Tuesday

[knitting] Oopsbel

The Ishbel is growing:

Ishbel


Had a bit of a set-back last night. Messed up a couple loooooooooooong rows. Need to tink back because I laugh in the face of life lines. The old "ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure" bites me in the ass again.

The mess-up isn't as bad as I thought it was. I'm going to tink back two rows. I thought that I had messed up 6 rows but I'm pretty sure it's the random row of stockinette I added that's the problem. I was like, "Really, a row of stockinette? In the middle of all this lace? That's weird, but okay..." knit knit knit, "I mean, this doesn't feel quite right..." knit knit knit, "And doesn't really make sense with the rest of the pattern..." knit knit knit, "And I haven't had to do something like this before..." knit knit knit, "But, I guess if that's what the chart says, that's what the chart says" knit knit knit with purpose.

I mis-read a purl row as a knit row. There's no excuse for it. Although, we did watch the first Star Trek movie (from 1979!) last night and I'd like to blame Captain Kirk for my mistake. I'm... pretty sure it's his fault. Because he's... such a gigantic toolbox.

Wednesday

[knitting] Dane Shawl

I talk about "blocking" shawls and wanted to show this important and necessary finishing technique. When I finish a shawl, it might look something like this:

Dane Shawl


It's a small, puckered thing. First I soak it (Eucalan is my soap of choice because you don't need to rinse it out) in a bucket of warm water. I let it sit at least 20 minutes, but usually I forget about it and it can be in there for more than an hour.

I take it out, roll it up in a bath towel and step all over the bath towel to press all the water out. Then I put the wet shawl on the blocking board (that big board with a grid) and figure out how I'm going to pin it out. I can usually use wires along the top line but finishing the bottom edge depends on whether I want points (never!), scallops (usually) or a straight edge (not as easy as it sounds).

For this shawl, I used wires all the way:

Dane Shawl


So what the means is, I'm sat at the table with a wet, floppy shawl in my left hand and a wire in my right, going over-under-over-under-over-under into hundreds of stitches. I used to do this kneeling on the floor and it was back-breaking work. It still is, but it's a little better being able to sit in a chair and work at chest level.

And if I want to a decorative loopy edge, I've got to thread the wire through hundreds of more stitches:

Dane Shawl


I still use a few t-pins to get the wires to bend/angle how I want.

When everything is in place, I leave it for a couple days to dry. And I loooooove walking by and seeing it:

Dane Shawl


Blocking is a pain in the ass but it needs to happen to open up the lace and make the shawl look the way it's supposed to.

My details for this shawl:

Pattern: Dane Shawl (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, 1 skein. This is easily the nicest sock yarn I've used for a shawl. It's 100% merino. Other sock yarns I've used for shawls have had some nylon for strength (because, yeah, the yarn is for your feet) and those yarns haven't felt super cuddly around my neck. This Malabrigo Sock is perfect for shawls. I almost wouldn't want to use it for socks because after the soak and towel stepping, the yarn acquired a bit of a halo- so it might be prone to pilling.

Needles: US 6 (4mm)

Mods: Changed the yarn-over spine to make-1 left, make-1 right:

Dane Shawl


Was afraid I would run out of yarn so I only did one row of the edge chart, purled back, then did a stretchy bind-off.

###

Still working on the red Ishbel. Then I need to start thinking about larger shawls. This Dane was my 6th finished shawl for the year. I need to have at least two that surpass 546 yards to complete the 10 Shawls in 2010 challenge.

