Seventh son of a seventh son…

I was tagged by RoxyKnits, so here’s another meme (my definition: mind virus, spreading from person to person with amazing ease). New policy, as inspired by the oh-so-clever Imbrium – I’m not tagging anyone. If it sounds fun, go for it. We all need fresh blog fodder at some point, right?!

Seven Things to Do Before I Die (shamelessly lifted from my response to a previous meme)
1. Take a bicycling tour of Spain
2. Redo my kitchen
3. Learn Spanish (preferably before the first item on this list)
4. Complete my WIPs or admit that they’ll never be finished and rip them out
5. Bike across the United States – probably in stages
6. Meet someone I want to go out on more than one or two dates with
7. Become an exceptional knitter

Seven Things I Cannot Do
1. Tumbling – one of the great moments of high school was having mono and missing the tumbling unit one year
2. Get my blinds perfectly level – they all slope downhill to the right
3. Snap out of this ennui that has infected me for the past year or so
4. Get inspired to do home repairs or improvements – I would so rather hire it done
5. Break my addiction to Orville Redenbacher SmartPop! Kettle Korn
6. Eat bananas (ewwww)
7. Eat gluten (celiac disease)

Seven Things That Attract Me to Blogging
1. The fabulous people I have “met” via blogging and have come to enjoy and care about in a remarkably short time
2. Gets me writing, which I’m good at but haven’t done for years (beyond dreary technical documentation for work)
3. Got me interested in learning more about digital photography to improve my skills
4. Snapped me out of my knitting slump
5. I feel as if I’m part of a community
6. Allows me to express the “storyteller/entertainer” part of my self
7. Gives me something extremely interesting to do while I’m waiting for boring queries to run at work

Seven Things I Say Most Often
1. Get off the table!
2. Why are you meowing at me?!!
3. Where is SRM?!
4. It’s data entry, not rocket science.
5. Is it Friday yet?
6. I’ll have a large soy mocha, no whip, no bean.
7. No cats on the table!

Seven Books That I Love
1. White Noise – Don Delillo
2. High Tide in Tucson – Barbara Kingsolver
3. His Dark Materials (a trilogy) – Philip Pullman
4. the ever-increasing Newford books – Charles de Lint
5. Bellwether – Connie Willis (hysterical, yet led to one of the best discussions ever at my bookclub – because everything was on topic)
6. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Laurie R. King (she makes Sherlock Holmes sexy!)
7. Blue Jelly – Debby Bull

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
1. The Matrix (original)
2. Fight Club
3. The Princess Bride
4. The Fifth Element
5. Amelie
6. Playing by Heart
7. The Crow

Ok, this was a completely separate meme from Hedgeblog, but since it has the seven thing going for it… “List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now.”
1. Little Drop of Poison – Tom Waits (from the Shrek 2 soundtrack)
2. Drinking Again – Haley Bonar
3. Attagirl – Bettie Serveert
4. I Need Some Sleep – The Eels (from the Shrek 2 soundtrack)
5. Lie Detector Test – Sage Francis
6. Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It – Belle & Sebastian
7. Interstate 5 – The Wedding Present

Yes another meme, this time from StrangeLittleMama… Modified to fit the theme of sevens, of course.
TenSeven Things My Friends Like That I Don’t
1. Watching TV
2. Doing home projects
3. Going out to bars
4. Bananas
5. RPG games
6. Gardening
7. Running

And if you made it all the way to the end up that, your reward is… a gratuitous Chaos picture! (Gosh, what a surprise.)

This isn’t quite what I had in mind for the meaning of “Best Friend”…

Thanks for the great ideas for making yesterday’s unworn sweaters more wearable! I’ll have Chaos get right on that…

Project: Best Friend Jacket from The Knit Stitch, knit in Skacel Ethno
Here’s another sweater that I don’t wear as much as I should. It’s gorgeous. I love how it turned out, but… the asymmetrical front bothers me – I didn’t expect it to. And, um, I got really confused when I was finishing the sweater. The ends are woven in… on the outside. Whoops! (Don’t even ask… really, because I have no good explanation.) Good thing the texture of this yarn camoflages that problem!

“Oh boy, what’s this on the floor?”
“Can I get in it?”
“Why yes..”
“…yes, I can.”
“Hee hee – she’ll never find me now!”

“This is the life. I love this new cat bed!”

So the question of the day… is it Chaos? Or Isadora, visiting from Imbrium’s blog? Or Cricket, visiting from Maeve’s blog? We suspect that there may be numerous black blobs roaming between blogs, similar to the portrait network in Harry Potter… Be alert!

The gallery of unworn sweaters (now featuring blobs!)

I have an assortment of handknit sweaters I never wear because of problems that need correcting. My intention was to present them here and solicit suggestions. The intentions of the Cat Chaotic, however, were somewhat different…

Project: Bulky top-down v-neck tunic (#996), knit with Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran
Problem: Bottom edge (several rows of garter stitch) flips up. Mild blocking didn’t seem to fix this. I would prefer not to add more length to the garter stitch bit, as I think it will look odd. Maybe heavier blocking?

