Monday, July 28, 2008
Door Mat Pattern

I made this jute rug for my cats to “wipe” their paws when they exit the litter box, but when it was done, I realized that it would also make a great door mat.

I used Darice brand Jute Cord and a 9mm hook.

Start with a chain 45 stitches long.

Row 1) HDC in 2nd chain from hook and in each stitch across. Chain 2, turn. (43 HDC)

Row 2) HDC in each chain across. Chain 2, turn. (43 HDC)

Rows 3-6) Repeat Row 2

Row 7) HDC in each stitch across. Chain 3, turn (43 HDC)

Row 8) Skip the first 2 stitches, DC in next stitch, chain 1, DC in first skipped chain. ( 1 X-stitch completed). Continue X-stitching across the row. DC in last 2 stitches. Chain 2, turn. (13 X stitches)

Repeat Rows 1-8 four more times

Row 41-46) Repeat row 2

Row 47) HDC across the row. Chain 1 Turn

Row 48) SC across row. Chain 1 Turn

Finishing): Sc across row to corner. 2 sc in corner stitch. Continue SCing around the border placing 2 sc in each corner. Attach w/ slip stitch, and finish off. Weave in your loose end.

This pattern can be made with jute as a doormat, or as a small rug when made with rug yarn.

Sunday, July 27, 2008
Beauty in Bloom
This will probably be my last blog post from this house. We're closing on our new house on Tuesday, and will spend the balance of the week moving in. It's very exciting, and I can't wait to get settled into our new home.

We were so lucky to find this rental house. With the exception of the basement flood - that was really a freak act of nature and couldn't have been anticipated - this house has been very very good to us.

One of the things that I've loved about this house has been the gorgeous flowers all throughout the yard. We are renting the house from the second owners. The first owners built the home in the early 1960's. They raised their family here, and lived here for over 40 years. Looking at the yard, you can see how much love they put into this house and how much pride they must have had. The flower beds were so beautifully planned to follow the blooming seasons.

We moved in in October when all the flowers were already gone, so it was such a delight this spring to watch the gardens burst into color. It started with a few gorgeous daffodils. When they ran their course we had tulips and iris. There are snap-dragons, lilacs, and zinnias. Right now the flower beds are a flaming orange with all the gorgeous lilies that are in bloom.

We have only been here for ten months. Our landlord and lady lived here for less than a year before they moved out. It's sad, but the original owners put so much into their gardens - since they left, the beds have become somewhat over-grown and wild.

I think about that couple that lived here for so long, and how much of themselves they put into this yard, and I feel guilty that I didn't maintain the lovely garden that they created. I didn't know them, but if they're looking down on us, I hope they'll forgive me for neglecting their flowers. I also hope they know just how much we've enjoyed all the beauty that they created and left behind. Watching all the lovely flowers burst into bloom, and seeing the waves of color from one blooming season to the next has been a delight! We've so enjoyed the beautiful plants and flowers here, and all the lovely birds that enjoy the yard.

I hope that as we move into our new home, we'll be able to create a bit of lasting and natural beauty like those owners created here!

Saturday, July 26, 2008
It's an ugly word, isn't it. Urticaria - it even sounds annoying. I suppose that's appropriate, because it is annoying. In fact, it has managed to strip this Worm of her normally pretty healthy sense of humor.

Back on June 5th, when we had the horrible rain, I posted about the flooding and that Hubby and I had both broken out in hives. What I haven't posted here (but I have complained incessantly to family and friends about) is that we still have the nasty hives! Urticaria is an ugly word meaning "chronic hives", and we both apparently have them.

I've been to two doctors and neither seem to have any good advice. After loading up on antihistamines, I found that the hives actually got worse. I stopped taking the drugs for a few days and found that while I still got hives, they weren't nearly as bothersome. Then yesterday, they came back with a vengeance. I took a benedryl last night and it knocked me out so that I slept well, but today the hives got even worse.

When I said that I've lost my sense of humor, I didn't mention that I fear ever finding it again. This is ridiculous!!!!

To further annoy me, a particularly nasty spot of hives on my hip suddenly morphed into a large patch of ugly broken blood vessels. It looks like someone took a red marker and just went to town on me. The good news is that while this is quite ugly and certainly doesn't appear to be a healthy condition for the skin, it neither hurts nor itches so, sadly, this is an improvement.

The good news is that my face has, to date, been spared any hives. I've had them just about everywhere else. Today I had my first one on my neck. Lovely. It looks like a big red hickey - which at my age is sort of novel and amusing - or would be if I had any sense of humor left.

