Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodbye to Betty

Last week I put my sweet little Betty to sleep. She was suffering from bad arthritis and nerve damage and it was difficult for her to get around. While her spirit kept up with everything around her, her body was worn out and in pain. It broke my heart to see her suffer like that so I made the most difficult decision and released her from her suffering. I miss her more than words can express. She made me laugh and taught me to love. She showed me that being alone did not mean being lonely. She kept me sane when everything seemed to be falling apart. More than anything she was a silent friend who made me smile. While I only had her a few years, those years were filled with love and laughter.

It was Betty who brought Dugan into my life. He came to us as a foster dog, but Betty laid down next to him and looked up at me with those big, brown eyes and asked "Can we keep him?" They were inseparable ever since. He misses her quite a bit.

I really miss seeing her sweet, white face. But I know she's running free and playing with all her doggy friends that have passed on before her.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dugan's Doggy Coat

I started this for the Ravelympics, but realized that the coat was too small when I was halfway through. I tossed it aside trying to figure out how to modify the pattern or to just frog it and start over. I was even making the largest size available, but Dugan is pretty big for a greyhound. The belly strap needed at least an extra two inches. I decided to plow on and compensate with adding another belly strap on the other side of the coat. If I had known at the time I cast on for the belly strap that I needed more width, I could have avoided some of this trouble. I also screwed up the rump shaping, but it's not too bad. If I had to do everything all over again, I'll start right off the bat with a longer gusset front and more stitches around the neck and chest. I would also do less side shaping and of course the larger belly strap. Other than that this is a really nice pattern for your greyhound! Here's some pictures of Dugan in his coat as well as the Specs:

Dugan Sidebutton Dog Coat
Size: XL
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted in Natural

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lacy Baby Blanket

I started a baby blanket way back in December and never finished it. The poor thing sat around languishing and wondering when it will get done. Well it is finally finished. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, probably donate it to charity. Anyway here's a picture:
And a Close-up of the pattern:

Lacy Baby Blanket by Lion Brand Yarn
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby Soft Print
Colorway: Twinkle Print
Size: 31in Square.
Started in December 2007
Finished: Aug 11 2008
More info on Ravelry

On Ravelry, we had the challenge of completing a project during the Olympics. What we were calling the Ravelympics One of the projects was to finish up a WIP. I chose this WIP and I was extremely glad to get it done. However, I was feeling kind of self-assured and decided to enter another project, Dugan's Side Button Coat. That one didn't turn out as well. Here's my badge for finishing in the challenge time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Olympics? . . . Try Ravelympics!

This is strictly a Ravelry thing, so if you're not on Ravelry, you're missing out on some super fun. In honor of the Olympics, there is a group, called Ravelympics, that started the challenge of starting and completing a project during the games. That's right, cast on during opening ceremonies and have a completed project by the time the flame is extinguished. Sounds challenging and because I really needed to challenge myself at the moment, I signed up. I'm entered in two events, WIPs Wrestling, which is to finish a WIP that's been hanging around for awhile, and as a new project, I'm doing a dog coat for Dugan. Can't wait, so stay tuned for progress updates. Go team, Go!

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Knitting Bag

For my birthday I decided to get a new knitting bag. I didn't want anything expensive or fancy, just something to carry and store my bigger projects in. It must have a zippered top though. Over on Knitter's Review Forum, someone mentioned the site The Animal Rescue Site. That's where I picked up this cute little bag, called the Pink Diva Floral Duffel:

While the bag is made of vinyl, not what I really wanted but that's ok, it still feels pretty sturdy and has a nice size zippered interior, two end side pouches and a zippered front pocket. It also has two zippered slots in the back so you can either use them as a pocket or as a place to slide your bag onto a rolling case like this:

I like that the inside can hold my yarn-tainer and the baby blanket.

I'm quite happy with the bag! I also recommend this site for anyone who wants a unique gift and wants to support a good cause. It's not just for animal rescue either! On the website are links to other stores that raise money and awareness for breast cancer, world hunger, literacy, child health care, and rain forest conservation. A large portion of the goods sold were handcrafted or come from developing nations/regions that the website sponsors. And let's say you don't want to buy anything; go there anyway and click on the big button that says "click here." It costs you nothing and you're still helping to support these worthy causes. Consider it good karma!

Obligatory greyhound picture (Because Dugan is so cute wearing my socks):

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kiera Lace Socks

The first sock is coming along quite well. It's knitting up really nice and the yarn is giving it a nice mottled look. I just hope it doesn't pool or do anything weird. I don't think it will considering how nice the repeats of color are spaced. You really can't see the colors to well in the photo. It's also knitting up real quick, which surprises me considering how fine the gauge is. Can't wait to see the finished results.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Branching Out - Frogged!

