Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Great American Road Trip, Day 2

We decided to make an easier day today, driving from Salt Lake City only as far as Boise. This gave us time for roadside stops, including Shoshone Falls on the Snake River.

Highlights of the day included lunch at Maddox's in Brigham City and our overnight at The Modern Hotel ( in Boise - now one of my favorite hotels, ever!

Here are some Day 2 pix:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Great American Road Trip, Day 1

How exciting! I'm spending my birthday driving to Portland, Oregon to attend Sock Summit!

We left Albuquerque yesterday morning, and 14-1/2 (grueling) hours later, arrived in Salt Lake City. Yes, it was a tough drive, but I didn't realize that Utah was so beautiful! We drove up through Blanding, Monticello and the Fishkill National Forest.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to the most beautiful parts, I was too tired to take many pictures. But I did take a lot of windshield shots earlier in the day, during the Gallup -> Four Corners -> Moab portions of the trip.

The wireless internet here at the Salt Lake Days Inn isn't the greatest, but I'll see if I can upload some pix ...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Um, is this a rattlesnake?

Oh dear, never a dull moment up here in the East Mountains. I discovered this snake waiting for me at my back door this morning.


I didn't see it when I stepped out the door – it’s actually lying on the threshold of the full-length window NEXT to the door, thank goodness - but one of my dogs went into a whimpering, curtseying dance at the threshold and refused to go out.

Then I heard the rattle ... a sound I'd never heard before, but made my hair stand on end.

The dogs and I ran away; I came back with the camera.

I assume from the sound that this is a rattlesnake? It was about 2 feet long, but only an inch or so in diameter. I’m guessing from the size that if it’s a rattlesnake, it must be a young one.

The weird thing is, the head isn't as strongly wedge-shaped as other pit vipers I've seen (in Belize, not here). You can see its head better in this closer photo, taken from the safety of indoors:


Soooo … is there another kind of snake in New Mexico that makes a warning rattle? Did I actually hear a rattle, or was it just a hiss? It sounded like a rattle, according to my ancient rat brain.

If it is a juvenile rattlesnake, I’ve just read that they’re considered the most dangerous:

Rattlesnakes are born with fully functioning fangs capable of injecting venom and can regulate the amount of venom they inject when biting. Generally they deliver a full dose of venom to their prey, but may deliver less venom or none at all when biting defensively. A frightened or injured snake may not exercise such control. Young snakes are to be considered more dangerous, as they have less control over the amount of venom they inject. [1] A young rattlesnake will often simply inject all its venom, which might be a lethal dose, depending on the bitten animal.

(1) "Venomous Snakes". National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Topics. Centers for Disease Control.


Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

UPDATE: Thanks to the friendly local folks on the Albuquerque City Data Forum, I now believe that this is NOT a rattlesnake, but a bullsnake, which resembles it.

bullsnakeBullsnakes are NOT venomous, and I’m told should not be killed as they are of no danger to humans and eat large numbers of rodents.

Bullsnakes may vibrate tail when alarm, which may sound like a rattlesnake, also makes a hissing noise. However, they may from time to time get hit over the head with a hoe for doing too effective a job of acting like a rattlesnake.

I feel better already, especially since I didn’t kill it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

3 Kitties Find New Homes!

I was thrilled to hear that 3 of our 5 foster kitties were adopted at this past weekend’s Animal Humane Adopt-a-thon!

Chubby, Gumdrop and Twinkle Toes have found their forever homes, yay! Thanks so much to the generous people who’ve given them a loving home & secure future.

That means only Buck (male, Animal Humane ID #7198) and Frieda (female, Animal Humane ID #7203) are still waiting for adoption.

Oddly, if I’d been able to pick any of our foster kitties to keep, it would have been these two: Buck for best personality & most playful, and Frieda for her sweet temper & extraordinary good looks.

I think I can understand why Buck might not have been someone’s first choice. He’s a wonderful kitty, but he hates being confined in those display cages.

