Bits and pieces

I’ve had a bit of a disappointing month (other than the new job, which I love!) which might account in part for my recent silence.  I had an audition for a grad school program, which went fine, but then I was interviewed by 7 people at once, which did not go as fine, leading to me being rejected (luckily I wasn’t attached to this school – I’ll be happier elsewhere I suspect!)  Then I had a job interview for a part time gig, which I thought went really well, but again – they did not go with me, and I didn’t even get to the audition bit this time.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m a terrible interview.  I’m rather introverted – at least with new people – and I really don’t do well with large committees interviewing me all at once (both had 7 people asking me questions).  Heck, I don’t even like to go to dinner with 7 people at once, because it’s overwhelming, much less have to answer questions about myself and pretend to be extroverted!

It’s frustrating because I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with being introverted, but I feel as though I’m at a disadvantage in any sort of quick judgement/first impression sort of situation.  I’m reading the book Quiet, (recommended by Robyn!) which I highly recommend to my fellow introverts – unlike other books I’ve read, it doesn’t try to make me feel like I have a disease that needs to be cured.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing to make myself feel better.  I’m got several projects nearly completed, so here are some previews!
Tie top curtains

My tie-top curtains are nearly complete – they’re just awaiting a hem and curtain tiebacks.  I love the little horses!
Jelly roll floor pillow - top

My jelly-roll floor pillow is almost done as well.  You can see the top above – it wasn’t super hard, but it was a little boring.  I sewed it to the backing and made piping.  Unfortunately, I ran out of stuffing and had to order more.  I’m using a shredded foam mix that I found on Amazon – it arrives vacuum packed and expands a ton, so I couldn’t predict the amount I needed.   The cats don’t seem to care that it’s unfinished:
Floor pillow or cat bed?

It took less than ten seconds for two cats to claim, and it’s not even fully stuffed yet.  I think it’s a hit!

I’m about to make living room curtains, and I’m also working on this:

Garden of Eerie

(not mine – I’m still waiting on my fabric!)  I haven’t done any needlework in ages.  I love this sampler -it’s called “The Garden of Eerie” and is designed by Plum Street Samplers.  Love the little Frankenstein Adam and Eve and the “This Work Rot by” text at the bottom.  This is technically Halloween themed, but I’ll keep it up all year – I have a little collection of macabre/day of the dead items in my dining room.

I also got an Ipad this week – one of my friends wasn’t using his, and was happy to pass it along.
Ipad

I was reluctant to get an Ipad – I didn’t see myself using it, but it turns out that it works for me.  First, since I work 2 places now, it’s nice to carry with me rather than a heavy laptop.  It’s also pretty amazing for sewing – I used it when working on the floor pillow, and it was so much easier to keep the instructions that way (and I didn’t have to print anything!)  I know, I’m behind on this, but I’m pretty excited about it.  I want to make a case:

e-reader sleeve

(pattern here: by SewCrafty Jess)  It’s for a kindle, but I can adjust the size.

That’s my update for the day.  I am starting to think about my fall wardrobe, but right now I can’t actually access my closet very easily to assess what I need.  Hopefully soon!

 

What’s going on with me

Yesterday I went to put on my Millifiore cardigan before I did my makeup.  While doing my makeup, foundation managed to squirt all over the sweater (the nozzle was clogged apparently.)  I tried everything I knew to get it out, but it would appear that it has stained.

I know it’s hard to see in this picture – my camera has washed out the contrast, but trust me when I say there is a line of beigey yellow running from the arrow down to the 3rd button, as well as furthur down the button band (it was a really bad squirting accident.)  I’m really upset because this was such a recently finished sweater – I only got to wear it maybe three times, and it represents nearly a month of work.

Also today: I found out that I am being cut from full to part time at my main job.  It’s not completely unexpected, but it has thrown me into a really upset state… I know, at least I still have a job, but I am really terrified of changes sometimes.  And I do have another job, and hopefully I will be able to take on more students now.   I’m trying to tell myself that perhaps this will be a blessing, as it will free me up to work on the things I really love.  Lately I’ve been so stressed out, in large part over this job, and so worried about being cut, that I’ve barely even been able to knit.  And I love knitting, so you know how bad things must be.

