While Blocking, Researching, and Getting Brave

In trying to get the Quidditch sweater finished, which is just waiting for me to assemble it, I have been very typically seeking out temporary and more immediately gratifying knitting. I made this lovely Federation Mutoid cap, easy as pie and very soft and warm. Took parts of two evenings.

As for researching on the Quidditch sweater, I have found that the crochet seaming approach "seems" right to me[nah, I tried it--from the right side and the wrong side--and realized it was totally not the right one for this project, and ended up using mattress stitch with good results], and I'm actually going for it today. Wish me luck and skill!

As I mentioned last weekend, I've kept the handspun cottage industry (international and domestic) solvent with these new acquisitions that arrived this week:
Camel "wool" from women who handspun it in Mongolia, via Nomad Yarns, via freshislefibers.com. This is just one little skein, but it was all this yarn acquisitor can manage. I already love its softness and plan to make a hat or scarf with it. It's not exactly thick and thin, but since it's not going to have the stitch definition of a typically manufactured skein, I want to do it justice!

This is bamboo and merino sockweight superwash from Yarn Lust, and don't you just love this colorway? It's so springy. It'll take a lot of knitting, but I think this will be a baby kimono for a little guy I finally "met" recently. ;^)

Also got this skein of banana fiber--which Blonde Chicken calls "bananiere."

and which is much softer than my previous bananiere purchases.

As for me, I've been home sick for two days now with something the students brought me. I've been grading papers (no rest for the sickly), watching for hummingbirds, drinking cups and cups of tea, missing DH who is in WA with his DM, and staying in touch with all the DD's, including the one who "lives" at home but is knee deep in independence and really only comes home to sleep or do homework (and even that, not always--she can't do homework here because she gets distracted or drowsy . . .). Keeping all the cats happy and healthy (seems to be going fine) and watching House reruns or Law and Order are my other pastimes, but all in all, things are just peachy here at the end of January.

Happy knitting!

The Evidence Proves Progress

I've finished the second sleeve and am wet-blocking the parts of the sweater per the instructions. Then, it's sew things together and finish the neckline, and then . . . DD#2 will never believe it, but this may well be a Valentine's present after all. It's entirely conceivable I could finish it by the end of January as I had recently said I would, and it would provide me with an excellent excuse to avoid work--grading papers in the evening. But . . . just to give myself a cushion, I think Valentine's Day is just right.

I made a trifle last night (not really stale cake, but angelfood, so it's lowfat [as if that mattered with the whipped cream-- **hysterical laughter**]. I wonder who has stale cake in their house? Everyone I'm related to inhales baked goods long before they can go stale!

And on the subject of relatives, I baked some c-c cookies for DD#1 for the care package I'm sending her tomorrow. I continue in my effort to rack up points for the Best Mom Ever award. Oddest conglomeration of things in that box--a jar of rapid rise yeast, a tube of shower gel, a bra, a bag of almonds from TJs, a single DPN and a tapestry needle (found in her suitcase when DH went to pack for his next trip), and some MI paste from the dentist. Oh, and the cookies! One hopes no one at the PO feels the need to open the box and account for the contents.

Bought two skeins this weekend on etsy, one from Yarn Lust and the other from BlondeChicken. (Ravelry's ads are a'working, merchants, because I clicked those ads on my projects page and the next thing I knew I was choosing some great yarns.) From Yarn Lust I'm getting bamboo/merino sock wool (click the link to see it in all its flickr glory), and from Blonde Chicken it's a skein of banana/silk for a market bag I want to make my friend.

I leave you with a photograph garnered during one of the greatest relaxations in life, the watching of birds.
Wherever you are, I hope you are snug in a warm place or enjoying warm weather. Ours is definitely not southern hemisphere summer, but the rain is intermixed with bouts of sunshine, and it's about 60 degrees, so the hummers still come round. Happy knitting, all.

PS: The KermMeister is doing better since his last vet visit, and seems to be much more in balance on the blood sugar thing. Keep your paws crossed that it stays stable!

The Kermie Report

He took a bad turn yesterday, so it was back to the vet, where she determined that NOW he had low blood sugar (the insulin and diet changes worked too well) and also needed a different antibiotic. Hooray for that, since I'd had to put 1-1/2 ml of this horrible banana flavored antibiotic liquid down his throat, which he did not appreciate at all, twice a day. It irritated his stomach and the resulting upchucking was disturbingly blood tinged.

Sorry those of you who are squeamish. So after she pumped him full of Karo syrup (he didn't like that either but at least it was mild and unflavored!), his sugar level came up into the normal range and he seemed much better. She also gave him anti-nausea and antacid medicines, and fluids, with the result that the kitty we took home at 5:30 p.m. yesterday looked one heck of a lot happier than the one I'd wrestled into the carrier at 3:30.

DD#3 held him on her lap on the drive home even though she's developed cat allergies (that is too unfair, and I wonder if it's another of the circles of hell that Dante forgot--you love cats but are allergic to them . . . wah!). So, it's another day and we're a little poorer, and we'll see how he does as he recovers.

His insulin has been dropped to half the dose, though, so that will no doubt result in cost savings to us on that rother expensive tiny little insulin bottle. And it should keep him from getting too hypoglycemic. If not, we'll know what to do--haul out the Karo!

In Knitting Knews . . . now that I'm done with comments and grades, I have timed writings to grade, but tonight I am going to knit and watch a movie with my DMIL. I've earned a night off!

A Knitter's Heart Goes Pitter-Patter

Well, my heart went pitter-patter when, in perusing Facebook, I saw recently uploaded photos of DD#2 and her BF, who had gone to New Hampshire on an ice-climbing adventure in -17 degree weather.

That is another story in itself, but let's just say that Mom has ordered DD#2 a set of Under Armour for future outings, not to mention just plain cold-ass days in Boston. She was ill prepared for such frigid conditions, growing up in California.

But as usual, I digress. In those photos, this young handsome guy (DD#2's BF) is captured wearing the hat I knitted him last year! Bonus points, Alex!

Then I saw THIS photo and realized that DD#2 and/or her BF must have loaned their friend George another hat I knitted for the BF last year. That would be the brown and green one he's wearing. The hard hat wearer is their friend Jenna, and I think she's wearing a scarf knitted for her by DD#2.

Another shot of the BF (his scarf was knitted by DD#2 for Christmas--detecting a trend?).

And how is Kermie, you ask? DH took this photo yesterday of him, curled up with his sister Cleo.

(That's him with the hologram eyes.) He's doing better but still is not perky. I have a theory that he may still need a bit more insulin than they started him on, but he's certainly improved. See that gorgeous quilt they're snoozing on? My mother made it for DH and me awhile back. I love it!

Knot about Knitting Today--Kermie

This is my guy Kermie, a sick kitty. You may remember him from a few years ago when the last inch or so of his tail was amputated in the side door when DD#3 was trying to get out without letting him out.

Kerm is special. He's 11 and a big loverboy. Pretty much his response to anything is to purr. He loves his "dad" and especially loves being held in Dad's arms like a baby. He used to ask DH to chase him down the hallway in the house, but he's been getting a little creakier and of course "Dad" was not well for a while this year. So they've not done much of that game lately, and we just chalked it up to him getting on in years.

In November, Kerm developed a cyst on his side that turned out to be benign--nothing more than some inflammation and fluid that felt hardened. The lab results said "nothing to worry about." Fortunately, this had gotten our attention because at his vet visit, we had him weighed of course, and that made the difference.Since that late November visit, he has just gotten thinner and thinner. We don't raise scrawny cats at our house (draw your own conclusions), but Kerm was just a solid boy, not corpulent, and as December wore on and we moved into this month, he started looking like he felt sick, and he was sitting hunched up on the bed, as opposed to lolling in abject bliss, for his naps. And there was that unproductive coughing he did now and again. Maybe I shouldn't have been so happy that the result of all that wheezy hacking was not gross hairballs and carpet stains.

With DDs 1 and 2 home for the vacation, we were all paying attention, and everyone began to wonder if we needed to take him to the vet. I did my usual Mom thing and said, "Today he's been perky, and he's not off his food. He's getting plenty of water. Probably just a punk day yesterday." But before DD#2 left for school she pretty much ordered me to take him in.

All of you with pets and vets know that the bills get out of hand really quick. So I was trying to be as judicious as possible. But it was clear he needed to be assessed for his obvious weight loss. Maybe the cyst was not benign and something else was at work. Aack! I conferred with DS who was once a vet's assistant, and she agreed that weight loss has to be investigated.DH agreed to take him in Tuesday, and the vet did a lot of lab work, as well as an X-ray. If he'd not lost weight, DH says, the vet would have sent him home with a "wait and see" attitude, cough notwithstanding, but the weight loss was clearly major--THREE POUNDS in ten weeks or so. Don't worry too much--he had started at 15# and some change, since as I said we don't raise them petite. But that is still a heck of a lot of weight to drop in that short span.