Some people think that the hives are an allergic reaction to something in the house that got released during the flooding. Maybe. Some people think it's related to stress. I've been working very hard, but enjoying it. We're getting ready to move - also stressful, but a really good stress, so - maybe. I've been stressed out much worse in the past, and never had this reaction. And hubby, who is the king of not stressing has them too (although he doesn't complain anywhere as much as I do - this could be because he's a prince and not a complainer - I like to think that I complain because my hives are be worse - the jury is still out on that).

So....if you have any great anti-itch remedies that you'd like to share, my comments section welcomes you. Otherwise..... Life is good but itchy. We'll be moving next week. Any day now we'll have to pack up the computers, and then it will be a few days before we can get them back up and running.

Hopefully by then we'll be in our beautiful new house and hive free!!

Friday, July 25, 2008
Some like it rough

My kitties love texture, and I'm sure that they would have loved the scratchy texture of my jute rug (last blog entry), but that jute twine was cutting up my hands. It was really rough to work with. It worked up into a sort of neat looking pattern, but the thought of making two large mats of that material was making me cringe.

I decided that the jute rope would be put to better use bundling up the boxes to take to the recycling center after we move.

I found some softer, more pliable jute cording at Joann's, and started over. This material is much much easier to work with. It's making a prettier looking rug, that is soft enough to be rug-like, and rough enough to be interesting for the cats. I think that it will serve its purpose in trapping the stray kitty litter, but will be a somewhat decent looking mat.

I'm working with a simple HDC pattern, and throwing in a row of X-stitch every 7th row - just to keep me from getting bored. I'm about halfway done with the first. If it turns out well, I'll need two more.

I do think that this will be an attractive and practical solution to the litter box mess. I hope the cats will give it two paws up!

Friday, July 18, 2008
Jutey Jutey Jutey

It's been a while since I've posted about a crochet project. I've been busy at work, and racing around getting ready for the move, so I haven't been crocheting as much as I like. My current project, though, isn't a cute baby sweater or a chemo cap. It's not cute - it's Jute!

My current project isn't at all fun, but I hope it will be a practical solution to a problem.

I have cats. I love them! Bogey, Scooter and Tater are our three boys, and we adore them, but their litter-box habits leave something to be desired.

Bogey is a digger. He gets in there and digs, digs, digs. Then he carefully covers his handy work. But when it's time to leave the box, he races out at the speed of light, often kicking litter out of the box as he goes.

Scooter is not better. He doesn't cover up when he's done, so his box is rather stinky. He also tends to kick a bit out.

Then there is Tater. Tater is a digger and a coverer. He can dig and dig and cover and cover and then dig some more. He doesn't race out of the box, he walks out and leaves what we call "Tater Tracks". He gets litter between his cute toes and proceeds to leave it wherever he goes. I love my Tater, but I just hate Tater tracks.

So..... my solution is jute! My kitties just love scratching and rolling on all sorts of scratchy textures. I thought that if I made a mat for under and in front of the litter box that would catch the litter that they kick of drag out, it might contain the problem and keep it from spreading through the house.

I'm working with a giant ball of jute twine and a big-old crochet hook, and crocheting a "rug". When I'm done I can lay down plastic, and then lay the jute rug on top of it in front of the litter boxes. I'm hoping that as the cats jump or walk out, the texture of the rug will catch the stray litter and keep it contained.

I'll let you know how it works, but it might take a while. This jute is really hard to work with, and because its not a "cute" project, it's easy to put it down. If it works, I'll need to make two more so that all the litter boxes have one.

Sunday, July 06, 2008
In just a few more weeks we'll be moving again. This time should be the last move in a very very long time! I love the new house and can't wait to get into it. This rental house was a real stroke of luck when we found it, and it's been a great house for us in a great neighborhood! It is, however, somewhat too small for us and our things - including my stash.

My yarn containment system here was less perfect than that if Florida and far inferior to what we're planning for the new house - so my stash is somewhat messy and disorganized. I could shove it all in a big bin (or should I say 10 big bins?) and deal with it later, but this morning I had the brilliant idea of pulling out the yarn wider and turning this tangled mess of yarn into delightfully neat little yarn pucks that I can pack up and move to my new yarn containment system in the new house.

I love love love my yarn-winder, but winding more than 2 balls at a time, and winding when a wonderful new project it not imminent is somewhat mind numbing. I'm not sure how much of this stash I can do before my brain turns to oatmeal.

So I suppose the lesson is that I shouldn't maintain a stash, but buy yarn as I need it and make scrap-projects in between. Yeah, right!