freeze to breeze

After it being ridiculous with windchill the past week, today’s high is supposed to be 18° C.  That’s on the plus side.  I might have to put air in my bike tires and give it a whirl.  I did an hour (and 6 miles) on the elliptical this morning but could still go for an easy pedal.

Sabrina in another moment of glamour

Friday night we did have Murphy’s Hot Hamburger sandwiches and oven fries and gravy for supper. Oh. Very. Good. Sabrina and Apollo got a little bit of burger and gravy for their supper time treat.  I did have a little trouble with the gravy, though.  I used lean beef and I’m sure the recipe was made for regular.  So when I was done cooking the burgers, there wasn’t a lot of grease in the pan.  I started adding the flour but before I had added a couple of spoonsful, all the grease/drippings had been absorbed and instead of a lovely bubbling roux, I just had a floury, dry clump.  I tried to add some oil to make it more roux-y, but didn’t have much success.  It ended up being lumpy, but still tasted quite good.

Apollo Long-legs in the sun

I have been working on the No Purl Monkeys and have one heel/gusset decreases done and have started on the second.  I’ll have a progress photo tomorrow when they’re both past the gussets.  The yarn is very splitty and I have to watch carefully, but the colour progressions are very nice.

a better photo showing Sabrina's little grey face

With the socks well underway I’ve been looking through my faves on Rav and through my patterns for what I’ll start next.  Another pair of socks, of course, but what else?  A short-sleeved sweater?  Another Ishbel??  It’s all up in the air.

lazy weekends are greyt!

Happy Gotcha Day, Sabrina!

Four years ago today we brought Sabrina home.  She was fresh off the track and very concerned about where she was going in life.

Will there be food? Will there be cookies?

The first few days were traumatic for her (and us).  She’d never been alone EVER (like other racers, they’d always been with their littermates, other hounds at the farm, hounds and trainers at the track – never alone) and it was a scary thing.

It was much like this:

funny pictures of cats with captions

But after a few days, she realized that yes, indeed, her new mommy and daddy might leave, but they’d always come back.  That same day she discovered how comfy the couch was, and in a week or so the bed.

While she's a little whiter/greyer in the face,

she’s spent four years ruling her kingdom with a velvet paw.  She plays her cards right, she might get a little bit of the hot hamburger sandwiches I’m going to make for supper tonight.

Henry’s had some work done

(just eyes and nose). Much better:

he's still got that head-bob, though

I also knit him up a little bunny companion, this Amigurumi pocket bunny (Rav link).

squeeeee! so cute!

I used the same white yarn as I did for the tips of Henry’s paws.  The body/legs are knit in one piece, then you knit the four other pieces (2 ears and 2 arms which are identical).  Put some stuffing in, sew the arms/ears on, put its face on.

an unlikely pair

I’m going to have a really, really hard time giving these two up for the greyhound auction.

Henry and friend

His mugshot – with his new eyes and nose:

"I can see!"

While I don’t think I’m a convert to knitting a lot of toys, I absolutely love the finished product.  I think it was worth all the fiddly diddly aggravation of sewing/stuffing/assembling it.

introducing Henry

Sabrina gives Henry a little nibble

I spent HOURS yesterday (until 11:30 pm) sewing, stuffing and detailing this little guy.  I had planned to make a couple of these for our greyhound group auction, but I think one will be enough.  He sure is cute.  The photos I’ve taken don’t convey the absolute adorableness that he embodies.

Apollo and Henry

I think I’m going to redo his eyes and nose.  The brown yarn I used is almost invisible next to the tweedy “fur” yarn.

ol' brown eyes

I think black would work better.  I’ll revisit that in the next couple of days.  I also want to knit him up a little white stuffed bunny and have been looking on the Rav for suitable patterns. There’s a few good possibilities there.

custom designed baggy pants

You can see at the base of the tail there where I had to substitute the Noro Silk Garden Light to finish it off.

cutie!

There’s a few more pics on my Rav project page and also on flickr.  As I said in my last post, I did run out of yarn, so I question the yarn amounts on the pattern.  It was an easy knit – small, easily done pieces.  The time intensive part is the seaming and stuffing, then assembling.  I decided to embroider the eyes instead of using the eye/buttons like she does in the pattern.

"he's not staying, right? RIGHT?!"

bits and pieces

After our little brush with “spring” the weather hasn’t been as nice.  We haven’t had much new snow, but it’s not been as warm, melting and sunny as it had been.  Still pretty good for March, though.

I disapprove
Lolcats and funny pictures

After finishing my CP Non-Hoodie (which I have worn often since then!), I knit on the No Purl Monkeys for a little bit.  Then I started a cute project I’ve had my eye on for a while:  the Diggerdy Dog greyhound! (Rav link)

greyhound pieces

I finished the last of the “pieces” last night (the tail).  I have a couple of problems with the pattern, though.  The designer states that she used Sirdar Eco Wool DK, but then says its North American equivalent would be worsted weight.  Um, no, actually it wouldn’t.  It would still be DK weight.  The wraps/inch for the Sirdar are 11, and that is DK.  There is no gauge given on the pattern, but it used a 3 mm needle.  That is what I normally use for DK/sport weight when I do socks, so I assumed that this would also require a similarly firm fabric and disregarded her “worsted” instruction.

