the size of the fight

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in designing, home and family

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
– Dwight D Eisenhower (former president of the United States)

hello doggie fans, i’m back!
anne was telling me that some of you have been asking and asking how i’ve been doing and that you miss my posts and since she was gone to a teaching gig the last couple of days, i decided it was probably time for me to dust off my paws and type up a blog.

first—thank you so much for thinking of me these last few weeks; i have been doing really well. this is a picture from the morning that i got my fixator out; i didn’t know it was THE DAY, but anne was up extra early, telling me we were going on an adventure.

now, i don’t know about you, but i’ve come to be a bit suspicious when she starts throwing around that word—it could mean something fun, but it could also mean something i’m not quite prepared to do. i mention this because i see her using it to describe some of her “work”, so i think you know what i’m talking about.

anyway, i also found out that the “adventure” would involve a ride in the car—i love the car! so far, so good. it was very cold that day, so we bundled me into my puffy vest and cowl and brought my favorite blankie along.

next thing i knew, we were back at the hospital where i spent a few days in november.
RUH-ROH—i told you there was reason to be suspicious!

that said, the waiting room was simply filled with interesting creatures! and SO many of them were doggies; i couldn’t get enough. we walked the whole place several times to introduce myself around, even to the ones i could barely see, hidden inside their carry boxes (i love other doggies; more on that later).

pretty soon a really nice vet tech came out to see us and chat a little. she took all of us into an exam room and then she took me by myself into the back room and there was dr. collins (he’s a REALLY nice man who calls me “cutey-patooty”—a little geeky, but i might have a bit of a crush, hee-hee).

i don’t know what happened next because they put me to sleep, but while i was going under, i heard them talking about an x-ray.

anne and david waited for me long enough to start a sweater and knit the hem! to be honest, i’m not sure what happened to me for the next 45 minutes or so—i was knocked out cold, but i’m always happy to find out that somehow i helped with getting some knitting done.

the next thing i knew i was stumbling around, following dr. collins. anyway, he brought me back to exam room and everybody swooned over me. they were all very excited and i got nervous because i could only see double like; i tried to follow him back inside but i bumped into the door. then i heard anne’s voice and i went to her instead. she took some pictures and cuddled my face and that’s when i realized that the stupid fixator was gone—woo-hoo! my head felt two pounds lighter.

it must have happened while i was sleeping, because i don’t remember giving anyone permission to touch me. and also, my nails were cut and i definitely didn’t agree to that.

what happened for the next few hours was a bit of a blur; i couldn’t walk straight to save my life and my face felt funny and was puffing up like a football. i was leaking blood where the pin tracks were opened up again and i remember everyone laughing because i pooped and peed in the waiting room three times while we were leaving (SO embarrassing; i never do that at home).

and the next thing i knew, we were home and i was in my bed. and also on the sofa. anne stayed very close by the whole time, watching me; i guess i was acting pretty dopey.

man, i was so high. i did NOT feel normal. but then everything about that day was not “normal” as i had come to know it. for instance, i was not at all hungry.

anne and david had to go out for a couple of hours in the evening so i slept and slept and when they got home i surprised them by being mostly back to my old self. i jumped out of my bed and did a dance and drumrolled my feet in front of my food bowl. they were so happy they fed me a nice big meal.

by the next morning i was well enough to go to work, even though my face was very swollen. dr. collins had explained that i still had a couple of fractures showing in the x-ray which needed to heal, but that they would mend without the fixator, as long as i continued on soft food and was careful about playing with friends and toys.

my face was very puffy and tender for quite a while actually; i was starting to feel sad that i’d never be back to 100 percent again. but little by little it healed. and in a couple of weeks i was ready for the paparazzi.

here’s my “before” photo . . .

you might not notice this, but the surgery actually corrected a little overbite that i had and now my lower jaw is set a bit further forward and my teeth line up the right way. this makes eating much easier and much less messy; no problem picking up tiny bits of food now. it’s a small change but i’m glad they took care of it while they had the chance.

and here’s my “after” photo

my favorite thing about having my mouth free again? we got right back to to regular toothbrushing at night!! a lot of people who know me might assume i’d hate toothbrushing, but i actually love it and i really missed it those last couple of months; i am not proud of having stinky dog breath . . .

i had to continue eating a soft diet for quite a while though after, i was able to eat it on my own. i didn’t mind—anne makes some pretty yummy combinations with all the new foods i now enjoy. she promised to continue those delicious soft snacks and also my soft food mix along with the crunchy food when the time came.

we never stopped our long walks, even when it snowed a lot. but they sure felt lots better without that freezing metal brace weighting down my head! and that week after the removal surgery, we had some spectacular weather for february.

that made me feel well in a jiffy and soon i wanted to begin visiting friends. we started with the gentlest and smallest ones . . .

here i am with my friend zippy, who is a cairn terrier. can you believe how warm and sunny it was that day? 73 degrees!

zippy’s mom, linda, is one of my favorite humans. she can pet me any time, because she knows not to go over my head and to start along my back. her real talent lies in ear scratches though—she’s got something special there.

plus, she is SO entertaining! her house is a treasure trove of doggie delights; all sorts of bones and toys that zippy knows how to play with. i’d be jealous but i honestly don’t get the toy thing; i just love watching zippy go crazy with that stuff. the games involving treats though, are definitely interesting—zippy tries to teach me how to use them, but i always end up retrieving the rewards she forgets about and being happy with that.

sigh, i wish it would get that warm again, but actually it’s snowing like december right now. it’s hard to get around on my short legs in the snow, but we always go out anyway.

there’s plenty to sniff and i don’t want to miss any of it.

having my nose and mouth completely available again is like heaven.

which reminds me—i have finally figured out that treats are highly desirable and that a great way to get some is to work on my new year’s resolutions, which are challenging.

as i mentioned, i just love other doggies and especially my neighbors, like booker here and emily, his human. that said, for some reason i had developed an over-excited reaction to seeing them. i am fine indoors, but once we leave the house, i become a wild, unrecognizable creature upon seeing a dog or person from blocks away. it was making the walks not so much fun for anne, with all the pulling and barking.

she would try to take me someplace nice and i would be unbearable! plus, i still wasn’t really down with being petted, even by friends i see all the time. so we started working a lot harder on that, which is where the treats come in.

now, when i see booker and emily from down the block, i still get excited, but anne tells me to look at her and holds a treat up and if i can walk all the way to them without going berserk, i can have it!

of course i ham happy to share.

this has led to meeting SO many more doggie friends. this is macy; she is actually even crazier than i am, but lots of fun. and we have coordinating jackets, which i find completely cool. she lives at the end of a road near a lake and doesn’t get to play with many other kids so our visits are much appreciated.

my best friend casey still likes me too, but lately, he’s been acting somewhat aloof and i’m wondering if he’s jealous when he smells macy or booker or zippy on me. i know i can win him back when the weather warms up and we get to see each other more often.

when i’ve had an especially good walk, i get a big treat like a trip to the dog park, where we can walk in the woods which are fragrantly sniffalicious.

of course i didn’t just magically take a turn for the better; we actually started working with a new friend named jerry, who is a dog trainer that barb knows. we’ve only seen him a couple of times and already his method is helping us a lot.

at first he came to our house to get to know me, because he heard i was so shy. after two times, he invited us to his place, which is in the country. i didn’t know it, but he has a kennel and when we arrived, there were about TEN dogs there, including a wolf dog!!

oh my, it was like being at the dog park, but in a house. the other doggies were so friendly and we had the best time running around and playing chase, which is just about the only game i know well.

then we went to a dog park that’s not our usual one and it was amazing.

our park isn’t open in the snow season, so this was loads of fun; it had been months since i was off-leash to run around with the other guys. i always chuckle a bit when the big dogs realize how fast i can go; i sure can give them a run for their money—except of course, the one that got me that time, but he came from behind which was no fair and he wasn’t playing around.

after the park, we went to the hardware store to walk around and see how i reacted to the people and carts and displays. we opened and closed cabinets, talked to the store workers, and went up and down stairs. i helped pick out seed potatoes.

some of the people wanted to pet me and i let them. i’ve been enjoying that more and more at home and at work—lillian, ellen, and megan are all very patient and generous about it and i love to go over there for a visit. doug is rooting for me too, though he prefers not to pet me if possible (hee-hee!). i completely understand—it’s not personal.

and a couple of weeks ago, our friends from pittsburgh came to visit and when they arrived, i braced myself and ran right up to the man to say hi and then to the lady; OMG, i was scared, but i did it!! and without treats, too! we didn’t get photos, but it was a red letter day, nevertheless.

even at home, where i feel the safest of all, it has been a process. while i’ve been enjoying lots of scratching and petting and face cuddling with anne at arm’s length, i was still pretty skittish about hugging real close. that, however, has changed.

now we have several times each day when i go in for the hug and each night before tooth brushing, we have a few minutes of close embraces. and i actually like it; when i get pulled in, my body relaxes and i can see what the attraction is. it feels warm and soft and loving.

well, i’m afraid i have to stop now—we are going to visit a new vet today and i have to get ready. i hope you enjoyed my update story; i’ll be back in a few weeks with more; spring is coming and i’m sure there will be plenty to report.

anne says to tell you that she finished her sweater and will be back tomorrow with an update; i gotta tell you that i really like this one, so don’t miss it.



deep dive

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns

if you’re on our mailing list, then you’ve been receiving many emails these last two weeks, each revealing a new pattern release from the Bare Naked Wools 2018 Ensemble collection.

and now it’s finally time to show you my contribution—deep dive, a refined, lightweight pullover in ten sizes to knit in better breakfast fingering or any of our bare naked wools fingering yarns. heck, you could even knit this in one of our heavier lace yarns, like chebris, for an airy, nearly-sheer, super-luxe version.

the oversized cables hugging each side and outlining the dramatic neckline are Sooo sexy—you just want to eat them up. the neckline cables diverge from a center front detail that gives the appearance of a deeply plunging neck, but the actual opening is quite modest and flattering even when worn without another layer underneath.

the cable love doesn’t stop there—those lovely serpentine ropes extend all the way around the shoulders and across the back to form a continuous chain along the back yoke. the texture is simply to die for—deeply sculpted, slinky, and beautifully defined.

the sweater body is constructed in round from hem to underarm, where it divides into front and back yokes. the sleeves are knit flat and have a fitted cap; they are seamed and stitched into the body after the yokes are sewn together.

i’ve knit my sample in the poppy seed shade of better breakfast fingering yarn—just three skeins needed for this small size and four skeins for the next three larger sizes; this yarn goes a loong way.

my friend barb has knit one for herself in the milk and honey shade, a beautifully soft, creamy color—check out her project page if you’re curious about knitting this in a summery shade!

i want to  get another one on the needles very soon in stone soup fingering yarn—i’m eager to see the effect in a tweedy version. i have swatches that are making me drool over it already, mmm.

want to know more about this utterly wearable, all-season pullover? or ready to purchase a pattern or kit?

click here to purchase the pattern in our online shop and click here to purchase the kit with choice of yarn and pattern. if you purchase a kit and prefer the pattern in your ravelry library, please mention that in the comments at checkout and david will make sure you receive it there. click here to view all of the 2018 ensemble yarn kits.

to purchase the deep dive pattern on ravelry, please click here.

and don’t forget to join in the ensemble KAL in our bare naked wools ravelry group—bring yourself and your deep dive project (or any ensemble project) for a fun, relaxing knit and chat.


edison for president (please?)

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls

if you receive our newsletter each week, you may already know that my edison shawl design made it into the mason-dixon march mayhem bracket, neck and shoulders category.

O.M.G.—this was totally unexpected and thrilling; thank you ann and kay!

and voting begins today, so don’t waste a minute—please skedaddle over to the MDK website to cast your votes (and please save one vote for edison, ok?).

this silvery, somewhat slinky (but not too), wedge-shaped shawl is such a great add-on piece for any season—cool and smooth in bare naked wools deco fingering yarn, it is just the thing wonder woman would pull from her belt to toss over those bare shoulders when the breeze kicks up.

it can also be wrapped much closer to the neck as a warming layer in windy weather, then unfurled to drape over evening wear, once inside. this design was the final installment in the 2017 bare naked knitspot club and was a real hit with our members—visit the edison project page to see some of their beautiful results and helpful comments.

while the lace pattern looks terribly complex with criss-crossing lines and knots, it is actually a quite straightforward ribbing arrangement with few moving parts. the secret lies in a couple of cable crosses every so often that squeeze the ribbing together, first in one column, then the next—and wah-LA!—you’ve got yourself a web of intrigue.

