Sunday, August 31, 2008

They Grow Up So Quickly

I'm ashamed to say it's been about two months since I've posted any pictures of my little girl. My how time flies when you're defending your knitting from a kitten. I can hardly believe how grown up Macy looks now.

I found a batch of pictures I took in mid-July and found these. Here she's enjoying one of her favorite pasttimes: pissing off Murphy.She's really good at it.
As far as knitting goes, I've started a new project. It's Cloud, a cardigan from Rowan's Calmer Collection. I've been wanting to make this sweater for almost a year, since I stumbled accross superstarra's on her blog. I just love that lace panel on the bottom and the nice fit that the ribbing gives it. I really like Kim's designs and eventually I'd like to make Loll and maybe Air too.
Ah yes the ribbing. Miles and miles of 2x2 ribbing. This picture was taken about a week ago and I'm now about 3/4 through the back. After my Apricot Jacket and a couple of Noro Striped Scarves I wasn't really that bothered by the prospect of miles of ribbing. I wasn't, but Cloud is starting wear on me, just a little. I'm hoping that once I get the back done (the biggest piece) it'll all seem downhill from there.

And as you can see from the photo, I'm back to my old friend Cotton Fleece. Calmer's just not fitting into the yarn budget right now, and I was just curious to see if the Cotton Fleece would work. I didn't even swatch really, I just checked the stitch count in Apricot, which is made in the same yarn with the same 2x2 ribbing around the waist and realized it was going to work. Unless I've missed something!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And the Winner Is....

My Eyelet Cardigan is finally done!

It's taken way too long. I started it back in the middle of June a few weeks after we got our kitten Macy, and I guess I underestimated the effect she would have on my knitting. I've had to work around her quite a bit, waiting until she's asleep or distracted to get a few rows in here and there. She's pretty much convinced that everything, and for that matter everyone in our house is here for her entertainment. My knitting in particular seems to fascinate her though: the yarn, the needles, the sweater that (to her) looks like a tangle of yarn just waiting to be attacked. It's been quite a battle, and she's a worthy adversary, but I have emerged triumphant.

Here are the specs on the sweater:

Yarn: 4 skeins Blue Skies Alpaca Dyed Cotton in periwinkle

100% cotton

150 yds/skein

Needles: size 7

Pattern: Eyelet Cardigan from Blue Skies Alpaca

This was a pretty fun knit, kitten wrangling aside. I'm really pleased with the fit. The only changes I made were to the ribbing. After reading the comments of others who've made it, I decided I liked the idea of the ribbing matching up with the eyelet/cable pattern. I adjusted the ribbing accordingly. (Thanks Ravelry!)
I think if I make this again, I'll skip doing the cuffs on the sleeves. They're just a little too heavy for this weight yarn, especially for a summery cotton sweater. The yarn feels nice and soft, but it's loosely plied, so I'm a little concerned about how it'll hold up. We'll see.

Oh and here's another little distraction I had acouple of weeks ago. I decided at the last minute to knit a little hat for a friend's baby shower. After looking at a few sample baby hats in my LYS and checking out some hats on Ravelry, I cast on and kind of made it up as I went. I used Tahki Cotton Classic in blueberry and bright teal, size 6 needles. It's a little puckered looking at the top where I did the decreases, but overall I think it turned out okay. It just took a couple of days. I had never used Cotton Classic before and I really like it. The color selection is amazing, and you've got to love a machine washable yarn.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mourning Again

We had another loss in our household last week. My kitty Mallory hadn't been her usual self for a few days - her appetite fell off pretty rapidly, she was dehydrated, and less active than normal. When the diagnosis finally came - cancer - our vet suggested a couple of treatment options but neither one sounded very promising for a cat of her age. Mallory was twenty, possibly twenty-one years old. I knew she'd been feeling pretty crappy already, and it just didn't seem right trying to keep her going just to maybe get a few more weeks with her.

Mallory came to us as an older kitty. A friend told me about this cat who had been left to fend for herself for a few months while her owner (a mutual acquaintance) went to Key West for the winter. I think he had asked his neighbors to put a bag of food out on the porch for her once in a while, but I think that was the extent of the care she was to have. My friend and I decided to go check on her one night, box of cat food in hand. It was a cold night in November and it just took a couple shakes of the food for her to come running to us. She was so skinny and had lost a lot of her fur. It was supposed to be in the teens that night so we decided we couldn't leave her there.

So my friend and I became "cat thieves" that night. After some time in quarantine at the vet Mallory came to live with us. (The fur loss was because of a flea allergy and it grew back nicely once they were dealt with.) Mallory easily made the transition from outdoor cat to indoor cat and eventually got used to living in a household with other cats and large dogs. Almost immediately she seemed to realize she'd found a good thing. She had the sweetest personality and from the very first night wanted to snuggle next to me under the covers with her head on my pillow. She actually seemed grateful to be with us. I think she really appreciated the warm beds, the regular meals, and yes, even the occasional trip to the vet.

Mallory was about thirteen when we took her in and I was grateful for every year we had with her. I had never really considered taking in an older cat before, but she really needed us. For anyone out there who's considering adopting a cat (or a dog) please don't rule out a mature one. You could be missing out on some real gems.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Progress on the knitting front, with the Eyelet Cardigan. As usual the picture's a little out of date. I've done the armhole decreases and just have a few more inches on the back. And progress on the Kitten Integration Project. This is our dog McLeod. He's a good boy, but not exactly kitty friendly. He's always viewed cats as something to be chased or pushed around. With Macy I think he's met his match.

