Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank God it' s Monday!

I never thought I would say that, because I usually don't like Monday's. This past weekend was very exhausting for all of us. First because of the heat, it was 30C or more, with real feel 38C or 39C, and that's just too much to be comfortable.
Second we had lots to do in preparation of our sunroom being demolished this week, as well as changes in landscaping all around. The poolhouse is empty for maybe the first time in 20 years. It's almost coming down by itself, and there was stuff in there, from the first owners of the house.

On Friday, the boys were wrestling, and Denny bit Happy into his paw, Happy yelped and fell with his shoulder on Denny, who screamed, and was limping ever since. I tried to get an appointment on Saturday, but the Vet's were booked and said just to monitor him. He limped less yesterday, it's worse after he gets up from sleeping, and when he's on his feet it seems to be O.K. He sure ran around a lot for being a gimp yesterday.

Oh, here's a pic of him from early May:
May 12

What he does for a treat!

And so, that Happy gets in a shot too, here's my handsome boy + the little one peeking into the frame:
May 5
They were not fighting over that bone, well, maybe a little.

So, you thought it's all about the pups again! Wrong! I have finished the beaded mohair shawl! Hey, Ulrike these photos are for you! :o)

beaded mohair shawlette-modeled by Lola

I had only three balls of this yarn, sitting on my desk for maybe a year now.
Artyarns Beaded Mohair and Sequins, color # 2365, 80% silk with glass beads and squins, 20% mohair, 3 times 50g total  342yds

Artyarns Beaded Mohair and Sequins, color # 2365, 80% silk with glass beads and sequins, 20% mohair, 3 times 50g, total 342yds

It was a gift, and I wanted to do something special, but what to do with 342yds??? I've looked up the value of this yarn, and I found it online from $ 38 a skein, to $ 44! Wow -very precious yarn indeed.

beaded mohair shawlette-4

While I was knitting with it, which was a pleasure, once you got used to the beads and sequins, I thought this yarn would make a wonderful shrug, or bolero, or even a whole dress, or a skirt. It's the drape the knit fabric has, and the sparklies, of course. It's good for a shawl too.

beaded mohair shawlette-9

I wanted to use up ALL of it, with no left overs, and I did it. (I just cheated a little, by using some mohair glitter yarn, I also got at the same time, to bind off the shawl).

beaded mohair shawlette-7

I knit stockinette until the first ball ran out. I started the second ball, with a lovely star rib mesh stitch pattern, I really liked until I finished the second ball.

beaded mohair shawlette-10

Even though, I'm not a frilly, ruffles kind of girl, I wanted them on this shawl. The ruffles as you see them here took the last ball of yarn. As I mentioned before, I've got Artyarns Silk Mohair Glitter in the same color, but it's true lace weight, so I held it double to bind off the shawlette.

beaded mohair shawlette-5

I'm pretty pleased how it all turned out. Lola is modeling it, and she's a very petite dress form. For me it would be a triangular scarf, more than a shawl.
I liked the stitch pattern so much, that I started a scarf with the silk mohair glitter yarn, using it again.

So, here are the specifics again:
pattern: my own
yarn: Artyarns beaded Mohair & Sequins, color # 2965 (I could choose the color, and I love it)
needles: 4.5mm
start-finish: May 8 - May 11 (yeah, it went really fast)
I forgot to measure it after blocking, and now it's packed away.

Now it's back to packing. The house is starting to feel, and look empty, and there's still so much more to pack, all just because of the new floors! I hope they will be worth it!
Oh, and we have a hole in the ceiling of my craft/living room. Now they have to scrape the pop corn ceiling, so when they fix the hole, it will all look the same. One thing leads to another .....

PS the hole has been there for at least a couple of years. The bathtub upstairs was leaking and one day part of the ceiling (just a little part) was coming down on it's own. They fixed the leaking pretty fast, but the hole was never fixed.


O.K. I'm going now.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

more doggie pictures ...

I have to show these photos, before Denny is grown up! This was back in April. I was sitting on the sofa, both boys there with me, sleeping (well, them, not me). I had to get up to get the camera, without getting them to follow me, what is what usually happens. Happy did notice, but stayed put.

