Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Squares for Wellwood

While I haven't posted about it here, many of our customers and Ravelry friends already know  that at the beginning of the year, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The prognosis is good, she has surgery and is now in the middle of preventative chemo - so every other Wednesday right now is chemo day.

Dad works night, so I've offered my services to be chauffeur on those days. I'm more than glad to help out, and unlike Dad, I'm much better at waiting... I'm a knitter.

The first time I went with Mom, I naturally brought a long my travel sock. But when I got there, I discovered several baskets with yarn and needles in them. Wellwood, a local cancer support organization put them there, with the request that any knitters waiting make 6 inch garter squares, which are then sewn together by volunteers, and given to cancer patients at the centre.

So, I tucked away my socks and made a square. This time around, I packed my own 4.5mm needle (the ones on offer in the baskets are plastic straights....) and set to work as soon as we got in.
While waiting, I managed to finish it up, and even get a few rows done on my sock too. (Which is naturally in my purse, just in case.)
This is the second of my new lace sock design, and it's been neglected for a few weeks -it's good to be working on it again.

After the chemo session, Mom and I head out for something nice and greasy - it's one of the few days she can still enjoy it before all the drug settle in and mess up her system.
Hamburger, onion rings, fries.... last session it was Fish and Chips! Delicious!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 9: Easter dresses

When I was a kid, my favourite thing about Easter wasn't the chocolate (though it's delicious!), or the egg hunts, or other Easter treats.

My favourite thing about Easter was that the Easter Bunny always brought me a new outfit. My family is not religious, so  there was no dressing up for Easter service, but the bunny almost always brought me a nice new skirt and blouse.

Now most kids could care less about getting  clothes for a holiday, but I always loved it. There wasn't a lot of money to go around, so generally, I only got new clothes for back to school, Christmas and Easter.  (but I got really lucky with the hand-me downs, let me tell you!)

There are no new clothes for me this Easter, but I figured it was a good day to go through the closet and sort everything out. While in there, I discovered that most of it needed to be ironed, including my collection of sundresses.
I think I'm going to need a bigger closet!
I didn't realize it until I pulled them all out, but that's a lot of dresses! That said, in the summer, I pretty much live in these dresses.  Throw on a cardigan, and I wear them to work. I even wear them in a winter - add a pair of tights and a tall pair of boots and you're set!

And now that my studio is set up, I was able to finally tackle some minor repairs and mods. Straps were reinforced, hems restitched, and on one particularly beautiful dress...
What are the chances I had the perfect shade
of yellow fabric in my stash?
I found the perfect yellow fabric make it more suitable for work. This dress isn't new, it's a hand-me-down from Samantha give it me last year along with a lovely blue one, but I haven't worn it yet. The neckline was just too low for comfort.

Throw on a nice lacey cardigan
I guess I got a new Easter outfit after all!
And it's ready for work! Or Easter dinner at Dave's grandma's - which is where I'm headed now!

And if the Easter Bunny didn't leave you an Easter outfit... knit your own! Come on over to the shop for 15% off today and tomorrow. Just use code HOPPY15 at the checkout.

Mom dyed up a whole mess of beautiful yarns over the last few weeks. 

There's Continental Cat, House Cat, Alley Cat, Top Cat and more!

Wishing you all a happy, chocolate filled Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 8: Where the heck did it go?

I woke up this morning with less than 10 rows to go on the Daenerys shawl. I had plans to do some sewing today. But I thought hey... it's just 10 rows, I'll finish it up this morning, then sew in the afternoon. Being an experience shawl knitter, you'd think I'd know better....
It's done and blocking... but it took me until 5 p.m. Those last few rows are a killer. Especially when you're beading the crap out of them.
Admittedly, I did take a couple of breaks. The boys needed a mid-afternoon salad break
Which was clearly exhausting.

And as for me.... well I just can't get enough of the neighbourhood squirrels...
Seriously... they are just too much fun to watch.
I guess I'll do my sewing tomorrow....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 7: Laundry day

Not a whole lot of excitement today at Chez Wandering Cat. It's Good Friday, so Dave and I actually had a day off together (a very rare occurence).

We've mostly been kicking around the house, watching movies, and doing laundry with a little help from the kids.
 Dave did get a chance to witness the local wildlife that I see almost every day.
Bunbun stretching after a wee rest under the bird feeder.
We put some carrots out for him, which he quite enjoyed
And Mr. Squirrel got his daily ration of peanuts
Even Mr. Robin stopped by and gobbled up a nice juicy worm
Now that's a good Friday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 6: FO: Cobblestone

Dave has given me his cold, so today has been another lazy day filled with sniffling, sneezing, movie watching cat snuggling, and of course, knitting. Unfortunately, it's the Daenerys shawl I'm working on, and it's gotten to the point where it's too big for decent pictures

Fortunately, I did get the Cobblestone cowl off the needles and blocked last night. Since I'm home along until late tonight, I had to do a solo photo shoot.

When I designed this pattern back in December 2012, I was looking for a project to showcase our newly introduced Top Cat Aran. It was also going to be a Christmas gift, so I needed something that would knit up quick. It also had to meet the needs and likes of the recipient (ie:be really long).

The original took just over one skein of Top Cat Aran, and the slip stitch pattern (a modified linen stitch) showcased the hand-painted semi-solid perfectly. But I've longed to see how it would work with something busier.

When Mom gave me this skein of Codex earlier this week, I knew exactly what to make with it.

I cast on Tuesday morning and by bedtime last night, it was blocking.

Yes, it's is a very quick knit ! But that said, I have to disclose two things.

1) I am on vacation and I did almost nothing but knit yesterday.

2) I made some modifications - mainly cutting down the stitches. The original could be wrapped three times. This one can only be wrapped twice, and it's pretty snug.

I went down a couple needle sizes on this one too - mainly just because I didn't check my pattern when I started knitting. But the resulting fabric was so nice, I wasn't inclined to frog it when I discovered the error.

The Codex was an absolute delight to work with and I'd love to get more. This skein was from the now defunct Sanguine Gryphon, but it is being offered by the Verdant Gryphon, with this caveat from their website:"Our most luxurious yarn, only available as a guest base at certain times during the year. We will not be stocking as standard, seasonal, ore weekly update colourways, but look our for Codex in custom lots, special updates, clubs, and shows."

Even though I have my own dye studio, I've always admired the Gryphon's dyeing skills, and you can bet your bottom I'll be keeping my eye open for more of this.

I used almost every inch of the skein. That's another great thing about this pattern, you can just keep knitting until you run out of yarn. It's perfect for those single luxury skeins that are too precious to buy several of, but you just can't resist.(The pattern could easily be adapted to any weight of yarn too - just change your cast on and needle size to suit. I'm thinking I may make a few more of these to put away for Christmas presents for this year.)

And, as pretty as this cowl is, I'm hoping I won't get too much use out of it for a few months. The weather is slowly warming up and both Rocky and I are fervently hoping that it's here to stay.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 5: Halfway lazy

Well, it's Wednesday and my vacation is already half over. No matter how long, it always goes too fast. So today, I decided to slow things down.
Taking a cue from Tux, I've been camped in a sunbeam, just enjoying the world around me. It's still quite cool outside, though yesterday's snow has melted.  But in the sun, with my blankie, everything is warm and cozy.

From my perch, I've watched the bunnies cavort in the yard.
And chase the birds from the fallen seed under the feeder. And chase each other around the yard, which is really quite funny.

I can see Stan and Opal (so named by Samantha) guarding their new batch of eggs.
You can't see it, but on the back of that leaf there are at least 100 eggs. Hopefully they don't eat them this time. Earlier this week I got some new plants for the tank, so if the eggs do hatch, it gives the babies places to hide from hungry mouths.

And, in addtion to watching the world go by, I've been knitting.
The Cobblestone cowl is almost done.
I'm basically just knitting this one until the yarn runs out, and the end is very close. I expect to finish it up tonight, which is going to be just as lazy as the day was!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 4: Spelunking

Remember that rain I mentioned yesterday....? Well this morning it turned into this.
Seems like the perfect day to hibernate to me....

To the craft cave!
Umm.... I guess I better clean it first.

Long-time readers will remember my semi-annual posts about cleaning my studio in the old townhouse. When we moved to this townhouse, I made a promise to myself that this studio would be kept cleaner. Not only did I want tidy storage, but I wanted a room I could actually sew in, instead of constantly toting everything up and down the stairs every time I got the urge to make something.

As you can see... I haven't quite kept that promise. To be fair, when we moved a year ago, I never properly unpacked and organized the room in the first place. So any time I needed something, I was shifting through boxes, digging through piles and just generally making a bigger mess.

But today was the perfect day to rectify that. And it didn't take nearly as long as I thought.

As you can see, I still have a few boxes to unpack- it's mostly books, beads and some paperwork.
And cleaning up gave me room to give the seedlings a good home, safe from furry threats.
And speaking of seedlings, look what I found while I was cleaning
About 50 seed packs including daisies, marigolds, columbine, Japanese lanterns and more... I'd bought these back in 2007 when Dave and I were planning a fairly large wedding. These were to be the wedding favours. For various reasons, the wedding didn't happen (and our plans have changed drastically in the last 7 years)  so now I have a buttload of seeds. I'm not even sure if they are any good, but I'm going to try planting a few and see what happens. I just have to get some more seed trays.

And while we're on the topic of caving...
Yes, I absolutely caved and cast on for my Cobblestone cowl...