So Much Fun!

I have had so much fun the last couple of weeks! 

First, the things I have knitted: not much, actually. I have my stealth knitting project almost completed. In fact, it will be finished this week probably, and I can go to Freeport at the end of the week with a clear conscience. I have, in addition, sewn up my Sylvi coat/sweater, woven in most of the ends, and am now working on the hood:

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It is kind of hard to knit because of the weight of the sweater and only having one and a quarter hands, but it is going slowly onward. I hope to finish it next week, after SPA in Freeport. At least Hillary will be able to wear it for a couple weeks before Spring!

Second is the goodies that I have bought.

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I pre-ordered MAINEknits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen a few weeks ago, and promptly forgot it, and then there it was! I wanted to get it when I realized that all of the patterns in it were in my favorites in Ravelry, which was a sign that the book needs to be on my shelf.  I was pleased to find that the book has really gorgeous pictures of Maine, a foreword by Pam Allen, and well-written essays by Sarah Kilch Gaffney, Julie Letowski, Samantha Lindgren and Beck Robbins in addition to beautiful, highly-wearable and desirable-to-knit patterns by fourteen excellent designers, including Beatrice Perron Dahlgren. 

The book is divided into three sections: Sea, Farm, and Wild, which is how I think of Maine too. I'm from Aroostook county, Maine, the wilderness was all around me in Portage where I lived, my father was a farmer, and now I live by the sea! There are five or six patterns in each section, totaling seventeen patterns in the book. Most of them are sweaters and accessories for women, but a few are unisex too, and one is photographed on a man and a child; that sweater can be made in children's sizes too. There is also a cowl in child and adult sizes as well. 

I also got some little colored stitch markers from Cocoknits.com. They are so pretty, I want to string them on a chain and wear them as a necklace! 

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I succumbed to pattern lust and bought the yarn to make these socks:

They are 173-45 Sleepy Sheep from Drops.

Karisma

They are so springy and pretty! I don't really need 450g of yarn to knit socks. I'll have yarn leftover, so maybe I will design something with Mary Jane Mucklestone's books that I have been looking over.

The best thing though is the fluff that I got from On the Round! It is soooooooo gorgeous! It makes me want to spin and spin and spin! 

Fluff

This fluff is hand dyed Corriedale top in a OOAK (One Of A Kind)  color. That means it is unique!  Rachel Jones does an incredible job of dyeing. Her colors are imaginative, playful, and creative while being harmonious too. It takes real talent to do that. I will wait as long as possible to start spinning this, but I think the beauteousness of the fluff will overwhelm me. It is sitting right beside my computer and I keep looking at it and sighing happily. I need to get a couple things done, but soon ... soon!

The third and final fun thing is ahead: SPA!!! Lynne and I are going to Freeport for the weekend (February 24,25, & 26) and we will have so much fun. We are staying at the Hampton Inn. SPA is a weekend of fibery goodness that is at three hotels in Freeport, but it really kind of takes over the town. It is like a convention of 1000 (maybe more) knitters and crocheters and spinners and weavers and felters and other fibery folk who show up for the weekend. Some people go for three or four days. Lynne and I will pretty much stay in the Hampton Inn; the vendor area doesn't really interest me much (see above) but there are many vendors and people who want their wares. Also Mother of Purl is in the area and there are a few things that they offer too this weekend, including an On the Round trunk show -- Rachel will be there in person to amaze and delight you! 

Pogo's Sweater

I haven't the heart to tell Pogo that the sweater isn't for her.


New Year, New Socks!

My New Year Socks are done! They are so sparkly and colorful! I feel like I am disco dancing when I wear them!

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(Beth laughs and laughs and then composes herself)

I have a Sylvi update, too. I have the right front done to the underarm :

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I'll finish the right front tonight, sew it together over the next two nights,  knit the hood for a couple of nights, and then there will be The Petals. Actually knitting them won't be difficult if I can get them started. I think I can do it. Anyway, the whole thing should be done in about two weeks, maybe less. It will be pretty.

I have some stealth knitting, to borrow a phrase from Wendy Johnson. It is my daytime knitting at the moment. I hope to show you at some point in the future! It is why I am only working on Sylvi at night :)

Pogo

 

 

 

 


Another Sylvi Update and Other Projects

Sylvi is growing by leaps and bounds. The back is done:


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I have the left front done to just above the underarm:

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The black yarn on the side marks the increases, and the one in the middle marks what row I started the underarm on.

Pogo the astute feline inspector says they pass and gives them a paw print of approval.

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I started some bright, glittery socks just before New Year's Eve. 

