Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week Two, Complete

What a good dog we have.  How many puppies under 4 months old are as good as ours?  How many sleep through the night?  Our trainer says it's not normal for a puppy his age to sleep all night.  He thinks we should take Frank out in the night.  Me, I say, "don't wake a sleeping baby."  I learned that lesson with my first child.  I woke her every 2 hours to feed her, just as the doctors told me to.  It took me 6 more months to break her of that habit afterwards.  I am NOT doing that again.

Frank really has settled in very nicely.  He's staked out his favorite spots to snooze in, such as under the coffee table, next to our lazyboys.  It's really wonderful to look down and see him there in the evenings.  We're down to one accident a week, usually our fault for not remembering he needed to go out.  We plan to work this week on teaching him to signal his needs by ringing a bell.  We'll see if it works.

Frank learned to climb the basement stairs yesterday, too.  C had tried to teach him to climb earlier in the week and Frank was having none of it.  Yesterday, we were all coming up from playtime and when the cat ran up the stairs, the dog took off after him.  All the way up the stairs he went, never pausing, never looking back.  Hooray!

We're almost done switching Frank's food over to the new brand.  We probably could have been done with this a few days ago, but we still have some of the old food left and I'm not one to waste it.  We'll be done with the swtich by the end of this week, I hope.

Also done are the antibiotics Frank was on.  I'm glad that I don't have to remember to dose him twice a day anymore.  He was good about taking them, but it's always a hassle to remember them after each meal.  With kids around, and working part-time, space in my short-term memory banks can be in short supply.

Totally on a side note, did you know that Beagles are known to change their color, sometimes throughout their entire lives?  No, really!  Tricolor beagles are always born black and white, with the brown developing later, mostly during the first twelve months.   It's so common that breeders are allowed to change the color notation on a dog's papers up to three times before they have to state a final color.  Pretty cool, huh?  So, with the question still out there of how much beagle is in Frank, we have decided to take comparison pictures over the next six months or so to see if he'll brown up any.  Here is our first comparison.   The picture on the right was taken by the shelter between 2 and 4 weeks before the picture on the left.  Seems to me that our little pooch is lightening up quite a bit.  What do you think?

Puppy classes are going very well.  On Friday, A's preschool teacher surprised us by showing up at Puppy Social Hour with her new puppy.  We didn't know she was going to adopt one.  That's not entirely true, I guess.  She had expressed interest in doing so but had seemed reluctant to go to the shelter due to an overly-generous heart.  "I can't go into those kennels and come home alone."  Luckily for her, she didn't have to.  She went to the Humane Society to drop off the preschool's donation and while there, asked to be put on a list for a small breed puppy.  Lo and behold, they had two dachshund puppies available, just 11 weeks old.  It was fate, as both her current dog and her recently-passed dogs are dachshunds!  We were all very happy for her and have enjoyed seeing them both at Social Hour.

On a related side note, while at the shelter Mrs.P happened to mention to the staff that she knew us and was telling them how well Frank was doing.  She then decided to ask the staff how Frank had been given his name.  It turns out that Frank and Steve are the two janitors at the shelter and the pups were named after them.  C and I found that entirely too amusing and it makes us love his name all the more.

When you adopt a pet from the shelter, you can't help but wonder why such a wonderful animal was still there, waiting for you when you came looking.  Who else looked at them but passed them by?  Who else was considered as a potential family but turned down?  How could such a beautiful animal have been given up?  We'll never have answers to most of those questions, and I guess that's all part of the mystery and draw of a shelter animal.  We'll never know why Frank was given up, but we'll always know he waited for us.   

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our First Full Week as Dog-Owned

Well, our first week has come to an end.  Frank has come a long way in the short time he's been with us.  At his first vet appointment, the day after we adopted him, he weighed in at 7.5lbs. That's more than the shelter had told us, but not drastically so.  While at the vet, we learned a few more things about Frank that we didn't know.

