Pi “In the Oven”

I’ve come to realize that the shawl I’m knitting from the Japanese pattern is really a pi shawl, with a center opening and slightly irregular doublings of stitches. I’m past the first few increase rounds and am now working on a longer (42-row) round that moves the shawl into a leaf motif.
Pie shawl, in progress
My stitch count continues to work out, and I’m loving the feeling of the alpaca running through my fingers.

Casting on—In Japanese

Last night I did what every good knitter does in a time of stress: I cast on a new project. Not just any new project, but a particularly challenging project—in this case a lace shawl from a Japanese knitting book.
Let's knit vol. 12
I am twenty-eight rows in and, while I don’t have the number of stitches on my needles that I should (at least I think I don’t; I could be misreading the numbers on the diagram), I do have a number of stitchs that is a multiple of the pattern repeat I’m coming up on, so I’m hoping things will be ok. I have found an excellent web site with some good information on knitting from Japanese books (Knitting Elegance), and I also have a student coming to my office hours later today who’s a native speaker of Japanese (he has no idea what he’s in for!), so I am hopeful I will be able to continue apace.

I’ve gone one step further in complicating this process—rather than using a lace or fingering weight yarn (I believe the pattern suggests a yarn with 200 meters per 40 grams) I am using some Fiesta Ballet in the Madrid colorway.
Ballet in Madrid
This yarn is a yummy, yummy blend of alpaca and tencel, so I am hoping for good results despite the odds.

Tuesday Mewsday: What—Found a Mitten? You Naughty Kitten!

We are not completely certain Sparky is at fault, but we have our suspicions.

Exhibit A: a handknit, thrummed mitten, brown with green thrums in my yard.

Exhibit B: a handknit, fingerless mitten in black with dark grey heathering found in the Next-Doors’ yard.

Exhibit C: an LLBeane fine-gauge glove in oatmeal-colored wool found in the Next-Doors’ yard.

Exhibit D: a navy wool mitten, found in the Next-Doors’ yard.

Exhibit E: a dark grey, heathered watch cap in what looks to be a wool-alpaca blend, found in the Next-Doors’ yard.

None of these belong to me. None of them belong to the Next-Doors. Neither of us has regular streams of fumble-fingered wool-wearers passing through our yards.

Apparently, a stash weasel is at work!

P.S. Isn’t there a childrens’ book on this theme? I believe the solution offered there is to clothespin found items to a tree along the sidewalk.

I Never Thought…

… I’d want a knitted kerchief, but I’ve surprised myself. That sample I was knitting up for my LYS? I liked it so much that I’m now knitting one for myself. The pattern is from Classic Elite’s Johns Bay. I’m knitting mine in some dishcloth cotton I had lying around, so it’s not as soft as the sample I knit up (love that cotton/rayon/silk blend!), but it will be nice to keep in the car for beach walks on windy days. My favorite beach is right at the northern tip of the Monterey Bay, so it gets much blusterier (is that a word?) weather than Santa Cruz, even though it’s relatively nearby.

Melissa and I have been nurturing our inner nerds lately and enjoying some of the material available from The Teaching Company. (Their prices seem high at first, until you realize that you should never, ever buy anything at full price, since it all goes on sale on a regular basis.) When we’re together in the evenings, we listen to a segment or two from Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition. When we’re apart, I’m entertaining myself with Science and Religion. The material is so interesting it’s even got me turning off the tv—except for my Monday night, must-have House fix.

Tuesday Mewsday: The Seraglio

Archy says Mozart had it all wrong. The seraglio is not to be escaped. It is to be sought out—sunk into even.

Archy in the seraglio

Just look at that cushy, cushy goodness.

The seraglio is one of our latest space-saving brainstorms. Since the flat files eat up approxmately 20% of the available floor space in the kitchen/dining area, we decided to use them for more than just storing art. One large slab of plywood, a jumbo fleece dog bed, and half a dozen throw pillows later, we have a new lounging area big enough to seat two humans and three cats (we feel—Archy says it’s just the right size for one).

Archy in the seraglio

More photos will certainly follow.

I Have Not Been Blogging Much

… as Melissa pointed out to me this morning. I am in the middle of a real-world-job-somehow-demanding-increasingly-large-chunks-of-my-days, working-on-patterns-that-I-might-want-to-submit-somewhere-and-which-are-therefore-top-secret,
and no-computer-at-homedness-that-prevents-evening-blogging nexus, which all make for a boring and sporadic blog.

I did have my first-ever working retail experience this past Friday (oh, the sheltered life I’ve led!). Margaret, the owner of my LYS The Golden Fleece, had to take a one-day class, so she called on several of us who are general hangers-about and occasional helpers to actually run things for the day. I had the shop all to myself for two hours in the early afternoon, then was joined by my friend Chris and an actual yarn-store employee, Liz, for the rest of the day. I did my best to be unfailingly pleasant to customers both reasonable and unreasonable alike and to avoid saying “you’ll have to ask Margaret about that once she’s back” more than was absolutely necessary. I did not screw up once on the register. (I confess that I was not allowed to touch the electric yarn winder. That was left for Chris and Liz as my one interaction with it in the past was tragic enough that no-one is willing to risk a repeat.)

My compensation (oh, yes, any day now you’ll see me along the side of the road, holding up a clumsily hand-lettered “will work for yarn” sign) was four skeins of Plymouth Kudo—one of their yummy new spring yarns that is a cotton/rayon/silk blend.
Kudo yarn
That’s the colorway I chose.

I haven’t started working yet with my skeins, but I am knitting a little kerchief out of it for a shop sample and am experiencing some lovely fiber bliss. The pattern, Alegoro, is from Classic Elite’s new booklet Johns Bay. Here’s a peek at what I’ve got so far—
The yarn is soft, soft, soft, with a nice drape, and shows the stitches well.

And now it is back to my stack of student papers for the moment, with a knitting break in a few hours if I’m productive enough.

Tuesday Mewsday: Chaos Under Heaven

Ah, the rewards of sharing one’s life with cats.

I came home yesterday to find that a pile of clean, folded clothes I hadn’t yet put away had been used to cover a litter box deposit and a hairball had been left in the food bowl.

And still I love the beasts and give them treats and scratch them under their fuzzy little chins.

Tuesday Mewsday: Penny’s Big Adventure

This past weekend, Penny made the journey to her new, one-cat-only, forever home all the way up by Seattle. Melissa and I drove her as far as Portland, Oregon. Then Carrie, of the Best Friends Network took over and drove her halfway to Seattle, where she met with Penny’s new mom Melanie for the transfer.

Penny was remarkably mellow in the carrier.
Penny in her carrier

After about four hours she did get a bit restive, so Melissa and I took turns sitting with her in the back seat. She alternated between sitting in her open carrier and climbing up onto the available lap. No dramatic yowling or clawing—just a steady gaze out the window at the world going by.

We spent the night at friends’ in Portland, and Penny was glad for the chance to stretch out on a bed.

Our last morning with her was quite the purr-fest. If you turn up the volume, you can hear Penny purring as I hum to her.

I’m waiting now for a report from Melanie and will pass on news as I get it. I miss her terribly—last night was particularly hard—but I’m glad her needs are being met.