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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We're Fine Here

Just popping in to say that blogging will be sporadic to non-existent this week.  Nothing's wrong, but this week is shaping up to have no time to knit or no time to blog, so I'm just not going stress about it and I'll pick up regularly again next week.  You'd think since we have the extra day this week, it would be an easy week, huh?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Austin Hoodie

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I didn't blog yesterday because I had nothing to blog about.  No knitting.  At all.  All weekend.  Instead we worked on going through Caleb's toys.  We're not done yet, but we've gotten a good start.  So, no blog yesterday.

Last night, I sat down and started the second sleeve of the Austin Hoodie and I'm through the sleeve cap shaping and to the part of the sleeve that just goes around and around and decreases periodically.  Since I have round counts (where to decrease, where to start the hem) already figured out from the first sleeve, there should be less wasted time trying it on and seeing where I am on this second sleeve.  I'm ready for this project to be done already and I've set myself a goal of having it all done by Spring Break, which is the week of March 19th here in North Texas.  If I was working on it exclusively, I could finish before then, but on Thursday I get to start my March Knit Something of the Month project.  Maybe I'll use that as a reward and work on the Austin Hoodie some before I can work on my March project.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday is for Crochet

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Since my Neat Ripple blanket will be an ongoing project, I figured I'd give it Friday for updates, assuming I get some work on it during the week.  Hopefully it won't bore you that way, and it gives me blog fodder for Fridays - win, win!  I'm doing the double row of green right now (it's Moorland) and the next row will be a new color.  It's fun seeing the colors come together and how they work next to each other.  I can get about one row done each afternoon while I wait for Caleb at school and I'll probably work on it a little this weekend too.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Austin Hoodie

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I'm having trouble getting my brain into gear this morning so this post may or may not make sense.  I'll try to proofread extra carefully though, and keep the tea coming.

I pulled out the Austin Hoodie to see where I was on it and as it turns out, I was almost done with the first sleeve.  So I sat down, separated Logan and Max who were playing a very good game of Chase the Kitty and Put Him in Your Mouth*, and finished up the sleeve.  I think there was actually supposed to be a stitch pattern change to make a cuff, but I forgot to recheck the pattern, so my sleeve is all stockinette with a hem.  It matches the lower body section (stockinette with a hem) so I'm not going to sweat the lack of cuff detail.  At this point, I think the hoodie is tired of being stuffed in a basket or ziplock bag.  (It was originally in a basket, then Max found it and snagged it a bit in an attempt to pull it out of the basket - fixable - so it went into a zippy bag.)  If I were the hoodie, I'd just want to be knitted already, so I don't expect any complaints for leaving off the decorative cuff.

I'm really hoping to start the second sleeve today, but the start takes a bit of time because the sleeve is knit from the top down, which means short row sleeve cap shaping.  I'd like to get all the short rows done in one sitting so I'll have to see how my time looks before I start.  If I can't do it today, I should be able to get a start this weekend.  Can you imagine that I might actually finish this cardi sometime this year?  I know, crazy talk.

*Chase the Kitty and Put Him in Your Mouth is actually a better game than it sounds and Max usually starts it by swatting at Logan, puffing up, hopping sideways and then tearing off down the hall.  Once Logan catches him, he puts Max in his mouth.  If you've never had a retriever, you may not know, they are extremely gentle in the mouth (you don't want your duck eaten by your dog after all).  95% of the time, Max just pulls whatever part of him is in Logan's mouth out by walking away and then restarts the game.  One time, Max didn't get loose by walking away but the part of him in Logan's mouth was one of Max's drumsticks (rear leg) and Max was walking (or trying to with three legs), but Logan was following and still holding Max's leg.  I did put a stop to that particular game, but when I told Caleb about it later, his spin on it was, "So Max was dragging Logan around the house?"  Fortunately, Max isn't at all offended by doggy spit, which is also part of the game.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February Knit Something of the Month - Jaali

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Here it is!  All finished and blocked and modeled by the ever patient and photogenic Logan (I finished and blocked it, Logan is modeling, just to clarify).  I never did measure it, but you can see by the amount of Golden Retriever acreage it covers that it's big.  So, you want some details?  The pattern is Jaali by Kitman Figueroa and I made the Large.  The yarn is Geisha from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Rosebud.  (Seriously.  Great.  Pink.  Just Sayin.')  I didn't change a thing about the pattern, just knit it exactly as written.  There is lace on wrong side rows, but the pattern is easy to memorize and once you get a feel for it, you can work it from memory instead of checking the chart every stitch so it really isn't a difficult design.  Want to see a detail on a pretty paw?
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Here you go!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Horai

