Monday, March 31, 2008

When we left our hero

When we left our hero, she was staring down the infamous Governess and the lovely but deadly Chunky-Alpaca-Better-Bucket-Hat…time was running short and as it turns out so was the yarn.

Would she be able to complete the 5SKSO Challenge in time?

Would the Chunky Alpaca yarn last?

Would the Governess socks win, and convince Mychawd that they were meant for good, not evil?

The scene, 6am Thursday morning…The Boyfriend wanders unsuspectingly into the laundry room to find that during the night, the Pink Socks snuck out of the knitting bag and have sabotaged the furnace, there is no heat. Someone must meet the repairman thus giving the Governess socks an opportunity to work their magic on Mychawd while she waits for the heat to be fixed. A few short hours later they are completed.

Later that day…while knitting fast and furiously on the Better Bucket Hat in the hopes of meeting the deadline, the unthinkable happens. The Chunky Alpaca runs out. There isn’t enough to finish the hat. None of the local shops carry the yarn.

Will the shop on the way to the Cat Show in Middletown have it?
Will our hero finish the hat before Midnight on March 31st?

Oh name is Stuffie

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So much to do and so not much time

March has been the most challenging month thus far. The 5SKSO did not seem like that difficult of an undertaking. But that was before I considered the fact that Nessa was hijacking two of my weekends. First Devon Heaven and now, we’re off to another show in NY this weekend. I’ll be driving so no time for knitting. Although I have insisted that we make a detour along the way to Creative Fibers in Windsor CT. The original list for 5, one skein projects has been revised.

1. Stuffies, are nearing completion. I need to sew the pieces together, add a face & heart, and stuff.

2. Elefante has been replaced with A Better Bucket by Amy Swenson. I’m using Cascade’s chunky alpaca but think it might be a two skein project, more on that to come as I race against the clock to finish it in time.

3. Basic Cup Cozy, has been completed. It went so quick I knit two, one for the car and one for my knitting bag for when I’m at knitting group.

4. Bainbridge Scarf has been replaced by Cherry Garcia by Adrian Bizilia. The Seacoast Handpaint yarn really looks nice in this cable pattern. The Boyfriend was gracious enough to model my ‘neck tube’.

5. Fake Isle Hat also known as the Expectant hat was completed early on this month.

And of course, the socks are coming along. In a strange twist of fate, somehow after turning the heel they became much more tolerable. Perhaps it’s that I’m on the homerun stretch, perhaps it’s that I’ve adjusted to working such a small circumference, or perhaps I’ve memorized the irregular rib pattern so that it’s become mindless knitting. Either way, I’m looking forward to working on them. I’m not sure how tall to make them. It seems my commercial socks are 8” from the bottom of the heel to the top of the cuff. Also, should the cuff be a 1x1 rib or a seed stitch? I’m seeing the cuff as 4 or 5 rows, about ¾”, relatively small so seed stitch should be ok.

5 days to finish the socks and the bucket….

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Office

I thought you might like to go on a tour of my office. When you walk in you see the painting on the wall and my small window overlooking the parking lot and field out front full of snow. Yes that is a picture of my sweetie and I on our wedding day.

As you turn you see my family picture from Christmas, my Curlfect Calendar, and Bamboo plant behind the computer. I prefer to use desk lamps as they have a more pleasant glow.
The paintings are flowery fields of greens and purples to match to pale pink walls. And below them, there is a picture of Mac & Steve from way back. Also, the evil evil phone. It’s smarter than I am.

Turning around again you see my filing cabinet with a picture of Linus wrestling with a sudoku book. And you get a better view of the rose painting on the wall that matches the pink walls.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tussah Silk

I’ve recently fallen head over heels for Noro Silk Garden Lite. The colors are amazing and the silk content means that they’re not too scratchy.

“Hey wait a minute, what are you doing using silk yarns!!!!” said the little voice in my head. “You’ve never used silk before on principle. You know how silk is collected. Companies raise silkworms, wait for them to form cocoons, then throw the cocoons into boiling water thus killing the moth before it has the opportunity to eat through the cocoon and emerge. Cultivated silk is obtained either through boiling or puncture the cocoon, killing the moth and salvaging the silk cocoon for one continuous thread.”

Natural Tussah silk is collected in the wild from the empty cocoons that moths have already vacated. That is the silk I should use if I want to use silk. So going forward, it’s nothing but Tussah for this vegetarian. I need to find a list of commerical yarns that uses Tussah silk. I think Jager might. Unless I find documentation that Noro is using Tussah silk, it’s no longer an option for me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Your Stuffie is too small!

The 5SKSO Challenge is moving along. The miserable socks, which I’ve called the Governess after Henry James’ Turn the Screw, which I recently read, are proving to be a truly unpleasant experience. I feel like Mrs. Grose knowing that I have to just put up with the Governess and try to make the best of it, having as little interaction as possible, but doing what they say even if I don’t like it. This translates into knitting them for long intervals and following the pattern even if it doesn't make sense in the hopes that I’ll be able to have fewer meetings with them. Sock knitting is not something I enjoy.

After completing The Expectant Hat, I worked on my poncho for a bit. I love bulky yarns and size 9 needles. It just flies along, although I seem to have regressed to a 10 year old in my color choices. Pink, purple, and baby blue…go figure nothing in my wardrobe is that color, why on Earth would I think those would be perfect choices for me? It must’ve been the intoxication of being at WEBs.

I sewed up the Shell Tank. It’s very large! Surprisingly side and short. I’m hoping that drying it in the dryer will reduce the width and tighten the rib. 100% cotton never makes a good rib. There’s no elasticity in the fiber so why would it? Honestly, I do know better. I also cast on the Cherry Garcia neck tube.

Not on the list, for the 5SKSO Challenge but I think I’ll substitute it for the Bainbridge. I’m considering working the Starbucks cozy in the same yarn so that when I’m at the café, drinking my Chai Tea, my cup will match my neck…I can’t imagine anything more ludicrous. But “I am Ridiculous!” so it’s ok. -Thank you 30Rock.

The Stuffie took an evening to knit, which means it will take 3 weeks to sew. I just love to sew! It’s actually very cute and cuddly. I showed the Stuffie pieces to The Boyfriend, who professed that it was “entirely too small!” I was shocked and appalled at his obvious disdain for my work. How dare he!?! Afterall it’s a gift for HIS family! He should be grateful I’m being so thoughtful! Upon further discussion it was revealed that he thought the 13” stuffie parts would be assembled into a garment for the baby and was certain they would never fit. Silly Boyfriend, Stuffies are for hugging not for wearing!

The second best cat in the world

The kittens have arrived but it seems that they are destined to have a difficult life. While I have always held Lexie in a place of honor, because of her affectionate personality and velvety smooth coat, she’s been my second favorite cat in this world. I know, can you believe it? I am more fond of Lexie than my own MacOban. That’s how great of a cat she is. It appears that her wonderful personality does not extend into the sphere of mothering. The birth went smoothly, with Lexie purring the whole time and only crying once. She groomed the kittens but was unable to feed them. As time passes Lexie has taken a less active roll in their nurturing leaving it to Mum to feed and look after them. With coaxing Lexie will tend to them but it requires a great deal of time and attention on our part to keep her calm and with the kitties. I spent all weekend with them calming and reassuring Lexie so that she was able to take care of the babies. It was exhausting and Sunday evening I felt like a traitor leaving Mum to fend for the babies on her own. If only there were a way to download some of my energy into her so that she will have the stamina to help Lexie be a good mother.

This will be the end of Lexie’s line, she will not be allowed to have another litter. On the flip side, we know that Lexie will make someone very happy as a pet since in my opinion she is the second best cat in the world.

Soon the fun of naming will begin. We’re thinking of songs by, well I'm not going to tell you just yet, but I'll give you a hint…hands touching hands, reaching out….

Monday, March 10, 2008


The typical cat gestation is 63 days. Lexie is on day 66, so we've been watching her closely. While waiting I knit the Fake Isle Hat, which I'm calling The Expectant Hat.

I Really enjoyed the pattern and it looks beautiful. I doubled up on the black yarn which did hurt my hand. Why is it that anytime I use double strands my right hand hurts? Even on size 6 needles. Oh well, the hat is done and looks great! I love this pattern.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

5SKSO Challenge

I've officially decided that the 5 -one skein projects will be...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I had thought that the adding a countdown until the end of the March Challenge was a good idea. But now every time I login I'm reminded of how the time is just ticking away. 31....30....29....28... I think it's too much pressure, perhaps the 5SKSO Challenge was a bit more than I can handle. I'll have a better idea after this weekend. So far the socks are going well. I decided to go with a 2x1x2x3 rib pattern. It the same pattern as the color pattern in the ILV so that frequency is imbedded in my subconscious. I've decided to make the ribbing on the top of the foot extend all the way around my arch so that it'll be snug on my foot. I have a few pairs of Smartwool socks that do this and it's a nice feeling.

In other news we're getting ready for Lexie to have kittens. She's due on Saturday!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Devon Heaven!!!

We did it!!! Nessa and I successfully navigated the airports, hotel, and show halls. It was a blast, meeting so many wonderful people and really enjoying my time with them. You know cat people are a lot like knitters. They are warm and funny. Nessa was a riot at the airport. I let her stretch her legs during the layovers. She didn't mind the harness as long as I was nearby for her to rub her head on.

There were 8 judges at the show, Nessa was competing against 27 other Devon Rex kittens. And these aren't just any kittens, these are the best kittens that the top breeders have to show. So the competition is intense. In all 8 rings Nessa won best for her color (black smoke) and best for her class ('other' which is anything that is not solid and not tabby). Those were great wins but what we really care about is being the "best Devon Rex kitten".
Each judge awards their "best" and "second best" In the first ring, Nessa got honorable mention. Second ring, nothing. Then the third ring, Nessa was awarded the coveted blue ribbon -best devon kitten!!! I was shocked. All the other breeders congratulated me and laughed at my stunned expression. Nessa looked at me like, of course I'm winning, I'm too cute not to. In the fourth ring, the final one that day, Nessa took the red ribbon -second best Devon kitten. It was a great experience and gave me the vindication I needed, I had done the right thing, bringing Nessa without Mum.
Day two, 4 more rings with the same results, a best and a second best. It was an excellent feeling. So proud and excited about this tiny little cat that was stealing the show. In the end when all of the points were counted, Nessa was crowned the overall "Second Best Devon Rex Kitten in Show". It is a very prestigious award. And it's a Coupe that we, Curlfect Devons, brand new to the cat show circuit, had won it. She really is a great little Devon!

When we weren't at the show hall, we were at the pre-show party, the before party, the DRBC banquet, the after party, and passed out with exhaustion. It was an grueling schedule but given Nessa's results and my new found love of cat showing, it was well worth it. I must admit, amongst this cat fancy atmosphere there was no time for knitting. I couldn't even focus enough to knit on the plane home. I zoned out listening to podcasts. I'm currently enjoying Craftlit's Turn of the Screw by Henry's suspenseful and Victorian. How could I note love it, right up there with Dracula.