Third Time Is Charmed

I had to stop working on my Cobblestone Lace shawl because I had been working on it so much  that I was so familiar with the pattern I wouldn’t pay attention to it, would get ahead of myself and make mistakes.  Ribbit!

Also, I don’t like the way the decreases look and I revamped the pattern.  (The pattern on my knitting blog is the latest, revamped version.) so the blue shawl is going to be a giveaway to someone who won’t be bothered by the way the decreases look.  I’m making another one for myself in a very light greyish blue.  I will finish both shawls, and the light blue one will eventually be the picture for the pattern in my knitting blog.  But, like I say, I’ve put them aside for a while to work on the Cable Edged shawl.

I had liked the Cable Edged Shawl pattern as written, but the scalloped edges of the lace curl and won’t lie flat, and acrylic yarn is tricky to block.  (Yes, you can too block acrylic yarn.)  I futzed around with the original pattern and modified it slightly, and the modified version is the one I’m making.  As I was working on it, and growing more and more displeased by the way the scalloped edging curls under, it occurred to me that maybe I could find a garter stitch lace pattern with edges that would lie flat and wouldn’t have to be blocked.  I looked through the collection I have on my computer, but none of them were suitable.  I went to the website where I got most of them and had another poke through the treasure chest and found one that would fill the bill.  It’s called Hilton Lace (which is why I’m calling it “My Own Private Hilton Shawl.”

Now here’s the thing:  the basic pattern for a braided cable has an 8-row repeat.  It has two different types of cable crosses (cable front and cable back) and 3 rows of stockinette between each cable cross.  I needed a lace pattern that had either an 8-row repeat or some multiple of 8 (i.e., 16, 24, 32, etc).  The Hilton Lace has a 16-row repeat, just like the lace pattern that was used in the Cable Edged Shawl pattern.  Simple.  I’ll just copy the Cable Edge Lace pattern to a blank page.  Since I’m familiar with the pattern and know what part of each line is the cable and what part is the lace, it should be a simple matter to cut and replace one lace pattern with the other.

Guess again.  The first time I tried it, I got the wrong edge of the lace against the cable — in effect, I put the lace on upside down.  The second time, I got the  lace right side up, but wrong side out:

 

 

 

When the cable was right side up, the lace was wrong side up.  Oop!  Ribbit! (Just to complicate matters, the Thompson seedless grapes I was snacking on weren’t always, so expletives and pejoratives were infrequently punctuated with grape pips.  Pa-ding!)

Finally, after much finagling and skoojuling, I got them both right side up and with the right edges together.  In order to get everything to come out right, I had to switch the cable crosses around, too, but I got it sorted. TaDa!

I also had to work out the little 6-row edging starting bit and ending bit as well, so I did the test swatch with the starting bit, two lace edge pattern repeats in between, then the ending bit to make sure everything came out right.

The edge on this lace readily lies flat and I’m very happy with the way it looks.  It’s also a wider border.  (The original border was 22-stitches wide.   This border is 33 stitches wide.)  It makes the shawl longer from top to bottom, which I like.  So, win there, too.   The best part is that the pattern repeat for this edging is interchangeable with the edging pattern on the original Cable Edged Shawl pattern.  I can use the pattern for the body of the shawl as written, and put whichever edging I want on it.  Total win.  And it only took me about 10 hours to sort it out.

Not much else is happening.  It’s too dang hot out to go outside except in the early morning.  Since I don’t start rustling up breakfast until 10 o’clock, I don’t go out then either.  Besides, it’s been wet enough that there’s skeeters, and that’s when they’re out, too.  Another reason to stay in.

It’s been almost 6 months since I lost the fat(cat)boy.  I still miss the little schnook, although time has worn the hard, sharp ache down to the odd twinge that catches me by surprise now and again.  I’ll see the Petsmart  “Petperks” tag on my keychain and realize why I haven’t been there in a long time.  The cabinet where I used to keep his food and the corner of the office closet where his poop box was now have other things there.  There is an empty corner in the kitchen, and silence, where his pet fountain used to sit gurgling.

