MacKenzie Speaks: We made a Sipila!

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

This has been going on for far too long, and I certainly haven’t been getting all of the attention that I deserve, but I am happy to announce that the Mother of Cats and I have finally finished her Sipila sweater.

Cat and knitting.
Do you see how nice her stitches are? That is what superior feline support can do for you!
Sipila Sweater
and here is her finished sweater. 

The picture would have been better if she had included me in the shot, but sometimes the Mother of Cats can be so selfish.

Sleeping Cat.
But she is letting me sleep with one of the left over balls of yarn. Maybe she isn’t too bad after all.

It’s late, so we are heading back to bed as soon as I get my cookies.

I’m such a good boy.

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • This sweater is Sipila by Caitlin Hunter. You can find my project notes on Ravelry here.
  • I was concerned about the floats early on in the knitting so I switched to catching all of the floats while knitting. It slowed me down, but I think that the fabric has more even stitches and I won’t have to worry about snagging floats while wearing the sweater. You can see how nice the fabric is in the picture of MacKenzie above. That was before blocking.
  • Yarn
    The Orchid yard was knitted in order with the skein on the left used as #1 and the one on the far right used at the bottom of the sweater.
  • I opened all the skeins and organized them in the order of brightest to darkest. I started the sweater using the brightest skein in the yoke, and then faded the skeins together using helix knitting.
  • I knit 6” of stockinette on the sleeve, and then another 32 rounds instead of starting the chart with the repeats of rounds 1-8. The chart was started with round 9 and the sleeve was finished following the directions. The length is perfect!!
  • The 4th skein was too bright at one end of the skein, and too dark at the other for the 2nd sleeve, so I had to helix knit all the stockinette section with the remains of the other three skeins to make the sleeve match.
  • I finished the sweater at the length suggested in the pattern, but I was unhappy with the length. I went back and ripped out that ribbing and then added another 2.5 inches to the body of the sweater using the ripped back yarn and the dark end of the last skein blended  together with more helix knitting. The final ribbing was done with the darkest skein of yarn.
  • The finished sweater is exactly as long as my sleeves. How cool is that?
  • I absolutely love the fit of this sweater!!
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MacKenzie Speaks: Sipila Progress

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Cat.
Do you see what I’m sitting on? The Mother of Cats and I have been working on the Sipila sweater.

I’m not going to mince words here… I lost my brother Yellow Boy and I can’t find him anywhere. I can’t believe it! I’ve checked everywhere: the closets, under the bed, all the corners downstairs, and in the garage. The Mother of Cats has been really nice and patient with me, but I don’t understand why she hasn’t brought him home yet. I’ve been so upset about losing him that I can’t even eat cookies anymore!

I can, however, eat the special soft food that he left here. The Mother of Cats is letting me eat a can of food every day. She put out all of my favorite toys and even found me some new ones. She bought new catnip and I have a pile of crunchy papers to play in too! Usually she ignores my needs, but lately she has been fairly attentive. I worry about how things have changed, and I’m sticking to the Mother of Cats like a wet hair ball these days. I’m not going to lose her too!! For the last two weeks we have been hanging out together and knitting away on her new Sipila sweater.

Cat chomping yarn.
Okay, there has been some yarn chomping…
Cat and knitting.
… and extremely attentive feline support. Can you see how neat those stitches are? That’s what superior cat supervision can do for you!
Sweater in progress.
Look at far we have gotten!! 

The Mother of Cats really likes this kind of knitting: two colors at once. I’m a fan too as there is twice as much yarn to chase while she’s working. We are making good progress and should have this sweater done in another week; the Mother of Cats is already talking about winding some yarn for the next sweater. Woohoo! I love yarn winding time.

Sleeping Cat.
But that is tomorrow. Right now I’m just going to grab a nap with the little ball of yarn that the Mother of Cats gave me for my own. She says she will make me a mouse out of it. Huh. If she really loved me she would have knitted it already. Strange priorities, Mother of Cats. Cat needs come first!!

I’m such a good boy.

Can I have some cookies… err… canned kitty food, now?

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • I just made it down to the colorwork section of the second sleeve. This sweater is a joy to knit and I am thrilled with the fit. I’m going to have half a skein of the magenta yarn left over so I’m considering ripping out the ribbing of the body and adding a few inches to the body. My project notes are here.
  • The next sweater will be Zweig. What a shock: another Caitlin Hunter sweater. This is definitely the year of the Caitlin Hunter sweater for me.
  • I’m debating the wisdom of getting a kitten for MacKenzie. (He is an Ocicat, and in general they need a lot of stimulation; the vet advised me to get him a kitten or puppy right away.) He is pretty needy, but he is also 15 years old. I’ve decided to give things more time.
  • Cat and author.
    Life has been a little sad the last two weeks,  but good cuddles and the zen of knitting are getting us through it.

    Have a great (knitting) weekend everyone!

MacKenzie Speaks: Smokey Sipila Days

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Handsome and unbelievably self-absorbed cat.
The Mother of Cats and I are staying inside because of the smoky air. 

The Mother of Cats has been a little grumpy lately because she is between projects, whatever that means. She has been reading books and just neglecting me something terrible. Yellow Boy has been sick, so he get special food, and do I get any of that? NO!!! She is just cruel to me. Why does she play favorites like this?

Yarn
Oh. Look at this. She made me a yarn bed!

I was so happy when she finally got up and put all of these yarns out for me on the table. I tried to sleep on this cushy new bed, but she kept chasing me off. Why does she act this way? She played with the red yarns and put them into some order of light to dark; the brightest yarn is now labeled #1, and the darkest one is #4. The Mother of Cats is really strange, don’t you think? She should probably chill out and eat more cookies…

Yarn winding cat.
Then I helped her wind all of the yarns into cakes. Why does she do these things? The yarns were perfect the way they were as my bed, but nope! She was compelled to put my yarns onto this contraption that kept hitting my ears. The Mother of Cats can be so thoughtless!

Finally the yarn was all wound and I helped myself to some chomps while she was putting the yarn onto her needles. I really had to assert myself to get the quality attention that I deserve, but she did give me the petting breaks and cookies that I’m entitled to. Because she was acceptably attentive I only chomped a little bit on the yarn and we spent the afternoon knitting on the new sweater.

Cat and knitting.
See what a good helper I am?
Knitting.
By this morning you could start to see the pattern emerging. Good job, Mother of Cats!!

Today the smoke was really thick so we battened down the hatches (the Mother of Cats has been reading all of this books about sailing…) and spent the afternoon knitting away. This evening I wolfed down Yellow Boy’s special food (Hey… she had neglected to give me my cookies! What am I supposed to do?), went upstairs to sleep it off, and the Mother of Cats got a lot more knitting done.

Knitting
Look at how far she’s gotten!! Not bad, but she should have left the yarn in my new bed…

Now I’m up from my nap and the Mother of Cats and I are going to cuddle and read a book. It is good to be a cat. I’m so glad that the Mother of Cats is finally paying enough attention to me.

I’m such a good boy.

Can I have some cookies now?

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • Today the smoke was pretty bad in Denver; we have an air quality action alert until tomorrow evening. Good thing I have great knitting projects going.
  • Yellow Boy is losing weight and off his feed; we suspect diabetes. Right now he is on a special formula for diabetic cats, and we’ll see how he does. Sad days.
  • This sweater is Sipila from Caitlin Hunter. My project notes are here.
  • I’m knitting the orchid yarns as a gradient with the brightest skein at the top of the sweater in the colorwork and the darker skeins at the bottom; I numbered the cakes to keep it organized.

FO: Marettimo Sweater

The last few weeks have been full of air alert days; smoke from the fires in the western states and Canada has given Colorado breathtaking sunsets and trouble for people with lung issues like mine. The cats and I have hunkered down inside and surrendered to good books and great knitting. Okay, that’s me; the cats have settled for demanding salmon and lots of attention. Thankfully there are some naps, too. Seriously, this isn’t really a hardship when you consider how devastating these fires are for the communities and agencies battling them. I hope that things improve soon for all those impacted by the fires, and in the meantime I’m staying busy inside. Just look at the sweater I finished yesterday!!

Marettimo Sweater.
Isn’t this just a perfect sweater for summer? Cute, but fast and easy knitting for warm indoor summer days.

This is Marettimo by Caitlin Hunter. The minute I saw it I knew that I needed to make it! I was just finishing up a Tegna sweater (also by Caitlin Hunter) so I knew I would like the comfy shaping of this sweater too. Bam! Before I had finished the Tegna I was stash diving and hunting for yarn that I could use for a Marettimo.

Yarn for sweater.
Look at what I found! All of these were already in the stash (left to right): Indigo (Chasing Rabbits), Solis (Malabrigo), and Marina (Kim Dyes Yarn). I had to buy one more skein of the Chasing Rabbits yarn, but for the most part this was a stash buster.
Lace detail.
You can see haw all three yarns are used in this lace detail at the bottom of the sweater.

I had just bought a new tablet from Amazon and enrolled in Audible books, so I listened to a couple of books while I stitched away, and in two quick weeks I had finished another couple of Maggie Hope mysteries (by Susan Elia MacNeal) and the sweater. I like Maggie Hope: intrepid British spy and math-loving code breaker in WWII settings; right now she is undercover in Berlin carrying out a dangerous mission… see why I’m knitting at a blistering pace? In case you are wondering, the titles that I’ve been reading are Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, and now I’m sailing through His Majesty’s Hope. I’ve already scored the rest of the books in the series from the library…

Yesterday I finished weaving all of the ends in and popped the sweater on over my clothes. Not a bad fit, considering…

Finished sweater.
It will look so much better when not layered over another shirt. Still, pretty darn nice! My project notes for the sweater are here.

This afternoon smoke is filling the sky again and I have been digging through the stash with the ever helpful MacKenzie. I have more yarn out and have cast on the next sweater, and would you believe that it is ANOTHER Caitlin Hunter design? I can’t wait to show it off!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Evening edit: Look at what I found after watching the evening news which had an article about the air alerts from smoke and ozone. This interactive map from AirNow has lots of info about air quality and how to stay safe.

Fires: Current Conditions

Yellow Boy Speaks: Look at this Tegna!

Hi. I’m Yellow Boy.

Cat face.
The Mother of Cats has been knitting like crazy on her new Tegna sweater.

I’ve been really helping the Mother of Cats out with her knitting. It’s a lot of work, but someone (ahem… me!) needs to keep their eye on things while she’s working. MacKenzie told me to chomp her yarn to keep her on her toes, but I’m a good boy. I like to be right in the action without actually sitting on the yarn.

Knitting and cat eye.
See what I mean? 

It’s important that I take a good look at her work from time to time to make sure she’s staying on task. I figure that if I check things over every half hour that’s good enough.

Sleeping cat.
The rest of the time I nap!

The Mother of Cats made really good progress on the sweater and got it finished this morning. It is so cute! She took it right outside and grabbed some pictures of it before the afternoon thunderstorms started.

Finished Tegna sweater.
It looks pretty darn good, doesn’t it? This is what you get when you have quality cat support for your work.
Lace detail of the sweater.
The lace detail is my favorite!

Before the Mother of Cats had finished this sweater she had already started fussing over the yarn for the next one. “So many sweaters, so many choices”, she keeps mumbling as she digs around in the yarns. I think that she has finally made up her mind and has settled on some blue yarn for the next sweater. But first, she is going to make some socks this weekend. Oh. Socks. I don’t do socks. MacKenzie kind of specializes in socks. I like the sweaters. And bugs. I’m a pretty big fan of chasing garter snakes, too. Why can’t the Mother of Cats let me chase garter snakes in the house?

Toy ice by the cat food.
Sigh. Guess I’ll have to make due with my toy mice. 

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

The sweater is Tegna by Caitlin Hunter.  This is my second Tegna sweater, this time in cotton/linen blend yarn. Here are the project notes for this one. I was so proud of my work that wore it this afternoon to go grocery shopping; there was a horrible accident at the check out lane that involved a dropped bottle of soy sauce and a carton of fresh strawberries: my beautiful Tegna is now soaking in the sink… Such is life.

Cat chasing a moth.
Chasing a moth while I was reading in bed. This was truly a duck and cover moment for me…

Yellow Boy is the indoor bug hunter extraordinaire… anything that moves in the house gets caught and eaten. When he is short of entertaining wildlife he pulls out his toys which usually get abandoned at his food bowl. On the morning of the picture he had pulled out all three of his toy mice.

Sweater Troubles

This is all the fault of Ravelry designer Caitlin Hunter. I’m busy knitting away on her Tegna sweater (for the second time… I made one of these last month and I discovered that I needed another) and I have gotten above the lace section at the bottom and am now cruising through the plain knitting section.

Lace detail on knitting.
See. Cruising through the simple stockinette rounds. Easy-peasy, but kind of boring…

I have really picked up speed now that I am above the lace. Woohoo! I may have this done in another week depending on how much I wander off to knit other things like socks because, well, it is just a tad boring… my mind wanders. I start to dream of other projects and about things that I want to do. I think about books I want to read. I think about mowing the lawn. I think about what I want to cook for dinner. I start to plan the next sweater and then I go on a mental wander of yarn stash. Hmm… what is in there? What should I knit next?

I take knitting breaks to drag out yarn in the colors and weights that I think might work for my next project. I go back to knitting, and then on the next break I head back to the stash to pull out another couple skeins that I just remembered. I have literally woken up in the morning thinking of another possible yarn/color combination. The yarn, stored in plastic lock-top bins, starts to stack up next to my knitting chair. My mind wanders more…

Today I dragged out 4 skeins of wild fuchsia painted yarn that my BKB Deb convinced me to buy a few months ago out to the back deck to look at it in the sun with different contrasting yarn combinations. I’m thinking of colorwork here…

Yarn.
Choice #1
Yarn
Choice #2
Yarn
Choice #3

I fussed and worried about my choice, kept looking at how the yarns played with each other, and finally decided on choice #2 as it calmed down the wild colors a little and blended better with the dark undertones in the main color fuchsia yarn. So, what will this be? You are looking at my next project, a Sipila (by Caitlin Hunter) long sleeved sweater that should be done just in time for late summer/early fall.

Kitted up sweater waiting to be knit.
Here is the sweater all packed up and ready to be taken out later when I start knitting.

But wait… I also found this fabulous Uncommon Thread yarn in the colorway Brasselthwaite lurking in the back of the stash.

Yarn.
Look at this yarn! This is dying to get knit up into a sweater. Look at those shades of blue.

At first I though that this yarn wanted to be a Zweig (by Caitlin Hunter) sweater and I matched it up with a yummy gold cashmere blend yarn that I bought from Western Sky Knits to make the lace yoke for the sweater.

Yarn
See, won’t this look great? I love how these colors go together.

Here’s the problem… I have all of this yarn that I’ve dragged down to the knitting arena to go through during knitting breaks. I keep finding colors that I really liked. I kept thinking of different combinations of colors. I had my heart set on some colorwork. Gee, Caitlin Hunter has some really nice colorwork sweaters…

Yarn
Seriously, doesn’t this look like the makings of a kick-ass Sunset Highway sweater? All of these yarns are part cashmere and the same yardage in each 100 gram skein. It’s a sign. I have to make the Sunset Highway!