When we visited him during the Adopt-a-thon, he was yowling and reaching through the bars to snag passers-by. I can see how might have scared off potential new families!

Seriously, once he’s out of the cage he calms down immediately, and returns to his normal fun self. I swear!

But I can’t imagine how Frieda got overlooked! She is the real beauty queen of the bunch, with those wonderful tufted ears & cheeks that make her look like a miniature bobcat.

How could anyone resist this face??

So if you want to make Buck and/or Frieda part of your furry family, please hurry down to rescue them. (We can provide all the baby pictures & video you’d ever want!)

Animal Humane of Albuquerque is located at 615 Virginia Street SE, and their main phone number is 255-5523.

Their Adoptions Department is open 7 days a week from 10:00am-6:00pm (but closed for the lunch hour from 12:00pm-1:00pm). Their website is .

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All 5 Kitties Ready for Adoption!

Well, the big day is finally here. All five of the kitties have reached their 2-pound weight goal, and this afternoon I am taking them back to Animal Humane.

Tomorrow they’ll be spayed or neutered. Then they’ll be ready to go to their new homes by Saturday! They’ll make their first public appearance at this weekend’s Adopt-a-thon, 10:00am Saturday, June 13th thru 4:00pm Sunday, June 14th, at Central and Carlisle in the Nob Hill area of Albuquerque.

Here are their mugshots & ID numbers:



 Chubby, female, Animal Humane ID # 7200 Chubby_Gumdrop

Shown here with Gumdrop -->.






Buck_closeup  Buck, male, Animal Humane ID # 7198 Buck2









Gumdrop_closeup  Gumdrop, male, Animal Humane ID #7201
What a prankster! Gumdrop3










Freida_closeup  Frieda, female, Animal Humane ID #7203
The beauty queen, with tufted ears. Freida


Twinkle Toes, male, Animal Humane ID #7204
The ultimate lap cat! Twinkletoes











Animal Humane of Albuquerque is located at 615 Virginia Street SE, and their main phone number is 255-5523. Their Adoptions Department is open 7 days a week from 10:00am-6:00pm (but closed for the lunch hour from 12:00pm-1:00pm). Their website is .

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

P.S. You can find out more about animal fostering, and see the kittens’ baby pictures, in my previous blog post. Links in my blog sidebar will take you to video of us bottle-feeding them when they were tiny. It’s amazing how much they’ve grown since then!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2 Foster Kittens Ready for Adoption!

I’m so happy to say that the five kittens we’ve been fostering for Animal Humane of Albuquerque are thriving. All five are healthy, happy, and fully litter-box trained. They’ve been with us 6 weeks, so we assume they’re around 8 weeks old now.

They’ve spent their time socializing with our friends and neighbors, our 4 adult cats, and our 4 really big dogs, so they’re completely comfortable with humans and animals, both.

And two of them have reached their 2-pound weight goal, which means they are ready now to find their “forever homes”!

The two ready to go are “Chubby” and “Buck”. Please note, we didn’t name these kittens – they were given their names on intake at Animal Humane back in April. (Do Chubby a favor, please, and pick a better name for her!)

This is Chubby, a gray and white female with pretty blue-green eyes.


From the beginning, Chubby was the largest and healthiest kitten of our mixed litter of fosters. She has a friendly, outgoing personality, a nice mix of playful and cuddly.


And here’s Buck, a.k.a. Buckaroo: a marmalade tom whose eyes have stayed blue! Oops, you can’t tell that from this photo.

Buck Nor can you tell from this picture what a swashbuckling adventurer Buck is! Fearless and bold, Buck was the first to swat a dog’s nose, and the first to bravely venture into the Land of Upstairs. If you’re looking for a mouser, I think Buck’s your boy!

Buck’s favorite toy is this wicker basket. That’s Twinkletoes in the back.


The week we were asked to foster these kittens, Animal Humane took in more than 100 homeless kittens, all abandoned at approximately the same age. That means that many of them are now ready for adoption, too.

