Posted by: mamas2hands | February 12, 2016

A Headband for Walkies

The weather is warming up a little up here on the mountain. But with my new short hairstyle my ears can get quite chilly when I am out for walks with my dog.

Photo courtesy of Beatrice Ryan Designs

Photo courtesy of Beatrice Ryan Designs

So I decided it was time to try this fun headband pattern designed by my friend Elena at Beatrice Ryan Designs. You can find the pattern over on her blog “Whimsical Warmth Headband”.

Finished Headband on Model

I thought it would look really nice in a yarn with long gradual color changes so I decided to use Red Heart’s Boutique “Treasures” in the Watercolors colorway.

I made a few changes when working this pattern. I used a foundation single crochet for the foundation instead of working a chain and then working into the chain.

Inside of Headband

I also didn’t want to cut the yarn and re-attach to the bottom of the foundation. Instead I used chain and slip stitches to work down along the inside seam of the headband after I completed the reverse single crochet edge on the top edge of the headband.  Then I completed the reverse single crochet edging along the base of the foundation.

I really like the way this headband came out, and it’s going to be my favorite to wear on my walks this spring.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 10, 2016

Making a Pendant

Finished Heart Pendant

My weekend post was about Valentines Hearts, but I’m not finished yet. This pendant is a bit more complex than the projects I showed you in my last post, so I’m going to walk you thru how I made it.

2 hearts to start with

I used Kreinik #12 metallic with a 1.75mm steel hook. I made 2 “Crocheted Love” hearts, and 1 “Simple Sweetheart” heart. I attached the Simple Sweetheart to the front of one of the larger hearts.

I crocheted my larger hearts together with single crochet stitch border and used a “hoist-on” method to place beads along the border.

Hoist on Bead 1

For the “hoist-on” method I worked the last stitch before the stitch I want to place my bead on. Then extend the working loop and remove my hook from the loop. I then use a smaller steel hook to pick up a bead and insert that hook into the working loop.

Hoist on Bead 2

I slide the bead from the shaft of the hook onto the working loop.

Hoist on Bead 3

Then re-insert my hook that I was crocheting with to complete my stitch. This leaves the bead sitting on the top of the stitch.

Along the curve at the top of the heart I made 1 single crochet stitch working thru the tops of the stitches on both hearts, then placed a bead and chained 1 before making a single crochet in the next stitch. This created enough ease to curve around the curved section of the heart without causing the fabric to cup.

When I reached the straight edges of the heart I made my beaded chain 1, then sc2tog to keep the border from becoming ruffled.

Lavender buds

Before completing the sc border I poured some dried lavender buds inside the 2 large hearts. When worn the warmth from the body will release the fragrance of the lavender.

Back of Pendant

I left long enough tails to weave them back up to the top of the heart. Then I used the tails to sew a split ring to the back of the heart to string it on a necklace.

Necklace on Model2

A reminder, if you haven’t had an opportunity to take the TNNA Fiber Arts 2016 Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fiberarts16 you still can.

This survey is part of a major study of U.S. knitters, crocheters, needlepointers, cross-stitchers, weavers, and spinners. The survey will only take about 10 minutes to complete, and the more folks that complete it the better we designers and other yarn industry folks can understand your needs.

By taking this survey you will…
– Help fiber arts organizations and businesses serve you better
– Tell retailers and brands what you want
– Explore your fiber arts life
– Get the chance to win one of five $100 fiber arts store gift cards

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 5, 2016

You Gotta have Heart

It’s that time of year again, full of snow and cold, February has come blustering in here on the mountain. But my heart is warm because that means Valentine’s Day.  For me it’s a holiday that really works as a reason for Chocolate (that’s capitalized on purpose).

Chocolate Hearts

I managed to make an early stop to the aisle at my grocery store where all the seasonal stuff is. I indulged in a number of bags of my favorite Dove Dark Chocolate heart candies, they tend to sell out fast here. There is just something about the little heart shapes that makes these individually wrapped candies extra special.

Over the years in my design career I have created a number of crochet patterns that involve hearts. Some are ones that I have offered here on the blog as free patterns. Others have been created for magazines or yarn companies.

Photo Courtesy of Red Heart Yarns

Photo Courtesy of Red Heart Yarns

I created the “Valentine Heart Coaster” for Red Heart a few years back. It’s a quick project to work up and you can use it as a coaster, or sew it onto a bag or blanket as an embellishment.

Bag staged w env.s

I also created the “Here’s My Heart” gift bag. This project takes a bit more of a time commitment, but makes a lovely gift bag for someone special in your life. This is a bit more complex pattern as well, so a fun challenge for those with more crochet experience. The lace edged heart on the front is actually a pocket, so a great spot to put a special note.

Both of these patterns are available for free at Redheart.com, just click on the link in the pattern names above.

I’ve also put up a number of free heart patterns here on the blog over the years. My top 3 favorites are:

Crocheted Love Sample photo

Crocheted Love

Spiral-in-a-heart

Spiral in a Heart

Sweetheart-in-hand

and Simple Sweetheart.

Candy in Heart

I like to play with these designs and use the hearts as embellishments or elements for projects. My favorite way to use the “Crocheted Love” and “Simple Sweetheart” is to make 2 hearts and sew them together leaving an opening at the top to insert a note or chocolate (often a little Dove heart, since that fits perfectly). You can read more about how I made the little pocket above on my 2014 Valentines Day post.

Pocket Heart

Last year I used my “Crocheted Love” heart pattern to make this fun little pocket to hold some chocolate and a note for my dear husband.

Hearts Necklace

This year I decided I needed some jewelry to wear for Valentine’s Day. So I crocheted up some of my “Simple Sweetheart” and “Spiral in a Heart” using Kreinik #12 Metallic Braid in hot-pink and pink colors. For the necklace pictured above I used a 1.75mm steel hook to create a nice firm fabric that didn’t need additional stiffening.

Spiral Heart in K

I also modified my “Spiral in a Heart” pattern to create a more symmetrical appearance to the heart shape.  The modification is simple if you want to try it. When you get to the end of Round 3, ch 1, then sl st into side of last hdc, sc next sc, loose sl sts in next 3 sts, fasten off and weave in ends.

My “Crocheted Love” heart has also been rather popular with other crochet bloggers. They have come up with fun ideas on ways to incorporate it into their projects.

Heart Baskets

You’ve seen Cintia’s little baskets. The photo above is my experiment with that idea, came out very cushy and they made great containers for chocolates.

Photo by Laura Murray used with permission

Photo by Laura Murray used with permission

Check out this fun project from Laura Murray over at Paper and Pin. She used my “Crocheted Love” hearts and turned them into sweet little conversation heart pillows. I think it’s a toss-up on my favorite one she made, though the “hug” heart is very sweet.

I’ll have a few more ideas for Valentine’s Day for all my dear readers next week, but hopefully these will spark something for those of you looking for ideas for gifts for your loved ones.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 2, 2016

Getting the Most from a Pattern

As a designer and particularly as an indie-designer, I spend a lot of time thinking about what information a pattern needs to include. Clarity is vital for a pattern to be easy to follow and for stitchers to be able to replicate the original design.  After all, that is the main purpose of a pattern. To provide all the information that a crafter will need to get the same result that the designer did.

Interestingly enough, a lot of folks have a hard time being able to follow a pattern. So today’s post is all about the anatomy of a pattern and how changes can make or break your final project.

Patterns can be broken into 4 parts: Materials, Metrics, Pre-Instructions, Instructions. Changes in any of these areas can change the resulting finished project significantly from the sample the designer created for photography. Which can be exactly the result you want, it’s just good to be aware of how your changes will affect the finished object.

Materials

Materials

This is where the pattern lists the yarn, hook size and any other materials or tools that you will need to have on hand to complete the project.