About four months ago, I rearranged my furniture so that one of my comfortable arm chairs and its footstool that used to be in the living room is now in my rather large (master) bedroom, and I’ve set up my knitting nook around it with a pole lamp, a little night stand and my reader’s table.  If the book I’m reading is a dead tree edition, I often sit there to read.  One evening about three months ago, I started reading what turned out to be a particularly good book and, as not infrequently happens, I opened the front page and kept turning pages until there weren’t any more — which broke the spell.  I looked up at the clock, which said 4 o’clock (a.m.), and something in the hallway caught the corner of my eye.  I would have sworn it was a certain fat(cat)boy with his golden eyes aglow, sidling down the hall and into my bedroom . . . but of course it wasn’t.   I had a little cry, washed my face, brushed my teeth and went to bed.

The other evening I was walking down the hall toward the kitchen, and something on the floor up against one of the office bookcases caught my eye.  I went over to pick it up and it was a Greenie lying there like a little booby trap waiting to ambush me with a gut-punch in the memories.  Whenever I had to go out for more than an hour or two, I’d pour some Greenies in my hand and toss some in the office floor and the rest in the bedroom floor for him to hunt.  What are the odds that half a year later I would find one that he had missed (highly unlikely — he adored them), and that the cleaning lady (who is a very thorough vacuumer) had missed on three separate occasions?  I miss them all, every one.   This is the first time in 21 years I haven’t had at least one cat companion.   There’s many good reasons why it’s better not to have one right now.  Unfortunately, there one very good reason why it isn’t better not to have one right now; I haven’t lived alone in 21 years.

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Watch Out For Those Traps, Booby

My dad used to say that when my brother or I blundered into one of life’s little booby traps.  — like this one.

Where I have this hung, the minute I walk in the door, I see it.  I got it because it’s a good motto, but also it reminded me of a certain four footed housemate. Only, a week ago, where it was hung didn’t matter.  Now it hits a raw place every time I walk in the door and see it.   In case you can’t read the writing, it says “Happy is the house that shelters a friend.”

Then there’s the clock . I painted the tip of the pendulum tail white because it was totally appropriate.

Then, I was FINALLY getting around to putting the lawn chair that has been leaning against the wall in my bedroom for months, into the garage (the back door is conveniently located in my bedroom — !) and when I picked it up, I found this behind it. It’s the second kitty toy I have chanced upon this week, but this one is in much better shape than the other one, which I threw away.  This one I’m keeping.

Monday and yesterday I gathered up the just opened bag of cat food, the two unopened packets of treats, and the one just opened, dishes, brushes, a cat bed, a cat mat, and his Littermaid and schlepped it all out to the car and donated it to a kitty shelter on the way to the pet cemetery and crematorium, which is way the heck out in the country halfway to Slide, to pick up his little cremains, which are slightly too fat for the little container I got for them, but I taped the lid down. . . .

It’s the black one with the gold leopard spots.  If you are familiar with the Peanuts newspaper comic strip, then you know about the rich fantasy life the dog Snoopy had.  I always thought the fat(cat)boy fantasized about being a “jagular” or a leopard.

They’re all there, all five of them.  Yeah, it’s kind of shrine-like, but they were my dear companions for all of 21 years — Shadow for 7 years, Jett for 12 years, Gobi for nearly 16 years, Stormie for 11 years, and Jaks for 10.  There will not be any more for a while.

My mom will be 94 this year, and while she is in full possession of significantly more of her marbles than a lot of people half her age, and is active, with no health problems except that she’s almost 94, that could change in an instant.   Once her situation is inevitably resolved, I hope there will be two more kitties.  That’s what I want to happen anyway.  Heaven knows, there unfortunately is not likely to be any shortage of kitties in need of good homes any time soon.

So I’ve been coping with my loss the way women have traditionally coped since time immemorial. I’ve been cleaning house. I washed bathmats and “guest” towels, and the leopard print beach towels that are covering where my leather furniture is worn on the chair seat edges or scratched on the sofa back.  I neatened my charity men’s hats yarn stash.  (there’s a whole plastic storage tub full of yarn in the closet, too, but that is for ladies’ hats.  That yarn is way too “gay-ly” colored for the men in this part of the country. )

About 9:30 this morning, my other side neighbor plonged on the doorbell and told me there was a leak in the alley by our water meter.  I went to look and it’s like a small spring is flowing forth from one “track” of the tire tracks down the alley and is making a small river.  I called the utility company and they knew about it — It had been going since yesterday, they’d marked it with little flags, and since water is only flowing, not gushing, they will deal with it when they get a “roundtoit.” If not tomorrow or the next day, then some time next week.  In the meantime, we have this river we have to jump to get to the dumpsters.  The important thing is, though, that the leak is before the water meter, not after, so it’s their nickle, not my landlady’s that is flowing down the alley.

