Switching horses mid-stream


While I'm really excited about my current project for Stitch Diva, this particular stretch of the piece has dogged me. I originally calculated and cast on for this section on Saturday, while watching The Queen and enjoying a glass of wine. After more than 25 years of knitting, you'd think I'd know that I needed a little more focus than that, to calculate a pattern. I'm obviously a slow learner. I cast on 250 stitches, using the long tail cast-on, (my personal favorite for it's speed,) only, BAH, not enough tail.

So I ripped, and cast on again and made it. I knit my 250 (give or take) stitches for 20 rows, during the movie, and a bit the following day, before realizing that my calculations were off. Oh, yes, there was ripping.


I focused myself on my calculations. I checked my work, and cast on again. After three tries, to get the cast on tail the right length, I nearly chucked my work out a window. Less stubborn knitters than I might have tried a couple of alternatives, such as:

  • A knitted on or cabled cast on, which requires no tail.
    Vetoed because I find it so dreadfully slow to do, I'd rather rip the long tail out forever and redo, like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the mountain.

  • Long tail cast on worked from both ends of a center pull ball.
    Vetoed because it means another end to weave in. Also vetoed because of the aforementioned stubbornness.

  • Actually note the length of the tail for the failed cast on and extrapolate the needed additional length from there.
    Vetoed because I'm stupid.

But, all stubbornness and stupidity aside, I nearly did admit defeat and put the item in temporary time-out, until I realized that the cast on will be completely concealed with crochet. There is no way anyone is going to be able to see it. This gave me an option, when I realized I was about 50 stitches short of my goal. When I was left with a sufficient tail to weave in the end, but not enough to complete the cast on, I switched to a knitted on cast on.


This puts a little tail in the middle of the cast on. To the right of the tail, in the image, is the long tail cast on, to the left is the knitted on cast on.

Here she is, really close up


Personally, I would never do this if the cast on would be visible. There's a pretty noticeable difference and it would irk me even if no one else ever noticed. But since this baby will be obscured by crochet, there's no harm, no foul and my sanity is preserved.

She works hard for the yummies


The heat eased off for the weekend and we put the great weather to good use. On Saturday, Leo lit up the barbecue and cooked us a delicious meal. The girls watched on as we filled our bellies.


Afterwards, we cut up a few little scraps and did some training with them. Panda shows her well honed skills by balancing a piece of meat on her nose until Leo gave her the OK to eat it.


Thea didn't have much interest in doing that trick.


We had her work on some easier things after that.

Then we moved to some chores. I took the kitchen while Leo started the lawn mowing. After a few minutes, Leo said he needed some assistance and I met him outside to see him hosing off his bloodied-OHMYGODWHATHAPPENED-leg. While mowing, the lawnmower kicked up a spring that had been buried in the ground, honed it to a fine point and hurled it at his leg. He was wearing pants, which appear to have more tensile strength than his flesh as the pants are unmarred but he got himself a pretty fine little hole that bled like the dickens. He's fine and will be seeing the doctor tomorrow to be sure. Still, all that blood. Even if you think you want to see how it looked, you probably shouldn't click this. If you did, though, you can see the offending object as well.

But Leo is never one to let an oozing wound stop him from having a good time. Today, we made our way over to Manzanita Beach, but before we hit the ocean, we stopped into our favorite breakfast locale for some Eggs Benedict. Actually, we split one order of Eggs Bennie and one of Crab Cakes Benedict which is just like Benny but with a crab cake swapped out for the ham.


Oh mama!

The girls did really wonderfully at the beach and are playing together more and more.


Panda made some great catches and Thea was her normal social and adorable self. You can click any of these pictures to go to my flickr page and see all the other shots.


Alas, condolences are in order. The poor faithful squirrel was lost at sea today. We all bowed our heads in respect before moving on, since, well, we have 2 more at home. I just hope that some lucky dog ends up getting it when it eventually washes ashore.

Goodbye Squirrel

Dogs in repose


It's been hot, and Thea and Panda are shedding hair like they think their comfort depends on it. Wait, I guess it does. Anyway, it's hot, and when it's hot, doggies like to sleep.


I just didn't realize one would want to do it in my sandals.


Thea is a very good sleeper


Panda ponders whether or not I've forgotten how to use the vacuum cleaner.

Yes, I know, it's been a LOT of doggy pictures. Would it help if I told you I'm actually knitting?


It's a project I'm doing for Stitch Diva. It's coming along swimmingly though I've done a lot of ripping to get it to the point where I'm happy with it. Luckily, my time frame for the project makes it possible to get it juuuuust right. I like that.