If you decide at this point in the pattern to use a different yarn than was used in the design this is where things can change a great deal. Yarn substitution is tricky. Sometimes the listed yarn is no longer available or difficult for you to get hold of. So when looking at substitution it is a good idea to look at not only the weight, but fiber content and even the amount of twist in the yarn originally used as well as in the yarn you wish to substitute.

Metrics

Metrics

This is where the pattern tells you the sizes the pattern can be used to make as well as the gauge measurements.

If you change the hook size that was listed in the Materials you will very likely have some changes in this area. Gauge swatches can be your friend if you have made changes. Working that swatch will give you an idea of how close you will be to the measurements given.

If your pattern is for something like an afghan or scarf, where gauge isn’t that critical, you still want to have an idea of what the size of your finished project is going to be. If nothing else, to be sure you have enough yarn.

Pre-Instructions

This area is one of the most often skipped areas in pattern reading and can lead to the biggest tangles when working a pattern. It generally includes things like the “Special Stitches” and “Pattern Notes”.

This area of a pattern often gets ignored by stitchers until they run into a snag while working the pattern. This is often very important information for working the pattern smoothly.  Special Stitches will explain non-standard abbreviations for stitches. Pattern Notes will give you a heads up about things in the pattern to pay particular attention to.

Instructions

This is the “meat” of the pattern. In the instructions you will get the exact directions on the order and placement of stitches to create the finished object. Sometimes the instructions will include stitch charts, schematics and photo tutorials.

If the pattern is for a complex project, like a garment made from multiple pieces, it will often have the instructions broken out for the various pieces. Sleeves, collars, ribbing, etc.

With longer or more complex patterns it can also be helpful to use post-it notes or some other movable marker to help you keep track of your place in the pattern as you are working. If you miss a repeat or line of the pattern the result can be a bit frustrating.

For crochet patterns that have written text using standard abbreviations you need to be sure if they are using US or UK terminology. If the pattern also includes a stitch chart that can often help you decipher whether the pattern is written in US or UK terms.

Another way to spot if a pattern is US or UK terminology is if it uses the half double crochet stitch (and calls it that). US terminology says Half Double Crochet where UK terminology says Half Treble Crochet. UK doesn’t have any stitches called the Half Double Crochet stitch and US doesn’t have any stitches called Half Treble Crochet.

Now it’s time to grab one of those patterns that have been intimidating you and make a try at it. Hopefully some of the tips in this post will help you triumph.

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 29, 2016

Calling all Fiber Artists!

Hotel pool area

As you all know, I recently returned from the TNNA Winter Trade Show in San Diego. One of the things that is always under discussion at these shows is wondering what our consumers want, whether it is in yarns at the shops or types of patterns we publish. So now is your opportunity my dear readers to weigh in with your opinions.

The fiber arts community needs your feedback.
Please take the TNNA Fiber Arts 2016 Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fiberarts16, part of a major study of U.S. knitters, crocheters, needlepointers, cross-stitchers, weavers, and spinners. The survey will only take about 10 minutes to complete, and the more folks that complete it the better we designers and other yarn industry folks can understand your needs.

By taking this survey you will…
– Help fiber arts organizations and businesses serve you better
– Tell retailers and brands what you want
– Explore your fiber arts life
– Get the chance to win one of five $100 fiber arts store gift cards

This survey is anonymous – you will not receive marketing spam.

The results of this survey will appear in the fifth edition of the TNNA State of Specialty NeedleArts Study at http://www.tnna.org/?page=Research. The survey results will be available to non-profit fiber arts advocacy groups and TNNA members in mid-2016. TNNA is an association of hundreds of independent and family-owned fiber arts brands and retailers.

The TNNA Fiber Artist 2016 Sweepstakes Rules are at http://hartbusinessresearch.com/documents/tnna-fiber-drawing-rules/.

Please take the TNNA Fiber Arts 2016 Survey today:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fiberarts16


Posted by: mamas2hands | January 26, 2016

The Cure for SSS

Second Sock Syndrome (SSS) is often spoken about by those that like to knit or crochet socks. One sock gets finished and the second half of the pair waits in the project bag for ages sometimes to never be seen again. Today I’m going to share my cure for SSS and how to finish 2 at a time in crochet, whether it is socks, mitts, slippers or sleeves.

Making 2 identical objects is always a challenge for me.  Being I seem to have been born with the designer gene I tend to “fiddle” with patterns.  Unfortunately, if you don’t write down the fiddling bits when doing the first object, you are a bit sunk when making the second one.  Sometimes my pairs are more like fraternal twins than identical and a few times it was questionable as to if they were even from the same family.

Photo from Red Heart Website

Photo from Red Heart Website

Along comes the idea of making 2-at-a-time.  Quite popular with my sock knitting friends it seemed a good idea for me when crocheting fingerless mitts.  Especially as I was doing the original designing bit. You can find the free pattern for the above design at the RedHeart.com website here.

 

Photo courtesy of Leisure Arts Publishing

Photo courtesy of Leisure Arts Publishing

I worked all the samples for my mitts in my “Texting Mitts” book using this method (You can purchase an electronic version or paperback version of my book on the Leisure Arts website here). The great thing is you get to the end of the pattern and you have 2 mitts all done!

What you will need:

2 balls of yarn

At least 2 locking stitch markers, more if your pattern calls for them.

Pattern for pairs: Either mittens, gloves, slippers or socks (or the sleeve section of a sweater pattern).

I recommend 2 balls of yarn.  Some folks use the 2 opposite ends of the same ball.  I find that to be a bit tricky and tangly.  If I already have 2 balls of the color I want to use, I just go with them.  If not, I weigh the yarn and do a quick calculation of yards/per grams(or ounces) then use my 2 yard niddy noddy to measure out half of the yarn.

Measuring Yarn on my Niddy Noddy

Pop that onto my swift and wind it up into another ball (I generally wind the other half remaining in the original ball too as it gives me a tidier ball to work with and is less likely to tangle…I hate tangles).

The 2 balls of Yarn to Work From

Now you need the pattern.  Any crochet pair pattern could be worked similarly.  No matter what pattern you are using I highly recommend that you work the foundation/start in the same sitting if at all possible.

I am sharing this from a sad experience.  I was making myself a set of mitts and thought I would work the palm bit then return to the foundation and work the palm bit of the 2nd mitt.  Unfortunately, I was a few rows into the palm of the 2nd mitt and discovered my gauge was too different in my foundation round.

2-at-a-Time-A

The real trick to working 2 at a time in crochet is the locking stitch markers.  One of the wonderful things about crochet is that you have only one “live” loop at a time. The locking stitch marker placed in that loop means you can run off with the hook to work on the 2nd object or even a completely different project and your stitches will not unravel.

2-at-a-time-b

As you work back and forth between your 2 items you place the stitch marker in the working loop of the “resting” item. I use 2 different colors to keep track of which 1 of the 2 I’m working on. These were the start of some fingerless mitts I made using one of my patterns from my “Texting Mitts” book a few years back.

I crocheted the foundations for each mitt, placing the locking stitch marker in my working loop as I finished the foundation. Then I worked 2 rounds of the first mitt, placed the stitch marker in the working loop, removed the stitch marker from the working loop in my 2nd mitt, inserted my hook and crocheted 2 rounds of the 2nd mitt.

There are other methods for securing your working loop, but I like the stitch markers because you don’t need to make the working loop super large to keep it from getting pulled out. That allows me to be fairly speedy in my crochet work and that helps me with deadlines.

When I am designing my mitt or other pair patterns, I crochet 1 round at a time noting any design changes and switching back and forth between the 2 objects. Sometimes I will pin the 2 objects together to make it easier to switch back and forth. Just pin them so that you don’t obstruct the area you need to crochet into.

scritches

Now dear readers, it’s your turn to tackle some pairs. Hopefully you will end up with 2 of a kind.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 22, 2016

Sophisticated Simplicity

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace - Andee Graves/M2H Designs

I am really happy to share my latest beaded chain pattern with all my readers. This was an idea that has been bumping around in my brain for a while. It’s a very simple project to crochet, but does take a bit of coordination.

