Saturday, April 28, 2012

Not All Sixes Are Created Equal

 So I cast on Wildwood using my short (6") dpns, and when it started to get longer I switched to the long (10") ones. At which point I realized why I'd found conflicting information on the internet when I looked up the conversion from the metric needles called out on the pattern to the US sizes...My bamboo Takumi dpns are 4.25 mm. The long Brittany needles, also marked as US size 6? Are 4.0 mm. It doesn't sound like much, but the difference is about 12%. I knit a few more rounds, but I could definitely see the transition. Here's where I was when I frogged and started over on the longer needles, which are also the size the pattern calls for:
On the plus side, re-knitting also let me fix some mistakes I'd made and and fixed in place rather than tinking back. Not surprisingly, following charts is also easier after a good night's rest than it is while stupid tired.  I'm already past the point where I frogged, so I have hopes this might be finished this weekend. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It's been a busy week and until today I wasn't sure what I was going to knit next.  I've been puttering around desultorily with assorted WIPs...but then I got this in the mail:
wandering cat yarn 
A couple of weeks ago, I won the Easter contest over at Wandering Cat Yarns.  The  yarn is their Top Cat DK, and is super soft and incredibly gorgeous.  And the beret pattern is beautiful.    Definitely the next project.

Which is not to say that puttering with WIPs hasn't been useful.  I've got neck decreases in hand for my cabled sweater.  I've got an experimental stranded mitten project that's coming along.  I've finished some more plain mittens:
more mittens 

And I've finished the brown self-patterning socks-- I'm wearing these today, and very happy with them. 
brown self-patterning socks

One of the reasons that the week has been busy has been Biscuit....let's just say that when a fluffy Himalayan cat has diarrhea...and therefore can't effectively clean himself...and therefore needs to have his bum the dismay of everyone involved...and gets taken to the the evil car....where indignities are perpetrated upon his fuzzy having said bum shaved...and being given pills...well.   It can take up a lot of time.  And make a person knit lots of stockinette.   But Biscuit is back to his old self (absent the shave, which from the rear makes him look like he's wearing fluffy harem pants), and so I'm ready to move on. 

You'll have to excuse me now, I need to go wind a skein of yarn. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


So there I was last night, pool under control, ready to get back to my sweater....and then I realized I was sitting in the recliner with this falling off my needles:
Frosted Glow Scarf
I certainly hadn't been thinking about knitting a scarf.   Hadn't planned to knit a scarf.  But there I was... with a scarf.   Pushy little thing, isn't it? 

The pattern is the Frosted Glow Cowl, though I made it longer as I wanted to use up the yarn.  I finished it this evening and wove in the ends.  Possibly the fastest scarf ever.  But I'm still not quite sure how it happened.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Progress is Being Made

The end of last week, my husband and I had an email from a friend who was going down to New York City and wondered if we'd like to come along.   My first thought was to wonder if I could sleep all the way there.  My second was that I had too much to do  at home to go anywhere.  My third was that if I stayed home I'd probably just goof off anyway.  My fourth was that going away would at least give me an excuse for getting nothing done.  Which was the point where I kicked myself in the behind and told myself firmly that I was going to get some serious movement on projects around the house this weekend or else.

Or else what, I had no idea.  And I didn't want to find out.  So:
1.  I started off on Friday evening by getting the routine stuff like laundry, dishes, and ironing out of the way.

2.  Then, as I started to feel the siren lure of sitting down with a book and some knitting, I took myself down to the garage (also known as the wood shop).  I have a lot of projects on the list, but I decided to start by knocking off a quick easy one.  A few years ago, my sister made me a candle-tree- it has three little dishes that hold tea lights and a swirl of sculptured wire, glass and stones.   If left alone, it stands up perfectly well.  Unfortunately, with cats and klutzy humans in the mix, it tended to get knocked over a lot.  I'd been meaning for ages to make a wooden base for it, something to protect it from stray tails and elbows.
New base for candle-tree
And it was about as easy as I expected.  I drew an irregular shape freehand on a piece of scrap wood, cut it out with the jig saw, sanded it smooth and rounded all the edges and slapped a quick coat of polyurethane on it.    In the morning, it was all ready to attach to the base. 

3.  Then, being down in the garage anyway, I took some cardboard and cut a template for the patch for the garage ceiling (a project which I've only been procrastinating on for two years now).  

4.  The next step in the garage ceiling patching project was to stuff some insulation back up in the hole... and when I'd done that, I bagged up the rest of the stray insulation in the garage (mostly left from when the pipes froze and they ripped out the ceiling the first time) and sorted out all the stray empty cans of paint thinner and stain to be disposed of on Saturday.   And after the fits of sneezing subsided, I congratulated myself on a good start and went to bed.

