Sunday, October 31, 2010

Princesses and Monsters

It was a pretty exhausting weekend for me.

My friend Bree, from college, (the one on the left) married her sweetheart in a Faerie Princess/Autumn/Hallowe'en themed wedding.
As I'm a little short on funds for wedding presents, I offered my services as their official wedding photographer in place of a present.

Notice those shawls? They weren't originally part of the wedding attire, but it was a chilly, windy day - and those brides were cold. Fortunately - I had Daenerys in the car, which matched Jaime's colour scheme, and one of the bridesmaids had brought her Icarus, which matched Bree's colour scheme. Total kizmit! Oh - and the brides are knitters too!

It was a great wedding, but being a wedding photographer really is work. Ten hours and 667 photos later, I finally got to come home and relax.

Needless to say, today I reacquainted myself with the couch. But I was very productive on said couch.

I finished up my French Press slippers:So now my feet are toasty warm. Though every time I take them off, one of the cats steal them.

The rest of the day was spent making a monster!Once he gets some flippers and horns, he'll be the next Loch Ness Monster to join the fleet. The orange yarn is our new Tabby Cat Worsted (coming soon) and the belly is some left over Patons Bamboo Baby.

Also, on Friday my lovely handspun from Monika arrived and it's even nicer in person! I've already cast on for a shawl, but I'll save it for another post.

Hope everyone has had a frightfully delightful Hallowe'en!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping warm

As I mentioned a couple posts ago - I am challenging myself to keep the heat of until November. Now that November is only a few days away and I've been successful so far, I'm tempted to try to go a little longer.

I can always snuggle up in some toasty handknit woolens right? Right. (Oh, and don't worry about Dave, last night he opened the bedroom window because he was too warm - I piled on two more blankets - the boy is a polar bear!)

Now I've never been a big sock or slipper person - and despite my impressive shoe collection, I go barefoot every chance I get. Of course, that was before I lived in a house with no carpeting. My floors here are linoleum or pine - and they are chilly.

So socks (handknit or otherwise, but I prefer handknit, of course) and/or slippers are a must. I've gotten along quite well the past few years with a pair of slippers that Dave's Mom gave me for Christmas when Dave and I first started dating. But last year they died - completely worn out beyond repair. I got another similar pair, but they just didn't cut it.

For a while now, I've been wanting to make some felted slippers. So this week, with the colder weather setting in, I finally got down to it.These are the French Press slippers. I felted them last night and they are almost dry. Once they are completely dry, they will get their straps and buttons.

It's an easy pattern, they are a decent fit (though they like to flop off when I go up the stairs) and will be quite warm, but I think I still want to make a pair like these, but in green!

Either way, I think I'm adding several pairs of slippers to my Christmas knitting list - a quick, inexpensive holiday gift.

And speaking of holiday gifts - I have started on another Loch Ness Monster. Finished project coming soon!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yarn, yarn and.... more yarn!

1) Thank you all for the wonderful comments on Elphaba. In the last 24-hrs more than 150 Ravelers have downloaded the pattern! So exciting! Mom has been busy dying up more self-striping yarn so it should be coming to the shop sometime over the next few weeks. She snuck a few skeins into the shop last week and in a few hours they were gobbled up.

2) On the topic of our yarn - I'm not sure when, but keep your eyes open for another new Wandering Cat Yarn debuting over the next couple of months.Tabby Cat! - A tweedy blend of superwash and non-superwash merino. This particular skein is worsted weight (dyed up especially to make another Loch Ness Monster - Christmas is coming and I have five more to make - I better get a move on), but we will also be getting it in fingering weight. Details to follow soon.

3) That evil Monika did another shop update and I was suckered in by a gorgeous skein of alpaca silk. I couldn't resist (it's yet another skein that is a perfect match for my winter coat - so I'm thinking scarf/shawlette), so I made pouty faces at Mom until she gave me access to the Wandering Cat bank account.

I feel a serious handspun addiction coming on. I really can't say enough about Monika's yarn. When I first bought it, I wasn't sure what to expect - I'd didn't have a whole lot of experience with handspun - but they all looked so pretty. Honestly, I expected it to be - well, a little rustic - maybe a little rough and scratchy. Boy was I wrong.

