Category Archives: cats

Yarn is My Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Or, Happy Singleton Awareness Day, as one of my friends likes to say… ;) )

Beatrice would like to register that, if at all possible, Valentine’s Day is best celebrated with a nap, a bath, and a nice play with your toys.

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I am inclined to agree.

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I’ve had this pile gradually accumulating for ages – the “stuff I want to use next-ish” pile of mostly sock yarn.

It includes the 2nd of 2 purple skeins of Briggs & Little Super that would like to be a nice chunky hat, a beautiful hand-dyed skein of sock yarn from Kate, a lovely stacked pile of Socks That Rock Jasper and Peacock, and a DK skein of Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra, a Fleece Artist kit that has been waiting and waiting to become a pair of thrummed mittens, the two leftover bits from my Socks That Rock knee-highs of my last post, one half of a Mountain Colors Bearfoot in a nice magenta (the other half is currently in use on the needles, though yet to be photographed), a bright green skein and a bright blue skein of sock yarn from the Sweet Sheep Sock Club of the fall which are far too bright for me for regular use but are waiting to be combined with other things…such as that Shelridge Farms purple right next to them.

Now if only there wasn’t stupid real WORK hanging over my head…

I think I’ll just look at the yarn for a little bit longer. Happy Valentine’s Day, blogosphere! Be sure to tell your yarn how much you love it. Heh heh. ;)

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Filed under cats, stash

Approval

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I’m glad it meets with her approval. But it does still need buttons. ;)

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In other news, I was very generously gifted with this ‘make my day’ blogger token from MJM Knitting, and Queen of the Froggers. Thank you so much! D’awwww. And the blog-iverse demands that I pass it on, so without further ado I would like to show my affection for Canary Knits and Foxy and Crafty who are two of my new favourite people (and bring the sarcasm), my lovely sister Martha, Elinor, Rach (who I suspect may be a wee bit busy right now!), Moggle, and Marianne.

In fact, the whole damn blogosphere pretty much makes my day every day, as has every single person who has ever left a comment here. You have my undying gratitude for helping me procrastinate and keep the real world away just a little bit longer every single day ;)

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Filed under cats, ribbi cardi

Snuggling inside the lines

Phew. Saturday is finally here, and my life force is still intact.

Beatrice approves greatly of the Moderne Log Cabin blanket. Apparently the pale blue block is best for snuggly observation of humans.

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And also playing and general cuteness.

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Sleeping is not colour-specific, but it helps to have toys close by.

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So in “finally it’s Saturday and I made it through the week” news, I not only made it through my first week as an instructor (1 down! only 11 to go!) I made it through my oral dissertation defense yesterday. It is unfortunately #1 of 2, not the final one (sometime this spring), but I got it done and although I have revisions to work on in the next few weeks, it is nothing on the level of a complete rewrite or scrapping whole chapters, so all in all it was fairly reasonable.

Needless to say, after that I went for lunch with my supervisor and that was lovely (including some wine, yesiree), and she gifted me with a copy of The Knitting Circle. Then, I carried on to The Purple Purl, where I haven’t been since they opened at the end of October! I hung out with Jennifer and Miko there for a bit (I may have gotten some sock yarn as a treat, heck, on that day of all days i figured stash be damned), as well as MJ (who, dudes, is crocheting her own wedding dress), and also Jen whose adorable wee one Fenner decided I was an appropriate enough human to sit with for a short while and sucked happily on my fingers. Then I went with the Purple Purl ladies to ‘Drunken Knitting’ (for the first time) but couldn’t stay much longer than a pint and a burger as by 9pm I was hitting the wall and needed to get home and conk out.

Beatrice has spent last night and this morning being clingy and reinforming me of the proper cat priorities after I sorrily neglected her most of this week in favour of the Real World. My plans for today involve a lot of knitting, eating, drinking, and sitting on my bum. In fact, let me get right back to that now…

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Filed under cats, real life miscellaney

December 12 of 12

First, allow me to extend a warm thank you to blog reader Melissa who is generously and flatteringly sending me wine corks from France. Never fear, Melissa, I will do my best to see the new recruits are properly clothed! ::salutes::

Anyhow, here I am again, back for my third round of the 12 of 12. (of 12!) On this day I was at home for work and miscellaney, so I thought hey! this will be boring! No bus rides to Toronto or dining out or anything remotely exciting. I’ll have a shot of my laptop and then one of my knitting and then I’ll be done. HAH. No siree bob, this day had other plans.

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(1) 6:55am – I am vaguely awake and hear snarling coming from the living room. Yes, this means Beatrice has indeed encountered Arch Nemesis Orange Cat at the front window and is expressing her frustration through the usual snarling and pounding on window. Orange Cat is immune. I toss Beez outside for a bit to get it all sorted out.

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(2) 9am (ish) – post-breakfast, post-knitting pause, I enjoy the look of the 2 Korknisse (see companion shot in my post from yesterday) I knitted. They are so adorable I want to just stare at them and smile giddily the whole time. And it was nice to see the sun coming out after the overnight freezing rain.

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(3) 12:05pm – walking down to the grocery store and post office. (Job application to send off. It’s never to early to get rejected! Whee!) We didn’t get the snow the weather report had been calling for – just freezing rain! Boo! – but at least the sun is out and I can navigate the melted and clear spots on the sidewalk.

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(4) 12:45pm – at the grocery store. No, taking a picture of my own shopping cart doesn’t make me feel odd. Not at ALL. Thankfully it’s the middle of a weekday, fewer potential gawkers in the aisles ;) Here are just a few needed items, several for the evening cupcake baking.

When I was in line there was a middle-aged man behind me, looking at my cart and then looking at me. I smiled nicely and said, “Um, yes?” And he sort of blinked and explained that “oh, I always look at other people’s carts and then I remember what it was I forgot to buy.” And I chuckled and said, “oh, so what did you forget?” And he shrugged and said, “I don’t know! Your cart didn’t help me.” Well, I suppose we’re not all making Egg Nog Cupcakes, what can you do.

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(5) – Some time between 2pm and 3pm.
So, I get back from the store and let Beatrice back in (she will rarely go outside unless you’re out too, so this was a solid hour-and-a-half of cabin-fever-prevention-tactic), and as I’m eating my lunch I notice she has some splotches on her coat. At first i thought, “oh, she got rain dribbles on her from a drainspout” or something, but then they weren’t going away. So I came and sat next to her and petted her, pulling at the splotches on the back of her neck (which she enjoyed, purring all the time), and discovered it was greasy. What the heck, B? Sitting under someone’s car?

Sure enough, I blotted at them with a dry towel and it came off as pale muddy-looking gunk. Sigh. While waiting for an email response from Beatrice’s mummy I applied a soapy wet cloth all over her, then another towel, then another wet washcloth. I managed to do a lot of this while keeping her restrained on top of the bed (thanks B, I appreciate you bringing your oily self to my sleeping space). She calmed a bit (long enough to be photographed), but then after further advice I did the whole works again with a kitty-shampooed-rag and another towelling. In all of this she fled around the upstairs trying to get away from me and was appropriately peeved during the bathing. (You may insert your own sound effects here, complete with kitty flailing, growling, and scrabbling of claws). Miraculously I came away unscathed, which is more than I can say for the times when I put her outside for an hour of recreation on any other day.

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(6) 5:30pm – Working. The dissertation draft is 99% done, I am going through it now and inserting miscellaney and checking my bibliography and, you know, praying that it has some semblance of organization and thought. Close proximity of knitting and cheetos are important for morale.

