Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for the ‘Cat’ Category

Spring, Socks, Stealth, and Sags

Posted by mtmom on March 16, 2008

First signs of spring are popping up here on the mountain:  first signs of daffodils

Those will be daffodils; we also have tulips, but no signs of the crocus yet.  Odd that.

Sock Madness 2 has kicked off with Zombie Socks for round 1.  I am not competing this year, but the excitement is contagious!  If you’re on Ravelry, check out the group at http://www.ravelry.com/groups/sock-madness-2 .

Stealth-knitting is proceeding apace.  Here I am starting a tricky part in my (secret) Sock Madness pattern demonstration sock.  Teen-genius son has been taking video footage of this demo, with plans to post some minutes to YouTube for competitors to view when the pattern is released, probably sometime in April.  I'm not telling yet! Fun, eh?

Chloe was “helping” us with filming recently, but she decided watching herself replayed on the TV screen was more interesting than wrestling a pair of hands with needles and yarn.   Chloe watches herself on TV

So we were able to continue in peace, with her watching the proceedings electronically.

And what about that reference in the title to “sagging”?  Sadly, it’s my knee socks. Sagging knee socks

I apparently have more work to do to “perfect” my knee sock design!  Hopefully, replacing stockinette with ribbing in subsequent pairs will be sufficient.  Both socks measure the same around the calf, but the one with tighter gauge is sagging less.

Posted in Cat, Design, Sock Madness, Socks | 3 Comments »

Lenten Cogitations, More Snow, and Giveaway Winner

Posted by mtmom on February 5, 2008

First off, congratulations to Jane, whose name Chloe chose at random.  random drawing

I’ll be contacting her by e-mail.

Sunday night/Monday morning, we received some more snow.  Here is today’s view out my garage’s back door.  big first step

That’s a big first step!   But the birds need birdseed, so off I go.

Chloe is here standing upright in one of the footprints I left behind.Cat in snow footprint 

And here she checks out the path from our patio door to the grill — yes, we do grill in the snow!  snow-packed grill 

Today has been “Super Tuesday” in the US, and also Shrove Tuesday.  That’s the day when, traditionally, Christians feast to clean all the “indulgent” foods from their larders before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  Our family usually attends our church’s Pancake Supper.  This year, some of us wore Mardi Gras beads and masks as well.  dd in Mardi Gras mask

I have been considering what lenten discipline to take on.  The observing folks I know tend to follow one of two paths when it comes to Lent:  some “give up something” for Lent, some add something on.  Both are seeking to become more sensitive to the spiritual aspects of the issues in their lives (and in the world) during this time, and to add to the personal impact of the upcoming feast of Easter.  My current plan is to listen to a daily podcast that I find edifying, and attend a workshop in contemplative prayer led by a church-friend of mine.

On the Sock Madness front, my pattern is being test-knit right now!  The tester says she can see the work I put into writing the pattern [gratifying] and also has suggestions about clarifying notes to add.  This feedback is great — an exciting development-process for me as a designer.

Posted in Biblical/Spiritual, Cat, Design, Sock Madness | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blogiversary Update, Stealth Knitting, and Dreamsicle

Posted by mtmom on January 28, 2008

Keep leaving comments.  There’s another week before the giveaway deadline.  The prize will be the winner’s choice among 3 books:  one by the yarn harlot, one by Debbie Bliss, and the third a raglan collection.

This makes a blogger nuts:  I’ve been working on one particular project almost exclusively for the past 2 – 3 weeks, but I can’t show it!   You see, it’s from a pattern I’ve developed for submission to Sock Madness 2008.  If they use it in the competition, no one would want any knitter(s) to have the advantage of knowing any details ahead of time.  This is probably a “safe” amount of info:  mystery project 

No toe or heel or patterning details showing here.  The pins are row counters.