You’ll need to be comfortable with working chain stitches [ch], beaded chain stitches [bdch] and single crochet stitches [sc]. I have a tutorial on crocheting beaded chain stitches here on my blog (scroll down to the bottom half of the post) for those of you needing a refresher on that stitch.

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace - Andee Graves/M2H Designs 2

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level: Easy

Materials

Thread/Yarn:  Sample was made with Kreinik’s Ombre Twist thread, took approximately 45 yards (3 yds per strand), you can get approximately 6 necklaces out of one cone depending on how many strands you decide to have in your necklace.

Hook: Size B/2.25mm

265 glass  beads: Sample was made with Twisted Sistah’s 4mm Cube Transparent Sapphire with AB finish.

2 metal split rings (I used rings that were 1/2″ in diameter) and a large lobster clasp necklace fastener.

Gauge:

15 chain stitches = 2″

Instructions:

Before you begin crocheting, string all the beads you want to use onto the thread (I always add in a few extra when stringing my beads just to be on the safe side). Also work the ring of the lobster clasp onto one of your split rings.

Leaving about 6 inches of thread for your beginning tail make a slip knot and place loop on your hook. Slip st into one ring, chain 1 and single crochet into the ring to secure the end of your first strand.

You will work the necklace by working chained strands in 3 different styles:

Bead interval for Style 1 & 2

Bead interval for Styles 1 & 2

Style 1: Ch 24, (bdch, ch 7) 12 times, bdch, ch 24, sc to opposite ring. [132 ch, 13 bdch, 1 sc]

Style 2: Ch 21, (bdch, ch 7) 13 times, bdch, ch 21, sc to opposite ring. [133 ch, 14 bdch, 1 sc]

Bead interval for Style 3

Bead interval for Style 3

Style 3: Ch 19, (bdch, ch 3) 25 times, bdch, ch 19, sc to opposite ring. [113 ch, 26 bdch, 1 sc]

Completed Necklace

Completed Necklace

I alternated working the various styles of strands until I had completed 15 strands (5 strands of each style). You could do more or less, you’ll just want to adjust the number of beads you string before starting your project.

Once you have crocheted all your chain strands and have made the final sc in the ring, fasten off with a six-inch long tail. Weave the ending and beginning tails in and trim off excess thread. If you need to you can secure the tails further with a drop of cyanoacrylate glue (sometimes known as “Super Glue”).

Tips and Tricks for Success

When I was working on my sample in the photos I kept getting carried away with crocheting the beaded chain intervals. About half way thru I discovered a little trick that really sped things up and saved me some frogging and frustration.

Tip for keeping track of beads.

Start the next strand by crocheting the chain stitches before the first beaded chain. Bring the number of beads for the strand you are working close to your hook, and push the remaining beads further down your thread so you have plenty of thread to work with while crocheting the strand. Make a slip knot in the thread right before your extra beads and put a locking stitch marker in the loop.

Now work your strand of chains and beaded chains, when you run out of beads you know it is time to finish that strand and connect it to the opposite ring with a single crochet. If you use up the thread you had pulled up, just move the extra beads further down the thread, undo your slip knot and create another slip knot down the thread. Replace your stitch marker and finish your strand.

Rings and Clasp

Note about the rings you use for the ends: I choose split rings because there is not an opening that the thread can slip thru causing your strands to drop off. If you prefer to use regular jump rings make sure that the opening in the ring is tightly closed.

I would also recommend placing a drop of thin cyanoacrylate glue over the join and let it dry completely before proceeding with your project. You want the thin runny type of glue that can penetrate the tight space between the 2 ends of your jump ring, not the thicker “gel” formulas that are also available.  Obviously you want to have your lobster claw fastener placed on the jump ring before you seal it with the glue.

Now it’s your turn dear readers. Find some beads that appeal to you and crochet a Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace that will turn heads. No one needs to know how easy it was to make.