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(7) 7:00pm – Dinner’s on, now the cupcake preparation can begin. Oops, must let butter soften first. These cupcakes are once again from Cupcake Bakeshop, specifically the Egg Nog ones with dark rum. I went with the Canadian way and used screech as my dark rum ingredient. That’ll work, right? In retrospect, I should have also had a wee tot of rum just for me, given the cat shenanigans. Hm. Note to self: make up for this failure tonight.

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(8) 7:30pm – Christmas decorations in my room above the TV. Aren’t they soothing? I think they’re soothing. Let’s look at them for a little bit. Ahhhhh.

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(9) 8:10pm – Dinner and knitting.
A 4th Korknisse member joins the ranks and a 5th will be quick behind. Dinner is chicken curry, very warm and soothing on a cold evening. Also, if you look closely there you can see it looks like I’ve drawn a little “hrrrmmmm” crooked mouth on the little dude, but actually it’s just a crack in the cork. (I am clearly just a little bit touched to be getting so much fascination out of these.)

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(10) 9:00pm – The Korknisse number 5 at the end of the day. They are still so adorable I could squee. By this point the cupcakes are also done, waiting for frosting.

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(11) 10:15pm – The Ivy League Vest.
The progress is slow this evening, what with all the other occupations of the day. (I had another go at Beatrice with the damp towel. It’s OK though, she had a bit of kibble and we were friends again by bedtime.) But I did get to the beginning of the neck steek which makes me feel comfortable, and by the weekend I’d like to be on the armhole steeks as well. The rows will start to get shorter now with the neckline decreases! Woo hoo!

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(12) 10:30pm – Cupcakes.
MMMM. I frost them but don’t sample yet. These will be for the staff meeting on campus on Thursday, when we will all appreciate the good cheer. I’ve still got the egg nog in the fridge, which makes me wonder if I’ll need to actually drink it. I don’t really drink egg nog…but then, if you can put rum in it then that’s not all bad, right? ;)

And a 13th bonus shot, which this month is meant to be based on the word “Believe.”
Me? I believe that knitters are changing the world. I thought it was about time I donated again.

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And a happy Thursday to everyone out there in blogland. The Korknisse and I thank you for reading. ;)

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Filed under 12 of 12, baking, cats, holiday knitting, korknisse

Just pictures

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(Winter has arrived.)

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(Everyone knows radiators are for sitting on.)

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(The beginnings of an SWS hat.)

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(Crunchy Cabbage Salad)

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(Carrot & Potato Soup)

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(Hello Dolly bars. Next time: need higher nut/coconut to butterscotch ratio.)

And one more thing…

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It’s 98% done, but the last 2% won’t get done until after my supervisor returns from a trip, so I am giving myself a couple of days permission to not think about the Thesis and return to it with (hopefully) fresh thoughts. I’m at a point where I need to do big “what does it all mean” statements and by Friday last week my brain was resisting. At this point, the draft is done enough that I’m giving myself permission to start Venezia…just as soon as I can get the last swatch or two done for confirmation. Of course, now, the knitting ennui strikes again ;) Maybe after the weekend is done I’ll get it back.

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Filed under cats, cooking, real life miscellaney

Last gasps

At the beginning of this week I told myself (and other people, out loud) that it was possible for me to finish my draft this week – or at least by the beginning of next week. Then my morale and work ethic took a hit round mid-week and yesterday I declared Personal Snow Day. I sat. I knitted. I swatched. I watched DVDs (hello, Buffy Season 3, it’s been a while). I drank tea and ate various baked goods squirreled away in the kitchen. It was awesome, except for the fact that I still have to get back to work today. Sadly in the interim, my last results chapter has not actually magically finished itself.

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But I did learn some things yesterday. For example, I learned that Miss Beatrice the Cat’s real fascination is not with yarn. It is with Addi Turbos. Sometimes she tries to bite them if one is dangling in my lap. Yesterday, in her quest to annoy me enough to feed her dinner half an hour early, she discovered my discarded Addi with a single cast-on row and proceeded to bat it about, bite it, and then carry it off in gradual steps towards some unknown destination. I can hardly blame her; Addis are indeed sleek and seductive nickel-plated mistresses. (I admired the cuteness of this for a few minutes, then tucked it all away out of sight.)

