November 2007 Archives

Trouble, thy name is Thea


There really are days when I want to trade her in for a guinea pig or maybe a German Shepherd, heck, there are days when I'd probably trade her for a nice piece of chocolate. For instance, you could have gotten a very nice deal on a slightly used, definitely broken, Cattle Dog mix, last week.

The scene:
Green cream filling everywhere. One might assume it's another eviscerated toy.

green guts everywhere 2.jpg

One would be wrong


Upon closer inspection, it appears that some little stinker has taken it upon herself to do surgery to her own bed. The dirty little...*ahem*

Nothing to do but break out the sewing kit.


Poor franken-bed.


I guess I'd never appreciate just how good Miss Panda is, if it weren't for her devilish little sister.

what_whatdidIdo.jpg lounging.jpg

Of course, it's always the bad girls who get all the love. You can see some of Thea's other handiwork over at Goofy Dogs.

And lest you think I'm boxing her up and shipping her back to the factory for a refund, fear not. She'll always be my sweet little demon.

What I did with my long weekend


I know I'm a little late to be reporting about my weekend. But these pictures are making me happy right now and I want to share.

I finally finished the piece I've been knitting for Donna Druchunas' upcoming book. We were all asked to incorporate one of Dorothy Reade's lace patterns into an original design. I love this sort of challenge. I find I'm far more creative when I have some sort of rule or limitation.


I wish I could show you the whole thing but this teaser will have to do for now. The yarn is Lorna's Laces, Lion and Lamb. And the wee buttons? Those are vintage. I just love old buttons. I've been slowly amassing (maybe more of an "asmattering") a little collection of vintage buttons.

Completing this piece basically frees me of all deadline knitting. There is actually one other small item I need to knit but it's, as I said, small and I expect it to be rather fun, too.

I do have a substantial amount of pattern writing to do now, though. It's never as much fun as the designing and knitting but I guess it's what they pay me for, right?

On Saturday, Leo and I walked around downtown Portland a bit. We live about 10 minutes from downtown, but for the sake of our savings accounts, we don't go terribly often.

Obviously, most shops were a mob scene, this weekend, but we weren't terribly bothered by it. The air was crisp, there was no rain and very little wind. Just gorgeous.

I love how the sidewalks get stained by the fallen leaves.


Hi, I'm the weird girl who photographs the sidewalk, how are you today?

When one stops staring at her toes, the stuff higher up looks pretty darn nice too.


Check out THAT hottie.

Is that some Kitsch I smell?


I haven't seen it yet, but the Knitty Gritty episode that Stitchy McYarnpants and I did, called Kitschy Christmas, is now airing. It looks like it'll be on a bunch of times, in the next month, so don't worry if you missed it the first time around.

While we may have been the guests, the STAR was Maryse's Fun Fur Christmas Tree. And now, you can get the pattern free here.

Oh and for those of you who did or will see the episode, the "faux-chet" line was Debbie's idea.

On an unrelated note, Panda is feeling 100% back to her old self. No more cough. We'll make sure we take her somewhere fun, next weekend.

A totally traditional Thanksgiving


The other day, we went to the grocery store to get t-day supplies. The thing is, the meat section smelled liked an outhouse. We decided not to get a turkey there. We meant to get one elsewhere, but that didn't happen.

That's OK, because we didn't really think we'd be cooking on the holiday. Instead, we made plans to meet up with some of our friends for some fun on the beach with the pups.

The day was perfect. The sun was shining, the air was crisp and cool and without any wind. Lovely day. The only problem is that Panda was getting over a cold and Leo decided that we couldn't risk her getting worse.


I can't believe I'm writing this, but Panda had to -- *sob* -- stay home. I still feel guilty.

Larry, Erica, Leo, Thea, and I, made our way to the Oregon coast. We started our day with breakfast. I, of course, had the Crabcakes Benny.

Then, we headed over to Seaside for a bit of fetch.

Larry threw the squirrel.


Leo threw the squirrel.


Erica threw the squirrel.


Thea is a very happy pup. And heck, we're just happy that our friends want to entertain the little beast a bit.

Thea started to slow down some, until she met this beautiful dog, Cocoa.


Much chasing ensued.

We headed up to Ecola State Park and saw an Elk along the way.


She was just hanging out in someone's yard. Erica said the rest of the herd were on the other side of the road, but we didn't notice.

At Ecola, we enjoyed the scenery.


I don't think it gets much more beautiful than this.


I really do wish that Panda had been in this picture. I guess we'll just have to drag Larry and Erica out again for another romp on the beach.

Before we called it quits, we dropped by Manzanita, to ensure a thoroughly pooped pup.

We met the first dog ever who didn't fall madly in love with Thea.


This little Italian Greyhound puppy sought the security of humans to save him from Thea. Don't you just want to scoop him up kiss his little cheek?

There are tons more pictures over here, if you want to see them.

After a little more play, we all headed home, with a quick stop for coffee and pie on the way. Once home, I cooked up some mashed potatoes and stuffing, to round out the day. Hey, I told you it was a totally traditional Thanksgiving.

Hope that wherever you are, you had as lovely a day as I did. Next time, though, I want Panda there too.

With puppy chaser at the end.

I recently posted the shameful state of a piece I was working on, for a book. When last we saw this project, I had detached the sleeve, from below the cap, held it on a spare needle and ripped back the sleeve cap, so that I could remove the extra rows from one of the front sections of the garment.

After fixing the front, I picked up and reknit the sleeve cap.

