Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sam Socks

I think it's fitting to post this last post about Sam on what would have been his 7th birthday today.
We brought him home yesterday. It was quite a surprise how professional all this was handled. We did not choose the urn. It came in a dark blue box, and with a Sympathy note, as well as a Certificate of Cremation. Needless to say, I was sad, am sad, but Biko is doing her best to distract me.

Sam-May 2009-2

I finished the pair of socks I started while sitting with Sam on his last two days.

Sam socks-4

pattern: Hopper Socks by Priscilla Meredith of Knitbuddies
yarn: Trekking XXL # 107
needles: 2 mm DP
start-finish: May 20-28

Sam Socks

I've always liked this stitch pattern and was delighted to find this sock pattern. I'm surprised they fit so well. Usually I knit my socks with 64 stitches on the leg, and 60 stitches for the foot. This pattern starts out with 72 stitches, but decreases down to 56 stitches at the ankle. I tried to knit the heel given in the pattern, but it did not fit as well as I'd liked, so I ripped it out and made my tried and true old German square heel. I could have made the heel flap longer, but did not want to rip it out again. It's O.K. but I had only 3 stitches either side to decrease for the gusset. I worked the sole on 30 stitches, and the instep on 29 stitches. It worked out quite well.
I like the Trekking colorway very much, it reminds me of strawberries with their leaves attached, or water melon, either are yummy.


Monday, May 25, 2009

My Babette is done!

So, a couple of weeks ago I finished my Babette blanket. Crocheting the squares was great fun and went fast. I started with the biggest first down to the small ones.
I did not block the squares but steam ironed them on the wrong side. The finished squares had a few days to get over the harsh steam handling, before I mustered the courage to assemble the whole thing.
I knew if I had to sew them together, it would never be done. And I also knew, that sewing with Noro Kureyon was out of the question, the yarn would break every couple of stitches.

I've crochet toegether squares on the backside before, using slip stitch. That of course left a million ends to weave in. I did not want to do that here, even though I worked in the ends as I went. It would have been only the ends created by crocheting the squares together. Still, I didn't want to do even those, that's why I choose to crochet them together with single crochet. In the end I had four ends to weave in, those ends I just missed during the procedure.

Finished Babette - 56 x 58 inches-16

My Babette was hard to capture with my camera, as you can see here. The side in the shade looks right, the sunny side looks washed out, and that's just not what it looks like. Even though, I'm a little dissapointed how the colores turned out.


I love the orange squaers popping out. I'm not a fan of the border either. I made 5 rounds, two rounds just didn't look right to me. The border is a little wavey, but I can live with that. A surprise was, that after washing the blanket (with beating heart) in the washing machine (on handwash, cold only) it came out a tiny bit felted, which I thought was fine, it holds the blanket together, but also softer. I did not get that with my other Noro Kureyon blanket, it did not soften up like this one. Now, that's a good thing!

Sam during thunderstorm May 9-1
While I was assembling the blanket there was a big thunderstorm, and Sam was afraid of the thunder. He thought section 10 was the savest place in the house. He didn't even mess it up that much.

pattern: Babette by Kathy Merrick (ravelry link) from Interweave Crochet, Spring 2006 magazine or find it at Interweave online store

yarn: Noro Kureyon in color # 92-10x, # 185-4x, # 188-8x; 2 balls for crocheting the squares together (lost color #) and 4 balls for border - 28 balls Noro Kureyon altogether.

hook: H 5mm

size: after washing (handwash in machine): 56" x 58" : it softened somewhat with the wash and it felted a little, not much, and I like it, it holds the blanket together.

start-finish: April 17 - May 12

fazit: I would make this blanket again. It was great fun!

Finished Babette - 56 x 58 inches-3
I like this shot of the blanket best, because the colors are the most accurate (and because Sam's on it too).


Delores took the time to make this youtube tribute to Sam. If you'd like to watch it click here. That was such a kind and sweet thing to do. Thank you, Delores!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Remembering Sam

Remembering Sam

Thank you so much, everyone, for your kind words in comments and e-mails. I didn’t think it would help, but it does. Tears welled up, and didn’t stop flowing, while reading them. I’ve never lost anyone so dear to my heart before, for which I’m grateful.

We had dogs before, and I cried over their loss. I loved them, as I do love Biko, but Sam was different. I had a special bond with him. From the first time I saw him.

He was one of two boys in a litter of four pups. We did not have first pick, but during our visits at the breeders, I knew I wanted him. I was relieved when the breeder told me, I’ve got my wish. I don’t know how, and why, but we formed a special bond right from the beginning.