Chaos has apparently already started on that.

Project: Sitcom Chic, knit with Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Problem: Front bands are rolling way too much. Probably can be corrected with serious blocking/acrylic killing?

Chaos is awaiting the verdict before he gets started on this one.

Project: Rosedale, knit with Noro Kureyon that I got several years ago from Anmiryam!
Problem: This was my first bottom-raglan and the sleeves are a wee bit long. Since the corrugated ribbing is stiff, I can’t simply push this up my arms when it gets in my way. I think I need to snip into the cuffs about an inch from the bottom, pick up the stitches, and bind off. Any other ideas? Eunny knows how I am about snipping knits…
Edit: The corrugated rib cuffs are too tightly fitted to fold over, alas. The sleeves were knit from cuff up, then knit into the body of the sweater (to help with stripe matching).

Chaos is flummoxed here, as he does not know how to use scissors… yet.
So he’s just passing the time until we get some feedback.:

Sunday, sunny Sunday

Thought I would include several more pictures of Chaos in the hat. I don’t think he was annoyed… Don’t forget that this is the cat who likes to walk around with a paper bag on his head. The hat was probably just a warmer, fuzzier, more colorful paper bag from his perspective!

Just hanging out on my…er, his chair.
Note that he’s licking my hand, not biting it!

Yesterday I drove down to St. Peter to have lunch with a friend. It was a gorgeous, sunny day – something we’ve had all too few of in Minnesota recently. After lunch, we always wander over to the Tangled Skein, which has a very nice yarn selection (but no website, alas). Notice the lovely hot pink and orange Noro Kureyon on the right, Mama_Tulip?!

The Tangled Skein also had loads of Malabrigio, which I’ve heard a lot about but haven’t ever seen before. It was wonderfully soft.

Here’s a close-up of the orange for you, Mama_Tulip:

Alas, I remained true to Stashalong and took only pictures from the store…

Info on my circular knitting needle case

When I posted about my beloved circular knitting needle case earlier in the month, a few people were interested in more information.

At the time, I wasn’t sure where to get the cases, since Happy Bags, Etc, doesn’t have a web page. Jeanne originally found these bags at Knit on Pearl in Jackson, Wyoming, and I called and ordered mine from them, too. However, I got the last one they had and they didn’t have information on how to get more.

In October 2004 I stopped at Village Wools in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and discovered that they carried these knitting needle cases. Recently, the inimitable ScoutJ started to work at Village Wools and was able to confirm that they do still carry these! Apparently the bags are made by a local woman.

Anyway, if you are interested in purchasing one of the bags, you can call Village Wools at 505-883-2919. (I actually just called and ordered a second one in royal blue…) The cases are $35.00 plus shipping and come in a few different colors – I think it was red, purple, teal, and royal blue.

Plus, I got to talk to Scout (aka Jamie if you’re calling the store)!!! How cool was that?

By special request, with rambling

CynCyn wanted to see a better picture of adult Diablo and his “horns,” which have faded to a very pale grey. I don’t have that many pictures of D, but I think you can sort of see the horns in this picture:

Here’s a picture of Riley and Diablo from last summer. Nope, my brother wasn’t trying to make pressed cats… can you figure out what they were up to?

I’ve been haunted all week by discovering that poor RoxyKnits put a Chibi needle entirely through her finger and out again. Ouch!! To give you a better idea of how horrifying this is, I’ve included this picture:

Notice how large and blunt that needle is?!

I’m a bit happier today with the not-so-red Anne Jaywalker – the fuschia had vanished for a few inches, but now it’s back.

Before I do any swatching, I’m going to knit a hat – Coldwater Collaborative is collecting hand knit adult sized hats, scarves, mittens, or socks to donate to People, Inc., for mentally ill homeless adults. (You might remember that one of my goals for the year is to knit more for the community – this seems like a very worthy project.) I’m using some Lamb’s Pride Superwash that I dyed with Wilton’s icing colors – it’s been a while, but I think I used Leaf Green, Sky Blue, Royal Blue, and Violet:

“I can’t decide – do you think it brings out the green in my eye?”

KellieN of Australia, who’s been reading this blog since day one, has just started her own blog! So, Kellie, we haven’t heard anything about a Team Australia for the Knitting Olympics yet…Edit: Thanks to mrspao for creating a Team Midwest button for us! Check it out!

As my mind flits hither and thither

It’s just one of those really unfocused days… You know the saying “she jumped on her horse and rode madly off in all directions”? That’s me today. You have been warned.

First, some knitting.

(“Where are the cat pictures? What’s with this knitting stuff? I’m here for cat pictures!”)

