Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Five Out of Seven Kitties Agree

Last week we had a huge vet trip. All of my health things meant that the kitties' health maintenance got pushed to the back burner for a bit and almost everyone was overdue for their yearly shots. But I'm doing mostly better and Olive had something weird going on with her lips, so we took the most egregiously out of date kitties to the vet.

So Cocoa, Chloe, Gidget, Bitty and Olive all went to the vet. Yes, five of them. And all of them save Olive qualify as seniors, which makes for a very expensive vet trip. But who needs money when you have healthy kitties, right?

Well, except not everyone was fully healthy. All of their blood tests came back just fine, which was good, but Cocoa had a little bit of a heart murmur so we've got to schedule a cardiologist appointment for her to get an ultrasound. And Chloe needs a dental cleaning, during which time they will scope her ear because she has something in there that is either a growth or a really tenacious ball of wax. (Bitty had something similar a few years ago. It was stubborn wax. I'm pulling for that this time.)

We also came home with some antibiotic wipes for Cocoa's chin and Olive's lips (Cocoa's chin seems to be breaking out from messy drinking habits and who knows what is going on with Olive's lips but the corners are crusty and she keeps scratching them). Cocoa also got some joint supplement powder since her right hip has been bothering her more and more lately. And lastly, Olive also got some cream for a little bald spot on her head which may be ringworm.

So not a totally clean bill of health for all the babies (Gidget and Bitty did pass with flying colors), but heart murmur aside, the kitties came back good all the big stuff (like blood work). Next up, getting Chloe's teeth cleaned and figuring out the cause of Cocoa's murmur.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's That Time Again

Spring has hit our yard! I managed to miss photographing the mass of blooming cranesbill we've had the past week or so (though we have plenty of seed pods currently), but there are a number of other things poking their heads above ground.

Ten-Petal Anemone
Dakota Vervain
Sow Thistle
Texas Storksbill
Parralena
Wild Onion

Of course, not everything blooming qualifies as a wildflower. My irises are finally doing something this year!

Iris

Last year was rather lackluster with just a handful blooming. But lots of rain this year and no super-late frost means that there currently lots of irises budding so, barring crazy weather or aggressive grasshoppers, I should have more irises to share soon!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Anniversary to Me

It has officially been one year since I was diagnosed with celiac. It's been kind of (okay, very) rough year but things are definitely looking up. My test results are normal and while I still have some joint issues, I think we've finally figured out what causes them. (Sugar. Apparently I cannot eat it straight anymore. Yes, sometime I would do that (like yesterday). Don't judge me.)

Diet-wise, I'm still keeping to my crazy restrictive diet (no grains of any kind (including rice), limited seasonings, no spicy peppers, no legumes (I am a bit sad about saying goodbye to butter beans, a favorite food since forever, but they make me hurt so bad it's not hard to give them up), limited dried fruits and starchy vegetables...) but I really don't feel restricted at all. In fact, we eat really well so I kind of love that and honestly, I wouldn't have been able to make such drastic dietary changes unless I had to, so really that's worked out pretty nicely.

So yeah, one year anniversary of celiac. Go me! In celebration, I made some paleo brownies. And they were delicious. Yay!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Not For Feet

After a yarn delivery, I finally managed to finish the felting project I started last week. It should have been a quick two or three day project, but having to get more yarn stretched that out. Then I had to felt it. And then I had to wait for it to dry. Ugh, that took forever. But now my little slipper box is all finished!

Felted Mitered Bowl

The name is a bit of a misnomer though. It is neither for slippers or a box. It's really a bowl and I made it out of the yarn I had leftover from my Christmas slippers (okay, plus what I had to buy to finish it off). I wanted to make something to corral the things I keep on the lower shelf of my chair-side table since I keep knocking things off of it into the trash and I wanted to stop losing DPNs from that. I don't think I'll have that problem anymore!

Felted Mitered Bowl

Doesn't it hold everything so nicely? Pretty big difference from how it looked before felting!

Unfelted Box

Such fun! And even with having to buy more yarn, I did end up burning through a little bit of my stash with this. It's nice to find a useful and fun project to use up some of the odds and ends I have leftover from other projects!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Almost Anniversary

I'm only days away from my one year anniversary of my celiac diagnosis. Yay? Call me crazy, but I'm not exactly going to bust out the streamers for the celebration.

I did, however, mark the occasion by getting my bloodwork done again and good news! My acute and chronic celiac numbers are now in the normal range! This means my condition "appears to be in excellent control" (per my doctor). At my six-month check up, my IgA (the acute measurement) was three, which is the highest number you can have and still be negative. Now, it is two! And my IgG (the chronic measurement) was a 12 (with anything over five being positive). Now it is a whopping four! Yay!

Of course, that begs the question of why I'm having frequent swelling and pain in two of my joints. So that'll be something I mention when I'm actually in the office for a check up later this week. I've been planning to schedule something with my regular doctor, too, so if we need to hunt down something non-celiac causing the problem, we can do that as well.

And more good blood test news, I'm finally firmly in the "normal" range for RBC so no more anemia! Yay!

And yay again for a normal IgG and IgA!

I Should Probably Stop Now

Yarn Cabinet

I can quit at any time!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fun Was Had

Dan and I have been quite busy this weekend. But part of our busy was really fun. Because there was yarn.

WSK Twinkle Sock The Knitting Rose Budding Tracks
Two if by Hand MCN High Twist Must Stash Yarn Perfect Sock
The Knitting Rose Budding Tracks Fishknits Bootstrap

It was DFW Fiber Fest this weekend and, as you can see, I got some goodies!

Of course, I'm not the only one that got some good stuff. Dan got in on the yarn action because he knows if he buys sock yarn for me, he will get socks. He picked out some pretty awesome future socks.

Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock Lazy Cat Yarn Endurance
The Buffalo Wool Co Tracks Skeindalous Eartha Sock
Schoppel Zauberball

I'm having a bit of yarn envy over the blue yarn he picked. It's so gorgeous.

Now I just need to find room in my yarn cabinet for our combined goodies. It might be a challenge, but I have managed to make some room lately, particularly with my last sweater. Plus, neatening up my yarn cabinet gives me a great reason to pull out and pet all my yarn. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm Not Dead Yet

(Monty Python anybody?)

Dan and I are still not back to 100% but our cough drop and tissue consumption has finally started dropping. Still, we are closing in on two weeks of this nastiness so I officially dub it the most un-fun cold ever. So totally done with it. Ugh.

The only positive thing about this cold is that I was able to knit during most of it (almost misshapen heels is where the "most" comes in). Yes, I finished Dan's socks.

Finished Socks!

Technically, I suppose these are his birthday socks (a month and a half late) but I thought about making them for his birthday and they always say it's the thought that counts, right? Right.

The next socks are definitely going to be mine but they are not going to be the next project I do. Mostly because I started a new project yesterday. I think my focus and level of enthusiasm for it is a good indicator that I'm finally getting out of headcold-fog-land.

Slipper Box

It doesn't look like much right now but that's because 1) it's only got three and a quarter sides instead of the final five and 2) it's floppy and unstructured since it's going to be felted. (Felted stuff is nice and firm when felted but so flat and floppy when being knit.)

Basically, it is an open-topped cube (made with leftover from Christmas slippers). I keep knocking things off the table beside my chair in the living room (my main knitting spot) so I need something to corral things. This is that something. (I've lost two DPNs by knocking them off the table into the trash below and not noticing. I'm so tired of having to get new DPN sets after accidentally throwing a needle away. It's almost frustrating enough to drive me to become a knitting super villain. I'm not sure what that would entail, but I lose one more needle and we might all find out.)

Of course, I have now run out of yarn for my open-topped cube. (Apparently that's my knitting theme this year. Sigh.) So I've got two hanks of yarn coming in two of the three "main" colors of this cube, then I'll be able to finish it up. And stop losing DPNs.

I better be over this cold by the time the yarn arrives. Because this is taking too long to get over. TOO LONG!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sick Time Activities

Every time I'm sick, I seem to re-learn that I should not knit while foggy headed. This time has been no different.

I've been working on Dan's socks which shouldn't normally be a problem as they are completely vanilla knitting. Pretty brainless. But even vanilla socks have heels. Yesterday, I managed to pick up the wrong yarn three quarters of the way through a heel and ended up finishing the heel on the front side of the sock. Yeah, that's not where it goes.

Half Socks

Fortunately, I figured out something was wrong on the last row of the heel and it was a relatively easy fix, but it was still enough to cause my cold-fuzzy head massive confusion. Seriously, when I'm on cold medicine I am not responsible enough to knit more than plain stockinette.

Now both heels have been completed (on the proper side of the sock, even) so I'm back to safe, boring stockinette. Thank goodness. Hopefully I won't have problems counting rounds, though. I'd hate for the socks to end up different lengths.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Everything is Sticky

Cough Drops

Dan and I are both sick. Dan has been sick since Thursday and I've been sick since Saturday. It's nothing too horrible - just a bad cold - but it's hit us both pretty hard and we've both been sucking down lots of hot beverages liberally laced with honey. Which means that pretty much everything on my tea table (where said honey-laden drinks are made) is coated with a thin layer of sticky. Because honey gets everywhere, man. Everywhere.

On the plus side, we have a nice stock of some really tasty honeys and we've both found some cough drops that we think are effective yet delicious, so it's a yummy time to be sick with a nasty cold?

Yeah, still totally waiting impatiently for summer.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Love Cuttlefish

A number of years ago, I was introduced to cuttlefish at the Dallas World Aquarium. The exhibit at the time was of Common Cuttlefish (I have read that they currently have Flamboyant Cuttlefish - these tiny purple iris-flower-looking beasties) and I kind of fell in love. As awesome as the whole DWA is, the cuttlefish remained my favorite memory.

So when I saw a pattern for a knit cuttlefish... well, you can guess where this is going.

Cuttlefish

Yes. I knit a cuttlefish. His name is Cuddy, the cuddlefish. Cause he's soft and cuddly. Cuddlefish! Ha! I'm so funny.

