Saturday, January 31, 2009

Undercover Cat

It's Saturday morning and I had buttermilk in the refrigerator. Just not quite enough, so I decided to try a trick I'd read in a cookbook: take 1 cup of regular milk and add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice to it. Wait to thicken.
It worked like a charm.

We were getting ready to sit down and enjoy some lovely made-from-scratch pancakes when I noticed a suspicious-looking lump at the opposite corner of the table. It was moving. It was vaguely cat-shaped. I could see Morgana clearly, but Merlin was missing.

Sing to the Mission impossible theme music:

Sneak up on those pancakes
Sneak up on those pancakes
Sneak up on those pancakes
Sneaky Cat!

Fortunately, we got there before he did.

Then, there was some more excitement as I frogged my Plaited Points sock. Partway up the foot, I had to finally admit that 6 st/inch is very different from 8 st/inch, particularly when you start out with 66 stitches and have really skinny feet. I loved the color (Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Ruby River, pretty!), and I was so proud of myself for getting Judy's Magic Caston right and working my first toe-up star toe. Alas...

This is my new toe-up project: Back to Basics from Fall 2007 knitty, I believe. In Opal Rainforest (I love Opal yarns!), color: Hummel.
I used Judy's Magic Caston again, and here is the result. I'm happy again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


It looks like the severe weather has come and gone. Yesterday, it snowed like crazy, then it rained. The cats didn't want to miss out on the action. They watched the snow and wished they could be in it. Being indoor cats, they have no idea how cold it is, and I doubt they would actually enjoy it. But it's fun to watch.

This morning, the sidewalks were iced over, and I didn't want to be outside either. Working from home is fun, particularly when you have feline help. Busy season has begun for accountants across the US, and just like last year, I present a picture of our tax specialist: Merlin J. Fuzzbutt, CPA. I do taxonomy, he does our taxes, and everybody has fun.

And then, I had a kitchen attack. Not just a little one. I'm talking the full-blown cookies and food kind. Behold the results: chocolate-chocolate chip cookies (with cocoa, chocolate chips, AND melted chocolate!) and pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and green beans. Very yummy.

Now, I'm going to sit down and knit. I haven't done any of that today or yesterday, but I think my mojo is coming back.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter Storm Warning

We have another winter storm coming through tomorrow. That's about the fourth one this winter. Most people seem to be sick of snow, but I love it. Not when I have to drive in it, mind you, but when I can be inside and watch it coming down? Love it. And being able to work from home when the weather gets really bad helps a lot.

Not to mention that commuting time becomes knitting time. Let's see if I can get the second Fuzzy Foot finished tomorrow and a Pleated Points sock cast on!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rolling along

I've been on a domestic kick lately. Yesterday, I made pancakes from scratch. Today, I made pizza from scratch, sauce and all. And I've been knitting.

My first Fuzzy Foot is done. They're so funny before felting! Enormous. I could probably wear it as a hat if I tried.

And then there's the sock I cast on yesterday. It's for the Sock Knitters Anonymous January knitalong. It's the beaded mystery sock. The beads are a kind of see-through iridescent, and I'm halfway down the heel.

Picture with flash (closer to the actual color)

Picture without flash, to better show the texture and beads. I'm loving these socks so far.

And... I got the batt I ordered. 3 ounces of purple-black-glittery goodness. It has all sorts of stuff in it, bamboo, sari silk, glitter... and it's beautiful. The color is Witchie Woman, and I can't wait to spin it up.

I want to spin it using a drop spindle because it'll make the experience last longer. I think I'm in love.

In not-so-good news, my glasses broke while I was trying to clean them, so I get to spend the money on a new frame. I was due for an eye exam and new lenses anyway, but now, I have to buy a frame too. Oh, well. It's one of those necessary things... I can't see a thing without them.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm on a roll!

And more stuff off the needles! I finished my Mad about Plaid socks on Wednesday night. These are my first socks for the year 2009, and I love them. They fit perfectly, and the slip stitch pattern was so much fun to knit. I just wanted to keep going and going.

Have a closeup of one sock.

And of the toe. These socks are so happy colorful, I just kept taking pictures of them!

Pattern details:
Pattern: Mad about Plaid
Yarn: Brown Sheep Company Wildfoote
Needles: US #0
Modifications: None
Comments: These were fun! After the initial frogging of the too-large-foot, they zipped right along. The first skein of Wildfoote really was defective, the second skein didn't have all those knots and underspun and shredded pieces. We'll see how it wears, but otherwise, it seems like a decent all-purpose sock yarn. If the purpose is socks. Eh, you know what I mean, I'll shut up now and have more caffeine.

The yarn for my next two projects is wound into balls and ready to go. And I found a knot. Fortunately, it's only one.

But how come knots are almost never in a place where it's easy to work around them? Like, at the beginning or end or the exact middle of a hank of yarn? Oh, well. I'll just weave in the extra ends.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First FO of 2009

Not too bad, huh? Considering I have 2 pairs of socks on the needles (after frogging a third) and don't have too much knitting time because it's busy season at work. But it's cold out. Yesterday, it was 1 pathetic degree Fahrenheit. I know it's colder in other parts of the country, but that's enough for me, thank you very much. And Mr. Batty needed a hat.

Hat laid out flat.

Hat from the top.

Action shot of hat.

Why the color only came out black in the last picture is beyond me. I guess there's a reason I'm no professional photographer.

Pattern details:
Pattern: Nordic Hat Three Ways from The Knitting Man(ual) -- the simplest version of the pattern, obviously.
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in black
Needles: US #5, 16 and 24 inch length
Modifications: none
Comments: Really, really fun to knit. Aurora 8 creates a smooth fabric that I love. And I'm realizing that I'm turning into a loose knitter. I used size 5 needles and got gauge. These days, I have to go down a needle size or two!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Progress and Riiiiiip

I got a package from my friend Linda yesterday! It was little and cute and came from a goth store in Leipzig, so I knew it was going to be good. But I had no idea how good! If you click on the picture to get a better view, you'll see that these are buttons. They have a spider on one side and a bat on the other. Awesome reversible bat/spider buttons, and enough for a cardigan! I'm really, really excited about these and will be looking for the perfect goth cardi pattern to display them -- bat side up, naturally.

It's freezing out. Today, it was cold, but tomorrow, the low will be 1 F, and that's without the wind chill. So I'm knitting a hat for Mr. Batty. It's a pattern from The Knitting Man(ual), which I can't recommend enough. It has very wearable patterns for men, and the models look like real people. Oh, and the yarn I'm using is black, not some washed-out gray. Beautiful, dark black. As you can see, it's coming along nicely.

Also coming along nicely was the Mad About Plaid sock. I was beginning the toe decreases sometime last Sunday and was looking forward to casting on sock #2 when it suddenly hit me: 18+22 is not, nor will it ever be, 30. Which was really unfortunate, because 40 meant that I had not decreased 10 stitches after picking up the gusset, which meant that the foot of my sock was now huge. So... riiiiip.

I put the sock in time-out and cast on the hat. Now, I'm ready to get back to sock knitting, I think. But I had to get away from this glaring evidence of my lack of mathematical prowess. At least for a bit.
Pretty socks, though! I love the way they're turning out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bad Skein?

I have a question for all of you who have knit with Wildfoote sock yarn. My experience with Brown Sheep products has until now been limited to Lamb's Pride Worsted and Cotton Fleece, both of which are very nice. Now, I'm knitting socks with navy Wildfoote, and I'm less than impressed. I had to cut out a whole section where the yarn had unraveled and the plies looked all shredded. In other sections, it looks like one of the plies snapped, they'll hang off the main yarn in unsightly lengths of a quarter inch to an inch.
So, my question: Is this normal for this yarn, or did I just get a bum skein? I like the idea of being able to knit a pair of socks for $15, but if this is not an exception, I know I can get good quality yarn for $3-7 more.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Great Psychedelic Scot!

What's this? It's orange and variegated and dark blue, and it looks like it almost glows in the dark.

Great Psychedelic Scot, it's a sock!
Imagine a bunch of hippie Scotsmen under the influence of hallucinogenic substances. Now imagine said Scotsmen trying to pick tartan colors. Maybe this is what they would have come up with.
It's bright and obnoxious and I love it. Not to mention that these socks are using up all sorts of leftover sock yarn. Bright-as-all-getout socks and stash reduction, all in one go. Gotta love it.

Speaking of stash reduction, this is one Christmas Foot, aka Fuzzy Foot, out of more leftover yarn. Yes, I'm really serious about my yarn reduction for 2009! And yes, it's sideways. Silly basic camera software... won't let me rotate images.

My excitement may have affected Morgana. Look closely. Yes, there is a cat in this box.

Both ends are open, it's the perfect cat tunnel. When they were smaller, they both used to fit in a Coke box. Now, one Coke box fits one cat. And this box is pretty darn big... it contained a whole cat bed!