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I've gotten to spend some more time with Horai since I finished Jaali and I've gotten a few more repeats worked on it.  A quick glance at the directions to refresh my memory and I was off and knitting.  This is such a fun stitch pattern to work.  My only complaint on this is that the yarn (ShibuiKnits Silk Cloud) is too slippery on the metal needles.  I tried it on wood needles to start but it's hard to see both strands of yarn on the KnitPicks wood pattern (it's knit with two strands held together).  I really hate the idea of ordering another needle in the solid color because I'm probably going to replace my KnitPicks woods with Dyakcraft woods (I've pretty much already switched from the KnitPicks metal to HiyaHiya, but I don't have one in this big size).  So that means I either cave and order a needle I don't really want (or need beyond this project), or suck it up and just work on this when I can work fairly undistracted so when I do have stitches slip off the needles, I can catch them quickly.  Decisions, decisions...

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Monday, February 20, 2012

All the Knitting is Done

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I finished Jaali this weekend!  It's nice to beat my end of the month deadline by more than hours this time. Knitting it from the bottom up meant all the long rows were done early and that always helps too.  It's blocking now (you should have heard the pathetic meowing outside the sewing room door while I was pinning it out) and I'll show it to you all finished, later this week.  But for now, all the knitting is finished and I just have a small ball of yarn left over.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Ripple, The Real Thing

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After my successful trial swatch, I decided to jump in and get started on the real ripple.  I realized that if I did the starting chain while I was waiting to get Caleb from school, I could get it done and counted without interruption and without Max.  My starting chain was 213 thingys long and it's measuring 58 inches wide.  Obviously, I've gotten a little farther along than just the starting chain!

I love the way the hand dyed yarns look in this and it feels great too.  I'm trying to be random with the stripes, just reaching into the bag and grabbing something, but being random is pretty hard sometimes.  I hope you all have a great weekend, it's supposed to be rainy here.  Sounds perfect for some knitting or crochet with a cup of tea, to me.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jaali

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Jaali is really moving along now!  I'm about at the halfway point, row wise.  Total yardage - wise, I'm past the halfway point - probably closer to 2/3 or 3/4 of the way done!  Once you get a feel for the pattern (and it's easy to memorize), you barely have to check the charts so working lace on the backside isn't slowing me down a bit.  I'm really glad I chose this for my first wrong side lace project.  The designer also makes things a little easier the way she made the charts - it has to do with the way she used the symbols on the WS rows, so you don't have to think too much.  (The thinking too much has been my downfall many times.)  Rows are taking about 10 minutes now and that includes time for Max to circle in my lap as he decides if he wants to curl up and take a nap or slap Logan upside the head and start a game of chase the kitty.  Decisions, decisions...

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ripple

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All those colors of yarn are wound and ready to go for my Neat Ripple blanket, and I've got to get it finished by Christmas, so I decided to work up a practice swatch.  Lucy has the best photo tutorials and really holds your hand through her pattern directions so I just followed along and did what she said to do and soon enough, I had a little ripple swatch!  I used some Cascade 220 leftovers because the Tosh DK is very close to the same size so I could decide what size hook to use and use my swatch to figure out how many to chain for the first row.  The directions for this pattern are just great and the pattern is easy to memorize.  It only uses US Double Crochect (conveniently, the only crochet stitch I know) so once you get going it's really easy.  Fortunately, I haven't forgotten how to do a double crochet stitch.  The actual blanket will be striped, but instead of making all the stripes the same size like the pattern, I'm going to stripe like Lucy is doing in her current ripple blanket (scroll down in this post, it's in the photo with the Country Living magazine and in other photos, farther down).  I think those stripes will look better in my darker, more manly colors.

Yesterday being Valentine's Day, Mickael brought me home roses!  Logan politely sniffed them and wagged.  (Good boy!)  Maximus decided to pull the petals off of them and chew them up.  He's such a wonderful little kitten.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sometimes you just need a ReDo

About four years ago I knit October Frost.  It's a lovely, cabled cardigan.  In the four years it's been sitting in my closet, I've worn it twice.  I'll pull it out to wear, but then it gets folded up again and put back away.  It's too big and too boxy and it's just not flattering on me.  I love the cables and I love the yarn, but the style of it just doesn't work for me.  Maybe it's the saddle shoulders, maybe I should have redesigned it smaller (I made the smallest size the pattern is written for), but I'm swimming in it.

