Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Christmas Panic has begun

This year I decided to be nice to myself and not try to knit a bunch of Christmas presents. I'm limiting myself to one or two (which I haven't even started yet. Of course.) Every year along about September, I think that I have plenty of time to knit presents for almost everyone. Reality has set in and I now realize that I can't do it without staying up all night every night and knitting while I work.

So, here it is, almost December, and I have so many things that aren't gifts that I promised to make. Knee socks for two little girls. Socks for a blog friend. Socks for Tom's little niece. A gazillion doggie sweaters that need to be in the Yorkie Shoppe right now for Christmas presents.

Okay, I tell myself, this is manageable. Knitting is relaxing for me. Knitting is Xanax. It's meditation in motion. The only things that have to be done in the very near future are the doggie sweaters. I can make one per evening. I can do this.

So why am I feeling pressured?

P. S. Nancy--remember that cat bed that I knit for you two years ago and haven't felted yet? I'll get it done soon. I promise.

After Christmas.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A little knitting

I've done a lot of knitting in the last couple of weeks. I've made 5 sweaters for UYR. So far one of the members has sent me over 15 pounds of assorted yarns. I'm having fun playing with them.

While we (meaning Tom) were driving to Rehoboth Wednesday afternoon, which stretched into Wednesday night (that Bay Bridge doesn't care much for high winds, so traffic was backed up into DC. Literally. It took us 5 hours to drive 40 miles. At one point we got off [by driving in the breakdown lane; I really had to pee], went to a nearby Wendy's, got something to eat, then got back on the road--only to find ourselves in back of the same cars and trucks we'd been behind earlier; yeah, traffic was really moving well that night.) I knit once I woke up, even after it got dark. Turned on the cab light and knit until traffic started moving again. I got over half of this child's sock done that night, and finished it yesterday.

I love love love the color of this yarn. It's a real "ruby slippers" red. I'm going to have to get me some of that. I started the second one yesterday, too, and will be knitting socks and dog sweaters for a long, long time to come.

Good thing that I'm obsessive-compulsive. Just a little.

Family and stuff

We spent Thanksgiving with Tom's family in Rehoboth Beach. Lots of fun, good food, good company. Throw in a beach and it's all there.

Tom and his brothers and sister:

It was our first anniversary the day after Thanksgiving. Tom's youngest brother passed around a card for everyone to sign. Including us. He said, "Sign this; it's for Matt's graduation." Neither of us noticed. They had a good hearty chuckle at that.

We went out Friday afternoon (our anniversary) and looked at rings. Last year we decided to get married on Thanksgiving--6 days before the day. There was no time to find a ring; I was going to borrow one, but my sister, Joan, bought one and I wore it for a year. We found this one, which I love.

I couldn't get a nice, clear photo of it, try though I might. And I did. Try.

If you squint your eyes just right, you might be able to see the detail in the center of the band. It looks just like a knit or crochet stitch. I didn't realize that till later that day, but it's so appropriate.

I gave a pair of socks to Tom's little nephew, Ryder, who is almost a year old.

And of course, we had to go by the beach. It wasn't hideously cold that day, just very windy after really hard winds and rain on Wednesday and a good bit of Thursday.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Florida princess

My little A has done it again. First in her age group in a pageant.

Yes, my baby is a pageant queen.

As a result of being in pageants, she's totally comfortable in adult social situations. She can get on the stage and strut her stuff, chat with the judges, model her outfits, and dazzle the judges with her talent. It doesn't hurt that she's gorgeous.

But these last two pageants are a different sort. They're more centered on the girls' conversational abilities, their ease in social settings. These pageants emphasize community service (no, not that kind); the girls will go to nursing homes, children's hospitals, that kind of thing. But for A, the best part is being in parades.

Especially a parade at Walt Disney World! Lunch with the governor and an invitation to the new governor's inauguration and ball is pretty cool, but come on, Disney World! She lives just a few minutes from WDW, gets to visit free since her mommy works there, but being in a parade in WDW is just the best thing.

I would have crawled under a table and refused to come out if I'd been told I was going to be in a parade when I was A's age. There's no way I would have stood on a stage and maintained eye contact with a bunch of grownups.

All this attention, practically her whole life, has not caused A to be vain or aloof. She's still just a little girl who likes to play dress-up with other girls. The prize packages that come with the titles are pretty exciting, but A likes the sashes and crowns--and toys--that are part of the rewards.

