Saturday, March 31, 2012

Meet the Chuckster

I am the Chuckster and it does not make Gus love me more. Gus does not take pills as well as he could but I do recognize it could be worse. Mostly because we have been through the worse stage. It usually involves quite a bit of me alternating between swearing and begging.

We've been giving Gus nightly pills for four months now. We call it pill chucking because that is really the action we're going for. Some nights are better than others. Tonight was a good night, we got it down in one shot. A couple of nights ago it took four tries with short intervals between to dry out the pill so it does not stick to my fingers. See I am learning!

I have also learned that both of us being relaxed and calm before hand helps. If we bring stress into that situation it only leads to frustration. Angry looks and bleeding fingers are not cool. Not cool at all.

Greenies cat treats are a great way to make sure the pill goes down and cleans out the pill taste from his mouth. Well I don't know about the pill taste I can only assume that one. But sending food down the esophagus will help keep a pill down I think. Plus who does not like a spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down. (Now you will all be humming that song tomorrow, you're welcome.)

Fur rubbing helps but only if I don't get too needy. He is still Gus and does not fall for all that lovey dovey stuff. Unless he is want to then it is still on his time table.

I think the pill is helping and he knows it because he does not even bother to run and hide from me if the first chuck does not take. Now he just sits and looks at me like "You want to get it right this time woman?"

I am telling you Greenies help. I wonder if they make Greenies for humans? Oh right we call they Kit Kat in my house.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dinner woes

Feeding my husband is always an issue for me. I am a born and raised midwest farm girl. (You may all save your farmer's daughter jokes for another time OK?) That definition means a few things, meat and potato dinners, women in the kitchen while the men were out working in the field, women fixed plates of food for everyone and brought out. These are the things I grew up with, this is what is normal to me.

I am not saying that women did not do outside tasks or they were kept barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. But as a rule the women I knew ruled the kitchen and the men were at the table to be fed or play cards, never to help make the meal.

I think much of the dynamic comes from the farm environment. Instead of Dad putting on a suit and going to a 9 to 5 job, he worked in the fields and with the animals, all day. Instead of Mom putting on her 50's era pearls and high heels to be a housewife, she cooked meals, baked, bottle fed bum lambs and raised us kids. I am saying that both of them worked darn hard to provide for us, just in different ways.

My bother, sister and I  worked too. When we got home from school, we changed into our chore clothes and fed and watered the animals, all the animals. We hauled wood to heat the house too. I can remember moving off the farm and thinking what a cake walk town chores would be, washing dishes and taking out the garbage. What a breeze.

So now that I have completely meandered down memory lane I will return to my point. I feel responsible for making dinner. Awhile ago we tried a very restricted diet as part of a fasting program at our church, no meat, bread, dairy, preservatives, or additives. It was quite a stretch for us. Add to that the fact I normally felt guilty if I served a meal without meat, and by meat we're talking about the entree. The bigger slab or hunk I could find the better. So there is guilt point one a meal without meat means your wife does not love you enough.

Dustin is a hearty eater unless it falls into certain categories; seafood (all of it), nuts, dark meat poultry and eggs (mixed with things ok but by themselves no.) I simply do not make these things unless I know he has other plans. When he was in the military and had a duty day I would usually go wild and get at least two or three of these treats while he was gone. Usually I rented a total chic flick too. Might as well get my dose of estrogen too. Now I tend to do this when he works late or has a dinner meeting. Which brings us to guilt point two do I still need to cook for him when I have already eaten one of my banned foods?

Normally dinner time does not bother me but sometimes I feel guilt over things he may not even care about. So lets do a poll with all two of you that read this.

Do you cook for the people in your life or with the people in your life?
Does dinner ever make you feel guilty about what you're serving?
Does meat take center stage at dinner? Does it have other support roles or even a few nights off?

Well this turned into a darker post than I thought it would be. Feel free to tell all your farmer's daughter jokes now if you wish.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Deep Thoughts - Or Not

I've been thinking about a name for my spindle, how about Ipswich? It is a town in South Dakota and England. I've always liked the word. Plus I could call her Ipsie and we know she switches the way she spins. Am I working too hard at naming an inanimate object?