Anyway, I knew what I needed to do and over the weekend, I did it - I frogged it!
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Max and Logan had never seen a sweater being deconstructed and they found it fascinating.  Max even helped by laying on the pieces while I unravelled it.  Logan inspected the yarn balls as I wound them.  The yarn is Peace Fleece Worsted Samantha Katya Pink and I love the color.  Peace Fleece has that slightly scratchy, wooly feeling to it that just feels like it will last forever in the right pattern.  The kind of sweater you can throw on for years and it never pills, wears like iron and just keeps on going.  I think I already know what I want to make out of the yarn, but I really (really, really) should finish my Austin Hoodie first.  Remember that?  Yeah, I think I started it last April or May so I really should get that finished before it's one year old.  Maybe I should hide the Peace Fleece from myself until I finish Austin Hoodie.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Jaali

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I'm far enough along that you can see the point of the shawl now.  This shawl is knitted from the lower edge, up to the top, so while each row does get a little shorter, it was hard at first to see what the lace was looking like.  I can now see what the lace is doing and I feel like the whole project is going more quickly now.

Also, I'd just like to say that Winter came last night.  We got snow.  It's gone now because it's raining, but for a couple of hours last night, it snowed.  Caleb was hoping for a blizzard and I don't even think Max saw it.  Logan thought it was tasty and took way too much time outside last night, in the cold.  OK, I'm ready for Spring now.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Maximus

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I have found the best place in the house to keep up with my family - the top of the kitchen counters, just below the ceiling!  Up here I can make sure they are all doing what they're supposed to and they can't get to me very well.  Mommy says the ceiling in the kitchen in 9 feet tall and there's just enough room for me to get up here.  Then I can race back and forth along the cabinets.  I've also been watching Mommy cook and I've helped with putting away clean dishes.  Mommy says it's not really helpful to sit up here and swat at her and try to see what's in all the cabinets, but I'm not sure that she understands the meaning of helpful as it applies to cats.

For instance, last night Logan was drinking water.  I thought he was making too much noise so I attacked him.  From under his water bowl.  On the neck.  He stopped drinking and making so much noise.  Also, my humans don't understand the importance of the pantry.  It's great and I love it in there.  They should leave me alone and let me play there.  Mommy says I shouldn't attack the food so much, but she also thinks there's a passage to Narnia in there.  I will neither confirm nor deny any passages to Narnia or elsewhere, but I've been retraining Mommy to stay out of the pantry.  This morning I hid in the pantry and when she opened the door to feed Logan, I jumped at her - with all of my legs spread out and I jumped about 2 feet in the air.  I was scary.  I hope she learned her lesson, but I'm not sure she was properly frightened - I might have used that move too much.  On the other hand, if she wouldn't wear such ridiculous pajama pants, I wouldn't have to attack her so much.

Caleb comes home every afternoon and gets these weird stick things and makes marks on papers with them.  I've found that it's much more fun for me to steal the stick things when Caleb sets them down.  Also, I like to sit on the papers he's using.  He tries to move me, but I just roll over and smack at him with my paws which makes him giggle.  The stick things and the paper don't ever make him giggle.

My Daddy is still the only one in the house who is properly trained for cats.  He doesn't need anywhere near as much attacking as the others do, so I mostly ride around on his shoulders and purr at him.  Also, he's really warm, so I sleep next to him at night.  If only he could help me train Mommy, Caleb and Logan we could all have a lovely time playing with me!

So you see, I really am quite helpful.  I keep things quiet, I might or might not have found a passage to Narnia, I give fashion advice, and I'm more fun than homework.  I think that sounds very helpful actually!

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Jaali

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OK, I know this doesn't look too different from the last time you saw it, but there are 6 rows there that weren't there last time.  6 rows of lace on both sides!  Also, I'm getting a feel for the pattern and the repeat is easy to memorize which should make things go a little faster from here.  I discovered last night, that it was easier to work the wrong side from memory once I got a handle on it, than to work each stitch from the chart, figuring out what the symbols mean for Wrong Side rows.  I'm going to try it again later today and make sure that memorizing the repeat isn't a fluke and I can really do it and if it works, this project should start moving a little faster.  Faster is good!

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Rainbow of Yarn

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Since I last showed you this yarn (Madelinetosh Tosh DK, I have gotten two skeins of Tart (the red) to add to the collection and I've washed all the skeins until the water ran clear.  They've all dried, so yesterday I decided to go ahead and get them wound into center pull balls.  I knew that would take a while so I brought my swift and skein winder downstairs and set them up on the kitchen island so I could wind while Caleb did his homework.  This also meant that Maximus saw the swift and ball winder for the first time (Max hasn't even been allowed to peek into the sewing/stash room).  Once he got a handle on the pure awesomeness that was yarn going in circles, he decided to start a fight with the swift.  You have to understand, Max will take on anything, so I wasn't surprised when he started swinging at the swift.  Winding yarn while half of your equipment is being attacked was a new experience for me, but eventually, I got everything wound up and it's all ready to use.

