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Monday, April 28, 2008

Ukrainian Cat Pelt Yarn

The Downtown Knit Collective Spring Knitter's Frolic was this weekend, and a few skeins of yarn followed me home. I've yet to photograph them, so today I'm showcasing my most unique yarn aquisition of late:

Ukrainian Cat Pelt Yarn - Closeup

Maggie brought it to SnB several weeks back; a Ukrainian supplier sent her to try out. It's mohair, but it doesn't feel as soft as you'd expect. It felt very familiar, and eventually it hit me - it feels like Greedo's fur. His fur is a different texture from Somerset's; it's firmer, and feels more like guard hairs than undercoat. For some reason, the yarn fascinated me, and Maggie was kind enough to give it to me. BTW - Maggie probably has a few skeins of yarn left over from the Frolic; check out her store for updates in the next few days!

So now I have to figure out what to knit with it. It's 50g, and I have no idea what the yardage is - it looks like laceweight, so it should be pretty decent. Maybe it would work well as the "knitted curtain" from Mason Dixon Knitting. Whatever it becomes, the project will have to live up to the name "Ukrainian Cat Pelt _____"

Hey! What's with all this talk about Cat Pelts?

Might I point out that I AM CANADIAN!!!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My, but time does fly...

It's been almost a week since I last posted. Part of this was related to travel (we went to Montreal this weekend so that The Gambler could watch the UFC fights. I have to say that the influx of UFC fans made for some interesting people watching), and partly due to work (Word continues to get around to horridly ill people re: the day I take over the ICU service - this is the only explanation I can think of as to why these people come to the ER after 3-4 days on death's door. Obviously, they were waiting for me to be on call.)

Because I was in Montreal, I missed Sandi Purl's baby shower - but here are the squares I knit for the group afghan she received:

secret project #1

OK, they appear to be more quadrangular than square per se - I'm hoping that blocking took care of that.

Speaking of blocking, I blocked my Deviation from the Standard Handwarmers on Thursday morning as I drove into work (What better item to block handwarmers with than hands? Why not take advantage of a 45 minute commute?):

blocked handwarmer

It didn't do much for the wonky stitches, but it did stretch them out a bit. (I seem to have a prediliction for posing with handknits while wearing clothes of a totally opposing colour scheme - at least my manicure didn't clash)

I had the opportunity to work on the Yoke Vest (which I have christened The Consolation Vest):
somerset vest
...and was eventually able to pry Somerset off of it long enough to get a decent photo:

consolation vest

The striping is a bit remniscent of my Lines In The Sand Sweater - hopefully this vest will be similarly flattering ( I have some reservations about a vest knit out of bulky yarn - how likely is it to make my torso look stumpy?).

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If I only had a (working) brain...

Last Saturday, I got home from work, and The Gambler wasn't home. I decided that all I wanted for dinner was a salad. We generally buy the "3 in a bag" romaine hearts - there was a brand new bag in the refrigerator, so I opened it up, washed one of the hearts, peeled off some leaves, and then wrapped the remaining lettuce in a paper towel, put it back in the bag with the other lettuce, and then put it away.

Sunday night, The Gambler was getting my lunch ready for Monday:
"Where's the lettuce?" he asked.

"I put it back in the fridge - did you try looking in the vegetable drawer?" I replied, mentally shaking my head at his suboptimal food-locating skills.

"...I don't see it in the drawer - just some peppers, carrots and celery"

"Well, maybe it's on that shelf below the cheese drawer - where we store the wraps."

"Nope, don't see it."

Obviously, I think to myself, my husband must suffer from Male Pattern Blindness - being unable to see anything in the fridge that is not in front and at eye level.
"Let me just finish this row and I'll find it for you"

Two minutes later - he triumphantly announces: "I found the lettuce - you put it in the freezer."


Last fall, during our Eurotrip, I stopped in at a Lana Grossa yarn shop in Nurnberg, and saw some discontinued bulky yarn for the bargain price of 1.5 euros/skein. So I bought 9 of them.
Generally, the thickest yarn that I knit with is worsted weight, but I liked the colourway and I couldn't resist the bargain. After we returned home, I looked through Ravelry to find a sweater pattern that called for bulky yarn, and found the Side-way Rib Cardigan by Nora Gaughan - used 7-9 skeins of bulky yarn depending on the size knit (BTW it was not entirely clear what "size" the 3 options represented - "garment on model measures 40 inches around" does not help one to decide which version to knit unless you tell us how many inches around the model is). It had been published in the first issue of KnitScene. I decided that I'd knit it at some point, and ordered a copy from Interweave Press.

Fast forward to Saturday night - after eating my salad, I sat down and swatched for the cardigan:

The gauge wasn't quite on , but I blocked it, and set it to dry - a quick re-measurement suggested that it would be fine. I then read through the pattern, trying to decide a) which size to knit, b) whether to knit the sleeves flat (as written) or in the round, and c) whether to lengthen the garment.

Sunday, I managed to escape the hospital early, and sat down to do some knitting. I decided that I should probably enter the yarn into my Ravelry stash. I entered "9" skeins in the total. The stash yarn summary indicated that I had 475 yards of yarn. Didn't ring any alarm bells. I took another look at the pattern to decide how much leeway I had in terms of making the garment longer - and saw that the yarn used in the pattern came in 100g skeins, and the yarn that I bought came in 50g skeins. The discontinued yarn that I bought in Germany in October.


Surprisingly, when you google "Lana Grossa Colore", you don't come across any online shops that sell it anymore. So I then tried making all sorts of bargains with the Devil, looking at other bulky yarns that I might mix in, messaging poeple who had some of the same colourway to see if they might want to sell/trade for their skeins, and emailing Romni Wools to see if they had any (they don't).


But I did come across the Yoke vest pattern from Loop-d-Loop (available at my friendly neighborhood public library), which should work with my yardage (although the pattern is written for only 2 sizes - small/medium and large, where large = 34 inch bust, and the only difference between the 2 sizes is needle size, which is a designer copout IMHO). So the Side-way rib Sweater goes back in the freezer.

I mean queue.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Deviations Done!

I finished knitting the second handwarmer today:

completed handwarmers

The ends still need to be woven in, and then I am going to try blocking them. The stitches that I knit with my left hand got kind of wonky every so often. I probably could have gone up a needle size and they would have still fit. In retrospect, having the line of background stitches at the edge of each side of the glove wasn't a good idea - it led to a "seam" visible on the back of the hand. It would have been better for me to add in a part of the pattern so that it would travel around the hand.

It was surprising to see the difference in how the pattern looks depending on which hand held the background yarn. The glove on my left hand (on the right of the photo) was the one with the background yarn held in my left hand; the circles stand out more prominently. I wonder if the difference will be as marked post blocking.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Monkey See

If you had a million Shakespeares, could they write like a Monkey?
Stephen Wright

monkey A

Never hold discussions with the Monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
Winston Churchill

monkey close A

I am not so much interested in what Monkey man was derived from as I am in what kind of Monkey he is to become.
Loren Eiseley

monkey close B

Monkeys are superior to man in this: when a Monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a Monkey.
Malcolm de Chazal

monkey close C

The surest way to make a Monkey of a man is to quote him.
Robert Benchley


Friday, April 11, 2008

Cat update

I realized today that my blog has been sorely lacking in cat photos of late - so here you go:

Someone on Ravelry pointed out that his cat is the mirror image of Somerset.

Freaky. I wonder which one is the evil twin.

Probably not Somerset - she is a little sweetheart, but dumb as a post. Case in point: This is our kitchen (please don't look at the mess on the counter)and our main hallway. 99.9% of the time, that door at the end of the kitchen is open.
When our new furniture was delivered early in the week, The Gambler closed the door to the kitchen. Now a closed door acts as a cat magnet in our house - I think they believe that there are fields of catnip behind any door that is closed. Somerset got quite distressed that she was trapped in the kitchen, so Greedo came to see what the fuss was.

"Oh no! We are stuck here FOREVER" she meowed.

"Hmmm...wait a minute..." Greedo thought.

"Hey, Somerset. Over here!!"

Believe it or not - seeing Greedo suddenly appear on the other side of the door caused her even more distress, because she couldn't figure out how he got there. Although in a way, Greedo was a bit too smart for his own good - we had to lock him in the laundry room until the delivery was complete, but Somerset had already been "secured".

Greedo attempts a Rodian mind meld.

Or maybe he's driving out demons - it's hard to tell sometimes. Too bad osmosis doesn't work through bone.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Melinda was kind enough to take a picture of me wearing the Lines In The Sand Sweater at The Purple Purl this afternoon:
finished Lines In The Sand Sweater

One of the other women at The Purl was knitting a sock out of Noro sock yarn, and I realized that it was the same colourway as the lighter colourway in my sweater.

So even though I had planned to let the Kureyon Sock train pass me by:
You got it - Lines In The Sand Socks! (There was no sock equivalent to the darker colourway, so I went with the purple/black). I'm going to split the skeins, and knit the socks toe up. I'll have to figure out what the optimal stripe thickness is - I am guessing 3 or 4 rows.

Because I don't already have enough projects waiting to be knit!

BTW - note the new background; The Gambler and I finally got around to buying a decent coffee table.

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15 clicks of fame

I listened to an interesting podcast on microcelebrity this morning. I have to wonder what this says about popular culture in general; do we get the same benefit from relationships that are internet based as we do from those that are based in real life?


Monday, April 07, 2008

Deviation the First

I actually finished knitting this handwarmer last Thursday - being on call always means that things like FOtography gets postponed.
Which reminds me, I really need to get The Gambler to take a photo of me in my new sweater; part of the problem is that we often go a few days without both of us being home and awake at the same time. I get up early while he is still sleeping, and he spends a few evenings per week at his fencing club and gets home after I have fallen asleep. Which leads to some weird conversations like: "Hey, when did you shave off your beard?" "Three days ago."

handwarmer 1
Ends need to be woven in, and I have to blanket stitch the top to keep it from rolling. handwarmer 1 close
There are many wonky stitches, so I am going to try blocking it.

I'm working on Deviation the Second right now - this time I'm holding the background yarn in my left hand. There are a few rows knit with only the background colour, and it seemed very weird to be doing nothing with my right hand except move the needle. One of these days I have to learn how to purl continentally.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Not George

Since I plan to knit the second Deviation from Standard Handwarmer with the yarns reversed in dominance, I decided to flip the order of the yarns in the corrugated ribbing - knitting with the background yarn and purling with the contrast yarns.

Here's the result:

I hate to say it, but this ribbing is no George. Ruprecht might be more like it.

Even though I had expected the two handwarmers to be different, I had to frog this.
I don't think I could take the sibling rivalry: "Mom always liked you best!" "Can you blame her?"

I know, I know, other than the spots when I accidentally knit with the contrast instead of the background, that ribbing looks perfectly fine, and has it's own subtle charm. I am a shallow knitter, dazzled by a column of stitches. Do you love all your handknits equally? Let those without sin cast off the first row the first stone.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Knitter's Dilemma

Today at work I asked another specialist to assess one of my patients. As we were discussing his findings, his sweater caught my eye. It was machine knit, but had some unusual detailing. Then I realized that the "detailing" was stranding. His sweater was probably on inside out.

Because he was sitting and I was standing, I was able to walk behind him and check to see if there were any tags visible. I didn't see one, but I thought I saw a bit of thread where the tag might be (what you would expect to see if you removed a scratchy tag from your sweater). Now it's possible that this was a somewhat edgy sweater, but his style is anything but edgy. The "motifs" were quite small, and the yarn was a fine gauge. I doubt a non-knitter would have noticed.

So my dilemma was this - should I have said to him "You might want to check your sweater, because it may be inside out", or just let him continue on in blissful ignorance?


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Home is where your stash is.

I'm on call in the ICU this week. I got my day off to a nice early start when I had to head in to the hospital at 3 AM because a patient was crashing.

So I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time at work today. But although I was away from The Gambler and the cats, I can't say the same thing about my stash.

Here's my desk - see the bottom drawer?

I'm hazarding a guess that not many offices in my hospital contain enough Mission Falls yarn to knit Rogue.