April 23-1

Denny only noticed when he heard the camera, and he also noticed that he was all alone on the sofa, or so he thought, and was fast to scoot over to snuggle with Happy.

April 23-2

And then they were both wide awake, and we all left the building, I mean room.

April 23-5

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Last Friday I got a surprise package from Dave. He sent me some gorgeous fiber, and two floating bones for the pups, for no other reason than to be nice. Thanks, Dave! :o)

Dave's gifts

from left to right:
1. Squoosh Fiberarts, MCN 80/10/10-Entrancement 2. SCF - 115g Falkland - Funhouse 3. Corgi Hill Farm - Merino/Silk/Yak/Baby Camel - Ruby Luxe - 3.4g

gift from Dave for the pups

The pups had to fight over the bigger of the two bones.
May 22-2
And the winner is:

May 22-3

There was also this gorgeous Wandering Cat Yarns skein in the mail for me! I helped out their niece with a fundraiser and as a Thank you, Rhonda and Valerie sent me this lovely yarn, which I could chose from their Etsy shop. Thank you, Ladies! :o) It will be a while for me to play with it though; it's gone into storage, with many other lovely yarns and fiber. :o(

Wandering Cat Yarns- Alley Cat-75sw merino 25 nylon-4-ply-400yds-Copper Penny

I always forget to mention the creep factor of Lola and Manni. I showed Manni (the head) to Happy, and he took off and hid under the table. Denny just sat there and looked at it, but did not breath, or move a muscle, or blink. Lola did nothing for Happy, he ignored her, but Denny barked his little head off, when he first saw her standing there. :o)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Happy!

Happy- 1 year old

My boy is one year old today!!! He's sweet, and cuddly, and I love him.


Monday, May 24, 2010


May 5

We all had an exciting Sunday. But let me tell you about Friday evening first. It was Denny's first puppy class. David took him. There were only 3 pups including Denny in it. Both 4 month old toy breeds, Denny is 3 month old now. The trainer kept calling him Bruno, of course she didn't get any reaction from either him or my son. There was no Bruno there.

Denny was the star of the class. The other two haven't even learned to sit yet. At first he would not stop barking his little head off. The trainer used a water spray bottle (on all of them) to quiet them down, but Denny likes water, he dives in the wading pool for toys, so it didn't stop him from barking. She got an empty bottle with coins in it, that shut him up after the third time she used it.

Once she got his name right, she used him to show what she meant for the other dogs (and their family), and he was the perfect puppy. After somebody asked about chewing, the trainer mentioned to use bitter apple, some bitter stuff you spray on, so the pups wont lick it. Well, David told her, that doesn't work with our dogs, they like it. She did not believe him, and got a bottle. She put some of it on her hand, and let the other two pups lick it, they licked once, and made a face. Before she let Denny lick her hand, she sprayed it so it was dripping wet. He happily licked it all off. Ha!
On the way home Denny "only" vomited twice. He doesn't seem to get used to car rides.

Since the pups didn't get to interact at all, this was quite useless. But I had a backup plan. As I've been searching for a good trainer, I came across this website: Bark Busters. I've seen a car around with advertisement on it for Bark Busters, as well as our Vet mentioned it last time we asked. As I understand this is a Franchise in many countries, so if you are looking for some GREAT advice on puppy (dog) training, that's the way to go. I'm SOOOOOOOO glad I booked an appointment with them. It was Friday, and they called back real quickly, and on Sunday, even though it was a long weekend, we had our appointment, which lasted a little over 3 hours. Yep, that's long, and we all wanted to nap after that, but only the pups got to do it.
I'm only sad that we didn't find out about them sooner, so that Biko and Sam could have benefited from it too.

This service comes with a lifetime guaranty (you only pay one time only), helping you whenever you need help with your pup. I highly recommend it, it's worth every penny. How can I say this after such a short time? The time she taught us how to do things right, within minutes the pups changed their behavior in front of your eyes. Of course, it's US who have to learn, and remember doing things right, the pups just react to us.

May 18

This was exactly what I was looking for, and have sought for such a long time!

We all went for a walk too, because of the pulling issue, and let me tell you, besides, Denny behaving like a pig to be slaughtered, it was so very pleasant, Happy walked heel the whole time, without pulling EVER. Since Denny is still a puppy, he got a head halter, and he struggled 3/4 of the walk, making noises nobody had heard before. I was very embarrassed, and I was glad that Tara (the trainer) was walking him. The last quarter of the walk he walked beside me, like a little angle, with his tongue handing out, but happy. (It was hot, hot, HOT, I wanted to pant too).

I never liked head halters, but this one was new to me, called ChampTM Walk Master made in the UK. He's only on this until he's about 6 month old, when his real heel training will begin. Boy did he fight it though. He does not like to be controlled!

Anyway, we've got a lot of work to do, but it was so encouraging right away. We did the COME in the back yard also, and heel off leash (only in the back yard) with Happy and as soon as he knew the rules, he was like a lamb. You could see the wheels turning in his head to figure things out.

I'm quite happy with this outcome. I don't think we'll be back for petsmart puppy classes, but we'll be back there for socializing, with the new knowledge we have now, it should be quite a pleasant experience for all of us.

I'm the water spray bottle sniper!

O.K. so the water spray bottle worked in the beginning, but now I don't need it anymore. I guess I'm retired as the water-spray-bottle sniper now.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Handspun Friday - Polwarth Fiber

I've finished HALF of my FatCatKnits Mixed Blessings Fiber Club Spring/Summer 2010 fiber. This first installment was Polwarth fiber, VERY nice to spin, and I love how it feels as yarn too. Polwarth fiber comes from a mixed breed, Saxon Merino and Lincoln, and is over a hundred years old. For me that says, it's almost as soft as Merino, but hopefully will hold up better with wear. Because - I made a sock out of my spun yarn. So lets hope I'm right!

FCK Mixed Blessing Fiber Club Spring/Summer 1st installment

I was drawn to the red colorway, but liked the purple colorway also after it was spun. As I said before I've only spun half of my 10 oz so far.
At first I thought I was going to do a cabled yarn again. Make a 2-ply with each colorway and cable those together. While I was spinning the singles however, I remembered something Dave, a fellow spinner and knitter showed us in FatCatKnits forum some time ago.
He made lovely yarn, navajo plied, with TWO strands held together. He was very patient with me, asking again, and again, how it's done.

This is also my first spun and finished yarn after Denny arrived on the scene. Part of the spinning time he slept beside me on the sofa, once both of them slept beside me on the sofa. Yep! Nice!

1st sock done, need to spin for the second one

Anyway, I finished the purple singles second, and was so eager to give this plying method a try, that I let it sit only over night. It started out very well, and I thought, oh wow, that's not so hard, but soon I was entangled in a big mess. The purple singles had so much life in them, and of course so much twist, I had to break it off.

You see the small finished skein, up in the mosaic, that's the "4-ply", navajo plied yarn with 2 strands held together. It's not much, but I got the idea, and I will definitely try this again, with well aged singles.

So, I could still make the cabled yarn, but I didn't want to any more. I navajo plied the singles, and I was glad, because I liked both finished yarns in the skein very much, again the red a little more than the purple.

As you can see in the fiber, the red colorway has some colors which are the same as the purple colorway. This told me, that if used together there was not much contrast. I wanted to know for sure, and cast on for another Burning stripes sock right away. Well, no surprise there. You can hardly see stripes, you'll have to look very carefully were one colorway ends, and the other begins.

FCK MB S-S-2010-purple and red colorway - half of fiber-sock 1-3

I've knit each colorway for four rounds. The contrasting stripe in the back is not very much contrasting at all. I knit the heel flap and heel turn with the red colorway only, as well as the toes.

FCK MB S-S-2010-purple and red colorway - half of fiber-sock 1-4

I think I would have liked to use the red colorway on its own very much. Oh well, too late now.
Now that the first sock is finished, I need to spin the yarn for the second sock. How long is that going to take me?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MY boys!

May 1-27
Hi boys!

I've got so many photos to share, because the boys are always so cute, or so wild and I take a lot of photos. Not so much outside, because everything goes so fast. and I have my hands full. Anyway.

