Friday, December 30, 2011

Final FOs of 2011

The year is almost out the door and I've managed to get a couple more projects off the needles before it left.

First up - 198 yards of HeavenAs I mentioned - this one is for my coworker - but after seeing how well it goes with my coat, it's really hard to give up.

I had one skein of Tosh Merino left over from my Tea Leaves Cardigan and this was the perfect use for it.
I love single-ply yarns, but they do have a tendency to pill badly under pressure. A low-traffic garment like a shawl is the ideal use, and I'd really like to knit one of these in Aristocat.Since I had 210 yards, plus a small part ball, I bumped my needle size up to 6.5 to coax every inch out of this one. I still only ended up using 199 yards, and the finished size is 41" wide by 19" deep - a decent size to wear as a scarf.

That said, if you have the yarn, it's pretty easy to adjust the pattern to make it larger - and I may just do that someday... and add some beads!

My other FO is also for my coworker
Yep - I finally finished her Christmas socks last night. Dave went to bed early, and I watched the first few episodes of the second season of Rome and got them off the needles.

Since my coworker is a knit-sock virgin, I chose Barn Cat for the yarn. Sturdy but soft, and 100% washable!
The colour is Grapelicious, and the pattern is Nutkin. As mentioned, I modified the pattern by mirroring the charts (which I always do with Nutkin) and this time I added a rest row between the patterns rows, which draws the final motif out longer - I quite like the effect. This is my third time knitting Nutkin, and mods like this keep me from getting bored.

So - now I can fully turn my attention towards my Surmount goals. After I clean the house of course - when are these cats going to learn to sweep up their own cat fur?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stocking up for stash down

Like many others, in 2012 I plan to surmount my stash along with the Delusional Knitter.While my stash isn't as large as some (*cough*Mom*cough*) it would still take me more than a few years to knit through what I've got, so 2012 will be the year I try to put a large dent in it.

Here's my plan:

1) Sweaters

I'd like to knit at least four sweaters: At last count, I had enough yarn for 12 sweaters, but I think four is reasonable for one year. I love my Fluffy Cat cardigan, and I work in an office where extra layers are always needed- even in the summer.

The four I have chosen (though this may change) are:
a) Lore Hoodie - this is already started so I figured it was a good choice! Finish early and keep me motivated.
b) Empire Line Cardigan - this one has been in the queue for a LONG time and it's just so me.
c) Eve's Ribs - too long for a shrug, too short for a cardigan - it's a shrugigan! But it counts anyway.
d) A sweater for Dave - nothing chosen yet - but worsted weight (I have a lovely dark green merino) and celtic.

2) Socks

I'd like to knit at least one pair of socks for everyone in my immediate family, and just to make it challenging, at least five pairs for myself - so that's minimum 10 pairs (it seems like a nice round number).

3) Afghans

I'd like to finish at least one afghan. I have two sockghans started, so finishing one of them would be great. But I also have 30 balls of Debbie Bliss Cathay in Apple Green - and I think it would be awesome for a Yggdrasil

4) Shawls

I love love lace and I love shawls, so it's inevitable that some shawls will be knit this year. The only recorded goal I'm going to make in this department is to knit at least one lace weight shawl. Normally, I'm not a fan of lace weight, but I got two lovely skeins of Alpaca Fino from knit camp - it would be shame not to knit it.

Rules on stash enhancement

1) Wandering Cat Yarn does not count. Seriously - some days its just too hard not to bring home something from the dye pot - though I will do my very best to knit with something from my stash first.

2) Specific yarns required for specific knits are allowed. For instance, I have a friend who is expecting a baby in March. He is a HUGE Boston Bruins, and I plan to knit something Bruins themed - so I need to buy some black, gold and white.

3) The Needle Emporium's annual tent sale is open season - the deals are just too awesome to pass by.

4) Souvenir yarn. Should I happen to travel this year, and there happens to be a yarn shop - I get to buy at least one skein of souvenir yarn (this applies to Knit Camp!).

At the end of every month, I'll post a progress log to update you all on how I'm doing.

And, since I have several boys to knit socks for, but no boy sock yarn in my stash, I did a little enhancing today before the Surmount starts:

The red is some Wollmeise I snagged from Mom's stash (more on that in another post). The other is House Cat in Jean Jeannie Self Striping with matching blue heel-and-toe skein.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


After all that Christmas knitting, I was feeling a little burnt out in the crafting department. But I really wanted to get a move on some of the projects that were left behind by gift knitting (not to mention the socks for my coworker).

Yesterday, I tried - so hard - I finished the heel on my coworker's sock, but I just couldn't bring myself to keep knitting on it.

So I picked up my Lore hoodie. It's super-bulky, so I figured a few rows would really make me feel like I was accomplishing something. I completed a whole pattern repeat, but I still wasn't feeling the love to continue.

So I did something crazy.

I cast on for something new. I dug deep in the stash and pulled out the last remaining skein of Tosh Merino (from my Tea Leaves) and cast on for a shawl.

Which shawl you ask?

198 yards of heaven
And yes - it's blocking already. I worked on it for about three hours before bed last night - and with an afternoon of steady work today, it's on the blocking board.

It's not really a shawl- in fact, it's barely shawlette size - more of a neckerchief - but it was just the thing to recharge my knitting batteries.

Since my coworker already knows about her Christmas socks, I think I'm going to add this into the box to surprise her.

I'll give you more details after I do a proper photo shoot.

Also - if anyone is needing a little knitting recharge themselves - you could always get some new yarn.

Until midnight on December 31st - enter the code YREND11 and get 15% off any yarn in the shop. You can even use it on the yarn that's already on sale!

It's just a little thank-you from us for another great knitting year!

Monday, December 26, 2011


I hope everyone had a terrific Christmas. I had planned on posting several times over the last few days, but time just got away from me.

I even had a whole rhyming Christmas Eve post written out in my head - but then, one of the final Christmas projects went all pear-shaped on me and I was left, with six hours left in the day, scrambling to get another present together. It all worked out in the end, but it meant no time left for blogging.

Christmas day, of course, was chaotic and exhausting. But fun. My nieces are always an endless source of entertainment. I found the perfect convertible for Miss P, since she had so much fun booting around in mine this summer.And little Robo - well she just doesn't have an off button...
I'm not exactly sure what's going on here - but with Robo it's best not to ask...

And despite all the chaos, I did managed to get all my Christmas projects done, but one - my coworker's socks are still not finished - I didn't get to start on them until Christmas day and there was not much knitting time then - I'm just to the heel. However, all is not lost - she tried on the first sock, loved it and it fits perfect - she said she's fine with waiting until the new year for the second one, so I've got a week until I see her again.

But in the Christmas list of accomplishments:
The Monster hat got eyes (just glued-on felt) and a matching pair of mitts. These were for Dave's cousin - and apparently they match his new winter coat and sled. Now we just need some snow (it's currently raining....)

I improvised a pair of fingerless mitts for Dad, to match his hat. (Dave is modelling) I plan to make Dave a pair, and I'll throw them up on Ravelry as a free pattern in the new year.

I can also unveil that secret knitting I mentioned a few weeks back...
I had enough Bugga leftover to make Mom a Pretty Thing cowl (nice pattern, quick to knit and lovely result - can't really go wrong!) to match her Dalhousies. She was quite surprised to find it in the box, so that made me happy.

I was not neglected by the gift fairy either. Among other things, I got a lovely bag of Madeline Tosh Heritage Wool in "Antique Lace."There's enough to make a sweater - so I just have to decide which one. I'm thinking Hallet's Ledge. Mom made one a few months back for the Needle Emporium, and I really liked the way it fit.

I also got the first three seasons of the Muppet Show...
And... since I don't go back to work until the New Year, I foresee a lot of Muppets and knitting in my future.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drive-by posting

It's Wednesday, so I'm busy working on finishing Christmas knits, but I wanted to let you know that Mom updated the shop today - the last update of the year!

Those beautiful Twinkle DK skeins are in there, as well as some new Sophisticat, House Cat, and Alley Cat Falkland.

Mom also marked down a whole bunch of skeins for clearout so we can start with fresh inventory in the new year.

It's too late to get them deliver in time to put under the tree, but they can make a nice "I survived the holidays!" reward! I have a few skeins squirreled away for just that purpose!

