I want to thank all of you who have left such thoughtful comments about my sweet dog. I would like to thank each of you individually, but I'm sure you already know that Blogger is reluctant to give me your email addresses. Please accept this general thank you as an expression of my deep appreciation for your concern and support. Molly is home with us. She made it through Christmas, which was our goal. She is heavily medicated to control her seizures and can't do much but lie on the sofa with her head in my lap. There is some chance that she will recover some of her energy and balance once she adjusts to the medication, but we will not force her to go on in this state if there is no improvement.
To update you on other news, my friend and her husband have come to terms with the imminent arrival of their late-life baby, and she is embracing her new role as mom. She is four months along and is having a boy. I will be heading over to her house next week to help get the nursery ready. I haven't seen her since the night a couple of weeks ago when she realized she was pregnant, but she reports that she has had to move up to maternity pants already and is noticeably showing. (She's tiny. An apple seed would probably show.)
And of course, there has been knitting.
This is the Noro Kochoran sweater coat I started a couple of posts ago. Those pieces at the top are the sleeves. As you can see, it is almost done (I knit more when I am stressed). I did the sleeves first, contrary to my usual approach, because I wanted to try out my pattern and see how the striping would work. Then I decided to work the body all in one piece, because my previous experience with Noro has taught me that the color changes are irregular, and I am way too compulsive to put up with stripes that don't match up at the seams. This means that the stripes on the body are much, much narrower than the stripes on the sleeves (the rows on the body are much longer than the rows on the sleeves), but this is less disturbing to my internal harmony than mismatched seams. (It has been hard on my wrists, though. The sheer weight of the thing makes them ache.)
I have a love-hate relationship with Noro. I love the colors. I hate the textures. I am a tenderfoot. I don't like anything scratchy. Kureyon feels like a Brillo pad to me. Even Silk Garden was a grave disappointment. So I was hesitant to order the Kochoran in the first place, but...it was half off. And I was intrigued by the subtle, water-color shades. And the label said angora. How could angora be anything but soft? So I ordered it. And as usual, I was disappointed with the texture. The yarn was much bulkier than I expected, and not especially soft. I left it marinating in the stash for several weeks, until I finally broke down and gave it a chance.
I'm glad I did. This yarn is a mystery to me. The label says it is wool, silk, and angora and knits to 4.5 stitches to the inch. Right off the bat, I knew I would never get 4.5 stitches to the inch. Even with a small needle, the tightest gauge I can make is 3.75 stitches to the inch, and that makes a very dense fabric. And then, there is the fiber. It is tightly twisted, with a dry, almost cotton-like hand. In the skein, it feels coarse and woolly, but as I knitted, it became softer and softer, and now has a lovely, furry halo of angora over the wool and silk. The finished fabric is dense, heavy, slightly fuzzy, and amazingly soft. The colors are subtle and the stripes are almost blurry, but in a restful, Monet-esque way. I wouldn't want to use this yarn for a pullover; the finished fabric is too heavy. But it is perfect for a jacket or coat, or--for the very ambitious--a blanket.
I had a whole (ten-skein) bag of this stuff. With nearly 200 yards to the skein, there should have been more than enough to make a sweater coat to fit my 34-inch chest, so I didn't hesitate to cast on for this large project, even though I bought the yarn at an online clearance sale. But the knitting goddess hates hubris. And she loves a good joke. So naturally, with only the collar left to go, I...say it with me now... ran. out. of. yarn. Yep. Really. The thing is still on the needles, so I can't try it on to see where all the missing yardage went. I'm sure once I get it bound off, I'll discover that, instead of a fitted sweater coat, I have knitted a family-sized sleeping bag. However, in keeping with tradition, I am bound to soldier on, refusing to recognize the obvious until I have sewn it up, woven in the ends, blocked it, and added the buttons. I will then try it on and be completely surprised that it doesn't fit. Knowing this changes nothing. Experience is just recognizing that you're making the same mistake again.