May 1-25

We got Denny for my son, and it looked like they hit it off the first few days, but as time went by it was clear, that Denny had adopted me as HIS person. So now I'm walking around with TWO shadows. This is lovely, and this is exhausting, and sad for my son. I really didn't want another dog, I had Happy. This might have been one of the reason why I freaked out a few weeks ago, but recently I've come to accept it, and everything goes a little smoother now.

May 1-22

Well, that and consistent behavior on our part, to bring routine in our life again, where both pups are comfortable, as well as us!

May 1-20

I used to read a LOT before I took up knitting etc. again. 3-5 books a week. When we got Denny one book popped into my mind "The 5th Child" by Doris Lessing. I've read that book over a decade ago, and it was a big surprise for me that I would remember it. Well, I thought Denny reminded me of this 5th child.

We called him Gremlin, little monster, and what not, and today it's Baby, Denny boy, or Dennis the Menace when he's bad. I also call him Mr. Wiggles in the morning, when he wiggles so hard, to greet me, that he could easily kiss his own butt, if he were so inclined.

May 1-17

I know it's a lot about Denny these days, but believe me, Happy is always right beside him and me, not always being the shy and good one, but I would say they start their fights 50/50 of the time. Happy is at the moment totally going backwards with everything, learning from Denny instead of the other way around, and he's obviously enjoying being a puppy a second time around. How many get the chance to do that?

I've never used so much paper kitchen towels in my life as in the last two month! Not only do we clean up Denny's messes, which thankfully get fewer by the days, but also to dry the dogs off, when they come inside wet. It's better than my old towels! And, like Happy did, Denny loves to splash in the water bowl, but he pushes it until it splashes over,and then he licks the water on the floor, while Happy dug like crazy with the same wet effect.

Today you'll see those two, not being cute, but having one of their fights. Don't worry, Happy just looks fearsome with his wonderful white teeth, but Denny is just laughing at him, not taking him seriously at all.

Yesterday I made brussel sprouts after Cindy's recipe (which was very good). I did give each dog ONE brussel sprout, and how did they thank me? They made my eyes tear up, but not in a good way. Oh boys!

And never before have I needed so many treats! If I give one to one boy, the other one wants one too, and of course nothing is free, so I have to ask both every time to do something for me to get one. I think raising these two is a full time job. :o)

May 1-13

Oh, don't give me that look! You can't fool me! :o)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lola and Manni

This is Lola. She moved in today and agreed to model some knit items in the future.

Lola modeling Frozen Leaves shawl
Surprisingly you can see the beads clearly in this shot (well if you click on it etc.)

And this creepy head came with Lola. I call him Manni. He'll be the hat model from now on.

this is Manni, a creepy head-2

That's all for now.


Frozen Leaves shawl

Frozen Leaves shawl finished

This is shawl # 5 for the 10shawls2010 challenge. I screwed up royally with that one!

Frozen Leaves shawl finished

Do you wonder why chart B is almost none existent in my version? Of course you do! I thought it didn't work, and tried to fudge along, until I had to stop right there, before I screwed it up even more. Tinking back was not an option for me, since there were beads involved, and of course there was no lifeline, there never is! So I just stopped and started with chart C. There's nothing wrong with chart B, it was just me!

Frozen Leaves shawl finished
This is not the actual color, but you can at least see the beads a little.

I liked this shawl design right away. It's lovely and delicate, and a free pattern from Anusla. Others have worked her pattern over, so it would be easier to understand (well that didn't work for me), and they did a great job!

The one thing I did not like was, that they said to knit the last purl row with double strand, and so I cast off with double strand too. I don't like how it looks, but by then I didn't care anymore. This was supposed to be a master piece, since I used BEADS for the FIRST time!

Can you see them in the above picture? I put three beads on each leave tip starting row 5 of the 9 leave rows I did. I quite like them. I would use beads againa, but sparingly, because it's quite the hold up using them. The weight of the beads gives the shawl a nice drape, even the few I used. I bought them at Michaels, and about half of the beads in the box were damaged, differnt size, hole too small etc.

Frozen Leaves shawl finished
This shows NOT the actual color either, but I liked the shot anyway.

