Tag: kitties

Spinnin’ wheel got to go ’round 7

The Tour de Fleece is underway! So far, I’ve been spinning about three hours a day. I think the time for this must be coming from a parallel universe because the rest of life has been busier than ever.

It’s been so crazy that my BFFF and I had to stage a clandestine getaway so we could actually speak face-to-face for a few hours. This was one variation on my attempt to pack for said spinning/catching up/commiserating.

Two knitting projects–my Hitchhiker and the second The Rain Outside. Three different choices of fiber. Spare bobbins. Bobbin winder. Lazy kate. Chocolate. Walnuts. Chips. Wine. In the end I left the bobbin winder at home and brought more chocolate.

It was divine.

We even managed to take a belated World Wide Knit In Public Day picture.

In addition to having our WIPs with us, we both happened to be wearing handknits as well. I LOVE that.

Since the Tour started, my knitting has mostly been on hold except for car rides and other times when it’s been inconvenient to spin. I’m finding that I tend to either knit or spin and not go back and forth between the two. Does anyone else do that?

Frankie is fascinated by the spinning. He doesn’t try to grab the fiber or stick his paw in the wheel like Augie occasionally does. He just wants to be involved. Sometimes, he’ll actually reach his paw out and rest it on the fiber in my lap. Other times, he’ll crawl up under my arm and literally be right in the middle of the spinning.

It’s hard work being the spinning assistant, though, so he spends the rest of the day resting up.

I’ve got more travel coming up, so I’ll be staying connected through Instagram for the next week or so. If you’re on Instagram and I’m not following you, be sure to let me know so I can.

Happy July, my friends!

I’ll leave you with this gem.

 

 

_____________

P.S. This is Cari’s packing photo for our getaway. Hahaha!


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On The Go 15

I’ve been traveling, and you know what that means. Knitting!

In the airport bar:

On the plane heading out:

By the light of the full moon during my very late arrival back home Saturday night:

I went to Texas to visit my mom and help out with a few things there. My mom and my aunt are both knitters too although my mom should probably be considered a lapsed knitter since she hasn’t picked up her needles in ages. I’m doing my best to bring her back into the fold!

My aunt is left-handed, so it always fascinates me to watch her.

Her precious kitty Lola wanted to help. Haha!

Even though I took three different projects with me, I spent the whole time working on my second The Rain Outside shawl. It was the one that didn’t require much focus, and since we were on the go the whole time, that was what I needed. Plus, this Hedgehog Fibres yarn seems to have a direct link to my brain cells because every time I look at it I’m flooded with happy.

I haven’t made as much progress as one might think because we were so busy the whole time I was there and I had to spend some of my prime travel knitting time on the airplane catching up on work. I’m hoping to pick up the pace a bit now that I’m home, though.

What are you knitting this summer? I’m thinking my next project should be something in cotton or maybe a cotton/linen blend, so I’m looking for inspiration.

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What I’ve Got For Today 8

So you know I’ve been knitting, but I don’t have much to share in the way of photos. The best I can come up with is today’s car knitting. The weather was rainy and surprisingly cold for May.

But the stripey blanket did me right. It kept me entertained AND cozy!

To distract you from the lack of exciting knitting photos, how about some baby goats? We got to see these precious angels last weekend at our friend Marcia’s. It was heaven.

These are angora goats. Their fiber will make to-die-for roving and yarn when it’s blended with a bit of wool.

Blackberry here is the mother of the little black baby and his brother. Twins!!

In the spirit of further distraction from the lack of knitting excitement, I’ve been meaning to share some interesting fiber related links with you. Here’s some good stuff I’ve stumbled across online recently.

  • No Wool, No Vikings  This is a fascinating article about a high school program in Norway where the students spend nine months learning what it might have been like to be a Viking. The fun part for us fiber people is that it involved LOTS of wool. In particular, the Viking ships used woolen sails. To outfit one boat required a thousand sheep or more! And the amount of fiber work involved was insane: “Building a boat might take two skilled boatbuilders a couple of weeks . . . but creating its sail would take two skilled women a year.” Crazy! (Thanks to Dorothea, dear friend and captain of my awesome Tour de Fleece team, for turning me on to this article!)
  • The mystery of knitting . . . remains a mystery  Just hilarious.
  • Yoga for Knitters and Crocheters  Did you know Lion Brand Yarn has a whole playlist on YouTube focused on yoga for knitters and crocheters?
  • Why Farmers and Knitters are Fixated on Icelandic Sheep  Are you sensing a theme? I think this might be another of Dorothea’s recommendations. Love me some lopi.
  • Stitch by stitch, a brief history of knitting and activism  Pretty much like it sounds with some cool pics.

That’s what I’ve got for today . . . except for this sweet picture of Frankie sleeping.

What kind of knitting goodness is going on in your neck of the woods?

