Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Community's responsibility to Its Pets

The Buffalo News has printed the article I submitted to it's "My View" column. We're now up to 2 large animal shelters in the area who are in trouble for their practices. Since I've been volunteering at a really great shelter for the last 3 years, I wanted to use what I've observed there to shift the conversation back to the community's responsibility for it's unwanted pets. I see so many animals surrendered for the most specious reasons.

The article can be found here.

And thanks so much to everyone who has been posting it on facebook, too.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I Tricked Out My MINI With Knitting

Hey, so have I mentioned that I got a new MINI Cooper?

I haven't posted in a while because we've been on our honeymoon. Not Chris and I, the MINI, Chris, and I. It's a bit of a debate about who gets to drive whenever we go somewhere.

MINI has always been a British car, and the new MINI Cooper definitely embraces that. Not just as a nationality, but also as a decorating scheme. You can order your MINI liberally sprinkled with Union Jacks from the entire roof top, to the rear view mirrors (all 3) to the valve stem caps, and everything in between.

Chris bought me the interior rear view mirror Union Jack for my birthday, before I even had the car. It was making the side mirrors look kind of naked and left out. I could have bought matching covers for them, but why buy what you can make yourself? I briefly considered paint, or glued on strips of ribbon, but then I realized that to really be MY MINI, they would have to be knitted.

In case you're not sure yet, I'm completely crazy. This is a completely crazy project, and you're going to be totally jealous of the results.

Let the jealousy begin:

Rear view mirrow cozies

note the stunning view of a garage on the Buff State Campus. What can I say, it's hard to find a picturesque parking spot most mornings.

rear view mirror cozy

As for crazy...the outer circumference is about 22" and a little over a hundred stitches. It's about 50 rounds of knitting, so really, a fairly small, seemingly quick project, except that I pulled out all the knitting stops for this one. In order to really get a good finished project, with a properly rendered flag that curves into 2 or three different parabolas, depending on what angle you view it from I used:

a fancy cast on for the center of a circle (don't know the proper name)
intarsia in the round
switching between round and flat knitting
non-euclidean geometry or the semblance thereof
short rows

rear view mirror cozy

and dorset buttons.

For any non knitters to whom that list means nothing, this is what the work in progress looked like:

the crazy mess of intarsia

Yes, it's just as frustrating as it looks.

But they're small, and I'm small and determined, and it was oh so worth it to trick out my car with knitting.

And if you're thinking, "Aren't you worried someone will take them off in a parking lot," just don't say it to me. I've already heard it and no, I'm not too worried because a) they're on there really tight to make sure there's no chance of them slipping and blocking my view, b) few people will recognize the buttons for what they are and c) the side mirrors on a MINI are rather unique, so they would be useless to a non-MINI owner.

My next project for the car will be a Union Jack blanket.