Friday, May 31, 2013

Paving a new path - Distracted by the roadside squirrel

Project start: April 11, 2013
Weight at start of project: 210 lbs
Goal weight 160lbs.
Current weight: 204lbs.
 It's only a couple of months in, and I'll admit it, I've already fallen off the wagon. With the move, unpacking, gardening, deadline knitting, socials commitments, a hectic month at work... I just haven't been as focused on my goal as I should be.

Actually - that probably should have been my goal - to stay focused on my goals!

But anyway, I haven't stuck with my eating plan. I haven't been eating as bad as I could, but I could definitely be doing better.  I really need to commit to making lunch instead of buying.

And I haven't exercised - at all. Okay - my coworker and I went for a walk once. One day out of twenty four this month... that's just sad.

Now  I did still mange to lose three pounds, but I'm a long way from breaking my bad habits.

But - tomorrow is a brand new month - a fresh start! Right? Right.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FO - A Sunny little Sprout

As promised - here are some proper pics of the Sunny Cardigan.
The yarn I used was Stray Cat - colour is Kaia. It's hard to see in the pics, but there are little blue and pink flecks throughout - which is why I went with the blue-centred daisy buttons.

As mentioned - this was a very fun and quick pattern. There were really only two things I wasn't too keen about.

1) The pattern, as written, just uses a couple of holes in the lace pattern as buttons holes - to me this just looked unprofessional. It was easily remedied by adding some buttonholes to the edging (and I made it three buttons instead of two).

2) The sizing of the pattern is odd. Technically, there are only two sizes written - if you want a different size, you're just changing yarn weight and needle size - not very helpful if you like the fabric created by a specific needle/yarn combination and it's not the right one for your size.

But all in all, I'm really pleased with it. I've even been tinkering with the idea of upsizing it to my size.... but that will have to wait. I'm already doing that with the Silver Cardigan. I was looking back at my Rav page - and I started that project in July... it's coming up on a year. Time to get moving.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bunny hop

I've mentioned the neighbourhood bunbun that has appeared periodically, as well as the little baby bunny that was in my garden the other day.Well, now it's very obvious that there's definitely a warren very near by.

The smaller one to the left  is the one that I've seen around. She usually comes around at twilight, though I've seen her the odd morning too. The larger one is the one Dave has been claiming to see (or as he puts "The GIANT bunny" or "ENORMOUS rabbit" that's going to eat my garden if I don't get some chicken wire up STAT!.... city boys - they don't know what big bunnies are).

This is the first time I've ever seen them out together. They were pretty fun to watch. A neighbour down the way has a small dog who was yapping at them, so for while, they were booting at high-speed back and forth through the gully behind our yards.

Eventually they stopped to catch their breath and munch on some of the fallen seed from on of the neighbour's feeders. (Though he'd tossed some carrots and strawberries out for them too - I left them some lettuce.)

I particularly love how the flash made their eyes reflect red. ZOMBIE BUNNEHS!!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Holy flying needles, Batman!

I have to admit it - I surprised myself with this one....
Yep - that's the Sunny Cardigan - off the needles and on the blocking board. Boy was this one a fast knit. I cast on for this one on the 19th. I did a fair chunk of it that night, and then I didn't touch it again until Friday. By the end of  Friday, I was past the yoke. I didn't pick it up again until Saturday evening, and by bed time, I was almost done the body. Today was the last few pattern repeats, then edgings.

If you were doing the shrug version (I did) in one of the smaller sizes (this is size 4-5) you could conceivably knit this in a weekend.

I do have to say though, while I love seamless knitting, it can make things tricky to block. Especially when it comes to something like Peacock lace. I made a similar shrug for myself, and it was done in pieces - it blocked waaaay easier.

But this will do and while it's drying, I'm off to search out some buttons for it. More details will follow in the FO post.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A peek at my drawers...

In our family, we have a little trick for moving clothes. We don't pack the clothes - why make extra work for yourself? Instead, we leave the clothes in the drawer, and when it's time to move, we simply pull the drawers out, load the drawerless dresser onto the truck, then slide the drawers back in. When we unload, we do the same thing. It makes the dresser nice and light, so almost anyone can carry it, and saves some packing and unpacking.

In the recent move, my brother was the one tasked with moving my dressers. When he pulled the sock drawer out, his eyes went wide. "Just how many pairs of handknit socks does one person need???"

Thirty-five pairs apparently. I just counted. True to Dee's challenge, I've laid my sock drawer bare (with a little help from Rocky... who's feeling much better... thanks for all the well wishes). In the picture, there are only 32 pairs. Three pairs are currently missing their mates - but they are around here somewhere. And just a few days ago, I retired five pairs.