First, the vet was pretty sure Frank is a beagle.  When I asked him what other breeds might be in the mix, he said, "you know, I've seen purebred beagles come in here who looked just like him, so I'd be hard-pressed to say.  He might be all beagle."  That was a surprise to us.  The shelter had said he was a hound/labrador mix, but we didn't believe them.  We thought he'd end up around 25lbs and the vet agreed, thankfully.

Secondly, we learned that Frank was not as old as the shelter had thought.  They had estimated his age at 14 weeks but the vet said that couldn't be right based on his teeth. We're to keep an eye on his baby teeth and note when he loses his top front teeth and mark that as his 14 week age.  As of today, he still has those baby teeth, so that puts Frank somewhere closer to 12 weeks old when we adopted him.  That meant that the vet couldn't vaccinate him for Rabies yet.  Apparently he has to be at least 14 weeks old.

It's amazing to think that he's only 12-13 weeks old.  It seems like in the 8 days we've had him, he's gone from looking like he's all puppy to looking like he's just a small dog.  His legs have leaned out and his torso is so much longer.  We weren't initially intending to adopt a puppy, so in the end it's fine that he's becoming a dog.  At the same time, though, we have really enjoyed his puppy self and will be sad to see him grow up.  We had no idea how irresistible a puppy could be.

By Friday, Frank was back at the vet for bloody stools.  He was otherwise fine and had gained another half pound in weight, so I wasn't too worried, but knew that with a puppy, it was something to consider getting checked.  They ran tests for giardia and other parasites.  It had been done earlier in the week but they paid closer attention this time since there was an issue.  They even gave poor Frank an internal exam to make sure there wasn't anything lodged in his colon. Poor boy didn't like that much, but he survived and got a clean bill of health, excepting the high bacteria count in his stool.  After a few days on antibiotics, he's doing fine.

As for housetraining, Frank is making HUGE improvements.  When he first arrived, he was having about 3 accidents a day, both in the kitchen and on the carpet.  Now, as long as I'm on top of things, we're down to one accident about every 36 hours or so.  Generally, these accidents happen when I have a full house in the evenings.  There's only so much multi-tasking a gal can do before you lose track of one of the tasks for a moment.  That's when the pee-monster strikes.  Child or dog, they always pee when you're looking at something else. As I type this, we're going on 48 hours accident-free!

Frank has also improved a lot as far as nights go.  We ordered our crate on Saturday and of course it's still not here, but a few nights ago we had a brain-fart.  We realized we could create a much smaller space for Frank at nights by using the Play-yard supergates.  He now sleeps in a square of play yard that has been further sectioned off with a spare segment of play yard.  It's enough room for his bed and 1sq foot of open space.  So far, he's woken us up each night to go out rather than electing to pee in that open space.  Hooray!  Last night, he even let me sleep until 4am.  It was decadent!  Our official crate shipped yesterday via UPS, so hopefully we'll have a better set-up for him by Sunday.  I hope. 

Otherwise, life is good here with Frank.  He's learning to drop the toys he steals from the girls, but hasn't yet learned not to steal them.  I consider it part of the learning curve.  The girls need to learn to clean up and the dog needs to learn what's off limits.  Until then, we'll have a few cries of, "Frank!  Give it back!"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome to the Family, Frank!

Here he is.  Our 6lb "mystery meat" puppy.  C gets upset when I say that, but really, we have know idea what his parentage is.  Can you believe that he was abandoned outdoors on December 20th with his brother?  Just left, out in the cold by someone.  For those of you who don't know me personally, we live in a part of the country where winter lasts 8 months and the other seasons fight for rights to the other 4 months.  That means that it was cold and snowy and someone just left those poor puppies outside.  It's kind of hard to believe that could happen, but it did.  Fortunately for them, both pups are now with their new families, after only 3 weeks at the shelter. 