I have been working on the soap bubble wrap, and I’m partway up the back.  I’m at the point of knitting the sleeves together with the back, and with that many stitches it is slow going – but after this piece I figure I am 3/4 finished, so that should motivate me.

I am very lucky at this time to have my husband, who tells me “We will manage, no matter what,” and uses his mathy skills to point out that I will easily make up the cut salary with the students I have taken on since last year.  He’s also taking me to lunch tomorrow after what promises to be a distressing meeting with my boss.

And I do have my kitties… sad though it may seem, nothing makes you feel better than seeing this while typing a blog entry about your troubles.

Sarah Jane is doing so well now… she’s getting along (or at least ignoring) the other cats, and her blood sugar levels are stable on just medication (no insulin.)  Every night she sleeps on my pillow, and every morning she wakes me up to let me know that she needs pets.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter – I hope to get to feeling less depressed soon!

moving…

Just a quick note to say thanks for all your well wishes – they must have worked, because we started moving into our new house on Saturday!  It was a little nerve wracking, as moves always are (our movers showed up an hour early, and we are still moving the things they forgot!)

Friday we will close on our condo, so hopefully soon we will be all done with this whole thing, and get to settling into our new house.  My Dad (who renovates old homes for a living) will be around tomorrow so that we can form a game plan for the work to be done.  I will post more with detail on the house and what we’re doing soon.

I took the advice of several of you and preset several feliway diffusers in the house for the cats, and then did not separate them (we did get an extra litter box, bringing us to 4 boxes.)  We filled two of the boxes with the cat attract litter, and they’ve barely touched the others, so I think we will be switching to that permanantly.  Sarah Jane seems to be doing very well so far – I don’t want to get too confident, but she is able to get away from the other cats, and she has already claimed a new chair for herself.

That’s all for now – more later!

kitteh help needed!

I’m having something of a cat behavior problem, and I would love any advice!

Here is the culprit, looking properly guilty of course.  Sarah Jane is a house cat who escaped her owners (or was abandoned) for an unknown period of time before we took her in.  She’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever had, and we love her to death, especially my husband.

When we first got her she was using the litter box, but would have occasional accidents.  We took her to the vet, he diagnosed diabetes and put her on medicine, and her sugar levels are now under control.  We started (after a few weeks) trying to introduce her slowly to my other two cats, Leon and Dionne.   They didn’t like each other, but it seemed like they were learning, so eventually we let her come and go freely.  Then she started having a lot of accidents in the kitchen, very near the litter box in there, but not near enough to be an accidental miss. (we have 3 boxes in different rooms.)  I took the cover off, and she used it for awhile, but finally started up again.  We finally had to lock her in the bedroom again and consider how we could introduce them again.  Lately she has been occasionally peeing around the baseboards near her litterbox.  I moved her box to that spot and she hasn’t had another accident yet, but I am sure it is coming.

I should mention that she is very fearful of my other cats.  She seems to be getting used to Leon, who at this point just ignores her when he sees her, but Dionne hates her.  Dionne will come up to the bedroom door and shove her paws under it, trying to get at Sarah Jane (all our doors are very short, I think there must have been carpet here and someone chopped off the doors.)  I don’t expect love, I just want them to ignore each other.

Sarah Jane has been tested (twice) for any medical issues other than the diabetes, and she is clean (no infections, crystals etc.)  She did have a major problem when we switched her to a wet diet (wellness core) and now we have to mix medimucil into her food (poor kitty!)  She developed some issues with that problem I think, as I know the box was a source of pain then, but she does use it most of the time, so I don’t know what triggers that.  It’s pretty obvious to me that it’s territorial.  She is not a timid cat, and does not back down from Dionne, who usually runs and hides after initiating a confrontation.

We are moving on Saturday, and I’m not sure the best way to introduce the cats to the new house.  I’m hoping that with twice the space they will be able to ignore each other more, or that they can each claim their own territory since it will be new.  Sarah Jane loves to sleep in our bed, but I am just not willing to put a litter box in my bedroom again, and once her box is in a room you had better not move it (trust me on this one.)  We were thinking of startng her in the guest room, since she seems to like having her own space, and letting her out at intervals (at first with the other cats locked in our room until she gets used to things.)

Of course, all this is complicated by the fact that we are moving, and we have been showing the house (traumatic for the cats.)  I haven’t tried to reintroduce them very much because I thought they were under enough stress.  We love Sarah Jane no matter what, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to clean up disgusting things every other day?  We have tried feliway (did nothing,) taking the lids off the boxes, moving the boxes, getting more boxes, every cleaning product under the sun etc.  We are at a loss.  We are, however, very grateful not to have any carpet in this house, as hard surface floors are easy to clean.

Learning from your knitting

It’s safe to say that I’m a product knitter – I make things because I want to wear them, and I am not satisfied without a steady stream of FOs.  Even so, I won’t choose a project that contains elements that I know will drive me crazy – no stockinette sweaters in fingering weight for instance (at least not until Marc gets me the knitting machine I’ve asked for!)  Sometimes though… sometimes the love of a sweater will outweigh a technique I don’t enjoy.  I did not know before I started the Printed Silk cardigan that I don’t enjoy making twisted stitches.  I should have guessed, since I also don’t enjoy lots of small cables in a garment, and since I failed utterly making a pair of socks with twisted stitches (firestarter socks.)  But I didn’t, and I have now resorted to bribing myself with a new sweater’s worth of yarn in order to get it finished.

It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished, but I still have one more piece with twisted stitches and one sleeve in 1×1 rib to go.  I’m a little worried about running out of yarn, since I can’t find one of the balls I bought… I hope it didn’t go into storage with my wintery yarns!

The current sweater of my obsession is the February Lady Sweater by Flint Knits.  Love this, and not just because it’s green!

I’m not sure what I want to knit it in… definitely a semi-solid I think, doesn’t garter stitch look fabulous in a semi-solid?  I’m trying to reign in the yarn budget right now, with the possibility of us having to carry 2 mortgages for a few months if our condo doesn’t sell soon… but then again, if we don’t move soon I’m going to use up the yarn I have here and have to buy more.  I’m thinking of using DIC Classy, although I think it is pricey.  I also thought of malabrigo, but to be honest I want something more durable – my malabrigo sweater is awfully fuzzy looking. Any other suggestions?

This sweater also reminded me of another that I wanted to make.. the Millie Cardigan from Vintage Crochet. There are a few cute finished sweaters on Ravelry, and they helped to revive my interest in this swing cardigan, which is another grown-up version of the baby sweater.

I would use ribbon instead of the fabric strips here, and I would downsize it significantly (it’s a 38″ in the small.)  It calls for Cashmerino Aran, but I’m not feeling that.  There’s a beautiful one done in Rowan Purelife on Ravelry.  I’m thinking of using a similar DK weight yarn to help with the downsizing – perhaps Blue Sky Skinny cotton?  There’s a soft blue color that I have been dying to use for something.  If I stick with an aran weight yarn I will go with a wool because cotton would be too heavy.

Continuing on the crochet vein, I got the Summer Interweave Crochet in the mail yesterday.  I am very pleased with this issue, which is great because the last 2 issues left me cold and I was thinking of dropping my subscription. It just proves again my theory… I love my winter and fall knits magazines and my spring/summer crochet.  There are some great projects here, many with an emphasis on filet crochet, something I have been interested in trying out.

I love the tiny row of buttons on the camisole, and the front is adorable as well.  I also love this stole, which solves one of my recent questions (“Why are crochet shawls always knit with chunky yarn when crochet makes a chunkier fabric to start with?”)  This is knit with 2 skeins of Helen’s Lace, but I would sub something cheaper (maybe gloss lace… wouldn’t that be lovely here in the nice mermaidy blue color?)  Although the size of the thing is intimidating, I have no idea how fast filet would go.

The pattern I’m most likely to start soon is this lovely cardigan.

It’s not the best photo, and I don’t think it looks good over that shirt, so here is a link to the designer wearing the sweater on Ravelry.  Yes, it is again that loose tied cardigan shape, although this one is not swingy.  I love the bobbles.  I secretly love crocheted bobbles, as long as there aren’t too many.  I think this is adorable.  It’s crocheted in GGH Mystik, a DK weight cotton/viscose blend that I think it stupid pricey for what it is.  I’m considering subbing either Garnstudio Cotton Viscose or Elann Luna.  Does anyone have any comment on either of those yarns?  I’m sure they will be splitty, as apparently GGH Mystik is, but I really want to keep the shine and drape of the viscose, so I can deal.

I wear my cardigans so much more than my pullovers – that’s why I make so many cardis.  I love to wear layers!

We had a showing this morning at 9 am, so I took Marc to work and brought Leon along for a ride.  Poor kitty… after being in the carrier at least once a day for 2 weeks he’s starting to look at me with deep suspicion.

He spends most of his time on the mantle, which for once is clear of stuff.  Perhaps he feels that he has a better chance of seeing me coming with the cage.  I had to take this photo because I thought he was so sweet with his tail hanging down!

The sweater that sickness built

“Nooo” says Sarah Jane, “You don’t need more photos of the knitting. Look at the cute instead!”

Yesterday I went to work, which in hindsight was possibly a mistake… I made it through my obligations, but then immediately felt 10 times sicker… so I stayed home from work today. I will have to make up the day later, of course, since I don’t actually get sick days from my teaching job (Oh how I long for sick days!) but at least I got to stay home and knit! My unexpected illness has resulted in the tuxedo top being very near completion, while I was expecting this top to take at least 2 weeks. I’ve finished the front and back, and knit the 2 lace straps. I’m waiting for the front to finish blocking so that I can knit the lace inset. I think I’ve decided to go with the reverse stockinette, but I’ll see when it dries. My tension on the front piece is much nicer, and I don’t care as much about the back.

I got my copy of Nectar in the mail today, along with the denim yarn to make Joy. My mailman said “Look, more yarn” when he handed me the package… I think he’s on to me.

It should be interesting – I’ve never knit with denim before! I was relieved to see that my stashed Rowan yarns will work nicely for Jasmine and Dawn. Everything looks nicer in person, and the book is really just lovely. I also was pleased to see that I can use the frogged All Seasons cotton from Manon to make this design, Honey.

I really like the way the cables are shaped at the bottom… it reminds me of the Nantucket Jacket, but hopefully this sweater will not give me linebacker shoulders (I’m a little bitter about that knit.)  I’m sure I won’t get to this before fall, but won’t it make a nice fall jacket?

Tonight while I’m waiting on the front of the Tuxedo top to dry I will do a little swatching for the designs from the new IK and Nectar that I’m interested in knitting.  I’ve already swatched the bamboo silk for Wallis and I love it, but I will post more about that tomorrow!

Planning

It’s Kentucky Derby weekend here in Louisville. This weekend brings out the hermit tendencies in me – I live in a congested part of town that is usually filled with annoying, possibly drunken tourists (and locals) this weekend, and I prefer to avoid contact as much as possible. Combine that with a cold, and you have a recipe for staying in, eating macaroni and cheese (with cauliflower, so it’s healthy?) and teaching myself to read and knit at the same time.

I have 13″ of the back of the tuxedo top completed (a few more than in this photo,) which represents way more hours of knitting than I’m going to admit to you. Stockinette can be comfortably mindless when you’re in a cold medicine haze and reading a nice cozy mystery. Plus I had Dr. Who to watch, on my breaks from reading.

Marc just shakes his head; I think he can’t imagine why I would want to knit and read at the same time. Well… because now I don’t feel like either one is taking away from the other! Mind you, I wouldn’t knit or read anything demanding, but it is a nice way to pass the time.

I’m having a bit of a tension problem with this yarn – I don’t want to knit too tightly, but linen has zero elasticity, and I get occasional loose rows. I’ve decided not to care about them, and wait until the back is blocked to decide between reverse stockinette and regular.

I’ve also been reorganizing my queue on Ravelry (I went down from 7 pages to 3 by way of stern “are you really going to knit that” questions) and reassigning my stashed yarns. I got my Ella Rae Bamboo silk from Webs (guess they were wrong about that backorder) and it’s gorgeous – perfect for the Wallis cardigan I think!