Now, I can't take credit for all of them. Mom has probably made more than half of them there. Some have been handknit by her as gifts to me, some have been stolen from her sock drawer (I was visiting and my feet go cold), and a good chunk of them have been cranked out from her sock machines.

Regardless of where they came from, they are all being put to very good use, especially in the new house. All the floors in this place are tile. And as great that is for cleaning, it's pretty darn cold on the tootsies. Even when it's warm out, I tend to have socks on my feet. I have a feeling it's going to be a very cold winter.... I guess I better get those sock needles moving!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nothing to see here....

I know I promised a picture of my infamous sock drawer....
But unfortunately, I discovered that I'd left my memory card in my lap top at work - so no pictures for you.
Even more upsetting is I discovered the missing memory card when I looked out my back window to see the cutest, itty, bitty baby bunny munching away in my garden. He was so small he would have fit in the palm of my hand. (And yes - he was so darn cute that I didn't even care that he was eating my newly planted strawberries.) I ran to get the camera - turned it on ... and DAMN!
So sock pictures will have to wait until tomorrow. And with any luck - baby bunbun will be back.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The not-really-on-a-deadline project

When I said I had no more deadline knitting, I wasn't completely honest

The adorable Rowan-ator...
...turns five at the beginning of June. Five is a pretty special number, and clearly worthy of something handknit, if I can swing it.

I found the Sunny Cardigan on Ravelry a little while back, and knew it would be perfect for the little munchkin.
So, I pulled some Stray Cat from the shop (colour is Kaia .... more green... I know....) and got started this weekend. I'm making the shrug version (cropped with cap sleeves), so it's definitely possible to have it done for her birthday.

But I'm not going to push it either. If I don't get it done, it can go in the Christmas box, and she'll be just as happy with a new Barbie.

Stay tuned tomorrow.... Dee has dared me to bare my sock drawer.... this could get interesting!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday crash

Other than laundry, Monday has not been nearly as industrious as the rest of the weekend. My knee definitely needed the break, and I've been feeling a little under the weather. Either I've suddently developed some fearful allergies, or I've got another cold.

And I'm not the only one who's not quite up to snuff at Chez Wandering Cat.
 Tux is doing his best to make him feel better, but poor Rocky has has a rough week. It started on Tuesday with some erratic, but persistant sneezing.  At first I thought he might have just gotten into an irritant - the cat is so darn nosy, and we've been outside quite a bit. But soon enough, it got worse. I didn't think you could tell a cat was stuffed up, just by looking at him - but you can. The poor buy had dull, glassy eyes, and just looked miserable. Normally a pretty boisterous cat, he just wasn't himself. I never thought I'd miss his yodelling. 

He's doing a little better now. We got him some meds, and he's been enjoying little kitty saunas.... apparently cats can benefit from a vapouriser, just like humans can. Since we don't have one, we've been bringing him into the bathroom whenever we have a shower - he gets to snuggle up on the bath mat and enjoy the steam - and it seems to be helping. He's not sneezing as much, and he's got a little more spring in his step. I've even heard the odd yodel or two.

hopefully, we'll both be back to 100 percent soon - in the mean time- Tux is always free for a comforting snuggle.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Green, green, every where green!

The plan was to mostly chill and relax today, but I really needed to get my veggies planted. I'd used up all the top soil I'd bought in the front gardens, so I needed to run out and get a few bags.I planned to pick up some containers for planting, since my knee wasn't really up to digging out the a garden plot this year.

However, when I got to the store, they were sold out of the ones I wanted - and the others we're priced well out of my budget - especially since I only planned on using them this year. But I guess that's what I get for leaving it to the last day of the major planting weekend in this area.

So, I grabbed an extra bag of soil, and resigned myself to digging the garden on one knee (or on my butt - that worked too!)

The hardest part was clearing away all the weeds. The area was definitely a garden at some point, but apparently the last tenant or two had no interesting tending it. There was quite a bit of mint mixed in - hard to say if it was deliberate or not - wild mint does grow around here. Pulling all the weeds took the better part of my afternoon - but it smelled good while I was doing it!

And in the end, I ended up with the most adorable little veggie plot...
I started out of just cherry tomatoes and yellow beans, but some vidalia onions, purple peppers and strawberries may have found their way into my cart with the new soil.

Honestly, it's probably going to be too much for the little plot (and I've been told tomatoes and strawberries don't always mix well) but it was fun! I'll expand and sort everything out properly next year. I've hung onto all the containers from the garden centre, because I'd really like to stat from seeds next year.

I put up the little green wire fence to keep the boys out - but hopefully it will keep the neighbourhood bunbun away too.

