Watch the birdies!

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

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May 1, 2009

Cat Bullet

FRIDAY!!

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:48 am

Purrcy underfoot, as always
Purrcy, being stalked by the killer catnip tomato

Friday! Yay!

*dance *

It has been a long week. At the same time, it has been an incredibly QUICK week. Does this ever happen to anyone else? I feel like I’ve been slogging along at everything, yet nothing has gotten done except for right at the deadline.

On a completely unrelated note, as of this morning, I have worked at my current job for NINE years. Yikes. Where does the time go?

I am particularly looking forward to this weekend. It will be busy, that is for sure, but hopefully I’ll get things done. I spent last month “eating out of the freezer” and pantry, just to kind of rotate supplies. So, I’ll have to do some grocery shopping to restock things. Definately on the schedule is finding the time to block and photograph the Taos Stole. I’d also like to go through my knitting projects and see exactly what is going on, quantity wise.

The Yarn Harlot had a post this week where she decided that “she had too many projects on the needles.” This was interesting to me, because lately I have been feeling the same thing.

However, how many is “too many?” I would suspect that this value would be up to the individual knitter. I know that I truly don’t really have a huge number of projects in process, however I “feel” like I do. One of the reasons is probably because there are “deadlines” on some of the projects, and I really hate those…

Another possibility is that as work gets more complex with the move coordination, my ability to focus on more complex projects (like lace or sweaters… or lace sweaters) becomes restricted. I suspect that before the end of this year, I will be reduced to garter stitch baby blankets (and drooling).

I hope that everyone has a super fantastic weekend!! Get out and do something fun!!

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April 29, 2009

Cat Bullet

Oops

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions — Cat @ 9:03 am

Coming in for a nose rub

Well, best laid plans, and all of that.

The Taos stole is completed, all ends woven in, but is not blocked yet. Soon, I hope, but must rescue the laundry drying facility guest room from the masses of hopefully dry laundry so that I can find a flat surface big enough to block the stole.

In the meantime, I’m continuing to focus on “serial monogamy” and am working on a lace project. As I was knitting along last night, I came to a !#@^!#$ knot in my yarn. Said knot was positioned about three inches from the terminal end of a very long row. Normally, when I find a knot, I unpick the row and cut the yarn tail (re-starting the row with the yarn after the knot). I started to do this, but then stopped. Each row is 361 stitches and it had been a very complex pattern row (for those who are curious, it was p3tog, leave on left needle, yo, p3tog through those same stitches and then remove from left needle – for the whole row!) *pause for gasps of horror*

I decided to try something that I’ve never done before – called a spit splice. For non-washable animal fibers, you can spit on the two ends and then join them together by applying heat and friction (generally by rubbing on your jeans-covered leg). I’ve never done this, because, frankly, the idea of spitting on my knitting project is pretty gross. However, desperate times, desperate measures.

I did, however, decide that I was going to dunk the ends in a glass of water, not spit.

Having properly (and hygenically) hydrated the two ends, and twisted them together, I proceeded to rub it up and down my leg. Lo and behold, the two ends felted together into a practically invisible join!!! I was so pleased. I gave it an experimental tug or two and it seemed to be sturdy. Happily, I started to continue along the row.

And then came to a screeching halt when I discovered that I had just spit-spliced the end of the yarn to the cast on tail (rather than the working end of the yarn…)

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April 23, 2009

Cat Bullet

Thursday

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:51 am

Black Eyed Junco
Black Eyed Junco, Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Well, I don’t have much knitting to report. I did finish the Icord bindoff on the Taos stole, but have only just started weaving in ends. I estimate that there are approximately 6,239 ends to weave in, so it will take a while.

I’ve got a mild crick in my neck, so it has been hard to sit with my head looking downwards since Sunday afternoon. Never fear, my bloggy friends, yesterday was definately the worst. It is much better this morning, probably because I had the heating pad on it for most of yesterday evening. Aaaaahhhhh. I have one of those microwave rice pads in my office, so I apply that every couple of hours. I should be fine in a day or so.

So, knitting and reading were pretty much out yesterday, and the Rockies game was over in the early afternoon. What is a girl to do?

Go to the internet and research the Roomba. Sadly, the Roomba does not seem to be very well recommended. Apparently, they only work for a month or two. Sigh. I still need to get a vacuum for my upstairs. Another vacuum for my upstairs, I should say. They keep dying.

