Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Eternal Conflict

It's the eternal knitter's struggle--to knit or to read. It seems to me that most knitters I know are a bit on the introverted, or at least introspective, side. Those two characteristics also seem to go hand-in-hand with loving books. But, I'm not one of those people who can knit and read at the same time, so I have to balance two of my favorite activities. Sometimes, I'll go months without reading a book because I'm so hooked on a knitting project, but I've been quite a reader lately, which means that my knitting has gotten marginalized at times. I just had to laugh today passing by a little rabbit head that I started last week, sitting on my stack of books, waiting for a body  I'm in the middle of two of  books right now, Kitchen Confidential and The Hundred-Foot Journey.  Kitchen Confidential isn't mine; it's a friend of mine's, who got it signed by Anthony Bourdain when he came to Bakersfield this summer. Our book club is reading A Dog's Purpose, but I haven't started it yet. I was too busy reading Because of the Lockwoods by Dorothy Whipple, which I discovered after re-reading  The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket.  She has a list of "cozy" books to read, and Because of the Lockwoods was on it. I haven't enjoyed a book like that for a long time. It was a fairly simple plot, and the ending wasn't completely satisfying, but I still really enjoyed its "British-ness,"and when I finally plow through this stack, I may have to order another Dorothy Whipple book.
Our beagle, Rowdy is still not doing too well.  I have pretty much felt like he's not going to make it for the past couple of weeks. I would describe myself as a realist, but the rest of the world might say that I'm a pessimist. He just looks so sad and has lost quite a bit of weight. I am, however, married to an optimist, so he, of course, went to the library to try to figure out for himself what was wrong with his dog since three different vets don't seem to be able to figure it out. Kitty is trying to keep positive too and learn, by osmosis, what to do for Rowdy. Maybe with the two of them working together, there's hope.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bunnies Again!

I went through a  long period where I was practically obsessed with Julie's bunnies at Little Cotton Rabbit. I tried  innumerable times to buy one, but I finally gave up. I'd be ready to buy one at exactly the time she said she'd post them for sale, and I still wouldn't get one. I still love her bunnies though, and I always try to imitate her style. Her faces are so expressive, and I never feel like I give my bunny faces the personality that she gives hers. I was so excited last year when she published her Easter egg cozy pattern, thinking that finally I'd have the secret to her perfection. Her pattern is good, but I still don't feel like my bunnies measure up. Mine aren't terrible, but they look like everyone else's who tries copy Julie, a little amateurish. 

The baby shower was this afternoon, and I think that my friend, who is a knitter, was pleased. I spent the morning busily knitting to finish "her," watching The Natural History of the Chicken on Netflix, which my friend, Rani, suggested I would like after my post about Sweet Grass. She was right. I did like it a lot, even though I met with even more disinterest from my family when I suggested that they should watch it with me.

I have mentioned quite a few times lately that I don't need any more yarn,  for like...forever, but that doesn't mean I don't love getting some, especially when it's a gift. One of my good friends is from Maine, and when she went home this summer, she bought me this hall of yarn. I knew that she'd gotten me some yarn, but I didn't expect so much. I did kind of know that if it was from Maine, it was going to be nice. The color is my very favorite, and it feels luxurious. The fingering weight yarn is from Res Naturae Yarns. The handspun doesn't have a "company" name on it, but it's Romney wool and my hands feel just wonderful fondling it because of all of the lanolin. What a wonderful gift!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The problem with having a beagle is that sometimes it's hard to tell if they're feeling bad since unless they're getting offered a cookie or about to go on a walk, their normal expression is pretty much a "hang dog" one. Our seven-year-old beagle, Rowdy seemed a little more lethargic than usual a couple of weeks ago, and one day when I came home from work, he didn't even get up to greet me, which is way out of character. Russ took to him to the vet and brought him back heavily sedated, with three prescriptions, and no definitive answer from the vet about what was wrong with him.  Nearly $1,000 later, a three-day stay at the animal hospital, and quite a few evenings of tearfully knitting, of course, thinking Rowdy was done for, the vets now think it was not "Valley Fever, cancer, Cushing's Disease, or a tumor. They think it was a really bad infection of unknown origin, and that he should completely recover. We're still not totally convinced, but he does seem much better and even has taken to lying in his favorite position on his back. Our nephew's fiance, who was in a car crash seven months ago and had been in a coma ever since, died during the middle of our dog woes. Such a true tragedy quickly put our dog worries in perspective.  Still, we  do love our lazy, old beagle so much, and it's been hard being in limbo about his health...O.K, and shelling out so much money.
The nice thing about knitting is that it's the perfect activity no matter what's going on in your daily life. I'm still trudging along with my elegant empire sweater, but I needed a mindless project just to pick up too. I knit this little "paper bag" hat from Susan Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats last week. It's for a friend who just adopted a baby girl last month. It seems kind of big, but cute. The picot edge is knitted, which I've never done before. I'm not sure I like it as well as crocheted, but I'm satisfied overall.

My family generally respects my knitting obsession, which extends to loving sheep; but even they had to make fun of me for the movie that I found on Netflix last week. I just happened upon it. Sweetgrass is documentary about sheep ranchers. It has no narration or music, just the sound of sheep "baaing" and cowboys cussing, and it was wonderful. So far, I haven't been able to entice any members of my family to watch it with me, but I would watch it again if they would. It obviously appeals to a fairly narrow audience, but I loved it.