Catch Up With Criquette, Chapter 1

I can't figure out what exactly has made my schedule exponentially explode into "busyness", the likes of which is consuming what little free time I had. I suspect it's a combination of work, extra critters, an increased commitment on my part to spend more time with friends, tackling some overdue home and office organizing projects, and other miscellany that is interfering with the time I used to spend blogging.

Unfortunately, none of these reasons will be going away anytime soon. I have also allowed myself to finally be talked into writing a book with my friend, who is a child psychiatrist. It's geared towards kids, so won't be a ridiculously major undertaking, but will eat up some more time on weekends.
What this means is that I won't be able to blog with any predictable frequency.

I thought about even giving it up, but I'm still loving the whole experience too much to do something that drastic. I don't want to lose touch with the friends I've made through our mutual love of blogging and knitting, and I need to have the time to visit you all at your blogs. So it may be a couple of weeks between posts, but I will still be around.

I've had a lot to blog about and instead of one massive post, I'm dividing it up into a few that I'm hoping to post in the next couple of days. Since I haven't run much knitting content to speak of, I thought I'd start with that.

There have been a couple of wonderful sales sponsored by 2 of my favorite local dealers where I scored some serious wooly crack. The first (and best) took place at The Studio, where the entire store contents were on sale. I could have easily bought more since I saw so many yarns that screamed my name, but this is what I managed to squeeze out of the remnants of my Christmas gift cards:

Addicting, but 100% legal

After knitting a Calorimetry in the mossy green version, I grabbed some more of the scrumptious Colinette Cadenza in a summery periwinkle hand-painted merino:

And even though sock-knitting and I don't seem destined to become a couple, I saw this and fell instantly in love -

It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd superwash (Franklin's Panacopticon colorway). It's a limited edition yarn, so if you too think this is a fabulous new color combination, scoop some up now.

I also made a couple of Calorimetry's with this lovely handpainted Peruvian merino, Mirasol Hachu. The colors are very intense and just pop, and the yarn is nice and springy to work with.

Here's my favorite score of the day, a huge hunk of the soft and sproingy goodness that is Shaeffer Elaine, in the byooteous "Shirley Chisholm" colorway. I am most excited by this because I first experienced this wonderous yarn as a newbie knitter. It was the yarn that suffered an identity crisis but, with therapy from moi, was able to decide it wanted to be this lovely length of squishy warmth.

I loved the pattern, the colors and the whole sensory pleasure of knitting with this wool so much that I have felt several pangs of regret at gifting it to my SIL (who wears it a lot and seems to like it). I've been keeping my eye out for a colorway that is different than the original, that I like as much as that one, and this was the one. I am savoring the anticipation of casting on, but it will have to wait until my September vacation.

This yarn is to die for!

I also picked up some Araucania merino in this pretty pink color for my Dogs on Thursday swap partner.

I thought I was done with stash enhancement for the rest of the year when I discovered that the Knit Wit, another of my favorites, was having a summer sale. Jan usually puts good stuff into the big sale boxes, and all kinds of things jumped into my basket before I knew it.

I picked up some Trendsetter Scoubi Do (the 2 bright pink balls) for chemo caps, the Cervinia Madrid for a baby jacket and a couple of baby hats, the Berrocco Comfort DK for baby hats and matching booties, and the 2 single skeins of sock yarn for the 1st two squares of the Barn-Raising Quilt I will be making for Mr. C and I (over the next several years). I also picked up about a million balls of Fixation for chemo and baby hats, and a pair of house socks for me.

And speaking of stash enhancements, I wasn't the only one getting a fix around here. The lovely lady who adopted Gumbo gave us an obscene amount of her finest organic home-grown catnip. While it was drying on the back porch, Criquette kept a close watch, guarding her stash from the notorious nip-head, Bitsy BonTon.

Sadly, Criquette couldn't stand guard 24/7, and Bitsy consumed vast numbers of leaves before they could even fully dry out.

After eating her way through an entire pan of catnip brownies, Bitsy awaits her next fix, not realizing that plans are already in the works for rehab


In Which Criquette Discovers That Rat-Dogs Aren't So Bad After All

Since when did I start liking little bitty dogs? When I brought home this little bit of attitude last weekend. She was surrendered as "Demi" but none of us liked that name. We were joking around at the shelter when she came in, that we didn't want to give her a foo-foo name, like FiFi or Princess or Teensy or anything obvious like that, but that she should have a tough name. I made a wise-crack about calling her Butchy Sue and now the shelter staff want that to be her official name. Um...no. But it was good for lots of laughs.

"That's MISS Butchy Sue to you"

She is a toy fox terrier/chihuahua "designer dog" who was dropped off by a rather impatient young woman who claimed to be doing it for her "friend". We see this a lot at the shelter - people buy pets on an impulse, get them home and are shocked to learn they have to do things like TRAIN THEM and PAY ATTENTION TO THEM and HOUSEBREAK THEM. Imagine the nerve of these animals! So they bring them to shelters and unload the problems on someone else (better than dumping them in the country, I guess). Unfortunately, they've usually had the cat/dog long enough for the problem to become entrenched and harder to eliminate. And many times, they're not cute little babies anymore, but are gawky and wild teenagers and so take longer to adopt.

Fortunately this girl realized her mistake while this little pup is still young enough to retrain. We were told that this puppy was being picked on by the owner's other dogs. There is no evidence of that, and in fact, she really likes Chloe, Abbie and the kittens and shows appropriate submissive behavior and no fear.

I did not volunteer to foster her - Mr. C and I are both ready for a break. I've barely had time to take care of the daily responsibilities over the past few months and was looking forward to catching up with knitting and blogging and visiting all of you at your blogs. And we still have Kona and Java looking for homes. And Chloe and Abbie are recovering from some kind of bug that resulted in a festival of expelled body fluids over last weekend. But no one else had room for a foster, and Mr. C and I have just signed on to head the new foster program at the shelter, and she was just so darned cute, so what's an animal lover to do?

She was so very well behaved in her little carrier while she waited for me to take her home, and on the ride home, and getting set up in her larger crate in the foster/guest room. She used her potty pad very nicely and walked better on her leash than either of our big dogs. We got her all settled in with a cushy bed and chew bones and stuffed toys and some mellow indie-rock on the radio with 3 lively and friendly kittens to keep her company. And then we left the room to go make dinner. And OMG!!! we quickly found out why an expensive purse-pup was dropped off at an animal shelter. Pupzilla!!!

The ear-piercing yelps and incessant, maniacal barking gave us the first clue. The second clue was in the form of the shredded and soiled contents of the crate. The traumatized kittens will need years of therapy, I predict, as they were huddled together behind the stack of pillows on the bed.

The problem was resolved quickly when Mr. C moved her to his office, along with the kittens. He comes and goes on a regular basis, so she has ample opportunities to learn that even if people leave, they come back. After one week, she can be left totally alone for hours at a stretch (with the kittens in the other room and Mr. C gone) and keep herself calm and occupied. If anyone is wondering, we followed many of the dog whisperer's guidelines, including taking her on the twice daily "pack walks" with the big dogs, ignoring her temper tantrums, and taking her out of her kennel for lots of attention only when she is in a calm state of mind.

She is very tiny and it is hilarious to see her on the walks. Chloe and Abbie will let her walk at the head of the group after a bit and she actually prances like she's the pup in charge. We've decided to call her "Scout" because the name just fits her. She's incredibly intelligent, which has surprised me. At this age (10 weeks), none of other puppies (except the brilliant Griff) has caught on as quickly as she does. She's way far along in her house-training, almost always using her potty pad when she is out in the play yard or on the porch at home.

11" and 1.5 lbs. of pure cuteness

We'll probably only have Scout for another 2-3 weeks, as there is already a list of potential adopters for her after she's spayed. But even in that short time, I can see that she'll have us all wrapped around those tiny little paws.


Pooches Gracias, Nichole!

We are very happy here at Los Casa de Critters because we hit the lottery in the Dogs on Thursday Summer Swap. Que? you may ask. Because we were lucky enough to be spoiled by Nichole and her posse over at Lapdog Creations!

See for yourself....

Chloe and Abbie knew there were goodies in the box before I even opened it.

Chloe snagged the treats.

Abbie goes berserk for the bunny.

Aunt Nichole knows what doggies like: their favorite treats and toys, and see those little round things that look like waffles? They're little rawhides filled with maple syrup! They smell heavenly and at first I thought maybe they were for me (I loooooove maple syrup!). Sadly, not unless I take up rawhide chewing.

But don't feel sorry for me. Look what she sent me: the Yarn Harlot's newest book (which was on my to-buy list!), Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul (in the puppy-sized version), an adorable photo or recipe album (there was a recipe for Frosty Paws in there), some yummy and healthy lemon-flavored green tea, a book of Pampered Chef summer recipes, some luscious lavender bath bombs, bookmarks and bumper stickers.

One of my favorite quotes, soon to be attached to my ride.

And some adorable little business cards featuring her furbabies.

Nichole, you made our week better with this great and thoughtful package. We'll all definitely stay cool with these goodies! Thank you so much.

Since I have all but disappeared from blogland this summer, let me reassure you all that I have been squeezing in a bit of knitting. I made 2 chemo caps to send to Nichole for her parents' local cancer center.

The pink and purple one was knit in Cascade Fixation, making a very stretchable cap. I love the way the color patterned on this.

The multi-colored one is knit in Berrocco Comfort, a very soft nylon/acrylic blend. Somehow I made a small mistake on the decreases and now the top of the hat looks like a boob. Hope no one else notices!

I'm also participating in the Ravelympics. I am representing Team GRITS in the WIP wrestling event. So far, I've finished the 2 hats and a scarf. I have 2 hats, 1 scarf and 1 baby sweater left to go. Don't know if I'll make it, but I'll have a lot fewer UFO's lounging around and taking up valuable space that could be filled up with yarn!

This scarf is so squishy and soft, I wish I could sleep in it! It's a bulky weight alpaca in a beautiful plum color. The pattern is the Yarn Harlot's One-Row scarf. It's a Christmas gift, so that's an added bonus!

So now I must get back to watching the Olympics and knitting up a storm. I hope to be able to post again soon, since there's lots more knitting news and more.