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 19, 2016

Playing with Sharp Objects

At the TNNA Winter Trade Show last week I took a couple of classes. I enjoyed them both, but the one that was most closely related to playing with fiber was the Needle Felting class I took.

Owl I made in the "Needle Felting Owl with Woolbuddy" class.

Owl I made in the “Needle Felting Owl with Woolbuddy” class.

I have played with needle felting over the years. But I hadn’t really tried to do the sculptural stuff. One reason was I was a little scared of the super sharp needles one uses to create the project. At least with 2 dimensional needle felting I was a little more certain of keeping my fingers out of the way of the needle.

But I love sculptural work and knew it was finally time to take a class on it. My hopes were that I would learn the correct way of approaching the process and possibly shed less blood that way. Mostly that was what happened. I did manage to poke myself a couple of times, but it wasn’t when I was actually felting. I learnt that one should put the needle down safely when reaching for more fiber for the project.

Initially I had not signed up for this class when I registered. I decided I would see if there were any slots available for the class on Saturday afternoon if I was still interested. The class was taught by Jackie Huang of Woolbuddy and they also had a booth on the show floor.

The Woolbuddy folks

When I meet him and his wife at their booth and saw all the adorable and fun products I decided I had to take the class. My friend Tamara (MooglyBlog.com) signed up too. Look at the amazing full size dinosaur in their booth. Jackie said it took them 6 months to make it. You can read more about their company and even order online from them at their website: woolbuddy.com

Woolbuddy kit and my owl

In the 2 hour class we each made an adorable little owl starting with a handful of loose fiber. I had a great time making my owl and am looking forward to making more needle felted creations. I purchased one of their “Sea Turtle” kits the last day of the show.  The kits are packaged in a sturdy little box with 2 needles, all the fiber you need and a step-by-step photo tutorial to make the character.

Little Sheep

I haven’t tackled the kit yet. Instead, I have a bit of wool roving of various colors at home, so I have been practicing on it since my return. I made this fun little sheep that is going to become a pin. She is only  I love all things sheep since they are a great symbol for me of the fiber crafts that hold a large place in my heart.

I’m hoping to teach my boys how to needle felt too. The boys need to make their own owls, since they keep attempting to “borrow” mine.  It is definitely a craft that you have to pay attention to, yet you can see results fairly quickly when doing it. There might be a few injuries, but I’ll have the bandages handy if needed.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 15, 2016

Palm Trees and Yarn – That Works!

Wednesday was my first full day back home from this year’s Winter TNNA Trade Show. And you all got to hear how that turned out. We are still having frequent moments of “sad” missing our Tango boy, but there are happy thoughts too.  Like how much fun I had at TNNA and how gorgeous San Diego, California was.

View of hotel pool area from the lounge.

View of hotel pool area from the lounge.

That was where the show was held. The TNNA Winter show has been in San Diego before, but I wasn’t able to attend that one. I really lucked out with the weather. It was below freezing and horizontal snow in the air when I caught my flight in Denver, when I landed in San Diego it was 60F and sunshine (with palm trees). A lovely change from home. Just the day before it had been pouring rain in San Diego, but I missed out on all that.

View out hotel window

Once again Karen Whooley and I roomed together. This was the view out our hotel window. Not too shabby? Right? We were staying at the Marriott Marquis right on the harbor.

The weather was nice the whole time I was there. Of course most of the time I was on the show floor inside the conference center checking out the yarns and new products, so I didn’t really get to enjoy the weather until I went outside to walk back to my hotel or go out to dinner with friends.

TNNA Goodies

I came home with a bunch of yarn and some nifty products. You’ll be hearing more about those in the coming weeks. But for now the above photo gives you a taste of everything that came home with me. I’m going to be a very busy designer and teacher in 2016.

I took 2 classes at the show this year, and will be sharing more about those later as well. I really love to take classes at TNNA even though they are usually at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. That is an hour of the day I would really prefer not to be attempting to absorb new information. But needs must.

