on the needles

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mitered Square Quadrant Blanket

This is a small preview of some of what I knit during the "summer of chaos" kitchen renovations. I needed something simple but fun to keep myself sane. Thank goodness for the mitered square!

I cast on about 250 stitches and started knitting. The blanket is made up of four huge squares, each about 30" x 30".

I used a yarn I discovered online last year called Jojoland Rhythm. It has very long repeats of color which I thought would make nice looking squares. This one is for my nephew Benson.

Now for the seaming!


Update From The Ark (Long)

Well, I don't have two of everything- even though it feels like that with all these animals around here sometimes!

First, the bad news. This summer I lost two of my finches, Fawkes, who was a yellow backed male gouldian, and Minerva, the mother of most of the chicks you have seen grow up on this blog. That really sucked!!

I also sold almost all of the Society Finches. I only kept the original couple I had and one of their babies that was born with a twisted foot. I wanted to keep him to make sure he was going to be looked after. Sometimes a flock will pick on a bird with a handicap but so far he seems to be getting along just fine.

So the flock is down to manageable proportions again. Thank goodness! I'll probably slowly sell off about half of those I have left. I want to just keep about six to eight birds total. I don't think I will raise any babies this year either. It's just too much work for me to keep up with right now. Keep reading and you'll see why!

I also lost Marilyn, my beautiful white Angel Fish. Both of our tanks were suddenly hit with weird sicknesses. We managed to put the Discus tank to rights but couldn't cure Maryiln. Diana, the golden Angel Fish, is showing some worrying signs now too. We are treating the tank again but with fish (as with the finches) there seems to be only so much you can do. :(

I try not to get too upset when I lose any of the "little guys", but I do feel distressed. Not like I would if I lost one of the dogs, but you know what I mean. I consider the birds and the fish to be some of the wonderful "bonuses" of life, like the wind in the trees or a beautiful clear night sky. Just a small nugget of gorgeousness that makes me stop and think about how great life is and how lucky I am.

Now for the good news.

Actually just some cute photos. :)

Libby has lost all the weight she needed to and is thriving. She desperately wishes she was a lap dog though. Hubby took this photo of Libby trying to climb onto my lap the other day.

You haven't been kissed until you have been kissed by a mastiff. :)

Luca is his charming, sweet self as usual. Here he is with his most favorite toy in the whole world - a stuffed lobster.

He carries it around smiling and wagging his tail. Never chews it or anything, just loves it. The lobster makes a strange burbling noise when it gets squeezed and occasionally Luca sets it off while he is cuddling with it in the dog basket and it scares the bejezus out of us every time.

And lastly, I haven't blogged about this yet, but about a month after we adopted Libby, we adopted two more dogs! (Why yes, we are crazy.) Two little English Toy Spaniel girls joined our family. Both are retired breeder dogs just like Libby was.

This is Sarah, in the basket with Henry and Luca. She is turning three next week. Sarah is a total sweetheart - the kids ADORE her.

And this is Clementine. She prefers to sleep on the couch. :) Clemmie is five years old. She's a bit of a diva.

(Ten points to anyone who can guess why I named them Clementine and Sarah.) :)

They have both settled in and now our dog/animal family is complete. Seriously - no more animals for us!!

Well - that's the update from the Ark.

Sorry for the long post. I couldn't knit tonight because we took the futon couch out of our sitting room - my knitting spot. Our new couch will be delivered tomorrow. Yay! That futon was major uncomfortable. I just hope the new couch has good knitting mojo. :)

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Total Dork - That's Me!

Ok - hands up everyone who thinks the picture I used for my Ravelry avatar is really dorky.

Seriously! It was the only recent picture of myself I could find. Hubbs said I should just use an older photo but in my brain I thought that would be like false advertising. You know, because I used to be younger, and skinnier and had shorter hair. :) And if I used a really old photo of myself - pre-kids - then I would look well rested too.

But I don't really look like the avatar picture either. I was knitting when Hubbs took the picture I used, so I was wearing my reading/knitting glasses. I don't usually wear glasses. Not that there's anything wrong with glasses or anything, I kinda like mine, but I don't usually wear them.

Plus I think I just look like a big dork. I totally am a dork, I wish I didn't look like one. :) It's probably the big cheesy smile. Doesn't everyone complain about the way they look when they smile?

Anyhoo...I'm thinking about changing my avatar for the above reasons and using the little picture of Anastasia knitting that is in my blog banner. I think most people who read this blog would identify me on Ravelry more easily that way.

Plus it kind of wiggs me out when I am cruising around Ravelry looking at patterns or something and all of a sudden - eeeeekkkk! - there's my own big smiley head lookin' right at me. For some reason I find that to be....not creepy exactly, just unsettling I guess. I don't like running into myself when I'm not expecting it. ;)

Ok - I know you are all rolling your eyes at what a weirdo I am - but if you didn't already have that figured out then I don't know what to tell you! ;)

So feel free to tell me if you think the picture is dorky and if I should change it to my banner picture.


Friday, September 07, 2007


I've joined two new KALs: the Knitting Elegance KAL which is devoted to Japanese Knitting patterns, and Knitting Japanese which is a Yahoo group. (See my sidebar.)

If you are a bit adventurous, like knitting from charts and schematics then you might want to check out the knitting and crocheting books from Japan. Crafting of all types is HUGE in Japan and there are tons of great books coming out all the time. The books tend to have such good illustrations and charts that you really don't need to read Japanese in order to work from them. Needle Arts has many of these books.

Of course when I added these two new knitalongs I thought to myself - gee, I sure do have a list going there and...hmmmm....I'm not actually knitting any of these projects. I usually join KALs knowing that I won't get around to actually knitting the item for quite awhile - but I will eventually so I really am interested in everyone else's progress and hoping to pick up tips and inspiration etc. I guess I consider myself to be the support and cheering section in a KAL rather than a participant.


On The Needles: Now With 100% More Knitting!!

I guess I sort of accidentally knit a stealth project. Just never had time to blog it - what with the kitchen and all. But now the kids are back in school, so the knitting? It is ON!

I finished up this sweet little Vestee for my sister's baby (due this December).

Color is sort of washed out on that pic - here's a close up:

The Stats:
The Pattern: Vestee from Knitty
Yarn: Zitron Life Style 4 skeins
Needles: Addi Lace Circs size 4
Time to Knit: A few days
What I Learned: I can do anything! Really, it's amazing what knitting one sweater the Elizabeth Zimmerman way can do for your knitting confidence. I found this yarn, liked it and decided to use it. I didn't even care that it wasn't the weight of yarn called for in the pattern. Just said to myself - I'll just "unvent" the pattern. Easy to do since it provides a schematic. Swatched to find my gauge, reworked the numbers, and Presto! - I had a baby sweater. Whew! The knitting freedom makes me almost giddy!

Now I am knitting another one - this time in blues and greys and with short sleeves. I'm already on the collar. Man - baby stuff is fast!


Please Take a Minute....

I'll have a "real" blog update soon - don't worry, I haven't abandoned my blog for Ravelry. :) Although I have been having fun over there... What a great way to fulfill my compulsive need for organization! (Too bad that need doesn't extend to housework or anything...)

Anyhow, I just read this post over at Diane's blog Britknitter and it disturbed me so much that I wanted to post it over here as well. This is the original story:

Officer Accused After K-9 Dies In Hot Car

PHOENIX -- Authorities arrested a Chandler police officer Wednesday in the death of a police dog that was left in a hot patrol car for more than 12 hours, KPHO-TV in Phoenix reported.

Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy was booked into Maricopa County jail in Phoenix on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty after a two-week investigation into the death of 5-year-old Belgian Malinois "Bandit."

Lovejoy was released later Wednesday, said Capt. Paul Chagolla, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Lovejoy said because of pending legal action, he had no comment.

"I am certain Sgt. Lovejoy has suffered greatly from leaving his police dog in a sweltering car," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a news conference.

"I do not relish the idea of compounding his sadness. However, Lovejoy must be treated like anyone else in similar circumstances," Arpaio said.

The sheriff's investigation showed Bandit was in Lovejoy's patrol car from about 9 a.m. to a little after 10 p.m. on Aug. 11.

The high temperature in Phoenix that day was 109 degrees.

During that time, the investigation found that Lovejoy ran errands for his wife, napped for a short time and later ate out with his wife. Lovejoy later found the dead dog in the car.

"As a Department, we respect and support the criminal justice systems and processes in place," Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler said in a statement.

"We remain saddened by the loss of K-9 Bandit. At this time, our internal investigation is continuing, and further comment by our department would be inappropriate until the completion of this process," Kiyler said.

Lovejoy faces up to six months in jail or up to $2,500 in fines.

He remains on desk duty with the Chandler Police Department pending an internal investigation.

Now - I am a former resident of Arizona - so this story really has added outrage for me. Anyone who has spent any time in AZ knows that the desert sun is deadly. To leave an animal in a car in AZ is more than just neglect or stupidity.

I hope you guys will take a minute to go here and lodge a complaint against Officer Lovejoy. That poor dog died a horrible death and this man's culpability needs to be firmly acknowledged.