I have to go back even further. My son worked on a horse farm on weekends and on school breaks. We both took riding lessons their. They had three dogs, and David loved them so much, that we decided to get our own dog. It took us six month to find a breed we wanted. The farm dogs had names starting with the letter “B” (Bella, Bailey and Bandit), so David picked “Biko”. She was very much his dog from the beginning (I was and am just her servant). I wanted a dog of my own and we fell in love with these beautiful White Shepherds. I had dreams of a dog on my side called “Sam”, it was not a White Shepherd, I think it was a mix of Golden Retriever and Labrador in my dreams. Anyway, six month later we welcomed Samson into our lives.

One day we brought Sam along to the horse farm for a picnic, I let him run around free; he was not quite three month old. He never ventured far from me, but once he was under a table somewhere (I could still see him) and I was going to the car. I called out, “Sam, come!”, and people laughed and said to me, that with this age, they don’t listen to that. Well he proved them wrong, because sure enough he turned and came bustling over as quickly as he could. I was very proud of him.

He was always sensitive to loud noises, and exited talking. He was like a barometer for your mood and level of excitement. You sure couldn’t get too excited around him. He was afraid of thunderstorms, and fire works, and bubble gum exploding in your face (I did that once with him by my side, after his reaction I never chewed bubble gum again.)
One of our Vets once said, “He’s got all the personality, none of the legs.” He really was a gentle character.

I have sweet and funny memories of him, and hundreds of pictures. Over the last two days I looked through all of them. Remembering they cheered me up and made me laugh, then cry.

One thing of many, I loved about him was, when he saw me getting ready to go out, he always wanted to know if he could come too, or what was going on. Since as great as he was, he could not speak, he tried to get eye contact, even if it meant to dance around me for me to notice. Once I got it, I looked at him, he had his eyes on mine, his head slightly tilted, and I told him either yes, he could come too, or no he had to stay home. The first brought forth a yapping dervish, the later a good doggy, who walked to his bed in the kitchen, where he stayed napping until my return.

The first time we went to the Vet with him he said, this little guy will be in trouble because of his outward pointing paws. It looked cute, but it would be painful for him in the future. Sam had to endure seven surgeries during his life. It started with neutering, which was not as simple as it should have been, since only one testicle was descended and they had to look for the other one. Next were his two elbows, followed by both his knees, one even twice, since about two weeks after the surgery something happened to the knee again. And as if that wasn’t enough, he almost lost a toe during playing outside. All this pressed into the seven years of his life. Poor Sam didn't quite make it to his 7th birthday on May 30th.

He had severe arthritis in his elbows and knees. We managed with medication for a while. Last Friday we went to see the Vet, and he thought it was time for Sam, but I was not ready. Sam was still running around, playing outside with his ball, playing tuck-of-war with me, chasing chipmunks (as if he ever had a chance), but he was moving on his own!
Only a few days after the visit to the Vet, Sam was enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine out in the backyard, playing his own little game with me, were he comes up to me, barks and looks back at his Jollyball at the other side of the pool. He would bark at me as long as it takes to get me going, in a mock race to get to the ball first. Of course I let him win all the time. He used to do that several times, but on that day, once was enough for him.

That evening when it was time to go outside to pee, he had much trouble getting up on his feet, and he was wobbly and very stiff. We helped him with the steps, and thought he just overdid it during the day.
To give him rest, my son carried him up and down the stairs as often as Sam needed to go outside to pee. The next morning, it was apparent that he had not improved at all, if anything it was worse. He could barely stand while peeing. That’s when I knew it was time to let him go. I was going to call the Vet the next morning. That day and during the night we sat with him, giving him as much water as he wanted, carrying him outside to pee (he weight 100lbs). I was still hoping that he would be his normal self again in the morning, so I could hold off on the call. We did not sleep much; he never changed places, which both dogs normally do during the night.

In the morning when David was picking him up, Sam yelped for the first time in pain. He only peed once that morning. I called the Vet’s office early, to get him to call back as soon as he could. I was not able to talk to him on the phone once he did, I cried too much. My son made the arrangements.
We sat with him until it was time to go. With a blanket we managed to carry him to the car. He was actually very happy to go for a car ride. He was alert, loving the treats we gave him, but also calm, not as hyper excited as usual.

At the Vets they had prepared a room for us. Seeing their sympathy in the staff’s faces, made me cry real hard, they even hugged me. I had no recollection of that, later my son told me they did (that’s weird, huh?).
I wanted to be with Sam to his last breath. The Vet explained to us what he would do, and what would happen. While he was preparing for what he needed, kneeling beside Sam, my Son on the other side to assist him, I was in front of Sam. He caught my eyes, held eye contact for so long, and he was calm (usually he was yapping bloody murder while being there). I think he knew what was coming, and he was alright with it.