Tuesday was all about packing up and traveling home. I had stayed a day longer than I usually do. I didn’t want the mad rush when the show ended on Monday to get the last bits of goodies packed and then make it to the airport in time for my flight. I think I may be staying that extra night from now on.

Beer Bottle

I got a good night’s sleep, then took my time organizing and packing all my stuff from the show as well as my dirty laundry. Even got some more visiting time with my good friend Tamara and we grabbed lunch together at the airport.  I liked her beer bottle so much I took its photo and she gave the bottle to me.

Raine

Raine

Mara with Hat

Mara

My flight home was very pleasant. I had fun seatmates, Raine and Mara, who were game for modeling my lovely cloche’ that I purchased in San Diego. I’ll have to get a good photo of me wearing it soon.

I’ll have more fun posts for you with details on the goodies I collected and the classes I took over the next few months. There is a lot happening this spring in my design and teaching work, so be sure to stop by again.

 

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 13, 2016

Saying Good-bye

I’m a bit behind today, in fact I’m behind by a day from my normal blogging schedule. I just got back from the TNNA Winter Trade Show in San Diego. Walked in the door last night at 9 p.m. I’ll tell you all about TNNA and the fun stuff I did there in my Friday post.

Today is about my darling dog Tango. The last few weeks he has been going downhill fast, but he waited for me to get back from this trip. When I checked on him last night I knew he was ready to leave us, even if it was so hard to let him go.

My husband had told me on the way home from the airport that he had been unable to persuade Tango to eat anything for the past 2 days and it was getting harder and harder to get him up to walk outside for bathroom needs.

Tango came to us thru the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue (RMLR). At that time we were fostering for RMLR. We had limited access to our home because of the road damages on our canyon caused by the historic floods in September 2013, so we hadn’t been fostering for a while at the time. But we had agreed to take him temporarily while his regular foster was out of the state for Thanksgiving.

He was a mess when we met him. He had mostly recovered from recent surgery on his knee for ACL issues and on his side where a large cancerous tumor had been removed. His hair was shaved over 1/3 of his body.  He was 6 1/2 years old by the vet’s estimate. And his RMLR name was Fango. But he was so very sweet and had the most beautiful eyes. I fell in love with him pretty much at first sight.

Beautiful Tango Boy

We were only supposed to foster him for 6 days, then he was going to go back to his first foster until a forever home was found for him. But the original fosters had a family emergency that meant they couldn’t take him back. We were happy to take over as fosters, because by that time we were reluctant to let him go.

He was so lovey and sweet, our other dog even got along with him. But we didn’t want to adopt him because he was so big. At 104 pounds that was a lot of dog in our little house. We got very few calls from approved adopters interested in him. The calls we did get were discouraged by his medical history combined with his age.

Once the winter holiday break rolled around we were all in love with him. The boys really wanted to keep him. I had bought him a nice big bed to sleep on and he was the constant companion of our youngest son. By Christmas Eve day we decided we were going to keep him for ourselves.

We filed the adoption papers with RMLR and re-named him Tango. We picked that name because he tended to “tap-dance” when ever it was dinner-time or we were giving out treats.

He was fully recovered from his surgeries by early February and he really became part of the family. He played with our other dog, Kenna, and loved to go for walks. When I was working at my desk he would come put his head in my lap for some ear rubs, then lay down beside my chair while I was at the computer.

Tango and T2 cuddle

Every day we reminded ourselves that our time with him might be limited. So we made sure to give him lots of love and hugs. When we adopted him I wasn’t sure if we would even have him a full year after everything he had been thru. Amazingly enough he was with us for over 2 years before this morning’s sad events.

We kept the boys home from school this morning and our wonderful vet, Lisa Cass, came to the house to help us say goodbye. Right now my eyes are very sore from crying but I know we gave him a happy life for the 2 years he was with us. He gave us so much love and joy. He will be missed, but we don’t regret having adopted an old dog.

Tomorrow I will be back into my daily routine, but today is about remembering one of the sweetest dogs that has been part of our family.

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