Tuesday

[vermont] Tunbridge Fair 2010

My sister and I went up to the Tunbridge Fair on Saturday morning. We had no problems parking, getting a ticket and walking right in. We always check out the horses first:

Tunbridge Fair 2010


Then onto the veggie building:

Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


We went through the Arts and Crafts building next. Then on to the animals barns:

Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


For lunch, my sister and I looked around for the Samosa Guy but we saw a tent selling Pakisani food and opted for that instead. I like that the fair offers different world cuisines in addition to the standard fair fare. We got saffron rice, two different curries and samsoas. As we were sitting at a picnic table eating, we saw this dude drive by with animatronic baboons:

Tunbridge Fair 2010


He parked at the end of the path and proceeded to stand still like a robot while his robot baboons played music and waved a flag. This dude stood still and people would stop, stare at him, at the baboons, back at him, and try to figure out if he was real or not. Small children would go up and kind of touch him but he fooled just as many grown-ups. It was funny and kind of creepy at the same time. (This guy and his automobile of baboons would fit in just as easily into a horror movie, I think. But this is coming from someone who finds the ice cream truck at circles her block, playing 'Pop Goes the Weasel', creepy as well.)

After lunch we were ready to leave. I did want to see a Goat Costume Contest at 2:30 for the sheer novelty of it but we were both kind of sick of the Fair. Maybe next year I'll have more interest when I enter my knitted stuff into competition.

As we were making our way to leave, we got caught behind a rope and had to wait for the Livestock Cavalcade to be over before they would let us cross the track. I've never seen the Cavalcade before but it was 50% "awww, that's so cute" and 50% "wtf, soooo boooored".

Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


At one point a giant cow sneezed in my general direction and a bunch of white snot went spraying out. And I was the only spaz to go, "UGHH!" out loud. Plus, now that I'm older and more... paranoid, I worried the whole time about stepping though animal poop and contracting E. coli. That's just me. But that fair has hand sanitizer attached to the end of every animal barn, which is nice.

Tunbridge Fair 2010


Tunbridge Fair 2010


These sheep were seriously so f'ing cute, with their stubby little legs, I wanted to grab up that smallest brown one and start running for the car.

Tunbridge Fair 2010


So that was it. It was very good weather this year. As we were leaving, the line to get in was unbelievable. At least 300 people deep. And the line of cars waiting to get into the fields to park was miles long. If you want to go to the fair, you should get there before 10am. We had no waiting.

I'll be going back to the fairgrounds in a couple weeks for the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface, trying to give me the finger here:

Easy Sunday for MF


He gets so crabby on weekends because he doesn't get an unbroken 9 hour nap like he does during the weekdays. Dollar and I are either waking him up from noises around the house, or the random (and frequent) kiss on the head. No sleep turns Murderface into a Grumpyface.

Friday

[knitting] Ishbel

I finished up the green shawl, which is just waiting to be blocked.

So I started another:

Ishbel

Thursday

[hiking] Gile, Sept. 2010

I went hiking up Gile on Saturday. It really is the best view for the shortest hike:

Gile, Sept. 2010


I didn't do all the hiking that I wanted to this summer, so I was completely winded by the time I made it to the top of the fire tower. But I did make it to the top on 15 minutes.

Gile, Sept. 2010


It was a great day. Cool, just starting to be fall, leaves are starting to turn, sunny and clear. Someone else came to the top of the tower while I was there and started pointing out peaks he recognized.

He pointed out Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks, Jay Peak up at the Canadian border, Mt. Washington, Cube, Camel's Hump, Killington. I was all, "Look, there's Ascutney" cuz that was the only one I recognized.

Gile, Sept. 2010


This hike is better the earlier you do it. I got there at 9am and it was just me racing that one guy to the top (we both got to the parking lot at the same time and I wanted some alone time at the top of the tower- which is why I was hurrying to the top). One the way back town, I passed three groups walking up and as I was driving away, I passed 5 more cars heading up the dirt road. Earlier is much better.

Wednesday

[knitting] Vision Hat

A quick hat to make me feel more productive:

Vision Hat


The yarn is Moda-Dea Vision that I bought at an A.C. Moore store in Fort Myers, FL last year. I liked the colors. It had been kicking around my stash ever since and I just pulled it out to make a hat.

That hat was knit on US 8 (5mm) needles. Cast on 90 stitches, k1p1 for 6 rows, increase up to 96, knit up the hat and then decrease. I like the decrease I chose for the crown:

Vision Hat


The yarn was... okay to work with. It's a 65% wool, 35% acrylic blend but it had that squeaky, mostly acrylic-y feel. I wasn't aware but about a year ago Coats & Clark announced that they're discontinuing the Moda-Dea brand. I've heard rumors that they might still release the yarn again another the C&C label or another brand.

The hat turned out quite large. 96 stitches w/worsted weight yarn is usually the perfect fit for me but this hat is too big (maybe my head is shrinking). It will be given away to the first big-headed person who asks for it.

Tuesday

[misc] Murderface Monday

It really was a Murderface Monday this week. Sunday night I noticed that MF's right cheek was swollen. I showed Dollar but he couldn't see it. I said, "Well, let's give it a couple days. If it doesn't go down, I'll make an appointment at the vet's." Monday morning I Googled "cat swollen right cheek" and got all these hits about abscesses. After reading more, I was pretty sure this is what MF had.

Last Thursday or Friday, I arrived home just in time to interrupt a brawl between MF and the neighbor's orange cat, Gingerballs (that's what we call him). This cat his horrible. I love all animals but this cat needs to go on permanent retirement at a farm 1000 miles away. It's not his fault because I think he has a pretty crappy living situation, but this cat is horrible. He eats all of MF's catnip outside, takes a dump on our front lawn, and gets into fights with MF all the time. So when I got home, I picked up MF and the right side of his face was wet with saliva and there was a clump of fur sticking off. I wiped his face and thought nothing more of it.

So abscesses can form after a bite. The puncture closes quickly and bacteria gets trapped inside.

I tried to tamp down my omg-freak-out mode and calmly brought MF to the vet at noon. That's always a horrible trip because MF howls the entire way. During the exam, the vet confirmed that there were two abscesses up by his ear. Seeing my crazy eyes, the vet said that as long as I'm not squeamish, I can come in back and watch her and the technician drain the abscesses. I said, "Okay."

First they put MF down on the table and have him a sedative injection into the inside of his left leg. I know that Dollar is completely against giving animals sedatives. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I think you're either temporarily killing the animal or they wake up and are never the same again. I'm not sure but I didn't want them cutting into MF without a sedative and the drug they gave him didn't put him completely under, but is an opiate so I think it just... sedated him. When MF started to feel the effects, the vet squeezed some gel into his eyes so that they didn't dry out (I read that one side effect of the sedative is that the animals stop blinking).

They shaved in front of his ear a bit and used a small blade to cut open the abscesses. Then drained them. Then I puked all over the floor. Just kidding, but I did go, "UGHCH!" They wiped up the puss and with a large syringe, flushed out the abscesses with antiseptic- the large one twice, the smaller one once. There was some blood with made me feel worse.

It was hard to see MF all limp on the table while they did this, but they were efficient. They pinched MF's ear closed and covered his eyes with a towel to avoid getting the antiseptic in either.

They gave him an antibiotic shot into his right shoulder. The other antibiotic option was a two-week regimen of pills and, yeah, that wasn't happening. Single-shot all the way. They also gave him a rabies shot into his right hip (I think) since his last shot was more than 30 days ago.

And since MF was sedated, she chipped away some tartar from his back teeth. His gums bled a little, so more blood and more me feeling bad.

So... it was intense. And that was just 30 minutes at the vet. MF was still wicked groggy when they put him back into the carrier to bring him home. When I went to pay, it was more than $200. I was surprised but it was worth it to make him better. I just hope MF gets a job so that he can start paying me back.

At home, he just kind of... stood still and started at nothing. I held him. Dabbed at his still-weeping cuts. Tried to get him to lay down. It was just spooky- he was acting like zombie cat and I didn't like it.

Dollar came home a few hours later. MF was still in a stupor and it made Dollar really worried and upset. There's this fear that MF will be like this forever and won't return to being a sweet-yet-sassy lovable guy. I gave MF some treats- which be ate and purred, but he went back to his zombie state. Not sleeping, just staring.