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Everyone needs bright glittery socks What a wonderful world it would be if everyone wore them. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Stiletto, purchased from WEBS, but it seems they are out of it. I did buy it in their big year end blowout sale. Anyway, the pair is half done, and I start the second sock tonight during my daily TV watching. The pattern is the one that I have pretty much memorized, Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow.

I got a knitting magazine (KnitsceneSpring 2017) and a skein of lovely purple Wildwood Arcadia yarn from my friend Lynne! I started the Ironwood shawl, and it is perfect for the yarn. I love both the pattern and the yarn! 

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Happy knitting!


Happy New Year!

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Christmas is over with! Let the rabble-rousing commence! Like swinging from the tail of an airplane! With a mushroom and a horsehoe! And champagne! I hope the olive branch means peace :)

I got a few things done for Christmas this year that I couldn't show you, but now I can. 

I made a couple sweaters and a shawl and a pair of socks for a lovely woman who married my nephew:

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The black cardigan sweater was finished. I neglected to get a picture of it though. Well, I thought I got a picture, but it has since disappeared into the ether that seems to make lots of my things disappear. It is quite magical how that happens, really. The patterns I used were from left to right, Anne's Sweater by Joanna Johnston, After the Rain by Heidi Kirrmaier, Wintersweet from Boo Knits, and Kethry by Spillyjane.

I knit a hippo for my husband, because who doesn't want a hippopotamus for Christmas??? Pattern is Hippo Knitting Pattern by Linda Dawkins.

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I knit my brother a pair of socks. I hope his feet will stay warm this winter!

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My Peace Project got finished last night, only nine days after the Solstice. I love it! It is so pretty!

Peace Project

So, now I am working on Sylvi. You remember Sylvi? I got the sleeves done and I am about a third of the way up the back:

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The picture is kind of squished on my needles. The markers show where I will pick up the stitches to knit the flower petals later. I am really loving this project!! In a way I wish it was on smaller needles; it's on size 13 needles for me, to get the gauge. But, you can really knit this baby fast on size 13 needles and bulky weight wool! The whole chart for the back is only 157 rows. I love it! It will be done soon, but I have lots of stuff to knit that will be just as much fun! 


I'm Back.

I took a little more than a year off, because I thought blogs are pointless, everyone is glued to the Facebook screen, nobody reads blogs anymore. And that is pretty much true. I quit Facebook, too. My cat Nicky had died, and his sister Nora died about a month ago. Seemed like things had come full circle.  

Two things made me come back. First, I had a couple people pining for my blog and I thought, okay. I could write it a little bit, so they will know I am alive. Second, my brain is bursting with new ideas for knitting and crocheting designs, story ideas, ideas about everything, really.  I found I used my blog as a kind of scrapbook for Remembering Things, recipes, things I had done, pictures, and of course my patterns. So, I just thought, what the hell. Let's crank this baby up and see if it will still go.

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That is Nick and Nora's baby picture. (Kevin took the photo). They were so cute! 

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That is Nora. She was a pretty girl. She liked to complain loudly about everything. I miss her squawking about supper every night. I just miss her. 

After Nicky died, we took in Pogo, who is also 13 years old, the same age Nick and Nora would be. Pogo has attached herself to me; she goes everywhere with me. She isn't much of a cuddler, though, she's just a constant companion. We make a good team. She is tolerant of my knitting, but she does like to sit on the keyboard if I use it too much!

Pogo

What am I knitting? I am knitting gifts for Christmas and birthdays, unfortunately, so I can't show them. I did just recently complete a cowl -- the Shetland Shores cowl by WendyGaal. I knit in some sparkly yarn from Knitter's Brewing Company in a color called Framboise:

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The kit came with a cute little Scotty dog!

In the last year, I knit a lot of things. One that I like the most is an Aran sweater called Wetherby by Martin Storey:

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It was a little bit tricky. I had to unravel about 9 inches of the front when I discovered I had twisted my cables the wrong way. You can bet I double checked them after that! 

Another thing that I knit was a pair of mittens. I finally made the Dog Mittens by Jorid Linvik, which had been in my queue to make ever since my sister in law got a Boston terrier:

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Her name is Persis and she is a sweetie pie!


Nicky

On New Year's Day, Nicky, my good little boy, went outside and never came back. I think his heart finally gave out on him.

NickNoraBabyPix

He had a heart murmur, and in 2009 or so, he had a cardiac arrest -- it was during a routine annual vet visit: shots, ears, teeth, and his heart, which stopped at the moment Dr. Jim Laurita held the stethoscope to his chest. It was, in short, the perfect time to have a heart attack. Dr. Laurita rushed him to intense cardiac care, and he lived. He had to take three pills a day for the rest of his life, but he lived. Dr. Laurita said he would live about eleven months at the outside, but Nicky was obstinate and stubborn, and he lived almost six more years.

Nicky on counter

Wherever you are Nicky, I hope there are lots of sunny spots to snooze in, preferably on someone's knitting; lots of laps to sprawl across, lots of cream and cheese and popcorn and bacon and Cheez-Its to snack on, and Grace is probably happy because she can now follow you around again. You know she always had a thing for you. 

Nick in Snow


~♥ Grace ♥~

Grace, the very good kitty, has gone to kitty Heaven, where the food bowls are always full,  and there is always cream and cheese. There are lots of catnip mice to toss around playfully, there are many sunbeams in which to  to sprawl about, and lots of cushy places to curl up and snooze in. There are no dogs barking and chasing her up there, no small children who move quickly about, and no fleas to aggravate her. There are only warm places and loving hands to rub her head and scratch behind her ears. Good bye, Gracie ... we'll miss you.

Grace


Cat Obsession

Nick & Nora    Nick snoozes    Nora washing    Grace   Nick and fangs

Let Sleeping Cats Lie


A poet's cat, sedate and grave,
as poet would wish to have,
was much addicted to enquire,
for nooks to which she might retire,
and where, secure as mouse in chink,
she might repose, or sit and think.
I know not where she caught her trick,
nature perhaps herself had cast her,
in such a mold philosophique,
or else she learn'd it of her master.
Sometimes ascending, debonair,
an apple tree or lofty pear,
lodg'd with convenience in the fork,
she watched the gard'ner at his work;
sometimes her ease and solace sought,
in an old empty wat'ring pot,
there wanting nothing, save a fan,
to seem some nymph in her sedan,
apparell'd in exactest sort,
and ready to be borne in court.

William Cowper (1731 - 1800)

Overheard

The other day a woman pulled up at our next-door neighbor's house and went inside. She came out soon after, and as she was getting in her car, she spotted Grace sitting at the top of our front doorstep. 

"Awwww," she said, and giggled. She got in her car, and took a picture of Grace with her phone. I could almost hear Grace preening herself at the attention.

"What a nice, fat kitty!" the woman exclaimed, and drove away.

Don't worry Grace ... you win some, you lose some!

Fat kitty


Grace Is Fat

There's no two ways about it; Grace is too fat.

GraceTheFat

For years we have just hoped she'd lose weight. We tried diet cat food, but she only ate more of it, and kept on gaining weight, while Nick and Nora started losing weight and resorted to eating their prey to survive.

I don't know why it never dawned on us to move the food bowl. We are just dumb that way sometimes. We were standing around in the kitchen, talking about how fat Grace is, too fat to jump up on the counter or anything ... suddenly it dawned on us that we could just put the dry food bowl up on the counter, thus regulating Grace's diet, while letting Nick and Nora eat to their heart's content. Duh.

Yes. We let Nick and Nora eat on the counter. We love them.

We give our cats a little mushy food (wet cat food) for breakfast and supper (mainly to get them to come inside), and they have dry food all day to snack on. This works for most cats, but not for Grace. Grace maintains that she doesn't have an eating problem -- she has no problem at all eating and eating and eating. 

Susan told me once that Grace was normal-sized when Brenda got her, but after Brenda got Zak, her poodle, and Grace started living in the closet upstairs, she started to gain weight. I remember going over to Brenda's to work on her computer, and Grace was fine, normal sized, and Brenda was amazed at how friendly she was to me, because Grace didn't usually do that.

Then Brenda died, and I offered to take Grace, because I wanted to keep a little bit of Brenda, and I figured no one would want to take Grace. Grace, by that time, had issues that went beyond her weight issues.

Anyway, time passed, Grace was continuously happy, there were no dogs, and the food was plentiful. Until two days ago. Now she is unhappy. She keeps looking up at the far-away counter top and she can see the food there. Besides her mushy food (which now has to have her medicine mixed in with it), she gets a very small amount of crunchy food morning and afternoon. It's only five pieces, mostly given just to appease her sense that she had something. She walks around the house and cries for food every now and then, which makes my heart break, but I'm not giving in.

The good news is that she gets more exercise because she's continuously walking back and forth, trying to get food, instead of lying in the sun like a beached whale, snoring. I think she'll start losing weight soon. She has to, to be able to jump up on the counter ....


