Sunday, November 26, 2006

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

The felted ornaments I’d made from Holiday Knits (See post October 14, 2006) came out very Suessian, so I felt compelled to put them on a different tree than my traditional green one. Enter Martha Stewart’s 6 1/2' white artificial. The ball ornaments blended seamlessly with the other ornaments and garland I picked up at Target this year. My goal was to push beyond tacky into coolsville. Did I make it?

The Monday after the fire at my family’s church ($3 million estimated damage, cause: arson) I approached Father Don about helping to replace some of the liturgical linens that were innevitably destroyed. Many objects including the linens are in the hands of a restoration company, but we’ll probably know mid-December what could and could not be saved. In the meantime I’m knitting, knitting, knitting, in anticipation of bobbinlace later.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

A surprise. While the rest of the U.S. was suffering from rain or heavy snows, the Midwest enjoyed an unusually warm spell. Sunny and 70. Raked a bit, then spent the rest of the afternoon knitting on the deck.

I have nearly finished the caftan pullover, but I tried it on and I didn’t like the fit. So I will be adding a hidden zipper to the front.

And I started my first sock. Started and frogged and started and frogged... So far I’m not seeing the attraction to knitting socks, but I’ll give it as much time as I have sock yarn.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What I hate about knitting:

Picking up stitches. You know, around the collar, or inset pieces. You have "x" number of stitches on the knit piece, and the number of stitches you need to pick up never seems to equal "x". Since it is extremely difficult to fix it if it’s off at the end, whether you have too many or too few, it’s a process of dividing the existing stitches into batches, and attempting to pick up the proportional amount of stitches within each batch.

Here I’ve managed to fairly closely pick up 81 stitches for the left panel insert for the Caftan Pullover. I was still a few shy of my final number, so I increased a few times on my first row.

Just returned from a wonderful business trip to Matagorda County, Texas, where I had the opportunity to zip out in the bay on a licensed oyster boat and tong for oysters. Also, I may have made a HUGE mistake. We were taken to a quilt shop in Blessing. The fabric they stock is not ordinary quilt fabric. It will not be found at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, or Michael's. No. This is really really great quilt fabric. I am not a quilter, and not much of a sewer, but it became imperative that I become one right then and there. I found a pattern book with that specialized in ethnic prints, picked a design, and the staff helped me rule my choices in and out ("that's too sweet," she said a few times. I supposed she meant saturated.) and I came home with a project pack. Now my machine is waiting to be repaired, so I don’t expect to start this until January. And besides, my local quilt shop won’t resume classes until then, anyway.

Before I left on my trip I made an appointment for two of my cats to receive their annual vaccinations. But when I made it, I told them that I would likely bring at least one more along for something, and possibly all five would come. And I was right.
• Caper needed his shots. He’s a sweet boy, but he’s powerful, and always has to be taken to the back room.
• T-Bone needed her shots, and a periodic blood test to track a chronic condition that eludes diagnosis. Her platelets clump, so the test always needs to be repeated, but when they did the platelettes, while still being low, were higher than they’ve been in the past. And her white count was high. So she’s still on preds, and I’ve put her back on a round of antiobiotics, which she loves to take, so it’s a breeze to med her.
• Collins is an older cat, and I had taken her in a few weeks ago when I noticed that she snored while awake. She has a heart murmur, and her lungs were a bit foggy. An X-ray also revealed something troubling near her heart. She may have cancer. But the good news is that her heart sounds were much clearer on this visit than the last, so her lungs are improving. She’s still on antibiotics.
• Eclair has OCD, and overgroomed her tummy while Michael was out of the country leaving it raw, so she got her periodic steriod shot. And since she has a nasty attitude, she got taken to the back room, too. I understand there was an incident, and the vet later commented on her nasty rabbit punch. Been there.
• Aspera has been having trouble with infected anal glands, and I just finished a round of antibiotics on her. The night I returned home I saw something on her butt. Turned out to be a worm. So she and everyone else were wormed.

The next morning, Eclair, a.k.a. “Miss Growly Pants” jumped up on my chest for comfort and love. But in doing so she tangled herself in my yarn, so I was gently trying to unwrap it from her front limbs. She had had it. With no warning, she clamped down on my left hand. HARD! I scruffed her, removed her from my person and shunned her for the rest of the morning.

Now, I’ve been bitten before, so I’m not one to overreact, but I knew that one of the punctures in particular was going to require medical attention. Not stitches, but at least antibiotics. It was deep, and right over the base joint of my thumb. Her bite may have gone to the bone. Of course, I washed it out immediately with antibacterial soap and slathered on Neosporin, but that didn’t prevent the wound from becoming infected. My doctor insisted I get a new tetanus shot, and by the time my scrip was filled, the skin had begun to flush around the wound. The antibiotics would bring down the redness, but it would flush again when the next dose was due. Weird. Four days later it is still swollen, though it is confined to a tighter area around the puncture.

The day of the bite, Eclair spent the rest of the day cooling off in solitude. It was a choice she had made herself, and I respect that. Most of the time she is the sweetest cat in the world. But she’s her mother’s daughter. She spent the next several days apologizing to me for what she did.

And while I really, really had every intention to work on the article due Monday, my mother just called to say the sanctuary of the family church is a total loss after an early morning fire, and do I still have the printouts for how to clean after a fire that I’d put together after my sister’s house fire last year. And the day begins...