Monday, September 30, 2013


I feel strange.

I currently have no socks on the needles. I cast off my lastest sock design Friday night, and haven't cast on for anything new. I'm trying to refrain from doing so - I have several other WIPs I'd like to clear out - one with a definite deadline - but I've got the itches to make some sock stitches.

To distract myself, I'll show you the latest finished pair.
 This is Elm Street - A pretty leaf lace panel flanked by ribs and twisted stitches.
And of course, the pattern is echoed on the back of the sock. Better pictures will come when I get a chance to get Mom to help me take some. These were knit in Barn Cat in Magical Mystery Tour. I'd love to knit another pair in a more solid colour too. I am in need of test knitters, so if anyone is interested, leave me a comment with the best way to contact you.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The great reveal - meet Chuck.

As you can probably guess by the lack of posting, things have been busy. The good news is, I have a fair bit to blog about over the next couple of days.

However, right at this moment, I am thrilled to reveal the baby blanket I was working on earlier this month.

Meet my newest design - Chuck.
My friend Aneesha commissioned me to make a baby blanket for her friend who is a big Charlie Brown fan. We went the simple route, and I designed a blanket inspired by Charlie's iconic t-shirt.
To cover the floats from the colourwork, I lined the back with some coordinating Snoopy fabric. The actual knitting of the blanket was done a couple of weeks ago, but I had to get the fabric online, and wait for it to arrive. I hand-sewed it on yesterday afternoon. You could machine sew too - I was just too lazy to haul my machine out.
The blanket is a nice small car seat size (26 inches square) but it's very easy to make it larger (note are in the pattern on how to do so). It's knit in worsted weight (Big Cat in Not So Mellow Yellow and Coal) so it knits up nice an quick. I had this one done in about a week of not quite steady knitting.

As you know, colourwork is not my strength (or my favourite technique) but I'm pleased with this one.

The pattern is available on Ravelry, and I'll be donating all proceeds to Project Linus Canada.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to our regularly scheduled knitting

Thank you everyone, for your kind words. Unfortunately, death is a part of life, so what do you do when life's got you down?

Just keep knitting, just keep knitting....

And all that knitting results in a French Braid cardigan that only needs sleeves now

I did some minor modifying on the bottom. The pattern has you knitting to 19", then doing less than an inch of ribbing. but I wasn't fond of that short ribbing, so I knit to 15.5" and did 4" of ribbing.I will do something similar on the sleeves.

I also modified the ribbing to flow from the cables better - I'll show that at a later date.

So far, I love how this is turning out. I probably could have knit one size up - but the pattern said it had two inches of positive ease, which would have made that size too big. If this was a sweater that had to be buttoned up, I'd be in a little trouble, but as it's just a comfy cover-up, it's just fine. Besides which, I've successfully lost almost 10lbs in the last month, so maybe in another month, it will fit just perfect.

As you can see, the Bamboo Tape is giving it lovely drape. It's not my favourite yarn to knit with (very slippery!) and I don't think most people would consider using a ribbon yarn for this sweater, but so far, the yarn/pattern combination has been working just fine.

And it will be nice to have this yarn out of my stash - it was one of my first sweater yarn purchases, when I started knitting seriously.... way back in 2007!

I got it from Aileen's Wool Shop on eBay.  (Good prices, great service!) In fact, I've bought a fair bit of yarn from her. I have still have 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK (burgundy), 10 balls of Debbi Bliss Stella (lipstick Red), 15 balls of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran (lemon yellow), 14 balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK (wine), and 14 balls of Regia Silk Six Ply (pine green). Hmmm... methinks next year's goals may encompass a stash down of "sweater" proportions.....

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A sad goodbye.

It's been a bit of a bum weekend here at Chez Wanderingcat. This morning we were awoken by a phone call I've been expecting for the past few days.

My grandpa, my Dad's father, lost his brief battle with cancer this morning - just a few weeks shy of his 78th birthday. It's one of those situations - I'm glad he's no longer in pain, but the world is little less sunny today, knowing he's not in it any more.

Grandpa Johnson was an outdoorsman, a hunter, and angler and a car enthusiast. He loved bad jokes and making his grandchildren laugh. He's the man who called me Spiderlegs Jr. (Spiderlegs was Mom... for her long-legged form), and never let me leave his garage without a chocolate bar in my hand, a pocketful of loose change and smear of car grease on my face.

Oddly enough, I don't have a lot of photos of him - all the ones I do have a pre-digital and my scanner is broken, so I can't share any.

The service will be small, and in the next day or so. I have been knitting (it helps to have something to focus on), so there will be a happier post soon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A wee surprise

I was out filling up the bird feeder yesterday, when I decided to check on the last couple of peppers still trying to grow in the garden.

I looked down at my feet where the strawberries were, awaiting their winter insulation (which will be going on soon!) and noticed a suspicious amount of red!
We've had a couple of warmer days this week, and I guess it was just enough to give these little guys some colour. I do have to say though, it's strange eating fresh strawberries in September!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Got balls?

I do!

Four of them in fact!