Michelle requested pics of her with the bee. I think the charm has faded a little bit, but the dangly-ness and the catnip smell are still in the bee’s favour.

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Aaaaannnnd….that’s all I got for now. If you were me, how would you whip my ass into writing the rest of my draft?

Catch ya next time…

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Filed under cats

Baah. Baaaaaaahhhh.

I did enough work today so far that I am rewarding myself with blogging. And some Cheetos. Mmmm, fake cheesy orange Cheetos, mmm…

But anyway. Hey, so there’s this super cool easily customizable scarf/shawl pattern thingie. Maybe you’ve heard of it? One or two people have already knitted it. Well, okay. Maybe one or two thousand.

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I’d seen Clapotis out there in blog land for a while, but didn’t really feel drawn to it. Then suddenly something flicked on in my brain last winter when I was sitting in our chilly common room on campus and thinking, “gee, if only i had a neat little shawl/scarf thing to just cover up but look nice at the same time…” so into my mental queue it went. I always feel a little sheepish casting on for patterns that are just. so. popular, because I wonder if I’m just being, well, a dumb sheep. But then I remind myself that sometimes people do flock to things because they’re actually really awesome, aside from being really popular.

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I bought this yarn (Patons SWS in Natural Plum) back in August and cast on in early October. When I got to the middle ‘straight’ section there was a while where I couldn’t look at it, it felt like it was going to go on forever. I stun myself to realize that this project was only with me for a little over a month. Pretty snappy, all things considered. And it really is a genius pattern, I see that now. You could customize for any length or width you want, any gauge or weight, whatever. In retrospect the SWS was possibly a less wise choice, since the dropped stitches were very snaggy (in this pic I had not yet dropped all of them, but I have now), but I do love the colour. And since it’s a little bulkier, I could get away with doing only 1 less repeat and still ending up with a nice shawl-sized Clapotis. I think it’ll live on my desk chair for a little bit.

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It is also kitty-cat-approved. But my next project is very much not kitty-cat safe, since it is currently attached to no less than 4 balls of wool:

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This is my interpretation of the December Lights Tam. I’m still a little “hmmmmm” on the colour combination, but I think it’ll work. I am heartened that the pattern is still clearly visible and that the yarns do clearly belong to only 2 colourways. And it’ll be a nice preparatory knit while I wait to get the chance to cast on for a full fair isle sweater. (Soon. Soon, my precious).

Happy Wednesday! Pushing Daisies, anyone?

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Filed under cats, fair isle, finished object: accessories

Wednesday random

This sock pattern is making me look at the striping yarn in my stash with interest and relief.

Kitty cat now helps me check email in the morning.

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There is a cupcake roundup challenge afoot, and I have plans.

And I now have accumulated an eggplant, 2 red peppers, 2 3 watermelons, a bunch of radishes, and a bunch of parsnips. Help?

Oh, and did I mention that my thesis is sucking the life out of me and I have decided it is not at all a good plan to have 4 big WIPs on the go at once and my confidence level is at an all time low and I don’t know what I want to do with my life? Oh, my willpower and work ethic, please come back for I miss you so…

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Filed under cats, cooking, real life miscellaney

Touch of Pink

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I started the first sleeve of the Ribby this weekend, and if I can apply myself it’ll be done in the next day or so. (Re: button band yardage in the red – I think I’ll be OK. Am confident enough to go back to it post-sleeves.) This is where the element of risk comes in through the colour selection (self-inflicted since the pattern itself couldn’t be easier to follow). How will the pink work with the red? Is the pink pale enough? Is the red strong enough as a base colour? Is it all fun and bright in an antidote-to-winter sort of way, or brassy and kitschy in a Valentine’s-accessory-gone wrong sort of way?

This was my colour plan from the get-go, and you can be darned sure that I’ll be following through on it, although time will tell the bright vs. kitch factor I suppose ;) Either way, I’ll have no shortage of pink in hand for the sleeves. Of 6 balls, I’ve only just started the 2nd one and am almost finished the increases for on this sleeve. Can’t wait to get to the seaming stage, it’s getting closer and closer.

I managed to get the cupcake baking done in the early afternoon today, preparing for this Wednesday when I’ll finally get back to Lettuce Knit, and on the happy occasion of Emily‘s wee gal Clara’s first birthday (I guess this means she’s getting less wee). Mama requested something vanilla-based, but I did a batch of chocolate as well for me all me for other chocoholics in the crowd. If I can just work out the transport issues, we’ll be all good to go.

Beatrice has had a long hard day of waking me before dawn, stalking the backyard, and napping in her favourite chair, but declined to comment for the paparazzi. She’s lucky she’s cute. ;)

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Filed under baking, cats, ribbi cardi

Fuel for the fire

Having a weekly vegetable box to work with is, I am discovering, the opposite of how I am used to cooking. I generally come up with a few recipes to cook throughout the week, then buy the ingredients. This is the reverse – I am being given some key ingredients and then run off to figure out how to use them. I am also realizing that the best approach is to have a few staples on hand in the pantry and refrigerator and then plan for a shopping trip mid-week instead of on the weekend to get anything else that I need. This week, I had a lot of fun finding new recipes to work with.

For the mizuna, I used one bunch as a substitute for escarole in this recipe, which was YUM. Perfect on a chilly weekend like the one we’ve been having.

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The beets and beet greens were a different challenge, though. I see now that the default recipe for any green leaf vegetable besides lettuce is, “fry it up with bacon and garlic!” But since I knew I was doing that with one of the mizunas, I kept on lookin’. I found this recipe for beet green gratin from Alton Brown (I love you Alton! Call me!), which did not disappoint, particularly with the beets roasted up on the side.

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I also roasted up the acorn squash last night as part of dinner with friends, based on this recipe I found at Smitten Kitchen (that blog is fast becoming a must-read for me). It’s a really, really good way to eat a squash. The other head of mizuna found its way to this stir fry recipe which was also darned tasty. I’m eating as much as I can (woe, such a problem to have, right?), but I do think I’ll be getting into the habit of having people over for dinner more often or passing on a few of these to my sister who is close by.

But really, it’s just as well that I have this new deal of having a set of vegetables to work with every week, because my appetite has just skyrocketed the past couple of weeks. And then it occurred to me that, in the past month, I have:
a) switched my average rising time to 6-6:30am as opposed to the leisurely ::mumblemumble:: o’clock I was used to as a grad student living a short walk from campus
b) increased my running from 3 runs to 4 runs in a week
c) increased my long Sunday run to 50 minutes and now to 60 minutes
d) started using my bike as transportation for running errands.

Oh, right. THAT’s why I’m so hungry. Bring on the vegetables. (Um. And maybe some cupcakes too.)

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But lest ye think knitting content has forsaken this blog, I can report that I finally caved and cast on something new today. It’s the start of another Ribby Cardi, for me and with the faint hope of making it to the Rhinebeck wool festival in late October. Heh. It’s Swish Superwash from Knit Picks in the colourway ‘fired brick’, a brilliantly cheerful red which will be joined by sleeves knit in – wait for it – ballerina pink. I will surely not get lost in a crowd wearing this, right? All the more reason to bring it to Rhinebeck, so’s I don’t get lost from my partner in crime. And I’m all prepped to add length and various mods thanks to using this yarn the last time around.

In other news, Beatrice the cat has accepted me. And my lap. (She even lets me knit at the same time. I knew she had some intelligence about her.)

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Happy weekend!

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Filed under cats, cooking, ribbi cardi, sweaters