The first skeins I got were BFL (which I don't have a lot of experience with either) and they were delightfully soft. Even knit to a fairly tight gauge, the yarn retained it's beautiful feel (and looks fantastic) - and it's oh so warm! In that first shop update, Mom also snagged a couple of skeins. And once I saw hers, I was immediately jealous that I didn't get any alpaca silk (like the darker skein shown on her blog) as its the kind of yarn you can't stop touching! I can't wait until mine comes (but I may still steal Mom's).

As I'm writing, there are still some gorgeous skeins available (as much as I was tempted, I didn't buy them all - I showed serious restraint and even managed to keep this one from jumping into my cart). It's Monday - you deserve to treat yourself (how's that for enabling?).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wicked Warmers

The handwarmers are done! And so is the pattern

Meet Elphaba!

And it's free!

Now, if you'll excuse me - I have an mitred square addiction to feed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Basket Runneth Over

Some days, I think I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Yesterday when I got home after another stressful work week, there was a large box waiting for me.

A large box filled with one of my favourite things.Yarn scraps! FOUR EXTRA LARGE ziploc bags full of nummy nummy yarn scraps.

These ones came from the wonderful Chris. There are all kinds of gorgeous yarns in these bags including some Noro, silks, merinos, bamboos - and so many pretty colours. It's going to be a serious struggle to finish the other handwarmer this weekend and not work on the crackghan!

Chris is also the talented woman behind Scotts Mountain Crafts where you'll find some of the prettiest shawl pins, stitch markers as well as swifts and spinning tools.

Now, I'm hoping the weekend is filled with this:
Because I've got a lot of knitting to do!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A slight detour

If there's one thing I've learned about designing, it's that it's a fluid process.

I was knitting away on my stripey sock. I had just finished the heel and decided to try it on.
Way. too. tight.

So what's a girl to do. I didn't want to rip out all that knitting, only to have to cast it on again with a few more stitches.

And then I tried it on my wrist - a perfect fit!

So then it was a simple matter to frog the heel and move on....
I'm hoping to whip up the second one this weekend.

But now I've stayed up far too late finishing this one off, so it's off to bed for me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's all mom's fault!

I should be working on one of the two sweaters I've got on the go.

Or one of the three shawls. (I am on a deadline for those too)

Or Dave's socks.

But I'm not. And it's all Mom's fault.

She decided to get all fancy with the dying and decided to try to make some self-striping sock yarn.
As you can see she was successful. But I really shouldn't be knitting this right now. But I can't help it. I keep thinking, "I'll just do one more row." Then I think, "Well I might as well finish out the colour." Then I want to see the next stripe.... it's a little addictive. It doesn't help that the Top Cat is dead soft and oh-so-lovely to work with.

I improvised this cute ripple pattern and when these are done I'll write it up and release it as a free pattern.

And don't worry about my other projectsRocky is keeping them warm for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crazy Eight

It was eight years ago to day that I met a boy with very pretty hair, a very pretty car and a very pretty guitar.
Almost 3,000 days later we are still together.

It must be love.

Well, at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Despite hitting the eight year mark, it was a pretty quiet weekend at Chez Wandering Cat. We did celebrate with a nice bottle of champagne (without the cigars - I forgot to pick them up), and we did exchange presents - I got him two new pairs of jeans, he got me two new pairs of shoes. (there's another reason why I love the boy - he never comments on how many pairs of shoes I have). The rest of the weekend progressed in the usual manner - Dave was building speaker boxes and I was knitting.

I finished my jaunty beret from Monika's gorgeous hand-spun yumminess.I decided to use the Lightweight Raspberry Beret pattern. Nice simple and it lets this gorgeous yarn speak for itself.
Knitting the correct size was a little tricky. I'm not sure exactly what weight this yarn is - I forgot to write it down when we bought it. I'm guessing this somewhere between a fingering (which that pattern calls for) and a sport.

I didn't have a 3mm round needle (which the pattern calls for) so I used a 3.5mm - which I think was the best size for the yarn anyway.

But it did mean some finagling with sizing - in the end, I used the child's medium for stitch count, and the lady's small for length. It worked out well.

And the best part is I have a full skein left to make some matching fingerless mitts.

Thanks again Monika - I will definitely be stalking your shop looking for more yarn!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is it Friday Yet?

.... 'cause I really, really want it to be.

Not just because it's the end of the week (and I'm going shopping for champagne and cigars - more on that later!), but because I have some yummy yarn up at Mom's just waiting to be picked up!These gorgeous skeins were spun by the ever so talented Monika (aka Smoking Hot Needles). I am so in love - and I haven't even seen them in person yet!

