A birthday present received

My birthday is tomorrow, and I’ve received a most unusual present.  It was delivered by a handsome  young man, wearing a tux.  He walked into our courtyard, up to the front porch, and politely asked for a meal.  His manners were impeccable, and he seemed like a really friendly fellow.  Who could refuse such a request?

Two days later, he returned, once again hungry.  DH greeted him this time, and reported really enjoying his company.  DH raised the question of inviting our young man to stay with us.  We have plenty of room in our home, but what would the Meezers think?  The young fellow attired in a tux is feline, you see.

I would never have asked for him because I know DH has had allergies to domestic cat fur.  This boy has a coat that is shorter than the Meezers, and even outdoors keeps it impeccably shiny.  I guess neither of us could bear the thought of him being caught by the hawk that circles the lake, or hit by a car, or a dozen other fates that await an outdoor cat.

First, though, before he could be brought into our household, he had to be tested for feline leukemia and FIV.  I popped him into our cat stroller and walked the two blocks to the vet.  Now, our Meezers have been outside only for such trips, and the novelty of all those smells usually distracts them.  Not this boy – he’d been there, done that.  So what was it with the rolling cage? !  Once at the vet, his marvelous people skills resurfaced.  The techs took him off to have blood drawn, and returned, raving over him.  It seems he cooperated fully with them, purring loudly throughout the whole procedure.  When he got back to the exam room he was draped across the vet tech’s arms, enjoying the praise.

The labs came back clear, and the next hurdle arrived:  name, please.  He had to have a chart and a rabies tag in his name.  DH and I had discussed several names, and settled on one.  I told the vet we would call him Archie, but I reserved the right to change it if Archie didn’t care for the name.  Our vet chuckled, and said that would be just fine.

Archie is at home in our guest room, where he is to be isolated for at least a week.  Like many kittens and young cats he has worms, and has received his first dose of worming medicine.  Specimens must be pronounced clear by the vet before he can mingle with the Meezers.  That’s fine by me.  New cats in our home have always been introduced that way.  Not only do we isolate for any surprise viruses, but  also as a way of introducing the newcomer.  Muttering is allowed under the door.  One day the door will casually be left unlatched, and informal greetings can proceed.  

Archie says “Hey, I’m eating here!  Do you mind?”

All in all, he is quite a birthday present.  Oh, and DH spent a night sleeping in the guest room with Archie, with no ill effect.  Keep your paws and fingers crossed that all will go well with our handsome youngest.

A New Venture

Yesterday was the first day of class for Education for Ministry (EFM).  It’s  a four-year program designed to help Christian lay people prepare to be active participants in the whole ministry of the church.  The curriculum comes from the Sewanee School of Theology of The University of the South, but is taught in small, local groups.

Year one, which covers Old Testament, requires the most study time.  Yesterday, when I got home with my books, I told DH “This could seriously cut in to my knitting time!”  Knitting will continue for my sanity, but finished objects will be displayed less frequently.  I considered shutting down the blog — for about 3 seconds.  It was clear I would miss y’all too much.

Time to share some pictures!  Last weekend, around noon, I looked out the keeping room windows and saw the tall ships in port. The Canadian geese were in procession down our lake.  A tradesman that comes to our house told us he believes they live on a lake a few miles from ours.  I counted, and again saw 13 geese, the same number I saw in the Spring, so I believe he is correct. Evidently, it was just a “road trip” for the geese; I haven’t seen them since their Saturday visit.

Here’s to a lovely weekend for  you, filled with lots of knitting and no frogs.

The Persian’s Done!

The Persian Ulmus is done, in spite of me.  I mean, how hard can it be to simply slog on until it is time to add the lace border?  Not at all…unless you slog way past the point.  I thought this was being one of those instances when you knit and knit and the thing just doesn’t seem to grow.  Finally, I counted stitches and found out I was way over.  Much frogging, then tinking, and the edge was picked up without incident.  We’ll not speak of this again, I think.

The weatherman was forecasting a day of rain yesterday, a spin-off from Florida’s tropical storm.  Early in the morning I hustled the Persian off the blocking board, and began considering sun spots for a photo shoot.  They were taken!  The Meezer Ulmus was photographed in the apricot wing chair, but now Minky was napping there,  with her head on my “If I’m sitting, I’m knitting” pillow. Torrie was in the cat seat, just beyond the keeping room table. I took the camera to DH’s office to show him our cuties, and when I returned to the keeping room, Torrie had piled in with Minky. There was nothing to do but wash her – what Minky does best.  (I just love how Minky always washes with her eyes closed.)

I got the message, “meezers rule”!  No meezer was thrown out of their chosen nap spot during the taking of these photos.  The Persian simply spread its wings over the table to be admired by all.  It has a more subtle beauty than the high contrast of the Meezer Ulmus.  Different moods for different days, eh?

Let me show you my knitting

Yesterday I said there was finished knitting on the blocking board.  Today it is front and center to be proudly introduced.

First is a Swallowtail Shawl (pattern available for free here),  but not just any shawl.  I knit my first one when the pattern came out in 2006;  in lace weight yarn it was merely a generous scarf.  I like my shawls to be a hug!  Then Franklin Habit knit a Swallowtail for his grandmother using worsted weight yarn.  Oh, my!  I printed out his notes on quantity of yarn and the hunt was on.

Last October we visited Whirlwind Ranch Alpacas in Lebanon, MO.  You can read about that adventure here.  One of my joys was getting to choose some yarn from the fleece of the alpacas I met. I bought 3-100 gram skeins of natural white worsted weight to knit my shawl.  The third skein was bought as insurance; if I didn’t need it for the shawl, I most certainly would find some small project to love.

Here, then, is my Whirlwind Swallowtail.  It is as yummy and warm as I imagined it would be.  (Let me tell you about August photoshoots in Louisiana!  Warm!)  Oh, that third skein?  I weighed it before and after knitting, finding that I used 20 grams , or 40 yards (total project required 240 yards).   A small  additional item  can still happen, and I am most certainly glad I bought the third skein.

The second FO didn’t begin its life with such a clear vision.  In fact, it began again and again!  I bought some sock yarn from Knit Picks in a colorway they were discontinuing, named Rocky Mountain Dusk.   It had the rich blue and purple of the gowns that were chosen for last year’s Eastern Star state officers, so I bought four 50-gram skeins of it for a shawl. This yarn auditioned in several different patterns – awful!  I consulted the Ravelry gurus on such misbehaving multicolor  yarn, and ended up choosing a feather and fan pattern.  It played nice – very nice! It just wasn’t very exciting to knit…been there, done that.  The scarf languished in one of my favorite knitting bags until this weekend, when I determined that I would rather have the knitting bag and the options needle available – finish it!   It took two 50-gram skeins for this length.  I called it a halt there because I still have enough yarn for a pair of socks.  After washing (the water had only a haze of blue, gone in one rinse) I hung this scarf over the drying rack, to encourage whatever stretching it wanted.  I was surprised that it could play so well with my summer shirt, prolonging its wearing season well into fall.  Happy, happy dance!

Finished Object weekend

Here on the home front (not at Sock Summit) much progress was made.  In fact, I finished four projects!  There was a lot of happy dance, happy dance going on.

The first two projects were cross stitch embroideries I had stitched a week ago.  I hadn’t planned to stitch these two charts at all.  Knitters know all about this phenomenon:  you go into a yarn store for some little thing, and come out with a new project, too.  I went to the cross stitch store to pick up the frame for the Summer Garden Sampler,  and saw these two small charts.  They were by Judy Whitman, one of my favorite artists.  She delights in doing an over-all design, say an apple, that is built of many tiny pictures, including apples, A for apple, an apple basket, etc.  That was the first one that caught my eye, her French Country III Apple

This weekend, with a consult from my even-geekier-than-I DH (that’s a compliment!), I sketched out the pillow design I wanted to make.  Although it is a style that I have seen often in pictures — pillow cover with buttons on one side closing the opening — I had never made one.  I treated it like a square pillowcase, with the extension twice the width of the buttons I had chosen.  I was very pleased with the results.

The second design, Alphabet Pumpkin,  also a Judy Whitman, was from the get-go for DH.  I was thrilled to find the  pumpkin fabric for the pillow.  DH loves all things orange, even once buying an orange car.  This pumpkin’s for you, babe!

Then, flushed with success, I finished a shawl and a scarf.  When you have many projects waiting on the needles you have a jump-start on finishing.  (Well, that’s my story, and I’m going to stick with it.)  They should come off the blocking board later today, and hopefully pictures will follow tomorrow.

Thinking of my friends

As they say, I have good news and bad.  First the good: Knitnana is celebrating five years of her company, Nana Sadie Rose.  (Sorry I couldn’t get the link gadget to play nice – figured you’d rather have a link that worked, even if it wouldn’t highlight Rose.)  She is having a contest with lots of goodies – go on over and guess which is her 750th bag.  (They are so beautiful – you would want to have all 750!) Tell her I sent you, and say hello to her cat – The Meezer.

Now, the bad news: Alison is having major surgery today.  Her DH will be getting her laptop to her to enjoy during the two weeks the doctors have insisted she will be lying flat in bed.  Send best wishes to her, and prayers up for her recovery, please.

Sock Summit, as seen from home

As Eeyore would say “Don’t mind me.  I’ll just be over here, knitting in the corner.”  Not going to Sock Summit, but it does sound amazing.  Many of my blogging friends are attending, so it will be my job to stay home and keep the blog open, I guess.

I was musing this morning about knitting travelers.  Will all those sock knitters freak out the airport security?  “The last gal had knitting needles with her, too.  What is this, a test to see if we are allowing knitting?!”  Hah!  Serve them right after all the grief they’ve given knitters!

Then my mind jumped to how many knit guru’s will be in Portland. All the best minds of sock knitting will be there, in one place.   It will be a brain trust that even a head of state could envy!  I pray for traveling mercies for all those knitters, and for a wonderful weekend of knitting and friendship.

I’m knitting away on my Ulmus, have about 8  + repeats on the main body remaining.  Yet I feel pulled to cast on a sock in solidarity with Sock Summit.  Heh!