Want to know what I'm going to use it for?  I'm going to do Attic 24's Neat Ripple, but I'm going to use the stripe pattern from the one she's crocheting now instead of the stripes from the actual pattern.  I've got to crochet a swatch to make sure I know what I'm doing, and when I actually start, I'm going to get my Mom to help me since she knows all about the crochet.  Fortunately, this uses double crochet (UK treble) which is the only stitch I know, so I don't think it will be too much trouble, once I get going.  Also, there are no little things to sew together, so once I'm done, I'm done.  Yes, poor Babette is still waiting to get sewn up.  I might force myself to get that sewn up before I start this new project.  That would be the responsible thing to do...

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Jaali

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I got some work done on Jaali this weekend and actually, a lot of it was done with Max in my lap.  There were still a couple of times I had to explain that needle cables weren't chew toys and that the yarn wasn't a cat toy, but overall, he really did well and just cuddled in and went to sleep.  As far as Jaali, I'm about 1/8 done if I go by row count.  Technically, since you start at the long end and work towards the neck, the rows get shorter and shorter, but figuring out where I am that way just gives me a headache, so I'm just counting rows as though they're all the same length.  I'm now to the point where I'll be working lace on both Right Side and Wrong Side rows - ooooh, scary!

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Logan

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I decided to blog today since Mommy is busy getting the Maximus kitty off the kitchen counters.  He keeps jumping up there and she keeps scooping him up and dumping him on the floor.  I don't know why he goes up there, maybe there's bacon up there that I've missed in my own many counter surfing expeditions.  (Never once found bacon, got a ham sandwich once, but no bacon randomly laying on the counter.)  Anyway, since Mommy can't come to the blog, the least I can do is help out.

She's been doing the yarn things around here when that kitty behaves himself.  She did something the other day with lots of different yarns and water and it took all day and it was just crazy but then she hung up the yarn and it made drippy rain drops in the laundry room.  I just asked and she said she was washing the yarn she showed last Friday to make sure the colors wouldn't run.  Also she says she got in the new red color, Tart, and will wash it this weekend.  I didn't know colors could run.  I've never seen them when I go for walkies, only people and sometimes dogs running - oh, and bunnies, they run.

Max can run, actually he runs really fast, usually after he taunts me rudely.  Also he runs at me and jumps off me to change direction.  If I wasn't so busy chasing him, I might get offended that he uses me for a bumper.  My friend Barclay came over and stayed with us for a few days (Mommy said it was a doggy sleepover) and he had never met Max.  Barclay is an older dog and I have to be careful not to sneak up on him because Mommy says he's deaf and he has something called the arthritis which makes him move very slowly.  I tried to be a nice friend to Barclay, but Max was not very nice.  He jumped off the kitchen table onto Barclay's head!  Barclay made squeaky noises when that happened.  I tried to protect Barclay from the crazy kitty, but he scares me too.  Mommy calls Max a Little Wrecking Ball.  Know what she calls me?  Her Sweet Marshmallow of Love.

Have a great weekend, I'm going to go get some cuddle hugs!

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Jaali

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Yesterday was a growing day for Max so I didn't have to wear him out!  That's what I call it when he spends a day sleeping more than normal, but seems otherwise fine, I figure he's growing.  He could just be plotting, but I'm more comfortable with the idea of him spending the day growing.  So anyway, since he was curled up asleep most of the day, I got my cast on done AND I worked four rows!  Four Rows!  These are the long rows of course, so four rows is impressive - be impressed.

Today is not a growing day: as you can see by photo, I had a little assistant this morning (the white smudge at the lower left corner is Maximus).  Actually, Logan was also right there to help out (he loves blog-photo-time in the mornings), but as a more experienced assistant, he stayed out of the camera frame and waited politely.  Max doesn't do polite.  Max just barges in on whatever he wants and then he picks it up and walks off with it.  This morning he wanted Jaali.  Looks like he's going to be helpful this month too!

Oh, I almost forgot, Happy Groundhog Day!  This is also the anniversary of when I started blogging - seven years ago!  That's a lot of rambling about yarn and fur balls isn't it?

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February Knit Something of the Month

Since there are only 29 days this month, I figured I'd better hit the ground running!  This month's project will be the Jaali shawl.  I'll be using some yarn left over from this project, so I'm actually doing some stash busting.  The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha in Rosebud and I have enough to do a large sized Jaali (which means I'd better get knitting).  This shawl is knit from the lower/long edge up towards the neck, which means the rows will be getting shorter as I go.  Of course it also means a HUGE cast on.  I'll be exercising Max before I start and using lots of markers to help me count, but I'm hoping to at least get through the cast on today.

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