Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Part I – It’s been a while…

I know, it’s been a while since I was here. It’s been a tough few months since the last time I posted and I’ve been thinking and thinking about whether or not I would even keep my blog going. It’s not that I’m not having fun with my fiber-y pursuits, because I am. It’s just that so many other things have been tough that the knitting and stuff are the only things keeping me sane sometimes. I wrote all this on Monday, but didn’t get to do the post until today. I decided to write the good parts first....

Part II – Where I learn to spin…in a different way.

So, let’s see, last time I told you about learning to spin on a drop spindle. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed it. I made a bunch of singles, and then I plied a bunch, and then, because I could, I knit up a cabled headband out of yarn that I made. Can you see me puffing up and patting myself on the back?

I met a really nice woman at the spinning class and before it was over, she got a bunch of roving back from a processor that she had sent out to be de-haired and cleaned. Alpaca…can you say ‘soft’? I mean, it was so soft that I just had to have some. I bought a garbage bag full….I couldn’t help myself. I mean really, who could? And then, she showed me some other roving. The alpaca roving is a lovely milk-chocolate brown; this was a creamy off-white. I think it will be whiter once I wash it as it was just a little greasy, but again, it was so soft that I just had to have it. While I was there, she told me that the LYS where we had taken our drop spindle class was doing a class on wheel spinning…you can just see this coming, can’t you? I signed up. I rented a wheel for two weeks. I’m nuts. I don’t have it yet, but I bought a wheel on ebay…I’m really nuts, right? I bought a wheel on ebay for $127.50 + shipping from the Netherlands…The picture looks good and the seller has nothing but great feedback, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will all be good. The wheel I rented was a Louet and this one is a Schippertje (???), double-drive, single-treadle, and flyer-driven. It looks good and I’ll post pix when I get it. According to the seller, I should get it in 7 – 10 days, so let’s see, that would be next Monday at the earliest. I’m nuts…and I can’t wait until it gets here.

Part III – Update on Mom’s sweater for {was } Christmas {now} whenever…

Last time, I was very high on the “Sonnet” pattern from Knitty.com. That was last time…
I explained about how I got it all knitted up and sewn up and the buttons on and it didn’t fit. I wrote about deciding to use a contrasting color, picking up stitches around the neckline and cuffs and then working the neckline in to a wearable sweater. Well it was all writing. Yes, it was back to the frog pond for me yet again. I ripped it all back and wound the wool carefully into nice, soft balls and put them into a large zip-lock bag and put them away. Then, I went to the bookstore and bought Jacqueline Fee’s “Sweater Workshop” and started reading.

I figure I must have a mental block about sweaters. I always seem to mess them up somehow. They’re too big or too small, too low-cut or too tight in the neck. I need to learn what I’m doing wrong, and I’ve always heard good things about “Sweater Workshop”, so I bought it. I had a 40% off coupon and another 10% on top of that, so how could I go wrong?

Well, I read a bit and then I pulled out some yarn and some needles and I followed the directions for a “Sweater Sampler” – I’ve posted a couple of pix [coming soon] so you can see what I’m talking about. It was kind of fun and I think it came out pretty well, so I started a cardigan for Mom, using Ms. Fee’s “formula” (with thanks to EZ as well). So far, so good, but don’t hold me to that until I actually finish the damn thing, ok? There’s a picture of the beginning [coming soon] and it looks pretty good, if you ask me, but then I thought the others looked good until I actually had to rip them back to the beginning, too.

Part IV – Current (and everlasting) Projects

Ok, what’s still on my needles?

(1) Those damn toe-up socks; I don’t think they’ll ever be done.

(2) ‘Branching Out’ scarf from Knitty.com DONE!!!

(3) ‘Gryffindor House Scarf’ from “Charmed Knits” – too booooooooring; ripped it out. I think I’ll use the wool for slippers….

(4) Lacy Prairie Shawl from ‘Folk Shawls’ by Cheryl Oberle in a lovely and soft cream-colored alpaca – this one’s about 1/3 done now, so I might actually finish it before winter is over. This one went to the frog pond, too. Its second incarnation is a feather-and-fan wrap that’s working out much better for me. Update on this: I may be ripping it out….it’s about 8 feet long and the width of a scarf; not much of a wrap, I think…

(5) I did make a pair of felted clogs for Mom, well, the knitting part, anyway. I still have to felt them. And I made a new sole for Mike’s felted clogs; he wears them so much, he wore right through one of them! This time I’m putting the leather soles on both pairs. These are on my radar to felt as soon as I can remember where I put them. I know they are in a Ziploc bag somewhere around here….