You can see more kitties at Animal Humane’s next Adopt-a-Thon, 10:00am Saturday, June 13th thru 4:00pm Sunday, June 14th, at Central and Carlisle in the Nob Hill area of Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, last week Animal Humane asked if we could keep these sweet kittehs here at our house a while longer while they find homes for the dozen or more in their care right now … which of course we were (secretly) happy to do.

So if you’d like to adopt Chubby or Buck, just drop me a line and I’ll take them in to Animal Humane for you to meet!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

P.S. You can find out more about animal fostering, and see the kittens’ baby pictures, in my previous blog post. Links in my blog sidebar will take you to video of us bottle-feeding them when they were tiny. It’s amazing how much they’ve grown since then!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Knittin’ n Kittens

I love weekends. I mean, does it get any better than this?

LuckyMe So here I am, spending some quality time with my knitting (the sleeve of my Sonora Cardigan, RavLink), an audiobook (Twilight series Book 3, Eclipse) and all five foster kittens (from bottom, Buck, Chubby, Gumdrop, Freida and Twinkletoes).

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

Monday, June 1, 2009

Update on the Belize Earthquake

I was concerned to hear that Belize & coastal Honduras were rocked by a 7.1 earthquake in the wee hours of May 28.

While this quake was most destructive in Honduras (just south of Belize), it was felt as far away as Guatemala City. Honduras’ Bay Islands of Roatan and Utila were the closest land to the epicenter; evacuations were reported as far inland as San Pedro Sula.

However, thanks to reports from friends in Belize, including the US Embassy rep for the Northern District, I’m happy to say that although damage in the southern district was wide-spread, no one was killed, and damage in northern Belize was minimal.

monkeyriverSeveral stilt houses in the southern district collapsed; the water tower in Independence toppled; and electrical power went out from Punta Gorda to Corozal.

Yes, Belize occasionally gets earthquakes, though they’re typically felt more strongly in the southern parts of the country – Placencia, Punta Gorda, Seine Bight, Dangriga – than they are in the northern part where I lived.

I do remember being told of an earthquake years ago, when I was living in San Estevan for the Belize Postclassic archaeology project. Everyone else felt it in the village of San Estevan, in Orange Walk and even out at Lamanai – but I totally slept through the tremor, darn it.

For those of you looking for news of this most recent quake, which was followed on May 30 by a smaller 4.6 trembler, epicentered in roughly the same offshore spot, here are some links:

  1. The USGS map of the May 28 quake, measured at 7.3, centered about 80 miles off the coast of Belize & Honduras.
  2. The USGS map of the May 30 quake, measured at 4.6.
  3. A tsunami watch for coastal Belize and Honduras was posted on May 28, but cancelled without incident on May 29.
  4. Funny first-hand account from “As the Coconuts Drop” blog, written by a resident of Maya Beach, in southernmost Belize. Titled GRAB SUMPTIN AND HOLD ON,,,,! or, DID THE EARTH MOVE FOR YOU TOO? Updated with photos.
  5. Another first-hand report from Sue Harris in Monkey River, Belize, where several homes were damaged or destroyed.
  6. A Facebook group has been formed by the staff of the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) on behalf of the people and Town Council of Monkey River.
  7. Fiona’s photos of post-quake damage in Placencia, on Flickr.
  8. News article from the Huffington Post, and the AP report, which go into more detail about the damage in Honduras.
  9. Mission 2005/the Atlantis Projects (MIT) assesses “the seismic background of Belize”, noting that

“Every 8 years approximately, Belize experiences a 6.0 magnitude on the Richter scale subterranean earthquake in the ocean at the fault between Hunting Caye and Puerto Cortez. According to the Belize Development Trust, Belize has a 100% chance of seeing 5 earthquakes and 75% of seeing 10 in the next century. Furthermore, the Northern Lagoon where the Blue Hole is located is cut up into three reef sections separated by three wrench faults.”

plates2The yellow lines on the USGS map shown above illustrate the regional plate boundaries (90% of all earthquakes occur on these shifting edges). It appears that both of these quakes centered on the plate boundary that runs roughly east-west under the Bay of Honduras.

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Former Resident of Corozal, Belize

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Can You Freeze Guacamole?

There was some discussion on the Albuquerque City-Data forum recently as to whether one can successfully freeze guacamole.

avocado After repeated experiments, my opinion is no, you can’t freeze guacamole – but you can freeze mashed avocado pulp, then gussy it up into guacamole at serving time.

Is frozen pulp as good as fresh? No, of course not. Is it better than nothing? Yes!

avocadotree I used to do this all the time in Belize, where avocados ripen all at once in August & September. For two delirious months we’d be up to our elbows in buttery, ripe avocados … then we’d have to do without for the rest of the year. Wah!

So I would gather up all the ripe avocados I couldn’t eat then and there without exploding, and in a single marathon session I’d peel, pit and mash them with lashings of freshly squeezed lime juice, about a teaspoonful per avocado (count the pits). Here in the States, lemon juice works too.

DianaKennedy (Despite what Diana Kennedy, the maven of Mexican cooking, says about this, I like the flavor of lime juice in my guacamole.)

Without adding anything more to the pulp, not even salt, I’d measure it into vacuum seal freezer bags, one to two cups per bag, and freeze it.

I strongly recommend the “suck ‘n seal” packaging method for this project. But whatever freezer bag you use, you want to remove as much air as possible. Oxidation is avocado’s enemy, turning exposed pulp an unattractive brown. The citric acid in the lime or lemon juice also helps preserve the color.

Depending on your freezer temperature and the bags you use, avocado pulp will keep nicely anywhere from two to six months in the freezer.

When it’s time to make the guacamole, first thaw the sealed bag of pulp overnight in the fridge. If you’re in a hurry, you can submerge your freezer bag in a bowl of warm water; but I don’t recommend defrosting it in the microwave. (I tried that once, and it got ugly.)

Once thawed, you’ll notice your avocado pulp may be a bit watery. Just punch a little hole in the freezer bag and drain off any excess liquid.

Then de-bag the pulp and mix in whatever fresh fixings you like – chopped tomatoes and Serrano chiles, minced onion, cilantro, etc. Salt to taste, maybe add a pinch of sugar, and serve.

Voila! Guacamole on demand.

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Have you seen my “Second Story”?

Vintage Knitting & Fiber Arts Patterns

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Better Internet in the Country? Cellular Broadband!

I’ve just gotten off the phone with Dish Network, cancelling their Wild Blue satellite Internet service to my mountain home. Woohoo! I’m finally & officially freed from satellite Internet and now reconnected via Verizon cellular broadband.

The problem for residents of rural America like me, as I noted in my previous post I'm Offline because Dish Network Hates Kittens, is that until very recently, our Internet service choices were limited to two: dial-up (ugh, shudder) or satellite. No cable, no DSL, nada.

Until now, satellite service has worked out just fine for me, certainly an improvement on dial-up. It’s just Wild Blue’s service policies that drove me to cancel them.

Back story: when I accidentally exceeded Wild Blue’s (unpublished) upload limit with my Kitten Cam streaming video project, violating their vaguely-worded “Fair Access Policy”, their response was to cut my Internet access down to a virtual trickle. No warning, no communication, just ZAP – unusable Internet for an indefinite period of time, for which they would still charge me $80 per month.

In my first 10 days of strangled usage, my overage factor was only reduced from 6% to 5%. At that rate, I calculated it would be 50 more days until Wild Blue restored my service. And Wild Blue refused to budge, or even to let me buy my way out of the penalty.

So there I was, becalmed in the horse latitudes of the Internet disenfranchised, when I received David Pogue’s email feature on the MiFi portable wireless hotspot.

(David Pogue writes the superb Circuits column for the New York Times; out here in the Wild West you can subscribe via email and/or follow him on Twitter.)

And it suddenly dawned on me that there is a third option for rural or remote users like me: cellular broadband Internet service.

