Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, January 8, 2021

A Week

Well, it has been a week. I didn't get caught up on stuff like I'd hoped to, because I had to watch a freaking coup happen on Wednesday, and honestly, we're all still processing that. US friends, please remember to take breaks from the news, drink water, check on your friends, and contact your congresspeople. That's really all I've got right now. Even though many of us saw this coming, it's still shocking to watch and difficult to process.

Anyway. I'm back in my home office, at my messy desk. I have yarn on the needles, coffee brewing, and in a few minutes I'll contact my representatives again. 

Take care of yourselves, kittens.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Soft Animal

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

-Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

Soft Animal is a shawl for wrapping up in. Worked with worsted and laceweight yarns held together, the luxurious blend of wool, silk, and mohair is both soft and fuzzy, and the shawl evokes the feeling of being a small animal snug and cozy in its den.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine,” the poet says. “Meanwhile the world goes on.

I designed and knit this shawl in the midst of 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, amid uncertainty, despair, and loneliness, when all I could do some days was let the soft animal of my body love the food I fed it and the blankets I wrapped it in. This shawl is for comfort.

Soft Animal is knit sideways, from one corner to the opposite edge, with alternating bands of garter stitch and ribbing. The final border is both charted and written out.

Calls for 800yds/731.5m each of worsted weight yarn and laceweight mohair

Yarn support generously provided by The Dye Project

Soft Animal is now available on Ravelry and Payhip. Use code GEESE to get 20% off through Sunday, January 10th.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Giftmas Knits

Hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? Today is my first day back at work since Christmas Eve, and it was really nice to have over a week off. I'm still in rest mode after fall semester—I spent most of my break sleeping—and I still have a couple weeks to keep resting up before my spring classes start. I've finally gotten caught up on pattern knitting and I have two shawl patterns with my tech editor right now, so stay tuned for those.

I ended up knitting two gifts this year. The first was a pair of socks for my mum, and I really loved this pattern. I definitely want to knit a pair for myself, but I ought to finish (or frog) some of the socks I already have on the needles for myself first. 

I only made one modification, which was to swap in my usual eye of partridge heel flap instead of the reverse stockinette flap the pattern called for. My mum and I are rough on socks, and we really need the reinforcement of slip stitches. 

Ravelry Page: Arcadia Socks

Pattern: Arcadia Socks by Jo-Anne Klim

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock, "Jungle"

I also knit a hat for my brother. He's been wanting a Jaques Cousteau hat, and I knew that Musselburgh would be perfect. I didn't get the yarn until just over a week before Christmas, so it was a bit tight, but I stayed up late on the 23rd to get everything finished in time for blocking.

I really loved knitting this hat as well, and I absolutely want at least one of my own. The construction is so clever, and it makes a really solid, good hat. With the winds we get here on the plains we really need multiple layers, so a double-layer hat is perfect.

Ravelry Page: Musselburgh

Pattern: Musselburgh by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, "Serano"

I do have a few more projects that I finished recently to share, but I'm very behind on taking photos. Hopefully I'll get everything photographed this week and will get all caught up with blogging soon! 

Monday, December 14, 2020


Happy Monday, friends! I submitted my last papers of the semester on Saturday and it feels so good to be done! This fall was pretty rough, and I'm ridiculously proud of myself for handling it as well as I did. I have six weeks off until next semester, and while I'm looking forward to my spring classes, I really can't wait to spend the next six weeks reading for fun and catching up on movies and tv shows I haven't been able to watch the past few months.

Xmas knitting continues apace, and I'm happy with where I'm at so far. Apologies for no photo again today, but my mum reads the blog and I can't just go around ruining surprises. I also made an executive decision about a shawl sample that's been on the needles for a while now, and I'm hoping to get caught up on pattern writing before the spring semester starts. 

Yesterday I mixed up some pepparkakor dough, and I'll probably roll those out later today. I've not done any real holiday treat-making yet, aside from the Chex Mix, and pepparkakors sound like the perfect start. I also want to try making cardamom rolls sometime in the next two weeks—they've been on my to-bake list for ages, but I haven't managed to get around to them yet. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

More Numbers, Because Why Not

 1. I have half of my last final paper and a reflection left to write and then I am done until January 25th.

2. I finally started Xmas knitting last night. I do not know if I'll be done in time, but I will be giving it my all. Especially once my papers are done.

