Archive for April, 2011

Bracken-Fest

That’s the theme of my knitting right now. You can actually sing about it if you want—the tune for “O, Tannenbaum” works well.

I’m working on two projects just now (actively working; there are plenty more project bags hanging about). The first of these is a Ten-Stitch Twist Blanket in Noro Transitions; the second is an original (large) square shawl in Kauni. No matter which I have in hand, I’m spending an inordinate amount of time picking bits of bracken out of my yarn. I am not quite to the point of saving it, so I can weight it at the end of the skein and see how much of my yarn money was actually used to purchase twigs—but I may get there.

The Transitions is interesting to work with. It’s a wool/silk/cashmere/angora/mohair/camel/alpaca blend, but instead of being evenly mixed, the yarn changes composition periodically. It seems to have wool throughout, but one moment I’m working with wool/silk and getting a nubby texture, the next I’m on to wool/angora and suddenly everything is wrapped in a halo. I’m using that pink/green/black Noro colorway, and the colors aren’t quite a loud as they usually are. I don’t know if this is a result of how the fibers take the dye or if the yarn’s just spent too much time in direct sun.

The Ten-Stitch Twist pattern is great for Transitions (or for any Noro yarn). You begin with a circle knitted in wedges, then knit in circles around that center, picking up one stitch every row or two, and knitting outward in a spiral, so that you make a sort of snail-shell shape with the striping running in brief, perpendicular rows, rather than the large rings you’d get with circular knitting. This pattern is a free Ravelry download, though the designer, Frankie Brown, asks for a small donation to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. It’s a fun, simple knit—great if you need some meeting knitting—and definitely worth a donation.

The original square shawl is past the halfway point (I think) and up to 472 stitches per round, so progress goes slowly, but thus far the design is proving true to my sketches and quite pleasing. I like the Kauni for this project (bracken be damned!) because the knitting involves some changes of direction, and the slow color changes in the Kauni show these off without distracting from the stitch patterns.

Let me leave you with this question: what’s the biggest something you’ve ever pulled out of a skein of yarn? Acorn? Pine cone? I haven’t actually had anything over 1″ yet on either of these projects, so I suppose I really shouldn’t complain too much.

April 30 2011 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Tuesday Mewsday: Boogie Black Cat Ops

Question: how many of you have taken the time to figure out what your cats’ IDs would be if they had to be protected by the secret service? It could happen. These are dangerous times, you know.

And what if the cats want to go out clubbing? What names will they go by then? Summer is coming and the cats love the nightlife, you know.

Well, Melissa and I have it figured out.

The Glare
Archy Fidel Katz
Secret Service Name: Romeo
Club Name: Arch Meister Flash

Maggie looking fabulous
Maggie Glorianna Moo-Woozle
Secret Service Name: Tiny Dancer or Filibuster (bet you can’t guess where the second one came from)
Club Name: Lady Woozle

Damian suffers terribly from ennui
Damian Vaslav M. Presario Pantalones de Queso ¡Y Qué!
Secret Service Name: OJ
Club Name: Jiggy Puss (this photo does not do his jiggyness justice)

Bob's signature look
H. Bob-Jaques Pelerin
Secret Service Name: Mariner (sleeps on the neighbors’ boat) or Rasta (we’re having some grooming issues just now)
Club Name: Puff-Puff Daddy

Enough, you darn paparazzi
Beatrice Grasshopper Schwartz-Noir
Secret Service Name: Enigma
Club Name: You have got to be kidding.

Sparky, Handsome Lad
Spartacus Gladstone Keeper
Secret Service Name: The Brick
Club Name: DJ Clump

Timmy getting a pet
Miss Timmy Belle Bon Chance (who is officially Chris’s cat, but who shares the yard with our cats—or rather, who tolerates our cats in her yard)
Secret Service Name: Warrior Princess
Club Name: Not on your life.

Then there’s Mortimer, our truculent senior citizen who eschews the paparazzi.
Secret Service Name: Groundhog (because you can guess what happens when he sees his own shadow)
Club Name: Grump Master Grump

Really, if you live with cats, these are the sorts of things you need to know.

April 19 2011 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments »