How can it be Monday again already?!

Andi’s having a contest – guess which STR colorways she ordered for socks for she and her husband and you could win a Blue Moon Fiber Arts gift certificate. She’ll accept guesses until noon MST on April 30 (aka today).

Check out the Knitflix Summer Blockbuster Swap – you can sign up until May 11.

My apologies to everyone in bloglines who was pinged to death over the weekend by my “The lacy dress, it is done” post of last week. I’ve tried a few different things and hopefully it’s all better now…*crosses fingers*

Check out the great picture Jeanne got of Chaos and I Friday night when she and Deb came over to knit! And Peeve has some fun pictures of Mayhem from when the Peeves visited us.

We had a gorgeous weekend here in the Twin Cities – lots of sun and temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s. Things are getting green out there, but more rain would definitely help.

I’ve been meaning to test knit a dishcloth pattern I designed over a year ago, and Carrie’s contest gave me the perfect excuse to do so.

“Big kitty sent me to ask if that’s a bib…” -Mayhem

Oh, it would make a very thick and absorbent bib, May! But it’s just a dishcloth. Isn’t the texture fun?

“I don’t like Mondays, either, Mom. You leave us alone forever. It makes me a little crazy.” -Mayhem

In which I finally post a clear picture of the lacy tank dress

Nicole is celebrating her blogiversary and a comment milestone. Leave her a comment by May 6 with a link to your first blog post and you could win some really amazing prizes. If you don’t have a blog, you can leave a comment with a link to the first blog you remember reading.

KnitNZu is having a contest – by April 29, guess what sort of critter is living on her kitchen table and you could win something from her stash.

Ta-da! The lacy tank dress, mostly dry.

Pattern: Lacy tank dress from Knitting for Babies, modified by knitting in the round to the armholes and by picking up and knitting a round on the hem, then binding off in purl (hopefully to help control the curl). If I knit this again, I will probably knit a few rounds of garter stitch on the hem to control the curl a bit better, but I didn’t have enough yarn this time. This took me 10 days to knit and finish.
Yarn: Five skeins of SWTC A-MAIZ-ing (100% corn fiber, machine wash and dry) in Imperial Purple. This yarn is a knit tube type ribbon yarn. I thought it had good stitch definition and a lot more give than cotton.

I don’t think Mayhem is too emotionally scarred by wearing the dress, as she certainly made herself comfortable while it was blocking (it’s inside out in the next two pictures).

*slurp slurp slurp* -Mayhem

“Pssst. Hey, big kitty, this is that dress Mom made us wear. I’m showing it who’s boss now!” -Mayhem

“Um, May? Like the dress really cares.” -Chaos

Hiding out

Valerie’s celebrating her blogiversary with a contest. Suggest a name for her new spinning wheel by midnight, April 30, and you could win “something nice.”

Mistress of the Stash is having a contest – leave a comment (by 12:00 pm CDT on May 2) about your favorite colorway and you could win a skein of sportweight Claudia’s Handpaint.

Carrie is having a contest to celebrate spring and starting new things. To participate, cast on a crazy new dishcloth and send her a picture by May 5 – you could win a skein of Austermann Step sock yarn.

I don’t know if you’re following the pet food recall, but contaminants now have been found in not only wheat gluten, but also rice protein and corn gluten. Over 889 pet food items under 100 brand names have been recalled. Some of the recalled pet food may have been fed to hogs destined for human consumption. Pet Connection and Pet Food Tracker seem to be doing a good job covering all of this.

Knitting Update
You will get to see other pictures of the dress! It’s blocking even as I type – hopefully it will be dry by tonight.

KitKatKnit wondered if Chaos would be happier if the dress complemented his eyes, so she sent me this:

Nope, he doesn’t look happier to me, either.

“Go away, Mom. We’re hiding from you.” -Mayhem

“Hmph.” -Chaos

Maestro Mayhem

Reading Update
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Wow. Just wow. This Pulitzer-winning novel kept me enthralled for over 500 pages. It was also one of my TBR Challenge books. I’ll be reading Eudenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides in the near future!
Cast On, Bets Off by Jack Olesker. I know, I just picked it up Saturday, but I was curious. It’s about yarn store owners Max and Lisa, who are deputized by Max’s brother to help solve a murder. It seemed a wee bit overdone at times, but I think that might just be because I read it right after Middlesex… It’ll be interesting to see how the characters develop in the next book. The Yarn Harlot has a tiny spot in the book, which was very fun to read. Strangely, as I was reading it, May walked up and ate part of the front cover while I gaped at her! That’s an unpleasant new development in the her ongoing snacking on household items project.

Speaking of May, I shall momentarily distract you with cute pictures of her, since I got nothin’ else. I’m nearly done with the toddler dress – just a bazillion ends to weave in. And I’m working on a secret project, which we all know is bad for the blog, but necessary for the life. 🙂

“A little more from the bassoon section, please! Let’s take it from the top, people!!” -M

“Bright. Stripey.” -M

“Big kitty! Help! My paws are transparent!! I’m meeeeelllllllltttttttttting!!” -M

I think I bruised my checkbook…

Ginger’s having a contest – guess what she named the three chicks she just brought home and you could win some sock yarn. A knowledge of country music will help your guessing! Someone already guessed correctly! Now anyone who comments on the contest post by midnight April 27 will be entered in a random drawing for another prize.

Reading Update
A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie. This is the first mystery about Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his assistant, Sergeant Gemma Jones. I’ll definitely be reading more in this series.
High Heels and Holidays by Kasey Michaels. The most recent book about mystery writer Maggie Kelly, whose formerly fictional characters the Viscount Saint Just and Sterling Balder materialized in her living room a few months ago… Silly but fun and occasionally steamy.
High Stakes: A Tale of Vegas Vampires by Erin McCarthy. The first book in the Vegas Vampires series isn’t great literature by any means, but it was an amusing and somewhat steamy read. My big complaint is that the book ended abruptly, almost as if it had been split into two parts…

Yarnover Update
Well. I, um, might’ve picked up a bit more at the Yarnover market than I had anticipated… No one’s going to be particularly surprised by my purchases. 🙂

I bought some skeins of purple laceweight Euroflax.

Whoops, it looks like I forgot to take a picture of the knitting mystery I purchased – Cast On, Bets Off by Jack Olesker. I hadn’t heard of it before, so we’ll see… I also bought a black sheep magnet and a WPI tool (I’ve wanted one for ages!).

“Hmm, this doesn’t smell particularly sheepy to me. Plus it looks hard to pick up and steal.” -M

Jeanne and I each bought enough Blue Sky Cotton to make the Eyelet Cardigan (sorry, you can’t see the pattern at all in the picture). Um, yes, I bought black…

“Big kitty, I tell you, the only possible conclusion you can draw is that she’s going to make more black kitties. We have to put a stop to this!” -M

“Where do you come up with this stuff, May?!” -C

And I bought some amazingly soft true black (not dyed!) alpaca, which came from an alpaca named Orphelia.

“Now this smells like something very interesting! Not a sheep… What could it be?” -M

“Mmmm… Alpaca, you say? Soft. Mmmm… Mom, can we have an alpaca? I promise I won’t eat it.” -M

For true randomness, how about Random Friday?

Peeve has a few pictures up of a baleful Chaos from her visit here. Hee hee – the secret is revealed. Chaos is a crabby kitty. If you aren’t me, really, he’s not sure you have any purpose to your existence. Before that sends anyone into the pits of despair, let’s move right along, shall we?

A few weeks ago, I reconsidered my wallet situation and decided I needed a separate checkbook – I rarely use my checkbook anymore, so why carry a larger wallet just to accomodate it? I picked up this checkbook cover on etsy from bagladiesinpa (kitten sold separately):

“Those black kitties look very saucy. I like them!” -M

Last Friday, Master Enabler Guinifer mentioned finding all sorts of goodies at Woolgirl, so I wandered over there to take a peek… My order arrived on Monday – talk about speedy! I decided to try some Woolarina sock yarn (color Yucatan). Check out the complimentary sheep stitch marker Woolgirl included – it matches her logo.

Mayhem was fascinated by that sheep stitchmarker. In fact, in the picture below it is in her mouth and I am about to drop the camera and leap to its rescue!

“Mwpfh… sheep… mwpfh.” -M

I also got some tape measures (not pictured, because they’re for swaps and contests) and a cat-shaped shawl pin. Um, yes, perhaps I should knit a shawl to wear it on. Moving right along…

“I could crush your puny shawl pin with my fluffy paw of cuteness!” -M

Knit Wit Kelly surprised me with some lovely black cat and mouse stitchmarkers and a book thong! Check out the cute sheep box in which they arrived, too. Thank you, Kelly!

“I am being sneakier than I was with the sheep… hee hee!” -M

Sorry, May, not quite sneaky enough, because I’m onto your little game now…

“I have my eye out for her, Mom! She won’t get past me. Not unless she has tuna, that is.” -C

Have a great weekend, everyone! Jeanne and I will be at the Yarnover market tomorrow morning – say hi if you see us!

In which I admit to some non-bib baby knitting

I can wait a minute while you collect yourselves after reading that title. Better now?

I picked up a nifty little booklet called Knitting for Babies a few weeks ago at Amazing Threads. I’ll apologize in advance because my google-fu failed me and I can’t tell you where to get this $3.99 booklet other than where I found a copy. The cover says “Display until November 14” and apparently that’s November of 2006… If anyone has more information, let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post. Anyway Many thanks to Sarah, who knew that the booklet is available from Beth Walker-O’Brien (who designed the cute dress you’ll see momentarily). It has a slightly different cover on that site. That link is dead. You can find the lacy tank pattern at HowStuffWorks.

The booklet is filled with more than a dozen worthwhile patterns, such as this penguin hat…

…several cute sweaters…

…more bibs (bibs!)…

…and this adorable lace dress:

“…dum de dum de dum de dum… Oh, were you trying to take a picture, Mom?” -M

I’m knitting that dress for my friends’ toddler, out of SWTC A-MAIZing. Yup, yarn made entirely from corn and machine washable to boot. Who woulda thunk it?

“Corn? Really? Well, I do like popcorn, although this sure doesn’t look like popcorn…” -M

“Don’t get any ideas about snacking on that dress, May!” -me

Here’s the page with information on the designers from the booklet – maybe you can track down some of the patterns from them?? (Click to see the details.)

Fridge frame

The new issue of Yarnival is up! Check it out – as usual, it’s filled with wonderful writing and linkage. My non-knitting readers might want to bookmark this guide to knitblog lingo. 😉

Recently, Brigitte posted about her black not-quite-a-kitten-anymore Gandalf stealing magnets off the fridge. It was fun to see her magnet and fridge art collection, so I thought I’d share mine.

I think my fridge art tells you a lot about me. You might notice that I’m fond of black cats, if you hadn’t guessed by now. I’m also fond of bicycles, knitting, coffee, and Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current.

Chaos likes to lurk on top of the fridge. (Remember when he was stalked by the zucchini?!) In his youth, he would also knock magnets off the freezer door from on top the fridge, but he doesn’t do that anymore.

(Remember, you can click on these pictures to make them larger and examine things more closely.)

There aren’t any magnets within two feet of the floor, because both Chaos and Mayhem like to steal them (particularly glass bead photo magnets) off the fridge…

Not much stuff on the sides of the fridge (some business cards, phone number and address of the emergency vet, etc), but this postcard and some of the magnets are worth a peek.

“Hmph. I was not ever afraid of a vegetable. I don’t know what you’re going on about.” -C