I've been admiring Monika's spinning for a while so I was thrilled when she decide to start selling it!

My winter coat is made of nice warm brown wool, and I think this will be a perfect match when I make a jaunty beret and some fingerless mitts out of it. The perfect colour to cheery up a dreary winter day!

Mom also scooped a couple of skeins, which you can see here (I may have to steal them for myself though.)

Thanks Monika - I can't wait to start knitting with it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back off! Get your own sandwich....

... I mean shawl.

As I alluded to in my last post - I've have been knitting, but it has been made a little difficult by a certain someone who insists on claiming my WIPs for his own. If he'd actually complete a row or two I probably wouldn't mind so much, but he just wants to sleep on them - that's hardly what I'd call "productive." He also does this with books I want to read, papers I need and even groceries I want to unpack.

Oddly, Rocky isn't the kind of cat who steals your seat every time you get up.

That's Tux's job"Who me??"

Yeah you, Chubsy. He especially likes to do this with Dave and the computer chair.

Oh, and remember how I said I was so glad that I got Peno to sit on my lap a few weeks ago? I was so proud of her, overcoming her fears.... yeah she overcame them alright.

Now I can't sit down without her jumping into my lap!

Anyway, enough about the cats - back to knitting. I was hoping to finish up my STR silkie shawl this weekend, but as noted above, someone had prior claim. I did a little knitting on Dave's socks, but mostly I worked on a new design for our new yarn.

The new yarn is an sport weight alpaca/silk blend which we are calling "Sophisticat". Hopefully both the design and the yarn will be available by the end of the month.

Tonight's knitting has been put on hold in favour of a new book. And while I was in the book store, I stopped by the knitting section. I almost bought Vampire knits. Most of the patterns are lame, but I love this oneThe Lore Cardigan.


I guess I better get knitting!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, so here is just a short list of a few of the things I'm thankful for:
1) That gorgeous Rock Star of a boyfriend who, for some strange reason, thinks I'm the cat's pajamas, lets me sleep until noon, then brings me breakfast in bed. (Mmmm bed bacon)

2) Parent's who work well together in the kitchen (as small as it might be) to make a delicious turkey dinner - and yummy pumpkin pie!

3) Whoever invented bubble juice and two adorable nieces who never tire of blowing bubbles

4) Yarn, yarn, yarn and more yarn, and the ability to turn said yarn into useful, beautiful things.

5) Holiday Monday's where it's perfectly acceptable to lounge around in your jammies all day!

6) Three super-soft fur-babies are always up for a good snuggle. (Even though they feel the need to commandeer my current WIPs for nap time)

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend with plenty to be thankful for!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm thankful for YARN!

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada - which means a long weekend - which means YARN UPDATE!

All the yarn we dyed up last weekend - plus some that Mom has been saving, will go in the shop tomorrow.

There will be Barn Cat, House Cat, Fluffy Cat, and Slinky Cat as well as a selection of Lace.
A note on the Fluffy Cat (seen above). It's not quite the same as our regular Fluffy Cat Fingering - we couldn't get our usual base. This is the same 70/20/10 blend, just spun a touch lighter, so we've called it Fluffy Cat Light Fingering and put a new section up on Ravelry for it. It's still just as soft and irresistible as our regular Fluffy.

I stole these two pretties for myself
The first (Tapestry) is in Top Cat - hard to say if this colourway will be repeated, it's an accident skein. The second (Faerie Petals) is in a new yet-to-be released base. It won't be in the shop this weekend but I promise we'll unveil it soon. The colourway, however, will be available in the shop this weekend in Fluffy - I love it - it's totally girly!

And, as always, from Saturday to Monday (at midnight) we will be running a special promotion. Spend $50 or more (before shipping) and get your shipping free! (Refunded after payment!)

Not sure if I'll get back on to blog this weekend - I have a long weekend of cleaning and knitting planned - so if I don't - Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

That's Juniper Goblinglimmer to you!

Your fairy is called Juniper Goblinglimmer
She is a bringer of riches and wealth.
She lives in clear-headed pine forests.
She is only seen when the sun sets on the day of a completed harvest.
She wears purple juniper colours. She has gentle green wings like a butterfly.
Get your free fairy name here!