Bad Weather, Good Weather

It's been a rainy week, really dark and cold and wet, and I am like my cats in the rain -- I am not cheerful. Nick and Nora start getting antsy after about a day of rain. Since we have had a whole week, they have pretty much become comatose. Nicky just sleeps all the time, and he's chosen the couch downstairs to sleep on. Nora goes upstairs and sleeps on my yarn, and gazes out the window, hating life, thinking how it is all Nicky's fault. Grace just sleeps on the floor, but as she always sleeps on the floor all the time, it is no different than any other day for her.

Nora simply cannot stand the sight of Nick when she's been stuck inside because of the weather. She hisses at him if he comes into the same room, and growls menacingly under her breath. Nicky ignores her, he's a happy cat, and he doesn't make a sound ... but sometimes, if he has had enough because it sucks outside and he is meant to be outside all the time, he'll just silently walk up to her while she's eating and nail her. 

Nicky

Then they make like a beach ball made out of two cats, and roll around on the floor, both spitting and hissing and yowling until someone breaks it up. Grace runs away. Nicky usually goes outside no matter what the weather is, he would rather die than spend another minute inside, and Nora goes out on the porch. They never hurt each other badly, but to hear it, you'd be sure they were. They're just mad. 

Nora

The first sunny day they are fine. They don't really cuddle up to each other, but being in the same room doesn't annoy them. A little sunshine is all they needed.

We could learn a lot from cats.


Idle Chat

Cats make a science out of lounging.

Nora on Crock

They do it together, or in pairs.

Grace and Nicky

They choose the weirdest places and make it look perfectly reasonable to lounge there.

Nora on car

Buddhists strive to reach Nirvana ... I just want to be a well-fed, pampered, loved cat.

Nicky in the Middle of a Nap

 


What A Difference A Day Makes

Here's my lilac bush day before yesterday:

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There's little buds there! I was excited to see them opening so early. Then yesterday, I looked out my window to see this:

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They are much bigger. It was so rainy here, I guess I just figured that the lilacs would take a day off, but no, they are the postmasters of the world, never taking a day off despite the rainy weather, always trudging forward through the rain or hail or sleet or snow to make their appointed rounds. Once they start blooming, there's no stopping them, like nature everywhere. 


Bunch of lilacs
 

I am constantly amazed by things at this time every year. Everything grows so fast! It is wonderful.

NickyPonders

Nicky is amazed too.

 


The Boisterous Bird Bungle

A couple days ago I was sitting in the kitchen with the back door open, and I heard a strange yowl. It started far away and quickly got louder, until it was right in the kitchen with me -- Nora had a bird in her mouth, and she was trying to say, "I have a bird for you, Daddy! Look, a bird! I caught a bird!" Her mouth was full of bird, though, so it sounded funny.

She went past me into the living rom and dropped said bird, which was still alive and more or less unharmed.

Hilarity ensued. Daddy tried really, really hard to catch the poor little chirping bird, which had mental powers of its own, and flouted his efforts at every turn. It went from living room to bathroom to kitchen, Nora and Daddy chasing it every step of the way. Finally it landed under the bathtub where no one could get to it. Daddy put Nora outside and shut the door. 

After a little while, the bird came out, and we held the front door open (Nora was too intent on getting her bird at the back door to notice) and chased it out of the house, where it flew to safety in the forsythia bush. I certainly hope it is too smart to let the Evil Kitty sneak up on it again!

Nora, the Evil One
"All yer birdies are belong to me!"


Ah, Morning

I awaken each morning lately to the dulcet tones of my husband swearing at Grace, who has left a present for him. A very personal present. She tries to hide it in unexpected places: on the kitchen floor, in the living room, just around the corner, on the stairs. She is trying to impress him. It isn't working. 

I don't know why she's doing it, and I'm a little worried that maybe it's a sign that there's something wrong with her. My husband does not. He is convinced that she is doing it to drive him crazy. I think Grace is convinced that it's a pretty fun way to experience breakfast outside on the back deck, flying through the air on the way out. 

I just wish it could be done without waking me up.

GraceWaitsForBreakfast


Gifts

Sunday morning we had a breakfast for the family, and it was great to see everyone again. Georgia was a real cutie pie! I got to thinking, as I watched her, that the Little Girl Cardigan I knit was never going to fit her by Christmas, so I gave it to her ... it fits perfectly now. Good thing, and she will have fun wearing it while she plays outside!

She also got the cutest hat that Lynne knit her, which she put right on. It looks great with the cardigan! She is a stylin' little girl. I can't believe how fast she is growing.

Pam and Kevin gave me my birthday present a little early, because Pam said I deserved it for getting my finger to work. They gave me these gorgeous earrings, which were made partly from gold from a ring of my father in law's,  and beach stones. Jennifer Nielson, a fabulous jeweller, made them for Pam and Kevin. Thank you!!! I love these earrings:

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They are very special!

Grace crept out after the Small Quick-Moving Person went away, and she's sleeping in her sunbeam now.

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Housework

Sharon asked me for my catnip mouse pattern, and it got me thinking I should rearrange my whole blog -- you know, the sidebar stuff that I usually don't change. So I did; do you like it? Most importantly, I put all the patterns, which I have put here on the blog over the years, under "Beth's Free Patterns" as links on the side, so you can get at them easily. The catnip mouse is on the top of the pile.

In exchange, what I would like is for people to send me pictures of the mice they have knit with their (or someone else's) cat(s) playing with them. Don't worry, there's no knitting police, you don't have to do it, but I think it would be fun because I have a cat obsession. And if you have pictures of any of my other patterns you've knit, throw their pictures in, too (cats are not necessary, but welcomed in these pictures). It will give me a warm feeling to see the stuff I have designed coming to life. That's one thing I miss about the knitting cruises and the knitting shop; I never get to see that stuff anymore! I will post your pictures here on my blog only if you give me your permission, I promise.

Grace 

"Please send your pictures so Mommy won't chase us around with a camera anymore. It's frightening."


Ah, Winter.

It's not much of a winter, but still, my cats are bored out of their little furry skulls. 

Nicky tried to amuse himself by sleeping on the heating grate after the heater turned off ...

NickyOnGrate

... but in a little while, it turned on and blew cold air at him and scared him, so he moved off.

NickyWindow

Now he is not amused.

Grace tried to amuse herself by squeezing into a box that was two sizes to small for her.

GraceInBox

Unfortunately, it was too small to sleep in. Grace is niether amused nor unamused; as long as there's food, and no dogs, she's happy. 

Nora is spending this winter staring out the window.

NoraWindow

She is so unamused it is scary. Be afraid.


The Vet Visit

Vet visits are so boring now. The vet's office isn't even a five-minute trip by car, and the kitties don't have time to get all nerved up like they used to, so there's no shredded car carriers, no poop on the seat, no pee-soaked fur once we pull them out, and no kitty with a heart that went into arrest while the doctor had the stethoscope to him. My husband even made three separate appointments to take them this time; where's the adventure?! 

Grace was first. She went last Wednesday. Reports are that aside from quaking the whole time, she was fine. As a matter of fact, she lost a whole pound, down to only 16.8 pounds now. It's a miracle. I'd put it down to a wheat-free diet, but she doesn't eat people food, not on purpose, anyway. 

Grace2

Nicky was next, on Friday. Aside from a little difficulty extricating him from the carrier on arrival, he was fine too. Better than fine, in fact; his heart murmur didn't seem that bad. We know different, of course, but he's managed to stay alive for two years when he supposedly only had a few months to live at one point. He's a miracle cat! 

Nicky

Then there's Nora. Nora, the Terrible, who could never get by without peeing or pooping or chewing her way out. Monday was Nora's turn.

Nora

This year, Daddy said that she was "the best kitty of all", but then the fact that she is also Daddy's Little Princess is not lost on me. From all accounts she did perfectly, came out of the carrier just fine,  took her shots well, let the doctor listen to her heart, had her nails clipped, solved quadratic equations with lightning speed. 

NoraSleeping

I'm just glad the little princess is so happy on Daddy's new vest :) 


My Cunning Plan

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I always run out of time to make catnip mice for every cat in the family for Christmas. I succeeded in only getting two done for Lynne's cats before Christmas; I made our three cats each one after Christmas (they don't know it's Christmas anyway), and while I was knitting them I was thinking, this is stupid. It takes less than an hour to make a catnip mouse, why the hell don't I make everyone catnip mice in time?! 

This is what I think about. So sad. But I feel so sorry when the kitties do not get any presents from me, because I know how much I love our cats. And they love their catnip mice :)

So I have developed and implemented my cunning plan. Every day but one, I'll work on my knitting, whatever that may be, but Saturday or Sunday, I'll knit a catnip mouse before knitting anything else. So far it's been three weeks and it has worked, and the mice have actually gotten faster to knit, and I have kept up. We will see. 

Catnip mice


I found two mice already made before I had my stroke, but the rest are new. I'll fill them with catnip and stuffing when it's closer to Christmas, because the danger of collateral damage from my cats if I fill them with catnip now will be great, and storing 50 catnip mice in the freezer or refrigerator is not an option. And when it is Christmas again, I'll feel very virtuous when I have a stash of catnip mice to give out generously!