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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Knit Something of the Month

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Last night, before 7:00 PM I finished my November Knit Something of the Month project!  Not truly a squeaker, but with just over 24 hours before my self imposed deadline, it felt a little too close for comfort.  Seeing as I had successfully completed 10 months of this little journey, I didn't want to go down in flames at the last minute, although the reason for my potential crash and burn sure is cute and purry.  He's sitting in my lap right now, purring at me and Logan is curled up on the floor next to us.  Yes, it's a good morning.

On to the project details: the pattern I used is Mad Color Weave (I linked it yesterday and I'm feeling a little lazy, sorry) and the yarn is Socks That Rock Lightweight in Little Bunny Foo Foo.  I used US 1's, worked the repeat 8 times in the leg and had yarn left over.  It's an easy pattern to memorize and it breaks up pooling a bit, and I can definitely see myself using it again.  It would be easier to knit without kitten assistance, but really, what isn't?

One day to work on my other projects before I start the December Knit Something of the Month project.  I guess I better start pulling yarn and ideas for next year!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Do you know what this is?

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If you guessed that this is the beginning of the second half of Cambridge, you'd be right!  I finished the increase side of Cambridge and now I'm decreasing back to the other point.  I've also started my third skein of Pashmina (Madelinetosh Pashmina in Logwood).  Each row is a little bit shorter than the last row, so I hope to pick up some speed and get this finished soon.  Of course, it has to wait until I'm done with my November socks, but I've only got 24 rounds before toe decreases at this point on the socks.  Oh, and there was a question yesterday about the sock pattern I'm using, it's Mad Color Weave and it's a free pattern on Ravelry.   It is a good pattern to break up multicolored yarns.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

November's Knit Something of the Month Project

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving if you're here in the US!  We did, complete with way too much food, and a kitten with no table manners, and James Bond.  Max eventually fell asleep in my lap under the napkin and then we didn't have to fight him so much.  Last year of course, we were guarding the food against Logan's expert counter surfing, so fuzzy weirdness is becoming a tradition.  (I'm really hoping that we have no new fuzzy weirdness next Thanksgiving.)

I did get some knitting done this past week although Max doesn't feel as sleepy as I think he should, as often as I think he should and Max doesn't help with knitting.  I finished my first sock for November's Knit Something of the Month project and I've made it past the heel turn on the second sock.  Ordinarily, even though we're two days before the end of the month, I would still have plenty of time to finish this second sock, but Max being Max, I'm afraid it might be a squeaker.  I am determined to stay on track with this though, so it might come down to a battle of wills between me and tiny Maximus.  Or I might just lock myself in the bathroom with my knitting.  That would probably be easier as anyone who's engaged in a battle of wills with a cat can tell you, it won't end well.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

This Week

This week I won't be blogging regularly.  We'll be getting ready for Thanksgiving around here, Caleb's home all week (I love that the school systems are giving us a full week again this year), and I'll be doing things with my little sidekick.  I've been knitting on my Cambridge shawl and I'm almost to the place where I start decreasing (AKA The Second Half), but at this point it still looks pretty much like what you saw when you saw it last time, only bigger.  No point in boring you with another photo of a purple triangle right now.  I'll catch everyone up next week with whatever happens this week.

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I hope you have a wonderful one.  We'll be celebrating just like they did at the original Thanksgiving - turkey, lots of pies and a James Bond marathon (it's on SyFy this year if you're interested, I just checked).  Wednesday is our one year Dogiversary (Logan became part of our family the day before Thanksgiving last year), so we'll be celebrating that too, probably with bacon.  Travel safely, don't eat TOO much turkey, know that I'm thankful for everyone who comes here to read my babbling, and I'll see you next week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Socks

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I haven't forgotten about my Knit Something of the Month Socks in all the overdyeing and kitten confusion around here.  I'm almost done with the leg of the first sock now and I expect to get some knitting time in on them this weekend and next week.  I am determined to get both the November and December Knit Something of the Month projects done on time because I've gotten the first 10 months done - I won't go down in flames now!  I am thinking that next year I will probably only choose a single project for November and December instead of one for each month.  That might help with my sanity a bit, what's left of my sanity anyway.

