Thursday, October 30, 2008

Adventures in Dyeing Sock Yarn Blanks, Part 2

and Dogs on Thursday!

As promised in my last post, here is a shot of the handy-dandy yarn dryer thinga-ma-bob that dad made for me a few years ago.

Cool, eh? I saw one like it at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, came home and sketched it out, and viola! I had one of my very own! I'm telling you, I have the best dad in the world. Remember the sock yarn wall unit? How about the table that he put wheels on for my craft nook? I wish everyone could have parents like mine - the world would be a much better place. But I's a side view:

Hmmm, what's that on the corner there? Here's a close-up.Those dowels have been messed with, too.

Cooper. Cooper? COOPER! Where is that naughty boy?

A very apologetic Cooper says "Happy Dogs on Thursday".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in Dyeing Sock Yarn Blanks, Part 1

Yesterday, the Third Star Fiber Guild had a dyeing workshop at one of the members' houses. I thought it would be cancelled, due to the fact that the hostess took a tumble down her basement stairs and broke three ribs (and a toe), but no. PattyAnn insisted on carrying on with business as usual. Ouch, ouch, ouch. If anyone has a minute, head on over to her blog and send some rib-healing-vibes her way.

Here is a shot of some of the ladies dyeing the sock yarn blanks. Busy, busy, busy.

Viola - the first one out of the steamer bath!

A shot of about half of the sock yarn blanks. Some had already gone home, and mine was still in the steamer bath.

Here is a shot of mine. It was supposed to be red, white & blue, but the blue dye ran as I was rinsing it. Oh well - it's all good. I just soaked it in vinegar & water to "set" the dye, so hopefully it won't bleed any more. Just in case, I'll probably keep the socks made from this yarn for myself. I don't really want to give the gift of blue feet.

You're supposed to be able to knit two socks at a time from the dyed fabric. I'm not so sure about knitting with yarn that looks like those crinkly Chinese noodles, so I separated the two strands and wound them on a swift.
I'm going to soak the skeins and then hang them out to dry on a really handy-dandy yarn dryer thinga-ma-bob that dad made for me a few years ago. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dogs on Thursday

Happy Dogs on Thursday everyone! This week's special guest is "Rhubarb", one handsome gentleman currently living the good life at Tabby's Place. Long-time readers might remember that my lovely niece Jen works there. Tabby's Place is a wonderful facility. "Young or old, sick or healthy: A cage-free sanctuary for cats rescued from hopeless situations." It's truly a very special place, full of loving caregivers.

Now, I know that Tabby's Place cares for cats, and this is a "DOGS on Thursday" post, but I ask you, isn't this cat big enough to be a dog?
Even though Tabby's Place is a cage-free sanctuary, they do have cages in their quarantine room, and all incoming cats go into quarantine for their safety and the safety of the rest of the population. These pictures were take shortly after Rhubarb arrived. Can't really tell how big he is? Let me zoom out a little:

I'm telling you, Rhubarb is the biggest cat I have ever seen. He's huge. Giant. Enormous! Take a look at this paw:

He's a sweet tempered boy, with... shall we say... digestive issues. I don't want to be indelicate, or go into too much detail (do HIPAA privacy laws protect cats too?), but his owner was unable to, um, care for his special needs. I didn't ask too many questions. You can read more about him here. Anyway, this ginormous boy is available for adoption. Anyone up for routine shaving of Rhubarb's posterior?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wow - Somebody Likes My Blog!

I'm so flattered! (Not-so) Cynical Knitting Gal gifted me with the I Love Your Blog award! Thanks a bunch, Not-so CKG--I love your blog, too! Along with the award, there are some rules I must follow.

Here they are:

1. Please put the award on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. You must nominate 4 fellow bloggers for this award.
4. Add links to the recipients.
5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

Well, there are lots of blogs that I love. Just take a look at the sidebar under "Blogs I'm Following". If I had to pick just four, I would probably go with...

1. Chan Knits - She is an awesome doggy mom, and even though she is busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger, she manages to post to her blog pretty much every day. She has gone through some pretty rough stuff this past year or so, but instead of collapsing into a puddle of mush, she soldiers on, always looking for some way to brighten someone else's day.

2. Nichole - Another fabulous doggy mom. She has four sweet babes, and a couple of them are from fosters she couldn't give up! Hey, anyone who can even consider taking in a dog and loving it, all the while knowing that you have to give that dog up to a forever home...I just couldn't do it.

