Knittin' mittens for ma kittens!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Zee shawl, she eez done!

I am a convert. A complete and utter convert. Everything involved with the creation of a lace shawl seems like a minor miracle to me. First off, the fact that a clumsy dork like me can knit one. Second is the fact that the entire thing, made up of thousands and thousands of tiny knits, purls, yarnovers, decreases and increases, all originates from three measly cast-on stitches. THREE! To three-hundred something by the time I reached the cast-off row, and god knows how many stitches in between! Unbelieveable. It's like a mathematical miracle in fabric form. And I don't even LIKE math!

And then, the final miracle is that something that starts out looking like this...

Lotus Blossom Shawl unblocked

...crumply, bumply, messy and fussy, can turn into THIS:

Lotus Blossom Shawl

It's light as a feather, crisp and strong, the colors are simply amazing. It is funky and cool, wearing it with a sexy tank top will completely blow any "old lady shawl" image out of the water. I could wear it naked. In fact, I just might, for more private moments--it is just that hot. A SHAWL! Who knew a frickin' shawl could be sexy??

Despite the fact that I used a laceweight yarn and went down a couple of needle sizes, this is still a large shawl, at least for someone of my height. I neglected to measure it while it was pinned out, but it has a length across the top of at least 60 inches (the length of my "wingspan") which makes for a perfectly-sized shawl for a shorty like me.

Of course, the pattern would be more apparent had I used the thicker yarn called for in the pattern, or even a solid colored yarn...photographing the blocked shawl is a bit difficult, but in person I think the pattern is subtle but still apparent.

Lotus Blossom Shawl

I'm glad that my next shawl is going to be in a solid color, though--I've started work on the Peacock Feathers shawl, and oh man...I have to admit, the Zephyr is SENT FROM GOD. It's softer than the Helen's Lace and feels a little more substantial, knitting it up is like a dream. Plus the color I've chosen, Ruby, makes me drool. I'd post pictures of the (as of right now) teensy WIP, but I've hit my upload limit for the month on Flickr. It must have been all the kitten pictures! So to close, here is Jonesy in the new Kitty Pi (which the boys seem to prefer as a Kitty Pancake!)

Jonesy in Kitty Pi 2

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cats do not care if you live or die, only that you have finished knitting for them first.

The Kitty Pi is finished but should make a trip through the wash a bit later this week. FYI, Buster is watching me go through the following thought process just a few feet away:

Kitty Pi, unfelted

All right, my Peacock Feathers Shawl kit arrived! Oooo...look at that gorgeous Ruby red...

Peacock Feathers Shawl Kit

Oh boy, this is going to be fun! Look how cute this first chart is. Hm, seven more charts, shouldn't be so bad.


Well, sure does get complicated...

Peacock chart detail 2 chest feels kind of tight...

Peacock chart detail 3

Oh my GOD, was I INSANE?! Look at all those yarnovers! There's no way I'll be able to keep it all straight, I'm going to *kaaaaaaaaaaaaaacccccccccckkk*

Buster on the unfelted Kitty Pi

"Hm, looks like the human has keeled over and died. No biggie, I don't really need this felted for me anyway!"

Friday, May 19, 2006

Not a lot of knitting, but a whole lot of cute!

Knitting has been very sporadic over the last couple of weeks. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me, in both my personal and my professional life. Professionally, it was my first experience working Commencement weekend at the university. It was, to put it plainly, a balls-out, no-holds-barred, all-hands-on-deck academic extravaganza. All weekend long we had events--class reunions, faculty lectures, parties for the senior class, awards ceremonies, all in addition to the graduation procession on Monday morning. It was exhilarating but also incredibly exhausting. Even after taking Tuesday off, I'm so ready for the weekend it's not even funny.

The Lotus Blossom Shawl is on the final ten rows or so...ten loooong rows, including a bobble bind-off that should be heaps of fun. I've been working on it on my lunch hours, but since I've had few of those in the last week, there's been hardly any progress to speak of. I may take it home this weekend to try to get some of it done, but as you will soon understand, that may prove difficult.

