Friday, February 27, 2009

why you shouldn't knit when you're recovering from pneumonia

I had started this sock (Shadow Ribs Socks from The Little Box of Socks using Socks That Rock mediumweight in colorway Stonewash) before I got sick and worked a few rows on it yesterday before I realized that something didn't look right.
I realized that I had knit a round that should have been patterned so I patiently tinked it back. Then I noticed that while most of the sock looked fine now, there was one section that had been purled instead of ribbed. Now this is a very easy 4 row rib pattern - I had the pattern right in front of me and a counter on the knitting. Normally it would be a pretty mindless knit but I guess my brain was still addled from the whole deathly sick incident.

So, one small section of knitting to fix - it actually was only 2 stitches. No problem, knit to the section, dropped the offending stitches and prepared to pick them up properly. Couldn't do it. First I reknit the wrong row, then ended with each stitch on a different row and no thread behind it. I finally decided to give up and stick to stockinette socks until I could think better.

So last night I picked up the stockinette socks I had on the go in the living room. I had worked a bit on the sock on Thursday. They looked like someone had pulled out all the needles and just stuck them back into the knitting haphazardly. It would be possible that one of the dogs had pulled the needles out but I'm pretty sure that none of them have the dexterity to stick them back in, never mind that some of the needles still had the stitches on the right rows. I had started the heel flap the previous day and it was the instep stitches that were messed up so I tried to tink those stitches back to where they should be. I finally got them back on the needles, counted to make sure I had the right number of stitches, and with a sigh of relief went back to knitting the heel flap. As I did I saw that I had done one slip stitch row around the entire sock instead of just the heel flap. So I just pulled out all the needles and ripped back past that point. Jeesh!

It reminded me of a simple afghan that my grandmother had crocheted for my son. My grandmother was a very accomplished crocheter and had made heirloom quality afghans and doilies in the past. She had just had her leg amputated, was moved into a seniors' home, and was bored. She was delighted to have something to work on and just roared through that afghan. When it was done, it was hourglass shaped. The tension and stitch count varied from row to row. She made a little comment about having trouble keeping the stitch count but she didn't seem to really notice how dreadful it was and we didn't have the heart to tell her. And it still matched Geoff's room and kept him warm on chilly nights.

My advice if you're recovering from an illness: watch TV.

I am finally back

Boy, I have never been that sick for that long before! It wasn't until yesterday that I started to feel like I was back on my way to be with the living. I was even able to pick up my knitting for a little while. Life is starting to look good again. Thank you all for the many well wishes while I was ill; they were very much appreciated!

I finally got around to using the random number generator on the comments and it picked Little Miss S. I have emailed her and the Sea Wool will be winging its way to Denmark soon.

Thanks to all of you who left a "tiny indulgence"comment! They were so much fun to read and I learned that a lot of people have similar ones. Many, many indulgences included time to knit in a favorite spot (no surprise there), hot baths or showers, favorite beverages, chocolate, TV, and warm furry companionship (no, not the husband kind). If you need any ideas for pick-me-ups, go and read all the comments for lots of ideas.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

still no contest draw

Sorry folks, the draw is still going to have to wait until I'm feeling better. I went to the dr. today and was diagnosed with pneumonia. I hope the antibiotics work quickly. The contest is still open until I can do the draw.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

draw postponed due to flu

Sorry, but I am flattened by the flu. Not your garden variety virus but the real, honest-to-goodness influenza. Until I have the energy to find a random number generator and count comments, the contest is still open to new comments.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

tiny indulgences and a contest

I've spent this winter trying to be kind to my ailing body and trying to find ways to nurture my soul. It's been a struggle. Chronic pain and fatigue can take over if you let it. If I stay at home and maintain a slow routine, things aren't too bad. But if I do anything, even fun stuff, I pay. I woke up in the middle of the night after the Jeff Dunham concert with a migraine. I have no idea why. Yesterday, I had to go for fasting bloodwork so I made arrangements to have lunch afterward with a friend that I hadn't seen lately. When I got home I was hit with a brutal bout of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and then my blood sugar crashed to a frightening low. It's very discouraging.

