Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Meet Jasper

I mentioned to Andy a few months ago that I was starting to browse PetFinder to see if there were any Pugs available for adoption that would be a good match for Iggy (and for us too, of course).  We had been talking about getting a second Pug once Iggy had turned 2, but something kept nagging me that we should start looking sooner.  Perhaps it was the constant grabbing of my flip flop while still on my foot as I talked on the phone, or the wild cat like sounds that Iggy omitted the moment he didn't have our full attention.  Or maybe it was divine intervention, it's really hard to say but one day about a month ago I saw a 2 year old male pug named Jasper that looked like a good match.  He was young, healthy and had been an owner surrender to a kill shelter of all places.  Luckily the Southside SPCA, a local rescue group, had picked him up and he was in foster care.  The information on their site said that Jasper would be at PetSmart in Richmond that weekend and could be adopted there.  Richmond is a little over 2 hours from where we live and I was still in the process of deciding if we really should get a second dog and what the effects of another dog in the house would be for us and for Iggy.  So I waited.  The next week Jasper was still on Petfinder and I knew that it was meant to be.  I filled out an adoption application online and heard back from Lea Anna within a few hours.  She said that we had been bumped up to the top of the list for Jasper after she spoke with vet and because we were familiar with taking care of Pugs because they have special needs due to their limited breathing abilities and not being able to tolerate too much heat or cold.  I think Lea Anna and I  talked for about an hour and she mentioned several times that Jasper wasn't a calm quiet Pug and that he was kind of hyper.  In the back of my mind I was thinking, oh boy what are we getting into?  Even though Iggy has passed every obedience class known as well as obtaining his AKC Canine Good Citizen certification, he still tends to be known as the "Pugnato" in our house.  There are times when he is literally running circles in our living room and running across the back of the sofa as some sort of doggy proof of his gymnastic ability.  

Lea Anna and I set a time to meet early in the morning at PetSmart in Richmond so that we could all meet Jasper and see how he and Iggy got along.  I don't think I slept more than a couple of hours the night before.  I was so excited to meet Jasper!  Iggy had never been in the car for more than an hour and by the time we arrived he was acting like child that had been cooped up on the car on a family road trip.  We walked up to the front of the store and met Lea Anna and Brenda who was Jaspers foster mom.  Brenda spent about an hour with us patiently answering all our questions and giving us suggestions on training and health care.  She was a huge wealth of information and had obviously done a wonderful job fostering Jasper.  Jasper and Iggy seemed to hit it off really well and we fell in love with him instantly!  Jasper sat in Andy's lap while I signed all the forms to make the adoption official.  I think I must have asked a million questions and probably some of them twice, everyone at the Southside SPCA was so nice and very helpful.  

After everything was signed and official, Lea Anna took this picture of us.  Notice the crazed look on Iggy's face and how calm Jasper looks ;)

In my mind I pictured both boys riding on the back seat on the way home.  We purchased a few toys for them and I thought they would be satisfied with that.  Two and a half hours later with a drive through stop at Wendy's and we rode the whole way home just like this:   

Jasper has been the epitome of the perfect Pug since day one.  He is kind and sweet to us and to Iggy.  We couldn't have asked for a better dog (and yes, that is a cute little snaggle tooth in the picture below).  As far as being hyper, I think Iggy has cornered the market on that!

The Southside SPCA runs on donations to help care for the animals in their charge.  It is a volunteer organization and they have a spay and neuter program as well as offering educational services.  If you would like to make a donation to help the Soutside SPCA care for the animals in their charge please click this link: Donate For every donation of $25 that you make between August 26 and September 30, you can have your choice of any one of my knitting patterns that are located in my Ravelry Pattern Shop (club patterns and patterns that are currently released under yarn company brands/names are excluded).  Just send me an email with your receipt number and your choice of pattern and I will add it to your Ravelry pattern library.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A long, boring, personal post

Sorry I have been absent for the last few weeks.  I've wanted to write a post and there has been so much going on in my personal life, that I just didn't know what to say and I felt like I had a bit of writers block.  Just before we left for our beach vacation, the company that Andy had been working at for the past ten years was abruptly sold.  We were very grateful that Andy would keep his job, but things were still in a state of flux.  After much thought and discussion, he decided to accept an offer from a new company that is coming to our area.  We are both really excited about his new position and I'm very relieved that some of the stress that has been in our lives will hopefully be lessened.

