Friday, June 27, 2008

Cicely, PA

So some good news... the two pups I had in my sidebar for a while, Charley and Gabriel, both found good homes. They were two of the best dogs I've had the pleasure of meeting, and their adoptions are bittersweet. I guess one of the really great parts about my job is getting the opportunity to get to know some really awesome animals. I get to be a part of their lives for at least a little while, and that's pretty great. So now that spot belongs to Chip, the most tolerant and affectionate cat I think I've ever met. Check him out.

In knitting news, I've been doing a lot of it. I have more WIPs than I've had in a while. I finished this sock the other day:

It's a Diagonal Rib sock by Ann Budd in Shibui Sock Yarn colorway Peacock. I acquired a bunch of new yarn from Webs as a sort of birthday gift to myself and this is the first one I've used. It was really nice to work with, although it did turn my needles a little green. In addition I've acquired:

Ready to start some more socks... I've also started some plain stockinette socks in Noro Silk Garden Lite, a surprise cowl, and a Shetland Triangle in Malabrigo Lace Weight. Busy little beaver over here.

So, what is allowing for all this knitting, you ask?

Yep. That's Marilyn and Maggie knitknitknittin away at a wrestling match between Holling Vincoeur and Officer Semanski. And that's me watchwatchwatchin a whole heck of a lot the past few days. My Jeffrey got me the entire Northern Exposure Series in a spiffy Sherpa satchel for my birthday and I've been enjoying the hell out of it. If you've ever been a fan, I suggest revisiting it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

First in line...

So I've knit my first pair of socks. Hurrah! And I'm kind of feeling like this is the first of many. After finishing this pair, I have now acquired about 5 more skeins of sock yarn and I can't wait to make them into little post-modern wonders. It's a funny feeling, knitting socks. It was so necessary once and now it's a luxury.

The pattern is Froot Loops from Knitty and it was really fun and simple to knit. Usually I don't really knit in public as I am generally knitting something like a lace shawl or a complicated pattern that requires more concentration or a pattern to lug around with me, but these socks with just a four row repeat, made their way into parties, movies, and meetings. It was a lovely thing to knit that way, as I got more accomplished and it started conversations about knitting and my interest in it.

The yarn is really beautiful and squishy and in a colorway I wouldn't normally choose. It is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in Earth and I really recommend it.


This week at work has been trying and also great. Since Saturday we've had about 40 adoptions, which is amazing and really necessary. It's funny how certain factors really effect the adoption of animals, like children getting out of school for the summer, and conversely, the slow and downtrodden economy forcing people to give up their animals.

There were a few quality adoptions, but my favorite of the week was Goodwin. Well, Goodwin's name was initially Taco and his owner was the sweetest little old man. At the shelter, just like anywhere else I've ever worked, we have our fair share of regulars. Mr. Goodwin would come in and tell the story of his old Chihuahua that he loved so well, and how she passed away in his arms. He would always come sit behind the front desk and write a check for a small donation. He would brighten my day, as I'm sure we did his. This past summer, Mr. Goodwin adopted a dog. A fiesty little Min-Pin named Taco and it was a great fit. He gave Mr. Goodwin something to take care of and Mr. Goodwin gave Taco a loving home. About a month ago, Mr. Goodwin fell ill and we had to go pick up Taco and bring him to the shelter. He was in the hospital for about 4 days and when he got out, he came up and reclaimed Taco and took him home. Then about a week ago, he called again, saying that he felt it was necessary to move into a nursing home and he couldn't take Taco with him. We assured him we would do everything in our power to help Taco find a good home. In Mr. Goodwin's honor, we put Taco up for adoption under his new name Goodwin. Goodwin was at the shelter all this past week and I took it upon myself to make sure he was cozy and happy. No adopter expressed interest in Goodwin throughout the week and I was making plans to take him home over the weekend so he wouldn't be lonely, but late Friday, a sweet lady, her husband, and their quiet little MinPin, Andre, came up to meet Goodwin and it was a match made in heaven. What a nice way to end my week!

Congratulations Goodwin!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scrappy Tam

Scrap Happy Train Tam by Cosette Cornelius-Bates

This hat arose from the scraps of a few projects with leftovers. The brown is from the leftover Beaverslide Organic wool I used to make the Drops Jacket, and the yellow and blue are Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed from some impromptu Irish Hiking Mitts. I was initially planning to make the mitts simply in yellow, but ran out of yarn halfway through the second mitt, so I ripped that out and made one yellow mitt and one blue. The scraps seemed to fit perfectly into this pattern with the Beaverslide. They're all really rustic and hearty wools and it coordinated with the pattern really well. I was, not only inspired by Cosy's pattern, but by her creative use of leftovers and great color combinations.

While I was making this hat, I was keeping in mind a group I joined in Ravelry called Color Coordinated which has got me thinking about my own use of color and questioning the colors I'm often drawn towards. It's so easy to pick out grays, blacks, browns, and I keep trying to break out and squish around the yellows, purples, and greens that I might overlook normally. A recent trip to the Cultured Purl (LYS here in Erie PA - see map behind my head, above!) and I came home with this little nugget:

This is some breakthrough yarn for me. First of all, it's purple. And I was drawn to it. Which has never really happened before. Second of all, it's sock yarn, and I've never knitted a sock before. And so, through my Ravelry addiction, I looked at a few patterns and found that this exact yarn and colorway was used to make the Froot Loop Socks from Knitty, and I immediately cast on. So I feel I've come a long way. And I'm actually having a blast knitting the pattern. It's quite easy to remember and the yarn is so awesome. It's Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck and it's like butter. I think I'm a convert to sock knitting. We'll see where this leads...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Ubiquitous...

Drops A-Line Cardigan in Beaverslide Organic Wool

I haven't really been a big sweater knitter in the past. Usually when I start them, it either takes me a while to finish them or I never wear them

This one obviously doesn't belong to the first category, and I'm hoping it won't belong to the second.

The joy of making this cardigan was the yarn. It's Organic Wool in Natural Black from Beaverslide Dry Goods. It's so rustic, it felt like I was knitting right off the sheep. So slippery and oily, it smelled sweet and natural with farmy goodness. When I soaked it for blocking, it gave up so much of it's natural oils, the water looked like a dirty pond and the wool fluffed up pretty and soft. The color is Natural Black and really it's an earthy brownish gray which makes it perfect for this quarter of Project Spectrum.

I had to block the front and backs like crazy because the length just wasn't there. I had a run-out-of-yarn fear, so I didn't knit it any longer, I just relied on blocking and it pretty much worked. The back part can creep up a bit, but nothing an errant tug here and there can't fix. The yarn tightened up and fell right into line with a nice block.

I'll most likely wear the collar turned down. It's still a bit itchy, although I have a feeling that with wear it will soften up even more. I can't recommend this yarn enough.

The buttons are from an old version of Ubernatural that I never wore, so I just snipped them off and now they have a new home!

I have a few more photos up on Flickr, if you're interested.


I feel like I"m still getting my feet wet with this blog thing, and I need to get into a groove. I seem to think that I need to come up with some writable topic, knitting related or otherwise, when really I just envisioned this as being someplace I can write about my thoughts and experiences. Hopefully I can relax and be less restricted. I mean, I don't really feel like I have an audience, but part of me writes in a way that others will be reading, so I censor myself and edit what I would normally say. Like just now I just deleted a paragraph I wrote about kitten season at the Humane Society and how most people think of kittens as cute and exciting, but I see them as overabundant (too many of them for the limited amount of adopters), easy to make sick (runny kitten eyes, sneezy kitten noses), as having bad timing (everyone wants kittens in the wintertime, when there are none) and I erased it because it seemed too negative or depressing. So I'm glad I retyped it. It's loosening my blog boundaries... And really anyway, no one's reading.

If you are though, thanks.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monk Hat Pattern

So a while ago, I wrote up a pattern for a cabley-slouchy hat that I had posted in Craftster and I figured it was a good idea to write it up somewhere more accessible. So here it is:

Monk Hat
Materials: to be safe: 200 yards of worsted weight yarn (it may take less, but my hat was from recycled wool and I’m not sure of the exact yardage: if anyone else makes it, let me know
Size 8 16” circular needle (or needle size to give YOU the correct gauge)
One stitch marker to mark beginning of round
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge: 15 sts over 4” in 2x2 ribbing

Cable Stitches:

3 st RPC: Sl 1 st to cn and hold back, k2, p1 from cn

3 st LPC
: Sl 2 sts to cn and hold front, p1, k2 from cn

4 st RC
: Sl 2 sts to cn and hold back, k2, k2 from cn

4 st RPC
: Sl 2 sts to cn and hold back, k2, p2 from cn

4 st LPC
: Sl 2 sts to cn and hold front, p2, k2 from cn

CO 88 sts and join for working in the round being careful not to twist sts
Knit in K2, P2 rib for 1.5-2” (or as much as you would like)

After ribbing, increase 22 sts evenly across row to 110 sts total (or for a smaller, less tam like hat, CO and increase fewer sts, however always keeping amount of sts in multiple of 20 + 10)

You now have 110 sts on circular needle and you can begin cable work:

ROW 1: P3, K2, *K2, P3, K2, P6, K2, P3, K2, rep from* end K2, P3.

