Still Out Of Action

I am still out of the blogging and knitting action due to my new past time - kitten nurse. The kittens have been fighting off a really nasty virus. Last week, one after the other, I had 2 of them get so sick, I thought I'd lose them. Fortunately, they're pulling out of it and I thought we were in the clear, when another came down with it, but with even worse symptoms. We just got back from the emergency clinic, where I brought her when she started crashing tonight, with new medicines. She's so weak and pathetic, but did eat her dinner when we got home and wanted to play a bit. It'll be another night of very little sleep, and lots of prayers that she gets through this horrible virus. The worst thing is that it's also attacked her eyes and we don't know yet how it will all turn out.

So please send lots of prayers and good energy little Chicory's way - I'll post again when things finally settle into some degree of normalcy.


What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Part 2)

While I was at the lake, I had to visit the wonderful LYS in Osage Beach, the Yarn Basket. It is owned and run by 2 very delightful and helpful women (please forgive me as I've forgotten their names) who have their store filled with a fantastic selection of beautiful and well-priced yarns. There were several equally warm and welcoming women there knitting and they all made me feel very welcome. I just wish I could get down there more often. I am currently trying to knit from my stash before buying more yarn, but couldn't resist these yarns from their shop:

The purple ball and pink variegated ball are Cascade Fixation, for 2 chemo caps. Someone brought some in to drop off at the store's collection box and commented how much the ladies undergoing chemo liked the caps made from Fixation as night caps since they stayed on so well and didn't make them feel too hot. Above the Fixation is some of the soft and lovely Panda cotton I have read about and can't wait to try (I actually bought 2 skeins). The white with the colorful flecks is an acrylic blend called King Cole that feels a lot like soft wool. I'm using it to knit a stuffed bunny for a new baby and wanted something that could go in the washer and dryer.

The 2 on the right are my favorites - Alpaca With a Twist in beautiful, complimentary colors - the mint green has chocolate flecks, and the dark brown yarn has mint green flecks. When I was in Charlotte, my niece told me how she is always taking the
Stormfront scarf I designed and knitted for her mom and hinted she would love her own. These are 2 of her favorite colors so I think this will be her Christmas gift.

I finished another Calorimetry in the Colinette Cadenza I got in Charlotte. After Nichole tried hers and found it was big enough to cover her and her 4 dogs (even after I swatched), I modified the pattern. I followed some recommendations I saw on Ravelry, casting on 80 stitches and reducing the 5th and 7th rows. This one is a bit too small, and will be given to my younger niece or friend's daughter. I may try again one day, because I'd love to have one, but I was a bit frustrated after this. Maybe I'll be like Goldilocks and try one more time and it will be just right.

I'm really happy to show off my other accomplishment - my first sock! I taught myself using the
Wee Tiny Sock Swap Sock pattern I found on Ravelry. It's written for dpn's and I wanted to knit with the Magic Loop, so I used the Magic Loop instruction book t
o help me figure it out. I've been afraid of tackling socks and have avoided it for so long, but it's easier than I thought it would be. I want to make more! These were done using Magic Loop technique, cuff down. I'm still trying to decide what pattern I want to use for my first official pair, which I want to try toes-up.

So cute I could eat it!

And speaking of cute, here are some pics I took of Wolfgang. Even before his picture could go up on Pet Finder, he was adopted by a lovely couple that I met at Animal Haven. They had spent almost a year looking for the dog to replace their beloved schnoodle. I talked to them about Wolfie and they came right over to our house to meet him. They couldn't get over how much he reminded them of their previous dog (who lived a long and indulged life), down to the way he turns his ears inside-out when he's happy and the tiny white goatee under his chin. We're sad to see him go because he is such a joyful little goofball, but knowing he'll have a great new family makes it a lot easier.

The kittens are all adopted and settled happily into their new homes Curry and Gumbo both have new cat and dog siblings who have accepted them. Dora and Lucy are only children, but will be lavished with love and not having to share attention, food or toys with their obnoxious brothers.

I made each of them snugglers to take to their new homes. These were all made from the leftovers from the larger snugglers I made for the previous foster pups.

I still had a bunch of scraps left, so entertained myself by making a bunch of cat and dog toys that I donated to the shelter. Couldn't be easier.

JoAnn's had fleece on sale last week, so I bought more - I hope to get 28 cat and dog snugglers out of the next batch. Which will make 5 for these babies:

with 23 left over to donate to the shelter. Yes, I have a new batch of kittens - once I saw the poor little babies, I couldn't say no. They were picked up with their mother, who is a feral. She is very aggressive and they had trouble getting the kittens away from her to give them routine medical care. She will be spayed and then returned to her colony. The kittens will live with us until they can be adopted into great homes. I've only had them a week, but we've had some adventures already. They're only 4-5 weeks old and are such little bitty babies. They have to be fed 3 times a day, then cleaned up and medicated. I am getting up an hour earlier than I'm used to (and I am so not a morning person) and getting to bed later. Suffice it to say, not much knitting is being done.

I am dedicating any computer time I get this weekend to catching up on your blogs, which means I may not get to post again until next weekend. In the meantime, take care and happy knitting!


What I Did On My Summer Vacation(s), Part 1

Now that I have finished my little bout of traveling, I am back to the frenzy of playing catch-up with unpacking, laundry, cleaning, trying to get kittens adopted and trying to housebreak and socialize a hypersensitive puppy who is so desperate to please that it hinders his training. Oh, and squeezing in some knitting, of course. I have missed my little blog and my blogging friends and I hope to catch up with all of your blogs this week.

