It's Still Winter
As part of my continuing mission to complete the projects in the box of UFOs/WIPs I moved between residences, I was forced to face my longest outstanding project. The earliest record of this sweater I can find is just over two years old.
I was wallowing in self pity when my pal Doctor came over to console me. Doc and her mom Hallie, my sister, are our new housemates. They've helped us fill some of the empty space we have and keep us company now that we're living in the suburbs. Doc did more than cheer me up with nuzzles and puppy kisses. She helped me with the solution to my sweater situation. It was like a light switch flipping on. The raglan shape of the sweater made the pieces a great shape for a dog sweater. It would take a little tinkering, but all the difficult bits were already out of the way.
I undid the neckline ribbing at the top edge and picked-up the live stitches. Once I reached the end, I cast-on additional stitches using a backward loop cast-on and worked a collar in the round. Next, I picked-up stitches all the way around the body and knit a few rows of ribbing.
To secure the sweater, I knit a little chest strap and fastened it with a button. It worked pretty well. It almost looks like I planned it-if you look past the black dog/white sweater component.
As I mentioned, I had both the front and back of the sweater finished. So, Danger got a matching outfit. I did have to rip down to shorten Danger's, but I still used the majority of the panel.
I really still want this sweater for myself. I hope to revisit it someday. If you don't think I'm a crazy dog lady by now, just wait until the lot of us are parading around in matching garments.
It occurred to me, if I waited to sew until my new space is completely unpacked and perfect, I may never sew again. So, I cleared off my desk and found my power cord. I chose to wade back into the water with a simple and satisfying project. A skirt fit the bill.
I really love leather and wool together, and I used that concept as a starting point. I bought some faux leather trim and fussed around with the placement before settling on a double chevron-like hip detail, an exaggeration of the chevron/herringbone design in the fabric. Once I had the trim pinned where I wanted it, I applied it to my skirt pieces with a short zig-zag stitch. I attached the trim prior to assembly. It was surprisingly easy.
Then, I was stuck again. I liked it, but the skirt still needed something. Rather than wait to be inspired, I turned to my sewing friends for input. Sewing friends are THE BEST! They don't bat an eyelash when you send them awkward photos of you in a half finished project. It was Liz's genius to add a bit of trim to the waistband. So simple. So brilliant. It completely transformed and completed the skirt.
Things should have wrapped fairly easily from that point, but I found myself incapable of making any decisions regarding skirt length. I kinda liked it long. But, I'm fairly short (5ft2in). Did it look too long? Also, very importantly, would I be able to wear both boots and heels without looking legless?
This was far too important a decision to make on my own. I took to twitter, consulted my grandma, and texted my most fashion forward friend before whacking off a few inches. Everyone had roughly the same advice and suggested either an inch below or an inch above the knee. Definitely not at the knee. Probably above the knee for boots.
I'm not sure whether my indecision stemmed from being out of practice or not. I do know I wouldn't be as happy as I am with this skirt if it weren't for the help of my friends!
Mother Nature was kind enough to provide us with a snowy backdrop for our early morning photo shoot. Entertainingly, today is the first day of spring. And, as you can tell from our dead (dying?) tree, we're still waiting on signs of life. Turns out, making a cold weather skirt on the eve of the season change wasn't such a bad idea. If the weatherman is right, I'll likely have another opportunity, or two to wear this before next fall.
I did struggle getting my trimmed chevrons and the print to line-up perfectly. I got a little off in a few spots. But, it's not glaring. I avoided having to match any print at the waistband by changing fabric direction, which I really like and will do again in the future.
I hemmed and sewed down the waistband by hand, but I did everything else, including my lining hem, on the machine. I pinked my seam allowances, but I'm a little concerned it won't be enough to prevent the wool from unravelling. It's very loosely woven, and it doesn't need a lot of encouragement to come undone.
I moved the location of the zip to the back center seam. The pattern has the zipper located at the side seam. Putting the zipper there wouldn't have worked with my embellishments. Also, I think a side zip can look a bit bulky. I don't need any help adding heft to my bottom half, so I likely would move the zip to the rear on future projects.
It feels good to be back to sewing. I had forgotten how satisfying and fast sewing is compared to knitting. I'm dreaming of spring and summer projects already!
First, thank you for your kind words of encouragement and for sharing your stories about pets who have endured illness and disability. It means a lot to Mike and me. I am happy to report that Danger is adjusting to his medication schedule and vision loss very quickly. He's got a new ball with a bell inside that he is able to locate when we play fetch. And, he has chased his sister in circles around the bushes in the yard leaving us watching in amazement that he is already able to navigate around obstacles in his own environment. We've got a lot of follow-up care to juggle and things to learn, but we're getting on very well.