I can show you this:  dreamsicle cap 

I finished the Dreamsicle cap.  It’s a 3-color, single-round spiral pattern, and the pattern is available in the sidebar.  I made the body of the cap too long, so both DDs prefer the brim turned up, as in the above photo.  I could now either leave it long or take out some body-rounds and redo the ribbing.  –Vote in the Comments!– 

I decided to stagger the ends of the stripes at the start of the ribbing. 
See here the end of the white yarn:  end of white yarn
And here the end of the lighter-orange yarn:  orange yarn end

When the rest of my family went on an extended outing recently, Chloe the cat had to admit that I was the only action in town, even if was just sitting at the computer.  Chloe perched on monitor

But, she felt she did not have to admit that I was that interesting.  Chloe turns her back

Posted in Cap/Hat, Cat, Design, Knitting, Sock Madness | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Snow, Kitten, and Master Knitting.

Posted by mtmom on January 17, 2008

I may have lost my voice, but my fingers still work!  😉

May I show you a little of the lovely snow we got last week?  My ds had been in Iowa, attending/helping/observing the caucuses there, with a group of 20+ homeschool students and parents, and they drove back in weather than eventually turned into this:  snowy front yard  (This mom was more than a little anxious, I’ll tell you.)

He and dh shoveled every few hours for a few days.  So then our front yard looked like this:  snowy front yard later 

As long as I don’t have to drive — or have someone dear to me driving in it — I really enjoy the snow.  Chloe finds it very interesting, but mostly . . .  relaxed kitty . . . she keeps to her usual duties. . .

like laundry inspection.  kitty snooping in dryer  into the dryer

I, OTOH, have been working on stealth-knitting and Master Knitter swatching.  Seams:  swatch 7 

Decreases:  swatch 8 mirrored  swatch 9 twisted  swatch 10 and double.

And now, lace!  swatch 11, lace #1

Posted in Cat, Knitting, Master Knitter | 4 Comments »

WIPs must wait

Posted by mtmom on November 18, 2007

Well, what can I say?  The gift-knitting bug has finally bitten Mt. Mom.  So, although I have been knitting, there is, as the Tsarina would say, a “stealth factor” involved in displaying photos of some of it.

The Fair Isle sampler is on hold, as are the knee socks.  Here you see their current states.  Border and most of first motif, band 4

Foot & ankle of second knee sock

May I show you more of my work so far on the second knee sock?  It has been a pleasing project.  Here you see my increases for the instep:  Instep increases

And here, the decreases at midline (to compensate for the earlier increases) and back (to hug my narrow ankle):  Decreases at ankle

Ah!

And now, on to gift-knitting.  I’ve begun a hat/cap that I currently think will be a good fit for dd Cherry — though it could also fit older dd Kathy.  The pattern is adapted from Arenda Holladay’s “Zig-Zap Socks” in the Winter 07/08 issue of CastOn Magazine.  I went up to worsted weight yarn (Patons Decor “Aran” colorway) and needles (KP Harmony 16″ US size 7), and added one pattern-stitch rep (18 more stitches).  Very stretchy!  One vertical repeat of chart

And, an experimental adaptation of the “Spiral Skullcap” pattern from The Knitting Way by Linda Skolnik and Janice MacDaniels.  I’m hoping this will ultimately produce a cap I can give to the local elementary school for some cold, hatless student, as well as some enjoyable hours of new knitting.  Spiral, to be made into cap-top

The spiral I’ll curl up and seam.  And, if it turns out OK at that point, I plan to pick up stitches and add deeper sides — either vertically in the round, or horizonatally, joining on a panel as I go around.  Anybody out there done such a skullcap pattern before me?  I’d like to see one, and hear how it went, but it’s not listed on Ravelry.

I have also  made a first prototype for a Christmas miniature — last year I made tiny sweaters for use as tree ornaments.  This year I’m thinking. . . oh, but it’s still a secret!

Here are some of last year’s goodies.  6 tiny sweaters from 2006

Chloe has alot to learn about being a boon knitting companion.  Cat bites yarn

“Ah, c’mon Mama.  It was twitchin’.”

Posted in Cap/Hat, Cat, Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fair Isle viscisitudes, and other knitting struggles.

Posted by mtmom on November 4, 2007

I’ve changed my mind about the “missing” color in Sarah Don’s jacket; I now think we see the blue and don’t see the orange.  Here’s why:  close-up of jacket peeries and border

See the groups of 4-blocks-each, between the “chains”?  Well, according to my chart, more of Don's chart that “C” pattern is in “pale blue” and “orange”, just like the border “J” pattern below it.  We see the blue blocks, but not the orange dots.  They must be there. . . .  I’m wondering:  why would she put in colors that hardly show?

I have now moved on into one of the main patterns.  I wish I had a color photo for reference; I’m not  seeing the logic of her color choices.  The background keeps to colors of the same value (darkish) but different hues (dark red, dark blue, and dark green).  The motif foreground colors, also, are all light-valued, but hue-wise unrelated.  I want to see a progression, or relationships between the colors, but I don’t; seems choppy to me.  She utilizes two color schemes for main patterns:

Scheme A:                                     Scheme B:
  blue/yellow                                   blue/ochre
  dk.green/cream                            wine/pink
  wine/beige                                   dk.green/cream
  dk.green/cream                            wine/pink
  blue/yellow.                                   blue/ocre.

She has more contrast in some MC/CC pairs than others:  cream on dark green compared with beige on wine, for instance.  That’s work-with-able, but she puts the greatest contrast sometimes in the center (B), sometimes not (A).  That’s what I meant by “logic” that I’m not perceiving.  Hmmm. . . .  I’ll wait to form my final opinion until after I work more of the design and see it in wool, but I’m thinking I’ll choose for my next band a more traditional Feitelson pattern.

Good progress on the knee socks — past the instep increases and the heel and the ankle decreases, into the straight part of the calf.   But, since this post is focused on “struggles”, I think I’ll save that for another post!

I have definitely been struggling with my intarsia.  the join between intarsia panels  See that joining line? 

My edge-stitches are not as even as I want them to be.  Sometimes, trying harder makes a tension problem worse. . . .  Part of my problem here, I’m sure, is the short, firm cable on the circular needle I’m using — my hands have to work a bit to get the tips together, esp. for purl stitches, making everything harder.  I’ve ordered another needle in this size that I expect will be nicer, but it hasn’t arrived yet and now I’m done with the intarsia portion {hurray!}.  If I were to do this cap over again, I think I’d work the intarsia back and forth flat, and then seam it up the side.  But for now, I’m not sure how much of the unevenness is due to needle-fighting (to be fixed by hardware replacement) and how much comes from my lack of skill (to be improved upon by practice and attention).

My assistant has certainly been doing her best to help keep the multiple strands -errr- untangled. . . .  Chloe helps with intarsia

For more kitty cuteness, try the video link here

Posted in Cat, Color-work, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Autumn Treasures

Posted by mtmom on October 28, 2007

The seasons are definitely turning.  The trees are glorious . . .  lovely aspens in our backyard (this our own backyard!)

. . . and some of the cold-month residents are returning. (I’ve sighted a Dark-eyed Junco.) Dark-eyed Junco

We took a family photo today — with an eye toward Christmas mailing.  {What?!  eek!  No, calm down now; deep breaths.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.}  Swift family, 2007

But, this IS a knitting blog, so . . . on to the handwork!

I’m nearly to the heel of the second knee sock.  foot of second knee sock

I’m working one more pair of increases on this one, compared to the first sock, and starting them sooner.  Also positioning them on the instep needle, rather than on the sole side of midline.  They won’t match exactly, but then this is a learning project, right?  (I may or may not submit it for judging at the County Fair next year — they would most likely dock points.)  And I am most definitely learning!  I’m glad I chose a worsted-weight yarn for this prototype;  I can see results of choices much more rapidly than if I were working with fingering-weight.

But I’m thinking most about my Fair Isle sampler project.  Here’s an update photo.  whole tube up to this point

I’m very excited about including these new greens (left, in photo).  I think that’s because I’ve gone to my wider collection of yarns, including not just the KnitPicks “Palette” but also the Jamieson & Smith “2-ply jumper-weight” shetland.  I expect to use the greens in the first peerie band.  But first, I want to talk about this border pattern.  border, in color

I’ve been working from a chart with the colors labeled as “pale blue” and “orange” on “grey”.  My first choices, as you see above, didn’t contrast enough with the background to be noticed much, so I switched to a medium orange and blue.  Both stood out more, but the blue disproportionately so.  I therefore darkened the orange further on the last rounds.  Now the blue and orange are about equal in value.  I adjusted the saturation on my photo to confirm this.  border, in black & white

Aha! 

Why does this matter?  In part because, as you may recall, the photo I have of the author’s finished garment is in Black/White.  Here’s a close-up of the original jacket border.  BW image from book

Hmmm. . . .  Something is not matching here.

But here’s the chart:  chart for border pattern

No “blank” lines here.  The color blocks are clearly offset from one another. . . . 

One of Sarah Don’s colors must have been lighter, and blended in with her grey background, so we’re not seeing it in the photo. 

Some detective work appears to be in order!

Comparing the photo to the charts for the border (rep = 4 sts) and first peerie pattern (rep = 6 sts), and seeing how they line up in the first few repeats . . . .  I think it’s the “pale blue” that we aren’t seeing.

I could tweak mine to match hers next time I use it in the sampler, or I could go with my current arrangement of “matched-value” blues and oranges.  Virtue to both approaches.  But . . . I’ve been wanting to see what Ms. Don had in mind, so I think now I’ll probably fade the blue next time it comes up.  Maybe the light blue and the medium orange?  Hmmmm. . . .

Meanwhile, the kitten has increased her weight by more than 30% (my DH and DS, the scientists. . .).  kitten attacks silk flowers

“Ha ha!  I’ve got you now you, you. . . you blossom, you!”

We think we’ll name her Chloe. 

Posted in Cat, Color-work, Knitting, Socks | 2 Comments »

Done! and Begun.

Posted by mtmom on October 24, 2007

Well, I’ve (finally!) finished the “Mad to Dance” socks from round 5 (April) of Sock Madness 2007.  They fit rather well, alone or in slippers or even in shoes — even with the patterning on the top of the foot and the back of the heel.  I think the fit might have been improved if I’d begun the decreases a bit sooner , but definitely good enough to enjoy and not to frog.  side view of Mad to Dance socks

What a relief!  I feel much better now — more room to think about . . . other projects.  It’s a shame I didn’t enjoy these more, toward the end, but I was confident that finishing them would be A Good Thing.  And it has been.  front view of patterning on Mad to Dance socks

 ‘Cuz now I have the emotional “space” to begin the second member of my first pair of custom knee socks.   (Hurray!)  toe of second sock now done

Also, the completion of the “Mad to Dance” socks has freed up the residual yarn (31 grams) from that skein to begin a sampler of kilt hose tops.  You see, the turn-down cuffs on such stockings can be decorated in myriad ways, and constructing a sampler is an old tradition.  The tube can serve as testing ground, reminder, and demo!  [I hope, Lord Scott, to have something to show you by early in the new year.]

Sock details:

[White]
Pattern:  “Mad to Dance”, by Treesa. 
Yarn:  KnitPicks “Bare” merino-silk blend, undyed, 100 gram skein. 
Needles:  US sizes 2, 1.5, and 1 (2.75, 2.5, and 2.25 mm).

[Blue]
Pattern:  my own; toe-up with wedge-toe and short-row heel and lots of shaping. 
Yarn:  Briggs & Little “Regal” 100% wool, Quoddy Blue and Meadow Green, 4 oz./113 gram skein each. 
Needles:  US sizes 5 and 4 (3.75 and 3.5 mm).

Kitty update.

Still no name finalized.  [Suggestions?]  She’s definitely a climber and percher — loves to hang out and even nap on a Big Person’s shoulder.  kitten on Michael  kitten on mama

Although an elbow is apparently just as cozy.  kitten on M's arm

“Just hold still a litttttle bit longer. . . .  I need my beauty sleep.  This getting-to-know-you stuff really takes it out of a girl!”

Posted in Cat, Celtic, Design, Knitting, Sock Madness, Socks | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »