Knitting Changes

You know, some of the best lessons in life are ones that you didn’t see coming. Years ago, I was a member of a 6th grade instructional team that taught integrated units. The kids were learning about Canada in social studies at that time, and the language arts teacher had them reading Julie of the Wolves. I read the book too even though I was the social studies/science teacher, and one of the lessons really stuck with me. It was advice from Julie’s father to her: if what you are doing doesn’t work, change what you are doing. I am not one to quit easily, but sometimes that isn’t the right attitude.

I’ve been struggling with my treatment plan for months and I finally decided that we needed to do something different. My pulmonologist stopped the medication (Ofev) that I was taking to treat my lung disease (interstitial lung disease) because of side effects and started me on two inhaled medications instead. In the aftermath of this change, every single one of my tendons has decided that it hates my guts. Everything, everything hurts, and my arms are back in braces. I have two canes going so I am never far from one when I walk, and the walker is back out for use in the house. Feeling sorry for myself, I was slow to realize that Hannah had a rash on her tummy, and she was just miserable, licking and cleaning herself so much all the hair was gone and she had open sores.

After eliminating everything that I could think of, I have concluded that Hannah is allergic to the blanket that I’m knitting!

That yarn that makes up the Nectar blanket is made of recycled fibers, and it includes raw silk. If you don’t know raw silk, it has a slight smell because the proteins from the silkworm cocoon are present. I kind of think that the silk is the problem, so I have packed the blanket away for now because Hannah LOVES TO LAY ON IT!!! Hannah got a bath with soothing anti-itch shampoo and the rash is gone and her fur is growing back. Bad yarn, bad!!

It hurt my hands too much to knit on it anyway. The lace is hard to work, and the purl rows are misery. Goodbye, blankie. You are going into time out for now.

I also packed away the yarns for the La Prairie sweater that I wanted (really badly) to knit because it is a cardigan and is knit back and forth (instead of in the round); all those purl rows on the wrong side will kill me. The yarn is now keeping company with the Nectar blanket in time out.

Obviously, I needed to find something that I can knit. What I’ve been knitting (and want to knit) isn’t working, but by golly, there must be something that I can knit on. Something that is only in the round, almost all knit stitches, and easy to pick up and put down again without losing my place.

Behold: Scrunch Socks!!

These socks were a free pattern on Ravelry, and they are just what I needed. There is no ribbing at the top: just stockinette that curls around to form a rolled edge. The purl row is every 9 rounds, so I can manage that. The heel is made with all knit stitches! I’m able to knit with size 1 cable needles because I push them with the back of my hands without using my wrists.

and these socks are… scrunchy!

The socks are slightly oversized so they are easy for me to pull on. I’m slowly making progress and my wrists have improved so much that I’ve transitioned from the hard braces to compression braces on my wrists while I work. I knit outside most mornings with the cats enjoying the birdsong and fresh air, dreaming about the colors to knit a Soldotna Crop sweater in fingering weight yarn.

The cats hang out under my swinging seat while I knit. I think that they are dreaming about catching bunnies…

Soldotna is written to be knit in DK weight yarn, but I think that is too heavy for me to use as a light topper over long-sleeved shirts. I have been messing around looking at other sweaters by this designer that I’ve made that were written for fingering weight, and I think that if I go up a size in the pattern, I can substitute fingering for the DK. Also, fingering is easier to work with while my hands are totally acting like assholes, and stranded knitting is slower knitting and hopefully easier on my hands than my usual speedy pace. Did I mention that there are no purls in this pattern once I’m through the first rows of ribbing?

As usual I am fussing about the colors and the order in which they will be knit. I had completely decided on the first combination (with Mateo in the background) when I decided to play around with a combination that is more colorful by adding in the turquoise multi. Everything depends on the order of the colors in the design; I’m pretty happy with the combination on the right, and I’ve decided that if I don’t like it, I’ll just shop the stash and start over with some other colors. You know, if what you’re doing doesn’t work… The other factor that is causing me to lean towards the more colorful set is that the yarn is a little heavy for fingering, so I have a better chance that it will work in the pattern.

Have I wound the yarn for the sweater yet? Nope. It still seems too exhausting right now, but it is hopefully set out by the umbrella swift in my dining room. Soon, Soldotna, someday soon my wrists and hands will decide to behave themselves and it will be your turn.

Take that scleroderma. You’ve been messing with the wrong knitter!


  • Julie of the Wolves is one of the books that gets banned from time to time, but it certainly made an impact with me and my students loved it.
  • My pulmonologist says that there are two other drugs in the pipeline that I may be able to take when they are approved. Yay, science!
  • Hannah was the best girl ever with her bath. She didn’t struggle or even meow while I was washing her tummy and then she let me blow dry her with absolutely no fuss. How about that!
  • The color of the yarn that I am knitting the socks with is… Perfect Miracle. How cool is that? Just the color that I need right now.

The BioGeek Memoirs: Miller Moth

Last night a miller moth got into the house. The cats staked it out and Hannah kept trilling for me to come help her get it. The poor moth, trapped in my house in an environment that was definitely not safe, clung to the wall up near the ceiling.

These moths are small: about an inch across and they will leave a dusty powder behind if you touch them. This powder, reminiscent of the powder on people working in flour mills, is the source of the moth’s common name.

Later in the evening, after I had turned out lights in the house and was reading in bed, the moth, attracted by my reading light, arrived upstairs to bat and fly around my light. Chaos erupted as cats launched themselves towards the moth, and I grabbed the lamp. Mateo dove down the wall behind the bedside table, chasing the moth while Hannah tried to cut it off from the other side. Sigh. It was another long night…

This year there are an awful lot of moths on the move. Look at what showed up on my Facebook feed!

That’s right. As the cats and I know well, these moths are creatures of the night. I see them snacking on flowers that attract moths (lilacs, I’m talking to you!!) and bopping around lights during the night hours. Why these moths, creatures that hide from light all day, are attracted to sources of light at night, is a mystery to me, but there you are. There are several theories about why this happens, which you can read about here if you’d like.

Miller moths are annual visitors to my part of Colorado as they migrate westward towards the cooler foothills of the Rocky Mountains for the summer. In their caterpillar stage of life these moths existed as army cutworms, wreaking havoc on crops and grasses in fields on the Great Plains to the east. Once they emerge from their cocoons, the adults take to wing and head west in a great migration that lasts for weeks every May-June. Why are they doing this? There is a lot of speculation, but mostly it is thought that they are looking for better food and cooler conditions to survive the hot summer.

I try to keep a good attitude about the moths at this time of year. These moths are nocturnal and hunt for hiding places during the day where they are safe; too often they crawl into the cracks at the edges of the doors and windows and if you open one, the moth will take flight, end up in the house, and begin frantically searching for another hiding spot. Opening the garage door sets off a flurry of moths. I’m not going to lie; it can be really spooky when an unawares homeowner opens the front door to an erupting cloud of moths suddenly taking flight and batting against their face and hair. In my case it is worse because I have a storm door outside of my front door, and when I open the door, the moths have no place to fly except into my house. <Cue the cat excitement!!> How do those moths squeeze past the storm door to get inside the gap? They are experts at squeezing through tiny openings! Seriously, it has been so bad this year that this also showed up in my Facebook feed:

You are supposed to gently trap them and return them to the outside world where they belong. Here is the link to the article.

Can you hear Mateo wailing why??? He thinks that these moths are the best cat toys ever, and this is what Hannah looked like the first time she saw a moth on the wall:

Hannah: what is that??!

Well, the reason why they should go back outside is because they are important to the ecosystem. They are significant pollinators of flowers like the lilacs I mentioned above and other plants with strongly scented (and lightly colored) flowers. They are also important sources of food for birds like swallows; right now, there are furballs of swallows dipping and darting through some intersections and dodging cars as they snatch moths from the air. It is so bad it can be concerning when you approach the intersection; a swallow hit a car next to me while I was waiting at a light yesterday. Clearly, there are miller moths at these intersections and the birds are dive-bombing the cars as they hunt the moths. The reasons aren’t clear why the feeding is so good at some intersections, but as with all things miller moth, there you are. It must have to do with the lights, the lines between the poles, the swirling air, nearby fields, whatever. Just another magical phenomenon associated with the migration.

There is one last thing that I think of when the miller moths arrive. It is time for the kids to graduate! Year after year, graduation after graduation, I shook the hiding miller moths from my robes, carefully arranged my masters hood around my shoulders, and marched with my students as they left me and moved on with their lives.

The best migration ever!

Hannah and the CoalBear: Backyard Adventures

Hi. I’m Hannah.

Don’t you think that the new blankie looks nice with my fur? The Mother of Cats made good progress this week with 6 more hexagons knitted.

The weather suddenly turned nice this week and the Mother of Cats has been letting us spend more time out on the catio. WE LOVE THE CATIO!!! I mean, there is so much stuff to see out there that we never ever really saw before, and it keeps on changing all day long. The leaves move all by themselves!! There are more bugs than Mateo can chase, and this squirrel hangs around barking at us. Mateo wants to go play with it, but the Mother of Cats said no. She kind of says no a lot to Mateo. He kind of deserves it!

I’m not sure that this squirrel wants to play with Mateo the way it carries on up in the tree… so much noise!!

Luckily for Mateo the baby bunny is starting to get more used to us and comes out when we are on the catio. At first it wouldn’t come out if it even suspected that we were there, so Mateo had to resort to watching it from afar…

Eventually, the bunny began to come out to munch on dandelions while we were on the deck right by it. Now we can watch it up close as long as we move sneaky. Mateo is beside himself with excitement and I have to admit, I really like it too.

Do you see how close I can get to the bunny now?

Friday we spent all morning outside. The Mother of Cats was working on planting new flowers while we snoozed under the garden chair on the deck.

Do you see how nice these flowers are?

Lots of birds stopped by the yard: a blue jay, a robin, mourning doves, and even a crow. The leaves on the trees had just burst out of their buds that morning, and the ill-tempered squirrel was literally frolicking in the grass of the yard. It was a perfect, perfect morning.

Until the Mother of Cats looked up in time to see Mateo streaking across the lawn outside the catio wire…

I told him not to do it…

Soooo… there is a little problem with Mateo. He likes to streak through doors, but if he thinks that he is trapped on the other side, he has a TOTAL COW with so much yowling and frantic racing around that it is just horrible to watch. That’s exactly what happened when Mateo figured out that he was trapped on the WRONG SIDE of the wire. The Mother of Cats put me into the house, and then went outside the wire to catch him. Nope. Nope. Nope. There was no catching that little CoalBear because he was too intent on getting back into the catio, he is covered in slippery fur, and he just kept racing past her and pawing at the wire. He acted like he was afraid of the Mother of Cats! Did I mention that he was yowling? The dog next door started barking, all the bunnies and birds were long gone, and things didn’t look good until the Mother of Cats finally managed to herd him towards the opening in the wire so he could return to safety. Whew. She let me back out, got the staple gun to secure every single inch of wire so that there were no gaps at all, and then turned around to see…

Mateo leaping off the table and over the catio wire like a freaking gazelle!!

Cue the yowling, frantic racing and wire pawing … Thank heavens the next-door dog had been taken away and wasn’t barking anymore. Yeah. We had to go through the WHOLE THING AGAIN to get him back to the safe catio.

Mateo: Hannah called me names after we got back into the house. Why is she so mean to me?

Today we are staying indoors and taking it easy. The Mother of Cats moved the table so that it is farther from the wire, but we can’t go out unless she is right with us.

That’s okay. During all that commotion a freaking MOTH got into the house.

Mateo: best cat toy ever!

So now I’m hanging out with the Mother of Cats while she knits, and Mateo is relentlessly tracking the moth. He is such a silly, silly boy.

Have a good Caturday, everyone.

This is Hannah, signing off.

Hannah and the CoalBear: The Blanket Update.

Hi. I’m Hannah.

I have a new box to sit in! This is my blackberry box.

The Mother of Cats has kind of been all over the map lately. She knits on a project, works on her plants, reads a book, knits on another project, starts listening to a different book, and on and on and on. She just can’t seem to settle down and get things done. The books are getting stacked up next to the bed, and the knitting project bags are all over the house!! It is just crazy! I have been hanging out with her trying to settle her down, and slowly she has gotten several knitting projects done. A hat, a PICC line cover, some socks, and a knitted cat all got done. The empty project bags are piling up and I’ve shoved most of them into places where she can’t see them. The CoalBear dragged one of them behind the plants in the living room and I have one stashed under the bed…

Finally, she is spending most of her time knitting my blanket. Yay!

The blanket is going to be made from these knitted hexagons. Don’t you like that color of pink? I think that it looks good with my fur.
The Mother of Cats knitted a whole bunch of the units and kept them in a box where I couldn’t play with them. What is up with that? Finally, last week we began sewing the little units of the blanket together.
Look at how nice the hexs are going together!

It got really nice and warm this week and the Mother of Cats finally let the CoalBear and me go outside. There are bugs out there! I was a little freaked out by the wind, but mostly it is wonderful to hang out on the catio with her while she sews on my blanket.

Where is the bunny?

Yes, you read that right. The Mother of Cats put up chicken wire around the deck so the CoalBear and I can visit the outside, look at the bunny, and enjoy the breeze while staying safe. This is our catio now, and there is also a swinging garden seat and a nice table out there so the Mother of Cats can hang out with us as she enjoys her lunch and sews on the blanket. I just love spring, don’t you?

Don’t I look nice on the table?

So, do you want to see the whole blanket? It’s not done but you can kind of imagine what it will look like someday…

See how wide it is going to be!

Yesterday the Mother of Cats finished sewing together all of the hexagons that were made and she went back to knitting more hexs. She wants the blanket to be pretty big so there is still a lot of knitting to get done, and she is even talking about buying more yarn. What? When will this blanket ever get done?

That’s okay. I’ll just grap a nap while she’s knitting.

This is Hannah, signing off.

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

The blanket is being knit from the pattern Nectar Blanket by Ysolda Teague. I got a little carried away sewing together the units and my version is going to be bigger than the largest size in the pattern because, well, isn’t it really nice looking? I want it to cover the bed and I do have to share with the cats…

I’m going to have to get another large cable needle to put the border on this baby!

It has been just beautiful outdoors this week and I put out some potted plants. Yeah. It is going to be really cold again with snow this weekend. Those flowers with the cats on their catio will be heading into the garage tomorrow.

Hannah and the CoalBear: Orchid Cat Caturday

Hi. I’m Hannah.

The Mother of Cats has been ignoring me for days and days while she knits on a… CAT!!

I hardly know what to think. She had this cool yarn in the stash that kind of reminded her of orchids and spring. The orchids started blooming a few weeks ago and that was that… she began to ignore me and the CoalBear and started fussing over the orchids and the yarn.

Okay, it is true that the orchids are kind of cool. I like to climb into the garden where they are growing from time to time to hang out with them. The Mother of Cats gets a little cranky when I do it, however, so I don’t get to do it all the time. I lately have been sleeping right next to the Mother of Cats while she knits on this… cat… Really, it doesn’t look all that much like a cat, but she kept telling me that it was. Here’s what happened.

The cat started out with some crazy knitting that produced this leg. Whatever. I have a cat paw, and it doesn’t look anything like that. The colors kind of are like orchids, however…
As she kept knitting it began to look a little more like a cat, but…
What is up with this face!!!

I was really concerned for the Mother of Cats. It seemed like she didn’t really know what a cat is supposed to look like. I can kind of see the chin, but that nose and the EYES were the stuff of knitty kitty nightmares.

Finally, the ears, nose, and eyes were on the cat. Oh, wow. This is starting to look like a kitty (or maybe a pug?) and I can almost hear it asking, “When will I be done?”
Two days ago, she finally finished knitting the cat and I helped her put the whiskers on. Gee. He almost looks like he belongs in the orchids, doesn’t he.
He even looks pretty good in my strawberry box!
But the Mother of Cats says that he actually belongs in the orchid garden. He does look pretty good in there.

Now that the Mother of Cats has finished up the orchid kitty she has gone back to knitting on my blanket. Yay!! She isn’t ignoring me so much because she keeps putting the blanket on me while she sews the pieces together. I can’t wait to get my blanket and we are working on it every evening together while the CoalBear runs wild and chases his toys downstairs.

Mateo the CoalBear: why does Hannah get all of the cool knits?

Hannah: Because I am a little princess, and also because you don’t share the toys!!

This is Hannah, signing off.

Happy Caturday everyone!!

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • The pattern that I used is Grey Kitten Calico Cat by Claire Garland.
  • The yarn is a silk/merino/nylon blend by Noro called Tsubame. It is dk weight and I just knit the colors as they appeared in the ball as I worked. Mostly. I did throw out some green along the way.
  • My project page on Ravelry is here. Yeah, I was too lazy to write in any notes on the page.
  • I used the center quill of feathers to make the whiskers.
  • 5 of my 7 orchid plants are now blooming and they definitely deserve a knitted cat to hang out with them!!
  • Did you want to see the back of the cat? Here he is!
Doesn’t he look like a spring cat?

Hannah and the CoalBear: Bad CoalBear, Bad!!

Hi. I’m Mateo (AKA the CoalBear)

I’m the most handsome young cat ever, right? Emphasis should be on the word young. I’m not even two years old, I’m still growing, and I need lots of attention and play opportunities. Usually, the Mother of Cats and Hannah support my needs, but not this week. For reasons that I don’t understand I have been yelled at ALL WEEK LONG!!!

Okay, I was standing on the pizza while the Mother of Cats’ back was turned. Oh, are you having trouble seeing those prints?

How about this one? Hey, this is what the Mother of Cats gets for eating in bed, right? It’s not my fault that I tracked catsup footprints all over the white linen duvet cover. See the above comment about eating in bed…

Then I was caught bunny kicking and chewing on a library book. Umm… maybe if I got more attention, I would have to resort to stuff like this. I need lots of time with the laser light, and Hannah should be chasing me more, and why don’t I get more toys? All of my toys are old and I knocked all of the ping pong balls under the sofa so I can’t play with them now, and I AM SO BORED!!! I do play with the yarn every time the Mother of Cats knits, and would you believe I get yelled for that, too. I get yelled at EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!!

Hannah: <sigh> I keep telling the CoalBear that he needs to spend more time being cute, but does he listen to me? Nope. Not so much.

See how cute I am?

Now it is really, really cold outside and I can’t even go outside to look for the bunny. Maybe the Mother of Cats will knit soon so I can chew and chase yarn for awhile…

Sigh. Guess I will go see if I can get the tiger cat to play with me.

This is Mateo, signing off.

Hannah and the CoalBear: Snow Bunny Caturday

Hi. I’m Mateo.

It’s my favorite day of the week. I get to go out first thing in the morning with the Orange Monster to check out things on the catio. We see birds, and squirrels and lots of fun things while we are out there. We also get our paws cold, but that’s okay, because if you want to play with the Orange Monster, you have to be willing to deal with little stuff like that!

You won’t believe what we saw today…

The backyard bunny was out in the garden! I mean, the bunny was RIGHT THERE at the side of the catio where the Orange Monster and I hang out in the mornings. The Mother of Cats has been feeding the bunny acorn squash (I know, right?! Why would she do something like that… but the bunny does eat it… thank heavens she isn’t giving it our TUNA!)

Personally, I think that acorn squash flavored bunny would be a little weird, but I was certainly willing to try it out. Nope. Darn chicken wire… there needs to be a FREE MATEO protest, right? Can you hear my big cat sigh? The bunny finally left and the Mother of Cats put some more ACORN SQUASH out for it.

Now we are back indoors knitting on the scarf thingy

while Hannah snoozes…

and we both dream of the backyard bunny.

Happy Caturday, everyone!!

The Scleroderma Chronicles: So, there was this flare…

Wow. It has been some time since I last posted. Ironically, the last post was about the Mother of Cats being broken. I felt really good, and I was casting on a plethora of projects and was all over the place with my knitting, reading, projects, you name it. Hannah was complaining in that post that I was broken, and that I wasn’t devoting myself to making her a blanket.

Then scleroderma lowered the boom on me. I went into a flare of epic proportions. I hurt all over, I struggled to do just simple tasks, I started sleeping 10-12 hours a day, and I had to go back onto daytime oxygen. I kept heat packs on my sore joints, but I really needed a total body heat pack to cope with what was going on: every single tendon in my body was under attack!! I couldn’t regulate my body temperature and took multiple naps a day because I was too cold to stay awake. I developed chest pain. My brain fog became so bad I wasn’t safe to drive anymore… Yep. Broken.

Okay, I also accidently drank some Miracle Gro fertilizer that I had stored in a Snapple bottle. That is some serious brain fog, people!! (Yes, I did have to call poison control, I did eat burnt toast and I did drink a lot of water, and I don’t want to talk about this anymore…) Yep. Broken.

I managed to get some knitting done in spite of my ill-behaved health. I got some wristers made as Christmas presents and sewed zippered pouches for my sister and cousin.

Wristers and a zippered project pouch.

Sewing was a riot as I had to get the sewing room organized so I didn’t have to stand up very much as I cut, sewed, and pressed fabric to make the bags, but with some creative thinking and furniture arrangements I pulled it off.

I also finished my Emma sweater. I made a hat. I made some socks. I made some slippers. Everything was on big needles and used heavy weight yarn as I got too tired to knit more than a few minutes at a time.

This sweater was knit using the CocoKnits method and I learned some new methods of shaping and finishing. The yarn was chunky weight and is warm and comfy. I got it done early in the flare and it was just perfect for the days to come. The yarn that was left over was used to make a hat and a pair of slippers.

I did read some nice books, but mostly I slept and waited this miserable thing out. In the weeks while I was mostly bedbound my orchids started to grew stems for future blossoms, the first snows arrived, and my son moved in with his cats.

This is handsome Jonesy. Hannah does not like Jonesy, so there is now a chicken wire barricade at the top of the stairs to keep the two groups of cats separated. My son also has a long-haired tuxedo cat who just doesn’t care about my cats. Hannah, however, has a complete meltdown if Jonesy comes near her, so… barricade.

Mateo: I love Jonesy and I go through the barricade every day to rough house with my new best bud while Hannah hangs out with the Mother of Cats. Jonesy is the wild playmate of my dreams!

So, I think that I am out of the flare now as the multiple naps a day have stopped, and my appetite is back. Yesterday we made lasagna for Christmas and here is the present that I got from my son:

Perfect, right?

Can you see my blue lips? The bad news is that the Blue-Lipped Zebra is back in full force. I finally emailed my cardiologist to let him know that I am once again panting for air and feeling light-headed from doing simple tasks like… lifting a pan out of the cupboard or grating cheese. Ugh. I’m pretty sure that I am heading back into the cath lab for another look at my pulmonary pressures, but right now I am glad to be back on my feet and out of the flare. My son is still here (he works from home, so he just moved his operation over to my house) and things are going well in the combined household.

Hannah: as long as Jonesy stays on his side of the barricade!! Also, maybe the Mother of Cats will now settle down and get my new blanket done!!

Hannah and the CoalBear: The Mother of Cats may be Broken…

Hi. I’m Hannah.

Don’t I look like I’m a take-charge kind of girl?

I’ve been really busy supervising the Mother of Cats for the last couple of weeks as she has been knitting a multitude of projects with not even a little bit of discipline. I mean, she is all over the place and I never know what she is going to pull out of her knitting bag next. Let me show you what I’m talking about…

First, she started knitting all of these little hexagon units that will get turned into a blanket someday. Like, maybe when I’m too old to make the jump to the top of the bookshelf anymore she will get this done. She stopped after knitting the four units in the picture and then started knitting all of these…

PICC line covers!

Yep. PICC line cover after PICC line cover started to happen as she kept pulling out new colors of yarn from the stash. I thought that she was settled down and would stay with them for some time, but no, you would be wrong if you thought that! Did she go back to the hexagon units for the blanket? Nope.

She found some nice wildly dyed zebra yarn in the stash and started knitting some socks and then switched over to wristers because she was cold that afternoon. Do you see what I am dealing with here? NO DISCIPLICE AT ALL!!!

I gave up and took a nap after that. When I woke up that evening, I discovered that she had gone back into the stash to find some charcoal grey yarn that she wanted to make into a sweater. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MOTHER OF CATS!! I am concerned that this model might be broken, but I have put so much work into training her just right I hate to quit and start over with another one…

She evidently had seen the weather report and dug out this book to use in making the new sweater. The yarn and needles are really big, so she is making fast progress, but seriously, what about the blanket that we started a few weeks ago? I could use a new blanket more than she needs a new sweater!

She finished up the wristers last night and seems to be devoted to finishing the sweater. Sigh. What about the blanket? I kind of give up, but she is pretty good at keeping Mateo and me supplied with kitty cookies, so I guess I’d better keep her.

But I am a little concerned that she might need a little tune up to help her with her focus issues. I do kind of want that blanket, you know. Who knows what she will decide to knit the next time she visits the stash?

This is Hannah, signing off.

Happy Caturday, Everyone!

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • The hexagons are for the Nectar Blanket by Ysolda Teague.
  • I’m learning the Coco Knits method of knitting by following along with the book and knitting an Emma sweater, version B with bulky yarn and long sleeves. I have the colored stitch markers to go with the worksheet and everything! I was a little intimidated, but now that I’m below the yoke I am so impressed with what is appearing in the knitted object. I’m going to get this one done fast!
  • That sock yarn is from a trunk show at my local yarn store and I just had to knit it right now!!! I’m sure you understand.
  • I think that I’m going to get that blanket done next, but there are so many PICC line covers to get done before the end of the year…

Hannah and the CoalBear: Caturday Catch-up

Hi. I’m Mateo (AKA the CoalBear).

