Final Push Towards Christmas: Knitted Cat and Plants

Almost all of my gifts are made and in the mail on their way to their new homes. It is a huge relief to have them out the door, but I still can’t show them off until next week. Gee, it’s hard to blog when I’m spending most of my time on the Christmas making drive but I can’t show things off. Would you like to see some of my plants?

After months of care the African violet suddenly decided to bloom! About time, little guy, I was almost ready to give up on you…
Five of my six orchid plants are getting ready to bloom this season too. I’ve been feeding these orchids every month, spraying them every few days to keep the humidity high, and subjected them to big swings in temperature early in the fall in an effort to encourage blooming. 
One is putting up four blooming stems! I think that this plant will produce white blooms, but the others will have purple and orange/gold blooms. How cheerful my sewing room will be this winter.
Even one of the roses that I brought indoors for the winter has started blooming this week!

There is one big knitted gift that I can show off as I’m working on it in coolaboration with the recipient.

It’s a cat!

This knitted cat is a gift for my younger son whose cat Daxter died unexpectedly from an undetected cancer last September.

Daxter with his Christmas mouse last year. Daxter was a wonderful companion, extremely expressive and very bonded to my son. Truely an extraordinary cat! The loss has been great and there is a hole in the apartment where he used to sleep. 

Ironically, I had bought some of the yarn for the knitted cat just days before Daxter’s sudden death. Shocked at the sudden turn of events, I put the yarn away for awhile, but finally took it back out two weeks ago and got started on the knitted cat as a Christmas gift for my son. It’s bittersweet for sure, but it feels good to create something that honors Daxter and acknowledges the loss.

This knitted cat is going to be almost life sized!! There is a hole in the face where the ear is going to be. MacKenzie reluctantly agreed to model the knitted cat so you get an idea of how it will look later with the ears on. The knitted fabric is created with three strands of yarn held together; I’m working with a silk-mohair lace yarn, a silk-alpaca lace yarn, and a fingering wool. The different colors in the cat are created by changing one or more strands of yarn as I work.
You can see how big this cat is going to be.

I’m working like crazy on the cat now and I plan to get it done in time for Christmas. The cat’s eyes are ordered and on their way from China; hopefully they will get here in time. I have started to add some stripes and will knit in others. I can’t wait to get the ears on!! I am so impressed with the shaping and detail in this project, and I also have to say that the pattern is very straight-forward and has lots of great picture and video support. If you would like to create your own cat the pattern is Cat by Claire Garland.

Oh yeah. There is a new kitten in my son’s apartment. I hope that he likes this knitted cat too.

This is Jonesy.

Cats, Hats, and a Book called “Cats in Hats”

Fasten your seat belts: here comes cute! I struggle to understand how this happened, but I guess one thing just led to another and before I knew it I had spent a week wallowing in, stitching and knitting the cutest little projects ever. It was a great break from my usual production knitting and the perfect counterbalance to a week of rain, hail and tornado warnings. So, with no further ado, here is the week of saccharine on my needles.

Cute kids hats.
The last time I went to my favorite yarn store there was a display of these darling kids hats. How could I resist? Hats for all the grandkids and grandcousins!! The kits are from DMC and only cost me 9 dollars each and knitted up in a flash. ! I have one more giraffe hat to still make for a grandnephew…

While I was knitting hat cuteness I also worked on the parts for a knitted cat for my cousin during odd moments. I knit the cat pretty tightly so the little hats were nice breaks from the finger crushing tension of the cat. 🙂 Finally last Thursday I finished knitting all the cat pieces, steamed them flat and considered sewing them together. Gee, there were an awful lot of loose ends connected to the pieces… Obviously I needed a thread catcher!!

Opened thread catcher
Here is the thread catcher in its opened state: a nice little fabric cup waiting to catch cut ends of yarn.
Collapsed thread catcher
When you are done sewing (and catching threads) the cup collapses into this showy twisted disk that is only a centimeter tall. Pretty slick! Did you notice the cute cat fabric?

This only took me an hour to make once I had assembled all of the materials. The best part? This cost me nothing as I already had everything that I needed on hand. I first saw this on Sharon’s blog called Creativity and Family and was struck by how useful it was. (OK, thread catcher envy definitely occurred and I was helpless in its grip. I mean, look at how cute it is!!) This excellent video really made it easy to make my own.

Well, once I had the thread catcher made I had no excuse to put off stitching together the cat. I worked on him all weekend during odd moments, and by this morning he was done. Ta-daa!

