Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday felines

Little Ru has been showing great interest on what goes on just beyond the glass lately.
He still runs in the opposite direction when I get near it (so thankfully no worry about him running out under my feet.) But when I'm out puttering in the yard, he's almost always keeping a  watchful eye on me.
I do miss having company while I'm gardening, so the other day, I decided it was time to get out the harness and give it another try.

Not long after I brought him home, I tried to get it on him and he was having none of it. I couldn't even get one clip clipped before he freaked out and hid under furniture. This time, he was surprisingly patient. He definitely wasn't thrilled, but he certainly trusts me a lot more than he did.. I was able to get it clipped on and mostly adjusted with ease, and...
Yeah... he was NOT amused! (But aqua is his colour! Doesn't he look so handsome?) He cried pitifully at first. A big mournful "What have you done to me???"

When I didn't give in and take it off, he ran upstairs to Dave for sympathy. Getting none, he came back down and decided to take matters into his own paws.
He walked sideways, and tried to repeatedly chew it off.
When that didn't work... he flopped and tried to roll out of it
After about 20 minutes, he gave up and resorted to swishing his tail and giving me dirty looks.
I guess I better get used to those looks... because we're putting it on him every day until he gets comfortable with it. Then comes the leash...!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dangerous creations...

Having a creative mind can be a very dangerous thing. At any given time, there are about eleventy billion ideas swirling around in my head (most of them related to knitting). Thankfully, I'm also ridiculously lazy, and just don't have the drive to put them all into action.

But every once in a while... one idea decides it just has to brought to life, and I have no option to give in.
This is the beginning of a new design... a shawl/shrug idea that's been floating around in my head since I knit Shleeves. I loved the concept of the shawl with sleeves, but that particular design just doesn't work as well for those of us who are a little heavier on the top decks.

When I was up at Mom's I came across a bag of Aristocat (our single-ply, DK weight wool/alpaca/silk blend) that was purchased specifically for me to make a garment with. I was still awating the arrival of the 4mm needle I ordered for the Empire Line Cardigan, and the only other thing I had on the go was socks. The timing was perfect.

I'm almost through the yoke... and of course, now that 4mm has arrived, so Im stuck in the quandary of working on the design... or being a good girl and working to finish Empire Line... some decisions are sooo hard!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Itty bitty

The  suns been out for the last couple of days and it's been warm enough to open the door and let in the fresh air. Of course, all that makes me want to do is get out in the garden!

But there's lots of good news out there. All of it tiny!
At least one of the squashed poppies is coming back! It's barely bigger than my baby fingernail - but hey! It's alive!
As are the Cherry Brandy Black-Eyed Susans. I was a littel worried about this one. The other Susan started sprouting weeks ago. But I guess I was just being impatient.
Same with the pink Delphinium. This plant wasn't as robust as the white and blue ones, so I thought maybe I lost it - but look at all that growth!
Also VERY happy to see that the squirrels left at least some of the Alium bulbs. They will provide some nice late spring colour.
Last year I bought a mystery Columbine on clearance and planted it in the side garden. It had no blooms so I have no idea what colour it is (I have red and white ones elsewhere in the garden). hopefully we'll find out this year.
And look! the Jacob's Ladder IS coming up again! So happy to see this!
But this one is the real excitement! This is one of my winter sow jugs! It's the Butterfly Mix (Alyssum, Daisies, Bachelor Buttons, Milkweed, Candytuft, Columbine, Coneflowers, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Scarlet Flax, Marigolds, Poppies,and Wallflowers). The Mammoth sunflowers are the only other jug showing signs of life, but if this sunshine persists... I'm sure it won't be long!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stash enhancement

I was really hoping to knit most of my On the GO ebook from my stash. But (and this is a good thing).... my stash just isn't as big as I thought.

Well that's not true... really, I just don't have a tonne of sock yarn. Most of the stuff I squirrel away is for sweaters and shawls, and not suitable for the rough and tumble life of a sock.

So... as mentioned the other day, I had to do a little stash enhancing from the studio. In total, I brought home six skeins.
 The first is Alley Cat Falkland
Colourway is Romance (dyed this weekend)

Next up is Jungle Cat
In Banana Popsicle (my favourite popsicle flavour... also dyed this weekend)

Then some Twinkle Cat
In Fairy Falls. (I'm not usually an aqua person, but I just had to bring this one home after pulling it from the dyepot)

Then some Twisted Top Cat
In Juliet. This one was dyed a couple weeks ago, specifically for a pair of socks in the ebook. I just felt there needed to be a really pink pair.

And here we have some House Cat
 It's one of Miss Pee's creations. I would have called it Robin Red-Breast, but she says it's Mad Hatter. Either way, I like it!

And last... a skein of good old Alley Cat
This one is Skylark. I'm pretty sure it's one of Miss Rowan's older creations. Mom had it tucked away in her stash, but I stole it.

Now... I've got to get back to those socks! I've got lots of work ahead of me!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Socks before Muppets

I didn't finish Beaker this weekend... he got his second leg, and an arm, but that's as far as I got.
Apparently it wasn't just the needles slowing me down... but the acrylic... I just really don't like knitting with it. But I will finish the poor little Muppet... soon.

In the mean time, I finished up the first Hamilton sock
 As I said before, I'm playing yarn chicken with this pair, so I'm keeping them nice and short. I think this one will have a Men's version too...
I really like all that texture.

Today I've got a double train trip (taking it in, as well as taking it home). So I should be able to make good headway on the second sock.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Grand Day Out

Probably the toughest thing about not having a car is how much it's limited how often I see my parents. They live half an hour away, and there are no bus routes there.

I'm trying not to be too much of an imposition, but I really wanted to dye some yarn - and the studio is at their place. So yesterday morning, Dad picked me up bright and early and we spent a little Daddy/Daughter time at Princess Auto. Then we headed back home where I dyed yarn, and chatted with Mom while she tackled some sewing.

As a result, there's a new batch of Twinkle Cat ready for the shop.
 As well as three skeins (Alley, Jungle & Twinkle) for myself. 
They will be put towards the GO patterns. I also snagged three other dry skeins; one I dyed last time, one Miss Pee dyed, and one Mom had squirreled away. But, I don't have pictures of those yet. With that and what's in my stash, I should have enough for the patterns I have planned.

After full day of dyeing, we enjoyed a nice roast beef cooked by Dad. The Mom drove me home that work, where I enjoyed a nice quiet evening with the Scrufflebutt
Can't think of a better way to spend a rainy Saturday.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Warming trend

While the week was still pretty cold, all of our snow has melted. And now it seems like temps are finally on the rise. The trees seem to know that spring is on its way.

Of course, now it's raining... but April (or end o' March) showers bring May Flowers, right?

Before the rain hit, I took the chance to check on the gardens. Between snow, freezing weather, and the oblivious roofers property management hired to re-shingle our roof, they've taken a bit of a beating over the last couple of weeks.

The front garden seems to be doing ok. Of course, it's the only one the roofers didn't mess with. But it got it's fair share of snow.
I think most of the darker leaves are tulips. Two years ago, Dad gave me a pile of bulbs from his gardens. They got planted that fall, and last year they came up but didn't bloom. I'm hoping we get a better show this year.

The lighter leaves are mostly Day Lilies, but there are some daffodils, hyacinths, and Tukistan tulips in there too. Oh - and I planted some grape hyacinths in the fall, so maybe the squirrels left me some of those. Sadly, the Jacob's latter that was coming up has disappeared. I'm hoping it makes a comeback.

The side garden, is mostly doing okay. Some irises and/or allium (not sure yet) got a little squashed when the roofers decided to store a few bales of shingles and a ladder there (seriously, who thinks a garden is a good spot for that??, but the Speedwell is doing well, as are the sedums.
 The peonies are just starting to poke through. This is their third year, so I'm hoping to see some blooms.

Out back in the Big Bee garden, the Black Eyed Susans got slightly squashed when the roofers moved my garden cart through it (in their defense... that garden was covered by snow at the time... but gee golly!) I think they will be ok. Everything else seems fine though - The daisies are robust, the Cupids Dart and Bachelor Buttons are doing well. The Delphiniums are just starting to make their debut.

I think this is the Echinacea. It could also be a weed. It got moved around and some had  bit of a mite problem last year, so maybe that affected it yet, but it is still too early to tell.

