Taffy napping

At some point a witty saying will materialize here. Right here. Watch for it.

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August 1, 2010

Cat Bullet

New Orleans Adventure

Filed under: Started Projects,Travel — Cat @ 10:16 pm

As I mentioned previously, I recently headed to New Orleans for the wedding of a long time friend. The red sweater was too big to be a comfortable travel project, so I did a quick stash dive and brought out a new project:

Lamia, from the “First Fall 2010″ edition of Knitty. It is a scarf made out of sock yarn and is in kind of a leafy, lacy pattern. Complex, but not too difficult to work on away from home. I’m making it in Sophie’s Toes sock yarn, color called “Harlequin.”

So, the scarf started out with just one section completed. We were disappointed on the flight out because they turned the lights off in the cabin (it was a late evening flight), so not much work got done on it during the flight.

Friday morning, I wandered around, mainly riding the Street Cars up and down. Eventually, it got too hot and humid, so I went back and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of knitting and investigating the functionality of my new iPod Touch (very cool toy, by the way…).

On Saturday, I met up with two friends from High School (waves at Tami and Melissa!!!). We had a yummy lunch and then headed out to explore the French Quarter. The scarf, which had grown quite a bit on Friday afternoon), asked to come along and we said that was OK.

On St. Charles Avenue, the scarf was very amused and wondered what the trees had done to “earn” this many Mardi Gras beads…
Live Oak Trees and Mardi Gras Beads

The French Quarter has quite beautiful architecture, often characterized by ironwork balconies. There is a lot of humidity and rain there, so plants grow really well…
French Quarter

The scarf found a new friend who looked a little cold:

Zombie?  Mummy?   Don't know
(the scarf couldn’t figure out if it was a Zombie or a mummy…)

The scarf, being lace, was quite intrigued by the intricate ironwork on many of the balconies:

French Quarter Ironwork

The scarf really wanted to listen to some Jazz music, but unfortunately, Preservation Hall was closed:

Preservation Hall

As happens to many New Orleans tourists, the four of us ended up on Bourbon Street:
Burbon Street

The scarf really thought that it should be part of Mardi Gras – its colors just blend right in with the festivities…
Mardi Gras Masks

We wandered into Pat O’Brien’s and ordered a hurricane. The scarf was intrigued by the hurricane…
Pat O's Hurricane

“It’s Kool Aid!! Great!!! I’m SO thirsty!!!”

No, little scarf, it isn’t KoolAid. But the scarf couldn’t be convinced otherwise…

After hurricane

Things got a little wobbly after that…
*HIC*

…but the scarf quickly recovered and headed to Jackson Square.

Iconic Jackson Square image
(that is the St. Louis Cathedral behind General Jackson)

There was a clump of people standing around, and the scarf wandered over to see what was going on.

Could it be?

Is it really?

The scarf tried to be discreet in its celebrity photography…

But ultimately, the scarf just got so excited, it couldn’t control itself….

Vince Lombardi Trophy!!!
It was the actual Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy!!!! Right out in public where anyone could see it!!! A real celebrity!!!

The scarf was overcome and had to lie down for a while…
Scarf in repose

As we left the French Quarter, the scarf thought about rubbing the nose of this friendly mule, but it was decided that waving a scarf around an equine might not be the best idea (we didn’t want to scare him). Therefore, I got to rub his nose. He was very sweet and SO clean!!!

French Quarter Mule

After that, the scarf was tired and decided to rest up with someone who looked like she could have been a knitter…
Lady with ball of yarn

All in all, the scarf had a lovely time on its New Orleans excursion. It has grown significantly since it got home and hopes to be presented to the blog readers after it is done.

Many, many thanks to Tami and Melissa for driving, for putting up with me and my crazy scarf. You both have definate futures as knitting blog stylists…

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January 11, 2010

Cat Bullet

Monday Morning

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life,Started Projects — Cat @ 9:54 am

Happy Monday! I hope that you all had a good weekend. I wasn’t hugely productive, I guess. Mom called to see how my weekend went and all I could come up with was that I had successfully watered all of my houseplants.