I picked up some DK yarn when I was at the yarn store last, specifically for this project.  I picked out some houndlike fur colours.  The pattern also states that you would need less than 50 g of the DK yarn in the “fur” colour, and less than 20 g in the white.  The white is no problem, I bought 50 g of that, but I also have some Regia 6-ply sock yarn in offwhite.  However, by the time I was doing the tail, I had run out of the 50 grams of the fur colour.  The Sirdar Eco Wool has a yardage of 100 m, as does the Sandnes Garn “Smart” that I’m using.  ???  So I had to dig around and try to find something that wouldn’t look so jarringly different than the brown tweedy yarn I’d been using.  I’m not sure how successful I was with that; I ended up using a dark scrap of Noro Silk Garden Light.

Of course of the remaining colours I’d chosen for this, I only have one 50 g/100 m skein each.  So I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that.  I wanted to make a few of these to use for our greyhound group’s fundraising picnic in September.

I am going to knit the pants today, and hopefully start sewing/stuffing it.

all glamour, all the time

Central Avenue Non-Hoodie

The Central Park (Avenue) Hoodie is finished.  I sewed the buttons on last night. I tried to make a blog post all day long, but had other things come up.

I have no idea what's with the wonky eye.

My notes from my Ravelry Project Page:

I made the size 40, hearing that many people said it was a small-fitter. My gauge was smaller than the pattern, 19 st/26 rows = 4 inches. I figured with the larger size (40) and my smaller gauge, it would all work out to the fit I prefer. It did. Pattern gauge was 17/24.

love the buttons!

I lengthened the body to 15” before doing the armhole cast off/shaping. I read many people found the sleeves too long and adjusted, but as I normally have to lengthen sleeves in my projects, I left them as the pattern directs; they’re perfect for me.

cable sleevey goodness!

(I’m totally loving my little remote for my dslr.)

Instead of doing the stair-step cast offs for the shoulders, I did short row shaping, then did the 3-needle cast off for the shoulder seams. Very nice. This was the first time I’ve done that and will continue from now on. I’m a convert!

Oh, another thing – many people were concerned that the sleeves were too tight. I was worried a little about it, but I didn’t do any alterations and the 12.5” was just fine.

When I was doing the cast offs, etc. for the armscye/sleeve cap, instead of doing the “cast off 2 st” I just did double decreases so there was a nice smooth line: k1, ssk, ssk, work to last 5 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, K1. In retrospect (and had I read ahead a few lines) I could have gone K2, ssk, ssk etc. and that would have been consistent with the following decreases. But it’s not noticeable.

back cables

Instead of the hood, I did a 2×2 ribbed collar. I picked up the stitches as for the hood, but simply k2p2 for 5.5 inches, then cast off in rib.

My buttons were 7/8” and I did a 2 stitch, one row button hole. I picked up 116 stitches for the front bands (each). I did the button holes on Row 3 of the band ribbing (I did 8 rows total). I used 6 buttons.

This is a nice classic cardigan. I really enjoyed making it and will get a lot of wear from it. One thing I didn’t like about the pattern was the really crappy photos. I found lots of good project photos on the Rav, so that was helpful. The photos on the pattern don’t show a full-frontal shot of the sweater nor do they show the buttonhole/band option, just the crocheted loop. The model for the grey sweater always had her arms crossed in front or behind and you couldn’t see the sweater detail. Grr. But other than that, I really liked it.

Final measurements:
chest: 19.5 (x2 = 39)
body length to underarm: 15
sleeve length: 19.5
armscye depth: 8.5
sleeve circ @ widest: 12.5

oops! Didn't mean to click the clicker!

There’s more photos on my flickr page in the sweater set, as well as on my Rav project page.  Now time for some gratuitous greyhound content:

I have NO idea what Sabrina was thinking here.

We have had new neighbours move in next door.  There has been much noise, vehicle traffic and disruption.  Their driveway goes along our living room wall (outside) to their garage at the back of their lot, so we hear everything when they come and go.  Not to worry, Greybourhood Watch was on top of it:

don't try anything hinky!

From her perch on the love seat she can see their driveway and street next door.

gotcher back, mommy

If it’s not supper time, walk time or car ride time, Apollo’s not bothered:

let me know if there's any cookies forthcoming

OMGWTFBBQ!!!?!

We had some very nice chicken breasts left over from Saturday’s supper, so I tried this awesome recipe for BBQ Chicken Braid.  I used my bread maker’s rich butter roll recipe and let it do the hard work.

chicken, bread and cheesy goodness

The recipe says to use your favourite bbq sauce, so I made a batch of the fab Memphis Blues BBQ House recipe (the Super Secret recipe which you can find here!).

saucy!

I will be adding this to my recipe page, and will definitely make it again.  The big fella gave it two bbq-sauce laden thumbs up, and Sabrina and Apollo also enjoyed their little morsels.

