We have had so many snowstorms this month I have lost count. We seem to get one every few days…maybe the one coming next Monday will be storm number 6? Anyway, there has been lots of shoveling and knitting going on this week.
With all of the snow I have really been focusing on making more of the thick snowshoe socks that keep my feet warm and cushioned when I go outside. MacKenzie was really involved in the production of these socks this week so he will be blogging soon about them, but let me say that we are just cranking them out. I also worked on some mitts to give away to other members of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation. These mitts aren’t all that much as I’m making them out of leftover sock yarn that has been piling up in the stash, but I hope that they will be as helpful to other people as they are to me. Here’s the two pairs that I finished this week.
Since I was occupied with socks and mitts I didn’t get as much done on the Pebble Tunic sweater by Joji Locatelli as I thought I would, but I am making some progress.
I bought myself some cute, cute, cute miniature ornamental kale plants this week. Look at these!!
I bought two more to put into my little greenhouse that I keep on the kitchen window shelf. These just make me happy, and they were super, duper cheap, too, at $4 a plant. Total score for the kitchen garden!!
I thought that I could get all three plants into the greenhouse, but I also bought the little clay pots and they made the fit for three plants too tight. I like the clay pots, so these two will have to hang out in the greenhouse by themselves.
The monster orchid is still looking good and the buds are a little bigger, but I won’t see the bloom for another week or two I think. The buds aren’t producing any color, so there is a chance that these will be very light colored flowers. It’s an orchid adventure!
I’m still slowly reading The Water Dancer. It’s good, and it is making me think a lot, but the performer’s voice is rather soothing and I do go to sleep within a half hour . Hey, that is a good thing, too, right?
There is another snowstorm coming next week so I should make more progress on the audiobook and my sweater.
So, I am a little late with the weekly update. Since it is only the second week of the year it doesn’t really look at that good, does it. I mean, I should start out the way that I mean to go if I am going to stick to this posting practice. In my defense I an only say…
I really had a busy week, but it was sort of a nonproductive one as I spent most of my time fussing around, swatching, making phone calls and struggling to make decisions.
I want to make another knitted cat that looks like MacKenzie, but he is a hard combination of colors and patterns. I spent part of the week shopping the stash (which I did clean out and reorganize while I was at it!), going to the local yarn store, and hunting online. Then I made swatches of various combinations of yarn as I made decisions. Finally, finally, on Friday I cast on and started to knit. I did blog about this project and you can find it here.
I also have some mohair that I bought in December that I just love. Look at this:
I want to make a sweater with this yarn by stranding is with a fingering. I have struggled with the decisions: I need the perfect pattern and a fingering that will work with the pattern and make this color shine true. Not as easy as it seems.
I first focused on the color. There was NO pink yarn at my local yarn store that would work with this mohair. I wanted pink with a little bit of speckle. Nope, nope, nope. There was baby pink, hot pink, brownish-pink, bright pink, but not the pink that I wanted. I want to keep the dusty greyish undertone in this yarn! I tried to swatch with various grey yarns hoping that the mohair halo would dominate. NOPE! I tried to swatch with a muted variegated yarn hoping that I would like it as an alternative. NOPE! Actually, that was a huge nope. I want that dusty pink!!
Forget the color. Maybe I should make a decision about the sweater first. I was torn between knitting The Daydreamer and Iskald. I own both patterns so I read through them and made the decision: Daydreamer it is! That sweater has lots of detail work: honeycomb, moving stitches, and bobbles. I needed a smooth yarn that would show off the details through the mohair. I went back online for the umpteenth time hunting for the right color with the correct yarn properties. It has to be a smooth yarn, maybe something not quite pink, something that would add some depth but maintain the dusty hue… with the new focus I looked at yarns I hadn’t considered earlier. Bingo! There was the yarn at the Loopy Ewe.
Yay! After all the agonizing I had made my decision. I immediately tried to order the yarn from the Loopy Ewe instead of driving up to Fort Collins, Colorado, to see the yarn in person with my mohair in hand.
And I failed. The website refused to let me log in or to register me as a customer as someone else had my email address. Right, you dumb ass computer, that person is me!! Get with the program here!! I have bought yarn in person at this store in the past and now I want to buy online. Nope, nope, nope said the computer.
<Why is this the week of NOPE!! I asked myself?>
I called the store and suddenly the week did a complete turnaround. The wonderful woman at the store verified my identity, reset the password in a workaround at her end, pulled my yarn for me to check the color consistancy, and sold it to me on the phone. Yay!! The yarn arrived by express mail the next morning and I just gasped in joy when I saw it. Loopy Ewe, you are the best ever!!!
I spent almost the entire week making knitting decisions, but I did get a little knitting done too.
The orchids continue to do well and another plant has buds that look ready to burst open. I think this plant will be purple. Yay. Can’t wait. It has been a good week for plants, and a bad one for the white flies. I think that the Neem oil did them in. Bye white flies. Don’t come back!!
I’m reading three books at once this week, I have to get another one done by Tuesday evening for my book club, and I’ve finished nothing. Stay tuned. I’m sure to get something finished soon.
So that was the week. Lots of indecision and swatch making. I also spent way too much time on the phone and computer trying to set up an appointment with my doctor during the week, but by the end of the week everything was in place for an appointment and testing next week to track down the source of my extremely annoying new symptoms. <Yep. This was more of the NOPE! theme of the week. Would I like to see another doctor? NOPE!! These new docs tend to go crazy when they get their hands on rare disease me. Would I like to go to Urgent Care? Umm… in the height of a major flu outbreak? NOPE!! See, I can do nope too!> Hopefully there will be some answers on the medical scene soon and I can write a post about that. 🙂
The end of the year is in sight. I have books that aren’t finished and some projects that still aren’t done, but I’m good with my progress on the three challenges that I set for myself this year. There were three big ones: removing skeins of yarn from my enormous yarn stash, completing and logging knitted projects on Ravelry, and finishing books that I logged on my page at Goodreads. I did really well this year! Here’s the numbers.
I set a goal of 30 projects for myself in the Challenge at Ravelry. This was 5 more than last year, and I managed 25 projects the year before, so I was comfortable with the number. Since I was focusing on using up yarn in the stash I really was responsible about logging each project and recording the yarn used and the amounts as best I could. I got lots of things done this year: lots of socks, mitts, sweaters, and some odd items along the way.
There were lots of other projects that came off my needles; too many to show here. MacKenzie got a mouse and a blanket. I made cowls, dishcloths, and some thrummed mittens. It was a great year! As of tonight I have completed 48 projects, and the number is actually more as I combined some little projects together in the same Ravelry project page. Knitting goal crushed!
I resolved in January to get at least 50 skeins of yarn out of the yarn stash. At my high point in December I had gotten out 75 skeins, but a little trip to my favorite yarn store saw me buying 4 skeins of my most favorite color mohair, more yarn for the cat that I am knitting, and some yarn that I felt I had to grab when I saw it. Nine more skeins walked out of the store with me that day. Whatever. When you deduct the yarn from my total I still got 66 skeins of yarn out of the stash this year. Yarn destash goal crushed!!
Lots of reading happened this year. I began to listen to audiobooks while knitting and once that happened the book count steadily climbed through the year. I set myself a goal of 50 books at Goodreads; as of tonight I have finished 65 books this year. Reading goal crushed!!
I tried to pick my favorite books from the list, but that was too hard. So many 5 star books! Here are some of the ones that really made an impression on me:
Where the Crawdads Sing is a magical tale of an isolated young woman, abandoned as a child by almost everyone who should have cared for her, who grows to become a gifted naturalist in her own right. Living with nature in a coastal marsh area, guided by her understanding of the biological systems in the ecosystem around her, she becomes the focus of a murder investigation. Is she the victim of prejudice? Did she do it? Was there actually a crime? You will have to read the book for yourself!
Blowout speaks for itself in the title. Hey, I live in Colorado. Oil money is big here, the risks to the population are real, and I remember when we had earthquakes from the fracking operations. Nowadays there is a battle to control how close drilling can be to human habitation in this state; there are a lot of jobs involved, but there was that home that exploded in Firestone, Colorado… Did you know that an early fracking operation in Colorado involved a nuclear explosive that was detonated underground? Yeah. I highly recommend this book.
Childen of Ruin speaks to one of my pet peeves in science fiction writing. Why do we always depict aliens as being like us? You know, bipeds who speak and have hands. Beings that think like us. Why should that be? This book goes there using models of intelligence found right here on earth. Octopuses are way smart, but their method of information processing is very different from our own, and they use visual cues in their communication. Portia spiders have object permanence and are canny predators who use a model of problem solving that is formidable and different from our own. Slime molds get together from time to time and act like a multicellular organism… how do they coordinate that trick? Bacteria have more genes in their population than any one member can store; learning is fluid and travels through the population as members swap genes with each other. This book made me think about all these models of intelligence and made me look at my plants and animals with new eyes. One of my jade plants had a slime mold last summer and I put it right outside… best to be safe!
The Night Tiger was a huge gift to me. Magic. Dreams. The interface between the spirit world and our own. Tigers who become people, or is it the other way around? It was just a fun, wonderful read with a strong female character in the lead. I loved it.
There were so many other 5 stars in my list, but I can’t write about then all. Here’s a list: Ninth House, The Night Fire, The Testaments, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, The Guest Book , The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and The Alice Network all made the list.
So that’s that. I made it through all of my resolved goals and I’m now thinking about new ones. It’s time to take out the spinning wheel and the loom, don’t you think? That, however, will be another post.
I haven’t been feeling all that well for awhile. To be fair, the Mother of Cats has been spending a lot of time trying to be nice to me. She gets me special food. She washes my ears every day before I get my medicine. She has gotten more blankets and beds for me to sleep in.
Things just aren’t going well for me right now, and Monday was the worst. I couldn’t use my cat box no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t walk right. I kept vomiting and it hurt so bad I couldn’t help myself… some horrible yowls came out before I could stop them. It was really late at night but the Mother of Cats threw me into my cat carrier and off to the Kitty ER we went. The radio played some Christmas music as we drove through the night. Thankfully the streets were dry and we made good time.
Once I got to the ER I got a nice pink towel to make me feel calm and I met a nice lady vet who said that my tummy was really hard and tight. NO KIDDING!!! Then the fun started. I got whisked away from the Mother of Cats and taken back into the bowels of the clinic. They put me to sleep so I could have x-rays. They did nasty things to my bottom and gave me an enema. They cut off all of my nails!!! Christmas Eve arrived while I was being taken to the x-ray machine. Hours later they sent me home again with new drugs, special food, and a very sore bottom. WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME?
I was so tired that I didn’t move off the Mother of Cats’ bed all day Christmas and didn’t even use the cat box once.
While I was getting the luxury spa treatment at the Kitty ER (NOT!!) Little Miss Pitty-Pat escaped from her cage and went on an adventure exploring the house. She dragged piles of my cat food into her cage! She took some of my wooly fleece out of my cat bed and put it into her bed in the cage. She slept in her cage Christmas Day so the Mother of Cats thought I was eating lots of the new food and never suspected what was up. Poor Mother of Cats. She tries hard but we really are too much for her.
At 2am in the morning on the day after Christmas I noticed Pitty-Pat running around on the floor of the bedroom. The Mother of Cats woke up when I ran over her to get to Pitty-Pat. Pitty-Pat ran behind the dresser and holed up underneath. The Mother of Cats just ignored me, sprang into action, and began building a barricade of blankets, pillows and furniture to keep Pitty-Pat trapped in that corner of the room. She just acted like I wasn’t there!! Fine, I didn’t want to play with Pitty-Pat anyway since I feel pretty darn TERRIBLE and my bottom hurts! I gave up and went to sleep in the sewing room while the Mother of Cats moved furniture, trapped Pitty-Pat, repaired her cage, and finally calmed down enough to go back to sleep. It was 4am by that time and I was ready to move back into the big bedroom anyway. The down comforter on that bed is my favorite!
The next day the Mother of Cats shoved ANOTHER pill down my throat and I finally began using my cat box again. I now feel a little better, but I have to eat food that I don’t like, and the Mother of Cats keeps putting more medicine on my ears. The vet has called twice since my visit to the ER and I couldn’t help hearing that I need to come back in a few weeks to get more testing. What a yucky Christmas I am having here! Pitty-Pat seems to be having a really nice one, however…
Enough about me. I bet that you want to see the Christmas knitting, don’t you. Here it is!
That’s it. Not that much knitting happened this Christmas unless you want to include the knitted Cat that the Mother of Cats and I are still working on. It looks a little wonky right now, but we are going to work on it this weekend and hopefully it will be done by the end of the year. I can’t wait to write a post showing it off to all of you.
I’m such a good boy!
Can I have something nice to eat instead of the yucky new food?
The pincushions are made with yarn that my cousin got on her trip to Peru this fall along with some Peruvian yarn that I had in the stash. The pattern is Chloe’s Cushions by Yamagara and is free.
MacKenzie is struggling with several medical issues at the moment. He is being treated for hyperthyroidism and developed severe constipation; who knew this is a medical emergency in cats? The x-rays and exam revealed several other problems including kidney disease, stones in his bladder, arthritis, and an enlarged spleen. There is some concern that he has cancer, but we are spending the next month working on the issues that can be treated right now with medications (the bladder stones, constipation, and hyperthyroidism), and after seeing where we following an ultrasound next month the vet and I will decide next steps.
The new food is supposed to dissolve the stones in MacKenzie’s bladder.
The medicine that I smooth onto the insides of MacKenzie’s ears is for the hyperthyroidism.
What was the pill that I had to shove down MacKenzie’s throat you ask? A stool softener, of course. It worked!!
I got a weighted blanket for Christmas and MacKenzie has taken it over as his own. Of course. It’s like getting hugged while you sleep. If ever there was a kitty who deserved some hugs, it’s this guy.
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.
It’s summer now. I can hardly believe it, things have gone by so quickly. I’m feeling pretty darn good these days and have been steadily working my way through projects around the house and in the yard. It is cutting into the knitting time, but I’m still being pretty productive.
Yep. I’m out of the flare! It was only about 2 weeks this time, which is something like a record. I credit my dermatologist and the new antibiotic/anti-inflammatory that she started me on for this. Scleroderma/Sjogren’s/fibromyalgia begone!! Okay, they are still misbehaving on a daily basis, but I have energy, my brain fog is gone, and I am up doing stuff every day. Good days.
Anyway, back to the knitting and the yarn destash project. Back in January I cleaned and organized my stash, gave myself a good mental shake, and resolved to use/remove at least 50 skeins of yarn from the stash. I made great progress over the winter, had a little slip when I went to the Interweave Yarn Fest, and have been catching up from the setback since then. Here’s what I have finished since my last report:
I still have a some projects on the needles: a Suburban Wrap, a What the Fade?! shawl, and another pair of socks. All this knitting brought me up to 25 skeins used this year, so I am right on the pace to meet my resolution.
Tomorrow is my DIL’s birthday so she took a tour through the stash hunting for some gift yarn. Woohoo! She took 5 skeins of yarn that I don’t really love or have a specific project for, and three skeins that will make a fabulous Suburban Wrap of her own; those three are a set that I love and felt a pang in letting go, so they make the gift.
There has been a surge in the Destash Resolution project. With the skeins that just left the building I am now up to 33.5 total skeins used/removed this year. Yay! Some of those yarn bins are getting kind of empty and it will be time to reorganize the stash soon. I already have two sweaters and another wrap organized and waiting to move into the knitting workroom, and the goal of 50 skeins is suddenly in reach. Woohoo! Maybe I should up the total?
Best to not get cocky! I’ll just keep knitting on and let’s see what happens.
Happy 4th of July everyone who is celebrating that holiday.