(Though for the last minute shoppers - we do have Gift Certificates!)

Oh and thanks for all your comments about the kids - Mopar and Tux are now back to yelling at each other like jerks. *Sigh* I knew it was too good to last.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The spirit of the season?

I've mentioned before that we knew we would have a few bumps integrating Mopar into our household.For 17 years, he'd been an only cat. And while my cats were use to feline compatriots, introducing a new member into a cat-filled household is always interesting.

Based on all the cats' personalities we were very sure we could predict how thing would go.

1) We figured Miss Peno
would be the first to make friends. Mopar is a friendly cat, and being old and slow - he wouldn't intimidate her too much. Peno likes to curl up with the other cats when they are calm, so we figured in no time she'd be snuggling up with the 'Par.

We were very wrong. It's been almost three months and there must be at least nine feet of distance between them at all times or it's a yowlfest. And it's not Mopar. If he even glances in her direction, she hisses and runs away.

2) We figured Rocky
would annoy the crap out of Mopar. We fully expected to be constantly chasing Rocky away from Mopar, and scolding him for bothering the old man. Rocky chases Peno every chance he gets (it's a 50/50 chance on whether she's okay with it at the time).

We were wrong on this count too. It took only a month before Mopar stopped yowling at Rocky. They don't chill out together much, but they can pass each other on the stairs without a protest. Rocky will even rub all over Mopar when they are waiting to be fed in the morning. There are several occasions where Rocky has tried to get Mopar to chase him. Mopar looks like he really wants to too - the old man knows he just can't run any more.

3) As for Tux
We fully expected an old west stand-off in true O.K. Corral style.

We weren't completely wrong there. Tux and 'Par have been duking it out over Top-Cat status since day one. There were a few knock-down-drag-out-no-hold-barred cat fights I had to break up. But most of it was just hissing and growling when they got closer than three feet from each other. (Mopar especially likes to block the stairs, thus preventing Tux from enjoying a toasty bed at night... I usually have to go pick Tux up and carry him past the cantankerous old fart)

What we did not expect was the slow melting of the iceberg-sized divide between them.

Recently, Mopar has taken to napping on my couch, as opposed to Dave's loveseat. We have no idea why, he just started sleeping up there a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it's also Tux's favourite nap spot. At first, Tux responded with looks of disgust and retaliated by stealing the cat bed Dave brought home for Mopar.

But about a week-and-a-half ago, I came home to find them both on the couch. There was a good two feet between them, and they refused to look at each other - but the was no growling. Now, night after night, I find myself flanked by them. Quite often, the only thing separating them is my lap.

They still hiss and growl if one or the other is blocking the stairs, or drinking from the water dish when they are thirsty too - but it's happening less and less.

And then last night, I stood up to go to bed, and saw this...
Not only were they within touching distance - they were actually touching! Now, it's possible it was the effect of far too much cat-nip and they'll both pretend it didn't happen in the morning...

...or maybe it's just the spirit of the season getting the better of them. Your thoughts?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The downward spiral....

I was really hoping to accomplish more this weekend, but all I have to show you is half a pair of socks.
It's 3:30, Sunday afternoon and I haven't even cast on for the second one. I was so sure I could get the whole pair done this weekend.

So what happened, you ask?

Well Saturday, I couldn't seem to pull myself out of bed, so I didn't get up to Mom's until after noon. We dyed yarn until 3ish and I headed home. Then it was make dinner, and focus on finishing the first sock.

Today, it was even harder to pull myself out of bed. Then there's laundry and mopping (never ending mopping when you have an old senile cat...) and a trip up to Mom's again, because I forgot to bring Dad's birthday present yesterday (d'oh!).

Now I've got to make a lasagna (promised to a co-worker in exchange for a boat load of cheese and lunch meat) and pretty myself up for Dave's work's Christmas party tonight (which the boy didn't tell me about until yesterday - of course!)

So no more knitting time today. I'm not overly optimistic about this week either - I don't get much time to knit in the evenings any more.

*Sigh* That's what you get for being overly optimistic - Murphy comes and gives you a swift kick in the rear end! Hope your Christmas plans are going better than mine!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wait a minute....