Progress on the Channel Cardigan is slow. If you had any trouble with your stitch counts during cast-on, it wasn't your fault. It was mine! Katie, was kind enough to point out that the equation I'd given you wasn't working out. It's correct now.
During our IRL knit along sessions, we've been experiencing some bumps and bruises. Mari was the first to realize, that her sleeve was MUCH larger than she expected. Fortunately, Mari was able to drop a needle size AND a pattern size to get a better fitting sleeve.
Liz had the same size issue. Unfortunately, Liz had already accounted for a difference in gauge between her swatch and the pattern by changing needle and pattern sizes, so her "FIX" is much more complicated. It involves a lot of math and spreadsheets. I wish I was kidding. I'm not. Wildly, Liz and Meg are using the same yarn for their sweaters, and Meg's gauge is smaller than the pattern by 1 stitch over four inches. It shouldn't make sense.
It's increasingly apparent that the Channel Cardigan is going to take longer to knit than we had hoped. Rather than rush through and become frustrated with knitting, we've decided to take a small pause before preparing to cast-on the body of the beast. We all need a little respite and a little mindless reprieve. We'll resume work shortly!
We adopted Danger when he was a puppy. We couldn't resist him. Mike, Dulce and I went to "just look" at him,and he came home with us that same afternoon. It was love at first sight.
He wasn't so sure about us in the beginning. He was unpredictable and a bit surly. He most definitely has a strong insubordinate streak. But, in time, he accepted us as his pack. We don't have any human children, but our dogs are our babies, and the four of us are very strongly bonded. We're inseparable.
Over the years, Danger has appeared to be the picture of health. He has always passed every test at his annual vet exams and he has never complained or shown signs of illness- which, in part, is why we are so devastated to learn that Danger has glaucoma.
Glaucoma is caused when there is an increase in pressure within the eye due to an impairment of aqueous humor outflow. In dogs, the effects of glaucoma are far more immediate and severe than they are in humans. Often, by the time the condition is discovered, irreversible vision loss has occurred.
Glaucoma is very painful. The buildup of pressure inside the eye causes persistent migraine-like symptoms which do no dissipate. In dogs, Glaucoma is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY that requires immediate attention.
We had never been told about the warning signs of glaucoma or any related diseases of the eye. We didn't notice the subtle changes that had started to happen. We didn't know to take him to the vet until my sister-in-law, who has had previous experience with a glautomatous dog, mentioned to us that she thought we should have Danger's eyes looked at. He had large pupils, and when the light hit his eyes, you could see a haze covering the surface of his eyeball.
Danger's ophthalmologist has diagnosed him with primary glaucoma, a congenital condition. She explained that Danger has probably had abnormal pressure in his eyes since he was born. And, because it was left untreated for the last five years, it has progressed. In what seems like a flash Danger went from having fully functional sight to having lost complete vision in his left eye and a high percentage of the vision in his right eye. It is a terrible feeling to know there is nothing we can do to reverse the damage that has been done, and we can never take back the pain that he shouldered while this disease progressed.
Please, please, if you have a pet who you hold dear to your heart, learn from Danger. Be better than us. If we had known then what we know now, we likely could have treated Danger's glaucoma years ago and delayed the onset of vision loss. Most certainly, we could have spared him suffering.
Please educate yourself. Please seek immediate attention for your furry friends if your companion starts to exhibit any signs including:
These symptoms may not be overtly obvious. So keep watch for anything unusual. Your furry friends cannot tell you when something is wrong, and they are counting on you to care for and do what's best for them. More information can be found online or by talking to your veterinarian. If you have any concern your pet may have glaucoma, ask your veterinarian to perform tests with a tonometer. This test should be readily available at your clinicians office and it is not invasive or expensive.
We have a lot of emotions about our experience with Danger's diagnostic process. We are angry that we didn't know better. We are sad that he has suffered a huge loss. We are heartbroken that we didn't stop the pain sooner. But, we are also hopeful that veterinary medicine will continue to progress toward reversing the damage this disease causes. We are happy to see him more relaxed and comfortable now that we have started managing his symptoms with medication. We are confident that Danger will learn to adjust and continue to be the happy and lovable pup we've come to adore. And I am certain that our bond will continue to grow as we work through this new challenge.