Category Archives: cats

New Pathways

Yesterday I made good use of my current schedule-less schedule to head into Toronto for Cat Bordhi’s class at Lettuce Knit. She is slotted to teach at the Sock Summit and her full-day ‘New Pathways’ class based on her sock architectures book is one of the ones I was anxious to take. So, when Lettuce Knit announced Cat was making an appearance around here this week, I took the opportunity to make sure I’d experience her class – and now I have one less class to try to book myself into at the Sock Summit!

I recall last summer sitting at a knitting night at the Purple Purl and one of the ladies there was struggling with a sock, so I helpfully offered to have a look at the pattern for her. It was Cat’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters book, and I quickly realized that this involved knowledge I did not possess. I became certain that I would need to learn about this some day, and this week, some day arrived.

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Cat is an extremely energetic and patient teacher, and one gets the sense that she is a person who thinks about knitting constantly, creatively, enthusiastically, and is able to respect and appreciate mainstream or traditional methods while simultaneously breezing past them in about five different ways before lunch. This was a big motivation for me in taking her class, because I’ve gotten pretty comfortable in my current sock knitting methods and I would be disappointed to get so comfortable in my ways that knowledge becomes a barrier more than a support. I’m ready to expand my knitting brain a bit further, and I want to knit some of Cat’s awesome socks. And Cat will definitely lay some knowledge on you.

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Her class took us through the basic approaches to the socks in her book, and things like the heel-turning, cast-on methods, and overall theory of sock construction that she relies on. There was more than one moment of “Ohhhhhhhhh” throughout the day, as we practiced on making teeny tiny little socks. Keri was quite taken with hers – SO CUTE, right?

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Each sock demonstrates a key architecture from her book. I completed one during the class, started a second on the bus ride home, and when I got back I cooked dinner as fast as I possibly could (because don’t you hate it when meeting physical needs like hunger gets in the way of your knitting time), so that I could finish the second and then decide on a ‘real’ sock to start in on from the book.

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Much of what Cat does relies on thinking mathematically in a way that frees you. Take these two wee toe-up socks, for example. They may look slightly different, but mathematically they are virtually identical. They are the same size, same gauge, have the same toe, same heel, and have the exact same # of stitches, round for round. The only difference is the location of the increases over the arch of the foot. And would you get this? According to Cat, you can put them anywhere. No really, anywhere. As long as you increase 2 sts every 3 rows, between finishing the toe and starting the heel, you are good to go. It is mind-blowingly true. And her book demonstrates several different different architectures based on this truth.

And so, I have begun a Real Sock after my bit of training yesterday – am trying out the Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Sock first, but I think I could have started with any of them. I am looking forward to seeing it take shape.

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I’m also on cat-sitting duty this week, chez Beatrice, Ramona, and Halley, and wouldn’t you know it Cat’s socks are actually fully cat-approved.

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Now if I can just figure out how knitting these socks will help me write my conference paper I need to do for next week, I’ll be golden. What do you think the chances of that are?

Catch you later as the adventures continue. Keep your knitting close by!

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Filed under cat bordhi, cats, fearless knitting, knitting knowledge, socks

Change of pace

The last few days have been pretty slow around these parts, involving a fair amount of knitting, sitting, DVDs (X-Files renaissance ahoy), and the occasional excursion into the outside world for provisions or moderate socialization. Now that the term is ending I can actually have a proper few days of leisurely sloth, before returning to attempts to Think Thoughts or Write Things.

Knowing I’d have a few hours-long chunks of time for knitting, I brought Autumn Rose with me this week to the cat-sitting, in order to give it a solid start. I’d hoped by now to be past the first full repeat of the main motif, but still I think it’s taking shape quite well.

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This is a slight variation on the last swatch I did – I wanted the garnet heather (dark red) more prominent and I think this is going to work quite well. The combination has a very rich look overall and I’m pleased with the balance of bright and muted tones. Now…to just keep on knitting. These are long rows and lots of colours, and I’ll be adding 2-3 inches of length to the body before I’m done, so I’m expecting this to keep me busy for the next little while.

On the cat-sitting front, things are going rather well at cat pace. Boy do these cats have me marked. As soon as food hour approaches Greedo wraps himself around my ankles and moans at me, hoping for that ever elusive morsel of wet food (I have strong willpower though, and the opposable thumbs necessary to open cans, so hah). And as soon as I look like I might be sitting down and creating a lap, Somerset hovers in wait. (She has overwhelming powers of extreme cuteness, though, so there my willpower fails.)

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I have also learned that Greedo is not deterred by competition from laptops.

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Tomorrow their regular humans will be back, though, so I’ll have to go back to non-cat-hair-covered knitting. How will I manage?