Frozen Leaves shawl finished

here are the specs:
pattern: Frozen Leaves by Anusla
yarn: Posh yarn Camilla (discontinued), 2-ply lace yarn, cashmere, colorway Memories. This yarn was very splitty, but it's so soft, that I didn't care.
needle: 3mm, I wanted a better stitch definition with the leaves, that's why I used smaller needles
beads: size 6/0 glass beads, attached with hook # 12
size after blocking: 27" x 50", I did NOT block the heck out of it
start-finish: April 25 - May 6, 2010

I could see me doing this one again, but next time with chart B right, with or without beads. I loved knitting it though, mistakes and all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dog Behaviour Specialist

April 27-Happy & Denny taking a nap-2
Denny in the middle of a yawn.

Today we had Nathan Penny at our house, with a student of his.

After I had concerns about Denny's behavior from the very beginning, I booked an appointment with him, but I had to wait a few weeks, and a few weeks can be a very long time in the life of a puppy. In the meantime we did not just twiddle our thumbs, but looked for advice left and right, and picked and chose what we thought best. As it turned out WE did everything right so far, and I'm releaved.
Yesterday, it suddenly dawned on me, that Denny has gotten so much better. No longer is he crying after me like an insane pup, when I leave the room, and he has to stay behind. Maybe a little from time to time, but he quiets down quickly now. Same goes for when I'm coming back.

May 12 - Denny really likes this basket

Of course, Denny showed himself from his best side, had the student Lady wrapped around his little paw in now time. I think at first, they didn't believe us, when we told them how he could be. No matter what we did, he would not make a peep, was quiet left alone in the kitchen, didn't growl when picked up, he just didn't show his evil twin.
Meanwhile Happy was a little prince, and since they ignored him, he was quite comfortable and didn't seem too shy, and not at all as pushy as Denny, who was lying on his back on the sofa next to the student Lady, getting his belly rubbed, and grunting with pure pleasure.

So, after talking a lot, and writing (on their part), we went outside to see if we could get out the evil side of him. He chased Happy as usual, but a lot less aggressive, and not as much pinching, and yapping, it looked just funny (I'm sure not for Happy though).

I picked him up, and nothing. I had to stuff something in his mouth, and then pretend to want to get it out of his mouth, to finally get a low growl out of him. Finally! Not that I'm happy that he does it, but we had proof!

Definitely has some issues, was what N.P. said. I was almost relieved to hear that growl. So, his diagnosis is: arousal related behavior, possessive aggression.

While this is Denny's personality, we can do something about it, and I'm glad we noticed and started right away, not waiting for something to happen first.

Next big course of action is to get him socialist with other dogs. He's too young for the dog park, and I really don't want to go there anymore. It's too small, too dirty, and overrun.
All the dog owners in our neighborhood don't want to stop and say Hello, just want to get their walk over as quickly as possible. Going to petsmart does not always produce dogs there either, out of the four times we went, only once was there another dog.

Maybe we should hang a sign around our neck that says, "Please play with my dog!" or something like that.

The funny thing though was, the treatment N.P. suggested, we already started doing that, and it obviously works. But it's a lot of extra work. And it's a really simple thing: he does something he's not supposed to do, and you want him to do something else, tell him to do something else, not just what he shouldn't be doing.
BTW- I always thought Bitter Apple does not work, turns out it only works when wet. So if you spray something with it, and the dog comes by much later, he wont taste it and still chews your stuff. Hm, that I didn't know.

Meanwhile, Happy is being an annoying teenager. He's almost one year now, and all the things he did fine, and listened well, he seems to have forgotten, or just plain wont do it. On the other hand, every annoying thing Denny does, he copies very quickly.

