Saturday, March 29, 2008


There has been knitting, but nothing exciting. I'm past the heel and onto the foot of the first Whiskers and Pawprints. It's a short-row heel and I'm generally a heel flap girl. I ripped the heel out once and redid it. One side of the heel looks great and the other side has holes, which I've already closed from the inside. Now it has puckers instead of holes! Oh, well....

the pretty heel
This is, of course, the more attractive side...

I've also been working occasionally on Wisp, but with little obvious progress. Wisp is my mindless knitting, but the bus is too crowded to knit on and we've been told not to knit in meetings at work (yeah -- not even the ones where there are 25 of us in the room listening to someone talk), so there's not a lot of mindless knitting time.

Not to change the subject, but I listen to my iPod a lot on the bus (where it's too crowded to knit, so I guess I'm not exactly changing the subject). Despite having sprung for the more expensive Sony earbuds (kind of like these, but it was 3 years ago), they still wouldn't stay in place.
Anyway, a few days ago I lost one of the little covers that are supposed to make them fit in your ears, so I went looking for yet another pair. I didn't want a pair of ear phones, because I want to be able to stash my iPod in small spaces, and I also didn't want the kind that hook over your ears. I was pretty sure those would end up hooking at least one of the six earrings I wear everyday. I also didn't want to spend a whole lot of money -- I'm not one of those people looking for perfect sound -- I just wanted to listen to my music and podcasts. I ended up with these, and so far, I love them! They actually stay in my ears!!! Reading the reviews -- and knowing that neither total noise cancellation nor perfect sound is my goal here -- it appears that I'm not the only one who has issues with ear buds fitting, and that perhaps my ear canals are smaller than average.

Over the last few days, I've been listening to a lot of Emilio Navaira, a San Antonio-based Tejano singer who had a little country-music success, too, back in the mid-'90's. Emilio is a San Antonio mainstay, and is in an induced coma after a really serious bus accident last weekend. So say a little prayer and remember to wear your seatbelt....

Monday, March 24, 2008

A minor miracle

So this evening when I came home, I sat down on the couch with Dolly, like I do every evening. I always leave some room on the other side, just in case Harley wants to sit next to me, too. This evening, she finally did it -- she jumped up beside me for a few minutes!

After dinner, I sat down in my chair next to the couch, and witnessed this:

truce, part 1

Yes, Harley jumped on the couch, next to Dolly! Dolly hissed a bit, but Harley stood (or sat) her ground. I think Harley has decided she's in charge. After a couple minutes, she got down.

And a little later:

truce, part 2

She got up there again! And once more, Dolly hissed a bit and Harley ignored it. Obviously, Harley's not confident enough to just curl up and go to sleep with Dolly right there, but I think this is a real step in the right direction. I've thought for a while that part of the problem is that, although both cats have lived in multi-cat households, neither has been the dominant cat before. Someone had to make that move, and Harley finally decided it should be her. Yay!!!

Not to change the subject, but did I show you this yarn from Amanda's shop?

Lone Star Arts Island Paradise sock yarn
Lone Star Arts Island Paradise sock yarn

Lone Star Arts Cherry Pie laceweight
Lone Star Arts Cherry Pie laceweight

So pretty!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

F is for....

Felines, of course!

I considered Firefly, since I am a new convert. (What took me so long? It's from Joss Whedon, and I'm a big Buffy fan Of course, that took a little while, too... I always think I don't like science fiction. I'm sometimes wrong about that.) But then I decided that you'd rather see pictures of my cats, past and present.

F is for Felines
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

1. Dolly 2. Harley 3. Dolly 4. the late lamented Charlotte
5. the late lamented Aggie 6 and 7. Dolly 8. Harley's tummy
9 and 10. Harley 11. Simon 12. Harley and her toys
13, 14, and 15. Simon 16. Harley
17. Black Kitty, who used to stare in my window in San Antonio
18. Mom's cat Sabrina 19. Mom's cat Schuster 20. Simon

(This was my first attempt at a mosaic, so a couple of the Harley pictures aren't centered quite right.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pretty Pink Sock

Shell Whiskers and Pawprints

I just wanted to show you how beautifully this yarn is knitting up. The yarn is Jessie's A Piece of Vermont Colonial Superwash sock yarn in Shell. If anything the yarn is a tiny bit more pink and less purpley than it appears on my monitor.

I just love all the various pinks shading into blueish-grayish-lavenderish. The yarn itself is nice to knit with, too.

Thanks, Jessie, for such beautiful yarn!

Friday, March 14, 2008

And the knit goes on.....

Despite having a sweater, two pairs of socks, and a pair of mittens on the needles, I cast on for another pair of socks last night.

sock beginnings

That's Theresa's Whiskers and Pawprints pattern, and Jessie's wonderful sock yarn in Shell. The yarn has been sitting on top of my living room yarn basket ever since I got it. Almost every day, I would pick it up and ask it what it wanted to be. It's such a pretty but sophisticated pink, with subdued streaks of blues and purples. It needed to be something special.

I've had the pattern since Theresa first put it up and knew that it needed a quiet yarn, the better to show off the pattern. Suddenly, last night, I knew these two belonged together.

I thought I would finish the picot cuff while I "watched" the Illinois-Purdue game online this evening. "Watch" as in "watch update the score and list of plays and wonder how far behind the updates are." However, it turned out to be a real nailbiter and held my attention. It went to overtime, but Illinois, after a sorry season and ranked 10th out of 11 in the Big Ten, won!

But I digress from knitting....