The Little Bee garden gets the most sun and is doing well - with the exception of the Heath. It's definitely dead. It was never a super healthy plant and I think it just finally had enough. The fate of the Crimson Glory (red) is up in the air. The only green part she had has been broken off (I'm suspecting roofers....) and what's left is looking a little sad. Maybe some warm weather will cheer her up. But the white Delphiniums....
 ...Dianthans, and Bleeding Heart are all sprouting. Hopefully more signs of life will follow.

Over in the Butterfly Garden... my poor poppies that were doing so well... they are looking pretty  rough. Hard to say if it was the snow or the roofers, but I've got my fingers crossed they will bounce back
The Red Iris got a little munched, but I think it will survive. (Again, roofers or snow? Hard to say)

With the exception of my big pink Oriental Lily, all my Lilies are showing signs of life
But the big excitement is the Bee Balm
It started coming back a few weeks ago. It's related to mint, and so pretty hardy. But also like mint...
It seems to spread....
And spread!!!! Now I don't need quite THAT much Bee Balm, so once it gets a little more established, I'll pull some of it up and see if it takes to being transplanted. I'm part of a garden trade group, so I'm sure there's someone who'd be interested in some Bee Balm of their own.

Of course, it will still be a few weeks before things really take off and start blooming. So to soothe my need for flowers, I picked up thislittle beauty just before St. Patrick's Day.
 Love those little blooms!
What's in bloom in your world?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Felines

Okay, she's totally not of the feline persuasion, but I had to share this beautiful pic Mom took of Jem the other day
I think she's looking for her girls... she really enjoyed the March break company.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


With only the socks as a workable project right now, I decided to pull out a long-neglected WIP.
Just how old is it? Well I'm pretty sure it predates my blog, which I started in 2007!

But... long-time readers may recognize it... I dusted it off some time in 2010, but never really made any further progress on it...
It's the beginning of a Beaker stuffie I was designing for Dave.  As you can see, I got the body/head done...
 Even a leg! But then it got tucked back in it's basket and neglected for a half a dozen years... I'd originally put it aside because the DPNs I had were cheap and terrible to knit with. I have my knit picks now, so I really have no excuse. He just needs another leg, a couple arms, a lab coat and tie....
And I've got all the yarn I need. There's nothing holding me back! Can I finish him for the weekend?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hammer-town sock

First, thank you for all the kind comments on my Hooter hat. It's always so nice to have my patterns so well received!

With that taken care off and Appleby off the needles, I've turned my attention to the next pair of train socks
This pattern is Hamilton. Hamilton is the end of the line, and my home station. The city is a former steel town, and lovingly known as "The Hammer", so I've chosen a nice, cool steel grey Top Cat...
.. and combined some garter rib and diamond pattern for a strong, industrial look. I'm playing some serious yarn chicken with the pair (which is part of the reason they are shorty socks). I've already knit a pair of fingerless gloves, and some heels and toes from it, so it's a part ball.  But the colour was just too perfect to pass up. I can dye up some more if I run out (this is an easily repeatable colour), but I'm trying to work from and not add to my stash if at all possible. We'll see how that goes.

Now this is suppose to be commuter-only knitting, but I've cheated a little and have worked on it at home. I broke my only 4mm needle, so I can't work on the Empire Line Cardigan until the new one arrives in the mail. The only other thing I have on the needles is a seriously complicated lace shawl... and I'm just not in the right headspace for that.

I do feel a serious case of startitis coming on though, so stay tuned... something exciting may happen soon!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pattern Release: Great Horned Hooter

Here it is!
 You can now make a Great Horned Hooter for yourself!

 It uses two colours of  Wandering Cat Yarns Fat Cat (or any DK yarn) .
It's a really quick knit - I had this one done in just a couple of evenings. And that owl is just too cute, if I do say so myself.

You can get the pattern for just $1 until the end of March! Don't miss out!

Monday, March 20, 2017


FINALLY! It's the first day of spring.
There's still snow on the ground, and it's barely above freezing, but I managed to finish up a nice pair of spring-like socks!
The Appleby socks are done and I've got a new design on the needles (though I'll save details for another post)

Despite it being officially spring, it will be a few weeks before  I see any spring flowers here. So I brought a little spring home from the grocery store
Just the prettiest tulips I've ever seen!
Aren't they gorgeous? I need to see if I can get some bulbs for the gardens!

How's your spring so far?