3. Donna Lee - Yet another great mom, this time to the two-legged variety of beings. She is a thoughtful, caring person who has a really rough job in the mental health field, and the clients she works with are so very lucky to have her as an advocate.

4. Silfert - Another super mom to a two-legged being. She is enormously talented, funny, and busy, busy, busy! I don't know how she keeps it all together.

So, there you have it. Really, though, you could go to any of the blogs under "Blogs I'm Following" and they all deserve this award!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Confession Time

After this post from last week, Silfert from the Music, Knits and Cookies commented :

"Wait... you mean, things can be FINISHED?! Before starting OTHER things?!"
In the beginning I basked in the glory of Silfert's praise. Ahh, that felt good. Until I realized that I don't deserve it. Not even a little bit. So, it's time to come clean.

Me: Hello, my name is Dianne and I'm a cast-on-aholic.
You: Hello, Dianne.
Me: It's been four hours since I last cast on a project.

Ahh, that felt good. I hereby resolve to finish one thing before casting on any other projects. You all can help keep me in line, right? Great. I will finish one of the items below, and post it here as photographic evidence, before casting on any more projects.

I will either finish this Hearts and Stars blanket,

or finally, finally sew these pieces into a sweater,

or this market bag,

or finish this sock,
or this sock,
or this sock,

or this sock,

or this sock-yarn blanket.

Wait, who am I kidding about that sock yarn blanket. That sucker's never gonna get finished!

Or, I could finish one of the two pair of slippers that I cast on after I took these pictures yesterday. I bad!

Anywhoooo, on a totally unrelated note, does anyone thing this photo can pass as a finished sock?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dogs on Thursday

This afternoon at work, I was slogging through err, cataloguing a donation of research materials to the Museum's library. I decided I needed to take a walk or I would just...I don't know, either fall asleep from boredom or collapse into tears. It isn't ordinary research material, it's all about gla$$ ca$ket$. (Intentionally misspelled - I don't want hits on my blog from people googling these things.) Yep, you read that right. Those things, all sizes - made from glass. Some people may look at them as extraordinary feats of engineering, or a get-rich-quick scam from the early part of the 1900s, but I just think the whole subject is creepy. I can't tell you how tired I am of seeing pictures of the freakin' things. Seriously - what a thing to collect...

But I digress. Another reason I wanted to go for a walk this afternoon was to visit with Flynn. You might remember from this post that Flynny is our unofficial mascot here at work, and was diagnosed with bone cancer earlier this year.

Flynn and his daddy out for a stroll.

Flynn saying "I might not walk as fast as I used to, but I can still chew sticks!"

I was talking with his mom the other day, and she thinks Flynn's time is getting near. He is such a sweet boy, and so very young (only 6 years old). He comes to work with his daddy and spends every day hanging out in the pottery studio. I feel so bad for them, but know that there is nothing that anyone can do or say to take this hurt away from them. They have a vet appointment tomorrow evening. If anyone has a moment, could you send some good vibes their way? I'm not sure if it is Flynn's time to cross over the Rainbow Bridge or not, and Flynn's mommy and daddy have never had to make this decision before. They will need all the strength they can muster.

update 10-20-2008: Sweet Flynn is now running and jumping, pain-free, on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Goodbye Mr. Flynny McFlynnigan. When you see my beloved girls, give them kisses from their mommy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Socks, socks, and more socks.

I'm happy to report that in addition to getting my car registration yesterday, I also took advantage of a sunny spot on the back boardwalk to snap some pictures of recent finished objects. Here are some socks....

and some more socks....

and some more socks...

and some more socks. No wait - this isn't a sock...

I have actually knit something other than a sock! It's a sweater for a baby shower...that I won't be going to. Actually it's a virtual baby shower that the oh-so-thoughtful Chan is organizing for an expectant momma in the Multitasking 9-5 Group on Ravelry. (Gotta love Ravelry!) See, I can diversify my knitting on occasion!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Very Naughty Dogs on Thursday!

Does everyone remember this scene from a few weeks ago?

You can all be assured that Cooper was appropriately punished after this act of vandalism. He was talked to in a very firm manor. Well, maybe "firm" isn't the correct term. Truth be told, it wasn't really a "talking to" either. I just asked him how he would feel if I chewed up one of his things, and then gave him kisses and hugs and scratches behind the ears. He promised that nothing like this would happen ever again.

I neglected to ask him what his definition of the term "ever again" is. Turns out, "ever again" is just a period of a couple of weeks. Look at his handiwork from this week:

Such a naughty little boy! Of course I scolded him right away. Either that, or I ran to get the camera so I could get a shot of the destruction for this week's Dogs on Thursday.