The X-ray had not shown anything clearly amiss. It was the lab work that came back yesterday that sent the clear message: he has diabetes and a urinary tract infection (typical side effect of the high sugar content of the urine). So . . . he's on a gradual diet-change regimen and getting insulin shots 2x/day. We are having to rethink everything about which cats are fed where and when, and how to get Kermie his special food without other cats crashing the party. I'm still wrapping my head around it all, but it seems like overall a good thing.That must sound strange! Considering, though, that on Tuesday the vet had told DH that one possibility was lymphoma (OMG, how ironic would that be??), I think diabetes is an OK alternative. Yes, it's expensive (we are still reeling, wondering how expensive it will GET), it requires some major overhauling, we will have to board him when we are all gone at once for a vacation or etc., but with the diet change and good loving care, he can live a long full life. And if the diet works enough magic, he may not need the insulin indefinitely. Woo-hoo, I say.

Aside: if I'd not become a teacher, I would probably have been a nurse (I know, so old-fashioned, but those are my strengths) so being taught to give him injections was not a problem, and the needle is so fine that it's really a breeze. Even better is the obvious improvement in his energy and mood since he's had two doses. The antibiotics for the UTI probably are also at work, and anyone who's ever had one of those infections knows that when you don't feel horrible and out of your gourd with the "discomfort," you immediately perk up. Whether you're a cat or a person!

OK, one last photo of Kerm with his favorite human. It's all going to be OK.
Happy Kittening (oops! Knitting!)

The Reprise of Sleeves, and so much more

Here we go again!

Yes, I got going on those sleeves AGAIN, and and am almost done with the second one now, with the partial lying on top of the finished one. I'm back to where I was in early December. When I get these last decreases done, I can block, sew, and finish up the neckline for DD#2's Quidditch Sweater. She said today, "My birthday sweater became my Christmas sweater, and now it looks like it'll be a Valentine's present." But I still hold out a lot of hope that I'll get it done by the end of this month. Maybe I am an optimist though!

My DMIL has been visiting since 12/26 to recuperate after back surgery in November. Now that she is out of the convalescent prison I mean care center, she is already making major strides. Notice I didn't say leaps (that might come later!). She has kicked the walker out of the picture and only uses her cane when on uneven surfaces. Usually DH or I serve as her "cane" with an elbow to hold onto. I convinced her to go yarn shopping with me so she'd have a project to knit while here, since her blanket for DH is in limbo in WA state. I succeeded in getting her to try some super easy socks with gorgeous Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted, Tuscany:
She has made socks many times before but needed a pattern that wasn't too weird. Knitting Pure and Simple came through nicely, thanks to a recommendation at the yarn shop. DMIL immediately got going on them with a set of DPNs, and I have loved watching the first sock spiral downward in an interesting pooling pattern. I think she may have turned the heel this afternoon on an outing with DH. I will get a photo of her next time she's knitting on Sock #1 so you can see it coming into being.

In other news . . .
Here is my dear BIL wearing his hat that I knitted him for Christmas. Oops, that's not how you wear a hat, dude.

There, that's better. I'm guessing my DS likes the scruffy look. 8^)

I've been continuing to do happy mindless knitting on this scarf when I can't concentrate on the sleeve decreases of DD#2's sweater. Cadenza wins an award for soft and lovely to knit with. Ahhhh!

I don't know when I started this scarf in Moda Dea, but I like its shading a lot and think it is a fine scarf to gift to someone. When I am done with the turquoise Cadenza, I'll get back to this fulltime.

I've acquired a FEW new skeins lately, these from Purlescence's recent Frog Tree Yarns sale. It's Meriboo (merino and bamboo) and I can't wait to knit with it!These two colors spoke to me because they are a very close match to Mr. Percy's fur and eyes. What do you think?Yep, I got a bit carried away with a lolcatz creator as you might have noticed a while back.

I also bought a precious single skein of Nomad camel wool from freshislefibers, who had gotten a shipment after reading about the Mongolian women who spin this fiber, in a very lowtech fashion. Since it has a Louet label, I am guessing they made an arrangement with the North American importer. A hundred grams won't knit me much, but it will be lovely, nonetheless. It is touted as nonallergenic, a plus when the itch factor is at issue.

And . . .
Did I mention that I made a Moroccan dinner last week? I didn't? Wow, it was so good--spiced with mint and coriander, pine nuts and raisins. Lamb koftas and a rice dish:
Both recipes were as easy as could be. I think this rice dish would be good to have once a week. And the lamb koftas (and beef, in the bowl behind) are spicy and tasty. DH doesn't like lamb so much, but they are almost as good with beef.

Lastly, DD#3 has a penchant for thrift store finds, and this 70s caftan/muumuu really got a laugh out of me. I made her come pose in the kitchen like a tipsy 70s housewife hitting the bourbon. I know, What sort of a mother am I? Well . . . DD#3 is me when I was her age, pretty much, so I guess we get up to a certain amount of mischief.
The "bourbon" was apple cider, folks. And the caftan was silk! See, she is a master (mistress) at finding the thrift store treasure. I think I'm set for next Halloween too. ;^)

Back to knitting a sleeve! Hope you're all in stitches too.