Friday, March 30, 2012

Booties, Blankets, and Hats, Oh My!


Nothing like waiting until the very last minute to finish a gift.

It is probably safe to state that, while I fuss and gripe and complain and maybe cuss a little about lace projects, I really, maybe, kinda actually like them.  They are a challenge and offer a huge amount of learning opportunities.  You truly have to immerse yourself in the stitch process and KNOW and READ your knitting on a highly intimate level.

So, without further ado, the big unveiling:

The who's and the what's:

Blanket (which looked like this before being SEVERELY blocked) was a combination of patterns.  The center section was this Christening Blanket but the lace border gave me major headaches, so I scrapped it and made/attached this border pattern and added a few extra stitches to increase the width.  Yarn used was Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca Lace which resulted in a blanket that is so incredibly soft, squishy, and has a hint of loftiness to it.  Booties were made from Socrates using the Stay on Booties pattern.

Next up were a couple of quick knits to go to the above baby's niece.  Yep Uncle and Niece are going to be one month apart.  What a lovely surprise!

Same bootie pattern, but made from Koigu KPPPM and the hat is Berry Baby Hat using Cascade 220 Superwash and Cascade Pacific.

Time to wrap it all up and shoot it off for delivery...hopefully arriving before the ACTUAL delivery!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who trained who?

There are some creatures within my home that insist on following me from room to room.

Wherever I go, they feel the need to be right in front of me.  For example, if you could see the desk as I type you would wonder how I can possibly see the computer screen through Norman as he walks back and forth across the desk and head butts my chin.

Attempting to capture photographs of my current on needles projects proved to be challenging and entertaining.  I may have contributed to the problem at hand through the recent overindulgence of kitty treats.  Like a Pavlovian response, kitties come trotting to the laundry/craft room as soon as they hear the floor boards creak in that vicinity.

Treats? Are there treats?  Where?  Why is that booty thing in our way and where are the treats???

You just think this is your space!

How could you deny me OR my pink nose anything I wish?

HEY! I want a treat, too!!!

Sadly, no treats were given and all kitties were shooed away.  Now back to why I went in there in the first place.

I don't like making socks because of that whole second sock syndrome.  But at least with baby booties, they are so small that it is easy enough to spit them out without getting "sock fatigue."  This is actually the third bootie (one more to go).  The first pair is a natural color Socrates yarn and the pair partly shown above is being made with Koigu KPPPM in colorway P116.  This is my first time using this yarn and I love it.  It is not splitty and has a nice sproingy feel to it.  Bootie pattern is Stay on Booties which is such a great pattern.  Love having the option already spelled out for multiple yarn weights.

After the booties are finished, there will be one final installment to this baby bonanza.  Not going to say what it is just yet, but will merely show the yarn to be used...
Annnnddd, as a teaser, the lace baby blanket is DONE!  Here is just a glimpse, more to be seen at a later date...


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New in Five Cats Creations...

During the "time of no decent camera", I have been working on increasing my handspun and other items for Five Cats Creations.  As time allows, I will be adding to the official online inventory.  The newest items are:
Rusted Rainbow Wool and Silk
100% Suri Alpaca, Natural White

Heathered Ocean Blue 100% Wool

Monday, March 26, 2012

Polar bear memories...

Hello all!

I am really still around, but have been doing more of the bloggy lurking/reading rather than posting.  Not from lack of desire as much as frustration with the whole camera situation and the point of fact that we have been so busy at our shop that there has been little time for anything but work, crash for a bit, sleep and repeat.  No complaints from me though, busy=good.

Who knew that such a teeny tiny little thing on a lens could cause so much trouble:

Last week was our school corporation's Spring Break.  The weather was unusually warm which led to the official stripping of the heavy covers and flannel sheets off the sleeping porch bed.  While out there preparing to do that, my gaze wandered to a little tchotchke that is on the bedside table out there.  

