Friday, August 28, 2009

Jumbo Rainer Cherries Blanket is done!

Since I was so close to finishing it last time I wrote about it, I wanted to share it right away. My crochet blanket is done! I'm very happy with it too, even though it's made with acrylic yarn.

Hannah red nose-3 finished The color of the blanket is not right in this picture. The sun was shining on it full force, the other photos are more accurate.

yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice, 19 balls each 100g/170yds (total of 3230 yds) in the colors # 172, 171, 99, 158, 180, 113, 133. 100% Acrylic

hook: for the squares 6mm and to crochet them together as well as the border 5.5mm
size: 54" x 70"
pattern: "Circle to Squares Afghan" by Lion Brand, but I used only two of the three sizes of squares and made my own layout.

finished JRC blanket-3

border: I used granny square stitches for the border, and finished it off with Attich24's shell stitch for which she wrote a tutorial.

start-finish: June 26 - August 24

finished JRC blanket-7

Even though this is acrylic yarn it was alright to work with. I like the strong colors, and for crochet blanket you really need a lot more yarn, so this cheaper version comes in handy. Another plus is, that you can wash it in the machine, and it comes out fine. Blocking is out of course, but that's O.K. with a blanket.

Hannah red nose-1 finished

Now I'm have no blanket WIP at the moment, but Hannah reminded me, that it's time to finish my cardigan, since it's getting cooler and Fall is just around the corner. She's right of course, but I'm dreading miles of stockinette. I've also a hooded scarf for Hannah in the works, and three pairs of fingerless mittens for her friends. Since she'd like to take the hooded scarf with her, when she's leaving for University, I don't have time to sit and spin. I know today should have been "Handspun Friday", and I do have something finished to show, but I was too excited about the finished blanket.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gross lesson # 1

It's ridiculous how fast Happy is growing. These pictures were taken just 10 days ago (and time flys). Yesterday he was 13 weeks old, and weighed ~ 30lbs. Just this morning he came and wanted up on my lap for a little snuggle time. It's almost impossible now to be comfortable for him or for me, when I'm sitting on a chair. We'll have to get those snuggles moved over to the sofa I think.

Biko is still ambivalent about him. One day she plays with him, the next day, she leaves the room, as soon as he enters.
Aug. 16-Biko teaching Happy-1
Other days she teaches him nonsense, and of course he's eager to learn such things.
Aug. 16-Biko teaching Happy-2
What's that you ask? Here she shows him how to find the longest grass on the property, how to eat it, just to gross me out later, when my help is most likely needed, as soon as we'll see the grass again.

Aug. 16-Happy-6 Aug. 16-Happy-7

Well, lesson learned. He's chewing on a long plant, roots and all.

Aug. 16-Happy-4
Sticks are good too.

It's hard to take pictures of him, because he hardly holds still long enough. This stick came in handy.

Aug. 16-Happy-8

He's finally grown into his own blue collar. He had to wear "girl clothes" at first, the red collar. I liked him better in red. We also got a harness for him to go for short walks. I don't want to have the pressure on his neck and this harness is perfect for now, until he learns how to walk nicely. It didn't bother him at all. By now he knows what's coming, when I put it on him, and he hold still, because if he don't it always takes forever to get it on. I guess he WANTS to go for walks.

Aug. 16-Happy-11
This is my current favorite photo of him. You can look at them bigger, by clicking on them, then go to "All sizes" and click on large or orignial.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Jumbo Rainier Cherries Blanket

Do you remember my crochet squares? I've been working away on them on and off. These are the ones, Happy honed his grab and run act on. I suppose we both thought it funny, because otherwise I would have removed them from the coffee table.

Flower bed - beginning-2

The whole blanket is made up of 86 squares. I found the most delicious Jumbo Rainier Cherries! Don't they looks scrumptious amongst the squares? And they tasted as good as they looked. Of course now I've to think of those every time I look at the blanket. So here it will be named "Jumbo Rainier Cherries Blanket".

July 16

It's not quite done yet, but I'm close. I'm already working on the border. I'm liking it a lot...

