Friday, August 31, 2007

It's Like Christmas!

Today the mail man brought me THREE packages, and they all had yarn in them!

First up, the yarn from The Knitter:

One ball is from the contest at I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can and I bought the second because I'm always paranoid about running out of yarn towards the end of a project. They're Zephry wool/silk in the color Basil. Yummy! This came super fast! I emailed Judy at The Knitter and explained about having won the yarn from Susan, and could I please order a second ball, and all that was Wednesday. The yarn arrived today, Friday!! I couldn't be more pleased with how quickly this came.

I can't wait to get started on my Spring Things Shawl! I'm making myself finish the pair of socks I've got on the needles right now (my Upside-Down Quill Socks) before I start this shawl though. And here's why I have to finish the Quill Socks now:

That's the yarn for Rebecca's socks. She gave me a pair of socks that didn't fit her, and I want to make a pair of socks for her in return (hopefully a pair that fits her). The colorway is "peace" and it's a nice mix of mossy greens that I hope she'll like. I figure that I can always over-dye them a little more blue if they're too yellow now.

The third package on my doorstep this afternoon held these four skeins:

Aren't they gorgeous!!

The top one doesn't have a name, but it's 100% wool, 119 yards , 100 grams. The bottom one is 60% silk, 40% angora. Both of them came from Romni Wools in Toronto. The green is from my Aunt Louise and the Angora Silk is from my sister. Thank you both so much!!

I feel so spoiled!!

I think it's really funny that all of the sudden, all kinds of green yarns are showing up. I'm definitely working my way away from all blues and reds.


I'm almost finished with my Panda Cotton Quill socks. I'm doing some ribbing on the top, basically until I run out of yarn. I'm getting pretty close! It would be neat to finish them tonight but we'll see. Pictures tomorrow when it's light outside.


Today we attempted to wash the kitties!

Yesterday I picked up a waterless, foaming no-rinse shampoo for kitties, and they emerged unscathed and not mad at all, amazingly. So far I think it's helped with my allergies. Thank goodness!! We'll probably do it again Monday, since they're going to DD's first-grade class Tuesday morning for about a half-an-hour. Could be interesting!!

Here's Lenny, stalking Squiggy (in the next picture):

Of course Squiggy is stalking Lenny at the same time.

And here they are playing:

On the allergy front, I'm back to wearing my contacts instead of glasses (THANK GOODNESS) and my runny nose is gone. Now if only I could get rid of this cough!!

Thank you to everyone who has left comments or emailed suggestions for dealing with my allergies!


I'm off to go work on my Quill Socks. Of course I should be working on the K.N.I.T. Guild newsletter since it needs to go out on Tuesday at the latest, but the socks are calling me....

Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans!

Monday, August 27, 2007

So Proud!! And the Payback Begins...

So why am I so proud? Check this out:

That's my six-year-old, KNITTING all by herself!! She knitted a row or two a few months ago and totally lost interest--until tonight. She insisted I show her again, and she did six rows all on her own!

As she was getting ready for bed she looked up at me and said "hold on, Mom, I've got to go get my knitting." It gave me warm fuzzies!

Then came the payback.

We were reading a bedtime story (which SHE actually read to ME!!--with only a little help) and I left to get a drink of water to hopefully kill my coughing fit. When I came back in, she'd picked up her knitting and was working away on it, and said to me:

"Just let me finish this row, Mom!"

I'm dreading the teenage years already. LOL!!!


Quill Socks

On Saturday we went up to Joplin, Missouri to meet up with a friend of my DH's that he grew up with. He was also one of the groomsmen at our wedding, and one of my best girlfriends and I shared a three-bedroom apartment with him for a little while in college, so it was great to see him again after four years.

I don't have any pictures from that, but I did get some work done on my sock on the way up (since my wonderful DH drove):

I got the heels finished!

Actually, I got one heel finished on the drive and did the other yesterday and this evening. So far I'm loving the whole toe-up method, but I think I prefer the short-row heel. Of course I need to wear bot of them to make up my mind.

I definitely love the yarn, although it is as splitty as everyone says. I'd originally started the I Love Gansey Sox from the SixSoxKAL, and realized pretty early that this yarn was not a good one for that sock pattern. I'm loving it for this pattern though!

Irish Hiking Scarf

Late (late late) last night I started an Irish Hiking Scarf that I'd like to send to the Red Scarf Project:

Yes, it's Red Heart yarn, but I have a lot of it and it's easy care. It's certainly not my favorite yarn to work with but it's not that horrible.

The white yarn isn't going to stay in there--that's my marker for how many rows I've done since the last cable cross. Every time I come to a cable row, I work the first three stitches, throw the white yarn to the back, work the next stitch, and bring the white yarn to the front again. It's easy to see where I am in the pattern and it pulls out easily.


That's all for now--I've also been working on the Hanging Garden Stole but it doesn't look much different from the last picture.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I won a contest!

There hasn't been a whole lot going on around here, but I did manage to purchase the Spring Things Shawl from Susan of the I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can blog.

She was celebrating her birthday in part by putting some of her patterns at half off, and at the end of the week she was to draw out a name from everyone who'd purchased one of her patterns during the week. That person would receive the yarn to make the item in the pattern they purchased. SHE DREW MY NAME! I'm so excited!!

So not only did I get a great deal on the pattern, but one ball of Zephyr is on its way to me!

I had to really think about the color I want to use. I've been on a blue kick for the last few years and now I'm kind of tired of it. I was on a red kick for a while, too, but red gets hard to wear sometimes. I have so many red shirts that a red shawl just blends right in. Purple is the obvious blend of blue and red so I didn't want to go with that.

I decided on green, a lovely, slightly-yellowed green. Mmmmm yummy! The color is called Basil and you can see it here. I blame my interest in green on Rebecca.

I can't wait to cast on for this project and I think I'm going to push myself to finish the Hanging Garden Stole before the yarn for the Spring Things Shawl arrives. I'm almost done with the eleventh repeat and I've decided to go to twelve repeats, do a few rows of garten and then bind off. I'd originally been planning to pick up stitches along the sides and do a knitted-on border, but I've since decided that I like it the way it is (and I might slit my wrists if I have to pick up 1,300 stitches for a border). Yeah. It's going to be beautiful if I can just get it finished!


My allergies are getting better, especially since the kitties have been in the garage for a few days now. They've got their own little area set up, and we've been letting them take forays into the great big wide world--with very close supervision. They LOVE being outside although they're very cautious. We're all going to be happier with outside kitties, and I won't have to die from not being able to breathe.

My not-very-happy eyes are getting better and I was even able to wear my contacts for a few hours yesterday. Oh happy day!! I HATE wearing glasses especially since the pair I have is from the late 1980s, I think, and the prescription isn't totally up to date. It's not bad, but it's not perfect either. The frames are also a fairly bright green. And kind of large. No, I'm not going to post a picture right now. Maybe later, when I don't have to wear them.


Thanks to everyone who's left comments about the kitties/allergies/dander. It helps to know there are options!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quill Socks, eyes back to normal (mostly)

I finally managed to get myself, the socks, and the camera outside at the same time.

I'm loving them so far! I'm doing them two-at-once with the magic loop method, which is my preferred way to amke socks. I'm going to attempt a heel flap on this sock, whcih will be something new for me since I've only done heel flaps top-down.

I'm really enjoying these so far. I took them with me to the doctor yesterday they kept me occupied in the waiting room.

Speaking of the doctor, the $80 eye drops have done their job! I'm not longer crusty and red in the eyes, thank goodness!! It was hurting to blink. The diagnosis was allergic conjunctivitis, which is non-contagious pink eye. The bad part is that I'm still wearing my glasses. I never wear my glasses. I hate glasses. Not only are they always dirty, but I just flat-out don't see as well. I use my peripheral vision a LOT, and I'm usually turning my eyes instead of my head to glance sideways, and with glasses I can't see well if I'm not looking straight forward. Sigh.

Thank you so much Opal, Penny, Kay, Taueret, Diane, Romi, N. Maria, and Dawn for your comments and suggestions! It really helps to know that others have gone through this and found solutions.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Red is not my color

I could also have titled this post "no, I've NOT been smoking weed" but I decided not to.

Why, you ask?


And that's WITH cold/allergy meds. I am highly, highly allergic to the kitties. I was cleaning out their litter box and Squiggy brushed against the top of my head. BOOM! Instant red eyes, and they've just gotten worse and worse.

I've never been allergic to a cat before and I'm just flabbergasted that I'm so allergic to these guys.

Now I'm sure you're wondering how Squiggy was able to brush my head, so here you can see where they like to hang out (their litter box is under the counter):

They're such good cats, so I don't know what we're going to do.


I realized that in my excitement over Ravelry, I forgot to post about my finished Esprit socks. Here they are:

They look a little odd in that last picture, but I washed them last night and they got quite a bit narrower. They're still soaking wet so I haven't tried them on again but I'm hoping they'll be a little smaller.


I finished knitting my Mystery Stole last night and I decided that it desperately needs to be longer. Unfortunately back at clue 4 Melanie said the it was 1/3 of the way finished, and going by that information my stole would've been 120" + if I hadn't shortened it. She provided instructions for shortening it, and now that it's pretty much finished, it's way too short. :-(

I don't think I could block it hard enough to make it long enough for me to wear.

So, what to do? I finally decided to unzip the "wing" section, a la Joan Schrouder in either A Gathering of Lace of Best of Knitter's: Shawls and Scarves. (I'm sorry, I'm feeling too lazy to go look right now.)