Sometimes we just need to admit to ourselves that a project is just not going the way it should. While I love the Branching Out scarf and still want to make one, I think that my yarn choice sucked. It just wasn't knitting up the way I wanted it to. So it's been frogged. So now what should I do with my yarn? I found a really simple lace sock pattern, Kiera Lace Socks, that'll be much better. I think these will look great with this colorway. I really like the way the blue shifts through the spectrum.

Happy Independence Day!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Branching Out

So I needed something to knit to take my mind off my delayed move. I wanted something to keep my mind busy so I decided to work on Branching Out as most of my other WIPs are packed away (including my books and needles). Pulling from a limited amount of stash, since most of that is packed away too, I decided to work on the lace scarf with Schaefer's Anne in The Blues colorway. I don't have a swift and ball-winder so I knew I had to hand-wind the hank. I was doing pretty good with keeping it from getting tangled too. Until it hit a snag, which turned into a tangle, which turned into this:

After much fighting with it, I finally winded enough to start the project. I had to frog and restart because I did the cast-on too tight, but it's now looking pretty good:

I can't wait to see it all done and blocked.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mic's Picks

Starting today I'm going to randomly recommend three books/music/whatever to highlight some of my favorite things. I'll probably do this a few times a month or when I remember.

Presenting: Mic's Picks (hey that rhymes (note: I pronounce "Mic" as "Mick"; "Mike" is my brother)). I already love to share books that I truly enjoyed, though usually I prefer to give relatively in-depth reviews. So I decided to leave this space for 3 quick picks that bounce out of my head on the fly. Shall we get started?

1. Adventure/Action Book: You want non-stop thrills, death-defying spills and a grisly murder that needs to be solved? Well, look no further than the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. The first book in the series is called Storm Front and is just a non-stop roller coaster ride of supernatural craziness. I guess that's what happens when you enlist the help of Chicago's only wizard for hire. I stayed up until 1 am just to see what happened next. I suppose it doesn't help that I have a small crush on the main character, Harry Dresden. Maybe he'll give me the special discounted damsel-in-distress rate if I should ever need him??

2. Offbeat Book: Need a book that's not like anything you ever read before? Looking for something different? Then I would recommend History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. This book is a collection of short stories that turn everything you think you know on its head. The most well-known story from this collection is the first one called "The Stowaway" about a certain pair of critters that stowaway on Noah's Ark. Many of the stories reference Noah's Ark or are about the ship itself. While some of the stories aren't as strong as the beginning story, they are worth a quick read through. But the ones that really stick with you are the first story and the last story "The Dream," which is a quick look at Heaven. Another amusing and well-written story is "The Wars of Religion."

3. Fluff!: Like eating Marshmallow Fluff right from the jar, it's sweet and you know you shouldn't but the ending makes it worth it. Try The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber. All about knitting and a gaggle of unlikely women coming together and becoming friends. Toss in a series of unfortunate and slightly improbable events and have all problems resolved in time for tea and you'll have a nice little beach read to go along with your frozen margarita. The ending wraps everything into a nice little package with a pretty bow that makes it hard to say no to this book. Includes a free knitting pattern!

Well, there you have it. Three quick picks by me for your reading pleasure. The Monkey has spoken!

Friday, March 14, 2008

...And we're back!

It's been awhile since my last posting. Sorry about that! Many things have happened like trying to find a job and such. The pickings are quite slim here in Tampa so I decided that it's time to pack up and head for greener fields. Specifically Washington, DC. So I'm in the process of getting my place ready to sell and looking for a new job in the DC area. Can't wait to see what's in store for me up there. In the meantime here's some more books to read:

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder: second in the Study Series, this book follows the adventures of Yelena as she learns how to control her magic. An excellent sequel to the story and another book I truly enjoyed. 5 out of 5 stars. The next book in the series is Fire Study. You can read a excerpt at Ms. Snyder's website, along with the in-between story Assassin Study:

Uglies and Pretties by Scott Westerfield: an sci-fi epic about the price of being pretty. These are the first two books in the Uglies series. The books follow the story of Tally, who wants nothing more than to turn 16 and get the operation that turns her pretty. The problem is her friend, Shay runs away and Tally is forced into helping the bad guys bring Shay back. Lots of twists and turns and interesting sci-tech stuff. This series is extremely popular with the teens at the moment. I give both books 4 out of 5 stars. The next book in the series is Specials.