Sunday, November 25, 2007

A'swatching we will go

Now that my daughter's Skull Illusion Scarf is finished, the swatching for Ilga Lega's Skin of the Sea vest began. I choose a different colorway from the example, which was a beautiful play of blues, and went with an equally gorgeous yarn in Amethyst Woolie Silk by Fleece Artist. This time, I really wanted to do it up right, and start with the swatch. Normally, I hate to swatch, hate it. I do understand the reasoning behind swatching for gauge, and it's completely valid, but I hate to waste the yarn and the time. Ah well, I swatched, and I'm pleased. Tomorrow when it's dry the measuring will take place, and I'll see how far off gauge I am.

Trust the Swatch. Believe the Swatch. The Swatch is good.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yarn... see it, love it

Finally, a post that has actual yarn in it!!! I know you were all beginning to think that a horrible yarn incident had occurred in the house, but all is well.

First, my daughter's Skull Illusion Scarf. Since these were taken, I've knitted about another 12-13 inches of plain black/red garter stitch.

Next is the Smidge I made for one of the ladies at work. It's a seed stitch with buttons I made from purple polymer clay. They've been sewn on since then.

And here's a little teaser of the Smidge that is destined for my soul sister.

You can't see the illusion knitting in this picture, so it's safe to post. I don't want her knowing what the illusion is until she gets her pressie!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you be blessed with family, friends, love, good health, and plenty in your life. I have been incredibly blessed with all these things, and am very thankful for them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The "c" word

Got a phone call from the vet today -- Spooky's tests came back, and the cyst removed from her ear turned out to be a mast cell tumor, or cancer. The vet said that in cats, such cancers behave differently than they do in dogs. It's worse for dogs. Spooky's tumor did extend to one margin of the ear, though he took a large scoop of the tissue out. This means that the tumor does have a chance of coming back at a later date. When I take her in to have the stitches looked at tomorrow, I'll ask about radiation and the like. She's an old cat, though, and it might not be the best course of treatment for her. She's about 15 or so years old. She has a great appetite, and I don't think she's troubled by the cancer, she's more annoyed by the cone thingy around her neck, so I think she'll recover quite nicely. But I'm still afraid.

I hate this. We've lost three dogs to cancer. They all had nice long lives, but when they got sick, they went downhill fast and died. I don't want Spooky to have this. This cat is my furbaby, my best animal friend. I love her very much.

More Christmas completed!

I have two more Smidges finished, and the pics are languishing in my camera. Actually, one of them is really my design, might be the first project that I put together on my own. It's just a little thing, but I'm pretty pleased with it.

That being said, I can't show you it right now, for two reasons. One, as said, the pics are still in the camera. Two, the recipient has this blog address, and I'd hate to spoil her Christmas surprise by her seeing it here first. So you'll have to wait on this one until after we meet for lunch and she gets her pressie. But to expound a bit, it has an element of her faith knitted in, but not jump right out and smack you in the face with it; I used illusion knitting.

I'm a little stinker, ain't I? LOL

I've begun my son's GF's Smidge, and it's going to be gorgeous!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Milking this? Oh yes.

Spooky is not above milking her infirm state to the limits and beyond. Last night I took her collar off to clean up the ear, put the ointment on, and decided to let her have a few moments without it. I was worried that maybe it was causing irreparable mental harm. Peh-shaw.

With the collar, she walks like a drunk and makes her displeasure quite vocal. Without the collar, she tippy toes around like a proper cat, slinking in between furniture, while looking down her nose at me. When I replaced the collar, back she went to banging into the couch and walls. While I know wearing it isn't fun for her, I think she's trying to guilt me into taking if off early, for good. "See how pathetic I am? Don't you feel BADLY for making me wear this? Meow?"

Uh, no. Your human slave knows what's good for you, whether you like it or not. Ain't gonna happen, cat.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Deb does it again!

Deb, from Fearless Fibers, is an amazing person, she truly is. Her etsy store is chockablock full of gorgeous yarns and still she adds more to it. New to her inventory is 100% Alpaca in Laceweight, and at very generous yardages. This one is my favorite so far: Harmony. What a play of blues and hints of gray! Stunning.

Here's a little eye candy, it's an item on my wish list that Deb's hubby crafts:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

So I'm weak

Present me with a yummy yarn, and a coupon for 10% off, and I go weak at the knees. My daughter says she wants plain black for her stole, no sparkles or glitter or other colors mixed in, so I decided to get the Misti Alpaca Laceweight yarn, 100% baby alpaca, and it's flat black. Couple this with the coupon code GoNoles from Sonny and Shear (linky button to right --> ) and you have a winning combo.

Yarn yumminess in the mail -- heaven.


I've been thinking about the yarn to use for my daughter's double-winged stole. She wants black, and doesn't care if there are beads or not, so there will be -- beads are fun! Black beads on black yarn. Yum.

So far I've found Alpaca Fino in Black Pearl, Zephyr in Ebony, Misti Alpaca Lace in Black (descriptive, yes, but just "black"?), and Fearless Fiber Cashmere in Endless Night. Still looking though. I want something that will hold up to her usage, but still be of heirloom quality. A quality yarn. A luxury yarn.

I can't buy this yarn until after Christmas anyway, I just like to be prepared to strike and buy when there's money in the account! LOL

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A bit closer to finishing Christmas...

So far, the Swan Lake Stole is done, and it's a Christmas pressie. Tonight Smidge No. 1 is done, and it's already intended for a co-worker. I altered the "pattern" a bit and made the crossover into a rather nifty inverted V. I have in mind to knit two more Smidges (for my son's girlfriend and another co-worker), and one really altered Smidge (for my soul sister). Need to get off the computer and get to knittin'. Sorry the pic I took of me wearing the Smidge is blurry. Ah well.

Cat update: Spooky is still acting really weird. The collar is affecting her behavior in an adverse way, but I do understand the reason behind her wearing it. She seems so off balance and lost. *sad*

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kitty ticked off

My poor kitty is very unhappy with me. For many years now, she's had a cyst-like bump on the outside edge of her left ear. More than one vet said to leave it alone if it didn't change, but over the last few months, it started to get a bit bigger, bleed, and feel squishy.

I made arrangements for her to have it removed and biopsied. This was on Saturday. The surgery went well, and Spooky came home groggy and with pain meds. She looked like someone took a melon baller to her ear and scooped out the cyst and surrounding tissue. The vet said the area looked infected.

An entire day went by, then all of Sunday, until Sunday night, when all hades broke loose. Right after I had put haircolor in my hair, and was padding around the house in my bathrobe, Spooky comes wandering into the kitchen with blood dripping off her head like she's a star in a slasher movie. I try to staunch the blood, but to no avail. I phone the on-call vet, who tells me to bring her in to the clinic. I tell him I have a head full of chemicals and that I have to rinse first. I'd be there in 15 minutes.

My daughter helps me pop the kitty into her carrier, I finish becoming a redhead, and off the cat and I go. When I get her out of the carrier, the vet says that it's much worse than he had imagined, and wants to put her back into surgery right then. This time she gets stitches, instead of just the surgical glue from before, and is the proud wearer of an Elizabethan collar.

And that brings me to why my cat is unhappy and ticked off with me. She HATES the collar. She attempts to walk backward out of it, yawls and complains, walks into doors, walls and furniture, and eventually ends up sitting and staring off into space or butted up against a wall, sulking. This will be our existence for the next 10 days, until the stitches are removed. My poor baby. (WARNING: clicking on the picture will show the ear and it's not pretty.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ta Da!

Here it is, the Swan Lake Stole, beautifully modelled by my daughter, Katie.

She even said that she would like one, in black, if I would put the wing on both sides. Wow!! (Good thing that Melanie thought of that ahead of time when she designed this stole, and included a double-winged option, called The Wings of a Dream, in the finished pattern. Thank you, Melanie!!) I will definately be doing this for my girl, who, by the way, just turned 17 yesterday. Happy Birthday, Katie!

A few more pics showing the lacework, and my oopsies:

I'm off to shop for black laceweight yarn for my Katie. And by the by, I now have the pattern for Twinings; I can see myself working on it soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mystery Stole 3 - Swan Lake

The pre-soaked pre-blocked stole, all scrunchy and bunchy:

Here it is, taking a swim in a lovely lukewarm bath:

After that I squashed it carefully between towels. Then it was pinned out on the bed.

I keep going into the bedroom to look at it laying there, petting it, telling it how pleased I am with it. This is my most detailed and challenging work to date. Yep, there are mistakes in there, some I was able to fix and others that I couldn't. I jumped into the frog pond once or twice and ripped back rows, only to make new mistakes as I forged onward. But that was okay. It was a learning and growing experience, I tell ya! But on the whole, this is a piece of lacework I will be proud to gift at Christmas.

61 inches x 21 1/2 inches (appr)
Pink Lemon Knits pattern, Swan Lake (Mystery Stole 3)
Fearless Fibers Laceweight 100% Merino Wool, Spring Breeze, 2 ply
2 skeins used, 820 yards
US 4 circular needles, KnitPick Options
8/0 beads, opalescent white
Metal crochet hook, 13/14 US, 0.90 mm

Huzzah! It's finished!

In the wee hours of this morning, about 1:17 a.m. to be exact, I finished casting off the Mystery Stole 3 ~ Swan Lake ~ and stumbled happily off to bed. Now comes the magic: the soaking and the blocking. This should be great!