All I needed was some new and relatively inexpensive hardware, and I could switch from Wild Blue satellite to Verizon cellular broadband service … which is now cheaper and faster than satellite.

I hadn’t seriously considered cellular broadband Internet before, because last I’d looked it was expensive, with unattractive service terms, and all I could find on the market to receive cellular signal were the one-user-at-a-time cellular modems.

In other words, I could plug the cellular modem into my computer, work for a while, then unplug it and hand it over to my husband when it was his turn to get online.

Clearly, that would never work.

But if you combine that cellular modem with a wireless router to serve two or more users … and find a better-priced service … aha, a real solution!

MiFi2200 So, Verizon introduced the MiFi 2200 last week, as you may already have heard, along with a truly improved service contract.

The MiFi is no bigger than a stack of three credit cards and combines a cellular modem, router and antenna in one device. Power it on, and within seconds you connect to your Verizon cellular broadband signal, and create a cozy, completely portable wireless hotspot big enough for you and four friends/devices to use.

But while the MiFi certainly is crazy-sexy-cool, and I wanted it badly, it wasn’t the right device for me.

I got a lot of help in this process from an online vendor, I can’t say enough good things about their (free) pre-sales tech support, and their product choices and pricing.

“You’re exactly the kind of customer who shouldn’t buy a MiFi,” 3G’s guru Alex told me. “Think of the MiFi as a city device. You live in the country.”

Even though Verizon’s 3G network is the best & largest in the world, I still live in a “less than optimal” service area. Up here in the mountains, I need a cell signal booster antenna, and you can’t attach a booster antenna to a MiFi.

Worse, in addition to my wireless laptop and iPod Touch, I have two older desktop computers that aren’t wireless … and finally, portability wasn’t really my primary concern; a permanently functional home office was.

So instead of the MiFi, I purchased:

mbr1000 A Cradlepoint MBR-1000 mobile broadband router which gives me an 802.11 ‘N’ wireless home network plus 4 Ethernet ports to direct-connect my older PCs;



A thumb-sized Verizon USB 760 cellular broadband modem and a booster antenna

and then I signed up for Verizon cellular Internet service, just as you’d do for the MiFi.

One perk of this arrangement is that I’m not tied to Verizon once my two-year service contract is up. The CradlePoint allows me switch out the modem and the service if Verizon should ever irritate me as badly as Wild Blue has. The MiFi, by contrast, only works with Verizon service, period.

I’d also asked Alex if I could buy the MiFi to connect to the CradlePoint router instead of the 760 modem … then, when I traveled, I could just unhook the MiFi and slip it in my pocket … but, he says, no, not yet. (If you’re intrigued by this idea, the 3GStore is talking with CradlePoint technicians about offering exactly this solution, possibly in the next few weeks.)

And if you are able to wait that long, Sprint will introduce its own similarly-priced version of the MiFi – which will include GPS capability – next month.

Meanwhile, although I think calling the CradlePoint router “mobile” is a bit of a stretch, I can still travel with just the little 760 modem. I could unclip it from the CradlePoint router and jack it into my laptop while on the road.

Of course, without the router it’s back to the one-at-a-time-user situation, rather than a hotspot for multiple users/devices. And I can’t connect the modem to my iPod Touch.

But, what the heck, you can’t always have it all out here in the sticks.


The bottom line:

  • The MiFi currently costs either $60 (from the 3GStore) or $100 (from Verizon). All the hardware I bought instead of the MiFi cost me about $225, from which I can deduct $75 in mail-in rebates, for a total of $150.
  • The Verizon cellular service is $60 per month, which is 25% less than I was paying Wild Blue every month. And it is noticeably faster than my former satellite service.
  • And what about overages? My Verizon contract caps at 5 GB per month – roughly the equivalent of 35,000 web pages – but yes, I am concerned that I might run over. If I do, it’s 5 cents per 1 Mb, which translates to $6 per extra GB.  Can I live with 5 GB per month? I don’t know yet, but at least it’s clearly spelled out; and, instead of being hopelessly hog-tied by an overage, I can buy my way out of it.

