I am such a dork!  I finished the second Tulip cardigan and decided I needed to organize my projects and finish up a few.  I got things cleaned out and picked up the Hester vest.  I was all snuggled down in my knitting chair, ready to go, when I realized I couldn’t find the pattern.  I searched for almost an hour, going through the bookcase, through piles in my sewing room, under chairs, you name it.  It was only then I realized it was in the stack of magazines right by my knitting chair.  D’oh!  Anyway, I finished the first front and did a three needle bind off to join to the back:


It’s hard to get a good detail shot, but at least you can see the nice shirttail hem – accomplished by short rows.  And here’s a photo of Tulip 2:


This just wasn’t as much fun as the first, but maybe it was my frame of mind.  I also started losing my infatuation for the yarn.  It is incredibly soft, but also incredibly splitty.  And while finishing I kept snagging it on everything, from the needle to a rough spot on my nails.  I don’t have great expectations for this being practical for an active toddler.  But maybe she’ll get one season of wear out of it.  I’m also concerned that it’s a little short.  I followed the instructions and changed color every 8 rows, but probably should have gone every 10 rows.

In addition to trying to get more organized (including organizing my sock yarn stash on Ravelry), I engaged in some stash enhancement.  I was browsing the Knit Picks site – always a danger.  I went there just to order some more needles, but checked out the sale page and found some lovely Essential sock yarn.  Supposedly these were not vibrant enough for their regular stock, but I love the more subtle colors:



Wouldn’t you know, the sale yarn was in stock, but the needles I wanted were backordered!

Hester has had a very good week!  On Sunday, after gobbling down her morning chow, she decided that Kirby needed to play with her.  She would run as fast as she could down the hall, run back and do circles around Kirby, poking him with her nose.  Kirby, being 14 years old, was not amused.  He put up with it for about 3 or 4 cycles and then pounced and got her on her back and growled at her.  She meekly obeyed the order to leave him alone.  He may be almost 5 times her age and half her weight, but he is still top dog!

In the continuing saga of road construction, I thought the worst was over.  I thought wrong.  The shoulder work does not consist just of putting in curbs and sidewalks, but digging huge trenches for new sewer lines.  In the digging, a backhoe caught hold of our water line, prompting this emergency action at the end of our driveway:


Thank goodness it happened after my morning shower, but we were without water for most of the day.  By tomorrow they should have moved beyond our driveway and as far as I know there are no other water lines in the area.  And the beat goes on!  I’m posting early this week because I have to work Friday and have lots of commitments coming up.  School has started – I’m taking Gerontology and the Psychology of Motivation.  TONS of reading to do.  My eyes are blurring (but thankfully, not bleeding – yet).  See you next week when I come up for air!

Thank you all!

Thank you all for the outpouring of sympathy for Hester.  The response to our sad news has been heartwarming and a little bit overwhelming.  I really had intended to respond to each one of your comments personally, but I’m sure you understand that right now it’s just a little too hard.  But be assured that hubby and I have read every one and it does help ease our pain.

Yesterday morning I had an epiphany.  As usual, I let Hester out of her crate and she sped out the doggy door to do her morning duty.  Then she came running back inside and as usual jumped up and caught her morning biscuit in midair.  This filled me with such joy and I realized that each day that she is like this is a gift!  Rather than worry about what is to come, I’m trying very hard to focus on the good days that we have and enjoy her remaining time rather than grieve in advance and lose the joys she gives us.  Hmmm – sounds a little Biblical doesn’t it?  Matthew 6:34 – "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."  Good advice.  Hester thoroughly agrees.



By the way, in the picture she is waiting patiently for Kirby to finish his dinner.  If he doesn’t finish it all (which he often doesn’t), she gets to pick off the leftovers, but will only do so when given permission.

On the one hand, knitting has comforted me the past few days, but I have definitely been distracted.  The simple little sleeve on the second Tulip Cardigan has been frogged at least four times!  So, I thought I would entertain you with a picture of the tangle of ends waiting to be woven in.


The worst of our road construction is coming to an end.  All the grading is finished and the main roadway is paved.  All that is left is the shoulder work, sidewalks and then a finish layer.  I’ve tried to take pictures that show the massive scope of this project, but it’s been impossible.  Here’s a picture of road down to bare dirt and an idea of how much they lowered the road in our area.  Further down it was lowered even more!