Aren’t you glad that I have this blog to share all the exciting details of my life??

Big news at work, yesterday. We finally (finally) got the “mostly final” move schedule. We were thrilled to find out that our entire department is moving into the new building at the end of this year (there was a chance that only half would be moving, which would mean that the move torture would last until the end of 2011). We have a lot of work to do, but then it will be over. I’m very pleased, yet somewhat panicky at the same time.

Everyone have a great day!

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April 21, 2009

Cat Bullet

Tuesday Musings

Taffy, thinking about things
Taffy, trying to decide on exactly the best time to start the “Spring Shed”

So, here it is, Tuesday morning already. The Denver area had some wild and wacky weather over the end of last week through the weekend. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were mostly a rain/snow mix. I didn’t personally get a lot of accumulation, but some areas got quite a bit. Sunday, on the other hand, was bright and shiny and beautiful. At any rate, the snow brought an abundance of much needed moisture to our parched area.

This week is supposed to be really nice (highs in the 60′s to 80′s), and with our typical Colorado Sunshine, the grass and leaves are almost visibly growing. Aaah Spring. Or should that be “AAAAA-CHOO” Spring?

I have been intently focusing on finishing up knitting projects. I’m about 3/4 along on the I-cord edging on the Taos stole, and I am almost exclusively working on that project alone. It is fairly easy, but is taking a lot longer than I anticipated. I really need the emotional boost of getting a big project done and off of the needles.

On Friday, I helped a neighboring department with their “Chemistry Day” activities – I spent the day entering contest data/results for a bunch of high school students who visit Metro State every year for the festivities. In between data entry projects, I worked on a bulky weight hat – I really like how it came out, and since it was bulky weight, I finished it that evening. I should have worked on the stole, but it is beyond the “carry around easily” stage.

Saturday, I puttered around the house. Seriously, I know I did things, but I can’t for the life of me come up with one constructive thing that got done. In the evening, I went over to a friend of mine’s house and we had a knitting party. She is working on a beautiful mohair lace project and I worked on the Taos edging.

Sunday, I didn’t get any knitting done, but I did take Terrie and her family on a private tour of the Arsenal. It was incredible – we saw so many things!!! Including a fluffy baby Great Horned Owl (and his mama), a raccoon, a muskrat, tons of birds and deer. Even the bison were obligingly close to the fence. No pictures of course, because I didn’t have my camera. I say “of course”, because if I had taken my camera, we would not have seen a single thing. That’s just the way it works. I did really love that little baby owl, though.

So, I guess that it was a decent weekend, though I don’t have much to show for it. Now it is time to focus on another work week with meetings, meetings, meetings.

Everybody have a great day!!

P.S. Does anyone have experience with a Roomba? I’m giving serious consideration to buying one to deal with the cat hair accumulation in my house…

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April 7, 2009

Cat Bullet

Tuesday musings

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:30 am

Taffy Napping

Well, I didn’t get much done over the weekend. Really. I did a couple of loads of laundry (not enough), and cleaned off the kitchen counter and the dining room table (those two tasks were quite involved). I made home made macaroni and cheese, but had to adapt it for lower carb/higher protein/increased vegetable matter. It turned out good, but not quite what I wanted. But to be fair, it probably was not what the dietition would like, either. :-(

But it is making decent lunches for this week, so I shouldn’t complain.

Mostly, I read over the weekend. For whatever reason, I’ve been moving backwards through English history. I actually had a conversation with myself that included the phrase “Wait a minute, I thought he was executed. Oh, that’s right. That happens after this…”

Over spring break, I finished up the last of the Henry VIII/wives/children books that I was interested in. Over the weekend I read two books about the Princes in the Tower (Edward V and Richard, Duke of York). Very sad story, actually. At least this author pretty conclusively declared that the boys were dead before they were buried. In the past, I had heard that they were walled up alive, which is just too horrible to imagine.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a time machine to see this stuff first hand? But then, you would be tempted to “rescue” individuals and then would probably end up changing the time line. That NEVER works out as well as you might think.

And since I learned to knit because I wanted a Dr. Who scarf, I really know these things…

I may have to consider taking a break and picking some other time period of history to read about for a while. All in all there are too many Richards, Edwards, Elizabeths, Annes and Henrys to keep straight. However, it would probably be less confusing if I would take the time to read the books in chronological order…

Any suggestions? I thought that I might wander through the library history section to see what appeals to me. Maybe something about Colorado history.

Knitting wise, not much going on except for nagging feelings of inadequacy. Who is this knitter who has so many started projects and yarn in her stash that she doesn’t remember acquiring??? I am at the point where I just need to finish something (ANYTHING) for the emotional boost. I’ve been working (sort of) on the Taos stole and only have nine more squares (plus the border) to finish. Since that is my project that is closest to completion, I’m trying to focus on that one. It is hard because I have to keep it closed up at all times because someone (*cough*Purrcy*cough*) has taken to chewing on that yarn and swallowing bits of it.

Oh, I get the pieces back… shortly. But they are all hairbally and not really worth trying to salvage. I have to make sure the yarn is all securely hidden in a bag in the back of the closet to make sure that it is ok when I get home.

Maybe I can make progress in the evenings this week. Thankfully, Rockies Baseball has finally started up again for the year. Sadly, they lost the season opener, but there are over 160 other games with which to redeem themselves.

Everybody have a Super Tuesday!

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April 2, 2009

Cat Bullet

Lambspun of Colorado

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 6:00 am

On the way up to the new happy place, I drove right by a yarn store in Fort Collins.

Seriously, it wasn’t more than one or two blocks off of the route to the ranch.

Now, as my faithful readers know, I am not one to argue with hints from the Yarn gods (especially when such hints are delivered with a sledgehammer). So I dutifully pulled in and looked around.

(sorry about the lack of pictures – I had packed the camera in the suitcase and didn’t feel like pawing through my unmentionables while standing in the parking lot)

The store is called “Lambspun of Colorado” and was really nice with most of your standard yarn selections. They had an entire room of books and patterns, which, if I wasn’t on a deadline, I would have happily spent long hours poking through.

They also appeared to have a “store line” of yarns, which I really liked. So much so that…

Lambspun yarn

This yarn is a silk/merino mix in a subtly variegated blue color called “Tenor Sax Blues”. Really light and shimmery. I bought enough to make a tunic length 3/4 sleeve sweater (they had patterns that were designed to go with the yarn).

I also got this single… it looked lonely and the colors really spoke to me. Unfortunately, they didn’t photograph well…

Blue/Green/Grey

Hard to describe, really. Overall, kind of sagey green, but over/undertones of blue, grey and a touch of lavender. VERY pretty. I’m sure there will be enough for a scarf of some sort.

So, I liked the store. The store has another claim to fame, because it is the knitting store referenced in Maggie Sefton’s “Knitting Mysteries” series. I’ve read a couple of them, but will have to get the others for my entertainment.

They have great names: Knit One, Kill Two, Needled to Death, A Deadly Yarn, A Killer Stitch, Dyer Consequences, and Fleece Navidad

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March 31, 2009

Cat Bullet

My new “Happy Place”

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions,Travel — Cat @ 9:49 am

Coming in for Dinner

I have found my new “Happy Place”.

And shockingly enough, it didn’t have yarn.

Well, except for the yarn that I brought with me, but that doesn’t count.

For my Spring Break last week, I went to the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch and had an absolutely marvelous time!!

I left work Wednesday at noon and headed up north west of Fort Collins. It was a beautiful drive and the roads were quite clear.

I got there just about feeding time, and was allowed to stand on some rocks in the feeding corral to take pictures.

It was really cool to see the horses come running in for dinner…

Dinner # 2

It started to snow during that evening, just flurries really. But when I woke up the next morning, I saw this:
First morning

It was snowing for most of the day, but we went riding anyway. Riding in the snow storm was wonderful – really very peaceful. Not too cold, either, because horses put out a lot of heat.

My room was lovely (and had a fireplace!!) and the food was excellent and excessive in quantity.

I really like that the wranglers take time to “match” a horse to your abilities and experience. My horse was named “Gauge” (which I thought appropriate for a knitter).

Gauge, my mighty steed

He was a very nice quarter horse and was fun to ride.