Another goal for us is to hopefully, find a VERY good trainer, we want to work with. It's different when somebody helps you with certain things. I need somebody there, preferably a group ,to be able to socialize the pups at the same time. There are trainers who would come to your house, but that's not what I want or need. Keep your fingers crossed for us, that N.P. will point us in the right direction with somebody he knows. We will still go to petsmart's puppy class Denny is signed up for.
And here's my little Dopey: Happy being happy about sunshine and playtime.
May 12 - Happy

It's still mostly a knitting blog, if you have your doubts. I'm working on a Mohair Glitter scarf, with some yarn I was given. It's slow going. I'm making it up as I go. Coincidentally I got a new book, "Crazy Lace" by Myra Wood, it's not as crazy as it sounds. It's just encouraging you to have fun knitting, with or without patterns. There are no patterns in this book, but many beautiful photos of wonderful knitted lace.
Mohair Glitter Scarf

Sorry about this dark photo. I took it last night, while reading the book, and stitching away with cobweb yarn on large needles, nothing I'm used to for sure.

Ooops, sorry, should have been Handspun Friday today, but this has to wait until next week.

Have a wonderful weekend you all! It's sunny and wonderful outside, even though the forecast tells me that it's raining here. He! Way off.
The pups are still sleeping, but who knows for how much longer?

In any case, I'm releaved, and not as worried, and I know we are doing all we can, and we are doing it right.

PS No ear biting in our house! ;o)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Brandywine finished

This is shawl # 4 for 10shawls2010. I would not say shawl, more like a kerchief, 0r triangular scarf.

Brandywine finished
I liked the design which is by Rosemary Hill, but I have to say, I did not like knitting it. I could not get it done quickly enough. Only once before had I the same feeling about knitting a shawl and that was the Flower Basket shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.
Brandywine finished

Don't ask me why, since I don't know myself. I used some Sockpixie yarn I bought some time ago, cast on with it several times, and nothing I did with it seemed right. I didn't like it with this shawl at first either, but when it was blocked and all done, I liked the colors.

Brandywine finished

here are the specs:

pattern: Brandywine by Rosemary Hill
yarn: Sockpixie BFL sock yarn, colorway "Lady in Aqua room", 450yds
needle: 4mm
size after blocking: 25" x 47"
start-finish: Feb. 28 - April 25 (did many other things in between, like knitting socks, and other shawls)

Brandywine finished
I used 324yds of the yarn, and could not bring myself to eek out another repeat. I did the 15 repeats asked for in the pattern, and could not get to the bind off fast enough. I LOVED the reverse stockinett I-cord bind off. It looks really good as finish.

I've seen really beautiful examples of this shawl on ravelry, but I don't' think I'll ever knit this shawl again.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

of dogs and laundry baskets ..

Yesterday was an exiting day for the pups. We had workers here, measuring stuff to replace all the windows and doors in our house. They hustled and bustled around for a long time.
The pups and I waited it out in my office room, and all three of us could not wait to get out of there asap in the end. They got to great the workers before they left. Since they went in and out of the house, leaving the doors open both the pups stayed in their crates for a while, both howling deep and low, and high pitched until my ears started bleeding. Lots of treats were eaten, bones chewed, and I shared my Perrier water with them, which made them sneeze.
After they left, Happy got to go on a car ride (better than nothing), and Denny collapsed into one of my laundry baskets. He's getting too big for it! He really does need a lot of sleep during the day still.

May 10-sleeping in the laundry basket-2

I also had a wonderful mail day yesterday. Susan of Dog Lover's Yarn, sent me this hand carded fluffy batts! She wants to get me on the batt lovers side, since I keep saying I don't like spinning batts. She dyed BFL fiber, and carded it with some Firestar. Aren't those batts beautiful? They look extremely well carded, and I can't wait to spin them. First I want to finish the FatCatKnits fiber club fiber, which is half done. So exciting!

Zivec Designs-grift from Susan-125g-BFL with Firestar

I had to wrestle this shawl free twice, of Denny's teeth. While I was knitting on it, he jumped up and grabbed it and to my surprise there are no more holes in it, then before! I'm almost done with it, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse, since some of you were wondering what it will be or look like. Can't you just see it in its beauty? No? Soon ....
beaded mohair shawlette may 10

I don't have addi lace needles in 4.5mm, so I use old ones, which have blunt tips. What a pain to knit lace with these! But more on that when it's done, and blocked, and photographed.

I better get back to packing up our stuff. I really hate that, packing up stuff, and not really moving! But after the windows and doors, there will be new floors as well. I don't know how I will survive all this ...


PS I'm working on replying to my emails, it's slow going, but I'm getting there!