And the paving:


Through it all the workers have been incredibly helpful and gracious, making accommodations for us and allowing us through barriers to get in and out of our driveway.  It was great fun watching the huge machines as they graded and pounded and made the ground rumble.  But we will still be glad to see the end of them!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Hester (shown here with her best bud, Kirby):


Her biopsy came back, and unfortunately the news could not be worse.  She has a rare aggressive form of cancer.  The vet said he could refer us to one of two specialists in the state for chemotherapy and probably amputation of her leg and shoulder.  However, the survival rate for dogs that are treated is not much greater than for those that are not.   Bill and I have decided that we cannot put her through that and will not treat it.   We will keep her on her current level of pain meds and when those no longer work, will end her suffering.  We are devastated.  Hester is only 3 years old and truly the sweetest dog we have ever had.   The good news is that so far she seems unaffected by it all.  The biopsy site is healing nicely and she doesn’t seem to be in any pain at all.  She’s eating well and still chasing Kirby around the house.  It’s hard to take in that she’s even sick.  We don’t know how much time we have left with her.  It may be as much as a year or two – we don’t know.  I just want to get past this overwhelming sadness so I can enjoy her while I can.  Too sad to write more.   

Well, I’ll swan.  That was a favorite saying of my Granny, used to express surprise or amazement.  I have no idea of the origins of the saying, but she was from south central Missouri and I don’t think I’ve heard the saying anywhere else.  But it came back to me this week when I thought, "Well, I’ll swan.  You can teach an old dog new tricks."  I have made several attempts to knit socks on two circs, but every time have given up after about 4 rows.  I just hate all those ends flopping around.  On her blog Wendy mentioned that she used KnitPicks 16" circulars.  Hmmm – might work.  So I ordered a pair of size 0’s for my I Love Gansey socks and well, I’ll swan.  They work.  The cable is flexible enough and the ends long enough not to hurt my hands.  And without those ends flopping around, I find it’s not too annoying.  I’m finding this method quite helpful with the complicated pattern:


Will this become my preferred method?  Too soon to tell, but I’ll be ordering a pair of size 1’s in the near future.

For anyone coming here from Marguerite’s blog for the amazing details of our road construction, here’s an update.  We had been informed that Washington State Department of Transportation (affectionately known around here as "washdot") was going to lower  the road at the end of our driveway by 8 feet and close down our driveway at least twice for 24 hours at a time.  We did learn that they are only lowering our road 3 feet, but they are lowering it 8 feet about 100 yards down from us.  That part is just about done.  And after a lot of input (read whining and crying) they have revamped their plans and have informed us that they will try to keep the closure of our driveway down to less than 8 hours at a time.  Most other streets exiting onto the highway in the construction area have other back exits, but our driveway does not.  Why are they doing it?  Because it’s there.  They tell us it’s to lower two hills and increase the sight distance for safety.  But in the 20+ years we’ve lived in this location, there has never been a fatality accident and very few of any kind.    So, anyway – for your edification, here’s the beginnings of the 3 foot ditch:


We’ve been told digging will begin in earnest Sunday night.  I’ll be out there taking pictures to keep you posted. 

Hester says thanks (woof!) for all the get-well wishes:


She came through her surgery with flying colors.  You can see the shaved area on her shoulder, but I didn’t do a head on shot because it’s pretty gross.  She seems to be comfortable and wanted to eat – but then she always wants to eat.  However, I’m comforted by the fact that that indicates she can’t be too sick.  The vet is still somewhat stumped.  There did not seem to be a tumor, but lots of dead tissue.  He said it almost looked as if she has suffered an injury, such as being hit by a car.  But she is never out of our sight and has had no injuries.  I’ve talked with her breeder and she comes up with nothing that happened prior to her coming to us either.  So a biopsy has been sent off and we wait.  In the meantime, she is on antibiotics, which the vet says in a best case scenario may clear up the problem.  We won’t discuss the worst case scenario.  Thank you to all of you for your prayers for her!

Thanks to some long awaited time off, it’s been a busy few days here at Missouri Star, resulting in some actual FO’s.  Dial up users, be forewarned this is a picture heavy post, so be patient.

First off, Ivy’s newborn set is all done except for buttons and ribbon:


It looks alarmingly large.  I was hoping she could wear it home from the hospital, but it may be more appropriate for 3 months or so.  But that will also put it in the middle of Orlando winter, so it might be more appropriate weather-wise also.  Also finished, the Tulip Cardigan:


Yes, I started it about a week ago.  This knit was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.  However, gauge was not my friend.  Yes, I did a swatch and yes, I got gauge.  But when I reached the end, it looked a little small – see it compared to the "newborn" set?


I measured again and lo and behold I was 1/2 stitch per inch off.  Of course, in the wonderful world of baby knitting, both sweaters will fit her at some point.  I only found one puzzling discrepancy in the pattern.  When picking up the stitches for the front seed stitch border, you are instructed to pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows.  However, when knitting the fronts you were told to slip the first stitch of every row.  That results in one edge stitch for every two rows.  I don’t see how you can have it both ways.  I just picked up one for one in each edge stitch and it worked out fine.  Of course, for such a little sweater there were an amazing number of ends to weave in.  This, however, was more than offset by the fact that there was NO seaming!  All, in all, I highly recommend this pattern and I’ve already started on a matching one for Izzy.

Also on the knitting front, I have joined the Six Sock Knitalong.  Please don’t ask me why.  Because it was there?  Anyhoo, here’s the start of my I Love Gansey Sock:


I’m using Regia Silk and I think it’s turning out just lovely.  Certainly not a mindless knit, but the pattern is relatively clear.  I tried once again using two circs, but I keep coming back to my tried and trusted dpn’s.  They just feel so comfortable to me.  My brother-in-law was watching me knit and asked how many needles I had.  I told him five.  He said, "Too many moving parts for me."  But I told him only two were moving at any one time. 

I also had some free time to play with my sewing machine and turned out these cute receiving blankets:


They will be donated to our local Pregnancy Care Clinic, reinforcing my belief that every child is a wanted child – even if some mother only uses it once to wrap up her baby as a gift to an adoptive family.

Thanks to all of you who have send good wishes for Hester our way.  She is scheduled for surgery on Monday for a biopsy.  She goes in at 8:00 a.m., but the vet said she may be home as early as noon.   We just hate sending her "under the knife" because she seems so much better on Rimadyl, but I would hate knowing that there was something that we could fix if caught early and we did nothing.  I’ll keep you posted on her progress.

And lastly, all of the photos in this post were taken with my new Canon SD1000.  Hubby’s camera died and he was looking for a new one.  He headed off to the store to buy for himself and instead came home with a new one for me!  He had heard me saying that I liked my camera but wished I had a smaller one.  So he’s taking my Canon G6 and giving me the new one.  What a sweetie!  Once again he proves he’s a keeper.

Just in case you think that I’m the only creative one in the family, look what hubby made for Isobel:


Isn’t it gorgeous? This is definitely destined to be an heirloom. Sadly, when he went to ship it, he found out that it would cost almost $200 just for shipping! So, he’s told Izzy’s parents that if they want her to ride it, she needs to come here. It’s almost cheaper that way! We’ll hold it for her here at Nana & Grandpa’s and hopefully they will move closer soon or we’ll find another shipping option.

Several weeks ago my best friend, Jan (who reads my blog, is a college English teacher and is probably cringing at the last sentence in the previous paragraph) gave me a gift certificate to our LYS to buy yarn for a project for Ivy. I really tried to wait until she could go shopping with me (really, Jan!), but I was over in Anacortes yesterday to give blood and just couldn’t resist dropping into the shop. Look what followed me home:


A tower of yarn. Actually I cheated and turned the photo on its side. This will be enough yarn for a Tulip cardigan for Ivy and her big sister too. In fact, there will probably be enough yarn to make a bigger size as well so that when Izzy outgrows hers, Ivy can wear it and Izzy will have another one to match! This yarn is Comfort by Berroco. It’s an acrylic/nylon blend, but just as soft as can be. As much as I love the Dream in Color yarn, I just can’t justify the cost – even for the kits. That is, if you can even find them. I’m hoping this will be a good substitute for some sweaters of many colors for the girls.

Lastly, I would like all of you to send up a little prayer for our dear Hester. If God cares about every little sparrow, I know he cares about little dogs too. Hester started limping rather badly a few weeks ago. She didn’t appear to be in any pain and has otherwise been her usual perky self. We took her to the vet and he found a large mass around her right shoulder joint. X-rays were inconclusive, so he sent them off to a radiologist. The radiologist also found them inconclusive, but feels that it is probably not cancer. It could be some kind of connective tissue tumor, however. She is scheduled to have a biopsy on August 13th. We are very worried about her, but determined to be positive. We love her dearly and hope for a return to good health for her.