Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category


Remember the crochet throw I picked up again a couple of weeks ago? The one where it had taken me nearly two years to do 30 squares? Well, going round and round the edge of 25 of those squares proved much easier, not to mention more addictive, and it’s finished in just a fortnight!


I did have a enough yarn for a few more rounds, but I’d run out of the white, and I really wanted it at the edge, to match the white round the central flowers, so I just did a round of double (UK) crochet and it seemed to finish it off okay.


It was a bit uneven and wouldn’t like quite flat before I blocked it, partly at least due to the fact that the squares in the middle were much more solid than the edging, so I blocked it by giving it a quick soak in the sink, then rinsing and spinning in the machine, and then pinning it out using blocking wires. I put wires round the central section first, pulling it out as much as I could, then put more round the outside and pulling till it laid flat.


It’s blocked out to about 1.1m square, but it seems bigger somehow. It weighs 770g, and I used Creative Yarns mercerised cotton – one 100g ball of each colour, and three of the white. The central squares are from the Summer Garden pattern from Attic24, but I’m calling mine Spring Garden, because it looks spring-like – much more so than the miserable weather outside!

Now I just need to decide where to put it – on the sofa as above, or possibly on the Poang chair in the conservatory


Or on the basket chair in the conservatory


I think Mollie’s going for this option


She had a good look at it


Then sat down for a wash, doing that thing cats do where they leave their back leg in the air.


She’s my gorgeous girl and she knows it.

Read Full Post »

I was co-erced into going out for drinks after work last night, which was okay, although I don’t cope with large groups of people in pubs very well, I tend to switch off whilst conversations go on around me. But I’d completely forgotten that there was even a plan to go out, so I’d driven to the park and ride as usual, and ended up having to get the bus home. Now I’m waiting for my kind neighbour to give me a lift to go and retrieve it, so I thought I’d do a quick update whilst I wait.


There has been some knitting, I started this shawl on Saturday, it’s Morgain, by Stephanie Bold, which I started after seeing this lovely one by GingerLucy pop up in my friends’ feed. I’d been looking for a project for the merino/cashmere/silk fibre I spun a while ago, and this semi-circular shawl seemed perfect. The middle bit’s easy, just increases in stocking stitch, but the transition and the first few charts aren’t really intuitive, it doesn’t really line up with anything on the previous row to check you’re not going wrong, so there’s lots of counting going on. But I think things should get easier soon – I’ll keep you posted.


I delivered all the baby things I’ve been knitting last weekend, including the modified garter stitch cardigan – which was similar to the baby surprise jacket in that it looked very odd before I attached the top edges together (using a three needle bind off).


It became very cute after that!


I knocked up a quick hat to go with it, the colours are a bit off as I took it at night on my parents’ carpet, but I’ve adjusted them as best I can – it’s the same as the cardigan, really. I love the little leaf on the top!

And that’s baby knitting done for the time being, thank goodness – as long as there’s one imminent, I feel I have to knit as much as possible, now I can get back to my own things. Which include spinning – I was supposed to go down to Wingham on Tuesday with my friend Nadine, but they had to cancel as the roof of the greenhouse they use for lessons was leaking, so we’ve rearranged for Monday instead. But it gave me the urge to do some spinning anyway, and I finished off the superwash BFL fibre I started at spinning group the week before.


This was the Yarn Yard’s Woolfest 2009 special colourway, and it was lovely to spin.


The bobbins on the right were split into three lengthways, the one on the left was split into six to give shorter runs of colour (it’s bigger than the others because there’s some undyed BFL underneath it, one day I’ll finish that project!)


I plied it up on Wednesday night, whilst waiting for my iPhone to upgrade to IOS 5 (shiny!) – this shows the striping.


And I’m very pleased with the final yarn – it’s the thinnest three ply I’ve managed, there’s about 300m/100g, and it’s fingering weight. It should make lovely socks sometime in the near future :)


Being in a spinning mood, I fished about in my extensive stash of fibre, and found 200g of Falkland, also from the Yarn Yard, which I’ve started spinning much thicker. There’s a bit too much twist going in (I really should be using a lower ratio, but I was trying to spin it quickly) so I’ll try and take it out when I ply. It’s looking good though, and it only took me an hour to spin 50g (the sock yarn took about four hours to spin 50g, by comparison).


The stole I’m weaving with handspun has come on a bit, but for some reason I can’t seem to get down to it. I think it might be the yarn I’m using for the warp, it’s not ideal, and keeps bunching up when I beat the weft down, no matter how much tension I put on it. I does look okay though, so perhaps I’ll get on with it this weekend.


And a couple of gratuitous cat photos to finish – they’ve both taken to my quilt on the sofa, usually one gets it and the other paces round waiting her turn, but a few nights ago Min gave up waiting and squashed on too. Mollie promptly washed her face – well, what else are mums for?


And just to prove exactly how soppy Moll is, this is one of her favourite positions.


Her tummy is so soft!

Read Full Post »

More Tulips!

My sofas have two sets of loose covers, one red and one cream. When I bought them the idea was the the red ones would be for winter, and the cream ones for summer, and that worked for the first few years, but for the last few the red ones have been on the whole time, partly because I was too lazy to wash and change them (although I did wash the seat cushion covers occasionally), and partly because they’re just more practical.