Having been a stray, the shelter has no idea what type of dog he is.  At 4 months old, he's only 6lbs, so he won't be a big boy.  Judging from his coloring, he could very well have some beagle in him.  His "brother" was black with white markings, so that's not overly helpful in determining his breed.  Someone at the shelter took it upon themselves to label the pups "labrador mixes" but I find that funny as a lab puppy of this age would be over 20lbs already.  Frank is SO not 20lbs.  Not even close.  In fact, he's smaller than my in-law's yorkie.

We brought Frank home last night around dinner time.  He's been with us now just under 24 hours and I have ot say, he's been a real treat. He doesn't nip.  He doesn't bark.  He gives kisses, but isn't obnoxious about it.  He likes to chew on rawhides, is learning to fetch, and really likes coming when we call.  He's definitely trainable.

And house-breaking?  I think we'll be okay on this one. Frank's had only two accidents in the house, both our fault.  We overestimated the length of time he can hold his water last night.  BUT lucky for us, he chose to use the piddle pad we laid down for him.  Then this morning, I wasn't mean enough to make him stay out in the snow at single-digit weather to be ABSOLUTELY certain he didn't need to poo before coming in.  Yep, 5 minutes later, Poo-ville.  To his credit, that was my fault. 

Frank was quiet all night long.  We didn't hear a peep out of him. I had the baby monitor set up so that we'd hear him if he set up a fuss to go outside, but he stayed quiet all night long.  We had given him an old cat bed that Grandma and Grandpa had left us when we moved in and it was love at first sight for him.

Frank and the cat have even some to terms with each other.  I had anticipated hysterics from the cat. Really, it's one of the reasons we opted for the low-milage canine rather than an older dog.  So far, the cat has hissed twice, swatted once, and tried to share a food bowl twice.  Otherwise, Pinkerton has been his usual social self, just hanging out and watching the theatrics. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Scrappy Longies

I'm nearing the end of another large-ish project.  It makes me both happy and sad that the end is near.  I love seeing the end result, and there are certainly times when the process feels onerous, but for the most part, it's sad to leave a project like this one.

My youngest daughter has had the most amazing growth spurts this fall and winter.  Over the summer, when I started knitting longies for this winter, she had a 9" inseam.  By September, she'd pushed into a 10" inseam.  By December, her 10" longies were high-waters.  Ugh.  I couldn't believe she'd grown through everything that I knit her in the past 6 months.

I debated whether or not to even bother with another round of longies this close to her second birthday.  Afterall, didn't her sister potty-train by 22 months?  Well, we're at 23 months now and no sign of potty training is on the horizon.  She's going to be a few more months, I think.  BUT just to make sure I didn't knit for naught, I planned this pair to be smaller in the can and longer in the legs. I figure she can still wear them next fall, after she's out of diapers.  I hope.

So I hauled out my precious cestari scraps and went to work.  Maybe they aren't that precious, but I don't have too many as I haven't done a lot of cestari projects.  They're perfect for a toddler as they hold up to some abuse and don't pill much.

Without further ado, here they are, with the  buttons that I sculpted for them this afternoon.  I plan to fold them up and use the buttons to hold them there this winter.  Afterall, a 12.5" inseam ought to be too long for all of this winter

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Flufflebottom Sweater, a work in progress


Here's a preview of the Flufflebottom sweater.
If you find errors, please note them in the comments and I'll edit the pattern as we go.  Be aware that I have only knit this on the one time and am releasing my notes as a courtesy to those who have asked for it.  There are bound to be a few places where it is less polished than I'd hope it to be.

Important Info:
Sized 18-24 months
(Need to double check gauge, but I tend to knit worsted on size 6 needles at 4.5 spi)
worsted weight yarn, I used 100Purewool that had been kettle-dyed with Kool Aid
size 6 needles, 16" and either DPNs or your preferred small circ method
yarn needle
stitch markers

CO 44
row 1: k2 pm, k9, pm, k22, pm, k9, pm, k2
row 2: P across

row 3: slip one, k to 1 st before marker, YO, k1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before second marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before third marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before fourth marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, K to end.