I'm loving this yarn in this pattern.  It reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream.  The pattern is also pretty quick and easy to work, I'm just not moving too fast on it because of a certain blue eyed boy who just discovered the top of the refrigerator.  Yeah!

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Overdyeing - Part 2

After the overdyeing I showed you Monday, I had one more skein in my stash that was planned for overdyeing, but this time, I was going for something completely different.  The Pashmina went from silver to dark periwinkle, but this time I was just adjusting the color just a tiny bit, not completely changing it.
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The original skein is Kashmir (Superwash Merino/Cashmere/Nylon) from the Woolen Rabbit in the Oh Ruby colorway.  It has a lot of different reds but they were all warm, orange and brown based reds.  I loved the skein and kept playing with it, thinking it would work for me (fair, cool toned skin), but I knew in my gut that it just wouldn't.  I still wanted it to be red though and I didn't want to lose the lights and darks that were part of the original dye process.  This time around I just needed to overdye it a tiny bit, just enough to tip the red towards the cooler side of the spectrum.  I'd just barely overdye it with a cool red dye (cool red is a magenta type color where warm red is more of an orange based "Chinese red" type color).  If I used too much dye, I'd lose the light/dark variation and could risk taking the color past red and into magenta.  Also, I needed to dump the skein into the dye bath and not mess around with it because the more you stir, the more solid the color tends to be.

I put just enough water into the dyepot to cover the skein, poured in a very weak dye solution, gave it a quick stir and plopped the skein (presoaked) in.  I smooshed the skein down into the water and let it do it's thing.  Not stirring the dye pot is harder than it sounds because I'm naturally a curious person and I want to know what's going on in there.  I did pretty well though with leaving it alone and this is what I ended up with.
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I now have a cool, dark red skein of yarn and while the lighter places are darker than they were originally, I still have lights and darks in the skein (they're hard to photograph well, you'll have to take my word for it).  There's something warm and snuggly and Winter-y feeling about the color now even though it's no where near a Christmas red.  It kind of reminds me of dark red plaid flannel things.  Someday, after it's dry, I will knit Vlad with it.  Because warm, snuggly, Winter-y feeling just says vampire, doesn't it?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You Would Not Believe What's Going On Around Here

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A couple of weeks ago, Mommy left the house with the Other Crate.  (Let me explain, I have three crates - the one I go into when the humans leave the house, the one I sleep in sometimes just for fun, and the one that I just recently found out about that is only for my head.  The rest of me doesn't fit in the Other Crate, but it is my crate, I'm sure about this.)  Anyway, Mommy left with the Other Crate and when she came back, there was Someone in it.  She says he's my brother, but I'm not too sure about that.  He does all sorts of weird things and you should see him jump - no one in my family can jump like that.  He wasn't too sure about me either at first and he made these funny hissing noises, but now we're pretty good friends.
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He's even given me a bath, but it was with his tongue and that was kind of scary - he has sharp teeth.  Apparently when you get a brother, you also get rules.  For instance, I'm not allowed to put him in my mouth.  This is a dumb rule - you should taste him, he tastes great! 
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Also, I'm not allowed to pet him.  Everyone likes to be petted, but Mommy says when your feet are as big as your brother's head, no petting.  And the dumbest rule of all is that I'm not allowed to chase him. If I can't chase him, he shouldn't be hopping sideways at me all puffed up, I mean that's just wrong!  He corners better on the hardwood than I do, but Mommy says I have to be a "good dog."  Mommy tells me that as Maximus (that's his name) gets bigger we can play together more, but in the meantime she's happy that I have figured out what I'm going to do when I grow up.  I have finally found what I want to do for the rest of my life - according to Mommy it's called Feline Proctology.  I'm training to be the best Feline Proctologist ever!
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Overdyeing, Part 1