Around the same time of the job upheaval, we found out that a family member has skin cancer.  Since this person didn't want other family members to know, I'm not going to say who they are.  It's been a battle to get them to agree to see the doctor, and then to let the doctor do a full examination. Fortunately, the first biopsy revealed that the area is not melanoma and is a more successfully treatable form of sarcoma.  Please, get your skin checked every year by a dermatologist. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and if anything is found early, it is much more treatable.

I haven't been doing as much designing as I normally do this summer.  I have knitted several pairs of stockinette socks, which are one of my favorite things to knit. These are from a Gales Art stenciled sock black that I picked up at MDSW this year.  The color is "The Big O".  I love how they turned out and they colors are nice and cheerful.

My current stockinette sock project is with yarn from Neely's Knits. The colorway is "Thing 1 and Thing 2". I had to make a bag just for these socks!  I love the Cat in the Hat and the Things.

I also cast on for the Solitude Jacket that is in the Knitscene Fall 2015 issue.  I'm using Malabrigo Worsted in the Apple Green colorway.  It's quite a bit brighter than the picture is showing and looks just like a Granny Smith apple.  I haven't knitted a sweater in over a year, and I'm really enjoying the process.

What do you have on your needles this summer?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shark Bite

Use coupon code: Amity for $2.00 off until July 5th. Don’t get caught with your socks in the water and have a Happy 4th of July!
Introducing Shark Bite! I cannot describe how much fun these socks were to design and knit!  JAWS is one of my all time favorite movies.  Just hearing the first note from the theme makes the hair raise up on the back of my neck.  I've been fascinated with sharks, particularly Great Whites, since I was kid.  When Shark Week starts, you are most likely to find me glued to the tv with my knitting.   
The Shark Bite socks were inspired by one of my all time favorite movies, JAWS. It’s a tradition for my husband and I to have a JAWS movie marathon over the 4th of July weekend every year. We hunker down in our den and watch the movies from beginning to end. 2015 is the 40th Anniversary of the original JAWS movie and I thought it was an appropriate time to design a pattern in homage to the movie.
Shark Bite is written from the cuff down. The cuff and leg portion of the socks are worked in the flat, and the joined at the ankle. The heel, foot and toe are worked in the round.
If you aren’t familiar with knitting colorwork, links to tutorials are provided in the pattern. While the colorwork details might look difficult to knit, they are really only over a small portion of the sock and some of them, like the swimmer and sharks teeth can be done in duplicate stitch once you are finished knitting.
The sample was was worked using KnitPicks Stroll unless otherwise noted. This is a perfect project to use mini skeins and left over yarn for the smaller details.
Color A: White 15 yards 
Color B: Blue Yonder 150 yards 
Color C: Black 50 yards 
Color D: Unplanned Peacock Peacock Sock, in Sun 5 yards 
Color E: Cork 10 yards, 
Color F: Thunderhead 345 yards
A very special thank you goes to Margi, whose help with test knitting and finding the links to the tutorials is so much appreciated!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Miss Babs Knitting Tour


I was so honored when Miss Babs asked me to design a shawl pattern for the Miss Babs Knitting Tour last fall.  Babs gave me some ideas of what she wanted and a jumping off point including the them of the pattern which is Atlantis.  I'm a huge fan of mythology and really enjoy reading about it and like to be able to create a design that is related to something that I have either read about or have seen in a movie.  The fact that the destination for this stop on the Tour was Atlantis, was a huge bonus for me as it was right up my alley!

Helen who is one of the fabulous ladies who works for Miss Babs was a huge help with coordinating everything from contact with Sarah who is the test knitter for the Tour, to creating the written directions with Carmen who also works for Miss Babs.  I have to say that this has been one of the most fun projects and working with the wonderful ladies at Miss Babs has been more than a pleasure.
Miss Babs sent me one of the kit's that went out to the Tour Travelers and I was so impressed! It came with a skein of Yowza in the Atlantis colorway, a beautiful glass stitch marker, a booklet that includes the pattern along with a couple of recipes and information about Atlantis, and a little packet of Swedish Fish.  They even included one of the Tour bags, which I think Helen must have had a hand in since she knows that I am a knitting bag lover!

If you didn't sign up for the Tour this year, be sure to join the group on Ravelry so you will know when sign ups for 2016 begin.  There is a lot of value in the kit and the group is a lot of fun!

The Atlantis pattern will be available for individual purchase in December.  It uses one full skein of Yowza and works up really well in the variegated colors that Miss Babs is known for.  The Atlantis colorway is a Babette which means that each skein is unique and this is something that I absolutely love! It's so nice to be able to knit up a pattern like Atlantis, and have what you make be totally unique.  Not just because you made it, but because the yarn you used was created one skein at a time and is a work of art.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Untangling - a Knitting Adventure

Untangling is a kit collaboration between myself,  Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings, Vicki of That Clever Clementine and Lisa of Indie Untangled 
I absolutely love kit’s and I think you will really enjoy this one.  It has three fabulous elements: a skein of Michelle’s incredible self-striping sock yarn in one of three available colorways, an infinity scarf pattern that was designed specifically for Michelle’s awesome self striping yarn and a loop-handled Lulu bag handcrafted by Vicki.  

The Untangling infinity scarf is worked in a manner so that there are only the cast on and bind off ends to weave in while still having a fantastic striping effect.  How awesome is that?!

A limited number of dyed- and sewn-to-order kits will go on sale at Indie Untangled on June 15. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A New Sock Pattern and Spoiler Alert

One of the things I love about working with variegated yarns is finding a stitch pattern that really shows off the colors in the yarn.  It can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, but it's something that I greatly enjoy.  Miss Babs is continually coming up with amazing hand painted colorways that catch my eye.  One of them was a one of a kind Babette in Yummy 2 Ply that I knew would be perfect for a pair of cabled socks.  I wanted something with a bit more interest then a plain cable and added a bit of lace to it.  It's one of those stitch patterns that is easy to knit and easy to remember.  I normally don't work on cables or lace while riding in the car because I tend to get motion sick if I have to read anything, but because these were so easy to knit these socks were the exception. I'm really excited to bring you Lartha and here is a little bit of background on the pattern and the name:

Several years ago Martha Stewart tweeted about how often her horses needed new shoes and I jokingly tweeted back to her that I didn’t see that as a problem because who doesn’t love new shoes, right? Well, she replied to my tweet and since then I joke that she and I are besties and our celebrity couple name is Lartha.
Maybe someday I will get to meet Martha in person and can give her a pair of Lartha Socks that I knitted just for her.
Lartha is a cuff down sock with an easy to knit lace and cable repeat that is given in both written and charted instructions. A modified modified short row heel adds a bit of interest while being simple to knit. These socks look great in both variegated and solid yarns.
The sample in the photos was knitted using Miss Babs Yummy 2 Ply in a one of a kind Babette. If you would like to use a similar colorwayPerfectly Wreckless or Soul Food would be great choices. Seriously though, any of the colorways that Miss Babs dyes would be fantastic with this pattern!

Lartha is introductory priced on Ravelry at $4.50 until June 15

Spoiler Alert!

Photo is © Miss Babs

If you are in the Miss Babs Knitting Tour and don't want a spoiler, please don't click on the link below.

I'm so, so excited that the Miss Babs Knitting Tour pattern has been added to Ravelry.   This was one of the most fun patterns that I have worked on and the yarn is fantastic!  I'm really trying not to give anything away so I'm not saying much right now.  If you would like to check it out and see what it is along with pictures click on this link:  Miss Babs Knitting Tour

If you weren't in the tour the pattern will be available for purchase sometime in December.