I started a super sekrit project out of my stash and I am a wee bit obsessed. It is random bits of leftover yarn all knit together in random stitches. I’m fairly certain that the eventual recipient doesn’t read my blog, but I’ll wait until after her birthday to post a picture of this. I really love how it is coming out!!! The rich colors are all melding together in a harmonious whole, and the texture from the combination of stitches is really soft and warm…

My boss gave me a “Women’s Bean Project” Ten Bean Soup mix for the holidays. I guess that I should have read the ENTIRE directions before starting – I got to the “cook for 3 and a half hours” part, but didn’t read the part about “Add remaining ingredients and cook for one and a half more hours”. Dinner was really late last night. OK, I admit, I gave up and ate a sandwich. But I did have a small bowl of the soup when it was done and I really enjoyed it.

Yep, me, the one who can’t stand beans of any type (except for green beans) enjoyed a bowl of bean soup.

I feel that I have grown as an individual.

Oh and for those Southerners who have blamed ME for their recent spate of cold weather, I would point out that it was an Arctic weather front, not a Colorado weather front. Blame Canada. And then pile on another layer of cats. :-)

Tee hee (Just kidding, Sue! Hope things have warmed up for you now.)

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January 29, 2009

Cat Bullet

The Curse of the Black Pearl (Sock Yarn)

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,Started Projects — Cat @ 5:00 am

When last we left our intrepid sock knitter, the “Bird in a Cage” sock yarn had flown the coop.

OK, not really, but work with me…

What could be more soothing than brand new sock yarn, freshly acquired and in lovely shades of grey, purple, lavender and brown.

Lorna’s Laces “Black Pearl” colorway

Lorna's Laces Black Pearl sock yarn

It really is beautiful. Having worked with the Lorna’s Laces before, I was really looking forward to this project.

I picked out the perfect pattern for this yarn, too. It is called “Blackrose” and it is from the Winter 2008 edition of Knitty.

I knew that my yarn was much thinner than the yarn called for in the sock pattern, but the designer helpfully added multiple sizes to her pattern, so all I had to do was knit a gauge swatch and then pick the number of stitches that was closest to what I needed.

Anyone else getting an ominous feeling about this??

I studiously knit a gauge swatch. It was a full-on gauge swatch, with a garter stitch border (to prevent curling), stockinette portion approximately 3 inches square and I even cast off the top edge and removed it from the needles. Gosh darn it, I was going to get a proper number this time.

So, my gauge was 8.5 stitches per inch. Let’s do the math again: 8.5 stitches per inch times 8.25 inches equals 64 stitches. Oh, look!! The pattern has a size with 64 stitches!! I’m ready to go.

(Gentle readers, Math has never been my strong point. I do realize (now) that 8.5 x 8.25 = 70 stitches).

So knitting merrily away I go, working from the top down. I’m about 3/4 of the way down the top of the leg when the everpresent choir and orchestra chime in (oddly enough, this time with an upgraded trombone section) and state emphatically that I MUST TRY THE SOCK ON RIGHT NOW…

Having learned my lesson about arguing with the choir, I tried the sock on. Sort of. Really, I did try, but there was no possiblity that that particular sock was going to fit onto my foot. Ever.

*sigh* Didn’t I USED to be able to knit socks???

Murmuring “Off with their Threads” (which seemed appropriate for a pirate colorway), I took advantage of a quiet Saturday night to frog the sock and redo the cast on and ribbing, this time with 68 stitches (NOT a math error, this time… the next size up was 72 stitches, and it is generally thought that a few stitches smaller is better, if you want your socks to stay up while wearing them…). The next day, as I sat at the counter in the deserted Arsenal bookstore, I focused on the knitting and got the sock back up to where I had been before I frogged it. Upon trying on the sock, it seemed to fit reasonably well.

The sock progresses, and I successfully turned the heel over this past weekend. And yes, for those of you who doubt me, I can, in fact, wear the sock. Which isn’t exactly a sock yet, but you get the idea…

Black Rose Sock - Started and Fitting!!

Not the best picture in the world, but it is close enough.

I hope that everyone has been having more success with their various projects than I have…

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January 28, 2009

Cat Bullet

getting off on the wrong foot

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,Started Projects — Cat @ 5:00 am

Just before Thanksgiving, I purchased a skein of sock yarn from Maple Dale Gal. It was bright yellow, deep red and rich black, and was called “Bird in a Cage.” It has deep, vibrant colors, is soft and squooshy, and I just couldn’t wait to get my needles in to it.

I was so excited that I decided to save it to cast on for the long car trip down to Dallas and back. However, I must admit that I did “cheat” a little and began to work on the swatch before hand. The yarn was so nice and knit up into such a soft, firm fabric (exactly what you would want in a swatch). I was a little amazed that it knit up at 7.5 stitches per inch. So amazed, in fact, that I took the swatch (and the ruler) down the hall to a friend of mine and asked her to check my gauge (Don’t worry- she is a fiber fan as well, so she didn’t think the request at ALL odd). She confirmed that yes, indeed it was 7.5 stitches per inch.

Let’s do the math, shall we? 7.5 stitches per inch times 8.25 inches (the circumference of my foot) equals 62stiches.

This enchanted and amazed me because this was acceptably close to the number of stitches required to make the “Koi” socks from a newly acquired sock book The Eclectic Sole. I thought… what better??? Black/Yellow/Red “koi” socks, because those are all colors found on that particular type of fish. I was “hooked.” sorry, couldn’t resist a fish pun…

Ten hours later (yes, even before I left town), I had accomplished the ribbing and maybe one half of one repeat. It looked terrible. Nope, no pictures, because I was not able to comprehend the situation. But everyone assured me that it was the classic case of Sock Yarn/Sock Pattern mismatch. Ten hours of excrutiating, hand-cramping, finger numbing knitting resulted in nothing that my foot would want to be seen in.

So, I put the sock away until we departed for Dallas. Somewhere in Oklahoma, I pulled out my ten hours of work and started over. Tried various patterns, yet none of them looked really good until I went back to my favorite “Yarn over Cable” from Sensational Knitted Socks. Finally, I had something that looked nice and I merrily knit along. Kept knitting along (mostly on bus rides), turned the heel, and started working my way down the foot.

The entire time, gentle readers, I kept ignoring the voice in my head that said… “Gee, those socks look a little small.”

“How can they be too small?”, I asked the voice… “I did a Gauge Swatch!!!”

Eventually, the voice in my head became a full fledged choir complete with accompanying orchestra. I had to give in to the demand that I try the sock on.

Uh, Oh…

Hmmmm

Well, I could get it on. Techncally.

But… Aren’t you supposed to be able to bend your ankle when you have the sock on? And why were my toes turning blue???

Again, there is something seriously wrong here.

Yes, my friends, the sock was definately too small. My choices were to find someone with a smaller foot or to Frog the whole thing. Well, since it was a special yarn, I couldn’t bear the thought of giving it away, so I decided to frog it.

During the holiday break, I set up the ball winder, deciding that if I was going to frog the sock, I was going to do it efficiently to avoid yarn tangles. I decided that the best idea was to start winding from the outside of the yarn ball, having knit and re-knit the first end of the yarn so much that it was getting a little fuzzy.

Starting the frog process

Um, what was that about avoiding tangles?

Tangles galore

That didn’t work out so well. However, I perservered and finally got the ball rewound in the opposite direction. After that, it was a simple matter to use the ball winder to frog the sock as it wrapped the ball.

Frogging the sock

So now the lovely yarn is sitting in a time out until I feel “it has learned its lesson.”

Yep, that’s the ticket. It is the SOCK YARN that needs to learn its lesson. Nope, the knitter has nothing to do with it.

In the mean time…

Black Pearl sock yarn

Tomorrow: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Sock Yarn).

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October 21, 2008

Cat Bullet

Finally!!

Well, last night, I officially gave up on waiting for “being at home in daylight”. Apparently, that just isn’t going to happen any time in the near future.

So, without further ado: The Taos Stole

Plain and Fancy yarn

Here is the yarn – very generous skeins, (I think) from a company called “Plain and Fancy”. It is listed as 100% wool, but no indication of what kind of wool. VERY soft and colorful, though. I have it on good authority that this is available at the Estes Park Wool Market.

The pattern is called the “Triple S Stole” and is available from… ummm…. I forget. I’ll look that up tonight and get back to you on that.

And, lest ye Ravelry fiends protest, I already checked, and it is not listed on Ravelry. I get the impression that it is fairly new (copyright 2008).

As I have mentioned, the stole is composed of squares that are knit individually and then joined into strips.

Here is one of the squares, completed and ready to be joined to the strip:

Square

Isn’t the lace pattern pretty?

There are four different colors of squares:

This is the one that I’m calling “blue”:

Blue Square

It is my favorite until I get to the one I’m calling “green”:

Green

Which is my favorite until I get to the one I’m calling “red”:

Red

Which is high in my esteem until I get to the one I’m calling “purple”:

Purple

The “purple” color is the one that I will use to knit the border.

So you can see my dilemma. They are all beautiful!!

I’ve completed the first strip:
(really dark picture, sorry)

Strip One - Done

and have knit five (of thirteen) squares on Strip # 2. I like how they look next to each other:

Strip 1 and 2 together

All in all, I am very pleased with this project. It is proceeding at a comfortable pace (each square is taking about 45 minutes) and looks like it is going to be a nice, warm, cuddly size (the completed strip # 1 is the width of a Queen sized bed, and there will be four strips in total).

Purrcy seems to approve:

Purrcy giving an opinion

editor’s note: I find yarn very difficult to photograph. I will admit that I am suprised at the color reproduction in most of the above photos, given that there was no daylight available. I think that (with the exception of the two “strip” photos which are very dark), these might be the photos with the BEST color reproduction that I have ever taken. Maybe it is the yarn, maybe it was just luck. Either way, I don’t think I’m going to let “lack of daylight” keep me from at least trying to take project photos in the future.

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May 20, 2008

Cat Bullet

Addicted to Alpaca

This is Sophie:

Sophie

This is yarn from Sophie:

Mystic Star Alpacas
Mystic Star Alpacas, 3 ply worsted weight, 100 % Arvada Alpaca

This is the beautiful shawl that I am making:

Meseta Alta Shawl

This has to be one of the more addictive projects that I have knit in a long time. When I get going on it, I continue to the point of physical pain (which isn’t really all that good, but is a measure of how much I love this stole).

Look at the beautiful lace panel (even unblocked, it is pretty):

lace detail

I have just started the fifth (of six) repeats, and have slowed down a little bit (row wise) because each even numbered row increases by two stitches. The rows are getting pretty long at this point, and, with a quick calcluation as I was walking in to work this morning, will be 128 stitches longer (give or take) by the time the stole is finished. The last step of the stole is to attach fringe around the edges. Can’t wait. For those of you who are interested in learning how to do lace, this would be an excellent first project. Great social knitting, and is moving fast because it is done with worsted weight yarn.

The pattern is called the Meseta Alta Shawl, and it is from the book Shear Spirit: Ten fiber farms, Twenty patterns and Miles of Yarn by Joan Tapper and photographed by Gale Zucker.

Now, frequent blog readers will know that I MIGHT have a thing for animals. And pictures of animals. Oh, and for yarn.

So this book was tailor made for me. I’ve almost worn out my copy already. Lots of ideas brewing in my head.

Sophie better get busy growing more wool…

I know where she lives.

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May 6, 2008

Cat Bullet

Tuesday Morning

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,Started Projects — Cat @ 9:29 am

FOUND HIM!

Well, I had a nice, knitterly weekend.

There was also some grocery shopping and cooking and reading in there, so all in all? A good time was had.

On Thursday, I swatched for the Modern Lace Henley using the red Classic Elite Wool Bamboo yarn. It worked up well, and, with my usual “one size down” needle adjustment, I hit gauge exactly. The pattern said to measure the gauge after washing and blocking, so that is what I did. The lace pattern opened up and flattened out, and it just has the softest texture imaginable.

On Saturday, we met at our local knit store to celebrate the Purple Princess’es day. NOT a birthday, I am told, but just a day. Like any other. But with presents. And a crown. :-)

A good time was had by all, and I was able to cast on for the red sweater and get most of the 1 x 1 ribbing done.

On Sunday, I got up early and went to the grocery store. Came home and cooked breakfast (this order of activities was necessitated by the desolation within my fridge and pantry), and then set meat marinating and cucumbers draining for one of my favorite dinners. Gyros and Tzatziki sauce. Yum.

(No, the meat doesn’t come out exactly like true Gyros, but it is still yummy and an acceptable substitute). I’ll be eating good for the rest of the week.

After the marinating (and the kitchen cleaning) I headed out to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a storage cabinet that they had advertised. I used my 20% off coupon, so that worked out well. The cabinet will be perfect for holding yarn and knitting supplies, thus taming the out of control tangle that has been growing by my usual knitting chair. Well, it will be perfect once I get it put together.

The cabinet looked a little lonely, so I headed out to Knit Knack to acquaint myself with some 100% Arvada Alpaca. Yum. You can’t believe how incredibly smooth and soft this yarn is. I can’t wait to make a shawl from the book Shear Spirit, one of my new favorites.

I think this will be good “social knitting” because, for the most part, it is just straight knitting. Which is a good thing, because the red sweater is becoming quite a challenge. I suspect that there will be graph paper involved – somehow, I’ve got to figure out how to do the waist decreases yet keep the lace pattern lined up.

Wish me luck!!

Yes, honestly, I know that this post would have been better with photographs of all of the above activities, but I just didn’t take the time.

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February 18, 2008

Cat Bullet

Yaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,Started Projects — Cat @ 12:10 pm

I had a great post planned.

Really.

It was great.

    Better than any of the posts that I tried to write last week and were so lame that I didn’t bother to finish them.

The post wrote about an epiphany that I had last week while driving home from class.

It involved using this yarn:

Mountain Colors Yarn
Mountain Colors yarn, gifted to me by The Purple Princess last fall

And this hat: Koolhaas Hat, available from Interweave Press.

It all started out innocently enough. I cast on, using double pointed needles, because that was all that I had.

start of hat.

I eventually managed to get circular needles of the correct size, which helped immensely.

On the addi turbo needles.

After that, though, it just didn’t look right.

So, I frogged it.

And re-knit it. And it still didn’t look right. So I frogged it again. And re knit it.

    Who was it who defined stupidity as “repeating the same sequence of actions time after time while expecting a difference in resuts”?

So I finally decided that I was imagining things and that there wasn’t anything wrong with it and I continued working through the third repeat. Got the hat about 75% done when it was time to go to Sunday Knitting at Knit Knack.

    Surely my “peeps” would assure me that there was nothing wrong and that everything was right.

Nope. There was definately something wrong with the hat. It was unanimous.

I kept knitting, not knowing what else to do. I questioned everything – every stitch of every row. Finally, I got to the location in the pattern where I thought I was making the mistake. I stopped. I examined. I thought.

*faceplant*

Yep, I was making a mistake. Not only on that row, but on another row as well.

*sigh*

I decided that I was just going to continue the way I was, because at least I was consistent in my error. It made kind of a nice design. It would be a very pretty and functional hat. We even came up with a name for it… the “KoolKat” hat. (I proposed the name “KatHouse” hat, but that was voted down.)

But then I got to the decreases, which were designed to keep the “real” pattern going, and they looked terrible. Really bad. Really really bad.

I will be visiting the frog pond. Again.

At this point, I will probably start over with an un knit portion of the same yarn, because it is getting a little “frayed” with all of the knitting. But I will save this portion and find something to use it for at some point.

Thank you, Leanne, for being so generous in quantity and for (apparently) planning ahead for my idiocy.

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January 21, 2008

Cat Bullet

Monday Report

I had a GREAT weekend.

Maddy Sweater in action

I wore my Maddy sweater almost full time.

On Saturday, many of us met at Knit Knack. They were having the Trunk Show for Black Water Abbey yarns. As always, they had the most incredible deep, rich, heathered yarns. Sam the Ram and Sue the Ewe also made an appearance, and I just fell in love with both of them.

(Luckily, I already have Sam the Ram in my stash…)

Marilyn from Blackwater Abbey Yarns was really fun to talk to, and I look forward to spending more time with her in the future.

Did I buy yarn? Nope, I’m still being loyal to the “Top 10 Knit from your Stash”. I definately picked up a bunch of patterns (three vests, two sweaters and a purse), and some lovely pewter Heart/Celtic buttons.