Her mommy makes most of her clothing for the pageants. Big money is spent on pageant clothes for these little girls; you wouldn't believe me if I told you how much just a swimsuit can cost. But my daughter, J, makes them herself, and they're often held together with safety pins and hot glue. If J wanted to, she could do a big business in making pageant clothing.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It fits!

Isn't this a darling little dog? His name is Max, and he belongs to my blog friend Peri. They live in Canada; after he was blown over--literally--one cold, windy night as he was watering his lawn, I offered to knit a sweater for him. Can't let a cute little guy like Max get all ruffled up.

And I have to brag--I knit those socks, too, to the measurements that Peri sent. I'm absolutely amazed that they actually fit her!

I'm on a socks jag lately. I've been knitting baby socks in assorted sizes using left-over sock yarn. I've also knit a bunch of doggie sweaters for the United Yorkie Rescue Organization's Yorkie Shoppe. They're sending me a boatload of assorted yarns to try out. I've been knitting with my own stash, so this is greatly appreciated.

One of them:

And another:

Anyone want the pattern? I thought you would.

2 Piece Dog Sweater

This sweater will take roughly 3.5 oz of yarn. Your gauge is roughly 4 stitches to the inch. I have worked this up on worsted weight 4 ply and also on sport weight. Using sport weight the gauge works out to 4.5 stitches to an inch. You will also need size 5 needles and size 7 needles.

You will need the following measurements. Dog’s collar size, Top Line measurement and measurement between the pups front legs.

(I tried to find the website where I originally found the pattern but have been unable to find it. It was also sent to me by a knittin' member of the UYR. If anyone out there (hello? hello? hello?) knows who wrote the pattern, please let me know so I can avoid being sued give credit to the person.)

1. For a 10” collar cast on 40 stitches on size 5 needles. Beginning with the neck work in a pattern of your choice, for the length of your choice: 1” for a mock turtleneck, 3” for a fold over turtleneck, 3” for a rolled neck. The pattern can be knit 1 purl 1 or k2 p2, a rolled neck is knit one row and purl a row.

2. Switch to size 7 needles and work in a pattern of your choice until the piece measures equal to 1” short of the top line of the pup. I suggest you add 1-2” to the top line because the pup’s body will make it shrink up. Garter pattern is the easiest. If you choose the stockinette pattern (knit one row, purl one row) you must knit the first 4 and last 4 stitches of every row. Stitch the last inch in the same pattern as the neck.

3. Bind off.

4. To make the chest section: Using size 5 needles cast on 3 stitches. Knit row

5. K1 increase in 2nd stitch K1 (4 stitches on needle)

6. Knit row

7. K1 increase in 2PndP stitch increase in 3PrdP stitch K1 (6 stitches)

8. Knit row.

9. Knit 2 increase in 3PrdP stitch increase in 4 stitch K1 (8 stitches).

10. Continue increasing in the 3 stitch from the beginning and from the end, alternating with a knit row until the width of the piece measures the width of the space between your pup’s front legs.

11. Continue knitting the piece until it measures 1” short of the pup’s rib cage for male dogs, or as long as you want it to cover the little girl’s tummy. Knit the last inch in the same pattern as the collar.

12. Bind off.

13. Now to sew the pieces together. Seam the neck edges together. When you reach the main body, take the point of the chest piece and match it to the edge of the collar, seam down each side until you reach the point where you stopped increasing. Leaving a 2-2 1/2 slit open, continue to seam down the sides. The slits form the leg openings. Slits are perfect for longhaired pups. Less matting.


Here are some notes on sizes:

The gauge is roughly 4 st=1", 5 rows=1". I use size 8 needles mostly, but you can use any size you like to get the right gauge.

For a 6" neck, cast on 38 st; chest piece, increase to 14 st.
For an 8" neck, cast on 40 st; chest piece, increase to 16 st.
For a 10" neck, cast on 40-42 st; chest increase to 18 st.
For a 12" neck, cast on 44-46 st; chest increase to 20 st.
For a 14" neck, cast on 48-50 st; chest increase to 22 st.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sick Puppy

This is Zippy, my small emergency backup dog, with his favorite book.

Traitor. He was named by Dave Barry bloglits.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chester's still partying

Poor baby. He's gotta lay off the hard cider.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat

Since we live in the middle of Nowhere, no humans came to our house looking for treats.

But these did.

It's an earlier photo, but the same deer (we think) are still coming around. It's hard to tell once the babies lose their spots, but the twins are still around.