Sunday, March 31, 2013

Knit Red!

With the Stray Cat shawl all wrapped up, and the yarn still packed, I turned my attention to my other WIPs.
I have two sweaters, Dave's Hero socks, the Cranberry Bonnet, a new shawl design, and a scrappy afghan on the go.

I did a little work on the Hero socks, but as I gave Dave the Business Casual socks just last week, I'm not overly motivated to work on more socks for him.

Instead, I turned my attention to the Cranberry Bonnet. If you remember, I started this hat back at the end of January, with a skein of Skinny Bugga I purloined from Mom's stash. I started it thinking, "A hat won't take that long, it will be off the needles in no time!"

And... here we are two months later.... Now it's true part of the the delay was due to other, more pressing knitting commitments.But another part was my tools. The hat is knit on 2.0mm needles. With 224 stitches to a round at its widest point, it was too much for dpns - that meant a round needle with magic loop.

I just figured out magic loop a few months ago (when I was working on Bumble) and I find it quite useful. I have found however, that it's only really helpful when you have the right kind of needle - one with a nice flexible cord.

My only 2.0 mm was a Crystal Palace bamboo needle. The cord wasn't bad, but the ends are fairly blunt (being bamboo and all) and the join is not all that smooth, slowing the knitting progress immensely. ( I hate snag!) I needed a better needle!

A while back, Mom and I invested in a couple of sizes of Chiaogoo's Red Lace circular needles.

Normally, I prefer a wooden (I do love my knit picks dpns) or bamboo needle (very helpful when knitting with silk - my fave fibre!), but I have to admit, I've fallen in love with my Chiaogoos! The cord is awesome (it's a a flexible, multistrand, nylon-coated, steel cable - if you're a jewelry maker, it's similar to tigertail wire) - wonderfully flexible and nigh un-kinkable - you never have to steam these cords straight!

The join is smooth... and the tips... soooo pointy. If you do a lot of lace knitting, you know how handy this is.

Anyway, when I was up at Mom's yesterday, I checked to see if she had a 2.0 mm in her set - and she did! There's no lace in this hat, but the pointy tips make working those tiny stitches so much easier. This hat is just flying now.

If you haven't tried Chiagoos, I do recommend them. (No I'm not being paid or anything, I really do love these needles). We got our from Grandma's Handknitting on Etsy. Keep your eye out, because they frequently have sales.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

FO: Stray Cat Shawl

I was up at Mom's today, using up the leftover dye from the little monsters' adventure, so I took the opportunity to get some pictures of the Stray Cat shawl.
This was a fun little knit. I've never made a shawl with this construction before. But the directions are really well written, and once I got into the swing of things, it was easy.  The pattern has four sizes - this is the medium - and I think it would be really nice in one of the larger sizes.

I love the two-colour design, and the lace border is so pretty. The increase rows are cleverly hidden by twisting the stitches - a new technique that I love! The designer gives you two options for the bind off. There's an i-cord bind off, which is really cool - or a simple garter edge, which is what I did. The only mod I made was in the blocking. As you know, I love to block the bejeezers out of lace, so I did so, giving it nice pointy egdes. The designer keeps a nice smooth rounded edge on hers - which works to - but I like pointy!

This one was knit in Slinky Cat - colours are aqua and peacock. You really lose all the colour changes in the peacock, but it's still an nice complement to the aqua. The Slinky is one of my favourite shawl yarns - with 50% silk it has fantastic drape and a gorgeous sheen.

I've already got my next shawl picked out, but it's going to have to wait till after the move... now where are those WIPs...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Night creature

It's 2 a.m, my eyes are drooping, the cats are circling, and my bed is calling... but I'm pleased to say...
...the Stray Cat shawl is blocking!! I'll do a proper FO post when it's dry.

I have to say - packing up all the yarn has really helped me bust through the WIPs. I'm down to six! If I didn't have to do more packing, I could totally get at least one more done before the end of the month. But those boxes aren't going to fill themselves. Too bad I can't train the cats to pack, but they just want to sleep in the boxes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Princess Nora models in Stray Cat

I just got some new pics of Miss Nora from her Daddy.

The cardigan she's wearing is one of Mom's designs.

It's knit with Stray Cat (colour is Magnolia). It's one of my favourite yarns for baby clothes. It's soft, squishy and washes so well!