the knitting begins with just a few stitches and increases along one side only. then, just when you might be getting a wee bit bored with that ribbing pattern, the openwork melts into a series of large, bell-shaped ribs that form the finishing edge, ruffle-like but not ruffle-y.

using a yarn with a soft sheen and silky hand will highlight the embossed patterning throughout the shawl body. the pattern includes two sizes—petite and tall—but is easily resized to suit a particular yardage (or if you run short, unplanned). it would be lovely in BNWs hempshaugh fingering with it’s silky, airy hand or ginny sport with its flowing, cashmere-y drape. and how about fresh lace? with its linen/silk content, it’s a natural for summer loveliness. or treat yourself to the original deco fingering yarn!

to vote in the march mayhem bracket, please visit mason-dixon knitting and cast your ballots! and while you’re there, please also vote for mary o’shea’s marabou mitts, knit in confection sport yarn and included in the mini skeins bracket. we are so excited and happy for mary and for BNWs representation!

to purchase the edison pattern or read more details, please see the listing in the knitspot pattern shop or in my ravelry pattern shop. we’ll be doing an edison KAL in our rarely group too—click here to join us or to see everyone’s progress and yarn choices so far.


Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, home and family

oh these little breaks that tell us spring is planning to come for a stay! we had the most beautiful skies this past weekend—blue, blue and clear. we don’t get many of these during any season in ohio, so a short string of them feels like a big treat. the temperatures are still low, but it was excellent water for long walks and we took advantage of it.

back lit tips of emerging bulbs are glowing (hyacinth, i think? if not, then tulips).

and thick clumps of daffodils, growing slowly because it’s still very cold, most days.

and then there’s today—nature trying furiously to make a blizzard and throwing one last winter tantrum to do it.

we just have to ignore these kinds of days and think about blue skies. fortunately we have knitting to curl up with and if we’re lucky, a warm cuddly doggie.

for all who have asked, we are so warmed by your kind, thoughtful wishes—cardigan got her fixator out at the end of january with a bit more mending to do, but has progressed remarkably well. i have an update planned for the next blog, maybe even cajoling her to write along with me.

back in december i started a sweater for david, a very simple design tailored to his specifications. i think i had the sleeves nearly complete when i last wrote a post (i know; i’ve been horribly negligent, ugh), but much progress was made after that point.

i’m knitting with festivus 4.0 sport—a soft, springy, 2-ply merino that is spun from several natural shades, light to dark. festivus 4.0 is overdyed in the cranberry crush colorway by julie asselin and knits into a soft, flannely fabric with lots of squish factor. the random arrangement of the underlying shades creates a softly shifting gradient pattern—this is the same yarn that we sell undyed as our patchwork fingering (more on that later).

the day we went in for cardigan’s x-ray and surgery to remove her fixator, i cast on the for sweater body in the waiting room and worked on the hem ribbing. we had quite a wait so i was able to complete all of that by the time the doctor came out with an update.

afterward though, it appears that the knitting on this moved forward at a turtle’s pace, because i had only completed a few repeats of the body pattern by the time the olympics began.

i did take a timeout to complete some terrifically fun colorwork projects for our february pairings club installment. i love knitting colorwork and i kind of fell down a rabbit hole with these, knitting more samples than i really needed. in fact, i still have one till cowl on the needles and another one planned.

i just can’t get enough of this project—the yarn, the pattern (super easy to memorize), and the speed with which it can be knit are all enticing. it made me want to pair the gradient colorway with several different shades of kent DK, some subtle and some more contrast-y. so fun! i do like the tide pool shade best with the feederbrook entropy yarn (custom dyed in the sweet corn colorway for our club), but the rest are close runners up for  me and here i have it paired with mussel shell for maximum contrast.

anyway, by the time i took a bit of a breather, the olympics were about to begin and ellen started a KAL in our rav group. i was ready to switch gears and knit something simple and soothing—binging on colorwork in DK weight yarn was making my hands a little sore.

i didn’t reach far to pick a project—for me it was getting ahead on the red sweater and with any luck, finishing it (because my original goal was to complete it by valentine’s day but that would be a real stretch). no worries about sore hands here—this yarn couldn’t be cushier; it’s so soft and easy on my hands, yum. and the design is partly mindless; an intuitive knit/purl pattern for the body, egging me on to finish another eight row repeat. it really goes fast!