I found this and it was too great not to share.  You may not be familiar with the kinetic sculptures of Theo Jensen.  If not follow the link. They are fascinating to watch.    This one is powered not by wind, but by hamster.  The look on the cat’s face is priceless.  The sphere is perforated so the hamster won’t suffocate.  Must be a real trip for the hamster, in both senses of the word. . . .

I started a “sectioned hat” and put a ribbed hem on it.  I want to do another version with a simple ribbed brim, and a smaller purl stripe, but — new rule — I can’t start anything new until I finish all the hats I’ve got started (about 5!). I also need to finish my cousin’s man cowl.

Tomorrow, I need to pay bills, go through my files and shred a bunch of stuff, ford the stream and take the shreddings out to the dumpster, and hang some pictures.  It’s late and I should go to bed so I can get up tomorrow and do that. so I will.  позже*.

*позже = later.

Things That Go Bump In The House

So far, so good. I got the kitty bed, the brushes, the water bowls I used before I got the pet fountain, the food and treats all packed up and I’ve emailed the local Humane Society about donating them and the Littermaid poop box, which works.  I hate to dumpster the poop box since it does work.  I plan to box up the food bowls I’m keeping as well as the pet fountain.  My mom said I ought to think about not having any more kitties ever again.  I thought about it — for about 5 seconds, and rejected that idea.  However, mom is 94 this year, and while she is in very good health for her age, with no chronic illnesses or health issues other than her age, that situation could change very rapidly.  I don’t foresee getting more kitties until after she is gone.

I got the baby bonnet finished today.  I get my teeth cleaned tomorrow, and the pink hat I did Friday and this bonnet, and the dress that matches it, are going to the dentist’s receptionist, who had a baby in November.  The larger of the two hats I made for her is now getting too small, and that’s what the toboggan is for.  Getting that finished freed up a 16-inch US 6 needle for another hat.  I need to see how many hats I can finish next week.

I think the little dress that goes with the bonnet is so sweet.  The receptionists little baby ought to be big enough to wear it come Easter.

I do need to keep busy and occupied.  I got a little spooked last night realizing I was alone in the house.  I’ve always had a tendency to get a little spooked and jumpy at night, and some of the medication I’m on exacerbates that tendency.  As I’ve mentioned, this is the first time in 21 years that I’ve not had kitties.  Suddenly realizing I am utterly alone in the house is not helping.  I’ll habituate but it may take a while.  I’ve heard “stray noises” twice this evening and that’s gotten me a little jumpy.  I’ve just got to keep my mind engaged, which is fine until I lie down, turn the light out and try to go to sleep.

I may try to write a hat pattern tonight, now that I’ve freed up that hat needle.  I’ve been wanting to write one for an “orange section” hat that looks like a peeled orange.   I might do that here directly.   I might do a version with a ribbed brim, and then do a toboggan version with a hemmed brim and internal ribbing

Hats and Cowls and Booby Traps

There is no kitty in the house any more.  I’m having a hard time getting my mind around that.  It’s the first time in 21 years that there hasn’t been at least one kitty in my house.   Until now, after I lost one, there were others.  When I lost Sister, I had Jett and Gobi for comfort.  When I lost Jett, I had Gobi, Stormie, and Jaks for comfort.  When I lost Gobi, I had Stormie and Jaks for comfort.  When I lost my baby girl, I still had Jaks for comfort, but this time I had to come home to an empty house.  A house full of booby traps.  The first thing that hit me when I came in the door was the sound of the pet fountain.

I knew yesterday that today would be the fat(cat)boy’s last day, but I let everything be perfectly normal until I got the cat carrier out.  I didn’t take up his dish, or turn off the pet fountain.  So of course the first sound I heard when I walked in the door was that pet fountain. The kitties loved it.  It’s ceramic, it can be put in the dish washer, it has charcoal and foam filters and runs off an aquarium pump.  I think I’m going to put it up on the counter and let it run for a while; otherwise I think the silence would be unbearable.