Here I am unzipping the "wing:"

I've ripped back to the lifeline and now I'm working a bunch more of the cat's paw section. My plan is to go until I'm almost out of yarn, do the plain rows and yo/k2tog section, then zip it back together. I'll need to bury two more ends than I would've originally but I'll have a shawl that'll be wearable. I'm kind of excited!

The finished shawls I've seen are absolutely beautiful and not quite what I'd expected from the way my shawl looks unblocked. How fun!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I got my Ravelry invite just now! Woo hoo!!

Of course last night my dear son went to sleep waaay too early but every time we tried to wake him up it wasn't worth the battle, so he woke up at midnight--ready to party! I finally got him back to sleep at about 4:00 A.M., so I'm a little short on sleep and will probably give up pretty soon and go to bed.

I did take some pictures of my recently-finished socks, but they're still in the camera. Hopefully tomorrow....

My Ravelry name is quilterkat, and hopefully I'll be posting my projects and things soon. After some sleep.

Happy mid-week!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finished Socks; Chaos Continues

First up, a finished pair of socks!

These are just plain stockinette, with my first short-row heel. I made the top a little on the short side because I wasn't sure I'd have enough for a more-standard height, but it turns out I'd have had plenty. I knew I should've done these toe-up, but I wasn't brave enough at that point.

They aren't made for me, so they're small on me:

I have large, wide, peasant feet so the top is even shorter on me than it will be on the intended recipient.

Please ignore the blindingly-white leg. I don't tan, I burn, so I gave up on tanned legs a loooong time ago.


Up next is the yarn I'm going to use for the SixSoxKal, the I Love Gansey socks. I just have to finish the socks I have on the needles right now, but they're going amazingly quickly. Photos in the next post--this one has enough pix already.


When DD's kindergarten year was wrapping up, the teacher sent home some parsley to encourage caterpillar/butterfly growth, and I decided to plant some more where we could watch for caterpillar activity:

If you click on the picture and look right in the center, you'll see a tiny caterpillar. We've had some good-sized ones, like 1" to 1.5" ones, but I'm not sure where they are now. I found some bigger ones this morning but by the time I got out there to take pictures, I couldn't find them. NOt sure if a bird or other creature got them or what, but I looked around and didn't find them. We've got about a dozen tiny ones though. They'll be Black Swallowtail Butterflies apparently, from the pictures I've seen on the internet. Of course these tiny caterpillars don't look like the bigger ones, but I'm reasonably sure that's what they'll be.


The kitties continue to be fun. Ryan was thrilled to have Lenny on his lap for a few minutes:

Despite the laid-back ears, neither cat seems to mind being placed on a lap and won't jump down as long as they're being petted gently.

Squiggy even puts up with being held like this for long periods of time:

VERY patient kitties.

Although this is what I found when I let them out of their room this morning:

They've discovered the toilet paper.

We're keeping them in the bathroom (complete with food and water by the tub, and litter box and cat carrier in the other side) until they get more used to us, and it gives them a place to go to get away from Gillian. Ryan pretty much leaves them alone, but if Gillian is home she follows them around and generally gives them a lot of attention, so the bathroom is their space to escape.


Hopefully tomorrow I'll get my act together and take pictures of my current socks. They're in a heavier yarn than I'm used to and they're going really fast. Now I'm starting to understand how Wendy can get so many socks finished!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Chaos Continues

Things around here are settling down today, but tomorrow we'll be all out of sorts again--Gillian starts first grade tomorrow! I can't believe how big she's getting. Sigh.

The kittens are settling in. Last night they started trying to sharpen their claws on the carpet (it's really crappy berber) so I see a scratching post in their very-near future.

They sure are cute.

And patient. That's Squiggy in the basket. Neither cat seems to object to being put in the basket and carried around.

Here they are in Gillian's room.

So far neither kid seems to be the least bit allergic, but the ironic thing is that I am. We've always known that Greg is slightly allergic to some cats and extremely allergic to cats that have any siamese in them. I've never been bothered by any cats, but Monday night I touched my eye without washing my hands first and it got really red and irritated. Yesterday and today I've been somewhat maniacal about washing my hands and so far it hasn't been bad.

I'm usually somewhat anal about washing my hands a lot, but obviously I'm going to have to be even more careful, and I'm going to have to retrain myself to not touch my eyes.


I'm SO close to getting my Ravelry invite! Here's my place on the wait list as of today:
  • You signed up on June 13, 2007
  • You are #8801 on the list.
  • 650 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 14845 people are behind you in line.
  • 34% of the list has been invited so far
So close! When I checked two weeks ago I looked back and estimated that I'll probably get my invite Friday or so, and it looks like it might be close. Woo hoo!!


I'm hoping to finish my current socks today--I started the toe decreases last night, and so if I just buckle down and work on them today I should have them finished. Wish me luck!

I'm debating about what socks to make next. The I Love Gansey socks from SixSox are calling to me, but I really really want to use that Elann yarn I won a while back. Since there's only one ball of each I'm planning to do them toe up, starting with the pink for the toes, then after the toe increases are finished changing to the black-grey-pink-white yarn for the foot, the pink for the heel, and the rest of the variegated for the leg. Maybe end with some ribbing in the pink. We'll see! I've got big plans, as usual.

I'm off to mop the kitchen floor, then I'm going to reward myself by sitting down and working on those socks. (And hopefully finish them!)


Monday, August 06, 2007

New Four-Legged Friends

First, thanks to everyone who left such nice comments about losing Fred. He's truly left a hole in our hearts and everyone's comments have been very comforting.

While he'll definitely be missed, we'd been thinking about getting a new cat for a while and DH ran across these guys at the Humane Society:

That's Squiggy on the left and Lenny on the right. They're 4-month-old boys, already fixed and everything.

Here they are starting to explore:

And so far they've been very patient with the kids. We'll see how long that lasts, but I'm hoping that one of them scratches the kids (not badly, of course) to get them to back off when they kids are too rough or too insistent that they play. I keep warning the kids that they need to not corner the kitties, but of course they're going to push it until one of the kitties has had enough.

So far so good though!

So I didn't get much done today other than getting set up for the kitties to come home and picking up some litter and other necessities at the grocery on the way to pick them up.

Things are going to be a little wild around here, and I suspect I'm not going to get much knitting done for a while. Gillian starts school on Thursday, so that adds to the chaos around here. Obviously I must thrive in chaos since I seem to not be able to do without it. :-)

Happy knitting!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

R.I.P Fred

This morning was had to have our cat, Fred, put down. He had a saddle thrombosis, which is a blood clot in the legs; he had no feeling in his back legs, couldn't walk, and his temp (at the back end, of course) was 97 degrees. A cat's normal temp is 101. He was also breathing very hard/quickly and wasn't his normal self by a long shot. Our vet, a very compassionate man who is excellent with animals, said that we could have surgery done on him, but the chances of him coming out of it weren't great as it's a very risky surgery.

So we all said goodbye to our very good friend. The kids seem to be taking it fairly well but Greg and I are rather devastated.

He was a very patient cat and would put up with a lot from the kids.

He was a good cat, a part of our family, and we'll miss him terribly.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hemp Yarn Angst

About a year ago I joined a Yahoo group, Yarn CoOp, that banded together for buying purposes so that things could be purchased in bulk to get a good price. The one swap I joined was for some hemp yarn. I was very interested in the hemp/cotton yarn, so I got a whole bunch of it, 14 balls at 250 yards each. Yeah, more than enough, but I'd rather have more left over than run out with a few inches to go.

I swatched with it, threw it in the washer and dryer a half-dozen times, and I really like it. That's the oatmeal-colored swatch I've shown a few times lately.

So today I finally broke down and cast on for a compound raglan sweater for me.

And ran into problems.

The first ball had 4 knots and 5 breaks. Here it is, divided up into its pieces:

You can tell by the size of the balls that the breaks were scattered throughout the ball. The knots are mostly in the two bigger balls. I'm going to set this ball aside for the oh-no-I'm-running-out-of-yarn last minute panic, and hope I don't have to use it. It might become washcloths or something.

The second ball I wound has 7 knots. SEVEN.

Each ball is 250 yards of a 55% hemp, 45% cotton blend.

I ordered 14 balls of this stuff to do a sweater for me.

I am NOT a happy camper.

I still have 12 more balls to wind, but after hand-winding these two balls (because I want to touch every inch of this stuff and know what I'm in for) I'm not terribly optomistic that the other 12 are going to be any better.

It's not the most pleasant stuff to work with but I really like it once it's washed a few times.

I'm really hoping that the other balls aren't as bad.


In sock knitting news, here's a picture of my current progress with yarn from Aunt Louise:

It's my first short-row heel and so far I like it! It seems to go more quickly than the heel flap and gusset method I've been using.

As soon as I get these finished I'll be casting on for the SixSoxKAL sock, I Love Ganseys Socks. I bought some Panda Yarn which should be interesting. Pictures of the yarn tomorrow, I hope.


Clue Five of the Mystery Stole comes out tomorrow morning, and I'm looking forward to working on that project again. This two-week span between clues has kind of sucked, as I've been in danger of losing my momentum with that project, as evidenced by the two other projects I started during these two weeks (the socks above and the compound raglan I started today).


Hopefully my knitting karma will be a bit better tomorrow.


Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments on my Shetland Tea Shawl! It'll be even more spectacular once it's blocked.