But before I went away I did a laundry marathon, washing both sets (the cream ones were a bit musty from having been in the loft for years) and changed them over. They do look nice and summery, but I tend to sit with my feet up most of the time, so the cream cushions get dirty very quickly. I put a knitted blanket over the seat as a temporary measure, but it’s made of Noro Kureyon which isn’t exactly a cool yarn, so I was looking for something lighter.

Then at the car boot sale last week I found a man selling John Lewis fabric remnants, and bought just under two metres of this lovely tulip fabric for £2 – bargain! It’s a cotton/linen mix, and whilst there are a couple of faults in it, it’s perfect for a sofa throw.


I’d cleared the dining table on Sunday, as my parents have been over for a couple of days, and they don’t appreciate eating off trays whilst the table is covered in clutter, so I had room to get my long-neglected sewing machine out.


I ironed the hems before I sewed them, and I even did mitred corners, just because I can really. They do look neater than just folding both sides over and sewing through all the layers, even if they are a bit fiddly.


It’s not quite as wide as the sofa, but it covers the bits I sit on, which is the main thing. It’s long enough to go over the back of the sofa, so hopefully that’ll keep it in place.


The only problem is that my nice Ikea cushions don’t really go with it – it might be time to make some cushion covers too…


In knitting news, I’ve been plodding on with the Primrose top I wrote about last week, I’ve done the back and am about two thirds of the way up the last part of the front.


And in cat news, I’m pleased to report that Mollie had no ill effects from her fight at all – thanks to everyone who sent good wishes. She does still smell a little ripe though.

I had to take them both to the vets on Monday for their annual jabs, and Min did make us laugh. I put both their boxes on the table, facing each other, then took the lid off Min’s because she wouldn’t come out. The vet prodded her and she scowled at him (maybe she remembered that he was the man who shaved her fur off a couple of weeks ago!), then as he turned away to get her injection, I opened Moll’s box to get her out. At which point Min shot out of her box and into Moll’s. With Mollie, who squeezed herself out looking indignant. So the vet did Mollie (who was completely unbothered by the whole thing), then took the lid off the other box to do Min. I started to put the first lid back on, and Min shot back into that box. Thankfully she’d had her jab by that point! I think it’s safe to say she didn’t want to be there…

Read Full Post »

Not so rosy

Remember I was moaning about doing a picot cast on? Well, now I’m moaning about the whole project.


It’s Primrose, from Louisa Harding’s new Ianthe book, and I’m using the Debbie Bliss Amalfi yarn I bought last week at Coldspring Mill, and I think that’s about three quarters of the problem. It’s a cotton/viscose/linen/silk blend, so there’s absolutely no give in the yarn, and it’s a very loosely spun four ply construction.


Each of the plies is made up of several smaller plies – two are two ply, and two seem to have five plies, so that’s about 14 plies in total, all just waiting to catch in your needle tip when you try to do any sort of lace stitch. Or picot cast on. To call this yarn splitty is like calling the sea wet, and I don’t normally have a problem with yarns splitting.


I thought that things might get better when I got past the pretty row of eyelets for the ribbon under the bust, and onto the stocking stitch top, but whilst the yarns’s not splitting any longer, it’s still hard work to knit with – my fingers are hating me! Of course none of this is helped by the fact that I knit tightly, I really should know better than to start something like this by now.


This is how it should look once it’s done – there is also a sleeveless version, but I think my shoulders need sleeves!


My other gripe is the lace pattern. On the right side, you do a column of purl stitches, with three knit stiches for the lace column, and on the wrong side it’s all knit, with a (yo, double decrease, yo) combination to make the lace. But you run into the problem you get with the loose stitch at the side of a rib, and it’s making the lace column sit very much to one side of the column, with a much bigger bar on one side than the other.


This shot from the wrong side shows the problem – see that loose stitch at the left hand side of each knit column? With hindsight I could perhaps have done something with twisted stitches to tighten it up, but by the time I realised I’d done too much to rip out in such unforgiving yarn. With even more hindsight I should have swatched the pattern, but I only swatched for gauge on the stocking stitch area. Hey ho, I’ll call it a design feature and no one but me will ever notice, I’m sure.

I should mention that I’ve changed the double decrease from k3tog through the back loop (which was just never going to happen in this yarn) to a slip one-k2tog-psso combination, which is easier, although the k2tog bit is still a bit of a challenge, and sometimes I have to put my needle into the stitches purlwise to open them up before knitting them, which is slowing me down somewhat. But I don’t think that changing the decrease has made the yarnovers change size, I think it’s down to the rib on the other row.


In other news, Mollie went out all day on Sunday, which isn’t like her, she usually wanders in and out all day, and when she came back her face was a bit swollen on one side. By Monday morning she looked like she’d swallowed a golf ball, poor thing (although it didn’t seem to be bothering her). I couldn’t take her to the vets as it was a bank holiday and they were shut, so I kept her in and she slept all day. But yesterday morning I got up to find that she’d managed to burst the abscess open, thankfully in the hall and not on my bed, and made a huge mess of both herself and the hall floor. We went straight to the vets, who diagnosed a cat bite (I wish she’d learn to run away and not fight, I end up there at least once a year with her after she’s been injured) and gave her a antibiotic injection. That’s another £38 on my vet bill this month, and they’re both due for their annual jabs next week. Eek.

But I’m pleased to report that beyond smelling a little ripe, she seems fine now. I just need to hope she stays away from other cats for a while.

Read Full Post »