Getting Summer Ready

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I cannot believe that it’s April and it is a chilly 57 degrees in DC. But I get to wear my cape, so I’m okay with it. And thanks to all the nice comments and likes on that post and on my Instagram. I really do appreciate the love and am super proud of what I was able to make.
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I’ve got a baby shower tomorrow, so I’ve got another blanket to share next week and if I get a little time to myself I might actually finish my Teazel cardigan in April for my April round-up of finished objects. Whatever happens, I know I’ll be knitting this weekend. My office is freezing already so I know I need some nice summer knits to layer over my sleeveless tops. And since I didn’t really have any knitting related objects to share, here’s a picture of Cher getting ready for summer. My husband asked me what was the point of getting a dog a hat and I just gave him a blank stare. There is no point other than for my own entertainment.

Have a wonderful weekend!

FO: Custom Design Caldwell Cape

One of my knitting goals this year was to have more confidence in my abilities as a knitter. I know I am always learning and growing in my skills but I have to trust in what I do know and I need to push myself more. A couple of years ago I was at a dog park with Cher (which she hates we learned that day) and I saw a woman in a gorgeous Kelly green cape. Of course being a knitter, I asked her about it and she told me her grandmother knit it for her over 40 years ago and it was her favorite piece because of its sentimental value and because it was just a great cape. It really was lovely and it made me think I could really go beyond my hats and scarves and mittens. So when I was on the phone with my BFF Jess 2 weeks ago talking about wanting a cape/poncho but couldn’t find a pattern I liked she said, ‘just make one up!’ I decided she was right and I thought about that gorgeous cape and wanting to make something just as special for myself. Meet my Caldwell Cape.
Custom cape
First let’s get into the details:

You will probably remember from this post what my criteria was for a cape. In case you forgot, I wanted a collar for the chill against my neck, I wanted it to not be too long since I’m short, it needed to have buttons so I wouldn’t have to pull it over my head like a poncho and I wanted slits so I could easily pull out my arms.
Custom cape
Much to my surprise and delight, I hit every single point on my list. I am beyond thrilled that I was able to pull this off. I sketched it out, did a gauge swatch and just started knitting. Here’s what it looks like when I pull my arms out of the slits. I finished off the armholes by picking up stitches, knitting one row and then binding off – just so the edges were clean and didn’t get frayed from me pulling my arms out.
Custom cape
Here’s what I look like when I pull the arms inside of the cape. Although honestly, they’ll probably always be outside of the cape because I kind of look like I have on a straight jacket like this. LOL
Custom cape
I created this piece by essentially modifying circular yoke cardigan construction, I thought the drape of a circular yoke would work best for a cape. I didn’t want you to really see the increase like you would with a raglan, I wanted this to have a smooth, gradual shape to it. I considered doing some short rows and making the back slightly longer but wasn’t sure if I’d have enough yarn (all of this yarn came out of my stash) and decided I just wanted it to run evenly across the bottom. I created the slits by simply putting stitches on hold for the back and second front piece once I got to a point that I thought I wanted slits on the poncho. I worked 45 rows, put those stitches on hold and then did 45 rows for the next section and then the last and then just rejoined them all together. That was the hardest part, figuring out where I wanted the slits to fall and hoping the placement was right after it was blocked and the collar was added. Since I didn’t have a button band or collar it was a little tricky to figure out how it would really sit on my shoulders but I got it! Each slit starts 50 stitches from the edge, which is just shy of where you would separate the sleeves from the body in a cardigan. Luckily, my placement was perfect.
Custom cape
The yarn for the yoke of this cape is so special and unique. I absolutely love it. I bought it a while ago and was saving it for something special and I’m glad I used it for this project. I wanted to make a neutral cape to wear with everything but I still needed it to have some interest and this color is just magical. I still have a skein and a half left so perhaps there will be fingerless mitts or a hat to go with it for fall? The colors in the Lemonade Shop are absolutely stunning and I just want to try every colorway she has in her shop. I also love the buttons I picked out. I knew I wanted black buttons but the sparkly fuchsia flecks pull out the bright pink in the yarn and I just love how it all comes together.
Custom cape
And of course whenever I’m taking any photos, this one isn’t too far away from me and always wanting a little attention. I am super happy about how this turned out and this just encourages me to try more things in the future when I can’t find what I want. I can’t say I’ll never do pattern design for the masses (Um…that’s a lot of math and trying to figure things out for multiple sizes seems like a daunting task) but I’ve learned to never say never. I can definitely say I see doing this for myself more in the future though. And I finished it just in time for chilly spring mornings this week. I’m going to wear this as much as I can before summer really hits!

Senior Dogs Rock

I told you when I started this blog on occasion I’d talk about my dog because it’s my blog and I love her (hey, those are the rules). But I wanted to talk a little bit today about senior dog adoption. On Friday night, one of my favorite accounts posted something we knew was coming but hoped wasn’t coming soon. Susie the dog, who inspired Susie’s Senior Dogs died.

Our little Susie has passed away. It hurts the heart so much, but Susie's dad and I were so privileged to have her for the last five years of her nearly 17 year long life. Although she was already an old lady when she became ours, we certainly had many "firsts" together. We have a lot of special memories and this photo is of one of them from an adventure a few years back. Susie came with us anywhere and everywhere she could, she was a fantastic travel companion! Thank you to everyone who has regularly followed Susie's senior journey and cared so much about her. Most important, thank you to everyone who has been inspired by Susie to adopt an old dog of your own. She is the first of adopted senior dogs in our own personal lives and we would adopt her again 100 times over. Susie was a gift and she has certainly spurred a movement bigger than she'll ever know. SSD will keep spreading the word for all the "little old Susie's" out there. They are all one in a million. ❤️ #susiewenttoheaven

A post shared by Susie's Senior Dogs (@susiesseniordogs) on

I know I don’t know this little pup but I shed a little tear and snuggled my Cher a little closer because I’ve been following her and their senior adoption stories since we adopted Cher. I understand their love of Susie because I love Cher. She’s a part of my family. I even shared my story with them and they posted it to their Facebook page. When we told people we were adopting a dog they’d immediately ask me how old she was and I’d say 9, not thinking about it. I kept getting hit with the, “oh she’s old, aren’t you afraid she’ll die?” What, like the day after I get her? No. Don’t dogs die all the time regardless of their age?
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We adopted Cher in 2013, she was already 9 and when we got all of her records that they had we found out she had spent the last 3 years of her life in 3 different shelters before she got picked up by a rescue group. No one wanted the older dog except for me. No one saw the value in giving my sweet old girl a second chance at a good life. But Cher isn’t the only senior dog that faces that same problem and Susie the dog inspired her owners to start a non-profit to promote adoption of senior dogs.
What a hard life you have 😊
You know what made adopting a senior dog so great? At this stage in our lives we work long hours and knew we couldn’t handle a puppy and I definitely couldn’t take a young dog that needed hours of exercise. At 9, Cher was already house broken and crate trained (although we don’t use a crate, she roams the first floor of the house freely during the day). She didn’t chew things and didn’t really care about toys. All she wants are treats, belly rubs and all the snuggles you can give her. She is quiet and a little timid at times but she also loves car rides and she’s perfect on long road trips. She may not have as much zip in her step as a puppy but she’s definitely still got a lot of spunk.

Cher videos

Adopting any dog has costs and some older dogs do come with medical needs or require more than Cher does. We bought doggy insurance for her and make sure she has the best food and treats so we can keep her healthy and happy. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if you give them love they give it back to you a million times over. Sunday morning Cher woke me up at 6am bright eyed and tail just wagging furiously because she wanted me to go downstairs and snuggle her on the couch. For a split second when she woke me up I was annoyed, it was Sunday and it was 6am and she was waaay to enthusiastic. And then I thought about Susie and her humans who didn’t get the chance to snuggle her anymore so I scooped her up and wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with her and we dozed off to Law & Order. I decided it was better to soak up the love than to be cranky over a doggy wanting to love me. If you are considering getting a dog, please consider adopting and definitely consider a senior dog. They might just change your life like Susie and Cher.
Happy holidays!