Why we’re on the Post Office’s watch list

In so many ways, Sam is not a typical dog. This is how he wins over non-dog-people. He doesn’t ask for attention, he doesn’t fetch, he silently observes people and situations…sometimes he’s downright boring. Before long folks are petting his sleeping form and confessing, “I don’t usually like dogs…but this dog is funny.” And he is.

Sam…wasting time until dinner

Turns out he’s also a public menace. Last week we got a letter from the U.S. Postal Service that read:

I am writing to make you aware of problems that our carrier is having with your dog. Yesterday, July 14, she was chased by your dog into the neighbors yard. This is unacceptable. Dog threats are a very real concern for our letter carriers. Millions of dollars are spent each year on injuries our carriers sustain from dogs. It is postal policy that the mail will not be delivered to a home that presents a dog threat….

Sam was confined to the backyard when this happened. There’s a Sam-sized hole in the fence if you kick aside some boards, so he must have seen the mailperson coming, pushed aside the boards, bolted through the fence to terrorize her, and (here’s the kicker) – GONE BACK INSIDE THE FENCE. Geez. Only Sam would be so assured in his right-ness that he’d bust out of confinement only to re-enter confinement when the job was done.
I don’t blame the post office one bit. I wouldn’t want strange dogs barking and chasing me, and I told Sam that he was lucky he didn’t get pepper-sprayed. Or worse. He told me that this woman is part of an evil government-watch plan that involves aliens, Richard Simmons, and a national ban on bacon. Poor Sam…I’m afraid old age is starting to mess with his head.

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Blocking a knit hat with a balloon

Last week I finished the loose-fitting adaptation of Knitty’s Foliage – a hat pattern that I’ve made in its original format a couple times. I had some thin cornflower blue yarn and wanted to make a looser, larger version of this hat.  I’ve spent a lot of hours in airports and airplanes over the past couple weeks (job interview in Boston and wedding in Cleveland) so there wasn’t much else to do except knit. Perfecting the pattern got tiresome – I would’ve buried it in the knitting pile if I had any better distractions than talking to the businessman next to me or swiping my credit card for $5.99 movies on the little screen. But now it’s done!

The hat is made with sz. 3 needles (except the bottom ribbing…I went down to sz. 2 there). I extended the Foliage increase-pattern a couple rows, then worked in the round for about 7 inches. I made an extra double-decrease in every other “leaf” before binding off, which helped the hat fit snugly at the ribbing.

Flying in to Portland, OR

Once it was all done I blocked it with a regular old party balloon. I hadn’t tried this before, but I also hadn’t made a hat of this shape before…loose, bigger than my head, and with a smaller circumference at the bottom than in the middle. The balloon worked like a charm. While I set the hat in the window to dry, the sunlight made the balloon glow like a wondrous magical light fixture.

Don't stretch your knitting over the inflated balloon. Instead, place the balloon in the hat and inflate.

Letting the hat dry

I used size 3 needles and extended the Foliage pattern a couple rows

Bethany gets a hat from this yarn next 🙂

Tomorrow…I tell you why we got an angry letter from the United States Postal Service.

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