23 August 2007

Of Cats and Beans

New kitty is fitting in well. She still hisses every time she walks by the dog. We think her name is Katydid. We think. It's still slightly up in the air.

Amidst all the pet related hubbub, I have actually done some knitting. I finished my first pair of jaywalker proper socks. I've used a self striping sock yarn from OnLine. I think they turned out tres cool.

That's a pretty horrible picture now that I look at it. I'll see if I can get a better one posted later.
I love the fit though. I actually went to the trouble this time to knit a swatch and get proper measurements for my foot/leg. Have I mentioned my gigantic calves? Knitting the top inch or so in a larger needle seems to solve the sock calf issue, thank goodness. Heaven forbid I have to calculate in extra stitches into the pattern.

I love the way they don't slouch at all . I foresee more of these socks in my future.

Our vegetable share gave us fresh beans this week. I've never had beans still in the pod in my life, I've only dealt with dried ones. I actually wasn't sure how to approach this phenomena. I mean, one would think this an obvious problem to solve. Sometimes I'm slow. I admit this.

I have this nifty little book called Timing is Everything. It informed me that you could indeed cook beans right out of their pod and, as I'm sure you've guessed, gave me a time frame in which to do so.

They lost their pretty color in cooking, but they were very tasty.

So, I had this idea. A drink cozy (think paper cups of coffee from ) with a pocket to hide your fingers in for those cold days when you want both your coffee and your fingers to be warm.
I had some leftover wool yarn from a purse I made a couple years ago that I knew felted well. Throwing caution to the wind, I just went at it. With only a vague notion of how I wanted to construct it, I came up with this.

The pink wraps around and makes a pocket for your hand.

I knit the whole thing vaguely a third larger than I wanted it, hoping that felting would work to my advantage on this one. I may add a small strap for toting, but I'm not sure yet. We'll see how it turns out. This may be good or bad, hehehe.

Now playing: Martin Denny - Harlem Nocturne
via FoxyTunes

06 August 2007

In Which We Went for Vegetables and Came Home With a Kitten
The Bathroom Goblin

We have a vegetable share, and ever Saturday we head to to the organizer's garage to pick them up. There were three kittens romping in the garden, and I overheard the yard's owner complaining that he didn't need more animals, and that these were strays. He also wasn't feeding them. (Completely against my sensibilities.) So, as we had toyed with getting another cat as a companion to our grey kitty, I thought I'd take a closer look.

The little black and white one seemed a bit of a runt, with the other ones picking on her a bit. I walked over to test her friendliness. The other two scampered under the plants, but the little black and white one stayed and let me come over to her. After a little hand sniffing, I picked her up and she was extremely happy to be held and petted. She was also extremely skinny.

My Mom and my husband took their turns holding the squirming purring kitty and with very few arguments against, we asked the owner of the yard if he wouldn't mind us taking the kitten home with us. He sort of blinked at us with bleary eyes (too much sun perhaps?) and said they were just strays, and he had too many animals already. I took this as his agreement to the proposal.

After thinking about it, I wonder why he didn't just take them to an animal shelter rather than let them starve in his backyard.

She's terribly cute, and very vocal and friendly. She lives in our bathroom while she's being dewormed and quarantined, though grey kitty is already beginning to warm up to her. A few liver treats at the bathroom door didn't hurt either. The yet to be named kitten isn't particularly happy with this arrangement, and protests with some of the most unusual patterns of determined meowing I've heard.

The picture is her first trip out of the bathroom. Grey kitty was in the front bedroom, so we shut the door and took her out to play with her. She was just a little freaked at first, which is what you see in the picture, but she was kneading and purring even while her hair stood on end.

Now playing: Boccherini, Luigi - Fandango
via FoxyTunes

04 August 2007

Towel is neat after a day of use. I think it will get really soft over time. It's pretty absorbant too, which I'm surprised about.

Specs on the towel:

It's about 10 inches wide and 27 ½ inches long. I could have gone a few more rows, but I didn't want to run out of yarn and have to rip out.

I did 6 rows of seed stich as a bottom border, and then a seed stitch border of 6 stitches on either side of the j-walker pattern. You might increase the bottom and top borders by a few rows, because they get a little lost and seem smaller than the side borders. There are three repeats of the j-walker pattern with 8 stitches between increases/decreases.

I used size 5 needles, but if I were to do it again, I might decrease that to 4 as it's a little on the loose side. The yarn itself called for 3s, but the Mason-Dixon pattern called for 5s, so that's what I went with. Obviously you'd get a smaller towel if you might increase the border widths or something to make up for it.

03 August 2007

The mystery of what to do with the linen yarn has been solved!

It came unexpectedly. I was even about to start the second toeless sock (take 2) for my Mom.
I was looking through my newly purchased Mason-Dixon Knitting when I stumbled upon their knitted linen handtowel patterns. It took one skein of linen yarn. Ah ha!

I ran to my yarn stash in the guest bedroom to see if my skein of pretty brown and blue yarn would do, and it was perfect! I started on the moss-stitch checked pattern and after a few inches into the pattern I thought that the verigatedness of the yarn totally hid the texture of the pattern.

What to do?!

Something that would highlight the pretty colors and verigation was needed. I discovered a serious deficiency in stitch pattern books. (Note to self: Rectify this problem in the near future.)

At this point I had a brainwave. J-walker socks! They make nice use of verigated yarn, making it interesting without muddling the pretty colors. The j-walker towel was born!

Of course there will be no walking with this towel, unless it is to the laundry. Maybe it should be called the j-toweler?

It was even nicer after it was washed. The colors faded ever so slightly, but it picked up this soft fuzziness. There is nothing like drapey linen. I love the heaviness of it, and the way is hugs what it is draped on so tightly. I'd love a sweater out of it. I am really uncertain though that I could knit it myself. I found the stiffness of this a bit of a struggle to work with. My hand is glad it's done, as it can cease its cramping and get back to easy sock knitting.