Rainier Cherries Blanket Aug. 23-2
I would have finished it already, but my arm hurts up to the ellbow. Crocheting is harder on my hands and arms than knitting is.

Of course it's not a proper post without a Happy story:

Happy and Steirerbua in bed-1-1
The picture has nothing to do with the story though. I just had to say Thank you! to Ulrike, who sent me this cute little Teddy Bear in Lederhosen with an Edelweiss on it! It's a genuine Steirerbua from Styria, Austria. The empty bedside next is filling up fast. I think the Steirerbua looks a little scared. He saw what Happy did to his cousin. (Don't you just love Happy's light brown eyes?)


Now to the actual story. Happy and I were up VERY early in the morning, a couple of days ago. I took him outside first thing, and while he played around in the hallway, I sat (cough) at the computer (cough), totally forgetting he was there. About an hour later I heard the bells I put on the doorknob jingle, and my first thought was, that Biko has come downstairs (which was nonsense, she gets up late). Then I saw my little snuggle bug sitting prettily in front of the door, waiting for the door magically to open, since HE rang the bells! He really had to go desperately, as it turned out. I can't tell you how proud I was at that moment, that he'd figured this one out so soon. :o)


Friday, August 21, 2009

Handspun Friday - Falkland/South African Fine

I missed last Friday's handspun post. But here I am today. This one's not so exciting as others, it's rather boring. Don't know what I expected, when I combined these two. I liked both colorways, but put together - b 0 r i n g!
7oz ~ 622yds, 3-ply, Falkland-South African Fine blend-1

I like spinning with Falkland fiber. It's like Corriedale I think, and I wanted to make 3-ply sock yarn. But with 4 oz there would not have been enough for my size. So I added some South African Fine, which I dyed a long time ago. I did felt it a little. It was a struggle to seperate strips, and predrafting was a must. Still I liked the color combination of lavender/silver birch. I still have a couple of ounces left. I might use this color combination again some day.
~ 32yds navajo plied South African Fine

~ 32yds navajo plied South African Fine

7oz ~ 622yds, 3-ply, Falkland-South African Fine blend-with 32 yds navajo plied South African Fine

The Falkland had many nebs in it. You can't see that in the braid, but I got very frustraded while spinning. At first I picked them out, but they came so frequently, that at some point I let some slide. So the singles were a little uneven. To top it off, I forgot to check the tension on the Lazy Kate (again) and it overtwisted with plying. But adding the second colorway gave me some great yardage! ~ 622yds!
Yesterday we had thunderstorms and Tornado warnings. It was like the world came close to an end. The eeriest light after the storm. This photo is not photoshopped or whatever. It was just fantastic to watch. Here the bad weather moved on East.
Aug. 20-after the storm-5
And here the look to the West. I saw some blue before the sun was down for the night.
Aug. 20-after the storm-4
More exitement was to be had that day:
Ashford Elizabeth II
While thunderstorms were all around us, I was sitting on the sofa spinning on my new used Ashford Elizabeth wheel, which arrived yesterday. I've got it from Susan. It came in two boxes, and after David put it back together I grabbed some undyed natural brown BFL to give it a whirl. Boy, that's a big wheel combared to my Ashford Traditional! I tip the treadle once or twice and it runs, and runs, and runs, it might still be running, I haven't checked. Among the many accessories there was a Wooly Winder as well. I always wanted to give it a try and now I have. At first it ripped the fiber right out of my hands, but I managed it in the end and spun up 2oz of the fiber in record time, even my usual thin singles. This was a very nice experience during bad weather. And to top it all off, Happy (I still want to say Sam, after all those weeks!) snuggled up to me and let me spin!!! At first he was like this, head stuck in the corner, but he liked it better the other way.
Aug. 20-Happy sleeping on the sofa I'm spinning, and Happy is snuggling-2-Aug. 20 I'm spinning, and Happy is snuggling-1-Aug. 20
Of course the peaceful moment did not last. I had to get up eventually for something or other, and as soon as I did not pay attention, he grabbed a mouthful of fiber and was off at high speed. I think he was planning it all along. Lull me into believing he's harmless to my fiber, when in reality he's fibers worst enemy. :o)
Have a nice weekend you all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And there is even yarn in this post!