I haven’t actually received my Summer IK yet, but this does not stop me from planning. I decided on Ella Rae Silkience, bought at the last Knit Nook sale, for the lacy tunic – I hope it works out! I also got out my yarns for the designs for Nectar that I want to knit (you would not believe the places I have stashed yarns in our 2 closet condo) so that I can swatch when my book gets here (I hope I have enough, but I think I should based on the prices of the kits… if not I will reassess my plans.)

Yes, if I am anything I am a planner. I am the type of person who cannot go on a vacation without 4 guidebooks and a typed itinerary. I like to make lists and check things off of them (thus: why I adore Ravelry, though I rarely use the forums.) I don’t do things on the spur of the moment, because I like to be prepared, and extremely spontaneous people make me cranky.

Marc thinks that the reason why I get along so well with our new cranky cat (Sarah Jane) is because we are just alike. He has a point. She will complain loudly if you do anything to upset her routine, which I think is adorable… she’s so grumpy, but at the same time wants to spend 24 hours a day in physical contact with one of us.  I think my reaction to a sudden bath in the sink would be about the same as hers.

Getting there

My Something green is going much more quickly than the last time I attempted it.

Just 2 more inches to go on the body and then I get to start the sleeves!  I used my lifted increase and I’m very pleased – you can see the increase in the purl sections, but it isn’t anywhere near as obvious as doing a m1 increase was.  The sweater is fitting very well – it’s on track to have about a 32″ bust including the button bands, and that’s just perfect for me!

I’m wondering if I should add some length to the sweater.  I tend to think no, since the swingy style would be unflattering if too long.  I probably think that because of my green gable, which I’m wearing today, and which isn’t the longest thing ever.  I love it anyway, fortunately I like the look of a long tank under a sweater!

I’m feeling a bit better today, thank goodness.  The swelling is going down, and I’ve been able to switch to ibuprofen instead of the vicodin the dentist gave me.  I hate the way that pain medicine makes me feel, and I wasn’t able to work this weekend – I only managed one mass yesterday, and that was really pushing things.  I do feel able to teach today, so it seems I am getting better.

Sarah Jane is sitting in my lap, making typing difficult.  I swear, I’ve never had a cat that needed to be so close to you all the time.  It’s adorable, of course, although I don’t think the other cats see it that way.
Thanks to everyone who added me as a friend on goodreads, as well as to those who agree with my introverted ways – I’ll respond individually, but isn’t it neat to see how many of us there are?

On substitutions

Thanks for the compliments on the Shetland Triangle – I love it and can’t wait to get a chance to wear it (I do wear shawls; just yesterday I wore my Chanson en Crochet, which the girl at Starbucks claimed was “rocking.”)

I can’t bear to be without a project, so I’ve started a quick sweater project to tide me over.

Surely you must recognize this one, yes?  It’s Green Gable by zephyrstyle.  Top down and in the round, knit in worsted weight yarn (in this case Knitpicks Comfy, which is not as red as it appears here.)  I want to finish it before we go to Chicago, for no reason in particular – mostly I want an easy project after finishing two that were pretty finicky.  I’ve had this pattern forever, but I had never picked a yarn.  It calls for Cotton Fleece, which we all know I adore, but since I already have 4 cotton fleece sweater and 3 others in the queue, I wanted to use something else.  When I got comfy this week I knew it was perfect, and I cast on as soon as my shawl was finished.

One of my favorite parts of knitting is substituting yarns.  I’ll spend ages looking through the yarn database at Ravelry or at a LYS, imagining how the project in my mind will look and feel knitted up in different yarns.  In fact, I actually feel a little bit guilty if I knit a project in the recommended yarn, although occasionally I will have to have something exactly like the photo.

I have several new potential projects on my mind this week.  The first is Bianca’s Jacket, from either Winter or Fall’s IK 2006/07. 

 

I must confess that the photo in the magazine did nothing for me.  I don’t care for the styling, and that particular model bugged me – everything she wore in the issue looked weird and dowdy to me.  But there are some gorgeous finished ones on Ravelry, and I’ve just realized that I love the designer, Michelle Rose Orne.  I also have her Clementine Shawlette in my queue (using up some RYC Silk Wool DK that I have had for an age.)  She has a book coming out in June, which I would have already preordered if we weren’t possibly moving.  You can see a preview here.  Of course, that romantic aesthetic is totally up my alley – lucky I finally grew into the look, because I can tell you that I was totally not fitting in wearing those clothes during the days when grunge still existed.

