Knit the Dog

[...because if I ever run out of yarn--- I can just knit the dogs.]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Singin' Along

Finished another 2 pillows today; one long overdue knitted, small, and one fabric, small. I was forced to face the following: a. I really don't enjoy sewing; b. it's been so long that the machine, which is 40 years old this year and runs like a trooper, had to gently reprimand me for failing to wind the bobbin and a few other things before we achieved harmony; and c. when I was done the pillow told me in no uncertain terms that only dummies try to join the trim on a corner. Also that next time I should make at least a half-arsed effort to arrange the fabric pattern symetrically on the pillow; how hard is a square?

We're only going to prop them behind our backs while watching TV and/or sleep on them during televised golf (that would be Phil) so I ignored all the sniping. I have 5 more to go. I'll get better. So there. Nyaahhh.

While I was sorta sewing, I was listening to Kathy Mattea's album Coal. I'm not normally a country fan. The pickup trucks and broken hearts and cheating dogs (or maybe it's cheating trucks?) can get along without me. But these songs are coal mining ballads, and I'm a sucker for spine-shivering, mournful coal mine ballads. It has Coal Tattoo and The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore, and I wish it had Spring Hill Mine Disaster and Peabody Coal as well, but maybe she has covered them on another album, I'll check. John Prine does Peabody pretty well. Maybe I'll make a coal-wailin' set for my iPod.

I picked up another skein of sock yarn, which I will not allow myself to paw or roll on until I have finished the ones I'm doing. It's a blend of rather strange colors --- but I think it's cool. From Cherry Tree Yarns. The fantastically nice person at Common Threads wound it into two equal balls so I can knit the two socks along at the same time. I must stop drooling and Finish The Current Project. Be firm.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


OK, if you're not a knitter, you may want to go get chocolate or something. I am going to brag on the fact that I have just turned the heels on a pair of socks. My FIRST pair of socks. It took several websights, some KnitWitch videos on YouTube, and two books to get me through it, but now I. Have. Got. It. DOWN.

I will freely admit they look kind of lumpy and not exactly identical. But hey, these things go on your feet, right? So it's not like they're close up where they can be scrutinized, and most of them is in your shoes anyway. I wear almost exclusively clogs, on account of having enormous feet that are very hard to fit (and if you wear clogs you only have to worry about fitting the weird toey part of your feet & not the skinny heels, and the extra half size that the shoe industry won't concede is essential can just sort of hang off the back.) (11 1/2 B, for you nosy types.) So I want to make my own socks because that way a. they will fit, b. I will have interesting yarn art showing at the backs of the clogs, c. they will go far enough up my leg not to leave the airy gap at the end of my pants when I sit down (I'm tall.) Plus I get the fun of playing with all that yummy sock yarn.

Also I am feeling very smug because I have knitted both socks along at the same time on two sets of needles, so when I'm done I will really be done, not having to do another whole sock which might never happen.
It's a glorious cool spring day, and Phil just took the dogs out for a walk. (That's Jack & Rosie in their summer clip-- shorn for tick & flea season.) Even at nine years old, every walk they take is the most exciting walk ever, like they haven't been on one in weeks. I have laundry to do and I need to make pillow covers for the couch in the den to go with the pillow-topped footstool Phil just finished, out of walnut, which really spiffs up the room. I hate to sew but I want the pillows, so I'll force myself. But first, I need another cup of coffee and a little knitting along with some public radio.

Additional smugness is due to supper for tonight already being made-- leek & potato soup with white beans and some fresh bread.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's Alive!

I don't know what voodoo is going on between our mailbox and the insect world, but it's such a popular place that I wish it was saleable real estate. First was the Wasp Saga--- one little mama wasp (I'm assuming it's the women of the wasp world who do all the work) built one or two paper cells of a nest just inside the mailbox door. Whenever I opened it, I flicked her out & pinched off the paper, hoping to gently discourage her & send her to a better homesite. Then the mail stopped coming. One day. Two days. I sealed the slit in the door with metal tape & weather stripping, permanently excluding Mama Wasp. Then a Monday with no mail-- that never happens in this junk mail universe. On Tuesday I intercepted the mailperson, an older woman this time.
"Them bees gone yet?"
"Yes, the single wasp is gone & I've sealed the box so she can't get back."
"Cause we cain't deliver no mail when they's a bees nest. He said they was a big bee's nest in there."
"No, there are no bugs at all in the box. It's perfectly safe."
"Well OK but if them bees come back we cain't deliver!"

So much for 'through hail, snow, and storm.' Apparently it doesn't apply to the animal kingdom.

A few days later I saw fine sawdust on the daylilies under the mailbox. Carpenter bees. Not in the box, but in the (treated!) wood post. Several neat, precise pencil-sized holes dotted the underside of the box support. I could hear the faint gnawing of at least one bee at work. Tough way to make a living. For now, they don't seem to be alarming the delivery folks. Of course the box may just plain fall off if they get energetic enough.

Today I opened the (carefully sealed) box to put a Netflix envelope in for pick-up. About two hundred tiny ants, each with a minute ivory egg, were zigging and zagging around in the box, piling eggs against the door. I was starting to feel just a little put-upon. It's not like any of them pay rent.

I left the door open, figuring the light would discourage them. I sprayed the post with environmentally safe insecticide (yeah, it's sort of an oxymoron.) I stuck several ant bait traps around the post. A few hours later they had moved all the eggs somewhere else, but were still trotting over the band of insecticide and waltzing in and out of the box. I left the door open overnight. I hope something crawls in and eats them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sad farewell

Right after I got back from Seattle, A called me to relate that they had to have their dog, Duna, sent to her final sleep. Duna was a grand old lady [German Shepherd] of 13 good years. She was gentle, patient, and absolutely devoted to Andrea. She had a mass on her spleen that apparently spread to vital organs, but was thankfully only in really bad shape for the last evening and night. The vet kindly came to the house, saving them the difficulty of getting such a large dog into the car when she was in critical condition. We all knew it was coming, and she had a long and wonderful doggy life, but it's still so poignant, and the tears are still coming. She will be missed by many.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


During the last two weeks, I spent time in Seattle with my daughter, soninlaw, and Cate, possibly the cutest grandbaby on the planet (all grandbabies are.) She's just 10 months and crawling, standing, babbling, playing, feeding bits of food to herself--- it's wonderful. Her first word is apparently going to be "Uh-ohhh."

While I was there, A. & I went on a girl's day off (pedis, lunch, espresso, shopping.......) and visited two of Seattle's 24, yes twenty-four, yarn stores.

Hilltop Yarn Queen Anne is in a deeply charming Craftsman style house, and a person could just move in, it's so cosy and welcoming and the yarns are yummy. I got several skeins of Berroco's "Seduce" to make a wavy drop-stitch scarf for Andrea. The yarn is pale blue silk & linen wrapped in a thin, glossy bronze thread. Light, cool, and drapey. Later we went to So Much Yarn, a shop with lots of shine and bright color and two very friendly, very helpful women proprietors. They have a stock of unusual artsy buttons, which can be very hard to find, and a good selection of needles and accessories.

I managed to work about 8 inches of the scarf on the long plane ride home-- now I'm about a third of the way. I also had to rip out the Eternal Sock for one last time, and this time I only cast on 66 stitches, and also put it onto bamboo DPNs, which seem to be making it knit up a lot faster and smoother. I truly hated DPNs at first, but I'm coming to terms with them. This time it's going to work. Really.