Meet Franklin! 19

Meet Franklin!

A few Saturdays ago, destiny happened. Paul and I came across a local adoption event and met the orange kitty of our dreams. We’d been open to getting a second cat for a couple of years, ever since Augie showed up on our back porch as a baby and taught us that a cat really could be happy in a house full of dogs. When our eyes met Franklin’s, we knew he was the one.

It was meant to be. He rode the hour and a half home from the adoption event on Paul’s lap.

 

 

And it turns out that he’s devoted to knitting.

 

 

Go figure!

I’m sure he’ll be making frequent appearances here, so I wanted to give him a proper introduction.

In knitting news, I’ve finished Paul’s Tea with Jam and Bread sweater. I’ll post about that soon. The plan is to take pictures one day this week.

And I’ve cast on the Inlet cardigan by Amy Herzog.

 

Do you know about Amy Herzog? I’ve been interested in her and her sweater designs for years. She’s all about sweaters that fit, and one of her mantras is that your pattern should match your gauge and yarn, not the other way around.

When you purchase one of her custom fit patterns, you provide your measurements and the gauge at which you want to knit, and her pattern generator comes up with the specific pattern instructions for your personal sweater.

I’ve always figured there must be something to her method because, unlike with a lot of sweater projects you look at on Ravelry where you see the sweater folded or laid flat or draped over a chair, when you look at the projects for her designs, people are actually wearing them! And they look great!

I cast on last night with some Peace Fleece worsted in the Mourning Dove colorway from my stash. Two words: twisted rib.

 

I might not ever knit plain one-by-one rib again!

“Time is contagious . . . Everybody’s getting old” 3

3-porch-knitting

Hello, my friends. If we were standing face-to-face, this would be one of those days when we just looked at each other, shook our heads, and then burst out laughing. Know what I mean?

The only thing that makes a lot of sense in my life right now is the zigzag blanket. I’ve been knitting on it constantly.

1-dinner-knitting

Paul’s sweater is ready to be finished.

checks-and-balances

I intend to seam it up and add the neck any day now, but there keeps being the world and the work and the million stressful things, and I just keep needing to knit the zigzag blanket.

Happily, there was fiber guild last weekend, so I was able to socialize with the zigzag blanket in tow. In addition to seeing my people, I got some excellent blanket knitting advice from Teddy.

teddy-2

He was so tired by the time he finished wedging himself between Cari and me to offer his views on color selection that he had to collapse on Cari’s lap and take a nap.

2-fiber-guild-knitting

Another happy thing is that three books I preordered forever ago have all come in the mail. People Knitting has incredible photos as I expected it would. I haven’t had a chance to dive into Mary Oliver’s Upstream or The Hidden Life of Trees yet, but it’s nice having them nearby for whenever that elusive free moment comes. I’m especially excited about The Hidden Life of Trees. I wrote about it here if you’re interested.

books

One of the things I’ve wanted to share with you when I finally got around to posting is this article about Lars Rains. He’s a former New York cop who is really into knitting! He published a book called Modern Lopi last year, and the designs in it look incredible. I especially like Hildur. There’s something about the way the neck is worked that seriously appeals to me.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the Dyeing Now project. This is the coolest thing! The centerpiece is a book published in the early 20th century called Vegetable Dyes. It was written by Ethel Mairet who was a pioneering weaver but also did tons of experimenting with natural dyeing. The book is a catalog of all of this with instructions on how to duplicate Mairet’s results. It was apparently one of the first books on natural dyeing to reach a wide audience. The point of the Dyeing Now project is for contemporary dyers to prepare samples of dyed fiber using Mairet’s recipes. Anyone can participate! The instructions are on the Ditchling Museum website here.

Sorry for the rambling post. I hope to make more sense again some day. Today’s title is from Damien Rice’s song “Coconut Skins.”

 

See Ya Next Year, Tour de Fleece! 16

tdf-yarn-swap

Aaaaand another Tour de Fleece is in the books. Do you know about the Tour de Fleece? It happens every year at the same time as the Tour de France.

It was the brainchild of a vey cool woman named Star, the blogger behind Keep on Knitting in the Free World. The idea was that while the Tour de France riders spun their bicycle wheels, fiber spinners could spin along with them on their spinning wheels or spindles and cheer the cyclists and each other on.

For the first two years, Star actually ran the whole Tour herself. The idea took off, though, and what started out in 2006 as a handful of spinners chatting in the comments section of her blog had by 2008 become 15  organized Ravelry teams, sharing daily photos and competing for prizes.

These days, there are a well over a hundred teams, maybe even two hundred, and people all over the world take part. It’s crazy to think about thousands of people out there spinning their hearts out for 23 days, but it happens. I just love that!

tour-de-fleece singles 2

For the second year in a row, I spun with a team organized by the fabulous Dorothea of Spinfoolish Designs. She is ahhhhmazing! I know for a fact that she was born knitting, and she probably would have come into the world spinning, but her poor mother (“Saint Mummy,” I know you’ve heard of her) had to draw the line somewhere.