**** Insert a "sl 1, P to end" row here.*****

Increase rows:
row 4: slip one, K f&b into next stitch k to 1 st before marker, YO, k1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before second marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before third marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before fourth marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, K to 2 sts from end, k F&b and k last stitch.
row 5: slip one, P across

Repeat rows 4 and 5 until there are 33 stitches between the first and second markers.

Eliminate the front opening:
On next RS row, K in increase pattern as for rows 3 and 4 until 2 stitches before the end.
Join in the round:

In the following paragraph, the left side refers to the left as you if you were wearing the sweater.
Prepare to join in the round by arranging the last two stitches of the right front flap to alternate with the first two stitches on the left side. In other words, the stitch order will be: right flap 2nd to last stitch, left flap 1st stitch, right flap last stitch, left flap second stitch. K2tog, PM, K2tog. You will now have a joined piece and be ready to knit on the left side of the front of the sweater. You may wish to use a special marker to denote that this is the center front.

Knit one round, maintaining markers as in row 5 before joining in the round.

Continue increase rows as follows:

Row A: k to 1 st before marker, YO, k1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before second marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before third marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, k to 1 st before fourth marker, YO, K1, SM, K1, YO, K to the end of the round.

Row B: K to end.

Complete 5 rounds of rows A and B.

Separating sleeves from body:
K to marker 1, place all stitches between marker 1 and 2 onto a stitch holder or scrap yarn, CO 9 stitches, K to marker 3, place all stitches between marker 3 and 4 on a holder, CO 9 stitches, K to
end. Remove all markers as you go around. When you reach the end of the round, move round marker to be under the right armpit.

K until work measures 10.5” or about 4" from desired length.
K in roman stitch for 14 rounds:

Row 1: K1, P1 around.
Row 2: P1, K1 around.

Row 3-6: K
Row 7:K1, P1 around.
Row 8: P1, K1 around.
Row 9-12: K
Row 13: K1, P1 around.
Row 14: P1, K1 around.

Ruffle: add or subtract a few stitches, as needed at round end.
Row 1: *(P3 K1) to end. End with K1.
Row 2: *(P3, YO, K1, YO) *repeat to end

Row 3: *(P3, K3) *repeat to end

Row 4: *(P3, YO, K3, YO) *repeat to end
Row 5: *(P3, K5) *repeat to end
Row 6: *(P3, YO, K5, YO) *repeat to end.
Row 7: *(P3, K7) *repeat to end.
Repeat row 7 until the ruffle reaches your desired length. Bind off in pattern.


Place stitches from the stitch holder for one arm on either DPNs or a 12" circular needle. Pick up one stitch on either end of the circular from the fabric of the body. join yarn, PM, and pick up the 9 CO stitches under the armpit (OPTIONAL: K TBL as you pick up these are stitches to make the seam less visible), K 2tog, Knit to 2 st before end of round, K2tog.
The K2tog removes the extra stitches you picked up on either side of the armpit and closes the holes that naturally occur in those areas.

K 10 rounds.
Arms taper slightly:

After ten rows decrease one at the end of the round.
After 5 additional rows decrease one st at end of the round. Continue to reduce by one stitch every 6th round until arms are 3" from desired length.

Finish sleeve with 3" of ribbing. I chose to do a reversible baby cable ribbing,.
R1: P2, K2
R2:  Purl 2 together, don't drop, purl first stitch again, drop both.
R3: P2, K2
R4: P2, K2 together, don't drop, knit the first stitch again, drop both.


Pick up stitches around the neckline.  I picked up 2 of every 3 stitches up each side and each stitch across the back of the neck.  Knit in p1 k1 ribbing around the neck, back and forth until the ribbed area is about 1 1/4" wide.  Tack down ends at the V of the neckline with one side overlapping the other.