I made a tuna noodle casserole for supper and brought MF into the spare bed in the craft room while I ate. I sat next to him and his eyes focused on my bowl and he started sniffing. I give him a piece of warm tuna and he ate it. He started purring and rubbing his head against my knee. I gave him a few more pieces and he FINALLY closed his eyes to sleep. It was probably 7:30 pm before he got up and walked around (7 hours of being in a drugged-out stupor). He wanted supper and to go outside. I gave him food but didn't let him out. He was Mr. Purry-pants all night and sleep with/on me. I think he loves me even more for never leaving him (at the vet and at home).

This morning:

MF, post abscess


You can see the puncture there. The hole did weep a couple times last night but it seems to have scabbed over for good. I hope everything heals properly.

MF, post abscess


You can see a chunk of his fur is missing below his right ear and it looks like the vet clipped the tip of his long white eyebrow whisker.

I think MF is going to sleep well today.

Thursday

[knitting] Handspun Cowl

This past weekend I blocked out the Multnomah and immediately started the green shawl. I knit knit knit knit on the shawl and then threw it aside. I needed some immediate gratification and stared at my clear bag of handspun yarns. I grabbed a brown skein of yarn and started a simple cowl. A few hours later:

Handspun Cowl


This is from roving that I hated to spin. The final yarn was uneven and I felt "meh" towards it.

But the cowl? Smitten. Love. Adore. It is soft and I really like the nubbly, uneven texture of the final fabric. It looks very homemade.

Handspun Cowl


I had to stop myself early because I wanted to use it all up but the cowl was getting quite long.

Handspun Cowl


But... back to the shawl...

Tuesday

[knitting] Deep Forest Multnomah

Here's my finished shawl:

Multnomah Shawl


Pattern: Multnomah

Yarn: Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn, 2 skeins, Deep Forest (yarn held double)

Needles: US 6 (4mm)

Mods: This project had quite a few re-starts. The selvage in the pattern is written as a k1 but I changed this to a k4 for my shawl. The yarn I used is alpaca/silk so there isn't much (or any) elasticity. My top edge was turning out really tight and un-stretchy with just a k1. So I made it a bit wider which helped.

Also, I changed the yarn-overs along the spine to make-one right and make-one left. I hate yarn-over spines on shawls almost as much as I hate color-pooling. Okay, I will say there is a time and place for yarn-over spines... But I don't think this shawl is one of them.

I loooove this shawl. It is airy, has very nice drape, is really warm, is soft and squishy. It's a keeper, for sure.

Multnomah Shawl


This might be my pick to wear at Rhinebeck!

Monday

[misc] Muderface Monday

I got Murderface a new Hot Cat (that's the brand name- they're just catnip-filled fabric tubes, tied to look like sausage links). He's in looooooove:

Murderface and his Hot Cat


Murderface and his Hot Cat


Murderface and his Hot Cat


I let him get good and high before giving him his Frontline. I saw a flea on him yesterday and had Dollar help me give him an application today. We're all in separate rooms now. Muderface is hiding under the bed, drooling and crying. Dollar's in his room, trying to stop the bleeding. I'm in my craft room, trying to leave them both alone because they're mad at me. Siiiigh.

Thursday

[knitting] Baby Hats for APD, or I swear I'm not as lazy as this makes me look.

We got a total of 69 hats knit for newborns at Alice Peck Day Hospital:

Baby Hats for APD


Amazingly, > 85% of the hats were knit by two rather tenacious women. The least tenacious of the group?

Uh... Me. Here's my contribution:

My one hat for APD


One hat. Which is 50% worse than I did last year. I'm just glad people stepped up and knit so many. I did bring some of my handspun to give out to the people who knit the most.

Why am I so bad I can't even knit more than one baby hat in a whole month? Well, I was working on that brown shawl. Which is done! Just need to wash and block but it's soooooooo soft and squishy. It's a keeper for me.