In addition to gardening, I managed to finish up the first sock of a pair.

The pattern is Pair of Hearts. It's a freebie that's been in my queue for quite a while.

The skein of olive Celtic Cat has been sitting on my table, staring at me since we moved in. It needed something nice and simple (the hearts show up much better on my foot than the blocker), and I haven't made myself a pair of socks in quite a while.

It was destiny. I change the cuff to a picot instead of ribbed, and went down to 60 stitches to accommodate my narrow feet.

The Celtic Cat looks very rustic, but boy is it ever soft! I've been thoroughly enjoying knitting with it. Mom and I agree we'll be ordering more soon - though there's still a few skeins left in the shop.

And don't forget about the long weekend sale - on until Monday! You can use the code FREESHIPPING for free shipping on orders over $50, or you can use VICTORIA15 for a 15 percent discount

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Faeries wear boots

For some strange reason, I was thinking the baby shower I was fervently knitting for, was Sunday... turns out it was today. Fortunately, I realized it yesterday, but it meant feverishly working on the second Elvish bootie.

I finished it up this morning - 15 minutes beforeI had to leave for the shower.
This was a fun little pattern and the end result is pretty darn adorable.

I had some trouble with the toes on these, and had to rip back several time - but it was my fault, not the pattern's.
I used some left over House Cat for them. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of Gavin wearing them - the little tyke slept through most of the shower, and I didn't want to disturb him.But his Mom thought they were pretty darn cute.
And she's promised to send a few modeled shots.  I had planned on making at least one pair of baby socks for Gavin as well, so before I left I packed up a scrap ball and my needles. By then end of the shower, there was a little itty, bitty pair done (no pics... ooops).

And now I've got the rest of the weekend to knit for myself - and no deadlines!

Friday, May 17, 2013

How does your garden grow?

Today after work, I brought the boys out for a little fresh air while I watered the newly planted gardens.

I absolutely love flowers, and it's so nice to have this new space - it's like a new blank canvass. When I went to the garden centre, I discovered that they had all the pansies and violas on sale very, very cheap - I was thrilled. Pansies are one of my favourite flowers - so I stocked up. I got a few petunias and some allysum for filler - but I just went crazy with the pansies.
 I kept with purple and white to keep it from getting too crazy
 But, I just love the end result. In a month or so, this is going to fill out!
Tux just loves to be outside - he's all over the place, exploring his new territory. But it was hard getting a picture of him. Every time I crouched down, he ran over for snuggles.

Rocky is much calmer, he munches a bit of lawn, then settles down to keep an eye on things. (You can see behind him, I went so crazy with the pansies that I had to put some in the lily garden too!)

I bought some cherry tomato plants, and some beans as well, but they haven't been planted yet. I was planning on digging a small plot in the back yarn, but I won't be on my knees anytime soon, so I'll be picking up a few pots for this year.
The boys don't care how I garden - just as long as they can hang out with me outside. And it's a long weekend here in Canada... I foresee lots of fresh air for the three of us!

In honour of Victoria Day on Monday here in Canada (can you say long weekend?), we are offering your choice of discounts at Wandering Cat Yarns.

You can use the code FREESHIPPING for free shipping on orders over $50,  OR you can use VICTORIA15 for a 15 percent discount starting now till midnight Monday May 20th.
We need to clear out so we can make room for some new stuff coming soon!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

And down she goes....

The last few days have been just go-go-go here at Chez Wandering Cat. Work's been busy, I've been busy around the house, and there's a baby shower to knit for this weekend.

I was so proud of myself when I got the front gardens completed last night. All that's left is the veggie garden, which I planned to tackle tonight. That was until this morning...

There I was, walking across the street to my car, enjoying the sun on my face, and the birdsong in the air... thinking about the workday ahead of me....

... when my shoe suddenly decided to go one way, but my foot decided to disagree and go the other way.
Down I went like soft wood timber! I have a huge gash on my knee and road rash all up my leg - there won't be any activities that involve kneeling anytime soon... the veggies may be planted in pots this year.

But for now, I've got my feet up, a nice alcoholic drink at my side (it's medicinal!) and I'm working on baby booties!

Honestly, I'm a little unsure of this pattern. I had to rip the two out three times before I got it right. And I think it's pretty wide for a baby foot (and I even went down a needle size). But, I'm going to do the second one anyway and see if it fits. I'm not a baby connoisseur... so maybe it will be okay.

Monday, May 13, 2013

In the pink

One of the things I don't like about having short hair is waiting for it to grow. I'm a person who likes near-constant change. I get bored easy. When I had long hair I could put it up, where it down, braid it - do all kinds of things with it. With my short hair I have two options - bangs or swept back. So I decided to do something crazy... I got a bleaching kit... and a tub of dye...
 and I went PINK!

The really fun part is that this colour will fade in a few weeks and I can do a different colour!

In knitting news, I finally finished up the Glinda Mitts with the leftover Skinny Bugga. For the past week, all I've had to do is the few rows and cast off on the thumb... what took so long? I'll probably get a day or two of wear before the weather warms up again (it's dropped down to freezing, making me glad I didn't plant that annual garden yet!)

And now, time to get back to those elf booties.... Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three mothers

 There are many kinds of Moms out there, and I wish them all the best this Mother's day. Here's a post about the three kinds in my life right now.

1) My Mom

As you all know - I have the best Mom EVER!!!

Not only did she teach me to knit, but she only ever moderately rolls her eyes when I get a crazy hair-brained scheme like - "hey - lets start a yarn business!"  She's encouraged all my creative endeavours, kept pretty much every critter I've ever brought home, kept her comments about my boyfriends mostly to herself and merely shook her head at most of my fashion choices - it's hard to get better than that!

So Happy Mother's Day!

2) New Mom.

My friend Vickey gave birth to her second son a few weeks ago.

His name is Gavin, and as you can see, he's destined to become a rockstar (just look at those air guitar skills). We are having a little get together next weekend, so I knit up a little present using some Stray Cat leftovers.

The pattern is Mr. Dangly - though mine is highly modified it. I'm going to whip up a couple of pair of booties and socks too...
First up are the Elvish booties. Expect to see a pair of these for pretty much every new arrival - I think they are just too damn adorable! (There's finally a little girl due in September!!!!)

3) Cat Mom

As you know - my children are small, annoying and covered in fur. They only present I got from them this morning was a freshly hacked-up hairball. Oh joy!

I, however, was a good Cat Mom and got them a present. I've wanted to get them a tower for a while, and this one was on sale at a ridiculously good price.  Now I just need to get them a bird feeder for entertainment.

So - whatever kind of Mom you are - I raise my glass to you!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Green thumb, brown knees

One of the things I was very excited about when I moved into the new place, was the ability to garden from scratch. The old place, as you may remember, had the roses from hell out front. There was a small plot of garden out back, but it was so sandy, and got so little light, that nothing would grow but some orange day lilies.

The new place has three places just waiting for planting, as well as space to do so much more in the years to come. Today I set to work on the first steps to my new green spaces.

By the front step, there's a lovely little bare spot. Dad was thinning out his orange day lilies, and filled up a whole bucket full for me.
 I love  orange day lilies. When I was a kid, I use to call them country lilies, or ditch lilies, because they grew in all the ditches around our old house. Not only are they pretty, they are hardy, and spread like crazy once they get established. This year, I'll plant some annuals to fill things out, but in a year or two, I won't need to.

Come fall, I'm also going to plant some daffodils and other spring bulbs here. The plan is to have this garden totally self-sustaining.

 If you look closely, down the side by the step, you'll see some tiny reddish buds poking up. My grandpa's girlfriend gave me a bunch of bulbs - she said they were "big red lilies", and from my internet sleuthing, I suspect the are Cana Lilies. If so, I'm probably going to have to move them after this year, because those suckers are big! But we'll see what happens. I've got a spot down the side of the house I can plant them if I need to.

Elsewhere in the front, we have a tree on our lawn, and there's a nice little box around it, just waiting for flowers.
It needs a couple of bags of soil before I can go crazy, but this is going to be my annual garden, because the tree roots make it tough to do anything that needs to be too established. Here I'm planning on pansies and dahlias and whatever else strikes my fancy!

Out back, I have a little spot against the house that's just perfect for a veggie garden. I'm going to start small this year - just some tomatoes and beans, but eventually, I'd like to add peppers and peas. Dave loves fresh vegetables, but I suspect we'll end up feeding the neighbourhood bunny more than anything.

I didn't do much work in the back yet, except for a little pruning. There are two unidentified shrubs back there - my internet sluething has led me to believe at least one may be some type of Viburnum....
But if any of you gardeners can tell me - that would be awesome. This one is just starting to flower, and the flowers are tinged with pink. The other has flowers coming as well, but not as many, and I'm not sure what colour they are.
Both shrubs are growing up in tall canes. The verdict is out on whether these are staying right now. One of them has a Manitoba Maple entwined with it pretty good - I was pruning it, but it will need to be pulled out of the ground entirely come fall.

Ideally, I'd like to get a Lilac and a Butterfly bush for the back yard...and some tea roses too, but those will have to wait until next year.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Parting is such sweet sorrow

The Sweet Dreams shawl is off the blocking board.

This was definitely my fastest ever knit - a full-sized shawl in just eight. days. Of course, I neglected the laundry, and I still have a butt-load of boxes to unpack... but hey, a knitter's gotta do what a knitter's gotta do.

The recipient's favourite colour is purple, so naturally, that had to be the colour of the shawl (this colourway is Grape Koolaid). The pictures don't show it well, but there a subtle shift between red purple, blue purple and a sweet pinky-purple - it's lovely (and courtesy of Mom's dyeing talents). I knit it in Desert Cat (Baby Camel/Silk) and it's sinfully soft. There's a few skeins left in the shop - I highly recommend it.

The pattern is good, and the increases are interesting - I've only done a few crescent-shaped shawls, so this was a new one for me. Once I got into the rhythm of it, it went well.

The lace pattern is what attracted me to this shawl - but while I wouldn't consider it hard, I had to keep the chart handy, something I don't usually have to do. This pattern also calls for beads and a picot cast off. Unfortunately, I just didn't have time for those, so I left them out, but it's still pretty.

I will do this shawl again - with bead and picot. I have a skein of Twisted Slinky Cat in Dragonstone picked out.

(the middle green skein). I just have to decide on beads (contrast or blend?) .... and of course, clear out a few WIPS

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

WIP Wrangling - the smoke clears

I'm a little late with this month's WIP update, but that's due to the move and emergency shawl knitting. Now that things have settled, let's get right down to it.

As of April 2, I was at my limit of 5 WIPs.  A pair of socks, two cardigans, a new shawl design, and an afghan. Of that list, the only thing I managed to complete was the socks. Of course, I did cast on a cast off a shrug and a pair of fingerless mitts, so the FO count is respectable.

The WIP list, sadly, grew. I've added to it:

A second shawl design: This one is Dee's fault  - inspired by her lovely Egret pics.

A second pair of Glinda mitts: These are to match the Cranberry Bonnet. In truth, they would have been off the needles by now if it wasn't for the emergency shawl. I expect them to be done this week, though it's far too warm to wear them.

So, as of May 7, I have six WIPs on the go: Two shawls, two cardigans, an afghan, and a pair of fingerless mitts. I also have a baby present to make for May 19. Not too hard to get back down to the 5 WIP goal - the trick just not casting on anything extra... because I do have a lovely skein of Celtic Cat, and no socks on the needles.....

Monday, May 6, 2013


The Sweet Dreams shawl is off the needles and on the blocking board
And just in time too. The ladies at work moved the good-bye party up a day, so this will be gifted on Wednesday. There's just enough time for it to dry, and get some pics tomorrow evening. I'll save all the details for an FO post.

Instead, I'll share with you a picture of our new visitor.
He's come by the backyard twice. I've discovered that, while of course he likes carrots, strawberries aren't nearly as tempting. We'll see if he shows up tomorrow.

And what does Rocky think of this new visitor....?
Obviously the excitement is exhausting....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Run Baby, Run!

We've finally gotten some decent spring weather here in southern Ontario. Saturday was absolutely beautiful - and in more ways than one.

Not only was the weather sunny and warm - but I got to spend it with my bestest friend ever!
 Samantha was running a 5K in Port Credit, and she wasn't all familiar with the area and how to get around. Since that's Dave's home town and only 15 minutes from where I work, I know it like the back of my hand -  I was more than happy to chauffuer her around.(Plus she bought me lunch - win-win!)
The 5K route ran along the lake shore, so all the runners were herded onto a bus to the start line, while the spectators had to take a separate bus to the finish line.
At first it didn't dawn on me why there were so many police officers around  - until my bag got checked... three times. I guess after Boston you really can't blame them.  (And they provided a nice bit of eye candy for the spectators!)

She can't escape now - she's got to run it!
This was the view from the park at the finish line. Lake Ontario might not be the cleanest lake - but it is pretty. Dave and I took some pictures down here when we were first dating.
Sam finished with an awesome time of just a little more than 28 minutes.Sadly, even though I was standing there with camera ready, I completely missed her coming across the finish line. Then I lost her altogether (really in a crowd of about 8,000, it's not that hard) and she had to have the police call me, so we could reunite.

And while I was waiting for her to reach the finish line... can you guess what I was doing???
Yep - working on the Sweet Dreams shawl - Now that's the way to spend a 5K!!! I made some good progress too. I'm almost ready to start the edge chart.

And, it's another beautiful sunny day today. I ran a few errands this morning, but the rest of the day will be spent finishing the shawl. 
The boys have promised no distractions, as long as I leave the glass door open.