Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our New Addition to the Family!

I know what you're thinking, but it's not quite what you think!

Here's the newest member of the family. After many years of thinking about it, planning for it, and hitting roadblocks, we finally took the dog plunge. Meet Rudy.

He's an adorable 15-week-old Golden Retriever puppy. He's seriously the sweetest thing, and I'm not even a dog person! He's a mellow dog, very curious but very well behaved. He's really not the typical hyper puppy I've been expecting. He's already had some training, is mostly house-broken, and will follow simple commands. He's only barked once so far and that was this morning when he first spied his "people" from his crate. He's just a quiet sweetheart!

The boys are loving having him around, the cats not so much. He's very nice to cats, just curious about them. The cats are not at all curious about him, nor are they shy about telling Rudy who is boss around here.

Rudy, formerly known as Barry, was supposed to be a breeding and show dog, but due to some, uh, issues with his man parts isn't qualified in that department. That's just fine for us because we wanted to have him neutered anyway. We couldn't keep the name Barry because my brother is named Barry. We talked about names all the way home from the breeder's place. Some runner-up names were Denny, Doobie, and Dewey.

He's settling in very well and we are quickly learning not to leave any legos, socks, or other goodies laying on the floor. That's fine with me because I've been harping on that for years. Who knew it would take a dog for me to get my way!

Welcome Rudy, and here's to many happy years!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hats Off to Me!!

I decided to knit a hat for my Dad. One problem? I have never knit a hat and didn't really understand the process and knitting physics behind hats. I looked around among the free knitting patterns on the internet and after reading quite a few patterns decided I could figure it out. I initially started following a pattern I found at Lion's website. I wasn't sure how big the hat would turn out, but since I have kids, it was no biggie if it was too small.

Below is my first attempt at a hat. I found that rib knit hats are great because they are more stretchy because the ribs want to shrink more than a stockinette knit does. For this hat, modeled by my son, Conner, I followed the directions to the letter, except I added a stripe of green. This hat is knit with Knit Picks Swish in worsted weight. The colors are Dublin and Truffle. The pattern for this hat is a simple knit 4 purl 4 repeat with 2 extra knits on the end for seaming. I quickly learned that it is much easier to knit in the round when doing hats, the seaming on this was rather a pain!

Jessica's hat: This was actually the 3rd hat I made. I found the pattern and tutorial at under videos. It is a simple rolled brim hat, which rolls all by itself because of the nature of stockinette stitch. I used some yarn from my stash, some cheap stuff from JoAnn, but nice and warm and very pretty. I made her a scarf a couple of years ago for Christmas that was a fuzzy blue and this will go nicely with it. Off it goes to Idaho today, I'm sure she can use it out there!

Finally!!! Dad's Hat! After knitting the hat that ended up being Conner's, I decided that my Dad's hat not only had to be bigger, it needed to be a LOT bigger. I wanted to have a brim he could roll up to put a 2nd layer of knitting over his ears to keep them super warm whe he's working outside. Admittedly, the dog is not the best model, especially since his head doesn't really fit the hat. I had to stuff some bags up inside to fill up the top of the hat for a photo. What can I say? I had a lack of willing hat models (nobody else home) and the dog didn't complain!

This hat also uses Knit Picks' Swish worsted weight, I used Dublin, Truffle, and Camel. I wanted at least 2 inches to roll up on the hat, so I knit a total of 7 inches of Dublin. I knit 3 rows of the other colors for stripes and finished up the hat with Dublin. I'm very happy with the way this turned out, especially since I'm not really experienced with stripes, and this is the first hat I ever knit in the round and the first time I used double-pointed needles!!

Here's the front view! Don't you love how happy the dog looks to be wearing this hat? Well, this hat is going off to Washington today. I hope my Dad loves it!