There are a couple of projects worth of yarn that I have been planning to overdye and I finally decided to just go for it.  My reasons for overdyeing (versus just returning the yarn and getting a different color) are complicated and different for each instance.  The yarn I'm showing you today began life as Madelinetosh Pashmina in the Silver Fox colorway.  Madelinetosh is one of my favorite dyers and with the huge range of yarn bases they now have, if I had to knit from only one dyer for the rest of my life, Madelinetosh would be it.  I had ordered the yarn looking for a pale gray and that's what Silver Fox is.  My problem was that I was looking for a pale gray just slightly lighter than standard sweatshirt heather gray and Silver Fox is even lighter than that.  As you can see in the picture, it's almost like the undyed skein walked past a gray dyepot without jumping in.  It is truly the lightest shade of gray that can possibly be gray - any lighter and it would be cream.  It's a beautiful color.
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So what's the problem?  My skin tone is the problem.  I have very fair skin with cool undertones.  The cool undertones mean gray is a wonderful color for me (I love gray, seriously love it).  The very fair part means I need to have color that's actually there.  I can do pastels, but they must have some substance.  Wispy, delicate, barely there color just washes me out.  I can do whites and ivories, but any actual color has to actually be there, not just maybe be there.  Silver Fox was bordering on the maybe being there against my skin and I would have looked like a corpse (lovely, no?)  If my skin tone was darker it would have worked out just fine - I don't want to turn anyone with a more normal skin tone off of this color because it should be wearable for other people.
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I contemplated trying for a darker gray, but gray dyes tend to pull to one color or another (you've all seen blue grays and green grays and even warm grays) - if I was using gray, I wanted just gray, no undertones.  That meant going for a color on the overdye.  As light as the yarn was to begin with, I knew I could go with pretty much any color I wanted to and except for being just a little bit muted, it would come out pretty pure.  I decided to go for a rich iris or dark periwinkle blue.  I used blue dye with a little bit of purple dye (to swing the blue over into the periwinkle range).  I wasn't necessarily going for a solid, but it seems that that's how it came out.  I'm thrilled with my finished color and once it's all dry, I'll cast on for Melpomene, the newest Muse in Romi's second 7 Small Shawls ebook.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Houston, We Have A Name!

After over a week of thinking and trying to get to know the Kitten, trying and discarding ideas, trying and liking ideas, but not getting everyone else on board, we've finally found a name!  (Can I just say right here that getting three people to decide on a name is difficult - two isn't hard, but getting the third person to agree doesn't happen easily, and we all took turns being the lone disagreer.)
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I'd like to introduce you to Maximus!  Or actually, Maximus' back end, which is really pretty cute and you can see his sweet little tail stripes (probably not supposed to be there according to the breed standard, but they totally crack me up).  It's hard to get a picture of a kitten - they're either right in your face (no, my camera cannot focus on your sweet whiskers 1/4 inch away from the lens) or they're dashing around and you get a lot of pictures of empty carpet/bed/lap.  When I was editing photos for this morning it reminded me of a lot of the pictures Caleb used to take when we'd hand him the digital camera to play with.  (He took lots of pictures of dirt, stuff on the ground, sticks, the sky, blurry stuff, you know, stuff that looks great to 2 and 3 year olds.)
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Here's a better picture of him on his climb-y thing.  He's done better the last few mornings and when he's gotten up before the alarm, he's gone and done whatever needed doing and then come back to bed.  He sleeps snuggled up against me, under the covers, which makes it pretty easy to keep up with him.  As long as he's coming back to bed without starting a ruckus, Logan just keeps on sleeping.  The humans like to keep on sleeping too.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A Little Bit More Sock

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I've actually gotten some of the main leg pattern worked on my November Knit Something of the Month Socks!  The "weave" pattern is pretty easy to work and you don't have to think too much, which is a good thing around here right now.  There's not much else to say at the moment and I'm not sure I can string together too many more actual sentences.  Someone small and white decided 4:20 AM would be an excellent time for Circus Hour and someone large and white decided that was a genius idea and it was time for a Par-Tay!  No one asked Mickael and I what we thought.  Let's just say there will be lots of tea today.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Progress

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There was progress yesterday - 2 1/2 repeats of progress, to be exact.  Knit with a kitten in the lap.  The kitten in question passed out under the knitting and allowed me to knit without "assistance."  It was amazing.  It involved a 2 hour play session before the knitting, but I got to knit.

He Who Has Not Been Named is doing great and has been playing with Logan a bit.  There's no more hissing, growling, or puffing (except when he's taunting Logan by hopping sideways, then he's puffed up), but instead there are nose sniffs, purrs, and head butts.  Logan isn't sure what all this is, but he's being  sweet, trying not to get frightened by the enormous mountain lion that's giving him purring head butts, and trying to stay calm.  I think they'll be friends and conspirators in no time.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Kitten and Socks

First of all, thanks for understanding about the little kitten (nope, still no name).  The enema worked and we should get the results of the blood test back today and tomorrow (quick stuff today and bigger stuff tomorrow - I don't know why, I don't work at the lab).  We did blood work because he was running a fever, but there were no signs of infection or anything definite the vet could put his finger on.  The kitten got a shot to reduce the fever and they gave him antibiotics just to cover our bases while we wait for the test results.  He felt better last night and this morning was full of sass.  He even approached Logan (who was on the other side of the child gate), and while he puffed up, he didn't growl or hiss.  Definitely feeling better.  He's asleep now on the bed, curled up in the down comforter - sensible kitten!

Also, thanks so much for all the pattern suggestions!  I've peeked at all of them and while several were in my favorites in Ravelry already, there were some new ones I'd never seen.  Thankfully the Ravelry favorites section seems to be infinite or mine would have popped ages ago.  I should ask you guys for pattern ideas more often, this was fun!

I did choose a pattern last night (but like I said, I favorited many more to knit later) - Mad Color Weave Socks.  The socks on the pattern page are solid, but if you look through the projects you'll see lots of multicolored yarns used.  Since you guys were so helpful with the pattern suggestions, I thought I'd do a little blog tutorial for you!

How To Knit Socks With A Kitten

  1. Pick sock pattern and wind yarn.  Get everything together and sit down in easily-kitten-accessible location.
  2. Remove kitten from pattern to find out how many stitches you should cast on.
  3. Hide DPN's from kitten so the one's you're not using for cast on don't disappear.
  4. Find page of pattern that kitten removed so you can recheck how many stitches to cast on.
  5. Begin cast on.
  6. Remove kitten from yarn.
  7. Cast on a couple more stitches.
  8. Remove kitten from yarn and turn him around so he faces a different direction.
  9. Cast on a couple more stitches.
  10. Remove kitten from yarn and put him in cat bed, suggest a nap.
  11. Count stitches you've casted on so far.
  12. Remove kitten from yarn, despite the fact that his purr volume suggests this is the best game ever.
  13. Recount stitches you've casted on so far because you forgot the first count, lose count when you...
  14. Remove kitten from yarn.
  15. Finally get all the stitches on the first DPN.
  16. Double check count three times due to ...
  17. Removing kitten from yarn.
  18. Begin cast on to second DPN.
  19. Remove kitten from yarn and work steps 5-17 one time each for remaining three DPN's.
  20. Being careful not to twist cast on stitches, join -
  21. Remove kitten from yarn.
  22. Being careful not to twist cast on stitches, join to work in the round very quickly before you have to ...
  23. Remove kitten from yarn.
  24. Begin Round 1.
  25. Remove kitten from yarn.
  26. Start knitting, lose place, due to...
  27. Removing kitten from yarn.
  28. Get your place in the pattern, find it on the sock and knit as fast as you can - not easy with DPN's for the first few rows, but do it anyway to conquer your fear that you might not ever be able to knit again because your new craft will be...
  29. Removing kitten from yarn.
  30. Finish Round 1 and breathe a sigh of relief that Round 2 is worked exactly like Round 1 and you no longer have to follow the pattern, but can just read your knitting.
  31. Remove kitten from yarn.
  32. At some point in Round 2, you realize kitten (who might be a very cutely disguised knitting nemesis and not a feline at all) has curled up and fallen asleep.
  33. Knit quietly so as not to awaken the wee beast.
  34. Knit Rounds 2-10.
  35. Answer phone, which just rang and woke up the wee beast.  
  36. Assure your Mother that kitten seems to be feeling better.
  37. Remove kitten from yarn.
  38. Mentally thank Mother for waking up kitten.
  39. Finish Round 10 and put sock away after...
  40. Removing kitten from yarn.
Yes, it's going to be a while for these to get done, but here are the first 10 rows and I fought for every stitch!
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Help Needed!