09-Sleeve Cap Reknit

I moved the live stitches to circulars so I wouldn't have to deal with so many needles. This picture was taken en route to the ocean. The picture quality goes WAAAAY downhill from here. I apologize, but frankly, as much as I love you all, I'm not going to wait for a sunny day to get this issue fixed up.

I cut a tail long enough to go around the sleeve about 4 times. Aligning the sleeve with sleeve cap, I started grafting.

10-Begin grafting

There's a great tutorial here, if you've never tried grafting before.

Every few inches, I took a look at the row of grafting to assess the tension.

11-Check tension as you go

It can be ugly, no?

To fix, I just use my tapestry needle to ease the yarn out towards the unworked stitches.

11-Adjust tension

Sometimes I'd go back and adjust a couple times in the same spot, but I never lost my mind over it. The wool content of the yarn should allow me to ease out minor inconsistencies in the blocking stage.

The work went pretty quickly. Here, I'm nearly done.

12- nearly done

What can I say, I rather like grafting.

Once all was done, the work looked pretty much good as new.


Let's close this out with that puppy chaser I promised.

IMG_0084.jpg IMG_0079.jpg

See all the pics from our trip to the beach on Sunday, here.

Marnie, speak. Good girl.


Marnie Talks now has a new look and name.

It's a work in progress, so expect it to evolve, but I'm happy with the basic concept.

Press refresh if you still see the old design.
If you have a very old or very new browser, things might fall apart a bit, and I'm sorry for that, but I think it should look fine in most browsers.

Let me know if you see any issues, and I'll do my best to fix it.


Old blog design

New Blog Design
New blog design

A ripable offense


Life here on d'nile is certainly lovely, don't you think?

Uhgh, so I thought I was in the home stretch on my garment for Donna's book. I was just picking up the stitches around the neck and front, and counting to make sure the piece had the same number of stitches on both sides.

The signs were there all along. It should have seemed odd that I had trouble picking up the same number of stitches on both armscyes. And it probably should have piqued my interest that I was having a little trouble blocking the fronts evenly. But apparently, I can be pretty resistant to the signs of reality.

01-Identify issue

You see those two stitch markers? They should both be the same distance from their respective shoulder seams.

The piece is knit seamlessly, which means that the sleeves are picked up and knit down from the armscyes. So in order to rip out the extra rows on the front section, I first thought I'd have to rip the entire *sob* sleeve out.

But I gave myself a few minutes to think, and realized there is another option.

O2-assess options

I decided to cut the sleeve off, just under the sleeve cap, and rip only the sleeve cap out. Once the front is fixed and a new sleeve cap knit, I'll graft the two parts together again.

03-safety net

I'm using a yarn with a fairly high wool content, and it tends to felt, every so slightly, to itself. I knew that unraveling would require some tussling and I didn't want to drop stitches on the sleeve, so I inserted a smaller gauge needle into the row of stitches that would remain live on the sleeve.

04-OMG cut

I made a small noodly prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and snipped.

05-no turning back

No turning back now.


Now it's just a matter of unraveling along the sleeve cap side.

07-catch mistakes

If you missed a stitch, just grab one of those locking stitch markers, and clip it on. In my case, didn't pick up stitches on the spare needle, in a straight line. I was offset by a row for a few inches. Once I realized, I secured the loose stitch, eased out the needle and re-thread it through the correct stitches.

08-pieces separate

The sleeve will be secured on the needle, when you are done, and you can unravel the remaining sleeve cap and reuse the yarn.

Oooh, I'm halfway there.

I'll let you know how the reknitting and grafting go.

And on that note, I need a pup fix.

panda in front of thea.jpg



We drove to Mt. Hood today.


It's hard to take a bad picture of such a beautiful mountain, but with the bright blue sky, it was all the more gorgeous.


The girls were anxious to get to our destination.

IMG_0060.JPG IMG_0047.JPG

We went to Timberline and hiked up one of the trails. There wasn't that much snow so the skiing was sparse, but there were quite a few people hiking and sledding near the base of the trail.


Panda mostly wanted to roll in the snow. The deeper the snow, the happier she was.


Thea wanted to run around like a maniac and eat snow.

A truly fabulous outing.

See all the pictures here.

Starting the weekend off on a cute note


I haven't posted any doggy pictures in a while. Shame on me.

Ms. Panda looking gorgeous.


Thea bringing the puppy eyes.

thea_working it.jpg

Both girls playing in the backyard on a foggy morning.

playing on a foggy morning.jpg

Thea in her Total Recall class. Lots more pictures here.


And on an unrelated note, check out this spider web I spied waaaaay up in a tree in my front yard.




Tomorrow, I make the long journey back home.

Coming out to help my mother and grandmother get things in order has been exhausting, emotionally draining, but ultimately very enlightening. Even more, it has given me a feeling like I have helped in some small part.

Grandma and Grandpa at my mother's first wedding
My grandparents walking down the aisle at my mother's first wedding

My grandmother is trying hard to put on a brave face and take these changes in stride, but watching her cry so much and hearing her talk about how lonely it is for her at night and how much she misses him, makes my heart ache for her. As the week comes to a close, the realization of these changes seems to become more clear to her and it is harder for her to maintain her composure.

For better or for worse, we are helping her start this new chapter in her life. I can only guess how scared and uncertain she feels. Even so, every once in a while she gives me a big smile and I feel like things are going to be OK for her.

three generations.jpg

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