ROW 2: rep row 1

ROW 3: P3, *4 st RC, P3, 3 st LPC, P4, 3 st RPC, P3, rep from* end 4 st RC, P3.

ROW 4: P3, K2 *(K2, P4) 3X, K2 rep from * end K2, P3.

ROW 5: P1, 4 st RPC, *4 st LPC, p2, 4 st LPC, 4 st RPC, p2, 4 st RPC rep from* end: 4st LPC, P1

ROWS 6 & 12: P1, K2, P2, *P2, K2, P4, K4, P4, K2, P2 rep from* end: P2, K2, P1

ROW 7: 3 st RPC, P2 *P2, 3 st LPC, P3, 4 st RC, P3, 3 st RPC, P2 rep from* end: p2, 3st LPC

ROWS 8 & 10: K2, P3, *P3, K2, P3, K4, P3, K2, P3, rep from* end P3, K2.

ROW 9: K2, P3 *P3, K2, P3, K4, P3, K2, P3, rep from* end: P3, K2

ROW 11: 3 st LPC, P2 *P2, 3 st RPC, P3, 4 st RC, P3, 3 st LPC, P2, rep from* end: P2, 3 st RPC

ROW 13: P1, 4 st LPC, *4 st RPC, P2, 4 st RPC, 4 st LPC, P2, 4 st LPC, rep from * end: 4 st RPC, P1.

ROW 14: P3, K2, *(K2, P4) 3X, K2, rep from* end: K2, P3.

ROW 15: P3, *4 st RC, P3, 3 st RPC, P4, 3 st LPC, P3, rep from* end: 4 st RC, P3

ROW 16: P3, K2 *K2, P3, K2, P6, K2, P3, K2, rep from* end K2, P3.

Repeat rows 1-16 until desired length (before decreasing). Mine is about 9” from the beginning which will result in a slouchy, tam like hat. If you want more of a beanie, definitely start decreasing sooner.

In mine, I decreased sharply, knitting or purling 2 together each round (where appropriate) until the cables were no longer noticeable, then k2together each round until 6 sts remain to pull yarn through and secure. Sorry this is not more detailed, honestly though, I did it without a plan, just purling two together when there were multiple purl sts and knitting 2 together when there were multiple knit sts. It seemed to work out fine… and once I got to the absolute crown I just switched to decreasing in stockinette.

Weave in ends. Block. Dry. Put it on and try to be as cool as Monk. Although you won’t be.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

First Post!

I have always seemed to avoid making up a blog, but the other day I was struck with the perfect title to encapsulate my life these days and it felt like it was time. Really, what I think I want from this blog is a venue to express my thoughts, frustrations, and interactions that come with the daily life of working in an animal shelter, combined with the everyday hobby that has become more of a habit: knitting.

I don't know if I expect anyone to read this blog, or even care, but it just seems like a natural progression for me. In college, I studied English Lit and have always had an interest in writing. I've always kept journals, until recently. Knitting has taken up most of my free time so I haven't really journaled at all. So this blog seems like a viable solution.

I started working at the NWPA Humane Society about 4 years ago, just part time, and would travel selling posters in between time at the shelter. About three months ago, things sort of fell into place and I've been able to become full-time there which is kind of amazing. Often times I'm able to combine knitting and shelter life and knit some stuff for the kids at the shelter:

Every month old Pit Bull puppy needs a teeny woolly sweater!

In terms of knitting, I've been working on two sweaters intermittently, with small projects in between. I've seen so many awesome versions of the ubiquitous DROPS A-line cardigan that I really felt compelled. It seems like a sweater I would wear alot and I had some Beaverslide Dry Goods Organic Wool that seemed the perfect fit. I'm through the back and front panels, and onto the sleeves, so hopefully I'll have FO photos soon.

I just started a quickie project that is quickly becoming a more complex one as I've run out of yarn...
Irish Hiking Wristwarmers in Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed and Ivan at the window

Well, anyways, welcome! I hope that I'll stick with this thing and it will get me writing and reflecting more...