I cast on for one of the items on my Top 10 list, the charity blanket out of the Lion Brand Cotton Ease. I’m doing kind of a Thermal Weave pattern (a Fiber Trends baby blanket pattern that was one of the first things that I ever purchased at Knit Knack), and it is really fun. Quite easily memorized, so it will be my “knit in public” project for the time being. I like working with the Cotton Ease yarn, too! (I’m doing the blanket in two shades of blue…)

On Sunday, Mom and I went out TV shopping. Boy, things have changed from the “I like THAT picture” days. Now you have to do research. We ended up getting a nice medium sized LCD Sony, and a beautiful wood cabinet for it to sit on. I also picked up a couple of quilting books at Joanne (I had coupons to use up) and some ink cartridges for my printer (at the CompUSA store closing sale). Yummy lunch at Einstein’s bagel shop.

Mom and I both fell in love with the cutest little doxie puppy at the pet store. Yes, I know that pet stores are evil and the little guy was probably from a puppy mill, but he had the cutest face and beautiful dappled grey/black coloration. Sweet disposition and he loved to be cuddled. He will be a dog to knit sweaters for, that is the truth. But sadly, I’m not home enough to have a dog. *sigh* But I was seriously tempted, that was for sure…

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October 29, 2007

Cat Bullet

Monday

Ah well. Poor Rockies. You are still my favorite baseball team!!!

Just wait until next season!!!

Not too productive of a weekend, mostly, at least with respect to my plans.

Never opened my back door on Saturday – it was just too gloomy in the morning to consider working outside. So my fallen leaves remain…. fallen. Maybe next weekend.

I did various things inside, though. I didn’t start with any concrete plans, but kept moving around from place to place. Did some laundry. Took everything off of my kitchen counters and scrubbed down the counters, walls and backsplash. Scrubbed down the outside of the stove with ammonia (which desperately needed to be done). The kitchen was all clean and shiny before I decided to make chili for dinner that night.

Over the last week or so, I had been (sort of ) working on locating and going through all of my printed-out knitting patterns. In the afternoon, I filed them into a file box (the folders still need labels, but those will be done the next time that I have the computer turned on). That project was nice to get done because it cleared out a whole shopping bag full of paper as well as most of a big plastic storage box. And various other piles in other places…

I thought about organizing my yarn, but coudn’t get the energy. Instead, I sat down and started working on swatching for the baby blanket. Late last week, I finally came to the conclusion that I was not going to be happy with the baby blanket that I had planned out, mainly because I didn’t have the time (and don’t forsee much “extra” time before the baby is in college) to work out how to miter a lace edging around corners of a square blanket.

My sister in law (HI GINGER) has been talking about a Knit Along that she has been participating in for something called a “Hemlock Ring Blanket”. Basically, the individual took a doily pattern that starts with a big flower in the center. Then they extended the feather and fan edging and made it into a really nice ciruclar lap blanket. So, I started swatching with the cream colored Jaeger Baby 4 ply yarn and tried to see what the largest needles that I could use and still get a nice texture fabric. I ended up using a size seven needle, which is great considering my original plan was to use size three!! After a quick run to the store to get another set of size seven double pointed needles, I started the blanket.

And that was pretty much it for getting anything else done for Saturday (it was late afternoon at that point). This is a really fun pattern to make and I definately will be making one (or two) for my living room.

I got a lot of work done on it Sunday as well, since I was working at the bookstore out at the Arsenal all day. I SHOULD have been studying but there was just enough traffic in and out of the store to keep me from being able to concentrate. So, I knit.

I am really very pleased with the progress on this blanket. It is knit in the round, and so far I’ve worked up to my 32″ cables. My next (and largest) size is 47 inches, so I think that I will be ordering the 60 inch cables from Knit Picks sometime this morning. I hope that they are in stock, because I am going to need them really soon.

No pictures, yet. Sorry. I was too busy knitting.

How about some more camels???

Camels
Getting ready for a dust bath

Camels cleaning up after harvest in a watermelon field

Camels, tethered in a watermelon field – they do the cleanup after the harvest

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