Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When Ducks Attack

No fiber content at all in this post. I apologize for the following long-winded story about duck bullies

My neighborhood has a family of ducks. They're not just any ducks, though. These are some pretty mean ducks. Today, one of them chased our dog.

Indy has a history with ducks.

Indy with Dinner

This is a favorite toy, err, training device, named "Dinner", as in "Indy go get Dinner". It looks like he's hugging, but he's really just waiting to attack.

Indy with Dinner

He's tough on waterfowl.

Chasing ducks is one of his favorite past-times. He stalks them, like a lion on the Serengeti, and then charges. Shih Tzu means "Little Lion", and when Indy hunts you can see how they got that name. We keep him on the leash, and don't let him get close enough to really threaten them.

Our previous apartment had normal, non-scary ducks. Once, a duck flew into his path. Indy lept at it and I thought he was going to bite it, but all he did was to touch it with his nose (his mouth was even closed) as if to say "Tag, You're It". It is definitely a game to him.

Indy also sees it as protecting us when the animals become aggressive. At our old place, a belligerent goose once tried to attack my husband. Even though this goose had a good 10 pounds on Indy, he ran away when the dog charged at him. Because he's a bird, and birds are supposed to be afraid of dogs and people, right?


When the neighborhood was new, there weren't any ducks at all, even though we have a pond. Soon, however, a few ducks wondered in and people started feeding them. Over the months, they've grown used to being fed, and gotten more confident.

Last winter, we noticed they were getting pretty comfy when one wondered up to us while we were grilling.

Some of our neighbors encourage us to let Indy chase the ducks, in hopes that they would leave.


When the ducks first showed up, Indy would chase them into the water, they would run away, and come back again probably in a few minutes.

Then, some babies were born. They are obviously off limits, as we don't want to scare or hurt any of the cute ducklings, and mamma ducks are supposed to be aggressive. So we kept Indy away from them until they were grown up.

Now the ducks are pretty much full grown, and for the past month or so, Indy's been allowed to chase them. But they've learned.


They know that while he may come running at them from across the street, he's not going to get within a couple of feet of him. So they ignore him. Yesterday, I decided to test how brave these ducks were. I ran at them, and stopped a bit closer than we let Indy get. And they ignored me!

So today, when we went walking I took the camera, hoping to get a shot of the ducks and Indy trying to chase them. Indy was a few feet away from the ducks, when one of them charged him! We had to pull him away!

The funny thing is, he's so submissive, if a duck attacked him, he'd probably lay down and take it.

So Indy's duck chasing days are over, for the time being. Luckily he has stopped wanting to chase them as much, because where's the fun in chasing something that doesn't run.

I know violent gangs could ruin neighborhoods, but I never imagined we'd have a gang of ducks terrorize our dog.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Worldwide Knit in Public Day and the Celtic Tote

Last Saturday was Worldwide Knit In Public day, and to celebrate, our group went to an event planned by a few LYS's: A Stitch in Time, The Local Needle, and Fran's Knitting Boutique.

It was a great time. There were at least 35-sih people. I got to meet some new people and see some faces I hadn't seen in a while.

Unfortunately I had camnesia (and only took a few very poor shots) and didn't do nearly enough mingling, because I was too busy working on Arrgyle socks for Nerdy Husband.

Just in time for Knit in Public day, I finished my Celtic Tote.

Celtic Tote Completed

Pattern: Celtic Tote, Interweave Knits
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Wild Oak (embroidery in Sable)

I was such a good little knitter, I not only made a swatch, I made an extensive one to make sure I liked the decreases and increases, and to practice needle felting on the embroidery.

Celtic Tote swatches

And I even felted the swatches (no pictures of that, you'll have to trust me).

Here's the completed bag before felting.

Celtic Tote-PreFelted

I used half a skein of Sable to do the embroidery, (thanks Brenda) and needle felted the yarn down. Instead of using a brush to support it while needlefelting, I used a pillow form. When I tried using the brush on my swatch, it caught on the fuzzier fibers and made a huge mess. See, those swatch things are useful.

The mesh in the bottom wasn't really that wonky, that's just how it was hanging.

And then I felted it.

Celtic Tote-Post Felting

Somehow, during that felting, the mesh in the enclosed pouch managed to double itself over. And the bag overfelted a little, so the pouch was too small for the mesh. It was a pain to work it out.