Did you see the beautiful Christmas stocking on Grumperina's blog? When I saw it I KNEW I had to knit it. You see, when I got to Mom's for Christmas this year, my stocking was missing. Mom had used Blackie the Dog's stocking (one of those tiny stockings) in its place! I don't know what happened to mine, and it wasn't fancy or anything, but I didn't want to upset Blackie by stealing his stocking! So I had been thinking about knitting one for myself. Grumperina said the kits are "everywhere," but that's only true if you live out East. I ordered one from Nordic Fiber Arts.

Red Velvet Stocking kit

This is Red Velvet, the same one Grumperina made, but all of the patterns are gorgeous. I may need to make stockings for Dolly and Harley, too...

Monday, March 10, 2008

E is for....

E is for Electric Blanket

Electric Blanket.

I love my electric blanket. What you might find interesting is that I had it before I moved to Iowa. I bought it in San Antonio -- one day several years ago, while walking through Sears, I saw a display of electric blankets. I don't think I had ever seen one in San Antonio, and figured it was a sign that I should buy one. I even used it in Texas, where my house, like most there, was poorly insulated and drafty. (I've always wondered why builders in Texas don't seem to realize that good insulation would help air conditioner efficiency, too.) In San Antonio, though, I rarely turned it higher than 3 on the dial, while 5 or 6 has been the norm this winter.

I grew up in an old, drafty house. The bedroom my sister and I shared was on the north corner and, in my memory at least, I spent every night curled up in a ball under a pile of blankets. I was always cold. Sometime after I left for college -- maybe it was even after I was married -- I came home to find that the entire family had electric blankets. I was amazed and wondered why this solution hadn't been thought of years earlier!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cats and Yarn

As Helen mentioned, doing short rows in a sweater is no more difficult than doing short rows in a sock. However, you really should do them in the right location!

On about row 7 of the short rows, I looked more closely at what I was doing and realized that, although the first two short rows were in the correct location, near the top of the sleeve, the rest were in the collar bone area of the sweater! Ah, yes -- "slip marker, k14..." If you're using more markers than the pattern calls for (and I always do), you have to make sure you're referring to the same marker!

So Friday evening I ripped back, and am now at approximately the same point I was the last time you heard from me. The difference, though, is that I now have more confidence in my short row abilities. I'm just thinking of the experience as practice...

I sat on the couch next to Dolly while frogging and when I looked over, I saw this

the frogging game, part 1the frogging game, part 2

Can't we play more, lady?

I decided to take advantage of this new-found kitty yarn love to show you the two skeins of Jojoland Harmony that I got in a trade with a friend. The yarn shades from a raspberry-rosy pink to green and back again.

yarn sniffing

I realize this will sound like a travesty to some of you, but I traded her a pair of Addis for the yarn. I don't particularly like metal needles and Addis aren't pointy enough for me. My friend likes them a lot, though, but isn't a lace knitter. So now we're both happy!

Meanwhile, Harley was performing "kitty ballet."

kitty ballet

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More Catching Up

There's no good way to take a picture of a pair of mittens on your own hands.

Very Cabley Mittens

These are the Very Cabley Mittens, made from Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in KPM Pink. They were 3/4 done when I ran out of yarn, and had to wait almost a month for the new skein. Nevertheless, these have been finished (and been worn daily) for a couple weeks. Easy-peasy, well-written pattern -- if you need a pair of mittens, I'd recommend this pattern -- and, frankly, if you live in Iowa, you're not done wearing mittens yet!

After finishing the mittens, I decided it was time to pull a wip out of hibernation (because all I had on the needles was a Wisp, a pair of Bird in Hand mittens, and two pairs of socks). This is what I found:


Yes, it's my Arwen (also available in the Winter 2007 IK). I finished the back and began the left front before I moved here last spring. I've gotten to the left sleeve now, and when I finish this post, I'll do the short-row sleeve shaping. I'm a little nervous about that -- I've only short-rowed on socks, and the idea of short rows on a sweater is scarier!

The cables are awful pretty, though, and a lot of fun, too.

Arwen cables

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Catching Up

I can't believe I haven't posted all week! Thanks for the nice comments about Dolly. She's a sweetie and although she and Harley haven't exactly bonded, there's been no kitty warfare either. Mostly, they just stare at each other a lot.

I'm still amazed at how much Dolly looks like my old cat Charlotte. Like Charlotte, Dolly's a small cat, maybe 8 pounds, and very delicate looking. Here's an old scanned picture of Charlotte, peering down from her perch on top of my monitor.


I have been knitting, too. I've finished my hat from David's pattern. Since y'all seem fond of dorky pictures of me in hats, here's another one. Note to self: put on lipstick before taking pictures!


Pattern: David's Hat
Yarn: Pale Pink Elann Peruvian Baby Silk, for the lining; Gray Cascade 220; RPM Pink Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted (leftover from my Very Cabley Mittens, which i should blog about someday).
Needles: size 4 circ for the lining and size 6 circs and dpn's for the body.
Mods: I went down a needle size to compensate for my loose knitting and added 10 stitches around (one pattern repeat) to compensate for my big head and the fact that I didn't want a tight hat. I also added 3 rounds of gray (one just below the colorwork and two just above) to make sure the hat covered my ears. The result is more cloche-y than I think David had in mind, but I'm very happy it!

There's also been baking. Many years ago, when I was young and married, I baked most of our bread. More recently, though, baking with yeast has been maybe an annual event. But last Sunday I made cinnamon rolls, and today I made Oatmeal Bread.

oatmeal bread

Guess what I had for dinner?