Friday, August 31, 2012

Surmount the Stash - August Round-up

August was a respectable month knitting-wise - especially considering how busy it was. The month certainly went by in a blur.

Of course, the biggest accomplishment was the Laffite Shawl.

That's 760 yards of scrumptious Desert Cat out the stash and a beautiful shawl in time for fall.

The Chevy socks took one of the oldest skein out of the stash (345 yards)...

And knocked a project off my goal list AND my Christmas list.

The Bumble hat was just pure fun...

And it brought a smile to someone's face and ate up about 230 yards - give or take.

I also finished up a pair of Baby Janes - but I've been too busy to photo them.

All in all - is about 1375 yards out of the stash. And I've got a decent start on project for September!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FO - Chevvy

I have been meaning to post all week... but life just seems to be getting in the way. I've found five minutes now and I'm not missing the chance.

Sunday night after blogging,  I finished up the Chevvy socks.

I was hoping to get a better pic, but well... see the first sentence of this post...

I REALLY like the fit of these - nice and snug on my narrow feet. However, I didn't really enjoy the knitting of them. I didn't hate it - but I got bored with the pattern, and I really don't like doing a short-row heel. I'll stick with my heel flap from now on. The toe was also a little odd - and honestly, I got confused so I really just winged it. I don't think I'll knit them again - I may try my hand at Jaywalker though...

These were knit with one of the very first skeins of Alley Cat we ever dyed (we started dyeing three years ago - yay for digging deep into the stash!)

As nice as they fit me, these will be going in the Christmas box of Dave's Mom. She didn't get anything knit last year and I think she was a little disappointed.

Now - in theory - I could have actually finished up the second Red Riverrun sock in time for the end of the month - but I've neglected it for two new projects.

One is a stealth project you won't hear about until the end of September, and the other is some more Baby Janes - apparently little miss Nora has outgrown hers already (what's with babies growing so darn fast???). Pics coming soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sock it to me

Today's post is all about socks!

The magical random number generator chose five commenters to win a copy of Riverrun!
The winners are:

Congratulations and thanks for entering! I hope to see lots of Riverrun socks soon!

You may not have been able to tell from my last few posts, but I did indeed flaunt the red hot Riverrun socks in front of Lafitte and finished the toe that night.
 (I made it up to Lafitte by devoting the next day to her, and giving her a lovely photoshoot.) However, I haven't started the second sock yet. Some girls at work have started a lunch-hour walking club.And, as I could use to lose a pound or twenty (well - forty if we are being honest), I thought it would be a good idea to join them.

At home, I haven't had a tonne of time time knit (Dad and I are doing a garage sale next weekend so I've been purging) but when I have, I've been working on the second Chevvy sock.

This first one was close to being done, but it got set aside in favour of Lafitte (my affections are so fickle). So this week I finished it up and I've cast on for the second - which is now in gusset territory. They fit exceptionally well - they really should go in the Christmas box (likely for Dave's Mom) but the fit is making me really want to put them in my sock drawer.

I'm itching to cast on something new - especially since Mom and I took a trip to the bead store yesterday (I can't decide between beaded socks or another beaded shawl) - but the end of the month is looming, and I'd really like to finish up a project or two so I can have a decent report for my stash-down post. Some decisions are just too hard!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A sale, a contest, and a cat


We hit 1,000 sales!!!!

Can you believe it - there are 1,000 skeins of our yarn out there in the world...!

And since you guys are the reason we hit this completely awesome and amazing milestone, we've decided to say thank you with a little discount.

From now until the end of August, use the code 1000YARNS in the shop and get 15% off your order!

 Thank you so much - you guys rock!


I've released another pattern! Introducing Riverrun!
A wearable men's sock pattern, perfect for that sock-loving guy in your life. To celebrate this, I'm giving away five copies of the pattern!  Simply leave a comment on this post by Saturday, August 25. I'll do a random drawing on the 26th for five winners.