When I finally got the mesh as flat as I could, it was clear that the mesh and the bottom of the bag were bent. Since the only way I could get it out would be to cut the purse, and that didn't appeal to me, I had to find a way to straighten it.

What I came up with was a bit strange, even for me.

Celtic Tote-Blocking

Behold the Leaning Tower of Totebag.

I figured that I needed to put weight on the bottom of the purse to flatten out the bottom, but didn't want to put weight on the handles, but still wanted them to dry in a sort of natural position. So I hung the purse on a doorknob and got enough random things to reach from the floor to the bottom of the purse (a bucket, our new phonebook still in the plastic bag, and the box from our Wii Fit). Then I raided our pantry for cans (for weight) and plastic bags (for shape), and stuffed it to the shape I wanted.

I then turned down our dehumidifier, said a prayer to the Fiber Gods, and went to bed.

It worked out reasonably well, with the exception that the bottom didn't really dry well, not being exposed to air and all. Putting a towel under the purse would have helped, but the inside would have still been wet. The basic shape of the bag was right after drying in the tower overnight, so I stuck it on a hanger and let it dry naturally, turning it inside out a few times a day.

The other problem was the fuzz. It took over the purse, and then became aggressive. Some of it tried to escape in the form of pills that came completely off the purse while felting.

Celtic Tote-Fuzz

Some of it even tried to eat me.

Celtic Tote Fuzz

This is probably what happened to Cousin It and Chewbacca.

I had limited time to find a sweater stone before WW KIP day, and the best I could come up with was one of those shavers. It had absolutely no effect on the swatch (handy little thing) and I think I killed the motor trying.

The purse was still wet and fuzzy and unlined when I went to the event, but I was happy as anything it was there.

It's not quite as fuzzy as it seems in the closeups, but it's close.

A few days after the event, I stayed up till 11:30 lining it.

Celtic Tote Lining

It brought back memories of sewing with my mom, who always seemed to be sewing late at night. It makes sense; with several munchkins running around and a full time job, she had her hands quite full. That woman taught me a lot about balance.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lazy Kate

Here is my lazy kate and bobbin.

Well, by bobbin I mean a dowel from a home improvement store, that has been cut into pieces, sanded, and rubbed with Paste Wax.

Lazy Kate

The lazy kate is a decorative shoebox bought from Joanne's.

Lazy Kate

Doesn't match this yarn, but oh well.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

First Steps in Spinning

Not much today, just pictures.

On Monday, I took my predrafted fiber and turned it into a single ply.


It's pretty thick and thin.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Sunday evening, after getting home from the graduation, I finally let myself mess with the fiber. I'd had the roving and spindle since Wednesday, but I was too busy to sit down and start.

I got started with the help of Maggie Casey's Start Spinning and Megan LaCore's drafting video.

This is the roving before drafting

"Grizzly" Roving

all spread out


This is the one step that I hadn't picked up on until the video


splitting the roving into strips. At first I was trying to draft the entire roving, and it was almost impossible. I got it all sorted out and made some pretty little birds nests.



Tomorrow: some actual spinning!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gone to the Dark Side


I can no longer resist the urge to spin.

Blame Meghan from the Stitch It Podcast and Brooklyn Tweed. After fighting this bug for a few months, it's no longer possible to resist.

So last week I ordered this

Drop Spindle

my very first drop spindle.

It's workable, but not great. The Etsy vendor isn't a spinner, and it isn't well balanced. The main benefit is that it can be either a top whorl or bottom whorl spindle.

I also went on a fiber binge. The first purchase to arrive was this little number from tehandehness on etsy.

"Grizzly" Roving

This is "Grizzly", a domestic wool blend. It is very pretty, and the colors are so me. It's a soft muted pink, with not-too-bright teal and brown. And it's gonna become my first handspun EVAR.

I don't plan on using this yarn as anything but a decoration. It will be thick and thin and slubby, but when plied it will be very very pretty.

Over the next two weeks I want to try and post every day (hah!) with my progress.

Back Home
Last weekend I went back home for my little sister's graduation. I knit a grand total of 3 stitches (one row of a finger tip for my Dad's gloves). We were too busy doing stuff.

Like taking ATM-surveillance-quality photos of ourselves in the fish-eye lens of the side view mirror of an AT&T truck


and watching my youngest sis lead the pledge at her graduation.


What would they have done if she didn't show? Find someone else who knows the pledge? I jest. We're proud of her, there were a lot of people there, and she did great.