In other news, I saw Ms. Kat Coyle's gorgeous Lace Style skirt on Knitty Gritty, yesterday.


It's so sad that it's styled better on KG than it was in the actual book. Oh how I pine for that skirt.

Seeing spots and colors


Ahh, independence day, the one day when Leo's interests and Panda's are at complete odds with each other. Leo regales me with stories from his childhood that prove that the fates love drunks and children. When the words, "made our own" and "fireworks" are strung together, I can only shake my head and be glad he has, allegedly, grown out of that phase.

While California and Oregon seem to have similar limitations on fireworks; namely that the general public can't buy things that go flying off tither and yon, Southern California is far more flammable than Portland and I think people are more reluctant to send sparks about the kindling that is their back yard. Additionally, we now live in a quiet little suburb where there is very little nightly traffic. Throughout the neighborhood, one could hear and see the assortment of volcanic light displays and sparklers, individuals were setting off in the street.

IMG_0101.JPG IMG_0142.JPG

So while this was not Panda's first 4th of July, it was definitely one of her worst. Add to the noise, the relatively warm temperatures (close to 90) and it made for one unhappy dog. Thea, on the other hand, seemed a little put out by the loudest noises but was otherwise indifferent to the whole thing.

And since lots of people will be posting fireworks today, how about some cute dog shots.


Here's Thea showing off her fresh crop of spots. She used to be almost completely white.


And my beautiful girls basking in the sun.


And Thea bringing on the cute, full force.

September Glow


Well, El Matchador has been purring like a kitten and helped me produce another little skein of delicious yarn.



  • Fiber: 90% Cotswold / 10% Silk (the white bits)
  • From: Nistock Farms.
  • Color: September Glow: Shades of gingerbread cookies with orange and raspberry sorbet.
  • WPI: About 20. It's a little inconsistent, leaning mostly a bit lighter, though some areas are a little thicker. The silk also tends to form nubs.
  • Length: Over 225 yards.
  • Spun on: Schacht Matchless wheel (El Matchador to you)
  • Plies: 2, plied off of two bobbins until one ran out, then switched to Andean plying to avoid waste.
  • Impressions: I just love spinning this fiber. The batts are well prepared with only the smallest amounts of vegetable matter. The fiber is not too slippery, and has a lovely sheen. It's not really next to the skin soft, but it's not all that rough either. The colors are divine. I'm looking forward to spinning up more.


For the first time, I have washed but not weighted my yarn. This skein did get a rather good beating against the pole, but otherwise, she is unmanipulated. Apparently, there are two rather strong camps on this topic. Some people are weighers and some are not. I imagine there are good reasons for both. If I had to guess as to why you shouldn't weigh, it would be that weighing might give a false sense of balance that would then be undone the next wash the yarn (probably in knit or crochet form) went through. But that's just a guess. What do you all have to say? Anyway, after soaking in some warm water and Eucalan, and a couple thwacks before it dries, the yarn seems pretty darn balanced.


Recently June posted about Spinning Spider Jenny. If you haven't found her, and you are a spinner, go find her now. She's a wealth of information. Jenny happened to post about her method of 2-plying. Alas, I didn't read it until mere hours after I had completed my yarn, but next time I'm definitely going to try this method. It seems rather like common sense but it's sheer brilliance to me.

In entirely unrelated news, we found another great hiking site for the girls, and this is only 5 minutes from home!


There's a lovely place called MacLeay Park (I like to think it's a typo and should actually end in an "n" instead of "y.") in Portland that feels like its 100 miles from the closest city.


It was a gorgeous day, though perhaps a bit hotter than we are all used to. Thank goodness we've evolved so as not to be covered in hair. How do dogs do it? It's funny, though, both girls showed some unexpected personality changes that day.

Thea, our normally fearless (seriously) hero, decided that wooden bridges were the scariest thing EVER.
With a little coaxing and encouragement, she got a bit better, a good thing, because we crossed a good many of them, but she definitely wasn't loving them. Each time we'd reach one, she'd pull on the emergency break, I'd run across the bridge and call her and she'd muster up her courage and then bolt across. Silly monkey.

And Ms. Panda, our normally indifferent and withdrawn wallflower, suddenly decided she needed to keep an eye on Thea and defend her against dominant (not aggressive, dominant) dogs.
She was fine with this little ball of happiness, but Panda tried to get a little b*tchy with some other bigger dogs. That's definitely something we're going to have to work on. We definitely don't want a dog that's going to be picking fights. That's no fun.

But don't let those two issues lead you to believe we didn't have a great time. It was gorgeous. You can see all of the photos from the hike here.

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