(6) I also started finished another ‘sweater-less yoke’ (I don’t know what else to call it) for a friend who saw the one I was wearing the other day and admired it. In cubicles in the building where I work, there are blowers in the ceiling that you can’t control that blow cold air down on your back, and this little knitted thingy – I don’t know what to call it – is just a knitted in the round from the bottom up, decreased for the neck, ‘sweater-less yoke’ for lack of a better term. It just covers my shoulders and my upper back and keeps the drafts off of me. DONE!!! And she loved it! I may have to make a bunch more in some other colors because all my friends want them now.

Part V – Me again, and RIP Miss Alvin…

This part might be a bit tough for those of you who have pets; be forewarned – you might get a little teary-eyed here.

Christmas was a very nice holiday. ‘Santa’ (my loving and wonderful partner, Mike) gave me all kinds of knitterly goodies and had a really good time watching as I opened each one. Since I had given him a KnitPicks catalog with tons of items marked off that I was interested in, I knew I would get knitty things, but I gave him tons of choices so I would not know exactly what I was getting. I like surprises, and he never knows what to get me, so giving him tons of choices in all different price ranges gave him lots of things to choose from to surprise me with.

The tough part started on the day after Christmas. Mike and I came home from work and found Miss Alvin very ill. She was weak and sick and was trying to hide under the Christmas tree. I called the vet and they were closed and the message on their machine said to go to the emergency vet and gave the phone number. I called, they said to get her over there asap and we did. They got Miss Alvin stable and comfortable, but she didn’t seem to know where she was or who we were. Mike thought she couldn’t see us either, but I couldn’t tell. Of course, it didn’t help that I was trying so hard not to cry that I couldn’t see straight. We ended up staying at the vet ER most of that night, waiting to hear how she was going to do. The vet finally told us to go home, her condition was stable, but he recommended we take her to our own vet in the morning when they opened. They kept her overnight and we went home to try to sleep.

When I picked her up in the morning at the ER, the vet on duty told me they suspected that she had had a stroke. Miss Alvin was considered to be a senior cat; she was 15 years old, so she wasn’t exactly a kitten, but a stroke?!? My vet did some tests and she confirmed that diagnosis but thought that if Alvin made it through the first 24 hours, she might make it longer. Alvin’s kidneys did not seem to be functioning and the vet thought they might come back if we got her hydrated and stable. So I left her at the vet’s and went home to worry. Mike and I went back later in the day to visit her and see how she was doing. The vet was optimistic; she said Alvin had passed a little urine so her kidneys were functioning. We left her there overnight again and went back first thing in the morning.

Miss Alvin still didn’t seem to know us, but her body seemed to be working, though not that well. The vet told us that she was a little concerned; that Alvin had some fluid buildup in her abdomen, and she wanted to do an x-ray. After the x-ray, she brought Alvin back in and I held her while we looked at it to see what we could see. Turns out that Miss Alvin had a tumor in a space that all kinds of blood vessels run through and that was, we thought, what had caused her stroke. We figured that the stroke was why she didn’t know us and didn’t seem to be able to see us. The vet left us alone with her, and we both cried a lot and made the decision that we had to give her peace. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. She was no longer the little cat that knew us and called to us when we came home and slept on the bed with us. I hadn’t cried like that in so long; I never thought I would cry over a pet like that, but she was like my child. We don’t have kids, but we had Alvin and she was family, you know? Some people won’t understand that, I’m sure, but those of you who have pets will, I’m sure. Miss Alvin died in my arms that day, with my tears and Mike’s falling on her. She knew we loved her. Heavy duty; I didn’t mean to do this to you. I had to get it out, though, and I hope you understand.

PS – you have to know that a house without a cat is not a home, so on January 11, 2008, I talked Mike into going over to the local PetSmart that my friend Sue works at to look at a kitty she thought we might like to adopt. He wasn’t our kitty, but Gracie was. She came home with us that night and has worked her kitty magic right into our hearts. Now if I can just get Mike to go for one more kitty to keep her company…

Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cat!