Monday, January 25, 2010

And They're Socks!

My first pair of real wool socks knitted on size 2 needles, just like a knitter as experienced as I am should have attempted years ago. I was always reluctant to try the fine yarn and tiny needles just because I'm an impatient soul. But a year ago, I made slipper socks for family members for Christmas and got the bug. Sooo-after a trip to Jo-Ann's I set to work. I love them, they're soft and warm, and I'm sure they'll wear like iron. I probably won't show the next pair I hope to start yet tonight because I think the recipient reads this blog. Anyhooo-my triumph:

You might recognize the chair cushions that I made some months back. I don't think I posted when they were finished, but I really did hang in there until all eight were done.

A perfect fit. I like this style of heel-I don't know if it wears better but that's my theory. The kitchener stitch at the toes finally worked too. It took some practice but I finally got it. I also have worked a bit on casting on at the toe, too, but haven't found just the right pattern to use it on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Actually Making Socks!

A few weeks back I picked up some Deborah Norville sock yarn at Jo-Ann's. I couldn't wait to start so here it is:

The first was taken yesterday just after I turned the heel and started the gussets.

Here I'm past the heel and gussets and on my way to the toe. I got farther today while coffeeing with a friend, but I didn't stop to take a picture. The yarn is 50% Merino wool, 25% nylon, and 25% bamboo. I've never been sure whether I'm allergic to wool or if it's just itchy on my super dry skin, so this is my wool experiment. It's really soft, so if I itch I can probably be sure it's an allergy, but if I don't-goody! This sock making is pretty addictive. Good thing, since I have to knit another one! Only thing is this stuff is super fine, and the needles are tiny. I have to pretty much work on it during daylight hours or under a really bright light. My pushing 60 eyes object to work in a darkened room. (Crap, I just admitted to the pushing 60 thing, shudder!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thanks, Martin!

By living the life he did, and dying too young, Martin Luther King did more for the people of this world than most others could accomplish in a long lifetime.

"Let freedom ring!" And continue to ring. Let's not ever forget what we came from so we never go back there again.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I lost a "follower." Don't suppose it had something to do with my Haiti post. Maybe not-she could have been housecleaning, but it's a funny coincidence. I am who I am, and I make no apologies. I will try very hard not to be abrasive or in anybody's face, but as Americans we have a right to our opinions. I love all my readers and I've never had to remove a comment because my views have been challenged. Unless you call me names I'll probably keep the comments in because that's the way we should operate-we might disagree, but we still like each other.

Keep praying for Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time For a Change

I've been eyeballing my bedroom window for some time now. Several years back, I decided to make a window quilt to insulate the bedroom from our cold, cold winters. I made an Irish chain quilt and backed it with drapery lining, put batting inside along with a space blanket, then quilted it a bit. (A space blanket is the thin metallic blanket that firefighters carry in forest fires to insulate themselves in case the fire backs up and they can't escape. They also work to keep you warm in very cold weather.)

Only one problem, though. The quilt insulated so well that too much moisture built up on the windows. We have too much humidity in our house anyway, and this compounded the problem. I had to keep a towel rolled up in the window track and even then the moisture invaded everything.

Not pretty, eh? I could only handwash the quilt and couldn't do that very often because the space blanket couldn't take too much agitation.

Well, yesterday was THE DAY! I rooted through my stash and came up with some fabrics that I thought would be in keeping with my theme. I made a set of curtains, underlined, and put tabs at the top to hang them by. I wanted the openness to let the moisture escape. I like the finished product-it's a bit busy but I think we'll get used to it.

Kind of a log cabin, fisherman-outdoorsy theme. I'm not the typical woman-I don't care for flowery chintzy frou-frou decor. I like the serenity of the greens and blues and the feeling of being by a lovely lake.

The curtains join other things I've made for the room, like the hooped birds above my bed, made about twenty years ago:

And the loon quilt I made about ten years ago:

The colors of the curtains are a bit more brown-and-tan than I really wanted, so I added panels at the top and bottom that are a teals and greens fish pattern. It's fine-we just sleep there, but it is nice to wake up to such a serene scene. And I can throw it in the washer!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Heart is Heavy

I am still in shock over the terrible quake in Haiti. Every time I see footage of people still trapped, people injured with no medical care, no food, no water, no place to sleep, I want to cry. The media has informed us that the best way to help is with cash. Be careful who you give cash to, but you can always give money to the Red Cross, and for faith-based organizations you could donate to World Vision or Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, a little-known, but very well run relief organization within our denomination.

Now is not the time for political posturing, or blaming. I have heard the most outlandish statements from well-known people in this country and it APPALLS me that someone could say these things. An evangelist has said horrible things and one of the ultra-conservative talk show mouthpieces has faulted the president for actually wanting to help these people because they are black.

Time for that evangelist to hang up his pulpit and retire, and I wish that talk-show guy would just SHUT UP!

Anyway, I'll step off my soapbox now and go find my credit card so I can get money to CRWRC as quickly as I can. God bless the lovely people of Haiti.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Escape Artist

The runaway, looking all innocent!

So I knew that Merlin was a "runner." Most Westies are-don't let them loose, they take off and Lord knows where they'll stop. With Chloe, I knew she was crazy about kids and I could usually get one of them to pick her up so I could get her. She, of course, wouldn't let me pick her up-that was part of the game!

I invested in one of those radio fences-the kind that has a base unit you plug in in the house and collar that acts as a receiver. When the dog gets out of range, the collar starts beeping and if doggie doesn't come back it give him a little jolt. It sounds cruel, but I think it is very humane-the dog can't run off, get stolen, or get hit by a car. Chloe learned very quickly what her boundaries were, and in fact that's when she became the good pet she is now. She turned into the sweetest most compliant dog-a real loving companion. It also gave us the freedom of installing a doggie door because we knew she could go out, do her business and come back in. Really nice during the night or if we had to be gone a few hours. She didn't have to stand by the door with her legs crossed or piddle on the floor.

Enter the novice dog. I bought a collar for him ($139.99 thankyouverymuch!) and am starting to train him with it, meanwhile chaining him up when he goes outside. This morning, I briefly unhooked him from the chain to untangle it and he was off! He made it all the way to the elementary school, three blocks away, where a teacher picked him up. We know the principal, and when he saw me he knew exactly what I was looking for. I suppose the leash in my hand gave me away!

I got him home and brought him inside. The chain was still outside so I tried to slide the patio door open enough to retrieve it and out Merlin went again! This time I wasted no time in getting the car-it seems he likes to ride in cars. I found him at the house right behind ours, on their porch shivering. I called for him to "load up" and he came right to me. I wasted a whole morning on that dog!

When I got him home AGAIN, I got out the new radio collar, tested it, and put it on the dog. We've done a bit of training with it, but it'll take a couple of days for him to get the idea that running away is what causes that "bee sting."

In the meantime, I'll do a triple play-radio collar, chain, and when I go get him off the chain, I'll take the leash. And he's going to be neutered very soon-I have a call into our vet.

I know Chloe will be glad when we can open her doggie door again!

Merlin follows me wherever I go, even the bathroom. Here he is in the kitchen waiting for me to finish making myself a latte'.

We got the second dog so Chloe would get more exercise, and where are they? Sleeping, of course!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's a Boy!

Not a human boy, but a 3-year-old West Highland White Terrier. His name is Merlin and he's going to be Chloe's best buddy. I found him on Craigslist for Stan for his birthday.

Merlin, claiming Stan's lap-something Stan is not too sure about!

Chloe's not too sure about Merlin on HER human's lap!

Making friends-they hit it off right from the start.

Chloe is five, so there's not too much difference in age. Merlin needs to be neutered-I can't believe they hadn't done it before-and he needs training on the radio collar because Westies are runners, he'll run off in a heartbeat if we don't control him. He's spraying so the neutering is going to happen really soon. They both need grooming soon, too.

He's a sweet loving dog, I think he'll fit in just fine.