3. Using the food processor to make latkes is absolutely a game-changer. 

4. Lee Lee continues to improve. We have started going for (very short) walks again, and she has resumed stealing all the blankets in bed. I think over the weekend we'll scale down from one pill in the mornings to half a pill.

5. Yesterday I made Chex mix and ate two whole bowls of it and only barely managed to stop so I could put it all away. I haven't been able to find my usual GF bagel chips this year, and I don't know if the company has stopped making them or if they're a temporary loss due to Covid (it was really hard to get GF mac and cheese for a while), so I just added more nuts and pretzels. 

6. I hope you all have a good weekend! 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Numbers on a Monday

 Okay, we're doing numbers today because it's the last week of the semester and I am EXHASTED.

1. I'll be giving 25% of my December sales each to my local food pantry and emergency fund. The area I live in really struggles with poverty and food insecurity (35%!!), and these organizations work really hard and struggle to meet all the need even in non-pandemic years. If you're not already working with your local orgs, please reach out to them, especially if you have less to share this year than usual. They're the ones in the communities, with the connections and the boots on the ground to keep people warm and fed, and they've really been hit hard this year with the double whammy of increased need and less money coming in.

2. Lee Lee continues to improve! I'm letting her go cone-free most of the time now, and we're down to pain meds once a day, in the mornings. Thank you all again for all your support the last two months, it's so good to see her getting closer and closer to her old self.

3. It's the LAST WEEK OF THE SEMESTER. I have two papers, a project, and two presentations this week and then I am DONE until the end of January, I cannot WAIT. I have promised myself a Lord of the Rings marathon as soon as I turn in my last project and I plan to spend my break knitting and reading my stack of library books.

4. I just recently learned that you can shred potatoes for latkes in a food processor instead of grating them by hand. It blew my mind, and I'm extremely excited for Hanukkah now. I love latkes, but having to grate potatoes AND clean up from frying is usually Too Much for me to handle in one night, so the food processor tip is a real game changer for me.

5. There are eighteen days until Xmas and I have not started gift knitting. I'm not panicking. Yet.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Trying to Get Back to Normal

Okay. This week we're trying to get back to normal. Lee Lee's mouth is still bugging her a little bit, but I let her out of her cone for a few hours yesterday, and I'll let her out of her cone for a bit today. I'm hoping to be able to get a look in her mouth at some point to see if there are any stitches still hanging on, but most, if not all, of them should have dissolved by now. We're finally back to sleeping through the night (well, my sleep's been a bit rough, but that's all on me and not on Lee Lee being miserable), and I scheduled a massage for this Friday as both a reward for getting through the last month and a half and also to fix my poor back, which has taken the brunt of all this stress.

I haven't been knitting much, but I'm hoping to get back into it this week. I have a couple projects I've been working on for several months now, including this shawl which is almost at the halfway point. I also need to start knitting for xmas—I'm only knitting one gift, but given how my knitting productivity has taken such a hit the past few months, there's a change it'll still be tight. 

I'm also in the last two weeks of the semester! I have three papers, a powerpoint presentation, a screencast and how-to guide, and a libguide due in the next two weeks, and I am feeling the crunch. I took most of last week off from school work, which made the weekend a bit rough as I scrambled to catch up, but it was definitely the right call, and I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm sitting now. It'll be busy, but I think I can do it. I hope. Once I get these assignments in, I'm on break from school until the end of January, which is sounding really nice right now.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Quickly on a Monday

 Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a restful weekend. I don't have class this week, so I took all weekend off from school. Saturday I did NOTHING, which was exactly the kind of break I needed, and yesterday I finished a comic book I'd been reading and did some picking up around my apartment. My bedroom's been a disaster for weeks, which is understandable, and I had a huge pile of boxes next to my dining room table that I needed to throw out. I feel so much better now, even though I still need to tidy up a couple small areas, so it was a weekend well spent.

Lee Lee is pretty much the same. She really hates not being able to scratch at her mouth, but I'm just as stubborn as she is, and she's only managed a couple quick scratches before I've caught her. We're seeing the vet for her post-surgery check on Wednesday, and hopefully her mouth will be healed by then and we can take the stitches out. I'm hoping that the stitches are what's really bugging her right now, but she did have quite a few sore spots in her mouth after surgery, so we'll see how she's doing. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Hanging In

 Lee Lee is doing...well, we're hanging in there. Her surgery went well on Tuesday—they cleared out some infection and closed the fistula—but she managed to tear her stitches out on Wednesday, so we had to do a quick vet run for that. Her mouth only needs one week to heal and our primary goal for this week is to keep her from touching her mouth. I've been alternating keeping her in a backpack with only her head free and letting her wander around in a cone, and so far it seems to be working. Fingers crossed.

I'm still a bit behind on school—nothing's late, but I haven't started a couple projects that are coming up, and I'm not quite where I'd hoped to be on some bigger projects that I've already started. It turns out it's really hard to focus on anything when you're trying to keep a very resourceful dog from ripping her stitches out. I don't have class at all next week, so hopefully I'll be able to get myself caught up.

I've also not really been doing much knitting. I do have a shawl sample finished, and I've started writing the pattern, but it's on the back burner for now. I'm also feeling pretty burnt out—I was handling working full time, school full time, and pandemic stress pretty well, but then we got slammed with election stress just as I was also getting slammed with this whole vet mess, and, understandably, I'm pretty fried. I'm focusing on taking care of Lee Lee and paying attention to my self-care plan, and then whatever I have left goes to making sure I'm not missing anything for school. 

So that's where we are right now. I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend Lee Lee is healed up enough that she doesn't want to scratch at her face and we can try going for walks again, but we'll see how it goes. Take care of yourselves, kittens.

Monday, November 16, 2020

A Pupdate

This has been, without exaggeration, one of the hardest months of my life. Easily in the top five. As you all know, Lee Lee had her last nine teeth removed on October 15th. They were in bad shape and really needed to go, and we'd planned that surgery for a few months. 

Unfortunately, it turns out that the vet messed up, and her mouth is still bothering her, and she’s cut up her paws really badly trying to scratch at her mouth/cone during her recovery. Since November 6th, we have gone to the emergency vet twice, the original vet who did the procedure once, and a brand new vet once. The original vet believes she is doing as expected, which the emergency vet and our new vet both disagree with.

The emergency vet and the new vet both discovered two oral-nasal fistulas, which aren't uncommon after dentals, but they do open a path for infection and can lead to pneumonia. There also should be no reason for her to still be scratching at her mouth, leading us to believe there are some roots or bone shards that were left behind in her gums during her original surgery. She needs the fistulas closed and dental radiographs to see what exactly is bothering her so we can fix it. We have her scheduled for her (hopefully final) mouth surgery tomorrow. 

The past week and a half has been especially tough, with all the vet visits and learning just how badly my poor dog is doing, but I like the new vet so far, and we're both hopeful that by the end of the week she should be back to normal, apart from her paws needing to finish healing up. Honestly, none of this should have happened, and she should have recovered from her original surgery in a week with no need for follow-up care, never mind multiple visits to the emergency vet. 

The original vet maintains that she is doing fine, despite continuing to experience discomfort in her mouth almost a month post-surgery, and claims they cannot see any fistulas (which, even if they couldn’t see the holes in her gums, you can tell she has saliva coming out her nose). They also repeatedly did not respond to phone calls during her recovery and prescribed a too-large dose of pain medicine, causing my dog to be completely lethargic and soil herself, and it took over three weeks for her to be able to stand and walk around. The emergency vet and our new vet both agreed on a more appropriate dose for her, and she's almost been herself the past week, apart from the lingering discomfort.

So, that's where I've been. I'm tired, I'm burnt out, and I took the last week off from my day job because I was behind in school and just couldn't keep doing everything. I only just started being able to sleep through the night again the past couple days, as Lee Lee had been keeping me up with her discomfort, and while I hate to put her under surgery again, the new vet is confident that as long as there's not something severe hiding in her gums, like a broken bone, then she should be feeling some significant relief by the end of the week.

This all would have been so much harder without my communities on Twitter, Instagram, and Ravelry, and to all of you who have already heard all this and supported me, thank you so much. It's so good to know that there's a whole community out there that cares about us, and I hope to have a better pupdate for you all soon.