I need a little help with something.  My original November Knit Something of the Month project isn't going to work with my yarn (not enough yarn) so I need to find a new pattern.  I thought I'd ask you guys to help me out here and maybe I could find some new patterns I don't know about too!

The yarn is Socks That Rock Lightweight in Little Bunny Foo Foo (light browns with pink and cream).

Here's what I'm looking for:

  • Probably a sock pattern, November is for socks, but I'm not 100% locked into socks if you come up with something else that will work.
  • The pattern has to work well with multicolored yarns.  This is kind of the tricky part.
  • There are only 360 yards of this, which is enough for socks, but not cabled socks.
  • I'd prefer a pattern with a fairly easily memorizable repeat.  This is probably a given with anything that will work with a multicolored yarn, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.  My brain is a little crazy right now and even when the kitten (still no name) settles in more, the month isn't going to get any easier as it goes along.  
So, if you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments!  I'll take both pay and free patterns into consideration, and I have a pretty huge number of sock books so if you can think of anything in a book, feel free to let me know about those too.  I do have a couple of patterns that I tend to use for default in these types of situations, but it's always fun to find new patterns too.  Oh, I should probably share my own "default" patterns:  
  • Waffle Socks - I adapt them for fingering weight which is easy to do with the 4 stitch, 4 row repeat.  Easy pattern to memorize and it works great with any yarn.
  • Vog On Socks - Easy lace pattern and the pair I've made are regular sock length without the ruffle.
  • Waving Lace Socks - I've done these in solids and multicolored yarns and surprisingly, they work well both ways.  Easy pattern to work and memorize even though it's a longer repeat than the other two.  They're the pair on the cover.
  • Plain Vanilla Stockinette Socks - Classic for a reason and you can't get any simpler. 
I just want to add one more non knitting related thing (and this is gross so stop reading if you don't do gross).  The kitten hasn't gone #2 yet and he's at the vet's today having an enema.  I hate dragging personal stuff onto the blog but you guys are so supportive and sweet about all the fur babies who've been here and after what happened with Finn and the intestinal blockage, I'm a little freaked out.  If you  don't mind, it would be truly appreciated if you could say a prayer for the little guy or send good wishes  if you don't pray, that things will "move" along for him soon and he'll feel better.  We're assuming at this point that it's stress related which is totally understandable, but he needs to get things moving at this point.  Thanks so much.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Little Treat

I told you all that I would tell you what the mystery object was this week.  I did enjoy the guesses, but no, I'm not pregnant and we aren't adopting Tony Romo.  Maybe I should just show you what the mystery object looks like when it's being used.
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Yes, it's a felted kitty bed!  I used the Chaton Minet pattern with stash yarn.  The last picture you saw was the unfelted bed, and of course it's felted here.  Yesterday we got the kitten to put in it (which is really the most important part of a cat bed).  Don't worry, there's plenty of growing room for him in there!
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He doesn't have a name yet but he's a Platinum Point Tonkinese (same breed as Ramius, who was a Champagne Mink).  He's got a great purr motor and doesn't hesitate to let us know that we've displeased him (serious lungs on the little guy).  He's not too sure about Logan yet, but they touched noses this morning.  Logan was wagging the entire time and when the kitten had had enough, he hissed.  Logan was naturally terrified.  The kitten was a little overwhelmed by everything yesterday, but he's doing some more exploring and feeling better about things this morning.  He's about 15 weeks old now and when he curls up, he's smaller than Logan's head.  (Due to the size difference, contact will be supervised between them for a while.)  He seems to like all his people - particularly Caleb who is holding him in these last two pictures.  He greeted Caleb with a purring head butt this morning!
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As soon as he settles in more and is up to it, he'll be blogging of course.  I'll let you know when we have a name picked out for him too!  Sorry about all the mystery, I just didn't want to share him on the blog until we had him home, but once we had found his breeder and put down a deposit, I was just too excited not to at least show you the bed.

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