Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Grinch Lives Here

Hearing my friends moaning over their Holiday knitting, I'm so glad I decided years ago only to knit for those who really understood and appreciated it, and would know how to wash fine fibers. Which meant only two projects this year.
Here is one, an Argosy scarf. Since the USPS e-mailed today to say that it had arrived, I can finally post a photo. I still haven't gotten the "hang" of the new camera and colors just aren't making me happy, but voilĂ .A bit under three skeins of Noro Silk Garden. Having examined the colors in the skein,
I was totally surprised by what came off the needles. You just never know with Noro. Very wabi-sabi, but I decided I quite liked it. Hope the recipient, who lives in a very cold climate, likes it, too.
Really a fun pattern to knit. It came out a bit narrower than I expected, not that I paid any attention to the given specs, mind you. But all in all quite pleased. Glad I broke down and ordered some blocking wires before going to work on this one. And here is a glam shot of the front of my new Very Square sweater. I'm using Brooks Farm Solo Silk procured at Kid n Ewe on size 7s. Measured my favorite cashmere Eskandar, swatched and dove in. A joy to knit this yarn. Here is the Eskandar, so you can see it is the inspiration, not copied. Well, I wouldn't want to knit a big boxy sweater on size 000s, thank you very much. And this lump is a skein of Schaefer Nancy (Dian Fossey) in their One Skein Shawl pattern. It's a lump because that outer edge waiting for a bind-off is 1,000 plus stitches. Of course, I ran out of yarn 1/4 of the way around, as did half the knitters on Ravelry for this project. Lucky me, I called the shop I bought the yarn from, the Tinsmith's Wife in Comfort, Texas, and asked the darling owner Wendy, who had knit one the same color, if she had any left-overs. She did, and she popped them right in the mail. The minute they arrived, I started binding off, and continued the next day, and finished today in time to wear it to dinner. That was a huge bind-off for sure. In fact, I'm quite fond of this shaped triangle shawl. It sits well on the neck and shoulders and should do a good job of keeping my neck warm tomorrow when the temperatures plummet again. Finished photos next post.
Oooooh, and here is a lovely skein of Qiviut, a gift from the above friend of the cold clime and new owner of Argosy. The color is Rust, I've 400 yards, and I'm searching patterns to choose the perfect one, probably one of these. It's a light fingering weight and it is beautiful.
The Harlot's Rat Bastards have moved to Texas, specifically my back yard. See these pots...
and these...
and these???
Well this is what those cute rodents do to them. They uprooted all the cypress vine and basil in these pots. The sticks are improvised squirrel guards. They didn't work too well this year, witness every basil sprout in death throes.
Then they destroyed the begonias in this one. These were photos from late summer, but the situation has only gotten worse. Perhaps only a third of the pansies I've planted in all those pots are still upright. All of the bulbs in all the pots have been surfaced and will not come back this year. The squirrels are hungry, they're going a bit crazy. Normally, my back garden under all those oaks is ankle deep in acorns. They bombard the roof for a solid month as they are falling. This year nada, nothing, zip. The neighbor's overhanging pecan trees, that usually leave my yard a disaster, haven't produced a pecan (please don't plant pecan trees in the city, please, please). Then I saw on CNN that this phenomen is being seen all over the country and beyond. No one knows the cause for now. There was speculation on rainfall and when the rain fell, but it is so widespread that the theory doesn't hold up. In any case, these miserable destructive little monsters are God's creatures and they are hungry and I'm buying bags of food for them as I can't bear to watch them starve. Unbelievable, isn't it? I'm actually feeding pests. They have sent out the word as to where they can chow down and the garden is absolutely teaming with them.

