Monday, December 31, 2012

Surmount the stash - December and end-of-year round up

As you know - December was a pretty busy month. It was the biggest for yardage by far - knitting up 3,667 yards. Saranac was the biggest contributor to that, as was the final Sunflower shawl.

And it brings my year total of yardage to a whopping 17,535 yards knit this year! All in all - I'd say it was a successful year! Bring on 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last project of the year

It took all day to knit 10 rows but...

The shawl is now blocking.You can't see it, but I added beads (the pattern didn't call for them). The reason for this is two-fold. I like beads... and I like the weight they add to a shawl. A proper FO post will follow in the new year with all the details.

All in all I knit 54 projects this year. (Tomorrow in my Surmount the Stash post, I'll tally up the yearly yardage.)

I had a few goals this year.

1) Knit at least four (adult) sweaters: I actually made five! And as you know - one of them was a man sweater!!

2) Knit one pair of socks for everyone in my family, plus a few for me (10 pairs total): Done! There were actually 11 pairs knit. One for each member of the family, some for extended family, and a couple for me.

3) Finish one afghan:  Nope... no afghans finished. In fact I barely worked on any at all. I have a couple scrap sock yarn afghans on the go, but really made no progress.

4) Knit a lace weight shawl: Well... I didn't do that, but I did make some lovely fingering weight ones. Actually, this year was a little light on the shawl side, with only six shawls made this year. I actually just caked up some lace weight - so maybe I can try to conquer that goal this year.

So - although I only met two of my goals, I'm counting this year as a pretty darn good one knitwise! Tune in next year for some 2013 knit goals!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's still snowing, so the sale is still going

I was hoping to show you a picture of a blocking shawl some time today - but those last few rows always seem to take longer than you think.

The snow has been steadily falling all day, so Peno and I have been snuggled up with our favourite blankie, working away on the shawl.

It should be blocking by tomorrow.

In the mean time, we've decided to extend the Boxing Day Sale to New Year's Eve. So there's still a few days to pick up some yarny goodness for yourself and save 25%! (Use code BXGDAY25).

We have to make room for our newest yarn..... 

a luscious single ply merino..... can't wait!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Twisting the leaves

Back in October, before I got started on my "knit all the presents" kick, I started a pair of socks for myself.

Naturally- with all the Christmas knitting, they got set by the wayside. But as I had to sit and wait for some work on my car today, I dug them out again - and happily, finished the first sock.

The pattern is Embossed Leaves - a pattern that has been in my queue forever. I'm using Twisted Top Cat. I didn't think it was possible to improve on our scrumptious Top Cat - but I think the twisted version has done it - it's so sproingy - I love it.

There are a couple of skeins of Twisted Top Cat left in the shop - and if you act fast - you can save 25%! Today is the last day to use code BXGDAY25.

Now... to work on my shawl or start the second sock.... decisions, decisions....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Apres Noel

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Things are winding down here. Dave has gone off to the cottage, and there's no more planned visiting for a while, so it's just me and the cats and my yarn.

After all the holiday knitting (everyone but Dave got a knitted gift!), I decided I deserved to knit something just for myself - it has lace and beads and alpaca - but I'll share it later...

I know you all want to see the finished Saranac sweater.

The zipper was a total pain to put in, but I'm pleased with it otherwise. As you can see - it fits perfectly. I only made one modification to it, and that was to the collar. In the original pattern, the collar is knit long, then folded in half and hemmed. I thought it looked really bulky - so I just knit the collar to three inches and cast off.

The sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up, and while it's nice to not have seams, once you join the sleeves and start on the yoke, it's really bulky and a pain to manipulate. I don't know if I'd knit another man's sweater that way - they are just too big.
One detail I really liked was the garter stitch along the raglan decreases. I think it adds a nice bit of interest in an otherwise simple sweater.

The yarn I used is Baruffa Merinos Otto. Its a really nice soft merino yarn and I'd definitely use it again. I got this back at a tent sale held by the Needle Emporium several years back. If you every get a chance to go to one of the tent sales do - this yarn was an absolute steal!