...ummm..... yeah......

Monday, August 20, 2012

All will BEE revealed

I can finally show you the mysterious colourwork project! Knatolee at Knatolee's World received it this morning - and I'm happy to say she loved it.

It's the Bumble hat! Knatolee keeps bees (and chickens, ducks, cats, dogs and a husband) and posts all kinds of interesting bee facts and awesome bee pictures. As soon as I saw the pattern on Ravelry, I just had to make it. Which is odd, because I really don't like colourwork.
In fact, this is only my third-ever colourwork project. I knit it in Stray Cat. I split two skeins into halves, and dyed three of them in Cornflower (blue), Honey Pot (yellow) and Charcoal (dark grey/black). I left the fourth natural. The pattern only calls for three colours, with the flowers being knit in grey - but I just had to do them a proper flower colour.

The hat went pretty well, I kept my floats loose, and it's defintely the best colourwork I've done so far. The bee was a little squishy, but still cute.

All in all, it was a honey of a project!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

La Belle Lafitte

Thank you to everyone for the kind words aobut our dearly departed Mopar. Its hard, but he had a fantastic long life, and brought us nothing but joy (and a few hairballs). I really appreciate your thoughts.

And when life's got you down... what do you have to do? Just keep knitting, just keep knitting, just keep knitting.... (I've watched Finding Nemo far too many times...)

Which is exactly what I did - and I finished my Lafitte shawl! And today, I convinced Mom that the beach was a perfect location for a photoshoot (it didn't take much convincing).
This shawl is definitely my new favourite. The pattern is fantastic - something that's no surprise when it's a Lost City Knits design.

The yarn.... I'm in love. The Desert Cat (50% baby camel, 50% silk) is fantastic to work with, and super soft, perfect for  garments close to the skin. And it blocks like a dream!
I didn't dye these skeins - this is the base colour of the yarn. It's perfect just the way it is (though I want some dyed ones now... and maybe a Desert Cat cardigan...)

As mentioned - this is modded (notes are on my Rav project page). It's also heavily beaded.
Very heavily beaded - I used almost 80 grams of beads. Mom wasn't to sure about the bead choice when I first started...
...but now she loves it. The dark, coffee coloured beads really pop, but still compliment the lighter, creamy yarn.
This is definitely going to be my go-to shawl for a very long time.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moparkitty 1993-2012

 It's with regret that I announce the passing of our dear Moparkitty. 
You will be missed, dear ParPar.


Thursday, August 16, 2012


Since I cast off my colourwork project, I've been working monogamously on two projects (yes, I'm aware of the contradiction in that sentence - you'll see what I mean in a minute).

This hot mess of luscious camel/silk and beads...

... it the Lafitte shawl. When I'm at home, I lavish all my attention on it - lovingly wrapping yarn overs, and adorning it with delicate beads.

But when I'm at work...
 ... my lunch hour is filled with frantic passion for my red-hot Wollmeise sock.

Now here's my dilemma... as you can see.... I'm ready to finish the toe on the Wollmeise sock. I'm so close....but I'm at home, when I should be adoring the Lafitte shawl.

So - do I openly flaunt my extra-curricular activities infront of the Lafitte shawl and finish the Wollmeise sock so I can start fresh on the second sock at lunch? Or do I save it, and savour it in secret and let the Lafitte shawl think she's still my number one?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The accidental mod - Lafitte

Last night, I stayed up late to finish my surprise colourwork project. It's blocking now... I'll share more once the recipient receives it.

Today has been grey and rainy, so it seemed like the perfect day to turn my attention back to Laffite. It's slow going... but it's beautiful. The Desert Cat is fantastic to work with, and feels great next to the skin - a perfect shawl yarn.
On Denise's suggestion, I've added in even more beads than the pattern called for. I've even added a few extra nupps.
I also made a bit of an accidental modification. Apparently I can't read a pattern. After completing the flower chart, I somehow managed to work the transition chart before the butterfly chart. It's suppose to come after. However, I was well into it before I realized my mistake.
The transition chart is between the white lines. I loathe tinking lace ( no, I don't use lifelines)  and, honestly,  I think it looks pretty good. I can't wait to get this one on the blocking board!

Friday, August 10, 2012

New yarn alert!

There's new yarn in the shop....

So many that I want to keep.. so please buy them so I don't add to my stash....


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


You may remember that I was hopeful that I could finish the Lafitte shawl by Monday night. It was a long weekend here in Canada, and other than dyeing yarn, I had no real plans. Saturday night, it seemed like I was on track to pretty well to reach my goal... but  three things happened:

1) Nupps. Those puppies really slow down shawl progress. Having to pay attention on the purl side probably cut my progress by 80 per cent. And... purling them together is really hard on the hands. I have to take frequent breaks. They do look awesome though.

2) A lunch date. Dave and I haven't gone out a lot in the last.... well at least eight months. Work and life have just gotten in the way. So I asked him on a lunch date on Monday. We went out for Chinese and drove around in the sunshine. It was great, but I was driving so no knitting for me.

3) And all-consuming project. Last week, I saw a pattern on Ravelry, and I just couldn't get it out of my head. I just had to make it. And not for me - it's a surprise for someone else. I dyed the yarn for it on Sunday and left it at Mom's to dry. On the way home from lunch,  I picked it up. I cast on about five minutes after getting through the door. Because it's a surprise for someone, I can't show you much... just a little peek...
Yes... it's colour work... that's what's so insane... I DON'T do colour work... but I had to... just this once. Now excuse me... I have to get back to it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fresh from the dye pot

Tux says thank you for all the well-wishes. He hasn't had anymore accidents and seems to be back to his normal, lazy, happy cat self. We've still got almost two weeks of antibiotics to go, but he takes them like a trooper.

With all the excitement of Saturday, I decided to take it easy on Sunday and do a little dyeing. Mom and I worked together and dyed up a whole basketful.
There's some Stray Cat and Continental Cat in there.. and at the very bottom - Desert Cat!
Both Mom and I agree... it's going to be very hard to put it in the shop. I was thinking those three colours would be perfect for a Colour Affection shawl... but then that would mean no Desert Cat for you....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tux needs a hug

Poor Tux.

He's had a bad morning. Really, it started last night.

Tux is prone to bladder infections, and I was pretty sure he had another one, so I made a vet appointment for this morning.  Because I know it's near impossible to get a urine sample from him while at the vet, (even if I leave him there all day - he'll just hold it out of spite.) I secured him in the basement with a litter box full of plastic pellets and his favourite things; His bed, his blankie and of course, his food.

I fully expected to be straining pellets from pee before breakfast, but when I set him free this morning, the box was dry.

We'd just have to make do without.

I packed Tux up in his carrier with his favourite blankie, and as soon as I set him down on the passenger seat of the car... I smelled it .... and heard it. The distinctive aroma of cat pee and a nice soft "whizzzzzzzzz" sound. Well played Tux, well played.

We get to the vets and they kindly pack up his pee-soaked  blankie and we visit with the vet. She squeezes his bladder to see if there's any chance she can get anything else out of him, but nope... he emptied it... or so we thought...

Tux gets a prescription for antibiotics, and I pack him up again (sans blankie) and decide to head over to mom's to borrow a towel, so he can at least be a little more comfortable for the ride home. (Mom lives around the corner from the vet). I figured I could also give him a little run around her backyard. He could eat some grass and I could hose out the stinky carrier.

We get to Mom's, she goes to get a towel, and Ladydog comes over to sniff Tux in his carrier, and just as Mom returns with the towel  - Tux turns his butt and pees though the carrier gate. So much for an empty bladder!

We clean up the mess and I tote Tux outside to Mom's fully-fenced backyard. I release him from his carrier, start the hose and turn to see Tux escaping under the fence.... I had no idea there was enough room under that fence for his fat butt!

I run back through the house and go chasing after Tux. Fortunately, he doesn't run very fast and he was caught after just a few minutes... but Lady wasn't letting us back through the house to the carrier in the backyard. (She just wanted to play).

Mom brought the carrier back out front and I packed him up again to go home. I set him back on the front seat.... and then I smell it. Diarrhea.Oh, joy.

When we finally get home, I dump the carrier outside and usher Tux into the basement. I fill the laundry tub with warm water and grab the strawberry shampoo... yup... bath time....

"This is so undignified. Don't you dare put this on the internet."

Bathing Tux is a little like juggling a fat, furry chainsaw. Fortunately, he really just needed a quick rinse, and I had just clipped his front claws last night. The whole ordeal was over in less than five minutes, though I'm sure he'll bear a grudge for much longer.

"I seriously hate you right now."

Since we had such a traumatic morning, I think that earns us an afternoon of nothing but knitting. And maybe a cat treat or two...
"I can't wait until you go to sleep tonight...."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It looks like I have some explaining to do....

... when I said that Wollmeise wasn't my favourite yarn.

It's not that it's a bad yarn. It's just... well, not my favourite.

Wollmeise has a lot of things going for it:
  • Excellent yardage at a good price
  • Very good dying (no bleeding and strong colours)
  • It wears like iron.
All great things, especially in a sock yarn, however, the thing that ruins it for me is how it feels when I'm knitting it. I'm an extremely tactile person - I was the child who ALWAYS had to be reminded not to touch - and then reminded again.

I love silks, and angoras and sumptuously soft merinos. Wolllmeise is merino - but its made up of several very fine strands, and to me, it feels like a cotton. I'm not a big fan of knitting cotton. It has its purpose, and I will knit with cotton - I just don't love it. The Wollmeise however, does soften a little after washing and loses that cottony feel.

There's a couple of other things that get to me about Wollmeise too. Because it's made up of so many strands. I find it splitty. I'm pretty sure this is personal thing, because I know others don't feel this way. And it probably has something to do with the way I knit. I'm pretty sure I could split ribbon yarn!

The other thing that bugs me is that I find it twisty. Some skeins aren't so bad, but this particular skein feels almost over spun, and the working yarn is constantly twisting up on itself. Not a huge deal, but a bit of an annoyance.
Now that said, it doesn't mean it's a bad yarn. You can definitely make pretty things with it... 
...Like the Haruni I made Mom last year.

But, it's just not my favourite - and I just don't get the hype.

I'm glad I cleared that up.

Now here is Tux. In a box.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Knit red

In an effort to keep my pledge to clear out some WIPs this month, I'm trying to knit monogamously on my Lafitte shawl. I'm almost half done, and with the long weekend coming, I'm pretty optimistic it will be blocking soon.

However, it's not a great travel project. And, as mentioned, I don't want to drag around the Chevvy socks. So, I've cast on for another pair of socks.
You can't tell  - but this is another pair of my latest men's sock design... remember these?
They are currently being test knit, and I figured it was as good a time as any for another pair. These ones will go right into the Christmas box when they are done.

I'm knitting them out of Wollmeise, not my most favourite yarn, but in this case it has a couple things going for it. One - the recipient needs a hard-wearing yarn and two - it's the perfect shade of red (It has to be this shade for a reason I'll reveal at another date). Admittedly, I could have dyed some Alley Cat, but Mom had this one hanging out in her stash - all ready to go - and she needed some help depleting her Wollmeise hoard.

Considering that I cast on for these on Monday, I really should be MUCH further along, even though these are lunch-hour only socks. However, work is insane at the moment... I don't even remember what a lunch-hour is! (Today it was five minutes to scarf down a bag of Cheetos and a Dr. Pepper.). Next week, however... next week I'm going to rock these socks!