So I was reading Barb's post on her "So, the thing is... blog" today about how we need to make sure we take of ourselves. Barb discusses her battle with chronic pain and I can certainly relate to that. She also makes a very good point that we all need to find what makes us happy and nurture ourselves, even if it's just a tiny indulgence.

Here's one of my indulgences.
It's a rocker/recliner in my craft room. I crave sunshine these days and it's much too cold to sit in the sun room. The living room is on the north side of the house so it doesn't have any sunbeams. My little bedroom-turned-craft room is on the south side of the house and the light there is lovely. I found this chair at a great clearance price. It fits my body perfectly. Although it wouldn't have been my first choice for color, the craft room is hardly a designer affair anyway so it really didn't matter. I can knit, listen to my ipod, and even spin on the Little Gem. It's lovely! My own little cozy space in the sun.

Now for the fun part:

to celebrate my third blogiversary, leave a comment with your contact information and tell me what your tiny indulgences are. You have until the end of this Saturday, Feb. 21/09, to leave the comment and be eligible for the prize. I will use an online random number generator to pick the winner on Sunday.

And the prize is a nice little indulgence -
this skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool (merino/seacell) in the Nova Scotia colorway, including a pattern for Bordello Socks. Now that's indulgence!

(Don't forget to include your contact information in your comment! Your comment won't be eligible for the prize if I can't contact you.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

mid-winter pick-me-up

I have been suffering from the winter doldrums. There hasn't been anything exciting happening lately, the weather stinks, and I'm bored but not energized to do much about it. It's a common affliction around here these days. It's been a long time since we've had such a cold winter and everyone is so tired of it.

Today is a provincial holiday but Canada Post is under federal jurisdiction so the mail arrived. It was a lovely surprise - just right for a mid-winter pick-me-up!
There's the new Interweave Knits magazine, several sets of Hiya Hiya double points in fine gauge sock sizes from The Knitting Zone*, and Mini Mochi sock yarn from Jimmy Beans Wool. The rainbow colored yarn is already wound and ready to start a pair of socks. I was craving color and here it is! I really like the colorways of Noro sock yarn but I know that I'd never be able to wear socks made with it because it is scratchy. The Mini Mochi is new from Crystal Palace Yarns. It is washable merino/nylon single ply and is very soft. I don't know how well it will stand up to sock wearing but I will knit it tightly and hope for the best. I'm not very hard on socks so it will probably be fine.

The mailbox also brought a pick-me-up for Dan...
the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Not a lot of knitting/spinning to share. I did finish a pair of Cat Bordhi's Little Coriolis socks for the baby girl that my massage therapist and his wife are expecting in June. I used stashed Patons Decor which is acrylic/wool and is quite nice and soft for a washable yarn.

My third blogiversary is coming up in a few days. Stay tuned for details about a prize to celebrate!

*The Knitting Zone is closing the retail part of their business to concentrate on the wholesale side of supplying Hiya Hiya needles to stores. I stocked up because Hiya Hiyas are my absolute favorite needles.

Monday, February 09, 2009

ice fog

The brutal cold left us last week and we had some nice sunny days. Then there were winter storm warnings yesterday. There was a nasty system that dumped rain and freezing rain to the areas east of us but all we got was this ice fog.

It was pea soup thick all day and hasn't let up at all. It's pretty but I'm glad that I'm not traveling on the highways. The city roads were fine but, according to the news, there were lots of vehicles in ditches between here and the Manitoba border.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

housetraining a puppy

Lynne sent me a message asking for information about training a puppy. She's having problems with her six month old Yorkie puppy. I sent her an email but I thought I'd post it here too in case anyone else might be interested.

