28 September 2008

No-Roll Stockinette Scarf

This is my pattern for a no-roll stockinette scarf. The latest version is made of Debby Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan, which is a very textured yarn. There's no point in wasting a pattern on it and I prefer stockinette to garter stitch.

The pattern is more a recipe than a pattern. Pick your yarn and select the recommended size needles. If you know you're a tight or a loose knitter, adjust the size accordingly.

You want a nice firm fabric with some drape to it, not too loose (it won't keep the wearer warm) and not too tight (it won't drape around the wearer). I make my scarves about seven inches wide and seven feet long, because I'm knitting them for Iowans, South Dakotans, and Pennsylvanians.

Compute how many stitches it takes to make eight inches (look on the ball label) and subtract 10%. Cast this number of stitches on, using any cast-on method you like.

Bottom border:
Knit six rows (three garter ridges on each side), slipping the first stitch purlwise, with the yarn in front.

  1. Slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, knit 4, purl to 5 stitches before the end, knit 5.
  2. Slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, knit to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the scarf is about five stockinette rows shorter than the final length you want, or until you're almost out of yarn.

Top border:
Knit six rows (three garter ridges on each side), slipping the first stitch purlwise, with the yarn in front.

Bind off, using a method that doesn't cause the end to flare. I like the knit two together, knit one, knit two together bind-off that Cat Bordhi uses for her Moebius scarves.

Weave in ends, wash gently, roll in dry towels (or spin in washer), and pat out into shape. Let dry, out of the sun.

21 September 2008

Shawls, Gordo, and Dog Food

I met a bunch of knitters and crocheters at the Lancaster Panera today and managed to get the ends sewn in for two shawls and one scarf. One of the shawls was made with only two skeins, though, so I can't take much credit on that one. I have two more shawls to go, one with four joins and one with seven. The first is black and I didn't think the light was good enough there to mess with and I just couldn't face doing the second.

Gordo went over on Monday for neutering and repair of his umbilical hernia. Because they had to do two separate tasks, they anesthetized him fairly deeply. We went over and picked him up at 5:00 pm and he was pretty groggy. He came home and wobbled around a bit before lying down. He looked so miserable and was whimpering so pitifully that I picked him up and put him on my lap. He promptly went to sleep, with nary a peep, and slept the sleep of the just for almost four hours. I just held my poor 35.5-lb baby, shifting him occasionally so that my various body parts wouldn't go to sleep.

He perked up a bit when he could finally have water and a light dinner, but went to sleep fairly easily. Now, a week later, he's quite back to normal. He hasn't really needed the awkward Elizabethan collar at all, as he's shown no inclination to lick the incisions. The prickly metal stitched might have something to do with that.

Speaking of dogs and just having fed mine dinner, it's interesting what the current trends in dog food are. I feed what's called superpremium food, because it greatly reduces the amount of waste that the dog produces and I have to pick up. The latest thing is no-grain foods. The position of those who formulate these foods is that dogs didn't evolve eating grain, which is pretty hard to argue with, except that they've lived with people for over 10,000 years and they have to have had the occasional bread crust during all those millennia. The foods do have carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes, fruit, and other vegetables. They also seem to have a variety of meats and meat meals, not just one kind.

Gordo definitely prefers one brand, Evo, over the other, BG, that he's tried. This kind of ruined my idea of puppies being willing to eat everything they can get in their mouth. However, he has, in the last ten minutes, proven that he'll eat aluminum foil and Stouffer's boxes, so I don't think he's all that picky.

So I, being so insensitive to my puppy's tastes (he's only a dog, what's wrong with the stuff they sell at the supermarket), just went by the feed store and picked up a big bag of chicken etc EVO. I only got a few coins back from the $50 I tendered. Fortunately, the superpremium foods are of such high quality that the dog actually eats less for the same number of calories, making this bag last longer than a similarly sized bag of the more common foods. I have checked this out myself, reading feeding tables on every bag of food I've seen. One of the things I discovered doing this was that IAMS cut its serving sizes when they started selling in supermarkets. There was no reformulation of the food to go with the smaller sizes, though.

14 September 2008

Gordo and Clyde Nap Together

Gordo and Clyde
Originally uploaded by Mary The Digital Knitter

Gordo got a new stuffed animal yesterday. It's an orangutan we've named Clyde. Clyde has three noisemakers: a duck-call in his belly and two squeakers, one in each leg. He also has long arms and Velcro on his hands, so I can stick them together and drape him around Gordo's neck.

As you can see in the photo, Clyde is quite large, although he isn't very heavy. Gordo can just pick him up but has to be careful not to step on trailing arms or legs.

Gordo has become very fond of Clyde and has brought him to me to play fetch any number of times. The last time I tossed Clyde Gordo carried him back but laid down instead of giving him back to me. Gordo then fell asleep on Clyde's arm, as you see, and I couldn't resist taking snapshots. It's almost 2100, well past Gordo's bed time. He falls asleep easily after the sun goes down.

Gordo goes to the vet tomorrow for surgery to repair his umbilical hernia and neutering. He'll also get his rabies shot so that we can get his license from Los Angeles County. I think we'll register him with Riverside County, too, so that we'll be covered in Palm Desert. He was chipped right after we brought him home, of course.

I stopped at the pet shop today and bought him a larger collar and leash, as he has nearly outgrown the first set. That set is quite narrow, made from ca. 3/8-in. webbing, and now looks too fragile as he has grown so much. The new collar and leash are wider, made of ca. 3/4-in. webbing, and are more proportionate. It'll be interesting to see what happens when we hang the license disk on the collar. I don't think he'll like it.

09 September 2008

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog

Last night Gordo was sitting on my lap and he discovered the keyboard of my laptop. The flash washed out the monitor or you'd be able to see that he was reading alt.fans.cecil-adams on Usenet.

I can tell that Gordo's days as a lap dog are numbered. We went to the vet this morning, to have the blood drawn for his pre-surgery lab work, and he weighs 32 lb. He's 19.5 in. tall at the shoulder (adult male collies are 24-26 in. at the shoulder). Most of his height is in his legs. It's going to be a close race to see whether he gets too heavy for me to lift or he gets too leggy to fit on my lap.

Here's another photo. Doesn't he look older in this one? Usually he looks very puppy-like in photos, but there are a few angles at which he looks older. He's only four months and one week old, so he is still a puppy and usually looks it.

Here's one of his four-month birthday presents. It's a magenta tiger, with squeaker, and he's very attached to it. It started with a round ball, about an inch in diameter, on a cloth tape for a tail. It took Gordo about ten minutes to remove the ball. He has subsequently removed most of the cloth tape. It's just visible here; it's the light spot in the center of the back, toward the bottom.

Gordo got an extremely charming sea turtle from his cat cousins in Iowa last week and fell in love with it. He carries it around everywhere and sometimes naps using it as a pillow. The next time he does so and I can reach the camera I'll take a photo. It's really cute.

The cat cousins also gave him a stump with three squeaky squirrels in it that we haven't let him have yet. We're waiting until he gets bored with the current plushy toys (or until he wears them out completely) to give him the stump, which is really great. Too many toys can be confusing to a puppy. Plus, the family room floor is already pretty much paved with dog plushies, rawhide chewies, pig skin rolls, and squeaky latex hippos and frogs. Not that we spoil our dogs or anything, of course.