Shawls and Smells

I finished my Highland Triangle Shawl (Folk Shawls)! On Thursday, I sat at Borealis Yarns to knit because I wanted to be sure that I attached the border correctly at the center. They have a store sample there for me to fondle and look at.

While I was there, I asked their opinion on whether I should go ahead and buy a 3rd skein of green yarn to finish that last edging/border. What the heck, go ahead and buy it, is what we all decided. I can always bring it back if I don’t use it. So that is what I did.

I stayed up till way too late on Thursday because I was so close to finishing and I really wanted to see if I needed to use that last skein. It ended up that I didn’t. I had about a yard of yarn left over.

Here are some pics, pre-blocking:

highland shawl
I know this one is blurry, but you can still see the overall effect of the varigated yarn with the solid border.

I am especially proud that even pre-blocking the points on the last border/edging are really pointy. Here’s a close-up:

highland shawl

I decided to forgo blocking because of space/smell issues. More on that later. I went ahead and started up the Shadow Shawl ( I had already agonized over what colors to use and whether the shadow/illusion effect would be seen some time ago, and fully intended to knit it up right away, but then I was distracted by another project that I can’t even remember what that was anymore. If I read back in the blog I could probably figure it out.

The reason I knew this would be my next project is that I got a nudge from Thomasina when I saw her knitting one at a TC SnB gathering. She is totally hooked on this shawl, and interestingly enough, is also working on the Highland Triangle (play eerie music here). She has started a knit-along for the shadow shawl. So far, we are the only 2.

I am just loving this shawl and can see myself doing several as gifts. After the initial "what the hell?!" feeling of doing shadow/illusion knitting and having to wrap my mind around the graph, I realized that the hints in the pattern had the clues for doing the shawl so that I wouldn’t have to keep checking the graph and pattern. Now I am quite addicted and this will definitely be an easy knit to tote around – one that I can do without telling people "shut up, I am knitting!" (in my head, of course). I have decided, like the Clapotis and the felted clogs, everyone needs to make one of these.

Oh, and here are a couple of pics:

shadow shawl
What I have done so far, I would be farther along but I had to restart 3 times (yarn and graphing reading screw-ups).

The chevron will be pretty subtle because the yarns I am using, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in #70/Vera and Lana Grossa, Meilenweit #1273 are pretty close in color/contrast. Here is a pic looking at it at an angle and if you squint a bit, you might be able to make out the diagonals.

shadow shawl

I am okay with the diagonal/chevron being very subtle, but the next one I do will be more blatant.

I would like to block both this finished Highland Triangle, and the purple shawl so that I can determine the borders I need but I am hemmed in by smell. My sweet cat Arthur has been spraying in my guest room. Gah! I have tried all my tricks to get the smell out, including using a very pricey, enzyme type odor removal solution that the UofM sells, but it still smells just horrible. Horrible enough that I can’t bear to have the room open anymore. We have it closed up and we have decided that we need to tear up the carpeting. The carpeting is getting worn because it is a small room, but still.

Once the carpet is gone (soon I hope) I will be able to pin out shawls on the futon, or perhaps buy those foam puzzle square things that a lot of lace and shawl people are getting for pinning out purposes. I know I have seen them at Menards, and perhaps Sam’s Club.

The larger issue is how to get Arthur to stop peeing. He has always been a very scaredy-type cat. He cries a lot, just because people (me) are moving in the room. He cries when I do the dishes because he doesn’t like the sound of tinkling silverware. He cries to go out, but is afraid of going out and cries to get back in. He loves people, but frightens easily.

The neighborhood is filled with cats, both owned and loved and stray that keep on marking our lawn and both doors. Arthur reacts by peeing on the inside on the doors, and for some reason, upstairs too by the door (I think he just thinks door = gotta spray it). We have tried so many things to keep him from spraying – he is neutered, so that is supposed to help (but). We use herbal pet calmer sprays on him to help him settle down. We have tried the pheromone based sprays on the door and other vertical surfaces, we have tried the more heavy-duty "no go" type sprays both inside and out. Nothing has worked.

We finally took him into our vet to have him checked out to make sure he didn’t have a urinary problem, and we all decided to try him on Valium. Sad, but our other options are to give him away, or put him down. No way!

So he now takes a little happy pill two times a day and oh my God/dess, what a difference! He is like a new cat. He isn’t drugged up – he was shaky for a bit, but that didn’t last long. He plays, scampers around, walks through the house without cringing all the time, doesn’t cry at me except that now he wants to go out all the time. He is like a new cat, and no more spraying. The only thing I am thinking about doing is trying a lower dose, just because I am that kind of person – take the lowest possible dose that works.

Are you still with me?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I will be very happy – knitting on my new obsession and just enjoying life. I hope you can enjoy the weekend too.


5 thoughts on “Shawls and Smells

  1. You might be able to wean Arthur off the valium very, very gradually, just because the world’s not as frightening a place anymore. I’ve seen that work with dogs who are afraid of loud noises.

  2. Hey, great idea on the Valium for Arthur. Catherine D. has the right idea — eventually he’ll get the idea that the world isn’t out to get him. I have a rescued pug on a similar thing (Clomicalm), and it’s really helped him.
    I sympathize with your aversion to cat spray smell. I seem to be the only one in the household that can smell animal pee; my DH is blithely unaware. Once it gets in the carpet, forget it. We have heat in the floor, and WOO-WEE, the smell of delicate pee aromatherapy is something else. And all bad.
    The other thing you might do is get Arthur a crate and put a cat bed and some catnip toys and stuff in it, and help him learn that’s his safe place to go for quiet time.

  3. I would get the carpet out, really clean the house (use nature’s miracle on the non-carpeted areas), get all the smell out. Let him get used to a smell-free house and learn that the world is safe, *then* gradually try weaning him down and perhaps off the medication. If the smell is still there, he will be encouraged to go again, which isn’t good for anyone.

    So glad you were able to find a solution that helps him and helps you. What a lucky cat he is to have such a caring human there to help.

  4. The valium makes sense to me. He must have been one stressed-out kitty, for whatever reason. I also thought, when I read your post, that maybe you can wean him off it later.

    We have decided carpet and pets don’t go together, and as soon as we can we hope to replace all of ours with tile. We’ll always have pets, they’ll always at least have fur, and sometimes other cleanup problems–our dog has a touchy stomach. So carpeting doesn’t really fit our lifestyle. We did away with the moldy old, smelly carpet at the last place we lived, but that was covering up beautiful oak floors. Here it covers cement. I’m even thinking of just cleaning and sealing the cement. That’s how much I dislike the pet-carpet combo. There are always area rugs for warmth and softness, and they’re mobile for cleaning.

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