Thursday, March 31, 2011

Birthday Boy!

Wow. It's hard to believe that someone else in the house is eligible for the senior's discount....or would be if cats could shop, anyway.

Yep - It's Sir Tuxedo Thunderpaw's birthday and he's seven whole years old. It's hard to believe - I've only had him four and a half years - so to me it doesn't really seem like he's that old.
As most of you know, both Tux and Peno were adopted from the same feline rescue, at the same time. So in honour of Tux's birthday - I'll share his adoption story.... or... how Tux chose me!

It was 4 1/2 years ago, and I was preparing to move into my very first big girl place. I knew there were going to be some new cats coming into my life, because Mr. Tibbs (you may have seen him on Mom's blog) would not want to be parted from Mom. And Russell was definitely too comfortable living there too.
So I'd contacted The Way Home - the local rescue. I knew the owner through my work at the local newspaper, as I'd written several stories on the rescue and its activities. She was more than happy that I was looking to adopt - especially as I was looking at older cats, who are harder to adopt out than kittens. (My resources were limited, so adopting adults saved me the cost of spaying, neutering and needles.)

She directed me to her website which had pictures of all the cats available. I instantly fell in love with Jalapeno - I'd never had a tortie before and she had such a sweet little face. And I'll admit it - I was also suckered in by her sob story - still half wild (she was a feral who was live trapped as a kitten) she had spent her whole life (three years) in the rescue, because she was so timid, no one could see her to adopt her.

I immediately said I would take her - totally sight unseen. The rescue warned me she might never be a "people" cat, but that didn't matter. I just wanted to give her a safe home that was more than just a room in a basement (the rescue was great and well appointed, but not meant for long-term accommodations).That decided, I told them I would also like a male. I've always been partial to male cats (not that I don't love my girl). I browsed the website again and set on a lovely male named Blizzard. He was about a year old and solid white (I've never had an all-white cat either).

The rescue told me that he was living in a foster home at the moment. I was more than welcome to bring Peno home that week, and she'd make arrangements for me to go to the foster home to see Blizzard the following week.So came the night to pick up Peno. I borrowed one of Mom's carriers and headed to the rescue. Peno was corralled and tucked into the carrier (and boy, she wasn't happy about that!) and the rescue owner and I got to talking - she asked me I could get another story in the paper for her. Due to health issues, she was no longer able to run the rescue. Most of the cats (all of the kittens and some of the younger adults) were being taken by another rescue in Hamilton, but they didn't have room for all the cats. As a result - all the older cats (including Peno) were being offered at half price adoption fees and she wanted to find good homes for them all.

As we talked, I learned that the foster family was willing to keep Blizzard if no one was able to adopt him - and there were still lots of kitties at the rescue who needed a home. So, I asked to see the rest of the cats. I told her my only preference for the second cat was that it be a male.
Being a sucker for the underdog, I immediately asked after Stumpy Too (There was another Stumpy who'd just been adopted.) He was a solid black tripod kitty (tractor accident). A big, muscular cat. And boy was he affectionate. However, she cautioned me on adopting him - the nature of his amputation was likely to create some expensive vet bills down the line.

So, I put Stumpy Too down, and followed her out to the "Boy's Room". The building where she kept all the neutered males.
Inside, I sat down on the floor and she started opening cages. Tux was the first one released. He immediately climbed in my lap, and up my chest, demanding attention. Other cats came over, but Tux wasn't going anywhere. He saw his meal ticket.

She was pointing out each cat, and talking about their attributes - and all the while Tux was purring in my ear. I looked up at her, Tux in my arms and said "I think I've been claimed."
She smiled, and told me Tux's story. He'd been abused (even now if you raise you hand around him to fast, he flinches) and apparently some one had him in a cage, and was intending to use him as target practice. He was rescued, and had been living at The Way Home for about a year. He was adopted out once by a young woman, but returned shortly after - Tux didn't like her boyfriend, and would get quite aggressive when he was around. She warned me that he was greedy and lazy, had a serious attitude and was definitely more aggressive than the other cats.

But Tux knew just how to sucker me - he just kept purring in my ear, and nuzzling into my neck. And soon I was borrowing a second carrier and tucking both Tux and Peno into the car.Tux settled right in. He and Dave battled for supremacy over the right side of the bed (Dave eventually won, but for a while it could have gone either way - and Tux still take every opportunity to steal Dave's foot space). He's definitely Top Cat, but mostly he's too lazy to push the other two around. He's okay with kids as long as they don't get in his face - and he absolutely hates dogs. He loves to snuggle and purr - especially if you have ice cream.

Between urinary issues, infections and diabetes, he's cost me a small fortune in vet bills. But he's my "Big Bear" and my best friend and I wouldn't give him up for the world.
Happy birthday Tuxie Boy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rocky the yodeler

I made this a while ago - but it's very fitting for this week. Rocky has been quite the little sh!t!!!

Rocky is Dave's cat - It doesn't matter that I'm the one who brought him home, I'm the one that feeds him, scoops his poopies and caters to his every little whim... Tto Rocky - Dave is God.

But lately, Dave hasn't been here. And Rocky is acting out.

Rocky is a very vocal cat (which is apparently my fault - the more you talk to your cat the more they talk to you). But he doesn't meow - he merps. It's quite musical actually.

One of his favorite things to do is announce his presence as soon as he walks into a room (whether it's occupied or not). Some times its a musical little "merp, merp". Other times it's a full on cat yodel "mrrrrrrrrrrowowowow merp!"

And this week his favourite thing to do is to wait until I'm in bed to start yodeling. He'll walk in the room and let out a little yodel. I invite him up on the bed, he circles, looking for Dave, then leaves.

I just drift off to sleep and he walks back into the room and "Meeeeeeeeeeerp!!!" I invite him up on the bed, he circles, looking for Dave, then leaves.

I just drift off to sleep again and he walks back into the room and "Mrrrrrrrrrrowowowow Merp!!!" I invite him up on the bed, he circles, looking for Dave, then leaves.

We've been doing this every night since Sunday this week. Last night, I told him if he started yodeling, I was going to gag him with his own tail.
He looked at me with that innocent face and said "Merp?"

"That's right," I replied. "Your own tail."

So we snuggled down to sleep. I just start to drift off and I am abruptly pulled back to conciousness by "BANG!!! Skitter, skitter skitter!"

Bleary eyed, I turn on the light - my jewellry box is on the floor at the foot of the dresser - jewellry everywhere. All I can find of Rocky is that tail sticking out from under the edge of the bed.

He pulled it under before I could get it and let out a little "Merp!"

Tonight.... he's getting hog tied.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

By the numbers

There's a lot going on in the Wandering Cat world... so get comfy!

1) I've pretty much been concentrating on my Fable cardi.
I'm done the lace charts, so it's just knitting and increasing from here on out. Despite all the hours I've put into it, it doesn't seem like I've gotten very far(it's maybe 5 or 6 inches deep). But I have to keep reminding myself - it's fingering, and knit in the round. That's a lot of stitches.

2) I was up dying yarn at Mom's today.I got a lot dyed up (including several new bases) and we will most likely be having an update next weekend.

3) Some of the colours I dyed are our spring shades from last year - including Aurora, Breath of Spring and Forget-Me-Not.

4) New base number one: Aristocat!
A GORGEOUS single ply alpaca/merino/silk in a DK weight. Mom knew I'd go gaga over this one, so she ordered it right away. She dyed some up last weekAnd I did some more today (including creating a beautiful new colourway called "Champagne Kisses" one of which is MINE MINE MINE)


5) New base number two: Alley Cat BFL!The same awesome twist of our regular Alley Cat, but with the decadence of BFL instead of Merino (and nylon). This one came home with me (Pirate's Cove) and will be socks for Dad. I think this is going to be great sock yarn. Mom's done up some beautiful colours.

6) New base number 3: We need your help with this one.

As you know - we have our lovely Twinkle Cat and Twinkle Cat Gold in a fingering weight. When our supplier introduced a lace weight version we were all over that. But today, when we went to dye it up - we discovered it's not quite the same base (just lighter). It is 20% silk, where the fingering is 20% nylon.

Now this isn't a bad thing - the base is soft and beautiful and I have no aversion to silk. But it does leave us in a bit of a conundrum - what do we call it?

Mom says just go ahead and call it Twinkle Cat Lace as we'd planned - after all our Slinky Cat Lace isn't quite the same as the fingering (lace is 80/20, fingering is 50/50)

But I think we should meld the two - and call it Twinky Cat! Mom thinks I'm crazy. What do you think?

What should we name our new lace yarn
Twinkle Cat Lace (Mama knows best)
Twinky Cat (BossCat rules)
pollcode.com free polls

7) We have two other bases that I'm hoping to get up in the store soon as well. Our Sophisticat - a sport weight alpaca/silk blend I'm using for my Crow Waltz Shawl. (I know know if we have actually dyed any of this up yet....)

We also have our Tabby Cat. It's a mix of superwash and non-superwash merino with a nice tweedy look. We have it in both a fingering and worsted weight.

We've had some dyed up for a while - and I used some for my Christmas Nessies - but we've never put it up in the shop.

I will be honest - what's stopped us is the fact that it doesn't feel as nice as our superwashes (Stray Cat, Fat Cat and Big Cat). Those yarns are butter soft and its hard for other yarns to measure up.

But I think we should let you decide - so keep an eye out for it soon.

7) Wandering Cat Ravelry knit along ends on Thursday - so if you've got a WIP you want to enter - you better turn it into an FO quick!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where's the lamb???

Because all I see out the window is one freakin' big white lion!!!(view from my front window 6:30 pm Wednesday - about a foot of snow).

Mother Nature is sitting up there laughing her ass off.

I've spent 5.5 of my 10-hour day in the car.... I think I'm going to go relax now. Hope you're all warm and safe!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweaters are "spring"ing to mind

Despite the impending Spring (not that you'd know it - they are calling for snow tonight) and all my hopes for flowers, I've actually had sweaters on the brain a lot lately.

I have so many sweaters and cardigans in my Rav queue, not to mention a stash of beautiful yarns in sweater amounts squirreled away in my studio (enough for 10 sweaters of varying styles to be exact). But lately - I've been knitting smaller projects - mostly socks and shawls.

The last sweater I made was finished in March of last year (Tea Leaves Cardigan) It didn't take me too long either - about three months. It was simple and worsted, but that's pretty good considering Dave's Leo took me about two years. Since I started knitting, I've only made 9 sweaters.

So I want to make a serious effort to complete at least three sweaters this year. One (my Sloppy Sweater) is about 1/3 done.

The other I have on the needles is Fable, which I'm knitting in Fluffy Cat fingering. I started it back in August - but got distracted by shawls, shawls and more shawls. Seeing as it's a small, light sweater, I figured it would be great to resurrect as "spring knitting".

I dug it from the dark depths of WIP purgatory tonight... only to discover - I have no idea where I left off... or even which size I was doing! (and of course, I'd neglected to record it on Ravelry).

So.... Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibit!

Yep.. I started all over. This is how much I got accomplished in 3 hours....
This one is going to take a while....... good thing it's small.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Forget the showers I want the flowers

Well I caved and cast on for another pair of socks...
Forget-me-not anklets - a nice lacey spring-like pattern in Top Cat - colour... Forget-Me-Nots!

This yarn is knitting up much more green than blue as I planned, so Im going to have to adjust the dying proccess... but it's pretty nonetheless.

Bring on spring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

There's a reason they call it "Sun"day.

That's how today started - three friends snuggled up in a sunbeam... nice and lazy - a perfect Sunday.

Saturday was spent getting a jump on spring cleaning and it was quite an impressive leap, so I rewarded myself with self-indulgent Sunday.

As you may have guessed from the lack of blogging, I haven't been doing a lot of knitting lately. There has been some, but not enough to really share progress.

Mostly, I've been working on Hypernova - it's coming along nicely, but it certainly doesn't grow very quickly - a half circle/crescent shape is definitely more work than a triangle.

I was also getting a little ancy about the number of WIPs I had, so I took stock this weekend to see if there was anything I could finish up in short order.

Sure enough - there was a sock just waiting for its mate.
You may remember the "Another Faery" socks I'd started in Stray Cat. I'd meant to start the second sock ages ago, but had been distracted by shiny things (like new yarn!)

So Saturday night, after most of the house was sparkling clean, I snuggled down on the couch with a movie and the cats and cast on. By the time Dave hauled me off to bed, I was done the cuff (ankle-length and sport weight make for a nice quick knit)I did the heel and gusset this morning and the rest of the foot was finished this afternoon/evening.

I made several mods to this pattern (and not because there is anything wrong with it -it's a lovely pattern as written). The first is obviously the length. I shortened the cable because I only made one skein of this colour and it's not quite enough for full-length socks. The pattern also takes the ribbing down the heel, but I just did my usual heel.

And while I didn't rib the heel - I did take it right down the toe - just for fun.

All in all, these are a comfy, toasty pair of socks. The Stray Cat gives great stitch definition, so it's perfect for cables.

And now I have no socks on the needles... but I should cast something else off before I cast on another pair... should... but probably won't....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A mild cast of startitis

This morning, I decided to be a good girl and not give into "temptation" and cast on for the Crow Waltz shawl first.

And I did pretty well. The Sophisticat I'm using for the edging is nice and soft (alpaca/silk blend) and it creates lovely, full leaves, just like I was hoping. For those interested in trying Sophisticat, we haven't yet put it on the market, but we will be soon, so keep and eye out.

As you can see, I got six leaves done this morning, before I decided I shouldn't waste the whole day laying about on the couch watching movies (well, knitting means it's not really a waste, but you know what I mean).

I got up, threw in a load of laundry, scooped some cat poop and when I got back, I got distracted by something shiny....

Yeah - you guessed it. I left the Temptress Jungle Cat sitting out on the coffee table and in no time, I fell under it's spell. At the suggestion of Mom, I decided to cast on for the Hypernova shawl.

It's the perfect pattern for a busy yarn like Temptress. While the yarn is really only two colours (plum and rose) it has several shades of those colours, and I was really worried about choosing a lace pattern that would just get lost.
It doesn't look like much right now, but I think it's really going to work out well and I haven't put it down since I cast on.

A word of caution though - it's not really a pattern for the faint hearted - it's not technically hard, but you REALLY have to pay attention. And when you first look at it, those charts are darn intimidating. Looking at the finished project on Ravelry though, I think it's going to be worth it.

So... now I have TWO shawls on the go. And if that weren't enough, before Dave and I went to run errands yesterday, I reallized it didn't have any car knitting.

I grabbed the rest of the orange handspun I made my beret out of last fall, and cast on for a pair of my Turner mitts for myself
And now I have seven WIPs on the go, when I resolved to have no more than five. So, if you'll excuse me - I have some knitting to do!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More sweet than bitter

Behold Bitterroot!I popped up to Mom's today to get some pics - lighting still isn't great because I was too lazy to put on my boots and go out in the snow (not to mention Ladydoggy wanted to play ball and I didn't want to encourage her) but it's better than I'd get at my place.
It's a nice big shawl - 72 inches wide - and knit in our Fluffy Cat Fingering which makes it an absolutely decadent garment to wear. The colour is Winter Spruce - a blend of two shades of greyish-green - scarily close to the colour of my eyes - which was not the intention, I couldn't tell you how I got this colour, so please don't ask me to dye it again.

Suprisingly, I made no modifications to this one (except I left out the beads), though were I to knit it again, I would. I'm not overly fond of the first transition in the pattern:
You see the part I circled? I find it visually jarring - it just doesn't flow with the rest of it. Were I to knit this again, I'd go straight from the first pattern into the the more leafy pattern. But other than that I do love this shawl!

Yay! I finally have a Fluffy Cat shawl (Definitely NOT giving this one away!!!!)

Now, it's time to start a new shawl. I really wanted to restart the Crow Waltz shawl and use that nummy nummy handspun, but I've gotten a little distracted.....
I dyed this up last Friday. It's our Jungle Cat and the colour is "Temptress" (I can make this one again.)

Tune in tomorrow to find out which one wins!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Road Rules!

I've completed my first week of commuting - and survived!

In honour of it - I'm going to start a new Friday thing - observations from the road - a new thing I've discovered each week in this vehicular adventure we call commuting!

Road Rule #1

Just because you left work early, doesn't mean you're going to get home early. Traffic will inevitably be backed up due to:
a) an accident
b) an oversized transport and police escort
c) the fact that everyone has to stop and gawk at the guy with the flat tire
d) or look at the guy who got pulled over for speeding
e) tourists heading to the airport and/or border for March Break

Or in my case... all of the above! Which meant instead of getting home early - I actually got home later than I normally would have.

TGIF - who needs a drink?!?

And in honour of the weekend - here's some Muppets:



That dancing bunny at the end cracks me up every time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Silly Peno

I have been knitting, but becuase I'm still adjusting the commuting hours, it hasn't been much. And I can't show it to you anyway, because it's a secret

So, in the absence of knitting - Princess Peno is here to entertain you all.

You may remember the curved scratcher Mom bought the kids a while back... well, like any spoiled princess, Peno has laid claim to it. They boys still get a turn, but when they aren't around it's all Peno's:
"Silly human, can't you see this was made just for me...
look how nicely I fit. Those stoopid boys don't fit like I do."


'"Seriously, I'm quite comfortable like this."


"It's the perfect place to contemplate world domination...... ALL WILL BOW TO ME!!!!"

I've also been doing some rearranging and recently brought out their old scratcher. You'll never see Peno go in the house in the bottom - only one entrance and she needs a good escape route - but she loves the saddle on the top (and that scratch damage is all hers - Rocky uses everything but the scratchers)


"I shall hypnotize the world into submission with my 'crazy eyes' !!!"

It also gives her a little refuge from the dangers lurking below
"Little brothers are the scourge of the earth."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Commuter

I started my first day at the new job - and so far so good. I have my own little office, which is nice for a change. And I have HUGE window. I'm going to get some plants. I love plants but I have very few at home because a) I'm a notorious plant killer and b) even when I managed to NOT kill the plants, someone thinks they are his own personal buffet."Who? Me?!?"

Yes, you Rocky.

So far, the only downside to the job is the commute. An hour and a half... one way.

It'd be shorter (about 45 min), but it's the QEW through Halton and Mississauga, so the traffic load is pretty heavy during rush hour. (Though the new HOV commuter lane has made a difference)

I don't mind it too much. I have my music, and I'm pretty mellow in traffic (one of the reasons I do most of the weekend driving instead of Dave). I actually quite enjoy driving, even if it's sometimes stop-and-go. When I first started driving, sometimes I'd continue on to my grandparents after work because I just wasn't done driving. (They lived another 22 kilometres past my house).

When I started my job search, I knew I had to go to the Greater Toronto Area to get the compensation I was looking for (there is very little marketing work around here, and what there is doesn't pay well) but I was hoping to get a job where I could take the train, so I could spend those 3 hours KNITTING! Alas, it was not to be and I'm driving.... for a few months at least. So begins the new apartment hunt!

In knitting news, Bitterroot is still blocking. I'll get some decent photos of it this weekend, and give you all the knitty-gritty details then.

I plan to start my second Stray Cat sock this week and hopefully finish it by the weekend. Man I really wish I could knit and drive.....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend down the drain

Nothing went as planned this weekend.

It wasn't all bad, just... well... not as planned.

It started on Friday ( I had a long weekend between jobs) when I went up to Mom's to dye yarn. I had intended to dye a bunch of our spring colours, (Aurora, Breath of Spring... etc) but it just was working. Every time I tried, they were two bright or I messed something up, and had to fix it - and in fixing it, it becomes a completely different colourway.

Now, that's not to say I didn't dye some nice yarns. Just not what I planned.

Next up was a romantic lasagna dinner with garlic bread - except with out the garlic bread (my favourite part) because the loaf of French bread I'd bought the day before was already hard as a rock. Sigh...

Saturday was suppose to be cleaning day, followed by a quick jaunt to the bookstore for some new reading materials and then and evening knit-a-thon to finish off Bitterroot.

But I woke up with a horrible migraine and ended up laying down for a nap at 1 p.m. I woke up at 5 p.m...... with a minor headache and the beginnings of a chest cold. Fortunately, there was leftover lasagna for dinner, but still no garlic bread.

Since Saturday was a complete write-off, Sunday was relegated to "cleaning day" as well as "spend time with Dave day, since I spent all Saturday napping"

But then Dave's uncle called at 10 a.m., and off Dave went to help him with his jeep. Sigh. I could have cleaned, but the cold was sapping my energy and I'm trying to save it all for the first day of the new job on Monday.

So, I managed a couple of loads of laundry, and then Tux and I stretched out on the couch for an Indiana Jones marathon. The good news... 8 hours of Indy makes for good knitting time and Bitterroot is off the needles and on the blocking board:
Hopefully this week I can get everything back on the rails.

Oh - one thing that did go as planned... Mom updated the shop and Friday and there's lots of new lovelies for your knitting pleasure.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Knit on, young jedi

The force is indeed strong with me....
Master Yoda is now available for your knitting pleasure!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February's over - here's a Freebie!

Wow! Once again you guys have blown me away. Less than 24-hours and already Highland Lass has 60 hearts!

You have no idea how cool I think it is that other people want to knit my patterns. It's just an awesome feeling!

And.. I've got another pattern to share with you all.This is Turner - the fingerless mitts I knit up for my soon-to-be-former co-worker. (Thanks to Mom for the mad photo skills)
These mitts are knit with our Stray Cat (sport-weight Merino), so they work up nice and fast - just a few hours for each mitt. This yarn was left over from Dave's socks and the pair takes less than half a skein.

If you want to make your own pair you can find it on Ravelry here! It's a freebie too! And if you need yarn, there are still a couple of Stray Cats in the shop - and more to come soon. There will be an update on Friday!

I still have three more patterns to share with you all - I'm feeling pretty motivated so you might see one or two more before the week is out!