This is about the most winter effect we have had this year.  My little polar bear thingy belonged to my Great-Grandfather.  It lived on the bookshelf next to his chair.  I loved going to his house as much as possible.  He was a character and a half!!  The bears still have their flocking and the rhinestones are intact.  Not sure how old it is, but it was in the house for as long as I can remember.  He lived to 100 years and 6 months.  Some of my most treasured pictures and video are of him holding my oldest son (6 months old at the nearly 21).  The joy at the thrill and miracle of him with his great-great-grandson are evident in his face.  How I miss him!  These little bears carry me back to sitting by his side, walking in the yard, digging up worms to fish with, making Jiffy Pop, and drinking root beer floats together.

Here's to wishing a Polar Bear memory for everyone...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cat Crap

I owe Sophie an apology.  This time anyway.

When Sophie gets mad about something...most recently because her role as Queen Cat of the House has been usurped by Amos the Awesome...she chooses to pee on the rug in front of the litter box.  Nice, huh?  I have long since resigned myself to washing this rug (even though it is wool, but after so much cat pee what difference does it make) on a regular basis.  Fortunately, the detergent and rinse agent I am using eliminates all traces of odor.

Sunday evening I placed the rug back in its rightful spot and all was good.  Yesterday morning I did my usual poop scoop and sweeping up of scattered litter and the rug was fine.  Sophie, along with Amos, Norman, and Bella were still snoozing in our room.  While fixing my breakfast, Ashley appeared (she is normally a scaredy, hidey kitty, but we are working on that).  Scooped her up before she could run off and, hmmmm...her back leg is wet.  Oh well, she probably tried to stand in the water bowl.  No.  Wrong.  Incorrect.

Upon returning to the laundry room to check the dryer, what do spy?  A not so lovely pee spot directly in front of the entrance to the enclosed litter box!

I am sorry Sophie.  Maybe you aren't the only kitty with an attitude problem.

All of this ultimately led me to finally decide to make a couple of cat rugs.

Last summer when I was still dreaming of getting my spinning wheel, I bought a boatload of fiber during this adventure.  The gray/purple roving bowling balls ultimately were all spun up on my wheel to the tune of just over 2000 yards of about a DK weight.

Fast forward to now, when my spinning skills and choice of fibers have exponentially improved since that time.  To be blunt, what I have in my possession is a whole lot of yarn that I would not knit up into something wearable for even my worst enemy...tempting though that may be.  What am I going to do with it?  Sounds like the perfect choice for cat rugs...after all they (at least two) are just going to pee on it!

Use of this yarn for "just a cat rug" is not a waste.  I gained valuable knowledge in both my spinning and in fiber choice.

It still was a labor of love that will benefit my fur babies.

Easy peasy along with the bonus of my hands getting exfoliated by the scratchiness of the yarn while knitting.  I am holding a triple strand and using 10 1/2 US needles.  Cast on 70.  Four rows of seed stitch, then remaining rows:  seed stitch in pattern for first four stitches, stockinette, last four stitches in pattern for seed stitch and when about an inch from desired length finish off with four rows of seed stitch.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Six degrees of separation from fiber/yarn...

Whenever I travel US 31, I pass this little car lot that catches my attention (not unlike the Detailing shop that eventually went out of surprise).

How am I going to make the jump from car lot to fiber and yarn?

Have a seat and enjoy the ride...

1.  Calderone...makes me think of "Miami Vice".

2. "Miami Vice" makes me think of white sport coats and all the other lovely fashions of the '80's.

3.  White sport coats make me think of Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson).

4.  Sonny Crockett makes me think of Sheena Easton and whatever her character's name was on MV.

5.  Sheena Easton reminds me of a song on an album of hers that I am particularly fond of... "Someone to Watch Over Me"...

6.  And here we arrive at the fiber connection...lyrics of above song reference "I'm a little lamb..."  Lamb = Wool = Fiber = Yarn.  Oh, yeah, I went there!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's the final countdown...

almost.  The baby blanket is plugging along as fast as my little fingers will fly, but I feel like I am racing Mother Nature.  Baby-to-be is still staying put and hopefully this thing will be finished, blocked, wrapped and sent off before the little darlin' makes his appearance.  Row 28 of 33 and then...YAY!!!...picking up 656 stitches for the lace edging that is ONLY a 12 row repeat.