Oh he tried to act aloof.....

but she would not be ignored.
She was a little tentative the first time she met him, but now she's just determined to play with him. She's shown bravado beyond reason. He's used to having kitties run away from him. He's not used to them running back and jumping on his head.

He has no idea what he's in for.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blue Skies Ahead

I've started another sweater, another cardigan (big surprise I'm sure!) It' the Eyelet Cardigan, a Blue Sky Alpaca pattern, and I'm actually using the yarn it calls for, Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton. The shade I picked is periwinkle, one of my favorite colors.

I've adjusted the ribbing so it will transition more neatly into the pattern stitch, an idea I got from alltangledup's version I found on Ravelry. Ooops, I just realised that I've photographed the ribbing from the wrong side. Oh well, I've gotten a lot done since this photo and I'm going to try to get more pics taken later today so I'll post those soon.

Macy (or the "little monster" as we've started calling her) is growing like a weed. She had another check up at the vet last week and gained a full pound in the first three weeks we had her - up from her original pound and a quarter. Ironically the only other pet in our household who I can trust to just hang out with her without having to supervise every second is my big dog Max. I had predicted that he would be the easy one. Max is a big sweetie and he loves cats. He's always seemed to enjoy hanging out with the kitties in our family. When he was younger and a little more mischievous he liked to put his mouth around their heads or their necks ever so gently, just to hear that irritated meow when they complained.

Fortunately Max has the patience of a saint, and doesn't mind having his foot gnawed on.

The other two cats we have, Mallory (the black kitty) and Murphy (the tortie) barely get along with each other. I took this picture of the two of them because of how unusual it is to see them together like this. Neither one of them has the slightest interest in getting to know the kitten.

McLeod, our younger German Shepherd is coming along. His first instinct with cats and other small critters is to chase. He's a bit of a bully with the other kitties, but he's never hurt them. I've been working with him a lot, first to teach him that Macy is part of our "pack" and not some little creature that happened to wander into the house. Second, I'm trying to get him used to having his tail, foot, or whatever being used as a cat toy, 'cause that's already a given. Third, I need to teach him that even if she attacks me or his daddy (DH) that's still not enough reason to do any damage to her. He's been amazingly good so far. She's been pretty merciless playing with his tail, but he could care less as long as the dog treats keep on coming!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lace Hem Cardigan

I finally finished my sweater! I actually finished it two weeks ago, but blogging and knitting time have been in short supply lately. It's very difficult to concentrate on typing when you've got a kitten attacking you or just climbing up you legs. More about her later.

First up, sweater pictures! This is the 106-3 Jacket with 3/4 Sleeves and Textured Hem in Muskat by Drops Design, but I'm just going to call it my Lace Hem Cardigan.

Yarn: 4 skeins TLC Cotton Plus Solid in Spruce
51% cotton, 49% acrylic
machine wash and dry
178 yds/skein

Needles: Size 7

by Drops Design
available for free

Mods: Left off the bobbles, shortened the overall length a bit

This sweater is knit in one piece from the bottom up until the armholes. The lace was easy and kept things interesting. There's a bit of waist shaping for a flattering fit. Pattern was well written and I liked the results well enough to knit it again.

You may have noticed a lack of buttons in the pictures. I struck out at the first place I checked and haven't had a chance to look further. I had in mind some shell buttons with a hint of green in them, but we'll see.

And now for the reason it's taken me so long to post again. I can't believe it's been almost three weeks since this little furry bundle of distraction entered our lives. She looks so innocent, doesn't she? Heh, heh, heh.
I'd forgotten how much work a kitten can be. When we get home from work she wants to play, and eat, and play some more. And she can be pretty ferocious about it. I have so many scratches on my arms and legs I'm starting to feel like a pin cushion.

Just look at those stripes! I'm in love with those stripes! They were barely noticeable when she first arrived, but over time they've become more pronounced. Can you tell I've never had a tabby before?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Have We Done?

This was most unexpected. We had a rough year last year, losing our oldest dog and the cat we'd had the longest. My DH and I decided that since we still had two dogs and two cats that our household was plenty full enough and that our remaining pets deserved all the love and attention we could give them. We figured we'd wait until down the road when our youngest dog and cat might need new companions, since they're not exactly buddies.

Then along came this little gray fur ball.
Two days ago one of DH's co-workers found her on the way to work. She was in the highway, and by that I mean huddled on the yellow line. DH's c-w being the animal lover she is couldn't just leave her there, so she stopped and picked her up and continued on to work with her. She was looked after throughout the day, but the end of the working day approached and no one was interested in taking her home (alas, DH's c-w is more of a dog person.) DH began to realize that if he didn't step up and consult his DW (moi) that possibly the cutest kitten ever was going to wind up in the pound.

To make a long story short, she's here napping in my lap as I'm writing this. Admittedly I've had several "what the heck are we thinking?" moments. In the past I've tried to time a new pets arrival with a few days off from work to help integrate them into the pack. I'd forgotten how much care and time it takes to introduce a tiny kitten into a household that includes two large German Shepherd Dogs. We just need to make sure they understand that she's a cat (not a squirrel or bunny that's invaded the house) and that she is part of our pack. And then hope she doesn't get stepped on.

We had her checked out at the vet, and other than having fleas, she's in remarkably good shape. She weighs 20 oz. and our vet estimates her to be about five weeks old. We named her Macy. (Yeah I know, another "m" name.)