Almost all of my gifts are made and in the mail on their way to their new homes. It is a huge relief to have them out the door, but I still can’t show them off until next week. Gee, it’s hard to blog when I’m spending most of my time on the Christmas making drive but I can’t show things off. Would you like to see some of my plants?
There is one big knitted gift that I can show off as I’m working on it in coolaboration with the recipient.
This knitted cat is a gift for my younger son whose cat Daxter died unexpectedly from an undetected cancer last September.
Ironically, I had bought some of the yarn for the knitted cat just days before Daxter’s sudden death. Shocked at the sudden turn of events, I put the yarn away for awhile, but finally took it back out two weeks ago and got started on the knitted cat as a Christmas gift for my son. It’s bittersweet for sure, but it feels good to create something that honors Daxter and acknowledges the loss.
I’m working like crazy on the cat now and I plan to get it done in time for Christmas. The cat’s eyes are ordered and on their way from China; hopefully they will get here in time. I have started to add some stripes and will knit in others. I can’t wait to get the ears on!! I am so impressed with the shaping and detail in this project, and I also have to say that the pattern is very straight-forward and has lots of great picture and video support. If you would like to create your own cat the pattern is Cat by Claire Garland.
Oh yeah. There is a new kitten in my son’s apartment. I hope that he likes this knitted cat too.
The Mother of Cats has been going crazy for days now. She knits and sews and fusses over little projects endlessly! It has to do with Christmas, which is strange since she hasn’t put up the Christmas tree yet. I love the Christmas tree: best cat toy ever!! I worry about the Mother of Cats. She has so many projects cast on at the moment the coffee table in the family room is buried. There are project bags in the bed. She left knitting needles on the table where my cookies are supposed to be. She has quilting stuff all over the craft room. SHE IS OUT OF CONTROL!!!
There is a lot going on, and she can’t show off all of it because… Christmas… but here are some of the little projects in progress:
The good news is that since the Mother of Cats is knitting so much I am getting lots of attention and naps right by her side. She lets me have a cookie every once in a while, but mostly I am getting lots of wet food meals and she lets me eat whatever I want! Tuna! Liver! Stinky shrimp and fish!! I want it all and she gives me a fresh can twice a day. Maybe the Mother of Cats does pay attention to my needs after all.
She also puts medicine on my ear twice a day, but I kind of like the attention so that is okay.
I’m such good boy.
Can I have some (not crushed) cookies now?
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
I am in full production mode now as the holidays are closing down on me. I’m listening to books on tape, binge watching Netflix and mass producing little knitted and sewn items. I’m having fun and the little items are just jumping off my needles now. Here are the patterns:
The pincushions are from the pattern Chloe’s Cushions by Yamagara. This is a free pattern, is so fun to knit, and there are three different cushions: must knit faster!!
The cowl is Mount Moran Lace Cowl by Selena Miskin. MacKenzie is a fan of the silk/mohair and yak yarns so I do have to keep it bagged!
I’m refining the wrister pattern as I work; I’m now on the 4th version of my pattern. I’m thinking that another free pattern is coming your way. I’m making all of them in cashmere blend superwash merino fingering and they are heaven to wear under the cuffs of sweaters! The cashmere is why MacKenzie likes them so much. He’s a cat who knows what he likes!!
I still haven’t tried to figure out how to put patterns on Ravelry. Maybe when I get the Christmas gifts into the mail.
Did I mention that I have some sewing to get done too? Busy days!!
I’ve been working away on developing the pattern for the simple mitts that I mass produce and give away to share with all of you. I thought that I would get it done and posted in time for Thanksgiving, but here I am a day late. Anyway, here they are, my gift to all of you just in time to create some yummy little mitts for yourself or as a gift. I’ve made a PDF of the Mitts and also put the instructions into this post. This is the first PDF I’ve created and uploaded, and it isn’t tech edited, so don’t judge! 🙂
Yarn: 160 yards fingering yarn. The pictured sample was knit using 80/20 superwash merino/cashmere yarn.
Needles: Two 16” cable needles, size 1 (2.25 mm), additional size 1 (2.25 mm) double points, or size needed for gauge. The pattern can be easily adapted to use only double-pointed needles or a large cable needle and the magic loop method.
Gauge: 32 stitches and 12 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
Finished Measurements: The mitts have a 7.5 inches circumference and are 6.25 inches long. The size of this mitt is easily adjusted by adding stitches or rows.
1.Cast on 56 stitches using your preferred method; I’m a fan of Old Norwegian CO as it creates a nice, slightly stretchy edge. Place 28 stitches onto each of two 16” cable needles. Join to knit in the round carefully, making sure to not twist the stitches. Mark the beginning of the round (BOR).
2.Work K1,P1 ribbing for 8 rounds.
Wrist: K 12 rounds. If you are using the two 16” cable needles you can easily try the mitt on to see if the wrist is the desired length to the base of your thumb; if not, you can add or decrease rounds until you have the length you want. (56 stitches)
1.Set up round: K2, PM, M1R, K1, M1L, PM, K to BOR.
2.K 2 rounds
3.K2, SM, M1R, K to marker, M1L, SM, K to BOR.
4.K 2 rounds. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until there are 21 stitches between the markers (76 stitches)
5.Next round: K2, remove marker and place the 21 thumb stitches onto scrap yarn, remove 2nd marker, CO one stitch using the backward loop method, K to BOR. (56 stitches)
Palm: Continue knitting rounds until you have completed 12 rounds. Try on the mitt again and add or decrease rounds if desired, keeping in mind that the final ribbing will add ¾” to the total length.
Ribbed Knuckle-Hugging Top: Switch to K1, P1 ribbing and complete 5 rounds. BO somewhat loosely in pattern being careful to not BO too tightly for a comfortable fit. (Note: for a balanced mitt with more coverage you can add 2 more ribbing rounds = 8 rounds total.)
Finish the Thumb: Using the 2.25 double point needles, pick up the 21 thumb stitches from the scrap yarn and place them back onto the needles. Attach yarn, pick up three stitches across the base of the thumb, and complete 5 rounds of K1, P1 ribbing. (24 stitches) BO somewhat loosely in pattern.
Note: the construction of the right and left mitt are identical; make two mitts following these directions. Weave in all ends and fix any gaps at the thumbs. Enjoy!
I knit and gift these mitts to family, friends, other scleroderma patients, and Raynaud’s sufferers that I meet. Feel free to copy and/or share this mitt pattern with reckless abandon. If you would like to knit and sell the mitts, much joy to you, but please give me credit for the pattern.
The Mother of Cats has been going crazy lately. Busy, busy, busy all of the time, and she is pretty much ignoring me. Okay, she does remember to pet me and feed me and give me cookies (she CRUSHES them up between two spoons before I get them), but is she letting me go outside into the yard any more? NO! She is not! She says it is too cold now.
Oh. That’s why the floor of the garage has been hurting my feet. It is cold. Also, for some reason the outside has turned all white.
Anyway, we are hanging out inside all of the time now, and the Mother of Cats has just been going crazy getting lots of little things done. I mean, literally, that she has been knitting all of these little things that are too small for me to sleep on. Look at this!!
You would think that the Mother of Cats would have calmed down after getting all of these little objects knitted, wouldn’t you? Instead of settling down to pet me for the rest of the afternoon she went digging in the stash to find more scraps of yarn to make another pair of mitts.
I helped her with all of the yarns while she worked, and really kept an eye on her work. She did take the yarn off of the needles and ripped back last night… Wow! So much yarn! She let me take care of it for her while she knitted it back in. Sometimes the Mother of Cats can be kind of fun.
Between knitting sessions the Mother of Cats and I got the sewing room cleaned up and started working on some of the many quilts that have been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for her to work on them. While it snowed this week we started quilting one of the projects.
The Mother of Cats has been spending a lot of time fussing over her plants. She makes sure they get lots of light, orchid food and she even ran the window fan in the late summer to make the cold air come into the room with the plants. I don’t like the window fan, but does the Mother of Cats pay attention to my needs the way she should? NO!!
So this has been the last two weeks. Cold white stuff. Lots of little bitty knitted things that I don’t get to play with. Orchids that are no good to me that the Mother of Cats makes a big fuss about. Sewing in the evenings when the I should be getting major attention. It’s amazing that I have survived with all of this going on while my needs were being neglected.
I’m such a good boy.
Can I have some (crushed) cookies now?
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
MacKenzie is getting better but I’m keeping him on jaw rest, which is why he is getting crushed cookies and I’m moving him to wet food. He won’t eat his food unless I put crushed cookies on it…
When the cold weather arrived a few weeks ago I became consumed with the the need for more fingerless mitts and arm warmers/wristers. I dug around in the yarn stash to find leftovers from socks, and there were so many cute yarns that I just began mass producing mitt after mitt. They are the perfect carry-along in the car and I am finding them easy to do while listening to audiobooks in the evenings. I’m having fun, and if I need a quick gift in the future I am all set!!