If I knitted a Sunset Highway I could use the Uncommon Thread for the body and the other three colors would make the colorwork yoke. I really like these colors… I really liked the idea of making the Zweig… I have a lot of skeins of grey yarns with little flecks of color… can I maybe fade them together to make the Zweig, but if I do that , what will I use for the lace section? Hmm… I wonder what is in the stash?

I am knitting like the wind now on the Tegna, and as I stitch I mull over my sweater options. So many sweaters, so much yarn. My goal is to use as much yarn as I can from the stash without heading off to the LYS to buy more. I’m trying. Really, I am. I am determined to have a stash that has shrunk by the end of summer.

So, I have gone down the Caitlin Hunter sweater rabbit hole. Just a little bit…

I am having sweater troubles for sure. May you all have the same. 🙂

MacKenzie Speaks: Another Tegna?! (The Mother of Cats is out of control…)

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Hot Cat
It is still hot here. 

The Mother of Cats and I are still staying inside every day because of the heat. You’d think that she would devote herself to helping me cope with the unacceptable weather, wouldn’t you? I mean, look at this fur! Nope. She just turned on a ceiling fan for me and went about her business. I’m not sure she really loves me… She spends more time babying her plants outside then she does me. How could I come in second to a rose? Ridiculous!!

Tea Rose
She has managed to get one of her tea roses to bloom.
Hydrangea
Her hydrangea that she bought this spring really got cooked by the heat (check out those crispy leaves…), but it has put out some new blooms too. Yep, you guessed it. She fusses over this plant more than me too!

When she isn’t outside ignoring me and feeding her plants she spends her time downstairs knitting away on new projects. She started two new ones this week, and would you believe that she started another Tegna sweater?

Swatch
She even made a swatch this time. This yarn is cotton and linen and she wasn’t sure about the gauge (whatever that is… Yellow Boy wants to know if it is a kind of bug…), so she had to try out different needle sizes.
Paw on yarn.
I helped her with that!
Cat and Knitting.
I closely supervised her work, and after a week look at what we have accomplished!
Lace detail on knitting.
Ta-da! Looking good, huh.

She took a break from the sweater over the weekend and made a sock. So cool. So perfect to sleep in my bed with me. Did she put cat nip into it and let me have it? Nope! I’ve discussed this before, but with the Mother of Cats it is always NOPE!!

Yarn
This is the yarn that she started with…
Sock.
…and here is her sock. She plans to make the second one this coming weekend.

So that was the whole week. She did go off and leave us from time to time, and there was some reading, but whatever. What is important is that she spends her time with me.

Cat and Knitting.
Tonight we are back to knitting the sweater.  Finally I am getting the attention that I deserve: grooming, petting, cookies. Lots of cookies!

I’m such a good boy. Do you see how much I am helping the Mother of Cats?

Can I have some cooking now?

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • I bought this cotton/linen yarn to make a cute lacy summer top but I was not able to get the gauge that I needed, and because of the lace it was going to be hard to adapt the pattern, and knitting tightly on small needles hurt my hands. Total fail. The solution? Another Tegna! I am so happy with the first one I knit and I think that this one will be a nice layering piece as fall arrives with the longer sleeves I’m going to put on it. My Ravelry notes are here.
  • Poor garden. Even though the heat goes on it is more humid now and plants are doing better. I feed everything in the hopes that roses will bloom again; so far only the tea roses in pots are responding well. That hydrangea is in a pot as I can’t decide where to plant it. I think that it is going to need shade at least part of the day. Poor thing; it really got fried in the first location I tried out. I’m wondering if it can winter indoors in the pot with a grow light on it. Hmmm…
  • The socks are another of the vanilla sock pattern Dave. I’m having fun playing with the colors. My Ravelry project notes are here.