Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Home Stretch

I really appreciate the nice comments I've gotten in the last week concerning our dog Morgan. My husband and I really miss him, but we're slowly adapting to life without him. We do still have our two other dogs and three cats to keep us happily distracted.

I haven't gotten a lot of knitting done in the last week, but I did manage to felt my entrelac bag. I'm pretty happy with the way the colors work together. In case you were wondering, Lamb's Pride Worsted and Manos del Uruguay felt very nicely together. I'd say their rate of felting was pretty even. It took two trips through the washing machine to get the results I wanted.

I usually try to get the handles knit in time to felt along with the bag, but I wanted to get the bag to its final size so I could figure out the handle placement and therefore the length needed. I think I'm really going to need to line this bag. I also want to figure out something stiff to put in the bottom to help give the bag some structure. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Tribute to Morgan

Our oldest dog died yesterday. Morgan was 12 years old, and although he'd been fighting kidney disease successfully for 2 1/2 years, his health declined rapidly over the last few weeks. My husband and I had to make the painful decision to have him put to sleep. It broke our hearts but it was time.

We got Morgan in March of 1995 following not one, but two break-ins of our home at the time. He was just a puppy, about eight weeks old when we brought him home. He was just about the cutest puppy I'd ever seen. I couldn't believe how quickly he grew. Within a couple of months he sounded like an adult dog - anyone coming to our front door would swear it was a full grown dog barking at them. Even as a puppy he took his "job" seriously.

Morgan grew to be a big dog. He was a couple of inches taller than the standard for German Shepherds, and weighed in at nearly 100 lbs. when he reached adulthood. He could be pretty intimidating to those who didn't know him, but then that had been the idea. He needed no training to watch over us and our house. Anyone who knows German Shepherds knows that they tend to be naturally protective and Morgan was no exception.

Almost from the begining it was clear that Morgan thought of himself as my husband's dog. Oh sure, I did my share of feeding, cleaning up after, etc. but as you might know these things are usually decided by the dog (or cat) itself. Somehow though, I ended up being the one taking him to puppy and obedience classes. I didn't mind. I guess I figured it was my way of bonding with him. Morgan was the first dog I'd ever trained and he was a handfull. He was very intelligent, strong-willed, and actually kind of a jerk as an adolescent, always testing me to see what he could get away with. The main problem I had with him was his increasing need to try to "protect" me from the other dogs in our classes. I really had to learn to assert myself with him. I learned a few things about myself working with him and yes, there was a special bond between us because of the time I spent with him.

When he was diagnosed with kidney disease we switched him to a prescription, low protein dog food that would be easier for his kidneys to handle. The lower protein levels really took a toll on his muscles. It was difficult watching him lose weight and muscle tone until it seemed he was only skin and bones. We were suprised to discover at his last yearly exam a couple of weeks ago that was down to 71 lbs.

When I think of Morgan now I will remember him as he was when he was younger; a big, tough lug of a dog who made me feel safe in my home when I didn't think that would ever be possible again. He could be intimidating to be sure, but he was quite gentle with the two puppies, the kitten, and the cat we eventully brought into our home after him. He only needed to know that they were part of our "pack." He had a long, full, and I think a happy life with us. I didn't realize until we knew we were going to lose him just how much I loved him. Now I'm crying my eyes out for him, again. We will miss him terribly.
Morgan, with his nephew Max, Spring 1997

Chasing snowballs, Jan. 28, 2000.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Entrelac on Track

I'm on my last row of squares on my entrelac bag. Actually they aren't really squares, they're triangles because I want to finish the bag with a straight edge. I figured out how to do the top triangles myself because I've haven't found any instructions for that sort of thing on line and I'm too cheap/lazy to look for a book that might have the information. Most entrelac bags seem to be knit top down with decreases at the bottom, making a nifty star design in the process, but I really wanted to start at the bottom to be able to try to establish the right size. We'll just have to see if that is going to work out later.

I've been playing around with entrelac anyway. I'm really intrigued by examples of "triangular" entrelac I've spotted on the web and have been determined to figure out how it's done. Again - couldn't find directions. I think I remember seeing a class offered on the west coast, but that would be inconvenient to say the least. I've been doing enough entrelac now to have a pretty good understanding of how it works, so I picked up some yarn and needles and started playing around. I'm still working out my method, but this practice piece really helped me with my bag.

I hope to finish knitting the bag this weekend. I can't wait to get it into the washing machine!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My First Glove

I just finished my first knitted glove and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Well actually I'm not completely through with it. I still have a few loose end to weave in and I need to block it. I'm not thrilled with the way the stitches on the palm are pulled when I extend my thumb, but I suspect that that's the nature of the peasant style thumb. I'm hoping Nanette and the other members at the Glove Knitting KAL can advise me before I start on the other glove.

Meanwhile, I'm back to working on my entrelac bag. After working on the glove I feel like I'm flying on it! I don't have too far to go.