Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Top to Tail

SallyJo asked about the pattern for the blue/brown hat. I kinda made it up. The basic pattern is a pretty standard colorwork snowflake. I obviously didn't make that up. (I think I took it from a selection of a mitten book somewhere). I completely winged the small mostly brown section between that snowflake and the decreases, the little 'x's because I needed a little more length.

When it came time to do the decreases, I basically continued in the same pattern, using only that center box with the light blue points, and put decreases starting at the halfway point.

Those lined up perfectly with that center box, and gave that little star-like design you see from the top. Because I did a decrease on each side (directionally, so SSK on the right side, K2tog on the left) with one stitch of alternating brown or light blue between, it gives that double bar look.

I did ask for photos of the other hat I made, so hopefully I'll get those soon.

I also have a cute video of my goofball if I can get it to work right. One of the things Oscar and I are working on in doggy class is "heel". Ideally the dog should stay at your left side and look at you as you walk, then come to an immediate sitting position when the handler stops walking (this is for obedience, not agility or other dog sports). For some people it's hard to get their dog to stay close to them, rather than running ahead (which is doggy disrespect) or lagging behind. I do not have these problems. I have a dog who's too smart for our own good and loves me an awful lot. (I think I turned the volume down, but you may want to - it was windy/buzzy and you hear my mother trying to figure out the camera, nothing else soundwise happens. Do be proud of her for only taking two attempts yesterday and four today to push the right button though). This video was taken after a 2.5 mile walk, so he's not super hyper.

Please notice that he almost never looks at me at all. He doesn't have to look - he knows where I am because he's leaning on me (I don't actually walk with a limp unless there are 50 pounds of muscle and energy pushing against one of my legs). You may also notice at the end, when we come to the same spot in the parking lot that I stopped last time we attempted taping, a unique little dance. That's his "she's about to stop and I'm ready to sit whenever I'm supposed to" butt bounce. He's actually walking in a sit position. We first saw him do this in class, when, after watching several other dogs do the exercise one at a time, which involved stopping (and being told to sit) various times around a circle, Oscar figured out what was expected, and decided he didn't need to be told to sit.

Have I ever mentioned that "class clown" is a common description of a pit bull?

You may have also noticed the tail never stops wagging (literally, he's across the room asleep right now, and the tail is wagging). This is how he became victim of a condition known as "happy tail" - he wags until he whacks his tail so hard it bleeds... and then he keeps wagging. I have tiny blood spatters 18 inches up on all my walls, several pairs of jeans, and often on his own sides.

Vicious monster, my foot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Has anyone seen my camera? I was cleaning house, and now it's missing...

Otherwise I would show you a photo of the dog sweater I'm making for Oscar, which is currently incredibly unimpressive, looking a good bit like this
but darker and in yarn.

I do have this photo of a hat I knit for a holiday exchange (one of those things where you don't know who's going to end up with it)

I did enjoy knitting that a lot, but decided I liked it the most when it was evenly balanced between the colors, so if I knit anything like it again, I'll change the bottom part of the pattern to be a little less background-heavy.

The person who ended up with that hat was extremely unimpressed at the time, but called the party-host a few weeks later saying "you've got to thank her for me, that's the greatest hat ever!" (my guess is they've never worn wool, which is a good bit better in all ways than the generic acrylic stuff you get in most stores) So that person, who is stylishly bald, asked me to make a hat for him.

I like him a good bit, so I did, with the caveat that I didn't care how much he paid me. When I do charge people to make them a hat, it ends up being close to $75, which I think is fair for the number of hours it takes (I'm a fast knitter - a simple ribbed or stocking stitch hat will take me two hours, fair isle takes slightly longer - maybe four hours, cables take just a touch longer, and lace might take till the end of the millenium, depending on how idiot-proof the pattern is). But I know this person doesn't have $75 for a hat, I know he really and truly would have appreciated it, and I would enjoy knitting it, so I just told him how much the yarn cost, and he gave me an additional $25, which is fine. (He has no concept of how long it takes to knit things, and thinks I knit faster than anyone on the planet, so it was even more fair by what I'm sure he thought went into it.)

Plus, he was very easy as far as pattern and color - jokingly he said "if you feel the need to knit a hat that would make people question my sexuality, I'm fine with that" to which I replied "can I pick colors that would make people question [your wife's] gender?" and he nearly choked on his drink. So basically, super impressed, easy to please, fun pattern and happy colors (I went with Ravens' purple, black and white so people will still know he's a boy) and I'm happy to knit cheaply. There's often a lot of discussion about how much to charge for "commission" knitting, and I think it's important to have a sliding scale.

And all of that doesn't matter, because I forgot to take a picture of it. I'll see if I can get a picture from him. He loved it, and I really liked the pattern (and set it aside in my mind for a sweater I've been thinking about, too).

In other news, did you know if you mistype your PIN more than three times when you're trying to buy something with your debit card, they'll cut you off?

There are just way too many PINs in my life anyway, but I was trying to buy gas today (Shell gas is five-cents off a gallon on Tuesdays, and because I'm pathetic and have no life, this is very exciting to me.) I know there's money in the account, but I apparently don't know the PIN, because I typed the wrong one.


And then I realized it and typed the right one but my finger slipped.

So now the line of cars behind me is extended outside the gas station lot and into the street.

And I go inside and see if the guy can swipe it.

And of course he can't.

So he comes with me to the pump and does everything I just did, but hits the buttons more angrily. And it still doesn't work. Telling me to just pump the gas and then come in, he goes inside to flip the little switch.

And now the folks behind me are honking. So I go back in, and the card still doesn't work.

Another customer in the store looks at me and says "I'm pretty sure you're going to need a bodyguard when you go back out there" and we discussed whether or not he was brave enough to take on the job, or if I should try using stale donuts as a shield. (He did offer to go out first to try to distract the masses)

The attendant was still fighting the machine and said "they say anything to you and I'm shutting down all the pumps!" (note to self: wear this color lipstick more)

Eventually (using another card) I did get the gas paid for, and pulled out quickly without getting shot or anything.

And then I stupidly went to Home Depot. I needed weather stripping and a bigger pot for my jade plant and I swear, there's money in that account! But the card didn't work. Again.

Apparently, I cannot be taught.

This time the line was shorter and their car horns were out of reach, so it was much more peaceful.

I just made sure no one was following me when I drove home.

Hopefully I can convince the bank that I didn't steal my own card and go back and get the pot and weather stripping tomorrow. Maybe by then I'll find my camera and can take pictures of the angry villagers behind me in line.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I know he was here a minute ago...

I was doing a few household chores today, and after pulling out the laundry pile and tossing a load in the machine, I decided it was time to give Oscar a bath.

For some reason, though, as soon as I called him from the bathroom, he vanished... any ideas where he went?

(this is not a staged photo...
I heard grunting and scuffling noises, I found this)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Here's Hoping 2008 Doesn't Stink.....

Marriage is love.