I have 6 babied orchid plants. I heard that the trick to make them bloom was to subject them to significant swings in temperature in the fall; I live in Colorado where temperature extremes are a norm so I decided to try to make it happed for the plants. I closed off the sewing/orchid room overnight for a couple of weeks with the window fan blowing in cold air and this week I discovered that 5 of the 6 plants are going to bloom. Woohoo!! One plant is putting up 4 blooming stems, and I can see at least 2 stems starting on two other plants. Success!!
The mitt pattern is a simple one that I’ve developed over the years that works well for my cold Raynaud’s hands. I’m working myself up to publishing the pattern in a future post. Please let me know if anyone is interested.
This has been a terrible week for me. Sunday night I had some type of terrible accident with my jaw: it got stuck, it hurts, and I couldn’t swallow right! The Mother of Cats did everything that she could and was putting me into the cat carrier to go to the emergency room when I finally got things under control and we stayed home for the night instead.
But she called the vet the next day and made a few suspicious trips out in the car during the day.
Wednesday morning a whole flock of crows (The Mother of Cats said it was a murder of crows. Right. That’s what I would like to have done to some of them…) descended on the trees in the yard and made lots of racket. Crazy. What is up with the crows? I was so busy watching them through the window I didn’t really fight when the Mother of Cats slipped a pill down my throat, and then missed that the Mother of Cats had gotten the cat carrier in from the garage.
I think that the crows were trying to warn me. She put me in the car and took me to the vet’s office!
The Mother of Cats finally brought me home but as soon as we got there she gave me icky medicine that she squirted into my mouth!! NOOO!!!! My jaw hurts, why would she do something like this!!!
Oh, wait. I feel better now.
Time to nap.
Yesterday the Mother of Cats left me AGAIN and came back with even more pills and medicine to stuff into my mouth. My jaw hurts!! Why is this happening. She even followed me to the cat box and took samples of my private business to take to the vet. The Mother of Cats is really acting strangely!!
The worst thing is, she says that I can’t have any more cookies. From now on I have to eat soft baby food from a can. What is going on here!!!
I do have to say that my jaw feels better and that I was able to eat most of my breakfast this morning.
I’m such a good boy.
Can I have some tuna flakes instead of cookies?
Notes from the Mother of Cat:
Yep. I drugged MacKenzie up with a sedative to take him to the vet.
I was absolutely shocked to see his age on the check-in sheet at the vet’s office. Fifteen years, nine months. How did the years go by so quickly?
MacKenzie has kitty TMJ and his jaw literally got stuck open while crunching his cookies. It was pretty horrible at the time; drooling, bewildered stare at me, pawing at his cheek with his tongue working like crazy to fix the problem, and then getting more frantic. The vet showed me how to massage his jaw to release it if this happens again and I’m being really careful about what he gets to eat. Right now he is on pain killers and an anti-inflammatory drug to get him over this current episode.
I have TMJ myself (thank you, scleroderma!) and was placed on jaw rest for months while I recovered, and as it turns out that this is what we are going to do with MacKenzie. No more crunchies for him!! His dry food is very tiny so we will continue it and he also gets wet food twice a day. He isn’t a fan of wet food, but he is trying.
The problem can be corrected with surgery, but because of his age and hatred strong dislike of medical personnel we won’t be doing that.
The blood work shows that my geriatric cat has hyperthyroidism and will need to start meds for that. Oh, boy. As it turns out, cats with hyperthyroidism are basically assholes jerks, and MacKenzie’s personality should mellow out some once he is on drugs.
“He’s a jerk?” you ask. Sadly, he is. He greats people at the door and rubs on their legs, but then bites without warning if they try to pet him. He scratched my grandson, and plasters himself onto the only member of the family who is allergic to him. He yowls to be let out into the garage at 3am and scratches the door jam like a dog to make sure I come. Lord help me if I forget his cookies! A jerk. But he loves me, and life would be really hard without him.
Today I’m going to hunt for some soft treat that might work for him. There must be tuna flakes or some nice salmon out there that would tempt him. He totally turned his nose up at the soft cat treats. What a strong willed kitty.
He has to go back for another blood draw next month. The vet told me to double up on the sedative next time…
It really has been a quiet month for me as I’ve been more housebound than usual as I slowly recover from bursitis and tendonitis in one (thank heavens only one!) hip. I’ve been doing my physical therapy, faithfully using my crutch whenever I have to do any prolonged walking (like going to the grocery store), and even started a gym membership so I can start on the reclined bike for the prescribed 5 minute workouts. It helps that it has been cold and I’ve been very motivated to get some projects done. I cleaned up my sewing room and started on some quilts, joined another book club, and began some serious panic knitting to get my yarn destash project back on track after a disastrous September shopping spree.
I entered the month with only 33.5 skeins out of the stash, and my goal is 50 skeins out of the stash before the end of the year. Yikes! I settled into the knitting chair, started an audiobook and began to catch up on knitting projects every afternoon into the evening.
This week I pulled out several skeins of yarn that were kind of rustic (not superwash), paired then with some mohair that I’ve had stashed forever and make MacKenzie (my very spoiled and demanding cat) a cushy padded sleeping blanket in three days flat while a series of cold fronts dumped a foot of snow and drove temperatures into single digits. It helped that I used big needles and 4 strands of yarn held together for the project.
I also managed to polish off a couple pairs of socks (very simple, mash-up socks that are winter workhorses…) that aren’t all that much to look at, but they used up another couple skeins of yarn.
I have a couple of other projects on the needles at the moment, a cowl and another sweater that will take me through next month, and then before I know it I will be at the end of the year. The destash project kind of hangs over me so I have been knitting steady.
This evening I totaled up the skeins used this month on my little spreadsheet (yes, I am that big of a geek!) and to my shock the total now is…
I have made it! The destash goal is polished off and I will be way over it when I finish the Barn sweater. Whew! I can now shift attention to getting more sewing done and maybe even will be able to spin a little or do some weaving before Christmas if the hip behaves itself. Maybe bake some cookies. You know, go wild with the relief of having made my goal. Who knew that bursitis, tendonitis, and being on crutches for a few weeks would turn out to be a blessing in disguise? Every cloud does have a silver lining after all!
I will, however, be staying out of the yarn store until the end of the year! No more slips, no more slips, no more slips (chant along with me, people!), no more slips…
May your knitting be good, your books exciting, your chronic illnesses (if you are a member of that club with me) well behaved, and all your New Year’s resolutions met. Have a great weekend, everyone.
Well, actually, something wonderful happened this week because things have gotten just awful outside. I blame the Mother of Cats totally for what has happened this week.
That’s right. It started snowing three days ago and the cold and the snow just kept on coming day after day after day…
If the Mother of Cats really cared about me she would put a stop to this white madness, but NOPE! she did not. Monday morning she did go digging into the yarn stash and found some yarns that are the kind that I like a lot.
Since the Mother of Cats was making some knitted stuff that was truly excellent to sleep on I decided to hand out with her all day yesterday while she worked. Okay, it was really cold out in the garage, and there was no way I could frolic around outside, so I had to stay in the house. Of course I stayed with her and helped her knit all day.
Because the Mother of Cats was holding 4 strands of yarn at the same time the knitting went really fast. I mean, she must have gotten a couple of inches done between breaks for cookies. I got lots of pets and I held all of the balls of yarn while she worked, and she gave me all of the extra balls to take care of too. The Mother of Cats is so lucky that she has me to help her.
Now I have a blankie to sleep on while the Mother of Cats does stupid stuff like cooking and sewing. I just love my blankie. Yay! For once the Mother of Cats has put my needs first, but it certainly took her a long time to pay attention to how badly I needed this blankie.
I’m such a good boy!
Can I have some cookies now? Can I have them served on my blankie?
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
The finished blanket is 3 feet long from point to point, and fits nicely on the bed, chairs, and of course the floor. MacKenzie prefers to have his blankie on the bed, of course! My project notes for this blanket are here.
MacKenzie is visibly struggling in the cold and I am sure that he has some type of arthritis. I’m hoping that the warm cushy wool is comforting on old bones; it is in weather like this that I remember that he is a 16 year old cat.
I also did the little bit of finishing on my last sweater and got a not-great photo of it since I had to stay indoors. Ta-daa! Here is my Understated Sweater (Joji Locatelli).
My project notes for the Understated Sweater are here.
MacKenzie is not kidding about the cold. We broke a record here in the Denver area this morning with a new low of 3°F this morning. Brrr!
The blankie ate up 7 skeins of yarn! The destash project is looking good!