My wrangler’s name was Bryce and his horse was named Annie B:

Annie B

She was beautiful and moved very well (quarter horse, fjord horse mixture). I think that there were the beginnings of dressage training in her background somewhere, because she had a beautiful lope and would change leads…

All told, I rode three very nice rides. One on Thursday morning (in the snowstorm) and then twice on Friday. Friday’s second ride was quite strenuous – if we had been skiing, there would have been black diamonds everywhere!!! At one point, I think we went straight up a cliff!!! Very fun. Though I began to wonder if Gauge was part mountain goat…

The red cowboy boots did wonders on the rides – I had no idea that they would make such a difference in comfort. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn’t have achy knees and hips after a ride. The only problem was that my feet were cold – the boots fit, but there wasn’t room for hand knit wool socks inside.

I’m going to have to find some sort of thin but very warm sock to wear with them, because I’m definately going back soon.

Oh, and for the record: Cowboy boots are rubbish for walking (and even standing) in the snow.

Knitting wise, it was not a very productive trip. I had plenty of projects with me, but I was more interested in the book that I was reading (The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth by Alison Weir) and pretty much focused on that. I did do two “squares” of the Taos stole while I was up there and then three more at home (as well as joining strip # 3 to strip # 2). Only 11 more squares to go (and the I-Cord edging). So I guess the project is coming along…

Oh, and I stopped at a yarn store on the way up to the ranch…..

Waiting for Breakfast

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March 25, 2009

Cat Bullet

RED Letter Day

Filed under: Finished Projects,Hobbies and Obsessions — Cat @ 9:55 am

So, finally….

Hearts for Heidi Socks

Hearts for Heidi Socks

The heart lace pattern is really neat.

Detail of hearts

The pattern is by Wendy Johnson (mama of the famed Lucy the Cat), and was an absolute dream to knit. Not only did I learn a new (and really fun) heel for a toe-up sock, but there was also a wonderful bind-off for the top. REALLY loose and stretchy and looks very nice too.

Yarn used: Socks that Rock, lightweight. Color: Ruby Slippers. Size 1, knitpicks fixed 24 ” circular needles. LOVE this yarn. Am tempted to get a heavier weight so that I can make myself a hat…

I really loved knitting these socks. A little too much, I might add, as the obsession led to hand pain. Cast on Feb 14, completed March 6th.

How much do I love my red socks? So much that the following two items may have snuck into my stash, in hopes of future red socks…

Pagewood Farms Really Red sock yarn
Pagewood Farms, color called “Really Red”

Mountain Colors, Bitterroot Rainbow
Moutain Colors sock yarn, color called “Bitterroot Rainbow”

(also note my loyal photography assistant in the background…)

How pretty are both of those??? I can’t wait to get to work on them at some point.

And, last but not least, since I am in a “Red” theme today…

Red Boots

RED COWBOY BOOTS!!!

Freshly polished and waterproofed, all ready for adventures.

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February 13, 2009

Cat Bullet

Missed it by THAT much

Filed under: Hobbies and Obsessions — Cat @ 10:20 am

Bison cow with calves

Well, I just missed out on being able to finish my sock last night. Bummer :-( I really tried, but since I am trying the experiment of enforcing a consistent bedtime, I just couldn’t get it finished before 9pm. Also? I’ve found that trying the kitchener stitch when I’m really sleepy is NOT a good idea.

I am left with just eight more rounds, and then the toe.

I would probably have been able to finish it last night, but I was dutiful and attended the emergency Homeowner’s Budget Approval meeting. See how they haunt me??? Thankfully, FINALLY, the budget was approved for this year, but it is nearly certain that the delay in approval will cause financial problems later on. I’m glad I’m no longer on the board…

So, if all goes well, I will work on the sock on my way home (I can fit in the 8 row repeat during the bus ride), and then all I have to do is finish the toe this evening. If everything goes spectacularly today, then I may sneak away at lunch time to find a hidey hole so that I can get some knitting done… That will ensure that I will be able to finish the sock tonight. I have to run some errands after work, which will use up precious knitting time, so I’m all about the efficiency.

Tee hee.

OK, I admit it. I’m all about the obsession of casting on “Hearts for Heidi” with my glorious “Socks that Rock” Ruby Slippers sock yarn ON Valentine’s Day. You guys see right through me, don’t you??

Happy Friday!! *Dance Dance Dance* Everybody have a super fantastic weekend.

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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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