My son is away at college, so I'm going to block this marvel on his bed. What's a little damp bed to someone who's not sleeping in it, hmmmm?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Honeybee Stole vs. Twinings Stole

I'm in a pickle. When I saw Anne Hanson's (KnitSpot) Honeybee Stole a while back, I fell in love with it. Armed with that heady feeling, I bought the pattern and my most expensive yarn to date: 100% Claudia Silk in Honey - apropos, as it was for the Honeybee Stole after all. I knew it would have to go into my queue and I was okay with that. Fate can be cruel.

Since then, Anne came out with the Twinings Stole. My heart flip flopped. It's like she designed it for me. It's not that I don't like the Honeybee anymore, but I'm really not enamored by it. I lust after Twinings. But feelings of guilt keep whispering in my ear that I mustn't abandon the Honeybee, how fickle can I be???

I haven't ordered Twinings yet, I want to, but I haven't. I feel like a cad for dropping one stole as soon as the next pretty one flashes some edging and yarn overs at me. I think Twinings would be GORGEOUS in the silk honey yarn, and that pattern just taunts me.

Should I put Honeybee on the back burner and throw myself into Twinings with the mad abandon I feel? Or should I remain faithful to my original plans?

Santa? May I please have this?

I was tootling around Ravelry, as I am wont to do, and I saw one of the ads they have on there for a new company called Knitzi. Intrigued, I clicked-through.

Wow. I want one. I mean, I am in the throws of product desire. Sleek, elegant, useful. Beautiful. This is going on my Christmas Wish List (Santa, are you listening? LOL) and I hope they get the carved Knitzi stocked up in time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Back in the Groove!

I dug out the Mystery Stole from its safe keeping place tonight, and knitted away on it. It was like getting back on a bike, it all just flowed back to me. Yay! 22 more rows and it's off to blocking!!!

I am happy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Much smoother now

Happy to report that the linen stitch has become second nature now - no more struggling with the slip/knit progression. I'm almost done with the first Smidge. I've started hunting around for a very simple cardigan or v-neck sweater pattern so I can use the linen stitch to complete it. I am that enamored with it. I've also found a stitch generator program where I can plug in the swatch info from my linen stitch and compare it to what the pattern calls for, then the program will tell me how I need to alter the pattern.

Way cool.

Turning 45 today!

Wow, I'm halfway to 90 years old. Guess this is middle age - LOL! I think being 45 is way cool. I've got lots of smile and laugh lines, and I've earned every one of them!! Best of all, I've been blessed with family, friends, and love.

Please help celebrate the day of my birth by smiling, laughing, and enjoying life -- I can't think of a better gift to give or receive. Happy Birthday Me!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Linen stitch and Smidge

This may be one of the coolest stitches I've learned to date. To me, it honestly looks like it's been woven. It lays flat, is a dense tight knit, and is pleasing to the eye. I find it a bit difficult to stay in rhythm with the alternated slip/knit, though, and if I get distracted, I have to look back and figure out where I am. (I don't have this trouble with slipped stitches on sock heels -- huh.)

And look how autumn-like this yarn is! Gorgeous. Like leaves piled up in the yard waiting for the kids to jump in them, green against gold next to red melting into chestnut. Ahhhhh.

Now, on to an update about the Mystery Stole 3 - Swan Lake. I had to put it aside when we began the Downstairs Beautification Project. Since we're done with that, you'd think I would have pulled it out again and finished it up. I am very close to being done. Uh no. Not yet. I'm experiencing a lack of umph, a crisis of interest, and that's very disturbing. This is a Christmas gift, and that's next month. Ack! I must finish it, most of me wants to finish it, but a part of me just wants to move on.

I've learned a very valuable lesson -- when it comes to KALs, I need to be sure I can knit on the project along with everyone else. I must be one of the only folks who signed up for this who is still not done yet. *sad face* I don't like being the slow bee. So this is me, giving myself the proverbial kick in the kiester to get myself in gear again.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

This little Pidgey went to market...

A simple elegant idea, quite nifty in reality. But certainly not new, and certainly not at this price. Ye gods and little fishes, they charge over $275 for this 4x24-inch piece of knitting. Yes, it's cashmere, yes, it utilizes buttons from a wood not normally used (olivewood), but come on!

To be fair, I have to give them kudos for a slick marketing campaign and the ability to appeal to the "gotta have it now and only if it's obscenely overpriced" crowd. Makes me wish I had thought of it first.

But basically, this is not a new pattern or idea, any more than a scarf or sock or sweater is. And I've been itching to try the linen stitch, so I'll be making a pidge (or midge, smidge, neck cozy, etc) or two as Christmas gifts.