I was searching the last few places the bamboo tape could possibly be, when I recalled an old picnic basket that I store long-forgotten projects in. Sure enough - that's where my missing Bamboo Tape was...
well - some of it. Ages and ages ago, I'd started a plain stocknit sweater with it. I got bored, and put it away after finishing just the back. And that back was in the basket. I frogged it last night, yielding the yarn pictured. Now, there's still three balls missing - but I should have enough to put long sleeves on the cardigan!

Excuse me - I've got some knitting to do!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The curious case of the missing yarn

With the baby blanket off the needles, I've turned my attention to my French Braid Cardigan.
As you can see, it's coming along nicely. And the weather is perfect for wearing it, so I want to get it done... but I've run into a bit of a snag.

Before we moved - I had 20 balls of bamboo tape. And somewhere between now and then, I've misplaced seven balls. I've looked everywhere. There are still a few boxes to be unpacked, but I've checked them - no yarn! I have no idea where it could have gotten to... but if it doesn't show up soon, the cardigan is going to end up with short sleeves!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let's salsa

When I was a kid, mom was a canning queen. In summer the kitchen would frequently smell like jam - strawberry in early summer, raspberry a few weeks later, and peach come late August.

The fall brought on pickling season - dill and sweet mixed, green relish, tomato relish and chili sauce. The last few years though, her canning supplies have sat idle, so today I absconded with jars, lids, and her large black canning pot.

I found a recipe for Green Tomato Salsa online.

I don't have a food processor, but I made short work of all those green tomatoes by tossing them in the blender a couple handfuls at a time and hitting pulse. The rest of the ingredients, I chopped by hand and tossed into the pot for a good long simmer.
Mmmmm.... green!
 It didn't look quite so pretty after it cooked, but it sure did smell good.
It looks like a giant pot of snot!
 I ladelled it into jars, and put them all into the canning pot to process.
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble....
 And in the end, I got seven nice little jars of salsa.
I have no idea how hot this will be - a grated jalapeno and
a handful of chili flakes were added for a little heat... hope it's not too much!
I just hope it tastes good. I don't actually eat salsa, so Dave is designated taste-tester. If it's decent, these will be given for Christmas! And next year, I may just look into making some pickles!

In other news, I'm almost done the secret baby blanket, so we'll be back to knitting content soon!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Last harvest

Mother nature granted me a few more hot and sticky days, and I managed to get a couple more handfuls of tomatoes.
 I picked a few of the not-so-red ones too - they can ripen in the house... because the temps are suppose to drop drastically overnight. So....
...I also picked all my green tomatoes. The red tomatoes are in an average "cereal bowl". The green tomatoes are in a plastic bowl, four times the size of it - that's A LOT OF FREAKING TOMATOES!!! And I don't even eat tomatoes.

Never in a million years did I think I'd get a harvest like this. I just thought it would be fun for Dave to have a few fresh tomatoes ever day. Not eleventy billion.  Next year I think I'll plant one plant.

I was going to make green tomato relish with these, but then I read Knatolee's blog post about making salsa and found a recipe for green tomato salsa instead!

I pulled the tomato plants out (mostly to make sure I'd gotten all the green ones - it was a jungle!), but I've left the peppers and the strawberries in for now. The peppers still have a couple of fruits growing...
I picked two that were ready (cherry tomato included for scale), but the others aren't totally grown yet. Hard to say if they will get a chance if it gets too cold.

The strawberries I'm going to leave in. I've got to get some straw or something to cover them to keep them warm over the winter. There were a couple of red ones on the plant, but I didn't get a picture - they went right into my mouth!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It finally happened

Peno has stepped outside her box.... 
Or at least, outside the door. I was harvesting tomatoes with the boys after work tonight (more on that tomorrow) and I turned around and there she was in the middle of the yard.
I leave the screen door open in case the boys get scared and want to run in, but she's never been brave enough to come out. Until tonight...
I figured she'd run back in when I scooted by her to go get the camera, but she didn't. She explored for a few brief moments until she found a good patch of grass to munch, then settled down for a snack. When it was time to go back in, she ran back in with the boys.

Unfortunately though, unlike her brothers, this cat can run - so if she decides to get too brave.... I'm going to have to keep an eye on her.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sock it to me

There's not a lot to show you, knitting-wise. I've been working dilligently on the baby blanket, but I'm not ready to share yet - so no pics there.

My lunch time knitting is a pair of socks I'm designing - I've just cast on for the second sock today, and there's only a few rounds - so no pics there either.

I hope to make some good progress on them though, because our Back to Socks KAL is underway.
Join our Ravelry group and join in

  • Projects must be socks.
  • Projects must be created with Wandering Cat Yarns . (There are a couple of other sock KALs going on, so why not use WCY and double dip!)
  • Projects can be knit, crocheted, or cranked on a sock machine.
  • Projects can be started at any time, but must be completed between September 3 and October 31, 2013. (So clear out some WIPs!)
  • Every pair of socks complete gives you one entry
  • If you try out a new technique - let us know on your FO post - we’ll give you an extra entry.
  • If you use a Wandering Cat or Red Knitz sock pattern - you get an extra entry!
  • All FOs must be posted in the KAL FO thread to be counted. (FO thread will go up day before contest starts)
There will be at least one winner, chosen by random number generator. If we get lots of entries, we’ll add more winners.
Prize will consist of a surprise yarn pack! Ask past KAL winners - our yarn packs are always fun!
 Mom updated the shop this weekend with some fantastic new colours of Alley Cat
And there's lots of awesome other yarn still kicking around, so if you're in need of supplies, use the code BACKTOSOCKS at the shop and save 10% - good until September 30th. (It's good on all yarn - not just sock yarn).

Hope you join us soon!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fort Curtain Cat

Since I've done nothing but work on the yellow blanket, I have no knitting to show you. I do however have more Rocky/curtain antics. These were all taken today, at various times this morning and this afternoon.
This is what I came down to this morning...

The view from the other side.

Kitty teepee

"No dogs allowed!"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Mellow yellow

It was cool and rainy today - the perfect day for dying yarn. So I headed up to the studio and had a fantastic day with the yarn. No pictures yet, but I did pick up the yarn my friend Aneesha dyed the other week. With it was the yarn we dyed for the baby blanket she's commissioned me to make.

It need to be completed by November, so I figured I better get started on it.
It's just basic stockinette with a garter border for now, but in a few inches, it starts to get fun. You won't see it until the end though - I want to save the surprise - it's awesome!

Friday, September 6, 2013


While Labour Day is often referred to as the end of the Canadian summer, it's not quite that way in reality. The kids do go back to school, and the vacationers all come back to the office, but the weather usually stays warm well into October.

But not this year. The day after Labour Day and bam! we can barely make much 20 degrees Celsius! Now don't get me wrong, I love fall... but I prefer to ease into the seasons. We'll probably get some warmer weather in a week or two, but they are calling for a cool, wet autumn overall

And that leaves my garden in a bit of a bad spot. Remember how I said I have soooo many cherry tomatoes? When it was warm, they were ripening almost faster than I could pick them. But now that it's cooled down....
The tomato tower
I've got a lot of green tomatoes! Those plants are over six feet tall and there are four of them and they are just covered in green cherry tomatoes. If it doesn't warm up again, I have a feeling I'll be making some green tomato relish!

A few weeks ago, the pepper plants started flowering like crazy.
Does this qualify as a peck of purple peppers?
 There's two cute little pepper on the one plant. (These will probably end up in my relish!)

Baby pepper! And lots of flowers
And the beginning of one on the other.  Plus lots of flowers - but without some warm days, those flowers won't amount to much.

And then there's the strawberries. Yes, I know it's September. Yes, I know I shouldn't still have strawberries, but look...
Wee white berries!
They are tiny, but without some sun, I'm never going to get to enjoy these beauties! (And there are three more plants just like them!)

The cool weather also has me wanting to work on the French Braid Cardigan
About six inches past the armholes!

I was making good progress on it until a few weeks ago when I set it aside to work on the Layla Shawl. I should get back to it but I have to finish up one last face cloth first...
You put it on my couch - it's mine!
and then I can put them away for Christmas (if someone lets me).

How's your weather?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back to basics

With the shawl in a time out, I've turned my attention to some easy Christmas knitting.
Face cloth? What's the point of a face cloth?

Nothing fancy - just some cotton face cloths.
They can't possibly beat the cleaning power of a good cat tongue!
 I've got some lovely handmade soap on order to go with them.
Seriously..... just look at these things - USELESS!!

I did mitred squares, alternating colour every other row - nice mindless knitting.
They can't even get between my toes!
 A few more to make and I'll take another crack at that shawl.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Behind the curtain

I'm not sure what it is, but I just can't seem to get a post out on the weekend lately.

It's not that I don't have anything to write about. It's not even that I'm super busy and don't have the time. I just don't seem to want to go anywhere near the computer.

But I have been knitting. Oh - I can't show you, though. I've been working very diligently on the Layla shawl. So diligently in fact, that I've knitted it right into a time out.

It's not that there's anything wrong with the pattern - it's a great pattern. I'm just having some problems executing the Estonian star flowers. And I don't know why. I've done them before - on two shawls! But they just don't want to cooperate this time. I've knit and frogged the same six rows a total of four times!!!! I need more beads anyway, so I've decided to set the shawl aside until I get more. Maybe with some time to think about what it's done, it will be more cooperative when I attempt it again.

In the mean time - there's a little bit of cuteness going on in the house. Rocky absolutely loves having a window at ground level, so we put a cat mat at the foot of the sliding door. It's where he spends most of the day. Rain or shine he's napping at the door, or keeping an eye on the backyard. Even when the curtains are drawn. Usually, the scene looks like this:
Curtain sausage!!!
He loves wrapping himself in the curtains (both the sheer and the blackout panel) And if you peek behind the curtain.....
"Can I help you?"

But the other day, I came downstairs to see this...
Kitty toes! And a tail!
 Oh to be a cat!