Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cat Stuff Roundup

I made a few cat related things that I haven't blogged about. They're sitting in the sidebar at 100%. I've photographed all of them, I just need to discuss them, so here we are:

I keep my yarn in plastic bins. These bins are the perfect height for the cats to sit at the windows, and they love it. To make it more comfortable for them, I've made a fair few kitty beds that they can sit and sleep on. It also helps to pick up a lot of their shed hair so I can just toss the beds into the washer every so often and keep things a bit cleaner. The blue one is the 4th time I've made the 1 Skein Pet Bed pattern, and probably just about the last. It also first appeared during February Frenzy. The black one is the same pattern as the cat cage blankets I made for the local shelter last year.

Pattern: 1 Skein Pet Bed (Ravelry, mine)
Yarn: Caron One Pound
Hook: 6.5 mm/USK
 Timeframe: February 20 - 24, 2013
Mods: Different hook, added three more increase rows, did two layers.
Problems: None, though I think if I were to make any more, I'd use a smaller hook for the last few rows of the part that is supposed to stand up. It really doesn't stay up with use.

Pattern: 1 Skein Pet Bed (mine)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in black
Hook: 6.5 mm/USK
 Timeframe: October 23 - December 12, 2012
Mods: The original is for cat cages, so I lengthened it and used an hdc border instead of sc.
Problems: None. It's really not as bow-tie-shaped as it appears, it had been used quite a bit by the time I photographed it!

I needed a quick project for a Harry Potter prompt a few months ago, so I made another mouse and two more ice cream cone toys:

Yarn: Japanese wool scraps, Lion Brand Fun Fur
Needles: US8/5.0mm
Timeframe: January 19 - 27, 2013
Mods: Worked 'til square instead of following set row numbers.
Problems: None! 
Pattern: Ice Cream Cone Cat Toy (Ravelry, mine)
Yarn: Craftmax Classic Merino Aran クラシック・メリノ 並太 (from Japan)
Hook: 3.75 mm/USF
 Timeframe: January 12, 2013
Mods: None!
Problems: None!

Hook: 5.5 mm/USI
 Timeframe: March 24 - 28, 2013
Mods: Doubled the yarn and made it larger to try to felt it for a longer lifespan. It didn't felt too well.
Problems: None!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Getting close on the Camp Loopy cardigan! The hem is exactly as desired, but I'm hoping it grows a bit in blocking because it hangs open just a little too much for my taste. Really, I hope the ribbing relaxes because that would make it perfect. I just hope I have enough time and yarn to finish the sleeves the way I want them:

3 days. 2 sleeves. 1 skein of yarn. Go!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Metro Update

So far Metro's been coming along very slowly since I restarted it. My plan from last time, knitting a ribbed hem horizontally and then picking up the body stitches from there, seems to be a great modification but took a long time (for me) to knit. So far, I have the hem and a couple of rows of the body worked.

Yesterday I was at an event where I was chaperoning groups of girls from one engineering activity to the next and then sitting in on the engineering activities. I was helping where appropriate, but during the lecture parts it was a perfect time to pull out my knitting and finish the hem. I also figured out what I should be doing with the corners:

As you can see, one corner worked out quite nicely while the other was a bit wonky. For the first corner (on the right), I did it exactly like a short-row heel, wrapping and turning at every stitch. It wasn't exactly what I was going for. For the second corner (on the left), I wrapped and turned every other stitch, creating a much more corner-like corner. This was probably something I could have learned by reading about it online before starting in. Since I figured out the better corner in the middle of the engineering day, I was happy that I have a camera in my phone so I could take a picture of the two corners before I ripped out the first, re-knit it, and picked up the body stitches. Currently it's not difficult or large enough to be unwieldy and I'm using it as my travel and reading project. It's not moving too quickly though. I've had very few lectures or meetings where knitting is appropriate and a lot of my reading has actually been skimming. Too much work, not enough time to enjoy the work I'm doing!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cross Stitch WIPs

Aside from the Camp Loopy and Tour de Fleece projects, I'm strictly working on WIPs. I've got 21 of 'em and about a million other things I want to work on. That includes a bunch of cross stitches - I've been in a cross stitching mood, wanting to open kits that are begging to be stitched and make some more of my own designs. I've got a couple of simple ones I really want to stitch up, a few interesting ones I want to try out, and some really complex ones that will take FOREVER but will also be simply amazing when they're done.