5.  Saturday I got up early (with the able assistance of hungry cats), finished the candle-base,  toted bags of debris variously to the hazardous waste collection site and the landfill, and then headed home to continue my assault on the pool hardware.  (There was a fourth visit to the pool store earlier in the week to get a right-angle-fitting because there wasn't room to fit one of the new valves to the pool water inlet, but by Saturday, I at least had all the parts needed.)   I'm happy to report this was successful- the new pool filter is up and running like a champ.   The water looks better now than it did most of last summer.

6.  Celebratory chocolate was consumed.

7.  Sunday dawned warm and sunny.  Okay, I'm not actually sure how it dawned because I slept late.  It was warm and sunny when I got up at ten.   I did various useful things like add chemicals to the pool, and obsessively check that none of the joints were leaking, the pressure hadn't risen too much and the water level was still high enough to feed the pump.

8.  In the afternoon, I trekked out to our local farm stand and Supported Local Agriculture by restocking the fruit supply, picking up salad ingredients and acquiring a collection of reputedly shade-loving perennials for my perennially weed-choked and barren side garden. 

9.  On my return home, I planted things, hauled compost and water,  raked debris out of the flowerbeds that do have living plants and transplanted a few violets to fill in the gaps between new perennials in the barren wasteland side flowerbed.

On the one hand, I'm sure going to New York City would have been fun (we go several times a year and always have a good time).  But in between chores I slept, read a couple of books, watched some nature videos with my delightful spouse and watched the cats skid off the furniture.  (Furniture polish.  It makes for outstanding feline entertainment.)  Add to the that, the satisfaction of getting some projects moving- and the weekend was definitely a winner.   And NYC will be there another time.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Same Again

Not a lot going on here.  I'm still mucking with pool hardware. (After two more trips to the pool store I now theoretically have all the pieces I need, with ends that will connect.   We have still to determine whether this plan will bear any resemblance to reality. )   I'm still knitting mittens.  Probably because when dealing with pool hardware, I like to do projects that are fast and easy.   Maybe I'm hoping it's contagious.

And Cookie is test driving a new box.  It doesn't seem quite as good as the dearly beloved box he battered into constituent cardboard last summer, but we're giving it a little longer.  It could be okay.

As I said- not a lot going on.  Hopefully I'll get the pool up and running this week, and that will free up time for other projects. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mostly Random

In the absence of any sort of unifying theme for the post, I'll just talk about what I've been up to.  It's kind of all over.

1.  Laughing at the cats.  Some of the best times this week has involved the furry friends. (Besides, cute cat pics?  Always a blog win.)
Twenty five pounds of cats in a twelve-pound castle. 

2.  Getting a new TV.  The old one gasped its last--evidently Ken Burns and the occasional wildlife documentary were too much for it.   Admittedly, this is only the second TV I've actually bought- the first was right after college.  (There were two others in between that one and this, but they were hand-me-downs.)

"But I *am* the nature show."  
"But I am the nature special!"

3.   Getting a new pool filter.  This one was a planned purchase, unlike the TV.  But there appears to be some kind of firm rule that no pool activity can be accomplished with only one trip to the pool store, no matter how carefully you made the list.  I still believe that this will be an improvement over the old system, but clearly we're not there yet.   A suggestion for any pool equipment manufacturers out there:  Standard fittings. 

4.  Finishing the blue hat.  I'm completely charmed by it.  I wound up swapping out the dark blue in the middle because I was getting low- the effect is like band of fog at mid-hat. 
colorwork hat 

I'm especially pleased with how the decreases came out.   Particularly since I improvised them on the fly. 
decreases of colorwork hat 

5.  Mittens.  I know I said I was over the mittens.  I may have been wrong.  Or it may just be that with so much else going on I wasn't ready to tackle anything more complicated.
more mittens
  I will note that the pink mittens were unusually obstreperous, and I ran out of all three shades of pink I was using.  But I was in no mood to take any lip from a pint sized pair of mittens and I pressed onward.   I did wind up having to duplicate stitch over a stripe that wound up in the wrong place, but I got my way in the end.  Without ripping. 

6.  I spotted one of the goofier car accessories I've ever seen in real life, coming home from the knitting group.
Goofy car accessory 
"Hi, sugar.  Come to this parking lot often?"

7.  Watching the cats watching the squirrels.  Or not watching them. 
Squirrel show 
"Biscuit!  There's a squirrel.  He's right there!  Hanging by his toes, so he can get his face into the birdfeeder.   Look, you dufus!"

8.   Watching the cats chase toys.  Biscuit appears to find the laser pointer way more exciting than the squirrel.  Also, he can cunningly camouflage himself among the socks.  I'd never spot him there.
I iz hiding now. 
Biscuit hides where the red bug can't see him coming. 

9.  And while the rest of us run around, at least one member of the household is on top of things.  In this case, my laptop.

On top of things.
Cookie wants to know why I'm pointing that flashy light thing at him again.  .   
So there you have it.  I have ambitions for more colorwork, but it's going to have to wait until I'm a tad less busy.  Or at least until the new pool filter is hooked up and running.