Happy Wednesday, folks!

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Filed under cats, fair isle, sweaters

These cats have good taste

Ramona has HER winter sweater all picked out. (Beatrice has been evicted from the sweater spot.)

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It’s a good thing I have others. I also have some presents that need to be knitted bought wrapped, so I should probably get on that tomorrow.

Happy last-minute prep!

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Now (temporarily) with 300% more cat

What with the holiday season and all, I am back for a stint with my former roomie from last winter, Miss Beatrice the kitty, while her regular humans are travelling. Luckily it’s not far from my own homestead, so I can have the kitty time as well as all regular Christmas to-doing. Of course, since I was here last winter Beez has acquired two new young companions, so the dynamic isn’t completely the same. But since all three of them are adorable in their own right I can hardly hold that against them.

Beez approves of my Halcyon, now out for winter wear:

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The big story around these parts, though, is the snow. Between today’s blizzard and the one predicted for Sunday we are supposed to get around 50 cm (almost 20 inches), so we are guaranteed the White Christmas as well as quite a bit of snow-shovelling. I let the cats out in the beginnings of it for about four minutes this morning before they decided to heck with this, but there was a while where young Ramona was enjoying chasing…well, chasing whatever it is cats chase. Snowflakes? Blowing leaves? Air?

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As one might well imagine, there’s some hibernation in store for today. Stay warm!

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Change of Scenery

I’ve relocated for most of this week chez Ladylungdoc, who is letting me mind her kitties while she and her husband are away. It’s a pretty good deal; the kitties get food and meds, and I get to be a Torontonian again for a few days. After living back in Hamilton for almost a year now, I’ve sort of forgotten what that’s like. I’ll be able to get down to the campus library pretty easily, check out some former favourite lunch spots, and maybe even investigate the Purple Purl knitting night for the first time ever.

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So far, so good. The cats have explained to me that although I am not one of their usual humans, I am plenty adequate for depositing cat hair on/scratching ears/sitting around with. (Well, it was more like a glance and a “meow”, but I could tell there was more.)

While there are various things resembling “work” that I should be doing at some point, this was a nice chance to limit my knitting projects in the face of impending startitis, and so I have brought with me only Halcyon and Philip’s Socks, and would be thrilled to pieces if I could manage to finish one of them this week. (It is in the realm of possibility – I’m well into the leg of Sock #2 and have only to do the front piece on Halcyon…OK, a bit ambitious, but still…possible.)

I hope your Monday is/has been a good one!

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Keeping it Simple

Back when I was Miss Beatrice‘s roomie for several months, I did a bit of kitty knitting. After a bit of practice I discovered that any bit of snugly knit stockinette wool, folded over and stuffed with yarn scraps and catnip, pretty much did the trick. And then there is also that Log Cabin Blanket that took much of my knitting sanity, which is still over in Beez’s house since Someone likes to nap on it and I’m not yet desperate to have it back.

But Miss B also had a long bit of rope that she liked to chase after, which she promptly made disappear some time after I arrived, so I fixed that by braiding together some long lengths of yarn, the same chunky wool that I did the Moderne Log Cabin with. It did the trick but (this, the thing with no knitting in it whatsoever) has apparently become a much coveted toy ever since the new recruits arrived.

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(Ramona apologizes for being a little blurry). So, naturally I got out some doubled lengths of yon Patons Classic Merino and commissioned Long String Toy: The Sequel.

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This afternoon I went over for a hello and the feline residents were in a nappish sort of state. Beatrice greeted me and said “well yes but what do I get for being BOTH a gorgeous kitty AND not having tried to kill the new young twerps in at least a week?”

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“Hmm…” [bite] “This is satisfactory.”

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And then we had a play.

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And lo, it was good.

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Better with catnip

It’s a sad, sad truth that this blog has been greatly lacking in cat content lately, ever since I moved out of Miss Beatrice’s place when her regular humans returned at the beginning of March. Sure, I’ve visited her (and her humans), but it’s just not quite the same. Well, Beatrice’s world got rocked a little bit the last couple of weeks, when two young’uns showed up to join her.

So naturally, I spent a good chunk of my time on Sunday making kitty toys. Borrowed my sister’s copy of Stitch n’ Bitch Nation and sat down with the ‘Catwarming Set’ pattern, and churned out 3 catnip mousies and 3 stripey catnip balls. (All the better for rolling and chasing).

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Hallie showed some reluctance at first but came around once the toys were put in motion.

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I tossed Ramona a mousie and she promptly killed it. Their little i-cord tails, I see, are excellent for biting:

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So all in all a good Sunday’s effort, I think:

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Looking forward to more kitty times. They are always good times.

Tomorrow: reports from the set of The Hour. Sock picture with George? Check.

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