First of all, my trip to Charlotte was wonderful. I loved being able to share time with my brother and his family. They have a very warm and welcoming home, and some great pets. There was so much to do in such a short visit, but I did manage to visit a really nice yarn shop in Matthews, not too far from their home, where I did some quick stash enhancement (I find it very hard to shop at my usual leisurely yarn-petting pace when non-knitters are patiently waiting for me). But I think I did a pretty good job of supporting the local economy in less than 30 minutes.

The 4 on the left are Mirasol yarn: the aqua is a cotton/wool, the 3 variegated ones are merino; Noro silk garden and Colinette Cadenza. Each and every one is earmarked to become a gift.

I drove up into the Blue Ridge mountains to visit my dear friend, where we had a fantastic time overall. We had tons of catching up to do, we drove all over her cute little town and up to Grandfather Mountain, doing lots of shopping, but, sadly there were no yarn shops to be found.

I absolutely love being in the mountains, and I love driving in the mountains. There was a lot of demand for rental cars in Charlotte because of NASCAR, and by the time my plane landed, the only car left on the lot was a Mazda5, which is nothing but a pimped-up mini-van. I definitely had my doubts about the little beast getting me up into the mountains (I was going to be about 25 miles from the highest peak in the range), but I am happy to say that it drove surprisingly well and that the faux-stickshift kept me amused.

My beautiful and brilliant niece had her lovely (and mercifully quick) graduation ceremony, and then a chocolate-themed reception afterwards.

America's next top model

They actually trusted me to make the cupcake tree, and I am happy to report there was only one casualty.

My first chocolate fountain experience where I had to sample at least 2 of everything! (I am such a well-mannered guest.)

We lounged around the next day, recovering from our excesses the night before, and got in a really great visit. I got to tour my SIL's pottery studio and see more of her amazing work. I'm trying to encourage to look into selling on Etsy.

This darling girl is my doggy-niece, Heidi. She's a teddy bear dressed up in a dog-suit.

This is just one of my SIL's fantastic creations. I am seriously in lust.

Then I was home for 2 work-packed weeks, then off again for the lake, which is one of my special "happy places" I go to when I am overly stressed and trying to relax. We go to the Lake of the Ozarks, which is in the Ozark mountains. The lake was formed when the Corps of Engineers built Bagnell Dam and flooded several hundred miles of the rocky valleys. Like most waterfront locations, the older lake cabins and cottages have been torn down and replaced with new, very expensive homes and condos, condos, condos. Fortunately, the lake area is big enough so that there is a commercial side and a quiet side of the lake. We stay on the quiet side, in an old cabin that wasn't built with beauty in mind. It's very quaint and charming and is so different from our home that it truly feels like we've gotten very, very far away from all of the frenzy and stress.

This cabin, which a family member generously lets us use a couple of times a year, is in a small cove where the quaintness hasn't yet been replaced with Stepford dwellings. There's no TV, only the radio. We keep the windows open whenever possible, although there is an air conditioner when it gets too hot and humid. And it does have a bathroom with a shower. The beds are dormitory-style, and we have our pick of numerous types of mattresses. We can't go barefoot in the house once it turns dark because the brown recluses and scorpions sometimes like to come out. And chigger bites (to which I am very reactive) are a given. But it's all worth it.

The main room of the cabin

We had to take 3 of the kittens (Curry was the first to find his forever home) and the puppy. The kittens turned out to be made for the jet-set lifestyle. They were very adaptive to everything and were a pleasure to have along.

Catching up on some reading

Kitty Conga!

Mr. Wolfgang (aka "Barf-Breath") suffered from some wicked car-sickness on the way up. But I remembered some of my training as a motion sickness counselor in graduate school and covered his kennel with a sheet, except for a small window looking straight out the front window and he did much better all the way back. he was afraid of about everything and whimpered a lot when he was in the play yard, even though we were never more than 12 feet away from him. Being raised in a puppy mill will do this to pups, which is only one of the hundreds of reasons why puppy mills are so evil.

Unhappy camper

Word spread immediately that there were some new kids in the 'hood, and by the next evening, Wolfgang had him a little welcoming committee, who hung around for most of the day. That is, until they scored some grilled steak, then they were history. Talk about fair-weather friends.

And speaking of the weather, where the fork do you go when you are under a tornado watch (that means there's at least one on the ground), the radio is telling us there's one headed right to the town we are in, it's 1am in the morning and you're in an old cabin, one-room deep, with a full wall of windows, no basement and nowhere to take shelter except for the scary closet where the brown recluses live? And you have 3 kittens and a jacked-up puppy? And a husband who decides he'd rather sleep than be safe? Thank God the tornado heading our way dissipated before I found out, although the kittens were packed up in their carrier, the puppy on his leash, I had a pile of blankets and had the very good sense to put my container full of yarn into the closet first. With a cover so the spiders couldn't get in.

This blog is getting way too long, so I'll stop here for tonight. But I'll be back (tomorrow hopefully) with my knitting adventures on vacation. And I'm looking forward to visiting each and everyone of you to catch up on your knitting own knitting adventures. Sleep tight!


Closed For Vacation

We are taking a much-needed vacation down at the lake and I'll be offline until we get back next weekend. As of right now, we are taking Wolfgang, Lucy, Dora and Gumbo with us, which will be a whole new kind of adventure. Hope you all have a great week, full of knitting goodness and we'll all catch up when we come back. Take care!