Counting down the days

We’re getting pretty close to the day when Fiona gets to come home and join our family. I visited with her last Wednesday when I brought in Sadie for her extraction. Sue reported that Fiona was starting the use the litter pan and was eating mostly solid food, so she thought she may be ready to go home as soon as Monday. As in, tomorrow!

I spent some time at PetSmart yesterday picking out a scratching pad for her and a collar (although I doubt she’ll be able to wear it for some time, since she’s so tiny right now). I also bought some kitten food, canned and dry, and a few small toys: a Cat Dancer and a couple little balls. We’ve decided that when she comes home, she’ll get her own room for at least a few days if not a week. We have to let her get comfortable with the house little by little and slowly introduce her to the dogs on their home turf.

I’m most worried about Hannah viewing her as prey, as I think I’ve already noted. On Friday, Hannah captured a rabbit that has been visiting my garden. I say captured, becuase when I dashed outside to see if she had killed it I noticed that it was still alive. Hannah had snatched it as it made a dash to slip under the back gate, and I really thought she had killed it. When I approached Hannah and the rabbit, though, I could see the rabbit was still blinking and alive, even though Hannah had it pinned to the ground under her foreleg. I coaxed Hannah to let the rabbit go and then held on to her and Sadie as the rabbit righted itself, gathered itself together for a minute, then continued out under the gate. When I checked in the alley a minute later, the rabbit was nowhere in sight, but there was a strip of rabbit fur with skin attached laying there. I’m sure that rabbit won’t be back nibbling on my garden plants any time soon, even if it does live through the experience.

We’re back to cool weather for a few days, thank goodness. It’s nice to be able to turn the AC off for a few days and open the windows. Today Mark is going for one of his marathon bike rides while I putter around the yard and work on some knitting.

…On the needles…

I worked on my new swatch on size 1 needles for the baby sweater last Tuesday while I was on an early morning coference call. A first for me! Well, it was 7:30 AM, there were very few people in the office at that time, and all I really had to do was listen and comment. I can do that while knitting! I’m definitely going to do this sweater on the size 2 needles; the swatch with the size 1 needles was much closer in stitch gauge, but quite off on row gauge. For a sweater like this, a cardigan worked from the top down, I figure the row gauge is more important.

At SnB on Tuesday night, I struggled with the 29″ size 2 circular needle for a while as I cast on for the baby sweater then worked the first row with all the stitch holder placements and increases. Somehow, I wound up off on stitch count, so I frogged it yet again and put it away.

Instead, I started on the little scarf for a colleague.
I’m using the Branching Out pattern from Knitty, but working it in another of the Tess’ Designer Yarns purchases: the blue/turquoise angora and merino wool blend. I like the fuzzy look of the mohair blend used in this pattern, but didn’t want to deal with mohair if I had to rip back. This is lace knitting, after all. Oh, and I have had to rip back several times. I put a lifeline in place after I finish each pattern repeat of 10 rows, and it has helped immensely.

The Tess yarn I’m using has only 180 yards in the skein, though, so I’m also keeping track of how many pattern repeats I get in total. One of the yarns used in the pattern was 190 yards and the other was just over 200 yards, and of course there was a variation in finished size. Just in case I need more to make the scarf longer, I did buy another skein of the Tess yarn, but I’d rather not work a join if I don’t have to. Speaking of joins, I was disappointed to note that there was one knot in the skein I’m using. I assume that high quality yarns usually don’t have knots in a skein.

I found time to drop by the LYS yesterday to pick up a 24″ size 2 circular needle, so I can get back to work on the baby sweater again. I can’t say I’m terribly excited about the prospect, though. I’m losing my enthusiasm for working with such small needles and such thin yarn.

Ok, these are the last pics of the yarns I got at Stitches Midwest.

I bought 10 skeins each of the Soy Silk Phoenix and Bamboo yarns from Hill Creek Yarn Shoppe. They had this yarn neatly packaged in clear vinyl project bags with handles and zip closures and priced at 10% off if you bought all 10. I’ve been wanting to try these new fibers, so I snatched up two bags. This was my most expensive purchase; even at 10% off the total came to over $200. What will I make? Probably something for summer wearing like a tank or short sleeve sweater. We’ll see. I really liked the friendly people at Hill Creek; it would be nice to stop by their shop if I drive out through Missouri again.

This is a very large skein of hand-dyed yarn from Interlacements. It’s a rayon and linen blend in lace weight, and I also got a free pattern for an easy shawl. It will be…a shawl, of course!

Pardon the poor pic here, but I tried several times to get a good shot of the yarn AND the tag, and it just wasn’t working for me. Above are six skeins of Malabrigo in color Verde Adriana. This yarn is an incredibly soft, kettle-dyed merino wool from Uruguay. I’m not totally up on the hottest new yarns, but I understand many folks are finding this a more affordable alternative to the Manos de Uruguay, and it certainly was priced lower than the Manos. I bought this at the Mass. Ave. Knit Shop booth because I found they had the best price on this yarn, even better than the price at the Webs booth! Adrienne bought lots of this yarn, too, in a different green color. We were both happy that Mass. Ave. gave us wonderful large, woven bags with our purchase. Mass. Ave. Knit Shop is in Indianapolis, and would definitely be worth a visit, maybe on a short weekend jaunt.

Finally, I purchased the above skeins of lace weight merino wool in “Victorian Plum” color from Kimmet Croft Fibers. Jan Becker was very nice and had a lovely selection of angora/merino blend yarns, too, in worsted and sport weight. She said she raises the sheep and rabbits herself, and does all the dying. I ordered 3 more skeins of lace weight from her in a color called “Pumpkin” to use for another shawl. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the lace weight yarn in that color, but it looked like a perfect color for another project.

Lillian (my MIL) told me a couple weeks ago she’d really like a shawl in a sort of orangey/bronzy color. Hence, my order with Kimmet Croft for the “Pumpkin” yarn. Yesterday, Mark and I went over to her place to have brunch and I brought a bunch of shawl patterns with me. We spent time looking through them all and she liked the Faroese-Style shawl from the Spring 2004 issue of Cast On the best. Hmmm…the pattern is made with Lion Brand Homespun, which is a bulky weight yarn, so I certainly hope doubling or tripling the Kimmet Croft yarn will work. And, if I have to double or triple it, I hope I have enough yarn! I guess that’s one of the downsides to buying yarn before you start a project. I had to assure Lillian that even though shawl patterns are made with lots of little holes, they are still very warm when made from merino wool. I guess her ignorance of this is why she kept passing over the more lacey shawl patterns.

…In the garden…

Boy is my backyard lawn a mess! It’s around the time of year to think about seeding to fix it, but I think I’m also going have to put up some temporary fences around the seeded patches, too, so the dogs don’t trample the baby grass as it grows. It is too much for me to think about now…which I guess is why my lawn looks to crappy! Turfgrass just doesn’t interest me.

I picked several ripe tomatoes yesterday that I gave to Lillian. Yep, despite periodic visits by the rabbit, the veggie garden is doing well.

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