Saturday, March 30, 2013

All Good Things ...

Well, on Monday, I return to the work force full time away from home. For the past couple of years, I have worked from home as a freelance writer. However, I spent more time seeking clients than actually doing the work.

I love being at home working and I will miss that. The best days were the snow days when the rest of the working world was struggling with white-out conditions and slippery roads, and I could stand at the window in my woolly sweater and comfy socks, drinking my hazelnut coffee.

I spent my days staring at my computer screen with my mean little kitty next to me was one of the pleasures of the day. Neko had to be near me at all times, but I was not allowed to pet him more than one or two strokes --  not unless I wanted him to chomp done on my hand.

Hmmm.... maybe I won't miss him that much.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

More Snow, More Birds

March is the snowiest month in Colorado, and today is proof. We are in another snow storm -- the kind I like so much. We have about 10 inches of snow so far with a little more on the way.

I never get tired of watching the birds devouring the seeds in the feeders. There must be over 50 birds hanging out at our feeders this morning even though they are being blown around by the blizzard.

So I sit here and knit with my kitty in my lap making a hat and working on my sweater. I will so miss winter when it's gone.

Back to the needles.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Let Sleeping Cats Choose Their Spot

This is the bed I made for him.
He slept in it for about three days
My cat Neko never seems to sleep in the same place more than a couple of days. I have purchased adorable beds and rugs over the years for him, but all these items are gathering dust in the store room. I have knitted and felted elaborate    cat beds and pads. He will sleep on them for a day or so, and then he crawls under the piano for the next set of naps.

Although we got Neko when he was 14 weeks old, I think he learned some valuable survival skills before he came to his forever home. He must have been feral for awhile because there is no other explanation for his behavior. By sleeping in a different place every night, no human could find him and pat him and rub his back. 

These skills help him in his current home environment. He can hide from my brush when it is time to groom his fur. He can avoid the clippers when it is time to do his claws. He can disappear when I want to hold and cuddle him. But he is still close enough in case someone opens the refrigerator to dispense food or a back door opens in hopes of escape. He has a pretty nice life.

"Piles of clothes change frequently.
This is a good place to hide."

"You know she makes all these
yarn things just for me."

"Nothing like a sunshine
puddle for a nap."

"Yes! Clean laundry basket!
You never know when
 I will hack up a hair ball."

"Someone needs to take that camera
away from her."
"Another laundry basket. Yay!"

"When I get tired of sleeping,
I can always scratch my bed."
"If I sleep by the back door,
maybe someone will accidentally
open it and let me out."
"Can you get go away and let me sleep?"

"Boxes are always appropriate."
"Black goes with everything."

"Which basket to sleep in?
Don't worry, I'll get to both."

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Stephanie Hat

I usually try to buy my yarn at my local yarn shops but every now and then, I go to one of the chain craft stores. I came across this trendy and quirky yarn that is actually four different types of yarn. It is a bulky yarn so I used large needles and I love how it turned out. I ended up purchasing a second skein in a different color to make another.  I only needed one skein to make this hat, and in fact, I could probably make a second hat with what is left over. I haven't tried yet.

I did manipulate the yarn a bit. For the purple hat, I started the cast on with the non-fuzzy yarn. It made a nicer ribbing along the bottom than the fuzz. Also there is a strip of metallic yarn. I doubled up the yarn at this point giving this row a little more body. The sparkle and dazzle still appears through the fuzz.

The lace pattern I used in the pattern doesn't show up very strong, but it makes a lighter hat. If you want a denser hat, you could do a solid stockinette stitch for the body of the hat instead of the lace. Here in the Denver area, we have more warm winter days than cold ones. Temperatures stay mild between the 40's and 50's so a lighter hat is ideal. We save the warm hats for the mountains.

1 skein Red Yarn Boutique Magical Yarn 1 skein; 93% Acrylic, 6% Wool, 1% Metallic Polyester, 3.5 oz. (100 g), 190 yds (174 m) . Colors: Fortune Teller (purple) and Wizard (green)
Size 11 (8mm) 16” circular needle
Size 11 (8mm) double pointed needles
Stitch marker
Yarn needle
Gauge: 2” = 6 stitches
With circular needles, cast on 54 stitches. Place marker; join being careful not to twist the stitches.
Work a 3x3 rib (K3, P3) for 1½”.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: K1, K2tog, yo. Repeat from * around.
Repeat these two rows for about 8 inches.