I looked at the calendar today and realized - Christmas is NEXT weekend. How in Hades did that happen. Why was I thinking I have two more weekends - not one????

With that realization,drastic action had to be taken. As much as I love Mom's Wandering Rose pattern, it is a little labour intensive. But I'm determined to make my coworker a pair of socks, so I need something a little speedier.
I bit the bullet, frogged and cast on for Nutkin. Pretty but mindless, it's a pattern I seem to fly through.

"But wait!" you say... "That's doesn't quite look like Nutkin."

Well, you're right. It's a modified Nutkin. I mirrored the pattern as I usally do (otherwise the socks twist when you wear them), but I also added in a rest row between each pattern row. It draws the motif out longer and makes the pattern that much more mindless. I'm almost to the heel on the first one. I'm pretty sure with a weekend of steady knitting (with a small time out to dye some yarn) I can get these babies off the needles - or very close to it!

And in the new year, I'll make a pair of Wandering Rose for myself!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Muppet Feet

Thank you for all the birthday wishes. I had an awesome day. I came home with red-violet streaks in my hair, a belly full of seafood and the coolest pair of slippers ever.
These are a small birthday present to myself. I have perpetually cold feet and while I have several pairs of slippers and countless pairs of hand knit socks - I just couldn't pass these by. They are what I imagine Princess Leia would wear when she was kicking back and relaxing on Hoth.

Dave was just happy I didn't come to bed with cold feet for once.

My uber-cool coworker, in addition to spending the day with me, also brought me a metal Animal lunch pail back from her recent trip to New York.
I'm going to use it to house all my knitting bits, like stitch markers and pins and tape measures and such (which are currently all over the living room floor because Tux decided the sound they made when they crashed would be a good way to get me out of bed to feed him this morning).

And I do have a little more Christmas knitting to show. Remember that monster hat I was so sure I'd finish quickly?
Well - a month later it's almost done. I'm blocking the teeth so they lay flat - then I just have to sew the eyes on.

I'm almost through the required Christmas knitting. There's still more I want to do, but I just have to finish up my coworkers socks, and then I'll have a present for everyone on my list. Anything else I do is just gravy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rockster never lies...

... as he promised, my house is clean(er) and I'm back with knitting pictures.
On Friday I finished up Mom's Dalhousie mitts. If she didn't know I was making these for her, I would totally keep them for myself.
If you haven't gotten your hands on a skein of Bugga, I do recommend it. Soft, squishy, and a dream to knit with. The only downside - this one bled quite a bit. My bamboo double point are now stained a light teal - and I had to keep washing my hands every time I set my knitting aside. I doesn't seem to come off during the wearing, but I think I'm still going to give these a good rinse and block.

There was some other knitting this weekend.
But I can't show you because it's a secret.

In other news - today is my birthday! My coworker and I booked the day off together (I'm pretty sure the boss is regretting approving that right about... now.) and we've got a salon day planned, fish and chips for dinner and then maybe a little mayhem... I mean baking... in my kitchen.

Dave won't be home until late tonight, but he let me open my present early...
Not the greatest picture, but it's hard to snap a shot of your own ears! What you probably can't see is that it's all celtic knotwork. He also gave me a celtic knotwork bookmark and pen. Something tells me I need to make that boy some cabled socks!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rockster Weewiggles Reports Again!

Rockster Weewigles reporting again, as Mummy has gone off on another crazy cleaning binge. She keeps muttering about having the house sparkling for company that's coming on Monday and how it smells like cats and meat pies.

I don't see what the problem is - meat pies are delicious and I smell wonderful. Well - that weird old cat Mopar the tall blonde guy brought home is kinda smelly. But he looks like he wants to play with me so I'll forgive him - even if I have to share the tall blonde guy with him.

And one of these days he's going to chase me. I just know it.

Anyway, Mummy has promised to be back with pictures of lovely knit things. Of course, she's going to have to de-fur them first because they've been making the perfect nap spot.

And as for me...
I'm going to enjoy this nice ray of sunshine before she brings that noisy sucky thing out again.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Random Wednesday - with random cat pictures!

