Hannah and the CoalBear: GoldenFern Report

Hi. I’m Hannah. This has been a really special week. Let’s get to the most important event of the week first:

It was the anniversary of the day I came to live with the Mother of Cats this week!!! It has been two whole years since I arrived here more than a little upset. I mean, I had gone to another home and they didn’t like me and they took me back to the shelter! They said something about crying all night… I wouldn’t let the Mother of Cats out of my sight, slept on her bed plastered right against her so she couldn’t get away from me, followed her everywhere, and the rest is history. Now I am so essential to her life she wouldn’t know what to do without me.

For example, I worked really hard all week helping her with her new sweater. We got the second sleeve done early in the week (I helped her manage all of the loose ends by chasing and chomping on them whenever possible…) and then she had the bright idea of adding an I-cord edging to the bottom of the body of the sweater.

I got a great nap in while she was applying the edging below the ribbing of the sweater’s body.

It took her almost two hours to add the edging to the bottom of the body of the sweater, and then it was time for cookies and some excitement. CoalBear and I chased the laser light for a while, got some more cookies, and watched for moths while she finished off all of the ends, and then, in the middle of the night she tried on the sweater!

It fits!! I think that the Mother of Cats is kind of silly when she gets so excited, but I love her anyway.

The next day we misted and steamed the sweater to block it and left it out to dry.

Here is the sweater blocking in the closet where I can’t sleep on it. Why does the Mother of Cats do these things?

Can you see that the colorwork of the sleeve is a little more tightly knit than the colorwork on the body? That’s because the Mother of Cats used a bigger sized needle on the body so that the gauge would stay the same (Is gauge like tuna? If so, I wonder if I can have some for dinner?), but when she did the sleeve she didn’t go up a needle size so the sleeve snugged in a little and it fits her wrist just right. That was my idea: pretty smart, don’t you think? The I-cord added to the edging of the body gave it a little more weight and makes the sweater hang nicely. The Mother of Cats is really happy with her Goldenfern sweater. See what a great job I’m doing helping her? She never would have had the patience to add that edging to the sweater if I hadn’t been there for purring support!

Right now, the CoalBear and I are hanging out in front of the air conditioner.

I’m so glad that the Mother of Cats brought me home to live with her. Do you see that she gives me all the boxes that I want and a little playmate buddy too!!

See you next week!

Hannah

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

I put a lot of thought into this sweater. Here is some of my thought process:

  • The designer used a single ply yarn in her original design so I felt empowered to do the same. I found yarns for the contrast colors in my stash, and all of them are also single ply.
  • The lifted increases in the body are almost impossible to find! I could not be happier with the way they came out.
  • The designer suggested going up two needle sizes for the colorwork portions to maintain gauge; since my yarns were thin I settle with going up one needle size for the body.
  • I went back to the MC for the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater which gave the ferns a “floating” look.
  • I stayed with the needle size used for the sleeve when I got to the colorwork on the cuffs as I wanted a snugger fit.
  • I like the look of I-cord bind off at my wrists so I did a three stitch I-cord (instead of 2 stitch) in the MC to make them it stand out.
  • I then picked up stitches along the bound off ribbing at the bottom of the body and did a 3 stitch I-cord bind off along the bottom of the sweater. This I-cord doesn’t really stand out, but rather blends right in with the ribbing and provides a clean edge that has a little more weight.
  • My Ravelry notes are here.

Hannah and the CoalBear: It’s Caturday Again

Hi. I’m the CoalBear (AKA Mateo)

It is sooooo hot today. It is almost 100 degrees outside, and Hannah and I are staying cool in the house. The Mother of Cats has all the windows closed and we’re too hot to look out the windows anyway. Do you notice that the Mother of Cats has been brushing out all of my downy fur? I used to have a huge ruff around my neck, and now it is almost all gone. I look a whole size smaller now. I don’t like getting brushed, but today I guess I am glad that she did it. She also cuts my nails off and I will never get used to that!!

The Mother of Cats has been knitting away on her sweater this week and look at how far she’s gotten! She is done with the first sleeve and halfway down the second one already! She has also been sewing on the quilt with Hannah.

The quilt is coming right along and should be done in just a few more days. The Mother of Cats can’t wait to get it done. Hannah kind of hopes that she is going to get to keep it for her new bed, but I think that the Mother of Cats is planning to hang it up on the wall behind her knitting chair. I ripped the old quilt down a couple of days ago (Hey! There was a moth!) and she didn’t even bother to hang it back up again. Okay, the old quilt was a Christmas themed one, so maybe she’s ready to put it away now anyway. I’m such a good boy; see how I did her a big favor?

A scary man came this week and messed around with the Mother of Cat’s oxygen machine. When he left there was new stuff left behind including this new green bottle with a snazzy carrying bag. Now the Mother of Cats has oxygen she can take with her when she goes out on errands, but mostly she stays home with us because we are so cute! She has been working on her gardens this week and they are starting to look pretty good. The first rose bloomed this week which made her really happy.

It’s her first English rose of the year!
Well, that all I have. It’s still stinking hot outside and all of the animals are asleep, so I am going to take a little nap too.

See you next week!