In other furry news, Pandora and Paprikas were both quite sick when I returned from Boerne. Wonderful cat sitter, but she has dogs and evidently some stray fleas had hitchhiked in. There were clumps of clawed out fur all over the place. Trust me, flea infestations and Persians don't mix. Advantage did the trick there, thank heavens. Then one of them, we suspect Poppy, had puked all over the place, I literally slid in it walking in the door. Stomach upsets continued for a month. Pandora had totally quit eating. Finally hauled both of them to the vet. Pandora had lots of blood in her urine but no infection. Poppy didn't show an infection either but had chronic intestinal upset. Lots of tests and $1,200 later (happy Holidays to me) they are getting better. Then the vet called yesterday to add some more meds at another $140 ($90 for eyedrops that have already run out after three treatments). Guess that yarn diet is going to be a tough and long one. Popping pills and syringing food into felines would qualify for one of those "Worst Jobs" programs, trust me. Wish us good health, please. Now I'm freaked out about leaving the house for very long.

I'm the Grinch this year. I've only bought one present for the kids; can't even think about other presents, panic in crowded stores. If I don't shape up, I'll be empty handed and embarrassed on Christmas. Finally hung a wreath on the door two days ago, but that's it. No more decorations. I do have some plans to cook some goodies, but since I've set off the fire alarm twice in two weeks with my cooking (so absent-minded I forget things), this will have to be approached with much caution. People keep telling me the holidays are very difficult the first year after you've lost a loved one. I will be so happy the day after all the hoopla is over.
And just for fun, here is a sweater I'm lusting over. Sugarplum from a Rowan collection book some years old. I would have to find a yarn, this one is of course discontinued, so it must wait until the yarn diet is over.
Bloody %#*%*~$@##, I just spent over an hour putting this post together, linking everything, organizing photos...only to realize I had posted it to my son'sblog, not mine. Guess what, you have to manually reimport all the photos and you lose your links. Sigh, done, all's well that ends well.
Not much Ho, Ho, Ho around here this year, but sincerely wishing all of you very Happy Holidays. Hold your loved ones and cherish the here and the now.


Micki said...

Those squirrels are mean little buggers. I read about the lack of acorns too...very odd. However, some areas do still have them. If only the squirrels would move there. :)

bookgrump said...

Wow! Those critters really did a number on your plants! Someone told me about a place you could order fox urine online. Sprinkle it around your plants and the squirrels stay away. At least that's what she said. I just marvel that you can buy *urine* online!

Love the knitted projects. And that sweater that you want to knit... GORGEOUS! Can't wait to see what you do with it.

Big, big hugs to you!

Frogdancer said...

When you said rodents I thought you meant RATS!!! Ugh....

not having squirrels here means that they don't automatically spring to mind. I was wondering why your rats were ruining the garden... maybe American rats are different to ours? Imagine my reliefr when the squirrel word was mentioned.

Hang tough for Christmas. You can do it.

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

Love and good thoughts to you this Solstice.

Those projects are looking stunning. And I'll trade your squirrels for some rather lively mice keeping us awake by doing a tap dance in the attic at night. I know it's normal for them to come indoors in cold wet weather, but why here?

If you positively refuse to get a spinning wheel, then some time with a drop spindle could be very helpful and therapeutic. Worked for me in bad times.

Deborah (aka Mt. Mom) said...

I'd heard about the acorn-crisis, but didn't realize it'd hit you too. The Abert squirrels we have here live *only* here, so I expect they're watched pretty closely. They eat pinecones and not acorns.

That last sweater looks challenging. It'd be quite different in a different color scheme, too. So many ideas!

And, for paucity of gift-knitting, I've got you beat! ;-> Only one hat this year (for bro's little girl). But, at least it's done and in the post!

I *do* hope your dear Persians get back to feeling good and giving you less worry.

bwarnergroup said...

I was just thinking about you this morning...blogs will do that...make you feel like you "know" someone...I'll be casting on for a Shedir hat for a friend's husband who is ill and was thinking of you and how the holidays will be so very different for you this year. Will keep you in my prayers!

Frogdancer said...

I've tagged you for a really great meme when you feel so inclined. It made me think about what was lovely in my life, though one or two of the things I came up with were a little unexpected.
Happy New Year!