Before you judge me, just take a look at this sweet little face....

...and tell me you could scold him! My father has always said it's a good thing I never had kids...they would never be disciplined, and they'd be the brattiest kids on the block!

I have this afternoon off work to get a couple of things done, so instead of blogging I really should be getting stuff done. Ordinary stuff like laundry and going to the dump and taking pictures of finished socks and baby sweaters and, oh, yeah, getting my new car registration so I'll be driving legally again. Yup, I've been breaking the law. Ooops. In my defense, I've had to spend a LOT of time lately disciplining Cooper... No, I guess that excuse isn't going to work, is it?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Yesterday my sister and I went to the Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival in Ringoes, NJ. It's nothing like the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, but it was a very nice little event. The weather was nice, and the sheep were friendly. While we didn't exactly see lions and tigers and bears (oh, my!), we did see lots of other critters who graciously let us humans take their extra "fluff" and spin it into yarn.

Just look at the mug on this Baby Face sheep. So cute!

While Jakob Sheep don't fall into the "cute" category, they do have some impressive horns!
Oh, and the alpacas - don't get me started on the alpacas. If I won the lottery, I would buy a farm just so I could have a herd of these cuties!

While I wouldn't need a farm for a "herd" of bunnies, I would need a dog-free home. Emma just hates bunnies with a white-hot passion. I'm afraid she would look past the funny face (and expensive price tag) on this little bunny and just consider him a "snack"!

Seriously, though, isn't he the sweetest thing? Those ears just kill me! He let me touch him, and he was soooo soft. It was like touching a cloud.

Emma says "Mmmmm, cotton candy!"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hey - that guy looks familiar...

I'll bet you're thinking this guy...

is really this guy, but he isn't - it's his brother. Yes, this is one of the other Taylor siblings - Livingston Taylor! Uncanny, isn't it? I've seen Livingston Taylor several times over the years, and have enjoyed his style, his singing, his humor, each and every time. He was at a local arts organization last night, and the show was great. If you get a chance to see him, do it!

P.S. Sorry for the fuzzy picture - I didn't want to blind him with my flash, and this is the best shot of the hundred or so several that I took.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tara on Thursday

Since this is the first Dogs on Thursday in October, and October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month....'s DOT post is all about Tara! Just look how excited she is!

Maybe she doesn't look all that excited, but she is, trust me. She just hides it well.

Tara came to BritKnitterville on St. Patrick's Day in 2005. I had back surgery in January of that year, and while I was at home recuperating, I found Tara at the American Brittany Rescue website. She was found wandering the streets in a small town in Arkansas, and some kind soul took her to a local shelter. The folks at the shelter contacted American Brittany Rescue, and an ABR foster mom took Tara into her home to love her, care for her, get her healthy, and then place her in a forever home. (I have the greatest respect for foster moms and dads--I just know I would never be able to part with any dog that I fostered.)

Anyway, I contact ABR here in New Jersey, and they sent one of their volunteers out to do a site visit. We passed the test with flying colors, except for one area - the dreaded DISCIPLINE. On the paperwork, that area was under the "needs improvement" category, and the comment they wrote was "Lovingly applied, not enforced." I think that was a very tactful way of saying that Emma was acting like a hooligan. She was, I admit it. There was nothing I could do to keep her from jumping on the sofa and licking the reviewer's face. Oh, well. I'm OK with that.

Anyway, after several calls back and forth to Arkansas, Judy (Tara's foster mom) graciously allowed me to become Tara's forever mom. I was so nervous the day we picked her up from the Brittany Transport. Dad drove my sister and I about an hour north to the pick-up spot, and when we saw them carrying Tara over to us, all I could think was "that's not a brittany!" She was so tiny and skinny, and had the biggest eyes you ever saw. This picture was taken shortly after she arrived.

She would just stare at the toys and bones and balls, wondering what to do with them. How pathetic is that? She got used to the creature comforts pretty quickly, though.

She claimed the ottoman as her very own doggie bed...
...and sometimes even snuggles int0 the chair.

She has figured out what bones are for...

...and knows how to eat off of a fork...

...and even helps with the dishes.

She is a fashion-conscious girl...

...and likes wearing things her mommy knits for her.

Tara says, "Just look at me now!"
I often wonder if she remembers her time "on the streets". I hope not. I hope her memory starts with that St. Patrick's Day when she curled up on the back seat of the car next to her new mommy, and fell asleep on the long car ride to BritKnitterville.