I never thought I’d say this, but, thank you, Verizon … and nuts to you, Wild Blue!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Have you seen my “Second Story”?

Vintage Knitting & Fiber Arts Patterns

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm Offline because Dish Network Hates Kittens

I'm writing this at my local public library. Thanks to the generosity of the City of Albuquerque and Mayor Martin Chavez, our libraries offer free wireless Internet access.

So I'm at the library because I do not have Internet access at home, despite the premium $80 I pay every month to Dish Network/Wild Blue.

Dish Network, through their minion, I mean subcontractor, Wild Blue, has disconnected me because I exceeded their (secret) upload limit by 6 percent.

I wasted the last couple of days troubleshooting my computers and routers, assuming that my connection problem was local in origin. 

Finally, I gave up & called Wild Blue this morning. They explained that due to my "contract violation" - never mind that their contract does not specify what this magical upload limit is - they would withhold my Internet service for an indefinite length of time.

"I really don't know how long it will be before we restore your service," the service rep told me. "It all depends. At least a week, maybe longer."

Presumably, it was my Kitten Cam streaming video project that caused me to exceed Wild Blue's unpublished upload limit.

I didn't have any warning. Wild Blue did not give me any notice that I was approaching or exceeding their secret limit. They said this was because they didn't know my email address ... which, of course, they provided me when we set up the account.

And there's no way to look at your bandwidth usage to determine if you are nearing Wild Blue's arbitrary, unpublished upload limit. Wild Blue does not offer a web interface to see any of your account details; Dish Network only shows the monthly charge as a lump sum, after the fact.

Speaking of charges, I hope being disconnected is my only punishment. I didn't think to ask if there would also be a financial penalty? Sigh.

Anyway, so until Wild Blue arbitrarily decides to restore my Internet service, I'll be almost entirely offline. I should be able to download email messages as long as they're simple text, but that's about it: none with HTML or attachments.

I won't be able to upload anything at all. That means, no new listings for my two Etsy stores, or my eBay store, or my Amazon store. No updates to my website or my blog unless I trek back here (24 mi R/T) to the library.

I can't access Twitter or Facebook, so no updates there, either.

This is cold, man, really cold.

Of course I'll start investigating other Internet service providers immediately. But I already know that options for our rural area are limited - and expensive. Those of you who live in urban areas probably take high speed Internet access for granted, but let me tell you, those of us out here in the country are well & truly disenfranchised.

But I shouldn't complain, as there are areas within the state of New Mexico that don't even have telephone service. When Qwest was granted the telephone monopoly by the State, they contractually agreed to provide service to our rural areas. Years later, when the State finally noticed Qwest hadn't lived up to its obligations in exchange for its extremely lucrative monopoly, Qwest decided they'd rather pay the non-performance penalties than actually provide the service. 

So as I said, I feel lucky by comparison.

Anyway, while I'm researching other Internet access options, my Kitten Cam project is obviously dead in the water. Although we did record some video that's still available for viewing on the Ustream site.

I'd love to know how other streaming video providers do it ... I mean, there are loads of puppy cams and kitten cams out there running 24x7, presumably on residential (non-commercial) ISPs. How do they do it? 

Are companies other than Wild Blue more generous with bandwidth? Or do they simply offer better, cheaper services to urban areas? 

And if that's so, how do they get away with that? At what point do we acknowledge that Internet access is a utility?

Just wondering ... and I'd appreciate any info or suggestions anyone can give me on this. Via text-only email, of course.

kNotes for kNitters 
Sandia Park, NM

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Zealand Knitwear Designer to visit our knitting group!

How amazing is this?

lynadell_1 Lynette Harvey, New Zealand knitwear designer and creator of LynAdell Creative Knitwear designs will address a special meeting of our Sandia Stitch ‘n Time needlework group at the East Mountain Library in Tijeras, on Wednesday, May 6, starting at 2:00 PM.