Another small project I finished up was a pair of wee socks to match the larger pair I made. 
These will go to the little brother. I was suppose to see them all on Boxing Day, but a big storm blew in and scattered our plans. We are going to try to get together in January.

And's back to lovely alpaca lace....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing day sale!

We at Wandering Cat Yarns hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
And since it’s officially Boxing Day, we would like to offer 25% off of anything in the shop today, Thursday and Friday. Out with the old, in with the new.

Just use coupon code BXGDAY25!

Thank you, once again for a fantastic yea!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


 I stayed up well past my bedtime last night....

 But the never-ending sweater has been conquered!!!

All that's left is the zipper and the ends sewn in. I'll do that tomorrow once it's dry. Proper pictures and FO post will come after Christmas.

I only have a few small gifts to finish, but none of them are due until after Christmas, so I'm feeling a lot better.

Now, apparently Mom has lost some yarn in her ever-growing stash and I have to go help her find it.... so I'm off... have a fantastic Sunday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


... this sweater is ENDLESS!!!!!

While I'm in knitting purgatory....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like a sweater

First - thanks for the great reception of Making Tracks! It's rivaling Magpie for my most popular pattern.

Second - I finally got my Christmas tree up! I'd like to say I'm just keeping with the family tradition and waiting until birthdays are over (Dad's was yesterday) to put up the tree (that was always Mom's rule) - but if I'm honest, I was just lazy. Our tree is two feet tall and pre-lit. It takes two minutes to put up, and about five to decorate. But it's up now, so I guess it's officially Christmas....

And look .....

It's almost a sweater! The sleeves are done and joined and I'm decreasing the yoke. I keep telling myself - every row is shorter than the last (I think I can, I think I can!).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Making Tracks

Look! Knitting!

And no... it's not a Christmas sweater... but don't worry, I'm half done the second sleeve on that puppy... there's still hope to finish it in time.... and this cowl is a Christmas gift too....

And it's also my newest design! This is Making Tracks. It's a lovely soft cowl that uses just one skein of Wandering Cat Yarns Aristocat (baby alpaca/merino/silk - so it's uber-soft!) I knit this in two short evenings and a morning, so it makes a great last minute gift (and it totally re-revved my knitting engines!). It's super easy with just enough interest to keep you motivated - and a great beginner lace project.

It's available now for just $1 until the end of the year, after which time it will revert to it's regular price of $3. I've also got some Aristocat dyed up and ready for the shop - so keep any eye out for it soon!

Now... I better get back to that sweater!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas is coming....

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.

Despite the pretty wicked chest cold I woke up with, it was a pretty good one. I got spoiled with cake, cake and more cake. A little bit of bling, and gift certificates for wool and books - what more could a girl want?

I'm still working away on the Christmas knitting... the spreadsheet as pretty much been scrapped and a few plans revised... but I'm still happy with the plan. There's only 10 days left, I have to be realistic right?

I don't have any pics to show you, so instead here's a little proof that the Christmas spirit is in the air!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free shipping

It's my birthday!
In honour of theday, Mom decided to give everyone free shipping all day long (or at least till the cake  is gone) over at the shop.
Just use code HAPPYBDAY.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bad timing

With only 16 days until Christmas, it's a really bad time for you knitting mojo to take a vacation. But that's just what mine has done. The last few days of knitting have been almost completely wasted, frogging almost everything I've knit.

This morning Tux and I spent two hours stretched on the couch watching the Avengers (again) and I didn't once pick up the needles. True - when an 18lb cat is using your cheek as a pillow, it's difficult, but I didn't even want to.

Nora's daddy sent me pictures of Miss Nora in her pinwheel jacket I knit this summer:

And as cute as she is... that isn't even revving my knitting engines... I'm going to go mop another floor and see if that makes me like the needles any better.... the clock is ticking...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Come join the KAL

As the year is inching ever closer to its end, I thought it would be a good time to remind you about the Wandering Cat Yarn Ravelry group's KAL.

Have you knit something with our yarn this year? Or knit one of our patterns? It could win you fabulous yarny prizes.
All you have to do it join our group and enter your projects in the appropriate KAL threads.

Here's a quick refesher from earlier this year

We are doing one giant year-long KAL with three categories:
Category 1: It’s a wrap! This is where you can enter your blankets, shawls, wraps, scarves, etc.
Category 2: Heads, hand and toes!
Enter hats, mitts and gloves (fingerless or otherwise) socks, and slippers
Category 3: The junk drawer!
This is for everything else that doesn’t fit into Category 1 or 2 - sweaters, toys, underpants - whatever!

Each project gives you an entry for that category. At the end of the year, we’ll draw a winner from each category and bestow on them a super-awesome yarny Wandering Cat prize pack.

There are just a few rules to this KAL:
1) Project must be either knit with Wandering Cat Yarns or using a Wandering Cat Pattern (Patterns by Redknitz count too) (doing both makes your entry count as double!)
2) Project must be completed in 2012. It doesn’t matter if the project was started three years ago and then forgotten about - as long as it’s completed this year - you’re good to go!
3) Project can be knit or crochet or both! We don’t discriminate. Heck - it can even be macrame!
4) Enter as many times as you like - all year long!

So - if you haven't entered yet - get over to Ravelry, join the group.. and get posting!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hot Rodder

I've started on the sleeves for Dad's sweater, but I'm afraid, in true Valerie fashion, I've gotten distracted.

I stopped up at Mom's today to pick up some yarn I dyed on the weekend, and when I got home, I just had to cast on. I only intended on knitting an inch and then go back to the sleeves, but...

This is just a simple 3-1 rib sock for a special 11-year-old boy. Because when an 11-year-old boy tells you  he wants a pair of handknit socks... you don't ignore it. You dye up something special, just for him. I'm using Stray Cat, so they are nice and warm for winter activities (and knit up a little quicker!). The colour is Hot Rod - it reminded me of colourful race cars.

I am going to be a good girl and pack this away. I'll work on them on my lunch at work, and focus on Dad's sweater while I'm at home.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Four for Four

 Yup... another FO....

Another simple beanie - I stole the chart and plugged it into the beanie schematics from the storm trooper hat. I do think this one needs a pompom, but it will have to wait for me to enlist Mom's help for that.

From here on out, the pace of projects is definitely going to slow... there are only two hats left on my to do list, but admittedly, I'm a little hatted-out at the moment. Hopefully this little hatter-lude has refreshed me enough to start the sleeves on Dad's sweater.... because that Christmas clock is a tickin'!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A hat or two

It's only the third day of December and already I have three FOs!!! Okay... it's because they are small, and I've had four days off work. I really have to give credit where credit is due, or karma is gonna come kick me in the butt!

So,  first up - a hat for myself...
This is the Chevron beret (minus the garter ridges the pattern calls for) - knit in some beautiful handspun, spun by the talented Smoking Hot Needles. I believe it's alpaca/silk and it's been in the stash for a while, awaiting the perfect project. It's got nice, subtle colour changes that work perfect with the pattern - I love how it looks like a snowflake at the centre.

As you can see, it's a little too big for my mannequin, but it's just perfect for me! And since I have a lot less hair now, I need a nice warm hat!

Now I know what you're thinking... why on earth am I knitting a hat for myself when I have so much Christmas stuff left to do? Well, all the Christmas stuff I have left is boy stuff. I wasn't in the mood to work on Dad's sweater or Dave's socks, so that meant starting something new. I looked at my list, and went up to the stash, perused my list again, dug through the stash - and started swearing.

Despite all the wonderful, beautiful yarns I have - none were suitable for the projects I had in mind. Most of it is sock yarn and I need dk or worsted. And well... my stash  is a little bit sexist. Anything that might remotely be considered a boy colour had sparkles in it!!!

So, I did what any normal knitter would do - I made myself a hat until I could go up and raid Mom's stash.

I can always count on Mom... otherwise, there wouldn't be a Storm Trooper beanie!!!

(yeah, can you believe I didn't even have any basic black, white or grey in my stash??? Well I did... in SOCK yarn!!!)
 I'm slowly getting better at colourwork, but it's still not my favourite type of knitting. But there's a special boy who's going to love this, so it was worth the effort. And that's another present off the list! Huzzah!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Santa sock

Last month, my boss came to me and asked me if I could look at a knit item, figure out how it was done, and recreate it. Always a dangerous question to ask a knitter.

I warily answered "sometimes", not just because there was no pattern, but because I normally don't like taking commissions. However, my boss is not only a fantastic boss, but a crocheter as well, so she understands that knitting a sweater is not something you can just do in an hour with $5 worth of yarn.

Anyway, she told me the story of how her Nana had knit both her and her husband stockings when they were first married. But she passed away before my boss's daughter was born, so she never got one.

Now, I'm a sucker for things like that - history, traditions, etc. Darn it - her daughter needs a stocking just like her Nana would have made her had she been alive!
So, she brought in the stocking and I was very happy to see it was simple....  really just a giant sock, made just the way I make my socks.  So I got Mom to dye up some Twinkle Cat DK when she was on vacation, and this past week, I've been working away on the Santa sock was born! A knit stocking is perfect, because it's so stretchy- you can just jam it full of goodies!

I just have to add a little loop for hanging. Then I'm going to get some better pictures (I was hoping for some decent light today, but it's been so dark and rainy), and release it as a free pattern. It knit up nice and quick - if I had a little more time, I might even make a set for Dave and I!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Surmount the Stash - November round-up

The November retrospect is a collection of small projects. It felt like I knit a whole lot more, but since most of it was on Dad's sweater, which isn't finished yet, so it doesn't count toward the November tally. November does see to have a bit of a purple theme though...

First up - the Cobblestone Cowl
This one used about 234 yards of Top Cat Aran.  It's so warm and snuggly, I don't want to give it away, but into the Christmas box it goes.

Next, and itty bitty pair of mitts for a pair of itty bitty hands.
They used maybe 50 yards of some left over Fat Cat. 

Another pair of mitts (fingerless this time), which I don't think I blogged about
 These are to go with the Robin hood hat I made a few months back.  About 70 yards used up.

Next were Dad's birthday socks
- the biggest yardage this month at 414 yards of Alley Cat BFL.

And last - a Beret in Twinkle Cat and a Baby Monkey scarf
About 196 yards between the two projects.

So this month was a little low, at 964 yards... but still not too bad!

Friday, November 30, 2012

No muppets were harmed in the making of this scarf

Though the cat wasn't exactly amused... I don't think he likes pink.

I whipped up this scarf over a couple of lunch hours, and a part of an evening.

It's knit with Baby Monkey - my absolute favourite novelty yarn. It's so soft and fluffy! It was like a gateway yarn for me... totally the reason I got into knitting. I actually have a whole bunch stashed away to make an afghan - but that's another story.

This particular batch was bought at the Needle Emporium's Tent Sale a few years back. I thought it would be perfect for a scarf to go with the beret I made.

So that's another project off the Christmas list. Now I have a nice four-day weekend (using up my last vacations days), so it's nothing but knit and clean this weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I lied

 I said I had only one pair of socks to complete before Christmas, when in fact I have two. I've made zero progress on Dave's Christmas socks... remember these?

They have been slotted into the Christmas spreadsheet, but I won't be touching them for a little while if I follow the schedule.

The other pair of socks however, are slated to be started next week. I looked in the stash - I only have one skein of yarn that's suitable. And then Mom went an put some new yarns in the shop - all Alley Cat... and I'm sorely tempted to sneak in a grab one.... just check out what Mom has created:


There's also some stipeys left, as well as new Top Cat Aran, Twinkle Cat and more! All in the shop now!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Socks ahoy!

The last family birthday present is complete!

Dad's socks are done. Just plain old vanillas in Alley Cat BFL, colour - Pirate's Cove.  I started these in September, and they've been knit almost exclusively on my lunch hours at work. As you can see - I need a better pair of socks blockers for men's socks... maybe Santa will bring me a pair.

I do have one more pair of socks to make for Christmas, so I guess I better go raid the stash and see if I have anything suitable, now that the dpns are free...

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Many readers will know that I have long hair. Well - for the last little while, it's been getting too long - almost-to-my-waist-getting-caught-in-my-armpits-ideal-nesting-place-for-Rocky too long. It was definitely time to get it cut. But since I never do anything by half measures, I was planning on getting it bobbed - a nice little sculpted bob with bangs. Kind of a softer Cleopatra look.

I even took a photo of what I wanted to the salon.

Now I should have been concerned when the hairdresser said that I had some natural curl in my hair. I have never had natural curl. My hair will barely hold a fake curl.

I should have been really concerned when she started putting a whole bunch of layers in the back.

I should have been really, REALLY concerned when she said she needed to add some texture.

What I ended up with was some sort of weird boycut-bob hybrid. Kinda like Justin Bieber meets Dorothy Hamill, and all bad.

I thought maybe it would look better when I washed out all the product she put in it.

Then I thought it might look better if I gelled it back.

Then I thought it might look better in the morning.

When I woke up looking like my Dad in 1984, with it all winging out at the side - I knew I needed to do something drastic.

So I got in the car and drove to the city (because nothing is open in this small town on a Sunday.)...
...and I got pixie-d. Even this is a little shorter than I wanted (it does a weird Alfalfa thing at the back), but I can live with this. I just have to make sure I wear make up every day now - otherwise, I look like my brother.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Give me a few hours, and a small recipient - and there's another project off the Christmas list!
This is the Perfect Beret in Twinkle Cat DK (colour is Fairy Petals), for a little fashionista I know. I knew I wanted to make her a beret, but finding a pattern that would work with the variegated yarn was tricky, and in the end I opted for simple.
I love this hat and want to make one for myself... I have some lovely handspun that would be just perfect....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

When in doubt - map it out!

While I usually live my life in a state of creative chaos, I'm actually fantastic at organization. I was looking at my list of  Christmas and birthday projects still left to do, and admittedly, I was getting a little worried. So -  time to whip out those organizational super-powers!

Today, using excel, I mapped out all the projects on my list (including ones I've already completed - just to make sure no one was missed, and give myself a little ego boost) Then I mapped out all the days until Christmas.

Then, I scheduled which projects I'll be working, on which days. Those are the little light blue and pink boxes (blue for projects worked over my lunch hour, pink for at home). This is just page one - the calendar goes all the way to December 31st.

Naturally, it's not set in stone, but it gives me a much better idea of what's left to do, and how much time I have left to accomplish it.

I'm feeling much better now. I'm sure something will come along to throw a screw into the works - but it's always nice to have a plan!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mini mitts

Here we are, closing on the end of the November, and I've only just completed a project! And it's a tiny one at that.

A pair of perfect, purple mitts to go with a purple, people-eater hat!

I'm not counting the hat as done, because as you can see, the teeth are still blocking and it needs its eyes. The set was knit with Fat Cat in Empress (Semi-solid) and Pansied (Multi). Once the hat gets its eyes (I just have to track down my felt) that's another Christmas present off the list!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The most exciting knits EVER!!!

Okay... someone really needs to make a sarcasm font. As the title suggests, were it in sarcasm font, I'm about to show you the most boring knits ever.

First up, Dad's sweater!
It's coming along nicely - I'm to the armpits now, and as it's knit in the round from the bottom up, that means it gets set aside and I'm ready to start the sleeves. I got a good chunk of this done while visiting Sam yesterday. We just sat and talked and knit all afternoon -only periodically interrupted by a little insanity....

I debated on starting the sleeves right away, or taking a break and moving on to something more exciting for a little bit. I really want to get the sweater done, but while I'm knitting it, the Christmas list isn't getting much shorter  - and there are a few small projects I could whip up in no time (that's knitter hubris right there...)

In the end, I opted to start something new, but it's not very exciting.

Yup.. purple stockknit... This will be a Brain Monster hat for my youngest niece. I'm using our Fat Cat in "Empress" and the yarn is probably the only thing keeping me from going buggy. It's a lovely deep purple with undertones of red and blue, and so, so soft, like Fat Cat always is.

And don't worry about Dad's sweater in the mean time. It's not going to get lonely.

"Yep. I've got it covered," says Tux.... I hope Dad doesn't mind cat hair....

Oh - and there's some new yarns in the shop - some stripeys and a few heavier weights to keep you toasty!