Montag, August 15, 2016

A Not-Shaggy Dog Story

While we lived in New Orleans we had a bloodhound, Trusty II, who was very dominant. As long as Paul was around, Trusty didn't show aggression. However, Paul decided to leave his job at Tulane University before the position at the University of Utah was actually available and went to Hawaii to work for six months. The idea was that the kids would finish their school year and we would all work on getting the house ready to sell.

Unfortunately, Trusty decided that with Paul gone he was now alpha in the family pack. He ignored me completely and instead challenged Howard, who was then just fourteen. The dog would come up to where Howard was sitting and growl in his face. Given that the dog outweighed Howard by probably twenty pounds and had much bigger teeth, this was pretty scary.

We turned to a dog psychologist who said that we had obviously neglected this dog's training. He told us that we would have to use extreme measures in this situation. He recommended we get a canned-air boat horn and honk it whenever Trusty showed aggression. This is a very loud product, intended for signaling boats in fog, but since dogs have sensitive hearing he thought it would stop the aggression. The psychologist warned that the dog should not see the boat horn; the sound should appear to the dog to be an act of God.

I bought the boat horn, and the next time Trusty showed aggression towards Howard I held the horn behind my back and honked it. Trusty immediately backed away from Howard. However, there was another dog in the family--a very smart and protective Australian Shepherd named Blue. Blue saw the boat horn and decided that it must be attacking me. He, in turn, went after the boat horn and accidentally bit me in the rear. By this time the boat horn had frozen in the "on" position and would not stop honking. Blue kept attacking the boat horn (read "my behind") until I could get to a door and throw the horn into the yard. I was laughing so hard that I couldn't do anything else to reassure Blue. He didn't injure me, but we decided that boat horn training wasn't going to work for our family.

We ended up giving Trusty back to his breeder. She informed us that his mother had been so dominant and aggressive that she hadn't been able to sell her. Trusty II ended up living with a retired military officer who otherwise lived alone. We learned to shop very carefully for puppies. Our next bloodhound, Trusty III, was a lovely dog who made us happy for nine years.

Trusty III

Note from Paul: Now we need to start looking for Trusty IV.

Donnerstag, August 11, 2016

Closing In On the White Knitting

The White Knitting made it to giant square stage last week.

After this picture was taken I finished the Xs at the top and knitted the garter stitch border. But then I had to decide what to do about the edging.

Apparently Estonian practice means knitting the edging separately and then stitching it on. I do really hate sewing things on. I mean, sometimes you have to, for example in order to stabilize the shoulders and neck of a sweater. But for me, it's usually a procrastination trap.

Another reason a person might need to sew on an edging is if it has to be knitted from the outside edge in. Some lace patterns only work in one direction. I thought I had better swatch the edging from the straight side out, and make sure it would make points.

Not very pointy, but the edging in the pattern photos isn't very pointy either. So--I think it's OK to knit the edging on.

The other different thing about this edging is that the corners are not shaped by knitting, but are meant to be gathered at the corners when the edging is sewn on. Nancy Bush describes how do to this by joining several stitches of edging to each stitch at the corner of the shawl. I picked up stitches following her sewing instructions, marking the corner stitches with safety pins.

At this point I had 800-plus stitches on the needle. I couldn't see any point to counting them all. Instead I counted one side at a time, separating the stitches into groups of twelve with removable markers. 
As I expected, the stitch count was never exactly right. However, while working with just seventeen stitch repeats I could move the markers around and then correct the stitch count by picking up an occasional extra yarn over. 

I used up every stitch marker I own, including several lovely matched marker sets my sister Christie made for me. 

And now I have just twenty (really long) rows, and then done. I wonder if knitting the last four rows or so on a size larger needles will make the points pointier.

No tickers