Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Waiting Game

We’re all waiting for spring, which has got to be just around the corner. Yesterday I took a walk around the subdivision where we live looking for signs of spring. The first tree to bloom in the Vegas Valley is the fruit-less pear tree which has nice white blossoms, like the apple tree. But I didn’t see any in our neighborhood.

The ornamental plum tree also blooms early with small pink flowers and then develops its dark margenta colored leaves. The tree lines the streets leading into our subdivision, and they are just starting to show their blossoms.

The rosemary bushes are in full bloom with their lavender/blue tiny flowers. They don’t seem to be affected by the cooler weather.

The neighbor’s poppies were getting ready to open, and a second orange flower opened today. Some of the trees are budding out and other flowers add color to these dreary February days when it looks like rain. I like the sunny days much better.

Our family is also awaiting the birth of Paige’s new sister any day now. Here is Paige, newly 2 years old on Feb. 12, in front of her kitchen set that Santa brought. Jordan Clair is not going to arrive at 36 weeks like Paige did, as Erin in now at 37 weeks. But there have been a couple of false contractions so all cell phones are kept close.

I’m going to be traveling to Salt Lake City for a wedding and the following week to Chicago for Bob’s convention, so I will be taking a break from writing this blog for a couple of weeks.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sadie and Mac, Our Live-In Crazies

Sadie and Mac are our family animals, not counting George our desert tortoise who is presently hibernating. Sadie is a gray tabby about eleven years old that we inherited from our daughter, Carlee, three or four years ago when her husband’s asthma and allergies started getting serious. Sadie was adopted from an animal shelter when Carlee went solo with her first apartment.

As a kitten Sadie was pretty playful, chasing ping pong balls in the bathtub, tossing milk jug tabs, and unraveling toilet paper rolls. She’s still pretty active and will often attach my knitting or weaving yarns if they show any suspicious movements. This year when we came home we discovered Sadie playing with a little silver lizard in the dining room. The second time the lizard appeared in the house it was minus a tail. It seems to have survived as we’ve picked it up and put it back outside a couple of times during the summer.

Sadie is a live-in alarm clock, but not regular enough to be dependable. Around 6 AM Sadie will jump on the bed near my head and start loudly purring. If I’m really lucky, I’m laying facing her and she will start touching my face with her paw or butting me with her wet nose. I think she just wants someone to wake up and feed her.

Every time I sit down in my chair ready to watch TV and knit, Sadie runs over and tries to stretch out on my chest. Needless to say it is hard to knit with a cat lying on your arm. So we battle it out for about 5 minutes until she get discouraged and curls up next to me and goes to sleep.

Mac is our Heinz 57 mixed breed dog. We named her after Sarah Mac Kinsey, the TV JAG character, so we could call her Mac. She is the neighborhood dog and often makes the rounds on Saturdays greeting the neighbors when everyone is outside doing their chores. She is such a terrific watchdog that we often have to wake her up when we come home. But when we have visitors she is right there to greet them because she knows that they’ve all come to play with her. Thank goodness Mac isn’t a big barker, but she does like to talk to you with her special howling language. I always feel like she’s trying to tell me something, but I’m just not getting the translation.

Mac really loves water, maybe she’s part Lab. Last week we got lots of rain, more than all of last year. During the steady rain here was Mac standing out in the middle of the backyard just staring back at us in the house, like we were missing out on something. Strange. During the summer when we take walks around the neighborhood and come upon a lawn sprinkler working, Mac would stand over the sprinkler until we pull her away. Probably felt pretty good.

Now we’ve noticed that the cat is starting to eat Mac’s dog food, and Mac has taken some of Sadie’s food when the dish was too close to the edge of the table. How soon can we expect the cat to start barking and the dog to start purring?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Noro Circle Vest

The last few weeks I’ve been on a kick knitting with Noro Silk Garden yarn. I finally finished a circle vest knit from a pattern in Elaine Eskesen’s book Silk Knits. Carla Giuffrida designed the Circle Vest done in the earthy tones, while Elaine Eskesen did the Circle Vest done in the light summer colors. My version was done in blues, Noro Silk Garden Color #37.

The vest pattern calls for the vest to be done on size #9 double points to get started and then on #9 circulars 16 and 29 inch to continue. I finally switched to a 47 inch to finish off the vest, as the 29 inch needle just got too crowded for my taste. The pattern recommended 7 balls of Noro Silk Garden for my size, Large. I thought I only used 6, but I’m not sure as I lost count of the wrappers.

It was as interesting pattern, and once I got into the rhythm of the knitting I was okay. But when I had been following the written instructions so carefully through the pattern of increases and got to the point where the pattern told me to continue the increases in a like manner, I did a low level panic. Once I got my head together and analyzed how the pattern of increases was working I then worked up a little cheat sheet to keep track of what I was doing. I’m the kind of knitter that checks off the rows with pencil and paper to keep track. I never got in the habit of using the row clickers. I couldn’t remember if I had clicked or not at the end of a row.

When I finished the circle vest it looked like a huge sombrero, with the mount in the middle. Thank heavens, after washing and blocking that went away; so did the curling edge.

But if I were to knit another circle vest I would make the arm holes longer. The present armholes are a bit snug. The armholes are made by knitting the required length of the opening with waste yarn. Then when the vest is finished the waste yarn is carefully removed and the live stitched are slip stitched with a crochet hook.

I enjoy knitting in the evening while listening to TV, if I watch too much I usually have to reknit something. Anyway I find it a nice way to relax, IF the pattern isn’t too challenging. I found I can’t do lace at night listening and/or watching TV, my counting never comes out correctly.

Next: Sadie and Mac, our live in crazies