Yeah! From this day forth I wanted to be known as Juniper!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This, that and the other

I had a really busy weekend (which included yarn dying - more on that later this week) and have spent the last few days trying to keep from under the ever-mounting pile of housework. I've done a little knitting, but have been flitting from project to project instead of committing. As a result, I don't have much to say - but picture are better anyway, right?

Here are a few things going on around chez Wandering Cat.

I've got two pairs of socks on the needles - one for Dave and one for myself. Oddly enough - neither are in our yarn.

Dave's are just plain vanillas in Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs Asphodel (100% merino)The colour is "Frumious Bandersnatch." This yarn was a present from Mom and bought solely because she knows how much I want a Bandersnatch of my own (and a Cheshire Cat) and this is about as close as I'm getting to having one.

Coincidentally, the yarn I'm using for my socks is also from Mom.
You may recall me mentioning I wanted some Twisted Fibre Art Kabam (Merino/Bamboo blend) in Warlock.... well Mom scored some for me in a Rav trade (though once she got it she didn't want to give it up). I'm doing up a little chevron design to take advantage of the gorgeous stripes.

And while we are on the topic of Mom and sock yarnThis weekend she gave me a lovely green skein of Sanguine Gryphon Eidos. I'm not sure what colour it is - it was part of a sock kit and it didn't name the colour.

I guess I'm really going to have to knit her those Campfire socks now!

I've done a little shawl knitting (it's October and I still have three shawls to go!) and I started designing a pair of fingerless gloves. The gloves are getting frogged because I've had an even better idea for them!

All is good on the kitty front. Peno hasn't eaten any more fish, Tux is taking his needles like a trooper, and Rocky.......Rocky has taken to stalking my mouse hand from behind the computer monitor. *Sigh*

Friday, October 1, 2010

I think my fish took a walk

There's a bit of mystery here at chez Wandering Cat - the mystery of the disappeared pleco.

As you may have seen, in addition to three cats, I also have some fish that I am quite enamoured of. I've mentioned the angel fish, but I have a rather mixed school in my tank.

When I was growing up, my Dad had a really cool hexagon tank that I loved. It was filled with guppies and danios and tetras, and always - one Plecostamus (those big ugly sucky fish for you non-fish people.)

When we were teens, and my brother was working, he bought his own fish tank (and I was so jealous because I wanted a tank too but couldn't afford one - probably because most of my money went to shoes...) and of course, he had a pleco - whom he named Jimi Hendrix.

When Dave and I started dating, I discovered Dave too was a fish enthusiast. Eventually, Dave gave me my own fish tank and Jimi came to live there. (Jimi actually lived a few other places in between, but that's a story for another day). Sadly, Jimi died a few years later of a heart attack - I watched it happen - it certainly looked like a heart attack.

Since then, I had a couple of plecos that died pretty quickly (a common occurrence with fish unfortunately), so I tried some Siamese Algae eaters and then Clown Loaches, (I still have the loaches). But last year, I decided I wanted another pleco - ugly as they are - I love plecos. So off we went to the fish store - they didn't have any of the normal cheap ($3) brown plecos, but they did have a neat black and white spotted pleco. He was a little higher than our usual price range ($11) for a fish, but I liked him, so Dave bought him for me anyway.

As he grew, I discoved he was a type of bristlenose pleco. He looked something like this (I regret not taking pictures)He had a huge tail that he would fan out like a Flamenco dancer's skirt, and he was always hanging off the side of the tank, or the plants.

Now, admittedly, I've been so busy lately, I've been a bad fish-mommy. I feed them, but I really haven't paid too much attention to them otherwise (fish are good like that - they don't take it personal).

However, last night, I decide that the plants (I have live plants - no cheesy plastic for my fish-babies) had taken over the tank and needed to be seriously weed-whacked. So I set to it.

And, as I got the tank back to an acceptable level of vegetation, I discovered the glaring absence of my pleco. I pulled all the plants out (don't worry, they were easily replanted) just incase he was hiding from all the yard-work.

Nope still no pleco. And bad fish-mommy that I am, I honestly can't remember how long it's been since I last saw him. He could have been missing for months! (I guess it's a good thing I don't have children...)

I think he took a walk. Unfortunately, plecos are known to do that. For unknown reasons, they will jump out of the tank (Dave had one who liked to jump into the filter). I looked all around the tank, but there's no body - and I think I know the reason why....
Doubly unfortunately for my pretty pleco - I have three cats . Three cats that happen to just love seafood. One in particular who likes to sit and watch the fish (old pic before I put in live plants)
I hope he tasted good....