>^..^> CoalBear

Notes from the Mother of Cats

  • The sweater is GoldenFern by Jennifer Steingass. Hopefully I will have it done in another week or so. I’m really anxious to start another sweater but so far I’m sticking to getting this one done first.
  • I know that isn’t a good shot of the quilt, but hopefully I will have a nice picture of the completed quilt to show off next week. Hanging on the wall, where I hope it remains as long as no moths land on it. 🙂
I’m listening to this audiobook while I quilt and I just am loving it!!
  • Not only did I get oxygen-to-go this week, but I also got my injections of Evusheld, which is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies that will give me protection from Covid for at least 6 months. This is huge piece of mind for me since my doctors are dialing up my immunosuppression drug dose this month and have started me on a new immunosuppressant drug at the same time. Yay, Evusheld! With the higher dose of drugs, I won’t be able to make many antibodies of my own, so I’m glad to have the Evusheld antibodies.
  • That rose is Princess Alexandra of Kent, and it is pretty much my favorite rose in the garden right now.
  • Hannah and Mateo don’t know it but they are heading to the vet for their vaccinations and checkups next week. Sad cat day is on the way…

Month’s End Report: March, 2022

All of a sudden, the season has changed on me. There are birds in my yard, the light is brighter, my backyard bunny is once again entertaining the cats, and shoots of green are starting to peek at me from under the winter bedding of leaves that I put in the gardens last fall. The cats are much more active as they rocket from window to window through the house tracking squirrels traveling from my front tree, over the roof, and then along the back fences (this is known as Squirrel Route One in my house). The fatigue-inducing storms of winter are transitioning to spring rains, and the first flowers are right around the corner. Bye, winter. Glad to see you gone.

When the cats take a break from squirrel tracking and bunny watching they hang out on my bedroom bookshelf keeping their eyes on me. Since I spent most of the month in bed, they have been up there quite a lot.

Knitting

I really have gotten a lot of knitting done this month. Since I’m tracking my knitting for the year (well, actually, the number of skeins that I can get out of the stash), I thought that I would also give a quarterly update on my progress.

I’m continuing to knit hats and PICC line covers for the Kaiser infusion centers.

So far I’ve knitted 20 hats and 19 PICC line covers this year. Early in the month I delivered all the hats and covers to one of the infusion centers on my way to an appointment with the rheumatologist. The infusion center had a huge impact on me; it was located in a spacious room with large overhead windows; sunbeams streamed down from the windows lighting up the room. There were almost 20 stations in there, along each wall under the windows, each one with a patient receiving treatment. I was stunned. So many people! I must knit faster.

I finished a simple sweater made with merino/cashmere yarn that is like a comfy sweatshirt to wear. Also, it goes with all my shawls, cowls, and mitts.

The sweater is Cushman by Isabel Kraemer. This is the second one that I have made so I was really confident with the fit and raced right through it.

I cannot stress how helpful the cats are in getting these pictures.
I have also been knitting along on a Goldenfern sweater (Jennifer Steingass). In another couple of inches I will start on the colorwork; the three golden colored yarns are for that. I plan to shade from the lightest to the darkest as I work my way down the chart.

Altogether I have knitted my way through 894 grams of yarn this month making the grand total of destashed yarn 3,154 grams (or the equivalent of 31 skeins) for the year. Okay, I did go through bins and pulled out several hundred grams of yarn that needed be thrown out… like many knitters I have saved the leftovers from almost everything I’ve knitted; at this point I need to let all of those scraps go! I had hoped to get 50 skeins out of the stash: now I’m thinking that I might manage 100 skeins. Knitting all those hats is paying off!

Garden

The outdoor garden is still dead, and the indoor garden is kind of pathetic. I’ve been buying some ferns and a spider plant to get more greenery into the house. The cats are fans of the new plants!

All the new plants are kitty safe.

Books

I’ve been reading like a champ so far this year. Mostly science fiction since I am not in the mood for thrillers, mysteries, or anything that is going to require the serious use of brain cells. I’ve been spending long blocks of time in bed with short outings to accomplish tasks in the house in the house all year. I’ve been relying on audiobooks heavily as I can listen to them when I’m too tired to hold a book (the fatigue is real, people!), and listened to more books while I was working on the quilt top that I got done this quarter too.

I was so happy to discover this little gem!

I usually don’t listen to the forward of a book, but this time I did, and I was glad that I took the time to let the author explain his book to me. John Scalzi struggled with writing a book in 2020 that he had contracted with a publisher for. Basically, he was kind of crushed by the whole Covid situation and the book wasn’t happening. He finally had to let his publisher know that the book was a no-go, only to think of another book idea a day later. A fun book. An upbeat and slightly ridiculous book with wisecracking characters and lots of fun. A book that celebrates scientific knowledge, jobs that you love, and sticks it to people who are kind of unethical in the pursuit of money/power. A book with Kaijus: those enormous monsters of Japanese fame… think Godzilla. The exact book that I needed!!

I even bought myself a Kaiju cat tee-shirt to go with my ridiculous, feel-good book.

So, how many books have I read this year so far? 19 books! The goal for the year is 50 books, so I am well on my way to meeting that goal.

That’s it for the month.

Hannah: Have a great April, everyone!! If you should come across a Kaiju, don’t try to play with it!!