Sunday, June 29, 2008

Progress continues... on the kitty and knitty fronts

This weekend was the weekend of the kitty. As you readers may remember, I started feeding a stray in our neighborhood a few weeks ago. I've been getting him warmed up to me... you know, food, love. Friday was the day to take him to the vet. Little thing hid from me of course.

Yep... every day for a week he shows up for breakfast, promptly. The day I have a vet appointment for him, no kitty. The vet's assistant says cats think in pictures and he knew what was coming. [Laugh]

He did show up for dinner Friday night and quickly got swept up into the kitty carrier and transported to the back room. Little black kitty has a pretty bad leg wound and I knew he'd probably need to stay inside for a bit after we had him tended to. I had prepared the space thursday in anticipation. So Friday night he had an overnight vacation and Saturday morning got to go see our friend the vet.


[I'd insert a cute little black kitty picture here but the blue cone of shame around his neck just doesn't flatter his skin tones. ]

The good news is they stitched the leg up and it's looking so much better. Other good news, kitty's been inside for about two days now and is doing pretty well. In fact, he probably didn't need any time at all to do OK. I could not believe how lovey he was with the techs and the vet Saturday. Just let them poke and prode and even purred a bit throughout. Now that he's inside he's been happy to crawl up into my lap to be petted and just eats everything you put in front of him.

We got some great little gadgets that I didn't know about before too. First off, have you ever tried to medicate a cat? I have -- I've popped a lot of pills down kitty throats. Not generally much fun for kittys or for me. Now, somebody out there (Greenies) finally did something smart and developed Feline Pill Pockets. Soft kitty treats with a hole for the pill to fit in! Let me tell you, little black kitty gobbles those things up good as gold. Check it out if you need to get your cat friend to swallow a pill.

The other thing we're trying ... cat pheromones. Litty black kitty is still all male and has been seen to spray all around the neighborhood. Now while he hasn't sprayed inside (crossing fingers and knocking on wood), the vet recommended Feliway, the aforementioned pheromone, to help reduce the spraying issue. Apparently it makes cats feel comfortable and reduces undesirable behaviors like scratching and spraying. (Do I sounds like a commercial yet?) We'll see how that works.

So for now we have a relaxing little kitty spa, complete with kitty pheromones and one loving little black kitty, in the house. The other cats and dog don't love being restricted from the kitchen and back room (the kitty spa) but don't seem bothered by the visitor in the house otherwise. In fact, the cats couldn't seem to care less. Sterling is a bit more out of sorts. I'm doing my best to share my time across the three so nobody has to feel jealous. =]

The bad news, kitty tested positive for FIV (kitty HIV). The vet says that the test does have a high false positive rate so we'll probably have him retested with a more reliable (probably more expensive) test, but in the meantime, the need to keep him separate from the other cats is even more important. We were hoping we could fix him up and continue to care for him as an outdoor cat. If he is FIV+ that won't be a good option (don't want to let him infect the rest of the neighborhood ... although since he's lived outside for three years already chances are good that everyone out there already has it). Hmm... we're taking it one day at a time. We might be looking for a home for him in the future though. Too bad... that little lap sitter has really been earning brownie points around here.

And on the knitting front... well the body of the cable luxe tunic is done!

I'm pretty pleased with the modifications to keep it from being too bell like. I think once the sleeves are knit, this will turn out pretty nicely. Next stop, sleeve island!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pure & simple

Cute hmmm? I'm tempted to keep this tiny sweater for my little rabbit guy. He already has a striped pink sweater though so maybe, just maybe, I can part with it.

It seems that this is the season of knitting for other people's babies. I've seen so many finished baby sweaters recently, destined for showers, that I'm wondering what was going on last November. I don't remember any natural or manmade disasters last November... what else could explain such a baby boom across the country though? I'm going to have to investigate this further.

On my front, I'm pleased to report that this little sweater knit up in no time and is destined for a shower coming up in a few weeks... yep, I'm actually done ahead of time! I have to admit, casting on and bringing my UFO total up to 6 was motivation to finish this up fairly quickly. I worried that I wouldn't be able to bring myself to do the finishing work, but I conned myself into it last night. You know the "ok, I'll only do one seam" then "well now that that one seam is done, it won't hurt you to go ahead and knit the neckband, that is knitting after all," and then "well all that's left now is just a few side and sleeve seams, just do it." Before you know it, I managed to push through and get it all done. I did seem to have an unwealdy number of ends to weave it, but wove them in I did!

The pattern for this sweater is baby's pure & simple pullover from Weekend Knitting (which I shamelessly bought from Michael's with a 50% off coupon). I saw the finished sweater over on Soule Mama's blog not long ago and thought it would be good for one up the upcoming arrivals. I knew I wanted to use my old baby standby, Lion Brand organic cotton. Of course, the pattern calls for nothing of the sort, it wants a skinny little DK yarn. I wasn't going to let that slow me down. I've finally, and this is a milestone, gotten to where I'm willing to try to recalculate a pattern to use yarn of a different gauge. This sweater was perfect for that, I'm mean really, it is all garter stitch.

All in all, I'm pleased with how it came out. Soft, smooshy, and best of all organic. I even love the brown buttons -- they came out of a jar of buttons I bought in a flea market in Maine last summer. Reuse, you know! I hope the baby this sweater is destined for will find it comfy.

baby's pure & simple pullover by Lana Hames from Weekend Knitting
2 balls Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton (100% cotton), AlmondUS 6 circulars
US size 9s and 7s
Cast on June 19, 2008
Finished June 25, 2008

Modifications: Recalculated the pattern given yarn with a different gauge.

Ravelry details here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mosaic Meme

How many of my answers can you figure out from the photos?

  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What high school did you go to?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush?
  6. Favorite drink?
  7. Dream vacation?
  8. Favorite dessert?
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  10. What do you love most in life?
  11. One word to describe you.
  12. Your Flickr name.

The instructions to create the mosaic are:

  • Type your answers to each of the questions below into Flickr Search
  • Using only the first page, pick an image
  • Copy and paste each of the URLs into the mosaic maker

Today was a day that needed distractions from office business. What better than to play along with a good meme. I've seen lots of these around blogsville and have enjoyed looking at others. Hope you guessed a few. If not, here's the crib sheet.


1. Where's Liz?
2. J.Co Donuts
3. Forest Park Trail
4. Greener Pastures
5. Who? Me?
6. Hot Milk Tea
7. Point Lynas on a Christmas Mornin'
8. Montgomery Street Cafe: Chocolate Cake
9. Youthful exuberance
10. My boys in black and white
11. lamp detail
12. Liz Knitting

Monday, June 23, 2008

We're melting!

The heat here in southern California has been absolutely unbelievable. Both Friday and Saturday our thermometer said it was 108 outside; 106 yesterday. Today we only seem to have gotten up to 102. Crazy hot stuff. Every day I expect to see the concrete starting to melt.

In the context of such heat, it should be no surprise that the desire to hold heavy wool fabric on my lap has been low. In fact, the desire to knit at all has been sapped by the heat. Given that, it's pretty amazing that over the weekend I whipped up all the pieces for the baby pullover pictured above. All that's left is the seaming and finishing. Maybe when the high falls back under 100 degrees I'll feel motivated to finish up the silly thing. Heaven knows that baby will be smart to stay inside until at least August when the heat starts to disipate.

In the meantime, we're all using a similar strategy to cope with the heat.

You know... the roll onto your back and expose your belly strategy.

I hear it's great for cooling off.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This past weekend, S and I took off for distant lands... southeast Texas, the land of my parents and sister.

The flight out and back gave me a few more hours to work on the cable luxe tunic, but how many in progress pics of that do you want to see? Instead, I'll share photos of some of the highlights of our trip.

Highlights? you might ask. What kinds of highlights.

Well my first morning there, we went blueberry picking!

There is a local blueberry farm that is open to the public in the spring/early summer. We went out bright and early. Now I'd never seen a blueberry bush before, let alone harvested any blueberries, so this was great fun. It was a large orchard with great pickings.

After all, how often do you get to pick your own blueberries from bushes containing bird nests? It definitely got a bit hot (understatement city here) but was lots of fun.

Buckets of fun were had and I brought 1 1/2 gallons of fresh blueberries back to California with me. Fresh blueberries for months!

Another highlight.... pouring, buckets of rain. I know this seems silly but, let me tell you, you spend a few months in California and thunderstorms start to rate high entertainment value.

The other really great thing we got to do was tour the Buu Mon Buddist Temple and gardens in Port Arthur. My sister has volunteered there for awhile and so knows the monks who reside there very well. They have an absolutely spectacular collection of lotus, lilies, and bamboos.

Just take a look at some of these little jewels.

Makes me want to put in a big water garden in the back.

We missed the lotus festival by a week, but we certainly didn't miss any blooms.

Their bamboo collection was not to be missed either. Several different types. Here's just two. A bright yellow,

and a gorgeous black.

These things were as tall as houses and just amazing. The temple was quite nice as well and the monks very welcoming and friendly. I was glad to have had a chance to meet each of them and to visit the temple.

Now with a centered soul... back to the knitting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A little bit of paint...

With S taking off for parts colder come August (his semester at Notre Dame), we've decided to commit to finishing several house projects, long planned, this summer. This weekend we made some major progress on our bedroom

That lovely, white ceiling -- newly painted. Those crisp Drifting Blue walls -- newly painted.

Those new-to-us old Chinese scrolls -- newly hung.

This work now represents about 4 days work, but well worth it I think. Of course we still have all the trim to paint (yuck! my least favorite part of the job) but I think we are at least 2/3rds of the way done. I need to pull out some different bedding to color coordinate better but we're please with how this came out. We had a really dark teal color in there before, left by the previous owners, which was a nice enough color but was far too dark for this little room. This light blue opens the space up quite a bit for us and I really like how the dark browns contrast with the whites and blues.

On other fronts, I thought I should also introduce you to the newest member of the household, little black kitty.

Now in the technical sense, he's probably most accurately described as a foster child, or maybe even more accurately as someone who just pops over to visit once in awhile.

Little black kitty has lived in the neighborhood since we moved in three years ago. He's always lived a tough life but I always thought he "belonged" to someone. In the last few weeks, he's started looking more and more malnourished... in fact he's just whittled down to bones. We've had several people leave the neighborhood this summer, some because of foreclosure, and I think perhaps this guy, who is absolutely, 100% an outdoor cat, got left behind.

A few weeks ago he walked through our backyard and I was stunned at how thin he was ... in an innate mom-type fashion I felt compelled to start feeding the guy. We've been looking after him for a bit now and he's started to warm up to me. I'm hoping I can fatten him up a bit more and then get him to the kitty doctor to get a check up. I know he needs some serious care. Of course, he is, to the core, a tom cat, and probably not all that friendly to other cats -- he strikes me as an alpha cat -- but I'm hoping with a bit of fat on his bones and a "home" he'll get sweeter. I was suprised at how quickly he warmed up to me ... I think he must have been someone's pet initially, not a true ferral. If not, I'll be primary caretaker of a mean tom cat. =]

But of course you don't really care about painting and cats do you... you're here for the knitting content?. Well, little knitting progress has been made recently between painting and work demands, but Fantine is coming together fairly quickly.

I'm ready to pick up the sleeves -- I'm going for the 3/4 lengths. I may end up ripping back the bottom border and lengthening the body some more, but I'm going to wait and see how things feel after the sleeves are done. So far, so good though. Love the cable-like detail along the edges and talk about a quick knit. Love it! And bonus... doesn't that look like some Air (project spectrum like, you know)?

p.s. Have you seen the new Knitty yet? It's live! I'm over to take a gander.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The solution for boredom ...

you cast on a new project!

I have come to realize this week that my boredom quotient tends to be exceeded before I get to the end of an adult sized sweater. Case in point, the cable luxe tunic and S's cable sweater. Now I will finish both of these, but seems that after some point I just need a break... something different.

Last night, I reached the point of needing something different to work on ... you know, startitis. Luck for me I had just received the pattern for Fantine in the mail and had the yarn stashed away based on careful planning. Yeah a new project... something different! And a bonus... this project fits with the new season of Project Spectrum, Air.

Here's to new projects!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wanna smile?

This is making me smile. Progress is continuing on the cable luxe tunic. She still has a ways to go, but the inches are slowly but surely adding up.

But you know what makes me smile even more? These two.

This is what Dylan and Issac look like every morning at breakfast. Waiting ... patiently... for their chance to get those great vitamins.

So close... but you'll be happy to know the vitamin was rescued. Of course, maybe the kitties need glucosamine too.

Not much happening around these parts other than work stuff (boring blog content). Thought you might enjoy the funny pics though so wanted to say hello. Hope everyone is having a good beginning of the summer!