Ahem. So yeah, I kind of love it. He's the biggest stuffed animal I've made so far. John the Chameleon was about 4" long, Victor the Vulture was like a ping pong ball with a head. Previously, Gilly the Guinea Pig was my largest knitted softie (that I've kept for myself) at about 5" long. Cuddy here is a massive 9" long and 6" wide at his widest point. (No, those fins don't make you look fat.) Fortunately, I chose not to make the grasping tentacles that cuttlefish use to snatch their prey so Cuddy is unable to eat Gilly. Gilly is much more relaxed about life now.

The project was actually a decently complex knit. Nothing too hard but I definitely had to pay attention. Of course, the challenge was compounded by the fact that there were a few errors in the pattern. The internet has lots of different versions of errata for it, so I thought I'd add my own since I took a slightly different approach to the issues.
Errata:
p4: Row 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 should not include ‘w&t’
p5: Row 9-23 ‘k’ and ‘p’ have been switched. Continue in stockinette.
p6: Row 21 should state ‘P25’, not 'P27'
p7: Row 22 should read ‘K9, SSK, K2tog, SSK, K2tog, K9’. Stitch total is 22, not 24.
p7: Round 4's stitch count should be 26, not 20.
p8: Because of incorrect stitch count at the top of p7 (22 sts instead of 24), Round 1 should instead be 'K9, K2tog, SSK, K9, K28. [48 stitches]'. With this correction, all further stitch counts are correct.
p11: Round 4 should read ‘KRL’, not LR
The project is here for those interested.

While this wasn't the easiest knit, it was quite satisfying. I'm actually sort of tempted to make a tiny purple one (like a Flamboyant Cuttlefish) but if I do it will have to wait until I've finished the socks I started on yesterday and maybe a sweater I'm thinking of making. And maybe half a dozen other projects I want to knit next.

Speaking of upcoming projects, the socks I'm working on right now are for Dan. Naturally, they are orange.

Future Socks

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I'm Wearing It Today!

A few days ago, I finally finished my striped cardigan but it took forever to dry after blocking. But this morning it was ready to wear!

Finished Raglan

This lengthened a lot more than I thought it would after blocking, but I love how it smoothed out and now feels a little less bulky. I mean, it is bulky - my goal was a big cuddly cardigan I could wear over thicker long sleeve shirts and you don't get that with something sleek - but it's just the right type of bulky. Warm, comfy bulky.

I used a pattern generator to figure out how many stitches to cast on and as a guideline on the yoke increases, but other than that, this pattern was pretty much done on the fly. As in, I wrote it as I did it. There was a little trial and error with it, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

It's nice and warm, too, which is great because today is cold! Yes, for once I've finished a sweater at just the right time to actually wear it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Did Things

Even with last week to work on my sweater, I didn't finish it. Mostly because I did not work on it. Instead, I made a housewarming present.

Housewarming Present

My parents have officially moved in to their new house. With all the homes they've lived in throughout the years, this is the only one they have actually built. That plus the fact that mom really appreciated the potholder I made her a while back, I decided I'd get some cotton yarn and make kitchen things for them.

Three hundred grams of cotton yarn goes a surprisingly long way.

Kitchen Goodies

In three days, I ended up making two potholders (the first time I've crocheted in ages!), two potholder mitts (horrible to make but seriously the most useful kitchen item ever), a scrubby and a dishrag.

All that working with cotton yarn at a tight gauge was not fun but I'm quite pleased with the end product(s). And they were very well received, so yay! Don't think I'll be doing much in cotton for the near future though. Not until the memory of this experience has dulled!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Socks!

I made more socks!

Rainbow Socks

This pair is by far my speediest pair of socks. (I'm not counting the worsted weight footies I did in two days because their entire goal in life was to be speedy. Even though I am wearing them now.)

I made these socks in four days. Four days! I didn't know I could actually make socks that fast. I knew it was theoretically possible - I could get half a sock done on a good knitting day - but I never managed to get four straight days of massive knitting time. But this time, I made it happen. I got it into my head that it was going to happen after day two and pretty much told Dan that days three and four would be devoted to knitting, not housework. Because this was important. Four days socks trump housework (at least this once).

Next up, finishing my sweater then a cuttlefish (no joke) and vanilla socks for Dan. Maybe a little boar or stork thrown in for fun.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

It's a Knitting Miracle!

I'm almost done with my striped cardigan, but I hit a point early last week where it was evident I would need more teal yarn to properly finish it. (I try to be so careful when it comes to figuring out how much yarn I'll need for a sweater, but it seems like almost every sweater I make, I end up needing more yarn. What's up with that?)

Now, I bought this teal yarn three years ago at a store in Fort Worth. I checked with the store on the off chance they still had some and no. So I knew I'd have to go elsewhere and end up getting yarn in a different dye lot. Which, okay, not ideal but I figured out I could rip back my sweater a tad to incorporate the new dye lot so the difference wouldn't be too jarring. It'd be extra work, but I could deal. So I ordered two new balls of teal from a place in Wyoming.

I got the yarn in on Friday evening and y'all. It's the same dye lot. Three years later and several states away and I managed to get perfectly matching yarn.

I'm still kinda amazed.