I went into the back bedroom to change, saw the bed, and saw his towel, which was his sleeping place.  I would have stripped the bed and done laundry today anyway, and I’ll do it in a while only not just now.  There were kitty toys on the floor.  I had to sit down for a moment.  At some point I’m going to have to go around with a flashlight and a getter-outerer of some kind and fish all the kitty toys out from under the furniture.  Only just not today.  I’m going to have to clean up and dispose of his poop box, but that can wait until tomorrow.  I need to gather up the container of unused litter, and the bag of food and treats I bought him just this Monday and take them to the Humane Society.  I’ve got some other errands to run Monday, and that will be one more errand on the list.

I went to get a glass of tea, and there was the bag of treats in the refrigerator.  I’d given him some last night.  I always kept the opened bags in the refrigerator.  He did love his treats.  When I went anywhere that I had to be gone a while, I would pour about 15 into my hand and toss them up in the air in my bedroom for them to scatter all over the carpet for him to hunt.

He evidently had a hard time being in the pet hotel this last time, and even bit the little girl trying to get him out of his room and into the carrier, which he had never done before.  I had to go stand on a stool and get him down from the highest perch and put him in the carrier.   He was more clingy than he had ever been once I brought him home.  He followed me about from room to room.  He would walk me to the front door when I left to go out and he would hear the garage door, and me opening the front door and be waiting for me in the living room when I came back.  It’s almost as if he knew his days with me were numbered.

It’s going to hurt like hell for a while, but life will go on.  Already is going on.  I started a baby hat yesterday afternoon and sat knitting it in the living room with the fat(cat)boy on the footstool beside my feet.  Finished it late last night. Just finished making a pompom for it and weaving in the ends.  I’m going to cast on for a man cowl for my cousin and knit a little bit on it, then get up and round up all the Humane Society donatables and put them in the car.  Then I’ll shower and wash my hair, strip the bed and start a load of washing.  I need to finish a baby bonnet that goes with a baby dress and I need to get it done before Monday.   I have to follow a pattern line by line for that, and that will keep my mind occupied.   When I’ve finished the bonnet, I’ve got chemo hats to work on.

I’ll survive.  I’ll take it one step at a time, one task at a time, one day at a time.

 

And Then There Were None

Jaks T. Hoover
27 August, 2007 – 20 January, 2018

Alias Eedly-Deedly, alias Deedle, alias Poot, alias Tootle-Pootle.
He was my second rescue — he was almost too young to adopt when the daughter of one of the shelter ladies handed him to me while I was standing in the checkout line at Petsmart buying cat food.  (Do I have “cat momma” written on my forehead?)  That little white tip on his tail clenched the deal.  A pouncer and bouncer who took delight in annoying his siblings.  He never ceased to be amazed that I could tell who he was without having to smell his butt.  He loved to rub his face all over you.  He never met a stranger.  He thought he always wanted to be an only cat.  Once he was one, I don’t think he liked it as much as he thought he would, but we adjusted to it.  He followed me from room to room.  Where ever I was, that’s where he wanted to be.  He slept by my head.  There was a kind of symmetry to his time with me.  His departure was as unexpected and sudden as his arrival.  He crossed the Rainbow Bridge to join the four who went before at 11: 23 a.m.

This is the first time in 21 years I’ve been without a cat.

 

Fooling with Feed Readers

Well, my Firefox browser just updated itself to Firefox Quantum, and NewsFox, which is a feed reader I have been using for years, doesn’t work with Quantum. Two choices: Roll back to the 56.02 version of Firefox and live in the past with security vulnerabilities, or find a new feed reader. I’ve been trying out RSSOwl and Feedbro, but naturally neither works as well as NewsFox.

Feedbro is an in-browser plugin that works in Firefox (at least for now), and in order to comment on a blog in Feedbro, you have to go to the actual web page, because Feedbro only displays content. To go to the webpage, it opens a new browser tab, which is a PITA.

RSSOwl is a stand alone, but it also only displays content, and if you want to comment you also have to go to the actual webpage, which opens in RSSOwl.

