Thursday, May 30, 2013

WIP [Wednesday] Thursday

Considering I completely FORGOT to write a WIP Wednesday post last week, I think a few hours late is an improvement.


Happy Drops, the scarf I have to really concentrate on, had a bit of a setback... I somehow messed up one of the drops, so once again I tried inserting my needle at the base of a row of drops as recommended by the designer. She then goes on to say you'll have to tink back a couple of rows (because odds are you didn't get the needle inserted into only one row... it's really hard to tell). I must have tinked back 15 rows before I finally felt like all the stitches on my needle were correct. But that beats starting all over. No new picture yet.

Comfort of a Friend, blocking & being cat-scanned.
My Comfort of a Friend shawl is done except for the buttons. I have to go shopping for buttons, and that's waiting for June because I am almost out of spending money for May. This is for the first KAL for the book What Else Would Madame Defarge Knit?, edited by Heather Ordover. Actually, this pattern isn't in the book—rather, this pattern is available in doll size and child size in the book. The adult size pattern was a bonus for those of us who pre-ordered the book; however, it's available for purchase on Ravelry.

The most exciting update is for my Andie's Cardigan. I've finished all the pieces!
Andie's Cardigan, the fronts and sleeves blocking.
Tomorrow, or maybe tonight, I'll start seaming the pieces together. Once that's done, I'll pick up and knit the collar, then pick up and knit the i-cord trim down the fronts. Meanwhile I'll purchase the hook-and-eye tape for the closure. I never heard of hook-and-eye tape before reading this pattern. Brilliant idea!

Naturally, by the time I finish this up, it'll be too hot to wear even though it's short-sleeved. The yarn is Berocco Ultra Silk (discontinued), which I picked up on clearance. It's aran weight, 40% nylon, 40% rayon, and 20% silk. Interesting construction—it's a knitted tube with filling. I imagine the tube is the silk and the filling is the nylon & rayon. It's very drapey, and I hope it doesn't grow outrageously in wear.


I've started swatching for a cardigan for my nephew—the pattern is L'illo by Susan Power. I'm making size 12 months, out of Takhi Cotton Classic Lite, a sport-weight 100% mercerized cotton, in a darkish green. Tried size 3 needles, next I'm going to try size 4.

A minor discovery

This morning I ripped out the first swatch of the Cotton Classic Lite, and balled it up, but it's kinky even though it hasn't been knit up all that long. So I had an idea... I used my Amish swift to re-skein the yarn from the ball.

 I made a slip knot and put that over one of the dowels. Then just held the ball with one hand and spun the swift with the other. After all the yarn was on the swift, I tied it halfway between each dowel and voila! ready to soak and hang up to get the kinks out.

Maybe that tip will help someone! I don't know if it would work with an umbrella-style swift... I have no experience with them.

Happy knitting, all!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Work-in-Progress Wednesday!

I've decided to join in the Work-in-Progress Wednesday meme. It looks like a fun way to incorporate some knitting posts into my blog. To learn more (and to join in, if you're so inclined), check out this post in the Tami's Amis blog.

Alas, my WIP's are kicking my tail this week.

The left strap of the "Comfort of a Friend" shawl.
I'm in a knitalong for the Comfort of a Friend Shawl. It looks really nice so far... except I've discovered I did some purling. It's a garter stitch pattern—there isn't supposed to be any purling! I guess I did that because I'm going back and forth between this and a stockinette project.

(Now that I think of it, the stockinette project is NOT kicking my tail. Maybe I should work on it some more!)

The hard part is the purling is right below the place where the middle is bound off, so I'm afraid to rip out. So I'm using my Fix-A-Stitch tool. Which works great but it's slow going.

The other WIP that's giving me difficulty is the Not a Drop scarf. I took this picture before I started having problems.
Yeah, I didn't get very far before I started having problems.

It's just that if you make one tiny little mistake, it's extremely difficult to fix it. The designer does have some tips in a thread in her Ravelry group, and yet I've had trouble following the tips. I mess up the tinking back, and next thing you know I'm ripping the whole thing out and starting over.

I've decided my strategy for this scarf will have to be not to do more than one or two rows in a sitting. If I go much longer than that, I start getting into a rhythm (because there IS a lot of repetition) and next thing you know I'll miss the next shift in the pattern.

I hope to have better news next week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

You are the branches

It's not the greatest photo I ever shot, but I hope you can tell what's going on. There's a detached limb hanging from the tree by its twigs. This tree stands in my neighbor's back yard.
John 15:5-6—I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. [English Standard Version]
This limb has been hanging from this tree all winter... like it doesn't know it's dead.

We had a sermon recently where the pastor quoted the movie The Sixth Sense—"I see dead people." This disturbed some of my friends. Surely our church is better than most? Surely there's no need to be so negative? Jesus is about love, right?

Yes, Jesus is about love. God IS love. And, it would not be love to withhold a hard truth—especially if that truth holds someone's eternity in the balance.

Every church has at least a few people who are like this branch. They are not abiding in Jesus—they are not attached to the tree. There is no spiritual life flowing into them. And yet they think they ARE in the tree, because they're hanging up there with the branches and not touching the ground.

Last week, a storm came through. No worse than any other storm we had over the winter. But this storm, for whatever reason, hit that branch just wrong—and down it came. Now it's dead wood lying on the ground, and someone's gonig to come chop it up and put it in their fireplace.

This is merely the final result of what's been true all winter. It's been dead all along. Dead branch hanging.

I hope no one who is reading this is a dead man/woman walking. But if you have even the tiniest inkling you might be, don't ignore it. Pray... search the scriptures... talk to a pastor. Perhaps it's only a lie of the enemy. If so, you can receive assurance. Get it settled.

If not, the miracle that's available to you is that unlike this dead branch, you CAN be grafted in.

[p.s. I hate when I publish a post and THEN realize (in the shower) that I need to edit a couple of things! *sigh*]

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A tale of two strays

Turned out her name is Xena
The first stray was a dog, wandering down the road in front of my house in mid-March when we still had snow on the ground. She was dragging a leash, which made me think she'd gotten away when someone was trying to walk her—especially since the leash was entirely too wimpy for a large dog.

Since this was early evening, we kept her for the night. In the morning, I took her to our vet to scan for a chip.

Yes! She had a chip. The people at the vet clinic called the owner of record and put her in their kennel to await her people. Done! Easy peasy.

The second stray is a cat. A week ago, I was walking our dog, Butch, and our cat Princess Red. When she tags along, I'm always turning and calling her, in case she gets too far behind and can't tell which way we went. (I don't think cats can see a great distance, can they?)

So, I'm calling, "kitty, kitty, kitty," behind me--and out comes this gray cat, talking back to me. She let me come up to her and scritch her, and she sort of tried to follow me away despite the dog I had on the leash.

After finishing the dog's walk, I went back in my car. Sure enough, she came right out when I called. The house she was hanging out in front of had an empty divided pet dish on the front porch--AND the phone book that had been delivered over a week before. Looked like she was abandoned.

So I grabbed her, threw her in my car, and took her home. I set her up in our spare bedroom with her own food, water, and litter, and shut her in.

I listed her on the local Facebook lost & found pet pages. I put up little posters all around the corner where I'd found her. I had her scanned for a chip: no joy. Went to the pound to add her to the "Found Pets" list, but couldn't bring myself to leave her. She's affectionate and eats up any human attention. But all efforts to find her people were in vain. Not one phone call. 
We are calling her "Mia."
We thought about keeping her. But she's horrible to our other pets (a dog and three cats). She clearly needs to be the only pet in her home.

I tried to take her to the no-kill shelter in Rockford, Noah's Ark Pet Sanctuary, but they were full up on cats.

Meanwhile, her behavior seemed to indicate she was in heat. (Don't ask.) Another complication.

Finally I heard back from PAWS. They will subsidize the spaying and then put her on their adoption list. They don't have a shelter in Rockford--they just use foster homes.

I'm glad I didn't have to resort to taking her to the pound. I feel affection for her, even though we can't keep her. Even right now she is lying stretched out along my leg.

But wow! What a hassle!

After these experiences, I am totally sold on microchips. Once I find a job, I want to get them for all our pets. (Only one is chipped so far.) More information on pet microchipping.