the olympic KAL (officially known as the ravellenics) must’ve been just the kick in the pants i needed. suddenly i was making grand progress. there were snowy days when i’d make huge leaps in the length of the body, sometime neglecting other duties. but a guy sweater really demands a certain commitment, being at least one-third larger than the size i’m used to knitting for myself, hehe.

another thing that kept me knitting steadily was watching the gradual color changes in the fabric—they are so subtle and ethereal, more like washes than stripes or banding. you almost can’t see them most of the time in the skeins that david chose. of course there ARE skeins with more contrast and activity, but he’s attracted to quieter patterns.

and look what cardigan and i found on valentine’s day, right in the middle of sweater construction—the perfect natural expression of what i was knitting! she wasn’t as excited about our find as i was, but she pretended to be, sniffing deeply when i pointed them out.

i’m kind of kicking myself because i can’t remember exactly where we saw these and now i’m wondering if they would produce a nice dye. i think i know where to look for them again; i’ll let you know i find them.

cardigan was still mending some last fractures that showed up in her jaw x-ray and waiting for the swelling to go down, so between excursions out of doors, she slept a lot and enjoyed having me nearby, knitting and listening to books. within the first week of the olympics, i had the body knit to the underarms and was able to take some photos with the sleeves arranged next to it.

this was my first chance to see how my color shading was working out; i wanted to make sure that when i got to the sleeve/body join, i would be knitting with yarn that was approximately the same shading all around. i’d left the yarn attached to each sleeve so i could decide later which ball would join the sweater pieces.

finally it was long enough to join—but that’s when the real challenge begins because the rounds were SO long—around 400 stitches at the start of the underarm. i remember that i started the yoke during a wednesday knit night at the shop. suddenly progress slowed to a snail’s pace and at the same time, i had to take care of some other work that i’d been procrastinating on. by the next tuesday, i was only a few inches past the underarm with only five days to go til the end of the olympics.

but my deadline had been met, so my knitting time was freed up to finish.

by saturday night, the yoke was complete and i grabbed a quick photo of the finished body on sunday morning, once i had some light. i still had to knit the neckband though and got busy right away.

this is always such a nail biter for me; while i can make pretty good estimates about how many sts to pick up, i never know until the band is complete and off the needles whether it’s just the right fit—and so much depends on it being correct. the band is the final and most visible finishing detail; if it’s loose and crinkly, it won’t just look bad, it won’t maintain a nice tension around the neck either and the sweater could slip around. the added structure of a firm-fitting neckband is especially important on a seamless raglan like this one. but if it’s too tight, it will pinch the fabric unattractively and possibly not fit over the head.

it’s not uncommon at all for me to reknit bands—even a couple of times if i’m not happy. but man bands? the thought of it exhausted me.

fortunately, i got lucky and the band worked out perfectly and i had a finished sweater by early afternoon on sunday. AND david says he likes it (i know that might mean he doesn’t really like it, but i prefer to live under the illusion that it’s true). he tried it on and it fits really well. we washed it and it barely changed size, growing just a little in length; similar to the results with my swatches. he hasn’t worn it yet, but i’m hoping i’ll see it on him soon.

i think he’s afraid i’ll stalk hime with the camera if he puts it on, haha.

david’s red version is really a prototype for a final design that will be slightly different—he wanted his sweater completely free of details, but i like the idea of a narrow cable defining the body and raglan lines.

so i’m in the process of knitting a second sample in the “real” design, this time using the undyed patchwork fingering yarn (i selected the light print option). i’ve got my sample nearly done and i’m SO in love with it. the pattern will be forthcoming as part of a small spring collection i’ve been working on—more on that in upcoming posts.

well, the skies have brightened a bit but the snow is still drifting down and it’s windy and COLD—just 24 degrees, brr. i’m not sure spring is in the air just yet (but just a few days to go before it’s supposed to show up so . . .).

i have to stop writing now, because cardigan and i have an adventure planned. we’ve been working with a trainer a bit and today we are going to his place to meet his dogs and do some socializing. it’s been quite a while since she had an outing with other dogs and i think it’ll be a lot of fun; we’ll be back in a couple of days to share all of her latest news.