Still Life, With Cats

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Let’s veer back to some knitting, shall we?

I started this shawl because I was actively avoiding working on some unfinished socks and I knew if I just knit *something*, eventually my brain would decide that those pesky socks weren’t so bad and I’d be able to finish them. Plus, this pattern has been in my queue for an inordinately long time.

This is not the best yarn to use for this project, and so chances are pretty high I’m going to dye it at some point in the near future (perhaps a dull green, or a dusky blue, or even a milk chocolate color) – something that will let the full effect of the pattern itself come through, but it was what I had in the stash that was the right size, and so I was happy to find a way to use some of it up.

This is the Photography Shawl, and it is a deceptively simple pattern, in that all the really fun patterning comes about from just knits and purls. The widest section also includes some decreases, to switch it up from columns to waves, but otherwise, still knits and purls and the regular decreases.

Here’s a close-up of the ending section, which is my favorite part of the pattern.

I know it looks a little discombobulated in the pictures, but that’s because technically you’re not supposed to block it. Normally I’d pin something like this out to a proper shape, to even up the edges, except that the whole point of this pattern is to embrace the texture created by the knits and the purls, and so pinning it out would ruin that entire effect. So instead I gave it a wash and then laid it out on some blocking mats outside, and tried to pat it into some sort of rough shape, without losing the texture, and this is the result.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

A bit of a stretch

Technically I didn’t make this in one day, but as this is my challenge, I get to play with the rules, and so I’m going to run with it.

The last couple months I have been staring at some unfinished projects and thinking I really ought to do them, except I just didn’t want to. So instead I cast on a scarf kit that a friend gave me. The yarn is a four-stranded cotton yarn where the color of a single strand changes every once in a while, so that you end up with a fun color change throughout the course of the piece. It was the sort of project where it required absolutely no thought at all, and was perfect to take on car trips, or when sitting with family or friends. I knit until the yarn was almost used up, and then bound off, and then it sat there, lurking, in a project bag, for far too long, until today when I dug it out and finally wove in the ends.

This is a horrible picture of it, but it was late when I took it, so oh well. I do like the colors – it goes from a soft cream to a warm brown and the entire time I was working on it I thought it reminded me of a latte.

This will be perfect for when I need something soft and cozy on a trip. It’s double-sided because it’s all garter stitch, so no worry about whether I’m arranging it right, and it’s cotton, so it won’t be overly warm in inclement weather.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Had to be done

Now that I’ve got two headbands done, I’ve been going through patterns pondering new possibilities, and when I stumbled across this pattern, I knew I absolutely had to make it.

I used some yarn I got in a yarn swap a couple years ago, which turned out to be the perfect fit for this. I actually finished it this weekend, but didn’t block it until today.

This is definitely meant for cold weather, instead of just for keeping one’s hair out of one’s face, since it’s a bit wide for my current needs, but it was a fun, quick project to knit, and it’ll come in handy winter.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Once more, with cables

After I made that first headband, I pondered how to improve things. The first one was nice, but a little loose. So I poked around online until I found an interesting cable pattern, found yet another ball of random acrylic in my stash (let’s just say that I’m in no danger of running out of random acrylic yarn any time soon), and while we binge-watched old episodes of Flea Market Flip, I made myself another headband.

No official pattern to link; I just cast on twelve stitches and followed the instructions for the Sand Cable until it was the length that seemed to fit on my head. Then I kitchenered the two ends together, and poof, headband.

Unlike try #1, this one fits perfectly, so hooray for that. However, the nature of the cable means that it curls in on itself. So while this one fits, and does the job it’s meant to, there’s still some improvements to be made (and oodles of yarn in the stash to try).

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Channeling my inner princess

This was supposed to be yesterday’s item except I was dithering about what I wanted to make and it turns out, 9:30 at night is not the best time to start a new project when one hopes to finish it before one falls asleep at the needles. So instead I finished it this morning.

After years and years of having super short hair, I’ve decided to try growing it out again. Fine, except that it’s now reached the stage where it’s long enough to hang in my face but not long enough to actually pull back in a barrette, and it’s been driving me crazy. So naturally I decided to knit my way out of this problem, by making myself a headband.

This is the 50’s Knotted Headband. It’s made with some random acrylic yarn from my stash, and except for some minor shaping, it’s basically just a long strip of garter stitch, tied in a knot with some ‘bow’ shaped flaps at the ends.

I wore it all day today to see how I felt. I like it – a lot – except that it is just a hair on the loose side. However, even with that, it worked great for solving the problem of the shag rug on my head, so there will be more headbands in my future, oh yes.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

All the days of the year

It’s February, which means it’s once again time for Thingadailies, where I commit to making one thing a day for the entire month of February. In years past I’ve had a particular theme in mind, but I really struggled to come up with one for this year, so….my plan is to just make whatever I feel like, and we’ll see how it goes.

Anyway. To start off the month, I am bucking the rules entirely by showing off a thing that is not finished, but on which I’m doing a little bit of work every single day this year. Yes, fellow fiber artists, some friends and I have finally succumbed to the lure of the Temperature Blanket.

The premise of this blanket is that you work one section per day, for an entire year, changing the colors with the temperature of the day (in our case we’re going with whatever the day’s high was). Number of colors used is entirely up to you and how many ends you want to weave in (we’re doing a new color every five degrees), as is the pattern.

I pondered a couple different ideas (since we’re all doing different patterns for this, but using the same set of colors), but in the end decided to make mine entralac, which is a fun technique that makes it look like the finished product is woven, and is also a fantastic way to practice knitting backwards, if that is a skill you ever wanted to learn. I’m doing one panel a day (and have mapped this out completely so as to make sure that this will work). So far I’m keeping up with it, and really liking how it’s turning out (the different blues don’t all come out very well in this picture, unfortunately, but there’s five separate colors represented so far, well six if we count the black).

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Hot off the needles

Oh hey, so occasionally I do make things that don’t involve flour and butter.

Last night I finally wove in the remaining ends, so ta da, I made myself a sweater.

The pattern is Recalibrate, since I know some of you will ask. It’s an interesting construction, in that you make the front and back panels first, then do the sides vertically, then join those with side panels.

For all the individual pieces, there’s a minimum of ends to weave in, plus the use of an icord bind off means that the edges don’t curl or flop. And while it’s done all in garter stitch, using a lighter yarn (sock weight) means it’s not too bulky. Plus, the pattern is one of those that looks flattering on any body shape (look at all the Project pictures on the Ravelry page – seriously, there’s a reason it’s so popular!).

I am very pleased with how this turned out (and not just because it used three skeins of yarn from my rather large sock yarn stash), so hooray, I finally made myself a sweater that I will actually wear!

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.

Using up

The nice thing about focusing Thingadailies on recipes is that it used up all the orange citrus in the fridge, but unfortunately there’s still a bazillion lemons. Plus there’s a bowl of lemon curd now sitting in the fridge and needing to be used up (hey, it’s not like I can’t make a couple dozen more batches just from our own tree!).

I still had a package of puff pastry in the fridge earlier, so last night I made Lemon Curd Turnovers. I rolled it out until it was about 12 inches square, then cut that into 9 pieces. Then I mixed up some lemon curd, some cream cheese, some sugar, and the last of the lemon zest that was sitting in the fridge, and dumped a heaping tablespoonful in the middle of each square. A little egg wash, a little rest in the fridge, and then they went into the oven to bake. The final step was a drizzle of glaze (powdered sugar and cream), and poof, a lovely, flakey pastry that looks far fancier than the minimal effort involved.

In addition, yesterday I also finished a project that I’d really hoped to complete in February, but, well, life and bottle baby kittens got in the way. On the first of February, I was feeling the need to start a new knitting project and I spotted my bin of leftover sock yarn.

Rupert included for scale (and also because cat).

Sadly, this is not even all of it – as I got into the project I kept finding more balls lurking around the house.

I’ve seen various sock yarn blanket ideas, but they tend to be too chaotic in color for me. Then I stumbled across this pattern and knew immediately what I wanted to do.

I cast on on February 1st and yesterday morning I finished.

It’s nothing more than garter stitch, done in the diagonal. I held two strands together the whole time, simply adding in a new ball each time one ran out, with no worries about the colors. The fact that it’s garter stitch, and two colors at a time, means that the overall chaos that would have occurred if I’d only done one color at a time ends up being muted, with the colors fading into each other.

It’s roughly 3 foot by 5 foot, and took about 950 grams of yarn, which, alas, was probably only about half my stash of leftover sock yarn. But at least the bin is no longer overflowing, and I got a pretty new blanket out of it, so yay.

For the comfort and convenience

A couple years ago we got a cat tree for the kitten room, which is perfect for all but the very small ones – lots of levels to make things easy to scale, several different cubbies for the shy ones to lurk, and the best part of all, a hammock. All the kittens love the hammock.

Alas, the original hammock could not stand up to a constant onslaught of extremely energetic kittens, so eventually it ripped badly enough I could no longer repair it. I decided instead of trying to come up with a fabric replacement, I’d knit one.

My first prototype wasn’t great – I ended up making it took large – but it worked just fine until a recent batch of fosters managed to tear actual holes in it. So this weekend I knit up Prototype #2.

It looks a bit like an extremely round hot water bottle cover, but here’s what it looks like once it’s been installed.

And here is an action shot (starring current foster kitten Pop).

If anyone is faced with a similar issue, I wrote up my notes on what I did here – this is primarily so I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel next time this has to be replaced (since history clearly tells me there will be a next time).

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.


A while back, we decided that, being nerds and all, that we would get ourselves a wireless bathroom scale – the sort which syncs itself to our Fitbit accounts, and lets us track things online. Each of us set up our profile, so that when we step onto the scale, it knows who we are, and then stores that weight into the appropriate account. However, if someone it doesn’t recognize steps onto the scale, then it records the weight under the name ‘Guest’.

The other day, I was going through the list of weights to make sure it had assigned everything appropriately (sometimes it doesn’t) and I noticed a series of Guest weigh-ins. What was odd about these, however, is that they were all pretty consistently for someone about 11 and a half pounds.

So…in other words, apparently at least one of the cats has been hanging out on the scale, and it’s been dutifully capturing the weight each time. Based on who insists on being in the bathroom with us any time one of us is using the facilities, I’m going to guess it’s one of the grey boys (Sherman and Rupert both weigh roughly the same).

* * * * *

In other news, hey, look, I made another pair of socks. The pattern is Lorentz, which I picked firstly because of the interesting texture pattern, and secondly because it’s yet another version of a toe-up sock that, unlike the others I’ve tried, actually seems to account for the fact that one’s foot tends to widen around the ankle, and one’s sock should reflect that.

Despite my best efforts I couldn’t get a picture that shows the texture clearly, so click the pattern link above to see what they really look like.

(Oh, and by the way, I can now share two more pairs of socks I’ve made – as test knits – since the patterns have been released. Both of these were done in November of last year.

Transversal socks – I really like the texture patterning on these.

Swirl Sampler Socks – these incorporate lace and texture, and are mirror images of each other.