Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dog Days

Seems like summertime is slowing down my blogging. The boys finally finished baseball and I thought I would have a bit of a break. Catch up on my knitting, reading, writing, sleep late a few days,

But then something happened:


Hank's 2 1/2 month old cur/retriever/lab???? mix pound puppy. He will probably get large and he's full of energy. Nippy energy that is. I have gone at this dog as I go at all my projects, full speed ahead. I've read books, watched videos, researched online and consulted various other Puppymamas. I'm trying to raise a gentle happy dog who will enjoy being part of this family. It takes up most of my free time.

After 2 weeks of home life here are Hank's accomplishments:

Mostly he poops and pees outside.
He's leash trained.
He's crate trained.
He sits to be fed, go in/out the door, and on command in general.
He waits when commanded.
He's learning stay.
He's trying really hard to curb his biting instinct, but sometimes #2 (perhaps I should rename him Puppybait) is just too much for him.
#2 is trying as well, but his instincts to move quickly, make squeaky noises and to raise his voice with Hank, are pretty deep seeded.
#1 and Hank have learned to coexist peacefully:

Hank's really growing well and is quite handsome. We get lots of questions about his breed. Usually I just say mutt or pound pup, but yesterday Mr. Z and I were talking about it, and decided we ought to make up a breed to tell people, just for fun. Like, Zoysia Hound, or something. Just a thought.

When Hank is outside sniffing around the yard, I sit in the shade and knit. I've been working on a pair of socks for Mr. Z for SOOO LONGGG! They should be finished by now, but they're not. I finally finished sock 1 and am on sock 2 now. The main yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot, a lovely superwash/mohair/nylon blend. It comes in 350 yd hanks and it's been so long since I've made Mr. Z socks, I couldn't remember if that would be enough, so I made the heels and toes out of the Froehlich Wolle Camel I bought in Boston. It's a pretty close match for the golds in the Bearfoot, and there's plenty to spare for my own pair of socks.

So that's how my summer is going: boys, a puppy and socks to be made. My house smells like dog, and I feel like I have another toddler around. He's pretty cute, though.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Surprises, Ravelry Meet Up, and Ongoing Projects

I'm slowly catching up with all that I need to do. My internets were on the blink over the weekend, so I fell a little behind, but I'm going to get it all done eventually.

First thing I'd like to show you is something I've been hiding for several months. It has to do with babies.

NO! Not any of mine. I'm done with that, thank you. But Sharon isn't. She's just a couple of months away from welcoming her new little baby girl into the world. Del and several other lovely ladies came up with the idea of an online baby shower, and I helped. I made the Rowan Elly jacket for the new baby using the Manos Silk Blend Sharon helped me pick out at Purl Soho.

For Monkey, I made Kimberly Chapman's Knitted Banana. Get it? Monkey/Banana? I used assorted acrylic worsted for this. It's really cute, and I have a couple of my own monkeys who want one.

Sharon was really surprised. It was hard to keep the secret, but so very worth it in the end. If you'd like to check out the Fiber Baby Blog, just click here.

Last weekend, a bunch of Mississippi Knitters, many of whom met through Ravelry, came down to my neck of the woods to visit a LYS, The Yarn Basket. I met them at the shop and led them to a nice restaurant for a late lunch. It was fun to meet everyone and to put faces to the Ravatars.

First we have Teresa in orange, the owner of The Yarn Basket, Petal, MS, and Chanda in green.

Next we have some Mississippi knitters doing what we do when we get to a yarn store:

And finally, we all went to a downtown restaurant, Brownstone's and had lovely Cajun food.

Yay! It was a blast! Now when I go to Jackson, I'll know some knitters. It's like being in a club or something. Ravelry is so great.

I guess many of you know I teach college art classes, and last semester I taught 2 sections of Design 2. It's basically color theory and application. The application part involved cutting colored paper and pasting it into designs that fit a certain set of requirements. I have also mentioned somewhere in this blog that I got facinated with felting sweaters I purchased from the Salvation Army. I kinda went crazy with it for several weeks, buying the sweaters, felting them, then cutting them up. I didn't have any project in mind, but I knew I had something I could work with.

Then it occurred to me, that I could blend several interests together using this one medium. I love teaching, am fiber obsessed, am interested in traditionally female art forms, and love the idea of collaboration. I devised a group project that involved all these interests as well as recycling of material.

First I cut as many 9 inch squares as I could get out of the various sweaters. I saved all the scraps. Late in the semester, I assigned my students a project where they had to make a 9 inch square design based on the colors of felt I had available. They cut and pinned their designs onto the 9 inch squares and put them in baggies. Now all I have to do is hand applique' all the designs, then sew them together somehow, and put a backing on. A breeze, I tell you...yeah, right! I know it's a lot of work, but I have been thinking about this and I simply have to do it. It's gonna take a while, as there are around 40 squares and even though I told the students to keep them simple, some of them have a different idea of what simple means.

But there were some lovely designs. Here are 2 that I particularly like. Please excuse the fact that they are still in the baggies.

I'll keep you all posted on the progress the felt quilt as it moves along.