Hopefully this weekend we're going to get the pattern together - a few people who've seen it have asked for it.

Nora shouldn't be the only baby spoiled enough to have such a pretty cardigan!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Down to Business

 With no boxes left to put anything in, Tux and I decided to take today and get down to business...
 While he kept my feet warm, I worked away on my Business Casual socks. The deadline for the KAL is tomorrow - and since I have to work late tomorrow  - that left today.

But they are finished! I was really getting worried near the end. I made the large size (72st) and for men's size 11 feet. Halfway down the foot, the remaining amount of yarn was looking bleak. I've never run out of yarn on socks before, but these were a little longer in the leg that I normally do. As it turned out, I had to cut the toe on the second sock by two rows. After grafting,  I had four inches of yarn left! Yikes! If I make these for a man again, I'll make sure I have a larger skein (House Cat only has 400 yards)
I love the stitch pattern on these. It's so cool, and so easy to do once you get moving. Expect to see it in some of my future designs. As mentioned - I used House Cat in Cafe au Lait (stolen from Mom's stash).

So... now I have the whole evening to work on a shawl... my new design.. or the Stray Cat shawl? Decisions, decisions....

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's not easy being green

Here's a sneak peek at the new shawl design.

It's hard to say how much progress you'll get to see on it in the next few weeks. Knitting time is going to be severely limited until after May 1, as Chez Wandering Cat is on the move.

It's not a huge move - just a couple of towns over and 20 km closer to work. But it means I have just five weekends to get this whole place cleaned and packed.

I started today with my studio. I figured I'd get the toughest room out of the way first (It's scary in there!). So - almost all the craft stuff is packed. All the yarn is packed.... yep - ALL of it. (Now I need more boxes!)

I considered leaving some out - just in case - but seriously - I have more than enough projects on the needles to keep me going for five weeks. And, I did discover that I don't need to buy any more green shawl yarn any time soon.....
... what can I say? I like green!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My sock drawer over-floweth

As some of you already know, Mom has a circular sock machine. That means she can whip up a pair of plain vanilla socks (ribbed or not) in just a few hours.

It's great for knitting up colourways so we can see how they'll turn out. Or getting the stripeys out of the stash quick (cause you're usually only going to knit plain socks anyway) so you can buy more.

But it does have one downside....

... I may need another dresser soon, just for socks....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I've been working pretty steadily on my Business Casual socks. The KAL deadline is fast approaching, but I'm making good progress.

Tonight, however, I've been a little distracted. You see, I got my wish. Things at work slowed down. In fact, the projects down right dried up. I'm not worried - we'll get flooded again soon. But it's left me with a lot of time for my imagination to run wild. And it's been running rampant in the shiny land of New Shawl Designs.

I've charted out 95% of a new pattern, and I just had to come home and start it. I'll finish up the BC socks on the weekend. In the mean time, it's all green merino goodness with some shiny beads thrown in!

Sorry no pics yet. (But you can enjoy the gratuitous cat picture at the beginning of the post until I come back with something new!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Are you looking for a fun and interesting shawl to knit? Want to win a gift certificate for the shop? Have I got a KAL for you!

A few months back, I mentioned the Stray Cat KAL over at the Anima Knitting Club. The KAL is for Kristina Vilimaite's beautiful Stray Cat shawl pattern. The deadline to complete the shawl has been extended to April 21!
But it's not an ordinary KAL - it's got a bit of a twist! To win a prize, you have to manipulate your finished shawl into the shape of a cat and take pictures! Sound crazy? It's not - check this out!

How cool is that? Take a look at the completed cat shawls for more ideas.

All the details are in the group, but there are two $35 Wandering Cat Yarn gift certificates up for grabs!

I'm knitting my version in Slinky Cat  - using Aqua and Peacock. And so far I'm loving it. I've never knit a shawl with this construction. The increases are so cleverly hidden. It's not a hard pattern either - it's something a fairly newbie lace knitter could tackle.

So why not join us? I'd be making good progress...
 ... if it wasn't for a certain someone. Excuse me while I go attempt an extraction.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


The Owlie Mitts are done.

This was a really sweet, quick knit. It wasn't difficult, and it kept my interest. I love the use of beads for the eyes - it adds just a little bit of sparkle.

I made a couple of small mods:
1) The middle cables all go in the same direction, instead of zig-zagging as the pattern calls for (this was just me not paying attention to the chart
2) I changed the placement of the thumb a little for a better fit.
3) I shortened the top by four rows - the mitts were getting really long!

These were knit in House Cat, colour is Denim, but it's one of those patterns that would look good in almost any colour.

And don't forget - use the code Madness20 in the shop and save 20% all week! 
 Get some yarn before they drive Mom crazy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spot on!

The Ladybug Jacket has her spots!

The pattern calls for knitting black bobbles, but I wasn't overly fond of the look of them (nor the thought of knitting them). So I decide to knit the spots and sew them on. Details on how to do this are on my Ravelry project page. It probably took longer than the bobbles would have, but I like the final product so much better.

It was a nice little pattern to knit - very simple and the results are darling. You could easily leave the spots off and knit it in any colour you liked. I knit this in Fat Cat in Coal and Cherry. I'm so spoiled with our yarn - I don't think I'll work with acrylic for kid's garments ever again!

Nora's birthday is tomorrow (it's hard to believe it's been a full year!), but I won't get it to her Daddy until next week. I'm sure I'll have pictures of her wearing it soon after.

Now... it's back to the Business Casual socks... one by one, stitch by stitch, I'm getting through those WIPs!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who gives a hoot?

Although I haven't finished all the spots for the Ladybug Jacket yet, I've had to take sometime to whip up another birthday present. I almost forgot about this one and it sneaked up on me.

I won't say who it's for until later (though if she reads this blog, she'll know right away!)

The pattern is Owlie Mitts (it's a freebie and there's a sock version too). They are knitting up pretty quick (I'm past the cuff on the second one right now) and I love the use of beads for the eyes.

I'm using  House Cat in Denim that I had left over from a pair of Dave's socks. I've chosen a nice little Topaz bead from the stash for the eyes.

I've made a few mods, but I'll detail them in the FO post - which should be in a day or two!.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The inmates are running the asylum

Meahwhile, up at the studio...
It's March Break and someone talked Mom into taking the munchkins for the week. She then decided it might be fun to let them loose in the studio.

Now Miss Paisley's a semi-experienced dyer, but little Robo-Rowan...
... well, lets just say it's a good things all the surfaces are washable!

They did some pretty good work.. both skeins and blanks...

Not bad... I'm trying to talk them in to giving me that last skein...

Sunday, March 10, 2013


As you can see from Tux's relaxed pose, there's been no drama this weekend - in fact it was an almost perfect weekend. I got lots done around the house (it almost sparkles now!) 

I did a little writing, a little reading, some grocery shopping, cooking, and of course... knitting....

The Ladybug Jacket is nearing the finish line!

As you can see, she just needs her spots, which I'm working on now. You may notice that I've made some modifications to the pattern. Not only did I do the collar and cuff in red instead of black, but I added a picot cast off in black to make it that much girly-er.

Don't get me wrong, the pattern is cute enough on it's own... I just thought this would be a touch more fun.

And of course, I had to add Ladybug buttons!

The spots are supposed to be done as bobbles, but I'm modifying that too. I'm knitting them flat and sewing them on. There are a few people who've done crocheted ones, and I like the look of it better than the bobbles.. but since I don't crochet....knit it is. I think they are going to be perfect.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 8, 2013

March Madness!

Starting tomorrow Saturday March 9th, to celebrate March Break week we’ll be offering 20% off everything in the shop. Use code Madness20! We’ll probably leave this up all week, it just depends on how distracted the grandkids keep Mom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Have you joined the Business Casual KAL, hosted by Celtic Cast On? With a few weeks left, there's still time to join in and finish on time. Among other prizes, you could win a skein of Wandering Cat Yarn!

Not that the ransom is out of the way, I was able to finish up my first sock. The pattern is pretty addictive, and if you can cable without a cable needle (not hard once you get the hang of it) it goes pretty quick (even if they are for giant man-feet).

I'm using Barn Cat in Cafe of Lait. I was originally going to give these to Dave, but I think I'm going to put them away for Father's Day for Dad. I've already got the Hero socks on the go for Dave and they will be done soon enough.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Freeing Kitty

The last of Miss Kitty Cup's ransome has been completed.
The pattern is February Lady Socks (it's a freebie) and the yarn is Twinkle Cat in Rose Quartz.

The pattern is very easy to memorize: just four rows (two of which are straight knit.) It moves pretty fast once you get going.

You can only see a small amount of sparkle in the picture, but these socks are pretty twinkly. The Kittynapper who is receiving these loves pink, so I'm hoping these will tickle her fancy.

Now that they are off the needles, I can really focus on surmounting my mountain of WIPs - up next Business Casual socks!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

WIP Wrangling - checking in

I'm a little later than planned with this check-in - but as you know, this month has been chaos so far.

Anyway, as of February 1, 2013 I had 6 projects on the needles. A hat, two sweaters, a pair of socks, a shawl, and an afghan.

Things just went downhill from there.I managed to finish two pairs of legwarmers and some Monster High clothes - but all of those were cast on AFTER the start of the month.

Now, it's March 5, and  I have 9 projects on the needles....yep - 9, almost double my 5 WIP target. There are three pairs of socks, a hat, two sweaters, a baby jacket, a shawl and an afghan.

This month I pledge to get at least two pairs of socks off the needles (The ransom socks are pretty much done, and the BC socks have a KAL deadline). Nora's Ladybug Cardigan must be done before the 14th, so that will get finished as well. With any luck I can manage to finish the shawl and the hat and bring my WIPs down to a respectable number

How's your WIP count?

Monday, March 4, 2013



Samantha sent this to me today - totally made my day. I want a marshmallow cat!

Thank to all of you for your concern. Good ol' Stella is back on the road, and it helps to put these things into perspective. It definitely could have been a lot worse - I didn't end up with a blown tire and stranded on the side of a dangerous highway - or worse - a blown tire and a collision with another car.

It was an expensive weekend, but I can always make more money... right?!? I guess I better dye some more yarn....

And my weekend wasn't all bad. On Friday night I had an awesome dinner with an former coworker who I don't get to see enough. After which we went shopping I got a killer deal on some shoes!

All three pairs cost me just over $30! Yay for clearance prices and small feet!

And things have slowed down a little more at work...

... leaving me a with a little more energy to work on my knitting. This is the second of the ransom socks.... so close!

After these are off the needles, I have to focus on Nora's ladybug jacket (her birthday is next week) and the BC socks... just three weeks left in the KAL and I'm not even through the first one! Yikes!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I can haz do-over?

'Cause I really need one. 

I had this weekend all planned out - a Saturday of deep cleaning and a little knitting, and a Sunday of celebrating my best friend's first half marathon... followed by a little knitting.

It all went awry on Friday, when Dave announced that his car needed to go in on Saturday for some long overdue electronic work. So we decided it was best that I follow him into the big bad city, then drive him to work after he dropped his car off at the shop. His coworker would give him a lift to pick it up. So, I could spend the rest of my day as planned - not too much an inconvenience.

I followed him along the way, but about 10 minutes before we reached our destination, a rather large chunk of concrete appeared on the highway, and I had no way to avoid it. It took it with the front driver side tire and a rather loud THUNK! The tire didn't blow so I just kept going. But when we got to the shop, I got out to assess the damage. It was like my tire had suddenly grown a tumour - a large bubble protruded out the side - not good.

Fortunately, there was a tire shop just around the corner. We drove very slowly to the tire shop, and waited... (yay for emergency knitting). Sadly, not only had I wrecked my tire, but my rim too... and they didn't have one that fit. They very kindly put my spare on for me. I got Dave to work and began the slow journey on side roads to Dad's on the spare.

Dad and I spent the afternoon combing every scrap yard that was open (many aren't on Saturday afternoons) with no luck. We got back and I proceeded to scour Kijiji... while I love my dear Stella car, she is a little finicky about the rims she will take. There wasn't much - just a guy in North Toronto who had some that might work.

We weren't able to arrange a meeting until Sunday, so I headed home. Dave's not home yet, and I check the messages.... "My car isn't done and won't be until after the weekend... Can you come get me?"

So begins the slow trek back to the big bad city... on side roads because the spare is not safe at highway speed. Dave collected, it's another long slow trek back. I started the day at 8 a.m. and didn't really get home until almost 11 p.m.

By that time, this is about how I felt....
Today has been a little better (Though I had to miss Sam's half-marathon). Dad and I got up and headed out to the big bad city (in his highway-capable truck, and I did get a little knitting done) got the new rims and now I'm just waiting as the boys put them on... Next weekend better be better... or someone is gonna pay...