1. Christmas knitting is progressing nicely. Second mitt for Mom is almost of the needles. After that I just have a hat (which is 85% done) and a pair of socks (25% done) to finish.
2. I even have my Christmas cards addressed and ready for stamps. And I found leftover stamps in my junk drawer - enough for all my letters!3. I think I might actually have some time to knit something extra for Dave. I dyed some Tabby Cat Worsted last weekend that would make a nice hat and maybe some gloves.
4. Today my boss took me out for lunch, and I got a buy one get one free coupon for the restaurant. Score! I already told Dave to expect a date night - dinner's on me!
5. I really want it to snow.
6. But just for a day or two. And then maybe again on Christmas. Then winter can end.
7. Thank you for all lovely comments on the Twinkle Cat DK. I think I'm going to dye some more up this weekend.
8. There's an AWESOME contest over at "Sharing Slices of my Life". I won her last contest - and the book is AWESOME - so you should all enter this one.
9. Peno says "If I don't look at you, it means you're not really there." Right after I took this shot, she looked at him, and he bopped her in the face. I'm really surprised she's was even sitting that close to him. Of all the cats, we figured she'd be the first one to warm up to Mopar - she hates him.
10. He gets along with Rocky though - which also surprised us. The other cats look at Rocky like an annoying younger brother. Sometimes I do too....
11. How was your Wednesday?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle

I just wanted to let you all know, that we've got another kitten for the Wandering Cat Yarn litter....

See that sparkle? Yep - It's Twinkle Cat - but DK!!!!! I dyed some up on Saturday. Two of those skeins have been claimed already, but the rest will be in the shop soon. And I'm thinking I might just dye some more this weekend.

Twinkle Cat DK is just a pretty as our Twinkle Cat Lace and Twinkle Cat Fingering - just fatter. A blend of squishy superwash merino, luscious silk and just a touch of sparkle - it's perfect for hats, mitts, scarves... and you know I'm totally setting some aside to make a sparkly cardigan!

I'll let you all know as soon as it's in the shop. And there's even word there might be some Slinky Cat DK coming this way soon....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December babies

There are several December babies in my immediate family (myself included), and today we had a little informal celebration up at Mom's.

Miss Pee is the first of the Sagittarians, and certainly the most spoiled. Among her presents were her Buddy socksI gave up on trying to embroider them - but she loved them anyway. She also got a stylin' beret.I got a little early birthday present too...A spindle cat shawl pin!

Rowan's our lone June baby - but she didn't need present - she had Ladydog for entertainment
(She also has a stylin' pixie cut because she got a hold of the scissors last week...)

And now it's back to the Christmas knitting.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Knitting for knitters

I'm halfway through Mom's Christmas present.A pair of my Dalhousie mitts.

You might be wondering why I'm showing these, when Mom has access to the blog.

Well - she already knows about them.

You see - Mom is notoriously hard to knit for. Not only is she particular about the things she likes and wears, she's also an incredibly talented knitter herself. There's really not much I can knit her that she can't make for herself - and do a better job of it.

I have made her several knitted gifts - socks and shawls mostly. But this time I wanted to do something different. She doesn't wear hats, I get bored with scarves, and I certainly don't have time to knit a cardigan. So I decided to ask her what she would like.

To my surprise, she requested my pattern. She said she's wanted to make them for a while, but just hasn't had the time (she's doing Christmas knitting as well, of course!)

It was the perfect solution. Quick, and something I know she'll like. I asked her to choose a yarn, thinking she'd ask me to dye something - but instead she provided me with a skein of Bugga from her own stash.

The colour is Forrester Moth - and I'm definitely loving this yarn! The mitts will only use half the skein - I think I can squeeze a pair of ankle socks out for myself later on!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A pair on the first

Wow - the first of December already - this year really is flying by.

Well I managed to get Miss Pee's socks done in time for her birthday next weekI was planning to do a little embellishment on them, but my limited embroidery skills are not co-operating at the moment.... we'll see if I can get them to play nice before her party on Sunday.

These were knit in Tabby Cat, dyed by Miss Pee herself this summer. I've still got more than half a skein left, so I might make her some mitts as well.

Up next... Mom's Christmas present.... stay tuned!