There are several blogs I can no longer comment on because RSSOwl doesn’t give me the option of using my Google ID, and there is one blog I can no longer comment on because Feedbro can’t open the site in a new tab with the URL because it cannot identify itself to Blogger as one of the people allowed to view that webpage, and RSSOwl won’t allow me to use my Google ID to sign in to comment.

As for reading webcomics, neither feed reader will display the actual webpage to begin with.  It just shows content which typically involves a thumbnail of the comic page.  You have to click through to the webpage on every %$#@!*$%$#!@!# one in order to be able to read the &*!^%#@&*%&! comic, which on Feedbro means you’ll have humpty eleven tabs open if you don’t close each and every *&^%*$#%!^$#@!#$ one when you’re done reading the page.

The only high point in this dark  pit of dudgeon is that I was able to save all my feed info from NewsFox in an .opml file and import it into both RSSOwl and Feedbro, else I’d have been on the warpath for sure.

The poor fat(cat)boy has gone into the other room and crawled under the bed because mama is cussing a blue streak.  To put it mildly (and in socially acceptable terminology), I am not a happy camper.

Tears and Memories

Woke up thinking about my baby girl, who I lost in May of 2015 to renal disease at the all-too-young age of 11.  She was the only survivor of an abandoned litter and was hand raised by a shelter lady.  Consequently, she was a lot more snugly than cats, especially female cats, usually are.  She was Stormalinda Phogg-Phoote, the name was bigger than the cat.  Stormie was never very big, always slender and graceful, agile, gracile, and quick.  She was a climber, and could leap highest of any cat I’ve had.  Sometimes, the (cat) boys would let her up on the bed at night and she would creep into the hollow between my stomach and my body pillow, curl up and sleep there.  I remember how privileged I felt when she did that, and tears slide down my face.  I’m down to one now, the fat(cat)boy, and I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep him before time and the world steal him away from me.   He turned 10 this August.

You may or may not have noticed the Mary Oliver quotation from her poem, “Starlings in Winter”  on the sidebar at right.  Doodlemum is participating in “Inktober” a drawing challenge to post a drawing every day in October, and the picture above was her post for today.  It resonated with me on umpteen levels.  There are days. . . there are days. . . .

In addition to being “Inktober” it’s also “Pinktober,” breast cancer awareness month.  I’m already very aware of it.  Four of the ladies in my knitting group are survivors, all of them have had mastectomies, one of them has had her third recurrence and it is in her bones now.  She’s done a third round of chemo, and now she’s doing radiation therapy to the lesions in the bone.  Three of them have gotten the monster to leave them alone for now.  One of them is still being stalked.  Some of us knit because it keeps us from screaming. . . .

Also in the knitting news, I finished a Little Twisted Hat in fuchsia glitter yarn in honor of Pinktober, and I’m futzing with a mistake in a Carrie Fisher Memorial PussyHat which I have put aside until I simmer down.  I’ve revised the Little Twisted Hat pattern to do the decreases differently, and I like the way it “points” the cables better.

Last night when I got groceries, I got a Super Saver Jumbo skein of Red Heart PINK yarn to make some more pink hats for “Pinktober.”  I went looking for clear glass beads at Michael’s but didn’t find any.  Did find colored star-shaped beads, though and in a way that’s even better.  I have plans for a pink hat with star beads.  There will be a pattern published on my knitting patterns blog . . . eventually.  I’ll have to find one of my small crochet hooks to put them on with.

I’m going to finish that one Malguri Morning shawl today if it harelips the governor, and get both of them in the mail to Spokane ASAP.  I also need to wash a load of clothes. The first item will get done.  The second item may get done.  What I should do is go sit and knit on it in the living room where I can hear the washer and dryer*, start a load of clothes, and knit while I wait for it to be time to put the clothes in the dryer, and then time take them out of the dryer and hang them up.  I should eat something also, so I can have a personal pie** for dessert.  I got two apple ones and two cherry ones when I shopped groceries last night.  Decanted into a dish and zotted in the microwave. . . but apple or cherry? . . . decisions, decisions. . .

 

* The living room is beside the dining "area"; and at one end of the dining area is the kitchen, and at the other end is the laundry room.
** A two crust fruit pie made in a 5-inch aluminum foil pie tin.