Knitted cat
Here he is already getting into trouble. To be frank, I had promised him to my cousin Ruth Ann last February, but he decided he was a spring kitty. Later this week I’m driving him up into Colorado’s mountains to meet her. This cat thankfully won’t meow the whole trip up there. 🙂

This is the third cat that I have made from this pattern which is Four Knitted Cats by Kath Dalmeny. I’m thinking that this is the last one as it is really hard on my hands to do the hand-stitching. Good thing he is soooo (do I need to say it?) CUTE!

Yesterday I stopped by the bookstore to check out the new knitting books, and what do I find but this gem.

Cats in Hats book
MacKenzie just can’t wait for me to get started on this. Doesn’t he look like he’s thinking, “Wow! I just can’t wait to get one of these on my noggin!!” <Not! He’s actually hoping that I torture Yellow Boy with these babies!>

I was helpless in the face of the book by Sara Thomas. I mean, isn’t this the poster child for the word of the week? Yep. It is dripping in cuteness. There is a kitty hat with reindeer antlers. A hat with a Mohawk. A hat shaped like a pumpkin and a Santa Claws (see what I did there?) hat.

I did put this book on the bookshelf to incubate for awhile. It is time for me to bid cuteness goodbye and to move on to some more serious knitting. This afternoon I kitted up the yarn, needles and directions for a couple of shawls that I am just chomping to get going on, and of course there are the June socks. Productions knitting, here I come.

Still, it was fun to take a detour into cuteness for the week. Hope you all find a way to channel some cuteness for yourself this week. 🙂

 

 

FO Friday: The Day After Christmas

It’s the day after Christmas! I know that it is Boxing Day, but in my house it is “Recover From Knitting Day”. It came right down to the wire (again), but I got all of the gifts done on time and into the mail or under the tree. The most fun for me is getting the feedback from recipients after my little knitted gifts arrive at their new destination. So,  from the yarn stash to the Christmas Tree, here are the knitted items of 2014.

Knitted cat.
For my cat loving cousin I made a black and white kitty,
Cats!
Here he is in his new home on Christmas morning. Happy landings little guy!
Lace Mitt WIP
I was knitting lace mitts like crazy as we got closer to the big day…
and here are the same mitts this morning on their new owner's hands. :-)
and here are the same mitts this morning on their new owner’s hands. 🙂
Mitts
The mitts that I made for my sister arrived in time for Christmas…
Socks
and the socks for my daughter-in-law got done early Christmas Eve a couple of hours before I handed over the wrapped package

Ta-daa! Christmas gift success.

OK, there were some things that I planned and bought stuff for but didn’t make, but I have a head start for next year. Right?

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

FO Friday: One Christmas Gift Done!

Ok, I have a lot of knitted Christmas presents going. I buckled down and got one of them done today. I offer for your viewing enjoyment the Christmas Cat!!

Pieces for stuffed knitted cat.
My cat MacKenzie was thrilled to model the start of this knitting project, a black and white cat for a cat-loving cousin.
Last night I completed knitting all of the pieces and steamed blocked them into submission so I could start seaming.
Last night I completed knitting all of the pieces and steamed blocked them into submission so I could start seaming.
By this afternoon I had the body of the cat together. Not very appealing, is he?
By this afternoon I had the body of the cat together. Not very appealing, is he?
Cat is done! MacKenzie still isn't sure about how he feels about him.
Cat is done! MacKenzie still isn’t sure he’s happy about this new friend

It will be snowing this weekend in Denver, so hopefully I will get those Christmas mitts done next. 🙂

Pattern:  Four Knitted Cats by Kath Delmeny

WIP Wednesday: Christmas Gifts!

This is the time of year when my Christmas knitting plans are waaay too big for the time left before the big event. I always knit or plan to knit presents for everyone. As the days creep closer to the date I begin to triage and start presents that need to go into the mail first while holding local presents on the back burner. That’s how I ended up with soooo many works in progress this year. Here they are:

Knitted Mitts
I already have three pairs of lace mitts finished, and these are the ones that I worked on over the weekend. When I get the third pair done I’ll sit down and do all the thumbs at once.

 

Half knitted Hitchhiker scarf.
This Hitchhiker (exactly half done!) went on hold before I started the mitts as it is going to someone local. I’m getting a little nervous about this one’s chances of making it to full Hitchhiker status. 🙂

 

Pieces for stuffed knitted cat.
My cat MacKenzie has been hanging out today as I worked on the pieces to create a black and white stuffed cat. This is one of two cats I need to get done and into the mail by next week.

 

I still have to get another stuffed cat and a pair of alpaca half-finger gloves done too.

I hope to have some finished objects to show off by Friday.

Patterns: