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Lots of Knitting!

Walderton

I finished the test knit of Michelle Stead’s Walderton.

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It’s a beautiful project.  I think it would have worked better with another yarn, the Neigborhood Fiber Company hand dyes are glorious, but they’re also heavily variegated, and the cabling gets lost in all the color noise, even if the texture of the main body is picked up beautifully.

The yarn is beautiful, but I was disappointed with the Rustic yarn.  It seems to have been cut (sometimes partially, others fully) into lots of segments.  My sister and friends have bought from Neighborhood Fiber Co and haven’t had any trouble at all.  Yes, I could have returned the skein, but it was a limited edition colorway*  which I had picked up over a year ago.  I didn’t discover the issue until I wound the ball, and so I decided to make do.

I probably should have stopped the project at 36 pattern repeats, which is what the pattern calls for.  At that length it hangs down in front, with the thin and thick ends layered to make a nice piece with the teeth on both sides.  As Michelle said she was curious to see it longer I kept going.  It’s a more conventional shawlette at this point, still very pretty, but not as neat.

I recommend the pattern when it comes out.

The final frustration with this project is that I seem to have mislaid my blocking wires!  I ended up just pinning it out.  I would have liked to run wires through the edges, then really pin the points out hard.  I will probably re-block this in the future when I find my kit.  In the mean time, I do like the way it turned out.

Aidez

I’ve had Aidez by Cirila Rose in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I bought the yarn for it (Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool) almost a year ago.

Yarn Choice

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It has a delicious odor, which much be what a freshly washed sheep smells like.

I don’t know why I got it in a tweedy colorway.  Especially after my experience with Walderton I’m concerned, but it’s lighter in color and I’m pleased with the visibility of the garter stitch in my swatch.

aidez-swatch

New Tools/Toys

finishing-needle

As you can see from the above picture, I decided to leave the ends unfinished and weave them in after blocking.  I also decided to try a new tool to work them in with.  I picked up a pack of Susan Bates finishing needles.

It’s a nice design.  The super giant ‘eye’ means you don’t have to try to turn the needle when you’re weaving super short ends (like if you find you’ve inadvertently played yarn chicken while doing a long tail cast on).   I usually end up re-threading the needle after each pass in those cases, but this makes that unnecessary.

They come in a pack of five, to suit yarn from bulky (pictured) down to lace weight.  My only criticism is the material.  I would have preferred recyclable plastic.

I’ve also ordered an “experimental tool” from lesliewind on Etsy.   This is a fingering weight combination cable tool and Portuguese (Egyptian) knitting hook.  I’ve been curious about the front-yarn method for a while, and she makes absolutely beautiful stuff.  Besides, I’m always interested in beta-testing (even if I am a curmudgeon at times).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Kate Spade giveaway.  No new giveaways entered.

file_medium2*The Windchester-Sandtowne colorway was introduced for a limited time in 2015, proceeds went to help rebuild neighborhoods damaged in the Baltimore Riot (insurrection), which took place in early May (right around the time of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival). Another reason I decided not cause a fuss, even if I was annoyed enough to post about it here – it’s a good gesture, and a good company – I know these things happen, I’m just going to whine a bit.  (back) 

Still Making Stuff

Stuff and More Stuff

It all started out simply enough.  I had an old Altoids tin with band aids and a tiny bead box of pills in it.  I picked up a tiny spray bottle of antiseptic to go in it, and it didn’t fit.  So then I got a tiny first aid kit for $2, which had its own band aids in it.  The first aid spray fit, but my pill box was too tall.  So I swapped it out for an Altoids mini tin, and it fit fine.

Little Boxes

But I didn’t like the way that the first aid box was labeled.  So I made my own label for it, and for the tin.  While I was at it, I decided to turn the old Altoids tin into an emergency sewing kit.  I had an old sewing kit, but it has a faulty catch, and I couldn’t get it open.

boxes

I found the clip art through Creative Commons.

Stuff Leads to Stuff

I had a spare set of sewing scissors, but they were too large for the Altoids tin.  So I took the folding scissors I had in one of my notions pouches.  I was able to trade around which scissors went in which pouch to find a place where the spares would fit, but they would have poked holes.

Not a big problem.  I looked around online for a sheath (Etsy has several inexpensive ones).  I found a lovely tutorial on how to make a scissors fob out of a knitting needle protector.  Since I have a needle protector I never use, and all sorts of beading supplies on hand, I decided to save time and money and just make it.

 

scissors-fob

I considered just making the bead loop go through the scissors handle, but I decided that I’d rather have the option of switching it to another pair at a future time.

Finally, Dottie sent me a picture of a necklace I made for Pi Sigma Phi being worn by one of her brothers.

 

psp-necklace

Also Still Knitting

I’m still working on the Walderton.  I’ve completed 38 repeats (out of 36 due in three days).  I’m just going to keep going until I run out of yarn or of time.

 

This is Not TV Knitting

I Got Cocky

I’ve become a bit arrogant about the Walderton shawl.  It’s an eight row repeat, and there are 36 repeats in t he shawl.  It’s not an overly complex pattern, but there are four parts to it – two distinct borders, a body section (where the increases are) and a cable section.  It took me about 20 repeats to get the whole thing down.

Last night I took the shawl with me to ‘craft night’, which (as it often does) turned into ‘game night’.  I decided I could knit and play Wiz-War at the same time.walderton-boo-boo

I don’t know how I managed it, but I purled rather than knit for the first few stitches of the body section of this row.  That could have happened if I’d just been listening to podcasts, but I didn’t catch the error for another inch and a half (3 centimeters) of knitting.

Keeping Calm and Knitting On

Fortunately, I keep a well stocked notions pouch in each of my project bags.  I had already figured out what the pattern should look like wale-by-wale*, so that saved a step in the repair process.  It was just a matter of dropping the stitches down, then picking them back up the right way round.

 

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Knit stitch

purl-fix

Purl stitch

You would think this would teach me a lesson about mindful knitting, but I have to admit that it won’t.  I will just accept that making the occasional repair is part of my process, and allow myself time to do that.  Fortunately, I paced myself well on this month long project, the deadline is six days from now, and I’m about 90% done (with the option to knit extra repeats if I choose to do so).  I’m calling this a win.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts giveaway for August/September, so I entered the September/October giveaway (15 October).  I also didn’t win the Manos giveaway.  I signed up for the Sonic Knits Yarny Bingo (October), and the Sweet Paprika Instagram giveaway (tonight).

*Wale: a single column of stitches in a knitting procect – those stitches which would unravel if you were to drop a specific stitch. (back to top)

 

How Comet Came Home

In my last post, where I described Comet’s little excursion,   I mentioned that he had probably not been raised as an indoor cat.  This is the story of how Comet came to live with us in the first place.

It started very late in the evening of January 1, 2009.  Steve and Abby had been visiting Steve’s sister, who lived in Baltimore.  I was at home, doing something or other online.  Dottie was asleep.  I got a call from Steve, about a stray cat…

Apparently he had stopped to get gas, and as he got out to start pumping a cat jumped onto the hood of the car.  He went to shoo it off, but it had already jumped into Abby’s lap (we found out later that he had had a little help), and curled up there.  It was a really cold night, and what could they do…?

So Steve called me and said he was bringing a stray home.  I told him no, that wasn’t about to happen.  For lots of reasons, one of them being that years before  we had brought a stray in who had FeLV.  Our vet had eventually given the ‘all clear’ for bringing a new cat in, but I didn’t want to go through that again.  So while he was driving I did some frantic web and phone searching, and got hold of animal control  services (this was about 11:30 at night, mind you)  I was told that we could drop the cat off at BARCS.  So I gave Steve the address and made him drive across town.  Then he couldn’t find the place, so I pulled up Google maps and navigated for him.

Of course, there is no 24 hour animal shelter in Baltimore.  He brought the cat home.  By this time Abby had named him ‘Comet’, I should have known then that the story was done.  We did our best to keep him quarantined in the girls’ room (poor Captain really wanted to say ‘hi’).  He ate a lot, drank a lot, and slept a lot.

In the morning Abby and I drove back up to BARCS.  there is a perfectly good shelter nearer to us, but I figured that this cat was so friendly and socialized to people, someone must be looking for him.  I made a point of telling the woman at the desk that if his family didn’t find him he had a home with us (by this time Abby was thoroughly bonded, of course).  She told me that in three days he would be ‘up for adoption’, and that we would be at the top of the list.  As we left, I heard her telling the complaining cat that ‘it’s OK, they’ll be back’.

So three days later I called to see if his family had shown up.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I “should come in now“.  So Abby and I did.  It turned out that the card on the cage which said ‘adopted’ had fallen off, and someone else had gotten in ahead of us to take the cat home.  The woman I spoke to on the phone was the same woman who had signed Comet in, so she just made the executive decision that we were the official ‘first takers’.

So there you have it.  The cat pretty much adopted us.

Comet’s Big Adventure

We’re not sure how Comet got out of the house. We know it must have been sometime Saturday night.  Steve and I each opened the door once, and each is convinced that Comet didn’t slip past.  There’s no telling.

comet-croppedI was in a funk of anxiety and guilt, plagued by memories of Ginger (who got out on my watch years ago and never came home).  Mad at myself for getting so upset about a cat who actually was an outdoor cat (we believe) in a previous life (but that’s a story for another day). Basically, it just wasn’t fun.