While we’re on the subject of food, I was very happy to find these when I was at the grocery store the other day:

what IS that?!

I love oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc. and while I’d heard of steel cut oats, I’d never seen any before.

so delicious!

They take much longer to cook than “regular” oats/oatmeal, but the end result is worth it.  I’d eat them for breakfast, lunch and supper!  Yum.

Yesterday I sat down and started the finishing of the CP Non-Hoodie.  I was a little worried about the set in sleeves (if given the choice, I prefer raglan).

easy peasy

They sewed in quite nicely, no buckling or ripples.  I took my time and was very particular about them.  I did one side seam, but still have the other side seam and the two sleeves to sew up, then begin the front button bands.  The Cascade 220 blocks out very nice and shows the cable definition great.

With the continued mild/melting weather, we had an active weekend with the poopers.  They’re a little out of shape!

newsflash: "exhaustion takes down two greyhounds"

I had to actually wake them up to give them their supper.  Poor poops.  They love being outside on the river path and meeting and greeting and soaking up the sun, sans coats or sweaters.

Oh, and for Nick, who was concerned that poor Sabrina was in any way being slighted on the attention/noms/spoiling scale:

who loves ya, baby?!

She’s got her eye on you!

Okay, I’d better go do some work, then get back to sewing that sweater together!

oh, and p.s. I am sooooo loving that elliptical – it’s teh awesome!

I don’t want to jinx it

so I won’t put our puffy down jackets away yet.  If I do, surely it will bring down the wrath of the snow gods and we’ll get a blizzard.  Happens every time!  We’ve had a week of really warm, melting weather which is somewhat unusual for here in mid-March.  The walking path is completely clear of snow and ice, and there are large patches of grass along side now.

with the warm weather, we've been walking those dogs off!

Apollo is much like his mommy – thrives on routine and hates change, things being out of place or not how they should be.

"but this is WRONG - fix it, FIX IT!"

He didn’t want to get up so I could put the nice clean (and warm from the dryer) blankets back on the dog beds.  It bothered him, but not enough to get up and let me put the blankets “right”.

The CP Non-Hoodie had an extra day in blockland.  I noticed the one front wasn’t blocked as wide as the other (due to lack of space on the blocking pad), so yesterday I removed one of the sleeves, freed up space and reblocked the front.  I hope to get sewing it together today sometime.

In the meantime:

No Purl Monkey

I’m working on getting the second sock to the heel flap point.  The yarn is quite sheddy and splitty, but the colours are so fabulous, I am ignoring that.

I did 4 miles on the elliptical this a.m. and  I think the technician’s visit was successful.  The squeak was gone and didn’t come back at the 30-minute point, as it had been for the past two or three workouts.  Woot!

block head

Finally – the CP Non-Hoodie is laid out and blocking:

hurry up and block so I can sew you together!

I did cold-water blocking because I didn’t want to steam it and kill the cables/ribbing.  I’ve got to figure out a better blocking set up.  My knees and back were sore after doing all that pinning.

In addition to sweater pieces strewn all about, there were greyhounds strewn about:

both in post-chew-bone marrow coma

This morning (and yesterday) the ellipitical was making a loud squeaking about 30 minutes into my workout.  After my shower I called the place we got it and they sent a technician out right away.  I did 4.5 miles for my workout, then another 1.5 miles for the technician so it would start squeaking so he could diagnose and fix it.  He ended up disassembling the arm/handlebar things and greasing that.  We’ll see tomorrow if it’s fixed.  If not, they’re just a phone call away.

if all else fails, snuggle your squeaky bunny

still nothing exciting to report

so here are some pooper pics:

Apollo Gump

Sabrina is the queen of the Gump Tongue, but Apollo doesn’t do so bad either, just not as often.

"Here's lookin at you, kid!" (wink wink)

The weather has been unseasonably warm and the snow has been melting on the river path and also in the back yard.  The poopers have been out for walks – naked!!  No sweaters, no coats, no booties!  The big fella remains convinced that “this is it – Spring!” but I am sceptical.  I envision another good snowstorm blizzard before winter is done with us.

The elliptical is fabulous.  I have been on it every day since we got it.  I find that it doesn’t feel like as hard a workout as the treadmill, but when I check my heart rate (and listen to my breathing) it is.  I read a little on it and there’s something about the “perceived” rate of exertion being lower.  ?? I don’t know, I just know that it’s an excellent calorie-burning cardio workout and it doesn’t hurt my knee.  I’ve been tracking my workouts on my “daily mile” page.

One of our errands yesterday was to go to the library.  I had a book waiting for pickup, True Compass, a memoir by Ted Kennedy.  It’s very interesting and he’s quite funny.  I’m only about 1/4 of the way into it.  Here’s a review of it.

I’m working on the second sleeve of the CPNon-Hoodie.  I hope to be finished by tonight or tomorrow and then can get the pieces blocking.  I’ve really been enjoying this project and haven’t touched my socks since I started it.