not the sort of personal growth that would automatically slide it right back on the needles and start knitting again, but the sort of personal growth that admits that I would be strongly tempted to ignore it the moment it was off the needles. I know I'm that sort of knitter. 27 WIPS--we all know I'm that sort of knitter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Progress, But No Knitting

After three attempts and much swearing, I am finally finally FINALLY putting the edging on Fleur in the right place, in the right way, and unless it spontaneously combusts--which I don't think cashmere generally does--I may actually get the darn thing done.

I think in a small act of atonement, the edging is actually laying flat this time, so that has improved my knitting mood somewhat. The edging strip is a little longer (12 inches "little longer") than necessary, and I'm debating whether to rip it back, or simply cut the darned thing where I need it. This would be a VERY big thing for me, as I am not generally a cutting knitting sort of person. More of a cut-that-knitting-and-there-will-be-bloodshed sort of person, if truth be told, but I always hope that I'll experience Personal Growth while knitting. And then I wake up.

I also finally admitted that I had gone a bit overboard on the back of this toddler sweater:
being at least 3 inches PAST where I should have decreased for the arms. That's the danger of stoplight knitting--I'm in it more for something to do rather than achieving anything, so even though I suspected that I might have gone a little overboard, I didn't stop knitting because being able to knit at stoplights is really, truly, and end in itself. Like Penelope, I could probably rip back my knitting every night and still be happy. Granted, it would be stupid, but that generally doesn't phase me while knitting.

In spite of my efforts to recruit people to the fiber side, most of my friends do not knit (though they are lovely, lovely people in general) and we are about to embark on a socializing episode that is extreme even for me, so there may be a general lack of posts--and knitting (sob) for the next few days. But at least I won't be casting on anything new!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We Have Heat!!!!!!

But not so much knitting.

I did finally buy myself a little reward for finishing 10 WIPs in a row:The Yarn Harlot's latest book, Free Range Knitter. Her writing is so witty and charming that I wish she could rake in the kind of money Danielle Steele or Stephen King does, but I don't suppose the movie rights are worth very much. Any knitter could, of course, appreciate the horror potential of a Hitchcock-esque "The Moths," but I just don't think the general public has that sort of fear of fiber-eating bugs.

I did sit down to work on Fleur, and let's see if you can spot the problem:
That's right--I started attaching the edging IN THE WRONG PLACE. I started here:

thinking a join would be less noticeable at an existing seam.

I ripped back the seam--chastising myself for having been so proud of myself for sewing the edging on while knitting it because then I wouldn't only have sewing left to do--then reattached it here:
Which is the shoulder seam, which is also wrong. This time I at least caught it after only a couple inches. I swear I have had coffee today--it just seems to have had no impact.

Now, finally,
I'm attaching it in the right place, I haven't twisted it, it's not going to explode in a bizarre fiber-related accident, I have enough yarn--I may finally be able to finish it. BUT THAT IS NOT BEING SMUG! That is just an expression of hope and should in no way arouse the wrath of the knitting gods. Maybe I should burn a little alpaca as an offering, just in case......

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No Knitting

You can blame the lack of knitting on this:About a week ago our furnace started making really strange noises. Being a much newer and more complicated model than either of our old houses--which meant my old just-jiggle-the-wire-trick wasn't going to work, we immediately called a repairman. He found nothing--and the furnace refused to reproduce the strange noises while he was here--so he made a strong push to sell us a water pump that wouldn't solve the problem and left. Yesterday the furnace would come on briefly, then go off, leaving us cold and hopeful. In case it was a gas leak, I shut the thermostat off and called the repairman again. He walked in, flipped on the thermostat, and we had heat. I told him I had turned the thermostat off "just in case" but I don't think he actually believed me. I had him do the winter maintenance on the furnace in case that would help, and he left thinking I probably didn't know "on" from "off."

Today we had no heat whatsoever.

(And at this point let me just point out that because I am a knitter, we have lots of wool clothing around here, which I can now assure you is a necessity when temperatures reach 45 degrees both inside and outside your home. It's a nice feeling as a knitter to have been saved by woolen knits!)

I am a dedicated knitter--possibly to the point of obsessed, but even I cannot knit when my fingers are frozen. Alas! No knitting!

The follow up shots from yesterday, though:The toddler sweater--complete with Theo's tail,

Theo guarding dem fischer sin fru,
Theo hogging the whole table,
and Theo being bribed off the table by moving his fleece to the floor. Sigh....it really would have been a cute jacket.....

And finally, one of 4 Christmas tablerunners:

The colors are a little nicer in person--a very Christmassy red & a nice contrasting gold. And now we have learned that while crepe-back satin might not be too difficult to sew with, anything resembling quilting or trying to get it to form straight edges and not wiggle all over the darn place is almost as much fun as root canal without anesthesia. Or trying to fix a furnace......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Still WIP-ing

(Had to add that little hyphen there to keep me out of the more colorful Google searches.)

The left front of the baby sweater is done, which I would be showing you if the battery on my camera weren't dead. Since I've been "organizing" the sewing room, it took a 20-minute search to locate the charger, but I did eventually find it and there will be pictures tomorrow.

Dem fischer sin fru actually got a lot of attention last night because it turns out that election returns actually come in very slowly. There were a few dropped stitches in my excitement over the huge voter turnout nationwide, but all in all, I got a few decent rows in. I'm still on clue #1 of course, but Imight finally be halfway through clue 1. I'm not ready to think about those 5 remaining clues just yet.

I've been sewing "thank you for letting me stay" gifts for an upcoming trip to see friends on the east coast, which I would also be showing you now. They're Christmas table-runners made from crepe-backed satin, and they're very simple but very elegant, so I think everyone will be pleased.

Tomorrow--battery willing--there will be pictures!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Multitasking

Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm trying to knit while watching the election results! I think the stress is going to destroy my gauge. Anyone else's dem fischer sin fru end up looking like ramen noodles???

Sunday, November 2, 2008

That WIP Finishing Rush

Still completely jazzed about making it to 12 WIPs in a row, rather than picking up Fleur, which really is almost done, I picked up one of the baby sweaters I found languishing in a knitting bag. I can narrow it down to being cast on between 2-5 years ago, but that's as close as I can get. I finished the back last nightand started on the left front today.
Admittedly, this is not a really great pattern. It's from this book,
which has cute pictures but the sweaters area bit awkward and shapeless--things that one would only put on a small child who can't complain. Luckily, that's who I will be giving it to, so I guess that works.

This morning I washed and blocked Ruched Magic,
but Theo would have none of it. I think he's a fiber snob.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Drum Roll Please!!!!

Here it is:
Finished WIP #12! The pattern is called Ruched Magic and it's from this magazine:
which is Knitter's fall 2002. I'd link to it on Ravelry, but it isn't currently on Ravelry.

Ah--there is just something psychological about having finished one dozen projects without casting on anything new. Wait, or was that psychotic? Anyway--that currently leaves 15 WIPs left to go!

I'm off to find Theo so we can wash & block the sweater. On to number 13!

Blouse? What blouse??