Right now, I have only four cross stitches in progress, and the magic number I would like to have is three. One large one, one medium one, and one small one. I currently have two large ones, one medium, and one small. Before I give in and start more, I want to finish three of the current ones, the small, medium, and one of the large pieces.

Small piece:

At this point, the cherub in the hoop is mostly complete but I'm too lazy to re-photograph it

This is a set of two pillowcases that I started a LONG long time ago (in a galaxy state far away). It's the oldest WIP I've got and it's so old I have no idea when it's from, just that my Grandmother bought it for me because I was interested in crafty things. It's got some rust stains from being left in the ring, but hopefully those will come out. I always finish a project, and this one is no different! I had to buy some more thread to finish it but I was waiting for Jo-Ann's to have their 3/$1 DMC sale before buying it. This one doesn't need much more for it to be finished so will probably be done this month. The trick will be not opening another kit immediately upon finishing this one!

Medium piece:

I like Christmas ornaments. They make good gift tags and are cute and often cheap, so I have kind of a lot of kits of ornaments hanging around. I started this one back in undergrad, either my third or fourth year, so it's probably seven years old. I love the detail in these and love stitching these small pieces. I just wish I didn't have to do all nine to call it complete!

Large piece #1:

This is my go-to large piece since it's pretty close. It's the project that lives by my bed and gets a few stitches a day (or at least, did when I had the time/energy to stitch a little before sleeping). I've just got to finish Mickey and then do all the backstitching and glow-in-the-dark details, not much further now! I started this one in undergrad as well, thinking it wouldn't take too much time. Idiot.

Large piece #2:

Old picture, but there's been no work on it since then!

This one hasn't been touched since undergrad and won't be for quite some time I'm sure. Once I finish the other three projects, I know I'll be working on some of my own smaller pieces. Or I may give in and start one of the also-large-but-smaller or also-large-but-more-white-space kits. This one is not only the largest Art of Disney kit size (18"x24"), it's also almost devoid of white space (non-stitched areas). Someday, I will get around to it, but that day is not soon!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

TdF Update 2

I really have not been spinning along at all. I am moving forward bit by bit, but spinning with a wheel requires me to be at home and have time to sit down at the wheel, something I haven't really had much of since the TdF started. I think by the end, I will have spun the singles of the Mountain Magic and started in on the alpaca. Mountain Magic progress:

Ravelry is now beta-testing a spinning projects feature. I signed up for it and I'm thrilled Casey is working on it! You can add your spinning tools, there will soon be a place for fiber-as-stash, and instead of having handspun yarn as placeholders for yarn you're spinning, you get real project pages to track your progress. Have a look at the page for my Mountain Magic. You can sign up for it for yourself here. I found out thanks to Erika. I love Ravelry!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Steotch-Along Finished!

I finished the stitching last month, but didn't get the frame to really finish the project until July. Here it is, the finished Steotch-Along cross stitch:

 There were three options for the quote. The misquoted Ezekiel line, "Does he look like a bitch?", and "Say ___one more goddamn time". They gave you the alphabet so you could add in whatever word you wanted to either stay true to the movie (what) or add your own flair to the finished piece.

We chose to intentionally leave it blank. That way, framed in a typical picture frame with the glass/plastic covering the piece, we can use a dry erase marker to write in whatever word is vexing us that day:

One of our cats does something between a meow and a yowl when she wants attention. She wants attention a lot. We call that meowling.

I am very pleased with the finished product! I do wish that his head wasn't cut off, but other than that, I love it and just need to find the perfect spot for it in the house.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Camp Loopy Update #1

I cast on, knit a few inches, and then learned that Cascade 220 Superwash has a smaller gauge than Cascade 220. Riiiiiiiiiiiiip:

On the plus side, I think that the hem of the cardigan is unflattering and really does not fit the tone of the sweater at all, so I get to restart it with a much more appropriate (in my opinion) edging. We'll see if my idea works - I'm planning to start with Judy's Magic Cast-On, knitting a ribbed border, then doing short rows for the corners to bring it up the fronts of the sweater, continuing as written for the rest of it. Hopefully that works!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I realized the other day when updating The Score (after finishing my Brandywine Shawl) that I have not yet finished a project started before 2013 this year. There were only 3 projects from 2012 lingering on, and another 12 from earlier years that are still unfinished. Out of the 35 finished projects so far this year, they've all been started this year as well.

Luckily, when I picked up the Broomstick Lace Afghan I found that it was much closer to complete than I realized, and I had quite some time in cars and hanging out where I was able to finish it. It's the oldest yarn-based project I had, started back in 2007. All three of my non-Steotch-Along cross stitch projects are older, but I don't have any older knit or crochet projects.

Yarn: Caron One Pound, over two skeins!
Needle: US50/25mm
Hook: US/4.0mm
Timeframe: Summer/Fall 2007 - June 29, 2013
Mods: None!
Problems: None!

As I was taking these pictures, my little black cat decided to hide under the blanket-covered chair; she loves blanket forts:

Of course, she couldn't just enjoy the blanket on the chair, she had to help me out further by darting forward to get some action shots. Of the blanket.

I'm not sure blankets need action shots.

Apparently she and the other cat disagree. Now that my cream colored blanket is (again) covered in much darker cat hairs, I believe it is time to put it somewhere they can't get to it.

If you were wondering about the purple claws in Picture #3, we currently have Soft Claws on our cats. We're re-finishing the floors and wanted to see how they reacted to them, in case they end up scratching the floors. They adjusted to them very quickly, and really the most annoying thing is that they seem to shed claws much more quickly than the packaging would lead us to believe. That's why I didn't stop them when they were doing this:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TdF Update 1

Apparently reading some books and learning more about the technical aspects of spinning really help:

The colors look amazing in this picture, much more distinct than in the roving. I wonder how it will come out in the end. I'm planning a 2-ply, something that should show stitch definition well, so I'm hoping to get enough yardage out of my almost 8 oz of roving for a shawl of some sort. Based on the progress thus far, I think I will get my wish!

Monday, July 1, 2013


June was an excellent month for yarn usage, finishing up just over 2 miles of projects with a net 1.7 miles of yarn loss. Sweet!

As for the rest of my June goals, I finished the shawl and have the yarn for the next project. I also kept up with the Steotch-Along and the only reason it isn't done is because we couldn't decide how to finish it until it was too late to go out to get the frame last night.

I have two goals this month. The first is to participate in Tour de Fleece, improving my spinning by spinning a worsted-style yarn, intended to be roughly fingering - sport weight and 2-ply, and going through a pound of alpaca fleece, intended to be roughly a DK-to-worsted 3-ply. I've got all the books my library had on spinning and am getting my spin on:

The second is to finish the Camp Loopy project for this month (and buy the yarn for the third and final Camp Loopy project. So really, 3 goals). Project 2 needs to be over 500 yards and must have over 1000 projects or be in over 1000 queues, and while there's only 364 projects, Metro is in over 2200 queues. It's a big one, over 800 yards and I'm planning to lengthen the sleeves and probably the body a bit. The cardigan is mostly stockinette, which helps, but I won't have all of that lecture time and I will have a lot of work deadlines coming up quickly. Knitting time will be at a minimum. While I'd love to say I'm going to knit at least a mile this month, I'm not sure that's going to happen! I'm also trying to take part in the Tour de Fleece, with a goal of spinning daily using tips and tricks from library books and YouTube during the Tour to improve my skills. With the spinning, yarn purchase for Camp Loopy project 3, and minimal knitting anticipated, I'll be happy if the curve doesn't go up this month!

Project 2: Begin!