Sam was more than just a pet to me; he was my friend, my companion, a family member. I miss him terrible. I keep having moments where I think, we’ve got to pick up Sam from the Vet’s. Or walking through the house, I think there’s something missing, something out of balance, until it hits me – Sam’s missing. Than I had a moment, where I realized I will never touch him again, never scratch his bum, cut his nails, feed him, and hear his yapping, smell his doggy breath. I will never be able to look into his eyes anymore, and the tears won’t stop flowing.

Sam, my sweet boy, you were my “once in a lifetime” dog, I will never forget you!

And Biko? She always was an independent dog, but I noticed her following me around more. But there is a good thing, if you can believe it. We can do more now with only Biko left, since we don't have to worry about Sam being stuck at home alone. She's enjoying more car rides, more walks, longer walks.

Thank you all for your sympathy! I promise there will be knitting content on this blog again soon! I started knitting socks while sitting with Sam during his last two days. I will finishe them, even though right now, I don't want to look at them.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Sam collar-2

PS There will be one more trip to the Vet’s to pick up Sam for the last time, when we will bring home his ashes.

Flowers from our Vet

PPS Our Vet sent us flowers. How very thoughful!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sam's gone ...


Rest in peace my dear sweet boy! My heart aches for you.

Sam - May 30, 2002 - May 21, 2009

Samson, May 30, 2002 - May 21, 2009


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Morning Shawls

It's very easy to get used to not blogging. It's not that I don't have anything to show, but sometimes I just don't feel like it. I'm sure everybody has times like that.

The last few days were very chilly around here. The furnace has been turned off for quite some time now, and guess what? I would never have thought it possibel, but I DID wear some of my shawls! Especially in the mornings, but the last two days, I wore them throughout the day. I would have loved to slip into a knit jacket, but I haven't knit one yet. It's mid May already, and no cardi in site. Do you think this year will go by withought me knitting a jacket for myself? I'm not sure myself. I sure would like to have one right now. (By the way, I've been thinking of starting my Christmas knitting soon, haven't you?)

Anyway, until then, shawls will have to do.

Back in March I've knit these three Sunday morning shawls within 2 weeks. I was a little obsessed with this technique of using up sock yarn leftovers, combined with black lace weight yarn. I thought I could go on forever, knitting only these shawls, but after the third, I needed a break.

Sunday Morning shawls

free pattern: Sunday Morning Shawl by Martina Kastanek (find it on ravelry)
yarn: sock yarn left overs
needle: 3.75mm
size: as large as you like, the first one (orange/red) was 30" x 65" after blocking, but it was not stretched heavily
start-finish: March 1 - 15

SMS preblocking-5

The original shawl has a ruffle edge, like my third shawl. I thought I don't like ruffles, so I did a picot edge on the first one, and a loopy crochet edge on the second one. By the third, I liked the ruffles too. I've still got lots of sock yarn leftovers, and continuously adding to it, so there might be more of these in the future. They are easy and mindless knitting.

SMS 1,2,3-7

It would be intersting how a shawl like these would look like with white lace, maybe for a summerly look?

SMS 1,2,3-6

Sam May 17-2

I was about to tell you about my upcoming trip to Austria, but I had to cancel it. Sam's not too well, and I can't leave him alone. The Vet said I should say goodbye to him rather sooner then later, but I can't, not yet ( haveing to make a decision like that is brutal). As long as he's playful, alert, has a healthy appetite and can walk outside to pee on his own, I can't let him go. We increased his pain medication, and now we enjoy every day together to the fullest. He's always by my side, no matter what I do around the house. In fact, I'm going to go outside with him right now, to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine. His red Jollyball is waiting....

Friday, May 08, 2009

Just a quick one....

I'll be back to regular blogging next week. Just can't let this week go by without some pictures.

What are you up to, Biko?
What are you up to, Biko? May 6

Who? Me? - Nothin'

Nothing goes without the red ball, right Sam?
Sam May 6

click pics for big

Sam May 6

I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Handspun Friday - Panda

Sweetgeorgia Fiber Panda- 1.7oz or 50g- ~ 202yds-60%sw merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon

Sweetgeorgia Fiber Panda- 1.7oz or 50g- ~ 202yds-60%sw merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon-2

Sweetgeorgia Fiber Panda- 1.7oz or 50g- ~ 202yds-60%sw merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon-5

fiber source: sweetgeorgia
fiber: Panda: 60% merino 30% bamboo 10% nylon, 1.7oz (50g)
yardage: ~202yds
plying: navajo plied
WPI: did not measure, but its' fingering weight yarn

Too bad I couldn't get more of this fiber. It was lovely to spin with and the color is beautiful. No clue what to do with it, so in the bin it goes.


As of April 29th, I've crochet all squares for the Babette blanket. I've started to assemble them. Crocheting those 126 squares was fun and not boring. I worked in the ends as I finished them. Assembling them is the hard part.

Babette on April 29-3