Switch to double pointed needles when necessary.
Row 1: *K1, K2tog. Repeat from * around.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: K2tog around. Continue K2tog until you have 9 stitches left.
Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Cut yarn, thread through the remaining stitches and secure tightly.  Weave in ends.

Okay. Back to the needles.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More Lace!! It's Taking Over!

Lace reminds me of clouds!

I am still on my lace kick, making two shawls at the same time. The colors of these yarns are striking so it is very fun to knit. The colors change as you knit; one is lavender, pink, and light blue; the other is pink, orange and yellow. It's a basic and simple lace but it makes a wonderful fabric that looks a lot difficult that it is. It is just stockinette with every other knit row of yarn over and knit two together.  You also increase four stitches with every knit row.  I'll write up the pattern once I am done with one of the shawls and have blocked it.

It's a great pattern for travelling because it is simple and elegant. I use circular needles because then I always have all my needles without checking. More than once I have thrown a project in my knitting bag, only to find out later that I either forgot to pack to the second needle, or I lost it somewhere along the way.

Not that I am getting to travel much these days. Still looking for work, so I am getting a lot of knitting done. Seems like when I have time to travel, I don't have the money, and when I have the money, I don't have the time. I spend a couple of hours each day checking the ads online and applying to jobs while trying to 'hide' my age so they will at least take a look at my qualifications first.Then I spend the rest of the day knitting Alas.

The yellow strip is coming up next on the pink shawl.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Tiger in my Dreams

I think I need someone to interpret my dreams.

I have a recurring dream. Well, actually, not really a total dream, but a visit in my dream. About once a month for as long as I can remember, a tiger visits me in my dreams. She is not the subject of my dream, but more of a pass by. There are some consistent points about this dream.

- She often just walks through the dream with no reason. The story of the dream doesn't stop, nor does it acknowledge that she passed by. It's like she is trying to remind me of something.
- Sometimes she appears outside of the place in my dream as if to warn me not to come outside.
- She is not dangerous. I am not afraid of her nor is anyone else in my dream.
- A couple of times, she is on a leash being held by a high-fashioned woman. There was even one time that the woman had two tigers on leashes.
-  I had these visits my entire adult life, so it doesn't have anything to do with Neko.
- Occasionally the dream is about the tiger herself, but I don't remember any of the stories.
- I think she appears so often because she is trying to tell me something. Something that I am forgetting to do.
- I have a feeling of comfort when I see her. That's why I don't think she is a warning of any kind.
- I do seem to get more visits and more detailed visits from my tiger when I am in a state of transition. I am looking for a job and worried that I am not getting much response from employers.

Since my dream tiger is a cat, it has to have something to do with my love of cats. I grew up on a farm and was surrounded by cats. They were known as common barn cats, and our cats actually lived in the barn. They was very affectionate and loving animals. If you sat down on the ground, you would covered and rubbed by dozens of cats. In fact when I was 10, I counted 56 cats on the farm and every single one was named. Since it was a dairy farm, Dad would pour milk into pans for them. He would also cut open a large bag of dog food for them to feed on. Obviously, I never saw a mouse the entire time I was growing up. The birds also stayed away from our barnyard.

So, if anyone knows why a tiger is visiting my dreams, I would welcome any theories.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lace is my True Love

If I had to choose only type of knitting, it would lace. I love lace in extra fine wool yarn all the way up to bulky. I am especially fond of self-striping yarn. I am okay with variegate yarn, but I love the change of the yarn as I knit along. As I am working on one color, I so look forward to the next one. The purple shawl in this picture is different shades of the same color, but I love then the colors change completely like they do in this scarf.

I designed the yellow and pink scarf design, but I haven't written up the pattern yet. I guess I should put that on my "to do" list.

Meanwhile, I am making another shawlette in shades of lavender and blue. I better get back to my needles since I have time today to work on it.

Back to the needles.