On the bonus side I finished a pair of socks for D. I think he is finally getting the hand knit sock thing. I think his first love will always be my sweaters but it is much easier to feel the knitterly vibe in a pair of socks in July rather than a sweater. When I first started knitting socks people said once you have hand knit you never want store bought again. When I had a measly two pair, I liked them but I didn't stay up late making more till I no longer had to wear store bought anymore. I slowly added more and more. Then suddenly I did not have to do laundry every week in order to have fresh hand knit socks. I had more than a weeks worth. And one day I put on an old store bought pair. I was walking around the house wondering why the floor was so cold. It was the same temperature it always was, the pathetic cotton socks did not insulate as well as my woolie wonders. I threw those socks out and never looked back. Now D will eventually make the leap to not having to wait on laundry to have a pair of knit socks and he will be happy too. (At least I hope he will be.)

I am also headed for home on my pair of socks made from my first sock yarn club yarn. They're going to be beautiful, but hey I know I am biased. I am already looking at my yarn stash lovingly trying to figure out who will be next.

So we all know this means a bout of startitis is headed for me. I'm trying to figure out what decorative pattern to make but nothing is calling out to me. How can that be? It must be because I started working on my marathon stocking again. You remember, I'm making German Stocking by Cookie A and am having an on again off again relationship with it. Much like my real life relationship with exercise. Anyways I am 5 inches into the second smaller cuff and it is time to try it on and compare the differences. I hope this one works because I am getting sick of reworking the same area over and over. But that is what I need to do in order to get it right. I really want these to work out and fit, so we must keep knitting.

On the humorous story front D was talking to a former coworker that knows me and occasionally reads my blog. She said to him that Knitting is really her thing. No really her thing. There are hobbies then there are obsessions, I lean to the obsession side in this one area. I'm thinking of having T-shirts made that say Knitting is really my thing. Maybe I should just change the blog title...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spinning on a spindle

The other night I went to my first spinning group at my local yarn shop. I got to see some people I've not seen in a while and talk about making yarn a tad. I was the only one there without a wheel. I brought my beautiful Golding spindle. I really do need to think of a name for her. Wait that raises another question for me. All my cars are female does that mean my spindle is a female too? Argh I don't know I guess I will decide when I find a name that suits her.

Anyways I spun up my first bump of fiber and plied it. I used Knittina's suggestions and wound it into a center pull ball and plied the two ends together. 

It worked well till one strand started pulling faster than the other. Once I got them matched up again I was careful to keep it that way. I did make a mistake early on that was easily fixed. When you ply you spin in the opposite direction from the way you spun the yarn. I of course started to spin the way I've been spinning.

Well it is clear that my camera does not take pictures of yarn very well in this case. Too much flash not enough natural light. But hey look I'm making real yarn for the first time.

I can tell you that my spindle was so full by the time I was done plying. I don't think I could have fit anymore yarn on it.

At the spinning group I started the brown bump of fiber and finished it a few days later. It was not as smooth as the cream roving but I managed to twist it into submission. I am letting it sit on the spindle for a few days in between spinning and plying which helps the fibers relax into their new arrangement. Good thing I read that on Ravelry the first couple of days I thought I was just being lazy letting it sit.

So there is my first and second yarns, well first and halfway to being yarn second. My first yarn is in a skein form now awaiting a bath. It was really neat to feel the difference in the thickness of the yarn. A true beginners yarn thick and thin all in the same skein. D was surprised when I told him I don't plan to make anything out of my first yarn. I want to keep it for comparison with later yarns. Because you know I don't have enough yarn laying around the house, now I need some for decorative purposes.

It's my yarn I can do what I want. (As long as I keep knitting him socks.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kindle cover

My poor Kindle has been running around town in my purse wrapped only in a kitchen towel. I neglected to buy a case because I thought what other knitters thought while looking at their Kindles...I can knit a cozy for that. I've knit cozies for tea cups, tea pots and even for a grenade shaped gear shifter. Yes you read that last one right. I know some interesting people.

Anyways my naked Kindle has not see my knitterly love, till now. I finally finished its new cover, and I am using it to fly my I'm-a-geek flag. I present to you my mostly done TARDIS Kindle cover. 

The TARDIS is a fantastic 'character' from the British television series Doctor Who. Kisknit got me started watching and now I feel the need to tell others that I watch by my cozy.

It makes me smile and really that is the mark of a good cozy. I still have to add some details but I think I am downright cool! In a geeky goofy kind of way but still cool.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Last of the spoilers

My Sweetgeorgia sock yarn club ended with this month's shipment. Then I realized I had not yet told ya'll about my February shipment, how could that be? You and I both know I love talking about yarn.

It is named My Funny Valentine in the yarn base Silk Crush, which is a 50/50 blend of superwash merino and silk. The silk really gives it a sheen. It's 375 yds of silk and wool.

I've got to be honest while this is a beautiful yarn, I am a bit disappointed to get a blend that is not recommended for socks. Don't worry I'm sure I will enjoy knitting a beautiful shawl or cowl instead, but you know I am a sock knitter first. Any of you shawl people have any pattern recommendations? 

March's yarn I could not be more in love with, although D is not a big fan. I believe he used the word 'weird.' What can I say he is married to a yarnista but he still has not met the requirements himself. I'm not even sure I want him to be a yarnista then he would want to share the stash and I can not have that. I am the youngest of three kids I don't share as well as I should. 

What is that you say? Get back to the yarn. Oh yeah. This is the yarn I was hoping to get, Tough Love Sock, 80/20 superwash wool/nylon blend. The colorway Spring Garden reminds me of what it was intended to, Crocus flowers in the spring.

So what did I learn from having a yarn club card? I enjoyed it. I liked the anticipation of the order each month, what yarn base would it be, what colors? I would say the surprise is a major draw of the club thing. I did end up liking all the colors I received but would I have truly hated any colors? It was fun to try something new.

On the flip side I don't know if I will ever do another one. But then again I am already doing multiple things that I never though I would so who can say? Anyways I think shopping at fiber festivals and yarn stores is good enough for me. I will just occasionally chose something out of the ordinary and think of it as a club purchase, the Yarnkettle random club.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Melting down

Work has been a bit of a challenge lately and apparently I hit the end of my rope Tuesday night. No wait, in order to set the scene I need to tell you how I make dinner and my lovely Mother in Law makes dinner.

We will start with my lovely Mother in Law's tale first. When D was growing up his mother was very organized lady who worked from home. She would have a plan for dinner in place and the meat defrosting in the morning. This happened all the time. She also kept dinner hot when D's dad was late. Which was often since he worked very long hours. It is like dinner happened by magic, magic called planning.

I rarely defrost things other than turkey. Most of my dinners defrost in the frying pan while they're cooking. I am not saying it is a bad style, just my style. I do admit it makes meatloaf very difficult, which explains why we have meatloaf so rarely or only with meat fresh from the store.

When we were first married D would come home and ask what was for dinner my usual response was I don't know what would you like? Not because I was being polite but because some nights I was looking for an idea. When he asked his Mom the same question as a kid he always got an answer.

Tuesday I get home from my second challenging work day in a row, late because I had a hair appointment and realized I have no clue what to make for dinner. Now keep in mind some of my best meals have come about under situations like this. I am creative under pressure and I usually get creative in a tasty way. But that night? Nope!

I search the freezer, the pantry and the refrigerator, the only thing I come up with is a bag of mixed vegetables. Now don't get worried we had food but I had a blank mind on how to turn it into dinner. At this point D realizes I'm drawing a blank.

Spaghetti? I know it is not your favorite but.....

No, I don't want spaghetti.

I'll change my clothes and we can go to the new pizza place.

No it is too expensive!

This is the point I realize I am past the point of being logical. D suggested we try a new pizza place, not the newest five star restaurant. Was I planning on feeding an entourage? We save our money we could surely afford to go out to dinner that night. I stepped back a minute and thought about what I had said and the tone which I had said it. Complete frustration. I was not frustrated with him but myself for feeling unprepared.

After I apologized, we walked over to a salad place and had a nice healthy salad without the side of frustration. I chose a side of let it go instead. I also thanked him for understanding how difficult planning dinner can be sometimes. (Or not planning as the case maybe.)

The best part was he picked up something new the next night from the grocery store all on his own without being asked. I got home and there was something to make for dinner, which we did together. It is nice to be listened to and understood.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Socks for D

D has clearly learned the awesomeness that is known in our house as hand knit socks. So after many comments of appreciation for said socks he has earned more, well that and buying me sock yarn for Christmas helps. 

First up we have socks made from the Christmas yarn Lang Yarns Jawoll Color. The lady at the yarn store asked him if he was buying it so I could make socks for him. He answered no but since his favorite pair is remarkably similar to these, I took the knitter's prerogative and decided they were indeed for him. These are color 132.0321. Don't they totally look like 132.0321? Can you tell I still have a problem with numbered colorways?

I did run into a bit of a snag though, I made the leg a bit longer than I used to and ran short on yarn. To avoid an odd ball toe like the one on his first pair of socks I got smart. When it occurred to me that I may run short while knitting the first sock I started to weigh both the sock in progress and the remaining yarn ball. I stopped the first sock at the toe with just a bit under half of the yarn used and knit the second sock to the toe also. I rummaged through my bag of leftover sock yarn and came up with a bit of Opal sock yarn I had used for another pair of D socks. Don't the toes look like they belong with these socks? I am so stinking proud of myself I may just burst. I love it when a plan comes together!

Second we move onto the funky socks. I bought this yarn on a lark at Rhinebeck, it is totally out of character for me and I love it! While I was knitting it D kept commenting the same thing I was thinking, that is a really great color. Finally I decided that while I had many socks, funky colored and not as funky colored, D had only plain manly colored socks. They are mostly blues, browns and greys. So I changed over and made these for him.

When I asked him to show them off at a Christmas party he proudly did so. And every time he puts them on he smiles a little bit more. Guess we all know who will be getting more socks out of the sock knitting machine that is my hands.

Happy socks everybody needs at least one pair. Wear them with pride Hubby because I knit them with love.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wisterious Socks to Wristlets

One of my first pairs of socks developed holes and I did not want to try to mend them. It does not work as well as I hope it will. So I hatched a hair brained idea, why not turn them into wristlets? I always see beautiful patterns for wristlets but look I can have a pair even quicker!

I cut the area that had worn and unraveled backwards up the sock since these were knit as all my socks are knit top down. I savaged the unworn-out leg of the sock. I must warn you it is a bit sad to see something you were so proud of ripped up but it is a bit fun to unravel too. Does that make me a tad demented?

I picked up stitches and knit a short, matching 2x2 rib. 

And Voila! new old mitts in a fraction of the time.

I have noticed when I wear my Fetching fingerless mitts at work my palms can get a touch sweaty and since these don't have a thumb hole, they don't hold quite as close to the palm and don't over heat.

So now you know what I will be doing with any of my old fancy socks since they are the hardest ones to let go. Anybody want a pair of old socks reworked? I promise to wash them. Hee hee.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm still knitting

I've been sick so I have not had the energy to talk to you in a while. I've got a cough that will not quit and I've been forced to sleep on the couch to keep myself from rolling over to a trigger position for the cough. While I like couch sleeping, it is like a vacation, sooner or later you just want to be home in your own bed. I'm so bad that the Kitties won't sleep with me because I shake them up. Poor me. And now on to the yarny stuff.

I have my first bump of fiber spun on my spindle, now I need to figure out how to divide and ply it then officially turn it into yarn by washing it and setting the twist. I have a feeling that it is way over spun but that is better than being under spun. Well at least from the sources that I've read so far over is better than under when spinning.

I don't plan on my first yarn being usable for anything other than reference. I would like to try spinning some of the brown fiber next. Is it weird that I am excited that I can now participate in Tour de Fleece this year?

D's current sock in progress
I did manage to work on some things when the coughing subsided. I've got my standard sock for me and a sock for D on the needles. I find myself wanting to cast on a more complex sock now too, but then I remember I am still not working on my marathon stocking. I keep thinking that the sock will be too big so I put it on hold and cast on the other sock in a smaller size. I want to get them to the same point (4 inches long) and try them both on. That should give me a better idea. 

My current sock in progress from SweetGeorgia yarn.

I pulled out my Wild Apple sweater and decided to fight my second sleeve syndrome by knitting a sleeve, then the body, then the other sleeve. Sounds like a plan right? I placed a cable running down the sleeve so it is taking a bit more time than just knitting round and round. I do so love the look of a cable but I would like to to be able to knit them faster. Oh well as long as I knit them correctly and it does not take a year to make them it is all good right?

I never knew how hard it is to photograph a yarn cable before. While it is proving elusive it looks great in real life. I do think I'm going to love this sweater with my whole heart. I'm just hoping I get it done before July because I know I'm wearing it when I finish it regardless of the date.

Oh yeah we have decided to keep the snowman in the freezer till July also. Is it wrong that I want to have a summer party and place him on the doorstep?