Ok, Snowball, how about a quick cat story instead?? I forgot one very important part of yesterday’s tale. When the kittens were born, it was very obvious that Diablo was a boy. Very obvious. No question at all. None. Chaos/Hoho didn’t look like that at all. So, we figured we had a little black girl kitten, who would grow up to be just like her mom… until about week eight, when they arrived. Oh. My. I guess the kittens weren’t quite as perfectly Yin and Yang as we’d first thought.

Back to the knitting. I’d like to get some feedback on my not-so-red Anne Jaywalker. I’m not sure I’m loving how it’s knitting up. What do you think? Of course, in the interest of self-preservation, it took a lovely photograph.

Anmiryam has been staying very focused in the comments, always asking for more detail about what I’m tossing around for the Knitting Olympics. (I know that she’s looking for ideas for her Olympic project – if you have something especially in mind for her, you should definitely drop by and let her know.)

Edit: mrspao has created a brilliant button for Team GB! (Hmm. I wonder if I could move in time to use it??) If you’re a British knitter and have been contemplating the Knitting Olympics, now you’ll be able to proudly compete againt Team Canada.

Um, I briefly contemplated an Eris pullover, but after some swatching, it turns out I don’t have enough of anything in the right gauge in my stash. Since I’m in Stashalong, that takes Eris right out of the running. (Hi Kim! I haven’t purchased any yarn since December 31, 2005… alas, it was delivered last week, so I don’t have that to look forward to anymore.)

Some other things I’ve been tossing around… I have a Woodlands Tunic kit from several years ago. The yarn with the kit is scratchy, lanoliny, purple Briggs & Little stuff. I so do not like lanoliny yarn. I might bathe the skeins this weekend and see if that helps. Oh, and the pattern no longer really appeals to me. But other than that…

The St. Seraphine Knits Simply Stunning Lace Shawl. It’s knit from the point up, so I can use up all of whatever yarn I pick. It’s more complicated lace than I have ever done. I wouldn’t be able to read while knitting it. I have 500 yards of black/green/blue Brooks Farm Harmony or 800 yards of a laceweight black/grey silk – neither of which will make a very big shawl.

The Hourglass Sweater (I am apparently the only knitter in the blogospher who hasn’t knitted this yet). It’s a simple sweater, but looking back over my project list, the fastest I’ve finished any sweater is one month – and that was from bulky yarn in the round. I have some black Brooks Farm Four Play (I just love the name of that yarn – so clever!) that I have to swatch to see if I can get gauge. I also have enough Dale Svale in black or lavendar for this sweater, if I can get gauge.

So, this will be a swatching weekend (it’s all training, right?!). Doesn’t that sound fun, Chaos?

The story of the cat formerly known as “Hoho”

A few days ago, Kirsten suggested telling the story of Chaos and how he came to live here.

Well, it all started back in the summer of 2003, when my brother, Matt, and his wife, Jess, spent a week in northern Minnesota (known as “up Nord”) at the Life of Riley Resort. The resort was overrun with cats. The owners of the resort encouraged guests to take home any cat that struck their fancy. Matt and Jess were adopted by a young female cat and they decided to bring her home to the Twin Cities. After a five hour drive filled with non-stop yowling, she was theirs.

They named her Riley. During the first week they had her home, they thought she might be gaining a little weight, but they weren’t too worried. During the second week, they started to wonder if they needed to put her on scheduled feedings instead of letting her free feed. During the third week, their roommate finally said, “Sheesh, you guys! Your cat is pregnant!”


So meet Riley:

Time passed. Matt and Jess knew it was nearly time for the kittens to be born when they went out of town on Friday evening and they fully expected to return home to kittens. When they got home, Riley was still pregnant, but pretty distraught. She immediately rushed off to her “den” and within minutes, the two kittens were born. Apparently she’d been waiting all weekend, legs crossed, wishing they would hurry up and get home!

My brother named this kitten “Hoho,” because that’s exactly what he looked like when he was born (although I believe he was squirmier than your typical Hostess bakery product).

This kitten was named “Diablo” for obvious reasons – check out that horn action on his forehead!

They were a happy little family…

Things were pretty exciting at Matt and Jess’s house as the kittens grew.

I visited several times every week to bond with my little black kitten. Although my brother has never acknowledged the name change, I quickly decided that “Hoho” needed to be called “Chaos.”

The plan was for me to bring home Chaos/Hoho sometime in early December. One Friday evening, I received a phone call from Matt, suggesting that if I wanted a live kitten, I should pick him up within the next hour or so.

Whoa. Ok. Off I went to get Chaos and hear the rest of the story… Apparently, the last straw was Chaos teaching Riley and Diablo how to climb the Christmas tree.

He says he didn’t do it.

You can see a few more kitten pictures and some pictures of grown-up Diablo here. Really, I will post about my knitting again very soon. I promise. Trust me.

Art journaling, reading, knitting, and cat parenting. It's a wild life.