Any spare time has been split between furiously knitting on this and spinning luscious fibers into yarns for my Etsy store (with any luck the camera lens will come back from the camera hospital soon so real pictures can be taken for item listings).  My left thumb is getting quite the work out.  My thumbs are is almost as if they are double jointed as they can pop out and wind up in odd positions.  This comes in handy when I am playing the piano as it makes it easy peasy to span more than an octave, but for long stretches of spinning or knitting with slick needles and lace weight yarn it becomes a problem when they lock in place and my hands go numb.

The last several months certainly have been filled with loads of baby knitting which makes me want to stand in the baby aisles of Tarjay and sniff all the baby smelling things.  My LYS is holding a KAL for preemie baby hats.  Ahhh, the memories that triggers.  My youngest sons (identical twins) were premature and also had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, where in simple terms, they share the blood source resulting in one baby being a donor baby of a large portion of the nutrients to the other recipient baby.  It is common for one or both not to survive.  As my boys had the same head circumference on ultrasound, this condition was missed until their emergent premature delivery.  There was a 1 1/2 pound difference between them at delivery.  The recipient baby is often more "sick" than the donor which was the case for my guys.  Bringing home an itty bitty baby boy (seriously...I had to block the leg holes of the baby swing for fear of him shooting out one of the openings!)  and leaving the other one in the NICU is a frightening experience.  Preemie clothes were too big for quite some time, as were preemie diapers.  I had no teensy baby hats and resorted to using cut down tube socks.  It seems like a lifetime ago, but also as if it was just yesterday.  Today, they are wonderful, silly, fabulous, smart, goofy, sweet, ornery young men on the cusp of going out into the world.  They will be 18 in July and I am so proud of my little babies.  They, along with their older brother, are my best "works in progress".


Friday, March 2, 2012

"Nice butt flap"


The darling little Simple Skirt has turned ugly on me.  Whenever there are complications from the get go with my execution of a pattern, I should realize that it is very likely not going to end well.

This skirt has been no exception.

First there was the mobius-esque incident.

Then there was the mind numbing stockinette complete with the always helpful directions of spreading the increases out evenly across the row.  My math skills are questionable on a good day, so suffice it to say there were several frogging tries and maybe a couple of "to heck with it, I'm just going to <insert one of the following:  k2tog or M1> as needed to fix the row stitch count.  My knitting buddies refer to this as the Dina-fix...much along the lines of my pattern interpretation of making Smediums.

For awhile it looked like a loin cloth. Then it grew the butt flap during the second half construction.

Finally, all seamed up, woven in, elastic inserted and...

Well, **%&^$&$(%&*%.  Maybe if I just wash it and throw it in the dryer (yes frustration renders you stupid about the fact that it was machine washable/dryer safe yarn) it will firm up a bit.

I wore the thing on Monday.  Next problem, ladies pay attention when your husband is brutally honest and says that the skirt really doesn't do anything for him and it looks sorta plain.  Now, granted, I wanted a plain and simple skirt and was going for the look of the tweedy yarn to be the purty part to coordinate with tights and boots.

By the end of the day...

I kid you not...

I COULD WRAP IT AROUND ME TWICE!  Yes the gauge was correct, yes I made the "correct" size, yes to all the other obvious questions.

So now, it goes to the frogging pile and a frantic phone call has been made to the yarn store to see if they have maybe a couple more skeins (ratfarts, they still have the color but the lot number is different...going to check under xray super power light vision to see if maybe I can get away with two different lot numbers) in order to make something else.  I have 4 skeins (only used 3 and a smidge for the hell-skirt) and although I have done my due diligence in searching for a sweater pattern with what I have, nothing has turned up on my radar.

In other typical me news...anyone have any suggestions on how to get a pregnant friend to not have her baby in the next three weeks because some knitter fool realized said friend was pregnant for the last 8+ months but has been suffering from out of control Crafty ADD and just started the extra special gift which requires said knitter to use lace weight alpaca yarn to do 33 repeats of an 8 row lace pattern before ever getting to the super detailed and pointy lace border? 



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