I didn't mention it here at the time, but I lost my kitty to cancer in early April. Her name was Ripley, and she was a sweet, sassy kitty who was with my family for about nine years--seven of them outdoors, living with my parents and protecting her turf, and two with me, living the spoiled life of an apartment cat. She was beautiful.


The loss was very hard, but I tried to think of it the way animals do--death is a part of life, it's nothing to be afraid of, and the loss of one kitty will always open the door to another. And indeed it did--about two weeks later, I went to a rescue shelter called PAWS Atlanta and met this little boy:

Throw it again, ma...

His name is Buster, and he's about 2 years old. He was scheduled to be put down at a local animal control facility, and was rescued by PAWS the same day that I had my dear Ripley put to sleep. So it feels like it was meant to be. He is a joy to have in my life...a crazy, energetic bundle of joy. He is extremely friendly and sociable, loves to play--he will even play fetch with you--and sits outside the shower when you're inside, waiting for you to come out.

Now, there was an incident with the yarn stash the morning of Commencement: I woke up at 4:00 am to go to work and finding a pile of sock yarn, hopelessly tangled and lying in a heap on the living room floor. Thankfully it was not yarn that I was particularly attached to...a couple of skeins of Koigu, and half a skein of Socks that Rock that had been wound into a center-pull cake. But it was still aggravating, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that Buster was getting lonely, he was getting bored, and he needed to have a companion.

Enter the kitten.


That's right, I caved. All my bravado about not wanting to get a kitten because they were just too much of a handful was pretty much nullified once I realized how frisky Buster really was, despite being an "adult," and I decided that he needed someone around to help him work out his energy, to mature him a bit, and to keep him company while I'm at work. So this little seven-week-old fella was brought home, also from PAWS, and I'm very happy to say that they are well on their way to being best friends.


The kitten (who is as yet unnamed) has a real affinity for both my pattern basket and ball bands. Buster loves watching him, pouncing on and wrestling him, and then giving him a bath afterwards.

My other project, a stash-buster for all the leftover Lamb's Pride Bulky I have from the Fairly Easy Fair Isle, is a Kitty Pi...I really, really hope I can get a cute picture of the two of them curled up in it together once it's finished!

So yes, I've had my hands full, and not with knitting! But I did manage to cast on last night for a simple ribbed sock in the Socks that Rock Rolling Stone colorway. I'm using the Norwegian Purl method, and though it's a bit fiddly, I have to say I can manage it much more easily than trying to do all that purling my normal continental style. No moving the yarn to the front for 1x1 ribbing makes me a happy girl! And I do hope to manage to sneak in a few rows of the Lotus Blossom, probably while the boys are napping. I went ahead and ordered a kit for the Peacock Feathers Shawl, which seems to be a good next step after the Lotus Blossom.

Hopefully there will be more knitting progress for my next post...certainly there will be more cute kitten pictures!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It's like wearing a shawl made of kittens

Over the course of the evening, I managed to go from this...

Clapotis in progress

...a nearly-finished Clapotis with only a tiny, walnut-sized ball of yarn remaining. After a couple of hours of furious knitting and frantic decreasing, we arrive at this:

Kitty and Clapotis

A new cat blanket, apparently.

This thing is so gorgeous that I think only a modelled photoshoot will do it justice. Suffice to say, the yarn MAKES the pattern. Oh, it's a lovely pattern all right...but the yarn, with its incredible softness, gorgeous colors and heavenly drape, is what makes it truly special. I think it's probably the most beautiful thing I've ever knit. I'm wearing it now at the office, wrapped around my shoulders, and it is so light and soft, yet wonderfully warm, that I feel like I could curl up and go to sleep. Which is totally not what I need to be doing this week at work. So with that, I'll sign off--and try my best to do a good photoshoot soon!

Monday, May 01, 2006

A long overdue FO post

As a matter of fact, I have completed something in the past month!

Picot Jaywalkers

A pair of Jaywalkers, modified with a picot edge and a belly-button toe (instead of that blasted kitchener stitch toe.)

Picot Jaywalkers

Yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway is Desert Flower. Two skeins on US 1 dpns. The new kitty likes them!

New kitty attacks