Cats, Mitts, and Baby Booties

The weather continues to be cold here. It is too cold (and snowy) for the cats to go outside so they have been hanging out upstairs on my bed. OK, the truth is that these two boys aren’t really the best of friends. Yellow Boy (AKA the PuffMuffin) steals all of MacKenzie’s kitty treats and hogs the toys. MacKenzie beats up Yellow Boy when he’s feeling grumpy. When he is cold and can’t go outside he is grumpy a lot. Life is tough for Yellow Boy on snowy days… And yet, here they are huddled together on the bed looking miserable together…

Cold Cats
Only these two would sleep back-to-back trying to stay warm. That little red feather comforter just isn’t cutting it anymore I guess…
Happy Cat
So I went shopping for a new warm throw to put on the bed for them. Instant hit!! Can you feel the purr through the screen? 

Happy (and warm) cats means that I got lots of knitting done without them trying to get warm laying on my legs and shedding clouds of fur. Here’s the week’s accomplishments:

Finished Mitts.
What a shock: I made another pair of the Sugared Maple Mitts (by Melissa Schaschwary ) in the last skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK. I think that these may be my favorite. They are mine, mine, all mine!! Here are the Ravelry notes.
Mitt
I also made another pair of the cable and rib mitts with the thumb moved over so that the cable would stay parked on top of the hand. Since my sister suggested the change these are now Selma’s Mitts; I made the ribbing at the top and the bottom of this pair a little longer. I think that these are cute: I’ll have to see if I can talk a friend into taking a picture of them on my hand. They are really comfy and I think I’ll write up the pattern to use with the alpaca yarn from Alta Vida Alpacas. This yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the colorway Zarzamora.
Baby Booties
I also got an order for baby booties this week. The new mother requested that they be black (!!!) so that is what I did. The lace doesn’t show as well as it would in a light colored set of booties, but they are still soft, squishy and should work. Look!! Almost all of the snow has melted away because today was windy and warmer. The cats came out to run around while I was taking these photos. Everyone is happy again. This pattern is our family pattern from days of yore but can also be found on Ravelry. The yarn is Anzula Squishy.

I think that I have worked my way through the immediate urge to make mitts. I sent a RSVP for the Scleroderma Holiday Party today and it dawned on me that perhaps I should finish up on the Christmas presents. I have knitting (a shawl and a hat) and some quilting to get finished.

And cookies to bake…

And the decorations to put out…

And I will never hear the end of it if those cats don’t get a Christmas tree to play in…

Good thing I bought them a nice cuddly blanket for the bed. 🙂

 

Christmas Make #2 and More MItt Madness

It’s been a crazy holiday week here with more snow, deep cold and bored, house-bound kitties. We spent the week getting another bit of Christmas sewing done and continued with the mitt making. Well, I sewed and knitted; the kitties chased, chomped and shed fur over everything. Still, it was a productive week. Here’s everything: sorry about the dim light but I haven’t seen the sun for a few days and I finally decided it was best to take pictures inside under the grow light in the sewing room.

Placemat
I finished up all six of the place mats that I started last year and found again when I cleaned out the craft room. I originally had planned to make them as a gift, but now that they are done I realize that they do look pretty nice with my Christmas dishes… The pattern is one that my aunt made for me years ago and no one in the family now knows the original source. 
Pur;ple MItts
Remember these purple Sugared Maple mitts (by Melissa Schaschwary) that I had just started in the Mitt Madness post? 
Purple Fingerless Mitts
They are done! OK, I am still in the grip of mitt madness:  I made them a pair of friends that coordinate in a matching handpaint. These guys are joining the Christmas Makes pile as they are presents for sure. The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK which has 10% cashmere and is big on the yummy scale. Here are the notes on Ravelry.
Start of Red Mitts
I can’t help it. I have one more skein of the Serenity DK in this red mix, so I just cast on ANOTHER pair. 🙂 See how the edge looks a little rounded? The CO for this pattern is one that I had to learn using an online tutorial (by Isolda Teague) called long-tail tubular cast on. It is crazy to learn, but nice and stretchy and allows the mitt cuffs to be knit on size 3 (3.25mm) needles while the body of the mitt is done with size 5 (3.75mm) needles. Now that I understand it I may make it my go-to ribbing CO.
Yarn
Here are the 4 original skeins of the Serenity DK that became a collection of Sugared Maple mitts. I couldn’t help myself; it’s kind of a study in color and texture as I made each of the mitts. It’s madness, I tell you, Mitt Madness. I highly recommend this pattern if you a feeling a similar urge to produce mitts. I think that I have enough yarn left in each color to make one more (shorter) pair of mitts to add to the mitt bin for sale/gift down the road. I mean, look at those colors. How can I not keep turning out mitts with this yarn??
Mitts on the needle
As if the Sugared Maple mitts weren’t enough I also started another pair of mitts like the ones I made for my sister with the thumbs moved underneath. I wanted to see what the design would look like with a wider rib at the top and the bottom of the mitt. I kind of like it, but I wonder if I should try the long-tail tubular cast on in this K2,P2 rib… The yarn is Malabrigo Rios from the stash. I love my stash!! It is a source of instant gratification when these mitt making urges hit me.

It is still snowing here and won’t get above freezing until sometime next week. Guess you all know what I’ll be doing…

 

 

Mitt Madness

My son has a beautiful Maine Coon tuxedo cat. The family joke is that she controls the weather.

Maya
Here she is, Maya Isabella the Weather Queen. She actually considers herself a princess and demands regular attention from her main subject, my son. Kitty treats now! Come run my drinking water for me! Come pet me now!! Time for me to go outside to catch bugs!! She also takes instant ownership of any knitting left unattended…
Snowy yard
Bless her heart. Tuesday she sent me a blizzard, the first official blizzard in the Denver area in several years. The wind howled and shook the house overnight and this is what the backyard looked like in the morning. My cats were not amused. I should note that there was almost no snow at Maya’s house!

The cold weather and previous snow storms had already launched me into some serious mitt knitting, but this week’s storm really pushed me into mitt knitting overdrive.  Here’s what happened during this week:

Mitts
I actually finished these mitts before the big snowstorm and took the picture as the first little pellets of snow arrived. These are Sugared Maple MItts (designed by Melissa Schaschwary) knitted in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK. Love the cashmere!! The knitted texture was really easy to knit and kind of reminds me of the waffle pattern in Henley shirts. These are really comfy mitts. If you yearn for more details here are my notes on Ravelry.
Pur;ple MItts
The first mitts were so much fun to knit and wear I just cast on and started another pair. This is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK again, and the purple is actually as intense as in the photo. I have a cousin who can’t get enough purple so I already know where these are going when they are done.
Mitts with Cable on Top
My sister let me know that the mitts I gave her for her birthday last year were flawed: the cable just didn’t stay parked on top of her hand the way they should. My first impulse was to tell her to stop being so persnickety, but upon reflection I decided that she may have a point.  I made some changes to my generic rib and cable mitt pattern that would allow me to make her mitts that have the thumb moved over to place it under the index finger.
Underneath of MItt
Here’s the palm view of the mitts. The gusset has been moved over 4 stitches and starts at the wrist. I’m hoping that if her thumb can move without tugging on the body of the mitt the cable will behave itself. This yarn is Malabrigo Rios which is one of my favorite hand-painted superwash wools. I wrote notes to myself about what I had done and they are here on Ravelry.

I’m still not completely happy with the new mitt design. What would happen if I added more ribbing at the top and bottom of the mitt? What if I changed to a smaller needle to do that ribbing at the top? Should I make the top so long it can be folded back in a little cuff? Hmmm… I have more Rios to play with (well, duh! Yarn Stash Queen here!!) and I’m itching to CO and get started on another pair. I have some more Zen Yarn Garden that wants to be mitts, too. I try to not overthink this compulsion to create mitts. I just knit them up and put the little guys into my mitt bin where they can all hang out together and pretend to be the ultimate cool knitted items.

Box of MItts
My box of mitts: last Saturday I took the bin to my scleroderma support group meeting and gave away or sold 11 pairs! I’ll be taking the bin back to the next meeting as several people thought they might want more pairs for Christmas presents. During the week I handed out business cards to more customers who admired the mitts I was wearing and asked how they could get a pair.

Looks like things are picking up in the mitt business. All of a sudden mitts ARE the ultimate cool knitted item. Must be all the snow; it is snowing again this evening and there is ANOTHER snowstorm predicted for Thanksgiving.

Thanks Maya!

Maybe I should knit her a little something too.