Thursday, March 29, 2007

Okay, I realize stockinette is less than scintillating...

I do confess to bragging about how fast it's going to anyone who will listen.

Since it's so boring that I even made the photo small, how about some signs of spring for your Thursday evening blogreading pleasure?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blrgle argh agh.

First of all, this is not a sock:

I realize it looks like one, but in reality it bears far more resemblance to Alyson's... er... "hat".

Well, ya know. One should make a gauge swatch, even for a sock. I think I needed #1 needles, not #2. And maybe I needed to use fewer stitches, or "think small." It's sad, because I had turned the heel and picked up the @#$(#@$ gusset. Those of you who knit socks will feel my pain. And trek's pattern is a good one; it's just me. I'm wayyyyy off gauge.

Second of all, this is a perfectly fine start to some Rib-and-Cable mitts, after frogging the first three. It's for my friend W's wife C, and she really needs these before, ya know, the end of cold weather. There's just one problem:

It's radioactive. The cat took a nap on it. I can knit on it, but if my nose itches or I want a drink of water, I have to get up and wash my hands first. This is a Big Pain.

Then I have the Vandyke sweater and a pair of socks I'm working on, both to my own design and both at points where I'm quite confused about what is supposed to happen next. The real problem with the sweater is that I've only ever made one adult sweater with set-in sleeves, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I keep getting the armhole shape wrong. I finally decided I needed some practice with a nice, well-written PATTERN sweater first.

Enter the black stockinette. Don't worry, there's more to it. This is Bristow from Knitty/Melanie Gibbons, who knows what she's doing. The yarn is some Kona Bay wool I got at a screamin' deal from Webs. I did a gauge swatch. All is going well so far.

Do not mock the black stockinette. (Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.) I am at peace.

Friday, March 23, 2007


This is one happy cat.
Laila keeps going in and out of the back door — I'm guessing because she can. She cried all the way home from the hospital and I think it's going to be really challenging to get her back into her carrier for checkups!

She may need medicating eventually, but she will have at least one month off, and that's good, too. Right now, she seems to be doing just fine.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Feeling calmer.

So calm that I had to...

Yep. Trek's new pattern, Pilchard Socks, was just too tempting. I had a couple balls of very-variegated Cascade Fixation, a gift from my Secret Pal Melinda last year. This pattern seemed perfect for the yarn. I cast on yesterday; I'm at about double this length now and really enjoying it.

Thank you all for your good wishes for our cat. Laila is doing okay in her isolation ward. Mostly, she's sleeping. Apparently she's one of the calmest cats in there. When I watch through the webcam, I see other cats mewing or pacing, and Laila curled up and snoozing or occasionally stretching. I think that it's kind of a predator response to simply conserve energy until opportunities present themselves.

Here she is in Kitty Radiation Jail:

I just got to watch her use her litterbox, which is not normally so exciting.

I have been knitting up a storm — lots of nervous energy. On Saturday, I started the darling Very Berry T-shirt from the latest MagKnits, for my niece's 2nd birthday (in July). I finished it last night, and could have easily finished it Sunday if I hadn't been too lazy to kitchener. You have to kitchener the underarms, but I did my best kitchenering ever and I'm really pleased with the result. Is this darn cute or what?

I used US #4 Inox circ and dpns, and bits of the "Cora" 60% cotton/40% acrylic yarn I got in a deStash from Grumperina. Grumperina said she didn't like knitting with the yarn, but liked the results. I tried it for a mitered square blanket, and realized, once again, that I just do NOT like garter stitch, and I get bored with squares. I varied my stripe widths, and despite the approximately 289,394,302 ends I had to weave in, I really enjoyed knitting this. The pattern is fabulous. I made the size 2, and I hope it fits!

I finished the Air Bear sometime last week (10.5 Addi circs, Berroco Air yarn, 1 skein). I realize he looks somewhat worried. I think he reflects my mood of the time!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Laila got through her first day...

Our cat made it through the pre-screening process (means she doesn't have major heart problems or cancer), and was treated for hyperthyroid with radiation yesterday. She has to stay in isolation until Friday afternoon, and then must come home with restrictions about closeness because of her radioactivity. It's hard for her to live in a cage when she's used to a big house, so we're hoping for her safe stay in the isolation room until she can return.

She had tumors (benign) in both lobes of the thyroid. Unfortunately, this makes it more likely that she'll end up with insufficient healthy thyroid tissue and will have to take thyroxin for the rest of her life. The up side of this is it's one pill a day instead of three, and it's less unhealthy a base state to be in. We'll know more over the upcoming weeks and months.