Every day, Dorothea sent us an email with info about the Tour or some interesting spinning topic. Plus, she organized all kinds of contests and games to keep things fun and keep everyone in touch since some of the team was pretty far flung.

With everything I had going on this year, I only managed to spin a tiny bit, but even that was nice. I also entered the team yarn swap. My swap partner lives in Canada (so cool), and I’m sending her the batch of alpaca/BFL in the photo at the top of this post. It’s some of what I spun last fall. I’m hoping she’ll like it.

Dorothea asks a few people to join her in writing the Tour emails each year, and this year I contributed an article about knitting with your handspun. As I was writing it, it occurred to me that I never posted a picture of my finished handspun pillow on the blog! I actually had to go back and check to be sure. I posted about making the pillow, but I never showed you the final result.

Here it is!

Handspun-Pillow-outside

Handspun-Pillow-outside-back-2

I can’t tell you how much I love this misshapen, lumpy bumpy pillow. It’s from my very first handspun, and everything about it makes me happy.

Speaking of happy making:

Augie

Augie is exhausted from the Tour frenzy. He’s so tired he can’t even guard the tummy.

And more happy making:

banana-cake

Banana cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Also known as dinner. Yes, I did. Found the recipe here.

 

When you walk through the garden . . . * 9

knitting 3

Things are overwhelming.

Cancer is the devil. Since the last time I posted, I’ve learned that two people dear to me will probably die from it in the next days or weeks and that one precious friend is facing it again, after fighting a long, hard battle to beat it once already.

And work. I’m so grateful to have it, but the stress is huge.

And the world. Ohhh, the world . . . I’m trying to remember to breathe, do yoga, eat healthy food, get enough sleep, love on the dogs and Augie, take at least a little time to touch base with the wise people in my life, and of course, knit.


Augie

This morning, I was in serious focus mode: “This 45 minutes, in between all of these other things, will be spent dedicated to making progress on this particular work thing.” During the 45 minutes, I got two separate texts about two new and complex obligations that have to be added to a schedule that feels like it’s already unworkable.

For a second I was teetering on the edge . . . but then I put the texts out of my mind as well as I could, finished out my 45 minutes of work, and like I was reaching for a life raft, picked up my knitting. I actually set an alarm for ten minutes so I wouldn’t have to keep looking at the clock, and I knitted on the  Smooth Operator socks I’d cast on last night. 

Smooth Operator Socks CO

It helped.

I’m saying this here because it’s been six days since I posted, and I didn’t want to just disappear. It’s also a note to my future self: knit. I can’t imagine I could ever forget that, but just in case . . .

The other thing I’d like to mention for the record is this huge life lesson: Cut everyone you’ve ever known a ton of slack. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Assume people mean well, and hope they will know that you do too.

This is such a cliche, but I’m understanding it in a way I never was able to before. My younger self somehow felt on top of everything, all the information, mine, yours, theirs. If I didn’t know, it was just that I needed to find out, think more about it, ask some questions. I didn’t even realize I thought this way. But now, as I face new challenges and I see people I love face challenges that my younger self just flat didn’t have the wherwithal to imagine, I realize how much every single one of us needs a break.

 

*Way Down in the Hole

Home 0

Lola

I’m back home after a longish trip to Texas. The visit with my family was really, really good, but nothing beats getting back to my guys.

I did quite a bit of knitting while I was away although I don’t have much to show for it other than the big rectangle that the Easy Folded Poncho is becoming.

Plane-Knitting-3

Airport-Knitting

My best knitting moment happened with the English Mesh Lace Scarf. On the first leg of the trip last Monday, I opened the project bag and saw that the super slick Kidsilk Haze stitches had all slid right off the needles. After a moment of mortification, I started to think my way through the issues.

Plane-Knitting-1b

I figured ripping back was out of the question because the yarn is so grippy it’s pretty much impossible to end up with anything other than a knotted mess. Since I’d only knitted a couple of inches, I could have tossed what I had in the trash and started over, but I decided to see what I could do with it. I got all but three stitches back on the needles with relatively little effort, but finding out where the missing stitches fit in was a challenge. Fixing mistakes in lace has always been hard for me, and it was evident that one of the dropped stitches extended a few rows back through at least one set of decreases.

But I did it! After about half an hour of head scratching and delicate reworking, I got everything back where it was supposed to be. I was so happy I hadn’t just started over, even though I’m sure figuring out the problem and putting everything right took me longer than re-knitting the couple of repeats would have. The whole thing was incredibly satisfying. I just can’t tell you. And it must have made the knitting gods happy because the very next day I was rewarded with the most incredible tip.

I always stop by Strings and Things when I’m in Texas for a visit. It’s my awesome hometown yarn shop. This is a picture of the “sit and knit” area.

The-Knit-Shop-b

And these are the super cute socks Ms. C was knitting.

The-Knit-Shop-Socks

I ooh and ahhh over the new yarns and the projects they have on display and end up spending an hour or so just soaking up the good vibes.

Well, I was telling my Kidsilk Haze scarf story, and Ms. C had the BEST suggestion. She said when she has to rip back mohair, she puts the project in the freezer first. Freezing hardens the loose haze of fibers and makes the yarn much easier to rip back. It’s genius! I wouldn’t have thought of it in a million years, but it absolutely makes sense. If you did have to rip back, this would actually give you a fighting chance of ending up with yarn you could still use afterwards.

Anyhoo, besides knitting in the airport and on the plane, I got to knit a lot while I hung out and visited with my mom.

Patio-Knitting

I had the services of an excellent assistant.

Abbie

When we were at my aunt’s one day, I snapped a picture of the hilarious print she has hanging in her coffee nook. It’s kind of hard to see through the reflection off the glass, but the lady being dragged out by her feet is desperately trying to knit one more stitch before her friends pull her away to something else. I love it.

Knitting-Picture

I’m going to have to squeeze in my knitting where I can this week. I’ll be playing catch up with work. The Easy Folded Poncho should come in handy for conference calls, though, and hopefully I’ll get back to my Geek-A-Long square in the evenings.

Hope you have a great week!

Plane

Happy Friday 3

In honor of the Anatomy and Physiology class I’m currently taking (more about that later, maybe) and this week’s lesson on the senses, today’s post is an ode to the special senses which my textbook tells me are smell, taste, sight, hearing, and balance.

Let’s start with smell. Wednesday was errand day, and as usual we stopped by the feed store to get chicken food. If you blindfolded me, put me in one of those human-sized gyroscopes, and rolled me around for two days, you could plop me into the feed store, and I’d still know exactly where I was.

Lucy

 

Next up is taste, specifically kale chips. They are the easiest thing in the world to make, and they’re better than popcorn! Coat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little garlic; bake at 400 for 15 or 20 minutes; and behold, a super tasty treat. Really. I was skeptical until I made a batch earlier this week. Now I’m a convert.

 

Kale Chips

 

Sight . . .

 

Trees

 

Hearing has to be The Lumineers. I’ve been listening to their new album pretty much every second since it came out on April 8th. It’s a lot of fun. Here’s a sample:

 

 

And number five – balance. Yoga helps.

 

Vasisthasana

 

As, of course, does knitting . . .

 

Gramps

 

I’m hoping to finish up Gramps this weekend! Woohooo!!!

Happy Friday, my friends! And happy knitting!!

Sleeves and Such 3

Gramps

If it’s okay with you, I’m going to skip the part where I go on and on apologizing for the posting desert the blog has been over the last couple of weeks and get right to talking about sleeves. K? K.

It’s been ages since I’ve knit a sweater with set-in sleeves. I almost always choose the seamless route because I love the idea of being completely finished with the whole thing when I bind off on the last row. As I’ve been dealing with the pile o’ Gramps in my lap lately, though, the idea of knitting the sleeves separately and not having to constantly reposition the sweater body while I’m going around and around on each sleeve has become pretty appealing. I’m actually thinking I might do something with set-in sleeves for Paul’s sweater, which is one of the next projects on my list.

What do you think about sleeves? If any of you have thoughts on sleeve knitting methods, please share them with me. 

Gramps Sleeve

At the moment I’m perusing patterns for a quick sweater for myself to see what I think before I commit to anything for the Paul project which will be a significant investment of knitting time. I’m looking at a couple of patterns by Amy Miller, Put the Kettle On and Sixth Street. I especially love the funky shaped hem of Put the Kettle On. These patterns actually call for you to pick up stitches and knit the sleeves as you go, but I think I could modify them without too much effort for the sleeves-knit-separately route. Both patterns call for bulky weight yarn, so they should be pretty quick knits, important so that I don’t get derailed en route to Paul’s sweater.

Here are a few pictures from the last fiber guild.

Cari Magic

This is lusciousness from my friend Cari. She’s one of the contributors to the April edition of Spinning Box. There are also some insanely gorgeous dyed locks from her Angora goats that I didn’t successfully photograph. She’s turning into one of those dyers whose fiber is like a magic spell—it draws you with the force of thousand magnets to immediately drop everything and spin. Resistance is futile.

And here are the babies:

Cara

PJ

Teddy

And Sidney, ML’s glorious peacock:

Sydney

And here is my tiny forsythia transplant that not only made it through the winter but is actually BLOOMING!!!! Yay, Spring!!

Forsythia

 

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