Happy is 12 weeks now and weighs 25lbs! I can't believe he's gained 6 lbs in one week! How is that possible?
Well, he does sleep a lot during the day. This is one of his afternoon naps. Normally he's not on the sofa for that, but yesterday he had some tummy ache and joined me there. I slipped away to spin, but he stayed there for an hour.

afternoon nap, Happy Aug. 18-12 weeks old-25lbs

afternoon nap, Happy Aug. 18-12 weeks old-25lbs-1

Later that day I was looking for him, when I found him here:

Aug. 18 Biko and Happy in one crate against her will
It's our biggest crate, for Great Danes. Biko likes to hide there, and he joined her. The photo is crappy because it was so dark the camera would not focus, and I've only got one shot, before Biko was out of there.

Today, I guess, is not his growing day, because he's hyper like he had too much coffee. My first yarn casualty! I didn't even know at first, from where he's got it from. He gave it up pretty easily, but I could swear he was smiling with mischief. Now he's back in confinement, so I can write this post in peace. Biko's beside me, and just relaxed with a sigh of relief.

Aug. 19 first yarn casualty

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Four socks!

And not a single pair finished!

Mary Maxim Gemstone socks-singles-2
I found this cheap sock yarn. It's Mary Maxim's Gemstones. I liked the colorways, but the yarn itself feels like elann's Sock-It-To-Me, which is also made in Turkey. I was so curious how the socks would look knit up, that I decided to knit one sock with each colorway. The first one was the far left. It will be socks for DH. I made this one with 2.5mm needles, but the knit fabric is a little bit too loose for my liking. The second one will be mine, knit on 2.25mm needles. The third one will be for DD, and the last one, the far right, will also be for myself. My DS didn't want a pair. All of them are cast on with Italian cast on. I changed each heel, so it would not be too boring. Now I have the "pleasure" to pair them up. I've started with DD's sock, that has to be done by the end of August, when she will return to University.

Mary Maxim Gemstone socks-singles-1

Of course it's hard to post without a doggy story. The other day, while I was taking Happy outside to pee, Biko thought she'd reclaim some space in the kitchen, which Happy took over with his arrival. The crate seemed to be as good a place as any in her mind. I have no idea how she could get in there AND TURN AROUND! This is a medium sized dog crate! As you can see I could not close the door if I wanted to. There was a rawhide bone in there as well, which normally does not interest her at all.

August 7 -Biko in too small a crate-1-fighting for a bone-still got the bone

So, when we came back inside, this is what we saw. She looked a little guilty, but also a little smug. They started to fight for the bone right away. Since she didn't care for it, she let Happy have it.

August 7 -Biko in too small a crate-1-fighting for a bone-no respect for the elders

But that was not good enough for him. He had to get into the crate with her, which made it a little claustrophobic for her. She just wanted to get out, but he was in the way. There was a lot of rumbling, and snarling, and yapping until they sorted it out, he was in the crate and she was out.

August 7 -Biko in too small a crate-1-fighting for a bone- 1.5 dogs in a crate
I don't think she's figured him out yet. I had to laugh hard the other day. She had this little game with Sam. When they were fed, she would start eating her food. Sam always was done first, very much like Happy now. She would walk out the kitchen with half her food left, turn around quickly and look back inside to her food bowl. If Sam would even look at it she would run like a fury, snarling and bareing teeth to shoo him away. Poor Sam didn't even glance in her direction anymore. She did that every time, it seemed she could not enjoy her food, without this game.

Now she tried this game several times with Happy but he refused to play along (like she was used to). As soon as she stepped away from the bowl, he hung his head in there gobbling up mouthfull of her food. No snarling could stop him now. She always looked at me in wonderment, whining in disbelief. She tried this several times now. I wonder when she'll understand that Happy is not Sam! He doesn't even wait sometimes for her to step away from her food bowl, he just sticks his head in there with hers until she really gets mad, then he backs off a little.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy's wading pool!