Yesterday morning I got a FB message back instructing me to call, which I did.  I gave the very nice woman on the line all of Comet’s particulars, and told her that I’d put a photo in the FB pages messages.  She didn’t have access, so she suggested I email the picture, which I did.  I got a nice email back with some useful information about finding a lost pet.

Last night, feeling headachy (still again and yet) and bad I opted not to go to our weekly pub trivia competition.  I stayed home and played computer games, and occasionally got up and called for the cat.  At about 9:00 I thought I heard a reply, but it was almost drowned out by the crickets.  I grabbed my keys and flashlight, and went out into the chirpy evening to see if I could hunt him down.  I saw a neighbor sitting outside, and asked if he had heard a meow, but he thought it was just crickets.  I was still hopeful, and kept calling.  I was certain that I was hearing a response – I high, thin, chirpy mew off in the distance.

I’m terrible at finding things by sound.  I often don’t get to my phone in time to catch the call, just knowing it’s ‘over here somewhere’, but I was pretty quickly able to hunt down the sound.  Soon I spotted him.

He was stuck in a tree, just across the parking lot from out townhouse.  I had searched that area the day before, but I hadn’t looked up.  Not that I think he was stuck in the tree the day before, but he had to have been somewhere close by.

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He was clearly glad to see me.  His meow changed timbre, he was kneading and rubbing against the tree, but he wouldn’t climb down.

There was no way I could possibly get to him, and, try as I may I couldn’t coax him down.  I thought about going back to the house and getting the step ladder, but it seemed too cruel to make him watch me walk away.  So I called Steve (trivia was over, we came in second) and told him to come home and help me retrieve the cat.

While I waited there was nothing to do but talk to the him, and try to calm him down.

I referred to Steve as Comet’s ‘daddy’. It’s official, the girls are right, I am the crazy cat lady.

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Daughter of the Sun

Full disclosure: I received free kindle copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review on Amazon and Goodreads (other places were requested but not required).  I am reviewing the Kindle version of the book, which can be purchased on Amazon.

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The story centers on Trinity, an English orphan who was raised by nuns. She is found by her family, and slowly all the weird things about her begin to become clear. Trinity, it turns out, is not a simple orphan after all. She is the last of a long line of women descended from ancient Egyptian priestesses and she is the heir to a vast fortune, and the possessor of mysterious powers. She has also, it seems, inherited powerful enemies..

It’s a good premise, and Trinity is a good character. She’s a good, strong, character, but not too good to be true. She has (and occasionally recognizes) weaknesses of character, she’s impulsive and prone to do things which she might (or might not) regret. In short, she’s a believable and reasonably likeable teenager.

The weakest part of the story might spring from a desire to adhere to classics in the genre. The heroine is a blonde haired green eyed Englishwoman, with a good strong Christian background, thrown into a pagan world. The contrast does generate some internal tension, but I can’t help but think that it would have been more interesting (and weighted with fewer unfortunate implications) if she had looked more the part of the Egyptian priestess, and perhaps been raised with a strong Muslim background instead. Definitely an opportunity missed there, it would have seemed so natural to have a protagonist of color from a minority religion. It would have seemed very natural, too.

Other than that, it’s a good read, with lots of action and not too much thought (though there is certainly some). There are a couple of plot ‘twists’ which are set up well ahead of time, and it’s fairly satisfying when they are revealed. This is the first book in a trilogy, and although it does end, it doesn’t read like a stand alone story. Look for book two to take up right where this one leaves off.

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This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours

WiP Wednesday

Working on It

I’ve still got two older WiPs going, (the Helical Hat and the Mount Gay socks) but I’m going to show you the other two today.

Spinning Project

I’m still working on the Millers Fire spinning project.  I happen to have a series of progress pics on it, taken and even intervals over August.  It isn’t my fastest spin, but I’m getting better at getting the single even.

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The spindle is a mini Destiny from the wonderful Snyder’s Spindles.

Knitting Project – Test knit

walderton-texture

Most of my crafting time has been going to a test knit for Michelle Stead (of Michelle’s Assortment).  I’m not sure how much I should show, since the shawl project hasn’t been published yet, but here’s a teaser –

This is an incredibly fun pattern to work on.  I set up a spread sheet to figure out how to pace myself (FO pics are due on September 28).  I started on August 29 and I’m about four days ahead of schedule.

I’m using that gorgeous skein of Neighberhood Fiber Company yarn (proceeds to help rebuild Baltimore after last summer’s insurrection).  I have to say that, although it is beautiful and feels yummy in the hands, I don’t love it as much as I thought I would.  The yarn is more of a variegated than a tonal, and there are random cuts throughout the skein.  I’m using a doubleknot to join them, but not 100% thrilled with how that’s going.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Smithsonian tote of cool things.  I entered a drawing for a skein of Manos del Uruguay Marina from Petals to Picots (8 September).