Ms. Harvey’s subject will be “Knit to Fit: Shaping Knitted Garments”.

lynadell_2 “The topic of shaping hand knit garments is dear to my heart,” Harvey told me, “what with all of our different shapes, and the ‘one size fits all’ attitude of manufacturers!”

Harvey’s design career has included periods as a head designer for a New Zealand magazine, writing and designing garments for publication, as lead designer for top fashion houses, and 14 years designing for her own successful retail outlet.

lynadell_3 After winning a major award for a hand-crafted garment in the 1980s, she decided to focus solely on hand knitted designs.

Her unique knitted designs highlight her devotion to the total design of a garment, from selecting the wool, hand-making buttons, subtle shaping and bias curves to complement the figure.

lynadell_4 Our special presentation is open to the public, free of charge. All interested knitters are invited to attend, and refreshments will be served!

~ * ~

Our Sandia Stitch ‘n Time needlework group – not just for knitters, but also crochet-ers and cross-stitchers and needleworkers of all sorts - meets on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at the East Mountain Library, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Upcoming meetings are scheduled for May 9 and May 23. You can always find our latest schedule info on my website,, under the heading “kNitting kNews”.

Map of East Mountain Library location in Tijeras, NM:

Map picture

For more information about other programs at the East Mountain Library (1 Old Tijeras Rd, Tijeras, NM 87059) in Tijeras, including hours and directions, call (505) 281-8508 or 311; TTY users call Relay NM or 711; or visit the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library website at

Hope to see you there,

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Have you seen my “Second Story”?

Vintage Knitting & Fiber Arts Patterns

Thursday, April 30, 2009

We’re foster parents! For 5 Abandoned Kitties

Kittens1 Monday morning we got the call we’d been hoping for from Animal Humane of Albuquerque: they have an onslaught of abandoned kittens, and they have a litter that needs fostering!

Two weeks ago we applied to be “foster parents” for Animal Humane. We said we could take kittens, puppies or adult dogs.

(We figured that with our current pet population, we’d better not try to take nursing mothers of either species – too stressful for all involved.)

We have 4 cats and 4 dogs of our own (all but one are rescues). On 5 acres, in a smallish house, that’s plenty. We simply can’t permanently adopt any more. But, we realized, we can foster animals that need help.

How Animal Fostering Works

Kitten3_Gumdrop When Animal Humane receives animals too young, too small or too sick for immediate adoption, they send them to live with volunteer foster families like ours.

We give them the special care & feeding they need, and socialize them. They can get used to people, being picked up, petted, and fed -- and to being around other cats, and dogs, especially large dogs. Our smallest dog is a Weimeraner, to give you an idea.

Then, when they are old enough, large enough, and healthy enough, we return them to Animal Humane for permanent adoption. Strong and healthy, they have a much better chance of finding what AH calls their “forever home”.

Animal Humane provides us all the supplies we need to take care of the kitties. When we left the AH “campus”, we had two heavy sacks full of kitten formula, feeding bottles, stage-two weaning food, canned wet food, dry kibble, cat toys, a cat carrier and even a fleecy hammock to hang in our pet crate.

About the Kittens

Kitten5 These guys are tiny! There are five of them, from different litters. They do not yet know how to lap from a bowl, or to eat solid food, so we are bottle-feeding them every 2 hours.

On May 12, we’ll take them in to Animal Humane’s clinic for a check-up and vaccinations. Animal Humane provides all their medical care free of charge.

They’ll stay with us for an estimated four weeks, until May 25. By then, we hope we can fatten them up to 2 pounds, and they’ll be old enough for adoption. At that point, we’ll take them back, with their chances for survival greatly improved.

Other Ways to Help

Kittens6 As my veterinarian in Belize used to tell me, over and over like a mantra, “You can’t save them all.”

It’s not always possible to permanently adopt an animal, I know.

And I know that not everyone has the time that fostering animals requires. I’m lucky to be able to work at home, so I can provide the round-the-clock care & supervision that these little guys need.

But there are many other ways to help your local animal shelter. Our Animal Humane shelter has a list of ways you can help them, for example. Your local shelter probably has a similar list.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Cash donations are always welcome, of course. AH spends an average of $21.64 per animal, per day caring for their rescued animals.
  • If you can’t care for animals in your home, you can volunteer your time to help out at the shelter.
  • You can donate items from your shelter’s wish list. This might include cat litter, blankets, pet toys and so forth.
  • Many shelters like Animal Humane operate thrift stores to support their good work, so you can donate gently used goods and clothing to those for resale.

We are so grateful to the people of Albuquerque who support the efforts of Animal Humane. Their donations made it possible for us to foster these kitties.

Thanks to all of you who support animal rescue!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

P.S. If you’d like to take a peep at the kittens in real time, we’ve set up a Kitten Cam for streaming video, on-air live usually from 8 am to 6 pm or so, Mountain Daylight time!

Currently we’re trying to extend our feeding times from every 2 hours to 2-1/2 hours or so; feeding times are posted on the video site and on Twitter. (Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fabulous Fiber Friday: Freebies, Contests & Sales

Welcome to my fourth “Fabulous Fiber Friday”, a weekly round-up of the best of the fiber-oriented freebies, contests and sales that’ve turned up through the week.

If you’ve got a fabulous fiber deal of your own, feel free to post it as a comment here (find how-to instructions at the end of this post). The more, the merrier!


Fiesta Yarns & Ironstone Yarns: Massive Sale in ABQ

If you’re lucky enough to live in Albuquerque in May, or even if you’re only passing through, you’ll definitely want to shop the week-long “Fiber Extravaganza Sale” culminating in a huge parking lot markdown frenzy, sponsored by New Mexico hand-dyed luxury yarn artists Fiesta Yarns and Ironstone Yarns.

The sale will include yarns of all descriptions, of course: first runs, short runs, odd lots, seconds, discontinued and closeout yarns; but also books, patterns, needles, magazines and notions … all at up to 75% off regular prices.

  • May 11-15, 2009: Big Discounts in the Fiesta Yarns Outlet Store, 10 am - 4:30 pm daily
  • May 16, 2009: Huge Parking Lot Sale with deeper discounts and deals, 10 am - 5 pm.

Here’s the official sale flyer with more info, and a Red Hot Deals Coupon to save even more money!

VK’s knit.1.08 Patterns Now Online

knit1_2008 Vogue Knitting’s “knit.1” Fall/Winter 2008 magazine issue sold out completely last year, taking some knitters by surprise, leaving them howling for the patterns.

Well, howl no more, all 24 patterns have been uploaded to the VK Pattern Store this week, and are available for online purchase.

Chance to Win $25 in Lion Brand Yarns

Just got an email from our friends at Lion Brand Yarns, who’d like to hear from you, and might reward you for sharing your opinions:

“We always love hearing from you, our customers. Take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us AND enter for a chance to win $25 to spend on any future purchase on! Take our survey by clicking here!


Talk to Planet Purl

Similarly, the knitting website Planet Purl solicits your input, and sweetens the pot with a lavish yarn prize.

“Post suggestions for what you want to see on the site in our forum and be entered to win. The winner will receive (4) 7.5 ounce skeins of luscious Look China Tussah Silk/New Zealand Wool, 440 yards each, 1760 yards total (a $120 value). The random drawing will be held May 14th. Post your ideas and be entered to win!

“Affordable Yarns” Sale on eBay

Frankfort Avenue Fibers, whose eBay outlet store is appropriately dubbed “Affordable Yarns’, has marked down more than 200 of their knitting & crochet patterns and mill-end yarn eBay listings by 15%. New sales begin weekly, so keep an eye on their store!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM


Are You Having a Fabulous Fiber Sale?

If you’re offering a special fiber arts or yarn sale, contest, promotion or giveaway, and would like to share it here on Fabulous Fiber Friday, feel free to post your promotion details as a comment to this or any subsequent Fabulous Fiber Friday post.

Be sure to include your URL link, plus the beginning and ending dates of your special offer!