(On a random tangent, that’s actually a funny story.  I felt like I was blending in too much in high school, and I read a book that said you should pick something as your “trademark” in order to get noticed.  I chose dressing up, and never ever wearing anything other than heels.  Lord only knows why I thought this was my ticket to popularity, but then again up until that point most of my wardrobe consisted of craft projects from girl scouts, most of which involved heavy use of puff paint and “spattering.”  I didn’t even own jeans until 2004.  Needless to say, this did not get me the positive attention I desired, but I stuck by it, and I’m proud to say that at my class reunion that’s the thing that everyone remembered about me.)

Anyway, I needed to find a yarn to substitute for the Meunch Sir Galli called for by the pattern.  At one point I actually owned a bag of that yarn, but it turns out I cannot abide the smell of raw silk (other silks are ok) so I destashed it.  It was a pretty yarn though – soft and not to drapey, with a sort of tweedy appearance.  I also noted that the smallest size in the pattern is a 35.  I need a 32, espcially in a swingy style like this, so I thought I would try a thinner yarn and knit a larger size.  I searched all over for something tweedy that wasn’t all wool.  I thought about Jo Sharp DK Tweed, but I wanted something with more drape.  My solution?

This is Sylvan Spirit by Green Mountain Spinnery, 50/50 wool and tencel.  This color is called Sterling, and it is a wondrous thing – a silver I can wear.  Silver in general makes me look kind of jaundiced, but this silver has some nice warm tones.  The yarn isn’t super soft but it’s nice.  It knits up at 5.25 st/in for me, and it has the tweedy appearance I wanted without being oppressively heavy or hard on the hands.  I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m looking forward to this knit!

That’s an example of buying yarn for a project, but what if you already have way too much yarn (um… not that I do.  Really.  I need all that sock yarn, even if I do only knit 2 pair a year.)  Ahem.  Anyway, I’m in love with Sivia Harding’s Norweigan Woods Shawl (did you know my grandparents immigrated here from Sweden by way of Norway?  It’s meant to be!)

Oh so pretty!  I want to make the scarf size (shown in the photo) because I think it’s big enough.  It uses just over one skein of Sea silk.  I don’t want to buy 2 skeins and only use a little.  I also have another Sivia Harding design in my queue, the diamond fantasy shawl.  I could make it with 1 skein of Sea silk, but I have Handmaiden Mini maiden lined up for it instead, and it has better yardage than seasilk.  So if I use the mini maiden for this shawl, I can buy 1 skein of sea silk (for the diamond fantasy) instead of two.  I’m pretty sure that I can subtract the cost of the skein I don’t buy, making the cost of knitting these two shawls free (because the mini maiden is stash, and stash never count, right?) 

Marc’s family are “math people” – Mom is a math professor, Marc has math degrees.  I feel sorry for them because they cannot seem to understand this unique “yarn math.”  Poor things.

Ooh… pretty yarn.  I’ve wanted to use the moss colorway since the first time I saw it!

On a more serious note, we took Sarah Jane into the vet this week because I noticed she was drinking a ton of water.  They tested her blood sugar, and she may have diabetes – poor kitty, as though she hasn’t had enough troubles!  She’s in good health otherwise though, and if it is diabetes it has been hopefully caught pretty early.  We’ve been giving her medication and she’s doing just fine.  I’m so glad we found her – imagine her being all alone and sick.  It breaks my heart to think of the way she was when we found her.  Here’s a picture of the first day we got her, and one from today.  What a difference in only a few weeks!

 

She has quite a personality, which she is currently trying to lord over my other two cats.  Relations seem to be improving, so I’m hopeful they can at least ignore each other!  We got a Feliway diffuser for the room they are together in the most often, and I do believe they have calmed down.   The problem right now is that she has latched on to me and wants to follow me everywhere, but so do the other cats.  Sarah Jane is quite spunky, and in spite of her tiny size and lack of claws is totally capable of intimidating Leon, my giant fluffy Maine Coon.  We love her, and are glad to give a home to a kitty with special needs.

Shawl love

Prior to the beginning of my knitting career, I’m pretty sure the last time I wore any sort of a shawl type thing was the mint green and white marled poncho my great grandma made me when I was 6.  I wore the heck out of that thing, along with the pink rhinestoned cowboy boots my Mom bought me (in my mind they matched) but after that I pretty much ignored shawls.  I didn’t even wear scarves very often, determined as I was to overturn the stereotype of the professional singer who is always swathed in scarves to protect her instrument.

Really, I can’t imagine what I was thinking.  Nothing beats a fancy shawl or scarf for drama, and nothing is better that knitting this one.

This is 4 repeats of the Shetland Triangle shawl.  The yarn is every bit as lovely and soft as it looks here.  They may be expensive, but I’m just about to the point of thinking Handmaiden yarns are worth the price – everything stitch of this yarn (Silk maiden) is a joy. The pattern is super easy to memorize, meaning this is a shawl that even makes good tv knitting!

Closeup of the lovely leaves.  I am so happy knitting this!

I haven’t worked on Joy anymore, but the Babette blanket is coming along – I’ve finished the first two sections, so next I will go ahead and seam those up.

I’m happily planning my Chicago trip.  This is my second trip this year, and we will likely go again (I want to go to Stitches Midwest this year.)  This time we will also be going to Wisconsin to visit one of Marc’s best friends who is in a monastary there (yes, he is becoming a monk.)  We’re staying downtown, since Marc’s training is there, and that makes me happy since I can wander on my own quite happily in the middle of a city.  Since I’m currently obsessed… are there any Chicago stores that sell Handmaiden yarns?  No one in my city does, and I’d love to see some in person, and maybe be able to get some Sea Silk to make Tuscany.

Speaking of yarn, Knitpicks has put up their new spring colors/yarns at last!  I ordered Comfy, their new cotton/acrylic blend in Pomegranate (red) to make Currer from Norah Gaughan Vol. II… or at least that’s the plan, although I don’t trust the design enough to make it before I see a completed one modeled.  I also got enough shine sport in a pretty new green (sycamore) to make the Printed Silk Cardigan.  I know I can’t get gauge with Shine Sport, but I would have to make the sweater smaller anyway, because a 34 is going to be big on me… and shine sport is one of my all time favorite yarns.  I threw in some Shine Worsted to make the Lutea shell from last summer’s IK as well.  I have used Shine worsted before and was underwhelmed, but that was because I chose poorly – I was making Something red out of it, and the yarn was too drapey.  I think it will be nice for a shell, and not so heavy without sleeves.

I’ve been planning my summer/summer knits happily – I think this may be the summer of shawls and sleeveless sweaters.  I’m also, curiously, interested in revisiting some patterns I made before.  I have been wanting to make Rusted Root again forever – I made a poor substitution there, and it was my first sweater, and it’s too big.  I got some Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red (yes, the color in the pattern, what of it?) so that I can finally have one exactly the way I wanted.  I’m also going to try Something Red again, this time in the recommended Blue Sky Cotton (in Pickle, not in red.)  I made a tank with this last year and hated it, but again I think the yarn wasn’t great for that purpose – it was thick with no drape.  In other words – pretty much things that are ok in a cardigan.

My Ravelry queue is now 7 pages long. Admittedly, at least half is socks, but still… 7 pages! Thank goodness I knit quickly!

Thanks for all the nice comments on my Flutter Sleeve cardigan – it should be warm enough to wear it this weekend! Sarah Jane thanks you all for the compliments on her as well. She has a clean bill of health, so we are now trying to introduce her to the other cats. I won’t say it’s going great – lots of hissing and growling, but no fights, so it could be worse. Right now, when she’s out of “her” room she wants to be in the room I’m in, and she follows me around. She gets into the room, and then stares at the other cats until they run off… poor kitties. It’s sad, but also funny because Leon is 3 times her size and yet he’s a little afraid! It does seem to be getting better – hey, they don’t have to be friends, all I ask is that they ignore each other! Let me know if anyone has any advice to make the transition easier – we’ve followed most of the advice I found online for introducing a new cat, and it is going better than the last time I tried this with them. Mostly I need a way to get Sarah Jane to relax a little around them, but I know it will take time – her time on the streets made her wary of other cats, even though she still loves people to death.