For some reason, it seems like the smaller the dog the more housetraining issues exist. I would definitely recommend confining the puppy when you can't keep an eye on him, either in a crate or in a small area like a bathroom. Dogs don't like to mess in their sleeping areas so most will try to avoid an accident in their crate. My dogs love their crates and will often crawl into them during the day for a nap or a quiet time. I crate them in my bedroom at night so that I can hear if they need to go outside in the night. I don't usually need to take them out in the night when they're adults but puppies and geriatrics sometimes need to go.
I really believe that it's best to train a puppy by going with him outside whether it's snowing or the middle of the night. It's worth doing in the long run. Praise him like crazy. The neighbors will think you're nuts but it works. Some people use food rewards but I just make a big fuss over successes and it works fine. You can also use a word to label the action. That way you can put the action on cue. This comes in very handy when away from home. My dogs will eliminate on cue when we travel to dog shows. I astounded some people at one show - it was pouring rain and I had my sheltie groomed for the ring when I realized that he needed to go out before being shown. There were people smoking under an umbrella just outside the door of the building when I carried my dog outside. I set him down beside a weed in a tiny dry area of gravel under the building's eaves and told him to piddle. The people started laughing and said that he wasn't going to pee just because I told him to - then he did and they were amazed. I picked up my dog and carried him back into the building and he didn't get muddy at all.
I don't recommend using piddle pads or other means of teaching a dog to eliminate in the house. I did it once and will never do it again. That dog was never fully housetrained because she made the connection that it was okay to pee in the house. If you go outside with the puppy, it only takes a few minutes so the cold weather isn't a problem. Dog coats can be used in extreme weather if necessary.
If you have to leave the puppy for longer than it's reasonable to expect them to hold it, a small room or x-pen (like a metal playpen) can be used with bedding or a crate (without the door) on one side and newspapers at the other. At six months, your puppy should be fine for 4-5 hours as long as he has voided before you go out. If that doesn't seem possible, I would recommend a visit with the vet to rule out physical problems that could be interfering with the training. Females have more urinary tract problems than males, just like in humans.
Be aware of the times when the puppy needs to pee. These include just after waking up, after eating, and after a good play. If you notice the dog sniffing, scoop him up and take him outside. I also recommend set meal times for the dog. I feed my dogs twice a day. With a puppy, I feed three times a day. Free feeding makes housetraining really difficult. If your dog is used to having food down all the time, you can retrain him. Set the food down for ten minutes and pick up what wasn't eaten in that time. He'll figure it out before he starves to death.
I don't wait for the dog to ask to go out but just take them all out regularly. Some will develop ways to ask to go out and that's fine but I don't rely on it. I once tried to use a bell attached to a rope near the door to teach the dog to ask by bumping it with his nose. The dog figured it out really fast. I thought it was working really well until the third or fourth time he did it. I came running to take him out and he thought it was a great game as he walked away. Apparently he was delighted that he could get my attention any time he wanted and was doing it just for kicks. He was smarter than me, obviously. I put the bell away.
If your male puppy is lifting his leg in the house, you might not have a housetraining issue. He could be marking his territory. This isn't usually a problem if the puppy is neutered before 7 or 8 months of age. It is an issue with a couple of my dogs. Show dogs must be intact so my dogs don't get neutered until their show career is over. That can go on for a few years so hormones are involved and marking happens. This issue is breed-specific to some extent. My shelties are rarely a problem but the Bichon and Dachshund are spritzers and they can be sneaky about it. So they wear belly bands in the house. It just makes my life easier and keeps the carpets cleaner. You can see examples of belly bands on this Etsy site. I have ordered several from Patrice and they are beautifully sewn and affordable. I could sew them myself but haven't bothered. I put a sanitary pad in them so it's like having a kid in diapers but much easier than being stressed out about accidents in the house all the time.
That's all that comes to mind at the moment. If I think of anything else I'll let you know.
Hope that helps!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I wish

Son Geoff emailed us this picture of him today. He is in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for two weeks with his birth father Glenn and family. Doesn't that look hard to take?