I have lots of knitting but I'm too swamped to show you right now (that is, to take pictures). So here are some signs of spring from last week:

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Almost an Air Bear:It really is a nuisance to knit stuffed animals, I have to say. Crochet is so much easier because you can make any shape you want, and don't usually need so many seams. But I think this may end up quite cute. It's a present for a friend's daughter, someone I haven't seen in a long time despite living in the same city (missed giving her a one-year birthday present and she's now almost two — oops).

And I finished a second pair of slippers, for me, again from Aunt Dana's Russian Boots from the calendar. These used Lamb's Pride Worsted and I love the colors. They feel really soft and yummy, too. I modified the pattern very slightly (to curve the heel a bit and to make the instep taller). However, this used 115 gm of yarn (so there's not enough left in two skeins of Lamb's Pride to make another pair. I might try grey slippers with the purple/green trim for the next pair. We'll see).

This is going to be a slightly challenging week; on Monday we take our cat Laila in for radioiodine therapy for her thyroid tumor. We'll find out Monday afternoon whether it's cancerous or not, which will not only determine the likelihood of a good outcome but also determine her dose and whether she'll be in the hospital one or two weeks. Then for two weeks after she comes home, she can't sleep with us or nose our faces. I admit that I'm fairly stressed about the whole thing.

After we drop her off I go to see my new primary care physician; on Tuesday I see the dentist (first time in mumblety-mumble years) and the optometrist. And there are other types of doctor visits to come — a total of six before we leave the country for a month at the end of April. (Time to go back to Australia to visit Rob's family and our friends.)

Well, cross your fingers for Laila, if you would. I realize she's "only" a cat, but we love her dearly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Phenomenally fast FO

(Try saying that six times quickly!) Got the yarn (KnitPicks Wool of the Andes) in the mail from April earlier this week, started these last night, finished 'em this afternoon.

These are "Aunt Dana's Russian boots" from the 2007 Knitting Pattern-a-Day calendar. Most of what's in here didn't appeal to me, but these seemed like a cute new knitted slipper pattern.

They were a fun knit. This pair is for charity, but I think I'll knit another pair for myself. I meant to mention this when talking about the berets, but lately I've been using the two-circulars method for hats, and I tried it on the slippers and like it there, too. I have tried it and dislike it for socks — they are so small that they go faster on dpns, for me. But I started these on dpns; quit when I was using six of 'em and still had trouble. Knitting on one 16" circular is not my thing, nor is Magic Loop unless I have to. Since I happen to have 2 pair of Inox US #6/4mm circs, this worked out great.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Oh well, it's not Christmas, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I didn't actually finish three objects in one weekend. Frankly I should be surprised that I finished any.

FO 1: It is wicked ugly. I cannot really recommend Magallanes, which is nice to work with but which is dyed in colorways that hurt my eyes. But the durn thing FITS. And I like it. Something is just not right with my brain.

FO 2: I finally finished that blasted UFO of a bulky cotton bathmat. Put it through hot water washer and hot dryer, and it came out soft, fluffy and just the right size for our bathroom. It feels great underfoot. I hated making it, but I'm so glad I did!

And this shrunken skin is 3/4 of an Air Bear from Berroco. Their 'Air' yarn is on sale at Webs, and the Bear only takes one skein, so you can build a bear for $3.50. Pretty cool. But it looks nasty until it's stuffed!

(This is actually purple/lavender in color, but the camera would not cooperate.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


What I'm actually working on:

Yep, it's another beret. Kind of ugly, I guess. The Magallanes yarn really is all pretty hideous, but it is nice to work with. I can't help myself with these berets, they are SO fun to make.

Froggy froggy froggy. I probably tink one row for every two I knit, but I am making slow progress on the back of my Vandyke sweater.

It's almost a bathmat, thanks to April's Addis!

"My so-called scarf" — my first actual knitted scarf, maybe never to be finished, this makes great mindless knitting but it progresses SO slowly. And because I've been working on it off and on for nearly a year, the gauge is... creative.

What I'm supposed to be working on:

Rib & cable mitts for a friend with Reynaud's. Frogged twice (well, it's mid-second-frog right now). I find it really hard to knit for someone else unless they're right there to try it on! I have huge wrists, C. has tiny ones. Argh.

I need 3-D plaster casts of my friends' body parts.

I sound like a fetishist.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Back, and glad I went.

The service was good, and I even decided to speak at it; and I got to talk about Gene with his kids, his SO and his closest friend. I think it helped me a good deal.

After the service and the gathering afterwards, we drove up to Los Alamos to spent a couple of nights with a friend. It snowed overnight and we woke to a beautiful dusting over everything. We took a drive up into the Jemez Mountains and got to some real snow:

We drove down to Bandelier National Monument and took a little stroll. The sky was very blue against the ancient rocks.

There is something very healing about nature and its inherent quietness of mind.

I did a lot of knitting, too, but I don't have any photos yet. So, to distract you, here are some gratuitous pictures of my friend's cats.