By the rate he's growing I have to post more pics. It's already almost a week later than when the pictures were taken. So much is happening every day.

Aug. 11-Happy's new wading pool-4
these pictures were taken right after a thunderstorm

On Tuesday Happy will be 12 weeks old. He's learning so fast. I finally got around to digging out the one puppy training book I liked, which we bought back in 2001, before we got Biko! It's from the Monks of New Skete, "The Art of Raising a Puppy". I told you I was still carrying him down the stairs. To my surprise I found out through the book, that he could have learned how to walk up and down the stairs weeks ago! That con man!!! As soon as I saw this, I grabbed him and went to the nearest staircase. He had no problem climbing them, but he was really scared to walk them back down. I clapped my hands enthusiastically telling him he can do it, and ever so carefully he reached out one paw, pulling it back again, whining, whimpering, and finally trying again. Needless to say he could do it, no problem. In the book the puppies were 7 weeks old, when they learned this, Happy was 11 weeks old. Con man, did I say that already?

Aug. 11-Happy's new wading pool-3

After a few days of having mastered the stairs, he's still cautious about it, but getting more comfortable each day.

Aug. 11-Happy's new wading pool-9

The photos today are about his wading pool. Since he started digging in the water bowls in the house (first with one paw, then with both) we thought a wading pool would be good for him. You can see for yourself, that he went in there by himself. He digs it! He's a water baby! Yeah. Photos are from August 11th. Since then we had him in the big pool as well, and he swam a short distance to the stairs, climbing out by himself. He's got good form, no panic. On a hot day like today, he likes to stand on the first stair in the pool better than his wading pool, because the pool water is really refreshing to say the least, and the wading pool water temp is more like soup.

Anyway here are two videos linsk of him in his wading pool, embedding does not work (again):

Happy 1 and Happy 2.

By the way, a few days ago I suddenly noticed a shift in our house. After a few weeks of puppy madness, there was suddenly calm in the air, which I didn't really notice at once. It just hit me a couple of days ago, that I could sit and spin for an hour without interruption, or do other stuff I like. I'm not exhausted to the point to just fall into bed each day, but am able to read again! How I missed reading. Happy stopped sleeping in his crate a couple of weeks ago. We have plastic crates and it was just too hot in it. He always started to pant heavily after a while, and when I let him out he ran to the water bowl, drank and dropped down right beside it to sleep there. The other change was, that Biko moved out. She moved back to David's room. She did not feel comfortable with Happy in the room, even if he was sleeping in the crate. So he's got the whole bedroom to himself . There are two dog pillows and one dog futon to chose as his bed. He likes to sleep on the towel next to the water bowl.
Long gone (well maybe not that long) are the nights were we had to take him outside every two hours. It's one time during the night now, which is O.K.

The other shift is from Biko towards him. She no longer jumps up and leaves the room, when he enters it. That's progress. Today, while she thought I was not looking, she was lying behind me on the floor, burring like a motor idling, while Happy was all over her, licking her ears, her mouth, and she was sniffing him up and down. Hehe, I saw that, girl!

Aug. 11-Happy's new wading pool-10

While he still gets into lots of trouble, there's been a routine to our days, which comes close to those days with Sam and Biko. Biko is helping with teaching him, even though she does not know it. He knows now what "lets go outside", lets go inside", let's go to bed" means, because he saw her respond to those phrases. I just LOVE it, when I say, lets go to bed, and he's the first to run up to the next floor, sitting and waiting at the right bedroom door, while Biko and I are just halfway up the stairs. He also learned "lets go for a walk", because he now joined us on short evening walks. More about those another time.

While he does not sleep in a crate anymore, he gets put into the one in the kitchen during the day to get used to it. He's pretty good now, so we can leave him home alone for a short while, which makes life easier for me.

BTW- since I'm sitting here with only one shoe, I have to mention this. He still loves my Birkis as his sleeping buddies. Whenever he gets whiny because he's tired I give him one shoe, he drags it to wherever he wants to ly down (during the day), chews them a couple of times, and falls asleep. They are worth every penny I paid for them. They are still mostly mine, still wearable. We both love them very much. :o)

So, that's what I see when I turn around. My shoe is under his head. Nice soft pillow.

Aug. 16 sleepy Happy-1

Hallo sleepy head! He heard Biko shifting in her crate, but kept on sleeping right away. I love sleeping dogs.

Aug. 16 sleepy Happy-2

O.K. enough for today. :o) By for now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Come back later if you are here for knitting ...

Yesterday we went to the Vet's for Happy's second vaccination, weighing and a general looksy.
Dr. Doug our regular Vet was not there, so we were supposed to get Dr. Jackie, who we don't know yet. Instead Dr. Nora saw us come in and snatched our appointment away from Dr. Jackie, just so she could have some time with Happy. She's heard of him, but not seen him. Well, he welcomed her, like an long lost old friend. I should start taking the camera to the Vet's too, but it's always really hectic there. First thing was standing on the scale, not really surprising he weighs a ton. Since I still have to carry him down the stairs, I can tell.
Aug. 8-13- weighing 19lbs

This little piggy is 11 weeks old today, and he weighs 19lbs (~ 8.7 kg). When we picked him up he was 6 1/2 weeks old and weighed 7.9lbs (~ 3.6 kg). Dr. Nora said he's on the tall and skinny side and we could feed him more. Everything else was fine, except he behaved like a maniac, no manners at all. He's the first dog who liked those healthy treats the Vet gives out, I'm afraid this one would eat anything. Biko and Sam always politely took the treats when offered, and spit them out descretely.
It's hard to play with a full belly like that!

Aug. 8-12

Happy little Happy tail.

Aug. 8-6

Biko wanted to play ball, but was not sure who would get it first.

Aug. 8-8

Wild crazy eyes before he ran off in a puppy run.

I'm gonna getch'ya!

I'm sure Biko was thinking ," What did I do to deserve this?"

What did I do to deserve this?

Still not far enough?

Not far enough.

Comming up next time are pictures of Happy and his new wading pool. It all started with digging in water bowls, flooding kitchen and hallway ...


Somehow I missed this picture yesterday and since he's growing fast, it should be in this post:

Look at me! How can you say such things about me?

Monday, August 10, 2009

German Twisted Stitch Socks

I thought that was a nice thing to do, for those of us, who could not go to Sock Summit. What am I talking about? Jody Pirrello offered up three free sock patterns for us sock crazies in this special issue of Knotions Magazine. Enjoy!

I've finished a pair of socks, no not recently, back in June. It's socks, but it should have been a pair of knee heighs. I did not have enough yarn for that. I only make one bell underneath the big design. The interesting thing though, is the Italian cast on. I like it! I've used it since several times. It looks neat, and it's strechier than the usual long tail cast on I use.

italian cast on-1 italian cast on-2 italian cast on-3

Here you can see how a wonderful knit knee heigh should look like. Her stitch definition is way better than mine.

Twist stitch socks finished-4

The yarn is a cheap one, but it's not nice to work with. It's splitty, and as I said, the stitch definition is not great.

Twist stitch socks finished-3

pattern: Schachenmayr nomotta, Inspiration Nr.32 # 4331
yarn:, Sock-It-To-Me in green, 2 balls each 50g
needles: 2.5mm
size: womens 10.25"
start-finish: May 19-June 16

This booklet has several other nice twisted stitch knee heigh patterns in it.

I'm a bit in a knitting funk, lost mojo maybe? All I want to do is spin. I've seen people have startitis all over the place, but I don't even want to cast on something new. Picked up my sweater and knit an inch or so, put it away again. I finished all the crochet squares a while ago, and just today I started assembling them, but not really feeling the love for it right now. On the other hand, I've printed out a gazillion new patterns, which I liked, to add to all those others already waiting forever to be knit.