Wednesday, April 30, 2014


On a Wednesday, dark and dreary, I wandered to the stash, weak and weary...
I searched for something to inspire, and reignite my yarny fire....

So yeah - it's cold and rainy and I still don't want to work on any of my WIPs. I have been working on my Spring sock design and I am on the last leaf repeat. If I stick with it, I can have it done this weekend.

But tonight, I really needed something else. I searched through the stash for inspiration, then I search through my patterns, but I just couldn't get the two to work together.

Then I remember that I have a super secret project I'm suppose to be working on. I can't tell you much, but it's a nice small project and will hopefully get my knit-spiration moving again.
I'm using up some leftover Fat Cat and it's coming along nicely.

In other news, our Game of Thrones KAL has almost reached the halfway point. I've already finished my project, but there's still time to join in the fun.

I've decided to add one of my bags to prize pack, so today I ordered some special fabric
Isn't that cute? I wanted some dragon fabric to keep with our theme - and while this is far more innocent and whimsical than Game of Thrones, I just couldn't resist.

I ordered this fabric for the lining...
I think matching fabrics is one of my favourite parts of making these bags! And don't worry, now that the studio is clean, I'll be heading into production for the shop soon... stay tuned!

Monday, April 28, 2014


We had a lovely dinner on the new table last night... but something was missing....

That's better! I love vases of fresh flowers, but the old table was always too cluttered up with junk. When we brought this one in, Dave made me promise not to dump all my crap on it - and this is another good reason to keep that promise. Since last night was pork roast, tonight is pulled pork sandwiches with the leftovers, so I grabbed these beauties from the grocery store when I stopped to get fresh buns.
Look as those pretty colours. And it's so nice having some spring in the house because things are definitely taking their time outside.
This is the front garden where I planted all my bulbs. I was really excited until Dad told me that most of what's coming up there is not tulips and daffodils, but the orange lilies he gave me last year...

Not that I'm not happy about the lilies, but I was really hoping for more spring flowers. I know the squirrels have run off with some of the bulbs, but I planted quite a few.
There are a couple mini daffodils getting ready to bloom...
But someone has been gnawing on them too. So much for a winter of peanut offerings to keep the little beasties at bay...

On the knitting front, I've been working on my spring sock design
I've just finished the heel on the second one - on the home stretch now.

Sadly, I'm entirely bored with everything I have on my needles (Lestrange, Dave's scarf, spring socks, and two shawl designs). I  really want to cast on for Hitofude, but I promised myself I wouldn't cast on another lace cardigan until I cast off Lestrange. And I'm really close to the end for Lestrange - just three quarters of a sleeve and the bands to go....

Maybe I just need a small, quick project to rev my engines... any suggestions...?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My heart is in the country

Normally, Sundays mornings around here are spent lounging in bed. Dave doesn't have to be into work until noon, the cats are in no hurry to do much, so we take full advantage of those lazy mornings.

But today there was no lazing about for me - I was up and off with Dad on a mission. Dave's grandmother is talking about selling her house, so she and Dave's Mom are going through the place and cleaning out anything that's longer needed. She had a beautiful pine dining set that is older than Dave - apparently it was his favourite place to play with his dinky cars, and it's been long-promised to him.

It's now brightening up our dining room, though I'd really love a proper country kitchen to put it in... one day...

As it's more than 40 years old, it's covered in little nicks and scratches, or as Dad says "character".  

Of course, being a typical grandma, she had to throw in a few extras - a table cloth, a pile of place mats, and four trivets
 I haven't seen one of these since I was a kid!

And now I've got a pork roast in the oven, for a nice dinner on our first meal at the new table!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Knitting lesson

My friend Aneesha has been asking me to help her advance her knitting for quite some time. She could already knit and purl, but wanted to move beyond a basic scarf. With friends popping out babies left and right, we decided baby hats were the perfect next step for this novice knitter.

Unfortunately, living more than 100 km apart, finding time to get together has been a challenge. But last night we decided a sleepover was in order - it would give her plenty of time to start and finish a hat while we were together so I could help her with any bumps in the road.

Of course, we got into the wine a little too early, so there was no actual knitting last night (but it was fun!). And when we finally got out of bed this morning we were refresh (and sober) enough to cast on.
She's a natural - and by the time she had to leave - she was only a handful of rows from finishing her hat.
I got mine finished, so she was able to see a first-hand demonstration of how to finish it. I sent her off with a few supplies to keep her busy.

Now she wants me to dig her up an easy bootie pattern....

Yes knitters, we've claimed another one!

Friday, April 25, 2014

How does your garden grow?

Things are getting sunnier and warmer outside, but it's still too early to do much playing in the garden.

Inside - the seeds I found on vacation aren't showing any signs of life yet, but I'll give them a few more weeks before I make a final verdict. The sunflowers, however, are going insane
The lavender (in the foreground) is much more subdued. There's only a few sprouts, but it's growing well.
In the background is the cat nip - it's doing VERY well!

And speaking of cat nip... last summer, I bought a cat nip plant from a local nursery near the end of the season. It wasn't in great shape, but I thought if I got it out of the pot and in the ground - it would pick up. But it never got the chance.... a certain someone ate it right down to the roots, and I figured it was done for.
Well apparently I was wrong. That same certain someone found the teeny, tiniest sprouts pushing up from the ground last night. Of course, he ate it right back down to the roots again, so it's hard to say if it's done for now... I guess time will tell.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Since I was up at Mom's yesterday, I took the opporunity to get some finished shots of Daenerys. I'd originally planned to do modeled shots of it, but the weather is still too cool here for the dress I want to wear it with.

I'm very pleased with how this one turned out. The colourway (Drogon) knit up just how I imagine, the red and black blending nicely.
I used a slightly smaller needle on this one than the orginal. The orginal was knit in Top Cat on a 4.5mm. This one is knit in Twisted Slinky, and it just doesn't have the same poof that that Top Cat does - I think it looks much better at a smaller guage, so I went down to a 4mm needle.
Naturally, I blocked the crap out of it, so it's a nice big one - about 68 inches wide.
And, I beaded the crap out of it too. I just love the weight beads give to a lace shawl.
Not to mention, the sparkle!

There's still time to join our Game of Thrones KAL .... come on over and join in the fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Squares for Wellwood

While I haven't posted about it here, many of our customers and Ravelry friends already know  that at the beginning of the year, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The prognosis is good, she has surgery and is now in the middle of preventative chemo - so every other Wednesday right now is chemo day.

Dad works night, so I've offered my services to be chauffeur on those days. I'm more than glad to help out, and unlike Dad, I'm much better at waiting... I'm a knitter.

The first time I went with Mom, I naturally brought a long my travel sock. But when I got there, I discovered several baskets with yarn and needles in them. Wellwood, a local cancer support organization put them there, with the request that any knitters waiting make 6 inch garter squares, which are then sewn together by volunteers, and given to cancer patients at the centre.

So, I tucked away my socks and made a square. This time around, I packed my own 4.5mm needle (the ones on offer in the baskets are plastic straights....) and set to work as soon as we got in.
While waiting, I managed to finish it up, and even get a few rows done on my sock too. (Which is naturally in my purse, just in case.)
This is the second of my new lace sock design, and it's been neglected for a few weeks -it's good to be working on it again.

After the chemo session, Mom and I head out for something nice and greasy - it's one of the few days she can still enjoy it before all the drug settle in and mess up her system.
Hamburger, onion rings, fries.... last session it was Fish and Chips! Delicious!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 9: Easter dresses

When I was a kid, my favourite thing about Easter wasn't the chocolate (though it's delicious!), or the egg hunts, or other Easter treats.

My favourite thing about Easter was that the Easter Bunny always brought me a new outfit. My family is not religious, so  there was no dressing up for Easter service, but the bunny almost always brought me a nice new skirt and blouse.

Now most kids could care less about getting  clothes for a holiday, but I always loved it. There wasn't a lot of money to go around, so generally, I only got new clothes for back to school, Christmas and Easter.  (but I got really lucky with the hand-me downs, let me tell you!)

There are no new clothes for me this Easter, but I figured it was a good day to go through the closet and sort everything out. While in there, I discovered that most of it needed to be ironed, including my collection of sundresses.
I think I'm going to need a bigger closet!
I didn't realize it until I pulled them all out, but that's a lot of dresses! That said, in the summer, I pretty much live in these dresses.  Throw on a cardigan, and I wear them to work. I even wear them in a winter - add a pair of tights and a tall pair of boots and you're set!

And now that my studio is set up, I was able to finally tackle some minor repairs and mods. Straps were reinforced, hems restitched, and on one particularly beautiful dress...
What are the chances I had the perfect shade
of yellow fabric in my stash?
I found the perfect yellow fabric make it more suitable for work. This dress isn't new, it's a hand-me-down from Samantha give it me last year along with a lovely blue one, but I haven't worn it yet. The neckline was just too low for comfort.

Throw on a nice lacey cardigan
I guess I got a new Easter outfit after all!
And it's ready for work! Or Easter dinner at Dave's grandma's - which is where I'm headed now!

And if the Easter Bunny didn't leave you an Easter outfit... knit your own! Come on over to the shop for 15% off today and tomorrow. Just use code HOPPY15 at the checkout.

Mom dyed up a whole mess of beautiful yarns over the last few weeks. 

There's Continental Cat, House Cat, Alley Cat, Top Cat and more!

Wishing you all a happy, chocolate filled Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 8: Where the heck did it go?

I woke up this morning with less than 10 rows to go on the Daenerys shawl. I had plans to do some sewing today. But I thought hey... it's just 10 rows, I'll finish it up this morning, then sew in the afternoon. Being an experience shawl knitter, you'd think I'd know better....
It's done and blocking... but it took me until 5 p.m. Those last few rows are a killer. Especially when you're beading the crap out of them.
Admittedly, I did take a couple of breaks. The boys needed a mid-afternoon salad break
Which was clearly exhausting.

And as for me.... well I just can't get enough of the neighbourhood squirrels...
Seriously... they are just too much fun to watch.
I guess I'll do my sewing tomorrow....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 7: Laundry day

Not a whole lot of excitement today at Chez Wandering Cat. It's Good Friday, so Dave and I actually had a day off together (a very rare occurence).

We've mostly been kicking around the house, watching movies, and doing laundry with a little help from the kids.
 Dave did get a chance to witness the local wildlife that I see almost every day.
Bunbun stretching after a wee rest under the bird feeder.
We put some carrots out for him, which he quite enjoyed
And Mr. Squirrel got his daily ration of peanuts
Even Mr. Robin stopped by and gobbled up a nice juicy worm
Now that's a good Friday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 6: FO: Cobblestone

Dave has given me his cold, so today has been another lazy day filled with sniffling, sneezing, movie watching cat snuggling, and of course, knitting. Unfortunately, it's the Daenerys shawl I'm working on, and it's gotten to the point where it's too big for decent pictures

Fortunately, I did get the Cobblestone cowl off the needles and blocked last night. Since I'm home along until late tonight, I had to do a solo photo shoot.

When I designed this pattern back in December 2012, I was looking for a project to showcase our newly introduced Top Cat Aran. It was also going to be a Christmas gift, so I needed something that would knit up quick. It also had to meet the needs and likes of the recipient (ie:be really long).

The original took just over one skein of Top Cat Aran, and the slip stitch pattern (a modified linen stitch) showcased the hand-painted semi-solid perfectly. But I've longed to see how it would work with something busier.

When Mom gave me this skein of Codex earlier this week, I knew exactly what to make with it.

I cast on Tuesday morning and by bedtime last night, it was blocking.

Yes, it's is a very quick knit ! But that said, I have to disclose two things.

1) I am on vacation and I did almost nothing but knit yesterday.

2) I made some modifications - mainly cutting down the stitches. The original could be wrapped three times. This one can only be wrapped twice, and it's pretty snug.

I went down a couple needle sizes on this one too - mainly just because I didn't check my pattern when I started knitting. But the resulting fabric was so nice, I wasn't inclined to frog it when I discovered the error.

The Codex was an absolute delight to work with and I'd love to get more. This skein was from the now defunct Sanguine Gryphon, but it is being offered by the Verdant Gryphon, with this caveat from their website:"Our most luxurious yarn, only available as a guest base at certain times during the year. We will not be stocking as standard, seasonal, ore weekly update colourways, but look our for Codex in custom lots, special updates, clubs, and shows."

Even though I have my own dye studio, I've always admired the Gryphon's dyeing skills, and you can bet your bottom I'll be keeping my eye open for more of this.

I used almost every inch of the skein. That's another great thing about this pattern, you can just keep knitting until you run out of yarn. It's perfect for those single luxury skeins that are too precious to buy several of, but you just can't resist.(The pattern could easily be adapted to any weight of yarn too - just change your cast on and needle size to suit. I'm thinking I may make a few more of these to put away for Christmas presents for this year.)

And, as pretty as this cowl is, I'm hoping I won't get too much use out of it for a few months. The weather is slowly warming up and both Rocky and I are fervently hoping that it's here to stay.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 5: Halfway lazy

Well, it's Wednesday and my vacation is already half over. No matter how long, it always goes too fast. So today, I decided to slow things down.
Taking a cue from Tux, I've been camped in a sunbeam, just enjoying the world around me. It's still quite cool outside, though yesterday's snow has melted.  But in the sun, with my blankie, everything is warm and cozy.

From my perch, I've watched the bunnies cavort in the yard.
And chase the birds from the fallen seed under the feeder. And chase each other around the yard, which is really quite funny.

I can see Stan and Opal (so named by Samantha) guarding their new batch of eggs.
You can't see it, but on the back of that leaf there are at least 100 eggs. Hopefully they don't eat them this time. Earlier this week I got some new plants for the tank, so if the eggs do hatch, it gives the babies places to hide from hungry mouths.

And, in addtion to watching the world go by, I've been knitting.
The Cobblestone cowl is almost done.
I'm basically just knitting this one until the yarn runs out, and the end is very close. I expect to finish it up tonight, which is going to be just as lazy as the day was!