I’ve been helping the Mother of Cats with her knitting this week.

Hannah has been getting all of the attention for weeks and weeks while she was flying around on Sharon Air, so the Mother of Cats has been spending lots of time with me since Hannah came home from her adventures. She has been knitting and knitting on a smoky brown blob of yarny *something* and I have been extremely vigilant about attacking any stray ends that try to get away from her. I mean, I have sat by her side for hours watching intently… this is just exhausting! Finally, the Mother of cats got all of the stitches off the needles this afternoon and I could take a little nap while she tried it on.

Whew! She is pretty happy with how it is going, but she says that she needs to block it to see how long it will be. Whatever. All I care about is how long I get to nap before she puts this sweater monster back onto her needles. Oh, yeah. This sweater is called Lace & Fade by Joji Locatelli.

The Mother of Cats has also been busy sewing this week. Hannah decided to help her with this, which was totally okay with me because I think that the sewing machine is a little bit scary. Hannah kind of likes it and always spends all of her time in the sewing room when the mother of cats is busy in there.

Anyway, I hope that you can understand what this sewn stuff is. I think that it would be good if Hannah adds some notes here, so here she goes:

Hannah: Okay, here are my notes on the sewing we did.
  • The first picture is of the bedside caddy that the Mother of Cats and I sewed a few weeks ago. It is sewn to a towel that goes under the mattress (MY IDEA!!) and those nice pouches hold lots of things for the Mother of Cats.
  • Last week the Mother of Cats sewed the little caddy (middle picture) that is designed to hang from Command hooks on her bedside table. Isn’t it nice? The little pouches hold her glasses and phone, and the back pouch is exactly right for her Kindle tablet. It works great, but she is still thinking of how to improve it.
  • The last caddy is much larger, has two larger pouches at the bottom, and is kind of a mix-up of both bedside caddies. The Mother of Cats sent if off to her sister this week. The sister plans to do some trickery with grommets and stuff to hang it onto her bedside table.
Mateo: Hannah is asleep, so I’m taking over again.

The only other stuff that is going on around here is that trip the Mother of Cats took to the local garden and farm store. She came back with some crazy stinky roasted green chiles and also a funky pumpkin. Hannah and I stayed completely away from the kitchen while the chiles were roasting away in their boxes, but we did check out the pumpkin.

This is one ugly, scary pumpkin!!! Hannah and I don’t understand why this came home to stay with us. The Mother of Cats put it on the table with some other pumpkins and stuff. The Mother of Cats says that this is all about Halloween, but we just want our table back! Hannah likes to take naps up there, and now there is this stoopid, lumpy-ass pumpkin in the way…

It’s okay. I’d rather nap on the bed anyway. Also, soon there will be more knitting, too!

Happy Caturday, everyone!

This is Mateo, the CoalBear, signing off.

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

It is green chile season!!! Every year I get a bushel of chiles roasted and then I freeze them to use all during the winter. This year I bought two different types of green chile peppers and made two trips that netted me a total of a bushel and a half of peppers in the freezer.

If you’ve never done this, the process is really simple. The chile peppers are grouped by how hot they are… I buy chiles that are mild and avoid ones that have names like Ghost or Dynamite. This year I got a bushel of Ancho chile (the meaty green ones) and a half bushel of Marconi chile peppers. The peppers are washed, then dumped into a rotating drum that is turned over a flame until all of the skin is blackened and the peppers are roasted. They are then poured into a heavy plastic bag and packed into a box that is taken home to continue roasting for the next few hours. When they are finally cool enough to handle, I put 6-8 peppers into a freezer bag and then these are moved to the freezer when cooled. This year I froze 24 bags of chili pepper. I sure hope that’s enough to get through the winter. 🙂

When I use the peppers later on that blackened skin will just wash off, but the smoky flavor will linger. Green chile is good stuff; versatile, anti-inflammatory, and extremely addictive. I’ve already eaten two of my cached bags of chile this fall…

Green chile is also serious business in this part of the country. There is a rivalry between the governor of my state (Colorado) and New Mexico’s governor over who has the best chile crop. We do, of course. Pueblo chile forever!!

That pumpkin is called a Warty Goblin pumpkin. I think that they are so ugly they are cute!!